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QUESTIONS, I have QUESTIONS – Hanukkah

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WHAT’S WITH HANUKKAH?

I have compiled this Q&A to respond to questions I have been asked over the years. Also included are queries that I believe others would have liked to ask,  had they not been concerned about either offending or being offended.

First of all, is it Hanukkah or Chanukah? And what does Hanukkah mean, or is it just a name?

Hanukkah/Chanukah is the English representation of a Hebrew word, therefore it is not unusual to see various phonetic spellings. Hanukkah means “dedication.”

Hanukkah? Isn’t that a Jewish holiday? Since you are celebrating it, does it imply that you are Jewish or have converted to Judaism?

I am probably not Jewish.  I say “probably” because, with the Jewish/Israeli nation having been under constant attack from the time of the Nation’s inception, records have many times been destroyed. It is, however, in this day and age possible to undergo DNA testing to make this determination.  Although I may indeed submit a DNA sample to a genealogy site in the future, I do not personally feel it would change anything significant for me, regardless of the result. Since I have chosen to come under the banner of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,  I believe the Bible reveals that I have been “grafted in” to Israel and now reap the benefits as well as the responsibilities of one who was native born. This is, of course, only speaking in a spiritual sense. The only ways, of which I am aware, to become Israeli citizens would be to either 1) Prove your heritage through your mother’s line, or be married to someone who could do this, or 2) Fully and formally convert to Judaism.

And so now to address the second part of the above question – “have you converted to Judaism?” I have not converted, nor would I do so.  My significant study over the last 15 years has done nothing to dissuade me about the identity and function of Yeshua (Hebrew name for Jesus), and in fact has done the opposite. As part of the conversion process, it would be necessary to deny Jesus.  I am aware that many see no problem in denying Jesus, citing that Jesus is not His true Hebrew name. They also point out (and I believe rightly so), that our Western notion of Who Yeshua is, holds little resemblance to the facts that Jesus/Yeshua was/is a Jew who followed the Scripture completely, while never relinquishing His Jewishness.  They therefore see no difficulty with harboring a secret belief in Yeshua while denying Jesus to make the conversion board happy. Since I view this as merely semantics, I have made the decision not to go in this direction.

Isn’t Hanukkah just the Jewish Christmas?

No, Hanukkah has nothing in common with Christmas, other than both occurring at the end of the year on our Western calendar. Hanukkah falls out sometime in November or December on our Western calendar, and has indeed  sometimes included December 25th in the 8 day celebration. The dates of Hanukkah are determined by the Hebrew/Jewish calendar, which is the lunar/solar calendar outlined in Scripture, while the Western World adheres to a Gregorian solar calendar. This accounts for the varying dates on the Western calendar upon which Hanukkah falls.

Hanukkah is an 8 day civil holiday which commemorates a great and miraculous military victory around 167 BC; a true David and Goliath story.  Briefly summarized, the Jewish people were again being oppressed (this time by the Seleucids), and their Temple had been taken from them. No longer were there gatherings of the Jewish faithful.  The light of the Temple menorah no longer shone brightly in the darkness as a beacon. In fact, the current ruling nation had defiled the temple, placing a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies and slaughtering pigs on the altar, both of which were not only offensive, but abominable in the sight of God. Horrific things were perpetrated upon the people of God who refused to bow to Zeus, slaughter pigs on the altar, or to denounce their God. Babies were slaughtered. Mothers were forced to look on as their children were fried in huge frying pans fashioned for this specific purpose. People were tarred, suspended from porticos, and ignited like lights. It was a terrible time. Eventually, a ragtag group of followers of the One True God, led by a priest by the name of Mattathias, fled into the surrounding mountains to hide and fight guerilla warfare. Eventually, Mattathias’ brother, Judas, took a leading role and became known as Judas Maccabeus (the Hammer). But the mighty Egyptian army would hunt them down on the backs of elephants.  Miraculously, this band of perhaps 300 men, defeated the mighty Egyptian army and retook the Temple.  They cleansed the House of God and the light of the menorah again beckened the people to come to the place the Most High had chosen to place His name.  Look up the story of the Maccabees for much more on this very interesting time in history.

That being said, it is true, that in Modern times, many secular families have tried to compete with Christmas by having “Hanukkah bushes,” giving presents, etc.

Why eight days and why do you light the menorah?

Now, this part is tradition. I am not sure it is true. I am not certain it is not true. In any case, this is where some of the Hanukkah traditions have had their genesis. The story is told that when the Jewish people retook the temple, they were only able to locate one vial of purified olive oil used to light the Temple Menorah.  (side note – The temple Menorah was six-branched, the design being laid out in great detail in the Scriptures – see Exodus 25). It was this Temple menorah that the people desired to again have shine forth from the reclaimed Temple. But the people were in a quandary.  God had specifically instructed Moses to order that the temple menorah be lit continuously, and the lights were not to be allowed to go out. One thing that was never to be allowed in the temple was darkness. But the single vial of oil found, would only keep the lamp lit for one day, and eight days would be required to produce more. What should they do?  Should they wait for eight days until they could light it and keep it lit?  Or should they light it for the one day to encourage the people that light again would come from the Temple, allow it to burn out, and restart again once oil was available? Tradition says that the decision was made to light the menorah as an encouragement for the people; the Temple was once again in their hands! Imagine their shock when the priests approached the menorah each day and found that the oil had not been consumed. This was indeed a miracle…the miracle of the oil! While this story cannot be proved, it would not be the only time God performed a miracle involving sustaining oil.  (See 2 Kings 4:1-7).

So…the Hanukkah menorah (also called hanukkiah), commemorates the retaking and rededication of the Temple, the light returning to the Temple, and the miracle of the 8 days of oil.

Well, I’m confused. You have been talking about 8 days, and 8 days of oil, but the Hanukkah menorahs that I see have NINE candles. What’s the deal?

Most modern Hanukkah menorahs do have nine branches with one being elevated above the rest. Some do not have candles at all, but rather oil-filled bowls, into which wicks have been placed. In any case, the meaning of the eight lights is obvious, commemorating the eight days the Temple menorah miraculously stayed  lit without oil. But what about the ninth?  This ninth branch is called the shamash (servant) candle. It is the first candle lit each night and its only purpose is to be used to light the remaining eight candles.  In a believer’s home, the symbolism is quite provocative as we see our “Servant Light of the World” (Yeshua) being used to light the others around Him.

Do you light all of the candles every night?  

No. It is progressive. The only candle lit every night is the servant (shamash) candle. The first night of Hanukkah, we light the Shamash and the first candle (the one on the far right). We also sing a song while lighting. In an Orthodox Jewish home, this would be a Hebrew blessing.  In my home, it is just a children’s song that we have been using for each of the 16 years we have celebrated Hanukkah. “Candles, candles burning bright on this ________- (2nd, etc) Hanukkah night. First we light the Shamash, then we light.  (one…two… – count each day of Hanukkah) “two” candles burning on the second night of Hanukkah, in my menorrhea so bright.” As with most instances in which candles are lit to commemorate Jewish holidays (such as Sabbath), the candles are allowed to burn themselves out.

But aren’t you a Christian? Or…. ARE you still a Christian?

I am still a strong believer in Yeshua as son of God, as Messiah, and as Savior/Redeemer. I find myself not aligning with mainstream Christianity in some areas regarding my opportunity and responsibility to fully follow God’s good, perfect, and holy teachings and instructions to the best of my ability. I also believe that Yeshua was a Jew and will return as a Jew, that the church has not replaced Israel, and that we have missed incredible opportunities to learn through His good, perfect, and eternal Torah (teachings and instructions – erroneously translated as “law.”) I believe that the Redeemed follow the Law/Torah not in order to be “saved”, but because they ARE saved.

But if you believe in Jesus, why wouldn’t you celebrate His birth instead of Hanukkah? And Hanukkah is not in the Bible, right?

One thing that surprised me as I began studying the Hebrew roots of our Christian faith, is the fact that nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to celebrate His birth. Instead, we are instructed to commemorate His death and resurrection (Passover). Yes, of course, the wise men did come bearing gifts, possibly two years after His birth, however that is NOT how gift-giving became associated with Christmas. And, also surprisingly, there is no mention or evidence of others (including the disciples) commemorating His birth, either during his life on earth or after his resurrection and ascension. Of course there is nothing WRONG with commemorating His birth, and I choose to do so at a season that is certainly more in line with the time He really was born, during the feast of tabernacles, in the fall. (There are those who believe that His birth took place during the spring, which would make it in the season of Passover). Just one of the proofs that His birth was not in December, is the fact that Scripture mentions that shepherds were shepherding their flocks in the  fields. If His birth was indeed in late December, one would have  been hard pressed to find even one sheep in the fields, as they would have been brought in for the winter.  The main reason I choose to separate myself from the December 25th celebration has more to do with how and why that date was chosen (hint – it had been celebrated for hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus), and the true meaning of the traditions that have come to be associated with Christmas.

For a really good secular study on the origin of Christmas, The History Channel has a very good documentary that is both scholarly and interesting, entitled Christmas Unwrapped. It can be found on YouTube. Here is the link.

https://youtu.be/jTEiyc3FUTE?list=PLB5C37B85407849E4

If you choose to watch the documentary, you may then return with “But that’s NOT what it means to me/us!”

And I wholeheartedly agree. That is certainly not what it meant to me for all of the years I celebrated it either, nor was I even aware of its history. And, by the way, I am NOT offended by your choice to celebrate Christmas, at all. I am thankful that we do each have a choice. One thing I have discovered throughout my 61 year journey on this earth thus far is… there is only one person in this world I can or should be trying to change…myself.  And I am a FULL TIME job without trying to police anyone else!  I also believe that when I meet my Master, He may very well hold out a list of the way I have lived my life and say something like. “ Wow, Jacquetta, you really GOT the lessons I was trying to teach you in these areas.  HOWEVER, in these areas, Jacquetta – WHAT were you THINKING! “ : )

I really pray that at that time I will not start arguing with Him “but this person said…or that person said… or I thought….” but, instead, will fall at His feet and say “Teach me Master.”  So, let’s say we find out I am wrong about this and there is nothing offensive to Him about celebrating a holiday meant to honor the sun god.  However, I THOUGHT it was offensive to Him, and did it anyway.  Then (even though it really wasn’t wrong), it would be sin for me, because I thought it was, and made the conscious choice to do it anyway.  My root intention was to rebel against a Holy God who reads not only actions but hearts.

So, that is an explanation of how I approach it and I certainly am not offended if you make a different choice.

But Hanukkah is not in the Bible, right?

Well, actually, it is. Scripture seems to indicate that Jesus/Yeshua did indeed celebrate Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication.

Joh 10:22  At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23  and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 

It would be unlikely that Jesus/Yeshua would travel from the Galilee to Jerusalem in the winter if not for a special occasion. AND it is also notable that God made certain that we would know that He was there during the Festival of Lights/Feast of Dedication by having that detail written into Scripture.

Okay, Jacquetta, but tell the truth. Wasn’t it hard to give up Christmas? I mean, don’t you really miss it?

Actually, it was shockingly easy! Not at all what I thought it would be! We learned about the origins of Christmas probably about September of 2002. That year, we did exchange gifts with our families as we were still trying to figure things out. After that, we let our families know we were going in a different direction and were a Christmas free zone!

I’ll tell you the things I miss and the things I am thankful to not have a part in.

I MISS gathering with my wonderful family and seeing the looks on their faces when they opened the gift that I had spent time choosing specifically for them. I miss that. I miss the fun with the children and the laughing around the table.  For a time, we tried to transfer the gift giving to Thanksgiving, which for years had been held at our house. I so wanted a time that I could let them each know how much I love and treasure them. To me, Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect time.  However, it did not turn out the way I had hoped. My family felt they should give me Hanukkah gifts at that time also and of course, they felt conflicted because they are not celebrating Hanukkah. And I understood. They also felt it was confusing to the children, so we let it drop. I miss that.

I DON’T MISS the stress of the season. I don’t miss the stress of trying to find that special gift for each person and then spending months after Christmas paying for it.  I don’t miss rearranging my house for the decorations and then having to do it in reverse a few weeks later.  Strangely, I am now so removed from the stress of the season that I barely notice the Christmas fare going up in the stores.

A couple of years before I would ever hear of Hebrew Roots or would have seen Christmas Unwrapped, I began to take account of how the Christmas season was spent in our home.  How much was REALLY spent honoring the birth of the Savior? All of the commercialism was getting to me.  I actually sat down and did an accounting, starting the day after Thanksgiving and going to the day after Christmas.  How much of my time (and I think I was typical of many if not most Christians), was spent with the supposed “Reason for the Season?”  I sang in the choir at church and there was always a Christmas Cantata. I was very generous in counting my hours at rehearsals and during the program.  I counted time spent studying the birth of Jesus, both in church and out. And I counted every church service during that season. I only considered “waking hours.”  My findings were discouraging.  There was by FAR, more time spent shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, and stressing than anything that could truly be counted as worship. Far less than 10% was spent in that endeavor. That year, we did not put up a tree.  Leo cut two rough 2×4’s, one about 6 or 7 feet in length, and the other about 4 feet long. He fashioned them into a cross, around which I draped a purple cloth and a single strand of white lights. It was my attempt to refocus our house on what I then would have described as the reason for the season. Alas, it still fell far short.

I STILL LOVE Christmas music, Christmas carols, and Christmas movies, most of which have NOTHING to do with the birth of the Christ-child, but are just good family movies. I still think Christmas lights are beautiful. I still have wonderful memories of Christmas when I was a child and when Jessica was a child and all points in between. I didn’t delete those warm memories when I stopped celebrating Christmas.

WHAT DOES HANUKKAH LOOK LIKE IN A TYPICAL HOME?

I’m not sure I could tell you that. We are not typical.  In my home, I will usually have a Hanukkah party at some point during the eight day celebration.  My tables will be decorated in blue, white, and silver.  There will be LOTS of candles burning to commemorate the Festival of Lights; one on each step up the stairway and throughout the house.  Gelt (gold foil wrapped chocolate coins) will be scattered on the tables and small wooden dreidels will also be part of the décor.  My friends will bring their Hanukkiahs and we will light them together. It is a beautiful sight. We will sing traditional songs like The Dreidel Song, Maoz Tzur (sung to the tune of Rock of Ages), and others. We will spin dreidels and win gelt in the process of the game. (My 90-year old friend, Vernon, loves the game and will often win – he also loves the gelt : )) We may even play Hanukkah Madlib.  We will eat latkes (potato pancakes) along with applesauce and sour cream, and sufganiyot (jelly filled donuts).    These are traditions that have developed across the years; the latkes and sufganiyot being cooked in the oil that the season memoralizes, the candles representing the light returning to the temple, and the dreidel…hmmmm, I should tell you the story of the dreidel.

DREIDELS 

Dreidels are a sort of four-sided top, with a Hebrew letter on each side. The letters form an acronym. Nes, gadol, hiyah, sham…. OR Nes, gadol, hiyah, po…depending upon where you live.  REALLY?   Really. Nes gadol hiyah sham means “A great miracle happened there referring to the miracle of reclaiming the temple from the mighty enemy army…and the miracle of the oil. Nes gadol hiyah po means “A great miracle happened HERE.”  You will find these dreidels only in Israel. Here is the story of the dreidel.

Throughout the many times the Jews have been oppressed and enslaved, there runs a common thread. The first thing that is taken from them is their Scriptures (Torah – the first five books of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy.) Next they are forbidden to keep Sabbath, they are forbidden to circumcise their baby boys, and they are also deprived of their kosher diet.  Remove these things, and you remove the identity and unity of the people of Israel.  But the Jews have always tried to keep their faith and their heritage alive.  They would hide Torah scrolls and teach their children in secret.  In one period of history, they did this while employing a dreidel.  They would have Torah scrolls unfurled on the ground teaching, and if someone approached, they would spin tops atop the scroll, thereby disguising it as a game mat.. Thus, we have the game of dreidel as part of our Hanukkah celebrations.

Well, this has been a brief overview of the holiday of Hanukkah. I hope it has been interesting and that I have covered some of your questions.  If you have others, feel free to ask ,and I will attempt an answer.  I leave you with a link to some fun Hanukkah parodies

 

https://youtu.be/KyKWUpSMegE

 

Chag Sameach Hanukkah! (Happy Holiday of Hanukkah)

Jacquetta

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Absentee

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Hello again my anonymous visitors. I realize I have been an absentee blogger for a couple of months.  I have simply been incredibly busy.  I have many things on my heart that I would like to share, but first I would like to ask you a couple of questions.

Are you interested in more teachings from this site?  If so, do you feel you gain more from the blog or from the other (often longer) teachings on whoislikethee.com?

When this site was launched in January of this year, it was with the desire that His name be magnified.  That is still my earnest prayer. I get so very excited when I learn about human DNA, or the life cycle of a cicade,or the society in which honeybees live. It now seems impossible for me to view any details of creation without being astounded by the amazing, purposeful design of our Creator!  When I look into the formation of a natural pearl, I see the story of grace.  When I investigate the hydrological system that cycles water to and from Earth, I see the Living Water that comes to Earth, brings forth life, and returns to the Heavenlies to come again. When I study the numerous details involved in the conception, formation and birth of YOU, I see the clear and intricately detailed story of being “born again.”

As these stories unfold, I am increasingly excited and humbled. It is akin to standing at the base of a huge Sequoyah,.. but on steroids.  I am gobsmacked and feel smaller than an ant crawling on the sidewalk next to the Empire State  Building. It takes my breath away.  I am compelled to share the story, and yet feel so inadequate to do so.  King David describes the feeling much more eloquently than I could  hope to.

Psa 8:1  To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2  Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.3  When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4  what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 

Indeed…

Psa 8:9  O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! 

It is my prayer that “what ales me” is extremely contagious, and that neither you nor I will accept a vaccine!  

Tomorrow, may you experience “joy unspeakable and full of glory” and, as you pass through wherever your life takes you, may you infect others at each and every stop along the way.!

Until next time…imagine yourself….here…

(Your answers to the questions at the beginning of this post will be very helpful. You can answer by commenting on this blog post, or through the “Contact” tab.)

 

Hugs and Blessings,

 

Jacquetta

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What If #5 – After The Eclipse

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How was your eclipse viewing today? I would love to hear your stories and see any pictures you would be willing to share. Perhaps, with your permission, I will be able to post several for others to see as well.

My Eclipse 2017 experience was very instructive. I was indeed out of doors for my lunch break from about 12:30 – 1:30, with period of “totality” at 1:05. With eclipse glasses sold out in this area for several weeks, and my Prime membership guaranteeing me delivery by… wait for it…August 22nd, I had resorted to fashioning a pinhole camera from two paper plates. As I was exiting the building, one of my fellow workers offered to let me look through her eclipse glasses. But, trust me, the look was very brief and only after checking for the maker’s name printed on the side.  Having had multiple serious retinal issues over the last six months, I was not likely to trust my eyes to glasses that might or might not be authentic.

The paper plate camera was somewhat satisfactory and my daughter ran by my office with her cereal box pinhole camera as well. It was quite a sight today as I drove through town and noticed several groups in parking lots with various eclipse viewing devices, some fashioned, and some purchased.  I pulled over also, and retrieved my two plates from the backseat. In the center of one, I had created a tiny hole with the use of a small nail. With my back to the sun, I held this plate above my right shoulder slanted towards the sun,  while holding the other at about waist level and parallel to the ground, repositioning both until the tiny crescent of the “sun” was projected on the “screen” plate. The crescent became thinner and thinner as I “watched” the moon move between earth and this giant star without which the human race could not survive.

As we neared totality, the area around the circumference of this miniscule “sun” began to shimmer and sparkle, and then I continued to observe as the “moon” began to move in the other direction, again revealing the full power of this magnificent Star.

As for a noticeable difference in the daylight here in Oklahoma?? Hmmmm … not so much, I  am disappointed to report! In fact, had I not known about the eclipse, I would have to say I would have been hard pressed to notice it at all!  Even 20% of the light and energy produced by this star is powerful indeed!  How I wished I had taken a day off and driven to a location that I could experience total absence of sunlight, and witness stars becoming visible in the middle of the day!

It brings to mind another day in history that the sun and the moon went black.

Luk 23:44  It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45  while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 

Yes, that was definitely the day He stood between us and the full force of  judgment!

Not coincidentally, today begins the Hebrew month of Elul, and the 40 days of repentance leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is said that the Hebrew letters which form the name of this month, Elul, are an acronym for the Hebrew phrase translated as “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” (a quote from Song of Songs 6:3) and a precious reminder that the goal of repentance is to be in intimate relationship with our Bridegroom.  Yes indeed, the Fall Feasts are on the doorstep, each teaching about our redemption.

Also interesting to note, in Jewish tradition, a lunar eclipse portends judgment on Israel (Israel uses a lunar/solar calendar). A solar eclipse warns of coming judgment on the nations (of which the USA is one), solar events being connected to those who employ a solar calendar. Throughout history, eclipses have indeed been followed by events that could easily be interpreted as judgment. It will be interesting to observe the coming days to see if any notable events unfold following this eclipse.

The most significant thing I learned personally from the Oklahoma 2017 eclipse, is that 80% covered is far from adequate! It was a good representation of a spiritual truth. You and I would be ill advised to accept only “part” of Yeshua/Jesus’s covering, no matter how great the percentage. We must allow Him to COMPLETELY cover us if complete protection is what we desire.  When we try to retain ownership of a “pet” portion of heart and soul (reserving a pet sin), we are placing ourselves in peril indeed!  We need Him to stand COMPLETELY between  us and certain judgment, not just “most” of the way.

I also recognize that it is vital that I be committed to guarding against finding myself with “spiritual knockoff” glasses that only TELL me I will be alright, while doing nothing to actually protect me.  It is our human nature to desire to simply be told that everything we are doing is acceptable and all will be well with us. It was, after all, the first lie ever told, and has “gone viral,” being perpetually recycled and repackaged, ending up on our “timeline” time and again and again and again.

Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3  but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4  But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 

Yep, yep, yep. NOOOOO worries! (wink, wink). The lie now often comes packaged in the pretty paper of the “perverted grace” doctrine which only encourages covering over sin but not digging it out by its roots and destroying it. That’s rather like investing in many cans of air freshener to try to overpower the stench of rotting food instead of removing the rotting food.   I don’t know about you, but I do not think my Savior suffered and died on a cruel tree in order that I might continue in my sin. I believe He gave His life to allow me the opportunity for a “do over.”

I once had an adult Sunday School class teacher who, when teaching on sin, would assure the members of the class that it was “other” people of whom the passage spoke, and, of course, NOT people in this class.  It left me feeling uneasy because somewhere deep within I sensed we were receiving “seedless watermelon” teaching (See “Seedless” for a better explanation of this.) After all, I knew that at least ONE of us in the room was part of  those terribly imperfect “other” people (me). I desired to have a true mirror, rather than a funhouse mirror, held up to me so I could see what needed to be addressed.

Jas 1:22  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 

Well, my paper plate eclipse projector was imperfect, but then that is our field of vision at this time. Alas, it will not always be so!

1Co 13:12  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 

What a wonderful day that will be, when we are able to behold Him face to face!

I leave you with a great end-of-eclipse song! Enjoy!

 

 

 

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What If #4 – ECLIPSED

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A week or so ago, a friend sent me the link to a YouTube video put out by NASA with regards to the upcoming eclipse. A panel composed of astronomers,  scientists, National Park representatives and Department of Transportation representatives discussed the significance of the event, safe viewing instructions, traffic concerns, etc. But I was particularly struck by a comment made by one member of the panel when describing all of the satellites that will be documenting this event. He mentioned that cameras would be aimed at the sun’s corona, so named because the first astronomers thought the aura surrounding the sun during an eclipse took on the appearance of a crown (corona – coronation).

A corona (Latin, ‘crown‘) is an aura of plasma that surrounds the sun and other stars. The Sun’s corona extends millions of kilometres into space and is most easily seen during a total solar eclipse, but it is also observable with a coronagraph. The word “corona” is a Latin word meaning “crown”, from the Ancient Greek κορώνη (korōnè, “garland, wreath”). Wikipedia

This immediately brought to my mind another video I had recently viewed, in which a physician, Dr. Chuck Thurston, told of having watched a friend undergoing an EKG several years back. He related that the old EKG machine crackled and popped and seemed to spark with each rise of the electrical current.  The sound and the sight of it brought to his mind Revelation 4:5 which says that lightning and thunder proceeds from the Throne of God.

Rev 4:5  From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 

He was then reminded of the etymology of the term coronary arteries; so named because the first anatomists thought the arteries coming off of the top of the heart resembled a twisted crown. Hmmm.  Interesting.  I have worked for cardiologists for nigh on to forty years and I had never connected coronary to coronation/crown/ruler, etc.  Dr. Thurston went on to describe the astounding insight God opened up to him with this EKG being the catalyst.  He began to wonder if the heart  could be a representation of the throne of God.  Then Revelation four continued to unfold before him.

Rev 4:4  Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads.

Immediately, he envisioned the 24 ribs that surround the heart. Could these 24 ribs represent the 24 elders? Soon many more amazing parallels followed. Search for him on YouTube, and I believe you will be amazed at the One Who created the human body, complete with pictures of spiritual Truths.

I was able to locate a phone number for Dr. Thurston online and called it, hoping to leave a message I was quite surprised when he answered. He and his wife were traveling up and down the hills of Ohio and we spoke for over two hours as we shared how the Creator continues to blow us away with His precision and undeniable determination to communicate Truth to us through His design of all things created.

So, most likely, it was this conversation that caused my radar to go up when the NASA scientist mentioned the word “corona” when discussing the coming eclipse.. What was God up to with placing a “crown” in the sky when the sun and moon come into conjunction?

Over the last dozen-plus years that Yahweh/God has had me in His creation classroom, EVERY design element in Nature has come to beg the question in my mind of what it pictures spiritually. About five-to-ten years ago, it was moonlight that was being turned over and over in my mind as I asked for insight. What did He want us to understand from this beautiful soft light to which all humans seem to be drawn,  just as surely as the moon draws the waves to the shore. What could moonlight represent in the Creator’s curriculum?

Well, actually, to be accurate, there is no such thing as moonlight.  No, there isn’t! Really!  Think about it. The moon has no light of its own. All “moonlight” is actually reflected sunlight.  So, it would be fair to say that moonlight is 100% sunlight, but not 100% OF the sunlight. It is only the portion that we can look upon without being harmed.

The NASA program, as well as many others I have seen on news outlets since, issued strong warnings against trying to look at the sun, even during the eclipse, UNTIL the moon is totally blocking  the sun (if you happen to live in the pathway of totality).

Does any of this begin to sound familiar to you as it concerns things spiritual?

Yeshua/Jesus, is all God but not all OF God. He is simply the part of God that we can look upon and not be harmed.

Even back to the time of the Exodus, it has been too difficult to look upon the fullness of His Presence without someone to step in between. At the foot of Mt. Sinai, the people begged Moses to speak to God and bring them back the message.

Exo 20:18  Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19  and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”

If we were to look upon God without an intermediary, we would suffer irreparable damage.  His glory and His  holiness would be too much for us to handle in our current state.  But Yeshua steps between us and the full onslaught of His Brightness and reflects His light back to us in a form that we can, not only withstand, but to which we are inexplicably drawn.  In the process, He pulls the waves of the seas to the shore. His magnetism is undeniable. (The word for “sea” in the Hebrew, yam, is associated with “nations” or “peoples.”)

Joh 12:32  And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 

Joh 12:35  So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 

Joh 12:44  And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in Him who sent me. 45  And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46  I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 

Do you begin to see the correlation? Yeshua’s Light is the Father’s reflected, and He draws all people to Himself, and therefore to the Father.

Today I also watched several teachings by two teachers whose insights I respect; Jonathan Kahn and Mark Biltz. Both have been given marvelous insight into Bible prophecy as it intersects with signs unfolding on earth and in the heavens.  Neither are date setters but are reading the signs of the times as Mathew 24 instructs us to do.

Mark Biltz pointed out that the next total solar eclipse that we will experience here in the United States, will occur in seven years, when the eclipse will start in the east and traverse to the west; the exact opposite of the path of the August 21st eclipse.  When plotted on a map of the United States, the eclipse paths cross each other forming what could easily be seen as representing the ancient form of the Hebrew letter tav. Tav is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is representative of a sign and a covenant.  (it looks very much like a cross). Both men bring exciting insights as they connect these significant events to “moedim” (God’s appointments or “feasts”) on His Biblical calendar. One would have to possess a great deal of misplaced “faith” to believe that this incredible precision of significant signs in the heavens and on earth occurring on Biblical holidays could be coincidence.

Gen 1:14  And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons (moedim), and for days and years, 

Luk 21:25  “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 

So Monday, I will be asking to take my lunch break later than usual, so that I can be outside around 1:05 p.m. during the period of totality (or around 80% here in Oklahoma). As the sky goes dark and the air quickly cools, animals begin their nighttime routines, and morning glories begin to close, I will be contemplating the gift of Yeshua, Who puts Himself between me and the full onslaught of the Father’s judgment. I will give thanks that He draws all men, including me, to Himself when He is lifted up above the earth. And I will stand in awe of the picture He has provided to our generation.

I certainly do not know exactly what all of these signs in the heavens which we have been experiencing over the last few years portend. I do know they are significant and not for nought. I do not pretend to know exactly where we are on His timeline. It could be 7 years or 70 years until His return. But what I do know is that we are closer today than we were yesterday. The “lady” is in labor and the contractions are increasing with less and less distance between. Surely a birth draws nigh.

Luk 21:25  “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26  people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28  Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 

May it be so, soon and in our days and may His great mercy continue to eclipse His judgment.

Happy Eclipse Viewing,

Jacquetta

 

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Too Small A Thing

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As I write this post, it is August 12, 2017, Colton’s third birthday.

Mat 19:14  but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Some say that Colton “lost his battle” with a terrible disease yesterday. But I say he merely “finished” his battle, and finished well. Today would have been his third birthday as we earthbound folk count the passage of time. But it is his first birthday in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Over the last few weeks he has been stuck in the “birth canal” as he was being prepared to pass from the darkness of this life into the light of the Kingdom of God.  I am so happy for him, and a little jealous, but sad for those who weep in his absence.

If you have been following the updates I have posted on Facebook, you know that Colton’s mother, Jamie, and her sister Becca are like nieces to me, and in fact call me Auntie J. I have known them for approximately fifteen years and over that time they have indeed come to feel more like family than friends. Their mother, Robin, is a dear sister-friend with whom I share the sad common ground of having become widows far to early in life. Although we live three hours apart, thanks to the miracle of telephones, we are able to keep in touch. It was about a year ago that Robin began telling me that her grandson, Colton, had begun experiencing bleeding problems. After extensive testing, Colt was finally diagnosed with a very rare disease, Severe Aplastic Anemia (SAA). It was necessary for him to receive transfusions many times until it was finally determined that he would require a bone marrow transplant. The perfect donor was found in his five year old brother, James.

And so 60 days ago, he was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City and began the process of radiation, followed by bone marrow transplant. He was a champ, and for the first month, Colton continued to laugh, play, and run at full speed around the pediatric stem cell unit. It was rare to see him without a huge smile on his face. You would never have dreamed that this little boy was so sick. Long past the time that the doctors predicted he would crash from the radiation and transplant, he was running full steam ahead. But then a couple weeks later, crash he did, and crash hard.  He contracted a severe virus (adenovirus) which began to take over his respiratory tract and then moved into his bloodstream and his vital organs. It was determined that the bone marrow transplant had not been successful as engraftment had not taken place. And after a second radiation treatment and bone marrow transplant last week, Colton’s body could take no more, and he finished the struggle, cradled in his mama’s arms.

But let me be clear.  Colton did not “die.”  He simply passed into eternity.  The body is merely a vessel; a container for the essence (or soul) of a person.  Yes, the body does die, but the soul is eternal. I have personally witnessed what I consider to be evidence of this division of body and soul on more than a half dozen occasions.  I know that seems odd, or at least it does to me. Why would someone who does not work in a field that would predispose them to being present at the passing of others, have been present at eight deaths? Well, practically speaking, all of the deaths were expected and the family or loved ones asked me to come and be with them, and I was honored to do so.  But, ultimately, I think it was just on the curriculum the Ultimate Rabbi/Teacher has written for me. And just perhaps He wanted me to bear witness that the body is not the person and the person is not the body.  In fact, I was there with Robin, when Colt’s grandpa Jim passed into eternity five years ago.

At least from my experience of observing the process of dying, when the last breath is taken and the spirit passes from the body, there is an immediate (and I do mean immediate) change that takes place. Taking on a plastic appearance, the body, specifically the facial features, instantly ceases to even resemble the person we knew and loved, and whose essence this vessel had so recently contained. The instant change is shocking to me, and somehow comforting as well. It becomes so obvious that it was the soul (and not the physical heart and lungs) that enlivened the person. Indeed, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spirit beings having a human experience.

Let’s illustrate this passing of the soul from the body with a mental exercise. Picture an empty glass jar with lid in place. What is inside the jar?  Air, you might say. Suppose I break the jar into a thousand pieces.  Have I destroyed the air?  NO. The air has not been destroyed or harmed in any way. It has simply been released from the jar.

Yesterday, around 5:00 in the evening, Colton’s jar finally broke into a thousand pieces, and Colton was released from his glass prison. He heard Yeshua/Jesus call his name saying “Let the children come unto me, for such is the Kingdom of Heaven” and his soul responded and was drawn like a magnet, passing through the pearly gates and into the Kingdom. Wow!  (see Pearls – the Great Coverup for more on the beautiful significance of the pearly gates).

Jas 2:26  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Gen 35:18  And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin.

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But couldn’t God have responded to the prayers of many and healed Colton here and now? Of COURSE He could have. But that kind of healing would have been too small a thing and only temporal.

Rom 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Yes, He could have healed his body here and now, but He wanted much better for Colton. And because He wanted much better for Colt, He gave him much better. Our prayers for complete healing and a miracle were indeed answered; just not in the way we had imagined. No, it was much better than that! The flawed body was discarded and now Colton is truly healed in a sense we really cannot yet comprehend. Yes, there were “labor” pains over the last few weeks. It was uncomfortable, even painful, as the contractions got more and more intense and closer and closer together. But the end result….life, and life abundantly.

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And yet our hearts break for parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends who have been “left behind” and are in pain. But that is as it should be, is it not? How horrible it would be if we could pass from shock to healed in a moment’s time when someone so important to us is no longer here.  And surely it is never punishment for the Almighty to receive the innocent into His presence! Perhaps it might serve us well to lose the oft uttered adage “God took them” and replace it with “God received them.”

Ecc 3:1  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2  a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3  a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4  a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

When children or the innocent die, it just seems so unnatural, and prompts a difficult, but honest question.

“WHAT DID LITTLE COLTON EVER DO TO DESERVE SUCH A HORRIBLE DISEASE AND DEATH?”

This is a subject about which I have struggled in the past. I don’t believe I could have come to a satisfactory conclusion if it were not for the fact that Yahweh/God has been using the Creation Speaks, Romans 1:20 curriculum to school me in my “Higher” education over the past twenty or so years. And, because of that, I believe He has given me some insight that I pray you will find helpful.

If, as I have asserted, the Creator God has chosen to place us within this human existence for the purpose of using it as a teaching tool to educate us about things spiritual, then even this terrible disease process must be part of the lesson plan. Otherwise, we would have to conclude that our God is a cruel Master who could stop disease and death and yet chooses not to. So let’s talk about it. This will be just a brief discussion as this has been the topic of other posts on this site. It is, however, an important query, wouldn’t you agree?

How could a good and loving God allow such a thing as cancer or SAA, especially in a child? Surely He must have a very good reason, otherwise how could we describe Him as good?

The answer for me came after an extended struggle which began in earnest after watching a documentary on The Shroud of Turin. As you know, it is thought that this shroud was the burial garment of Yeshua/Jesus the Messiah. And whether you believe that it is authentically “that” burial shroud or not, the evidence does seem to indicate that it was the burial shroud of someone who was the victim of death by crucifixion, with evidence of a terrible flogging and suffering.

When I finished watching the documentary (this was many years ago but the documentary can still be found on youtube), I was weeping and asking God, why Yeshua’s death had to be so cruel? If death was the payment for sin, why was such a cruel death necessary?  Why not simply make a public announcement that Yeshua would be dying for the sin debt of the people, gather in a public arena, and put Him to death?  Death by hanging. Death by a blow to the head or a stab to the heart. But death, quick and clean. Why the cruelty? Why the lingering and suffering?  I wept as I prayed.  Why?  Why?? Why??? If there IS a good reason for allowing such pain and such cruelty, surely He would not want to conceal that reason from us! If we are incapable of “getting” it, then what’s the point?

It wasn’t long before He answered my prayer for insight and understanding as He brought to my mind and heart the amazing truth. The answer began with this one simple verse.

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You see, death is forever connected to sin, by His design!  We knew that, didn’t we?  It all started in the Garden of Eden when the first humans made the decision to choose their way over His way. And, amazingly, at that time, they had only ONE commandment to obey, and still they chose otherwise. He told them that “on the day that you eat of it, you (the human race at that time) will surely die. Why? Because He wanted to hold His thumb down on them and “make” them do what He said with no explanation?  NO! Death was a merciful addition, for otherwise they would have lived on with sin piling upon sin.  Yeshua’s death provided us a “do over” but was never intended to give us license to continue in our sin, Heaven forbid!

Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

And indeed Adam and Eve did begin dying on the day that they ate from the forbidden tree.  They started the process of dying from that point on, a process which He never wanted. And so it is with us.

Now that we know that when we look at death and dying, we are observing an illustration of the effects of sin, we can look at Yeshua’s death and see in it the revelation of the cruelty of sin. Sin wants to take us from a “garden” to a tomb. It desires to strip us naked, beat us, mock us, spit upon us, nail us to a tree where we are helpless to gain our release, inflict unbelievable pain, and then take our very life. Yes, sin is cruel and leads to spiritual pain, unbelievable spiritual suffering, and its goal is spiritual death.

Colton was a innocent child and pure of heart. But we all suffer from the results of sin, some of it being our own personal sin, and some being due to the state of this fallen world. Along with the beautiful pictures He paints of spiritual life and abundance, using the paintbrush of Creation, He must also provide for us the picture of the anguishing results of sin.

And because He has designed the physical to mimic the spiritual, even as it pertains to disease and dying, I believe it is possible to look at the course of different diseases, and gain insight into what happens on a spiritual level when we rebel against God.

Let’s just take a look at one disease; the one that ravaged precious Colton’s body, SAA, and the subsequent complications. Might we be able to discern spiritual parallels that would give us insight into the spiritual battle being waged between sin and righteousness?  I am convinced that we could look at the entire process and see the spiritual parallels, but for right now, let’s just look at the end process, which took place over the past three weeks. Because Colton had no immune system (having been killed by the radiation, and the blood disease not allowing his body to build more), Colton’s body was susceptible to any attacker, in this case, the adenovirus. The adenovirus started rapidly multiplying, taking over more and more of Colton. It first invaded his respiratory system, and then found its way into his blood.  It next began attacking his kidneys and liver, both of which are filter organs.  So many toxins were being produced and the filter organs were not capable of pushing them out of Colton’s body as quickly as they were multiplying. Eventually, a tipping point was reached, and it was not possible to recover.

Isn’t it just like sin? It starts in one place but quickly spreads throughout our spiritual system. It attacks the respiratory system. The word for spirit and breath are the same word in the original language.  So, we might say that sin’s first inlet is to attack us on the place that the Holy Spirit is supposed to residel. Next, the blood becomes involved for “life is in the blood.” If Satan can stop you from receiving the life giving blood, he can stop you altogether! Blood carries nourishment to every cell in every organ of the body and transports toxins away before they can cause harm. This perfectly illustrates the spiritual process that HaSatan (the Satan – the adversary) desires to disrupt!  He does NOT want us receiving spiritual nourishment and he certainly does NOT want us receiving spiritual toxin removal (removal of our sin)! Disruption of either system can and will lead to spiritual death.  If we receive no spiritual nourishment, we wither and die.  If we receive nourishment but then we allow sin to take hold and choose to remain in that sin, then just like Colt’s adenovirus, we are headed for certain death. The spiritual toxins produced by our continued sin will multiply at such a rate that eventually our spiritual liver and kidneys, our spleen, our gallbladder, our tonsils, and even our skin (all filter organs) become so overwhelmed that they cannot keep up with the massive amount of spiritual toxins produced by sin. The result will be spiritual disease, which, left unchecked, will destroy us spiritually. (Take a look at Vamoose the Varmint for more on the fight against spiritual harassment.)

So, in this spiritual classroom in which we reside, it is not only vital that He teach us about spiritual birth through observing the process of human conception and delivery. It is JUST as imperative for us to know that there is an enemy (a spiritual disease – sin) that produces death instead of life. The process is not pretty and the end result is devastating! We can observe this through the reality of disease and death.

Now, certainly God could have rescued Colton from this physical enemy and indeed could rescue ALL who suffer from deadly diseases. But if He did, we would miss the opportunity to see that toxic sin does not only make us sick; it kills. By allowing cruel diseases in children and the innocent, He allows us to see that HaSatan wants to get to us when we are spiritually immature and vulnerable, and before we have been able to build a strong spiritual immune system. HaSatan is not omnipotent and usually uses the pathway of least resistance. This is why it is imperative that we continually build a strong spiritual immune system by consuming good spiritual food and avoiding spiritual junk food, and doing both on a regular basis.

Now, certainly understanding more of why He would allow such a process does not remove the pain of the bereaved. But perhaps it does help to remove the question of God’s goodness.

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I am grateful that anything that happens to us here in this earthly existence is but an insignificant blip on the radar of eternity. I do not believe Colton is remembering the last agonizing year or the pain associated with it. We humans are such funny creatures. We act as though we are in the land of the living, headed towards the land of the dying, but isn’t it the other way around? Colton is no longer dying. He is living indeed!

I believe today, on his third birthday, Colty sees and understands things that no one alive can boast of understanding.  Today is the seventh day of the week; Sabbath, the day of rest. And today, Colton is experiencing a kind of rest that we cannot comprehend. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY COLTY!

But for Jamie and Michael, Olivia and James and the rest of the Meadors family, as well as Robin and Becca and the rest of the Wells clan, I leave you with this Mercyme song, and a reminder that if we truly believe what we say we believe, Colton is in our future and not in our past and each day brings us one day closer to our reunion!

Love,

Auntie J

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What If – # 3 – “Higher Math”

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WHAT IF #3 – HIGHER Math

Algebra. You remember algebra; that mathematical discipline that we assured our mothers we would never use again after leaving school? Algebra. It seems that we actually use it in deductive reasoning all of the time, as we compare one side of an “equation” to another. So perhaps it should be no surprise that it is found everywhere in the Bible as well. I am discovering that when we pay close attention, taking note of these algebraic equations found throughout the pages of Scripture and comparing them to what we know in physical creation, it has the potential of greatly enhancing our understanding of both the physical and the spiritual. So, let’s admit our mothers were right, and hunker down and do some algebra!

We’ll start by considering this simple algebraic statement:

If A=20 and C = 20, then A=C

Using some of what we discussed in Seedless, we’ll place that information into this simple algebraic statement, solve the equation, and then use that solution in another algebraic statement!

In Seedless, we took a brief look at the seed and its importance in Scripture, but we have not yet discussed a very significant and essential image of seed prevalent in Holy Writ. In fact, I believe it is revealed in the MOST important aspect of the design of a physical seed.

We have already discovered in the parable of the sower, that the seed is the Word of God

Luk 8:11  Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God

This provides the first phrase in the algebraic equation …

A = Seed

B= Word of God,

A=B      SEED = WORD OF GOD

Now, let’s take a look at John 1:14, which says…

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

In this equation we are building, we’ll call Yeshua/JesusC. and now we can see from John 1:14 that

C = Yeshua/Jesus

B = Word of God

C=B   –   Yeshua/Jesus = Word of God

We have now added another algebraic phrase to the first one.

YESHUA/JESUS = WORD OF GOD

Putting it together, we can now solve.

A (SEED) = B (WORD OF GOD)

And       C (YESHUA/JESUS) = B (WORD OF GOD)

Then      C (YESHUA) = A (SEED)   Yeshua/Jesus = Seed

Perhaps we have not seen it expressed as an algebraic equation before, still it should not come as a surprise to learn that Yeshua/Jesus is the Seed. In fact, we hear it from His own mouth right before His crucifixion

Joh 12:23  And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24  Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 

He desires to bear much fruit/be glorified and therefore He must act in His role as Seed.

But WHAT would He want us to know by His revelation that He is the Seed?

In order to understand  why Yeshua/Jesus being the SEED is important, we will need to recall what we know about a physical seed, and see if by doing so it will enhance our understanding of Who this Seed of David is and what He is prepared to do.

A physical seed falls from a plant to the ground, or may be carried by the wind from its place in the plant and eventually land on the ground. (By the way, the word for “wind” in the Scriptures is Ruach and is also the word used for “Spirit” as in The Holy Spirit” Ruach Hakodesh.  Hmmm.  Perhaps another algebra study for another time.)

But for now, back to that seed. We know that a seed must be buried in the ground, must be watered and warmed by the sun until it bursts open and that which is inside breaks back through the ground where it produces fruit and many more seeds! Why, it’s like the author of John 12:23 knew that the death, burial, and resurrection of the Seed would be necessary in order for the production of much fruit!

Wow! Yeshua is certainly good Seed and the seed/Word which springs forth from His death and resurrection is good seed! It is also exciting to note that a physical seed has a hull, or husk, with a singular purpose, and that being to contain for a time the life waiting to spring forth once the hull is discarded and falls away.  Sound familiar?

To look at this more closely and perhaps better grasp the gravity of the truth that Yeshua is the Seed, let’s remember that, as discussed in Seedless, from Creation, HaSatan has been at war with the Seed. (Gen 3:15). Wow!  That HaSatan reallllly does not like Seed or the fruit that comes from Him!

Later in Genesis, (Genesis 22) we see one of the most profound shadows of what the Father would one day do in offering His Son/Seed. It is a Scripture account that has come to be called “The Binding of Isaac.”  In this account, we watch as the “only begotten son,” carries his own “wood” up a mountain at the order of His Father (whose name, Abraham, means father of multitudes). This wood that the son carries is the altar upon which his father would be willing to offer him as a sacrifice. The sacrifice is only stopped when the Heavenly Father speaks from Heaven and provides a ram (a strong lamb) who has been caught by his horns in a thicket (horns in Scripture represent power). So this strong Lamb has a crown of thorns holding back His horns (power) and is offered on an altar. Astounding!

Gen 22:15  And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16  and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17  I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18  and in your Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 

Gal 3:16  Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his Seed. It does not say, “And to seeds,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your Seed,” Who is Christ. 

“and in your Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 

Indeed, The Father did not withhold His Seed, and the Nations of the Earth have been blessed.

Ahhhh, the power of a Seed!

 

In the next edition of What If, Lord willing, we’ll look at the total solar eclipse coming on August 21st of this year.  Is there something to be learned from a solar eclipse?

 

 

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Seedless

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WHAT IF….

What if you could be presented evidence that Yahweh (God), the Creator, has designed every single created thing with the express purpose of mirroring spiritual truths? What if NOTHING in His chosen design is happenstance? After all, isn’t it true that it was not necessary for Him to choose designs that would “work”, because He could have caused ANYTHING to work? Think about this – did the Creator of all that is need to obey the laws of nature….or do the laws of nature obey Him?

And if we find this to be so, what might we learn from … hmmm, let’s see … from the design of a seed? Let’s begin and see what grows.

GLOSSARY:

Yahweh – the personal name of the God of the Bible, used more than 7000 times in the original language of the Scriptures. Most English translations translate this personal name as “GOD” or “LORD” in all caps, as opposed to these same English words in lower case (God/Lord) which would be translations of the Hebrew words meaning “master” or “magistrate.”

HaSatan – literally – the Satan or the Adversary..  Satan is not a name but a description.

SEEDLESS

I am really not high maintenance; I find joy in the small things. In fact, today I was really looking forward to having my first bite of watermelon of the season. I was happy to finally have found non-seedless watermelons at the supermarket yesterday. Over the last few years, the formerly common seeded variety has become increasingly difficult to locate. It seems that the consumer, by and large, prefers not to have to deal with those pesky seeds. This morning, however, I was more than a bit disappointed when I cut through the rind to discover that my much sought after seeded watermelon was a phony, only masquerading as the real deal.  The rind was vibrant green and the flesh a luscious red, but it contained only a few tiny, shriveled appearing excuses for seeds. And even these were not at ALL like the ones a watermelon is designed to contain.

So, why have I been in search of seeded watermelon, and why is this such a big deal? I am so glad you asked!

First of all, may I remind you, that without seed, there would be no fruit. And alarmingly, non-sterile seeds of all varieties, for home planting are ALSO on the endangered list. The “wisdom” of the seed producers informs them that they will continue to have a growing (pun intended) market if they sell seeds that have no hope of reproducing. Oh, the seed will produce ONCE, but the seed produced by that first generation will be sterile because the DNA of the seed has been altered.  Hmmm…remember THAT for later on…

Watermelon, along with all other seed bearing plants, was created with a design which guaranteed its survival, because every plant, each melon, and each piece of fruit contained within itself the seed necessary to produce more! “The fruit is in the seed and the seed is in the fruit.”  But SOMEHOW, now that we have “evolved” and are sooooo much  more “intelligent”  than, and superior to, those oafs present at creation, we even imagine ourselves to be far more “enlightened” than even the One Who created the watermelon in the first place!  Surely He would have designed seedless watermelon if only He had had available to Him the technology now available to us! He obviously simply needed more impressive technology. Right??? Or… perhaps He just didn’t “think” of the possibility of seedless foods. Really?????  A seedless world (according to the masses) is what we need. Why, we humans have even learned how to destroy human seed before it can produce! We…are…SOOOO….smart!!! But I digress. (sigh)

It is more and more difficult to find oranges with seeds, grapes with seeds, and watermelon with seeds, just to name a few. AND it is becoming more and more challenging to locate non-hybrid and non-GMO seeds/fruit as well.  (OY!  A subject for another time!) So what’s the harm?  I fear we will not know the full answer to that query for many years to come, when the damage will have already been done and we will wish to turn back the hands of time.

HowEVER, if you have been following this blog for, well, for ANY length of time, you most likely know that it is my assertion that EVERYTHING that God created, was designed with an express purpose, and that being to reveal to us in this physical classroom, spiritual truths. So what spiritual truth can be unearthed from the seedless watermelon?

Here is the first mention of the word “seed” in Scripture. And remember, first mention is important as it sets the “tone” for all future occurrences.

Gen 1:11  And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12  The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Here is the second time seed is mentioned, from the same chapter.

Gen 1:29  And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

Evidently, HE considers it to be important that the fruit we consume be seeded. Let’s continue our investigation.

Next we see that man has a “seed” and the enemy has a “seed” as well. Interesting. In this Scripture passage, God is addressing the wily Serpent in the Garden of Eden.

Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

We’ll look at that a bit closer in a few minutes. But for now, just remember that man has a seed and HaSatan (the Satan -the adversary) also has a seed. Now let’s move to the New Testament and see what it has to say about “seed.”

You remember the parable of the sower…

Luk 8:5 The one sowing went out to sow his seed. And in his sowing, some indeed fell beside the way, and was trampled; and the birds of the heaven ate it. 6 And some fell on the rock; and growing, it dried up because of not having moisture. 7 And some fell in the middle of the thorn bushes, and growing up with the thorn bushes, they choked it. 8 And other fell on the good earth, and growing it produced fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, He cried out, The one having ears to hear, let him hear. 9  And His disciples questioned Him, saying, What might this parable be? 10  And He said, To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing, they might not understand. 11  And this is the parable: The seed is the Word of God. 12  And those by the roadside are those who hear, then satan comes and takes away the Word (seed) from their heart, lest believing they may be saved. 13 And those on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the Word (seed) with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a time, and in time of trial draw back. 14 And those falling in the thorn bushes, these are those hearing, but under cares and riches and pleasures of life, moving along, they are choked, and do not bear to maturity. 15 And those in the good ground, these are the ones who in a right and good heart, hearing the Word, they hold it and bear fruit in patience.

Did you see that? This clue offers important information as to why we should seek seeded fruit.   “11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Hmmm.  seed = word, and Satan has one too!  And seeds sprout and produce more seeds!  That sprouting and reproducing is GREAT if it’s God’s seed/Word, but not so much if it is the seed/word of The Adversary!

In the Parable of the Sower, is God suggesting that understanding how a seed works will give us vital information regarding how the Word of God works? 

Just basic information about seeds tells us that a seed must first fall to the ground.  Water and sunlight must  then be added, causing the seed to break open. That which is inside the seed (which up until now appeared to be dead) begins to grow,  puts on leaves, breaks through the sun-warmed soil, puts on flowers, then fruit, and then more seed. Does that sound as though it provides an accurate picture of the process occurring  in the spiritual realm as well?  First the Word of God seed is planted.  Water (Living Water) is added and changes begin to occur as the Word of God is opened up (bursts open) to us. Sunlight is the next vital component added. Light in the Scriptures indicates “understanding.”  So the Light of the World is added to the mix and “calls forth” new life from out of the ground. Now the Word plus understanding begins the process that will culminate in production of  fruit (fruit is the entire reason the seed exists in the first place). You will know if this Fruit of the Spirit is good fruit if it contains within it more seed (Word of God) capable of producing even more fruit!  Wow!

And what does the enemy seek to do?

“then HaSatan (the Satan – the adversary) comes and takes away the Word (seed) from their heart, lest believing they may be saved.

The enemy, you see, wants the fruit to be “seedless/wordless!” So, am I suggesting that the scientists who have been diligently working to make our lives more “palatable” by developing all things seedless are the “devil”?  No, of course not! However, I do suggest that it is HaSatan’s ploy, to encourage us to become accustomed to asking for all aspects of our lives to be made easy without that pesky “seed.” Remember, the “seed will bruise His head.” Satan’s war is with the Seed/Word/Yeshua!.

Yahweh/God’s design of creation is so very perfect and perfectly mimics what is going on in the spiritual! More and more, the “word” (seed) is being removed from our churches, our homes, and certainly our schools, because it is simply too inconvenient and uncomfortable to deal with.  We are being taught to “tolerate” the hybrid Word, or better yet, demand the seedless. “Come on in.  We’ll sing, clap, and praise the Lord. But no worries!  None of that troublesome seed here.  Just enjoy the fruit.  It’s seedless!”  Yaaaaay?????

Alas, a life without His convicting and directing Word (seed), while it may seem much “easier,” and even “sweeter” in the short-term, will culminate in devastation in the long-run.  I also have no doubt that in the physical, there will be physical devastation as a result of our consumption of “altered” physical seed/fruit. Ahhh, there will always be a price to pay when we take it upon ourselves to “redesign” that which was perfectly designed in the first place.

I mean, honestly, do we REALLY believe that God, the Creator, didn’t think of, wasn’t intelligent enough, or forward-thinking enough to create fruit without seed if that were the best option for us?  Do we honestly believe that He is so impressed with us and grateful to us for figuring out how to remove the seed that He designed? Or….with His design of all things seeded, might He be teaching us the importance of the Word?

Deu 4:2 You shall not add to the Word (that would make it hybrid) which I command you, nor take from it (making it seedless), to keep the commandments  (seed) of Yahweh your God which I command you.

Pro 30:5 Every Word (seed) of God is refined, He is a shield to those who seek refuge in Him. 6 Do not add to His Words (produce no hybrids), that He not reprove you, and you be found a liar. (The result will someday be evident).

Deu 12:32 All the things that I command you, take heed to do them and you shall not add to it, nor take away from it. (no hybrid; no seedless)

Whether seedless or hybrid, there is no doubt that making a “better” design will not end well, no matter HOW MANY people are demanding it! Simply because the majority wants something, does not make the majority right!

Mat 7:13 Go in through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are the ones entering in through it. 14  For narrow is the gate, and constricted is the way that leads away into life, and few are the ones finding it.

Mat 7:15 But beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside they are plundering wolves.  7:16 From their fruits you shall know them.

Fruit –the natural expected outcome of a planted seed.  If the seed/Word that has been planted and tended within us is His Word, then we can expect obedience to the Word to result in godly character and actions (fruit), which will naturally produce more godly fruit/seeds/Life. If, however, the seed has been adulterated, altered, or is altogether absent, can we reasonably expect to produce godly fruit that will sustain life? Or will the sterile seed be incapable of producing life at all?

Isn’t it heartbreaking when we see the Word being removed from our churches, for fear of offending (the term used to be “convicting”) someone? Seedless. Isn’t it very telling when we take the Word out and replace it with coffee shops, flat-screen TV raffles, and other entertainment? We may bring people in by the droves. We may fill the pews. Inspirational speakers may speak sweet, juicy, seedless watermelon words that inspire those sitting in padded pews to do many things. And they may leave with smiles on their faces and songs on their lips, having left “sterile seed” money in the offering plates. But if what they leave with is “seedless,” then….broad is the way…. Just “sayin.”

We were actually warned about a time such as this.

Amo 8:11 Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord Yahweh, that I will send a famine into the land, not a famine for bread, nor a thirst for water, but rather a famine for hearing the Words (seeds) of Yahweh/God. 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to east; they shall roam about to seek the Word (seed) of Yahweh/God, and they shall not find it.

Sad indeed!

As I continue on this fascinating classroom journey we call life, I am purposing to persist in seeking out seeded fruit (both physical and spiritual). May it be that I will remain committed to label reading. Is the first ingredient on the label of the teaching under which I sit “Seed/Word of God”?  If not, regardless of how good it looks or tastes, the sugary, seedless, hybrid fillers will result in disease down a broad road. After all, my watermelon was beautiful on the outside. I couldn’t know the truth until I looked on the inside.

Yes, I realize it may/will take more commitment than most of us are generally willing to invest in the microwave, Instagram, one-click world in which we live. But I know it will be worth it. Sterile fruit is not what I desire to produce, nor is it what I desire to leave to the next generation! The end result of sterile fruit, after all, is famine. So, while others may speed ahead, I will be practicing patience as I tend Seed, waiting for it to break through the ground, grow, and produce fruit with more seed within it.

Luk 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Until next time, I will be having my watermelon WITH seeds, and thanking the Creator for designing such an amazing “factory” as the small but incredibly powerful object I hold on my spoon. What a Designer and what a design that makes possible the production of countless generations of seed factories and the fruit that will come from them from this one tiny, unadulterated, Word…errr, I mean “seed.”

Psa 126:5  Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6  He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed (Word) for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

Now, THAT’S something to look forward to indeed!

 

 

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Mom Was Right

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Today is Mother’s Day and it is my 19th Mother’s Day without my precious mother, Bernice Watson, who passed October 29,1998.

I celebrated my 60th birthday a few months back, and it is just recently that I am coming to understand what she meant the many times she told me “You just wait. The older you get, the smarter your parents become.”

Yes, I am a slow learner, but I think I finally get it. It is also why (I believe) the Apostle Paul tells us that the older women should teach the younger women.  Oh, certainly this is no proclamation that the older women are more intelligent than their younger counterparts. No!  What the older women are, however, is, well … older!

My sister and I were having a conversation recently, and I shared that I believe that even in my forties, at the time of our mother’s death, I was not yet ready to have that “adult to adult” conversation with Mom. There was still that push and pull of Mom still viewing me somewhat as a child who needed her input on many things, to me viewing myself as an adult who had a 16 year old daughter and a 23 year old marriage at the time. Shouldn’t she, at this point, trust me to make wise decisions?

Now, with the gift of time, I am beginning to understand. Some wisdom can only be gained through days, months, years, and even decades. It is not a once and done event, but a process that continues from youth to (I suspect) death. It continues to be gained and should continue to be imparted throughout time. Many experiences must pass through our lives.  We must work through many difficulties. We must weather many storms.  We must begin many friendships, and sadly, some must end as well. We must forge through many dark times and spend time pondering where and who we are, and perhaps even who and where God is at times.

Many pillow cases will be soaked in tears and many rooms filled with laughter. We will have countless opportunities throughout the years to worry about our own children, and Lord willing, our children’s children as well. We will attend weddings, births, and funerals as well. And some experiences, both good and bad, we will walk through with others, and gain wisdom through their journeys. As each year passes and each wrinkle appears, wisdom is seeping in and attitudes and beliefs are morphing into something more mature and true (if we allow the process, that is).

Somewhere along the path, we realize that the journey is not an Instagram or Snapchat experience. It is extended across time and requires opportunity to marinate in our hearts and souls until it seeps out into our hands and feet, becoming part of our actions as well. We begin to view the world and the people in it with different eyes. We are more willing to give others the time for growth that all need, and that we ourselves have been afforded. We love more deeply, forgive more quickly, and take offense less often. We begin learning to listen to the heart as well as the words, and react more slowly. And perhaps we even begin to understand why our children sometime are not yet able to do the same.

We may begin (as I have of late) to look back across time (something we could not do when we were younger). Now, at 60, it is possible to look back across 20 years,  and even 40 years of adulthood. With this long-range view, we can see where we made turns in the wrong direction which changed the trajectory of our lives.  We can see opportunities that we missed as well as those that we took. For some things we are oh so grateful, and for others we experience sorrow.  Oh, that we could go back and retrieve words that flew out of our mouths, or rewrite attitudes and/or actions.

And because we love our children so very much, we want better for them. We want to save them from taking the wrong turns we took and enduring the accompanying heartbreak. We desire to shorten their wilderness journey to less than forty years!   Often we hear from the younger generation that “our parents need to let us make our own mistakes.” I’m sure our parents heard something similar from us.  And yes, make your own mistakes, but do you have to repeat mine???? Mistakes they will make; it’s inevitable. But shouldn’t the mistakes be original? It has been said that “A wise man learns from the mistakes of others and avoids them, while the fool has to learn from his own.”

Don’t make my mistakes again, for heaven’s sake, I want to shout!

Yes, if my mother were still living, I would love to sit down and finally have that adult conversation. And I would ask her “Mom, what do you wish you had known when you were 60?” And even, if I were brave enough … “What do you see in my life that is of concern to you?”  And of course there would be other questions as well. But as important as the questions, would be what would come after. After I asked the questions, I would remain silent and….listen. And then I would spend time truly considering her input, because it would be coming from a perspective of time and experience not yet available to me. No matter how old I become, there will always be others older and more experienced than am I!

Since it is not, at this juncture, possible for me to have that conversation with Mom, lately I have been seeking out women who have lived decades longer than I have, and asking them similar questions. I am finding much wisdom in what they have to say. It is my prayer that, should I live to be in my eighties, God will still provide me a friend twenty years my elder to continue to impart the wisdom that can only be gained through the passage of time.

So it occurs to me that I could perhaps profit from your wisdom, as well and that of your mothers’! I would love it if you would respond (with either your own personal answer and/or that of your mother) to the question “What do you wish you had known 20 (or 40, or 60) years ago?” And, add to that this question; “What do you most fear the current generation is doing (or not doing) that they will someday deeply regret?”

In conclusion, I am so grateful that I was raised by a godly mother who encouraged me to be honest, hard working, empathetic, and above all, to seek God in all things and at all times.

Thank you, God, for providing such a mother. One day I will again get to sit with her in the Kingdom and tell her how grateful I am for the wisdom that I was not always ready to receive.  Yes, Mom, you have INDEED gotten much smarter as I have gotten older.

Prov 6:20 My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. 21Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. 22When you walk, theyd will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all of you who have, given birth to, or adopted children. To those who have doctored skinned knees, soothed broken hearts, read bedtime stories and sung bedtime songs. To those who have taught their children godly character as well as life skills. To those who have hosted a houseful of children, teens and young adults and who have made decisions that are sometimes MOST unpopular in order to protect those you love. To those who have spent countless hours on your knees asking that your children be protected both physically and spiritually. May you know today that your investment is worth it and that your time and effort is well spent. And may you live to see the answer to your prayers.

Happy Mother’s Day,

 

Jacquetta

3 Jn 2Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3For I rejoiced greatly when the brothersa came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

.

 

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Oklahoma Sahara

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On Friday morning a week ago, I at last had the opportunity to run my car through the car wash. Complications following my recent vitrectomy, (retinal reattachment surgery), have made it necessary for me to make the 240 mile roundtrip to the retinal specialist three times a week, leaving very little time for anything not work or sleep related. Washing the car was not high on my to do list. So, after far too long, it was nice to finally see the country road dirt disappearing down the car wash drain.

And as neither I nor my car had left home that weekend, on Monday morning,  it was quite disconcerting to find it looking as though I had taken it mudding. (I promise, I had not!).    From roof to wheels, my little charcoal gray Prius was covered with large reddish brown muddy splotches.

Because of a news article I had read several years prior, I immediately recognized the fact that part of the Sahara Desert had again been transplanted to Oklahoma during the night. Yes! Really!

The article explained that when it “rains mud” in the Southern USA, it is actually sand, or dust, from the Sahara Desert descending with the rain! Yes!  The SAHARA! The largest and hottest desert in the world, the Sahara experiences strong windstorms which sweep the fine sand, or dust, of the desert 2-3 miles into the atmosphere where it is then carried by the trade winds as far south as Texas and Florida! When it encounters moisture in the atmosphere, the Sahara rains down as mud. In case you’re wondering, The Sahara Desert is approximately 7000 miles from Oklahoma!

So, you see, this week, the Sahara moved to Oklahoma, and to my place in the country.  I then drove the Sahara through town to work until it was washed into the ground at my home last night when strong thunderstorms passed through the area, dumping 5+ inches of rain.

So, while it is true that the visual evidence of the Oklahoma Sahara is no longer apparent on my car, it is also true that it is indeed still here on this land. In fact, the Sahara is constantly being relocated around much of the globe. It is amazing to consider, isn’t it?

Let’s now search the Scriptures to see what lesson might be implanted in this totally natural (by design) phenomenon. How might sand from the Sahara raining down on the land on which I reside, speak of things spiritual?

First, we find that YHVH promises that He will make Abraham’s descendents like “sand,” or “dust.”

Gen 13:16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

Gen 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

Okay, so now we have a possible connection between sand or dust, and Israel. And that will become the first corner piece in the puzzle we are assembling.

Next, we see that because Israel was disobedient to God’s Torah (teaching and instructions), He would scatter them to the far reaches of the earth where they would be “lost” or assimilated into the surrounding communities.

Jer 13:24 Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness. 25  This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood.

Eze 5:10 Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.

Neh 1:8 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:

 Zechariah 7:14 “but I scattered them with a storm wind among all the nations whom they have not known Thus the land is desolated behind them so that no one went back and forth, for they made the pleasant land desolate.”

Zechariah 2:6 “Ho there! Flee from the land of the north,” declares the LORD, “for I have dispersed you as the four winds of the heavens,” declares the LORD.

To the corner piece of Israel being represented by sand or dust, we add another corner. It was because of disobedience that God would scatter Israel to the wind, depositing them in other nations, where they would be assimilated. Striking similarities are beginning to emerge between Israel and Sahara sand, are they not?  Because the Sahara dust is not “anchored” to anything (there is no vegetation or live growth), the dust is susceptible to every wind. What is that old adage – If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything? And it was because Israel was no longer anchored in His Word, that they were scattered. How would we have known if Israel were anchored in the Word?  It would have produced “fruit” (vegetation).  Interesting.  The Word produces fruit, and the fruit grounds us to the Word. Hmmmm

You will recall that I mentioned that just 3 days after Sahara rained down on my car, a strong storm system moved through dumping greater than 5” of rain, completely “erasing” all “evidence” of the Sahara. Nonetheless, the Sahara did not return to the wind from whence it came. It remains on this property. Washed into the native sand of this land, it has been “assimilated,”  “disappearing” into the land to which it was scattered by the wind.

And now we’ll add yet another puzzle piece as we continue to assemble the full picture.  It seems that there are scientists who study the trade winds, and particularly the affects of this transport of the African Sahara along the trade winds circuit.  It has been discovered that this Sahara sand brings with it African bacterium and microbes, which are deposited along with the sand. There is evidence that these bacterium can be credited with an uptick in asthma, meningitis, and other respiratory illnesses in the places in which they are deposited. We’ll put this on hold and see if it fits into our puzzle soon.

Perhaps we are about to complete the frame, and discover its relevance to us personally, as we contemplate the following.

Do you consider yourself chosen?  Did YHVH choose you?  Did you become “adopted,” “grafted into Israel” when you chose to join yourself with Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus)? If so, this Sahara Sand lesson is for you, is it not?  I believe Scripture clearly indicates that this is indeed the case.

Rom 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18  Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

Since the Scriptures attest that as believers, we are part of Israel, what might we learn about ourselves by considering the “sand”/”dust” Scriptures cited above, along with what He has revealed in His creation?

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Might we be wise to take warning that when we disobey Torah, we no longer have any anchor? Should we be looking to see if the Word is indeed producing fruit in us? For without an anchor, we, like the desert dust, are then easily swept away by whatever wind is prevailing at the time.

Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Do we hitch a ride on the “trade winds” and find ourselves carried far away from where we want to be?  Do we unwittingly transport with us “bacteria and microbes” that not only make us sick but also those among whom we are planted? In other words, can we infect others with Torah disobedience?  Have we disappeared into the surrounding nations and now look no different than they do? Something to consider!

Ahhh, the Oklahoma Sahara; a lesson in the effects of disobedience.

Perhaps the next time you wake to find that it has again rained Sahara where you live, you will contemplate the truth of what happens when we separate ourselves from Torah and are scattered to the winds.

And, may it be our prayer, that, though we be scattered at times without our Torah anchor, He will one day gather us together as we return to Him and His good and perfect teachings and instructions.

Deu 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 2  And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 3  That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 4  If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5  And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6  And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

May we all be gathered again to Him, from wherever we have been scattered, soon and in our days.

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Hiding Place

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Well, a lot has transpired since I last posted on March 2. I will attempt to make a short story of a long ordeal.

In 54 cents, I told you of having a floater, and then floaters, in the right eye. The next day after that posting, I had a large “storm system” move in over the left eye, which looked like a line of dark swirly clouds moving across a large area of the eye. Back to the doctor. More exams and more instructions on what to look for regarding a retinal detachment.

As the days went on, I no longer saw the floater in the right eye and this was encouraging. The large one in the left eye seemed more stubborn, however. Then last Friday, March 10th, right after work, I did suffer the dreaded retinal detachment.  This required a visit to the local emergency room where ultrasound confirmed the detachment and I was instructed to go to Oklahoma City 100 miles away, to meet a retinal specialist in the ER there.  Another exam (by this time it’s 1:00 a.m.), and instructions to meet a retinal surgeon at 8:00 a.m. at Dean McGee.  It was close to 3:00 a.m. when we (my daughter, sister, brother-in-law and I) got settled into a hotel for a few hours sleep.

After seeing Dr. Shah and Dr. Shuqula from Dean McGee, it was determined that the surgery would take place on Monday morning at 7:00 a.m.. Surgery was uneventful and a gas bubble was placed into the eye to hold the retina down until it could adhere to the back of the eye; a process which could take 4-6 weeks.   After surgery, I had to remain face down with a special face down cushion until I saw the doc again at 3:30 that afternoon, who released me to go home to see him again in a week.

The first couple of days were painful with the sensation of ground glass in the eye, but by Wednesday I felt good enough to try to go to work for a few hours. I was able to stay for 5 hours before the eye began feeling strained and I went home and to bed. But the next morning  I awakened feeling extremely nauseated.  I went on to work, but by two hours in, the nausea was worsening and I returned home and to bed. It wasn’t until around 3:00 that afternoon, with nausea still worsening, that I checked my postop instructions and found that nausea was reason to call my surgeon’s office.

I was urged to go to an optometrist immediately and have the pressure checked in the affected eye and report back to the surgeon’s office. Someone drove me there, and the pressure was found to be 48 (normal range 6-21). They began administering drops every 5 minutes and kept me there for approximately 2 hours. They spoke to Dr. Shah, who gave instructions that if I was not doing much better by morning, I should come back to see him.

My daughter stayed with me until around 11:00 p.m., administering drops every 5 minutes. I barely woke up when she did. The next morning, very little had changed, and Dr. Shah’s office called and said they needed to see me. After a very uncomfortable 100 mile ride, Dr. Shah needle aspirated some of the gas from my eye and I received immediate relief. The pressure went down to 14 and he was pleased. 2 hours later, it was 27, and 2 hours after that, 27 again.  Unless I have another emergency in the meantime, I will see him again on Monday.

Now this is a very short version of all that has been going on. And here is where all of this intersects with the title of this blog post, Hiding Place.  You see, just by happenstance (if you believe in such a thing), a few days before all of this began, I just “happened” to run across a site on which a CD, Lead Me To The Rock,  was advertised to help memorize Psalms set to music, and I ordered and quickly received it.  Now, even though it is perhaps not a polished, studio produced CD, I think it is lovely.  The melodies are simple and beautiful, which lends well to memorizing the psalms.  The selections of Psalms are lengthier than on most memorization CDs, and I think Kelly Crawford’s voice is lovely.  And then on the last track, a surprise! Kelly had included an original song of her own. Although not one of the Psalms of David that we know and love, it nonetheless held Scripture sentiments that fed my soul and would be greatly needed in just a few days, though I did not at that time know it. There is not one word or one note of I Will Trust In You that I do not love. Truly, as Kelly says in the song, He is our Hiding Place with Sufficient Grace.

 

Psa 32:7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

And all through this ordeal, it has played over again and again through my mind, spirit, soul, and heart, along with other psalms that Kelly had helped me memorize through her CD.

It’s like He knew! Again, He had gone before me to prepare me for something I had no idea was in the future!

If the Creator, Who designed sight in the first place, brings me to your mind in the coming days and weeks, I would ask that you enter the Throne Room with these requests. Please ask the Owner of all, for His good and perfect will; nothing less, nothing else. It occurs to me that in these last 3 weeks before Pesach (Passover), as we are to be ridding our homes, our lives, and our hearts of leaven (sin and false doctrine) that perhaps He desires to remove some floaters from my spiritual eyes and do some work that is far more important than giving me physical 20/20 vision.  20/20 vision, in comparison to 20/20 spiritual vision would be “less” than what He desires for me. So I would ask you to request from Him nothing less than His best for me in this and all situations. For it is my desire, to in all things, trust in Him.

Below, you can listen to I Will Trust In You, and lyrics are provided as well. I hope it blesses you as it has me.

 

I STAND

AT THE RED SEA

WAITING

DO YOU SEE ME?

 

FEAR GRIPS

 MY FAINT HEART

IF I STEP IN

WILL THE WATERS PART?

 

I NEED COURAGE

TO WALK ACROSS ON DRY LAND

REMIND ME THAT THE WAVES ARE HELD BACK

BY YOUR HAND

 

CHORUS

I WILL TRUST IN YOU, O GOD

NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU’VE DONE

BUT BECAUSE OF WHO YOU ARE

 

MY HIDING PLACE

SUFFICIENT GRACE

NO MATTER WHAT YOU’VE ASKED ME TO GO THROUGH

I’LL TRUST IN YOU.

 

I HEAR

STRETCHED ACROSS TIME

JOB’S CRIES

ASKING WHY, WHY

 

HE KNEW

JUST AS I DO

THAT IN ALL THINGS

YOUR LOVE IS TRUE

 

BUT WHAT I KNOW

IS DIFFERENT FROM WHAT I FEEL

GIVE ME THE FAITH TO TELL MY SOUL

TO BE STILL AND KNOW

 

CHORUS

I WILL TRUST IN YOU, O GOD

NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU’VE DONE

BUT BECAUSE OF WHO YOU ARE

 

MY HIDING PLACE

SUFFICIENT GRACE

NO MATTER WHAT YOU’VE ASKED ME TO GO THROUGH

I’LL TRUST IN YOU

 

YOU HOLD MY LIFE IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND

TRUSTING YOU IS ONLY TRUSTING YOU

EVEN IF I

DON’T UNDERSTAND

 

I WILL TRUST IN YOU, O GOD

NOT BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU’VE DONE

BUT BECAUSE OF WHO YOU ARE

 

MY HIDING PLACE

SUFFICIENT GRACE

NO MATTER WHAT YOU’VE ASKED ME TO GO THROUGH

I’LL TRUST IN YOU

 

 

 

 

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