From Facebook to Blogging

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This past week and through the weekend has been very spiritually and emotionally taxing on me.

I have been stretched spiritually to examine what I believe about the Word and why and then defend it publicly.

I have become aware of the emotional challenge I am up against when coming face to face with the fact that almost everyone I know and love disagree with me. Not just a little bit. Vehemently.

There is no other time in my life I can compare it to because even when I became a believer in Messiah, I didn’t have any backlash. Being a “Christian” is still socially acceptable in most non-liberal circles (and I do use the tag Christian very broadly there.)

I guess being a follower of the entire Word is a different story to people. I get it. We are programmed to think if you are a Christian, you MUST believe this and reject that. It is drilled into us. The problem is, the more I read the Bible, the more I see the stark contrasts between what we are taught and what is actually written.

Up until now, I have posted things on Facebook regarding these discrepancies because Facebook is where I get most of my social interaction and where I keep in touch with basically everyone I know. I have gotten a few different reactions.

  • There have been some people that are offended that I would talk about things other than what I ate for lunch, what zoo animal is giving birth or my outrage at the weather patterns in northeast Ohio. (Note to these people: I am sorry for bringing real life to the time wasting realm of social media.)
  • There have been people who want to prove to me why the literal words and context of Bible are wrong and begin to twist it to fit their preconceived notions. (Note to these people: I understand. It is easier and a lost less scary to keep doing what you’ve always done. Remember though… the path is wide that leads to destruction. I encourage you to look for the narrow way.)
  • There have been people who seem genuinely concerned that I am going off the deep end. (Note to these people: I am certain that many Jewish followers of Messiah had well meaning family and friends who thought they had lost their minds also because they (their loved ones) couldn’t see what the believers saw. I am not succumbing to a movement or a teaching of men. I am searching the Scriptures and letting the Spirit lead me into obedience to them.)
  • There have been many people who have said nothing at all and just read through (and hopefully thought and prayed on what they read). (Note to these people: Two things I have learned on this journey so far: Read your Bible and test everything. You don’t have to engage in conversation to be changed by God. I pray for the “phantoms” on my page quite frequently)

 

Now, I want to make sure (in case you haven’t read my other posts) I am clear in this: I don’t know everything. I don’t think I know everything. I don’t think I am smarter or more enlightened than other people. I am a work in progress. The grace and mercy of God are the only reasons I see what I see and respond in obedience. My prayer is that through documenting this process, I will be able to get others thinking and digging into His Word as well.

I have decided to stop sharing my journey on Facebook and focusing solely on sharing through posts here at the blog for three reasons #1. I can share more here (instead of a tiny screen shot of a verse), #2. These posts will be here and easily accessible (FB posts disappear and are hard to find after awhile) and #3. People seem to think if something is posted on Facebook it is put there as way to start a commotion (that is not, nor has it ever been, my intention.) My posts are not about foolish things like what song to sing or how fancy our church clothes should be or what color the carpet should be. They are about the very Words and commands of God. This is not a vain controversy. This is important stuff that should concern us all.

The discussion is open here as it was on Facebook. As long as no one is hateful or derogatory, they are free to share what they believe and why.

Be sure to follow the blog to be alerted when something new is posted.

 

#FaithGoals

Today is the first in my five post series about being RENEWED in the new year. I will be writing about each in order of importance in my life. (Faith, Marriage, Children, Outreach/Others, Self.) While praying over these areas and the ways I need to change in accordance to each, I realized 3 distinct sections in each area and came up with 2 or 3 attainable goals. Here is what I have settled on for my Faith Goals:

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1. PRAYER

In order for my prayer life to be transformed into the vibrant, passionate, interactive thing that it should be, I first realize that I need to be COMMITTED to prayer (not merely petition for others and myself, but also thanksgiving and adoration). If I am committed then I will be CONSISTENT in praying for the needs of others (not once or twice, but until we see an answer). To really follow this call, I know that playfulness must be CONSTANT in my life (the Spirit is living and active inside me and I will strive to be conscious of His presence every moment)

My first baby step in accomplishing the above goal is to keep a regular, detailed list of my prayers in a small notebook that I will have with me everywhere so I can have specific prayers at my fingertips any time. Another immediate change is to start my daily quiet time with prayer. Typically I wait until after I am done studying because I am itching to get into the Word, but many times the timer goes off and I haven’t prayed.

2. THE WORD

My favorite part of the day is the 30 minutes we all spend individually with YHVH. It never seems long enough. This season finds me constantly yearning for more time to just sit and soak up His teaching. My three sections of focus in this area are: TORAH STUDY (I use many resources in my personal study through each week’s portion, but my main one is Hoshana Rabbah. When our group meets to study on the Sabbath, we use the studies on Restoration of Torah.) SCRIPTURE MEMORIZATION (too often I know what the Word says but I can’t site it for others. I hope to remedy this by focusing a lot more on memorization, starting with my 2 theme verses for the year: Romans 12:2 and Isaiah 43:18-19). BIBLICAL HEBREW (I have been interested in Biblical Hebrew for a couple years now and have dabbled in learning it. Now is the time for me to get serious about learning it so I can have a deeper understanding of the original words used in the Scriptures I am studying. I plan to use free resources from Hebrew4ChristiansAncient Hebrew Research CenterAnimated Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew. obviously not all at the same time 😉 )

3. WORSHIP

When I think about worship, two things come to mind: PRAISE and FELLOWSHIP. Praise because singing and lifting our hands in adoration is a typical picture of worship. Fellowship, because what a beautiful picture of our unity with Yeshua is our communion with other believers! My goal to incorporate worship into my daily life will start with the baby step of playing praise music throughout the day whenever possible (Messianic Radio and Joshua Aaaron are two of my favorites).

As of right now, our family has three regular weekly times of worship through praise and fellowship. Friday evenings, we observe the beginning of the Sabbath as a family (you can read more about that Here and Here). Saturday afternoon we have a group that we study, eat and fellowship; and Sunday mornings we attend a mainstream church. These are three very distinctly different ways to worship the Lord with other believers, but all three are rooted in Yeshua HaMashiach as the reason for our meeting. My goal in this area right now is just to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading on where, why and how we worship in each of these venues, and to be submissive to His prompting of any changes that may need to be made.

Renewed

RENEWED

It’s not enough to have a “word” or a theme for the year. In order for real changes to happen, goals need to be set. Measurable, practical areas of growth and transformation. I have identified five sections of life that can use some rejuvenation.

1.Faith

~My relationship and understanding of YHVH and what I do in response to this knowledge.

2.Marriage

~Being a better wife and growing a closer relationship with my husband.

3.Children

~Parenting, intentionally getting to know my kids better, homeschooling, discipling, etc.

4.Reach

~This will include my friends and neighbors, relationships with extended family and outreach into my community.

5.Self

~Personal health and wellness are important and often take a backseat to caring for others, but it is so  critical to be my best so I have the ability to give to the rest of my list.

 

I will be making small, attainable goals and posting about each individual area over the next week or two. I hope you will join me in making 2017 the year for real RENEWAL.

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Out with the old….

Sitting here reflecting on what I was doing this time last year versus what I am doing now.

Last year was typical: gathering things for our annual family NYE fondue and games party. Pork and sauerkraut in the fridge for New Year’s Day. Getting ready to take down all of the Christmas decorations, lights and tree.

Things are so different this year: No tree or other remnants of Christmas. No pork (all beef hot dogs and turkey kielbasa with the kraut this year!). Preparing NYE food and festivities a day early since the first part of our celebrating falls on Shabbat.

So many changes took place in 2016. In every area of life. Internal and external.

And there will be many more shifts in the year ahead. As YHVH continues to open His Word to us, we will adjust accordingly. We must. Why? Well, as someone I respect very much said to me, “Once He shows you something, you can’t UNsee it.”

His job is to reveal. Mine is to respond.

This response has brought my to my focus for the year 2017 and the verses that I will cling to throughout:

RENEWED

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

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Deeper

As the end of each year approaches, I start to get introspective about life.

What have I accomplished this year? What have I learned?  What have I taught? How have I changed? How have I become more Christ-like?

I also start to pray over the coming year.

What do I hope to achieve? What do I want to strive for? What does God want me to focus on? How can I grow?

Several times I have chosen a theme for the year. A word (and many times, a verse) to sum up a central idea to keep my eye on while pursuing the goals I lay out.

After hearing a sermon that included the idea of “are your relationships a mile wide and an inch deep?”, I knew that the Lord was calling me to some new depths. So, my word for 2016 was DEEPER.

Oh my, did YHVH deliver on that vision.

When I prayed over the year and the focus of depth (deeper relationships, deeper knowledge and understanding, deeper belief) I never imagined the plans He had for me. This year has held some of the most intense changes I have experienced in my adult life. All because He has unveiled my eyes, thawed my heart and renewed my understanding of Him.

It was my intention to blog through this process more so that I had a record of my journey. Life, obstacles and laziness got in the way of that. There are more changes coming in 2017 and hopefully it will afford me the time and focus to do a better job at this.

I have my word for 2017 and I’m praying through it and discerning a verse. I will share it here in the next couple of days. In the meantime, what about you? Do you do anything like this? Special goals, resolutions, etc each year? I would love to hear about it!