Tag Archives: shofar

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #9

Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
They walk, O Lord, in the light of Your countenance.

In Your name they rejoice all day long,
And in Your righteousness they are exalted.
For You are the glory of their strength,
And in Your favor our horn is exalted.

For our shield belongs to the Lord,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel” (Ps. 89:15-18).

The sun has set in NC, so the Feast of Trumpets and High Holy Days have begun. When Jesus was a boy, He would walk for 6 days to get to Jerusalem – that is how important it was for family and friends to make the journey.  10 days of worshiping the Father and listening for His voice. 

“But the LORD God called out to the man,“Where are you?” Gen 3:9

Jewish sages say that in the days leading up to the High Holy Days, Abba comes down to earth and wanders among His people as He did during the days of the Garden for this is the day of Creation.  5781 years ago – the Day He drew a deep breath and spoke, “Light Be!”  So He comes.  Calling to His children to return to Him.  Wanting them to seek His face.  Missing His friends and wishing they could walk together as they once did long ago.

“Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the Law.” Prov 29:18

Yeshua Ha-Mashiach brought us a vision 2000 years ago. He walked among us with power, signs and wonders or we would call them – miracles. A reminder that Abba’s desire is always to walk with us.  A reminder that as we look within, seek deep introspection, and find our knees in repentance that Jesus stands beside us, His hand resting on our head, and the Father doesn’t have to ask any longer, “Where are you?”

Blow the shofar. 

Light the candles. 

Eat the Bread. 

Drink the wine. 

Sing praises of Awe to Him who continues to seek us even in the dark of the night because He misses us and loves us beyond comprehension. 

Shofar

[google images]

ANTICIPATION DAYS

Ya know how you wait and you wait and you wait for special days? Anticipation takes over almost every waiting minute? Lists of things to accomplish before the event occurs? While the pit of your stomach aches just to go to sleep, so you can wake up before it arrives and get more done?

That’s what it has been like in NC this week.

Switching between the weather channel and local news. Walking outside to recheck what might need to be stashed or tied down or chucked in the trash. Checking on friends living close to the coast. Answering notes of messages of concern from friends in other states. Checking on older neighbors. Praying for, not just our coast, but all the other coasts, states and countries that are battling their own natural disasters.
The workers that stand in the gap.
The uncertainty.
The loss of stuff.
The worry.
The prayer.

‘We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act!”~Dan 9:18b-19a

As always – knowing me well and my constant need for reassurance – my many devotions centered on the power of prayer and a merciful and loving Father who not only hears but anticipates our every need – even before we voice it. Oh but He loves to hear our voices cry out to Him, so He waits. Like us – whom He created in His own image – 
waiting – 
anticipating – 
loving – 
completely knowing us to depths of ourselves that even we don’t know.

These are the nights and the days of anticipation. The days of the shofar. Jewish tradition says that every night when sleep comes, the souls rise to heaven and record what they did that day in a book- the real good, the good, the bad, the ugly bad – and then attest to it with their signature.

A part of me likes this idea. Being accountable for my actions was drilled into me over and over as I grew up. Recording them while they are still fresh with joy or heavy with dread – in my soul seems like good parenting. Signing my name in full to the real good, the good, the bad, the ugly bad helps me face what I have done with my day. But in my mind I see something more – something so full of love that my breath catches in anticipation.

When the shofar blows at sunrise, I see a cross stamped – – – completely blotting out my deeds and signature. My tear-filled eyes blink to see His nailed-scared hand holding mine, easing the eternal back into the temporal. Our eyes meet in that silver cord second, and His smile remains within me for the rest of the day. His song singing in my soul as the sun rises above the horizon, and I swing my feet over the side of the bed to start anew.

I am fully known, fully forgiven and fully loved..

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”~Ps 32:1a

  [google images/Akiane art]

GET WISDOM

Sunshine + rain + some kind of high pressure that is pushing 
that old bag of wind Florence further South = humidity overload to the nth degree.

The head hurts.

It has been a humid summer. Even most native North Carolinians have wiped their brow a few times. Today was no different until about 6:00 when the girls and I stuck our nose outside. The humidity had dropped (a little). Enough that we decided to take our rambling walk down the hill to the neighbors.

I love these walks because the girls are happily exploring, sniffing out new aromas, chasing random squirrels that drop out of a tree, and eventually – checking back in on me. As for me, it is the quiet of the neighborhood and my time to try to listen a little harder to my Father. I have this tendency to talk or think too much. Getting outside – whether walking or sitting on our swing – is my quiet time. Which – believe it or not – is really hard for me.

“The beginning of wisdom is: get wisdom.”~Prov 4:7

As much as I like being by myself, I am not a quiet person. I talk to myself. I write stories in my head, Songs may interrupt me at any time. I tend to have this running commentary going on in my head at all times. Meditation is extremely SO hard. If I am quiet – I’m generally asleep within 5 minutes. So listening to God is hard – – – really, really hard.

So today as the sun was setting, I was doing my best to listen and suddenly, last night’s dream popped into my mind. I remembered I was dreaming in French. Now you have to understand that I hated learning French and don’t really remember much. But I understood everything last night – even the song that was being sung by a bunch of dancers in white – except for one. That one had a copper skirt that only showed when she kicked her feet up in the air.

I figured my mind was getting me off track again, so I prayed a little on some prayer requests circling around and tried to still my mind again. By that time, I found a rock that had moss growing on it, and I had to take a picture of it, right? Then the dogs were under foot and smiling at me, so I had to stop and talk to them. Do you see why being quiet is so hard for me?

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the Light of Your presence, LORD.”~Ps 89:15

I tried a couple more times before I finally just smiled up at my Father, shrugged my shoulders, and asked for His forgiveness for not being a good listener, and I swear I could almost hear Him laugh and I was thankful.

Earlier today, I was reading about the shofar blasts that are used during High Holy Days. There is one blast that is a series of 9 notes. The word for it is “teruah”. It is also the original Hebrew word that is used in Ps 89:15. It is usually translated as “to acclaim” in English. Jewish wisdom looks at it slightly different. They say, “Blessed are those who know the secret of the sofar blast…”

Can you keep a secret?

The first shofar was created after God showed His grace, His mercy and His love to Abraham and Issac by providing a sacrifice. Thus, to hear a shofar is always a reminder of His mercy – His grace – His love to all people. A reminder that when we, as a people blow our horn and are able to accept responsibility for our foolishness – our sins – all on our own, God doesn’t have to correct our behavior for us. Instead, He can blow His grace, His mercy and His love over us and smile.

Starting the 4th day of the High Holy Days – a little wiser and a whole lot more thankful that My Father certainly knows and loves my heart and hopefully, as I grow a little wiser, my heart will be a little more like His. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”~Matt 5:8

 [personal/google image]

RATIONS 100 DAYS! #57

Today is Tovah 5777. Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish new year. In the Bible it is basically a day “to sound the trumpets.” It is a day that Rabbi Yeshua observed and celebrated every year He remained on earth.
The Jewish trumpets aren’t the trumpets of marching band or orchestra fame. They aren’t the trumpets of some medieval kingship. It is a Ram’s horn called the shofar. On Rosh Hashanah it is blown three different ways to remind the Jewish people of three very important concepts to take forward into the new year.
I’m not going to bother to give you the names of each blast, but the Jewish people know from their traditions their names and why they are important. The first long blast on the shofar is to remind everyone that God is present in our lives and He is the King of our lives.
The second trumpet sound is to resemble a weeping sound. It reminds everyone that even at the point where their brokenness is the most raw and brutal, He is there as well – loving, comforting, and answering prayers.
The final sound is 9 short blasts. It is meant to awaken those who have been slumbering – ignoring – their purpose in this life — His purpose for us in this life. A reminder to wake up and walk forward with their Father.
Hence, for the Jewish people the new year has begun. With courage and humbleness, they have acknowledged that there is a King in their lives; that they have a brokenness that He is reaching out to help them heal; that they are awakened and ready to walk forward onto a new path – His path.
It is good to understand our roots. It is good to worship Our Father as His Son worshiped Him while He journeyed upon this earth. It is good to have a Father who loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to show us the way home.
1942 Daily Rations: “Suffer me to speak.”~Acts 21:39
“Read: Acts 21:27-39
“Fear is crossing bridges before we come to them. Courage does not consist in feeling no fear, but in conquering fear. Paul, facing an angry mob, may have had some inward doubts, but he was sustained by an unfaltering trust. Christianity has advanced through the courageous stand of her leaders. The Saviour crucified upon the cross was courageous as only the Son of God could be courageous. Others have followed his example. Stephen prayed for his tormentors as he was stoned to death. In our own world, religion has found strength in the courage of her martyrs. Latimer [**Hugh, c. 1487-1555], the aged Reformation preacher, even while burning at the stake, cried out, ‘We shall this day light such a candle…as…shall never be put out.’ We need men of courage and valor who are not intimidated by mob psychology and who dare speak courageously for Jesus’ sake.
“Prayer: Our Father grant unto us the selfless courage that comes to humble souls whose every purpose is dedicated wholly unto thee. Place within our finite minds the one truth of thine own infinite being. Teach us to be strong and courageous, through our dependence on thy strength. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

[google images] **my addendum to 1942 Ration for those who don’t recognize the name Latimer

Writer’s Block

writingWriter’s blocks are debilitating, demoralizing and just down-right depressing. Words get written, erased, re-written and erased again.  Sometimes the words don’t come at all, and the computer screen or paper remains blindingly white.  So after a week of Bronchitis – another week of “catch-up” (on all those things I ignored while I was curled in a ball coughing) and finally, a week of trying to get back on a  “normal” schedule, I decided the best thing to write about was the hidden gifts in all of this.

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding.”  Prov 3:13 

Writing has been my outlet since I was little.  When I was little and upset with my mom and dad, I would write letters and stick them where I knew they would find them (a bathroom magazine/book rack was a favorite spot).  Being the intelligent, loving parents they were, they never openly acknowledged the venting of their youngest child in a head-on confrontation, but they always found indirect ways to let me know that they had, indeed, found these rambling, often emotional, poorly written outbursts.  All the same, they gave credence to these fledgling expressions.  Sometimes it was in the topics that we discussed around the supper table.  Sometimes it was in the songs that writing nikethey sang to me as we said our prayers at night.  And sometimes, it was just that extra special hug or time spent doing things together that let me know they heard.  Needless to say, writing became one of the primary ways for me to communicate with them when topics were too scary to approach in conversation.  That’s why the past couple of weeks have been hard.  Not writing is almost as bad as a tummy ache…maybe worse.  But not being able to write however reminds me that these dry spells can be a gift in disguise.  While gifts may be wrapped in our physical DNA and propensity of traits (mom and dad were both writers of poetry, song lyrics, speeches and long, long letters), it is Our Father’s blessing that enhances those gifts and weaves them into a tight package that blesses those around us.

“All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.”  1 Chron 28:19

This time the gift was one of receiving.  I listened to lots of people talking via blogs, sermons, TED talks, books- even TV shows as I coughed my way back to health (thanks to the blessings science and the discovery of antibiotics). But mostly –  I spent a lot of time in quiet reflection.  It came at the perfect time (which is exactly the way God works in this crazy world), and while I didn’t realize it at the time (since I was coughing way too much for any kind of logical thought), I needed to be slowed down and reminded about the Author of our gifts.  Eventually, it also surfaced to the forefront of my spinning brain that Jewish month of Elul would start soon and in fact – starts yesterday (the 27th of August).  In Jewish tradition, this is the month of reflection – a looking back – a taking stock of the good and bad things/choices that have transpired over the past year.  The shofar echoes across the land as a physical reminder leading His people into the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

“Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.”  Deut 16:18  

mouth gateIn Hebrew this last verse is written in the singular tense.  Rabbis believe this is because it is not just written for the nation, but in fact, is written for the individual as well.  It is a reminder that as we reflect upon this past year, we should “appoint a judge” to evaluate our performance and also set “officials” over the gates that need protecting.  Common gates such as our thought processes, mouths, eyes, ears, etc. must be protected so that the next year will be much better than the previous year.  In other words, Our Father is encouraging us to “judge” ourselves and guard the gates to His temple that resides within each and everyone of us.

“I will not enter my house or go to my bed, I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.” Ps 132:3-5  

As usual, David – the shepherd, the warrior, the king, the husband, the father, the sinner, the passionate, creative poet – says it best, and I wonder if he wrote it during the month of Elul because it is so reflective.  What better goal could I set for the coming holy days than this?  I [will] find a place for the LORD,  a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob…  

Writing-writing-31277215-579-612Nothing is more important than this – NOTHING.