Monthly Archives: May 2017

Conversations

I have had a few really great conversations this week on other blogs, and I thought it would be interesting to share them here.

Note, the following blog posts do not necessarily reflect my opinion. A couple of these conversations were interesting because I disagreed with the author. However, in each instance, the author engaged me with respect, and we had intelligent, enlightening interactions with one another.

I believe it’s important to read and consider things that we may not necessarily agree with. How will we know what we really believe about an issue if we’ve only ever heard one side?

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” I Thessalonians 5:21

The Church Got it Wrong, by William Bouker

“The church would have us believe that the Law of Moses somehow became void.”

Interesting reading. The church definitely needs to see this. You will need to read the comments if you want to know where I stand.

The God of Slavery, by KIA

The God of slavery…again? by KIA

This blogger has written a series of posts about the immorality of slavery, what the Bible says about it, and the Christian response. I think it’s a topic we need to seriously consider. I think we need to read our Bibles to see what it really says instead of merely defending what we think it says. In my opinion, the topic of slavery foreshadows Christ. You will see what I mean if you read through the comments. (My comments are on the second link. I included the first link for context.)

Jesus and His Eternal Rest, by PreacherWin

When I first read this post, I agreed with almost every single word, but I misunderstood the author’s perspective. The conversation that ensued was quite interesting, to be sure! My last comment, however, was never approved for posting. I am assuming that the writer just hasn’t been on his blog lately, or that he wanted the last word. It is his blog, after all. Anyway, here is my last comment for you all to read, just in case it never shows up on his page. Note, you may want to read his article first, the comment section next, and finally my last comment, which follows:

Edited: He responded! I just hadn’t waited long enough, lol. So I’m going to delete my comment from this post. If you want to read the conversation, hop on over to his blog!

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Three Days and Three Nights

I read this post and had to share it with you all. I have tried to explain this before: Jesus was crucified and buried on a preparation day for the High Sabbath that always follows Passover, and not on the preparation day for the weekly sabbath. I think it is that misconception alone that accounts for the traditional Friday-Sunday timeline we have today, and the miles of straw-grasping apologetics that have resulted from it.

This post is very clear and easy to understand! Enjoy!

Here’s an excerpt, to give you an idea of what you’ll be reading:

“Did you catch the problem here? John tells us it was still dark when Mary went to the tomb on Sunday morning and found it empty. Jesus was already resurrected well before daybreak. Thus He wasn’t in the tomb any of the daylight portion of Sunday, so none of that can be counted as a day.”

https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/jesus-wasnt-crucified-on-friday-or-resurrected-on-sunday-how-long-was-jesus-in-the

Homemaking: the Difference between Love and Hate

I have discovered the primary factor that determines whether I enjoy housework or detest it on any given day.

And the secret ingredient is…TIME.

When I get up really early in the morning, I have hours to spend before my 9am or 10am piano student arrives. I teach a lot of adults and homeschoolers, so I usually start my day with a lesson (or three).

It’s a quite simple formula really:

early start=good day;

late start=bad day.

In the very beginning of each day, I try to cross as many things as possible off of my to-do list. When I finish my morning routine, I choose from any number of other pleasant things to do: play the piano, write a bit, read and comment on blogs, clean the house.

Yes, I just categorized cleaning the house  under “pleasant things to do.” Generally, I’ll read a homemaking book or a cookbook while I relax during breakfast.

This usually kicks off my day and makes me feel like being productive. After that, I’ll throw open the windows, turn up some music, and just meander around the house. Start a load of laundry, tidy up, find something new to organize, clean a bathroom or two, make the bed. Whatever strikes my fancy.

I certainly don’t do everything every day, and I’ll be honest – there are some things that I never do. For instance, I never remember to wipe down switchplates or dust ceiling fans, lol. But the things that do get done add up to make a homey atmosphere, one that my family and I are happy to inhabit.

Time.

When I have hours stretching out before me, I never feel like I am wasting it. I don’t have to hurry. I can walk into the bedroom to put away the sheets and pillowcases, and stop to make the bed while I’m there without having to worry about forgetting to put away the rest of the laundry. I’ll get to it when I get to it. For the moment, I am relaxed and enjoying myself.

When I have time, I can allow myself to get sidetracked by any number of little details.

Precious time.

It’s something we all want, but we never seem to have enough of it. And yet, how much of our time do we give away to television, Facebook, the interwebs?

How does one go about making time?

Start by going to bed early. Stop eating and drinking several hours before trying to sleep, and when you lay down, relax and know that you can think, worry, plan in the morning. If you pray before you fall asleep, stop if you can. Give the Lord a better part of your day, and give yourself the freedom to fall asleep without feeling the need to get through your wish-list. If you do need to talk to Him right then, treat Him like a real person and not Santa Clause. Tell Him about your day, ask Him for help, get your sins or your problems off your chest, worship, be thankful, but do not engage in list-making. Go to sleep.

Get up early every single day, even if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Sleeping in will only make it harder to go to bed next time. It’s a vicious cycle, and the only way to correct it is to get up early all the time.

Finish by cutting out life-draining, mind-numbing habits and activities. If you watch a movie or jump on Facebook for a few minutes, be intentional. Check your notifications, watch one episode of your favorite series, and then GET BACK TO LIVING YOUR LIFE.

How do TV and movie producers portray a pathetically boring lifestyle? By showing their character chowing down in front of the TV. Ironic isn’t it?

Believers, Do You Read Your Bible?

Bible-reading: How can I express its importance?

How can I put it into the right words?

What argument can I use to encourage you to pick up this life-giving book?

If you don’t believe it’s all that important, why not? What are the reasons that you allow it to take a backseat to the other priorities in your life? Let’s talk about it and see if we can get to the bottom of the issue here.

I have a few more questions for you, intended to provoke you to action.

How can you claim to believe something you’ve never even read?

How do you know what the Bible says about where we came from, how we are supposed to worship, what obedience entails, and where we are going to end up? If you haven’t read the Bible to glean these answers, then you are merely believing what someone told you. You are choosing a person to trust rather than the Word of God itself.

Is there anything within its pages that would surprise you? How do you know?

Is there hidden treasure inside that might be the answer to the persistent questions or problems in your life? What if you’re missing it?

His words are truth. His instructions are life. Please don’t miss out. That book over there, sitting on the shelf collecting dust – it has the power to change you, but first you have to read it.

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Homemaking, as Promised

Yesterday I asked you to stay tuned. Here is the first post about homemaking, as promised. It’s more of an appetizer for the ideas that are coming. 🙂

My Homemaking Journey

When I got married and found myself trying desperately to keep house, I discovered that I knew almost nothing that a married woman would be expected to know. (That was back in the days of feeling good about myself if I actually “cooked” a 3-course meal: Rice-a-Roni, canned corn, and bagged salad.)

I have always loved learning from books, so when I realized how miserably I was failing, the first thing I did was order the book Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. This was my first experience with Amazon.com, and I was thrilled when the $35 book showed up in the mail 2 days later. The price might seem a little steep now, but believe me, the book was worth every penny. Besides, nowadays, you can buy the paperback for a third of the original cost.

I read the hefty tome from cover to cover. Much of Mrs. Mendelson’s advice changed the way I approached housekeeping and stuck with me over the years (such as rinsing dishes in extremely hot water to avoid water-spots).

I am now reading it again, 17 years later, and her advice is just as appropriate today as it was then. Even more so for me in particular, due to my age and the activities I pursue. I find that I am no longer looking for shortcuts, but the right way to do things in order to enjoy the process and be more satisfied with the results.

Lately, I am finding housework pleasant. And it’s not just the pleasing air of living in a straightened and clean home, but it’s the pleasing activity of actually doing the work, and taking pride in a job well done.

I am finding that I am not as obsessive compulsive as I was in my early twenties. I know this because I am primarily rereading the relevant-to-me sections, skipping over things such as dishwasher use and maintenance because I don’t even own one. (I didn’t own one then either, but I still read every word, lol. I guess I was afraid that someone would ask – “Did you read that entire book?” And some silly part of me wanted to respond with a resounding yes. But no one ever asked…)

Even though I am skipping a few paragraphs here and there, I am still enjoying the book immensely. There are just some books in existence that have to be described as a breath of fresh air. Anne of Green Gables and Little Women come to mind immediately. Few non-fiction books have earned this place in my mind, but Home Comforts is certainly one of them. In fact, it might be the only one. At the moment, it’s my favorite book to read with an early morning cup of freshly-brewed coffee, completed by poached egg on toast and a few blackberries.

It’s a great way to kick off my day and get myself into the homemaking mood!

I’m Over-analyzing Myself via Blog Stats

I was looking over my blog stats earlier this week, and I noticed a strange disconnect between the things I blog about and the things I visit other people’s blogs to read about. So I made a couple of lists.

Now I’m no expert on blogging technique, but it seems to me that these two lists should have more crossover than they actually do.  I told myself that a big reason for the difference is that I write about the things I know, whereas I read about the things I want to know.

The second thing I noticed is that there are many things on the first list (things I write about) that I should be reading about too. I should always make an effort to keep learning, even if I feel that I’m already an “expert” on the topic (which I can’t honestly say about anything really).

To be perfectly candid, I fear that part of the reason I don’t read more about homeschooling, for instance, is because I am set in my ways and don’t want to have my opinions, methods, and beliefs challenged. Or maybe I am too lazy to defend them. Uh, oh. My sister will reprimand me if she reads this…

That’s a poor reason not to stay educated. Part of excellence in any area of study is keeping up to date on changes in your field.

And even if your area of expertise is something like math, which doesn’t change on a foundational level, it seems to me that you should still stay current on popular opinion, methods, and such things as math history and theoretical math.

There is always something more to discover.

The third thing I noticed is that there are things I could be writing about that I’m not. For instance, homemaking is one of the tags that I follow in my WordPress reader, but to my knowledge, I’ve never written about it. Which is a darn shame, because I love doing it.

I love creating a home with an inviting atmosphere. I love that my husband compliments me and tells me that he looks forward to coming home after a long day at work. He is excited to find out what’s for dinner or what I’m wearing or any number of small details that add up to make a home.

I enjoy reading about how others keep house, and I’m confused by why I don’t share my ideas and experiences to inspire others. I guess I’m afraid that it will look like I’m bragging on myself, but that’s not how I perceive others’ blogs when I visit them for ideas.

So, if you like housekeeping, or you wish you did, stay tuned. It entails so much more than cleanliness and offers many opportunities for creativity.

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The Miraculous Language

I know next to nothing about the Hebrew language. 501 words, or so my Duolingo app tells me. That’s not very much from a language that has 45,000 words, not including compound words. The Bible alone has over 8,000 Hebrew words in it. Oy vey, I have a long way to go…

I once had a Jewish acquaintance try to dissuade me from studying her language: “It is a lifelong pursuit.” She must have thought I was presumptuous to think I could even begin to understand something that still dazzles the rabbis. And she’s right! It is a bit presumptuous.

As I study, I am discovering that the Hebrew language is mysterious, amazing, and deeper in meaning than I ever imagined. I am persuaded that it would take a thousand years to unravel its mysteries, and even then, I fear I would have barely scratched the surface.

If my efforts are so futile then, why do I insist on pursuing it?

Because it is mysterious, amazing, and deeper in meaning than I ever imagined.

I have always wanted to be able to read the Bible in its original languages. In fact, during 9th grade, I remember memorizing the Greek alphabet symbols, along with their names and sounds. A couple of times, I even wrote phonetically in Greek in my diary so that no one else could read it. But that wasn’t enough.

I wanted so badly to learn more than just the alphabet!  In 10th grade, I went so far as to have my parents purchase a Greek language curriculum and a Greek New Testament. But I didn’t have the drive to complete more than the first few pages. The curriculum collected dust for a few years before I got married and left it behind for my mother to throw away. I hung on to the New Testament for a while, telling myself I’d learn someday, and then finally gave it away to someone who could actually use it.

However, something has changed for me in the last few years. I have discovered that things are not what they seem to be. This thing we call Christianity has at least got the basics right – Jesus Christ, Son of God, crucified to save the world. But that’s about all they’ve managed to keep straight. I’ve discovered that today’s man-made doctrines are every bit as worthless and misleading as they were back when Jesus ridiculed the Pharisees.

Mark 7

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

When it comes to sorting out the truth from the traditions, Christians have a lazy go-to excuse: “If it’s not important to the doctrine of salvation, then it’s not worth my time or effort.” The problem with that reasoning is this: it’s the spirit of truth that draws people. If we are running around promoting a bunch of lies, what is to distinguish Christianity from the man-made religions?

For instance, creationism is not a “salvation” issue. However, I know a man who got saved as soon as he discovered how ridiculous the theory of evolution really was. Anything can be a salvation issue if it’s holding you back from seeking the true Creator.

I digress. My motivation for learning Hebrew is pretty simple and compelling:

  1. I am tired of depending on modern prescriptions for how one should go about interpreting the scriptures.
  2. I am tired of all the lies that are buried under hundreds, even thousands of years of tradition.
  3. I want to see what the believing Jews saw in Christ’s day, to know what they knew, to have the proverbial scales fall from my eyes as they did from Paul’s. Torah plus Christ is a wondrous revelation to behold!
  4. I want to see how it all fits together – the Old Testament and the New – into one harmonious whole, whose sum is greater than its parts.
  5. Most intriguing to me is the miraculous combination of Hebrew letters into their words. I want to learn as much as I can about the language whose words are made up of individual letters whose individual meanings combine to define the word created by them. See the explanation below.

The ancient Hebrew is both phonetic and pictographic. I copied and pasted the following from Jeff A. Benner’s website so you can see what I mean:

The Hebrew word (av) is spelled with two Hebrew letters, (aleph) and the (beyt). In Hebrew, the word “aleph” means “ox” and the original pictograph of this letter is an image of an ox head, which represents the idea of “strength.” The beyt, a Hebrew word meaning “tent” or “home,” is an image of a tent, the home. When the meaning of these two letters are combined we have the “the strength of the tent” and is descriptive of the tent poles which provide strength to the tent. As the beyt can also represent the home, this word also means “the strength of the home,” and is the Hebrew word for “father.”

Begin to look more deeply into this, and you will discover that the Hebrew language is full of words that are constructed like this. It’s beyond amazing; it is miraculous.

Benefits of studying a language I will never have time to master:

As I learn the meanings of a few letters, combinations, and root words, I am finding that I can interpret some of the names and places I come across while reading the scriptures in English. Some of these interpretations lead to a greater understanding of the Creator and His plan.

Take Beer-sheba, a word I have read and heard over and over throughout my lifetime. This time, when I came across it, I had to stop and think. “Beer” means well, as in a water-well, and “sheba” means “seven.” But “sheba” also means “oath.” So Beer-sheba is the Well of Seven or the Well of the Oath. In a miraculous language like Hebrew, where the word is made up of letters whose definitions lend meaning to the constructed word, an indisputable, unbreakable relationship is established between the words “oath” and “seven.” The seventh-day sabbath is God’s first covenant with mankind. It is His oath of rest to us, made on the seventh day of history. Before man ever sinned, God said, “I have already established a way to save you from your sins and a way to allow you to enter into my rest.”

Exodus 31:

16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

These deep meanings and sublime understandings just explode out of nowhere during the course of learning this beautiful language. Some of these epiphanies add to an underlying infrastructure that I am building in my head. I’d like to call it “The Big Picture,” but I can’t quite put any of it into words for you. I just know that it makes me who I am, makes me believe what I believe, and informs my understanding for every verse. Occasionally I find something that conflicts, and then a reassessment of what-I-think-I-know becomes necessary.

On the other hand, I sometimes see something clearly enough that I can articulate it and pass it on. In fact, yesterday I wrote a short blurb about the connection between the Hebrew words for “seven” and “sabbath.”

In conclusion: I won’t ever learn it all, but one could use that excuse to avoid any pursuit. I’ll tell you this much: I am immensely enjoying myself, and I won’t be stopping any time soon.

P.S. If you have always wanted to pick up a second language, Duolingo offers all its languages free of charge. It’s fun, interactive, and addictive. And, no, I’m not getting paid to say so, lol. Just passing its usefulness on to you all. I have been using their Spanish course for years, and I have learned way more from them than I ever did in college. They have both Hebrew and Greek if you would like to gain a deeper understanding of God’s Word.

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