A Second Touch

This morning my bible study covered the account of Y’shua (Jesus) healing a blind man in Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26). The man’s friends begged  Yshua to heal him. Y’shua took the blind man by the hand and led him outside of the village. He spat on his eyes and then touched them. He asked him if he could see anything. The man said I see people but they look like trees walking. Y’shua then touched him again. It is reported after the second touch the blind man’s sight was restored and he could see all things clearly.

In my humanness, my first reaction was to him spitting in his eyes. I have a real serious issue with people spitting on me. But putting that aside, I wondered why a second touch needed. I know He was powerful enough to heal on the first touch. He had done it before. That question lingered in my mind through the rest of the study.  A second touch was required to complete the healing. Why? Was it the man’s lack of faith? Was it the disciple’s lack of faith and understanding? Was it necessary to teach that sometimes a process is needed for healing? Was it to teach the disciples the difference in seeing and seeing clearly? In light of the disciples’ lack of understanding about the Pharisee’s leaven, maybe Y’shua had to show them how blind they were and that they had a need to see clearly and that He was the source of that clarity. Hmm.

Some of you know my husband and I went through a horrendous year in 2015. I was faced with his death. While the EMTs worked to resuscitate him, I prayed, LORD if it is his time, take him because I don’t want him to suffer but if it isn’t, please heal him completely. As soon as I finished my request, he began to breath. I believe that was God’s answer that He would heal him completely. When he left the house he was breathing on his own. Here we are almost a year since he came home from rehab for the third time. He has made tremendous progress but he is not completely healed. He is walking with a cane and his memory is still shaky. I have asked God why hasn’t he healed him completely yet?  Why hasn’t He restored him to good health mentally and physically? What are we not doing that we should be doing? What do we need to see clearly? To what am I blind? Could it be that a second touch is needed?

LORD, I pray that you touch us again with your healing hands. I ask that you restore Carl’s body and mind to be better than before. We believe you allowed him to stay here because you still had a job for him to do. Touch me and teach me what you desire of me. LORD give us a second touch.

Do you need a second touch?

The Tradition of Men

Have we laid aside the commandments of God for the traditions of men? This was Y’shua’s main complaint against the Pharisees.  Do we care more about what our particular denomination says rather than what God says? Even the non-denominational churches have traditions. Do we care more about our evangelical conservative view than the views of God? What are we teaching the world about the God we say we serve? Have we become like the Pharisees of old? Are we the Pharisees of the present? What would God say about us? I challenge you to examine yourselves to determine if you have laid aside God’s commandments or maybe are selective in the one’s you obey for the traditions of men.

Mark 6

6  He answered and said to them,

“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

7  And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

8  “For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men–the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

9  He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.”

Just something to think about.

The bold is mine.

The Kingdom is At Hand?

For a long time  some terms used in the Bible puzzled me. This is one of them. From a Christian perspective I knew or thought it was referring to the presence of Jesus the Christ but John the Baptist was not a Christian. Christ wasn’t even a Christian. They were both of Hebrew birth, Jews. They both went to synagogue, read  or heard the scrolls read, learned the Torah and the Prophets. So what did this term mean to them? I have read some theologians thoughts that they were referring to Daniel’s prophecy regarding the kingdom that was eternal that would destroy all human kingdoms. I can imagine in light of Roman oppression this would be, certainly be something the Jewish nation would be looking forward to.

I did  a word study, of course, and this is my understanding of the phrase. The reign or rules of God is here. You would think that would not be necessary to say to a group of people whose very national existence is based on the rules of God. Apparently something was missing. Just like many of us today, we know the rules of our beliefs but we do not apply the rules in our daily lives. We pick and choose what we want to obey and then get mad at God when we don’t get what we want or things don’t work out as we planned. So it seems, Y’shua came to teach how to truly live the rules so that God rules. If this were not so, would John have preached, Repent or Reform? Would Yshua have said Repent or Reform? Some things needed to change.

This declaration simply states for me that God is in charge and if we claim to be His, then His rules need to be lived daily. Yshua the Living Word of God showed the difference between what the Pharisees and Priest taught and lived and what God intended.

So change your way of thinking (Repent) for the rule of God is here.

Here, right now.

Live accordingly.

Did God Condone Slavery?

Context determines the understanding of so everything. The other day I was told the Bible condoned slavery. Several scriptures were cited on which this understanding was based. At that moment I knew it didn’t but I couldn’t speak to those specific scriptures. I also knew that those scriptures were used to justify slavery in the name of Christianity in this country. I told her to consider until I could better discuss this that “I believe everything in the Bible is true but not everything is God’s truth.” I meant I believed it was a true accounting but not reflective of God’s principles, intent, or standards.

God’s principles are the truths “that serve as the foundation for His system of belief or behavior or for His chain of reasoning.”

So I went back to those scriptures to read ithem in context.  Then I went to an Orthodox  Jewish website to get the Judaic perspective. Sometimes we lay our Western perspective on the statements made or things done by other cultures. This usually leads to a misunderstanding and fallacious arguments. This is the site if you would like to read it for yourself. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/slavery.html

How is the word slave defined? The word slave is translated from the word Hebrew eved and that means worker or servant.

Leviticus addressed several categories of slavery. The one that pertains to non-Hebrew servants are called aliens. So what is the status of non-Hebrew slaves (servants). (If you go to this website there are a few Biblical reference that you may be unfamiliar with. These books carry different names in the English Bible but the content is unchanged.)

  1. Member of the household and share in the household benefits.
  2. Property of master forever unless the person is redeemed or freedom is bought
  3. Must adhere to Mosaic law
  4. May purchase property of their own
  5. May inherit the master’s estate
  6. Can purchase own self’s freedom
  7. Killing of a slave is punishable in the same way killing a freeman would be punished even if the master kills him.
  8. Master may not rule ruthlessly over slaves
  9. Master shall not mistreat them; shall not wound them 
  10. The workload should never exceed physical strength
  11. A fugitive slave must not be returned to his master
  12. No one can be kidnapped and sold into slavery. That’s a capital offense.

There were consequences to the master who violated these rules.

As you read this list I hope you see that the practice of slavery as we know it and as we observe it in other cultures was not the intent of God. He specifically set forth guidelines that with the exception of being owned for whatever reason, the person was not to be mistreated and is cared for by the master as other family members are treated. One of the Hebrew theologians even said that slavery was not God’s plan because we were created in His image and He would not desire to enslave His ultimate creation. My paraphrase.

As you might expect, there were periods where even the Hebrews wanted to behave like the other nations but that was eventually stopped and slavery became basically extinct in that culture.

So the question is why was slavery even allowed?

God knew Israel would eventually forget that they had been slaves and treated terribly at the hands of the Egyptians. Therefore, He gave them rules that would remind them of that experience. I believe God basically said, “If you are going to participate in this, this is the responsibility you have for caring for this person.”

So I can say emphatically, “No,  God does not condone slavery.”

This is a man made construct born out of the evil hearts of mankind.

 

 

 

 

You Talking About Me?

It is believed Malachi prophesied after the exiled Israelites had returned home and the wall  and the Temple had been rebuilt. Sacrifices had been resumed. They seemed secure but were still under Persian dominance. The people had become disillusioned because some of the prophecies of wealth and independence had not been fulfilled. The prevailing thought was “God did not love them so why serve Him?” The priests who were responsible for the spiritual well-being of the people were now corrupt. They did not teach the people the laws of God. They did not insist that the people obey the laws of God. The sacrifices to God had become less than their best and had become just something to do to say we observed the ritual, but did nothing to reverence God. Why sacrifice if what you are sacrificing is defective or of poor quality?. And they stopped tithing.

As I read about these conditions, I felt Malachi could have been talking directly to us. Many of us are disillusioned and don’t believe God loves us. We don’t see His promises being fulfilled in our lives or so we think. Church is just something to do to check off the box.Oh and what beautiful buildings they are.  Many of us who say we believe don’t really reverence God. We don’t give Him our best. We give Him inferior sacrifices and complain about tithing. We, too, have corrupt priests, preachers, pastors. They don’t teach God’s laws or guide us to righteousness. They teach “getting all you can and give it to me.”

Here is the LORD of Host’s answer through Malachi to Israel and to Us.

I do love you. You are still here. I haven’t destroyed you.

To the priests, et al. I am not pleased with you. You bring me defective offerings and I will not accept them.

Paraphrase: You despised my name among the nations. You profaned the offering.You gave to me less than your best and I won’t accept it.

I am a great King.

My name (my position, authority and character) will be reverenced.

 

 

Involuntary Muscle Moments

Have you ever experienced an involuntary muscle moment? What is that? We have muscles that function continually without us giving them any thought. In fact we take them for granted. We expect our brain, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, and kidneys to function. We freak out when they don’t.

I have been going through my daily activities at an almost primal instinct level.  Just what’s necessary for us to survive. My creative thoughts have been scattered and unclear. My desire to experiment in my lab (kitchen) has been high but my physical will has been almost non-existent. Biblical research became an effort rather than enjoyable. My sofa became home, at least that’s where I wanted to be. So what has changed?

REST. SLEEP. REST and Floridix. a plant based liquid iron supplement.

Fatigue finally took control. Additionally, I had become quite anemic. I went to bed each night but rarely got “restful” sleep. I have spent several afternoons taking naps. I am on my way back to MY normal. My brain is actually having ideas. Yesterday, I went back into the lab. Amazing what a little rest can do. Next I think I will try the other R. Relaxation. Real relaxation. For me, that is resting while I am awake.

I am moving back into Voluntary Muscle Moments. Moments that require thought; inspire thought; creative thought; living thought.

Hooray for Rest and Floridix.

P.S. I know God had me but my condition was caused by a lack of rest. He placed that in my responsibility bucket. So it is my responsibility to take the rest that he told me to.

You Found Me!

I threw myself away

But you Found me.

I did not see the God created value in me

You pushed through the garbage

Because you Saw Me.

I am so very blessed that 39 years ago

You Found ME!

As I looked at my husband sleeping this  morning, I was overwhelmed by the love and joy he has given me for 39 eventful years.

 

 

Matthew 4 – Basics

Sometimes when you think you know a narrative you tend to over look some interesting and enlightening facts. I am trying to look at this text with fresh eyes to see what I am really being told.

Matthew 4:1-11 The Temptation

I never noticed or realized the first two temptations were accusations against the man Y’shua. “If you” was the accusation. The response was thrown back to the authority of God’s word.  The final temptation went straight to the original intent. Satan (Adverary) vs. God. Who will you worship? Y’shua dropped the mic. He said get out of my face It is written you only worship God and Him only shall you serve. Why would the Word of God bow down to God’s Adversary? Please!!

Matthew 4:14 Galilee of the Gentiles

Where is this? I always thought Galilee where the tribes of Jacob settled. We usually forget there were non-Jews there before they came and others moved in later. Looking at Strong’s it says it is a circle of Gentiles or circle of nations, non-Jews. He went to them and declared the authority of God is here. This was the light brought to them. This was the gospel He brought to them.

I also noticed

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee,

and preaching the gospel of the kingdom,teaching in their synagogues,

(the good news of the reign of God Matt 4:23 Youngs’ Literal Translation)

and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

24 And his fame went throughout all Syria:

and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments,

and those which were possessed with devils,      (possessed or controlled by evil spirits, spiritually ill)

and those which were lunatick,                                  ( mentally ill)

and those that had the palsy;                                      (paralytic, physically ill)

and he healed them.

The text goes on to say that large multitudes followed Him from Galilee, Decapolis (ten-city region in Syria), Jerusalem, Judea and beyond Jordan. This is widespread awareness of Him. All of this seems to be in the first year of His ministry.

How did I miss so much?

Homemade Apple Butter

I love homemade apple butter. It brings back warm, loving,memories of hot biscuits on Sunday morning at my grandmother Modear’s  breakfast table. Thinking about it is as comforting as big hugs. Over the years since leaving home, I have not found GOOD apple butter. Some didn’t even have that smooth texture much less the remembered taste. One day I saw a jar in the Polly’s Pies Restaurant. It looked right. I picked it up to give it a try and all the disappointing memories popped up. I decided to try making my own and put it back on the shelf. I searched for a recipe and found it in Fannie Farmer cookbook that I have owned for over 30 years.

I did make a few adjustments. I don’t typically use white sugar but I had about 1/2 cup left from a bag my daughter-in-law bought on her last visit. I supplemented with agave. I also added a red delicious apple to the granny smiths apples. I didn’t simmer until smooth because it took too long. I let it cool about 10 minutes and then put it in the blender. I blended it until smooth, less than a minute.

The results were just as I remembered. Warm, creamy, comforting and safe; all those taste and feelings of Sunday morning breakfast at Modear’s. I made biscuits and it was Hmmmmm good!

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4 lbs tart apples

 ∗I added a real sweet red delicious apple for added sweetness

2 cups cider, cider vinegar or water

∗I used water to cover the apples and 1 c apple cider vinegar

Sugar

 ∗ I used 1/2 c sugar and 1/2 c of agave

Salt

2 tsps cinnamon

1 tsp  ground cloves

1/2 tsp allspice

Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

  ∗ I used the whole lemon except seeds

Cut the apples into pieces without peeling or coring them. Put them in a pot, cover with the cider, vinegar, or water and cook until soft. Put through a sieve or food mill. Measure. Add 1/2 cup sugar for each cup of apple pulp. The whole mixture, add a dash of salt and the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and lemon rind and juice. Cook, covered, over low hear until the sugar dissolves, taste and adjust the seasonings. Uncover and cook quickly, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until thick and smooth when a bit is spooned onto a cold plate. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.