Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Purim Fun

My hamentaschen turned out pretty well.

To learn more about Purim click here
This year, we celebrated Purim with our friends at the Church On The Way To The Kingdom.  They invited us to perform our Purim play and we all had a great time.  This play is always fun because there is no rehearsal.  We just give out the scripts and go with the flow.  We told them what part they would play, and told them to dress up if they wanted to.  The results are always hilarious.

Pastor Chuck played the King, and his Indian headdress was a big hit.  Rabbi Jem wore his French sailor hat.  He said there's a story about how he acquired it, but didn't share it with us.  The pastor's wife was Zeresh, and two of his sons played parts.  Didn't they come up with great costumes?  Here are a few more pics to enjoy. After the play, we ate and played games together.  We are so happy that this pastor and church want to learn about G-d's Feasts and Festivals.

My grandson really liked the hamentaschen!
Click HERE for my hamentaschen recipe

Sunday, February 24, 2013

For Such A Time As This

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “for such a time as this” and wondered where it came from.   The saying is from the Biblical book of Esther, and is associated with the Jewish holiday of Purim.  Esther 9:21 tells us this festival is to be observed yearly.  Each year, we remember that G-d placed Hadassah (Esther) in place to save her people from destruction.   She was willing to take the risk and follow what G-d laid on her heart to say and do.  The book of Esther says she was born “for such a time as this”. 

Each year, we celebrate Purim with family and friends at Ma’gen Da’vid Messianic Synagogue.  Purim is also called the holiday of joy and it is traditional to dress up, and be merry while remembering how the Jews of Persia narrowly escaped annihilation thanks to the bravery of Queen Esther.  

Last year, my husband, Rabbi Jem, dressed up as “the oldest rabbi of Israel” complete with a long, grey beard, and read the story of Esther. He was a BIG hit with the children.

Queen Esther aka Amanda
The children in our congregation also dressed in costumes and thoroughly enjoyed making lots of noise while the book was read.  It is traditional to "boo" when the villain’s name, Haman, is read, and to cheer loudly when the hero’s names, Esther and her uncle, Mordechai, are mentioned.  One of our talented Ma'gen Da'vid family painted this wonderful depiction of Queen Esther that the children could put their faces through and have a picture made.  (My daughter, Amanda, had to join the fun!)

Like Esther, each year I am reminded that G-d wants to use me, too, and that we are all born for a purpose: G-d’s purpose.  Personally, this holiday inspires me to stand up and speak for G-d when He gives me the opportunity.

I had just such an opportunity within a few days after Purim last year, when I met a Jewish man at a local fundraiser.  The young man related a story about a horrible wreck he’d recently survived.  With a cracking voice and tears in his eyes, he said, “I don’t know why G-d saved me alive.  Is it just to work day after day as a truck driver?”

G-d spoke very clearly to me at that moment:   Gail, you are here tonight for such a time as this - to tell him that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah.

Trembling, I spoke softly, “I believe G-d saved you alive so that you and I could have this conversation right now.  He wants me to tell you that Yeshua is the Messiah.”

“I just can’t believe a holy and mighty G-d could come to earth in human form”, he said sincerely. 

“My husband, Rabbi Jem, escaped death miraculously like you, and he asked that same question of G-d:  why didn’t I die?  That burning question led him to search for G-d, and it led him to accept Yeshua as the Messiah.” As I spoke those last words, we were interrupted and the conversation with him ended. 

G-d had me there at just the right time to answer his question.  I pray for him, and I believe He will one day find the wonderful peace of knowing Yeshua as his Messiah.  Like Esther, I know G-d used me in that man’s life “for such a time as this”.

This is a repost from a couple of years ago.  In 2013, Purim started at sundown on February 23.  We'll be celebrating today, and I'll post some pics later today. (Here you go!)

Linking up to Spiritual Sundays
 Monday Musings
Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!
Homestead Abundance Tuesdays #4
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Sad Anniversary - Part 2

Please forgive my lack of postings. Every time I'd sit down to write a post, I couldn't.  All I could think of was the post I write today.  It had to be written, as much as I didn't want to write it.   Sadly, I've been in mourning for the lost babies I learned about since I posted A Sad Anniversary Part 1.

Several women came to me and told me their abortion stories.  I've cried with them and for them, and for the loved ones touched by the abortions.  I'm glad they could share the truth with me.  I know G-d had prepared me, so I could tell them about repentance and forgiveness.  One of these women is a member of my own family.

It brought to mind the reaction to a talk on abortion I gave during my college speech class.  I returned to school as an adult in the 90's, and  naturally, most of my class were just out of high school.  My speech included photos of aborted babies, and  the impact of those graphic photos shocked and horrified the students. 

After class, several of the students came to me and thanked me for the speech and for showing the photos.More than one said, "I thought it was just a clump of cells."  That is the lie told to young people as well as adults. 55 million people have been killed because of this lie.  The truth is that clump of cells is a human being.

I'm even sadder about another lie.  Each of the women believed there was no help in G-d.  They thought there was no one to help them, or they couldn't afford another child, etc., etc., etc.  At the time, their reason made sense because they did not know G-d as their Guide and Provider.

I'm sad because believers don't BELIEVE.  I'm sad because there are churches, and even "ministers" who tell women it is okay to kill the baby.  I'm sad because they do not BELIEVE the Word of G-d, but instead, teach the ways of the world.

The stories I've heard over the last few weeks have reinforced the need to speak the truth about abortion, and about having faith in G-d.

Every year, we read and study the Torah through from Genesis to Deuteronomy.  Each year, our faith is reinforced with the story of G-d's guidance, provision, and protection of the children of Israel.  He led them,  fed them, gave them water, and met every other need.  This, and other stories in the Torah, remind us of how faithful G-d is to us when we trust Him.

I have experienced this over and over again in my life.  G-d will make a way when there seems to be no way if we will trust Him, follow Him, and obey Him.  His Word is LIFE.

Sadly, the opposite is true.  When we turn away, disobey and follow our own way, we reap death.  Each of the women I spoke with experienced death.  Not only the death of the aborted baby, but death in their spirits.

The aftermath of an abortion is like a beautiful piece of furniture with a deep scratch across the surface.  Marred, but still beautiful and still useful.   There is hope.   Peace is possible.

Beloved, if you have had an abortion, you must agree with G-d that abortion is murder.
Ask His forgiveness for your sin.
Receive that forgiveness as an unmerited gift.  Yeshua died and rose again to pay for your sin.
Thank Him for it daily.
Make amends by speaking the truth about abortion.  Share your experience so that others will not go through what you did.

REMEMBER:  You are loved and forgiven.  You are beautiful, and G-d can use you to help other women.

This song by Don Moen has ministered to me so many times when I didn't know how I would make it. G-d has always made a way when there seemed to be no way.  I hope this song will bless you, too. (lyrics are below the video)

These are the lyrics:

G-d will make a way where there seems to be no way.
He works in ways we cannot see.  He will make a way for me.
He will be my guide, hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day, He will make a way.
By a roadway in the wilderness, He’ll lead me.
Rivers in the desert will I see.
Heaven and earth will fade, but His Word will still remain,
And He will do something new today.

I'm linking up with:
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Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!
Homestead Abundance Tuesdays #4
Titus 2 Tuesday 
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WholeHearted Home
 Thought Provoking Thursday
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