Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Parshah- Judah and Tamar

Last night I read my son the story of Judah and Tamar. We are a little behind in our reading and I thought I would skip this one due to its "graphic" content. I decided not to because Judah and specifically Tamar are mentioned in the New Testament and are Jesus' ancestors. Again there is more sex and death and my son by now is immune. (I survived explaining Hagar, and all of Jacob's 4 wives and children, I can handle Tamar). I obviously skipped some very graphic parts and mentioned Onan's mishaps as just "he didn't obey God". But the wonderful part of last nights parshah was that my son couldn't believe that Judah and Tamar were Jesus' ancestors. He couldn't believe that another sneaky person was related to Jesus. It's been a blessing reading to him these other stories that are not so popular. But this again points out that we can have some really messed up relatives, but still have a chance to not be such screwups.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Learning Hebrew

I have decided to learn Hebrew. I prayed about a language to learn. My life is not so complicated right now, but I find a peace learning how to express what I feel in other languages. I think its amazing that there are so many different languages out there and so many more dialects, and it all started at Babel. I sometimes switch praying from English to Spanish to Portuguese and now Hebrew. There is a deepness I feel knowing that my Jesus understands all, and even more of a profoundness when I recite blessings in Hebrew. Saying the Lord's Prayer in Hebrew at first sounded so foreign (naah DUHH), but slowly is becoming more familiar. But I wanted to share something I learned in my studies. I am practicing how to write the alphabet and in studying the first letter "ALEPH" I learned something remarkable. You see, every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a meaning and a purpose and a story. The first letter represent God. God being the first of everything and being Supreme above all else. And the letter itself is given a number (gematria). The number for ALEPH is 1. Again symbolizing God being the one and only ALMIGHTY. Well in the Bible we are all familiar with Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. In the Hebrew it is written more like "In the beginning created God the Heavens and the Earth. Well the word for "created" is the Hebrew word "bara". So you have: "In the beginning "bara"... ". Well the word "bara" can be broken down to " bar a". The word "bar" is the word used for "son of". So translated would be "In the beginning son of "a"". Again the letter "A" represent God, "In the beginning Son of God". JESUS. He's there in the first verse of the Bible! My Jesus, my savior. Hebrew is very difficult, but Hebrew letters are not just drawings that indicate a sound, they are individual and each have a history and a meaning, not just a sound. They also hold a numeric value that also means something in itself. I am discovering a new depth to my Lord that I never knew existed. I am so honored to be his child and be included in His inheritance.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

God's Calculator

I was listening to a pastor yesterday and a phrase he used made my little mind whirl. He said, ". . .  and using God's calculator . . .". I don't remember what context he was using it in, but I do remember it grasping my attention. I thought long and hard and realized that according to our standards, God's calculator doesn't add up. Math is logic. 2 + 2 will always equal 4. No matter what mood I am in, the answer stays the same. Even if all the two's in the worlds are racist, misogynistic, bigots! 2 + 2 = 4. Even if I don't like the answer. You get the point.Although there are definitely absolutes in the Bible, there are also many "formulas" that don't add up. Here are some that I noted and had fun researching:

1 > 99
Matthew 18:12-14
Here Jesus uses normal life to describe how God is willing to sacrifice security for his sheep to rescue a pesky one. He leaves a whole herd of 99 sheep to look for a sheep that may already be dead. It doesn't make sense to endanger so many for the cost of one. But He does and it makes perfect sense to Him. Not Logical

$10.00/day is equal to $10.00/hour
Matthew 20:1-16 
Here  all workers get paid the same regardless of how much time they worked. Sounds communist to me! This goes against all that is AMERICAN! Is what I want to shout when I read this parable. That's not fair. I would be so angry if I was one of the ones hired in the morning. But the owner says, it's his money, he could do what he wants with it. True, but it's still unfair. No industry would survive if it paid out like that to workers that worked 1/8th of the allotted time and where paid 100% of an 8 hour day.No logic

First is Last and the Last is First
Matthew 19:30 
THe attractive ones, the ones always on top, the ones with all the money, the ones we want to be our friends. Those are the Last. The poor, the ugly, the humble, the starved, the ones that can't get it together. Those will be First. I want to be first in Heaven, but I dont want people not to like me. I heck as don't want to be last in Heaven, but I want to be loved by all.

A Stuttering Man Communicates God's Laws
Exodus 4
Out of all the men that God could have chosen to communicate to Pharaoh, to communicate his Law to a people, to communicate His order, He picks Moses, a man with a speech impairment. A man who KNOWS he has a speech problem. (Some people like to hear themselves speak and don't realize how annoying they are). Doesn't Make Sense, I would have chosen someone like, "Hmmm whose a good orator and full of hot air, maybe Barack Obama! ha ha ha JUUUUSSST KIDDDING! BUt Moses wouldn't have been my first choice.

In so many instances God/Jesus uses the lowliest, the ugliest, the smallest to make His point. It doesn't matter where you came from, it doesnt matter what you've done or continue to do, it doesnt matter if you're one of the pesky ones that endangers the rest. God is willing to do the illogical to show just  how much he cares for you. God's calculator doesn't add up, and thank God for us that it doesn't. Because sin + unrepentance = HELL!!!! And I fit in the first part of the formula, but not the second. Here's another formula God uses:
sin(to the nth degree) + forgiveness = REDEMPTION. It doesn't matter how big my sin is, it doesn't matter if I have hated Him all my life. If I ask for forgiveness and mean it, I am redeemed. Whether anyone else likes it or not. Whether someone screams: THAT'S NOT FAIR!
Grace doesnt make sense, that's the beauty of it. Sometimes God doesnt either, that's the beauty of Him. Like John the Baptist screamed: He can turn any of these stone to Abraham's children!But He wont because He'd rather go through the grime of sin, be nailed to a cross and enter the darkness of our heats and minds than give up on us. He is also willing to use the one who are thought useless and showing His power through them. How many broken bodies and broken hearts has our Lord used to bring healing. How much hope has our Lord brought by using those who were hopeless. How much love has our Lord brough by using those who were hated. If your life is unorganized, if it's out of control, if you can't continue another day, PRAISE ALMIGHTY JESUS - YOU are what God is looking for. In weakness on He finds Strength. In Darkness, He finds LIght. In Despair, He finds Hope. In Lost, He finds YOU.

I am thankful His calculator is "faulty". I would be in Hell and you probably would be too if it "worked".

Today's Children Devotional: Circumsicion, Homosexuality, Beatings and Polygamy

I found some interesting stuff on the Jewish Calendar. I remember receiving a post from Desirae saying taht she had spent the night outside in honor of Sukkot. Well I looked that up and felt like I should have done that with my family and really regretted not doing the same. (THanks Desirae for opening a new world to me yet again!) So I found there what is called a PARSHAH which basically is a section of scripture that is read a loud or with the family. So I decided to do that with Rami. We light a candle every night to remember that God provided a light for the Israelites at night during the wilderness, and we have added onto that remembering taht WE are to be a LIGHT to this dark world.

So last week was the week we read the Cheved which included the story of Sarai beating Hagar, Abram taking a second wife Hagar and the explanation of circumcision. Yeah Rami was wide-eyes the whole time and winced when I described what circumsicion was. He felt violated because HE was circumcized as a baby and was a bit upset with me that I had done taht to him. He also couldn't believe Abram could marry someone else AT THE SAME time as being already married. And how could SARAI beat up HAGAR when it was Sarai's idea in the first place. He also was astonished that God's people had SLAVES. HOW COULD THEY! HOW MEAN! So here I was reading the Bible. ANd Rami is just jaw-dropped. We then read about ABRAM hacking 3 animals in half as an offering to God and just killing the doves. Rami couldn't believe that people could be so cruel to animals. He's like "Its not even food for them, they just kill it.". I explained that killing an animal and spilling it's blood was necessary to cover for the sins.  I gave him an example. I said, "Well sweetie, if you lied you would have to go buy a dove and take it to the pastor(priest I know, but i tried to keep it simple for him) The pastor would then slit its throat and spill its blood on an altar. The dove had to die because of your sins." Rami was shocked. He said "Well I would sin less if that had to be done!" I couldn't help but laugh. But I then explained to him that we don't have to do that anymore. That JEsus sacrificed himself to pay for our sins once and for all. "So Jesus saved a bunch of animals also besides us then, right mom?" Rami then said. It was pretty awesome teaching him that. I also tried explaining the circumsicion of the heart, but he said it hurt to much and he didn't want to hear anymore. HE had had enought blood, guts, beatings and foreskin for a day! But Rami got it, he saw Abram in his mind, sacrificing an animal to cover his sin, and the next picture was JEsus sacrificing himself for our sins. Jesus is all over the Old Testament!

In our culture we tend to stay away from these stories in the Bible. We want to "beautify" God's word and tell of only the pretty stories. BUt there is a lot of other stuff in there that might paint a clearer picture to our children and what Jesus did for them. The BIble isn't pretty and neither is Christianity. We want to keep our children innocent. That they are too young to hear about slaves being beat and a man taking two wives. But at the same time, our society is beating stuff into them.

This week is Vayeira week. It covers the 3 visitors, Sodom and Gomorrah and Lots daughters. AHHHH. I didn't want to do this one. Because of all the homosexuality in it. Rami "knows" a couple of teens that are "gay". So in my mind I know he is going to ask about them and their sin. The whole world is telling Rami that being GAY IS OKAY! And here I am afraid of reading him a story about just how much God hates homosexuality as a sin.So much that he destroyed two cities because of it. I am afraid he might see a gay person and say "HEY! GOD says you're not supposed to be gay. Haven't you heard of Sodom and Gomorrah!!!" But God bless him if he does. I am so afraid he might offend someone or stand up in school and say ITS WRONG!" To HELL with my fear! Homosexuality is WRONG, but I wont tell anyone who is gay that because I might hurt their feelings! When did I become such a wimp? I am going to read this story to my son, because if I dont feed him God's truth, someone else will feed him the truth of this world.

I will keep you posted on how it goes!

For more info on these awesome practices go to

Thursday, October 14, 2010

To sever or Not sever a Spinal Cord - That is the question.

In Saudia Arabia right now there is a debate on whether to sever a man's spinal cord - paralysing him - because he fought with a man and in beating him so prefusely he paralysed that man. So now the courts are trying to decide whether they can medically paralyse this man on trial.  Previously, a dentist removed teeth from a man that broke another man's teeth (no anesthetics of course!) and blind people who blind other people. Basically an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth - LITERALLY! Reading about this scares the heck out of me! But seeing these countries and their strict laws gives us a glimpse of Biblical times. I mean, it's in our Bible what to do with rowdy drunkards, unruly children, slutty adulterers, witches, slaves, thieves, even gay people. :o) Morality is something that you either get or you get it beat into you. Can you imagine a man in the US getting a bit tipsy then getting into a fight with another guy and he accidentally knocks his teeth while the other guy retaliates and breaks the tipsy guys hand? Then after they have healed they go to court and here comes a dentist with some pliers and a man with a hammer. The dentis pulls the tipsy guys teeth and the other guy gets his hand broken with a hammer. I wonder if they would learn their lesson? Hmmmm.
There is a moral police in these Arab countries. To watch for immorality or misbehavior. But what about here? In the US, where morality is slowly deteriorating. In our efforts to avoid pain and our sheer terror of anything resembling Sharia (Muslim) law; we have become immoral. Why is fear of pain attached to immorality? Because we believe that as long we don't hurt anyone physically we can do whatever we want. Pornography is okay as long as it doesn't hurt a child. Homosexuality is okay as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Even if you torture, rape, and then kill a child we as Americans will make sure the execution is as painless as falling asleep. That is only IF you aren't insane. As a married woman in the US, I can dress how I want, commit adultery all I want, say what I want and never set foot in jail, unless I hit my husband. So why care about morality, or about God's rules.
Man's sense of morality takes into account the pain caused to the physical body or to money (theft, fraud, etc) Things that are tangible. Basically what we can't take to Heaven. God's sense of morality takes into account the spiritual body and our character.
Do I think that we should implement an eye for an eye? No. We are no longer under that law, but our sense of morality MUST come from His Word. No matter how unpopular it is.
A teen once told me that you should be able to marry anyone you want as long as you loved them. She was defending gay rights. I told her, "Well what if I love a 12 year old boy and he loves me. Can I marry him?" She said, "Eww gross! That would be wrong!" and I said "According to whom." She said "Well that's different." No its not! Man will always slime his way through muck to get away with more disgusting things. He will sink more and more into a decay until he can reach complete immorality. It's in God's Word that were we find our moral standard no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it may be. No matter whose feelings we hurt, no matter if it causes pain. Anything less leads us to a path towards Sodom and Gomorrah. Anything more leads us to Saudia Arabia and it's courts.

 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. ~ Psalm 19:7-8

I Have a Gift - It's Death

I lost my grandfather to prostate cancer almost 5 years ago. I remember seeing him in his bed and remembering his groans of pain at night when he had to use the restroom and his cries for the pain to go away. It was so saddening and all I could do was just watch. I read him Scripture while he lied there and he constantly asked me if he was going to Heaven. I would pat his head and said that he was as long as Jesus was inside. I remember watching him sleep and praying, "God! Please take him already! Please!" He was in so much pain and turmoil and I couldn't bare it anymore. I wanted death to come. I wanted sweet death to take him! It did a couple of days later. All of us sighed a sigh of relief. I even felt a little guilty for praying for his death. I felt guilty for having a sense of happiness that he wasn't hurting anymore.
When we see a love one in chronic pain we sometimes may wish for death to come. If you have ever had a moment when life was at its darkest and all was hopeless, how many of us prayed for death to come and take us. (Thankfully God didn't answer THAT prayer!) When pain, hopelessness, trials or tribulations overtake us, we see death as a savior. A savior that will transport us from this world to the next. But last night as I read two different books. Two things stood out to me.
First, in Song of Solomon, Shulamith says: "for love is as strong as death, passion fierce as the grave". Those are pretty intense words from her. Death will happen to us all, but does love? The grave takes everyone into her shawdowy arms and embraces and never lets go.
The second thing that I read was from a book written by Ken Ham called "The Lie - Evolution" in it, he calls death a gift from God. At first I thought he was going to talk about death freeing us from pain, but he added upon that. With physical death, God provided a way for us to go back  to Him.
 How many movies have we seen were the immortal vampire speak of their immortality as a burden, because of having to say goodbye to all their loved ones and having to see so many wars, death and the inhumanities done by man. In the new Clash of the Titans, Perseus' guide Io says she was "cursed with immortality". Perseus scoffs at her a bit and she reminds him of the pain he felt after losing his family. He gets her point.
Ken Ham does exceptionally well in saying that God in his eternal love for us didn't want us to be separated from Him eternally. Sin and God cannot coexist. That is why our flesh will not make it to Heaven, so God gave us the gift of death so we can one day leave this broken world and be reunited with our Lord, perfect and without blemish. And we will see those we love up there. Another gift that God has given us.
Only with death do we learn to love life. Only with death do we have a hope that all will be made better. Only with death, was Jesus able to provide salvation. Only with death, will we see our Creator face to face.
With Christians, death is not a taker, but a giver of so much more that we will either be dumbfounded or will not help ourselves but to praise Him incessantly. The primitive church saw death as the happiest occasion for a Christian. Thus their funerals were filled with cries of joy and even a bit of envy that their fellow Christian was now with the Lord. Can you imagine a pep-rally at a funeral?
At the end "death" will be conquered forever by our Lord Jesus Christ but until then, it is all we have as a catalyst to leave this world and enter the arms of our Savior. Now that's an embrace I don't mind!

The Ugliness of Forgiveness

Forgiving isn't fair. It hurts, it's hard and leaves you vulnerable. Usually after I forgive, I feel like the loser, like the quitter, like the one who got the bad end of a deal. It's just not fair. Someone hurt ME, violated MY feelings, hurt MY body, MY mind, MY emotions, MY spirit. Why should I forgive? I have heard so many say that forgiveness sets you free, but I don't feel that way. It feels more like I traded in a thorn in the flesh for a rusty nail. I don't feel liberated or a sense of relief. On the contrary, I feel ensnared and a sense of fear (will they hurt me again now that I've forgiven them?) At least with my grudge I felt I had a sense of control. But God is clear, forgive or I won't forgive you.And forgiving ourselves is equally as hard.  But I believe in our human way of trying to make everything less painful or even advantageous we have tried to make forgiveness the same way. In other words, we try to get something out of it for OUR benefit. We try to get a good feeling out of something that wasnt made to make you feel good in the first place. When Jesus forgave his tormentors (us included), He was naked, drenched in blood, sweat and tears; hammered to a piece of wood. That ability to grant us forgiveness was the ugliest thing ever recorded by man. The innocent Son of God entered this earth bloody and crying and died the same way. He was tortured, stripped and nailed to a cross for all to see his shame and through that wretched body, because of his blood we are forgiven. Through the violent sacrifice of a human being we can now receive forgiveness. We are forgiven, but what about the forgiver? What did it cost Him? What do we expect it to cost us? How did it feel for Him? How do we expect it to feel for us? Forgiving isn't fair and neither was the cross. Forgiving hurts and so did the cross. We don't want to forgive, but neither did Jesus want to take up the cross that enabled us to receive that forgivenes. "It's not fair, it's going to hurt, theyre the ones that did Us wrong, they're the ones that hurt Us, and they will do it again." Can you hear the tempting thoughts circulating in Jesus' head that night in Gethsemane. For hours He prayed and asked a very human question: "Is there another way?" No. "Then not My will, but Yours." He did it because God said so. Jesus was the loser that Friday. He got the bad end of the deal. But Sunday came. Jesus forever broke the chains of death, but those same chains can encoil us slowly when we refuse to forgive a wrong done to us or others. They harm no other more than ourselves and seperate us from God. Is forgiving not fair? It usually is. Will I get hurt again? Probably. Am I going to feel like a loser? Oh yeah. Is forgiving going to hurt? Most likely,  but it also did for Jesus. And like Jesus, forgiving will make you feel naked, exposed and even vulnerable, but only in nakedness is God's covering needed the most. Only through the pain of a cross could we receive forgiveness. Only through the pain of forgiveness could we receive salvation. And only through forgiving others are we most like Jesus. There is no other way but to grit one's teeth and say "not my will, but Yours.