Monday, October 26, 2009

The Cycles of Hebrew Living

One of the first mental transistions that has to be faced for many people in learning to think and live Hebraically is cyclic vs. linear thinking. The Scriptures are written from a Hebraic perspective and reading and trying to understand it from a Greek perspective causes many misunderstandings and failures in our walk before YHVH.

In Greek thinking, we try to learn all about something and then we do it. After we've studied something "long enough" (in our own minds), we often feel that we've somehow become experts in that subject and eventually we try to convince others of our "expertise". Our studies soon become less about gaining knowledge to pursue wisdom, but become more about the defense of "being right". Then we go about trying to share our "rightness" with others in order to broaden our base with the support of other people's opinions. This thinking can be loosely defined as "linear thinking" as it leads to an end of sorts.

In Hebraic thinking, the process is turned upside down in a way. YHVH tells us that first we must learn to "hear AND obey". Our obedience to HIM brings understanding and wisdom. This message is repeated often throughout the Scriptures and yet, to this day people sit and do nothing as they wait for understanding to come through their own mind. Learning to live and walk Hebraically is challenging, but the rewards come through our obedience because the Scriptures also teach us that obedience brings blessing. Hebraic thinking doesn't ever really lead us to any kind of definative "end". The best summary of it that I know of is summed up in this quote: "The more I think I know, the less I know and the more there is to be learned". (paraphrase according to me)

I was led to meditate on this idea of cycles this Shabbat as we're now back at the beginning (well, two weeks in at this time) of a new Torah cycle. We study Torah on a one year cycle that takes us through the Tanach (the first five Books written by Moses) and includes the writings of the Prophets and the Brit Chadeshah (Matthew-Revelation). Some people have completed many, many cycles of Torah while others are just beginning. This should not be a stumbling block for anyone as each new Torah cycle brings fresh revelation and new understandings for each person engaged in this cycle and there is no specific number of cycles that guarantees wisdom for anyone. We're all just "works in progress".

In Greek thinking, repeating the cycles of Torah may seem boring or pointless and people with that mindset soon find themselves considering another way. Those people move on to some other kind of study or leave the Scriptures in search of new ideas. In Hebraic thinking, the beginning of the new cycle is exciting as there are new discoveries ahead of us as YHVH longs to reveal more and more of HIMSELF to HIS people. It's my prayer that my heart and mind will stay in one accord throughout my life and I will always feel this excitement.

During our travels, I found myself thinking back to the days when the first day of school was before me. I remembered the smell of new pencils, notebooks and school bags with longing to experience that once again. I saw children across the country heading back to school. Some were perhaps sad and others were excited about this new beginning. I was one of the excited ones.

Once again, HIS grace is before me as HE has brought us through to another "first day of school" experience with this new Torah cycle. I can't wait to see what will come this time. Blessings!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Full Circle

In four and a half months, after nearly 15,000 miles, we have come full circle on the Encourage the Remnant Tour 2009. This map represents a rough overview of our route that took us from coast to coast starting from Texas and ending in Texas. We began by heading west and then east until we ran out of land and turned back to the west.

This trip was an incredible adventure for both of us and an overwhelming learning experience. Our loose plan and the changes and adaptations that we made as our circumstances dictated kept us on our toes from day to day. The overall expense of this undertaking was mainly affected by the cost of diesel fuel that varied from state to state and from month to month.

To share all that we have learned and to remember all the people that we met and were touched by on this journey will take lots of stories, far more than this blog can hold. To say that our lives have been changed is an understatement that is hardly worth noting. We can only imagine what the consequences of all that we've done will be in HIS Kingdom purposes for sending us on this journey. Some day all things will be made clear. Until then, we will keep our faces turned to HIM.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What's a "sukka"?

In modern terms, a sukka (loosely pronounced: sue-ka) is a temporary dwelling place. The first thing that should come to mind is a tent or lean-to type structure that can easily be set-up or taken down. There are other kinds of dwellings that can also be stretched into that definition such as pop-ups, and other kinds of RV's as the primary function is to be mobile. The word "sukka" comes from the Hebrew language.

We felt a little bit like "cheaters" as our "Nest" is also our main or only dwelling place, but we're thinking after our experience that we just might need a little more practice at this than those that live in "sticks and bricks" (houses) for all the rest of the year. While the Nest is far more comfortable then a tent at first glance, the elements of wind, rain and cold are still factors in our ability to survive. (We're not going to even think about snow at this point!) We ran out of propane twice in the two week period. The propane tanks have a wonderful timing mechanism that makes this happen only in the middle of the night when no one wants to go outside and mess with switching around tanks! We learned a lot about the cold inside the "sukka".

Remember the "cloud by day" and "fire by night" of the Book of Exodus that led the children of Israel through the wilderness for 40 years (Exodus 40:36-38). When the cloud moved, the people moved and when the cloud stayed, the people stayed. The practice of building and living in sukkas during the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot is to prepare YHVH's people for the greater Exodus or in-gathering that is prophesied in the Books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah that will occur at the time of the Great Tribulation (Book of Revelation). We basically learned that we have a lot to learn!

Friday, October 2, 2009

What is "Sukkot" or Feast of Tabernacles?

The Feast of Tabernacles or "Sukkot" (loosely pronounced: sue-coat) is the last of the Fall feasts commanded by YHVH in the Scriptures. This is an 8-day feast that celebrates the end of the harvest season. It is a time of great joy and celebration.

The first feast of the Hebrew year is Passover or Pesach and it reminds us of the time that preceded the Exodus from Egypt by the children of Israel. The Feast of Tabernacles is the last feast of the Hebrew year and it teaches us to prepare for an even greater exodus when YHVH will gather all of HIS people from the nations of the world where they have been scattered for many, many generations. They've been scattered for so long that they've forgotten completely who they are and how they fit into YHVH's plan for HIS Kingdom, but the time has come for us to remember and many people have been led to become a part of HIS feasts.

This year has been an incredible blessing for us as we were able to join with those that gather in Chandler, OK for Sukkot. It has long been my dream to be able to participate in this annual event and when the door opened for us to go, we rejoiced in this special blessing. Our FATHER in Heaven is so good to us and HE's always looking for ways to bless us with HIS presence. We had no idea going into this feast just how blessed we would be by the end. We love HIS surprises!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oklahoma in October???

Destination: Oklahoma
Purpose: Sukkot Celebration 2009
Timing: Hmmmm...............

Now one fact that may have escaped everyone's attention as they've been following our travels around the U.S. is just how much DannyLee and I are NOT good at being "cold". We loved our time in Montana, but found it a challenge in the "warmth" of their "summer". We actually saw some scattered snowflakes while we were visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park and retreated hastily. That leaves one to wonder at the wisdom of heading to Oklahoma in October with it's unpredictable weather patterns.

However, we had a reason, a very good reason to be in Oklahoma in October ---- Sukkot!! or the Feast of Tabernacles. It has long been my dream to be able to attend a Sukkot celebration with Lion and Lamb Ministry headed up by Monte Judah, and our circumstances made this possible for the first time ever. It was an incredible feeling just to drive up to the gate on our first day and be welcomed "home" as family. I was reduced to tears at the sight of the gate and it only got better as we got our "little sukka" set up. This weeklong event portends to be a very special time for us and we're very excited to see what HE has in store for us. PRAISE YHVH!!