I keep going back to the idea of manipulatives. I want my heart to always be kneeling towards the Father. I want Him to be in my thoughts all day long. I want the love of Him to saturate all of my actions. I want His esteem to be made known in everything I say or do.
Today James posted in his Morning Meditation about his efforts and discouragement in the Tent of David project. It can be hard sharing news about the Jewish Messiah, and most churches do not want to hear it.
I know exactly what James means. I am not in the position that I may have an impact on a church, because I’m still just a young adult. But I have been working in my college ministries. And by working, I mean that I try to have God-focused conversations, and if I feel someone is ready I will share awesome stuff about Hebrew studies. I receive a variety of responses which is probably analogous to what you find among working adults. Some students are interested in the sense that they say “Oh, that’s cool, I didn’t know that,” but it does not actually inspire them to go deeper. A few people will argue with me, but they are the minority. But those few people are usually closer friends.
How Holy do You Want to Be?
Music is very important to me. I know a lot of people will tell you that, and for me it is true. (Not to say that it is not true for others.) I’ve been playing piano since I could talk, so I jokingly consider it my second language. I have learned many instruments, and I love to sing. I sing almost all day long.
We need to be careful what we listen to.
Hey! Sorry I didn’t update sooner. Yesterday was busy.
My first small group went well. I was really blessed. I had planned for four students to come (in addition to myself and my roommate.) One did. Granted, one had valid plans to see a friend in the city. The other two have decided that their schedules are too full. I am not offended or discourage. Papa is good, and He is faithful. He promised me five to seven people, I will have five to seven people.
The girl who did come is such a blessing, and I am so happy to have her. She is a beautiful, bubbly girl, and she is so thirsty for more! When I told her we would be spending most of our time in Torah, she was so excited! She said that she has been wanting more OT education. Halleluyah!
As I rambled, I ended up having more time than I had planned. My little speech only lasted five to ten minutes! But Father blessed my tongue, and gave me the words to say. It was absolutely wonderful, and we ended the time in worship.
It may not have been the impressive small group I had been anticipating, but I had so much shalom. YHWH is tov. So so good!
I am really excited for this small group, and especially to see what YHWH is going to do in our hearts. His plans are so wonderful. I know this will go well.
Sometimes it just takes faith.
When things are going hard.
When nothing seems to be going right.
When your sorrows are stacked, and stress is every other word.
When it seems you have no options.
When you cannot get a solid night’s sleep.
When you are too tired to care.
When you slip in your discipline.
When you just feel so far from God.
When the world is against you.
It just takes faith.
Faith will hold, faith will keep.
Faith will keep you from slipping, and help you to hold on to hope.
Faith will bring you through.
God is gracious, and oh so good.
Just wait on Yahweh.
Wait, I say, on Yahweh.
There are moments in my life when I realize just how young I am, and I learn the importance of weighing things against the test of time. This moment in my life is one of them.
I could list many things that I have held onto as definite, that turned out to be not so defined or long-lasting. Just to name a few, early high school I thought I was going to be a film score composer, freshman year of college I thought I’d for sure teach English in Japan, this time last year I thought I would be with my (now ex) boyfriend forever, and this past May I thought I would be following the Paleo diet for the rest of my life. Each time I make these resolutions, I mock my previous self as knowing nothing, and that I know so much better now.
A Hebrew in Modern Babylon.
That’s the name of this blog, right? Well, how did Daniel do it? He was PRIME MINISTER, but his religion was completely different than almost everyone else in government. How did he get there? By YHWH’s favour. But what about the details of his life? What about how he did business and had conversations?
We only get a small number of instances in Daniel’s life. There’s his arrival and his choice of diet, interpreting Nebuchanedzar’s dream, the firey furnace, another dream, the writing on the wall, the lion’s den, and his end-times revelations. Every story recounts Daniel completely obeying Yahweh and trusting in Yahweh! Daniel doesn’t have methods or plans. YHWH gave him a direction, and he moved. YHWH was faithful in guiding Daniel along the way.
As I start my year at university after a year abroad and summer break, I am thrown back into the liberal sphere. My Modernism professor introduced us to the class talking about how key thinkers like Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, and Freud eliminated our need for a “God”, and that there is no plan, and that humans are not special. A brief conversation yesterday was about the fluidity of gender. I had a conversation with a different friend about modesty standards, she on the liberal side.
These are topics I face everyday, and topics I have to write papers on. I’m not even sure where I stand on some of these issues, and on some I’m not sure where the Scriptures stand. To clarify, by “these issues” I mean those issues that are hot and relevant to academia and young twenty-somethings. In most of these issues, the “Christian” stance is seen as outdated, racist, sexist, elitist, or just plain wrong.
As I shed the traditional Christian layers of my skin, I have to be careful with just how much I shed off. When I first started on my Torah journey, I threw off just about everything. But then I was alone. I had no opinions to lean on, no scriptures to defend my case. All I could say was, I don’t know.
Okay, actually I wish I had the humility to say I don’t know all the time. Often I try to make up something that sounds right if I don’t have the answer. But what did Daniel say?
“The secret which the sovereign is asking — the wise ones, the astrologers, the magicians, and the diviners are unable to show it to the sovereign. But there is an Elah in the heavens who reveals secrets, and He has made known to Sovereign Nebukadnetstsar what is to be in the latter days…” Daniel 2:26-27 ISR
So, in a world of Post-Modern Humanistic Babylon, how do I walk in righteousness? Just as Daniel did, by leaning on YHWH, because the Father is faithful.
Know Him in all your ways, And He makes all your paths straight.
It’s not about me, or how much I know. Actually, it’s probably better in the academic sphere to have a different opinion than everybody else. They don’t want someone who follows the crowd. Good, because I follow YHWH!
I know this and still, I want to make plans and figure out how to have those conversations But as I’ve said before, it is a day by day journey with the Father. Everything outside of His plan is as vapor. My plans, my schedules, my theology will fade away with the wind. But He is more real than the earth I stand on. He has all the answers, and He knows the truth.
It’s time to let go of opinions, let go of my pride, let go of my ambitions. For YHWH will direct my path. He is always faithful, and He will never let me go.
I’ve got a lot of things on my mind that I’d like to share, but it’s been a long day of classes and homework. So, to be brief, I have some praise reports.
Yahweh has just completely blessed me in my first day of school. He just amazed me over and over again.
1. I had to apply for a loan for textbooks this morning, something I’ve had trouble with in the past, and it went well without a hitch. HalleluYah!
2. I went to Jamba Juice to get a wheat grass shot. They took forever in getting my shot, so I got a double! HalleluYah! As a bonus, it took away my abdominal pain. HalleluYah!
3. I bought the textbook for Russian right before the class, not knowing if I’d need it, and I did! Well, a special workbook anyway. The other textbook was almost $200 new, but I don’t need it for a week so I was able to return in and used the money to buy a cheaper book, as well as bus tickets to go home this weekend. HalleluYah!
4. Leaving my Russian class,
I stumble upon Yahweh directed my path to a friend who also just got back from a year abroad. (She went to France, I went to Japan.) We were able to reconnect and enjoy each other’s presence. A totally unexpected blessing. HalleluYah!
5. At the dining hall, I had no idea who to sit with, so the Father showed me a girl to sit with. Turns out, she is a Christian and went to the worship service for my campus ministry last night! I had no idea of any of that when I sat down, but Yah gave us the chance to connect. How cool. HalleluYah!
6. At my next class, again I asked YHWH to show me where to sit. I introduce myself to the girl, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Just before class started, I saw a friend from a previous, related course. After class I go to talk to him, and he’s a friend of the girl I sat next too! Now I’ll be able to continue to sit with this girl and my friend. Totally unexpected. HalleluYah!
7. At my next class, I turn to talk to the girl behind me. What is she studying? RUSSIAN! We were able to connect and chat about Russian literature. I see a friendship forming here. HalleluYah!
8. My dance class was a blessing in disguise. It turns out I don’t remember the basics as well as I should, and if I stayed in this class I would struggle. I decided to drop a course I had been eagerly looking forward to. This decision could not have been from anyone but Papa. He had blessed me all throughout the day, so why would that moment be any different? Actually, my ambition told me to keep going and try, but it was a small voice compared to the overwhelming peace of Yah encouraging me to drop the course. Only He knows what pleasures I will reap from this blessing. HalleluYah!
Other students may not have felt as positively about their first day, but I proudly proclaim that my day was great and the glory all goes to YAHWEH!!!! He is good, and He is a moving force in our lives. He loves us so much and blesses us in more ways than we know. He deserves all of the praise and all of the esteem. He is so worthy, so so worthy.
Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the blowing of the ram’s horn; Praise Him with the harp and lyre!
One meaning of the word “Hebrew” means to traverse, or as I have so fondly put it, to wander. Thus, the title of this blog. Another meaning for the word “Hebrew” is to cross over. Indeed, I feel like I have crossed over.
I am starting my fourth year at university, and this week I moved into my dorm room. I’m living in the same hall that I have lived in since first year, with the exception of being in Japan this past academic year. As I set up my room and unpacked my bags, I couldn’t help but think about my first time moving in. I was disappointed in my roommate because she wasn’t Japanese, I brought way too many clothes and everything else, and I was covering the walls with pictures of Japanese boys. But this week? My roommate is such a blessing (although still not Japanese), I brought very little clothes or anything and thus have ample room in my drawers, closet, and bookshelves, and my only wall decoration is a map of where I lived in Japan.
But it’s more than just where I am at move-in. I think about how much I have grown in three years. Coming in I knew I wanted to study Japanese, but had little direction beyond that. Now, after spending time in Japan, I have more direction and goals to pursue. Coming in I had insecurity issues and was trying to establish myself with my knowledge of Japan. Now I know that my value is in how much my Father loves me, which is quite a lot. And I have crossed over a few times.
My first cross-over was from Christian-in-name to full-time Christian, through the campus ministry InterVarsity. My second cross-over was from Evangelical Christian to Pentecostal Charismatic Christian. And now I’ve crossed over from that to Hebrew Roots.
I mentioned in a recent post about being lost and confused, not sure what to do on campus. I have crossed over a line and I am not going back. The cares of this world, this culture, are not my cares. As much as I take joy in being a Hebrew in Babylon, I was feeling alone and hopeless. I have had little *success* with other friends and family, so how can I convince my Christian friends on campus? How could I participate in their worships and Bible studies, when the lessons they teach are based on biases and mistranslations? But I read Cindi Gilland’s post on Faith Grace Torah, and it was very encouraging. Cindi realized that she was at her church to share what she had been learning, and it reminded me of what YHWH can do in our lives, and that it’s not all about us.
I won’t claim to know what YHWH is thinking or exactly what He has in mind, but I do know He’s got great plans for me. I will let Him do the planning, and I’ll do the following. Yeshua did not come to start a new religion, so neither should I go off by myself because I’m the only one that agrees with me. This calls for humility, patience, self-control, and gentleness. As well as a dose of love, joy, and loving-commitment. And of course, some faithfulness to YHWH.
And about that *success* that I mentioned earlier, when was success ever listed as a quality we strive for? In YHWH there is no success or failure, there is only obedience or disobedience. The Father judges us by His standards alone, and He is merciful and forgiving! Christians will tell me that you cannot live the “Law” perfectly, and yes it is hard, but I am not trying to win or fail at the “Law”. I am walking in obedience, and walking in faith, and when you follow YHWH, He will not lead you to break His law. But the standards of this world? There is a pass and a fail, you are judged harshly, and there is no forgiveness. There is bitterness, and prejudice, and cruelty.
Yes I have crossed over, and that is something to rejoice in. I am no longer under control of the ways of this world. I will not compromise Torah, because there is no value in worldly success. I will go where He goes, and say what He says. I don’t know what purpose YHWH has me here for, beyond being an ambassador of Love. I can try to take the wheel, but I think He’s a better driver.
Do not be conformed to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim. Rom. 12:2
I’m really good at making mistakes. I spent too much money grocery shopping. I forgot the nuts I had specifically bought for the trip yesterday. I dropped, and thus lost, my boyfriend’s shirt. And the climax: I cut off my pinky tip using a vegetable slicer the wrong way, after taking off the warning label.
The Roman soldiers had all of their successful battles engraved on their helmets. When Paul talks about wearing the helmet of hope, he was in prison and saw those helmets every day. Wearing a helmet of hope, we remind ourselves of all the good things we have done. The helmet of hope helps us not focus on our mistakes.
The enemy wants us to focus on our mistakes. When we mess up, we lose our peace. Our plans got thrown off track, and we’re so focused on the map that we don’t look at our surroundings.
But it’s not about me. It’s about Yahweh, and His work. His plan is not depended on my ability or inability. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me, including typing with a heavily bandaged pinky finger. Yahweh is bigger than my ability to manage my money, or my ability to prepare food, or my ability to keep track of a T-shirt.
Thank you Yahweh that I spent too much on groceries. Thank you Yahweh that I forgot to bring my food on the trip. Thank you Yahweh that I lost my boyfriend’s shirt. Thank you Yahweh that I cut off my pinky tip.
I will not let my mistakes define me. I am a child and a royal priest of Yahweh. What I judge myself for, Yahweh may use to his esteem. I have no idea what the next hour holds, so who am I to say that He can’t work a miracle from my mistakes?
That’s one of the cool things about Yahweh. When I mess up, He doesn’t scold me, judge me, or hold it against me. Instead, He wraps me up in His love, gives me peace, and gives me healing. He loves me. He loves me. He loves me. He takes my mistakes and works good out of them.
For example, I felt He wanted me to pray for the owner of a used bookstore we stopped by at. I was too nervous to do at that moment, but leaving the store I knew I should have done it. But I didn’t dwell on it and just gave it to Yahweh. Later, after another errand, we ran into him leaving the store. I knew he had somewhere to go, but I asked anyway.The shop owner said no. My reaction?
Joyful! I was so happy that Yahweh had given me a second chance, even if the guy said no. It was an awesome reminder that it’s not about me. The man wasn’t rejecting me, so I had no reason to be upset. Yahweh gave me a command, and I followed through. With Yahweh, it’s not a matter of successful or unsuccessful. There’s only obedient and disobedient. That’s encouraging.
May Yahweh bless you and keep you
May Yahweh make His face to shine upon you
May Yahweh lift His face upon you and give you peace