Monday, October 11, 2021

Reflections on Sukkot


Sukkot is called "our holiday of JOY!" and I always eagerly look forward to it.  First, I'll share how we observe/celebrate at home, and then at the synagogue.  God instructs us to keep this feast in Leviticus 23, Numbers 29 and Deuteronomy 16.  Yeshua celebrated it, too, and you can read about it in John 4.

This year, the holiday began without any sign of the golden rain blossoms falling.  I went to bed thinking how much I'd miss them.  The next morning, I woke up to this:

God is so good!  The blossoms had fallen during the night and I was full of JOY!  They're still falling and I think of them as golden rain from heaven - blessings abundant - like the mercies my Father blesses us with every morning!  Here are some photos of how heavy the rain is this year.  The blossoms covered the pathway to Golden Pond, which is totally covered:


On the Shabbat before Sukkot began, we had a celebration along with our regular worship service - music, dancing, and food, of course!  Rabbi Jem taught about the holiday and gave instructions about building the sukkah.

The next day, some members of the congregation came over to Golden Cottage and helped us build the sukkah.

We decided to leave the palm branches off the top because we had a golden rain tree branch that was the perfect roof.

We had a wonderful time rejoicing, reflecting, worshiping, eating meals and having quiet time together.  


I especially love Sundays in the sukkah - that's Pampered Princess Day - and Jem always makes breakfast.  Above is his Golden Hash Browns topped with an over-light egg.  So good!

And below are his yummy Golden Blueberry Pancakes.  We were blessed with two Sundays in the sukkah and I enjoyed them immensely! 

Our dog loves sitting in the sukkah with us.

In the Sukkot celebration at the synagogue, we always have a Torah procession.  This is so moving for me.  I love seeing the expressions on people's faces as they kiss the scroll.  It brings tears to their eyes as well as my own.  Everyone has the opportunity to carry the scroll.  

After everyone had the blessing of carrying the Torah, we danced and rejoiced that Adonai has preserved His Holy Word for thousands of years. 

Then, we each waved the lulav - a reminder that God provides, and that His presence surrounds and supports us.  

Then, we did the water pouring ceremony (outside). This part reminds us that God provides our life-sustaining water, and of the day that Yeshua was celebrating Sukkot in Jerusalem (John 4).  You can read about this part of the observance in this post on my blog:  Sadly, I did not get any photos of this part of our synagogue's celebration.

Afterward, we had a feast!  Of course we did!!!!

Durking Sukkot, I painted a watercolor of a sukkah. I call it "Holy Hug" because these seven days are a time to be still and draw near to Him.  He draws near and His presence is felt in an awesome way.

 Blessings and love to you all dear Gail-Friends.  I'll have more news of happenings around Golden Cottage in the week ahead -- I hope.  Life has been very busy lately. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Birth of Yeshua the Messiah


I love this time of year and these appointed times of Adonai.. . especially this week long celebration of Feast of Tabernacles. God instructs us to keep this feast in Leviticus 23, Numbers 29 and Deuteronomy 16. 
“You shall keep the Feast of Booths for seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your wine press. You shall rejoice in your feast...For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose,because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands,so that you will be altogether joyful."
 I've been thinking about this piece of writing below and wanted to share it with you Gail-Friends.  I don't know the original author of this article, but it's something I hope you will pray and think about:

"The Messiah of Israel was not born at "Christmas" neither was His conception at "Christmas." People often say that nobody knows when He was born for sure, so we just pick a day. There is no truth to this. Scripture tells us that He came to "Tabernacle" among us on Sukkot/The Feast of Tabernacles. (Jn 1:14)
When we dig a little deeper, we see that Yochanan the Immerser/John the Baptist was born on the Feast of Pesach/Passover. He came in the Spirit of Eli'yahu/Elijah. (Luke 1:17) The Jews have a long standing custom on Passover to open the door and cal
l out for Eli'yahu! They even leave an empty chair and a place-setting at the table for him. Why? "Why do the scribes say that Eli'yahu must come first?" And our Messsiah responded "Indeed, Eli'yahu is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that ELI'YAHU HAS ALREADY COME, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW HIM... Then the disciples understood that He spoke of Yochanan the Immerser." (Matt 17:10-13) 
So, how do we know that John was born on Passover? Scripture states that Zechar'yah served as Priest in the Temple under the division of Abi'yah. (Luke 1:5) A further study of 1Chron 24 tells us when this is. Elisheba/Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant when Miryim arrived to assist her, (Luke 1:26) so our Messiah was born 6 months after John... on Sukkot/The Feast of Tabernacles. He was not born in a barn, it was a sukkah. He was not placed in a feeding trough, He was wrapped up and placed in a food crib, (a storage bin to keep the food off the ground) ... as the Bread of Life.
He was indeed conceived nine months before on Chanukah/The Feast of Rededication, rededicating mankind to the Father. Chanukah is not "Christmas" as they are often more as twenty days apart. Chanukah is also known as "The Festival of Lights." The word "LIGHT" is used seven times in six verses. (Jn 1:4-9):
"In Him was life, and the life was the LIGHT of mankind."
"And the LIGHT shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it"
John came to "bear witness of the LIGHT..."
"He was not the LIGHT but came to bear witness of that LIGHT."
"That was the true LIGHT which gives LIGHT to every man coming into the world."
When we remove the Babylonian glasses, we see the tremendous beauty of the Feasts. The Word is so very awesome, but we must scrape away man-made religion to see It as IT IS WRITTEN."

Friday, September 17, 2021

Reflections on Yom Kippur


These are the Scriptures I reflected on during Yom Kippur:

Leviticus 23, especially this:

26 Adonai spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “However, the tenth day of this seventh month is Yom Kippur,[f] a holy convocation to you, so you are to afflict yourselves. You are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai. 28 You are not to do any kind of work on that set day, for it is Yom Kippur, to make atonement for you before Adonai your God. 29 For anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. 30 Anyone who does any kind of work on that day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You should do no kind of work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It is to be a Shabbat of solemn rest for you, and you are to humble your souls. On the ninth day of the month in the evening—from evening until evening—you are to keep your Shabbat.”

 On Yom Kippur, we gathered together at the synagogue for a holy convocation - a solemn, serioius service where we reflect on our sins.  We ask forgiveness of those sins, and thank Him for the blood of Yeshua that pays for them.  We wear white clothing as a reminder that we are made pure because of His sacrifice.

During the service, we read and meditated on a long list of sins.  Many of these reminded me of sins I had allowed to creep into my life once again.  I repented (teshuvah) and asked forgiveness.

We are also reminded to go to the people we have hurt, to ask their forgiveness, and to make amends. 

Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Matthew 6:14
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 18:35
That is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

Mark 11:26
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. 
On Yom Kippur, we are also reminded of this:
Matthew 18:15 Now if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault while you’re with him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take with you one or two more, so that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. 17 But if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to Messiah’s community. And if he refuses to listen even to Messiah’s community, let him be to you as a pagan and a tax collector.
That last one is the most difficult one for me.  I have a very forgiving heart, and I don't have a hard time admitting I'm wrong and asking forgiveness, but confronting others and talking about what they did to hurt me is very difficult.  I have to pray long and hard on that before I do it to make sure of what to say, when to say it, and the right attitude in how to say it.   It's a soul-searching process that I take very seriously.

On Yom Kippur, we are told to fast, and yesterday I meditated on this passage from Isaiah 58:

“Is not this the fast I choose:
to release the bonds of wickedness,
to untie the cords of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to tear off every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
to bring the homeless poor into your house?
When you see the naked, to cover him,
and not hide yourself from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will spring up speedily.
Your righteousness will go before you,
the glory of Adonai as your rear guard.”
Then you will call, and Adonai will answer.
You will cry and He will say, “Here I am.”
If you get rid of the yoke among you—
finger-pointing and badmouthing—
10 If you give yourself to the hungry,
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then your light will rise in darkness,
and your gloom will be like midday.
11 Then Adonai will guide you continually,
    satisfy your soul in drought
    and strengthen your bones.
You will be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water whose waters never fail.
12 Some of you will rebuild the ancient ruins,
will raise up the age-old foundations,
will be called Repairer of the Breach,
    Restorer of Streets for Dwelling.
13 If you turn back your foot from Shabbat,
from doing your pleasure on My holy day,
and call Shabbat a delight,
    the holy day of Adonai honorable,
If you honor it, not going your own ways,
    not seeking your own pleasure,
    nor speaking your usual speech,
14 then You will delight yourself in Adonai,
and I will let you ride over the heights of the earth,
I will feed you with the heritage of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of Adonai has spoken.

I'm still pondering this passage, taking it slowly and seriously.  I'll post more on this another day.  

Finally, I'm reflecting on Psalm 32:1 - "Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is pardoned."  Oh, Halleluyah! Thank You, Father for Your forgiveness through Yeshua Hamashiach, and for the forgiveness of others I've sinned against.  If not for Your great love and mercy, I don't know where I would be.  Thank You for saving me and calling me to be a part of Your Kingdom.  I am so blessed.