Condiment or Foundation

The other day, I had the opportunity to observe a good number of people in different settings.  As I observed I noticed that in nearly every interaction with each other, the facilities, and visitors, they were authentic.  Their faith was not something that was just poured on like a condiment, giving a taste but not the key ingredient.

So I began to think, do I sprinkle in bible phrases/words/action at random/when convenient or when I speak/interact is it from my heart?  Are my words from a heart that has been truly changed?  Or am I just familiar with faith enough to seem to have the appearance of faith but posses no real root?

If someone were to observe me, would they see that my faith is the foundation of life or a condiment?

 

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Living Ready or Relaxed

Standing in the kitchen the other day, I stopped and looked around.  The daily clean-up was getting done, but not the deep cleaning.  As I went about my tasks of preparing for Sabbath, I noticed every room in our house had the same problem.   It used to be done but when did it stop?

Then I remembered that at one point we had our house on the market and we lived in ready mode.  We never knew when an agent would request a showing so we kept our house “show ready” at all times (except the Sabbath).  Everyone willingly helped and did their best to clean up and not make too many messes.

If you have ever sold a home, you may know that people will look through all your stuff and it is best to clean – everything!  So we did.  Our house was very clean.  When we received feedback, buyers often said “The house is in good condition and very clean.”

However now…daily chores are half-hardheartedly done and those other deeper cleaning ones seem to get pushed back to another day-day after day.

While it wasn’t our time to sell, the time we were on the market was important.  I learned numerous things:

  • We should be living ready for either the return of the Messiah, whether that is through going to sleep in the dust of the earth or at His appearance.
    • Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great Elohim and our Saviour YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH – Titus 2:13
  • When we are living ready, we work to keep the rooms of our heart free from clutter and dirt (sin).
    • Clean and undefiled religion before the Elohim and the Father is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27
  • When we live ready, we carefully choose the things that are most important to do – we prioritize our time.  We set time to pray, worship, read the Word and help others.
    • “But seek first the reign of Elohim, and His righteousness, and all these shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
  • When we live ready, we don’t just allow anything into our hearts.
    • Keep your heart with all diligence; for out it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
    • “For out of the heart come forth wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, whorings, thefts, false witnessings, slanders.” Matthew 15:19
  • Do we allow the Set-Apart Spirit and the Word to clean areas in our minds, hearts, and spirits? Do we allow areas that hold storage’s of bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, rejection and fear to be exposed and cleaned?  Or, do we only have a surface cleaning of our minds, hearts and spirits-only producing faith that is outward (saying the right verses at the right time, saying we are praying) without real life change?
    • “For the Word of Elohim is living, and working, and sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting through even to the dividing of being and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
  • Do we allow ourselves to be stretched, molded and shaped by the hands of the Master?  Or are we comfortable and relaxed, not willing to go beyond where we are now?
    • “And now, O YAHUAH, You are our Father.  We are the clay, and You our potter.  And we are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8
  • Are we letting go of things that hinder us or are we holding on to things out of fear and safety?
    • “We too, then, having so great a cloud of witnesses all around, lay us aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking to the Prince and Perfecter of our belief, YAHUSHA, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, having despised the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim.” Hebrews 12:1-2
  • Are we choosing to be filled as we walk in the spirit with its fruit or are we choosing to be filled according to the world becoming friends of it?
    • “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with Elohim?  Whoever therefore intends to be a friend of world makes himself an enemy of Elohim.” James 4:4
  • Are we choosing to become a reflection of His character or choosing to be conformed to the world?
    • “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.” Romans 12:2
  • Are we dying daily to self and sin, or are we playing with salvation by repenting one day and still choosing to sin again the next day?
    • “And He said to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow.” Luke 9:23
  • Are we following the Set-Apart Spirit’s leading in allowing sanctification to take place continually or are we procrastinating and putting off repentance and salvation, until we are ready for it?
    • Wash me completely from my guilt, and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalms 51:2
    • “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were set apart, but you were declared right in the Name of the Master YAHUSHA and the Spirit of our Elohim.” 1 Corinthians 6:11
    • “Let us draw near with a true heart in completeness of belief having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water.” Hebrews 10:22
    • “But when the kindness and the love of Elohim our Saviour toward man appeared, He saved us, not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His compassion, through the washing of rebirth, and renewal by the Set-apart Spirit, which He poured out on us richly through YAHUSHA Messiah our Saviour, that having been declared right by His grace we should become heirs according to the expectation of everlasting life.” Titus 3:5
    • “Now that you have cleansed your lives in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned brotherly love, love one another fervently with a clean heart, having been born again – not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible – through the living Word of Elohim, which remains forever,” 1 Peter 1:22-23
    • “For he in whom these are not present is blind, being shortsighted, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his old sins.” 1 Peter 1:9
  • If YAHUSHA our Messiah would come to our home, what would He find? Would He find our hearts in order or will He find them full of the cares of the world?

I want to be found living ready, what about you?

Overcoming Emotional Eating

Here again, I was standing in the pantry, looking through the shelves, thinking “there has got to be some chips in here somewhere.  Where are they???”

I didn’t need them.

But I was stressed. Or maybe depressed. Or feeling hopeless. Or defeated…or something.

Whatever it was, I needed a distraction and chips seemed to be the perfect solution.  Finally, I spotted them and as I started reaching for them, I felt YAHUAH’s Spirit saying “pray through.”

Pray through?  Why?  Pray what?

Slowly I walked out of the pantry and began to pray.

This happens frequently, almost daily in some form.  When I was pregnant with our second daughter years ago, I read about emotional eating and I started paying more attention to what, when and why I was eating.  Keeping this focus has helped many times over the years.  Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed.

Recently though as I was thinking about how much discipline it takes to stay in Ketosis (I‘ve been off and on Keto for over a year now).  I realized it’s not just my own choice to use self-control, but in that moment that I want to eat something, I have other choices.  The choices are: to pray asking for YAHUAH’s help in the situation(s) that is/are going on; to praise because it takes the focus off of me; and/or to stand still because sometimes it is a spiritual battle, therefore speaking The Word does helps mightily.

YAHUAH is helping me to see that food cannot solve the problem, nor can it help.  It rather causes more problems.  When I choice to indulge in eating chips (I cannot eat just one), I usually feel my blood sugars go up very high nearly immediately (Diabetes 2 runs in my family and praise YAHUAH through diet I have been able avoid it), my stomach might start to feel like there are rocks in it (which happens with many chip brands) and if I continue over a few days/weeks then I will have weight increase.  Is the temporary, deceitful, empty filling of chips and the momentary perceived satisfaction really worth it?

No.

Following YAHUAH’s leading is the best choice to make.  Not only does it do away with the physical consequences but every time I choose to submit to Him and lean on Him, I grow more in relationship with Him.  I’ve seen Him fight battles and change situations around.  As I choose to become humble and pray to Him saying that “I don’t know what to do” or “this is too much for me” and allow His peace to rest in me, I know that I can stay free from emotional eating.  Should I fall, as it sometimes happens, I can make a Life-Turn and get back on track with Him again.

I love the effects of choosing to not let food be my comfort!  I am gaining a stronger and closer relationship with Him, relying on His comfort brings that peace, and His Set-Apart Spirit that destroys the power of the enemy.

Time for A Life-Turn

She was desperate.

She was frantic.

She was anxious.

She was distressed.

She was hopeless.

She was despondent.

She was at the end of her rope.  She dreamed day after day, year after year, month after month-only to see the evidence of her natural desire unfulfilled.  She watched others bring forth life and felt the stabs of pain in her heart with every child’s cry she heard.  She probably tried numerous herbs and recommendations from other women.  Still nothing helped her.  What was she going to do?

To make matters worse, she’d no doubt heard others talking about her.  She’d seen their stares, felt their condemnation and scorn.  Surely they believed the problem was with her.  Motherhood was a defining point in a woman’s life-but not for her.  She was empty.

Now years later getting closer to 100, though her cycle had long ago ended, her desire for a baby of her own was still there.  In fact it was worse.  Beyond desperation, she thought there must be another way, especially since YAHUAH had promised them a son.

Until…

Sarah saw no other way, so a plan began to come together in her mind.  Her plan seemed perfect.  What could be the problem with it?

The problem was that it was not from YAHUAH.  His timing was way past the possibility of human control.  His plan was for an appointed time-a miracle by any standard.

Since Sarah got ahead of YAHUAH, she had to deal with some consequences she did not foresee.  She had pains, heart aches, worries and fears-all because she went ahead of YAHUAH.

How many times have we done the same things?

This is how I’ve felt off and on for a while.  What seemed like “good, logical, common sense things” to do weren’t part of YAHUAH’s will for us.  Over the last few years, in the back my mind, I had doubts with going forward with the things that we thought we should be doing.  I struggled with real peace during these times.  I found scripture verses to apply to the situations-creating  a false sense of peace yet further torment.  In the back of my mind though, I had the feeling that either we aren’t supposed to be making certain changes or that the timing was not right.  Still, we worked to try things this way and that way because it made sense to go in those directions-we had good reasons for continuing on.  Like Sarah, we had people around us who were doing some of the same things and having no problems succeeding, while we failed, every-single-time.

Like Sarah, dealing with the challenges of Hagar, while Hagar was pregnant, we began to have challenges and the stresses of trying to reach the end were consuming us.   I complained that I have no time for the things that I was supposed to be doing, that I was stressed out and that money was being wasted.  Yet I kept pushing for ways to make things work.

However we brought these challenges on ourselves.

Eventually though like Abraham and Sarah, it was time for a life-turn.  A life-turn is when we turned around, stopped and cut our losses from the situation, and then went back to the place where we first got off track.

Brick wall after brick wall we would hit and kept receiving no after no.  YAHUAH’s answer was clear.  YAHUAH was not leading us in that direction, at least not for right now in some instances.  In others, the answer may be yes but not right now…

When we stopped, when I stopped researching for ways to do these things, when we finally said no more, then peace came.  Sanity and order was restored.  Suddenly the financial constraints weren’t hard.  Yes, we did have some consequences to deal with.  The last affected one person in our families’ health.  It was horrible!  Again we had to cut our loses and walk away!

We had to see that we were coveting other people’s paths in life.  Coveting is against YAHUAH.  Coveting lead us to complain, to be ungrateful for where we were at that present time and to believe that the area/place/situational change would be better than what we have right now/had right then.  When we finally stopped and accepted that this is YAHUAH’s will for us right now, we then could see His divine hand of provision in our lives.

As we read through the Old Testament, I noticed something.  We people went through challenges, were blessed or were changed-the place was given a name-not that YAHUAH had additional names!  In this season of our life, I believe it is called Providence.

Providence is the place/time when we are in YAHUAH’s care, that He is the power sustaining and that He is guiding our every step.  We prayed daily YAHUAH don’t let us do anything outside of Your will and nothing happened at all.

At times, we were wondered what was wrong with us.  Why not us?  When is our time?

Yet our time had not come.

When we stopped looking at others, we began to see all the blessings that YAHUAH had given us.  Then we began to repent, asking YAHUAH for forgiveness for not believing His word and for not listening.  We began to thank Him for all the closed doors.  Furthermore, even though we tried to look at the good and bad of each decision, I know there were something’s we could not have seen, nor planned for but YAHUAH is All-Knowing and He kept us from moving forward for our own good!  His will is better for us to be stopped than for us to keep going.

I was listening to a special podcast from Crystal Hurst, which featured Crystal Hurst, Patricia Shrier and their mother Dr. Lois Evans (it was freebie for completing a survey) and I heard them say some things I already knew but this time it made so much more sense.

Mrs. Shrier said, “Just because I can, doesn’t mean that I should.”

Dr. Evans said, “When you have a decision to make, look 5, 10, 20 years down the line and think about how this one decision will affect you then.”

We could have continued and tried to find other ways but that didn’t mean that we should have.  Furthermore, in a few years, we may have had some big changes happening and this decision would have hindered those possible changes-greatly.

So we stopped.  We did a Life Turn.  In the last six years, we have had numerous Life Turns.  When I look back at those turns, I can see that though some of them where harder than others, they were the best decisions for us.  Life-Turns are necessary to put us back to the place where we went off track; we just have to put our trust in YAHUAH and turn around.

Scripture-Gramming

For months now, I had been doing something when I find a verse and focus on it.  I call it Scripture-Gramming.  Its kind of like Diagramming Sentences (which I have been grading a lot of over the years in our homeschool) but doing it with scripture verses and without classifications.

See below:

 

From time to time I will share them here!

Grace Never Ends

Your-Grace-It-Never-Ends.png

A few weeks ago I heard a song by People and Songs Never Wanna Go Back and it has been on my mind nearly everyday since then.  The song talks about freedom, living free from guilt, that things are working for our good and about grace.  YAHUAH’s grace is unlimited, it doesn’t expire, there is no timelimit, it doesn’t run out, it doesn’t get old…it is eternal.

Continue reading “Grace Never Ends”

The Fallow Ground

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According to Merriam Dictionary fallow means:

Noun

  • Usually cultivated land that is allowed to lie idle during the growing season
  • Plowed land
  • the state or period of being fallow
  • the tilling of land without sowing it for a season

Verb

  • left untilled or unsown after plowing
  • dormant, inactive —used especially in the phrase to lie fallow

Transitive  verb

  • to plow, harrow or breakup without seeding to destroy weeds and conserve soil moisture

 

As I have thought about the above verse, I believe this “ground” is an area of life, an area of the heart or a season of life, that has been purposely allowed to sit dormant.  At some point it was prepared by having something(s) removed off of it, but nothing was sown on it-purposely.  Other areas of ground that we might have sown righteousness on (accepting YAHUSHA, being obedient, helping others) and received mercy (forgiveness of sin) in our past, but this section of ground did not have anything sown on it.  It has been sitting there vacant and it was set aside for YAHUAH’s purpose.

fallow-ground

Now it is time to break it up/prepare this ground, by getting rid of things (sin, wrong ways of thinking, wrong ways of doing things) that can take nutrients away (such as hope, peace, love, patience, self-control, gentleness, joy,  and Word of YAHUAH) or things that can take over/consume us just as weeds in our yards can.

Also by breaking up this area that can soon can be planted on, it becomes able to soak up the rain of righteousness that is coming from YAHUAH.

So, is there an area of your life that seems dormant? Do feel like you are in a dormant season?

Well, now may be the time, that YAHUAH is calling out to you to break it apart!  To tear it up!  To prepare it for this new season, this new direction, this new adventure, this new road that He is taking you on.  We must be willing to get rid of anything – fear, hatred, gossip, lust, overspending, overeating, any physical/spiritual junk that we have been accumulating, any distractions, wants, expectations, unforgiveness, hurts, anger, frustrations – so that we can be ground that is soft and thirsty for the rain that YAHUAH has appointed to pour down on us.

One morning recently I woke up with the above verse and Morgan Harper Nichols’ song Lead Me Back on my mind.  I agree – it’s time for some things to be broken down, it is time for lies to be revealed!  Each day I want to rise and seek YAHUAH’s face, waiting for His rain!

I don’t know about you, but I want YAHUAH to rain on me, in me, in my life, in our family and I don’t want to be in the way!

Which Torah Do You Choose?

Romans 3, 4 and 5 contrasts two torah’s – The Torah of Works verses The Torah of Faith.  So we have a choice to make – which Torah do we choose – the one which results in death or the one that results in life.  I choose life.

 

Talk To Me About Grace

Sometimes in life we are hinder our healing, deliverance, and/or change in our lives.  Sometimes we just need to let go and let YAHUAH work in our lives.

This week’s Shabbat Message: Talk To Me About Grace will encourage you to move beyond the opinions of others and your own excuses, to receive what you have been trying to reach for and to know fully that what YAHUAH gives is without cost.

It is time to believe, it is time to pray, it is time to let go, to press forward and allow His love to fill our hearts, which transcends all sin.

The Answer Was There All Along

Sometimes  the answer to an  issue we are praying about is right in front of our face, but we are looking every where else, trying anything else but that one answer!

That’s what we have experienced recently.

We were trying to do something a while back and an option came for us to go a certain way but it was a different way that we were not as familiar with.  So we chose to stay on the more familiar route, based on our previous success.  However, months later, we were tired, frustrated and at our wits end.  We were at the point of giving up, when we decided to look into that unfamiliar option again.  This option which had been available all along was much easier and stress free.  We could have saved time, money, emotional toil, and lessened the challenges, had we chosen this option sooner.

Yet we were the hold up because desiring our own ways and not wanting to give up this or that was blocking us from moving forward.

Then when we let go of the wheel, when we gave up, we surrendered our will, YAHUAH moved in miraculous ways.  He provided for us in numerous ways.  And His answer was there all along, we just had to let go.

Then one day it seemed as if nothing was going to work.  First we hit one road block but we were able to find a potential path around.  Then a few hours later, a second road block came-only it was higher than the first one.

Earlier this week, I remember laying in the bed, thinking I am so tired.  I give up.  I have to accept this “no” for now.

Then, His  truth crumbled the first road block, correcting wrong information.  A day or so later, YAHUAH’s grace demolished the second road block and His mercy shined down upon us.  Then He, unexpectedly poured down even more grace upon us.  Though it came through people, we know that at every point He was behind it.

Grace.

YAHUAH’s grace on us.

All week long, I’ve thought about these situations, which completely turned around unexpectedly.  I am change by them.  As I reflect on the timing when this event started in our life, I see His hand was there.  Most of the time I refused to see it, but He was still there.  I know He hears me and has my best in His plans.  All things work together for our good…the no’s, delays, challenges, frustrations and even some of our own decisions – all worked in our behalf – although we couldn’t see it.

He still moves mountains even today.

For me and you.

For all who believe.

Now, not all situations will work out similarly or according to our own earthly plans, most don’t even come close, but since YAHUAH’s plans for me are better than I can plan for myself, it is best to submit to His will.

Just because our prayers were answered close to our desires, doesn’t mean the answer is without it’s own challenges.  There were somethings we had to let go of, some compromises we had to accept and some changes we had to and still have to make.  We can’t see what YAHUAH has for us as we go in this direction, but I know His best-is best.

Living Through A Miscarriage

 

Nearly eight years ago, we had a miscarriage at about 8 weeks into the pregnancy.  I went to the hospital with some bleeding on the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread that week.  The doctors said everything was fine and this was normal.

A few days later, the bleeding became worse and big clots started coming out.  I tried to rest as much as I could  but nothing could stop what was happening.  The next day was a Sabbath and when we saw flesh in the clots, we immediately went to the hospital, where they confirmed a miscarriage was happening.

I was crushed and confused.  Why me?  Why us?

I still don’t have the answers and a few months later we became pregnant with our first born son who is totally amazing to me!

But the grief that I went through for a long time was hard then and sometimes is still even hard now.  There was a painting that someone created years ago of the Messiah carrying a black woman in His arms walking on the beach-that was me for several months after the miscarriage.

I felt like I was barely able to breathe, let alone function.  I tried to hold myself together because we had three daughters who needed me, so I would get up in the morning, with every intent on doing one of my exercise videos, but within a few minutes, I’d end up on the floor in quiet tears.

I know that it was only YAHUAH’s hand on me that kept me from losing my mind.  I felt like my heart had just been ripped away from me.  I had doubts and fears.  I wanted to blame YAHUAH, blame myself, blame anything I could think of.  I felt like I was on the verge of breaking down, but YAHUAH kept me.

In a desperate search for help, I found March of Dimes web page about Miscarriages  and I signed up to receive a package in the mail about grief.  This was so helpful for me.  It helped me to understand that my husband and I grieve differently and I didn’t need to be upset with him because of that.  It helped me to see that we were not alone-that others have went through miscarriages too.

One moment at a time, one step at a time, I walked through that grief.  Some days were good and some were bad.   Having a husband and three daughters to homeschool and take care of everyday, pushed me to get out of bed, to go outside, and to find a moment to smile.   Years later, I still feel that grief some days and the Festival of Unleavened Bread is a constant reminder of it.  Yet, I am not at the same place I was eight years ago.

So I want you to know today, that you are not alone if you have went through or are going through a miscarriage.  YAHUAH is there with you.  Whether you have family near or far, have friends or not, don’t let go of YAHUAH’s hand.  Though you may not see  a way through your grief, let Him carry you through your grief.  Don’t fight the grief you feel.  Don’t stay in it either, but live through it.

May YAHUAH comfort you in His everlasting arms.