Christmas Journey Update

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Oil Menorah Shamash Candle for Hanukkah – 2013

It has been several years now, since I originally wrote
“Our Christmas Journey”, and several things have changed for us. Chief among them is that my family (Dad and Mom, my 2 brothers and a sister, as well as my sister-in-law and her family), after examining the issue, have likewise chosen to let their traditional Christmas celebrations go by the wayside.

This means that I no longer have to tick off the minutes of that day in my head, knowing exactly what traditions are being practiced by my family at that moment – without me and my husband and children! It makes a huge difference in my personal sadness level at leaving those things behind. I am grateful for the further freedom from criticism we are enjoying and the greater fellowship available between us, after the strife that was caused by our initial decision several years ago. So, I’m happy to report that having been faithful through the more difficult trials in the beginning, things have gotten much easier as the years have gone by since making this life-changing decision to abandon Christmas. (My husband’s family does still have their own celebrations, but as their family tradition, growing up, was to sit on the beach in Hawaii for Christmas Day, it has been less difficult, overall, for them to understand our “abandonment” of the classic snowy, tree-centric view of the whole thing. There have been good discussions through the years, on that side, too.)

The other big and surprising change since this story was first written has been how hugely popular this same decision has become, among fellow believers! When we took this fork in the road, it was a barely recognizable bunny trail through dense forest, and now it has become a much broader path tread by many! We were prepared for loneliness, difficulty, and misunderstanding, and instead have found an ever-increasing community of like-minded folks who have put similar thoughts together and chosen to follow more whole-heartedly after truth untainted by historical and nostalgic misunderstanding.

More and more, when we explain our stance to others, we are met with comments like “well, that makes more sense!” and “I always wondered about that, too!” Several hardy families have joined us and our predecessors on this journey and come through their own difficult initial pull-backs, finding it easier to breathe on the other side.

The scripture that comes to mind is from Jeremiah 16:19-21: O L-rd, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.” Will a man make gods for himself, Which are not gods? “Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; And they shall know that My name is the L-rd.

The Father has challenged us as Gentile believers differently than He did our Jewish elder brothers and sisters. They were given the job of being “a light to the nations,” and holding up the standards of the Torah (G-d’s ways) high, for all to see. Our job as “the nations” is to identify the places our fathers have been in error and set them aside, in order to walk uprightly before our pure, holy and undefiled G-d.

The story of Gideon, from the book of Judges, comes to mind. How hard was it for him to destroy his own father’s idols? So hard that he did it in the middle of the night, when the men of the city couldn’t see what he was about! And as timid as he was with his obedience, the L-rd honored it, and his faith and valor, as well as his honor, grew from that point forward.

If you are among those taking timid (or bold) first steps in this direction, be encouraged! He is faithful, and offers many rewards for obedience, especially in the face of difficulty.

I could go on, with all the lessons we have learned since taking these steps, but I will leave you with one more prophetic scripture that seems apropos for both G-d’s covenant people and His adoptees at this point:
Isaiah 30:20-22 - And though the L-rd gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. You will also defile the covering of your images of silver, and the ornament of your molded images of gold. You will throw them away as an unclean thing; you will say to them, “Get away!”

Where are you in this journey?

Titus 2 School?

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Honestly, there are very few things I learned at college that have proven useful for my everyday life as a mother of 7. I know G-d has had His hand and His plan leading me every step of the way, but sometimes I wonder about all the facts I crammed in at the university that are sitting somewhere in my brain, currently gathering dust. However, I’ve had some funny thoughts rattling around this week, about what I DO use, and thought I’d share them.

Here are the courses I actually get some use out of, on a semi-regular basis (all were, of course, elective classes – not requirements, in college):
Children’s Literature – I took this course as a total “filler,” during my last summer quarter at the university, but it did introduce me to some great books and authors that I have since acquired for our family library. (Here’s a gratuitous plug for my favorite children’s book that I found through this course, “How Tom Beat Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen” by Russel Hoban.)
Acting Voice – useful for interpreting the different characters in the books mentioned above
Fencing – I am the mother of 5 boys – yes, this has been an occasionally useful skill to break out when I need to impress them!
ESL (English as a Second Language) Tutoring – translates well to EFL (English as a First Language)

And there, we stop. However . . .

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I have come up with some ideas for classes that actually would have come in VERY handy. I would love to propose that something along these lines be taught in some kind of “Titus 2 School” for young mothers. Here are my humble suggestions, in the form of a course catalog, of sorts. Feel free to offer some of your own in the comments. This list is by no means exhaustive:

One-Handed Typing – Useful for maximizing computer time while nursing a baby.

Records Management – Includes building your photo gallery of children’s art projects (before their disposal), and filing options for unexplainably sticky but necessary records.

Businesslike Home Management - Chore charts and their implementation, perpetuation, and rotation.

Toy Obsession Workshop - Coaching against covetousness.

Strategic Bandaid Placement – Level 1: On the body of a child (wounds optional). Level 2: The stockpile – where to keep it so it doesn’t dwindle unnecessarily and contribute to litter.

Prioritizing – Practice addressing questions such as “Which cry do I answer first – that of the hungry infant or the toddler on the potty?”

Delegation – Emphasis on capability evaluation, training, and assigning the youngest capable child for each task.

Crisis Management (prerequisites: Prioritizing and Delegation) – Determining your course of action in multiple-implication emergency situations that can have no possible advance plan, i. e., one of your children breaks a bone when you have a houseful of company to feed and your toddler needs a diaper change. (This course was formerly known as “Counter-Ambush Training”)

Battlefield Triage (highly recommended for mothers of boys) – Covers first-aid and CPR, as well as wilderness treatment options. Includes ingraining of the mantra “head wounds aren’t usually as bad as they first appear.”

Dressing (and Redressing) a 3 Year Old – Learn to guide appropriate choices according to weather, time of day, etc.. Also covers “overriding skills” in the event of guidance failure on important occasions such as weddings and funerals, as well as photography skills in the event of children freelancing in their closets and drawers.

Finances of Childhood Pet Ownership – Covers making arrangements (before the pet’s purchase) for who will be paying for food, litter, vet bills and toys, as well as remedies for when the agreed payor runs out of money, but the animal is still hungry or sick or bored (aka “alive”).

Leadership of Group Study Time When your “Group” Includes Toddlers – Handling interruptions with grace, dogged determination, and an abundance of review questions!

Answering Ridiculous Questions with a Straight Face - Test questions include: Why does stickiness turn into hair? Mom, is this my east hand? and Can you milk a gecko?

Rapid-Fire Decision-Making 101 (a skill building workshop) – Strengthen your responsibility muscles! Will help with split second risk-assessment, short-range cause and effect projection, long range projection for bystander (younger sibling) witnesses of prospective permitted activity, the irrevocable veto and qualified permission using a signed waiver when faced with the question “Can I? Huh? Can I?”

Rapid-Fire Decision-Making 102 – Will include a field trip, grocery shopping with four or more rapping advertising agents at your side.

Micro-biology of Food Off the Floor – Will discuss the so called “3-second rule,” as well as the variations between floors of kitchens, bathrooms, cars, and outdoor surfaces. (Please include a pocket stopwatch with your purchase of the text for this class.)

Small Construction Projects - Building a sound-proof phone booth out of extra closet space, building prize-winning floats for entry in your local parade, and assembling toys late at night before the birthday party. If time allows, there will be discussion of whether any useful written instructions are ever exported from China.

Political Science of Sibling Relationships (prerequisite: Middle East Politics) – Covers advocacy, dispute resolution, hostage situations, and discusses the varying interpretations of the verse “. . . a brother was born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
What have I missed?

Guest Post: Afraid of Food?

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In looking back at my life over the past several years, I have now come to realize that I have been held in bondage to the fear of food. I know that to many this may sound silly, weird or like some kind of super-spiritual madness. But to those who are willing to read my “note,” I ask that you bear with me and read on; I do have a purpose in sharing this, and I’m pretty sure I’m not “off my rocker.”

For numbers of years, I have been afraid of eating highly-processed foods, foods prepared in an improper way, pasteurized or denatured foods, foods with man-made garbage in them, and the like, all under the guise of “conviction.” It was about a week ago that I realized the fear that had gripped me – the bondage I was in, and the dues I’ve been paying for in my surrender to it. The moment my eyes were opened was the point at which God spoke through me to respond to my father on the subject of eating kosher. He asked me if we had a problem with eating half a pizza, with the other half having pork on it. I said to him: “We’re not afraid of eating pork; we eat kosher because we fear and love God.” I sometimes feel like I open my mouth to talk to someone and God starts speaking through me. It’s as though I stop in my own mind and listen to what’s coming out and think, “oh. . . that’s true, that’s good, I never thought of it that way.” And in speaking to my father. I found one of those moments.

In the week that followed, I believe that God spoke to my heart saying such things as these: Don’t deceive yourself any longer into believing that you eat “healthy” because you fear and love me. Don’t believe the lie that you are protecting yourself from “destroying God’s temple, the dwelling of the Holy Spirit” (your body) by eating healthy. You eat the way you do not to honor and glorify the Lord, and not because it’s right or good, but because you are afraid of what will happen if you don’t. You have said that you eat healthy because you are “convicted” to honor the Lord by taking care of the gift God gave you in the body you have. Who convicts you? Are you compelled by love, or driven by fear? Is it not that which comes out of your mouth and not what goes in that makes you unclean?

“When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” – Mark 7:14-16

How do you then justify your biting unkindness toward others who come between you and your fear? In whom have you put your trust – in God or food? In God or herbs and naturopathy? In God or man? If man has said that a certain food will kill you and you avoid it at all costs, are you not putting more trust in man than in God – for who alone numbers your days? Or are you afraid that you will not have quality of life? Is God not good? Is He not just? Is He not the blessed controller of all things? Has God not promised to work all things toward your good? Has God not promised to care for and protect you? And though there will be troubles, will God not deliver you from every one of them? And is God’s love and peace not better than life? How much time do you spend learning about and preparing food? How much money do you spend on that which fades? Are you storing up your treasures in heaven or on earth?

Lay down your sacrifices and cease your idolatry of self. Work no longer to stay the hand of an angry god who threatens you with death, disease and affliction unless you bring your sacrifices. Worship the Lord, the Lord only.

I have responded to the Lord with “YES, I want to worship you alone! And I am SO, SO sorry, Lord for my waywardness and idolatry; please change my heart.” I was amazed to find out after sharing with my husband that he had long believed I’d been deceived and duped into self-idolatry with regard to food. He had been praying for me, and trusting in God to save. It is very humbling for me to confess this to you all, but I feel compelled to share for a couple of reasons. First, our God is SO AMAZING. He is not like the god I once served who is without compassion and whose only motivation is fear. The Lord is patient, gracious, gentle, kind, good, merciful and full of everlasting love (to start with). I stand in awe of the fact that He is faithful even when I am not. And though to you the words (above) that I felt God speak to my heart may sound harsh, to my ears they were gentle and full of compassion. His words were true and to the point, convicting but not defeating. For in fact, godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to life and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. The second reason I am sharing this with you is in the hope that if any of my dear friends are suffering under this same deception, I might encourage you through my own experience that you might recover yourself from the snare of the devil. I am not writing this to point a finger. I’ll leave the job of convicting up to God. I do, however, want to encourage you to seek God and ask Him if you’ve made an idol in your heart, so that you might repent and be free. Now, for those of you who may still be wondering, no I don’t believe it is the good or right thing to (purposefully) be unhealthy and dishonor God with our bodies. The kicker to the lies and deceptions of our enemy is that they are mixed with the truth. The truth, I believe, is that it is a good and right thing to honor and glorify God with all that we are, think, say and do – including the way that we eat. In fact, God has told us how to eat to glorify Him (i.e. eating “kosher,” but of course, man always wants to add to or subtract from the words of God). It is also written that man was not made for food, food was made for man. Food ought not to control us, we ought to be in control of food, without love or fear. Perhaps the question we ought to train ourselves to ask in order that we might guard against idolatry is: “do I glorify God in what I am doing?” For if we were created to bring glory to God, to love Him, to fear Him, and to enjoy His love – then all that we do should bring forth that very fruit. So I ask myself, “is my eating bringing glory to God – or does the glory fall elsewhere?” The only one worthy of our love and fear is the Lord. So the question is, are we sacrificing ourselves to another, and is there something or someone we love or fear more than or along side of God? If so, let us repent, for the rewards of freedom are great!

Grace and peace be with you my friends!

Jen

I really appreciate what Jen shares here, and I just want to say that I was also living in fear of food for many years. My family was bound up with food allergies, and when the Father graciously started opening my eyes, I was in the grocery store, and I went down the aisle with the Holy Spirit looking over my shoulder, pointing out that I was afraid of that and that, and that . . . Then more scriptures spoke to me about this.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons . . . and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. – I Timothy 4:1-3

It is really amazing how many in believing communities these days have food allergies, and troubles with gluten. I have even seen a communion table in a church with labels for gluten-free communion wafers. The question I can’t get out of my mind is, “If Yeshua called himself ‘the Bread of Life,’ then isn’t bread not only good for us, but as essential to our long-term physical well being as He Himself is to our spiritual life?

Another thought to consider, along the lines of Jen’s note: anything you give up because you are afraid of it becomes a sacrifice on the altar of fear, in your life.

On to cleaning for Pesach! (Conversely, it must be good for us to go without chametz for one week a year, right? I wonder how many gluten problems might be cleared up by following this commandment . . . )

Blessings and Shalom to you all!

Bad Tree . . . Good Fruit??

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Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. – Matthew 7:17-19

As people who are trying to walk on a more Torah-observant path, many of us have done a good job of cutting out the old pagan and idolatrous practices that had crept into the church over the years. It has been inspiring to watch so many who have honestly evaluated their traditions and, sometimes at great personal cost, stepped away from those that were ungodly in origin.

But let’s think about it for a minute – do we believe that when we turn our backs on these things, the enemy gives up trying to trick us into participating with idolatrous practices? Or might he be concentrating his efforts on sneaking unnoticed into other areas of our lives?

My concern today has to do with some of the “alternative” healing methods that seem to be very common in Messianic circles. They are setting off my discernment alarm bells.

This post is probably going to step on some toes, so please take a minute right now to pray and ask for discernment before reading any further . . . really. Here’s a jump start: Father, we ask for your grace and mercy as we explore this area of healing. We ask that you would give us discernment so that we can abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. Amen.

Not many years ago, I was the “go-to gal” on homeopathic remedies in my little circle. I was the one all my friends would call when they needed to know what remedy to give for what symptom. I had books on homeopathy and I never went anywhere without my kit at my side, ready to treat whatever ailments arose in my children. We did muscle testing (applied kinesiology), cranial-sacral therapy, herbs, vitamins, essential oils, and were up for trying plenty more. When a friend, teaching a class on the spiritual roots of disease, raised some good points, I started to ask tough questions. Soon, there were some scriptures that made sense to me in a new way.

BASIC VERSES ON HEALING

If you diligently heed the voice of the L-rd your G-d and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the L-rd who heals you. – Exodus 15:26

Torah folks usually agree that it’s important to keep commandments and statutes. But we also tend to take back responsibility on ourselves or our doctors or alternative practitioners when it comes to healing, and then many of us apply some kind of worldly wisdom to heal ourselves.

What else does G-d say?

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the ekklesia, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the L-rd. – James 5:14

We are told to place our healing in the hands of our elders – and priests, in the name of HaShem. Yeshua, after healing lepers, told them to show themselves to the priests to confirm their healing and purify themselves according to the law of Moses. Other than an often cursory prayer request, our “default” these days is to go to the doctor or the cabinet full of herbs and oils when we get sick. We only take the matter to the elders when the doctors tell us they have nothing left to offer, but this trust in doctors is misplaced, according to the Word that is our standard. Consider the following:

Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. – Mark 5:25-26

Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. – Luke 8:43-44

Unfortunately, this woman has a history like many of us, who have spent money we can ill afford on treatments that will not help us.

And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the L-rd, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. – 2 Chronicles 16:12-13

Over the course of two years of illness, Asa, who had been victorious with G-d’s help in other areas, didn’t seek Him for healing, and this is given as the reason that he died.

WHAT KINDS OF THERAPY?

Let’s consider the question, “How we determine whether a therapy is something we should try?” A common response is that we first investigate (often through reading testimonials or hearing a teaching) to determine whether it “works” or not. But if our plumb line is the Holy Scripture, then there are some OTHER questions we should really be asking first. Like “is this a fitting place for a child of G-d to look for healing?”

If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 13:1-3

Woe to the rebellious children, says the L-rd, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin. That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. – Isaiah 30:1-3

MANY of the healing modalities being practiced today by believers have their origins in Egypt. From what I understand, Egypt had a HUGE medical community that was incredibly skilled in the use of herbs and remedies. They were able to embalm bodies to preserve them for “the afterlife,” even before Joseph’s day; but they were plagued by disease.

Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. – Isaiah 36:6

For more on Egypt, its diseases and healing modalities, look here: Healing in Egypt.

Behold, the L-rd rides on a swift cloud,
And will come into Egypt;
The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence,
And the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. – Isaiah 19:1

The ultimate test is NOT whether or not the therapy “works.” Because we have an eternal perspective, we have to ask ourselves what the source of power is, that we are tapping into, and if there might be any negative spiritual impact on us from that. There is such a thing as false signs and wonders, and we need to pray for discernment, so that we don’t fall into deception.

Holistic medicine is dangerous, because it treats the “whole” person – body, soul AND spirit, according to its claims. It is one thing to treat the symptoms of the body, and another to tap into the spiritual powers of another religion for “spiritual healing,” as many alternative therapies claim to do.

“Empty your thoughts, let them be free and peaceful” is NEVER a command anywhere is scripture. That is unplugging the judgement G-d gave you and opening a door for some other spirit being to take up residence. We are asked to bring every thought into captivity under the lordship of Messiah, and to give up our own control in favor of faith and trust, but these are conscious acts of submission. He asks us to trust Him, and give up our cares and worries to Him, but never to empty our minds. “Inviting” anything is the same. If you “invite healing” or “invite the spirit” of whatever, that IS what you are doing.

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Going back to the scripture at the top of this article, we need to apply the question of origins to all our healing techniques. It’s all about the roots. If a bad tree cannot produce good fruit, then we need to make sure we are not eating fruit from a bad tree. All it takes, these days, is a quick search on google, for “origins” and “(fill in your therapy of choice)”.

Anything “ayurvedic” is based in Hinduism. It is promoted by the same people who are doing “yogic flying” (aka transcendental meditation/astral projection). Out it goes. This includes oil pulling and neti pots, folks. Both are Ayurvedic healing techniques. Cast those bad trees onto your healing technique bonfire! Trust that your loving Creator has another way for you to be healed.

Essential oils – yes, they smell good. And they are being promoted as a “Biblical” type of healing. But a little bit of research turns up some very disturbing things about the founder of YLEO. A Critical Look. Just a few of the points raised here: his medical education claims are fraudulent, he and his team have reportedly been responsible for the deaths of several people – including that of his own child, and he’s on his third marriage. Though he fraudulently claims to be a doctor, he makes no claim of Christianity or Judaism. He also claims to have learned his “raindrop therapy” technique from a Native American medicine man – who wants no responsibility for what he is teaching. His own website says he has altered his technique so many times that his staff can’t keep up. This is bad company. This man has no moral compass, let alone a relationship with our one true G-d. Can this tree bear good fruit?

Look up the origins of essential oil therapy, and guess what? Egypt – and China and India (again, as an “integral part of Ayurvedics”). History of Essential Oils. I seriously doubt this is what the Bible is talking about the elders doing when they anoint you with oil.

There are even therapies being used by otherwise Torah-pursuant believers, that were originated by folks who openly say that they were consulting “spirit guides.” I hope this is as disturbing to you as it is to me. If not, maybe take another look at Deuteronomy 18.
ImageI highly recommend this article for a scriptural perspective, if you have ever used or looked into Energy Medicine.

WHAT IS OCCULTISM?

By definition, occultism is something that holds itself up as the answer, but is covering (occluding) the real answer. In the spirit realm, according to the Be In Health ministry, occultism comes from fear. We are afraid of the stuff that attacks our bodies, so we want to control that stuff. Anything that we engage in, to control symptoms and attempt to cover ourselves would fit under this category. Our job as believers is to OBEY, and trust Him to cover us. When I was so preoccupied with figuring out for myself which therapies to use and how to implement them for each and every ailment, my focus was on that, and I had no time for other pursuits I knew the Father had called me to, because I was too busy using my “free” time to pursue this knowledge.

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me.'” – Exodus 8:1

I was also trusting in this other stuff as my healer. Once I realized that my knee-jerk reaction to sickness was to go to these remedies instead of the G-d I ostensibly worshiped, I realized I was holding these modalities up as idols in my heart.

“For the L-rd shall judge his people . . . and he shall say, ‘Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.'” – Deuteronomy 32:36-38

HERBS USED IN SCRIPTURE

There are some godly uses in scripture of what could be called “herbal remedies,” but interestingly, they do not come from man’s knowledge. In the desert, when the children of Israel came to water that was bitter, G-d told Moses how to deal with it by throwing a nearby tree into the water.

“And he cried unto the L-rd, and the L-rd showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, and said, ‘If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the L-rd thy G-d, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the L-rd that healeth thee.'” – Exodus 15:24-26

I would call that an herbal remedy, but whether there was something in the tree that effected the healing of the waters, or it was just a test of obedience, I don’t know. It’s up to Him – not Moses, and not me.

Other examples of this would be in 2 Kings 2, where Elisha heals the waters of Jericho with salt, and 2 Kings 4, where Elisha is feeding the prophets, and they cry out that there is “death in the pot.” Elisha throws in a handful of flour that fixes it right up.

I don’t know about you, but I find these instances encouraging! They reassure me that our heavenly Father has everything under control, and brings to mind 1 Corinthians 10:13:

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but G-d is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

When we have a test and take that opportunity to look to Him for help, He will provide the remedies we need, and they will be something common and nearby that He will use for our healing, not “a hair from the great Cham’s beard.”

The Father has more important things for believers to be worried about than running after the purest, most potent, organic South American jungle plant that has been sold to us as THE thing that will cure our ailments. The enemy is the one who wants to keep us busy with running to and fro after things that will waste our time and potential for eternal profit. Egypt, in scripture, is a place of slavery. Did you ever notice how many people who get sucked in to the world of healing and remedies never find just one answer, but are kept forever chasing their tails for the next treatment, whether for themselves or others? While no doubt well-intentioned, if our loving Father has a simpler remedy to offer, why not take Him up on it, and go on about His business? Leave the Greek thinkers to their heroic quests, and pursue the living G-d!

Too many remedies that call for things like “eye of newt” and “root of hemlock, digged in the dark,” as rendered in Macbeth, are nothing less than witchcraft – which brings us to our next point.

PHARMAKEIA

Did you know that the Greek word from which we derive “pharmacy” is the same word used for “witchcraft” in the Apostolic scriptures?

Here’s the Strong’s entry:

5331. farmakei÷a pharmakeia, far-mak-i´-ah; from 5332; medication (“pharmacy”), i.e. (by extension) magic (literally or figuratively): — sorcery, witchcraft.

and the source of that one:

5332. farmakeu/ß pharmakeus, far-mak-yoos´; from fa¿rmakon pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell-giving potion); a druggist (“pharmacist”) or poisoner, i.e. (by extension) a magician: — sorcerer.

These should really make us stop and think.

And please don’t think I’m saying that all doctors, medicines or herbs are bad. I have seen great healings and miracles take place with their use, and I’ve seen doctors and nurses who are truly G-d’s servants, doing His work as He directs their lives.

My bottom line is this: we need to consult with Him for direction before we endeavor to heal ourselves. When Yeshua walked the earth, He made it clear that He considers healing – both physical and spiritual – to be His business. And He heals those who come to Him and ask. Notice that He wasn’t going around seeking sick people. THEY were coming to HIM. And when Yeshua sent out His disciples, He commanded them to “heal the sick” (Matt. 10, Luke 10). I doubt He was sending them to Naturopathic School.

CONCLUSION

Here comes the altar call, If this is you – If you recognize that you have set up idols in your heart (Ezekiel 14) – for healing or anything else, please take this opportunity to repent and change your ways. Start listening to Him for guidance in this area, too. He promises us FREEDOM from the slavery of Egypt!

(A final note: when you begin listening for guidance [especially if you have participated in occultism], it’s very important to follow 1 John 4:1-3: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of G-d; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of G-d: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is of G-d, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is not of G-d.”)

Thanks for reading and considering. May we all be blessed with freedom as we enter the upcoming Passover season!

The Sin of Moses

Now, to sober things up a bit – or at least humble them up for me! I got a new insight today, on how the sin of Moses has crept into my life.

moses_water_rock_strike

I’ve always wondered what, exactly, the sin of Moses was – you know, the one for which he was punished by not being allowed in to the Promised Land? Well, I’ve been struggling for awhile with knowing how to positively motivate my children. I’m ashamed to say I’ve resorted to guilting them way too often. Instead of encouraging and building up like the wise woman I want to be, I become a foolish woman, tearing down my house with my own hands. (Proverbs 14:1)

sledgehammer

As I was praying today, asking for freedom from this tendency, the voice of Moses rang in my head, as he cried out, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10) My heart sank into repentance almost immediately, as I recognized the tone all too well. He is pushing guilt on the people, when they are asking for his help. Many times, when overwhelmed by all that is being asked of me by my large brood, I am prone to lash out instead of simply praying for patience and answering the requests in order of their immediacy.

moses-in-desert

The hardest thing, of course, is seeing the ugly fruit come out in my children’s interactions with each other. I hope and pray that we can all shake off the rotten fruit, and that I am able to be a better example to them from here on out. My hope is that we WILL be free, because this answer came directly in response to my prayer, and I asked for help in the right place – from the one who came to set captives free!

(I’m not saying this is ALL Moses was being punished for in this instance, but the L-rd has definitely used it to get my attention today. I also did look at the Rabbinic sources, and found out that this factor is one of the main 5 theories on the identification of Moses’ sin. (Thanks, Rambam!)

I have repented to my Father and my family, and pray for His help to keep this idea before me when temptation comes. And yes, it is also important to forgive myself and move on. If Moses, the meekest man on earth, was subject to this sin, I shouldn’t be surprised that it comes knocking at my door.

It is humbling to post this. It’s not something to be proud of, but I hope this can help someone else who might have the same tendency or temptation.

While writing this, the following song came on (available here: Psalms of Ascent CD), as a lovely underscore.

Psalm 130

New King James Version (NKJV)

Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

130 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
8 And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

Hallelujah!

“Gingerbread” Temple

Chag Hanukkah Sameach!
Just wanted to share with you our first day of Hanukkah crafting success. (I don’t have many crafting success stories, so let me gloat just a minute! ;) My sis-in-law had the marvelous idea to do a gingerbread version of the Temple in Jerusalem, as a craft with our kiddos. We decided that the surface of matzah actually looks more like Jerusalem Stone than graham crackers with white chocolate or whatever else we would have used, so that’s what we went for.

We used a stack of Rolos for each of the columns – with Ferraro Rocher for the capitals, and Hershey’s gold-wrapped Nuggets for doors and altar. Since we couldn’t manage a cutaway, we brought the interior colors of the Temple (blue, red, purple) to the outside top with colorfully-wrapped Hershey’s Kisses. We have an “animal sacrifice” in the form of a (yes, non-kosher) licorice Scottie Dog. (Anybody have a better idea?) My daughter put a red Hershey’s Kiss on top of that for flames, and we have a small tuft of cotton candy ascending as “smoke.” We had to resort to a Lego priest, as we didn’t manage to acquire any sour patch kids. We have rock candy scattered around the courtyard.

Because the temple we are talking about (the one the Maccabees had to cleanse) was Zerubbabel’s, not Solomon’s or Herod’s, we took plenty of artistic license. Zerubbabel’s temple was pretty bare-bones. We asked the children, “if you were Herod, and had plenty of money and giant candy, how would YOU have chosen to decorate the temple?” Ours was, of course, a cooperative effort, with various children adding their favorite details. :)

Happy, happy Hanukkah to all!!

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Blog Award? What??

Wow – I was nominated by Dinah at The Traveling Classroom for something called the Liebster Award! Thanks, Dinah! (I had a lot of fun looking at her tales and pictures from homeschooling in Central America. Talk about the beautiful handiwork of our Creator!)
So, I’ll go with this, and those of you looking for deep thoughts might want to skip this one. Feels a little like a Facebook game. . .
the-liebster-award
The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.
So, the rules of this award are:
You must post 11 random things about yourself.
Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post. No tag back, but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!
1. How long have you been teaching?
As an oldest sister, I guess since I was three . . . I always tell my children that it’s their job to teach their younger siblings how to play. One of the first necessary lessons is to enjoy this gift of life!
2. Do you have a TpT or Teacher’s Notebook Store?
No.
3. What is your hobby if you have one?
Reading!!
4. What grade level do you teach or have taught?
All, from baby to adult. Just different lessons!
5. Favorite Season?
Fall – the mist in the meadow, the colorful leaves, the awesome holy days, digging in to a new learning season with my kiddos, and cuddling by the fireplace!
6. Favorite Food?
Oh, that would have to be B’Stilla, an amazing Moroccan chicken pie with cinnamon and eggs and powdered sugar. There is scrunched phyllo dough on top of the one I make (hardly ever, as it’s quite a project). My son saw me putting the uncooked pie it in the oven once, and asked, “What’s that? Buttered toilet paper?”
7. Favorite Christmas song? Can I say Handel’s Messiah Oratorio? But I don’t play it for Christmas. I play it because it’s full of Isaiah’s restoration prophecies!
(Time out for a pet peeve: I heard when I was in Israel recently that the Messiah was performed a few years ago in Hebrew for the first time, at King of Kings in Jerusalem. So when I got home, I googled it, and most of the links were to the Hallelujah Chorus! Hell-OOOO!! The only word in the Hallelujah Chorus is “Hallelujah!” And that’s ALREADY in Hebrew! How is that different? And the articles referencing it talked about how it has now been “translated” to Hebrew? All the lyrics are scriptures that would just need to be looked up in a Hebrew Bible, and set to the music. No translating necessary. Still, Kudos to the folks at King of Kings for doing the necessary work. I’m sure it was quite a project. Just had some disconnects in how it was reported. OK, off my soapbox, on with the questions! :-)
8. Favorite subject to teach?
Hebrew – just so I can have someone to practice with!
9. Do you have a Smart board?
Sorry – I have no idea what this is. So no, I don’t.
10. Favorite blog?
Several I will mention below, however, I have really enjoyed How to Be Israeli, lately, and it’s over 200 followers, so I’ll mention it here.
(Oh, dear. I just realized I’m doing the 11 questions that my nominator was supposed to respond to. Oh, well. They stand. How about we count them for the “11 random things about myself”?)
11. Favorite place to go on vacation?
ISRAEL!!!!!
11 blogs I love (in no particular order)
Now – to answer the real questions my nominator asked :-)
1 How long have you been blogging?
Since April 2011
2 What do you like about blogging?
It’s keeping some record of my crazy random ponderings.
3 What don´t you like about blogging?
It takes time out from interacting with my beloved family – but not as badly as facebook (see this article for my take on that!)
4 Do you sell things on line? If so what are your links?
No. I tried ebay for awhile, but it was a lot of wheel spinning for not a lot of profit. Again, I’d rather be wholehearted, taking care of my family! However, I am very thankful for those who DO sell online, cuz I buy a lot of stuff that way! ;-)
5 How do you find balance in your life?
Balance? What’s that? I’m a radical, and I’m OK with that. Actually, I use the Torah as my plumb line, so I’m only radical in the current world’s culture, right?
6 What is your favorite animal?
For hanging around with – my Otterhound/Lab mix, for looking at – peacocks!
7 What kind of art do you like?
Anything my daughters draw! (Cuz it blows me away! They are so much more talented at art than I ever was! Just proves that a parent’s ignorance of a subject will not hinder a talented homeschooled child!)
And colorful, whimsical, or realistic, otherwise. Hardly any modern/abstract stuff.
8 If you could do anything what would you do?
I am doing it, every day! Making a home for my amazing husband, teaching my amazing horde of children, following G-d with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and supporting Israel!
9 Any Words of Advice to new bloggers?
Well, I still consider myself a new blogger – what is this? post #14? Sorry, people – I got nothing!
10 Do you have a favorite blog tutorial?
Umm – yeah – it’s linked on my sidebar. Just can’t remember what it is at the moment.
11 What are your future blog goals?
Well, nothing lofty. Continue to post every once in awhile, I guess. :-)
11 Questions for my nominees:
1. What books are currently next to your bed?
2. Do you have a regular date night?
3. What was the last thing that made you laugh?
4. What was the last thing that made you nervous?
5. What is a recent challenge you have been inspired to take on? Are you making progress?
6. Favorite dinner?
7. Have you ever visited Israel? If so, what’s the most personally meaningful site you visited?
8. A favorite baby name you haven’t used (yet!), or one you love, but your spouse doesn’t (yes, I know, Dear – you hate the word “spouse”!)?
9. A verse you are meditating on?
10. What measures do you employ to ensure that technology doesn’t take over your life?
11. What’s the most obvious blessing you’ve received in the last week?
Gotta run to a birthday party!!

Oh, and I would also like to invite readers to feel free to answer any or all of the questions, too! I’d love to hear from you! Which question made you think or just smile?