Tag Archives: Leviticus

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #29

I never really liked Labor Day. I think it started as a child. The first Monday of September (Labor Day) meant that school would start on Tuesday. What kid in their right mind would like that holiday? Certainly not me. In the late 1950’s I had better things to do.

  • Read.
    Ride my bike.
    Sing songs walking down the street with the bestest singing sister ever.
    Catch fireflies for the canning jar.
    Dance in the moonlight for a little while longer.

Obviously, Labor Day was just never my favorite “free” day. So today I didn’t have a free day – I worked. I finished washing the bedding and towels from our many visitors. Cleaned the porch of all the fallen leaves – again. Pulled some dead-vine debris from the garden and played with the spoiled lab girls.

All in all – a good day especially since I made time to study my devotions and listen to some Jewish wisdom as well. Somehow the day always seems so much better after time with my Father.

As I read today’s Ration, I realized that Jesus spent lots of time reading His Father’s words that He had written for His people. He melded two Torah verses to answer one question. They weren’t side-by-side verses, but He knew they were perfect together and just as relevant in His time as they were when they were first written.

Jewish sages believe that all the words of YHWH are relevant – no matter what the calendar date may say. 1400 BC or 2016 – doesn’t matter – time doesn’t matter. Jehovah is still speaking through His words no matter how long ago they were written- and for the second time this week – linear time circles and bobs in my own waters.

There is something more here that I am supposed to be recognizing. I need to really think and pray about this one since I really have a hard time figuring out how all those detailed rules and rituals and wars have anything to do with today. I foresee more research in my future…or maybe my past…or present??? One thing I know for sure – these Rations are timeless.

1942 Daily Rations: Read: Mt 22:34-40

“Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment Ad the second is liken unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”~Mt 22:37-39

“If there ha been radio programs in Jesus’ day how He would have starred in the question or ‘quiz’ type! The air is full of questions and thousands of dollars are given away to children and adults for apt answers.

“In the Saviour’s day questions were addressed to him from many sources. They came from honest inquirers and from evil-minded people who sought to entangle him in his talk. The answers he gave brought rich rewards in knowledge and truth….The disciples of the Pharisees and the Herodians were quickly answered about the legality of tribute to Caesar. ‘Render…unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.’ Perfect answers to tempting and test questions were given in the following: ‘They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick,’ ‘Neither do men put new wine into old bottles’…’The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.’

“Today’s text is a brilliant answer. Jesus took two widely separated texts from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy, ch 6, and Leviticus, ch 19, and with lightning-like speed gave the summary of the whole law in the great commandment of love.

“Prayer: Love Divine, all loves excelling’ let me love thee with the might of my mind, the fullness of my heart, the depth of m soul, and my neighbor with the best of myself.”

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Attitude of Gratitude #15-21

Precious-Moments-ThanksgivingGratitude #15: Quiet evening. A cold blustery night in NC…33 degrees already…burrrrr…a little “shit-on-the-shingle” (as dad used to call it) over toasted muffin. Christmas music. A new (old) book of poetry published in 1933. Quiet evenings remind us of to stop and think. Meditate on the things that are important – truth – honesty – justice – purity – loveliness – good reports – virtue – praiseworthy… Quiet evenings remind me to be truly thankful. A special poem from that new (old) book of poetry called Thanksgiving, from the 1800’s:

For the days when nothing happens,
For the cares that leave no trace,
For the love of little children,
For each sunny dwelling-place,
For the altars of our fathers,
And the closets where we pray,
Take, O gracious God and Father,
Praises this Thanksgiving Day.

For our harvests safe ingathered,
For our golden store of wheat,
For the bowers and the vinelands,
For the flowers up-springing sweet,
For our coasts from want protected,
For each inlet, river, bay,
By the bounty full and flowing,
Take our praise this joyful day.

For the hours when Heaven is nearest
And the earth-mood does not cling,
For the very gloom oft broken
By our looking for the King,
By our thought that He is coming,
For our courage on the way,
Take, O Friend, unseen eternal,
Praises this Thanksgiving Day.
-Margaret E. Sangstermargaret sangster

And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will. -Leviticus 22:29.  (Google images)

Gratitude #16: Trees. My meditation time is always when I go outside and sit in the warm bubbling water of our Elemental spa tub. I try to quiet my mind – not christmas treean easy task in to say the least – and just focus on prayer and listening. I’m getting better at both – I think…but tonight, I kept getting sidetracked by the falling leaves and puppies running through them. The cold weather has turned our grassy backyard into a crunchy field of browns and golds. While most of the hardwood trees have lost their leaves, the oak holds on to her russet leaves longer. and I watched them dance in early evening breeze a little longer. While I love watching the season bring a visual change in our small forest, I’m thankful for the pine trees and holly bushes that continue to guard my backyard from the neighbors’ vistas and create a private prayer garden even during the deep of mid-winter hibernation. As I came in the kitchen door, I glanced up to see the white ceramic tree that my aunt made for mom and dad so long ago. Mom always kept it out, so I do, too. It’s lights reflect onto the ceiling of the great room in snowlike patters that constantly reminds me of all my family that has gone before me. For me, this is a season of the trees. They know when to be quiet, to sleep, to praise, to grow, to blossom, to rest. I think they listen to Our Father much better than I do, and I’m thankful for their example as I try to learn from them. No wonder the Christmas Tree is such an elemental part of our Savior’s birth celebration. (Google images)

Gratitude #17: Promises. Since I almost fell asleep just a second ago, I figured I better write this quickly. Fatigue is writing a lot of “Zzzzzzz’s” across the front of my brain right now, and I’m sure the antibiotics aren’t helping. I keep thinking of standing-on-the-promises_t_nvMark 9 and the father who had watched his son suffer (whether you believe it was sickness or demons) for years. The disciples couldn’t cure him, so he brought him to Rabbi Yeshua to be healed. The first time the father asked the rabbi he said, “But IF YOU CAN DO ANTHING, take pity on us and help us.” (Google images)

I like the NIV version because Rabbi Yeshua replies, ““ ‘IF you can’?” I can almost hear the rabbi’s incredulous voice repeating these words back to the father. It is the only version that translates it this way, and it made me smile. I often think that Rabbi Yeshua to wanted to bang his head against the wall when He dealt with us…hmmmmmm…He probably still does.

But what I love is how he finishes this verse. I can just see Him smiling and shaking His head, love wrapping itself around each word, ““Everything is possible for one who believes.” Smart dad – humbled and broken – rephrased his approach,“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

By that time, I can see Rabbi Yeshua listening but purely focused on the son He crosswas to save. It is those two verses verses – Mk 9:23-24, encircled by all my prayer warriors – both here and in heaven – upon which I’m standing on tonight. “EVERYTHING is possible for one who believes.” “HELP my unbelief.” Even though our faith be small as a mustard seed, His enduring love carries His promise through the years to all of us today. I am thankful for His promises that never fail when we are humble and believe His WORD. (photo by Roma Downey)

Gratitude #18: Roots. I have always been fascinated with trees. There is something about their heighth, breadth and longevity takes my breath away. When I was little, I would dream under their leaves during the summer heat, twist my rope swing into dizzy,erratic rides, and cradle myself in the seat of their roots when reading my favorite book or writing my latest poem or crying over my latest Oak_Tr_328_oakdrama. But…it is the roots that hold the tree to the ground. The roots that carries sustanence. The roots are the strength of the tree. No wonder the tree plays a privotal role in the Bible from Genesis to Revelations. If we become rooted to His WORD and rooted to our FAITH, nothing is impossible. Our Father has promised, and I am thankful my roots have grown stronger seeking Him, deeper through the GRACE of His Son and sustained by the soft voice of the SPIRIT.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” Jer 17:7–8. (Google images)

Gratitude #19: Family. Long ago when I was sick, my mom would tuck me into her big bed, bring me my favorite comic books or library books, and make me potatoe soup with lots of butter floating on the top. Saltine crackers and ginger ale would accompany this meal, but to this day, I can’t look at a bowl of potatoe soup and be excited about it. Sometimes, a chocolate malt from Zimm’s appeared as a special treat. If I wasn’t too sick, I got to ride in the back of the dry cleaning truck on a bed of blankets while Mom made deliveries around town. That was the best since I usually got a Zimmburger and malt on the way home “for being such a trooper”. Not to be out done, I could always count on Dad for a back rub, a guitar song or a bedtime story. Best of all, my big brother had to be nice to me.

These days when I am sick, my husband cooks food when nothing sounds good…and makes me eat healthy when I probably would eat junk. My kids call to check on me. Best of all, my brother is still nice to me, but this time no one makes him, and I love it. God created families. A safety net that He designed just for us, but more than that, a model that draws us closer to Him. Jesus refers to Him as the Father. He refers to Jesus as His son. Somehow, I think there is a Mother in there as well…we just don’t see it yet. I’m thankful for families when we’re sick, when we’re healthy, when things are crazy. It is a little piece of Heaven right here on earth.

feeling blessed.

Gratitude #20: My name. I know – strange topic to be thankful for…maybe kind of self-centered. And yet – one that kept re-surfacing all day today. I’ve always loved my name. In the 50’s, no one else had it. I stood alone in a sea of other baby boomers growing up in a post-war world. I even liked it when Coach Donelson mis-pronounced it during the Jr. Hi Honor Society Assembly in front of the whole world (or it seemed – since all the high school kids and parents were there). When I was little, I asked mom more than once about my name. She said she made up the name, but since she was such a reader, that never made much sense. I figured she heard it, read it, and it stuck in the back of her mind.

Prior to the world of computers, I worked as a page at the Loudonville Library. I found Bryn Marw College listed in a book and then I found a book with names. I still can see that book on the table (Young Adult section, Mrs. Wright sitting at the check-out desk, downtown location) as I found my name in a book. It was Welsh. It meant “hill”. Usually a man’s name. If it had two “n’s”, it was feminine. The sentence they used to clarify the definition was a Biblical one refering to Calgary. Felt like me through and through, so I’ve carried that memory with me ever since.

Jewish tradition says the naming of things is one of the most holy things a parent does. It is one of the first things that God told “man and woman” to do together – name the creatures of the earth. (Gen 2:19) They would then “know” the names of all the other inhabitants of the world. Even from the very beginning, God was modeling exactly what he was doing in Heaven. He told Isaiah: “Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” (Is 49:16 KJV) I like this translation the best. In other translations, it says “your name”, but I like thinking my whole self is in Our Father’s palm – in Jesus’s scars…then again – prehaps that is why “naming” is so important. Our name reflects the person we are. However, it is…I am thankful. Thankful He knows my name – thankful to be Brynie -Bryn Colette – Ferris Wheel (thanks – Loudonville Class of ’69)- Faerie dust/Ferret (college chums) – Nyrb – MIss Ferris – Mrs. K. – Mrs. Grammie – Mom – Grandma …

Gratitude #21: Magic. This week,Granddaughter asked her mama if magic was real. Brilliant doctoral student mama, stalled. I remember that feeling. How do you answer such a question? Santa? Tooth Fairy? Batman? Elves? Like normal, something like this intriques me, and sends my mind whirling off onto various tangents of thoughts that leads to other thoughts and others… sigh.

Logic tells us that magicdoesn’t really exist. That the only “real” things are what we percieve with our corporeal eyes. It must be written somewhere that “magic” is just a famciful escape from a fatiguing reality. Then we look at our child’s face, and we remember what it felt like to be a child. The “magic” world we saw in our mind was just as real as the world we lived in with adults. Horses could turn into magical people. Fairaes lived in the dark holes at the base of a playground tree. Santa came through non-existent chimneys while his reindeer waited and pawed on the roof. I often think children are smarter than adults are. They see beyond the world that is and into the world that could be —- if they just dreamed and looked for it hard enough. Children – for awhile at least – retain something that adults lose all too quickly. I tend to refer to it in my head as “heavenly magic”. .

Jesus had that heavenly magic even as an adult.. He retained the ability to look beyond this world and into all the worlds that His Father had created. After all, is it so hard to believe that a Creator who coneived of all the wonders that this world holds would not also conceive of worlds upon worlds when reindeer fly – elves make toys – right always wins – and a Son lays down His life for His friend?

Magic is a term we tend to funnel into one narrow tunnel. Maybe – my granddaughter, a budding philosopher, has the answer. As her mama fumbled to form some words into a reply, her daughter answered her own question. “… since God made the trees He must be magic, so magic must be real.” Our world is magical…from towering trees to universes too tiny to be seen with our mortal eyes – and everything in-between. Jesus said: “…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 18:3 (KIV) I am so thankful that I can still perceive some “magic” in my life everyday. (Artwork by Arkiane)

Faithfulness_by_Akiane

Commandment Series: Prohibition of Harming a Person through Speech

ten-commandments-400.hebrew abbrevI lost a friend Sunday night.  Three days after receiving his second kidney transplant and telling his wife: “I love you”, he was called Home.  I know there was plenty of rejoicing in Heaven yesterday…just as I know there will be lots of sadness expressed in my hometown over the next few days.  Losing a teacher/preacher man is like that.  It is just plain hard to say good-bye to one of the “good” guys – even when we know from Jewish tradition that good never ends – and all of Heaven is rejoicing and throwing a fantastic “Welcome Home” party in his honor.

I’ve  led a blessed life that has allowed me to encounter a few teacher/preacher men and women. People who managed to stand on their faith everyday, no matter the circumstances swirling around them – no matter the confrontations that they had to endure because of their testimony.  Reaching out and  being able to teach others about the Love that surrounds us all – even when facing everyday challenges – is what sets a teacher/preacher apart from many others.  They daily walk in the Light as He is in the Light, and they reflect His Love to all that are blessed enough to join them on that walk.

‘On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees—from palms, willows and other leafy trees—and rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days.’” — Leviticus 23:40

sukkotTomorrow at sundown, the Jewish festival of Sukkot begins.  It will also be the second blood  moon that has fallen on a Jewish holiday this year.  It is a time of great joy.  A time to live in a temporary shelter so that they remember what it was like on the journey to the Promise Land and seek to create the  trust that should live within them for Jehovah-Jireh. The New Year has just begun (Yom Kippur/Rosh Hashanah), and now it is time for each person to dedicate themselves and their lives to the One True God.  They gather four species of plants that Sages say represent the body, wave them in all four directions of the world, and stand on their faith, letting David’s ancient words sing for all the world to hear.  For a short moment in time, they become teacher/preachers and people are blessed by their words and actions.

“With every bone in my body, I will praise Him,”  Ps 36:1

Words can be curses or blessings.  The 9th commandment points this out ratherlie succinctly.  Most of us learned it: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Ex 20:13.  Needless to say, most of us think of that this means just don’t lie about something someone else has done or not done.  However, Jewish tradition applies this commandment to all sins that are done in the form of speech.  Making fun of someone?  Gossiping?  Swearing falsely about anything?  Leading someone away from the Light with your words?  It is a basic reminder that we are to use our words as a blessing instead of a curse. A reminder to be a teacher/preacher with everything we say.  heaven-of-angels

My friend was one of those people.  His words were a blessing and a gift to our world.  We will miss you, my friend, but I also know that your journey with the angels has just begun.

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts

july 10 2014 001Random thoughts: Baby birds are hatching. I never see mama sitting on the nest, and yet, baby birds are starting their journey. Heads wobbly, fuzzy, bare bodies sheltered under a few leaves.
“For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” Ps 48:14
News coverages estimate that 400 missiles have been launched into Israel over the last three days even reaching into Jerusalem. 15 minutes is all they have to reach the nearest shelter after an air raid siren. Today, they returned fire. Disabled children that were sent to Jerusalem for safety are no longer feeling safe. It’s a news report. We’ve heard it before. It’s not here.”O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.” Is 30:19Rain can be all around the state – flooding in the mountains,- thunderstorms on the ocean – but only a few drops fall upon the land where I live. Now this can be a good thing or a bad thing. This summer – we could have used a few more drops, but then – maybe the cold snap coming next week will bring more.”I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” Lev 26:4

The first fruits are coming out of the garden (thanks to irrigation techniques…me holding a hose once a day  ) – heirloom tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes – strawberries – gourdes – ballerina flowers…life goes on. It is a night to be thankful. A night to look out into the darkness and say a prayer as Aaron blessed others so long ago.july 10 2014 005

“‘“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’ Num 6-24-26

The Resilient Soul

goodnightre·sil·ience
riˈzilyəns
noun
1.
the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
“nylon is excellent in wearability and resilience”
2.
the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
“the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions”

Last night, just before I yawned through my last couple of words with Our Father, the word… “resilience”… darted in front of my eyes. I hate when He does that. The word danced around in my head, conjured up several images, thoughts, stories and completely destroyed the yawn complacency that had overtaken my mind.yawn

Really?

Now?

Sleep should never be disturbed by a word dancing around in your head. Worse – it has continued its merry romp between my neurons since then. My parents’ generation were certainly resilient. Growing up during the Great Depression, WWII, Korea, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, Riots…their middle name must of been “Resilient”. Then again – maybe that is the middle name for every generation.

Adam and Eve foreclosed/locked out of their home yet being resilient enough to build a new one together. David … Ruth… Jonah… Joseph… Mary Magdalene…Peter… The WORD is jammed packed with examples of resilience being displayed in God’s people.

“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” — Leviticus 26:3–4

The literal translation of the first sentence is : “If you walk in MY decrees…” What a promise that is. If you follow the WORD, everything that follows will be blessings. Best yet…if you fall smack on your face…screw up in the worst way possible…God gave us our own version of resilience: GRACE.

Apparently, teaching God’s grace is intrinsic within our psyche because we teach our children to say “Sorry” when they break a window, break a heart, break a promise. . The neat thing is – when we trip and fall, we can do the same thing. All we have to do is whisper the same word…”sorry”, and Grace washes it away. While there are consequences to our choices, through it all – resilience takes over. We bounce back into shape. We recover from our difficulty, as we begin to walk in His decrees…

Rain and Sun work together to bless the fields we plant…seeds bloom…crops grow strong… trees bring forth fruit…and at the end of the day, our bodies tired and achy from a day’s work, we try to stifle that last yawn, and crack one eye open hoping that Our Father doesn’t toss another word at us that will keep us awake a little longer than we want to be.

I think I am definitely ready for that last yawn tonight.zzzz

 

Lenten Journey #19

Words have power.

Mean words. Happy words. Sarcastic words. Lack of words.

Mother Teresa once, “Words that do not give the Light of Christ increase the darkness.”

Thumper said, “If you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”

Even the Book of Leviticus had something to say about it. There was a disease that affected the Jewish people when they gossiped. It was a lot like leprosy, leaving white patches all over their face and body. According to Jewish wisdom and Leviticus, the cure was a spiritual one as well as a physical one. Two birds were to be offered by the priest in the offender’s name. One bird was sacrificed, representing the “bad words” being killed off. The other was released, reminding the offender that words used for good will fly high and bring the blessings of song and beauty to the world.

Rabbe Jesus was also big on words, but in our society, we tend to see Him through a very narrow view-finder. Loving. Kind. Forgiving. Messiah. But this Rabbe was fully God and fully Man. He didn’t sugar coat His message to sell His ideas. While His deeds were often kind, forgiving and loving, His stories could be, just as often, dark and scary. The temple will be destroyed. The rejected cornerstone. Throw the wedding guest into the darkness. A dead fig tree…

Following the Book of Matthew these past few weeks, has reminded me just how powerful the words of Rabbe Jesus truly were. When I was little, many of these Bible stories never made their way to my Sunday School classes, and even if they did, I wouldn’t fully understand the symbolism of them because I had no Jewish wisdom to help interpret them. (I thought I was a great Bible student back in high school and college; after all, I went to church and youth group every week, prayed every night…well…mostly… read lots of books about religion and reincarnation – but in reality – I had no clue because I didn’t really digest the WORD.) Rabbe Jesus was the WORD, so He knew their power, and at the end of His journey, it was His final gift to us. He was the sacrificed bird. The WORD took within Himself the bad words and deeds of ourselves. Now it is up to us to release the Good News [Word] in to the world, releasing its beauty and music so that the world might be blessed until He returns. And He will return…whether we are ready or not.