Looking Through a New Lens (Hidden Sin)

Looking Through a New Lens
Looking Through a New Lens (Hidden Sin)
By Terrie C

Today I type with a heavy heart. I hope your heart is feeling the weight, too! That doesn’t seem like a very friendly greeting, does it? But it is a heartfelt hope I hold for you, I promise! Unless you feel the heaviness in your own heart, you will be at risk to go through the fall Feasts without having repented for that which separates you from The Father. There are currently many teachings about the “Month of Repentance”, Elul. Many of them are excellent, and I would encourage you to be inspired by some. The real project, though, will be for you to get before The Father in spiritual “nakedness” and let Him guide you through this repenting process. Too often, when we think of repenting, we think of the glaring sin that has to be eliminated. Definitely, it needs to go, but I present to you that there are a plethora of “little” sins that may be just as effective in keeping you distanced from the blessed life Scripture says you can be living. As always, I will use myself as an example, even though it’s not entirely comfortable for me. My prayer is that in glimpsing the things I experience in my own spiritual “nakedness”, you will be prompted to do some digging inside yourself. Our details and experience are sure to differ, but our need to understand repentance is exactly the same!

Last night I quietly marked my 23rd week since walking away from the cross in prayer with The Father. With Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur just around the corner, my daily prayers have been centered around repentance and righteousness. As I mentioned earlier, the bigger things I need to address in my own life are pretty simple and clear. More prayer time, less complaining. More good deeds, less pride. The list is common, wouldn’t you say? But last night during this prayer, my heart “broke” and tears flowed freely. There  aren’t even words for the ache I felt, so I knew I was about to “hear” from The Father. And hear from Him, I did! As you know, He most often communicates in prayer using little thoughts, nudges and images in our mind. Last night, He showed me some things from the beginning of my journey almost eleven years ago. I was stumped, because I didn’t understand how it fit in with my theme of repentance prayers, but He assured me it did, so I got still and looked at what He was showing me.

I began to see images in my own mind of myself as a  brand new believer. There I was, weeping with gratitude upon awakening for the opportunity to live another day. Another image came of me weeping again at mealtime, because I knew He provided my meals, even when I was busy denying Him. I saw the image of me stumbling through my first prayers, something both God and I chuckled over for a moment before more images came. There was my desk, laden with library books to study and an open Bible with a pen and notebook. And then images of myself  dancing as I mopped the kitchen, singing songs to Him. Images came of me blessing my grandchildren, complete with my hand on their head. Then, in a matter of minutes, He flooded my thoughts with images that progressed through ten years of my journey. It began to dawn on me what He was “saying” and that there were things I have yet to repent from lurking in the recesses of my heart. Somewhere on the Narrow Path, I had begun to allow knowing about Him to replace experiencing Him! Has that happened to you, too? Especially with social media, we can get more caught up in being right than in being righteous! In having knowledge, instead of wisdom. In thinking any Light comes from us without Him first shining it.

He also “showed” me last night that He has been laying things on my heart that I know are there, but that I haven’t initiated yet. I’ll give you two “for instances” (there are more) and I pray they will prompt you to look at the things He has laid on your heart that you might be ignoring. The first thing He gave me was way back in 2008. That is how long I have been being willfully disobedient in this area!! He showed me then that the meat that we buy in the supermarket hasn’t been raised with consideration to the life of the animal. I had already begun eating only clean meats, but I knew there was more to it than that. He never intended His creations to be treated like products in a factory, but to live healthy full lives, being cared for by humans that truly cared about them. I used the excuse that I couldn’t afford fancy butcher shop meats that came from wholesome local farms, but that’s all it was, an excuse! Daniel refused to eat the king’s food at all rather than compromise the guidelines God gave regarding diet. To that argument, I used the excuse that I have always eaten meat, I grew up on a farm (!) there’s no way I could just give it up. Another excuse! Equally useless and disobedient!

The final images that came through my thoughts last night were of times in these last ten years I had “heard” Him “say”, “You could offer to help” when I saw someone broken down on the side of the road, or saw an elderly lady getting groceries into her trunk, or saw an older gentleman raking his lawn. There were many more images akin to this theme, but you get the idea from the few examples I gave. I had excuses for these promptings, too! Things like, “It’s not safe for a woman to stop for strangers”. Or, “I can’t help, I can barely walk myself!”  But wait, there’s more excuses! How about,  “next time I see that (whatever that is) I will certainly help!”  After last night I can say, excuses! Lame, lame excuses! The truth is, He sent me ways to be used of Him, and I made excuses! Have you ever been prompted by God to help someone and not obeyed the prompting? What excuses did you give yourself?  I’m thinking I’m not alone here, or God wouldn’t have me writing these personal details of my life, displaying my flaws for all to see. You don’t have to tell me what your excuses are, but please be honest with yourself and with The Father about them!  

And so, I began this day with a new perspective about repentance, and with heartfelt gratitude to wake up alive to rejoice in another day. Not all repentance is about quitting the willful sin we engage in, although that is an imperative element. Some repentance will be in the areas we believe are small things, but aren’t really small things at all! They’re huge! Ignoring a prompting to help someone from The Father is disobedience. Not practicing discipline in areas of caring for our body is disobedience. Not regarding the lives of the animals we eat is disobedience. Not being disciplined in seeking Him and His ways before anything else is disobedience. Not being genuinely grateful for our blessings is disobedience. To not give due reverence and awe to Him (daily, and many times daily) is disobedience. Going through the motions of being a believer instead of seeking to experience The Father’s presence can even be disobedience! Repentance is the only  action that will set us back on course as we sojourn down this Narrow Path!

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired like I am, I would encourage you to search yourself for the hidden disobediences that lurk in your own heart. We cannot change that which  we don’t identify, and we cannot walk in the fullness of life God has for us if we allow our own excuses to stand between us and Him. Without question, our obedience is directly connected to our health and well-being, as well as any favor that is bestowed upon us by our Father in Heaven. This connection is a theme repeated many times in the Tanak. We walk in obedience, and God blesses us with health, wisdom, peace and even with His salvation! I beseech you to discuss obedience with Him in your prayers as we approach Yom Kippur, you’ll be so glad you did! I bid you every blessing until we “meet” again next week, and leave you with these words from Deuteronomy 7 in the Tanak:

And it shall come to pass, because you hearken to these ordinances, and keep, and do them, that YHWH your God shall keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore unto  your fathers, and He will love you, and bless you, and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your land, your corn and your wine and your oil, the increase of your flock, in the land which He swore unto your fathers to give you. You shalt be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. And YHWH will take away from you  all sickness; and He will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you know, upon you, but will lay them upon all them that hate you. And you shall consume all the peoples that YHWH your God shall deliver unto you; your eye shall not pity them; neither shall you serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto you.

Rise and Shine! (In the Workplace)

Rise and Shine
Rise and Shine! (In the Workplace)
By Terrie C

For this book-worm, having a job at the public library wasn’t like work at all! Next to earning my paycheck via my writing, the paycheck I earned from the library was the most pleasant. I was a brand new believer when I got hired there, and on my orientation day, I was told that I was not allowed to discuss any of my religious beliefs with patrons. I was not allowed to suggest any religious book, even if asked, nor was I allowed to wear any “religious” clothing or jewelry. Since I was Christian then, I believed in what was called “The Great Commission”. It was an exercise in frustration for me when I had to silently process a patron’s stack of books that included Wiccan practices or even worse, Satanic titles. I felt stifled, and powerless to share the “good news” I believed I was commanded to share. Here on this side of the cross (week 23 and counting) I have learned that the true “Great Commission” is to shine God’s light into an ever-darkening world. Turns out, I can do that without even using His Name in a sentence!

I am prompted to wonder how many people have actually been pushed away from The Father by well-meaning evangelistic folks. I know I was, back in the day when atheism was my “religion” of choice! Nothing repelled me more than those who insisted that I needed Jesus, even though they knew nothing about me. Telling me I was surely hell-bound if I hadn’t asked him into my heart did nothing to ingratiate me to the God they claimed was so loving and merciful. The “Follow Jesus or burn in hell” doctrine made me even less inclined to follow Him! Even after I became a believer, I found I was not evangelistic at all. I spent years feeling guilty about that, until I came to understand the truth about my Creator: He is One, and does not share His glory, or have an equal. I also learned that we do not need to thump someone over the head with a Bible to shine His light! Whether or not your workplace restricts your religious freedoms, there is a way for you to Shine God’s Light there! As always, we first must be sure our connection to the Light Source is secure. We repent of willful wrong-doing, and get recharged through prayer and Scripture study. Only then are we ready shine His light instead of casting shadows. Here are some easy tips to Shine in the workplace:

    • Check your countenance: Bitterness, hatred and dissatisfaction etch themselves into our face, even though we may not realize it. Get adequate rest, and practice smiling until you know it is reaching your eyes, which are the window to your soul. Engage others fully when communicating with them, do not be distracted by anything! The janitor and the CEO, as well as John Q Public should all receive your full attention during interactions with you.
  • Keep your mood peaceful: Rise above the chaos that comes with any job. Be the calm one, don’t let the stress of the deadline steal your peace. If you are walking with The Father, you have received stress-management tools you may not even know you have! Take a moment if you need it to collect your thoughts, and let your peace be your cloak. You know from experience, I’m sure, how much more pleasant it is to be around a peaceful person than a drama queen/king. Peace overflows to the ones around us!
  • Be mindful of your mouth: Be the one who doesn’t complain about your boss, your crew, your customers, or even your job. If you hate it, find one you don’t hate. Talk about solutions instead of problems, and keep a positive tone while using positive words. Absolutely disengage from gossip! Don’t speak it, and don’t listen to it (therefore encouraging the one who is gossiping). If someone comes to you with gossip, find a short, polite way to extinguish it. For example, when someone begins to tell me something about someone else (even the gossip of a “prayer need”) my answer usually looks something like this: “I have not spoken to him/her about this, so it wouldn’t be right for me to have an opinion. Perhaps you should start with him/her.”
  • Work instead of being lazy: Being a believer doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat who does everyone’s work! But by all means, leave a signature of excellence on your own duties. Cutting corners and finding short-cuts have their place in saving money or time, but they should never lessen the integrity of your performance, project or product. Scripture indicates that our works should not be of substandard quality. Follow protocol for your job description, and always be at peak performance! Never forget that it is God who provides your employment and your promotion, and He is your ultimate boss.
  • Take a genuine interest in your co-workers: if you know Suzy’s husband was in the hospital last week, take some time to check in on her. Did his illness leave her family with unmet needs? Does she just need someone to listen for a moment about her fearful experience? How about Bill, who is trying to quit smoking? Is there a kind word of encouragement you can offer, or a helpful article with tips you could share? To the extent that you can, let your co-workers know that you are interested in them as individuals, and that they are an integral part of the workplace, and of your world, even if it’s only your work world.
  • Be honest and dependable: If you said you would do something, do that thing! Don’t be the one who is always calling off of your shifts or passing off your work to others. Carry your own weight! Be the one who doesn’t need to constantly be monitored. When disagreements arise, and they will in any workplace, be honest, direct and most of all, kind. Again, this does not mean you should allow yourself to be walked on. You can be assertive and kind at the same time. Clarity is an important part of communication, master it. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, but don’t say it mean. Most arguments are 10% disagreement and 90% tone and attitude. Do your best to keep strife at a minimum!

When we start walking out the things we read in Scripture as if we believe they are truth, there will be a notable “Light” that emanates from our spirit. If we are practicing God’s ways, people will feel at ease around us. Now, we are in a position to point to The Father! Even in places where “religion speak” is prohibited, small phrases like “I am blessed” or “I am so thankful for (fill in the blank)” go a long way to say who you are and to whom you belong! Your countenance, your peace, your pleasant speech, your work ethics and your kindness speak volumes about the God you serve. It won’t be long, you’ll find, until it is you that people come to when their momma needs prayer, or when then need advice. They’ll seek you out with their good news (and bad) and they will be left wanting that which you radiate from within. Everything you do in the Name of God (even without using His Name) will leave an impression on your co-workers. Make sure it’s a good one! Trust Him to take it from there. After all, it is only Him that gives conviction and revelation. We are just living examples of what a life looks like when it is lived in God’s Light.

Until we meet again across the airwaves, Rise and Shine!

Looking Through a New Lens (Eliminating Blood Stains)

Looking Through a New Lens
Looking Through a New Lens (Eliminating Blood Stains)
By Terrie C

~And after the earthquake, a fire. But YHWH was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.~ From 1 Kings

And so it was on the day that God formally “introduced” Himself to me. What will go down in history as a tragic event was the dividing line in my own life. My own history is now marked by “before I walked with God” and “after I started walking with God”. Tomorrow marks eleven years since that day. Like the opening verse of this post, I did not hear that still small voice as I crouched under my kitchen table, sure I was living the last hours of my life. I did not hear the voice in the surreal hours that followed that storm, while we were scrambling to find out if the rest of the family had survived. But later that night, I “heard” that still small voice for the first time. I use quotation marks around the word because as you already know, God whispers into our spirit using images and thoughts. What I received from Him was an image showing me how very small I truly was from His perspective. I didn’t know it that night, but my journey on the Narrow Path to Him had begun! And what a journey it’s turning into!

I can look back now at the gradual progression I have made. Having walked contrary to God’s ways for the better part of forty years, I’m not ashamed to admit that it has been very slow going for me. Baby steps, guided by a loving and Eternal Father. It took me five months to even buy a Bible, months I spent listening to teaching after teaching about this God I had denied for so very long. I began in the book of Matthew, because all of the teachings I was listening to recommended I start there. I devoted hours a day to careful study, taking notes on every chapter, and summarizing those notes at the end of every book. When I finished the book of Revelation, I dug into Genesis, and fell immediately in love with everything “Old” Testament. What particularly grabbed my attention was all the places I saw the word “forever” and the phrase “throughout your generations”. To my unindoctrinated eyes, those looked like some solid words from an unchanging God! Why then, I wondered, were the teachings I was watching not giving any credence to those words? I began looking for a “church home” and for a pastor who could answer the questions I had about the contradictions between the “Old” and “New” Testaments. I was given vague answers, brushed off, or even told I had to take my salvation from jesus on “faith”. Mostly, I was made to feel like I shouldn’t be questioning anything about the “Old” because we were now living in the “New”. Dissatisfied with their answers, I stopped seeking a church, and continued my journey on my own, with just me, my Bible and my Father in Heaven. Within my first year of faith, I had become what is called a “Messianic” Christian, even though I had not yet heard the term.

For ten years, I continued my journey in that manner, trying to tape a picture of jesus over any “Old” Testament concept, whether it made sense or not. I was going “on faith” like I was told. But something always niggled at my spirit when I read the stories about the Jews and their absolute devotion to God. Everything in the “Old” Testament, I was learning, was presented in black and white. No questions, no leap of faith to believe, just the facts, no gray area. It all fit together so beautifully…except for how jesus fit in. I spent a lot of time feeling guilty. Feeling like I wasn’t giving this jesus his due respect. Never in my journey did I “ask him into my heart”. I never said the “sinner’s prayer” and I only added his name as an afterthought to my prayers, because the “New” Testament told me to. From the beginning, I went straight to God. Here in my eleventh year, I know why, but it caused me great confusion up to the point when I walked away from the cross just over five months ago. With that move, and with laying down that so-called “New” Testament, the cloud of confusion cleared. There were many things I wasn’t clear on at that point (there still are today) but it’s not a confusion, it’s a “knowing” that I still have much to learn. And that’s okay! I’m ready, willing and able to learn, and I have absolute confidence in my Teacher, God Himself, and His Torah.

I won’t lie and say that this has been a comfortable transition. It has left me feeling quite bare naked and shaky on my spiritual feet! Being the faithful One that He is, though, God has assured me that I now know the one thing I really need to know, that He is One and will not share His glory with another. I needn’t panic if I never learn anything but that! But I will learn more, I know, as I learn to read Scripture, the only real Scripture, the Hebrew Scriptures, without my jesus glasses on. Like the last eleven years, the rest of my life will be an ongoing progression toward The Father. My walk might take detours, it may even become a crawl, but my face is set on The Father, the One True God!

With Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) just around the corner, my main focus has been on cleansing the “blood of jesus” from my life. This will be the first Atonement Day that I will not be thanking jesus for “saving” me. I am washing his blood off of my spirit! We all know how hard it is to remove bloodstains. Even cleaned crime scenes still show blood in certain lighting. When I walked as a Messy-Christian, I believed I would stroll into the Kingdom on his merit, and not my own. Here on this side of the cross, it is me before The Father, responsible for my own actions, and my own sin. This is both exhilarating and terrifying! I am not worthy in my own eyes to merit a place in the world to come. There, I said it! I fumble everyday. My mouth gets the better of me sometimes, and I am just as apt to feel selfish or prideful as any other human. But here’s the thing. Whether or not I will recieve citizenship in the world to come does not affect the fact that I call The Father “One” and His Torah, a delight. None of this is about me and all of it is about Yehovah, the God of Abraham, the God of Israel. It is my prayer and my desire to walk in a way that will point others to Him and bring glory to His Name. Under His light, I am being cleansed of the blood stains left on me from idolatry. Under His light, my own light can shine! I have hope for citizenship in the World to Come, but serving God is my biggest priority!

This year, I almost forgot the anniversary of the day that changed my life literally forever! My first thought was that it was a good thing. The memories from under that table are quite frightening, and I’m kind of glad they don’t seep into my dreams anymore or make my palms sweat when a storm threatens the area in which I live. But this is an anniversary I never want to forget, even if it means those scary memories stay alive. I don’t want to forget, because after the storm…that still small voice!

Until next week, know that I am praying for you! “See” you then.

Rise and Shine! On Betrayal

Rise-Shine-2016-550x366
Rise and Shine! On Betrayal
BY: TCLeach at http://throughanewlens.blogspot.com

“I’ve never been betrayed by someone I love!” …Said no one, ever.  “I’ve never betrayed someone who loves me!”…Equally false. In either case, perhaps the betrayal wasn’t devastating, but it happened. In some cases, the betrayal was devastating. If you were the betrayed, chances are you still feel the sting, no matter how long ago it happened. Chances are, you’ve built some walls around your heart for protection from future pain. If you were the betrayer, perhaps regret and guilt still niggle at your spirit. Perhaps the damage wasn’t reconcilable, and you have paid the ultimate price for being flawed, losing the one you betrayed. As believers, we talk a lot about the decision to forgive, but often the lesson ends there. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that we are struggling, but we don’t have to stay in the painful dark shadows! When the betrayal was devastating, and no matter which side of it you were on, you are not out of reach of God’s Light! Always remember and never forget that to shine God’s Light, you must first be connected to it! Repent where necessary in your own walk, so you are not casting shadows! Fortify your strength and “Shine” through Scripture study and prayer. Then, you are ready to have an effect on others, while bringing Glory to The Father’s Name!

Here are some ways you can Shine His Light on betrayal:

1) Keep Yehovah First

  • The Betrayed: You may feel angry at God right now, and it may feel like your prayers are just words bouncing around in space. This is normal, and it will change with time. I promise. Maybe you don’t even have the words to pray because your heart is so broken. Decide to pray anyway, even if you are silent before God. Get before Him! Because He is faithful, He will strengthen you and ease your spirit. This takes time, not because He is lacking, but because to be obedient to His Way, we have to set our bruised ego aside. The quicker we do it, the quicker we can begin to mend.
  • The Betrayer: Shame and regret are horrible things to wear before The Throne, aren’t they? But don’t cover them with a righteous costume, in attempt to justify your actions to an All-Knowing God. Don’t fall into the trap of going through the motions of confessing and repenting. Your time would be better spent seeking some information about yourself in prayer. Because He is faithful, God can take you on a journey of self-awareness and understanding. When we begin to understand the roots of our own sin and willful wrongdoing, we are able to construct healthier behaviors and priorities.

2) Communicate

  • The Betrayed: It’s imperative that you are honest with the person who betrayed you. They cannot read your mind, and can only guess at how to best treat you in your time of pain. If you need time, say so. If you need reassurance, say that, too. Even when irrational feelings take hold of you (and they will) be honest about them. “Punishing” the person who betrayed you will not work, it will only further complicate the relationship. If you have so many mixed emotions that you don’t even know how to begin explaining them, say that, too! Time is a tool that you can utilize when you’ve been betrayed. Keep the line of communication open to the extent that you are able. When you’re asked “What’s wrong?” never answer with “Nothing” Be honest…”I’m feeling sad, I’m angry, I’m confused” all are honest answers to the honest feelings you will experience in this healing process.
  • The Betrayer: Your honesty is more important after your betrayal than at any other time. Take responsibility for your actions and do not explain them away or minimize your betrayal. Practice being transparent in the areas that pertain to your betrayal. Do not act as though nothing has happened in an attempt to put it behind you! Let the person you betrayed be the one who lays it to rest. Until they do, be assured that the subject is very alive in their heart. Offer reassurance verbally and nonverbally (by your actions). Expect and be willing to accept some backlash from the one you betrayed. Until they have time to get all their feelings into perspective, some irrational ones are going to slip out. That’s okay. Stand strong and stay loving, these feelings will pass as the one betrayed begins to find healing. In many cases, you have betrayed a trust that took much time to build, do not think it will be healed in less time. Be patient and be love!

3) Take a Hard Look at Yourself

  • The Betrayed: When you have been betrayed, it is imperative that you begin your healing by being honest with yourself. Did you play a part in your own betrayal? Oh, that sounds harsh, doesn’t it? I don’t mean it to! For genuine healing to occur, though, you must always start with yourself, your own issues and actions. If a spouse betrayed you, something deeper than the act itself needs to be addressed. There is an underlying issue in the marriage that remains unresolved. That issue is where you can start to rebuild. If it was a family member or friend who did the betraying, the issues are altogether different, but must be addressed, as well. Everything that happens to us is filtered through our own experiences. Have you set unrealistic expectations? Have you given someone else the responsibility to keep you happy? Is fear the motive behind all your actions? There will be some things you’re going to have to change in your own attitude, perception and actions. That’s how growth works. It keeps moving forward. The most important thing you’ll need to accept is that other humans will fail us. They are flawed, like we are. You will never be free from the risk of being hurt by someone you love, but you are free to decide how you will react. You are also free to decide to love, fully knowing the risks involved!
  • The Betrayer: “I don’t know why I did that!” can be a true statement. Often, when you’ve hurt someone deeply, “Why?” is their first question. If you can’t give a definitive answer, that is a clear indication that you need to make some changes! Getting to know yourself and learning to be honest with yourself is paramount even to being honest with others. Look at your betrayal with objective lenses. Are the actions that got you in trouble life-long habits? Has something changed recently? Are you harboring bitterness or resentment? Are you lacking in your own sense of self? Get honest about every betrayal you have committed. Is there a pattern? What would you like to be different about you? Start there! You were created to receive love and to give love. Have you learned to receive it yet?

4) Make (and Execute) a Plan to Move Forward

  • The Betrayed: Without having a plan, it can be easy to find yourself overthinking, giving into your bruised emotions, or walking out your frustration instead of walking through it. You are the best expert on how you heal, write yourself the prescription. Deciding to move forward and risk being betrayed again is scary, but you won’t ever heal if you don’t make that very decision! Since time is a necessary  element on your road to recovery, use it well. Don’t forget that your mind, spirit and body will all be left ailing when you’ve been betrayed. All three areas need your attention! Get rest as you heal. Do not let your mind torture you with toxic thoughts at bedtime. Read Scripture, pray, and practice controlling your thoughts…they are yours. When you’re awake, practice controlling your words. Speak about solutions more than problems. Speak with life-affirming words. Speak of the healing as if you believe it is already beginning. Nourish and hydrate your body with food and water as you nourish and hydrate your spirit with God’s word and His grace. Exercise is a great way to work through some of the anxious energy you are bound to have. Take the dog for a walk, go to the YMCA and swim laps, or dance across your living room. Healing is a “whole being” affair. Get your whole being onboard! Keep in mind that you don’t have to be okay today for today to be good. Healing is not going to happen all at once, but you must live each day believing that it WILL happen.
  • The Betrayer: Your betrayal may have cost you the relationship you most valued. At the very least, it has cost you the trust and confidence that your loved one had placed in you. Either way, you’ll need a plan to avoid such costly endeavors in the future. If you took  Step 3 (above) seriously, you can bring some insight about your betrayals into your plan for either the relationship that is struggling but still intact, or for the next one you’ll have. Never forget that you have to be right with God first! Although your betrayal touched a person with your shadow, it is Him you are dishonoring. Talk to Him, ask Him to help strengthen you. Ask Him to deepen your desire to repent.  Learn how to own up to your behaviors to Him, and then to the one you betrayed. Do not include an excuse, or place blame on anyone but yourself for your behavior. Even when the other person may play a role in the problem, your actions and words belong to only you. Give the other person time to feel what they are feeling, without pressure. It’s good that you’re ready to put the betrayal behind you and move on, but understand that a broken heart is like a broken leg; healed with time. Be a positive force in your relationship. Show yourself worthy of trust. Your actions are paramount to your words after you’ve betrayed someone, but your words are still important! Speak words of life into your relationships, and of affirmation. Understand yourself enough  to know when you are in danger of betraying someone who trusts you. Get to the heart of the matter, therein is the answer to stopping yourself. Then stop yourself.

Without question, Betrayal has left its mark on us all in some manner. As the Betrayed, we have wept. As the Betrayers, we have wept. Understanding that we have the capacity to play either role, it is imperative that we get in alignment with The Word of The Father, Torah. When our Path is Lit, we shine. When we shine, we get through the toughest valleys of betrayal. When we shine, we help others get through it, too! #riseandshine!

21 Weeks Past the Cross (Turbulent)

Praising - Copy - Copy - Copy - Copy
21 Weeks Past the Cross (Turbulent)
BY: TCLeach at http://throughanewlens.blogspot.com

For me to learn something, the lesson has to come with a practical application that I can relate to through the filter my own life-experience. Recently, I subscribed to a science site that takes big scientific concepts and breaks them down in a way that makes the information easy for me to digest. This week I read an article about turbulence on airplanes. I have a natural aversion to the whole concept of me flying through the atmosphere in a little metal box. I thought perhaps the science behind turbulence   might ease my mind. After all, I have a great friend in Hawaii I’d love to meet! The article compared windstreams in the air to the currents in waters. That made so much sense to me! The ocean can appear calm on the surface, while just underneath rip-currents are churning. We can look at turbulence in the sky, the article continued, like riding out waves. This made so much sense to me! I could relate to the lesson because it used something I adore, water, to teach me. Incidentally, the article eased my fear, but it didn’t address the metal box issue, so I still think I’ll have to take a cruise-ship to Hawaii! But I loved the lesson!

There’s another place I often encounter “turbulent waters”. Life. How about you? Just under the surface, something is churning! It’s best we grasp that concept before the turbulence breaks surface. If we’re anchored, buckled in, the turbulence won’t be able to knock us around. We will still feel it, but we will be confident in our security, and ride it out. It is our fear of the turbulence, itself, that can keep us from moving forward on the Path God set before us. We tell ourselves our decision is keeping us safe, a good thing, to be sure! But we are deceiving ourselves. Turbulence is everywhere! The sky and the sea give us the illustration. This is flow of God’s creation. Smoothness and Turbulence. Peace and chaos. Instead of immobilizing ourselves by our own fear, or worse yet, busying ourselves to numb that fear, perhaps we would be wise to take a look at it. Our fears have by filtered through our experiences. They sit inside of our heart and fester, casting shadows on what we know to be true. Let’s expose them, and put them in proper perspective! What are your three biggest fears? When I asked that question to the various people in my “circle” I was surprised to see how many people had the same three! Are they on your list?

The fear of losing a loved one: That’s quite a list topper, isn’t it? How many hours, do you suppose, we have spent worrying and fretting on this subject? The sting we feel when a coffin is lowered into the ground is brutal and life-long. Not one of us wants to ever have to go through that turbulence, but unless God hastens the reign of His Anointed One, we will continue attending funerals. How, then, do we keep this fear in proper proportion to living our lives?

Without question, we were created for relationship. First with our Creator, and then with other humans. The capacity to love is such a gift! That is what we should be focusing on. We must understand that only God holds the number of days for those we love. We can trust Him with the number, even when we do not understand why some people have big numbers and some, small. He has a plan, may it come to pass. If our fear of losing a loved one is consuming us, it is out of proportion! We can consider this fear a red flag! This fear is an indication that we raising a person to the level of “idol” in our lives. Repent! We can replace this fear with a genuine celebration each day that we have that person to love. We can know that we aren’t cursed by standing at an open grave, but blessed to have had that person to love for however many days we had to love them!

The Fear of Being Alone:  If you are laying awake worrying that one day you will be alone, or if you are lonely now, and afraid that you will never again connect with someone, take heart! As we have discussed, we are created for relationship. God has not forgotten you! Since we know there is a season for everything, we can know that we will experience this “aloneness” and that its duration will be a season. How can we best utilize this season, to not be able to call any chunk of precious time in our lives wasted?

When we are doing our best to walk the Path God has for us, we can know this alone time has come from Him. We must seek His plan and purpose for it. He may want us to immerse in studies so our  knowledge and understanding can grow. He may just want us to Himself for a season, so that we will experience His Love, Mercy and Grace. He may be prompting us  to prepare ourselves for the next relationship He will be sending. He may be urging us to re-evaluate the relationships we have slipped out of, so that we can objectively look at our own role in them.  This fear is a warning that we may be putting our own desires above the will of God for our lives, summarized in the Scripture that says, “Here is the conclusion of the matter, fear God and keep His Commands, this is your purpose.”  Repent! We must decide that we will stand for God, surrounded by others or alone, joyfully. We are never alone, anyways…He is with us!

The Fear of Not Living Even While Alive: this is another fear that seems to come with being an imperfect human who loves a Perfect God. Perhaps you may have worded it differently, but we all wonder,  under the surface, if we are sailing in the right direction! It’s easy to cower from this fear because somewhere along the line, society has taught us that we aren’t doing enough. That we don’t have enough. That we aren’t complete without their product, theory or agenda. We keep thinking that we are missing the Big Assignment God has for us in our lives! We run around in circles trying to catch what His plan is for us, but always seem to end up catching our own tail, instead! How can we catch what we’re chasing, and set this fear behind us?

God’s Big Thing will come to pass in our lives if He has a specific use for us. Don’t worry, He will bring it in a an undeniable way (think Moses)! We don’t have to chase it. Go ahead, breath a big sigh! The true Big Thing He has for us are are the Little Things! They are the things we do day by day without giving up. They are counted in our outward manifestations of love, our acts of kindness and our steps of obedience to Him. Even the way in which we will handle turbulence is looked upon by God as a Big Thing!

Once we have named our fears before God and faced them, they will be sized to their correct proportion. We face them by addressing them, and replacing them with a plan based in Scriptures. The three topics we covered today might look like this after we address them:

1) I will not miss out on the joy of love by fearing to loose it. While I do not relish the thought of anyone I love dying or leaving me, I am not consumed by worrying regarding it.  When (not if) I loose a loved one, I will grieve in healthy ways, be thankful for the time I had to love them, and then move on. When others see me, it won’t be my grief that they remember, but my joyful memories of the loved one no longer by my side.

2) I will not miss the opportunity to experience healthy “aloneness” by busying myself to avoid it, or by surrounding myself with the wrong people. Being lonely hurts sometimes, but I am learning how to find purpose when I am in a season of aloneness! I trust that God has a plan, and being alone leaves me in the perfect position to lean in to Him and learn it! He is faithful, and knows my heart’s desire. If He is keeping me from that desire for a season, He has a reason. I will use my seasons of aloneness to become more acquainted with my Creator. Above all, I will remember that it is a season.

3) I will not miss out on the seemingly mundane moments, for they might contain my very purpose! While some people serve with their name in lights and others serve by changing the world, I best serve when I am engaged in my own world. Wherever I am and whatever is set before me (even a sink full of dirty dishes) is part of the purpose God has for my life. The days of calling these things the “small things” are over! God uses every thing, without regard to the value we have placed on these things. Each one has the potential to be big when on that “One Day” I will see the whole picture of my life.

Instead of being crippled by these fears, we will learn to stand securely. Giving these things thought now gives us the opportunity to stand securely through the turbulence we know we’ll eventually experience as we sail (or fly) through this life. Fear is a tool for us, a good thing. It keeps us from petting a grizzly bear or making our bed in a campfire. Like pain, fear is a warning, a red flag. And like any other emotion we encounter, fear is something under our own authority. Don’t let fear control you, make sure that you are controlling it! When we keep our human components in their proper proportion,  we give God more access and influence to our most inward selves!

“See” you next week. Until then, know that you are in my prayers! Shalom🇮🇱


 

For me to learn something, the lesson has to come with a practical application that I can relate to through the filter my own life-experience. Recently, I subscribed to a science site that takes big scientific concepts and breaks them down in a way that makes the information easy for me to digest. This week I read an article about turbulence on airplanes. I have a natural aversion to the whole concept of me flying through the atmosphere in a little metal box. I thought perhaps the science behind turbulence   might ease my mind. After all, I have a great friend in Hawaii I’d love to meet! The article compared windstreams in the air to the currents in waters. That made so much sense to me! The ocean can appear calm on the surface, while just underneath rip-currents are churning. We can look at turbulence in the sky, the article continued, like riding out waves. This made so much sense to me! I could relate to the lesson because it used something I adore, water, to teach me. Incidentally, the article eased my fear, but it didn’t address the metal box issue, so I still think I’ll have to take a cruise-ship to Hawaii! But I loved the lesson!

There’s another place I often encounter “turbulent waters”. Life. How about you? Just under the surface, something is churning! It’s best we grasp that concept before the turbulence breaks surface. If we’re anchored, buckled in, the turbulence won’t be able to knock us around. We will still feel it, but we will be confident in our security, and ride it out. It is our fear of the turbulence, itself, that can keep us from moving forward on the Path God set before us. We tell ourselves our decision is keeping us safe, a good thing, to be sure! But we are deceiving ourselves. Turbulence is everywhere! The sky and the sea give us the illustration. This is flow of God’s creation. Smoothness and Turbulence. Peace and chaos. Instead of immobilizing ourselves by our own fear, or worse yet, busying ourselves to numb that fear, perhaps we would be wise to take a look at it. Our fears have by filtered through our experiences. They sit inside of our heart and fester, casting shadows on what we know to be true. Let’s expose them, and put them in proper perspective! What are your three biggest fears? When I asked that question to the various people in my “circle” I was surprised to see how many people had the same three! Are they on your list?

The fear of losing a loved one: That’s quite a list topper, isn’t it? How many hours, do you suppose, we have spent worrying and fretting on this subject? The sting we feel when a coffin is lowered into the ground is brutal and life-long. Not one of us wants to ever have to go through that turbulence, but unless God hastens the reign of His Anointed One, we will continue attending funerals. How, then, do we keep this fear in proper proportion to living our lives?

Without question, we were created for relationship. First with our Creator, and then with other humans. The capacity to love is such a gift! That is what we should be focusing on. We must understand that only God holds the number of days for those we love. We can trust Him with the number, even when we do not understand why some people have big numbers and some, small. He has a plan, may it come to pass. If our fear of losing a loved one is consuming us, it is out of proportion! We can consider this fear a red flag! This fear is an indication that we raising a person to the level of “idol” in our lives. Repent! We can replace this fear with a genuine celebration each day that we have that person to love. We can know that we aren’t cursed by standing at an open grave, but blessed to have had that person to love for however many days we had to love them!

The Fear of Being Alone:  If you are laying awake worrying that one day you will be alone, or if you are lonely now, and afraid that you will never again connect with someone, take heart! As we have discussed, we are created for relationship. God has not forgotten you! Since we know there is a season for everything, we can know that we will experience this “aloneness” and that its duration will be a season. How can we best utilize this season, to not be able to call any chunk of precious time in our lives wasted?

When we are doing our best to walk the Path God has for us, we can know this alone time has come from Him. We must seek His plan and purpose for it. He may want us to immerse in studies so our  knowledge and understanding can grow. He may just want us to Himself for a season, so that we will experience His Love, Mercy and Grace. He may be prompting us  to prepare ourselves for the next relationship He will be sending. He may be urging us to re-evaluate the relationships we have slipped out of, so that we can objectively look at our own role in them.  This fear is a warning that we may be putting our own desires above the will of God for our lives, summarized in the Scripture that says, “Here is the conclusion of the matter, fear God and keep His Commands, this is your purpose.”  Repent! We must decide that we will stand for God, surrounded by others or alone, joyfully. We are never alone, anyways…He is with us!

The Fear of Not Living Even While Alive: this is another fear that seems to come with being an imperfect human who loves a Perfect God. Perhaps you may have worded it differently, but we all wonder,  under the surface, if we are sailing in the right direction! It’s easy to cower from this fear because somewhere along the line, society has taught us that we aren’t doing enough. That we don’t have enough. That we aren’t complete without their product, theory or agenda. We keep thinking that we are missing the Big Assignment God has for us in our lives! We run around in circles trying to catch what His plan is for us, but always seem to end up catching our own tail, instead! How can we catch what we’re chasing, and set this fear behind us?

God’s Big Thing will come to pass in our lives if He has a specific use for us. Don’t worry, He will bring it in a an undeniable way (think Moses)! We don’t have to chase it. Go ahead, breath a big sigh! The true Big Thing He has for us are are the Little Things! They are the things we do day by day without giving up. They are counted in our outward manifestations of love, our acts of kindness and our steps of obedience to Him. Even the way in which we will handle turbulence is looked upon by God as a Big Thing!

Once we have named our fears before God and faced them, they will be sized to their correct proportion. We face them by addressing them, and replacing them with a plan based in Scriptures. The three topics we covered today might look like this after we address them:

1) I will not miss out on the joy of love by fearing to loose it. While I do not relish the thought of anyone I love dying or leaving me, I am not consumed by worrying regarding it.  When (not if) I loose a loved one, I will grieve in healthy ways, be thankful for the time I had to love them, and then move on. When others see me, it won’t be my grief that they remember, but my joyful memories of the loved one no longer by my side.

2) I will not miss the opportunity to experience healthy “aloneness” by busying myself to avoid it, or by surrounding myself with the wrong people. Being lonely hurts sometimes, but I am learning how to find purpose when I am in a season of aloneness! I trust that God has a plan, and being alone leaves me in the perfect position to lean in to Him and learn it! He is faithful, and knows my heart’s desire. If He is keeping me from that desire for a season, He has a reason. I will use my seasons of aloneness to become more acquainted with my Creator. Above all, I will remember that it is a season.

3) I will not miss out on the seemingly mundane moments, for they might contain my very purpose! While some people serve with their name in lights and others serve by changing the world, I best serve when I am engaged in my own world. Wherever I am and whatever is set before me (even a sink full of dirty dishes) is part of the purpose God has for my life. The days of calling these things the “small things” are over! God uses every thing, without regard to the value we have placed on these things. Each one has the potential to be big when on that “One Day” I will see the whole picture of my life.

Instead of being crippled by these fears, we will learn to stand securely. Giving these things thought now gives us the opportunity to stand securely through the turbulence we know we’ll eventually experience as we sail (or fly) through this life. Fear is a tool for us, a good thing. It keeps us from petting a grizzly bear or making our bed in a campfire. Like pain, fear is a warning, a red flag. And like any other emotion we encounter, fear is something under our own authority. Don’t let fear control you, make sure that you are controlling it! When we keep our human components in their proper proportion,  we give God more access and influence to our most inward selves!

“See” you next week. Until then, know that you are in my prayers! Shalom 🇮🇱

Jesus, the Legendary Greek God

f28984a535b6738c11fd7547c90ae142

https://www.facebook.com/CenterforTanakhBasedStudies?fref=ts

By: William J Jackson

How is it that Jesus of Nazareth, the Christian messiah, is born of Greek mythology?  Well it all started in January of 332 BCE when Alexander the Great came to Jerusalem, this would be the beginning of Hellenism for the Jews.  Hellenism was a Greek mindset, ideas, concepts, science, art and of course religion1.  The Greek conquerors saw Hellenism as a unifying force that would unite their conquests.  At the beginning, many of the Israelites embraced these new views and concepts.  Although there was resistance in later years, Hellenism would permeate Israel well before the pages of the New Testament were penned.

So how did this new mindset derail many Jews? Well instead of eliminating the culture of one’s advisory, Hellenism believed in synthesis.  This was sort of a fusing or mixing of cultures.  Basically when it came to the category of religion you could keep HaShem but you also were expected to add Greek gods.  For starters, within the Greek culture they had their own Elohim (god), this was Zeus.  One of the main differences between their god Zeus and Israel’s God YHVH was that Zeus spawned children that became deities.  If we examine just a few of these Greek gods that existed before the writing of the New Testament we may find the Jesus of Nazareth is a synthesis whose purpose was to tie the Greek and Hebrew cultures. Let’s view three of the most likely foreshadowing’s of the Christian messiah.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Perseus in Greek mythology was the slayer of the Medusa2 and would be the “son of god” that was mostly recognized in Hellenism as a Christ like deity3 

Son of god (Zeus), Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, John 1:14

Virgin Birth, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:30-37

King tried to kill him as an infant, Matthew 2:16

Known for battling evil, Matthew 8:28-32, Mark 1:34, Luke 4:35

Human deity, Romans 8:3, Philippians 2:6-7, Colossians 2:9-10

82fc4ff8345acc62c5adbf49a3d40631

Dionysus is the Greek god of the grape harvest.  This would seem to be a very unlikely candidate to be the precursor to the Christian messiah.  Yet, some of us conservatives did find it weird that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine. The answer here might be this Greek god who was worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC.  Dionysus’ resume appears to be very similar to the Christian messiah4;

Wedding wine miracle, John 2:1-11

Statements about being “The one true vine”, John 15:1

Son of the divine ruler of the world, Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, John 1:14  

Mortal mother, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:30-37

Human deity, Romans 8:3, Philippians 2:6-7, Colossians 2:9-10

Resurrected, John 11:25, Acts 4:2, Romans 1:4

fe2c193a2a522aa83cc175a32b8aac2d

Heracles is more often known by us from his Roman name of Hercules.  This Greek god possesses more “Christ” markers than any other Greek god5.  Remember, Heracles started as a Greek myth and later grew into a Roman myth as Hercules.  We also see the same thing with Christianity starting off with Hellenistic ideals and later becoming the religion of Rome. Heracles bridges the gap between both the Greeks and Romans, much like the Greco-Roman transition in Christianity. We must also note that Heracles lived well before Christ, his death and deification occurring approximately 1226 BCE.

Born of a virgin, Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 1:30-37

Was the son of god (Zeus), Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, John 1:14

Was known as the “savior”, Luke 2:11, Acts 13:23, 1 Timothy 1:15

Prophets foretold his birth, Matthew 1:20–23, 2:4-6, Luke 2:12-14

Attempt on his life as an infant, Matthew 2:16

Walked on water, Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-56, John 6:16-21

Violent death… Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 19

…and was resurrected, John 11:25, Acts 4:2, Romans 1:4

His mother and disciple stood by him when he died, Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41, Luke 23:49, John 19:25

Last words were “It is finished”, John 19:30

When he dies, the Earth trembles…, Matthew 27:50-54

…and darkness covers the land, Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44-45

Ascended to Heaven when he died, Luke 24:50-51, Mark 16:19, Acts 1:8-9

With the Greek’s merging their religion into the Hebrew faith it makes sense they would have capitalized on the coming of the messiah.  In the Greek tradition their god, Zeus, brought in human deities or “sons of god”.  Jesus of Nazareth appears to be a hybrid of these legends and finalized the synthesis of both Hebrew and Greek religions which is the true mark of Hellenism.

References:

(1) By Lawrence H. Schiffman, Hellenism & Judaism, My Jewish Learning

(2) By Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (August 27, 2014), Perseus, Greek mythology, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.

(3) By Kelly and Leigh Giffault, Zeus and God, Greek Mythology

(4) By Derek Murphy, (December 1, 2009), the True Vine: Jesus and Dionysus Similarities, Holy Blasphemy

(5) By David Anderson (2012) Jesus & Hercules Parallels – A Christian Response, King David 8.com

Rise and Shine! On the Shine

Rise-Shine-2016-550x366
Rise and Shine! On the Shine
BY: TCLeach at http://throughanewlens.blogspot.com

In the next couple of weeks we are going to be looking at some things to Shine God’s light on that are cloaked in seemingly hopeless darkness. Before we go there, let’s take some time to more closely look at what it is we are really doing when we go about being light. The  motives behind our outward actions have the power to bless our good deeds, therefore multiplying their effect, or negate them in Our Father’s eyes. To Shine and not cast shadows, we must understand some things about God’s Light, embrace it in our own lives, and purposefully (with much heart) reflect it.

What is “The Shine”?

We were created with a Divine Spark. Some call it our life force, some prefer to use the word soul. For this series, I refer to it as light. Whatever you’re comfortable calling it, this Light is life, itself. It is the potential we are born with to steer ourselves closer to God. It is us in our truest form, perfectly Created by the Perfect Creator. The light is everything in us that is good. The Shine of that Light is the visible effect others see in us that comes from God.

In What Ways Can We Shine?

We first Shine with our countenance. Our faces are relaxed with a happy expression. We can  make eye contact, and be sure we are focusing when others speak to us. We also Shine by the words we speak. Using words that are affirmative and uplifting brighten any conversation! Be genuine with your speech, too. Really mean what you say, the listener discerns whether you do or not. The third place we can Shine is with our hands. We use one hand to hold on to The Father, and the other to fulfill the needs of others around us.

What if our Light is Rejected? There are many people who feel hopeless under the dark shadows that permeate their lives. Not everyone will respond we when we try to Shine God’s Light on them. Some will even try to douse our light. That’s okay! Shine on them anyway, and move along. What they reject today that came from The Father will be a seed planted in their life. We can trust Him to do the watering, fertilizing and the increase, we need only Shine!

Shining God’s Light is a powerful game-changer in our walk! When we begin to understand that it is just as beneficial to us as it is to others, the Shine becomes so much deeper and more meaningful! What begins as a Mitzvah (good deed) will become something so much more profound! When we embrace the light ourselves, joy replaces worry and woes. When we live in a way that illustrates what we believe, that God is Light, then we have a greater chance of others believing it, too. There is no quicker way to cast shadows than to behave in ways contrary to the teachings of Scripture! If we present a downcast face to the world, use our words to destroy instead of build, and can’t even use our hands to get our own life in order, no one will be inspired to learn what a difference God’s Light can make in a person’s life, and no glory will be brought to His Name!

As we prepare to look at some of the darker areas we will be Shining God’s Light, I hope that you will spend some time this week giving the this Light some purposeful thought and practical application exercise. Search Scriptures for examples of Light. After all, the 119 Psalm says that God’s Word is the Light unto our path! When we immerse ourselves in His Word, Light will be the result. Another way we can increase our wattage is to make a habit out of finding the Light in the Beauty that is all around us. This takes practice, but the benefits are amazing! We choose what we set our eyes on. Set them on the worth-while things! Seek the good. Seek it, because it is so much quieter than the bad. Quieter, but so much more powerful! Only when we allow the beauty and the good to fill us until it becomes our own nature will we be able to effectively share it! Before we change the world, or any part of it, we need to allow the Shine to change us from the inside out.

Keep these tips in mind to help you become more intimate with the Shine that God bestows upon us, and expects us to bestow upon others:

  • Choose Your Mood. This may take practice. Somewhere along the line, we let circumstance and other people dictate our mood. That can stop today. We can choose to walk in joy, peace and Light!
  • Choose Your Thoughts. With practice, we can become “glass half full” people. Learn to find silver linings in dark clouds and opportunities to grow in tough circumstances. Find happiness in things you enjoy and delight in that happiness until it becomes part of who you are.
  • Choose Your Focus. “You are what you eat” is a true statement. You are also what you watch and what you hear and what you say and what you do! These are all the avenues by which we feed ourselves. What we “eat” is what we will become. Giving our attention to all things good is how we feed our focus. Our focus is what our will lead us along our path, be careful on what you will set yours!
  • Choose Your Actions. Listen, speak, and do stuff intentionally, not without thought and consideration to the consequences.
  • Choose to Connect. This one takes practice, too. The day is busy, and it seems as though there is not enough of “you” to go around. But I assure you, there is! All people have one common desire. To be heard. They aren’t necessarily looking for someone to solve their problems, but to simply listen to them. Practice doing just that, listening with all of you. When they’re through, reflect a little bit of what they said back to them, affirmation that you heard them. For instance, if someone is talking about their struggle at work, try an answer like this one. “Gee, I didn’t realize how much work it is to make your deadline, you must be very good at what you do!” In an answer like that, the speaker feels heard and validated. When your feed-back is positive, it prompts the speaker to be more positive, too!

For the whole month of July, I have practiced the things I wrote about today. My new behaviors have been noticed by everyone in my life, from my honey, kids and grands,  to the people on my Facebook friend list. People have mentioned a change in me. Some have even teased me about it! I hope my Creator notices, too! I have changed my tone in everything. I’m utilizing kindness, sweetness, beauty and love to their fullest potential. I am promoting what I love instead of bashing what I hate. I am asking questions to get others engaged in conversations about beauty and joy. I want to do more than have an occasional joyous day on this Narrow Path I walk! I want joy to be part of who I am, and how I will be remembered. It felt strange at first to to speak blessings over people and remember to speak much about things good, and speak less of the things not good. I heard something the other day, though, that has made it so much easier! A wise Sister mentioned that, knowing what we know, how can we go through the day NOT blessing others? It’s more than a mitzvah, it should be a character trait in every believer!  God Light is too good NOT to reflect it outward!

Let God’s Light envelope you this week! Let it wash over you like rain. Experience it, cherish it, understand that it is the opposite of everything bad. Giggle with children. Play with puppies. Watch a comedy. Go exploring, whether it be a seashore, the local State Park or even just the things you pass in your day that you normally don’t even notice. Take a candle-light bath. With bubbles! Watch for signs of the Shine in everyone you meet. Seek it in the sunset…a wildflower, or the bird flying over your head. Desire God’s Light with an intense passion! None of this journey is supposed to be dull and uneventful. We were created to walk in the Light and to Shine it on others. Ask The Father to show you what His Light can (and will) change in your world!

Heavenly Father, Blessed is Your Set-Apart Name! You are my shelter, my fortress and my strength. Help me receive the Light You Shine with grace and gratitude. Search me for any shadows, and multiply my capacity for repentance, for Light and for love. Let Your Light change me, so that I might experience joy in everything I do, and even find joy in my own sorrow.  Let Your Light be the prominent characteristic of my personality so that it is visible when others behold my face, and know that You are with me. May the Shine I share prompt them to want You with them, too. Thank You, Father, for the precious gift that is my life! My heart’s desire is to live it to its full potential and to bring glory to Your Name. Forever, You are my King \o/