Moses’ Traveling Prayer

Moses' Traveling Prayer Pic

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By: William Jackson

Yesterday we started our journey to relocate to New England. Reflecting back this morning, I have so much to be thankful for. If it wasn’t for my wife Danielle we would still be in Arkansas getting things organized to leave. Also, we would have gotten a later start yesterday but a wonderful friend stepped up and watched over our movers allowing us to leave at 8pm as oppose to Midnight. HaShem is great for putting so many wonderful people in our lives. On that note, we are going to meet many of our like faith minded face-book friends in Nashville tomorrow, we are so excited.

Reflecting on last Sabbath’s reading, so much is relevant to our adventures for this weekend. You see, I read two weeks ahead on the Torah portion for writing and teaching purposes. I would like to address something I read last week in the 36th Torah portion Behaalotecha (1) which means “when you step up”. How appropriate for our journey but also this parshah (portion) has a prayer that is very fitting, a traveling prayer.

As we see in Numbers chapter 10 the Israelites are going to move out guided by HaShem (Numbers 10:33-34).

Each time the Ark (which is the manifestation of YHVH relationship with Israel) moves out Moses prays:

…“Arise, Adonai! May your enemies be scattered!

Let those who hate you flee before you!” (Numbers 10:35)

And each time the ark and the Israelites stopped Moses prayed:

…“Return, Adonai of the many, many thousands of Isra’el!” (Numbers 10:36)

I believe this brings up a great point. Every time we travel would should give a traveling prayer but also we need to pray for protection when we reach our destination or have an overnight stop on the road. We sometimes forget this piece.

Another point is that we have a responsibility to use common sense and a rational mind in our travels. I have meet people that will set off on a whim with no preparation saying “it is G-d’s will”. It’s not surprising when they find themselves at a dead end. Now don’t get me wrong, if Hashem wanted me to take off throwing caution to the wind I would and would be successful but I also believe HaShem made us rational human beings and we are to use discernment. Proverbs is laced with this message (Proverbs 3:21, 9:12, 20:15, 28:26). We see this before Moses’ traveling prayers. He solicited his brother-in-law Hobab (Hovav) to be a scout to help with the movement of the Israelites, Numbers 10:29:32. Why would Moses need a scout if he has Hashem leading the way? The answer is simple, just because we trust HaShem it doesn’t mean we don’t do our part. For example, HaShem feeds the birds (Psalms 147:9) but He doesn’t throw the bird seed into their nests.

HaShem has guided us so far on our journey and we will honor Him by giving Him the praise for our success and using common sense in our travels.

Reference

(1) Parshah Behaalotecha, Chabad.org

SATAN VS DEVIL

SATAN VS DEVIL pic

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By: William Jackson

The Satan of the Torah is not the same as the Satan (Devil) of the New Testament. As we take each book separately we can easily see that these are two different entities. Through transliterations of both Hebrew and Greek we will discern the terminologies. Also, let’s dig out the verses supporting either in the Tanakh (OT) and in the NT (New Testament) to get the correct picture of each.

A. SATAN (OT):

The Hebrew for Satan is haś·śā·ṭān which is actually “The Satan” like a title. The root meaning of the word is ‘to oppose’ (1). Also “The Satan” is another word for adversary. If we look into HaShem‘s word we will see Satan mentioned in Job for the first time. Here HaShem allows Satan to test Job (Job 1:12). This implies HaShem has dominion over Satan. Even at the end of The Book of Job HaShem addresses Job and Job’s friends on their reaction to the “test” (Job 38), but Satan is out of the picture (he’s been out of it since chapter 2). “Why?”, because it’s not about Satan, it’s about Job’s reaction to the challenge.

The only other book Satan is mentioned in is Zechariah. In chapter 3 HaShem takes Joshua’s side over Satan’s, rebuking Satan. Thus HaShem exercises ultimate authority over Satan here as well.

Now let’s see what the New Testament says.

B. DEVIL (NT):

Diabolos is Greek for Devil which is the NT version of Satan. He is mentioned 70 times, 90% more times in the NT as oppose to the Tanakh (OT). He possesses greater status and enjoys more obligations within Christianity;

1. Satan is the god of the world; John 12:31, Acts 26:18, 1 John 5:19, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Revelation 12:9

2. Satan is the anti-Christ; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10, 1 John 2:18-22, 4:3, 2 John 1:7,

3. Satan can possess people; Matthew 4:10, 12:24-29, 16:23, Mark 3:22-27, 8:33, Luke 11:15-21, 13:16, 22:3, 22:31, John 13:27

4. Satan can overpower man’s will; Mark 4:15, Luke 10:17-18,, 1 Thessalonians 2:18

5. Satan can temp the Christian Messiah; Mark 1:13, Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:2, Hebrews 4:15

CONCLUSION

In the NT it appears that Satan is the arch rival, kind of like what we see in comic books and other Superhero satires. The Devil does counterbalance the Christian Messiah and helps to create a polarized world where people are victims. This is opposite of the Satan which is in the Tanakh (OT), who is there to challenge us. Just remember HaShem gives us free will, he has empowered us, (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, Joshua 24:15, Proverbs 16:1, 9). We are accountable and through these challenges. If we make right decisions and learn from wrong choices we will develop and mature into Adonai’s will. Creating veritables beyond ours and HaShem’s relationship steals or ability to grow.

My Elohim holds me accountable, He is not an enabler.

Reference

(1) Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs, Satan, the Adversary, My Jewish Learning

11 Weeks Past the Cross (Questions and Answers)

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BY: TCLeach at http://throughanewlens.blogspot.com

I sat out amidst the sounds and sights of The Father’s glorious creations this morning and quietly marked my 11th week past the cross with Him. What I have learned so far is that I have so much more to learn! It’s easy to chuckle about that, but I assure you, it’s quite true! I’d thought I’d discovered freedom when I learned about the “truth” setting me free. In reality, I was moving from one prison to another. The prison we’re in when we think we know it all is just as real as the one we live in when we are completely ignorant! “Just believe” never made sense to me after my first read-through of the beginning of my Bible. Why would God set everything up meticulously from the beginning, only to say “Never mind…just believe!” after the empty page that seperates the “Old Testament” from the (so called) “New”?  This left me knowing I was missing something in my “faith walk”. Understanding what the word ‘forever’ means, even when it’s in the “Old Testament”, led me to the “Messianic Movement”. I was quite happy there, feeling as though I were closer to truth. I didn’t know it then, but the Messianic Movement had me mixing the Holy with the profane…a deadly cocktail!

I was observing the “forever” Commandment of keeping the Sabbath Day, but believed it could be kept “in spirit”. I wasn’t overly concerned with The Father’s exact instructions regarding the day. After all, I thought, the day was made for man! Mixing. I took note of HaShem’s Feast Days, a “throughout your generations” thing,  but ignored the meanings behind them that are clearly stated in Torah. I profaned the Holy Days by believing they all foreshadowed Jesus. Mixing. I believed that every sin I would ever commit had already been forgiven, and that I would slide into HaShem’s Kingdom on Jesus’ merits, instead of my own. I was told that my “deeds” were a legalistic attempt to earn my way to into The Kingdom, and that I should cease my striving. Mixing. I know now what the most deadly cocktail I mixed was, but I didn’t know then. I tried to mix The Father with a mere man, and call them both the same thing, “God”. No wonder why I was frustrated in my “religion”, I was drinking poison every day, and wondering why I wasn’t feeling more alive! Is it any wonder that I have had the same unanswered prayers in my journal (for years!) when I was praying “in the name of” someone other than HaShem? Is it any wonder that I prayed “healing prayers” like I read about, claiming my so-called authority over a situation, but still saw sickness? I was mixing Holy and profane, it couldn’t have worked!

“Test Everything” was a motto I picked up from one of the teaching ministries I used to follow. It really is sound advice, and I was living by it. One thing I hadn’t tested, though, was the one who is clearly the dividing line between the “Old” and the “new”. I had not tested Jesus, whom I then claimed to be my “immortal salvation”. Oh, boy, was realizing that a light-bulb moment for me! Why, I wondered, did no one challenge me to test him? I began the testing with a beloved sister who backed away within two teachings. She was too gripped by guilt to even question the merits of Jesus. I admit that I had butterflies in my stomach as the testing began, but I stuck with it. After all, my eternal destiny was on the line! I wanted truth, even if I had to admit everything I believed was a lie. Y’all already know the results of that testing, because here I am, on the other side of that cross. Walking out of idoltry was just the beginning, but it’s a solid beginning to build from, a firm foundation. A foundation that has One Holy God, in whom there is no profanity…no mixing.

I may not struggle with Scripture anymore, but I do still struggle in one area. I struggle with the friendships I have with those who are still drunk from Babylonian wine. Those who are serving two gods, but labling them as one. A lot of people saved me from that struggle, and I am grateful to them for it. In three days, my “friends list” went from over 300 names to about 100. Of those 100, about 90 of them don’t really care whether I serve one god or 50. It’s the remaining ten that I wonder how to best handle. I want to be true to the friendship, but more so, I want to be true to God. More than anything, I believe that  only He gives revelation. For whatever His reasons, He does this in His timing and for His purposes. I don’t want to “drop” these friends, because I know they may be moments away from having the truth revealed to them. When that happens, they will need supportive friends. Yet, the realist in me knows they may never get this revelation, or they may dismiss it in their own hardheartedness and need to be right. Today, I honestly don’t know if I should keep those frienship kindled, or peacefully walk away. I know that I don’t follow their daily postings anymore, watching them call Jesus God is just too much for me, especially around the Holy Days. But I do keep in touch via messaging and phone calls. Sometimes I’m just not sure what to say to them! If you have wisdom and experience in this area, I would greatly appreciate gleaning from it. How do you handle those who still idolize Jesus? I don’t have this issue with new friends or with strangers, just those with whom I’ve been walking for a considerable length of time.

For sure, week 11 has been an introspective one for me! I’m going to have to figure out where all of this new knowledge fits in my life, and where my “old friends” fit, as well.  How do I walk out what I now know? With whom should I be walking, other than HaShem, of course! Am I mixing Holy with profane if I maintain the friendships I have with those who are Christian?  What about with the atheists I know? How can I best share The Father’s light? How can I best please Him and represent Him? Questions, so many questions! That’s a good thing, though, I discern. Here on this side of the cross, I’m learning that the questions are as important as the answers! It’s not a sign of ignorance to ask questions, but a sign of wisdom. It’s okay to not know. It hasn’t weakened me at all, but strengthened me. This, friends, I can not explain!

I’ll “see” you next week! Until then, know you are in my prayers! God bless you and yours 🙂

Components of Our Prayers

Components of Our Prayers Pic

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By: William Jackson

HaShem created a system for atoning and worshiping Him, it was first the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:8). About 500 years later the Tabernacle became the Temple. Then about 370 plus years after that the Jews were taken into Exile (1). The people were not able to sacrifice in the Temple at that time, so they used prayer as a substitute for sacrifice. “The offerings of our lips instead of bulls,” as Hosea said (2). This being said, we can draw a blueprint for prayer from HaShem’s Holy Sanctuary. Following the procedures of the Temple, “how do we pray?”.

We have three prayer warriors and their notable prayers to Hashem to draw from. There is the writer of Psalms; King David, the writer of Proverbs; King Solomon and Nehemiah who was instrumental in the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the exile. These prayers are;

a. King David’s prayer of forgiveness for his affair Psalm 51:3-21

b. King Solomon’s Prayer of dedication for the Temple; 1 Kings 8:22-61

c. Nehemiah’s prayer for the rebuilding of Jerusalem; Nehemiah 1:4-11

Like the Temple sacrifices which atoned for sin and praised Yahweh these prayers have the same basic components; honoring HaShem, repenting and then the prayers purpose.

1. Honoring YHVH

Before performing the sacrifices the priest had to “qadash” which is Hebrew for sanctify (Exodus 29). This also means to set yourself apart. By acknowledging YHVH and praising Him as our only Elohim we are setting ourselves apart. Remember many of the Israelites that complained to HaShem in the Book of Numbers ended up being killed (3). You see, when we don’t honor HaShem and just treat Him like a “Genie in a bottle”, we are being disrespectful. Starting our prayers off by praising and thanking Him centers us. How would you like it if an employee or a child kept coming to you for stuff but never showed their appreciation. This would probably affect how you would help them in the future.

Let’s look at the introductions in these prayers:

a. King David: Psalm 51:3

b. King Solomon: 1 Kings 8:23-27,56

c. Nehemiah: Nehemiah 1:5

As we see with each of these 3 prayers they start off by praising HaShem. We must show Him the honor He rightly deserve and also communicate our humility in this process. We also might want to physically present ourselves correctly, please refer to “Prayer, The Physical Aspect” for more information o this topic (4).

2. Repenting for Sins

After we give homage to YHVH then we need to repent. When we read about the Tabernacle/Temple sacrifices we notice that they always lead with the atonement sacrifice (Leviticus 1:4, 2:1). Some could argue that the reason Abel’s offering was acceptable and Cain’s wasn’t was because of the order. Abel offered an animal sacrifice which, by Leviticus standards is for atonement. Cain offered a grain offering which was not acceptable to HaShem (Genesis 4:3-6). Could it be that HaShem wants a repented heart before we come to Him with our requests, (Psalm 51:19, Isaiah 57:15, Joel 2:12)?

Let’s look at the repenting portion in these prayers:

a. King David; Psalm 51:5-6

b. King Solomon; 1 Kings 8:31-36,46-51

c. Nehemiah: Nehemiah 1:6-7

Sometimes we don’t think there are any prevalent sins to repent for in our lives. Remember, the Hebrew for prayer is “tefilah” and the root word for tefilah is “to judge”, (pellel). So tefilah can be seen as a time of self-evaluation or self-judgment (5). This helps us ground ourselves in humility before beginning to ask for anything from HaShem. Search your mind for anywhere that you may fall short whether anger, divisiveness, lack of charity, holding a grudge or anything else that separates us from Him. Then we are to humbly go before Him offering these transgressions.

3. Pleads or Praise

This is the portion of the prayer is sometimes called the supplication. It is the main purpose to your prayer whether, repenting, asking for help, glorifying HaShem, or any other reason we want to commune with the Maker.

Let’s look at the supplication portion in these prayers:

a. King David; Psalm 51:7-17 (repenting)

b. King Solomon; 1 Kings 8:39-53 (hearing the peoples prayers)

c. Nehemiah: Nehemiah 1:8-11(King Artaxerxes’ compassion for Israel)

Conclusion:

If your like me, when I started my journey my prayers were straight to the point, to the supplication, my wants. Slowing down and giving the Maker of the whole wide word His due, at the beginning, is a sign of respect He is owed. What also makes sense is surrendering a part of myself, an unwanted part of my being that will bring me closer to Him. And then finally I will be at a point to sincerely and honestly give praise or ask for help from the Father.

References

(1) The Jewish Temples: The Babylonian Exile, Jewish Virtual Library

(2) Jewish Liturgy, Judaism 101

(3) By William Jackson, (May 23, 2015), Basic Training by the (Book of) Numbers

(4) By William Jackson, (April 20, 2015), Prayer, The Physical Aspect

(5) By Y. Hechel Greenberg, What is Prayer?, Chabad.org

Rise and Shine! Into Your Reltionships

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BY: TCLeach at http://throughanewlens.blogspot.com

Each relationship we are part of is unique and distinct. We do not share ourselves with the cashier at the market in quite the same way we share ourselves with a loved one. We don’t address a child as we would those who are our senior. We don’t speak to coworkers as we would our best friend. Without question, we will have to adjust our light to fit the type of relationship we shining on. There are common factors, however, in each  relationship we participate in. We can shine HaShem’s light into every one!

 

The first thing we must understand when we determine to go about being light is that our motive can never be to change someone else, or to get something in return. We shine light because Scripture says we’re supposed to. We shine light to reflect the nature of the God we serve, that He might get the glory He deserves. Our light is never to illuminate another’s flaws or shortcomings! Instead, our light should be seeking out the divine spark HaShem has placed in every person, that together, they might glow brighter.

 

It’s imperative that we check our own light-source before reflecting it outwardly. We can begin each day in prayer to establish a secure connection and a brightly shining light. If it doesn’t seem like there’s time to do that each day, rearrange the schedule until there is. Nothing in this life that we do will ever hold more value than our connection to and reflection of The Father’s light! We must ask Him to search our hearts, and show us what we can change to bring the most of Him we can into every relationship we are part of!

 

Again, each relationship we have is unique in how we approach it, and we will shine God’s light while wearing any one of several hats. We might be dealing with a parent or child, sibling or friend, boss or employee. We might be a spouse or someone’s secret crush. We are customer or merchant, and usually both. That’s a lot of different angles to shine from and towards! In future articles, perhaps we’ll cover shining light into more specific relationships, but for today, we can look at the foundations for shining The Father’s light into any relationship:

 

  • Speak Life! We know that HaShem has given us a choice between life and death. “Choose Life” is what He tells us. That’s not a one time thing, the choice is set before us every day. Knowing the power of our spoken words, what better place to practice choosing life? We can set the tone of our conversations by focusing on positive subject matter. Be the one who sees the glass half full, plus sees the glass and the water as great gifts, too! Speak of solutions, not of problems. Speak of hope, and not of despair. Never, Ever, NEVER speak ill of someone else! Doing so will cast shadows, and shine no light at all. Gossip and insults fall under the category of death, both to the hearer AND the speaker!

 

  • Connect! In this age of technology, we can’t forget the importance of an eye to eye connection. We have to take the time to give others our undivided attention. Even on Skype, we can make the next best thing to a face-to-face connection, but not if we’re answering e-mails in another tab at the same time!  Many of our interactions throughout the day are brief, but they can still be conducted with us fully engaged, not distracted. If we’re going to ask someone how they are doing today, we should follow up through our facial expressions to let them know we are genuinely interested in their answer. Even in messaging, “Tell me more!” goes a long way to let someone know we are interested in connecting.

 

  • Listen! If we are thinking of an answer while someone else is talking, we have not yet learned the art of listening, and the person talking is quite aware of this. Sometimes listening, without being quick to to talk, is the kindest “answer” we could offer a person. Not everyone needs to hear our opinion, but everyone needs to feel as though they’re being heard. We must be willing to listen attentively, even though others might be wanting to talk about things outside of our own interests. Even a teen will talk if we ask them how they beat their newest video game, and they discern that we are interested in them enough to really want to know! The quickest way to have someone stop communicating with us is for us to not listen when they talk. Interrupting, talking over others and always inserting our own opinions are huge downers, and repel people, not draw them into light.

 

  • Be Transparent! It’s not always comfortable to do, but transparency in a world chock-full-O-phony is quite refreshing! Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” or “Wow, have I made some mistakes!” Or especially, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” Although our burdens differ, we all know the weight they add to our lives. People need to know they are not alone in struggling! A five year old who can’t figure out how to tie his shoes is just as frustrated as the waitress you may have had this morning who doesn’t know if she’ll make enough tips today to keep her electricity on. We have a relationship with every person who crosses our path in a day. Some of them are a “one moment in time” relationship, and some are life-long. Each needs the light our encouragement and compassion and kindness can shine! Sharing a bit of ourselves shows we are genuine, and helps others feel at ease.

 

  • Keep Your Peace! When we go about shining light, we can expect to come across those who will not react to it in a positive way. It can even seem as though they are determined to diminish our shine. Even with (especially with?) our loved ones! Sometimes, it isn’t hard to believe that the universe, itself, wants to douse our light with one bad circumstance after another. These are the areas where we find out what wattage we have behind our light. When we keep our peace in chaos, in storms, and even in the face of naysayers, The Father’s light shines even brighter! We can disagree peacefully, or walk away peacefully, if we must. Keeping our peace utilizes all of the foundations of shining light into our relationships! When we’re stable and peaceful, those who know us can see, and know that HaShem is with us!

 

We really can learn to shine HaShem’s light into any relationship we are a part of, no matter how deep or casual the relationship is.  As a matter of fact, He expects us to! Scripture tells us much about men (and women) who were “known for” their hearts for God. We’d be remiss not to take a moment to ask ourselves what we’re “known for”.  Are we the type of person others can count on? Can someone tell us a secret? Trust us with their heart? Count on our honesty? Ask us a question about God without feeling condemned?  Do they turn to us in their time of need? Do they run to us with their good news? Do others feel like they matter to us? Are they being drawn to The Father by the peace they see in us? All of these things are different ways that we can shine light into our relationships! How we handle our relationships, from the smallest interactions to the life-changing relationships, reveals much about us, and our spirit. Light or shadows…Life or death…our choice.

Basic Training by the (Book of) Numbers

Basic Training by the (Book of) Numbers

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By: William Jackson

This week we are in Torah portion 34 which is called Bemidbar (in the wilderness). This also marks the start of a new book, the Book of Numbers. In this book the people are numbered and preparations are made for resuming their march. Although Exodus and Leviticus cover a period of only one year, Numbers cover a span of thirty eight year (1). So why so much time in the desert? We will attempt to answer that here.

Our History and Israel’s History:

We can draw from our own history as Americans to understand the Book of Numbers. About 75 years ago, when we entered Word War II, our ranking as a military power was about 17 (2). Our enemy, a more seasoned German Army, was number 1. So we recruited an army and filled it with country boys and “City Slickers” then homogenized them into a fighting force. This did not happen overnight. It took at least 2 ½ years of training and failures until we became capable enough to invade Fortress Europe (D-Day). Within a year after storming Normandy Beach, our newly established Army, along with the allied forces, defeated Germany on her own playing ground. The ancient lessons taught in Numbers replicate not only part of our own history but it portrays are own personal “life lessons” when pursuing a relationship with HaShem.

The people were not ready:

When Pharaoh released the Israelites and the mixed multitudes from Egypt they were destined for Mount Sinai. Why not take the coastal route? It was not only faster, it was scenic (3). No, instead HaShem took the Israelites the long way. Adonai’s reasoning was that the Philistines would be on the coastal route. He felt that “…the people (Israelites), upon seeing war, might change their minds and return to Egypt.”, (Exodus 13:17). You see, these newly freed slaves were certainly not of warrior stock, well at least not yet. Exodus teaches us about the beginning of Israel’s freedom and the receiving of the Commandments. The next book, the book of Leviticus, gives us finite detail on HaShem’s Festivals, Temple Services and Laws (4). Now with the Jews set free and being issued HaShem’s decrees they were ready to be organized and enter into the Promise Land. Thus we have the book of Numbers.

Life Lesson: In our own lives sometimes we are not ready for the easy road. The beginning of our journey towards HaShem is usually marked by our struggle to break away from the world. In our early stages, we start to learn His expectations for us and begin to try to understand His law.

The people needed to get organized:

In basic training they teach you attention to detail, marching and knowing the maximum range of an excuse…“Zero Meters, Drill Sergeant!” but none of these tasks directly teach us how to win on the battlefield. What they actually do is establish within ourselves a certain mindset that will help secure victory. Numbers 1:1-10:10 is all about establishing a winning attitude and getting organized:

  • Inventorying Personnel for Military Service
  • Organizing and purifying the Camps
  • Establishing Duties and Responsibilities
  • Communications(Fiery Cloud and Silver Trumpets)

Life Lessons: When your new in your faith you can blame a lot on ignorance, but there is that point you know you need to step up your walk. We begin to do things that grow us closer to Him (studying, worshiping, praying…) and we commit to making life style changes to be set apart. None of this happens overnight. It doesn’t just take years, it takes a lifetime.

An Attitude Problem:

The peopled grumbled against Moses, (Exodus 15:24, 16:2, 17:3), but, as Moses puts it, their complaints were not against him they were against HaShem (Exodus 16:7-9, 12). HaShem acknowledges this in Numbers 14:26-27. Some of the things that the Israelites suffered a poor attitude over were,

As we study these events, the issue wasn’t the complaining specifically. It was the lack of appreciation for Hashem. It would be like letting somebody borrow money again and again, and that person never appreciating it. You see, it’s not really about griping, it’s about narcissism or being so self-centered you cannot get outside of yourself. Many times when we see HaShem help out the Israelites it comes with a conditional punishment (Numbers 11:33 and 20:12). If we study out these events, it’s pretty clear that these complaints came with a lack of gratitude towards Hashem.

Life Lesson: In our prayer and in our walk we always need to make our gratitude towards HaShem more prevalent than our wants from Him. If we are a “complainer” or possess a negative attitude this gives a stronger testimony as to where we are at verses what we say.

A Renewed Generation takes the Promise Land:

Our Army that was defeated at Pearl Harbor was not exactly the same Army that secured victory in Europe 3 ½ years later. As with the Israelites there was a lot of growth and purging from their ranks. HaShem even tells the Israelites that everybody older than 20 (accept Caleb and Joshua, Numbers 14:30) would not make it into the Promise Land (Numbers 14:26-35). This was because of their defiance, and that included Moses (Numbers 20:12).

Life Lesson: Look where your at now on your journey and where you were at before. It is good to acknowledge our progress but once we think we have arrived we have really just chosen a new place to get stuck. The two methods for success are an active relationship with HaShem (prayer, worship, study…etc) and true humility.

Conclusion:

Numbers ends with Moses handing his reigns of command over to Joshua, this is all orchestrated by HaShem (Numbers 34:16-17). It does seem heartless to see this “out with the old and in with the new” mentality, but for every time there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1 – 3:22). So metaphorically, shouldn’t we be asking for a “changing of the guard” when it comes to our hearts? Actually the answer is in Ezekiel 11:19-20, 36:26, and Psalm 51:12 where we are to pray for a new spirit and a new heart.

References

(1) By Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, Book of Numbers, My Jewish Learning

(2) By COL John T Nelson II, (February 1993), General George C. Marshall: Strategic Leadership and the Challenges of Reconstituting the Army, 1939-41

(3) B.1.a, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible

(4) By Rabbi Mordechai Becher, Overview of the Entire Torah, Aish.com

10 Weeks Past the Cross (Macaroni Jewelry)

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10 Weeks Past the Cross (Macaroni Jewelry)
BY: TCLeach at http://throughanewlens.blogspot.com

There are so many words dancing in my mind this week as I participate in the Counting of the Omer, that I’m not even sure which ones to lay down first-Whew! As I was praying the other day, I confessed to feeling a bit overwhelmed by all that I still have to learn. I want to please HaShem and walk righteously before Him, really I do! Until now, I hadn’t even been praying according to the examples and instructions found in Tanakh, for goodness sake! How would I ever learn to bring into my Covenant with HaShem all I should be bringing?

He patiently let me pour my heart out, and then a memory was stirred in my heart. It was so fuzzy around the edges, I wasn’t even sure which of my kids it was in the memory, but was overwhelmed anew by the feeling I was remembering. The memory was in high definition color. Little feet had quickly maneuvered the big steps of the school bus. I dropped to one knee to receive the opened-armed hug aiming toward me. My little one stopped short, however, beaming from ear to ear and extending a chubby fist. From that fist dangled a necklace made from macaroni noodles painted gold. Talking a mile a minute, my little one slipped the necklace over my head announcing excitedly, “I made it for you, Mommy!  I made it all by myself!” That moment had taken place more than twenty years ago, but the memory of what my heart felt right then is so real and powerful, I’m currently typing with tears in my eyes! HaShem had answered me even as I was praying! He allowed the memory to continue a few moments more, so that I could watch my reaction to the gift. Little eyes had looked up at me hopefully that day so long ago, asking, “Do you like it, mommy?” Having to swallow the lump in my throat before I could speak, I had taken my time lifting the necklace and examining it carefully. When I could trust my voice I exclaimed, “Like it? I LOVE it!! A gold necklace, just for me! Thank you, it’s a treasure!” I had meant those words with all my heart, and still have the necklace, even though only three macaronies have survived this long. HaShem was showing me, if my interpretation of the timing of the memory is correct, that He recognizes my efforts to be obedient for exactly what they are; my knowledge and understanding of Him on this day. It will grow. My genuine desire to please and honor Him through obedience and worship is valuable in His eyes!

As my children have grown, the gifts they give me have changed. I now receive something that reflects an area of my life I am passionate about; pens, journals, beautiful coffee mugs and things as such. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is that moment of hope on their face when they ask, “Do you like it, Mom?” I do like it, oh, I do!

~May my own offerings of obedience, honor and mitzvot to HaShem always reflect a growing intimacy  with Him and an ever-deepening understanding of our Covenant through His Torah,~

Right now, I’m still handing Him macaroni.

This year, the Feasts and Holy Days, God’s Appointed Times, mean more to me than they have since my journey began. Beginning this year with Pass Over, I will complete my first cycle of Feasts and Times, giving glory only to HaShem, and observing them from the perspective given in Torah. Mind, heart and soul, I am “immersing” in each of these Days and the meanings behind them. I am being impacted in brand new ways! Sparks have ignited within me as I participate in the current series of Days we are in now. These are the Days of Counting Omer. On this side of the cross, the Counting has profound meaning behind it.

I started the Count causually enough, but quickly began to see a concept emerging. Was it a coincidence that The Father showed me the truth about who my Redeemer truly is just before Pass Over? Because let me tell you, as the Days of Counting go by, it is so easy for me to picture myself being liberated from Egypt that night so long ago! I wasn’t born in Egypt, but was born into christianity. Whether it was being walked out or not, in my house, it was the common religion of those around me.  I have much “culture” to unlearn, as did they in the Days of the Exodus! The Counting is helping me, as I’m sure it must have helped them on the way to the Mountain where they would soon be hearing from HaShem, and instructed in His Way, the Torah. As it was with them, a lot of instruction is going to be coming at me, too, viewing Scriptures through this new lens, it is wise to get centered and balanced beforehand!

Please Note: If your’re not familiar with the Counting of the Omer, I would encourage you to study it out, no matter where you are in your spiritual journey. In essence, one aspect of the Counting ia a spiritual “count” too. It is a reflective pocess, a self-evaluation, often taught through Biblical examples, to prepare our hearts to receive the TORAH. There are a plethora of teachings, commentaries and study aides available online. I try not to steer you, dear reader, in any teaching direction except toward Scripture. Finding study aides is a great idea, but a personal decision, to be made with HaShem’s guidance. He’ll get your eyes to solid teaching, based in His Word if you ask Him to. He is faithful to those with hearts inclined unto obedience!

As I Count, I am challenged to count my own level of compassion. To think about things that are counted miracles, To look at how I approach the subject of counting charity out with my actions. Oh, just about everything that moves me and fuels me is pulled up to have a light shone on it and be counted! I am compelled to align my will to the he Will of HaShem. I am entering into Covenant with Him, after all! I missed out on so much depth when I took a “Jesus did it all” attitude. I’m the one entering into this Covenant, the “doing” is a pleasure and a joy! So very meaningful! Why would I want to “not do”?

Just like the Children of Israel, I have set forth on a path that will lead me to “my land” and to HaShem! The Appointed Times are wonderful little check-points along this journey, deeply layered in meaning, and all pointing to my completion in The Father. In less than a week, I will receive Torah in an official ceremony on an official Feast Day. Shavuot. From there, I will continue to be led and taught through other Days and through that same Torah, as well as in prayer, until I come to the Appointed Day I am most in awe of this year…Yom Kippur. I tremble at the very thought of standing before The Father with my own behavior that was outside of His Statutes and Commands on the table between us! Intentional or not, I have not been perfect in many areas!  I am responsible for my own actions, and subject to the consequences thereof. Because of His loving mercy, I am able to repent, and to afflict myself on Yom Kippur before Him (with fasting) in recognition of my wrongness, asking forgiveness. Because of His grace, and for His glory, He will accept my macaroni offerings as though they were rare jewels! And until HaShem’s Messiah reigns (may it be soon and in our lifetime) we will mark the giving of the Torah each year, and walk through that Torah via  Appointed Times and Portions. One Perfect Day, that macaroni really will be golden! 🙂

I’ll “see” you next week, and will keep you in prayer. In the meantime, I hope you aren’t taking my word on any of this, but studying out the Appointed Times for yourself in Scripture. You’ll be so blessed!