Tag Archives: Yoram Raanan

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 #5

“There probably won’t be a next year for most of us,” said my father. The farmers were looking steadily at him now, and not at Lester Hartwick. “We’ve got just one court of appeals now,” my father said, “and I don’t suppose most of you have given it any thought.” Ibid.

I should have changed the title for this one, but as usual, my plans are not His plans. I had a whole list of things written down the first day. Positive, up-lifting things that might catch someone’s attention and encourage them during these High Holy Days of 2020. I think I have – – maybe – – used one of them.

The Father never fails to surprise me – – ever.

“Oh, I suppose you’ve prayed…in church. But have you ever prayed: ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner,’ like the publican in the Bible?” Ibid.

In January I started re-reading one of my favorite authors. I hadn’t pulled her books off the shelf for years except to move them here or there – but I have moved them with me ever since college – all 40+ of them. I started with my favorite one. Then the next favorite. And the next. I haven’t been reading much fiction. Most of my reading time has been focused in other directions lately…and yet…for whatever reason…her books came off the shelf.

“Because every man in the world is a sinner against every other man, and against God. It isn’t only all the wars we’ve had in this century. We’ve forgotten God.” Ibid.

Today, the morning sun lit the pages up. I said, “No”. He said, “Yes”. I re-read the chapter and sighed. This is not sweet. It is not up-lifting. It is what it has been for the past 60 years since she wrote this book in 1959.

If you can find her books, I would highly recommend them. Some are about the banking system. Some about the political system Some historical in nature. Some fantastical dreams. All thought-provoking. Her name is Taylor Caldwell. The book (my 2nd favorite): Your Sins and Mine.

And as if to prove His point one last time – – – I had written several verses down to wrap this up. They were not the right ones. This was His choice.

“My righteousness draws near, My salvation is on the way, and My arms will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look for Me and wait in hope for My arm. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth below; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and its people will die like gnats. But My salvation will last forever, and My righteousness will never fail.”-Is 51:5-6

Artwork by Yoram Raanan “Bridging Heaven and Earth”

SICK WHINY WISDOM

“As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind,
Nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child;
Even so thou knowest not the work of God
Who doeth all things.”
~Ecc 11:5

Two weeks of letting sinus pressure build up ✔️
Two more weeks of fun antibiotics ✔️
And now – – – more meds.

This is getting old – especially since all I want to do is work outside, play with the Grands, and do the usual crazy things that I love to do each and every day instead of feeling like my head is stuffed to the gills with yuk. 
Grass needs mowing (it’s half done because I couldn’t stand it any longer and cut part of it). 
Gardens need mulch and more mulch and more mulch. 
Plants need to be stuffed into holes before the dry summer days get here. Begging for water plants is not pretty.
And worse – there is a wonderful swing on our patio calling my name. “Come, come sit on me, curl up in my pillows and write and read.”
AND – I’m tired of taking morning and noon naps. Is that an oxymoron?

Is that enough whining?

Errrr…… I hate when I whine.

There is no explaining why things happen the way they do. All I know is that The Bible never promised an easy time of it. Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Joseph, Jacob, Esther, David, Ruth, – to name a few – and the disciples certainly didn’t have an easy time when they ventured out into the world on their own, even after HEARing His voice issue all of His promises in front of them.

“…behold, I am with you every day, even unto the end of time. Amen”~Matt 28:20

Luckily, the Holy Spirit continues to speak those words over and over in our souls when our brains are mute and our tongues too thick to work – as we pray for young families who have to introduce topics to their children because of the ugliness of life – prayers for those who stand every day in the gap for the rest of us – prayers for tragedies and illnesses that seem to increase beyond measure – prayers for the souls who don’t know His voice.

In Jewish culture Lag B’Omar is coming to a close and as the light of the bonfires have dwindled to a smolder of ash, we remember that in the deep dark of the world, we can grow light. 
We can still light fires of curiosity with a match of a question.
We can still add pallets of wisdom to nourish growth.
We can stand back and watch the fire soar high above our own meager expectations.
And best of all, we can continue to peacefully rest in the Light that has brought true holy fire to our needy world.

“In the morning sow thy seed,
And in the evening withhold not thy hand;
For thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or that,
Or whether they both shall be alike good.”~Ecc 11:6

Now if my ears will just stop popping and the eyes stay open, but so thankful for the promise of My Father and His Son. Praising The LORD in all things on this National Day of Prayer. 

[google images/art work by Yoram Raanan]

Advent Hope #4: Be Alert

Today I saw a posting on FB from a Dollywood employee in TN. The wildfire had touched the entertainment park, but it was not destroyed it, so they were cleaning up. He described finding a ripped, burned page of a Bible under a bench. The verses of Joel were not all legible, but the ones that were made references to fires and the day of the LORD being at hand.
 
I began to ponder – – – again. Pondering can be a good thing; it can also be a real faith knocker. The pondering, skeptical mind rationalizes this worker. Did he truly “find” it? Is he an internet glory seeker? Even that random thought – what’s on the other side of that page? (If it is like my study bible, there are just notes about Joel and the times in which he lived.)
 
I get frustrated with myself when I let world views intrude on things that I just want to get excited about. However, it was when I was reading Max Lucado’s Because of Christmas devotional guide, that the pondering stopped and faith took over.
 
“Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.”~Mk 13:33
 
Mary was an exceptional person of faith. Scripture tells us that after she got over the idea of standing in the presence of an angel, she accepted the words immediately into her whole self. Her Magnificat when she greets her cousin Elizabeth has always been one of my favorite parts of the Bible.
 
Joseph on the other hand was – perhaps a lot like me – a kind-hearted, person- – – but – – – not so full of faith. He couldn’t just take the word of his espoused wife, but he didn’t want any harm to come to her, so he planned to divorce her quietly (Matt 1:19). So BAM – angel returns – speaks his message, and Joseph and Mary are off to Bethlehem.
 
Which I guess brings me to the whole pondering bit again. Just think how many people didn’t listen to the prophets or the angels or the signs in the heavens? They were reasonable people. Educated people. People who went to Temple and sacrificed regularly. Worked to make their community better. Loved their neighbors as themselves. And really? Talk about the Messiah had been going on since the times of Genesis (3:15). So why here? Why this couple? Why now?
 
Which brings me back to that earlier post that set all this pondering into motion today. Why not here? Why not Issac McCord? Why not now? God has sent messages in many different ways to His people over the centuries. Rabbi Yeshua said, “Be on guard! Be alert!” “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed…”
 
Believe me, tonight I am praying on building my faith a little more. To be more alert and on guard – to listen with spiritual ears and see with spiritual eyes. We are in the season of celebrating Christ’s first advent into our world – but we are living in the days of his second advent onto Terra – whether it is tomorrow – a week – a month – a year – or decades from now. We merely have to get dressed for the wedding and wait. Geez – faith journeys are really not very easy, but I’m trying in this Advent of Hope. #perhapstomorrow [google images]

BTW – Today’s art work is by an Israeli man, Yoram Raanan, whose art studio was destroyed by one of the wildfires last week in Israel. It seemed appropriate to use it in so many ways.