Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Gift in the Mail

Yesterday I received a gift in the mail, a treasure, really. I received God's word in my mailbox, free of charge.  Of course a donation was requested, but even if I choose not to make a donation, the book of Joshua is mine to keep, at no cost!  Do you ever have a seemingly simple, mundane even impact you in a profound way? When I was holding my treasure in my hands, leafing through the pages, thoughts and snippets came into my mind of books I've read. Books about missionaries risking it all to smuggle God's word into closed countries. People who have risked their lives to even meet together to worship God. And here, in America, where we do see our freedoms slipping away a little at a time, we must still thank God that we have the freedom to worship, to read his word. And take into account that there are brothers and sisters in other countries, today, who would give anything to live in a country where God's word unexpectedly shows up in mailboxes, for FREE.
Don't forget our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. Pray for them. Don't take anything for granted, for we too may soon face persecution. Yeshua warned us in John 15:20, "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too...."

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Little of This, and a Little of That

   I hope you all had a blessed weekend with family and friends. We hosted two Passover Seders, one on Friday with a group from our synagogue, and one on Sunday with two families that we meet with bi-weekly for food and fellowship.  Saturday night was a nice quiet family dinner.  Miss Joy got sick Friday night (allergies/asthma acting up), so I'm sure it was an extra tiring time for her. Now it is back to school and work!  I'm sure by the end of the week we will be ready to eat some leaven!  This week will be a learning experience in creativity with Matzohs!
    The two things I wanted to write about today is ancestry and head-covering. A cool thing that happened after we began attending the synagogue is that due to one of the boys having a homework assignment in history, we began looking into our family trees.  We were excited to discover some Jewish roots, and perhaps that is why we were so drawn to Judaism.  Tom discovered that his Jewish ancestry is on his mother's father's side. And it's the same for me. My maternal grandfather's grandmother's last name was Hevel, which is the Hebrew name for Abel (as in Cain & Abel).  I wish I could figure out their history, but it has been slow going for me. Slowly it is coming together and every now and then I have a new breakthrough, but I may have to settle for not ever knowing much about our ancestry.  Tom's mother seems to recall someone telling her as a little girl that her family was Jewish and Tom's great-uncle remembers the family having many Jewish friends who spent a lot of time in their home, sharing meals with the family.
   The other subject on my mind is head covering.  As a teenager, I remember reading in Corinthians about women covering their heads.  I, personally, felt convicted that I should do this.   I have since read many commentaries and debates on both sides of the issue.  I have come to the conclusion that it is one of those things that each person must decide before God if that is what he/she feels God wants them to do.  I am including "he's" in there because Jewish tradition is that men wear a kippah (skullcap/yarmulke) as a sign of reverence and respect for God--much the same as women would wear a covering to show respect and headship to God and her husband.  After years of feeling convicted about this, I finally decided a year ago to take the plunge.  Before ever going to the synagogue, I decided that I liked the Jewish style of wearing headscarves the best because they are so colorful, beautiful, and there are so many creative ways to wear them.  As an aside, I am usually the only woman in our synagogue wearing a headscarf.  Many women will wear a covering if they are participating in the service, or during the praise and worship time.  And that is totally okay...each person must do what they feel in their heart is pleasing to God.  There are definitely times I wrestle with this and wish God would not be asking me to do this, but those times are few.  Overall I love covering my hair, and know that I am honoring God and my husband by doing this.  Also, I love not spending time and money on my hair.  I usually wear it in a braid down the back with a knitted cap, or in a bun with a headscarf tied on.  Super easy, quick, and cute!
Here's a new style I tried this week.  Tom loved it.  I wore two scarves and braided the ends together before wrapping them around my bun.

Smile for the camera!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on anything I post about.  It is great to have discussions about things and we can learn so much from each other.  I have received the most encouragement in my journey to head covering from my Mennonite sisters (and dear friends) in the Lord.  There are many grey areas in life where God has given us the intellect and ability to decide (before Him) what honors Him and, in this case, our husbands.  Some things that we think may be a burden actually free us when we give it to God (and I am obviously not just talking about head coverings here).  We serve a great God!  As I get older I am learning to just joyfully submit to Him when He asks me to do something.  I have learned by now that He knows what He's doing, He is righteous, and when it's not a sin issue, but just an obedience thing, all we stand to lose by not submitting is a HUGE blessing.  
May God bless you all this week!
P.S. I just thought of something I really should address in this post.  My Mennonite friends asked me what the Messianic Jewish standpoint on the Corinthians passage was because it says men should not cover their heads.  This led me to look up the Greek word in the passage and it is talking about a veil (specifically something that women wore).  It does not seem to be speaking about a turban, or skullcap, or any type of men's traditional head covering in this passage.  The word literally means veil, which was something only worn by women.  The best commentary on scripture is scripture and we know in scripture that God addresses...for lack of a better term...cross-dressing.  
Deuteronomy 22:5
"A woman is not to wear men’s clothing, and a man is not to put on women’s clothing, for whoever does these things is detestable to Adonai your God."
This would be consistent with the passage in Corinthians.  I looked into a NT Messianic Jewish commentary to see the author's thoughts and it is consistent with what I found.  The Complete Jewish Bible, I feel, best conveys the meaning of the original Greek and I will post it below:
1 Corinthians 11:3-7
"3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is the Messiah, and the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of the Messiah is God. Every man who prays or prophesies wearing something down over his head brings shame to his head, but every woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame to her head — there is no difference between her and a woman who has had her head shaved. For if a woman is not veiled, let her also have her hair cut short; but if it is shameful for a woman to wear her hair cut short or to have her head shaved, then let her be veiled. For a man indeed should not have his head veiled, because he is the image and glory of God, and the woman is the glory of man."
I know this is a touchy, controversial, and often confusing subject, but I was just hoping to clear up any confusion of those who think the Jewish custom of wearing a kippah is going against scripture.  I, personally, do not believe it is.  But these are just my thoughts and opinions...everyone needs to do their own studying on the matter. :)