The short answer to this is: No and no. Dying your hair is not against the scriptures, and dying hair is not a sin. We find nothing in scripture forbidding coloring hair for men or for women. Although there are a number of scriptures we can point to which discuss a woman’s appearance, nothing is specifically mentioned about dying the hair.
During ancient times, dying the hair did become popular in certain circles. In fact, there is evidence which shows that at one point it was a law in Rome that the prostitutes were to dye their hair blonde to set them apart from the rest of society. Interestingly enough, during that same period, blond hair became popular amongst both men and women as they tried to look more like those who were from what is now France and Germany. Black dyes became popular also, which included one method that involved fermenting leeches for several weeks in vinegar. This concoction was then applied to the hair and allowed to bake in by sitting in the sun for hours. Thankfully, modern dyes are more palatable.
Although many will say that because dying hair was known to have been done by the Romans and by the prostitutes, as Believers in Yahweh we should not colour our hair, there is nothing in scripture that directly forbids it. Nowhere in scripture are we commanded “Thou shalt not dye thy hair.” Our conclusion from scripture is that if someone chooses to colour their hair, it is their personal choice to do so.
I do want to say that there are some words of caution I would place here: take a bit of time and examine your reasons for wishing to do dye your hair. The reason I ask you to do this is simply because you will likely, at some point, be told that it is “vanity,” or that you are altering Yahweh’s creation. You may also be told that you need to “be happy with what Yahweh gave you.” All of these are valid points for you to explore, and they will give you a good opportunity to do a spiritual check-up. Yet we stand firm on the fact that dying your hair is your personal decision.
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Is It A Sin To Dye My Hair?
The simple answer to this question is: No. Preparation day, Day of Preparation, or Prep Day is NOT a commanded day that needs to be honored, memorialized, or dedicated to Yahweh according to scripture. Scripture does not say, “Thou shalt prepare on Preparation Day.”
But, the Sabbath is a commandment from Yahweh on which scripture says we are not to work. Yahweh commands that you should not do any servile work on the Sabbath which means none of your normal daily work or employment. The question is, though, what of someone who is not employed outside the home? What of those who are stay-at-home moms or dads? Should they put aside their daily “work” just as those who work outside the home do, or is their daily “work” not truly work?
Much of what needs to be done to get ready for a day of rest is laborious - there is the cooking, cleaning, lawn care, organizing, laundry, and more, especially for a larger family. Clearly, staying at home can be just as much work during your day and week as that of someone who is employed outside the home. Because of this, the daily tasks of a wife, mother, or father who is a home-keeper can be considered their daily WORK. Wouldn’t it truly be a blessing for the stay at home person to be able to not do any of that on Shabbat, to be able to truly rest? For that to happen, a home would need to be prepared for Shabbat in every way humanly possible. Thus the term “Preparation Day” is used for that day before Shabbat when all the work is done that will allow everyone in the family to rest on Shabbat (husband, wife, and children).
Now, although there is no specific commandment for a “Prep Day” in scripture, there are scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments that show there is a need to be prepared for Sabbath, and, there are days of preparation that are mentioned in the bible. There are also specific preparations which are commanded at certain times.
Where? Well, let’s start with the Exodus.
1. Moses was told to have the people prepare for the Passover. Exodus 12 has many instructions that Moses was given by Yahweh for the Israelites so they would be ready for what was to come.
2. Moses was told to teach the people to prepare for the Sabbath by gathering enough manna on the sixth day to feed their household for two days. And we can see this in Exodus 16:22-23 WEB. It happened that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one, and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. He said to them, "This is that which Yahweh has spoken, 'Tomorrow is a solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to Yahweh. Bake that which you want to bake, and boil that which you want to boil; and all that remains over lay up for yourselves to be kept until the morning.'" This is a great example of a weekly Sabbath Prep day in ancient times.
3. Before the Feast of Unleavened bread, we are commanded to prepare our homes by removing the leaven. Exodus 12:15
4. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (the Gospels) all talk of the Day of Preparation before Yeshua’s crucifixion and death. By using these examples, it’s easy to see that it is important for our homes and all who live there to be ready to fulfill the weekly Sabbaths and Sabbaths which accompany the Feasts. Think of how much more restful your weekly Sabbath would be if you were able to truly rest and spend time with Yahweh and the Word, rather than be concerned for any of your family’s needs.
How can you do this? By following the example of what Yahweh commanded the Israelites to do in ancient times: Be prepared!
Now, many families believe that all of the preparations must be done on that day before the Sabbath. Have you ever found that it is difficult to get it all squeezed into that one day? I do – and there are only two of us! The challenge is even more complicated and exhausting for someone who has several children to tend to as well.
Here is what I do:
I learned a couple years ago: Winter is my enemy. The days are so very short. Some weeks, no matter what I do, it seems there are not enough hours in the day. With sunset coming at around 4:15 PM here in the mountains, winters taught me that we need to get as much done through the week as humanly possible. That is when I decided to make some changes to reduce the stress of trying to “do it all” before sundown on Friday.
Sunday and Thursday I try to get all the laundry done – washed, dried, folded and put away. I often will do dusting on these days, too, because laundry pretty much washes and dries itself. So while the machines are running I do other things to maximize the effort. This is also a great time to squeeze in some baking! Yum!
Tuesday and Wednesday I like to get as much of the dusting and bathroom cleaning accomplished as possible. A lot of times you can whip out a bathroom right before you jump in the shower. Then as you shower, you are rinsing down the stall so that it’s spotless! Mutli-tasking helps. I always try to accomplish room by room so that I know which rooms have been finished. Thursday I will vacuum the carpets, then sweep and mop the kitchen. This all helps me so that on Friday, pretty much all I have to do is cook, which I try to get done as quickly as possible so that I can run a quick broom or microfiber sweeper tool around to wipe away any final spills or messes I made that day. Then when sundown comes, I can breathe a sigh of relief and rest!
The week takes a bit more planning during gardening, harvest, and canning seasons. I still try to spread things out so that Friday is not packed so full that I am exhausted and can't enjoy time with my husband and relax in Yahweh's Shalom.
Often times I see sisters who get overly concerned about having to do it all on Prep Day before sunset. There is no way Jim and I could accomplish everything our home needs in 8 or so hours and cook all our Shabbat meals as well. If we find it challenging, I can only imagine how difficult it would be for a family to try and squeeze it all in before Sundown.
Doing things throughout the week also helps on those rare occasions when we have no choice but to run to town on Friday or deal with something when something throws us a curve. My hope is that this will give you some ideas on how to organize your week as well as explain more clearly about Prep Day, so that your Sabbath is more restful and peaceful.
PS: Jim wanted me to share his favorite tip to make Prep Day even easier for us (for ME!):
Make your Prep Day extra special by ordering your favorite takeout for Friday evening and Saturday meals. Buy your favorite snacks and drinks and enjoy the day. This eliminates cooking and clean-up, plus kids will look forward to Shabbat every week. This is a great way to build lasting family traditions. Rotate weekly. One week can be Pizza Friday, another can be tacos, and another BBQ Chicken Friday -- You get the idea. Cut down on the cooking and make Shabbat different from the rest of the days in the week. Just remember to purchase enough takeout and snacks for Friday evening and Saturday for lunch and dinner. Breakfast can be leftovers, hardboiled eggs, sandwiches, bagels, cold cereals, or something toasted, etc. You can adjust this idea to your families needs and abilities. Just a great way to give mom a break and not accumulate a lot of dishes for mom to wash after Shabbat.
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Is Preparation Day A Commandment
Not long ago, I was asked my thoughts on Herbert W. Armstrong and his teachings. I was honest and said that I knew little about him. He just is not someone I have cared to delve into. The few teachings I HAVE read of his had been provided by others, and honestly, I was not impressed.
What little I read of those writings sent to me, I could clearly tell that many of his ideas were against Yahweh;s Word. Yet, he was not something I felt impressed to teach about or against. I recognized that some people I know enjoy his writings, and just left it at that.
Over a very short time, though, the Armstrong topic became more of a challenge when a few people I know attempted to take advantage of my lack of knowledge about Armstrong, his teachings, and his prophecies. It was claimed that Armstrong had never prophesied about anything directly, that he merely speculated, and all his ideas were contingent upon something else happening or not happening. I was also told that what he had speculated about IS coming true. This last idea implied that he, therefore, was spot on – making him a legitimate prophet.
What little information I had at the time was basic, not studied out, and I truly was hoping that the others who were fighting for Armstrong would simply understand I did not wish to argue over him. It was clearly causing contention, and I did not want it to end that way. So I cleared my head and my pre-conceived notions, then I sought out a list of prophetic statements from Herbert W. Armstrong himself. Not his church, not others from his church, simply from him.
Sadly, the person fighting hardest for Armstrong and his teachings did not wish to give me time to study it out over a few weeks time to see if any of their defensive claims were accurate. After blocking me, I don’t know if they will see the result of my studies, yet I have definitely come to my own conclusions and opinions now on Herbert W. Armstrong. I can also provide the evidence to back it up.
~~ My Conclusion: Herbert W. Armstrong was a false prophet who made MANY false predictions and claimed to be prophesying in the name of Yeshua through the Holy Spirit.
1) In 1934 Herbert W. Armstrong stated that he used ancient dates to calculate that 1936 would bring an end to the Gentiles, as well as a continuation of the depression and war which would in turn lead to the Biblical heavenly signs appearing. He stated people could expect to see the sun and moon becoming dark, stars falling from the sky, AND we would see the Day of The Lord. (The Plain Truth, June-July, 1934; p. 5)
Clearly this did not happen in the time frame he predicted.
2) In 1939, Armstrong prophesied that the World War would continue and carry on through the Great Tribulation. Again he claimed there would be the heavenly signs, which he also believed in 1934 would happen shortly after 1936. Contradictory? Yes.
He continued by claiming that the plagues of the Day of the Lord would come and then the Second coming of Yeshua. He even went so far as to state that war could start within six weeks and that the second coming was just that close. (The Plain Truth, August, 1939; p. 6)
I don’t see anywhere in history showing that any of these signs happened. No evidence of The Great Tribulation, no heavenly signs, no plagues, and certainly Yeshua has not come again.
3) Another prediction from 1939, Armstrong Stated that Mussolini would fight Yeshua. (The Plain Truth, January, 1939)
This brings us directly to number 4:
4) Where in 1943 Armstrong claimed another would fight Yeshua – by this time history made it clear that Mussolini did not do it, otherwise why would Armstrong need to make his new prediction? This time claiming it was HITLER and the false prophet who would fight against Christ. (The Plain Truth, March-April, 1943; p. 6)
5) In 1962, Armstrong made claims that biblical prophecies for great famines would be coming true around 1970-72 because of drastic changes in weather. As a result of this great world-wide famine problem, disease and epidemics would take hold and that 1/3 of the United States and British nations would die. (The Plain Truth. February; 1962; pp. 5,7)
The 20th century was a time of great industrialization. Because of this, farming changed dramatically, as did ocean travel. These improvements resulted in greater crop success world-wide, and faster ways to get dry goods to nations who were suffering, the latter making it less likely for infestation during shipping. With all this increased crop and delivery yield as well as quality, the actual number of people affected by famine world-wide DECREASED, especially post-1960’s. Decrease in famine effects on nations and health caused decreased diseases which then decreased the number of deaths.
The BIGGEST falsehood in this prophecy, though, is the deaths of 1/3 of the U.S. and British populations. It DID NOT HAPPEN.
6) The final example is one that truly doesn’t need to be shown, except that we have already seen that he prophesied the second coming at least twice by 1967. Yet, he stated the great day of the eternal prophesied in Ezekiel would happen within 5 to 10 years from that time period. Again, look at history. Did it happen between 1972 and 1977? No. Give him the benefit of the doubt – maybe he was off a year or two either way – still nothing.
Scripture tells us if a person prophesy and it not come true, they are a false prophet.
Deuteronomy 18:22 “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously:”
There you have it – not one, not even two, but SIX examples of times when Armstrong claimed to be speaking on behalf of Yahweh delivering messages proclaiming things that never came to pass. I have read and studied these myself. There may be some on the list that supporters make claims are contingent upon other things happening, yet through my study of Armstrong’s publications, I see each of these as very clearly false.
My husband gave a great example the other night of his ability to make a flexible, contingent prophetic statement: Our car will drive to town this week. . . .IF I go outside and get behind the wheel. The car’s going to town is clearly dependent upon him getting inside, starting it up and driving away. Armstrong’s prophetic claims are not dependent or flexible. He used strong declarations and statements such as “will,” “IS going to (happen),” and “are going to (happen).” Many also contain statements such as “(this event will happen) which will lead to (these events taking place). Although this may appear to be contingent because for the second half to take place, the first has to as well. Yet, Armstrong repeatedly said that the first thing was a definite. That in itself removes the dependency.
There are plenty more prophetic claims that I could list to demonstrate how false Armstrong’s teachings are, but I would hope that would not be necessary after including six blunt false prophesies. Although I know there are many people who still follow him, my question to you would be “why?” When scripture clearly tells us not to follow false prophets.
1 John 4:1 WEB Beloved, don't believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
I am sorry that I lost a friend over this topic, but my prayer is that they will take this information to the source, study it out as I did – with an open mind and heart, and do as 1 John 4 recommends – TEST IT.
In any event, we are counselled that things like this may happen:
Then many will stumble, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. Because iniquity will be multiplied, the love of many will grow cold.
Matthew 24:10,11,12 WEB
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My Thoughts On Herbert W. Armstrong
Recently Torah for Women was asked for suggestions on wearing tassels in a professional situation when having them hanging long is not possible. Many sisters work in offices that have strict dress codes. Although it might be possible for some to claim religious exemption and still attach their tzitzit dangling longer, this is not the case for every woman.
Because of this we asked our followers for suggestions on how to wear tzitzit, while still maintaining a professional and fashionable office style. These are some of the suggestions we received from the ladies who have also found themselves in this situation.
1) Pinning or gently attaching them to the inside of the waistband of skirts or pants.
2) Wearing a scarf with their business attire helps several ladies be fashionable and still wear tzitzit. Some wear the scarf as a belt around the waste, while others will wear it as an accessory around the neckline.
3) Make them short enough to be hidden under a blouse that is not tucked in.
If these options are not compliant with the office or work setting, the following ideas are more discreet and could also be used by those who must keep them hidden for safety purposes.
4) Pin them around the bottom band of the bra. They will be completely hidden but can still be a reminder to the ladies.
5) Because a woman's slip tends to be a bit shorter than a skirt tends to be, several women pin very small tzitzit to the hem of their slip, under their skirt. Another sister pins them to the waistband of the slip.
6) Attaching them in some way to the bottom edge of a camisole worn under a top or blouse. The camisole can be worn outside, untucked, or even tucked in and the tzitzit would be tucked inside the skirt or pants.
A truly great idea was suggested called “break away tzitzit.” One husband works in a situation where he would be at risk of injury if his tzitzit got caught in machinery. These break away tzitzit are attached around his belt using snaps, and when tugged on they will break off his belt, allowing him to ensure his own life and limb are not harmed. We truly love this idea for those who work in manufacturing settings!
We hope these ideas will help for those who are seeking innovative ideas to help follow Yahweh’s commandments in scripture. A special thank you to all the sisters who contributed with these great ideas. I know that I plan to use a few of them myself in the future.
Olive Tzitzit created and shared by Larry.
See the comment below for his testimony.
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Tzitzit in a Professional Setting
I have been into genealogy for a long time, trying to trace my family lineage. Sadly, circumstances beyond anyone’s control seem to have stalled a lot of my efforts and there is no way to find out exactly where some of my parent’s relatives came from. My mom’s side is the worst. I was told a sad story many years ago while interviewing someone about the records for the orphanage my grandfather’s father was in as a child. With such a small area to keep records in they used to burn records when they got to many. His birth certificate was in those records one year as they were burned and there is no current way to track down his information. On mom’s mother’s side, a lot of the records were destroyed in WWII. Her parents were from, according to family stories, somewhere in Hungary.
Well, Yahweh has a way of working all things out for our good and what he did a few years ago was miraculous.
I had talked with my mom several times about how I had left mainstream Christian denominations and was studying the bible more in depth. I had hoped to find where I belong in God’s earthly kingdom and how I truly believed. When it came to religious discussions, she did her best to politely listen, but mom was mad at God for a lot in life.
Four years ago, this month (February), mom went into the hospital for an emergency – something wasn’t right. She had stomach pains, and her heart rate was off. So, the doctor felt she should get some tests. When the tests came back, she and I cried together – doctor said she had cancer in her liver and it had spread to her colon. We explored a number of options, but mom just kept saying she was “tired and I just want to be done.” It hurt, but I understood. She was 73 and felt that she had lived long enough. Dad was gone, her mom was gone, and so many of her friends had died. She had already beat breast cancer years earlier, and she just didn’t want to fight any more.
Unhappily, we all accepted what was happening and decided to let mom do things her own way. That same year, 2014, I had decided to make some delicious, traditional Purim cookies for Jim and I to celebrate the holiday. I was on the phone with mom one day, and I felt a strange need to tell her I was baking "Purim cookies." She asked me what these cookies were all about – she wanted all the details. So, I told her about the Purim story, about Esther, Haman, the King, Mordecai. She listened as patiently as she always did when we talked Bible. Then I described the traditions for celebrating Purim and the Hamantashen, describing what they traditionally meant.
Suddenly she became excited and said, “My mother used to make me cookies like that every year when I was little!” She explained just how my grandma used to make them and said they were her favorite cookies! I said something about how it must have been at Christmas that grandma baked them because she used to bake so many different things for the holidays when we were little. Mom insisted that it was NOT at Christmas and it was NOT at Thanksgiving, either. She was adamant!
Mom explained that her mother baked her cookies just like Hamantashen, but she only baked them AFTER the typical American holiday season. She said her mother always said these cookies were special for “this time of year” and she always baked them sometime in February or March. Her mother never explained to her why “this time of year” was important, nor did grandma ever explain to my mom what was so special about the cookies. Grandma said her own mother had always made them yet didn’t explain why they were such an important family tradition. Mom just knew beyond doubt that her mother always baked the cookies sometime before my mom’s birthday in mid-March.
There were some differences between Grandma’s cookies and mine:
~ Mom called Grandma’s klotchkes. I have researched this term so many times but have not found a single recipe or reference to this spelling anywhere. The closest I can find is kolaches, which are very similar to Hamantashen. They have similar fillings but are a different shape. Mom was insistent on the spelling, though, and even said she would try to find her mother’s recipe. Sadly, mom got very sick too quickly and was never able to find it for me in her recipe box.
~ Grandma filled her cookies with poppy seed, apricot, or date fillings, while I much prefer date, fig, apricot, and raspberry jelly filled cookies.
~ My dough recipe is always citrus flavored with lemon or orange juice and natural oils, while grandma’s was more like a sugar cookie or almond flavored.
It was such fun listening to my mom who sounded like a little girl recalling how her mom baked cookies each year, filling the house with the smell of fresh baked sugary treats and yummy, homemade fillings. She reminisced about dipping her fingers in the fillings and snitching pieces of dough when her mom wasn’t looking. Talked of giggling and enjoying that time together and getting scolded when she got caught sneaking bites. She wished and wished that I could send her some cookies, and she imagined how she would just relish the flavor and savor every bite.
You know what I had to do, don’t you? Of course, I had to bake enough cookies for mom to enjoy some, too! I set to work making the pastry, homemade fillings, and baking cookies. I packed some very carefully into plastic tubs and tried to cushion them with paper towels inside the containers, so they wouldn’t jiggle and break. I wanted them to arrive as safely as possible, and then we mailed them.
I tracked the package and then called mom the day before they were to arrive and told her she had to go pick up the mail that next day. She asked why, and all I told her was I sent a little something. Even though she tried, I did my absolute best to not even hint what it was! I was so giddy with excitement and couldn’t wait for her to get her box.
In the meantime, Jim and I talked about the whole thing. Why would my grandmother, every year, bake a traditional Jewish Purim cookie around the time of year that Purim happens? Why would her mother teach her to make these cookies every year and why a family tradition? What made them so special for my mom’s family at “this time of year”? I then recalled how my grandmother used to use a lot of Yiddish phrases. I had realized that fact months earlier and had wondered why she knew them. Suddenly, it fit more into my family’s history than ever before. Little bits and pieces seemed to fall into place and we found ourselves asking, “Is my mom’s ancestry Hungarian Jewish???”
The next day I received the most precious phone call I had gotten in a long time. Mom was even more excited than before. She had opened her package and said she almost started to cry. My sister, who was visiting her, said mom opened the box and exclaimed, “OOOOOH! COOKIES!!!” And dove right in! Mom offered a cookie to my sister and niece who were both in the car with her, and they tried them but did not like them. Mom said, “So I told them, don’t you dare throw them away! Give them here! I will eat them!!! I will eat them all! And, Judith, I DID!!! I ate them every one of them!” Oh, my goodness I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. She bragged about how they melted in her mouth, reminded her of the ones she used to eat. They were so fresh and buttery. In spite of how she had been feeling, she was clearly happy!
Mom went on to tell me how they were perfect and tasted “wonderful.” They were exactly like she remembered from when she was a little child. She talked that day for the longest time about her childhood and about those cookies. Suddenly it occurred to me to talk to her, instead of from a religious perspective, but to tell her more about the Jewish Purim traditions to see if she recalled anything.
Mom didn’t recall anything about costumes or giving gifts of food. She didn’t recall a feast, special prayers or anything about the story of Esther. Yet she sure could remember those cookies and how important and special they were to her mother. She also recalled more Yiddish phrases than I remembered grandma saying. She told of her mother’s parents using Yiddish words and phrases all the time as she was growing up. I asked why they used them and how they knew so many of them. She honestly said she had never thought about it before – she had never asked.
I finally said something to her about how she and I have always wondered about her family history, and how she and I have never been able to find anything. I teased her about how many times she would call me after reading a new novel where she had seen a name similar to one of her parents’ last names. She would always exclaim, “JUDITH! I think we are (Irish, Italian, British, etc.)” She would then go on to explain how she saw a name in the novel that was similar. She would deduce how we must be that nationality. We would go online and search, and throw different spelling possibilities at each other, always to no avail. Each one simply leaving us still unsure of Grandma’s family history.
That is, until Purim 2014 when this cookie story erupted. I asked her, “Mom, do you think your mother might be Jewish? Hungarian Jewish?” She was quiet for a bit, but then she started to put other little memories together – most of them I forgot to write down. Looking back, I wish I had recorded them all. They are gone now unless Yahweh blesses me to recall them all and write them in my journals. All those little bits and pieces, alone, meant nothing all those years but, pieced together with the memory of cookies and all that Yiddish, clearly there is a history of Jewish tradition in our family.
After she and I talked that day, I searched to find information about Grandma's surname again. Nothing, as usual. But this time, I approached it from the angle of grandma’s parents being Jews who were fleeing Hungary. I discovered plenty of references which explained that during the era from the beginning of World War I to the end of World War II some Eastern European Jewish families changed their last names to more Gentile names. In addition to changing their name, some adopted a Catholic belief system in an effort to hide their Jewish ancestry and faith. Looking back at my mother’s family, she didn’t recall much about being taught the Catholic doctrines, and she didn’t have any understanding of the faith, but she did know her mother and grandparents claimed to be Catholic.
Suddenly, we both came to the same conclusion. Mom’s family were Hungarian Jews. There are too many coincidences for them to be coincidences, too many things that line up. I pray that one day we will be able to trace her family’s journey from Hungary to the United States through records and such that might not have been available in the past. Yahweh is good to us always, and He has already revealed so very much about my family.
Mom passed away that year, in July, 2014. I miss her greatly at certain times of the year. Purim seems to be the time I miss her most. The memory of her excitement over a simple box of cookies and the stories she told with such joy will be a treasured memory for years to come. I still don’t fully understand what exactly prompted me that one day to start telling her about the cookies and about Purim, but I thank Yahweh for inspiring me to do so. It gave us both such a giggle and such sweet memories.
I guess it was for such a time as this. . . . .
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The Day I Recognized My Family History
Not long ago, my husband asked me a thought provoking question on our way home from errands. As biblical teachers we often like to discuss stories and scenarios we see or hear, and go over hypotheticals, so that we are better prepared for times when people pose spontaneous questions to us. He asked me how I would respond to a story about a Torah observant minister. After hearing the story, my initial answer was that I would do what I always do. Yet I could not find a reason nor a way to scripturally defend my answer. His question made me really think because the example he gave made very clear sense at the time, but something felt “off” about what the minister had chosen. What the minister did was the opposite of what I knew in my spirit was right, yet I still could not come up with biblical proof to counter his decision and his scriptural justification. I was stumped.
So I spent some time thinking and praying about the example Jim had given me, along with his questions and BINGO! I had a response!
Here is the scenario Jim gave and the questions he asked me:
A minister shared a story about attending a function with several other ministers. The local ladies had fixed a big dinner for them, including a main dish which contained pork sausage. Because he followed a biblical diet of clean foods, he wondered if he should “show love” and eat the dish, or should he stand on principle by finding a kind way to follow his biblical dietary decision? This minister opted to “err on the side of love” and ate the dinner without a word.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33 KJV Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
The conclusion of the minister, based on these verses was that the commandment to love others “trumps” the food laws. His focus is on the section which says “Give none offence. . . “
My husband asked me what I felt about this and would I eat the main dish or not? Also, how would I counsel this person, based off their scriptural justification and their actions?
As I said before, my initial response was that I would NOT eat the dish. Yet no matter how hard I tried, other than explaining to him that I would find a kind way to get out of eating it, I could not find any strong reasons why I wouldn’t eat it. I also couldn’t find any good ways to say no because I would NOT want to offend anyone in any way. I knew that in not eating the dinner, I could run the risk of offending others, which I would never want to purposefully do. Yet, I also believe in standing firm on my faith as a living example.
During prayer, Yahweh impressed upon me what he would feel was right in this situation. It did not take long for me to come to my conclusion: YES! I would stand firm on my belief that I choose to eat a biblical diet. And NO, I would not eat the sausage dish.
Here are my reasons why:
1. The first thought that popped into my head is, why should there be any difference between a PHYSICAL reason to say no and a SPIRITUAL reason to say no? Here’s what I mean – imagine you had Celiac disease which had not yet witnessed a miraculous healing. Would you eat a pasta dish, bread and cakes they served and risk your own physical health simply to not offend the cooks? Better yet, what if they had made peanut butter sandwiches and you were allergic to peanuts?! Would you eat those sandwiches to not offend others, risking anaphylaxis and possibly death?
NO, you wouldn’t, nor would anyone cooking the food or serving your dinner expect you to eat it once they learned of your health situation. Yet we question it for spiritual reasons. We would not set aside our physical beliefs, why would we set aside our spiritual beliefs?
2. What love am I showing by not being an example of my beliefs? Yahweh has called us each to be an example of our faith and of the Word. By saying for months or years on end that I stand for a biblical eating plan, why would I sacrifice that example when served dinner that contains pork? Would it be LOVING for me to give the impression that I don’t practice what I preach? After eating that pork dish, one day in the future, those lovely ladies who fixed that dinner may be sitting in a conference or class where you are teaching on the topic of “clean meats.” How will they believe what you teach when you did not stand for what you claim to believe? Have you not made yourself into a hypocrite? Which would show more love for these sisters – a good example or a poor example, good fruit or bad fruit?
Galatians 6:3 WEB For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself..
Luke 12:2 WEB But there is nothing covered up, that will not be revealed, nor hidden, that will not be known.
3. I also question why anyone would be offended if what I said and did to apologize was done with such kindness and love, and without condemnation. My prayer would be that they would be kind and understanding in return and that, in standing up for my beliefs, they might see the Spirit in me.
Galatians 5:22-23 KJV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,...
Matthew 7:16 WEB By their fruits you will easily recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thorns or figs from brambles?
We must find a loving way to express to these beautiful sisters their work and service is appreciated, while at the same time standing firm on your beliefs and principles. It may take a few minutes of heartfelt prayer, asking Yahweh to fill your mouth with words of wisdom, but you CAN be an example for Yahweh – one who is filled with such love that it overflows and fills them with understanding. Before even approaching them, I would even pray for their hearts to be softened and opened to the words you share.
Looking at the same verses that the other minister used to justify his decision, you can see that it would clearly support my decision. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 KJV Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. I would eat and drink everything to the glory of Yahweh to ensure that I not offend them with a bad example of not standing up for my beliefs. For, if I am a bad example of my faith, clearly it might cause someone to stumble or find fault in me and could hinder their belief in Yahweh and cause them to question.
What a great testimony of truth you will be to others as they see you are willing to stand for what you believe! The witness you bear to them will stick with them for some time to come – my prayer is that it will be the most beautiful witness possible, a seed that will bring fruit in the life of others.
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Lowering Our Standards For Love
This is not a political statement of any kind. It is not intended to be political in any way. It is a God statement. Period.
Several years ago, Yahweh put the burden on my heart to teach women His truth. He blessed us to create Torah For Women ministry where we discuss and teach principles based on the bible. NOT on what mankind has taught about the scriptural writings for 2000 years. Often I find myself having to cover modern day issues from a biblical perspective because, let’s face it, not every micro detail in our modern society is covered in the scriptures. BUT the principles from scripture can be applied in our lives.
Last year, Yahweh placed another burden on my heart to re-focus Torah for Women to encourage women in avoiding false doctrines and teachings while seeking after Spiritual gifts. I also felt impressed upon to teach that they need to teach their children rightly to be able to defend the faith as they grow older. In all this, Yahweh kept leading me to the verse in 2 Timothy 3:6 -7 WEB “For some of these are people who creep into houses, and take captive gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Repeatedly, Yahweh has pushed that verse in front of me as a warning of what will, and is, happening amongst the women of faith.
A few months ago, He placed another burden on my heart for our youth and to pray diligently for our children. Children ages 8 to 30 have been led astray by so many influences in their lives, which is why women need to be strong, faithful teachers. From school teachers, club leaders, college professors, friend’s parents, friends and more, our young people have been influenced to forsake their morals, upbringing, righteousness, and faith in the name of “let’s all get along” and “we need to love everybody.” In the midst of all this, they have even been fooled into thinking that we need to give up our basic rights in an effort to “make everyone happy” and avoid “offending anyone.”
None of these principles are biblical. Not one. They all go against what the bible teaches, and although I could spend hours focusing on that topic alone it is not why I am here today writing this message. In fact, I did not expect to be writing this message at all. I did not want to speak about this, and I certainly did not want it to be a part of our ministry, but it must be. I must say what is on my heart – because this week during my personal prayer time Yahweh impressed upon me to speak up against what I see and hear happening with the youth who have been touched by this horrific shooting in Parkdale FL. Again, as I said, this is NOT a political message. It is a GOD message. Plain and simple.
On February 14, 2018 something terrible happened in Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkdale, FL. Something that changed thousands of lives forever. We all know the details, we all know the accusations and the stories coming out, so there is no need for me to go into details here, especially as they are still unfolding. What I will talk about today is simple: those children and adults whose hearts are so broken by what has happened that they have yelled out that they don’t want our prayers and sympathies. They don’t want our love and kindness. These people are calling out, “Where was God during all this?!” and “Why didn’t God stop this from happening?!”
Well, here is MY answer to those thoughts and questions:
I am sorry that you do not want my prayers. It breaks my heart that you do not want me to pray for your comfort, courage and strength. But, I am going to pray anyway. I will pray for solace in your grief, peace in your heart and in your community, for strength to get through, for love to prevail as people struggle with the trauma. I will pray for protection over each and every person touched by this and may there be no residual deaths from this incident. Suicide following such a traumatic event is a reality sometimes. I do NOT want that to be the case in your community.
Your anger, your hurt and bitterness, your pain and anguish, your heartsick words – all of that is perfectly understandable at this time, and it all only strikes a chord in me even deeper than before. It tells me that you, your families, friends, children, loved ones, all need our prayers so much more than we ever knew or imagined. You need deep, heartfelt intercessory prayers and prayers for supplication. I wish this never happened to you and your community. I can’t take it away, but I can still pray for you going forward and I will.
"It happened, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven,” Nehemiah 1:4-6 WEB
I do not know your pain, I cannot imagine what you are going through, and I won’t pretend that I do. What I do hear, though, in those words and tears is that people don’t understand how this could happen if we have a loving God. I hear hearts crying out “why” and calling to be filled with understanding yet aren’t finding it. I don’t know that my words here today will bring understanding to anyone. But my hopes and prayers are that you will see God did not abandon you.
God WAS there that day in Parkland FL. God has been there for over a year. God was there when the first concerned teacher tried to get help for the young man. God was there when the first student felt impressed to report his odd behavior. God was there when he impressed upon so many people to report every incident with this young man. Students, teachers, administration, leaders, friends all reported different things that could have brought his problems to light and could have prevented this shooting from happening.
“MAN” was not there for this school and community – for at least a year prior to the shooting, and even on that very day. “Man” failed these children, teachers, and families, not God. “Man” did not listen to all the voices telling them what was happening. We cannot blame God for what man refused to do.
God was there on February 14th during the shooting, and he tried to clean up the mess that “Man” made when they didn’t listen. Just look at the selfless people, people of great character, He had in place that day:
~ The Geography teacher, Scott Beigel, who died after unlocking a door for students and getting them inside to protect them.
~ The coach, Aaron Feis, who ran toward the shooting and shielded students from bullets.
~ The young JROTC student who died holding the door so other students could run out to safety.
~ The two JROTC students who escorted several students back into a classroom and covered them with Kevlar panels, blockaded a door, and stood ready to take out the shooter if he attempted to enter the room.
~ The librarian whose friend had been through Sandy Hook and survived by helping people hide. Because of her friend’s story of survival, she knew just what to do, ushered kids inside, into a small area, hid them and turned off the lights.
~ The miraculous healing of those who were critically injured.
There are countless other stories that will come out over time of heroes and heroines who were willing to do whatever necessary that day for those around them. Where did these people get the courage, strength, selfless nature that they have inside them if not from how He created them? Each one was in the right place at the right time to help to care for those in need and to help minimize what could have been horrifically much worse because that young man was determined that day to kill.
God was there that day, in so many ways, and I will continue to pray to Him for all those involved. I will continue to pray that somehow, someway Yahweh can touch the hearts of those in the community to come to know Him even more than before. I will continue to pray that in spite of the political noise, all will learn to focus on everything Yahweh was able to do during the the tragedy, all he has done since, and all that He will keep doing.
You have our love and our prayers.
Shalom. . .
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God WAS There. . .
I would like to share a little bit of my heart with you today. A sister was feeling a bit confused recently, a bit melancholy over things from her past. After seeing something from her old church, it brought back happy memories which made her “pine” for the way things “used to be.” She even felt concerned about whether or not her Torah path was the right one. Two of her thoughts have stuck with me:
~ Seeing these things from the past “Makes me wish for a spiritual life without all this opposition.”
~ How can I know if my new path is right?
Have you ever felt that way? Felt as if everything you do meets great opposition from friends and family which makes you question deeply if you have made the right decision.
In this Torah walk, it seems like we are hit from all sides sometimes with people’s opinions of our choice to live more biblically centered, not just following man-made traditions. We can be told it is everything from wrong to stupid, or anything in between. Sometimes people are not kind, not by any means. We can try to be as gentle and loving in our new choices as Yeshua would have been, but some people just don’t like what we do, our strong faith, or who we have become.
Two of the roughest times of the year, in my opinion, are Christmas and Easter. America is SO used to celebrating these holidays as mega-events with gifts and parties, dinners and events. If you choose not to attend any of these events, you often are accused of not being “normal.” Have you ever had that moment at a family get together where everyone starts talking about their last big family holiday dinner together? Everyone is remembering that time when so-and-so said this, or such-and-such did that, laughing and joking, then someone looks at you, gets sullen faced and blurts out, “Oh, yeah. YOU weren’t there because YOU don’t celebrate Easter (or Christmas).” Then suddenly it seems the nature of the conversation has changed because “the weird one” is there. Does any of that seem or feel familiar?
It is difficult when we leave our old churches or former belief systems. Many of us feel that we have to give up EVERYTHING that is Godly from them, even the truths that we learned, just to cut ourselves off from the false doctrines. When we leave behind false teachings like Christmas and Easter, many often also toss out everything that was comfortable and often these are things we found joyful at one point in our lives. Then when we discover our love for the feast days and Sabbath, we feel happy yet also out of place. We want to share it with all our old friends and our family, and yet often they will not be a part of what we now know.
For me growing up, Christmas was THE holiday in my family. We did it big - Dad took us out into the woods, we picked and cut a tree, he put the lights on, we all sang carols and decorated it while we had cocoa and cookies. He lit a HUGE yule log in the old fireplace. Even when we moved to Tucson when I was a teen, he HAD to have a house with a fire place so he could light his yule log. Oh, my goodness! Some winters he lit that log, and we opened all the windows and turned on fans because it was so doggone hot! Dad loved Christmas traditions.
We baked cookies with mom for a month, delivered them to friends and relatives, and then between Christmas and New Years we had parties galore. Then there were the visits to every aunt, uncle, cousin, and friend of the family. It was a BIG deal, and a huge part of my memory.
When I had kids of my own, I started the same traditions, and then added our own. Every year we baked and decorated gingerbread houses and delivered them to friends. The season was SO packed full of activities – caroling, watching Christmas programs on TV, we even drove around the neighborhoods and looked at all the houses decorated with all the lights. I have SO many memories as a child, teen and mother with my own kids.
When we “gave up Christmas”, the first year was actually easiest for me. Family and friends just thought we were weird, going through a “phase.” The second one, not so much. By this time, some friends and family had become aggressive in their opinions and began pressuring us to celebrate Christmas, one even demanding that we be present at their event. The third year, it seemed the emotional manipulations really got hard and heavy. It felt as though some people were trying to say, “GEEZ! Aren’t you done with that phase now? Let’s get back to Christmas!” Now here we are years later, and this last two have been very hard.
I know that using the term “emotional manipulations” might set some people off, but that is exactly what happens. Some will pull out all the stops, using your memories from your childhood, your elderly Aunt Ethel, or any number of other strings to pull at your emotions with the hope of pressuring you into doing what they want from you. The good-old-fashioned guilt-trip.
At first, I thought maybe these last two holiday seasons were rougher because we moved away by ourselves, out of state. Yet that isn’t really it. It occurred to me that our moving didn’t affect how we look at Christmas, but it did affect how others look at us during the Christmas season. These last two years we have gotten an exorbitant amount of pressure to come “home” for the holiday. Even though we don’t celebrate it, the pressure seems to say, “This is what is easiest for all of us back here. We all think you need to come here to us because it is convenient for us.”
Sadly, this last Christmas, we even had a hurtful moment happen where a promise was made to us because family was all going to be together for a big family dinner. They were going to call so we could talk to everyone all at once. We waited and waited. Hours past, finally we called to ask if dinner was done yet. Only to learn that everyone had left hours earlier and when we questioned about the promise, we very sadly were told it shouldn’t matter because “YOU don’t celebrate Christmas.” It wasn’t Christmas that we wanted. It was to talk with everyone who was going to be there for dinner because that was the only time all year that everyone was together.
Suddenly it was as if we were being told that unless we follow everyone else in the family, we will be punished, ostracized, shunned. At that moment, I really started to question if we are right in our feelings about the holiday. Maybe we SHOULD just go back to celebrating it. Just Christmas. I found myself feeling just as my friend does – couldn’t we make it just family time together and it would be without all the opposition. . .I even asked myself, How could so much opposition be the right thing?
The more I prayed about it, the more it felt WRONG to celebrate Christmas. I was so very confused. I do miss all the smells, the songs, the fun with the kids, I miss going to historical towns and seeing the homes decorated, all the sights and sounds and smells. I miss it all so much sometimes I physically ACHE inside for those memories to be real again. Yet, even though I still miss it so very much, I can't bring myself to do it. Yahweh told us to not celebrate pagan things IN HIS NAME. And of all the American celebrations that we have, Easter and Christmas are the most pagan of them all and THEY ARE DONE IN HIS NAME. I can’t celebrate them. No matter how deep the emotions and memories run, I cannot do them.
It is SO ingrained in us, such a part of our memories, and we can all recall some truly blessed times wrapped up in that neat little package we call Christmas or Easter. But it all boils down to one question: is the doctrine correct? What is true? It isn't easy on our hearts sometimes to stay the line and follow the straight and narrow path but is it wrong or is it RIGHT to stay in Torah. THAT is the question you have to ask yourself.
Some days it will be difficult, other days it will hurt like heck, but I know deep in my spirit that following a Torah Observant lifestyle IS right.
Torah observance isn't the reason we follow Torah. In other words, we don’t follow Torah as a score-card, the legalistic way, putting every check mark in every box on our Feast Day check list. We don’t follow Torah because it is easy or for salvation. Yeshua is the reason we follow Torah. When we accept him, that is supposed to work a true and righteous change in our heart. That change is supposed to make us want to live like Yeshua - always loving, sometimes stern, sometimes heavy handed, but always kind. We don’t follow Torah to be better than someone else, or more righteous than another. We don't follow Torah to BE righteous. Once we accept Yeshua, we follow Torah BECAUSE we are righteous. It is a change of heart.
Would I be tempted to go back to Christmas again? Probably at some point. And as my friend feels pulled to return to her old church lifestyle, I asked myself if I would want to return, too, if I felt those same pulls that she does? Yes, I probably would. But would I go?
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My Thoughts On Christmas and Easter
Timothy 1:4 WEB “…neither to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than God's stewardship, which is in faith—”
Titus 3:9 WEB “…but shun foolish questionings, genealogies, strife, and disputes about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.”
The apostle Paul was very concerned over the churches during his final years alive. He wrote several letters which were read to the assemblies, and in them he repeatedly stated many things that the membership was to avoid in their faith walk. 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9 both talk of something we have seen happening over the last few years in modern religions – focus on endless genealogies.
In early times in the church, it seemed the focus was on the "endless genealogies" of Judaism, similar to those recorded in Genesis 4, 5 and 11. These are the chapters where we can read the genealogy of the ancient prophets, kings, and some that may lead to the lineage of Yeshua. Today, this warning from Paul has taken on a whole new meaning.
Right now there are preachers and teachers claiming a long list of those who are “more righteous” than others based on their genealogy. What do I mean by this? Search online or sit down and talk to anyone you know who is involved in a church, and you will find that many Christians believe they are more right with God based on their belief that the New Testament was written for them, and the Jews are the lesser of God’s people. You will find that Jews believe that they are the chosen ones because they were chosen in ancient times.
There will be religions who preach they are chosen because they are of the remnant of Ephraim and Manasseh, or those who believe they are Levite or Nazarite. What about the churches who preach they are the only ones righteous enough to get to Heaven, and if you aren’t in their membership lineage you will not be saved? We see people arguing over two house doctrines, and others who claim all modern religion is based on false teachings and deception.
Could this have been something Paul saw not only in the churches Timothy and Titus led, but also in the latter days? He did speak of the churches and the sins people would become involved in – 2 Timothy 3:1 talks of perilous times that will come in the last days, and of all the wickedness men and women will give in to. This includes the warning in 2 Timothy 3:6 which warns of women letting teachers into their homes, which will lead them astray with false teachings.
Paul’s warnings to Timothy and Titus included consequences for those who follow fables and endless genealogies: these people will cause much strife amongst Yahweh's people, and create disputes about everything - including the law. He then reminds us that these are unprofitable and vain.
Wow! Paul was very accurate about the issue of genealogies - as in the past, many today continue to fight for their privilege, authority, or “special designation” based on their lineage. This fascination with lineage causes conflict and battles to the point it turns people against each other. People who were friends for some time, or family members, will turn on those they care about just to argue over who is from what house, tribe, or nationality.
We have even heard of people who are trying to prove their lineage through DNA tests to show they are of a particular lineage for religious purposes. This was something I recently studied for a paper I was writing about Paul’s warnings to the churches of the last days. Many believe their genealogy is valuable proof and evidence to prove to others where they have come from – Again for religious purposes.
One example of this is within the Mormon church who believe you must discover as many relatives as possible so that you can “do their temple work” for them to help get them into what Mormon’s believe to be God’s highest kingdom in Heaven. They have dedicated entire caves to store microfiche copies of old records such as birth, marriage, and death records going back hundreds of years. Entire businesses have been built on searching your genealogical records or family history, and although it can be truly fun discovering where your ancestors might have came from, we should not preach that salvation is based on whether your genealogy “lines up” appropriately with a desired group of people from the past.
In recent years, we have seen more and more debates crop up about genealogies and ensuring your lineage is attached to a particular group of ancient people. As Paul predicted, these debates and conversations end in controversial speculations about who is more worthy of salvation, or who has more “right” to a position in Heaven. These arguments stop any possibility of “advancing God’s work,” because the focus becomes solely on heredity and “special position,” or status with God. As people expend their energy searching genealogical records. Instead of wasting their time on this pursuit, their time and energy should be directed toward getting to know their Saviour more deeply. They should be spending their time on learning to let the Spirit make changes on the inside with their character, thinking, emotions, attitude, love, flesh, desires, and relationships.
This abrupt halt in spiritual progression happens not just with the people who are debating geneologies, but also with those who witness the arguments and become confused about God’s intentions for his people. Many times, it appears that both sides of the debate may be scholarly, and yet, if they truly are well-versed, how can they have such differing views as to who is the “rightful” follower of Christ? How can both be right about “who gets into Heaven or who goes to Hell?” How can they read the scriptures and proclaim one race of people is more loved by God, or more righteous than others?
You see, people are often found chasing after their personal “lineage” as if it makes them more righteous or more “entitled” to salvation or God’s blessings fall on one race of people more than race. These and other arguments are heated discussions often found in the the Two House Theory, and lost tribes discussions – as in which “tribe” you rightfully come from, whether a lineage is of the family of Ephraim or Manassah, or do you identify with being a Nazarite or a Levite, or are you just a descendant of pagans. To many people, this information will decide whether you are a part of the wild olive tree, or the natural olive tree, forgetting that both are grafted together, or that one branch may be cut off just as easily as another if the fruit is bad. Some will claim only Jews are saved while others will believe only Gentiles, so people will spend countless hours trying to prove they are or are not something out of fear for their salvation, or out of fear of losing their salvation.
This world has become so scattered since the Tower of Babel that it is often difficult to confirm with great certainty exactly what lineage a person comes from. As debates heat up, so does the market for DNA or genealogical “proof.” As of this writing there are at least 3 companies who claim to currently provide the most “accurate” DNA test available on the open market. Yet these tests are far from perfect. One example of this would be the test results of the Dahm Triplets that was publicized early in 2017.
With modern DNA tests, unless you are willing to pay a lot of money for a high-tech study, accuracy of the results may be questionable. Let’s take a closer look at the Dahm family example:
The Dahm Triplets are identical triplets. Initial results showed them to be 100% identical, just as expected. Yet when the genealogical breakdown came in, the test results were less identical:
Erica showed 16% Irish/English; 22.3% French/German; 7.4% Scandinavian
Nicole showed 18% Irish/English; 11% French/German; 11.4% Scandinavian
Jaclyn was did not show Irish/English lineage like the others, but instead showed she was 18% French/German; and 7.4% Scandinavian
As you can see, they “lost” much of their “identical” nature as soon as the test was broken down to actual genetic history. How could this be possible when their initial DNA results said they were almost 100% identical? It simply shows that we currently cannot put perfect faith on this scientific testing to show what genealogy we come from. How much trust should you put in your own test results showing you are or are not from a certain lineage of people?
What about studying out your family history through records research and then coupling this with your DNA tests for more “proof?” For those who have studied their lineage out by searching through piles of records in old archives or through one of the online ancestry services, even this is not a perfect method of demonstrating one’s genealogy or lineage. Personal examples of these are within our own families.
Years ago, I input my mother’s family history to one of these online services. After a time, someone else had gone into my Grandfather’s records and changed all the information on his parents and siblings, because this other person claimed he had come from a completely different family, with completely different siblings. Although the parent’s names were almost identical, the children were not at all the same. Upon closer examination, the difference was noticed also with the middle names of the parents. BOTH father and mother had different middle names from my grandfather’s parents.
The problem we ran into was, when this other person tied their family line to mine, it added and deleted names and places from my grandfather’s lineage. Yet this was information for which I had documentation and proof from my extensive research that validated my original entries. Although this other family had similar first and last names of their relatives, they mistakenly thought they had found a connection, but their changes to my family records online made the genealogical connections between our families connected. Their mistake impacted my mother’s family records and it now showed my mother’s family came from a completely different place than they originally came from.
Sadly this was not the only example. My husband’s genealogical records were altered as well, with a similar thing happening to my father’s grandparents line. These are just three examples within our family. To top it off, trying to prove our original entries were valid with documents was futile, nothing was able to be changed back to the accurate information on the genealogical records. Should any of our children search their family history out, they will discover information that may appear true, and yet the information is completely false.
Paul said, “…Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work…” and he was spot on with this statement. If we spend all our time testing out these family lines, we might find we are related to the tribe of Judah, perhaps, or maybe the lineage of Moses. Maybe we can go back as far as Noah – whom we are all related to! Or maybe we will be orphans somewhere along the line with no proof of anything going back anywhere. It’s all futile!
If we spend all our time worrying about what lineage we are, where we come from by using this faulty process of DNA testing, and genealogical research, where will it get you in the end? Why would you do all this? Do you really think all this effort and research is going to make yourself “more worthy” in the eyes of God? How much time have you wasted on documentation, research, and testing just to prove something that means nothing at all concerning salvation? Instead, you could have spent your time teaching truth, preaching the Gospel message, and sharing God’s love with family members, neighbors, and the world who are still wandering around spiritually lost. This effort would have accomplished something of worth for the Kingdom of God. Will it matter to people what tribe you, or they come from in the end, or will it matter more if you show them the truth of God’s word and his plan of salvation in the Gospel?
If we invest our time on God’s word rather than man’s vain theories about genealogical status, or the false teaching of lineage-based salvation, how much more could we accomplish for his kingdom doing the things we were called to do?
Blessings and Shalom. . .
Rosen, Jeff & Bomin Lindsey “How well do home DNA kits really work? See identical triplets try three of them” The Today Show, December 1, 2017 www.today.com/health/are-home-dna-kits-accurate-identical-triplets-try-3-them-t119472; Accessed: January 4, 2018
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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
This is a lengthy one, but it is a question that was brought to us a while ago by an active member of the US military. We wanted to do all that we could to cover as much as possible to help make their journey with Yahweh as peaceful as possible while fulfilling their responsibilities and commitment to their job.
Becoming Torah observant and committing to following the Sabbaths and Feast days can be complicated in our modern age, especially for those who work outside of the home. Rearranging a job or business can be very complicated for some. One group who is particularly challenged are Yahweh’s followers who hold a military position. Certain schedules are required by regulation and immovable depending on rank or duty assignment. What can you do to make life easier for yourself, so that you can better follow Yahweh’s commandments, the Sabbaths, and especially the feast days?
To be honest, the first thing you should address is your personal belief on the subject of calendaring. Calendaring amongst Torah observant individuals is a seriously hot topic as many people have their own opinions and thoughts on the matter. Yet, what is right and just from the perspective of the Word?
Our first suggestion would be to have you read and study our free book on calendaring. No matter what calendar you are currently following, you may not know this perspective on the subject which addresses it from solely a biblical perspective. We cover exactly who has the right to decide which calendar to follow. This free e-book gives a different and clear scriptural perspective that others don’t often take into consideration.
At Shofar Productions (The main ministry) and Torah For Women we follow the Hebrew calendar. This decision was based on the information discovered during our studies before publishing our free ebook on calendars.
For those in the military, following the Hebrew calendar will likely have many blessings that you may not have thought of before. The dates for Holy Days will be the traditional ones used by most Torah Observant people, as well as businesses, and even school systems for the biblical holidays. The US Military uses this calendar as well to establish the Hebrew Holy Days which many of the Torah observant staff will follow.
For example, although your immediate supervisor and/or commander may not be willing or able to give you all the Feast days off, following the Hebrew calendar MAY make it easier for you to arrange for leave on at least SOME of the Feast days because they will coincide with the standard calendar dates used by your unit.
A plus is that since these will also likely be the same dates that other TO individuals on base will follow, you may find some common ground. You may find it easier to identify families with home assemblies or some on base religious services for Yom Teruah (Rosh HaShanah for Jews), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and for the beginning of Sukkot. You may also discover that with Sukkot, a space may be set up somewhere on base or at base housing where families are meeting in Sukkahs.
How difficult it is to actually get this time off, may depend upon whether your commander is willing to respect your individual religious views. It may also be dependent upon how many Torah observant people are in your unit, or in your job position. It may also be dependent upon how critical your job is. Security or law enforcment duties as well as medical may be critical positions which may not be easily replaced. Especially if you are new at your duty station. There may be others who will be given leave ahead of your request based on seniority. If leave is not an option, there may be a way to work some of your schedule around so that you have off on at least some of the Holy days.
What Do I Do If I HAVE To Be On Duty During High Holy Days?
You do the best you can to follow Yahweh’s commandments and the biblical teachings.
I have learned over the years that there are times when we make things more stressful for ourselves by believing that we have to make every Feast day and Shabbat absolutely perfect. It is still my dream (Or maybe my fantasy!!!) that we will one day enjoy just ONE YEAR where every single Feast Day goes HALF-perfect!!! There are times, though, when something like an ox in the mire just happens to pop up at the wrong time.
Our experiences have always been memorable, and many we look back on now and laugh. There was the year we put up the Sukkah only to receive a hurricane warning!!! Thank goodness it down graded to a tropical storm, but my poor husband was awake around 3 AM one night and heard strange sounds outside. He ended up chasing the Sukkah across the yard in horrible winds while trying to roll up the fabric sides, and trying to tie it back down again!!! There was the year it was stormy every night and bitter cold the whole week which prevented us from using the Sukkah at all. Then last year when we were in our new home, on the mountain, in the woods in a new state. When neighbors warned us of having seen a bear in the area, we just looked at each other asking, “Do we WANT to put up the Sukkah and eat every night with a bear????” We set up a make-shift Sukkah inside. . . .We have the same look on our faces this year as we learned that the copperheads come out in the evening and eat the cicadas and locusts between now and Sukkot!!!! If the two bugs are not gone by then, do we want to set up the Sukkah and run that risk of dining with venomous snakes???
Experiences like these have helped me to study deeper and become much more focused on the meaning of EACH Feast Day. And to also study what we can accomplish in the diaspora. You see, we can spend so much time trying to follow the Feast Days to perfection that we forget to understand the reasons for them, the meaning in them, and the lesson Yahweh would have us learn through them. We also run the risk of over-burdening ourselves to the point of not finding Shalom in these blessed times. Because of this, we might need to take a step back and relax for a bit. Then, to help with this, ask yourself, from the scriptures, “what exactly is required of me for EACH Feast, and what are those things that cannot be fulfilled because we do not have a Temple?”
Those things that are required that you CAN fulfill are the things that you should do your best to accomplish. Make your list and explore ways that you can accomplish these to the best of your ability while still working your duty position.
The biggest detail for Feast days is that there are times when we are commanded not to work. Then there are a couple where we are to do “no servile work". Examples of the differences would be that on the Day of Atonement, for example, we are not supposed to work at all. Yet the First and Eighth days of Sukkot are Sabbaths on which we are allowed to cook.
If you end up having to work/be on duty during High Holy Days, you will just do the best that you can to honor those dates.
The first thing to do would be to pray for those times to be quiet times at work. Next, here are some Ideas to remove as much work as possible from your Shabbat and Feast routines:
-- prepare for foods early for these blessed dates. If you have a place to keep canned or prepackaged meals, grab foods that you can keep easily for the 24 hour Holy Day. If you normally eat at a cafeteria, grab foods that you can store easily for the amount of time you will have for the Holy days. Remember, there may be a couple of them coming up that go right from Holy Day into weekly Shabbat - so for these you may need to stock up for two full days!
If you have a refrigerator that you can use, whether in your dorm or in the duty station, this is a BIG plus and will help with meals. You can easily put pre-made sandwiches into the refrigerator for you Sabbaths, or even “plates” for reheating throughout the holy times.
-- Shine boots, prep uniforms, wash laundry, do everything that you can in advance of Sundown on the Holy day. Weekly Shabbat is a great time to practice this and get yourself into the habit so that you don’t do unnecessary work during the Feast times. The more preparation done in advance, the more free time you have with Yahweh during that day. If you have to work, you may find an extra 30 minutes or more in the morning to read, study or pray before reporting for work.
-- Include as much prayer and study time as you can on those days. Do you have a small set of scriptures for your pocket? Or an APP on your phone that has the scriptures? How about a small pocket notebook and pen or pencil? Set aside a small section of this notebook, pick a subject that has to do with your becoming closer to Yahweh, something you have been meaning to study for a long time, or that is directly related to the particular Feast Day, study that and take notes in your notebook.
-- Prayer time doesn’t need to be in a closet, or on your knees if that is impossible. Have dead time while on duty? Close your eyes, focus on something prayerful, and spend that time with Yahweh. If someone asks, just explain to them you are doing the best, while on duty, to honor your religious Holy Day of (Whatever day it is). This might surprise you - they may ask for more information.
Remember that little notebook you brought with you? Before you leave your quarters, why not write down a list of people you know are in need of prayer that day? Social media, online groups, your home assembly all will have people who are in need of prayer warriors. This quiet time would be a great time to bring out your little book and pray for those on your list.
-- Try not to shop, or visit any businesses for personal things on those days. Make sure you did everything humanly possible prior to the Shabbat or Feast day by running errands, shopping, banking, etc before the day is upon you. You may run into that rare occasion where the officer in charge at work wants you to run to the store for something. Is it a real necessity? Is there a way they can ask someone else? For this one, you may find yourself in a personal dilemma - you don’t want someone else to break the Sabbath or Holy Day, but you know you don’t want to either. Weigh your options and do everything you can to avoid having anyone run the errand that day.
-- When working, do your job the best you can and think of it this way: preservation of life is key. Is your career field one that is required for the preservation of life? Security forces, law enforcement, doctors, nurses, EMTs, Fire, they aren’t exempt from honoring the High Holy Days, but often on a High Holy Day do have to fulfill the need of preservation of life. This tends to fall into the “ox in the mire” category. If you feel impressed after working, kneel before Yahweh and ask him to forgive you for anything that you may have done that He might find offensive, and ask him to guide you to ideas to make it better next Sabbath or Feast Day.
Some military personnel who have written to us and others we have read have stated that they tend to use some of the following as guidelines in their decision making as well:
Mission critical - you may not be able to have off or to honor the day because you and your unit may have a specific mission. Especially in cases of deployment. In this case, explore ways that you can do the best you can in that situation.
The Greater Good - remember that your responsibility is for the greater good. Think of times in the scriptures where Yahweh’s people needed to be protected. Were there soldiers positioned at key points to ensure that protection? Did they take “time off”? One example to study out would be 2 Kings 11:5-9.
You are protecting the nation AND family - part of the responsibility of the military forces is to be there to protect and defend against enemies foreign and domestic. You are honoring your contract and obligation to do this.
-- I often wonder if, while being in the military, eating clean may be one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish if you are required to eat at the (cafeteria) or other on-base facilities. You may be able to see that some items served are obviously unclean. Bacon, pork chops and such are clearly not clean, but what is hidden in the ingredients may not be as obvious. You will need to do your best to follow your biblical diet by avoiding those products.
In the end, are there some who decide that getting out of the military is their only option? Yes, some have chosen to do this. It is a personal decision based on your conviction and conscience. Something that you will need to weigh after careful study and prayer on the matter. If you choose to continue to serve, you at least have ideas and options to explore to help you keep your Holy days, while also fulfilling your duty.
From Torah For Women, we wish you well, and may Yahweh bless you with the safety and protection you need to continue to serve. Our prayers are with you. Blessings and shalom.
Do you have more ideas that you would add to these? Message us and let us know!
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Torah Observance in the Military
“You shall take on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before Yahweh your God seven days.”
Leviticus 23:40 WEB
As Sukkot approaches, it saddens me to see so many people who are on extremely tight budgets that would love to decorate yet haven’t the extra money to spend. Many of us are in the similar situations, where other things are higher on the priority list right now. Maybe this is the year that many may need to take a step back and ask themselves:
“What would Gramma do?”
In days of old, would Gramma or Great-gramma run to Target, Hobby Lobby or Wal-mart and grab things that were already made? How did they decorate before silk flowers and straw wreaths, potted mums and mini-hay bales? They used what they had.
Well, I thought I would share what happened to me the other night. It was another moment when Yahweh was so very good to us, even with the little things. Another lesson learned!
First let me say that I fully understand decorations do not make Sukkot one of Yahweh’s feast days. Yet it does bring us pleasure to have some beautiful harvest items to brighten the Sukkah and house, and it also creates an atmosphere of celebration. No matter how the weather has been, what decorations we have had up, or whether we have had visitors to feast with, Sukkot has been special, enjoyable, and a truly blessed time with my husband every single year. Yahweh has always provided for us, both physically and spiritually during this Feast as well as during all other Feast days.
That being said, I do truly enjoy decorating for fall and for Sukkot because autumn is one of the most colourful times of the year. Last year I loved the meme that said, “My favorite colour is October!" It fit so perfectly. As we go to the stores, I see all these lovely things for hanging or just setting around the house and Sukkah. So many bright colours - yellows, oranges, reds, burgundy, green!!! I enjoy looking at all the new creations and found myself wishing we could get just a few things this year. There just isn’t any extra for spending on new autumn decorations. Even our garden did not help with squash or pumpkins to set around. These just did not grow in our new garden this year.
Instead of the excitement I normally feel, this year I was feeling a bit surly because I just kept dwelling on the negatives - how we were going to have to just settle with what we already own. As I was getting ready for bed one night, I half hearted said in my mind, “I wish we could do some nice, new decorations like wreaths, sprays, and stuff.” Siiiiigh.
Suddenly I remembered all the acorns that are falling this year. I was wondering what I might be able to make from them. As I searched online, more and more ideas came to me using things that we have around our yard and woods! My mind flooded with ideas for grapevine wreaths, acorn wreaths, candle holders, and even sprays to hang up outside!
Suddenly I was excited again about autumn decorating. I was excited that we are going to have plenty of new things to put around the house, outside and in the Sukkah. I could hardly wait for morning to come so that I could run outside and find those grapevines I had cut in the spring, and get started. I wrote myself a note with all the cool ideas Yahweh inspired me to write, plus I saved photos from websites onto my tablet to use as reference for making our new decorations. I even wrote down that I was hoping to make four large wreaths and one small one from the grapevines.
I went outside and started gathering vines and whipped together the first wreath. It went together SO easily, much more than I recall doing it years ago. I gathered more and more vines from the wood pile, and sat down to drink my coffee and work some more. When I was done, I was truly blessed to have enough vines to make FIVE wreaths for our Sukkah. The funny part was that I had completely forgotten about what I had written the night before about wanting 4 large and one small wreath. Later, when I looked at my note to cross off finished tasks, I was astonished to read what I had written the night before was EXACTLY what I had been blessed with from our trimmings.
While outside, I also found some decorative grasses growing in a ditch. I am hoping to use those to add to at least one or two of the wreaths to decorate them nicely. I gathered goldenrod, rose hips, and branches from other bushes growing around the yard. I hung bunches of dried herbs, too, that will add a bit of texture and colour to the wreaths.
In addition, I have several sprays of silk autumn leaves and flowers that I can include to brighten them up, too. Next week I also will be trimming and drying more wildflowers I have found growing around the edges of the woods, around the street and in the field. Between all these ideas, we will be filling our Sukkah not only with beautiful decorations, but each will be a true testimony of how Yahweh is our provider, AND of how beautiful the harvest is all around us. Yahweh’s creations are so beautiful to look at and enjoy, if we just open our eyes and look.
Thank you, Yahweh, for even the LITTLE things in life.
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What Would Grandma Do?
I don’t normally do crafty items as a blog article, but this year so many we know are on tight budgets. I thought I would share some of my ideas to help you decorate for autumn and Sukkot.
For years I have been making fabric stuffed pumpkins to set around for decoration. Normally I run out to the store and buy fabric, bring it home to wash, dry, cut and sew. This year, I have been trying to do all that I can as inexpensively as possible.
I went through all of my old fabric scraps and found several pieces that are large enough to use to make pumpkins from. So many colours and patterns! And so very simple to make. For stems and tendrils I used an old brown paper bag and pipe cleaners. So far I have 18 pumpkins, with at least 3 more to finish before Sukkot! I may make more, depending on how much time I have to complete them AND how much stuffing I have to fill them all. To think, I just discovered an old curtain panel in autumn shades hidden in a box that would make two nice pumpkins if I cut it just right!
I thought I would share this idea with everyone along with a photograph of our “pumpkin patch,” to help encourage you to use items you may have laying around. You can easily create some great decorations that can be packed away and reused year after year.
A quick note about ours, though: although there may be ways that these can be created to be safe for outdoor use, ours are not. I will be watching the weather during Sukkot to make sure they are not damaged should bad weather creep in. I will need to bring them indoors at night, as well, because the dew has started collecting as the nighttime temperatures have gone down a bit.
It is nice to know that, with these little additions and our new grapevine wreaths and woodland sprays, the Sukkah will be all set for the feast. Yahweh has shown us once again that there is no need to spend a lot of money, and in fact, you may not have to spend ANY money to create a festive atmosphere for the Fall Feast days.
We would love to hear what fabulous ideas YOU came up with to decorate YOUR Tabernacle for the Feast?
Directions for The Stuffed Fabric Pumpkins
Skill level: Easy
All you will need is:
Fabric –you can buy remnants, or use scraps. Old shirts, jeans, sheets and even t-shirts can work
Stuffing – Polyester fiberfill, or if you want to recycle, use old shredded paper!
Brown paper – lunch bags, old grocery bags, or brown craft paper for stems
Pipe cleaners or paper ribbon for spirals
The common fabric sizes:
16 by 21 inches for tall, thin pumpkins
5 by 12 inches for TINY pumpkins
8 by 16 inches for small pumpkins
14 by 25 inches for a large pumpkins
14 by 32 inches for even larger pumpkins
Cut the fabric to size, leaving clean edges for sewing.
Step 1: For a short, plump pumpkin, match the short, cut edges together, with the RIGHT side of fabric on the inside, and pin. For the tall, thin pumpkin, match the long, cut edges, right side of fabric together, and pin. The wrong side, or inside of the fabric should be facing you.
Step 2: Stitch a 3/8 inch seam, along your pinned edge, forming a tube. Iron the seam flat and turn the tube right side out. There is no need to sew finished edges on the top and bottom unless the fabric frays easily.
Step 3: Gather the bottom edge with needle and thread, then pull closed and tie off tightly. Partially gather the top edge in the same way, but do not pull tightly. Loosely gather and leave a large enough hole to stuff the pumpkin.
Step 4: Stuff your pumpkin loosely, making sure that it is fully stuffed, but not over-stuffed.
Step 5: Pull the top threads tight to finish the gathering the same as the bottom then tie it shut.
Step 6: To create the pumpkin sections like a real pumpkin, you will need thick thread (embroidery or upholstery thread), or yarn. Thread a long needle with a long piece of thread, tie a knot in thread end. Run your needle through a small piece of the gathered fabric at the center of the bottom of the pumpkin, anchoring the knot. Wrapping the thread around the top of the pumpkin, go all the way around the pumpkin, meeting the thread again at the bottom, dividing it in half. Pull a little tight so that you have an impression in the pumpkin where the thread has sectioned it. Tie a quick knot around at the bottom to hold the thread in place. Turn the pumpkin ¼ to the right to create another section. Take the thread around the top, meeting again at the bottom, tie the thread again. This divides it into quarters. Turn the pumpkin to the right again about 1/8 of a turn, to the next section and repeat the process two more times, creating a total of eight sections when finished. Remember to tie at the bottom each time around to anchor the thread and help keep sections taut.
Step 7: For the stem, cut a small piece of brown paper - crumple it nicely to look rustic. Then roll it up to look like a stem, glue the edges together, and glue it to the top at the center. I use a warm glue gun for this. For added effect, pipe cleaners can be used to make spirals, which are glued where the stem meets the pumpkin.
A quick note: there may be ways that these can be created to be safe for leaving outdoors all the time, but we don’t. We bring ours in every night to avoid damage from dew or passing night-time showers. Treat your pumpkins accordingly. And ENJOY!
Another note about stuffing - Don’t have the extra money for a big bag or box of polyester fiber fill? How about a couple of old pillows that you were thinking of throwing out? Is the filling still good enough to use? OR - Remember your paper shredder - I discovered this wehn I ran out of stuffing and needed to finish filling some pumpkins and found that the shredder was packed full. It wasn’t as easy to shape as the polyester fiber fill but it worked!
“Sometimes I wonder if what I say to people about God reaches them. I get frustrated that I can't help them see and hear the messages from Yahweh. I don’t want to see them tossed aside, but I feel like I can’t ‘save’ them all. . .”
Have you ever felt this way about your friends and loved ones? On your journey, have you ever wondered why you can’t bring all the berries in from the harvest? I did too. I don’t anymore. I realized some time ago that I am not able to reach everyone. . .
Let me share another lesson from the blackberry patch.
Picking blackberries a couple weeks ago, I tried to reach excessively far to grab 5 or 6 huge, juicy, plump berries in the woods that were about 5 feet away from the edge of our fence. My arms are not even 3 feet long from shoulder to tip of the finger, so you can imagine stretching 5 feet was. . . .A HUGE STRETCH.
As I extended my body out as far as I could over the fence to grab them, balancing on one foot, I got prickled, poked and scratched all over my arm and stomach. Then suddenly, the fence bent a bit too much, almost gave way, and I nearly fell face first into who-knows-what at the base of the berry bushes just the other side of the fence. I am sure I would have found a lot more prickers on my way down to the ground had I not caught myself. I might have also snagged all those thorns the size of tiger claws on the locust trees that have started growing there. I don’t know if we have enough bandaids in the first aid kit for what could have happened. Thank Yahweh I was able to balance myself at the last moment and did not tumble into the briars.
Dejected yet determined (and yes, maybe a bit stubborn, too), I moved my way down the fence line a little bit, picked the berries I could easily reach, and then stretched again to try for a few that were just out of reach. I pulled and grabbed as much as I could but they were still just a few inches out of my grasp. Finally, I lunged just enough to grab the tip of the branch that held the berries I was after. I attempted to grab them, only to have them fall to the ground and disappear out of sight.
I hadn’t learned my lesson yet, so again I moved my way a little FURTHER down the fence, only to try the same thing with similar results: as I lunged toward the berries, I bumped a bigger branch which hit the branch I sought, sending all the ripe berries into the air. I tried to catch a couple in the berry bowl, missed horribly, and they fell to the ground beyond view and very much beyond reach. Thank Yahweh I did not lose the ones I had already harvested in this mêlée.
By this time, I was finally getting a bit wiser, and realized that I have to accept that I just will not get them all. I had to admit that there are just going to be times when, no matter how hard we try, we just will not be able to reach some of the berries on the vine. We can work, stretch, grab, pull, and even lunge, but some berries just don’t seem to want to end up in the berry bowl. No matter what.
There often comes a time when we have to recognize that there is only so much we can do, and that we might need to step back, and allow someone else to have those berries that are out of reach or that fall to the ground. There may be a different purpose for those berries for now. One that we can’t see because of our hope for what we want to come to pass.
You see, although YOU may not be able to reach them all, those berries that fall to the ground will land on soil. As in the parable of the sower, some will land on good ground, some bad. Some in fertile soil, some not. And although it may not be the perfect situation in your own eyes, some of the newly planted seeds from your adventure may sprout anew. In a couple of years, you may be able to pick berries from lovely new bushes that came from those seeds you helped plant. In the end, the berry patch will spread, grow, and reproduce even more sweet fruit to be plucked up by the gardener. It may take time, patience, and cultivation once you see the seeds sprouting, but for now it may also be time to walk away and let Yahweh do the work.
Will I still stretch, and try to reach those who are just out of reach? Yes, I will, yet I have also learned a broader lesson. That is to assess the circumstances and what may happen if I push too hard, stretch too far, or do something that risks sending all the seeds flying in different directions! At some point, I may have to weigh the options and see that there may be consequences to myself, to those close to me, or to those I am trying to bring in from the harvest. Consequences I may not be fully aware of initially. Then again, there are also just some berries that aren’t for me to harvest because I am not able reach them.
Blessings and Shalom.
Matthew 13:3b-8 WEB
"Behold, a farmer went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn't have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them. Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.”
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Lessons From the Blackberry Patch - Lesson Two
Luke 6:46 "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do the things which I say?"
The other day, a friend said to me that sometimes we fail to see what’s right in front of us. What she didn’t know is that she summed up perfectly the lesson I learned recently from our blackberry patch.
I have been praying all season for at least 8 cups of juicy blackberries to come from our patch. I have watched as they grew, blossomed, and attracted bumble bees. Little by little the blossoms turned to berries, they started to plump up, and then they started to ripen. I watched in anticipation as they started to darken, yet it always seemed that the biggest, juiciest, ripest berries were always just out of my reach on the other side of our fence. We own the woods on the other side, so it isn’t that I couldn’t go back there if I wanted to. It IS our property, but it is also where the “wild things” are!
We have been warned since moving in about rattle snakes being seen up this way, so we are very cautious about stepping into the woodsy zone unprotected, unprepared. Every day, though, those juicier, darker berries would tempt me, and every day I would say to myself, “Tomorrow I am going into the woods to get those!” In the mean time, I picked what I could easily find, finally ending up with about 4 cups which was just enough to make a batch of syrup for French toast and two servings of blackberry sorbet.
Sadly, I watched so many berries farther away fall to the ground, over-ripe, rotting as every day I said the same thing, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow." Finally one day I decided THIS IS THE DAY I am going into the woodsy zone. I was even going to dress for success with jeans, hat, long sleeves, herbal spray, boots, the works.
It didn’t take long, though, to change my mind and say, “FORGET IT! Not going.” Two things happened. First, my husband said that even if I picked them, he would not eat them because I went against his wishes and advice by going in the dangerous area where I should not have gone. He then reminded me of all the snakes that had been seen recently by neighbors. Then second: I had a friend post that she had found a timber rattler in her yard where she had never even seen ANY kind of snake before, let alone a venomous one. Reasons enough for me to finally admit it is not worth a couple of cups of blackberries to take such a chance.
Now, let me back track for just a moment to about several weeks ago: I got the impression that I should trim back the wild vines growing in the fence, and cut more of the overhanging tree branches, as well. I had trimmed a few that were obviously in the way earlier in spring, but not as much as I should have. For weeks I kept getting the impression to trim more. Yet I ignored it. Over and over again I ignored it, all the while complaining about my meager harvest and how I couldn’t reach the “best berries.”
Finally, the other day, I broke a branch off one bush that was in the way when I realized it was tangled in some grapevines that had worked their way through the fence in dozens of places. For me to finish the job I would need to trim A LOT of the fence area, on BOTH sides. The best part is that I could easily reach everything that needed trimming from a safe spot in the vegetable garden and not enter the woodsy zone. It was finally time to get to work.
As I cut and cut, you cannot imagine the feeling of repentance that washed over me, and the need inside of me to ask forgiveness for my ignorance and disobedience. You see, as I trimmed, I discovered that there were countless blackberry bushes hiding under all that nonsense, right in front of us.
You could clearly see that at one point, those bushes had been FILLED with blackberries. The obviously once-loaded stems were now hanging there, dried and empty of any juicy blackberries. Those had now rotted and fallen to the ground, wasted, instead of into our pantry as jelly and syrup for fall. It was very clear that had I paid attention to the impressions earlier in the season to trim away the old weeds, cut back on the “nonsense,” we would have had much more than the 8 cups we needed for one batch of jelly. We might have had more than enough for so much more.
Sometimes life is like that, too. We don’t listen to the directions from Yahweh, we don’t trim the weeds and over growth of negative things. We refuse to pay attention to the blessings that are right under our noses. Now Yahweh is busy trying his hardest to make up for my request of 8 cups of berries by showing me previously undiscovered small bushes with a few berries here or there left to add to the bag I have in the freezer. Whatever we do pick is a true blessing.
It is my prayer that we get enough for a full batch, but either way, it is clearly my own fault if we do not. Lesson learned. Moving forward, and praising Yahweh for what we DO have.
Blessings and shalom.
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Lessons From the Blackberry Patch - Lesson 1
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
We often get questions from sisters in faith who are struggling with a particular dilemma and don’t know how to handle it from a biblical perspective. One question we prayerfully answered a while back is a problematic scene that arises in this day and age with separated, divorced, split or estranged families. The question: how do you handle a funeral if there is someone who is a “difficult” loved one, or who is not welcome at the funeral or memorial?
Losing a loved one can be such a painful time for families and friends. Having so many different emotions with losing someone they hold dear, tempers may sometimes flair without intention. Most people will feel that powerfully strong need to say a “final farewell,” and yet it can be complicated by emotions of individuals or by past difficulties that have yet to be worked out.
Sadly, the loss of a loved often reminds us that life here on earth is short, and that Yahweh’s teachings should become more a part of our lives. This is often the time where many suddenly recognize they want to find ways to “let bygones be bygones.” It may become a time for some to earnestly try to put the past behind them. There are some families, though, struggling with moving on and it is just not possible to settle things because some are not ready to let go of past offenses. There are other times when it is just that the memorial or funeral is not the optimal place to address the problem because one or more of the parties involved is not ready yet to let go of hurt, anger or bitterness.
Whatever the reason, how do you accommodate as many people as possible in the mourning process, while attempting to keep the peace?
We have a simple suggestion from personal experience that may help.
My own family struggled with this when we lost a loved one who had a falling out decades before with one of his sisters. When he passed away, this estranged sister was devastated that they had never forgiven each other. She so wanted just a few moments to say goodbye to her brother, and to ask forgiveness of those who were willing to listen. Sadly, most of the family was too bitter and angry, hanging onto the past “sins” and offenses, and was unwilling to listen to her plea.
She was elderly, and I had offered, as did my oldest children, to go to the funeral home the day before the memorial to allow her private time to say her goodbyes. I have to say, she and I had not seen each other in decades and had no relationship. Plus, socially, we had different personalities, and we traveled in different circles. If we were to meet somewhere and strike up conversation, she is not someone I would have chosen to draw into my personal circle of friends. Yet she was family, and to me, God’s principles were more important here. Forgiveness needed to be allowed.
What I did not intend to happen played out angrily, though, as my attempts to do what was right caused so much drama with other family members. My suggestions of allowing her to have some personal time before the large memorial were not well received, there was some screaming and yelling, and it was forbidden for me to allow her to say her goodbyes. I was taken aback, because I believed it had been long enough and forgiveness was needed - on all sides. She actually seemed to be the only one willing to move forward, the only one willing to ask for forgiveness.
She was a great example to me, and I willingly forgave her on behalf of my family, even though they are still angry to this day. In the end, being forbidden to see her brother to say goodbye it caused her so very much unnecessary pain for years to come. She died years later, still hurting that she had never been granted forgiveness by the rest of family here on earth.
Death is so complicated for some, which is sad because life is challenging enough. It is troublesome when people allow death to bring out such bitterness from within us when we have the capability of being so much better than that. I sometimes wonder how her heart would have healed had she been given that moment to say goodbye and that simple act of loving kindness.
When faced with a similar situation, I pray you may recall some of our experience and that it will help you. Being that you are the believer in Yeshua, and the follower of His teachings, may you remember to ask yourself what you can do to facilitate the best possible situation for the most people.
Is there a way that those who do not get along may be allowed to visit the funeral home BEFORE the rest of the family and friends? Maybe you could reach out to those involved and talk about what might be best for THE ENTIRE FAMILY. For the estranged family member(s), schedule a time when others will not be there. Involve the funeral director in this process - they have worked through things like this before. They may even have more suggestions to help smooth things over in the family. They can also help should a situation of drama crop up, which may honestly happen. If necessary, the employees at the funeral home can have people cordoned off to an office area or even removed, if necessary.
During the process of mourning, we could all take heart to listen to the words in Colossians 3:1-15.
Blessings and Shalom.
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When Bygones Refuse to be Bygones
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Yahweh (God) wants us to do our absolute best to keep the words in Matthew 5 where we are told to love those who hate us, and we are to do our absolute best to go two miles with them when asked to do one. There are those rare occasions, though, when we must discern whether it is better to keep them in our lives, or to step away for a time so that we can regain our whole selves and our spirituality. Sometimes, people are toxic to us, and they suck the life out of us.
We don’t intend for it to happen, but their negativity or sinful hearts weigh us down preventing us from growing spiritually. These are the times when we need to recharge by spending time in the Spirit and in prayer to Yahweh because this decision should not be taken lightly.
IF we need to walk away for a time, we should ALWAYS forgive them - and I mean a deep and pure forgiveness as we would wish to be granted. It can be difficult to do this, especially when we have been truly hurt. But for our own well being and for our need to be healed spiritually, we must forgive.
Some will teach that a part of that forgiveness is to put yourself back in harms way again by continuing to associate with the negative person, yet as 2 Tim says, HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH SUCH PEOPLE. What people? Those who exhibit and cannot control any of these traits: “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. . .”
During this time away, it is very important to place those people in the hands of Yahweh. Continue to pray for them. Ask Yahweh to help them with a soft heart, and to impress upon them what their issues might be. Since your influence may not have been helpful for the person, it is also good to pray that Yahweh place in their life someone who CAN influence them to follow Him that they may be more like Yeshua’s example while he dwelled on earth.
There are personality conflicts that just happen in life. We may not be the right fit for friendship with another person, but someone else may be. It is important to be able to recognize when you are not being a positive influence in someone else’s life, too. This may be one of those times when someone else may have a better impact in their lives. Pray that Yahweh arrange for that to happen.
Also pray for yourself. To overcome any and all seeds of bitterness, anger, frustration, or negativity toward the other person. So that you see them with pure love and forgiveness. There may come a day when the door opens to that relationship again. Be spiritually ready for that day, and remember to hold no ill will or grudge for the other person. Remember - as Yahweh works on your heart, he is able to work on theirs as well.
Blessings and Shalom.
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Letting Go and Letting Yahweh Handle Things - Negative People
I would like to introduce you to my scripture cards. A simple little tool I picked up at an office supply store a few years back - in several colours: blue, green, purple, and floral. I love these little packets because they come with note-cards already punched with a hole in the corner, a sturdy little key ring, a plastic cover and an elastic band to hold them closed when I toss them in my pocketbook. About a year ago I added tabs so that I could see where my topics were divided and I could find them easily.
I have realized over the years that sometimes I need a little spiritual pick-me-up and I can’t always use my technology. There are dead zones and forbidden zones where we get no signal, which means sometimes I need something a little more “old fashioned” instead. These little packets are easily slipped inside my pocketbook, briefcase, glove box, or tote bag.
Each of my little packets is divided into several sections, and each section has a topic on the tab. I have written scriptures on each note-card for quick reference. There are topics such as:
--Anxiety and Fear for when we are suddenly tossed into a challenging situation and need to over come concerns.
--Healing for when I need to refocus on the healing words in the Bible
--Success to keep me motivated and focused on what Yahweh wants for us.
--Prosperity both spiritual and earthly
--Strength and Courage - we could all use a little bolstering up in this area when worldly attacks move our way.
You might choose to divide your sections into different topics that fit your needs right now. As life changes you might find you add to the categories, too, and this is great. Little by little you will find that you are building upon the rock, the foundation that you have inside of you. Yahweh tells us to write the word in our hearts and on our minds and this could become one of the tools you use for achieving this goal.
I love to suggest these cards to families, too, because they can be used to help children in so many different ways. They can learn to memorize scriptures, use their own set of cards to strengthen their journey and relationship with Yahweh, and even when a child is struggling with something spiritually, they can call on uplifting verses quickly and easily by referring to their scripture cards.
Having easy and quick access to verses which bring us guidance, direction, comfort and peace can help us to focus more directly on all the promises of Yahweh. It will also help us to always have the Word in our hearts and in our minds.
My son, attend to my words;
Incline thine ear unto my sayings.
Let them not depart from thine eyes;
Keep them in the midst of thy heart.
For they are life unto those that find them,
And health to all their flesh.
Blessings and shalom.
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My Scripture Cards
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”…Matthew 11:28-30
Recently Torah For Women was counseled about our book on women and tzitzit and told our teaching is “too relaxed” because we do not teach the rabbinic and/or Talmudic "laws" regarding who can and cannot, where they are to be worn, what colours they MUST be, except of course the scriptural reference to the thread or ribbon of blue, and other such regulations. I am actually pleased to announce that we have now officially been accused of being both ends of the spectrum - too relaxed and too rigid.
Some accuse TFW of being too rigid because we teach the Torah and follow the Feast days and biblical interpretation of clean foods, while apparently others feel we are too relaxed by not enforcing what they see as laws.
Here is what you can count on from TFW - teaching of the TORAH and the entirety of the bible. Scripture interpreting scripture. We will always stand by the firm belief that Yahweh’s teachings are not restricting, not burdensome, not legalistic, not controlling over our lives. We have seen many people leave what they proclaim to be legalism within their previous denomination, only to place heavy burdens and often many more “laws” upon themselves than what they followed before. Even more often these new “laws” are not even based on scripture.
We are told to come unto Yeshua, bear the yoke, learn from him because in him we will find rest. We are told that yoke is EASY and the burden is LIGHT. If you continue to feel that Torah For Women is too “relaxed” in it’s teachings on the tzitzit, or any other teachings, then our suggestion would be to take our lessons, teachings, from the blogs, articles or books, and test each against the word of Yahweh. We are not the final word or decision on such teachings. Yahweh always will be.
Blessings and Shalom
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”…
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Are We Too Relaxed?
This morning I was asked, "what should we do???” Here it is the day of Pesach, which starts at sundown this evening. It is time to clean out the biblical leaven. From a biblical perspective, cleaning out the leaven is actually as simple as throwing out the actual biblical leavening agent and any leavened bread - leaven is yeast or yeast based. In ancient times, the leaven (Yeast) was from the sourdough starter that was used. This would include any breads, rolls, biscuits, and sometimes flat breads or tortillas that were leavened (risen) using a yeast or sour dough starter.
In Exodus 12, verses 15-20 talk about the actual requirements:
“Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.” See also: Leviticus 23:4-8; Numbers 28:16-25; Deuteronomy 16:1-8
Although it is not commanded to clean out every nook and cranny of our homes, traditionally many people do. Yet this is only tradition.
The leaven used in biblical times was what we call today sourdough starter. It was a lump of raw dough from a previous loaf that is added to the next loaf to cause it to rise. Historically speaking, they would take that lump, set it aside in a bowl, covered, and add it to the next loaf. We do the same today by taking a portion of sour dough starter, feeding it, storing it for the next loaf, and taking the leftover portion to make a loaf with.
Baking soda and baking powders were not used in baking until much later, and thus we do not consider them the same as biblical leavening. Although baking soda (bicarbonate of sodium or sodium bicarb) was used for mummification purposes in ancient times, it was not for baking. This is why we teach that you do not need to throw them out for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They are not actual leavening agents as they do not cause the same fermentation/gaseous process as yeast does.
What we think of "cakes" mentioned in the bible are not at all like the light, fluffy sweet cakes we eat these days. Our cakes use baking soda or baking powder. The ancient cakes would have more likely been a drier, whole grain cake that would either have been a flat cake or leavened with sourdough. Even the sweet cakes would have been heavier than we are accustomed to seeing. After the spring Feasts are over, it is fun to start a new sour dough starter and try experimenting with making muffins and sweet breads with it instead of baking powder and baking soda. . .it takes practice, but it is much better for you in the long run. It also gives a good view of how the little lump leavens the whole lump.
When deciding what to eat right this minute or to toss in the trash, here is one way to look at it: The leaven in the bible is actually a living "creature." It needs to be fed - yeast, when you activate it, feeds off the sugars or carbs in whatever it is living in. It grows into a larger 'colony.' When you take a piece of that yeast dough (sour dough starter), then add it to a fresh batch of flour, the yeasts in the starter feed on the natural sugars in the new mixture, producing the gas, etc., which generates the rising effect.
You cannot take a dollop of dough from quick breads, cakes, cookies, etc., which contain baking soda or powder, and add the dollop to the next batch to generate "leavening the whole lump." If you have left a batch of any of these batters sit too long, you can see it will not rise any longer. It is "flat." It also will not re-leaven if you add more sugar or flour to 'feed' it because it cannot be fed. Leaven from the bible is something that is fed, re-fed, and fed again. . . . Each new batch getting stronger and more active.
Biblical leaven, though, can almost always be re-fed (unless you left it unfed horribly long and all the yeast actually died of starvation). This is why sourdough starter should be fed at least once per week in cold or rest times, or every day if you are using it regularly. It is much more than just the chemical process produced by baking soda and powder (which is nothing more than baking soda and cream of tartar).
Our answer is simply: No, baking soda and baking powder are not commanded to be avoided. If someone "chooses" to avoid them, that is their choice, but it is not part of the commandment.
May you have a blessed Feast Day and may your final preparations today go wonderfully easy.
Chag Sameach Massah!
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More and more often there are reports amongst believers these days claiming there is no revival in the Scriptures and that there will only be a great falling away. These people will deny the existence and the power of revival as well as deny the Spirit’s ability to take part in this end time event in the lives of those who seek it. They forget that the Spirit has already come and has never left us. He still operates today as he operated in the past, but he is looking for people that are hungry for more.
Oddly, this teaching and belief that denies revival, has come from those who have actually come out from what many may label as a “dead” church, one that does not exhibit the gifts and does not move in them. Yet while in that church, they themselves had experienced a great move in their own hearts. This move then prompted their journey back to scripture where they now study the word out deeper than they ever had before. In doing so, they have been immersed in what is obviously a "REVIVAL" of Yahweh’s Spirit inside of their own spirit where they seek even more.
If there is NO end time revival then what happened within them? Weren’t they “REVIVED”?
For several decades many prophetic voices have been predicting a great shaking will come - in America, in the world, and also in the church. These same prophetic people have been saying there would also be an end time revival. Now deniers are emerging right and left claiming these words are false, a lie, claiming there will NOT be an end time revival, but only a falling away, a “great falling away” that will happen.
As people are seeing healings, and a stirring of the gifts, more and more deniers are professing that these manifestations are false and lies from the adversary. As more and more people are stirred to leave their religions or denomination and rediscover their FAITH, others are right there ready to squash that faith and proclaim manifestations of that faith are all a lie.
It is important to note, that yes, according to scripture there is an end time falling away occurring amongst those who profess to be believers in Yeshua. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 talks of this and verse 3 even warns us about it.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; . . .” and again in 1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”
Yet, the interesting part is that even with many departing the faith there is also revival happening. Several mainstream churches are seeing their youth come alive and live up to the first century believers in Acts 2:17,
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: . . .”
Young men and young women all over America are prophesying about things they see happening in the church. They are coming forth with words about what is happening in our courts and to families, marriage, and also against their peers. These young people are jumping in with both feet, and calling their peers to return back to Yahweh. Little children are praying for people and people are being healed. Something is happening and it’s called REVIVAL.
This love for their Abba is having a domino effect and reaching the older crowds as well. They are being touched by the sweet innocence of the spirit stirred in the youth and children as they return to Yahweh.
So as time goes by, and the world is changing so quickly, as families and traditional beliefs are attacked right and left, we should recognize that these young people are a fulfillment of the Word that was given so long ago. Recognize their spiritual potential, study the Word for ourselves, and be ready to train them up in the way they should go.
Revival is happening, folks, and you can either continue to deny it, or you can help it spread in the hopes that as many as possible will be reached by Yahweh’s truth.
"If it is from God [which I believe it is], you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!" Acts 5:39
Blessings and Shalom.
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Is there revival or falling away?
Exodus 16:22-24 Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, then he said to them, "This is what the LORD meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning." So they put it aside until morning, as Moses had ordered, and it did not become foul nor was there any worm in it.…
Recently, in a panic, a sweet sister asked about these verses in Exodus. Her family was concerned deeply that they could not even boil water for tea or rewarm a pot of soup for Shabbat, and had concluded that baking or re-heating a casserole is strictly forbidden based on these verses. After much study, here are our thoughts about these verses and the terminology in question.
These scripture verses in Exodus appear to mainly apply to the requirements for the children of Israel in the wilderness when it comes to gathering, preparing and eating the manna. It does not appear to be directed to ALL of Yahweh's followers through out our generations. Many commandments which are given, such as feast days (See Day of Atonement Leviticus 23:31), include a statement that they are to be done for generations. These verses appear to deal specifically with handling the manna.
One thing to note is that the wording in it is not 100% clear whether they boiled and baked ALL their manna on the sixth day, and then saved the leftover cooked foods for Shabbat meals, or if they only cooked and boiled what they ate that day, saving the "raw" manna for Shabbat. Either way, there appears to be no clear commandment in these verses that says, “Thou shalt not. . .” when it comes to boiling or baking food on the Shabbat (Sabbath). It is also not something that appears to be forbidden ‘throughout your generations’, or ‘forever” as many other things are commanded. We therefore take the stance that baking or boiling an already prepared meal during Shabbat is acceptable for meals.
That being said, we ARE commanded to not labor or work on Shabbat, and to make it a day of rest.
Exodus 20:9-10 clearly states, “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.”
Leviticus 23:3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
It is important to note that Torah for Women believes and teaches the Hebrew word used that is translated into the English word "work" in these verses would mean work that is done for your job or employment. We also recommend, as well, that any strenuous labor around the home, such as lawn mowing, laundry, cleaning, car repairs and such be put off as well. Our conclusion from scriptures is that these do not meet the description of rest that is also commanded for Sabbath observance.
Because the big question posed to us, though, addressed boiling and baking on the Shabbat, we felt it would be helpful to give some suggestions that we use at home to make our Sabbath day easier, while still being able to enjoy our meals. Remember, these are just ideas and are not commandments or written in stone. It is our hope that what these ideas may do is spark more creative ways for easing your life during the Shabbat to make it more restful, and filled with Shabbat SHALOM!
The first thing we have made into a habit is to start thinking about the next Shabbat as soon as possible in the week. Usually Sunday or Monday I start planning meals for Friday and Saturday so that we can pick up any additional groceries early. This ensures that prep day won’t be stressed with the additional task of shopping and putting away groceries. We also address any cleaning or yard work as soon as possible as well, and try to complete this by Thursday night. I often wiggle my laundry days around to fall on Monday and Thursday rather than Friday so that I can focus more on what is needed for Shabbat on prep day.
This leaves just the biggest task for us to do on Friday before sundown as making sure we have meals prepared in advance. We like to make sure that as much preparation as is possible is completed so that all we need to do on Sabbath is re-heat meals or assemble them at the table from already prepared ingredients.
For reheating foods, we have several different appliances we use depending upon what we are serving. Rice cooker, crockpots, and even our stove top or oven work well for just slipping foods in and allowing them to warm while we rest and read. Good ideas for easy serving would be soups, one-dish crockpot meals, casseroles, or sandwiches. Even cold cereals for breakfasts, because they are just pour and eat. Another favorite is to make some yogurt and oatmeal parfaits, then let them sit overnight in single serving containers. Each person can grab one in the morning as they get hungry. Sometimes I make muffins and we eat those for breakfast, or baked oatmeal. Hard boiled eggs are good, too, to go with any of these or to be eaten alone. I have also been known to whip up chicken salad or egg salad to be eaten on bread or even rolled in lettuce for breakfast. I will even slice and dice all vegetables or fruits we plan to eat, and place in containers for easy serving. All these preparations can be done in advance and then meals are eaten with as little work as necessary on Shabbat.
Many families prefer to make Friday until Sundown their official prep day for Sabbath and spend the day doing all their cleaning and preparation, while I prefer to spread things out a bit over the week. You will know which works best for you. Always remember, Prep Day is not the commanded day, by any means, and that Shabbat is. Having a day set aside for preparations, though, certainly helps alleviate a lot of stress or concern from the Sabbath and allows for more rest and time in prayer and studying the Word.
Other examples of what our Shabbat meals might include:
Friday morning, mix up TWO quiches - one for that day’s brunch and one to reheat Shabbat morning. Cooking one for the entire baking time means it can be eaten right away, while the other one is baked just until the egg is thoroughly cooked, but quiche is not browned. That way I can reheat it in the morning, browning the top nicely. I make sure that all the coffee is ground for morning, and that all water pitchers are filled on prep day, too. This means I don’t need to worry if there is enough filtered water for everyone to drink during the day. We don’t have an automatic ice maker, so I will also ensure that all our trays have been cracked and refilled.
For dinners and snacks: grilled chicken salad sandwiches with chopped lettuce, sliced tomato, and onions. These also can be used as a snack. I might also wash a couple of sweet potatoes or potatoes in case we get hungry in the afternoon Saturday, or maybe fix a huge bowl of chopped mixed fruits. The potatoes can just be tossed in the hot oven to bake and each person can serve theirs the way they like. For Shabbat dinner, I like to spice up chicken breast Friday early, and let it marinate a bit, then cook it before sundown either in the oven or in a fry pan. We often toss it into some salad greens with oil and vinegar. If it is cold weather, we love to have a big pot of soup and either just reheat it on the stove or put it in the crockpot and slow cook it throughout the day on Shabbat. Some casseroles are great made ahead and then just baked quickly for dinners, too. I have several recipes for chicken and rice style casseroles, pasta casseroles, Tex-Mex casseroles, or even Lasagna can be made ahead, partially baked, and reheated to finish baking on Shabbat.
A big complaint we hear from some sisters is the leftover dishes and mess when the sun sets on Saturday. I have seen photos of homes where toys, books, clothing, and dishes have been left laying around in an effort to ensure the day is “restful."
Three simple questions to ask yourself:
Is this restful for mom (and sometimes even dad) to look at this mess all day long getting bigger and bigger and bigger? Especially knowing that the likely candidate for clean-up after sundown is mom or dad.
Would you tolerate your home being left a mess like that any other day of the week?
Then why tolerate it on Shabbat?
Spring time is a great time of year to drum this one into ourselves. Sun sets around 9:00 pm in the US. How late do mom and dad wish to stay up washing dishes and putting things away? It is not work to simply pick up after yourself. In fact, it is common sense.
If someone gets out books or toys, they should put them away. If you spill something, wipe it up. If someone dirties a dish, they should grab a soapy sponge, wash it off, rinse it and place it in the dish rack. Simple. There are so many other easy solutions for keeping cleanup down to a minimum at the end of Shabbat. Another idea for dishes, if you have a dishwasher: just make sure it is empty as late as possible on Friday, and have everyone scrape their dishes, then place the dirties in there. They can collect all day and it can be run Saturday after sundown. Little children, of course, might need an older sibling or parent to help with these dish ideas, but it is still less stressful this way than to wait to clean an entire kitchen later in the evening. When all else fails, paper products work great too.
We know these ideas might not work for everyone, but maybe they will help you create new habits that will work for your family. Each home IS different and has individual needs that must be met. Our hope is to help you relax, and enjoy preparing for your Sabbath as much as you will enjoy the rest you get on that day.
Blessings and Shalom!
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Inviting Shabbat Shalom
A few years ago, stories were floating around the internet about how certain terrorist groups were rumored to be feeding parent's their children in a demonic and wicked act of cruelty. People were appalled at such horrifying examples of cannibalism. Yet, as disturbing as this was to people, justification for cannibalism is actually happening amongst believers and it needs to be addressed.
Publishing this article may make a large number of faithful women angry, hurt, or upset, but it must be said. This is not something Torahforwomen.com ever thought we would need to address, yet we find ourselves in the position to take a stand on what may end up causing women serious sadness, grief, and anger. It is not our intent to hurt anyone, yet this subject, although it may be upsetting to some, needs to be addressed from a Biblical perspective, no emotion, just pure biblical Teachings.
Here it is: It IS NOT Torah (biblical teaching) to eat your baby’s placenta, ever. It is also NOT Torah to consume the placenta in pill form because, although it is not being cooked & served, or made into a "placenta smoothie", it is still the consumption of human tissue.
First let me say that it is uplifting to see women of deep faith so diligent about every little detail of what goes into their bodies or what they use in their home when it comes to pork and other unclean ingredients. In fact, women will not use gelatin capsules because of the concern for pork gelatin being hidden in the capsules ingredients. Mothers and wives will purge their cupboards of every food, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, or medication that may have contained pork or even seafood ingredients derived from unclean aquatic life. Out of concern for their own or their family’s eternal well-being, they will remove all the potential of sinning through ingesting something Yahweh has commanded as unclean. Yet, they will defend with angry outrage, their “right” to ingest their newborn child’s placenta.
To sum up the reasoning behind this practice: someone they know, either before or during their pregnancy, has convinced these women that they will not be able to control their hormonal fluctuations without consuming their baby’s placenta. I have studied all the defensive articles advocating this practice, as well as the history of the practice. I could go into more detail, but in all honesty, it does not matter what the reasons are, it all comes down to what YAHWEH says.
Leviticus 11:2-3 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'These are the living things which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and chews the cud among the animals, that you may eat. . .”
Ask yourself one question based off Yahweh’s description: What makes meat clean food? Parted hooves (cloven) and chewing cud. Creatures that DO, we may eat, those that don’t? No. It’s that simple - Honestly. Yahweh has made a rule, a commandment, a clarification for us. Simply put, some living creatures ARE food and some are NOT. If a creature does not have a parted hoof (cloven foot), and/or does not chew the cud, we may not eat it. Period. So let me be the one to break the news to everyone, humans don’t meet the qualification as food. Humans are not edible according to the Levitical definition of “food”. End of discussion.
A placenta is human tissue - it is created when the fertilized egg splits inside the womb. One half of the egg becomes the infant growing inside the mother, while the other half becomes the organ which feeds the infant and acts as a filter for waste during the pregnancy. It is considered an human organ. When the child is born, the placenta is no longer needed, and the mother’s body expels it. Has it changed genetic properties simply by being expelled from the body? No. It is still human flesh or tissue and does not qualify as “food” for the mother or father, or anyone else, for that matter.
Someone will likely say, “But I am not eating it as ‘food’, I am taking it as a nutritional supplement.” Let me ask those people this: Would you take PORK ingredients as nutritional supplements? How about any of the other unclean beasts: Vulture? Eagle? Hawk? Shark? Shrimp? Tiger? Cat? Dog? Now, some of these might sound ridiculous, yet many (not all) of these are made into supplements of some kind or another and used in Chinese medicine which happens to be the biggest contributor to the original teaching on eating human placenta. If you would not take these supplements because they are unclean and unfit for you or your family, why would you take human tissue? On the other hand, I have discussed this issue with several women who WOULD take unclean items through supplements, for that I have to say, you should take this to the scriptures, weigh it against Yahweh’s truth, and seriously pray about whether it is right, and if you are living right according to HIS Torah (teaching).
Consuming human tissue, placenta, must be weighed against the teaching that Yahweh has given us for clean foods. There are some who have attempted to change the definition of “cannibalism” by redefining it as eating only the part of a human that is found between skin and bone.” Thus, by their definition, cannibalism only occurs when someone eats the meaty portion of a human that is found on legs and arms. This definition would leave any portion of the torso found beneath the skin and ribs free for human consumption - so they would justify eating human organs, and anything else you find inside. Crazy!! “Food for thought,” the OLDER definition used to be that cannibalism involved eating ANY human remains or parts, period!! No attempts were made to draw a line between what parts of a human are edible and which are not. One must kind of step back for a few moments and honestly ask, why would anyone even consider redefining the term??? For what purpose???? - Obviously to justify their practice.
Now that I have totally grossed most of you out by this description, let me clarify that the above "new" definition IS NOT our opinion of the proper definition of eating human flesh, also known as cannibalism. Cannibalism is eating any human flesh - period. We base our decision and definition solely on the description of food found in Leviticus 11. Plain and simple. Any variation from that definition given by Yahweh would be sin.
Some will say that it is acceptable to eat the placenta because cannibalism IS mentioned in the bible. However, what they do not teach is that when it IS brought up, it is always discussed in negative terms. Yes, Yahweh mentions women who are starving first eating placenta (afterbirth) and then consuming children in Deuteronomy 28:56-57 “The refined and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground for delicateness and refinement, shall be hostile toward the husband she cherishes and toward her son and daughter, and toward her afterbirth which issues from between her legs and toward her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of anything else, during the siege and the distress by which your enemy will oppress you in your towns.” I pray you will see that this is a CURSE, not a blessing, and certainly not, by any means, some form of permission or a commandment from Yahweh to eat human flesh! It is a curse as a result of their sins, a consequence of what is taking place in the world at that time. Because of their sins, they will end up eating their afterbirth, and then they will consume their children. Do you want to willingly participate in the fulfillment of this curse for sin?
One big detail here that also needs to be considered is this: Who is more powerful and whose instructions should you follow - that of a friend, blogger, midwife, naturopath, or doula? Or Yahweh? When we take the advice of another person over the teachings of Yahweh, and that advice is not in any way backed by the word of Yahweh, we have elevated them and their teachings above Yahweh and his Torah. This places us in a dangerous position spiritually.
It is complicated for the woman of faith who believes that consuming placenta has helped her overcome something as devastating as post-partum depression, and we have great compassion for those who have gone through such a trauma following childbirth. We run the risk of being called cold-hearted and unkind, or being accused of not understanding. That is a risk that we are willing to take in an effort to teach Yahweh’s truth, and it is a responsibility we must do, no matter the fall-out from women who profess to follow the scriptures.
There are options that an expectant mother can and should talk about with a qualified nutritionist, faithful midwife who follows Yahweh, or a believing naturopath, which should be someone willing to respect and honor the commandments of Yahweh above claims that there is some form of "medical" benefit. There are herbal supplements and remedies that may be taken safely following childbirth to stabilize and alleviate symptoms mothers may experience. There are also nutritional adjustments that may be able to be made through diet and even exercise. These should all be discussed with your professional caretaker, remembering that all supplements should meet the needs of both mother and newborn, as well as the commandments of Yahweh.
For additional scriptural discussion and information on this topic, please feel free to print and study the scriptural references, historical information and such contained in the PDF located below this blog article. We pray with all our hearts that you will find peace and comfort in Yahweh’s teachings, and that you will find a way to bring peace to your pregnancy as well as your weeks and months following birth, so that your experience and new motherhood will be a fulfilling blessed time for you and your new baby, as well as your spouse and family.
May you be blessed with much joy and Shalom.
One lesson we cannot seem to teach often enough is that Shabbat truly is easier than people want to believe it is.
One way to look at preparing for the Sabbath is treat it like it is the same as finding out on Monday that your best friend is going to come visit on Friday, but she can only stay for 24 hours. You know how the two of you are when you get together and want to catch up on everything that has gone on since your last visit. You hope to make a good impression plus you will probably talk for hours and hours, so you want everything to be JUST RIGHT when she arrives. From being organized to the house being cleaned and food prepared, you know it is going to take some time to get everything accomplished, but you have four whole days to get it done. Waiting until the last minute will clearly cause confusion and likely stress - something you are certain you want to avoid.
Your hope is that by preparing early you can alleviate the majority of tension that could arise for you or the family. You start by putting together a menu plan, get as much done Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as you can, shop early for ingredients you might need, clean on Thursday, cook early Friday, and then make sure that everything is wiped up and ready for when she arrives that evening.
You plan ahead by making sure you have something special baked for snacking on, some kind of drink that is her favorite - coffee, tea, lemonade, or something else delicious. You make sure the kids have PLENTY to keep them occupied while the two of you talk with as few interruptions as possible. It isn’t that you want to neglect the children, but you are praying for some quiet time to just catch up and have adult conversation.
You want to make sure the house is tidied up before she gets there, too. You clean the bathrooms, bedrooms, dust every nook and cranny, vacuum, mop, every imaginable thing you can get done, you get done well in advance.
You know that those 24 hours you are going to spend as much time talking together as possible, so you create meals that are easy to re-warm. The more prepared you are, the more time you can then spend enjoying each others company, eating together, maybe praying together, and just resting and relaxing. You are all excited and anticipating her arrival so that you can enjoy this special time together. When she arrives, you take her coat, tuck it away, make her comfortable, and viola! It is as simple as Shabbat!!
Sounds almost too simple, doesn’t it? Yet Shabbat really can be all that and less. Sadly, in an effort to do our absolute best to try to please Yahweh, we can become over-vigilant and create more work than is necessary for resting on Shabbat. They make their yoke difficult and the burden very heavy. By over analyzing, over preparing, over doing, we can then over stress.
Yahweh’s commandments for Shabbat are not complicated:
1) No Work
(Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15)
We find when someone is new to honoring the Sabbath, those two things don't seem to be enough yet those are the only things that need to be the focus. We often believe there MUST be more to it than that, especially if we came out of a denomination that had “Sunday sabbath" where there were a lot of meetings, prayer groups, gatherings, meals, and such. Our subconscious is accustomed to busy-ness all day on what we thought was “Sabbath", and discovering that it is just those two simple tasks makes it seem almost impossible to believe.
Shabbat doesn’t need to be anything major, fancy, or extravagant. You just follow Yahweh’s instructions for no work and for rest. A great example of the simplicity is the story from scripture about the manna. When planning for prep day and for Shabbat, Yahweh instructed them to gather every day, and then for the Sabbath, "On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily." Exodus 16:5 The people were to gather manna on the sixth day, their prep day, and on the 7th day they were to just eat what they had prepared for that day and rest. That was it.
While many websites will counsel you to incorporate numerous traditions such as candle lighting, specific prayers, or large feasts each and every week, this can get overwhelming, time consuming and expensive. These teachers often will also counsel on Rabbinic (Pharisee-type) micro-details such as turning on light switches, not being allowed to tear toilet tissue on Sabbath so you must pre-tear it in sections before sundown, not tying or buckling shoes, not driving a car, and so many other “micro-tasks”. These things are all man-made traditions, and Yahweh did not intend for it to be such an overwhelming burden. Shabbat (Sabbath), is a blessed day that Yahweh set aside (sanctified - Gen. 2:3) for you and your family and for your physical and spiritual rejuvenation (Mark 2:27).
Our hope is that you see that truly your Shabbat can be as easy and as exciting as having your best friend come to visit. By preparing early throughout the week, when the day finally arrives, we can rest in His Shalom and enjoy the day in His presence.
Blessings and Shalom.
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Making Shabbat A Burden
Sound Bites - 3 minutes or less
Recently while listening to a teacher we enjoy, he stated that modern followers of Yahweh are too impatient. You see, because we are so used to instant gratification with TV, cell phones, internet, and other forms of technology, many people feel that what they need to learn or know should be given to them in 3 minutes or less. I am impatient, too, at times, but there is also that other side of me that enjoys taking more time to study things out. I learned how to do this and also how important this is many years ago as a young mom.
When the kids were younger, I got used to sitting and waiting while they went to sports practices, music lessons, and even doctor appointments. Before I had a cell phone with social media and all the games and APPS that come with it, I had to check things out from the library and do it the old fashioned way. There were even times I would bring an art project I was working on at the time, and listen to scriptures or talks on CD or cassette tape while I worked on it. This gave me the extra time I was seeking to put into studying and even into my relationship with Yahweh through prayer, which I very much appreciated. I knew at these appointments there was often a large amount of uninterrupted time scheduled in that I could use for building my own spirituality. So, although I can be impatient, I also very much appreciate putting time into studying and learning as much as possible about something, especially if I have to teach it to others.
There are things that I am inspired to share with Torah for Women, yet it takes days, weeks or even months to discover and assemble everything that can be found on the topic. I may want to sit and write a post right away but there are things that need to be confirmed through The Word so that when we are challenged we can provide resources and scriptural evidence to back up what we have taught. We just can’t get away with “Because it sounds right” or “but it feels right” when it comes to teaching others. The warnings are very clear in scripture what the responsibility is upon the heads of those who take on the role of teaching others. (James 3:1)
Often times we need more time to explain properly, doing all we can to avoid error, and 3 minutes or less will not work. There have been many times we have seen others jump up with memes they grabbed from someone else, or one little verse taken out of context that was used to develop an entire doctrine around. These unverified teachings can end up being spiritually dangerous if others are lead away from Yahweh’s truth, or His truth is distorted. Even worse is if these sound bites people teach bring someone to sin.
Having come out from another religious system, you may find that there are teachings you need to un-learn, doctrines you need to prove or disprove to yourself, new teachings that you need to discover that were never taught. The desire to learn everything instantly can sometimes be very strong, and this can encourage us to desire “sound bites" of information. Yet it is very important to take your time and study things out to prove them with Scripture. This will take more time than just a few minute sound bites.
Busy women may find fault with what I am saying, by stating that they only have a few minutes here or there to read and we understand this, very much. What we are saying is, don’t let that be the ONLY time you spend studying a topic. Expand, stretch, dig, study, all while using the scriptures, reliable resources, and even the good old fashioned library if you need to. You will likely find, as we introduce more and more teachings online for you to build your faith, that many of our teachings may be short messages, yet each one will be a jumping off point to encourage or guide you into a much longer study to strengthen your walk with Yahweh.
Having a strong foundation in the scriptures, and following Yahweh’s teachings will help write the word on our hearts and in our minds, which will help us when the temptation arises to avoid using our words idly. We will have access to great wisdom and knowledge that will be embedded in our memory for us to recall as needed.
The scriptures teach, Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” This same exact counsel is mentioned at least 3 times in the Tanakh and one thing is certain, it must be important. I find it interesting that this is used to get a point across, as is done many times in scripture. One topic is covered repeatedly so that we can grasp the concept. You see, it is an interesting tidbit to find that it was common practice for ancient Hebrews to not raise their voice in making a point as we often do these days - in other words, no CAPS LOCK. Instead, they would keep repeating the teaching so that it was clear and its importance was made known.
The question is, what is meant by “fear of Yahweh?” The fear mentioned is not a frightful fear as one might be afraid of a bear in the wilderness, but a respect or reverence. Restating this verse would mean that respect of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom. We can get a very basic level of respect and wisdom by grabbing those sound bites I mentioned above. Yet how much more wisdom and knowledge would we all grab and hold onto if we spent more time listening to and studying teachings that we need to have written on our hearts and in our minds? Maybe even hearing them over and over again until we glean all we can from that teaching.
Let me use an example that might help make it more clear. You buy a new cell phone. Besides the phone, you get a cord and a couple of other accessories with it, and then you find that great piece of paper that everyone looks for, that's almost always right on top called “The Quick Start Guide”. It is one page long, and with it you can immediately figure out how to charge and use your phone. BANG! YOU'RE Done. . . .Right? Then your 10 year old says, “Hey, mom, did you know that with your phone you can...?” What is your response? Mine might actually be, “What???” Or worse, “No, it doesn’t!” as someone much younger than me proceeds to show me that my phone not only does that one thing, but also will do a thousand other things that I never knew a phone was capable of doing.
Now, how could I have found this information out? One, I could utilize this new teacher that has agreed to show me every little tiny thing that my phone can do; or number two, I could just read the other book inside that has 200 tiny little pages called the "Owners Manual". Either way, it is definitely going to take me more than that 3 minute sound bite, aka: " The Quick Start Guide" to get the full potential out of my phone.
Personally, I would do both simply because I have had a couple of young people show me things to do with my electronics that in the end would have actually voided the warranty on my product! So, I needed to be careful to look up and verify what these young teachers are teaching me about my phone - a great example of how it is YOUR responsibility also to test every word that springs forth from teachers, or meme's, videos, "revelations,” and especially from sound bites.
It's your responsibility to take more than 3 minutes of your time to understand fully and search out the full truth before you adopt it and follow it in your life. Don't be lazy when it comes to things that may have eternal consequences.
I hope this will help you see more clearly that if you cannot learn all the ins-and-outs of your new cell phone in a few minutes or less, how can you expect to learn all the ins-and-outs of your faith, His love, His teachings in sound bites?
Will you take the time to study and reverence (fear) the lord so that you will be filled with the wisdom and knowledge that Yahweh has freely given you in His word? Read it, search it, study it, confirm it and adopt the truth.
Our prayer is that some how, some way, you will find the time and have that reverence for His word so that you will not be amongst those who only feed on 3 minutes or less of the word.
"It is written, people shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God". Matthew 4:4
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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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