Tag Archives: YHWH

BREADCRUMBS: Chirpings

Long ago, before the printed word and technology was in every home and classroom and before there were people who say that rote memorization was not a good learning strategy – at about the time when Jesus was a little boy growing up in a small town, children in his village would walk into the classroom for the first time and find a slate coated in honey. A rabbi said these words, “How sweet are your words to my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.”~ Ps 119:103

Being a teacher it is so easy to see this first century classroom. I can hear the smile in the rabbi’s voice as he issued the first assignment, “Lick the slate clean and repeat after me.” As the students gleefully got to work (because there was no one around who said, “Yuk – germs!), they repeated the verse over and over until the slate was ready to be written upon. Thus, they learned their first verse of the Torah.

“If you abide in Me…”

According to rabbinical writings from that time, the sound of those voices repeating verses over and over and over were like the chirpings of little birds. Once upon a time, rote memorization was the underpinnings of all education all over the world. Books were rare and way too valuable for ordinary folk. Students learned by stories and rote memorization. In the Jewish community, by the time the Jewish children were ready for the next level of schooling, most of them knew the entire Torah by heart.

I’m sure there were those who struggled just like some struggle in today’s classroom. However, what we fail to remember is that the chirpings didn’t stop at the school. Every morning, every meal, every bedtime was filled with more recitation of verses and better yet – discussion – debate – exchange of thoughts – prayers filled with those same words until the verses became alive – vibrant with love between the family members – lustrous with the Breath of the Father’s Spirit – shaded with every jot and tittle of the language.

“And My words abide in you…”~Jn 15:7a

Cool thing to note – most scholars agree that boys and girls – around the age of 4 or 5 – would begin their schooling together. The cooler thing is that school didn’t stop at the doorway of the classroom. All the children in the family would participate in the discussions with their parents, so – for the most part – Our Father’s words took up residence within each family member who comprised this group of people called Jews.

They didn’t have to go look up a reference to string verses together. They didn’t have to google a phrase to find a verse. They didn’t have to look at their notes from school or find an expert. The words were part of everything in their everyday life. Trip over a stone and say a blessing of thanks because it wasn’t a rock. Get an extra few coins praise G-d for His goodness. Prayer rising without thought – never ceasing – because the WORD lives in each individual.

“How sweet are Your words to my taste!”

Tonight, as the thunderstorm and hail pelt our little house, I look at the little gathering of early violets and spring flowers and touch creation with my heart. Life becomes so much sweeter as we chirp. Spring is here – well – kinda – in name anyway. The peepers have started to peep in NC – I think they are probably hiding deep in the mud tonight. The birds were chirping earlier today as they hopped about and hopefully found shelter somewhere now.

And I – well – I think I need a little more of those 1st century chirpings in my life so that the WORD abides in me.

“Sweeter than honey to my mouth.”~Ps 119:103   

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BREADCRUMBS: Led by the Spirit

Most of the time I love a lively, joyous, dancing in the aisle style of worship. A happy time to express all the love that seems to overflow out of my heart for my Father, His son and the Holy Spirit. 
King David’s dance before the LORD sets a fire in my spirit. Praise songs puts taps on my shoes.
A cracking voice that can’t help straining to hit the notes in the head as I clean the house, and I can’t think of a better way to start my week.

But there are other times. 
Times when my heart is heavy with the brokenness of the world.
Times when I realize I – we – have fallen far beyond the Tower of Babel.
Times when I want reach deeply into myself and re-connect with the AWE. 
Times when I seek the solemness – the depth of holiness – in worship.

These are the times when I seek Moses’s attitude of stooping over to remove His shoes. Times when I seek the obedience of the Son who knelt against a cold, stony surface – alone – in the dark. Times when I need to feel the soaring spirit of the classical music and holiness of a Catholic Mass to remind me of the Light He brought to us.

These are the times when I immerse myself in the formality of the Mass or the timelessness of a Requiem. Verdi. Mozart. Faure. Bach. Bernstein. They remind me that there is more than just one side of Our Father, and it brings me to my knees in trembling Awe and Reference.

“Rend not your garments, rend your hearts. 
Turn back your lives to me.” 
Thus says our kind and gracious God, 
whose reign is liberty.”~Hurd/Vaughan-Williams  

I was not raised Catholic, but choral music was my teething rattle. Music that sang me to sleep as my mother’s voice blended and soared over me from the stage. I knew her voice and could always pick it out even when I was too little to understand anything else. I spent my formative years emulating her in my own numerous choral adventures. 
And it was there, there where the music flowed from my heart into my spirit. 
There where I found the beauty and strength of My Father’s grace as the world falls apart.

Tonight there are so many prayers circling – for so many people – for a broken world filled with violence, sickness and heartache. Ash covered prayers for “…for dust you are and to dust you will return.”~Gen 3:19 
Repristination seems a long way away tonight. 
And I breath in deeply the sounds of Kyrie, Dona Nobis Pacem and Sanctus.
Listening.
Seeking.

Whoever drinks the drink 
I give shall never thirst again.” 
Thus says the Lord who died for us, 
our Savior, kin and friend.”~Hurd/Vaughan-Williams

While the tears are just under the surface now, the awe-filled holiness of YHWH, His Son and the Holy Spirit have brought me peace tonight. I will never understand the evilness that continues to tear us apart. I can’t even understand my own stupidity most of the time.

What I do understand is that if I really listen, I can hear His voice. I can pick it out in-spite of the noisiness of the world that tries to distract. 
While there is ugliness, there is also beauty. 
While there is violence, there is also peace. 
While there is sin, there is also grace. 
We merely have to pick out His voice, and let the Spirit lead us.

“Led by the Spirit, 
now sing praise to God the Trinity: 
The Source of Life, 
the living Word made flesh to set us free, 
The Spirit blowing where it will 
to make us friends of God: 
This mystery far beyond our reach, 
yet near in healing love.” Led by the Spirit, Hurd/Vaughan-Williams

JUST SPECIAL

Somedays are just special.

That’s it. Not anything miraculous. Not anything to stop traffic. Not anything that anyone would notice. It just is.

Maybe it is the way it started – before I even rolled out of bed. Lazy. Slow. Cat-stretches. Prayerful praises that turn into dream-remembering. The sound of the shofar. The words of Abraham’s servant circling in amongst it all,  “Lord…make me successful today…”~Gen 24:12a

Jewish tradition says that during the times of Noach (Noah), it would only rain once every 40 years or so. Life was perfect. Never too hot. Never too cold. Comfortable. Restful. Did you know that Noah’s name in Hebrew means rest, comfort?

Anyway, it was always comfortable because the seasons never changed. In fact, it was so perfect that humans had no reason to reach out to their Father. They didn’t need anything. They were comfortable. So they thought they could do anything by themselves. Sound familiar?

That has been rolling around in my mind for a while. How many times – when things were going well in my life – did I just ignore spending time in the WORD – ignored my prayer closet – ignored seeking His face? Way more than I care to remember, and like the people in Noah’s time – in all times – I, too, drifted further from My Father.

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”~Gen 8:22

Christian tradition has us look at this Bible verse as meaning that God would never destroy the earth by water again. Jewish sages believe that it is YHWH reaffirming that He needed to change things up a little by adding different seasons to the world. Hot. Cold. Storms. Drought.

A little discomfort. A little less restful. A little reminder, that prayer reunites the Creator with those He loves and allows Him to always give back more than anyone could ever request. A time to remind His Beloved just how much He loves them.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”~Ep 6;18

A special day to wake up from a dream with four shofar notes echoing. A special day to wake up with a praise hymn on my lips. A special day to get a picture from the Grandson that made me cry because he said he drew it just for me. Not anything miraculous. Not anything out of the ordinary. Just special with angels singing in the heavens. Just special with a “little Jesus” smiling in the heavens with them. Just special with the Cross of Salvation in the middle of a family filled with love.  

corso oct 17 2017 (2)

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #11

You know how it is.  You scroll through your e-mail – your social media feed – clicking away.  Usually, I ignore random pop-up anything. I don’t like to waste my reading time. But when  God winks, you have to blink and then sometimes double blink just to make sure you saw what you saw.  Come to think about it, there was another devotion that got those blinks started even earlier.

In Jewish tradition, this is the week they remember Moses giving Israel its final blessing before he climbed the mountain to return to YHWH.  I’ve read this passage a few times over the decades, but this time I really saw Moses as that preacher/teacher man that he must have been.  Here’s a bunch of people gathered around – watching him – waiting for direction – impatient – worried.  Some enthusiastically chose to follow.  Some were probably pressured to join.  Some were family members and had no choice. Some probably just wanted to get outta that ‘Egyptian’ Dodge.  In any case, LOTS of people, left their friends and other family members choosing to follow this Moses character and help him build a new tent.

Good people.  Untrained people. People of all ages. People who had only known slavery and abuse. Angry people. Stubborn people.  Confused people.  Sinful people.  Hopeful people.  Needy people.  Rebellious people. Luckily, people that didn’t have to worry about food, or illness, or clothing, or even shelter.  God covered those bases.  Still – all in all – it was a lot of people.  

I remember a few classrooms that were full of the same kind of people – just not so many.  I remember the frustration of having so many hands in the air – waiting for help – waiting for more direction –  trying to find the words that would explain what I had already said a dozen times before.  Lucky for me – kids are not quite as set in their ways –  not so fragmented  – not so clueless. Moses throwing those tablets really didn’t really surprise me when I thought about it.  After all, Moses was a human, too, and frailty is our middle name. 

“For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. ~Deut 34:12

Which brings me back to the second blink. Did you know that Johann Sebastian Bach always signed his completed work with the acronym: AMDG?   Ad Majorem Dei Gloria. In the old days, when we were required to take Latin in high school, we knew this could be translated, ‘To the great glory of God.’ 

Seeing that little phrase threw me right back to 1971 when my college choral group started practicing the Bach B-Minor Mass. Our choir director pointed out that dedication because he wanted us to understand what Bach heard in his head as he wrote it. Little did I know that in the few months we worked on it my life would change. You see, two months after my father died, we performed that work, and for the rest of my life, nothing will ever surpass the Glory of God that surrounded me that night.

What if we looked at everything like Herr Bach?  Roll out of bed.  Feed the dogs.  Wash the dishes.  Drive the car. Do the same job we did the day before. Listen to whiny people.  Help a child with homework. Signing everything as we completed it with the initials, AMDG.

What if? 

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”~Lk 12:32

So there you go, and that is my prayer for pastors tonight.  In Yeshua’s name, I pray that you are able to write the acronym, AMDG, at the end of your day – every day. Whether it be after all the trips at all hours of the night, or the millionth complaint about the length of the sermon, or the gossip that is circulating in the junior high group, or the furnace that needs replacing, or the funeral that is coming tomorrow,  or the day that seems to have no end or money that is never enough. That somehow – like Moses, you are able to perform awesome deeds and mighty works that always reflects the Glory of God. 

 

PRAYING FOR PASTORS #9

“Every one who is called by My name, even for My honour I have created him, I have formed him, yea, I have made him.”~Is 43:7

There is something about a fall bouquet of flowers that makes me linger just a little longer as I add water – fuss a little more – breathe a little deeper the freshness that will soon be tucked back into the ground until spring’s warm breath softens the ground and a tiny shoot appears. It makes me wish I had just a little longer to sit on the swing and watch butterflies flit over the lantana as a silly kitten tries to catch them.

In Jewish tradition the High Holy Days are ending.  The new year has begun and even though the people are ready to get back to “life”, they linger – they sigh – they drag their feet.  After all, who ever wants to leave their Father’s presence and return to “normal”?  YHWH heard that silent whisper in their hearts and granted them one more holy day – a day to linger – a day to honor – a day to breathe their Father deeply into themselves – deeply enough to break through the crustiness of the days ahead that they might bloom in the fullness of His will.

And that is what I am praying over all pastors tonight.

I am praying in Yeshua’s name that as each day begins, pastors, their spouses, their families, their congregations (and me) all find time to remember that very first time when they chose to honor YHWH – to linger a little longer in His presence before beginning the day – to breathe even deeper the essence of the “Live-giver” as they head into daily life – to re-establish the very purpose which brought them to this path in the beginning – to pray continuously throughout the day – to laugh with loved ones and with the Father of us all as the sun begins to set – and to wish for just one more minute in prayer before the eyes drift into sleep once more.  

It is our purpose – our deepest desire – just one more minute – just one more chapter in the Book – just a little longer by the life-giving waters – just one more song sung in His presence – just a little more time to see clearly the path His Son showed us to walk – just a little more time for the sake of a few.  That is my prayer tonight for all of you – for our country – for our world – for me – so that someday we might all be able to repeat this verse as best we can – 

“I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”~Jn 17:4

THERE

In the quiet of the morning, God walks with me and our girls. His Spirit breathes energy into my steps. And as I walk down the first hill – I can almost see it. The New Garden. There. Can you see it?

Just over the next hill. Around the bend. That place Yeshua will bring His many roomed mansion. The New Garden. The New Jerusalem. The place where we will walk together with the One who loves us best.

Walk together.

An amazing concept. Walking together. Side by side. Conversing. Laughing. Singing. Praying. As a people, we all don’t walk together so well since we quit walking with Our Father.

Our neighborhood is a quiet place by the time I take my dogs for their walk. The School buses have made their rumbling journey down the road. Construction workers rolled out of bed even earlier to reach their sites.  Office workers not long after. While those who cart their children to charter schools have also driven off with their agendas set for the day.

The girls and I enjoy our walks. How can we not? Birds sing to us.  The chatter of fall bugs (or it could be the ringing in my ears, depending on the day).  Stray cats dart out of our path while the dogs give chase. Squirrels throw hickory nuts on our heads. And – when we stop to gather a few scuppernong/muscadine grapes to eat on our return journey, a young female deer comes within inches of us before she sees us – – – and the dogs give chase – – again.

It is a good way to start the day.

Pray. Day. Way.

I often wonder if they rhyme for a reason. A Jewish sage once said that humans can not breathe without breathing God’s true name. The name that is ineffable, unutterable, distinctive – a breath of a name – YHWH. It is a breath of a sound. A breath returning to the Creator who breathed it first into our nostrils – – – the “breath of life” in so many ways beyond physical.

The walk allows time for many thoughts to circle. Breathe in. Breathe out. My conscious mind absorbs His name and lets it soak deep into my lungs. It flow through my heart – fills my mind with His Light – circles my soul with His Love. A day that starts as I pray. Pray for walks were we all join together. Pray for those trying to find life amid destruction. Pray for those who forget to breathe His name. Pray for – – –

– – -there.

There. That place over the hill – beyond the bend – where a many room mansion is almost complete – where a Garden waits to bloom – – where The Gardner waits to walk – to talk – to sing – to laugh with me and my girls as He dries my tears and offers me water that I might never thirst again.

Pray.

Day.

The Way.

“For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”~Rev 7:17

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.”