Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Miracle of the Toys

I am pondering...the miracle of the toys.
Ma'gen Da'vid Synagogue had purchased Christmas toys this week for a family with three children.   Their mom and dad recently lost their jobs and couldn't afford much this Christmas.
Friday night at the Shabbat service a stranger came in and asked if there were any children we knew of who needed toys for Christmas.  Rabbi Jem said, "We sure do!"
The man was the manager of Walgreens. They had collected toys for children and deliveries had already been made, when someone dropped off another big bag of toys. He drove by our building, saw the cars, and just decided to ask if we knew of a need. 
What a blessing the children received.  It reminded me of the miracle of the holy oil for the first Hanukkah menorah, and also of the miracle of the loaves and fishes blessed by Yeshua.  G-d multiplied what we had, and those little children received huge bags full of toys on Christmas morning.
I am continually amazed by The Father's ability to do above what we can ask or think, and of His miracle-working power at work today.
Blessings to you all, dear readers, and I pray you have joy this Christmas.  
 
I'm linking up with Charlotte's Spiritual Sundays

Friday, December 23, 2011

Daybook for Hanukkah


FOR TODAY
Outside my window...  beautiful sunshine, swaying palm trees, birds singing

I am thinking...about our Chanukkah party tonight

I am thankful...that my mom is nearby

From the learning rooms...(if this applies) 

In the kitchen...Cream cheese ( I can't seem to buy enough .....) for the dip I just made, for the salmon sandwiches, and  fresh-baked cookies and brownies

I am wearing...a sleeveless tank top and jeans, no shoes 'cause it is HOT (in the 80's)

I am creating...gift bags for the children for the party tonight

I am going...to decorate the hall in an hour

I am wondering... how many children will be there tonight

I am reading...decorating blogs to relax for a few minutes

I am hoping...Mama will be able to come here on Sunday for Christmas

I am looking forward to...attending a candle-light service on Christmas Eve

I am hearing...the strangest Christmas song I've ever heard "Take the Long Way Around the Sea..."

Around the house...many, many Chanukkah menorahs to celebrate Yeshua as the Light of the World!

I am pondering...that song I just mentioned...very deep

One of my favorite things...Latkes! 

A few plans for the rest of the week:  lots of business to take care of for Mama

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Light of Hanukkah

Glowing candles light my grandson's face and dance in his eyes as we light the Hanukkah menorah.   He won't remember his first mennorah lighting, but I will.  We're making memories that will connect him to his family and to Hashem.  

I love the symbols of Judaism because they are  powerfully sensory and serve to help us understand spiritual concepts.  I've read that children most effectively when they use all of their senses.  Chanukkah (and all of the Feasts and Festivals really) are rich in sensory learning:

Placing and lighting the candles - the sense of touch
The burning lights - the sense of sight and smell
The prayers and songs - the sense of sound
The chocolate gelt - the sense of taste
And last, playing dreidyl - teaches Hebrew!!!

Hanukkah teaches several spiritual lessons other than the history of the rededication of the Holy Temple by the Maccabees. My post Yeshua is the Light of Chanukkah gives that history and my post Christmas - Unplugged  tells how I celebrate the holidays together.

The term Hanukkah is from the Hebrew root word hanakh, which means "to initiate, to dedicate, to narrow, to educate".  When one dedicates, he narrows the use of something and restricts it within specific parameters.  He also gives it limited use.   The Hanukkah menorah is only used once a year during the eight-day period of the holiday celebration.  It has eight branches, as compared to  the usual seven-branched menorah.  It is different and it is special.  The candles are different also, because they are multi-colored as compared to the normal white candles.

The symbolism of the Hanukkah celebration reminds us to yearly rededicate ourselves to be vessals for the holy oil of the Spirit.  We are reminded to be set apart from the world, unique, different so as to be remarkable to others.  The bright and shining light of the candles reminds us to bring light (truth) to the world.

The holy oil required for the Hanukkah menorah reminds us that we are to be holy.  G-d really, really does want us to obey Him.  Love and obedience are hallmarks of the believer.  We are to love G-d and others.   are to obey G-d,  and share His teachings with others.  The scriptures say:

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.  

G-d is not all about love; He is about truth, too.  Yeshua said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments".  What commandments was He talking about?  The ones in the Old Testament.  Yes, our Savior Jesus, is the same G-d of the Old Testament.  He also said, "I have not come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it." 

Hashem required that the oil in the menorah be holy.  There was only enough oil for the light to burn for one day. It would take seven days to purify more oil.   Hashem performed a miracle by making that small amount of oil last for seven more days.  This miracle teaches us that depending on His power, we can meet the requirements of his commandments for purity and holiness.  His power can accomplish what He requires.  The Maccabees committed what they had to Hashem, and He did the rest.

The lessons and the joy of Hanukkah are for our good and for our blessings.  It is a holiday and a celebration that teaches us about, and draws us closer to G-d.  A much better lesson than Santa Claus (a lie told to children), don't you think? Holiness and dedication to Hashem and His ways are the way to happiness and blessings.  That truth is symbolized by the Tree of Life, another spiritual lesson of Judaism.  But that is a lesson for another day.

I hope you will take the time to be still and listen to this song about Yeshua - the Light Of The World and worship Him. 






Learn how we combine Chanukah wtih a celebration of Yeshua's birth: Christmas Unplugged

I'm sharing over at Spiritual Sundays   
and over at
http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/




Thursday, November 24, 2011

Every Day is Precious

My Mama holding a plaque I made for her a while back.
It says "the heart that gives gathers".
  She has always been a very giving person.

(This is a repeat of my post from last Thanksgiving with an update on my Mama at the end)

As I've spent many hours by Mama's bedside over the last month, I've remembered all the things I'm thankful for about her, especially this week, as Thanksgiving approaches. 

My mother is known far and wide as a wonderful cook.  Holidays in the past always brought out her famous Southern pecan pie, which I remember well. (I stopped eating sugar over five years ago, but I can still remember how good it was.)

On Thanksgiving and Christmas, she always cooked a turkey with dressing and giblet gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top (Daddy's favorite), turnip greens and roots (my favorite), potato salad (her granddaughter Melissa's favorite), and broccoli casserole (her granddaughter Amanda's favorite). 


I never understood what a sacrifice it was to make meals like that until I had to start doing it myself.  As Mama grew older, she let us bring some of the special dishes, and then finally gave up cooking all together. 


I'll never forget the year I had to make the holiday dinner all by myself.  I spent hours shopping, then peeling, chopping, stirring, and fussing over all of those favorite dishes.  Wow - it was WORK, and my feet and legs were killing me!!!  I realized then what a labor of love those many years of holiday dinners were. 

This year, Mama will spend Thanksgiving in the nursing home, and it breaks my heart to think about it.  Their food is good, but it's nothing like my Mama's.  We'll eat it together, but it sure won't be the same.  So, if you still have your Mama cooking for you, don't take it for granted.  Thank her for all the hours she has spent in the past to make your holidays special.  It's a gift of love and something to be very thankful for.

Update:  Mama  is now in a nursing home near our home.  She has dementia.  I cooked the meal today using all of her old recipes, and we brought Mama here for dinner.  She ate two plates of food and two pieces of pie.  (I think she's forgotten about watching her girlish figure as she is fond of saying)  We enjoyed my daughter Amanda, her husband William and my grandson Jonathan being with us for the day.
It was a joy to be together because Every Day Is Precious!  I have a plaque on my home with this saying, and I believe it with all my heart.

I'm sharing this over at Spiritual Sundays

Monday, November 7, 2011

Simchat Torah

The Torah - source Wikipedia

The last festival of the fall season is Simchat Torah.  Although it is not listed as one of the seven feasts and festivals in Leviticus, a tradition has developed over many years to observe the holiday seven days after
Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).  On Simchat Torah, the Rabbi and congregation (who are able) spend all night long studying and celebrating Torah.*

The Torah begins with the letter Bet and ends with the letter Lammed. Put the two letters together and you have LEV- לב, which means "heart." The Torah is an expression of G-d's heart and a demonstration of His great love towards all of creation. By studying it we can look into and understand the “heart” of G-d. Our Messiah Yeshua studied Torah and said: 

"Do not think I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets.  I have not come to abolish, but to complete.  Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a tittle will pass from the Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened. (Matthew 5:17-18)

Fifteen years ago, I took these words to heart and began to study the Torah.  I wanted wisdom more than anything on this earth.  My study led me to Messianic Judaism, and to my own personal rabbi to whom I've been married for almost six years now.  I can testify that studying Torah has changed my life for the better.  I understand G-d more than I did 10 years ago.  My life is full of peace.  I never imagined I would continue to learn more every year as I study Torah through, but it always happens.  His Word is alive and gives life!  Halelu et Adonai!
 
Simchat Torah fell on Shabbat this year, so after oneg, the event began with parading the Torah scroll.  The looks on the faces of those carrying the scroll are priceless.  (see below)  We realize that carrying Torah is a very tangible expression of the fact that we "carry" Torah with us wherever we go.  As the Torah is paraded, people follow along behind, dancing and praising G-d.  It is a joyous time.  While they follow along, they keep their eyes on the Torah at all times...another tangible lesson about how important it is to never turn our backs on G-d's Word.  

Rabbi Jem and I were very excited that 19 people decided to spend all night studying the Torah this year.  He had a quiz prepared to find out how much everyone knew about the Torah, and several studies.  These alternated with eating, drinking, and dancing.   Yes, we love to dance.  Several of the men did the bottle dance from Fiddler on The Roof.  So much fun to watch those guys try to out do each other.  (I'm so sorry I didn't get pictures of this.) 

Of the 19 people who stayed, 14 made it through until daybreak.  After the all-night Torah study, the Rabbi led the remaining faithful to the local diner for breakfast.  Sad to say, I was not one of the remaining faithful (although I did join them for breakfast).  I had to leave about 11:00.  A night owl, I am not.  Maybe next year if I take a good long nap that day.  Those who stayed were jubilant and very glad they stayed because they learned so much and had a great time together.  They all agreed they would do it again next year. 
That's me joyfully carrying Torah! 


Harry carrying Torah
Big Jim dancing with joy! 

Will lifting up Torah with joy!

What joy we realize as we meditate on the fact that G-d has preserved His Holy Word over thousands of years.  Yes, He left an instruction book, penned with His own hand.  In future posts, I will tell about the joys and blessings of studying Torah.  

* The Torah consists of the first five books of the Old Testament:  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  These are the books given to Moses.  These words have been carefully preserved, revered, and cherished by the Jewish people for thousands of years.


I'm linking up with Spiritual Sundays 


Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!


Also linking up to Brag on G-d Fridays




Saturday, October 15, 2011

Reflections on the High Holy Days - Part 3 of 3

Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot is a time of joy and happiness as we eat our meals outside, sing, dance, and reflect on the blessings of being His children.  It is my favorite time of year.

In Leviticus 23:33 - 44, The L-rd commands us to observe this Feast in remembrance of  the wilderness experience of the children of Israel.  Sukkot in Hebrew means "booths".   During this Feast, we reflect on the 40 year journey of the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land.  Most people think they lived in tents during the journey, but actually, they built shelters of tree trunks and branches, called booths.

Today, it is customary to build a sukkah in the back yard, to decorate it with fruits and vegetables, and then to dwell in it for seven days. We (the Goldens) don't live in it, but we do eat meals there in the evening.   At night, as we look through the leaves and branches above us and observe the moon and stars, we remember G-d's protection of the Israelites and are reminded it is He who provides for and protects us even today.


I'll never forget my first Sukkot, where I attended a re-enactment of the New Testament passage from  John 7. Yeshua was at the Temple in observance of  the Feast of Tabernacles.  On the last day, the kohen (priest) poured water, while praying for G-d to bless the land with rain.  As this ceremony was being performed, Yeshua stepped forward and announced, "If anyone is thirsty, let him keep coming to me and drink.  Whoever puts his trust in me, as the Scripture says, rivers of living water will flow from his innermost being"  In effect, Yeshua was declaring himself to be the "Living Water".  Imagine the shock of those who heard these words.

How true these words are in the lives of those who know Him.  That blessed spring wells up and flows forth, refreshing the spirit, not only of the believer, but of those who hear and see the effect the Living Water produces in our lives.  Yeshua satisfies our thirst and gives us peace.



Another tradition of the Feast of Tabernacles each year is the waving of the lulav.  The branches of the palm, myrtle and olive are bound together with the citron.  The lulav is then waved to the north, south, east and west as a reminder of G-d's sovereignty over all the earth. He is above, below, and all around us.   He is our source, our provider in all things.  This is a wonderful reminder each year, and especially so in this time of economic uncertainty.   How thankful I am to be His child and for his provision.

This year, we celebrated my birthday along with Sukkot.  It was indeed a joyous day for me as I was blessed to celebrate with my Ma'gen Da'vid Synagogue family.  They showered me with gifts for my garden, and indulged my addiction to anything to do with birds.  I received several bird houses and a beautiful bird bath.  I thought I would share some pictures from our combined celebration this year.

The succah - decorated with palm and pine branches, fruits, vegies, and flowers.

hanging the decorations

listening to Rabbi - isn't the sunset beautiful?

some of Ma'gen Da'vid congregation in front of the succah

celebrating my birthday

Cody waving the lulav.


 




Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yom Kippur 5772

Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) will  begin this evening at sundown.  This High Holy Day is a time of reflection, repentance, and rejoicing in the grace of G-d.   I hope you will read my post from last year about Yom Kippur  to understand this holy day better. 

The end of the Ten Days of Awe will be sealed with our Yom Kippur service.  During that service, we will listen to the  Avinu Malkeinu and The Kol Neidre.

I want to share these songs with you, and after you listen to them, I will share some thoughts as we go into this holy day.

Avinu Malkeinu  is a song/prayer asking G-d's blessings on the year ahead.  The tone is somber because we have come to the service with awareness of our sins. 


The Kol Neidre is even more somber, and is about sorrow for our sins, and the forgiveness of G-d.  The tone of the song is sad, because we have sinned, and we have grieved our Father.  The Moroccan version of the song is so beautiful.  I could not get Blogger to upload the video, but you can listen to it at the following link: (The images in this video are of Moroccan Jews.  Our Torah scroll is over 350 years ago, and came from Morocco, so this version of the song is very dear to us.)   Kol Nidrei 




Recently, I heard a very well-known and highly respected Christian minister on the radio say that G-d's grace was not revealed until the New Testament.  This minister obviously has never read the Torah.    Father G-d's grace is revealed throughout the Torah as well as the Haftorah.  His provision for the remission of sins reveals His abundant grace and forgiveness.  The price of sin is high:  blood.  As one reads the Torah, especially in Leviticus, the account of how much blood had to be shed is overwhelming. 


Each year, as we read through the Torah, I am filled once again with awe about sin, and about the blood required to atone for it.  Therefore, as we finish up the Torah readings for the year around the High Holy Days, I am also in awe of the love and forgiveness of Father G-d.  Yom Kippur is a time to think about that grace.  To think about my sins.  To not take them lightly because they carry a high price:  the blood of Yeshua.  May I never take His atonement lightly or for granted.  May I always be in awe of His grace and of His atonement through Yeshua's blood.

Both the Old and New Testaments declare that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.  In the Old Testament the blood of animals atoned for sins.  When the Messiah died and shed his blood, He put in place an atonement that covered our sins forever.   May His Name be praised forevermore!  Halelujah!


 I'm linking up to Spiritual Sundays
and Brag on God Friday

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shanah Tovah Ya'll

Sundown today begins the Jewish New Year!  Happy 5772!  Jews greet each other with "Shanah Tovah" which means Happy New Year  (loosely).  The official name of the holiday is Rosh Hashanah.  We are commanded in the Torah (Leviticus 23:24)  to observe this holiday with the blowing of the shofar.   Also, in the Torah, in Numbers 29:1, the holy day is mentioned.  


In the synagogue, we will have special readings, a very special blowing of the shofar 100 times, and special foods.  We will eat apples dipped in honey, and other sweet foods to signify our desire for a fruitful, sweet year ahead.

With this holiday, we also begin the Ten Days of Awe.  It is a time of sincere, deep reflection on our past year, and of instrospection as we seek our hearts for any sins we may have allowed to creep in.  During this time, we also ask G-d to show us if we need to mend relationships.  The Ten Days of Awe lead up to the most Holy Day of  Yom Kippur.   I will write more about that in a later post.

I was thinking this week about the great joy I find in observing G-d's Feasts and Festivals.  They are times of remembrance...times of reflection...times of rejoicing in the fact that we are G-d's children and blessed in that relationship.

In the lasst few days as I shopped for the special foods for our celebration, I notice that the stores are preparing for another holiday.  I won't even mention the name that I consider evil.  It makes me very sad to think that even those who call themselves believers ignore G-d's holy days.  Churches open their doors on this day and say they are celebrating the harvest, but it doesn't look that way if you observe what goes on that night.  Where is G-d in it all?   What must He think as he watches people ignore His commands and instead follow the ways of the world?  It must make Him very sad.

I was one of those who did what I just described.  I was ignorant of G-d's holy feasts and festivals.  Then one day I asked G-d for HIS wisdom...not the wisdom of the church....not the wisdom of the world.  I wanted HIS wisdom and I began to seek diligently for it.  My search led me to Messianic Judaism and to joy and wisdom like I'd never, ever known before.  I've been blessed beyond measure and my joy continues to increase along with my wisdom.

I'm sure we all have heard the saying "I want to be like Jesus" as well as "What Would Jesus Do?"  Well, dear readers, my prayer for you in the year 5772 is to experience the joys that Yeshua (Jesus) experienced in the Feasts and Festivals...in the study of Torah...and of Judaism.

Shanah Tovah, Ya'll

I'm linking up to Spiritual Sundays
and Brag on God Friday 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thinking of you all, dear readers

Dear Readers (Gail-Friends):

I haven't forgotten ya'll.  I am once again in Jacksonville, helping my dear mom.  She is very weak and ill.  Please pray for her to understand that she doesn't need to live alone.  It is a very emotional time for both of us.  I am her only child. 

My prayer is to honor her as Torah says.  Pray that I will try to understand her viewpoint of not wanting to give up her independence, and of the changes she is facing.  Pray that I will be kind, patient, tender, and loving in every thought and action.  Pray for her to have peace and to trust Yeshua to lead her through this process.  Pray that I will treat her the way I would want to  be treated. 

Last, pray for my dear husband.  He had a growth removed from his forehead and it is quite painful.  Pray that it comes back benign.  Pray for him while I am away.  We are so sad when we are apart.  We both feel like a part of us is missing, even though we talk on the phone several times a day. 

G-d is so faithful and such a comfort in times like these.  I am living in the Psalms....

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Answered Prayers

Thanks to all who have prayed for my mom and for the e-mails of encouragement.  They mean so much to me.


My mom is going to rehab today, after being in the hospital for 13 long days.  The doctors have been working all that time to adjust her medication to control her heart rhythm.  First it would go up too high, then down too low.  Finally, I hope (and pray) they have found the right balance.   Her condition is called A-fib (for atrial fibrulation) and when the heart races, it takes as much energy as running at full speed.  This explains why she has been so tired all the time.  They explained also that a pace-maker only controls the slow rhythm.  Medication has to control the fast beating.

Thank you, Father, for medications and doctors, and that you are the ultimate Healer.

Please continue to pray for my little mama.  She has other health issues and her life is at a difficult stage.  My prayer is that she will agree to move in with us so that we can be of more help and support to her.  She is 81, but very strong-willed and determined.  Pray for her as she faces a difficult change in her life.  The doctors have said she will not be able to live alone any more.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Please Pray

Dear Gail-Friends:

My mother is very ill in the hospital.  She has a racing heart and so far, they are having trouble adjusting her medication to control it.  Please pray for her.  They are calling in a specialist today.  Naturally, she becomes very frightened when the racing starts.

My daughter is having eye surgery on Tuesday so please pray for her also.

Also pray for me.  I just returned to college to complete my degree.  At the age, this is quite a challenge, to say the least.  I have a book that weighs over 10 pounds!  No problem carrying it to class, though, because no one else does! 

I haven't forgotten ya'll and will be posting as always.  The High Holy Days are coming up, and I look forward to writing about the joys of G-d's Feasts and Festivals.

Shalom and Love,

Gail

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Prayer Place - Part 1

The Lord's  Prayer Chapel
Sitting high on a hill, surrounded by singing pine trees, calling birds, and busy butterflies is my favorite place to retreat for prayer.  In Titusville, Florida, The Lord's Prayer Chapel sits amid The Lord's Garden,and is named for former pastor Peter Lord, of the Park Avenue Baptist Church. The Lord's Chapel is so special to me and I delight in telling how G-d has blessed me with and through this wonderful place.

Prior to moving to Central Florida, I lived in Jacksonville, Florida where a friend introduced me to a system of prayer called the 2959 Plan.  This is a personal notebook that leads one through prayers in many areas, such as for our family, our city, our state, our nation, and the world.  Through the notebook, I was led to an audio tape ministry of the Park Avenue Baptist Church in Titusville, Florida.  For several years, I listened to many great Bible teachers, including Pastor Peter Lord.

Entrance to the chapel
In 1989, due to a job change, I moved to Titusville, Florida, and visited the fore-mentioned church, met Pastor Lord, and was introduced to the beautiful prayer chapel.  I visit there often to pray and meditate, and just to be still and hear G-d's voice.  The atmosphere is so holy, so anointed with G-d's presence, that I always leave there renewed and full of joy.      














Now, dear Gail-Friends, let me take you on a tour.  (I am not a photographer, and these photos were taken with my cell phone camera.)  The chapel is an octagon, and each upper side beam has a name/attribute of the Father carved into it.  The names are:

The Lord Our Sanctifier 
The Lord Our Peace
The Lord Our Shepherd
The Lord Our Righteousness
The Lord Our Provider
The Lord Our Healer
The Lord Our Rock
and 
The Lord Our Victory

It is thought provoking and comforting to sit still here, and meditate on all that G-d is in my life.
This beautiful scene greets me as I enter the room.





The two alcoves have names of people all over the world who are prayed for by the prayer warriors

                                                        This is the alter,  The Mercy Seat,  where I kneel to worship and pray.                                               It stands at the foot of a beautiful leaded glass cross.

More prayer reminders



Prayers are written on cards and filed in the box.  Prayer warriors come daily to take these before the throne.

A beautiful thought as I come to this place of quiet stillness.

I am praying over this today...August 6, during the solemn assembly to pray for America to turn back to G-d.

Outside is the lovely prayer garden....The Lord's Garden
As I enter The Lord's Garden, a sign welcomes me

The garden has benches scattered throughout.

The garden is filled with flowering plants and tress - a dozens of visiting butterflies.












Thank you, Father, for the gift of the Lord's Chapel and for the prayer warriors who frequent that holy place.  Thank you for the vision you gave the artists who fashioned the beautiful grounds, the leaded glass cross, the beams with Your Names carved into them, and for the Mercy Seat of your Holiness and Grace.  I am a blessed woman to live so near such a special place.

Oh, how I desire to stay on this little mountain top with it's peaceful serenity.  I can't stay, but I can take it's peace and serenity with me as I go.  Thank you, Father for this blessing.

In my next post, I will share some of the prayers I have lifted to G-d  in this place, and the wonderful answers answers He's given.


Shalom!
To read Part 2 follow this link:  My Prayer Place
 
I'm linking up to Spiritual Sundays


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thinking Correctly


Torah - source Wikipedia
Philippians 2:5
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Yeshua (Jesus)

This verse has been on my mind for the last few days.  Our thoughts are so important.  The scripture also says, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."  So this begs the question:  would G-d /Yeshua think the way I'm thinking? 

I've also been thinking about how the scripture says, "G-d is the same, yesterday, today, and forever."  Yeshua is G-d in the flesh.  The same G-d in both Old and New Testaments.  

Having grown up in a Christian environment, the focus of teaching was the New Testament.  As a little girl, I remember wondering why we didn't study the Old Testament more.   I wondered why we did not keep the Sabbath.  I wondered why we were not with the Jews, since Yeshua was Jewish. 

As a young woman, I wanted to go to a synagogue.  I didn't get to visit there until I was in my 40's.  I was shocked to see that the inside of the synagogue looked like a church.  There was a stage (bema) with a curtain on the wall behind it.  I thought, at first, that this was a baptismal pool, but found out later in the service, it was the ark where the Torah scroll was kept. 

That visit began my study of Judaism.  I visited Israel and was forever changed by the things I saw there.  My heart was knit to that land and to the people.  I never expected it to happen, but I'm so glad it did.  My continued search for wisdom led me to a study of the Old Testament, particularly of Proverbs, and then an in-depth study of the Torah.  Who knew this search would lead me to my own personal rabbi?  My dear, sweet husband, Rabbi Jem and I were married five years ago.



Being married to someone who "walks the walk" is both wonderful and disconcerting.  All of my life I've associated with people who "talked the talk", but didn't live it out.  My husband rarely discusses the scripture or G-d outside the bema, but he lives it like no one I've ever known in my life.    He lives the Sh'ma (Deut. 6: 4 - 9), as well as the second greatest commandment (Leviticus 19:18)  Jem loves G-d with his whole being and his neighbor as himself.  He is always conscious of obeying G-d and of looking for someone to help.  He calls it "doing the right thing". 


Which takes me back to the scripture quoted at the beginning of this post.  What mind did Yeshua have?    Yeshua was G-d in a human body.  He didn't change.  He is the same G-d who created the world and everything in and around it.  He is the G-d of the Tanach (Old Testament):  The Torah, the Prophets and Writings.


The study of Torah has shown me G-d's mind....and therefore Yeshua's mind.    I find no conflict between the Old and New Testament when viewed through the lens of the Torah. My study of Torah has given me a discernment I never had in all my years of studying the Bible. Now I understand things Yeshua said that before puzzled me.


My study of Judaism has enlightened me about teachings in the New Testament.  I've often heard it said in churches "Jesus is revealed in the Old Testament".  I've also found that the Old Testament is revealed in Yeshua (Jesus), and in the New Testament.


Many times, I've heard people say, " I want to be like Jesus".  Well then, beloved,  stop and think -  Yeshua is Jewish,  and during his time on earth He studied the Tanach.  There is much to be learned through Judaism and Torah study.  I know there are those who will say, "that's legalism".  I don't see it that way because G-d preserved His Word over thousands of years for our benefit.   And how can we say we love G-d and completely ignore the very laws that bring us life?    Blessings flow to those who obey Him.  His love is revealed in His Word and I am so thankful to be in His Secret Place. 

Psalm 91:1
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I'm linking up to Spiritual Sundays  and Brag On God Fridays

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrating our History


I've never been a history buff, but I married one.  My husband, Rabbi Jem Golden, is like a walking, living, breathing history book, complete with dates no less. 

Jem often speaks to groups, and I wish you could hear him speak of his fervent, passionate love for America.    He is very proud of the fact that men in his family have fought not only in the War for Independence, but in every war America fought up through his own two tours of duty in Viet Nam.  These brave men in the Golden family not only fought for Americans' freedom, but also for the freedom of those in foreign countries.  I'm very proud of my own family's history in America's wars.

When we married five years ago, I'd never attended a patriotic parade, and quite honestly knew very little about the history of our country.  My husband educated me and I began to develop a desire to know more. I started to research not only my country, but also  those patriots who fought for our freedom and formed our founding documents:  The Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

Because of the study both Rabbi Jem and I have done, we are both energized to educate others about the history of our country, especially as it relates to it's Judeo-Christian roots.  We are energized because we see a deliberate effort to remove the facts of that heritage from our children.  We are soberly aware that there are those who would like to strip not only the history of the influence of the Scriptures on our culture, but also to remove the influence of the Constitution from our government entirely. 

Recently, we attended a public reading of the Constitution. Each person attending received a small, personal copy of the Constitution in booklet form.  A different person read each section while the audience followed along. The reading of this document was disconcerting because I recognized not only how precious these freedoms are, but also the devious efforts afoot to remove their protections.  I took an oath that day to defend the Constitution. 

Are you aware that every member of the military takes an oath to defend the Constitution?  Our governing members of Congress, our Senators, as well as our President also take that oath.  Within the last year, the members of Congress did a pubic reading of the Constitution on the House floor.  Some members were outraged and voiced their anger saying it was a waste of time.  Others refused to attend.  There is also a move among government officials to remove the Constitution and Bill of Rights as guiding documents because they are "archaic" and "irrelevant" to life in our modern society.  These are dangerous ideas. 

I want to encourage you to study the documents mentioned above for yourself, while noting the references to Divinity.  An excellent resource to find and read these and other historical documents is  Wall Builders.  I hope you will open up this treasure chest that reflects the Judeo-Christian heritage of our country.  I am passionate about educating people on these facts.

While researching the U.N.'s Agenda 21, Jem and I learned of plans to change the way history is taught in public schools.  The plan is to begin history education at the post-Civil War period.   You may scoff at such an idea, but hear me out.

Recently, I had my nails done in a salon operated by a  young Vietnamese couple.   I told them my husband had fought in Viet Nam.  They had no idea what I was talking about.  Both, in their twenties, had not been taught this in school or by their parents.  I also watched a television documentary recently about Germany which stated that public school students are not taught about Hitler, the Holocaust, or the country's part in World War II.  That is frightening, because the same thing is happening in America.

Our country's heritage is rich with the influence of men and women who not only believed in the Bible, but applied it's teachings in forming our country.  I hope you will research this yourself, and join the fight to keep these principles in the forefront of our policy making for the future.  You may be called politically incorrect, but you will be "fully" correct and will know how to support your beliefs with the facts.

Shalom,

Gail

I'm linking up to Spiritual Sundays
and GratiTuesday




Sunday, July 3, 2011

I won! I won!

One of favorite blogs is Gina's Shabby Chic Cottage.  I love the shabby chic style of decorating, and Gina's is one of the best to visit for inspiration.  You'll notice her blog is listed on the left side of my blog as one of my favorite links. 


Last week, I entered a drawing on Gina's blog for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and I won the drawing!  Two cans of paint! (thanks, Gina!) I chose the  Old White and the Duck Egg Blue.  I'm in love with this paint because you do not have to clean or sand the piece before you paint it.  The finish and colors give an old, vintage look, which is what I love.  My plan is to paint my oak dining set with the white, and to paint some accent pieces in my living room with the blue.

I hope you'll visit Gina's blog The Shabby Chic Cottage to see the project she did with the paint.  Also, visit Periwinkle Pass  which provided the paint for the giveaway (thank you, Tammy!) to see more projects, the colors available, and how to purchase the paint if you're as excited as I am to try it.


Also, be sure to check out Gina's  Transformation Thursdays blog party. (Be sure to scroll on down to see all of the party participant's projects.)  That's where I'll be posting the before and afters of my projects.  I love to visit this party because I get so many ideas.  Only problem is:  so many projects, so little time!

I hope ya'll are having a wonderful 4th of July weekend.


Shalom,


Gail


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Update on my absence

I am recovering from major surgery two weeks ago.  Praise Hasham, everything went very well, but am having to take it easy for six weeks of healing. 

For several weeks prior to the surgery, I was like the white tornado - cleaning everything in sight.  I don't know about you, but when I go on a trip or have to go to the hospital (like when having a baby), I HAVE TO CLEAN!!! 

My wonderful husband has been so sweet and kind in nursing me.  He has to help me up and down, give me shots daily, and change my dressing.  He used to be an EMT, so he was well prepared to be a nurse.  G-d bless him.  He's also done EVERYTHING else around here.  I love him so much!

Hopefully, within the next week I will have something to write about.  Until then, please keep me in your prayers as I recover. 

Love and shalom,

gail

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sing and Celebrate: Shavuot



Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35

Our long awaited package from Israel had finally arrived! Eyes glistening with tears, Rabbi Jem’s hands shook as he opened the carefully wrapped package. Tenderly, he lifted the precious 350-year old Torah scroll from its’ wrappings. Rabbi Jem and I unrolled the scroll and marveled at the soft dear skin parchment and the beautiful precision of the Hebrew letters. We both were overjoyed because the scroll arrived just in time for our Messianic synagogue’s celebration of Shavuot. How appropriate.

Shavuot celebrates two things. First, we thank God for His blessings on the first of the summer grain crops (barley). The festival reminds us that without Him and His provision of sun and rain, we would not have food. Second, we celebrate the giving of the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) to the Jewish people. When this festival comes, there is great celebration because of our love and gratitude for the Scriptures. The giving of the Torah is God’s blessing, for the Word of God is our spiritual food. On the first day of Shavuot, we read the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20 to remind us of the Laws that give us Life. On the second day of Shavuot, we read the book of Ruth, which is the beautiful picture of Yeshua (Jesus), as our Kinsman Redeemer.

As Messianics (believers in Yeshua as Messiah), we also celebrate Shavuot as the day when the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) descended on the believers in Yarushalem (Jerusalem). In Acts 2, you will see how Jews from all over the world were assembled for Shavuot. The Spirit came down, appearing as tongues of fire upon their heads, and they all spoke with other tongues (languages). Thus, the Good News about Yeshua was given to people in their own language. Believers received the indwelling of God, and His Word was written on their hearts. He came inside the believers, and gave them power to be witnesses all over the world and to spread the Gospel (Good News). Thus, these believers were the First Fruits of the Ruach Hakodesh.

As Messianic believers, on Shavuot, we celebrate the giving of God’s Holy Word, physically, and the coming of the Word into our hearts, spiritually. Shavuot is a powerful, visual reminder that God’s Law is important to our lives, and that the power to live that Word has been given through the Ruach Hakodesh. No longer does it need to be hard to follow and obey God, because He, Himself, indwells us to give us the desire and the power to follow and obey.

That night, at our synagogue, we celebrated Shavuot and God’s blessing us with our own Torah scroll. Rabbi Jem explained how many years it takes a person to prepare to write a scroll, and how it can take an entire year or more to actually write. We were in awe to learn that a modern day scroll compared to a 1000 year old scroll would be exactly the same. Not one jot or tittle (the very tiniest Hebrew letters) would be different. We thanked God for His Word, and for the faithfulness of Jews who have preserved it for us.

Later, the scroll was carried on the shoulder of our very first congregation member. We followed behind, dancing and singing with joy, waving flags and banners, and rejoicing that God favored us by giving us His Torah, and that He lives within our hearts.

You can see pictures of our celebration of Shavuot 2009 at our website photo gallery:Ma'gen Da'vid Messianic Synagogue - Shavuot Celebration


I'm linking up to Spiritual Sundays