I am always grateful for the blessed people Yahweh places in my life to reinforce scriptural lessons. This spring was another one of those humble moments.
It was a lovely morning in spring-time where I had every intention of just taking time for myself to re-focus - outside in the warm sunshine & fresh mountain air. After so many days of clouds and rain, the sun was a welcome change. I fixed my coffee, grabbed both my nature journal and my prayer journal then sat out on the front steps. I had a few days that week where I wasn’t feeling quite so connected to Yahweh as I normally feel, and all my personal plans were to just sit and listen for His impressions to rain down on me.
The neighbor down the way was out mowing his lawn, but other than that, the world was miraculously quiet. Even his mower sounded oddly softer that morning than most mornings. And that was okay with me. I couldn’t seem to concentrate much on prayer time, but finally a wonderful relaxing song came on my tablet, and I closed my eyes. The next thing I knew, there was that mower sound, getting closer and closer and closer. I opened my eyes, and don’t you know it!!! There was the neighbor, mowing OUR lawn for us! He has done this several times for us since we moved in, and in fact, he had mowed our lawn all last summer and into the fall last year. He knew we were waiting on mower parts to arrive, which they did - finally - right before the snow hit late last fall! A little late, but we tucked them away and just had not taken the time in the spring yet to put the mower together.
Our lawn is not a small 1/4 acre city lot, but is over 3/4 an acre, with probably about 2/3 of that all out front. And the grass grows very quickly and thick here. This was no small feat he was undertaking as it had been over two weeks since his last service to us because of all the rain we have had. Knowing that we had not had time yet to repair our own mower, I was actually quite grateful for the sound of his during prayer time.
I watched as he mowed right across the front of the lawn, up the side, then pulled up right out front of the porch to stop and talk with me a bit. He surprised me when the first thing he said was the most heartfelt apology for disturbing my devotional time! I was so taken aback - first, because he recognized why I am often out front sitting in the sunshine, and second, because here he was doing us a service yet he was apologizing to ME! I could not thank him enough for the mowing, and he remarked how he was pleased with just a simple thank you. We got to talking for a bit, and he asked several questions just to catch up on things: if we had found a church or assembly to attend, where we were going if we had, how the ministry is doing, etc. All topics we had not been able to discuss over the cold winter months.
I had the opportunity to explain that we hadn’t found a church here yet, and I felt impressed to share with him how difficult it is for us to “fit in” with a particular denomination. I told him we are Torah observant, and he asked me to explain that. I talked about the Feast days, the Sabbath, the Torah. He asked what exactly the “Torah” was, so I explained the first five books of the Old Testament, and then about how we seem to fit along the lines of Torah Observant, Pentecostal, Word of Faith believers in Yahweh. He laughed then said, “Yup - ya’ll won’t fit in anywhere ‘round here!!! Not at all!” I laughed. He understood completely as we are in an area heavy with religions that are set in their ways, and who wouldn’t quite understand our Torah observance. They are lovely, kind and beautiful people, but a very heavy “The law is dead” community.
He did say, though, that he didn’t realize how much he and his wife seem to share similar beliefs as what my husband and I have. Things like the Old Testament is the foundation and the rest is built upon that; that the modern holidays have gotten away from what God would have us honor, as well as several other basic beliefs. He brought up again how they are still looking for a new place to worship because they just haven’t found where they feel ‘right’ either. This was something he had also mentioned when we first moved in almost 2 years ago.
We then talked about some of the blessings Yahweh has been working in his life. He talked of things he has been led to do, dreams that helped their family get through different challenges, impressions he gets while he prays and even answers to prayers he has gotten while riding his mower! He said how much he appreciates having the extra lawn to mow because it gives him extra quiet time to spend with God. I asked him if he writes any of those dreams and impressions down, along with the results that happen. Does he make a record for himself and family. He mentioned he used to, so I took the chance to share with him about my prayer journals. I encouraged him to write them down - record every one he can because one day they may come in handy for him, his wife, or the children.
After he started mowing again, I couldn’t help but think of how Yahweh blessed us both that day. How I needed to be encouraged by his visit and to see that there ARE people here who are seeking a more biblically centered life, and how our neighbor needed to be encouraged by the same things. I absolutely love when Abba moves in our lives like that. Some days it’s the littlest things that show how much He loves us.
Blessings and Shalom.
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Love your neighbor
Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (also Deut 5:7)
Each of us has come a long way on our journey through man-made doctrines until we reach the pure Word of Yahweh. Along the way, we could claim various denominations as our spiritual “home”, albeit a temporary one. One common thread I see is that not long ago, 3-10 years ago, a movement was afoot. Many of the women I speak with regularly left the “comfort of their customs and religion” to forge a new road for themselves, their families, and friends. Along the way, as far as people go, they have lost some and gained some. I am no different in my search for Truth - family and friends have come and gone.
At one point in my life, I was Catholic. Having gone through their classes and ceremonies, I became a full member in “good standing” at the parish closest to my home. I loved the people. They gave me the community, acceptance, and love I had been searching for. There were gatherings, and festivals, prayer meetings, and even the need for a women’s auxiliary. With writings going all the way back to the times of the apostles, church history provided me with the historical background I was seeking in a church.
I learned the prayers to recite and even memorized the Rosary. I had several sets of beads to use and prayed it often in the beginning because I was under a lot of stress at the time. I found that, when I prayed, it brought me comfort and calm that I felt I wasn’t finding any other way. Although for decades I had been praying directly to the Father, I felt some kind of comfort believing that the rosary prayers were “interceding” for me. Almost as though praying for “intercession” gave you that extra power boost you needed to get the desired answer to prayers.
As time went on, I discovered the more I prayed, the more “it” brought me peace, comfort, direction, answers to prayers, even healing. Everything I asked of God he delivered and, oddly, I still continued to believe it was because of my rosary prayers.
Until one day I noticed I would get a few words into the rosary “prayer," suddenly stop saying the repetitive words, then pray directly to The Father. This was just as I had done for so many decades before. I realized how all those blessings and every prayer answered was not from the intercession of some string of beads or a methodical prayer to someone else. I had been giving power to an idol (the Rosary) in the beginning. Over time, though, my spirit recognized that I needed to break free from that idolatry and pray, speak, praise, and ask Yahweh directly. Without my knowing it, I had escaped man-made religion and slipped right into what was right and true - A relationship with Yahweh. I was praying to Abba, and he was blessing me.
Knowing this story about my past, it seems strange that I now get condemned by people who are doing the same thing I once did, using different objects of idolatry. Over the last several years, I have seen both men and women give a similar power to “things” they own, just as I had done with the rosary beads. Like them, I initially believed it was my praying through that string of beads that gave me healing, strength to fight, ability to overcome, personal comfort, just as they believe it is in their particular “item” that they have power. I have witnessed people make the same kinds of claims about healing, comfort, and power that I once made about the rosary prayer. However, their idol is not a set of beads, but instead, their idol is a head-covering, a tallit, a kippah, or even a pile of balanced rocks.
No matter what your item (idol) is, you need to learn that the power is not in that physical thing. In fact, the power given to an item only lies in the mind of the one worshipping the item. The key that we have to learn is that the power of Yahweh lies with Yahweh, and not in some object we turn into some idol.
Now, before you deny you worship idols, ask yourself if you could live days, weeks, or months without that object. If you find an attachment to that object and believe your life will not be the same without your head-covering, kippah, tallit, or another item, you are attributing power to that item. You are caught up in a form of idolatry.
Sometimes it doesn’t appear we take this issue personally enough. We ignore the obvious and we may even think we can’t “have” some of the promises from Yahweh unless we earn them. For whatever reason, inside our heads, we believe we are supposed to suffer, be anxious, wear an object or perform some man-made ritual, to get answers. Yet Yahweh has told us many times that those things are not of him. In the scriptures, we witness Yeshua’s miracles and the power of Yahweh at work throughout every event. We marvel at His amazing acts portrayed right before our eyes. We know that Yeshua promised we would do greater works than what he did. Yet people seem to be unable to fully believe in these things and they are unable to put their full stock in the promises from Yahweh. People find it easier to believe that a Tallit, a kippah or a head covering will bring more comfort and blessing than Yahweh will, while at the same time claiming Yahweh used that fabric or that item to bring them blessings. It’s like people need an earthly object they can touch and see in order to fool themselves into believing they are connecting with Yahweh.
In our book, “The Headcovering Dilemma - SOLVED!” we address this topic of idol worship with some questions you can ask yourself to help clarify and understand if you have placed an item before, in front of, or even in the way of Yahweh, therefore making it an idol in your life. These questions can be used by both men and women to help in understanding their relationship with Abba.
There are scriptures listed to guide and direct you as well. I recommend each person pray so that your relationship with Yahweh will be what it is meant to be, and then read the book. Take the time to do a self-checkup on idol worship. Before writing this message, I took the "check-up." It helped point out a few things to me that I don’t worship, but that I was at risk of elevating to a position they don’t deserve. It was a good personal examination, and I pray you will give that time to yourself as well. Don’t get caught up in idol worship and especially don’t do that idol worship in His name.
May you be blessed.
Isaiah 42:8 KJV “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
Judges 10:14WEB “Go and cry to the gods which you have chosen. Let them save you in the time of your distress!”
Recently I was asked why a website and ministry called “Torah for Women” was created - after all, why is it necessary to teach the LAW for Women? Many believe that only the males need to learn Torah. While others wish to proclaim “The LAW is dead!" The easiest way to answer these questions is to simply state that the purpose of Torah for Women is to share Yahweh’s TEACHINGS for Women.
Using the word “Law” gives a wrong impression to the modern mind. Many liken it to what is present in modern society - the law of the land, also known as statutes. People picture God’s law as being judging and condemning, a list of restrictions and binding rules that are made to control men and women. The word law gives a clear picture these days of being controlling, restrictive, oppressive, and even of being tyrannical, unjust, and burdensome. Yet Yahweh’s teachings are not to be burdensome at all, in fact the teachings are meant to be freeing.
Matthew 11:28-30 KJV “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is EASY, and my burden is LIGHT.”
Torah for Women has already published several free e-books which explain our position of the role women hold in the church, based on the Torah. (Read More) We would invite you to read them for a clear picture of what the Teachings say about women in the church and in homes. To summarize, while many believe and teach that women must remain silent and the Word should only be taught by men, the Torah teaches that women should study the Torah, and even teach the Torah to each other as well as where ever they may be called to teach.
So what exactly IS “Torah for Women", then? The scriptures give clear and proper definitions so that we can better understand. The Torah describes the first five books of the Old Testament, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, in the Bible. It is the foundation of His assemblies and where the majority of His teachings can be found. While that is a practical definition or explanation, there is much more. Many may already know the origin of the word Torah from the Bible, but for review and refresher or those who wren’t aware, the word Torah can be traced back to the root word “yarah,” and this root word is defined as “to throw, shoot”. It is also translated as archer, archers, shoot, teach, and instruct. Why does it mean to teach or instruct? Because when you teach or instruct, you expect the one who is learning will hit the mark or target, get a bullseye, being spot-on, hit where they are aiming, understand exactly what is being given for wisdom and understanding.
This gives a much different picture than the modern mind interprets. If Torah isn’t just a bunch of words assembled together to show rules and regulations or statutes that we must follow, and it means to get a bullseye or hit the mark, how does that apply in studying the Words of Yahweh? When you study the Torah, teachings, you are working toward being on target for who and what Yahweh wants you to be. If you are following his wisdom, you will hit where you are aiming. When you understand what is being given for wisdom, you will be applying the Teachings He has laid out for all time - teachings that can be applied 5000 years ago, 2000 years ago, 500 years ago, today and in the future. The teachings and Yahweh do not change.
Isaiah 40:8 WEB “. . .The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever."
Psalm 33:11 WEB “The counsel of Yahweh stands fast forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”
Another way to look at things might be like this: When you are aiming anything at a distance, whether using a gun, catapult, spear, or bow and arrow, to hit that target, to hit the mark, you will need to know how to compensate for variables. Cross winds may blow and try to push that arrow off its path, making it difficult to hit the target. Rain or other obstructions may affect how the arrow flies. Without the proper teaching and instructions, the archer may not be able to hit the target correctly, if at all. If we do not study the Teachings of Yahweh, and learn to apply them to the variables that happen in this imperfect, fallen world, then we will be less likely to be “spot-on” when we try to hit the mark.
Yahweh covers so many different topics and aspects, from what to eat, to how to behave morally; from how to deal with household mold, to how to deal with health issues. It isn’t just “The Law”, it is filled with messages to cleanse, purify, encourage, strengthen, lift up, celebrate, guide, direct, and even enjoy. Suddenly the Torah does not look much like many of the statutes that are created today by our American legal system, or denominational legalism, does it? Does it still look like a burdensome “The Law For Women” that enslaves?
Now, imagine yourself reading and studying the word of Yahweh and likening it to your journey: you are grabbing your bow and arrow, practicing, compensating for the negative aspects that are tossed at you, all the while standing firm on what you have learned, and suddenly you are more able to hit the target and get a bulls eye with that bow and arrow than ever before. Because of the teaching you have been given and your personal study, you have learned to hold true and to resist or compensate for all those things people or influences placed in your way to stop you from following the path Yahweh wants for you to follow.
Another thing that we hear often is the belief that “The Law is dead". What does it mean to be dead? Automatically, your mind probably creates a picture of something or someone being completely void of life. Apply this now to the word of Yahweh, is His teachings: void of life - lifeless; no longer living, or inanimate? When someone is alive in our lives, they make us laugh, smile, bring joy to us, talk with us, encourage us, bring us peace, challenge us. We may find they also might rebuke, correct, and lead us to a better path. Even if we might appear to be following them resisting, kicking and screaming down that path. Yet, one thing is certain, they are alive - the opposite of dead: they are filled with life, full of energy and spirit, active, lively, vivid, vibrant in our lives.
If we are going to conclude that “The Law is Dead”, then we are really saying the Torah [the first five books of the bible] are dead. Torah, is more accurately described as “teaching” or being on target. Therfore, if we state “The Law is Dead” then we would have to be willing to declare that the TEACHING OF YAHWEH is DEAD - that Yahweh’s lessons in the word, his teachings, are completely inanimate, void of life, no longer living. The teachings have no energy, no spirit, are not active. It means it can bring you no joy, no encouragement to live by, it is not going to help you, in any way, to be spot on when aiming at a target and you will not be able to use it to get a bullseye.
It makes you think of the verse where it says to eat and drink for tomorrow we die (1 Corinthians 15:32), doesn’t it? If the Words of Yahweh brings nothing that helps us to stay straight on the path to a target, then why don’t we just do as we wish, enjoy life, and wing it because nothing matters? This theory would make you believe there is no benefit or reward in hitting the mark, no consequence for missing the mark. However, we know this is not true:
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
As you can see, Yahweh’s Word is living, it is vibrant, it is Teaching. It can be piercing to correct, direct, and rebuke, but it is not a prison where we get nothing but bread and water til the day we die. It is instead, filled with promise, hope, love, life and encouragement that will help us to understand how to adjust to the variables which present themselves on a daily basis. We can teach that it keeps us on the straight and narrow pathway, and that now, with it’s presence in our life, we can hit the target.
Aim for a bullseye, ladies, and don’t miss the mark!
Philippians 3:14 KJV
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Matthew 7:13-14 KJV
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Blessings and Shalom!
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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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