Tag Archives: Yom Kippur

2020 VISION: Wedding Cake

‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Matt 25:6

The one bad thing about making a Grandma Mickey cake is that I always want to make a second one just for me to eat. Problem is – I would probably just sit in front of it and try to stuff it down my throat in one gulp. When it comes out perfect, like it did this weekend, it is hard to walk away from it.

Blessedly, I always manage to talk myself out of mixing up another batch of cake.

1. I would really be sick to my stomach for a week if I did make one just for me. 2. It tastes ever so much better when I only get it a few times a year. 3. Seriously? What fun is it to eat a whole cake by yourself? 4. Eating cake is special because of the memories made laughing and spending time with those you love.

“Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.” Matt 25:10b

I have no idea how this one Bible verse, that ended my devotions tonight, ties in with eating mom’s cake and Yom Kippur. It is one of those unfathomable things that My Father starts doing when He has something to say. A lot of times, I just give up and go to bed because I am basically lazy and just don’t want to try to figure it out. Like tonight….I was just about to do that when the intangible became almost – touchable.

Mom’s cake is time-consuming. Three layers. Two different frostings that you have to cook. Messy ingredients that don’t come out of ordinary containers. Step-by-step processes that have to be followed down to the littlest jot and tittle. And even then – never guaranteed to turn out the way I envision it.

When the picture cleared a little in my head, I realized, these times are those messy ingredients. The Father has laid out His recipe card. His writing on it is clear – if we can read His cursive. His mixing bowl is on the island counter. He knows exactly how to blend each thing together so that this cake will turn out exactly as He has envisioned it from the beginning of time. He will take all this messy goo and make the perfect wedding cake for the Bridegroom and the Bride.

Everytime.

The fasting of Yom Kippur has begun. But there is that expectation – – that sweetness on the tip of my tongue – – that the Father has inclined His ear towards us. He has begun His preparation for the feast that is to come. He is making a wedding cake that will be the most beautiful wedding cake of all.

“We just haven’t seen it yet…”

‘Lord, lord, open the door for us!’ Matt 25:11

The recipe for the wedding cake is on the counter. The beaters are mixing the ingredients. He has sealed it. The Bridegroom is coming to the door. Some have their lamps ready. Others do not.

It is my prayer tonight, that loved ones will gather close. They will hear Him coming…laughing… smiling…holding the brightly burning lamp high, we will all open the door and dance out to meet Him.

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #2

“Earth to God…Come in, God…” Ibid.

Heard two new songs today. Both left me thinking. Then again – this has been a day of pondering things beyond my understanding. Always a blessed day when I struggle to understand and pull out my Bible over and over to make sure my “lens of focus” is centered on what is important.

Jonah’s story has always caused me to ponder because there are just parts of it, that don’t flow together in my head. First – here is a prophet. Suddenly – he doesn’t want to do what he’s told to do? He’s arguing with God? He runs away from God? Being thrown overboard and swallowed by a whale is probably the easiest thing to understand in the whole story. But then there is that other thing about a vine to shelter him when he already built a shelter and the worm who eats it. What’s up with that?

I’ve probably read it – read commentaries – listened to podcasts – a few times over. One thing I’m sure of – when the timing is right – I will understand it a little more.

“We need Your light, We need Your love, to heal the world, You made and save us now in our darkest hour With Your amazing grace…Earth to God” Ibid.

Jonah is the portion of the Torah that is read during these 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, so it was good to go back to it and try one more time. One truth I did walk away with today, was this. As I repent and say, “I’m sorry” and turn from my wicked ways, it doesn’t change what I did. It is forgiven, but the physical realities of the act remain. There are always consequences to our actions even when we are forgiven. What forgiveness and grace do – – is renew His Spirit within me and energize the potential of who He designed me to be into action.

“Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our iniquity and sin, and take us as Your inheritance.” Ex 34:9b

So tonight as I listened to people pray for our military, police, leaders – – as I watched some of my favorite singers – – then smiled as familiar names and faces that were from my childhood came on stage – – I am thankful for being born for such a time as this.

Repentance isn’t fun. Turning from my wicked ways isn’t easy. However – watching The Return 2020 helps me realize that if we unite as a people and seek His face – ANYTHING is possible. After all – – – we have His covenant to sustain us, and He never changes.

“Earth to God…Come in, God,” lyrics by John Rich

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor 3:16-18

“Repentance” by Yoram Raanan

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #3

Tonight, I had nothing. Went early this morning to wish a happy 12th birthday to youngest granddaughter and un-birthday to her brother. Nothing better than starting the day with multiple hugs and excitement.

After teaching a couple classes today and cataloging a few books, I made my way home. I cruised through all my devotionals. Watched one of my favorite Israeli Messianic pastors. Noticed when my choc lab girls meander back to their beds. But that was ok because kitty still rested on my lap till she spooked herself and ran from one side of the house to the other… a couple of times.

“Though an army encamps around me, my heart will not fear; though a war breaks out against me, I will keep my trust.” Ps 27:3

I finally decided that this is the kind of evening when faith needs to kick in. After all – He had told me to write every night for 14 days, so I needed to trust Him that He would supply what needed to be said. I opened the lap top and began to let my fingers do some internal listening. Not easy for an A type personality teacher who is used to controlling and directing things around her down to the minute. But tonight, as I look back at the day, I finally figured out that has been the point since I rolled out of bed – literally.

Keeping that trust – keeping it in Him. That, for me, is easier said than done on some days.

As usual – I rebelled during part of the day when I saw it dwindling to next to nothing of my plan. Familiar anger rose up. Tears not far behind. And then – I remembered…these are the 10 days of the year that Our Father declared to be given to repentance and introspection by His WORD in Leviticus.

“One thing I have asked of the LORD; this is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and seek Him in His temple.” Ps 27:4

I opened the fingers of my fist, and let my heart praise the One who knows me best. He was laughing – kinda like He is doing right now. He knows when I let go of me, I start to figure out what wisdom He has been trying to point me to – all day long.

Sometimes, I just don’t listen too well.

So there you go. As a teacher, I should know that He is trying to teach/reach me everyday with something new and wonderful as I grow in His Grace. It is never ending and miraculous WHEN I realize the lesson of the day because most days – I tend to be a little clueless and wrapped up in my own thoughts instead of HIS thoughts.

“Still I am certain to seethe goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the LORD!” Ps 27:13-14

Blessed is the day when I trust and wait patiently for Him who created me.

“The Way Maker” by Maria Magdalena Oosthuizen

#theReturn#HeisWorthy#RestoringHope#PrayerMarch2020

2020 VISION: Short, Sweet #6

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jn 16:33

After I got home from the gym today and walked the choc girls, I was rummaging around trying to find a movie to watch. For whatever reason, I’ve walked away from watching a lot of movies on line. I think it is because the newer movies tend to push some kind of agenda. Needless to say, with all the agendas being pushed these days, I’m just over it.

Anyway – back to the rummaging through my – somewhat – organized DVD’s – I came across a movie I bought last summer. I hadn’t watched it – ever. I bought it, stuck it in the appropriate box and forgot about it. After all, last summer had already been one spent pondering too many things for my aching head/heart, and I wasn’t sure I was up to watching a movie called the “Overcomer” – even if it had a positive message.

So – into the box it went and completely out of my head.

“…everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith. Who then overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” 1 Jn 5:4-5

I’ve learned over many years that all things happen for a reason. Jobs I’ve held. People I’ve met. People I’ve lost. Places I lived. Experiences I thrived in and those I just survived. Nothing is ever wasted. As I watched this movie today, it reminded me of the importance of many things.

Seeking His Face.

Feeling His Presence.

Trusting His WORD.

Prayer.

Repentance.

Forgiveness.

Grace.

Whether it is friends, family, local, state or country, all these things come into play. That is what these 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are meant to do. Help us remember. Help us find the path that Our Father is trying to show us. Use the wisdom that He has already placed within us. Remember His promises that He is always just waiting outside the door. All we need to do is turn the handle and welcome Him inside our hearts so that we can be come the OVERCOMER that He knows we were designed to be.

#theReturn#HeisWorthy#RestoringHope#Sept26

BACK AND FORTH

Sooooo – the weekend started out like this on Friday morning: there was a snake languishing and being quite chill beside my bedroom door. With my eyes adjusting to the new light of day, and my bare feet just inches away from his head  —- what can I say? Some weekends are just like that. A little snake. A lab girl with two sores on her ears and a limp when she walks. A kitty that jumps on my stomach on a lazy Saturday morning to wake me up. My daughter’s old dog crossing the rainbow bridge. Curtains to hang. Furniture to move – a few times – and then a few times more. And, thankfully, many times when I get to go outside, sit on the swing, close my eyes and sing – – back and forth – – back and forth – –

“Sing God a simple song
Lauda, Laudē”

Writing hasn’t been a high priority the past couple weeks. Lesson planning. Glancing at e-mails. Cruising through FB. Sharing a bit of e-mail wisdom and then – read and read some more. Books piled on every table/desk. Stumbling my way through books on how to deal with chaotic storms that threaten to engulf a seemingly “normal” life. Reading and re-reading passages of prophecy or Biblical history. On-line reading on Jewish/Christian traditions. Head buried in oh so many, many books until the arthritic neck begins to ache more than I wish, and I reach for my essential oils once again..

Human wisdom.
Our Father’s wisdom.
Jewish wisdom.
Simple wisdom.
Swinging back and forth – – back and forth – –

Since it has been a few years since I read in-depth on Jewish traditions, I’ve been listening to podcasts and re-educating myself about the awe of the Jewish High Holy Days. Did you know that some Jewish theorists believe that time is a spiral? I’m still working on that in my head, but I do find it fascinating when I sit on my swing and swinging – back and forth – back and forth. Where is my spiraling tree swing when I need it?

Thinking about the 6th Day of Creation.
Thinking about how that is celebrated in Rosh Hashanah.
Thinking about the trumpet blowing: past – present – future.
Thinking about looking back at what was.
Thinking about the only Biblical recorded celebration of Rosh Hashanah in Nemiah.
Thinking about acknowledging my role in the past year(s)’s journey – good and bad.
Thinking about Yom Kippur.
Thinking about judgement and filling my lamp with oil.
Life – –
Joy – –
Song.

My thoughts tracing the tradition of the Jews…the tradition of the mass…the tradition of humans trying to find their way between the two gardens and back to the Father. A Father who walked with them in the first garden and waits to walk with them in the last one. A little snake that I almost stepped on in the dark. Things that I love. Things that make me cry. An old dog that now plays with her best friend in heaven. Things that make me laugh out loud. Things that I want to accomplish. Thinks that I have been thinking this weekend as I swing – back and forth – back and forth.

“Lauda, Lauda, Laudē
Lauda, Lauda di da di day…
All of my days.”~Bernstein’s Mass: Simple Song.

“The entire people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the scroll of the Teaching of Moses with which the LORD had charged Israel. On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the Teaching before the congregation, men and women and all who could listen with understanding. He read from it, facing the square before the Water Gate, from the first light until midday, to the men and the women and those who could understand; the ears of all the people were given to the scroll of the Teaching. Ezra the scribe stood upon a wooden tower made for the purpose, and beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah at his right, and at his left Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, Meshullam. Ezra opened the scroll in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people; as he opened it, all the people stood up. Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” with hands upraised. Then they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the LORD with their faces to the ground. Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites explained the Teaching to the people, while the people stood in their places. They read from the scroll of the Teaching of God, translating it and giving the sense; so they understood the reading.”~Neh 8:1-8 

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A STIFF-NECKED, STUBBORN SOUL

For a couple of years when I was in college, I sang in a choir for the High Holy Days at a nearby Jewish synagogue. It was there that I made the connection that Jesus – Yeshua – was a Jewish rabbi. It’s not that I hadn’t been told that – after all it is in the gospels. He was called, “Rabbi”, and I’m sure that at some point, one of my pastors or teachers must have mentioned it. But it took a Rosh Hashanah and the 10 days to Yom Kippur to make it sink in through my stiff-neck, stubborn self. 
Day after day as I walked into the synagogue and listened to the rituals that had been passed down through the ages, my  eyes opened a little wider and I began to wonder about things that had never entered my thick skull before.
“Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
He has remembered his love
and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.” Ps 98:1-4
 
It was the first time I heard a shofar. The first time I heard the Jewish language. The first time I saw Jewish words in print. The first time I tried to look through the eyes of the Jewish worldview at the Savior that I had fallen in love with long ago..
 
Jewish oral tradition believes that Tishri 1 – this head of the year – was the day people were created. It continues that this was also the day that Abraham’s Sarah became pregnant, and a few years later – the day when Issac was bound to be offered as a sacrifice. It was only after God provided a sacrifice to replace Issac that He created the first two shofroth from the horns of that sheep. It would serve as a loud testimony down through the ages of His love and faithfulness to all His people.  
 
The LORD remembered His love for His people. The LORD made His salvation known to all the ends of the earth with the sound of the horns. Just as the Father breathed life into His child, man breaths life into the sofar as The Feast of the Trumpets rings throughout the land. 
 
“with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the Lord, the King.” Ps 98:6
 
Many continue to use the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as a period of fasting and reflection. A time to look back, and a time to look forward A time to throw out failures and a time to draw a new vision. A time to mourn over foolishness, and a time to sing over successes. A time to look within, and a time to look up to the One who breathed life into clay and continues to love unconditionally.
 
A couple years back, for each of the 10 days of High Holy Days, a question was posed on an electronic billboard in Times Square in NYC. Questions meant to encourage contemplation for the new year to anyone who read them . I don’t know what those questions were, but I do wonder as I start to formulate my own journey for these next 10 days. After all, Jesus honored, as was His habit, His Father’s commands in Leviticus 23 as He walked this earth. It just might do some good for this stubborn, stiff-necked soul as well.
 
“Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
Let them sing before the Lord,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.” Ps 98:7-9 

 

[google images]

APOSTASIA

Sometimes you just have to find light in the darkness. Darkness that continues despite the sun’s warmth. Despite the brightness of the blue sky. Despite the spin on society’s faces. Despite all the busyness of daily life. Despite that you just don’t feel like looking for any kind of light whatsoever.

I feel like I have been doing that all week. I hadn’t put a word to it until today. It started with a dream and has continued to dog my steps throughout the week.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not depression although tears have dribbled down my cheeks.  It’s not anxiety though there are lots of payers. A devotion here. A song there. A book pointed out by a stranger. A search for information. A search for truth. A search of the WORD. A light that exists in the darkness.

Apostasia.

It is that dark word that has haunted and darkened my week – darkened the world. Since before I could ride a bike, I have known depth of this word inside of me. It haunted my childhood nightmares – some which have occurred over and over and over – varying little in detail. It echoes on the wind howling outside my windows when my armor is misplaced. A word known by the images in my mind even before I could conceptualize just how it would eventually materialize to darken this world  – – – our world.

Obviously, it’s not one of my favorite words. Greek in origin, it basically means “to depart from a stand” – – – “to fall away from sacred values held at the core of self” – – – “to abandon truth”.

Who would have thought it would come to this? Basic truths thrown under the bus in the name of tolerance or political correctness or love or defiance. Today is the Eve of Yom Kippur.  Simply put – the holiest day of the Jewish faith.  For, after 30 days of repentance – 10 days of introspection and atonement (known as the 10 days of Awe) – they stand on the rock of renewed faith.  In the days of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, a red thread would mysteriously turn white to represent their change in the eyes of the Father and being sealed into His Book of Life for the next year. I like to think of Jesus (Yeshua] making this yearly journey – even though he was without sin. Shepherding us, His followers, even then.

“Because of this, put on all the armor of God that you shall be able to confront The Evil One, and when you are ready in all things, you shall stand.” Ep 6:13

It is not easy to stand when the visible rock is crumbling under the feet. As you age, you think – you hope – things will never “REALLY” change. Tweaks here. Re-direction there. That right will always triumph in the end. After all – strength is in numbers – education – military might. But as history has proven over and over and over again, history does repeat itself – especially when the defiance demon starts digging its claws into unprotected skulls willing to believe lies covered by the facade of something entirely different.

A wistful melancholy steals over me as I type. While I have always known that I was born for this time and to be in this place and to speak these words, it doesn’t mean that it is always where I want to be – in fact – – – tried my hardest to ignore it – – – tried to run the other direction – – – tried my hardest to prove I am worse than King David – – – tried to be defiant. It just comes down to the fact that I have always understood Jonah all too well. Never wanted to go to Nineveh and still don’t.

But like Jonah (thankfully without the whale), I have figured out how to be a servant even while I may drag my feet or try to cushion the words or wish I could find any way but this way. Yet – as I read the WORD, I am more and more convinced that we are here. I am here. Apostasia in all its ugliness is here, and although reluctant, I have picked up my staff and turned my feet toward Nineveh. When society confuses kneeling with standing for a physical symbol and doesn’t see the deeper spiritual metaphor hiding in plain sight, my heart hurts and the paradigm grows even larger.

“Behold, The Day of Our Lord has arrived.” Let no man deceive you by any means, to the effect that surely no revolt will first come and The Man of Sin, The Son of Destruction, be revealed, He who opposes and exalts himself against everything that is called God and religion, just as he will sit in the Temple of God, as God, and will show concerning himself as if he is God.” 2 Thes 2:2-4 (Aramaic in Plain English translation)  [google images]

DAYS OF AWE

Yom kippurThe Days of Awe are almost over.
10 holy days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Days spent in self-examination of the past year’s thoughts, actions, emotions.
Days of repentence.
I love Jewish traditions and wisdom. Many of you know that. I write about it often. This year’s Days of Awe have pulled at me. Maybe it is because I am beginning to understand Jewish tradition a little more. Maybe because I finally am feeling more like “me”. Maybe because I am listening a little harder for my Father’s voice.
“I must proclaim the Kingdom of God to other cities also; it is for this I am sent.” Lk 4:43b
Tomorrow at sunset Yom Kippur begins for the Jewish nation. Accoring to Jewish tradition, it is the day when Our Father God seals into His books that which He has written for the course of the year to come. It is also believed that the sincerity of one’s introspection and repentence can change what God seals in His books on Yom Kippur. No wonder it is called Days of Awe.
“Therefore faith is from the hearing ear, and the hearing ear is from the word of God.” Rm 10:17
 
I watched several videos and read some articles this week about the Days of Awe and Yom Kippur. The stories that had confused and baffled me with their wandering timelines and curious discourses shook with a slight breeze of clarity that sharpened and then quickly clouded over again. I sat in wonder, and wondered if I would be able to see through the clouds again. I beheld a nebulous concept for a half a second, and the Days of Awe straightened the rock upon which I stand..
“For by faith we understand that the worlds were fashioned by the word of God, and these things that are seen came into being out of those things which are unseen.” Heb 11:3
 
I really liked reading one article that talked about angels. On Yom Kippur, Jewish tradition calls for all people to become like angels whose main purpose is to serve God in all that they do.. Primarily, rabbis teach that to be like an angel, one should, above all else, stand upon their faith in all that they do. Angels are characteristically pictured wearing white, so they encourage their congregants to also wear white. Finally, since angels don’t need to eat or drink, they should fast. Actually, there is a whole list of things to do to become more angelic, but I think you get the point.
“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:” Deut 28:1-2
Tomorrow the sun will come up, and the world will twirl just a little bit more in its orbit. People will get up, stretch and never think about God. I will go to Bible study, pick up my miniature Captain America at pre-school, and then head off for a couple hours of tutoring where I am commonly referred to as, “Miss Grammie”. Yet – somewhere deep inside me – the Jewish day of fasting and repentance will begin to radiate, and I will see a seal being placed upon my book of life.
It is Yom Kippur.
Pope Francis arrives tomorrow.
yeshua high priestDecisions will be made tomorrow.
And if you believe, as Rabbi Yeshua believed, God will seal a new book of life.
A traditional Jewish greeting for this day is, “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” Seems like tomorrow holds a promise. A promise written in a book. A promise given by the ultimate Promise Keeper who set his covenant in the sky for all to see. Baruch Hashem Adonai.SOT-timeline22

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.

 

 

 

 

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.