Yesterday, Sunday, September 20, 2020 was such a nice day. . . it was cool outside, sunny, and the fresh, clean mountain air an amazing preview of the fall season.
Some say I have a weird way of seeing things in the world. I don’t know, I never thought it was that weird at all, just how I see things. I have this knack of recognizing blessings popping up all over the place, and I am not ashamed to recognize from where they came.
Like this morning, walking the yard with Jim I found two woolly bears cuddled up on the lawn trying to stay warm in this chilly air that has crept in. I snatched them up and tucked them away in a safe spot of the garden, so they don’t get stepped on by us or by deer. Or the beautiful bright, rusty orange butterfly that flew by the window a bit ago to distract me and make me smile. Things like that always make me happy, give me pause, and help me recognize the value of Yahweh’s blessings. Well, yesterday was one of those days when His blessings were blatantly undeniable.
We ran to pick up our grocery order and some fresh produce. For the afternoon, we planned to have a pizza for brunch and just get some things done. Several times over the past couple weeks, we drove past this nursery, and I had seen a HUGE box off at the end of the parking lot packed full of “dead mums.” I got the impression the second or third time seeing them that I should ask Jim to stop. I wanted to ask the owners if I could grab the “dead mums” and see if I could bring them to life in our prayer garden. But I never asked Jim, thinking he would think me weird. Not even sure why exactly I thought that, I ask him to do weird stuff all the time!
We drove by them a few more times over the next several days, but I never did ask him if we could stop. Well yesterday, as we drove past on the way TO the grocer, I saw that box was now over the top full of mums – white ones and yellow and they really didn’t look dead at all. I have been wanting to add some autumnal flowers to fill out the prayer garden especially before Sukkot. But by the time we got done, I had completely forgotten all about stopping. That is, until we were right on top of the nursery, and there was no way Jim could have stopped in time without causing an accident.
When we drove by, I looked and there were even MORE mums in that box!!! GOODNESS WAS IT FULL!!!
As we drove toward home, I felt foolish for not remembering, and even more foolish for not asking to stop. I felt this strong impression, ASK HIM TO STOP! I said, “No, he won’t want to turn around now - we are almost home.” Again, “ASK HIM TO STOP!” In my head I replied the same thing only to hear ONE MORE TIME – “ASK HIM TO STOP!!! NOW!!!” Sometimes that Voice can be very insistent!
Feeling a bit unsure, again not knowing why, I said, “Ummm, Jim, if I asked you to stop, turn around and go back to that nursery back there – would you go? You see they have this huge box of mums at the end of their parking lot that looks like they are just throwing away and I was. . . .” I don’t recall how far I got into that sentence before he was turning around and going back! I finished explaining to him I hoped they would give them to me for free. And as we drove back he said, "Doesn't hurt to ask!"
When we arrived, I asked a woman out front if we could have them. She actually giggled at my request, almost as if she was saying, “They will never come back to life, but go ahead!” But all she said out loud was, “Sure.” So, we did!!! Friends, these mums are HUGE. One had a tag in it that said $34.99! I was dumbstruck – they had no pots, just open root, but they were holding together pretty well because they had been pot bound. They were a bit dry, and some were broken a bit on the stems. Jim kept telling me we were full, but I kept giving him one more, one more, and another one! We came home with 6 or 7 HUGE plants. If they have them again next time we go by, we are going to stop and grab more!
I planted all but two later that afternoon, watered them well, prayed over them and put berry bags to protect them from the deer. I plan to drop the other two in the ground tomorrow, and then, several of the broken stems actually have root starts on them, so they will go into pots of their own! I don’t care if they grow big enough to go in the garden or not – they will decorate our Sukkah in a bit!!!
But wait – there is MORE!!!
While I planted, Jim was mowing the yard. We have some of the most precious neighbors – one who comes often to help mow for Jim because all we have for now is a push mower for this “almost 1 acre” lot of land. It’s good exercise, yes, but some days you just don’t want to! Jim was doing fine yesterday when someone ELSE came along – a DIFFERENT neighbor from up the road and around two corners. Not one of our close neighbors. We don’t even know why they were driving down our little dead end street.
Jim said they pulled up, and volunteered to drive their big mower over to mow our lawn for him! The husband said he remembers when HE had to mow THEIR big yard with nothing but a push mower. His wife jumped in and said, “We really would like to do this for you – our good deed for the day!” Then they drove off! Next thing we knew, here comes the husband, on his mower, driving down the street, pulls onto our lawn and whipped it out in no time flat!
Jim came up to me after the gentleman had gone and he said, “WOW!!! Isn’t this amazing???? What a DAY FILLED with blessings!!! FULL of them!!!” I said, IT SURE IS!!!
I hadn’t even had time yet to brag to him about all the blessings from the grocery store! I saved that for later. For now, we are just truly feeling humbled by all that Yahweh does for us – the little things and the big things. Feeling greatly blessed.
I often see little and simple blessings in the strangest places. This is one of those times.
A few months ago, we took some money we had set aside and went to our favorite home supply stores in town. We had a list of items we needed for the yard – things we had to put off for some time because of our budget being so tight. Yet that day we were excited to be able to afford many of them. I put the list together in order of importance, figuring that as we worked our way down the list, if there were things we needed to put aside for another time, we would just do that.
One of the items on my list was a Yard Cart. I had my eye on one in particular which was available at our first stop. I had looked online which said there were plenty still in stock. It was built like a wheelbarrow, but instead of ONE wheel, it had two. I figured it would be easier for me to keep balanced.
When we were shopping, we discovered they were all out of yard carts. I was so very upset because online said they would have plenty, but Jim suggested we try another store, or two. Which we did. At the last store, he suggested we just get a wheelbarrow – he knew how desperately I needed something with wheels to work in all the gardens this year, including the prayer gardens and the woods. I was so annoyed at having to settle.
But then an almost audible voice said I was being stubborn! I was, too – but then, Jim found something else! He discovered this cute little yard cart that, if I settled on the wheelbarrow, I could afford to get BOTH items. The little yard cart was PERFECT for all my sheers, scissors, hand tools, and even had room for my jar of plant food, Sluggo, AND Epsom salts!!! It was light weight, washable, drained and dried quickly, and so much more.
Suddenly, I felt a little silly at balking over the wheelbarrow. Jim, I think, could tell that I wasn’t excited at first, so he tried to tell me we would keep looking. But now I insisted!!! I wanted BOTH items. So, we got them both! I LOVE my little yard cart – it holds SO MUCH. But the best part of that purchase came after my using the wheelbarrow for just about 2 weeks. Not only have I been able to move pounds and pounds of soil to fill garden beds and level the Prayer Garden area, but through using that simple little inexpensive yard tool, I noticed an issue with balance I was having has improved immensely! With only one wheel, I am forced to not overload the tub which treats my back well, while still giving me the lifting exercise I need for my arms and shoulders. Then as I walk away, the unstable nature of the one wheel, tests me and challenges me as I go over the bumps and lumps in the ground. I am so grateful to go for walks without feeling wobbly or off kilter. AND, this is much more fun than going to a gym.
I did NOT expect these blessing to happen! What a wonderful unexpected gift. Not only has my balance improved, but I am also losing a little bit of weight at a time, and I am building endurance back up to the heat and humidity. I still don't enjoy those two things, but I can work outside for longer periods than last year. My immune system is improving, too, with all that fresh air and exercise as well as just plain enjoying all that outdoorsy stuff. Which ALSO makes me feel better all around!
Blessings to overflowing - All from buying a wheelbarrow!
Recently a question came up: Biblically speaking, are we responsible for another person’s feelings? In other words, do our actions play a role in how a person feels? Initially I was somewhat stumped by the question, because over the years, I have generally been taught that how I feel is exclusively my responsibility. My initial reply was actually somewhat guarded, and I did come up with a few examples of how one person’s behaviours MIGHT lead to another’s negative feelings. Yet I was not confident in my reply.
Often in the mornings while I am getting ready for the day, I pray while I work through my daily routine. This morning, I was drying my hair thinking about whether or not I am going to be able to get into the garden later today with this heat. . . .and also found myself praying the deer didn’t eat the flowers in the prayer garden over night! Just a bunch of typical random thoughts running around in my brain.
As I was going through the morning, when I noticed that still small voice saying to me, “They asked you about responsibility, isn’t Yahweh’s example enough?” I didn’t quite understand it at first, but then another whisper, “Think on Yahweh’s wrath and from where it came.” Suddenly I realized this whispering was in response to the question about feelings. As I realized that, a deep feeling of confirmation washed over me.
And so, I thought for a bit. Suddenly cases from scripture started to flow into my thoughts - situations where Yahweh’s wrath is kindled. Times when He has been brought to the point of executing consequences upon His people when their behaviors resulted in Yahweh feeling anger. I found myself seeing why I received that message in the morning of how His example needed my closer look. Each time God was angry it was because someone did something against Him, His counsel, His teachings, or His principles.
“And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.”
Numbers 11:1 KJV
“For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.” Deuteronomy 7:4 KJV
These are just two examples of how someone’s deeds, what they do and say, can stir emotions in another. Of course, we know that Yahweh is in many ways different than we are, and He even tells us: Don't seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God's wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord." Romans 12:19
Yahweh is patient with us as well as loving and very kind. He grants us chance after chance after chance, still forgiving us along the way. And we are to be an example of that forgiveness in our lives, forgiving others as often as offense happens. Yet there are times when our emotions, including anger, are righteous or justified. The question, I believe, isn’t whether someone else is responsible for our emotions, but are they responsible for our actions based on our emotions? And to this I have to say, NO. We may feel anger, hurt, frustration or any other in the range of emotions, but “they” are not responsible for what we do with those emotions. Instead, we must accept that even in the worst of hurt, WE are responsible for our ACTIONS when we allow ourselves to be overcome with emotions which lead to improper actions.
If we become violent, angry enough to exact vengeance, or react in any other way which goes against the teachings of Yahweh in scriptures, then we need to know that we have gone beyond our realm of authority. Arise, Yahweh, in your anger. Lift up yourself against the rage of my adversaries. Awake for me. You have commanded judgment. Psalm 7:6 WEB This is a perfect example of what we OUGHT to do with our negative emotions – give them over to Yahweh in prayer and turn to Him to handle the situation. We could, though, instead of praying He exact judgement or wrath upon someone, pray for Him to handle it completely, remove the feelings of vengeance from our hearts, and fill us with peace and knowledge that He’s got this!
Let’s go over a couple of examples of emotions we might feel based off of the actions of others:
Trust – When a couple marries, they have trust in each other. Certain things each does during the marriage can build that trust to make it stronger, or damage that trust to make it weaker. Are the spouses then responsible for the emotions each feels? Yes. I believe the worst-case scenario would be in the case of adultery. It is very difficult to rebuild trust after the sin of adultery is committed. If the offending spouse, for demonstration purposes only, the husband starts to mimic the untrustworthy behaviors seen before, the hurt spouse, in this case the wife, will likely again lose trust in her husband. This is an expected response to the husband’s actions. Do you see the responsibility here for how the wife feels?
Now if the wife takes that lack of trust and acts out in a way that violates Yahweh’s commandments, those actions would be all the responsibility of the offended wife. Those reactions may have been influenced by her husband’s actions, but she should have taken all negative feelings to Yahweh. If she was feeling the lack of trust lead her to vengeful pursuits, she needs to remember that vengeance is Yahweh’s. Staying true to Yahweh’s teachings is the path she should have taken.
Anger – in dealing with a situation involving a friend or family member, they commit sin against you in some way which results in your being angry at what they have done. This is not the first time this has happened, they have set a precedence, and you are weary of the cheating, stealing, lies, deception, or whatever the violation. You find yourself getting angry, fed up, frustrated.
What do you do with that anger in your heart? It MAY be justified, and I believe that you MUST take this to Yahweh – not to friends and family, to Yahweh. Only HE can tell you truly if you are justified. And only He can rebuke you when not. If justified, too, Yahweh is the only one who can help you remove any bitterness or vengeance from your heart.
Hurt – Sometimes people do things that hurt us, bring us pain, disappointment, anguish, distress, or sorrow. Sometimes, too, they repeatedly do these things so the hurt can be ongoing.
Remember that forgiveness is key. We are taught to forgive and how often.
“Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?"Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.”
Matthew 18:21-22 World English Bible
Forgiveness, to go into depth, needs its OWN lesson on our ministry page – but simply put, we need to let go and forgive. Yet, sometimes we cannot place ourselves back in the company of those who are toxic to us or our families. Many will try to convince you that, even in these cases, part of your forgiving them is that you must let them back in. And you do not. Scripture tells us that there is a large group of offenders that we must avoid. One simple example is bad company corrupts good morals.
(Found in 1 Cor 15:33)
Sometimes our emotions come all rolled into one big package, too. Hurt, anger, lacking trust present simultaneously. Then because they are so powerful, they lead to feelings of vengeance. There are times when we may feel these feelings so deeply that we don’t catch ourselves before our heart feels vengeful. We MUST remember at this point that what happens next is ON US. If we act on that vengeance, we will need to repent and turn it all over to Yahweh.
Going out into the world, into our families, amongst our friends, we also need to see the OTHER side. When have YOU been responsible for how someone feels? Are there things you need to repent of and ask forgiveness for?
I am NOT saying that we are responsible for their bitter root, hate, vengeance, or anything taking place in their heart. Yet our actions may be the initial seed of hurt, anger, or distrust emotion which then sprouts and takes root into these other sinful actions. We ARE allowed to feel our emotions because often those are based on our experiences with a specific person. These are the negatives. And yet we also learned to LOVE because someone DOES SOMETHING or THINGS that make us feel that deep emotion, don’t we? In fact, we love because HE loved us first…..
So I would have to say yes, there IS biblical precedence for someone being responsible for HOW we feel. . .but we should hold ourselves responsible for what we DO with those emotions. Yet as we feel emotions, let us, be a better example by living as counseled in the Word:
1 Thes 5:15 KJV “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
Proverbs 20:22 World English Bible “Don't say, ‘I will pay back evil.’ Wait for Yahweh, and he will save you.”
Matthew 5:44 World English Bible “But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,…”
Romans 12:9 World English Bible “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good.”
1 Peter 3:9 KJV Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
Ephesians 4:26-27 New Heart English Bible "Be angry, but do not sin." Do not let the sun go down on your anger, neither give place to the devil (don’t let the devil get a grip).
Leviticus 19:18 World English Bible "'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh.
Shalom - Judith
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This is a question we received recently and felt it best to answer on the website for those who may ask it in the future as well: “Why is your website ‘Torah for women’ and not ‘GOSPEL for women’?”
The simple answer is that we are a ministry which teaches how the whole word of God is for our instruction. You see, many of us have been taught over the years that the “law is dead,” therefore we don’t need to follow the law. We have even heard teachers who teach that the ten commandments are not needed in our day and age, and don’t need to be followed.
Imagine that! Messages like thou shalt not murder, shalt not commit adultery, shalt not steal, shalt not bear false witness or covet - these no longer apply in life. Imagine doing away with the principle of bringing a good name to your family by honoring your parents. Or we don’t need to honor or respect Yahweh, nor to respect His name by refraining from taking it in vain. We also do not need to honor the day He set aside for us to rest as He rested in creation. Well, if you look around the world, especially in the United States right now, we are experiencing the consequences of this and as scripture states: you reap what you sow.
Don't be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Gal 6:7-8 WEB
Because we have sown a lack of respect for Yahweh and His Words, we are reaping the consequences of having low or no conscience among our young adults and youth, even many older people. We are reaping violence and disrespect for authority because for decades people have been taught there is no moral code, no respect for human life, no true love for neighbors. We have sown abundantly in lies and false teachings, deleting portions of His word for our own convenience or comfort, sown in the flesh, only to lead to reaping corruption.
Because the law has not been important enough to families for decades, because these principles are done away with or called archaic, because we have taught entire generations that all they need to do is love their neighbor, while not teaching them how to do so, we are here, now.
The word of Yahweh is a whole package, and although there are aspects of it that are not required because of the grace of Yahweh and completed works of Yeshua, there are still strong principles and instructions we need to follow to fully live as Yeshua lived. There are things we need to choose to obey to BE the best person we can be. Without those teachings, we are not going to be able to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22, 23a WEB
Torah for Women Ministries does not teach that a believer must follow these laws or commandments to be given or granted salvation – you cannot earn your salvation as though it is a prize. It is only through the blood of Yeshua that we have gained that salvation. Yet once we accept that salvation into our lives, we should seek after those things which exemplify Christ. He taught those things through his ministry and life. That knowledge is contained throughout the Word of God, and we should be led to follow those words.
We should seek to learn all we can about those things which build in us a good character that witnesses of Him. To be able to exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control, we should be led to follow the commandments and live the Word of Yahweh.
Yeshua tells us, “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 KJV
Many believe that the Gospel of Yeshua is now ONLY these two commandments – love God and love your neighbor. They believe all we need do is those two, yet if I asked you to explain HOW you are to do those two things, you would need to make a list of tasks to do or characteristics to develop. Where would you find those items you put on your list? It is not all about what "feels good." It is about right and wrong, and making choices that will nourish the change in your heart.
How would I LOVE GOD or show that love for Him?
How would I love my neighbor or show that love for them?
Yeshua tells us how in Matthew 22, verse 40 because he says that upon those two greatest commandments hang ALL the law AND the prophets. For us to fulfill those two important commandments, we must learn the law and the writings of the prophets written in The Word.
So why are we TORAH for women and not “Gospel for Women”? Because we want sisters of faith to know and understand that there is much more to being a disciple of Christ than just the New Testament writings.
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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