Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Building a Sukka?

"How lovely are your uh, dwelling places....."
As part of our Sukkot celebration, we're instructed to build a "sukka" otherwise known as a "temporary dwelling".  Since we already live in what is considered by many to be "a temporary dwelling" or AKA, an RV, a tent seems like a step in the direction of being somewhat more of a temporary dwelling.  We already have a small tent suitable for backpacking/hiking that is quick and easy to set up.  

However, in light of considering the "Greater Exodus" and the time of the Great Tribulation which is prophesied to last for 3 1/2 years, living in a small tent doesn't seem like truly being prepared.  With that in mind, we set our thoughts to purchasing a larger, more substantial tent that might stand up to 3 1/2 years of life in the "wilderness of man".  That task alone took several months and a lot of money to accomplish.

After exploring a multitude of websites devoted to camping, outdoor living and the "wilderness experience", I turned in my frustration back to the basics of army tents.  Soldiers represent the true experts at spending long periods of time living in tents and no amount of camping can ever really replicate the challenges of actually living in a tent for an extended period of time.  Combining that thought with the very real dangers of trying to survive during an Alaskan winter, led us to purchase a very large (or so it seemed) Arctic 10-man tent.

While our intent was not really in the direction of trying to shelter 10 men, but more in the direction of providing for some actual "living space", this tent seemed to fit the task.  The tent, liner and pole combine in weight to something close to about 90 pounds.  Combine the weight with the very real frustration of trying to put up the tent properly and we found ourselves with a Herculean task divided between two physically challenged adults that are not well-attuned to working together.  

Needless to say there were plenty of "AFHV"*-worthy moments and the end results (as the picture clearly shows) were far from "livable".  My favorite moment was DannyLee's attempt to crawl under the canvas to put the pole in place and raise the 90+ pounds of tent.  As the weight of the canvas and the darkness overwhelmed him, his struggles drove me to an insane combination of laughter and tears as I tried to figure out how to free him from the mess.  (He still doesn't think that this was at all funny so I write about it here with a bit of trepidation.)  After three hours of wrestling canvas, ropes, stakes and each other, as the temperatures started to drop below bearable, we finally gave up and collapsed our "sukka" back into it's "jacket" and retreated to our much more comfortable RV.  

We know that the day may come sooner, rather than later when we are once again faced with trying to put our shelter back up in much less than optimal conditions.  Our prayer is that on that day, we are surrounded by a small company of "experts" that are willing to pitch in and help us to pitch it.  Until then, we just might have to fall back on our simple little Kelty if the need for a more temporary dwelling arises.  At least, I'm confident that I do know how to put that one up all by myself!

* "America's Funniest Home Videos"

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's "Torah-Time" Again!

"And He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A storm is coming,’ and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There shall be hot weather,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know to discern the face of the heaven and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?" Luke 12:54-56

Yeshua's words here speak volumes about discerning the times we are in and how we have all the knowledge that we need to be able to know what is and even to a point, what is coming our way.  In our current day, we find that many people are concerned about these matters of the end-times.  We are no different and yet, even as we look ahead at what's coming, we must find a way to live out our daily lives.  While HIS words admonish us to be ready for HIS return, this must be balanced with a life devoted to working out our purposes for every day.  

One key element of understanding the Scriptures is to grasp the role of "cycles" illustrated again and again throughout them.  YHVH Elohim's people have been tied throughout history to the cycles of life and death, destruction and restoration and many other cycles too numerous to list.  One of the simplest cycles is found in the courses of time.  We can begin with the 24 hours of day.  This expands to the cycles of weeks, months, seasons and years until we reach the measures of generations, ages and even eons.  

I chose this picture to illustrate this post because for me it illustrates two of the more predominant cycles in my life.  Because we chose to live according to the lunar calendar, the full moon clearly represents for us the day of Shabbat.  We need no paper calendars or internet presence to clearly discern which day of the week it is; we only need to look up.  Any child is able to learn and walk according to the simple course of the waxing and waning moon.  

The next cycle that has been very important in my Alaskan sojourn is the cycle of the seasons.  Woe to those that ignore the short season of summer here and forgo the preparations needed to survive a long, harsh winter.  Snow upon the surrounding mountains is a clear sign that winter is hastening to tighten it's grip on all of us.  

However, that snow is also a sign of something else - something wonderful!  It is a sign for us that it is a time for a new beginning.  What is it that begins here with the start of the fall and the fast approach of winter?  


In light of that, it's "Torah-Time" again and DannyLee and I have once again picked up the gauntlet of trying to continue with our Torah commentary.  Although we have not been able to write our thoughts and post them on this blog every week the way that we originally intended, our study of Torah has never faltered.  Our love of Torah and our Torah study has continued to be the foundation of our faith in Messiah Yeshua and our YHVH Elohim.  

As we enter into what could very well be our last Torah cycle that brings us to the days of the Great Tribulation, we find our studies of Torah to be even more significant than ever.  We believe that through our studies, and spiritual growth, we are gaining the necessary "oil" for our "lamps" that will serve to guide us through the ever-deepening darkness that threatens daily to overwhelm us.  We find ourselves clinging ever more desperately to HIS words - "I will NEVER leave nor forsake you" as we face the challenges of our present day.  For as a friend just recently reminded me in the words of Yeshua:

“It is necessary for Me to work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day – night is coming, when no one is able to work." John 9:4  

We believe that we've come full circle in an even greater cycle.  The words "as in the days of Noach" come to mind again and again.  Woe to those that don't know or care what lies ahead.  Not preparing for winter can be deadly to your flesh.  Not preparing for the return of our Messiah and King will be far more deadly - maybe even to the destruction of your soul.  Are you living among the "wise" or the "foolish virgins"?  Only you can know the answer to that question.  Our prayers are that each and every person will seek out THE TRUTH before the darkness overwhelms us all.  

"יהושע said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."   
John 14:6