ThankfulHeart

A Thankful Heart

In school my children and I have been reading all about the Israelites, their leaving Egypt and their travels through the desert. As we have been reading about the Israelites grumbling and complaining, we have been taken aback by their constant lack of faith and unthankful spirit.

For one of the suggested activities the teacher was supposed to serve popcorn (manna) for breakfast, snack and lunch. Then she was to explain that the Israelites ate manna for forty years every day. Although we didn’t end up doing this activity, it got us thinking. How often do we complain about what we are blessed with? Yahweh provided everything for the Israelites and, even though they might have become tired of the same foods over and over, it was a sin to complain.

It really made me consider how easily we let words of complaint or discontentment come out of our mouths. When the Israelites complained about the lack of water and stated that “their souls loathed this light bread,” Yahweh sent fiery serpents to kill many of  them. We may not have seen all the many miracles that the Israelites experienced, and yet still complained, but how blessed are we really?

We are not wandering in a hot and dry desert, living as nomads with dirt everywhere and not knowing if we are to leave that very day or to stay for weeks living in tents. In comparison our life seems pretty easy and we may still sometimes forget to thank our Father or let words of anything but praise come out of our mouths.

This month of reading our Bible lessons has really encouraged me to be a person who is more grateful and who guards her mouth more. I pray we do so with a joyful and happy heart that thanks our Father for our blessings and that we remember to, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Yahweh’s will for you in Yahshua Messiah,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

by: Jessica Mansager

cleancuisineunleavenedfeasting

Clean Cuisine – Unleavened Feasting

This is a good time to start considering the necessary prepa­rations for the Feast of Unleavened Bread (April 15-21). Readiness begins first with introspection as we search our­selves and humbly seek to rid our lives of the leaven of rebellion and disobedience. Next, we are to rid our homes of all leavening. In other words, it is time for spring cleaning. Women here at our assembly have offered several suggestions: be sure to clean under beds and couch cushions, inside drawers, cabinets, refrigerators, freezers, and even toasters – anywhere that crumbs may be hid­ing. Some have suggested cleaning out the car, as well. Throw out all leavened products, such as baking soda, baking powder, yeast, breads, crackers, cakes, and cookies. A more extensive list of leav­ening agents may be found at the yrm.org website at the Online Resources tab. It’s a good idea to carefully check the labels on the packaged or processed foods found on your shelves.

So, you may rightly ask, what is there available to eat instead? Planning a week’s worth of meals without leavened breads, rolls, cookies and cakes need not be as challenging as it seems. Most of the foods we eat everyday contain no leavening whatsoever. Lean meats, vegetables and fruits with or without rice or pasta can be combined into any number of dishes that are satisfying. Many va­rieties of sauces will add interest and flavor to everything. Soups and stews make hearty one-dish meals. Want crackers in your soup? Triscuits are the only crackers I know that contain no leav­ening and they are tasty with soup or topped with cheese or peanut butter. Craving a sandwich? Roll fillings into lettuce leaves in­stead of bread slices or make your own unleavened flatbread. For dessert, substitute pies for cake this week, or have baked apples, puddings…the list is long. Of course, there are numerous unleav­ened bread, cake and cookie recipes online. Following are two recipes that you may want to try out this year:

CHAPATI FRY BREAD – submitted by Jennifer Folliard

½ cup whole wheat flour

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup hot water

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Mix flours, garlic powder and salt in a large bowl. Add water and oil, stirring well. Turn onto a floured surface and knead about 12 times. Divide dough into 10 equal balls. Roll each ball into a 6-inch circle.

Heat a nonstick skillet over me­dium heat. Brown each chapati for one minute on each side. Serve warm.

CREAM PUFFS – submitted by Sandy Evans

1 cup boiling water

½ cup butter (1 stick)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

3 eggs, unbeaten

vanilla pudding

fudge frosting

Add butter and salt to boiling water and stir over medium heat until mixture boils again. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture leaves the sides of the pot. Remove from heat and let cool for about 20 minutes. Transfer the cooled flour mixture to a bowl deep enough for mixing. With a mixer, beat in one egg at a time, beat­ing thoroughly after each addition. Using a tablespoon, place dollops on an ungreased cookie sheet – you should have about 14 or 15 dollops/cream puffs. Place in center of a preheated 450° for 20 minutes. Without removing the cream puffs, turn the oven down to 350° and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the cream puffs to a wire rack to cool. Cool thoroughly! When cold, cut the top off of each cream puff and fill with vanilla pudding. Frost the tops with a spoonful of fudge frosting. Refrigerate any not eaten right away.

**You can change fillings or topping of your choice. They taste great filled with chicken or tuna salad.

potroast

The Low Carb Journey Of One Pot Roast or ‘Follow the Bouncing Pot Roast’

I don’t know about you but I love leftovers! You go to all the trouble to make a nice meal for your family, get creative and pour out your expectations of a great din­ner into that beautiful piece of meat, so I say, stretch it out and make it pay.

In my family, I tend to be the one happiest to eat leftovers, so after the first leftover day I don’t feel bad if they become mine alone, and I can always make more if they are clamor­ing.

Day One:

Crockpot takes center stage and I place in it a beautiful few pounds of pot roast (that has been coated with seasonings and seared to perfection), potatoes (got ‘em free in the fall), onions (also free), little carrots scraped of their skins (from our garden), and a couple of pieces of celery, cut artisti­cally even though I know that none will notice… (I also sea­soned and browned the veggies first in some olive oil). Add some beef broth and red wine, set the crockpot to high and leave it to its own simmering medita­tions.

Time to eat! Spoon out the meat and veggies and make gravy with the juices. I am low carb so I add nothing to this and don’t eat very many veggies, just the meat and gravy (made with a little corn starch to thicken). If you are not low carb, add some biscuits or rolls – also a salad. Freeze half of the leftover beef.

Is this the ultimate in good eats or what? Let’s find out what happens next.

Day Two:

Leftovers eaten warmed up and delicious as the first day.

Day Three:

Slice thin some of the roast, make a tzatziki sauce. Saute till caramelly; some onions, add the beef. Warm up a low carb tortilla and place the meat and onion mixture in the middle, add some lettuce shreds and just enough tzatziki to make it wonderfully drippy and not socially acceptable. Thaw out the leftover beef from Day 1.

Oh wow, this may not be a REAL gyro but it is close enough!

Day Four:

Saute some zucchini, onions, mushrooms (if you eat them), red peppers and add half of the thawed beef with some gar­lic and ginger….this is now an oriental dish. Serve hot with soy sauce alone, or if you are not low carb, with some rice or noodles. If you like it hot, add some wasabi or cayenne while heating, or pepper flakes.

Day Five:

Leftover Oriental…what could be better?

Day Six:

Hmmm am I tired of this dish? A little, but what to do?

Make a cheese sauce!

Since I didn’t spice mine up too much on the first day, I can make one new life of this seemingly eternal pot roast. Make a low carb cheese sauce (which by the way, is so easy it is ridiculous – heavy whipping cream, heated till bubbly and reduced slightly, add grated cheddar or your favorite cheese, voila!).

Warm some stir fried veggies and meat, add some frozen broccoli. Pour cheese sauce over the top……did I mention that I love cheese sauce?

That made two servings so tomorrow I will eat the last serving myself and congratulate myself on being thrifty.

Day Seven:

I feel loved (by my past self) and fed as I eat the last of the cheese covered leftovers and wonder, what else can I stretch to perfection?

by: Gayle Bonato

strivingtothriving

From Striving to Thriving… Come Up Higher

Today was a mixture of hurry up and wait; one of time spent  productively, of kindness shared, of good deeds accomplished and a necessary reminder to me of the complexities in the struggle between the human desire to move on to newer things, and finding that elusive peace; the comfort of being satisfied with what you already have gathered around you.

It took me back to the times in my past when I always double guessed  myself in every decision. It was either being racked with “buyer’s remorse” or kicking myself for not doing something a better way. My conscience was always questioning “why did I do that?” or “why did I not?” on a daily basis. Fear of doing the wrong thing, of doing too  much or too little, or of NOT doing the right thing, kept me far away from a calm, secure and confident mindset. It kept me feeling like a  windmill, forever twirling helplessly with every breeze.

My lack of understanding in how the Spirit leads us into greater wisdom even affected the way I approached prayer! Should I beg meekly or should I demand angrily? Should I ask constantly or just say it once and then give thanks BEFORE the need was filled? Should I keep pushing to find my own human ways of filling the needs in my life so that He could bless the efforts of my hands? Should I wait patiently without any personal effort, for Him alone to provide; He promised that He knows and supplies our needs, that we should wait on Him! Could He even hear me cry? Was I crying enough? Did He even care?

The cycle of regretting keeps us weak in all areas of life! It’s a constant distraction and greatly inhibits any forward progress physically or spiritually. The habit of uncertainty ensnares us, and, as  with a stick floating in circling water, we will be drawn into the center of its whirlpool. At best the ongoing momentum of indecision keeps us twirling, floundering about and held in captivity there in its center. At worst it sucks us down into the vortex and we drown! A double-minded person is unstable in all his ways!

Breaking the cycle of instability takes mental and physical energy, strong determination, and steadfast stick-to-it-tiveness! When I finally reached the point where I was absolutely sick and tired of living in the shifting quicksand of internal conflict, I got mad, I got tough and I got focused!

How? Prayer is a constant in my life; in praising, requesting guidance and direction, giving continual words of gratitude and hope, and definitely a go-to for comfort and strength in times of pain and distress.

In prayer I pleaded, “What can I do? Please show me a way out of this torment!” One day something just rose up within me and said, “Enough is enough!” I got pen and paper, put myself in a chair and made an outline. I could not remember details; I needed to SEE it in writing!

Topical question: Should I ________?

1) Pros and Cons of this action? Every possible good and bad thing was listed in two columns.

2) How will this possibly affect my life; how might my action impact others? (Pros and cons of that.)

3) Must this be done right now? Why? Advantages and disadvantages to waiting.

4) Have I prepared appropriately for this or is it a shortsighted whim?

I started making lists, sometimes daily, for every decision that I knew I would be in conflict over. I carried the list with me and reviewed it often. I soon found that once I could see the idea mapped out fully on paper I quickly had a much clearer indication of what direction I should take. There were even times I realized the answer before the list was completed! I was learning, becoming aware of an unspoken guidance.

The Final Rule: When the decision was made, the action taken, I stopped allowing myself to go back mentally and revisit and question every step of the process. No more “tape recorded loops” playing repeatedly in my thinking process! All those “what ifs” and the “but maybes” were no longer allowed. No more going back and gnawing over that bone again and again and again! My double-minded ways lacked any positive energy. It was all circular, lots of motion, but never getting anywhere! Every negative thought and action had to be effectively squelched, every time! I repeatedly called upon the Name of Yahweh and the blood of Yahshua. I demanded, “Deceiver, get out of my mind where you DON’T BELONG!”

This ONE Battle for control of my mind has been won! Decide, then stand firmly and be at peace with the choice! But be constantly on guard, or fear can slip back in and sinking downward into the madness comes quickly!

In summary: Prayer does change things. We have not, because we ask not. Answers are always there, we have to find focus so as to be in tune with the still small voice that speaks from within us…if we will only stop, listen and obey!

I’ve learned that when I find myself wrestling with a decision, I already know within what I must do. It takes courage in action to STOP  wrestling, stand still, pray for discernment, make the choice, and go boldly in that direction. As for myself, I find that every time, at the point of decision, a sense of peace immediately flows over me, and in that moment I am always reassured that I’m on the right path that He has designed for me.

Learning to live in FAITH is not going to be easy for any of us, but living in Fear is a self-imposed torment that we can and must overcome! The answer is there; seek and you will find.

Now, whenever I read in the book of James (Jacob) 1:1-8, I see the pattern is given. It was written down long before my prayers existed; however, I didn’t understand the meaning of it until I cried out from the depths of my life of distress, and was shown the “pattern” out of the cycle of repetitive behaviors. Then the Scriptures were opened to my eyes as His witness to me that I HAD been guided by the light of His Word and led by an unseen hand out of the darkness that engulfed me in my uncertainties.

In review of my faith-walk; I know where I was before, where I am  now, and what tremendous effort it has taken to get to this point. I also know where I want my life’s journey to end. As my Great Grandmother  often said, “Walk in the light as it shines on your path!” It’s one step at a time, one foot in front of the other a billion times; work daily to fully submit, especially when we cannot see what lies before us, and allow all things within you to be placed in His Timing and in His Will.

When I wait upon Yahweh, in patient submission, my doors open and my  way is made smooth! I am a living witness to the ease that exists when  we learn to WAIT ON HIM. These words of wisdom must constantly guide all who sincerely desire to rise up higher.

May we all be blessed along our journey with a full measure of His Peace, stacked up, shaken down, and flowing over!

by: Annette Meyer

 

Birdsong of Masada

The clear, haunting notes of a songbird pierce the chilly breeze at the top of Masada.  Perched on a rock ledge, I notice what looks like a cousin of the red-winged blackbird that inhabits the summer cattails surrounding the pond back home. He looks directly at me, cocking his head in that strange, questioning way of one creature attempting to comprehend another.  We lock eyes for only a few seconds, but he and I both understand the unspoken eternity locked in that one moment.

A small group of us have come to Israel to see the land and people that make up so much of the historical background of our faith.  Almost everything we have gazed at or walked upon was ancient long before Columbus set sail for the New World.  The scope of Hebrew history – the ancient port of Jaffa, the sacrificial altars at Tel Dan, the ruins of a second-temple synagogue on the Sea of Galilee, the 1967 Syrian trenches along the Golan Heights border, and the colorful collage of Jews, Muslims, and Christians with their separate and unique, yet interwoven cultures mingling on the streets of Jerusalem – is so alien and, yet, eerily familiar to pilgrims coming to the Holy Land.

Named after Isaac’s youngest son, Jacob, Israel has been the focal point of conflicts throughout history.  The Canaanites, Israelites, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Moslems, Crusaders, Mameluks, Ottoman Turks and British all laid claim to this land at one time.  Strategically situated between Asia, Africa, and the Mediterranean Sea, the numerous conquering armies  left behind a variety of languages and cultures along with the ruins of their civilizations.

Biblical scriptures tell us that this land was given to the twelve tribes of Israel when they left bondage in Egypt with Moses.  Generations later, after the death of King Solomon, the mighty Hebrew empire split into two kingdoms:  the Northern Kingdom, called Israel, and the Southern Kingdom, called Judah.  The Northern Kingdom, comprised of 9 ½ tribes (half of the Levites stayed with the Southern Kingdom), was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC and eventually dispersed throughout the world (known as the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel). The Southern Kingdom, comprised of the remaining tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and the other half of the tribe of Levi, was conquered by the Babylonians in 586 BC and the first Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed.  However, unlike the fate that befell the Northern Kingdom, they were allowed to return to Jerusalem and the land of Israel to build the second Temple seventy years later.  These people are the “Jews” referred to in New Testament scriptures, and are the lineage from whence came the Savior, Yahshua Messiah.

During the first century BC, the Kingdom of Judah, or Judea, lost its independence to the Romans.  The Jews rose up against the oppressive Roman rule in 66 CE.   The conquering Romans brutally responded to the Jewish rebellion, destroying the second Temple, slaughtering or enslaving the inhabitants and laying waste to Jerusalem.   Approximately 960 zealots escaped to a mountain fortress, called Masada, built years earlier by Herod the Great in 37 BC as a place of refuge for himself should conflict threaten his rule.

Masada is not mentioned in biblical scriptures, yet its history tells a dramatic story of a people’s struggle to remain free in the face of formidable odds. When the Romans were destroying Jerusalem, it is believed that some Jews were able to escape through a drainage tunnel leading from the Pool of Siloam at the foot of the Temple to just outside of the Western Wall.  Walking through the dark, narrow passageway must have been terrifying to those fleeing with only oil lamps to guide them.  The refugees that made it to the mountain fortress were able to live in relative security for three years, until the inevitable day came when 15,000 Roman soldiers breached its walls.  What the Romans found, however, was not what they expected.  Only one woman and a few children remained, the others having chosen suicide instead of slaughter or slavery.  Historian Josephus Flavius and archaeological finds provide evidence that the Jews drew lots and chose ten men to slay all of the rest.  After they had performed their grisly mission, the ten chosen executioners again drew lots to kill the remaining nine, the last man taking his own life.

Seventy years following the tragic events at Masada, the Jewish people rebelled again.  They were able to re-establish the Kingdom of Israel for three years before another defeat by the Romans.  The Roman Emperor Hadrian, in his effort to wipe out the identity of Israel-Judah-Judea, renamed the country Syria Palaestina.  The Jews that weren’t killed, enslaved or exiled remained to face persecution, indignities, deprivations and horrors.  Those that were sent into the Jewish Diaspora (dispersion or scattering) were likewise mistreated, the Inquisition and the Holocaust being the most infamous.

The creation of the State of Israel in 1948 is nothing short of a miracle.  Today Masada is a symbol of national pride and courage in Israel as its memory evokes the declaration, “Masada shall not fall again!”  Perhaps this is the message that the bird was singing as he flew off the cliff, soaring freely in the updrafts from the valley below.

by: Debbie Reed

A Poor Woman’s Challenge

Yahshua said, “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living,” Mark 12:43-44.

I can relate to this verse because my financial situation is similar to what this “poor widow’s” probably was and, like her, I still tithe. I want to share my story to encourage believers not to forsake tithing because you think you can’t afford it or think that it’s an option.

I first learned of the Truth in 2010. After much study and research, I found Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry in the latter part of 2011. I made a commitment to this Assembly in early 2012 and was baptized at the Feast of Tabernacles later that year. Once I committed myself to Yahweh, I had to make a huge change in my life, which would include a large loss of income.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make, nor was it a popular one with my family and friends, but if I was going to dedicate my life to Yahweh then it had to be a 100% dedication. I was not going to be a lukewarm believer as Yahshua warned the Laodicea Assembly in Revelation 3:14-21.   

In Matthew 19:16-26 Yahshua tells of a man who came and asked how he could have eternal life. Yahshua told him to obey all the commandments. The man said that he had done that since his youth but still lacked something. Yahshua told him to go and sell all that he had and give it to the poor and he would have treasure in Heaven. Well, the man walked away sorrowful because he had a lot of possessions and probably did not want to part with his riches. In verse 24 Yahshua said “…It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Yahweh.”
For me, this chapter verified that I had to give up my life as it was, in order to have a life in Yahshua.  I’m not saying that everyone should go sell all they own or anything like that. My situation that I was in required that type of change in order to live according to Yahweh’s commands.

In my new life, I now live on quite a considerable amount less per month than what I used to get, less than some people get in a week.  Some months I may make more, depending on whether I get to work an extra job, but my normal income is much less. At first it was quite an adjustment, but as Paul said in Philippians 4:11, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

So I have adapted. And on that income, I do tithe! After all, Yahweh tells us to! Leviticus 27:30 reads: “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is Yahweh’s: it is holy unto Yahweh.” This means that we are to give to Yahweh the first 10% of whatever income we make by giving it to the ministry to support His work. Yahweh also says that if we don’t tithe then we are robbing Him. Malachi 3:8 says, “Will a man rob Elohim? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

I don’t know about you, but I surely don’t want to rob the Creator of the universe! So I give Yahweh His portion no matter how little that leaves me with. After all, Yahshua doesn’t promise us wealth in this life, but if we obey and follow Him then we will be blessed in the Kingdom. That is what I am looking forward to: life eternal in the presence of our Father and Savior.  If I have to sacrifice and live a very poor life on this earth, that’s okay; I can do that.

I’m sure you have figured out that I do not have a luxurious life, by far. Nor is it easy, but I can tell you this: since I made my commitment, I have not been in need of anything.
I have not gone hungry or without clothing and I have a roof over my head.
I have made it to each Feast, with the help of brethren.
Yahweh even replaced my computer with a new one when my old one broke down. When I was living in Pennsylvania, the internet was my only way of joining in for Sabbath services and keeping in touch with the Assembly. When one of my Sisters found out, her family got together and bought me a new laptop. It was hard for me to accept it, but they said that it was a gift from Yahweh to make sure I was able to watch Sabbath services, join in the Bible Study and to stay in touch. Yahweh’s blessings are beyond our understanding when we are faithful to Him. He makes a way when there seems to be none.

There are many other circumstances that Yahweh has gotten me through but my point is:  don’t think that you can’t tithe because you are poor. I am living proof that you can. When you do, Yahweh will make sure your needs are met.  He gives us everything we have so, actually, when we tithe, we are just giving Him back what’s His to begin with. And He’s letting us keep the majority of it.

There really is no excuse for a believer not to tithe, no matter what the situation is or how small your tithe might be. Every dollar counts when it comes to sharing Yahweh’s Word with the world. It’s a large task that YRM is committed to and they are doing a great job. I have never met such a selfless, caring, and dedicated group of people as this ministry has. But they can’t do it without the help of faithful, dedicated believers.

In closing I will say again, we can’t be half-hearted, partly committed or lukewarm in our worship and dedication to Yahweh. We must do our best to obey all of the commandments even when we think it’s impossible. Keep in mind what Yahshua said in Matthew 19:26: “But Yahshua beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with Yahweh all things are possible.”   

May Yahweh Bless You!

by: Dreama Simmons

why?

Why?

Anyone who has ever been around children knows that at about 3-4 years old their curious little minds begin wondering about all things around them and they start asking, “Why?”  It seems as if every sentence or command out of your mouth is in return punctuated with this question out of theirs.  Some are easily answered: “Why do birds have wings?”  Other queries, especially as the child gets older, are not so readily answered and might send the parent scurrying to see what Google says about the matter.  Soon, though children discover how to find the resources to answer their own questions.

If only finding answers to life’s questions was always that simple.  But somewhere along the journey, more complex and troublesome events occur and somehow the response to that little inquiry, “WHY!?”, is not so forthcoming.

There always seems to be some sort of glitch in this path of life that causes us to have to stop and wonder why  this event or that crisis is happening.  If there were some forewarning we could possibly take precautions, but alas, usually these happenings seem to come out of nowhere, blind-sighting us as they drop stumbling blocks in our way.

There are times that events happen in our lives, that we’re not sure why they’re happening at that moment; however, we can surmise the reason later on.  I will never forget an early December trip to Canada one year.  We had planned to travel through Buffalo, NY, and had a map in hand (these were pre-GPS days) to make certain the correct highways were followed.  After a while we began to see road signs indicating cities that we didn’t recognize as being on our route.   Upon closer scrutiny of the map, we discovered that somewhere (we never figured out where) we missed a turn-off and were now headed northward instead of northwest , 75 miles off our designated course.  We were too far along to backtrack so we just planned a different route.  Imagine our amazement, when  that evening we heard on the news that Buffalo, NY, had just experienced one of its worst snowstorms to date!  Sometimes it’s hours, but many times it weeks, months, or even years, until we have that “Aha!” moment.

And then there are those events that we just can’t figure out–a dramatic change in our lives, health issues, or a death.  There just doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason.  In our minds there is nothing obvious or logical to what is occurring.  Paul states in 1 Cor. 13:12,  “….for we now see through a glass darkly.”  As humans we like things bundled up in nice, neat, little logical, controlled packages.  But we may have to come to grips with the fact that we might never know the reason behind it all, as well as the realization that we are not the ones in control.

What we do have to understand is that Yahweh is the One in control and sometimes He allows certain situations for different reasons.  Is what is happening a correction, a sort of, “let’s get back into line” kind of thing?  Possibly.  Are we being tested to see what our reaction will be?  Probably.  Is there a lesson to be learned?  Oh, you can count on it!  For Yahweh, dutiful parent that He is, does not let a teaching moment slip by.

Certainly, we ask our Why’s, our If’s, and our When’s.  We question if there’s something that we could have done or not done in the unchangeable past to have averted our situation.   We wonder when we’ll see “the light at the end of the tunnel,”  and we wonder if there is anything we can do that we haven’t already  tried to ease the position we’re in.  But we know that adversity helps build good character and that patience is a virtue, and so we are consoled  with these edifying thoughts.

Ultimately, though, we need to trust Yahweh whole-heartedly, knowing that He has our best interests at heart.  No, we may not always understand why Yahweh thinks the way He does, and Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Yahweh.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  But He is the Sovereign Ruler and He always knows what is best for us.  Yahweh has His own plans and His own time frame in which to accomplish them.  We just need to be patient (Lk 21:19), working out our own salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), and wait upon Yahweh (Lam. 3:26); and someday we may just find out: Why?

by: Debbie Wirl

hope

Our Hope

Don’t cry for me when

I’m gone;

For my heavenly Father and Savior,

They live on.

They’ve taken my spirit

To keep it safe

Until the time of the resurrection

When they will raise me up that day.

As you think of me,

I’m only asleep,

Just getting some needed rest,

So don’t weep.

I’ll wake up one day;

It won’t be long,

And we will all be together again

When His Kingdom comes.

Our Father and His Son planned this all out,

And if we change our life,

And conform to His, even though we die

As is appointed to man, we shall live.

The plan of salvation

Is so neatly laid out;

Straight and narrow is the way,

There is no doubt.

There will be no sickness,

No sorrow, no hunger or pain,

No drought or desert

For lack of rain.

Peace and plenty will

Be everywhere;

We will live in safety

Without worry or care.

Yes, Yah’s Kingdom is coming

And it won’t be long;

We will all be together

With the Father and Son.

by: Brenda Scott Riddle

simon

Simon’s World

He arrived somewhat portentously during a full moon on Friday the 13th with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck.  The skillful ministrations of the four midwives in attendance made short work of the problem and a beautiful auburn-haired baby boy made his entrance into this life as we know it.  Simon was ecstatically welcomed with armfuls of love and visions of hope for his future.

Over the next several days, I watched and listened as Simon’s mother rocked him, sang songs and softly whispered to him of the discoveries and joys he would experience in his life ahead.  She told him of books he would read, foods he would relish, bicycles he would ride and rivers upon which he would canoe.  Simon’s mother spoke of people he would love, animals he would cherish, sunsets he would behold and laughter that would light up the wonderful world he had entered.

As Simon’s grandmother, I experienced gladness, pride and fulfillment along with the relief that I could enjoy my grandson without the parental dilemma of sleep deprivation. I look forward to the delightful duties of introducing Simon to our farm:  gathering eggs, milking cows, and harvesting honey from the beehives.  I dream of taking long hikes in the forest to identify birds and trees while foraging for edible plants.  I have blissful thoughts of baking Simon his first pumpkin pie and tucking him into bed on overnight visits.  I imagine sitting in the bleachers at his little league games and cheering each and every time he catches or hits a baseball.  So much happiness to come!

And, yet…what will our world be like as Simon grows?  He is off to a good start.  Blessed with good health, Simon has two parents who are educated, financially secure, married to each other and committed to loving, nurturing and protecting their young son.  In addition, Simon has two sets of doting grandparents, two older brothers and several aunts, uncles and cousins to round out his familial fortress.  Many children do not possess such blessings.

But, beyond the security of food, shelter, clothing, and family, what else will Simon need to give peace and purpose to his life?  I see the challenges ahead and know how trying they will be.  He will experience scrapes and bruises to his knees as well as to his heart.  He will face problems and be required to make choices.  He will also make mistakes and endure guilt.  There will be disappointments he will encounter and grief he will suffer.

Will Simon primarily seek entertainment and pleasure or will he find productive and virtuous activity to fill his days?  Will he spend most of his time cloistered and gazing at screens in a virtual world or will he find knowledge and satisfaction in the natural world around him? Will he follow the whims of the ever changing popular culture or hearken to a universal truth? Will he grow to be a man of integrity, compassion and faith?

I want Simon one day to find life’s meaning.  I want his zest for life to remain undiminished as he matures and encounters the emptiness that will eventually come.  I want Simon to know Yahweh.  And, knowing Him, he will heed His call.  And, heeding His call, he will not let the world turn him away.  And, by not turning away, not be lost in the void.

But, these are the musings and fears of a grandmother who forgets at times to trust in Yahweh and His purposes.  In prayer I will give my worries and trepidations to Him while I joyfully watch this precious boy grow.

by: Debbie Reed

fotprep

Feast of Tabernacles Preparation

Each year as the fiery days of summer begin to wane and thoughts enter into our minds of shorter days and cooler weather, a most wonderful event happens.  For eight complete days Yahweh commands us to leave our homes and live in temporary dwellings so that we can observe one of His pilgrim Feasts, the Feast of Tabernacles, along with the Last Great Day.

Symbolizing Yahweh’s millennial Kingdom and the “Great Beyond,” these days are important to Yahweh and therefore should be important to us as well.  While some may think this is an inconvenience and a hardship to disrupt their secular course of life for this short period of time, we who have kept these High Holy and interim days know otherwise:  it is indeed an enjoyable experience and truly a blessing.

Think of this as an opportunity to worship Yahweh, to get to know Him and His ways better, for eight days, without the encumbrance of this world.  It’s an occasion for fellowship, creating a bond of friendship and brotherhood with like-minded believers.  It is these friendships that help to bolster us when the winds of adversity blow our way and we struggle with the trials of this life. It’s a time to gain spiritual and emotional strength and fortitude in order to stay the course, especially through the dark days of winter until the next Feast, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, comes around in the spring.  Most importantly, though, Yahweh commands that we obediently observe these days, and so we should.

It’s still not too late to get prepared for this significant gathering.  At the very top of our priority list should be readying our hearts and minds to meet with Almighty Yahweh, as this is the ultimate reason for our attendance.

Concerning our temporal needs, below is a general list of items that you might find useful to scan through when packing. Of course, you’ll have to personalize your own list to suit your needs.  Since there is a generous mix of worship services and various indoor/outdoor activities throughout the Feast, you will need both dress clothes and casual attire.  Remember that autumn weather can be quite fickle at times, so be prepared for any type of weather and temperatures. Camping equipment and supplies will depend on the type of lodging in which you will be staying.

May you have a spiritually uplifting, joyful Feast of Tabernacles!

  •         Bedding

        – (sleeping bags, blankets, pillows)

  •         Towels / wash cloths
  •         Camp chairs
  •         Fluorescent lights
  •         Heater
  •         Tarps & ropes
  •         Personal care products
  •         Umbrellas
  •         First-aid kit
  •         Dress clothes

        – (ladies, remember your head coverings)

  •         Casual / sporty attire
  •         Rain boots
  •         Jackets
  •         Flashlights
  •         2nd tithe
  •         Bible / notebook
  •         Ice chestby: Debbie Wirl