Thursday, March 21, 2019

Thankful Thursday - Loving Reproofs




Have you ever been reproved?  Do you even know what it means?  The Hebrew word used in the verse above is  "tokhakhat" and means "correction."

I've had experience with being reproved as a teenager, as a young mother, and as a mature woman.    As a teen, I was rebuked by a teacher at school for hanging out with the wrong crowd.  She did it in a very kind and loving way and I received it.

As a young mother, I was reproved by an older woman about my mothering methods.  Her words were harsh and unkind.  I didn't take it very well.  Looking back to that day, I see that she was right, but her delivery was all wrong.  It was not a loving reproof.  It was an angry slap in the face.

I've been reproved as a mature woman several times.  Each time, the reproof was kind and caring and I received their wisdom.

In each of these cases, the person really did have my best interest at heart. I'm glad they cared enough to correct me.

I'm concerned that there is not enough reproving going on in the synagogues and churches of today because of the misconception that reproving is judging.  We are told in both the Old Testament and the New that this is our duty.  Would we please Adonai if we did not warn someone who was about to go over a cliff?

Having gone through reprimands myself, I've learned a good way to reprove others.  Here are the steps I take:

  • When I see someone going down the wrong road, I pray for them.  
  • I seek God's face about whether I am the one who should confront the problem.  (I am the women's minister at our synagogue, but sometimes my rabbi husband is the one who should have the talk.)
  • If I'm to be the one to confront the problem, I read and meditate on these passages in Scripture:  Matthew 7:3-5 and Luke 6:41-42
  • Keeping those verses in mind, I begin a season of prayer, searching my heart about my own sins.  
  • I confess and ask forgiveness for any sin Hashem reveals.
  • I pray for the right time and place to talk. 
  • I pray for my heart to be in the right place, full of love and compassion.
  • I pray for the right words. 
  • I pray for the person to be receptive to my counsel.
  • I meditate on this passage from Galatians 6:1-5 (CJB) ~
 "Brothers, suppose someone is caught doing something wrong. 
You who have the Spirit should set him right, 
but in a spirit of humility, keeping an eye on yourselves so that you won’t be tempted too.
  Bear one another’s burdens — in this way you will be fulfilling 
the Torah’s true meaning, which the Messiah upholds. 
  For if anyone thinks he is something when he is really nothing, he is fooling himself.  
So let each of you scrutinize his own actions. 
Then if you do find something to boast about, 
at least the boasting will be based on 
what you have actually done and not merely on a 
judgment that you are better than someone else;
  for each person will carry his own load."


I've used this method many, many times.  I wish I could tell you that it's always successful.  It's not.  Sometimes the person humbly receives the counsel of God's Word.  Other times, the person becomes angry and completely turns me off, or even accuses me of "judging" them.  Their reaction reveals the state of their heart.  As the Scripture in the graphic above says:

"The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise."

I'm sincerely thankful for the reproofs I've received over the years.  It's not easy to be corrected, but it truly is life-giving when done God's way.

~~~

Can you receive a reproof? Or do you just say, "Don't judge me..."  It's something to ponder, Gail-Friends.

The article below inspired me to write this post today, and it's really good counsel.

~~~


HOW CAN WE RECEIVE A REBUKE?
By Nancy Campbell on Facebook

Do you find it difficult to receive a rebuke? It’s not easy, is it? At first, we may feel offended. But then we must change the attitude of our hearts.

“Dear Father, please give me a soft and tender heart to receive reproof. Teach me Your ways from this reproof.”
And instead of getting bitter, we open our hearts to instruction. This is the way we mature. This is the way we grow in our walk with the Lord. If we cannot receive reproof, we may stay in the same habit, the same sin, or the same rut for years!

The other day I read this powerful Scripture in Psalm 141:5: “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil.”

I looked up the Passion translation and was challenged when I read: “When one of your faithful ones rebukes me, I will accept it like an honor I cannot refuse. It will be healing medicine that I swallow without an offended heart.” What wonderful words to take to our hearts.

Can we receive instruction and reproof to heal us like medicine? And without being offended?

This Scripture calls reproof a healing medicine. Proverbs 15:31 calls it “the reproof of life.” It brings life to our souls.

This is how we need to live our personal lives and then teach this habit to our children. We must teach our children HOW to receive instruction and rebuke. It is natural to resist. We must show them God’s way.

I think this would be a good Scripture to pin up in your kitchen for the whole family, don’t you?"


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Friday, March 15, 2019

Sabbath Music - Gadol Elohi








Gadol Elohi is Hebrew for "Our God is Great" and this song is a wonder-full meditation for your Sabbath.  You may recognize this as the popular song, How Great Is Our God.  The song alternates between Hebrew and English, with English words so you understand what's being said.   Gadol Elohi by Joshua Aaron. 

I hope you will meditate on all the ways Adonai is great in your life.  Why not make a list in your journal?

Here are a few of mine:

He keeps the sun shining in the sky.  Just the perfect distance away from our planet for our existence here on Earth.  With every sunrise, I'm reminded of His greatness and His glory.



He tells the birds when to migrate to warmer weather in winter and then go back to their homes when the weather warms up.  The painted buntings have been here at Golden Cottage since late October.  They'll be headed back to their northern homes soon and I'll miss them.  I love having these colorful snowbirds visit.




He tells the seas where to stop on the sand.  What a marvel.  We're so blessed to live near the ocean.  It's a perfect place to see His greatness and majesty.



Yes, our God is great!  I praise Him with my whole heart and give him glory!

Have a wonderful Sabbath, Gail-Friends, and I'd love to know how God shows His greatness to you.





Friday, March 8, 2019

Sabbath Music - Standing on the Promises







This is a song I grew up with and I always enjoyed singing it.  Standing on the Promises by Alan Jackson takes me back to that little Baptist church as I hear the piano in the background.  This song always makes me remember the time when I was memorizing this Scripture:


14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.  I John 5:14-15 (KJV) 

I complained to my teacher about having to memorize Bible verses.  I've never forgotten the excited look on her face and her response:  "Oh, Gail, this is a most precious promise from God to you!  Think of it - if you pray for something that you know is His will, He will give it to you!"  

She gave me a gift that day.  As I read the Word, I learned there are many promises to believers.  Here's one of my favorites:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 9 (KJV)

Most of His promises have conditions, such as the one above.  I have to acknowledge Him before I take off running down the path I'm thinking of.  When I seek His face about my decisions, He always gives a good outcome.  

A good meditation for Shabbat is to think about and journal the promises you've learned to trust.

What promises do you cling to, Gail-Friends?  I'd love to hear about them.

Have a good Shabbos and a good week ahead.
graphic from MiYah Music on Facebook, used by permission


 








Friday, March 1, 2019

Sabbath Music - Amen





Don't you love sunsets and sunrises?  I feel His presence as I watch Him paint the sky with all the colors in His rainbow pallette.  Last night's sunset was glorious with pale pink near the earth, then deep purple, and a golden yellow above.  I took a photo but it did not do justice to the scene before me.  It will always stay in my mind.  And then, He was not finished. The Great Artist painted  pink and blue stripes that reminded me of the stripes in our country's flag.  I praised Him and worshiped His majestic and powerful creativity! 


I know so many people who are going through hard, long trials right now.  Often we wonder why we have to go through hardships. The following poem always speaks to me during those times:

We may wait till He explains,
Because we know that Jesus reigns.
It puzzles me; but, Lord, Thou understandest,
And wilt one day explain this crooked thing.

Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Thy best--
Its very crookedness taught me to cling.
Thou hast fenced up my ways, made my paths crooked,
To keep my wand'ring eyes fixed on Thee;

To make me what I was not, humble, patient;
To draw my heart from earthly love to Thee.
So I will thank and praise Thee for this puzzle,

And trust where I cannot understand.
Rejoicing Thou dost hold me worth such testing,
I cling the closer to Thy guiding hand.
(author unknown)

My own experience has taught me that every trial comes to teach me something about Adonai.  After many years and many trials, I've learned to relax and say, "I trust you, Father, and I know I will learn something through this trial  that no one can ever take away from me. Amen!" 

Speaking of the word, "Amen",  do you know what it means?  It means to trust, believe, and agree.  The word is related to the Hebrew word "amanah," meaning truthfulness, credence or belief. When we hear someone reciting a blessing, we respond with "amen" thus agreeing with what was said.

If you are going through a trial, I pray you will trust Him.  And I hope this song will bless you as you rest on the Sabbath.    Amen by Jonathan Settel