Elul – Day 30

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 2 comments

THE KING IS ON THE THRONE!

The King of Kings has approached his throne and is about to take his seat.  The time of Elul, of preparation, has come to an end. We no longer can run out to the field and walk casually to and fro among the daises and wildflowers with our Father. We must now approach the throne room and be admitted in, bowing and bending as we go. Will we have the scepter raised as it was raised for Esther? Are we ready to don the white garments of a bride?

The ledgers lay on the table close to the throne…it is almost time for the King to open them and compare our past actions and deeds and evaluate where we are on the scales. He will ponder over those ledgers, frowning, grimacing, maybe even a slight smile on his face. But He will inevitably come to that point on the ledger where you know He will look up from the books and stare straight into you eyes. They will cloud over with emotion, with compassion, with love and without a word He will look into your soul. You know it, it is coming. What will you do? What will you say?

Nerves begin to twitch, tears begin to well up in your eyes and you ask yourself a million questions. Why couldn’t I have been a better person, why did I have to snap at my wife, why did I have to cut short the conversation of my 5 year old? Did it really make a difference that I didn’t say I was sorry to someone that hurt me – they’re not talking to me anyway…and on and on and on.

As you slowly lift your eyes, you see the pain in your Father’s face, the pain of knowing that your pain is also real, it is palpable.  Both of you look into each others eyes and you feel, you hear, you sense what the other one is thinking, what each is saying from their hearts. And you hang your head, for you know that there are so many things that seemed so important and you just knew you were right, and now, in the face of Almighty, are not really so important now. There are so many things you would do differently. Maybe you could have a second chance, you ask softly?

And the Master pauses, and sighs deeply, and you are overwhelmed with relief and gratitude – there are 10 more days that He has given to mankind to make it right! Ten More Days!  Ten more days, not to get it ‘perfect‘ … but just to be a much as you can be!!

Think about that  …. ten more days!

Tonight begins the first day of the DAYS OF AWE

THE DAY OF REMEMBERING

When we usher in Yom Teruah, just before sunset tonight, we light candles and we say a blessing:

“Blessed Are You, O G-d, King of the Universe, who sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to light the flame of the day of remembering.”

One of the themes of Yom Teruah is that is a ‘day of remembering’. A day in which the Holy One reviews our ledgers and connects with us in a way not possible throughout the rest of the year. He is a God of order. He sent us here with a job to accomplish – have we done that?

Have we realized our Master’s plan in our lives?

As the sun goes down, the shofar will be blown – it is blown to awaken us from our slumber! We need to be reminded of why we are here, that each of us play an important part in tikkun haloam – the repair of the world to come. It is about restoration.

So as we take a deep breath and exhale into the shofar – petition the King to inscribe you in the Book of Life – not for our sake – for we fail at every turn, but for HIS! For His Glory to be shown here on earth!  We have been given the opportunity to help rebuild the kingdom here on earth and we have ten days in which to do it before the books are closed.

Awaken oh man, oh woman, AWAKEN and begin to repair!

blow

 

Elul – Day 29

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

HOW DO YOU LOVE?

In the world we live in today, there are various ways to love something. For instance – just take a few minutes to listen to a conversation between two people and you’ll hear some say they love their dog, or their iphone or their house or whatever… “LOVE” is expressed or shown in so many different ways – in fact there is a ‘way’ for each person. But there really are all kinds of different definitions for ‘love’. Think about the love between an engaged couple, or a boyfriend and girlfriend … compared to the love between a parent and a child. Different kinds of love – but to call it ‘love’ – there must be something similar – don’t you think?

What about the ‘love’ the Creator expresses for you? How different is that compared to the ‘love’ we experience? If we dig a bit deeper, we can find that Yehovah’s compassion, His love is never ending, it is unconditional. In our world…we don’t find much of that do we? Most of us have never given … nor received … unconditional love. What does that mean? Well, unconditional means that no matter what you will have compassion (love) for that person – no matter what. But how do we walk out that unconditional love? That’s the million dollar question and you will get a variety of answers depending on who you talk to. Most of us are full of ‘words’ but come up short on the action part.

Consider Moses when the Holy One became so angry with the Israelite people that He was ready to wipe them out and start over. Does that sound like unconditional love? Maybe not, but if we look at this from a different perspective we can see a bit more depth in this story. Maybe this was a test for Moses. Maybe. Moses was sick of the people, he was tired of their whining and complaining and when Yahovah turned the tables on him and was willing to give him what he wanted, what did Moses do? Oh my – he hit the ground! He fell to his face and begged the Holy One to not wipe them out – to take him instead! What kind of love is this? Moses was shown to himself that he truly had come to love, deeply love this rag-tag multitude. Yep, you heard that right – Moses was shown who he was – to himself!

The compassion that Moses had in his heart for this rag-tag group of people spared them with the Holy One and in the process showed Moses his own heart. Through this process, this test, Moses realized that his compassion, his love, was more like the Holy One’s then he would ever have imagined!

We are called to be a ‘body of people,’ to be a community and to walk together, yet very few groups have been able to accomplish that to any degree of unity. Maybe it will never happen until Messiah returns, but if we could simply see things with the compassion and love that the Holy One has for us, we would look at others differently as well. If we are called to like our Master, than we are called to set our grievances, our differences, aside and walk together as one body.

It is never to late. For you, for me, for anyone to demonstrate to the Creator of the Universe that we love him with the love that He wants us to share.  We are so close to when the King will sit upon his throne to begin judgment, we have no time to waste in forgiving others and WALKING out that love with compassion, with love.  If we are ever to be forgiven by our Father in heaven, we are told we must forgive, be passionate, and to love each other.  Then He will be compassionate with us.

Are you simply willing to cling to your idea of ‘right and wrong’ no matter what? In the scope of eternity, consider if it’s really worth it.

Ask yourself:  Think about how you have interacted with others – do you separate yourself from others in the body because of real or perceived grievances?  Does this mirror how you love God? Do you withhold your walking out love to prove that you have compassion because secretly you have grievances against someone else? Well, if you have NOT walked out that compassion, have NOT met with your brother, have NOT proven your love, than you do not love. Period.

Exercise for the day: Today is the day to set aside your personal bias against someone else. Today is the day begin to repair that relationship, no matter what. Determine what you can do, no matter the consequences, and reach out and repair the relationship so that the body can be restored to the kingdom!

THIS IS FOR YOU! **Do it today!**

tikkum

Elul – Day 28

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

Elul – Day 28

COMPASSION – WHAT IS IT?

Many talk about having or not having compassionempathy…but when it comes down to the rubber meets the road – what exactly does it mean? How do we show compassion?

In the purest sense of the word, compassion is simply stepping out of your own box, removing the boundaries that you have set for yourself to keep your heart intact. You could actually switch out the word compassion…and use the word love.

When we can look at another and put aside our feelings, our emotions, our hurts and love another … simply because they are a child of the Most High God, that is when the greatest compassion takes place, the highest form of love.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

 

If we think about it, one can not say they love God  and not love their neighbor! If you say you love God and you do not reach out with compassion, with love, then your love of God needs to be examined.  In order to prove your love for God, people need to see the compassion, the love OF God come through you to them. Simply saying you ‘forgive’ someone and not walking that out, is a lie and that lie will be found out the next time you have to be in the same room together. We either take those first two commandments and learn how to live IN them, or we need to simply quit playing the game.

If we can not do the 2nd, then we are not doing the first.

Ask yourself: As we enter towards the day when the King is about ready to open the books, consider the last year and ponder on your actions, thoughts and words. Did you act or speak to your neighbor, to your friend, to the guy down the street with the LOVE OF GOD? Was there a traumatic situation that took place this year that could have been handled more godly? Or did you simply do a knee-jerk reaction and walk away?

Exercise for the day:  Take to heart one specific act or word that you could have handled with more of God’s love. Determine to take steps to retrace those steps and repair that which was broken. Stepping out in faith will free you to step forward.


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Elul – Day 27

Posted by on Sep 17, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

COMPASSION – Do you have it?

Part of the preparatory work of Elul is to examine how compassionate we are in the things we do, say and act upon. This is the month when the Holy One’s compassion freely flows, even though it flows all the time, this is the month of the living waters that flow freely. But to be refreshed, to be renewed, to be overwhelmed with his compassion we must reach up from where we are in this world into the next to bring it into our lives.

The secret of Ani l’dodi, “I am for my beloved” is all about taking initiative. I must first show that >I< am for my beloved, it is I who must take the first step. It is the same with our relationships here on earth – we must take the first step in showing compassion – never waiting for the ‘other’ person. We must take the initiative.

But does that man that you just look the other way and ignore insults, offenses, and crimes? Of course not! Compassion never contradicts the element of justice. There are still consequences for actions and those consequences always follow. So what is compassion then? First, it is simply being sensitive to another person. Why? Because each of us, no matter what we look like on the outside, has a part of the Divine inside of us. We are made in His image. He has compassion on each of us, how can we do any less?

 

Ask yourself:  How difficult is it for you to be compassionate to someone else? Do you see holiness or coarseness in others? Why? Exercise for the day:

– Reach out to someone you know that you are not able to see the Holy One’s aspects within, and be compassionate. See with His eyes.

Elul – Day 26

Posted by on Sep 16, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

Elul – Day 26

Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will climb to heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and let us hear it so that we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. (Deut. 30:11-14)

Are there things in your life that you find too difficult or beyond your reach? Do you think that the Creator of the Universes’ commandments are simply too difficult to obey? Take heart, dear friend, it is not – it is near to you – even in your heart to do the right thing!

Why are many of these messages all about doing the right thing? Because to do the right thing is to please the One whom you say you serve. To do the right thing is the godly thing and will always be obeying the instructions He has given us in the words He had Moses write down.

God is near. When going through the month of Elul it is the overwhelming feeling that wraps us in that blanket is that He is near … He is in the field, waiting for us to come out and join him. It is the feeling that we get from reading the stories in the bible from beginning to end about the faith our ancestors possessed.  Our ancestors, during those days, didn’t rely on cathedrals, or churches, or poignant theologies from every professing scholar – no they simply believed that God was their God – he was there for everyone – everywhere.  They believed that He was right there with them! It was a relationship of the closest kind.

Have we come so for technologically, and intellectually that we have forgotten that it is a FIELD that we are going out to and will engage in the most awesome conversations with our King, our friend, our bridegroom, our parent? It is a field….not a desk, not a computer room, but a field. Think about that and let it sink in.

Ask yourself: Have you walled yourself off into a place where you think you are safe? Behind a computer screen, a text, an email? Consider that you are not operating out of safety, you are operating out of fear. Standing anything but face-to-face is to stand in fear.

Exercise for the day: Be honest with yourself, would you rather text or email when you know that a face to face enounter is what needs to be done? Think of one person today that you could meet – even for a few minutes – to repair or encourage a relationship.

Elul – Day 25

Posted by on Sep 15, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 2 comments

ATTRIBUTES OF COMPASSION

Matthew 5:22-26:

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.

Matthew 7:12

12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.


Time is running short my friend….Yom Teruah – the day of AWAKENING is almost upon us.

Are you ready?

Have you made peace with your brother?

What are you waiting for? Go….time is short!

Half way through Elul

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

Half way through Elul

So how’s it going? Have you been following along each day with us as we go through various thoughts, exercises and plans of action? Have you taken advantage of the uniqueness of this season to bring heaven down to earth? Or are you still sitting on the couch watching the tube? Sigh…….you’re missing out on so much!

This season of repentance, teshuvah, is when it is said that the King is in the field. What does that mean to you? To me, it means that while my King is always available, this is the time when He has come down off His throne and is walking in the field with His children. Think about it – have you ever seen children run and play in a large field, darting in and out of trees and bushes – playing hide and seek? Children ‘lose’ themselves in the joy of being free as they run to and fro unfettered basking in the sunshine as it paints a dappled scene through the fall leaves. This is how I feel when I’m ‘in the field’ soaking in the beauty of the landscape He has painted … and then … the Painter Himself turns and smiles at me holding out his hand encouraging me to come back to Him.

Now is the time to return….return to your heart’s desire… to love and be loved by the One who Created You….the King of Kings! He’s there – go out and meet Him! And it’s not too late to join us – click here: ELUL NEWSLETTER

Elul – Day 24

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

DO YOU PRAY FOR FORGIVENESS?blow

It is during this season, the season where the King is in the field, that we examine our hearts, our lives, our motives, our agendas and return back to the ways of our King, our Messiah.

During this time, the traditional prayers are ones that all ask our Creator, our Father, to forgive us. The three prayers that are customary are called selach lanu, mechal lanu and kapper lanu. The words may seem a bit different, but they all mean the same thing, howbeit with different implications. Not only do they implore us to seek forgiveness from God – we need to seek forgiveness from others as well. Are we up to that task? Well, what do you have to lose?

The prayer Selach Lanu comes from selichah which means pardon. When one asks for a pardon, one is sorry for what they did – they are truly repentant about doing it and are determined to not repeat the offense.   The being asked must always respond positively. To not grant that pardon deems the person cruel and inhuman. We must always take a request such as this at face value and not try to impute ulterior motives to it.

Mecha Lanu springs from mechilah which means wiping away.  This is a bit more difficult to do because we basically are asking the one we have injured to wipe away the offense or the injury as if it never occurred. Not only that, we are asking them to heal and restore the relationship to what it is was before it happened! Now that is a bit too much one would say – ‘as if it never happened’? Seriously?  Have you ever been hurt or offended so deeply, so badly that if that person would just approach you and say ‘I’m sorry, forgive me and let’s be healed and restored’ … could you do it? Well, you may think you can’t – or won’t – but you must.  It is difficult to be sure, but the Holy One has given us the power to even forgive at this level. After all, has He not forgiven you to that level?

praisingAnd lastly we have Kapper lanu which comes from kapparah and it means atonement. This is a very deep level of forgiveness and it is one that each of us have experienced at one time or another. When we simply can’t live with ourselves because of that broken relationship, because our conscience is so bothered that we constantly think about how to ‘fix’ things, when we dream and daydream about what went wrong, we simply must go to the other person and ask forgiveness so that the guilt and hurt is replaced with the former warmth and love once had in that relationship. This too, may be too difficult to respond positively to – but if it is, turn your heart to your heavenly Father and allow Him to soften your heart, to see with His eyes.

Again, don’t let this time go by without dealing with the distance that is between you and your broken relationships….the longer you ignore it, the more you sweep it under the rug, the deeper the chasm you will have to go over.

Ask yourself:  Do you have any broken relationships that need to be restored? Is there a distance between you and a friend that used to be closer than a brother? Maybe there is a family member that you need to reach out to.

Exercise for the day: In your journal make two columns. In one column write down the names of those in your broken relationships (no matter whose fault).  In the other column – write down what you think would bring restoration. (Here’s a hint for each answer in the 2nd column.  It’s all the same answer……

Elul – Day 23

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

WHOSE SHOULDERS DO YOU STAND ON?

This is the final week of the month of Elul, the Hebrew month before the Fall Feast Days of the LORD begin… Can you feel the change of the weather? Can you sense the excitement in the air? I know I can!

prodigal-sonDuring this final week it is customary to begin reading the Selichot prayers. These are penitential prayers and poems that lead us further into examining our hearts and seeking forgiveness from those we have wronged, and seeking reconciliation from those who have wronged us. Whether reconciliation and forgiveness follows our attempts is not the only goal in sight.  It would be ideal and a perfect world if reconciliation and forgiveness always went hand in hand. However, that is not always a given. But it mandated by the scriptures for EACH OF US to go out of our way, get out of our comfort box and extend the olive branch to our brother/sister.  Then, we can rest assured that the Holy One Himself will deliver it into the hands that He knows will also be reaching forward. We are simply to take that first step. The ball is always in our own court!

What gives us the strength to do this? Why do we think we can do something that seems so difficult and so far out of our comfort zone?  It comes from the shoulders that we stand upon. Does that surprise you? Think about it for a few minutes. Whether you agree with your parents, your grandparents, or your great grandparents – or whether you even know them – it is because of their efforts that we are here today, able. It is because we stand on the shoulders of the generations that went before us, that we can see just a little bit further.

Those good deeds, those mitzvot, live on forever and become a part of us – you might even say it is our inheritance.  All of what has gone before us – the good, the bad and the ugly – is part of our upbringing. Some may call it generational curses … I don’t. To me, it is simply the journey of life that has gone on before me and that I am intimately connected with. The good, the bad and the ugly. It is my job, no – my obligation – to examine each one of those characteristics or traits that are attached and walk with me and determine which ones will continue to live with me.  It is up to me to choose whether to change, to modify, to eliminate some of those traits – or I can simply choose to blame someone else and go on my merry way.

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Most of us do not know our distant ancestors, nor have we been told their accomplishments or failures, but one thing for sure, one accomplishment that is totally obvious, is that YOU are living proof of that accomplishment. YOU ARE HERE and you can make a difference in the succeeding generations!

The Creator of you and I and all that there is – only asks us to do that which we are capable of. He asks us to do whatever we can that is in our power to do. Each of us have a part in this journey called life…it is called restoration of the body. By doing our small part in helping to heal and restore we bring the world a little bit closer to redemption. Don’t let this season fly past without you doing your part!

Ask yourself: Do you believe that you can extend an olive branch to someone you have wronged….or to someone that you feel has wronged you? Draw upon the strength of your ancestors – the ones who crossed oceans and took a leap of faith in the unknown.  That lives on within you.

Exercise for the day:   Determine to reach out to someone whom your heart is heavy for and needs to be repaired. Mediate on the good in that person and change your perspective so that you can view them as the Father in Heaven views each of you….as His children. Now, don’t let that moment escape – reach out!

Elul – Day 22

Posted by on Sep 13, 2017 in All Posts, Elul | 0 comments

HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER

Sometimes we have a lot of trouble believing that – especially when one is going through a lot of trials and tribulations that never seem to end. Our faith weakens and falters. But let’s take a look at a few bible characters and see if we can increase that weakened faith.

Take a look at the greatest prophet of what we call the “Old Testament” – Moshe – or Moses in English. His greatest test of faith came when he descended Mt. Sinai and was greeted full force with blatant idolatry by the ones he had just led out of Egypt. The sin of the Golden Calf was enough to make anyone drop to their knees in defeat.

Moses met this catastrophe two ways. First…he showed his ‘humanness’ and got furious! He threw down the tablets written by the finger of God no less.  His passion was ignited and he was simply one ticked off individual. How could this rag tag group of people that had just escaped the throes of the entire Egyptian army, walked across dry land between towering watery cliffs and seen success at every turn simply revert to their own pagan ways? His anger was righteous, that’s for sure.

mercy-graceHowever, after that emotional wave of self-righteous anger – he composed himself and returned to his inner strength, his essence. He drew upon the faith that was stored within himself and his faith gave birth to hope in the Holy One’s mercy. The mercy that endures forever, the mercy that is limitless, that is always there for the repentant.

His faith in God’s mercy gave him the fortitude that was needed to continue to fight for the entire multitude that trekked across the desert with him.  Having faith in His Mercy gave Moses the courage to come before the Holy One and cry out for mercy for these souls.  He trusted in that attribute of Yahweh that he had come to know so well.

However, as merciful as He is, sometimes the answer to our prayers is simply ‘no’.  And if that is the case then the only options are to give up and go home, or continue to go forward. Going forward seems illogical at best and ludicrous at its worst. But this is also a test – a test of real faith. Real faith propels you beyond logic and beyond reason. This is the ‘step of faith’ one takes when the path disappears. I always liken it to the invisible bridge in the Indiana Jones movie where he clutches the book and takes a leap of faith and then the bridge appears! It is the same with us – when we take that first step – he will show us the way!

Ask yourself: How strong is your faith when you are in a test, or being challenged by someone? Do you whimper and scurry back to your safe place, or do you step outside the box?

Exercise for the day: Examine a test or challenge you have recently had to walk through. Look intently at the things your did or said during this situation and measure whether it was of strength or whether you dealt in weakness. Determine one thing that you could have done or said that would have been done/said in a matter of strong faith – determine to make it a character trait.

leapoffaith