Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More "new" things from Torah.....

Is it just me or are others seeing things in Scripture that they've never noticed before?! I'm beginning to think I've never read these verses before....except I know that to be false! I've read these repeatedly for several years!!!! Sigh. Perhaps my eyes were just not open. But let me continue.....

This week Little Critter and I were reading the Torah portions for this week....We were reading Genesis 12-17:27. Now I divide the readings up into a couple chapters a day for the week. So we read Chapters 12-13 Monday and I noticed something I've never noticed before. It was like Papa had highlighted it to tell me something....In Chapter 12:1 it says " Now YHWH said to Avram, (Abram), "Get yourself out of your country, away from your kinsmen and away from your father's house, and go to the land that I will show you." Ok, now jump down to verse 4, it says "So Avram went, as YHWH had said to him, and Lot went with him."

Did you see that? YHWH said go away from your kinsmen and then it says Lot went with him.....hmmm. So does this mean Avram disobeyed? Now I understand that Lot was Avram's nephew and that Lot's father had died young. So presumably Avram had jumped in to be a father figure for the young did Lot go along as a member of Avram's family? I don't have an answer for this. But if you know the story of Avram and Lot you know that by Chapter 13 verse 6, there's trouble between Lot and his herdsmen and Avram and his herdsmen. Now, call me silly, but it would seem to me that if my father had died, my uncle took me in and treated me like one of his own kids, let me travel all over the countryside with him while providing for me and then found a nice place for me to live nearby his place, that I'd see to it that my 'herdsmen' kept a civil tongue in their mouths!!! I mean after all, from what the Torah tells us it appears Lot really had it made. Just hang around with his Aunt and Uncle and grow fat and wealthy. But there's trouble and Avram tells Lot to choose which side of the property he wants so that the two groups of family won't fight. Lot, of course, chooses the river property that was the more fertile for himself. Avram goes to the less fertile area. But then has to keep going back to rescue Lot and his family. Now, what's wrong with that picture?! Well, it appears that Lot didn't learn the lessons Avram had tried to teach him about Papa and didn't teach his children better either. So he repeatedly makes poor choices and Avram repeatedly has to save him from himself and his poor choices.

The point I got from this was that we do the same thing! Papa tells us how to live and be pleasing to Him and have all His blessings in Torah. But we repeatedly make poor choices and choose to do things that are not pleasing to Papa or we compromise what we know is the right thing to do and then have to be rescued from our poor choices. We refuse to 'leave our kinsmen' and go where Papa tells us to go. He's called each believer to be 'a called out group' and 'a company of priests' in His service. But do we do that? Are we really different from the world around us? Or are we indistinguishable from heathens all over the world? Hmmmm.

This may get me in trouble, but I'm going to say it anyway...and if I offend someone, I'm sorry. Truly. But all around me there's all sort of Halloween junk. Is this something we as believers should have anything to do with? Or is this another example of  not 'leaving our kinsmen'? Let me explain. What is Halloween? Its the evening of All Hallow's Eve. A night of remembering the dead...any light bulbs going off yet? Ok, I realize most of us dressed up as kids and went trick or treating. But look at what is going on today and compare it to 20-30 years ago. Is it the same? Of course not! Everything about Halloween is now uglier, more gruesome, more bloody and just overall dark. Does that sound like something that Papa would be encouraging? Would the One who created all life suddenly be all in favor of celebrating the dead?!? I don't think so. I know many churches and "Christian" groups have changed the names to Fall Festivals or Harvest Feasts, but isn't it still just a Halloween party with a different name? If you want a feast or a festival, Papa gave us several to choose from in Leviticus 23. Sukkot is a wonderful festival. It's fun, it celebrates the end of the harvests, there's TONS of food, (always healthy in our house, but that's just us) lots of singing, dancing, playing games....awesome family time. So why would believers feel that a celebration of the dead is better than Sukkot? Hmmm. I don't know. Perhaps they haven't been taught about the feasts of YHWH. Perhaps they've been told they don't HAVE to celebrate those feast/festivals anymore. Folks, those are lies from the same heathen who says Halloween is the best holiday to celebrate. He's also the one who is the father of death, ugliness, and darkness. Now, I realize someone will say that Leviticus 23 was for the Hebrews (or Israelites) but where do you think Christianity came from?!?! Yeshua didn't come to create a new religioin....He wanted to create relationships! So I feel it important, especially at this time, to make sure we're in relationship with Papa and that we're willing to 'leave our kinsmen' and follow where Papa tells us to go. It's time all believers (irregardless of religion or denomination) join together and become that 'fellowship of believers', that 'company of priests' and that 'holy and set apart nation' that we've been called to be. It's time to 'leave our kinsmen' and return to our Father's house...a house of prayer for all nations.

So as we get closer and closer to that awful night called Halloween, I pray you each choose to 'leave your kinsmen' and follow instead the steps of the Father. May each of you be blessed this week. Shalom, Spitfire

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mind boggling words this week

This week's Torah portions included Genesis 1-6:8, Matthew 1 & 2 and from the Prophets, Isaiah 42:5-43:10. So Little Critter and I read them during the week. (I split the readings up and we do a couple chapters a day. That way we have time to discuss and talk about them and he can learn more from them.) Well, I have to admit, we were both comforted as we read the creation story and the birth of Yeshua in Matthew. But when we read Isaiah...I was just stunned at how beautiful those words are. I've read them many times before, but all of a sudden this week, several phrases just jumped out at me. So I'd like to share them with you, my friends.

First, in this passage of Isaiah, YHWH is talking through Isaiah to not only the people of  Israel, but talking TO Yeshua....and also to US. That's what struck me this week, YHWH was talking to US!!!! Too cool. Ok, so if we look in Isaiah 42:6, look at this phrase:"I am YHWH, I have called you in righteousness, I will also hold you by the hand and watch over you...." Now, imagine the young Yeshua studying his Torah lesson and seeing that. Can you imagine how wonderful He felt to know it was Papa talking to His Son?!?! Even now, when I read it, it makes me feel so incredibly loved and special...He's called me, He's holding my hand and watching over me. Even ME!!! Whew. Kinda makes ya feel you can go out and do incredible things, doesn't it. Well, before you run out to make the world so much better a place than it is right now, please hang on a minute...there's more. Yep, there's more.

Jump down to Isaiah 43:1-3. Have ya found it? Let me help you..."But now says YHWH who formed you O Ya'ackov (Jacob); and He who made you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I called you by name; you are MINE! When you pass thru the waters, I will be with you...."

Did cha catch that? "Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are MINE!" Jumping Jehoshaphat!!! Doesn't that just make your heart swell? He calls us by name...we are HIS! Ok, I'm ready to start dancing now. Happy dancing, happy dancing. He knows my name. He's called me by that name. I am HIS!!!! Now for those who are wondering why this is so exciting for me. Let me explain. I'm not any great beauty, my younger sister was the beauty. My youngest sister had a figure to die for and all the boys eyed fact, I didn't have a figure until after age 40! True story, I was still getting asked for ID when I'd go get wine for Shabbat after Dodi and I got married...I was 36 years old!!!!!! I grew up with speech problems so got teased all the time and was severely hearing impaired (though no one realized it till I was 27 years old...all just thought I talked funny. LOL!) I was told often that I was 'piddly' (meaning unimportant, not worth much) and inconsequential by family members....I believed it for years. I was (and still am to a large extent) the odd one in the family. Now, don't get me wrong, my family is wonderful....but I didn't quite fit in. (Still don't) So for the creator of the universe to know my name and call me important enough for Him to take notice of me is thrilling to me. But don't we each feel that way sometimes? Kinda like we're invisible to those we love the most? Well, dear friends, now you know...Elohim (Almighty G-d) knows your name and calls you HIS! Pretty cool huh?

Keep just keeps on getting better and better!!!Down in verses 4 and 5 He tells us "Since you were precious in My eyes, you are honored, and I love you;and I give men instead of you and peoples instead of your soul. Fear not, for I AM with you;"  Didn't I tell you it got better?! See, no matter how dark and disparate it looks around us, no matter what our leaders attempt to do or take from us, we who believe in Yeshua are honored and loved and YHWH is with us. So there's no need to be afraid. If He created all we see, and provides food and shelter for the birds of the air wouldn't He also take care of us? Of course He will. He just told us He is with us....He knows our names, holds our hands,  He loves us and is with us...always. WOW!!! So while I may get momentarily angry or irritated with what politicians are doing or not doing, with the goof that just cut me off in traffic, or the teenager that just dumped the leftovers of his Happy Meal in my yard while yelling obscenities at Little Critter or I....I'm not afraid. Papa's with us. He will take care of all of it. And He'll do it in such a way that those who don't know Him will understand He did took care of the problem. He Does stand by His words. And He loves us. Whew! So awesome.

So as we go into another week, my friends. Never forget what we read today. He knows your name, He holds your hand, loves you and will be with you....though it all. So stand proud, be fearless, listen  for and follow His voice and do great things for His honor. Now, let's go through this week praising Him and making this world a better place. Shalom, Spitfire

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life is going on.....and on....and on

Folks, I'm sorry I haven't blogged in the last 10's been more hectic than normal  and  I haven't taken the time to write much more than checks!!! LOL! Oh,well. Things will get day. Let me catch you up on what's going on.

We didn't get to spend nearly as much time in our Sukkah as we'd hoped. Between the rain, the colder weather and Dodi fighting the flu....well, I know Papa will understand. We had a blast the few times we did get to spend time in it. And are now plotting and planning how to make it better next year. (with more room for some small cots to sleep for each of us even!!!!!) We did get to celebrate several times with our fellowship at the corporate Sukkah. That was was way different from what we normally do, but it was fun even so. We're truly blessed to have found a group of like minded believers!!!!

After Sukkah ended, we danced ourselves silly with Simchat Torah. This is a celebration found in Leviticus 23:35.It is a celebration of finishing the yearly Torah portions and beginning again on them.It also denotes the end of Sukkah. It's a day to praise, sing, and dance with the Torah. The Torah is held by various members of the Synagogue while they dance to music and is passed to others. Most all are eligible to hold the Torah and dance with it. It is an absolutely thrilling thing to be able to dance with a scroll written so many years ago and dictated by YHWH Himself! Whew! I thought sure I'd lost several pounds after all that dancing.....unfortunately, those pesky pounds seemed to find me again latter in the week.......oh boo.

Little Critter and I have restarted school in earnest again. We had been doing our Torah studies and some other reading, but not all subjects...kinda waiting on Simchat Torah to restart everything all at once. So Monday we restarted. We did Torah study, new word for the day, Hebrew practice, spelling, , science, some art, listened to music and discussed rhythm, and math. Didn't get to History/geography, but not to bad for a first day back. We were also somewhat slowed down due to Dodi being home sick.....bless his heart. He finally admitted he felt horrible, and missed two days of school. (something that doesn't happen often during football season!!!) Tuesday turned into a horrible, awful, no good day....Little Critter woke up cranky, Dodi felt better, (thank Yah!) but I woke up from sleeping on the loveseat feeling like a human pretzel being unwrapped. So we didn't get much done Tuesday. Today has been MUCH better!!!! Dodi's back at work, Little Critter woke up much more cheerful and has worked really hard to make up his work missed from yesterday as well as do today's work. Even the Sun came out today to allow me to FINALLY get some laundry done! So we're dancing again....well, OK, maybe not dancing, but at least we're smiling! Points in our favor! LOL!

I hope each of you have had a wonderful and blessed week while I was overwhelmed here. Somehow it seemed there was not enough hours in any of my days to get all my stuff done. And I have no doubts it will happen again...but I have a plan to make sure I don't get overwhelmed again. I just remind myself "I can do all things thru Yeshua who strengthens me", then I remind myself to 'rejoice, and again I say rejoice in everything!" I find that if I do this, I get three times as much done, no one gets too cranky with me, and I don't get so cranky with anyone else. It truly makes life more pleasant...even in unpleasant situations.

So my sweet friends, keep reminding yourselves how precious you are to Abba (Father), spend plenty of time in His Love Letter to you, and just know it will get better....also know I pray for you daily even if I don't always say anything on your blogs.... I read them all. Shalom, Spitfire

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sukkot 2009

Well, we did it! We got the Sukkah built in record time. Of course most of this has to do with Dodi helping...and our deciding we really could afford to spend a few dollars to buy wood to build it out of...instead of using the bamboo cane we normally gather along the roadsides....but I digress.

Some have heard me speak of our first couple of Sukkot. Flimsy doesn't begin to describe fact I have it from a reliable source that there were 2 battalions of angels holding the silly thing together the first year Little Critter and I build a Sukkah. We had NO clue what we were doing....we only knew Torah had said in Leviticus 23 that this was to be a permanent celebration for all generations. And we were going to do the best we could to build a Sukkah or die trying! (the latter could have easily happened if not for the afore mentioned battalions of angels....)So below is a couple pictures of the second year we build our Sukkah. It's only slightly better than the first year. (But I don't seem to have pictures of the first year.......oh boo Nanc!!!)

See how Little Critter is having to brace the sides....and we had no roof for fear the whole thing would collapse on us! It was pathetic...but we were SO proud of ourselves. We cut the bamboo, stripped all the leaves off, wired the lattice on and prayed real hard whenever anyone was inside it......

Well, this year, Dodi and I determined we needed to do something a bit better. (construction wise) So I bought some lumber and Dodi helped Little Critter and I nail everything together. We even got to decorate this year! We'd been afraid to the last 3 years for fear the weight of a couple sheets of paper would be more than the walls could hold up...LOL! So here are some pictures of this year's Sukkah.

The green stool is for our Shabbat candles and wine glass.  We'll sit in the chairs. This first pic is late afternoon on Friday, 2 October 2009. We have the whole thing slightly under the carport in case of rain.(we have 60% chance of rain all week.....figures heh.)

The Indian Wind Catcher is symbolic of the Thunderbird shield Dodi's
ancestors would have carried. Dodi is Native American or American Indian. So we wanted to include some of his heritage in our Sukkah...since he'll be gone much of the week with school and football. This way, there's a part of him in the Sukkah with us! Grin. And the row of  TV trays will be our 'table' for all the food....See our cane for our roof? Isn't it beautiful!?! (this is where you politely agree....I have cuts and scrapes all over me getting that silly stuff!!!!)

This is what it looked like after we'd lit the candles and Tiki torches. That's Dear Cousin's leg you see at the left...didn't realize I'd gotten him in the picture too. Our Lulav and Lemon (couldn't get a Citron) are in front of the candles on the stool. Doesn't it look better than those first ones?! (again, this is where you politely agree....even if you liked the pathetic one!!!!!) We even have a couple woven mats on the floor to make it a little nicer. I feel kinda like we've gotten our first 'home' instead of a rented apartment on the ghetto side of town. Pardon my pride please. But I think even Papa is pleased with this Sukkah! After 3 years of hearing Him giggle and laugh out loud at our versions of Sukkot, tonight as we prayed and praised Him....I heard no giggles, snickers or laughs....only angels joining us in praising Him. Now if it just doesn't rain tomorrow night, we may even get to sleep in it! I'm hoping next year to make it a little bigger so we can have friends come join us...and be inside the Sukkah. But I believe we're off to a great start. I'll update later in the week...and let you know how many nights Little Critter and I slept out on the ground in our Sukkah! (I think I hear my bones screaming already!?!! LOL!)

So my friends, whether you celebrate Sukkot or not, enjoy this week of meeting with Papa and have a blessed week. Our's is already off to a great start! Grin. Shabbat Shalom and Happy Sukkot! Spitfire