Monday, 9 January 2017

Cover your brother's nakedness



And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard.  Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.
 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.  But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. - Bereishit / Genesis 9:20-23


There are many believers that act like Ham, meaning they see a flaw in another and they’re so stricken with that, that they feel the need to share it with everybody else, devaluing and shrinking that person in the eyes of the others.
Noah was someone that Adonai has chosen and his sons knew that, they have seen Adonai working through Noah. But that didn’t make Noah super-human, he was still a simple man with fleshly flaws. And Ham sees his flaws and he despises his father as if that flaw is all what Noah is. He goes so far as to share the information with his brothers. And he got cursed because of the way he chose to view his father.
Adonai doesn’t use perfect people, because there is none that is perfect. Following that logic, you can’t just overlook all the good things that Adonai has invested in someone just because you have a keen eye for their shortcomings and failures. Adonai doesn’t do that with you so you have no right to do it with your brothers either, regardless how condemnable their imperfections might seem. 

For those that love to think in absolutes, please understand that I am not referring to sin, so don’t bother to bring up all the scriptures that speak about how one is to rebuke a brother. Thanks.

To me, people that come up to tell me ‘did you hear what that Pastor/leader said? Have you heard what that Rabi did?’ are just as cursed as Ham.
When Ham told his brothers about their father’s nakedness, Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father.
When a ‘concerned’ brother comes to tell you about another brother’s nakedness in order to expose his flaws, try to not look at them and try to cover him so others don’t see his shame. You already know that man is not perfect, it’s not necessary for you to contemplate his imperfection. Focus to see Yeshua in him and that will help you to stop despising whatever it is that has left him naked in the eyes of others. And his King and yours will see your heart and bless you even more than Noah blessed Shem and Japheth. 
Just saying...
 

Bat Melech בת מלך
 Cristina כריסטינה



Friday, 6 January 2017

Love is struggle

Jonathan Safran Foer is one of my favorite authors. I love his writing and the way he views life and love and everything in between. I would not recommend him to Christians because ... well...he's too Jewish (LOL) and tends to be either too blunt or unedited in his views, but like I said I like him.

In his book 'Here I am' I found a passage that I will share here simply because it's brilliant:

"Max’s portion was Vayishlach, in which Jacob—the last of the patriarchs—is assaulted by an unknown assailant in the middle of the night. Jacob wrestles him down and refuses to let go, demanding a blessing of him. The assailant—an angel, or God himself—asks, “What is your name?” As Jacob holds on to the man with all his strength, he answers, “Jacob.” (Jacob means “heel-grabber”—he grabbed the heel of his older brother, Esau, as he was being born, wanting to be the first out.) Then the angel says, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel—which means ‘wrestles God.’”
(......) “Jacob wrestled with God for the blessing. He wrestled with Esau for the blessing. He wrestled with Isaac for the blessing, with Laban for the blessing, and in each case he eventually prevailed. He wrestled because he recognized that the blessings were worth the struggle. He knew that you only get to keep what you refuse to let go of.
“Israel, the historical Jewish homeland, literally means ‘wrestles God.’ Not ‘praises God,’ or
‘reveres God,’ or ‘loves God,’ not even ‘obeys God.’ In fact, it is the opposite of ‘obeys God.’ Wrestling is not only our condition, it is our identity, our name.”
(....)
“But what is wrestling?”
(....)
“There is Greco-Roman wrestling, WWF wrestling, arm wrestling, sumo wrestling, lucha libre
wrestling, wrestling with ideas, wrestling with faith … They all have one thing in common: closeness.”
(....)
“You only get to keep what you refuse to let go of,”(....)
(.....)
“Closeness,” he said, surveying the congregation. “It’s easy to be close, but almost impossible to stay close. Think about friends. Think about hobbies. Even ideas. They’re close to us—sometimes so close we think they are part of us—and then, at some point, they aren’t close anymore. They go away.
Only one thing can keep something close over time: holding it there. Grappling with it. Wrestling it to the ground, as Jacob did with the angel, and refusing to let go. What we don’t wrestle we let go of. Love isn’t the absence of struggle. Love is struggle.”
- Here I am, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Tzal Shadai (Shadow of The Almighty)



He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Tehillim / Psalms 91

Back in Romania, I have a quote on one of the walls and it says in big glitter letters, ‘You were not born to fit in, you were born to stand out.’ I don’t know who said that but I love it, mainly because I have always felt like I stand out like a sore thumb and one day I have decided to embrace my weirdness and have taken those words to heart, glitter letters and all. That wasn’t the only quote I have embraced. I had things like ‘why be normal when you can be extraordinary?’ down to a mantra. Positivity and motivation does wonders for the brain doesn’t it? 

You can’t ever have too much positivity, can you? I use to think so, but then I met people. The kind that don’t know much about the Bible but they do know by heart all the verses that proclaim them conquerors and God forbid that you should feel down in their presence because they will teach you the ‘right path’ in 2 minutes. I use to envy those people… in a way I still do but mostly I am afraid to even dare to think of being anything but positive when I’m around them … You just don’t mess with their faith and their theology. God wants good things for you so you better do whatever you need to do in your mind to get it right!

It’s really easy when everything in one’s mind is either black or white and every possible conclusion that they reach is an absolute. The problem comes when they encounter a paradox, a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth. There are many such paradoxes in HaShem and His reality. He’s both Lion and Lamb, fire and water, Judge and Savior, etc. 

One of my favorite such paradoxes is the fact that He promises unmeasurable things to one who will abide in His shadow. One may assume we all are by default in His shadow, but no. Some are in the light, very much so in fact. It doesn’t say that those that are in the light are not blessed, but there is a special blessing and a special promise for those that abide in His shadow. The entire Psalm 91 is a blessing for those who abide in His shadow. And I am not talking about shy people, or introverts, or those working behind the scene for a conference, or are part of the staff for who knows what evangelist. I will explain in a minute what I mean by shadow, but before that, I’ll focus on the word abide.
 Now, English is not my first language and I thought abide meant something like dwell or lodge, so I double checked just to make sure (I’m not a nerd), and it turns out it means to withstand, endure without yielding, bare patiently, to accept without objection, to remain stable or fixed in a state.  His shadow is not pleasant. His shadow is not a place of praise and worship and deep study in a hidden place. His shadow is endured not enjoyed. 

You see, due to sin, our reality has been distorted so not everything that appears Light is Light, and not everything that appears dark is in fact dark. Sometimes hasatan (the enemy) appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and sometimes Adonai, blessed be His Name forever, appears like the enemy. Sometimes the least painful road is not the best and the least bitter medicine is not the cure. 

Often the word ‘tzal’ (shadow) appears in the Scriptures as a symbol of death, like in Psalm 23 when it talks about tzal mavet (shadow of death). The human mind cannot understand how is it even possible for The Father of lights in whom there is no shadow (James 1:17), no darkness, to not only cast a shadow but for one to abide in it. 

Regardless what some might think, faith is tested. And I know that those that enjoy Adonai’s light, feel blessed when they look at other believers struggling with doubts in shadows. They assume those who are in shadows are in sin… for surely they did something wrong that attracted whatever calamity they are facing. If you’re one of those fortunate to be in the light, be grateful because it’s just His grace shining His light upon you. And on behalf of all those that have ever been in His shadow, do us all a favor and SHUT UP. You're about as useful as Yov's friends.

To preserve one’s faith in oneself, in God, and in mankind during the bleakest of moments is terribly challenging, and we cannot judge those who feel it impossible to do so. But when everything is taken away from us – that, ironically, is when hope is needed most. That is when you need to squeeze your eyes shut and go by faith and not by sight. I know it is scary and the more you look at things or even at Adonai, the more distorted everything is, so close your eyes. 
Yeshua said that His sheep know His voice and don’t follow a stranger for they do not know the voice of strangers (John 10:4-5). Believe you’ll recognize His voice and keep going. Ignore those that tell you this is punishment. It’s not. It’s Hashem trusting you that you love Him enough that even if you can’t see His Light; even if all you see is shadow and every instinct tells you to run, you will abide in Him. That yes, you love His beauty, but if you’ll see only His shadow, you’ll love Him through it. For better or for worse. Not everybody gets to see His shadow. Giants of righteousness fell when they were faced with His shadow. It’s bone crushing, soul tearing, mind numbing pain… If you’re faced with His shadow it will either make you or break you. Like the Angel fighting Yaakov. He’ll act like your enemy… or so you’ll think and you’ll end up as confused as Yov (Job) asking over and over again ‘what did I do wrong? Why are you treating me like this?’

These are not nice words you read in a Psalm because it promises a lot of great things. All those words are true. But only for those that not only endure His shadow but at the end of it they say “Here I stand Adonai! I am scared. I want to run because you seem like my enemy right now and I really don’t want to fight You. But I will, because You’re mine! Just as much as I am Yours , You are mine! And I will fight You if I must. Like Yaakov… Because even though I know I am no match for You, I trust You! You will not kill me! I don’t care that Your shadow scares me out of my mind… I trust You! You are my refuge! I trust You, do you hear me? So do whatever You need to do and I will do what I must and by the end of this, if I am still breathing, You don’t get to leave until you bless me!’

And I'll tell you what, if you live to tell the tale then I guarantee you will make history.


Bat Melech בת מלך
 Cristina כריסטינה






Friday, 23 December 2016

Immanuel



Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” – Bereishit / Genesis 2:18

Somebody made a statement the other day that suicides increase during the holiday season because people feel more depressed, and like a nerd that I refuse to admit I am, I had to check if that is true or not, and it turns out it’s a myth. Still it got me thinking. 

Regardless if the reason is depression, guilt or a philosophical desire to die, in the end people choose to die because they feel alone. They feel like there is no one like them or willing to help them.
It got me thinking about the passage in Bereishit (Genesis) about Adonai declaring that it is not good for man to be alone. And the single people reading this will feel like ‘yeah! I know right?!’ and all the married people will be like, ‘right, because after marriage you’ll never feel alone… stop dreaming!’ 

Hmmm

I know people feel alone whether they are single or in a relationship. It might not be constantly, but even with one’s soul mate it can be lonely sometimes. 

HaShem had showed Adam every creature He had created to inhabit the earth and every bird of the heavens and Adam named them all, but he didn’t name any after himself. Now that might seem like Adam was like a child that was learning to speak and lo and behold, how cute, he was naming all the creatures. No. Adam was an amazing living being. He was brilliant and awesome and Adonai enjoyed talking to him every day. He wasn’t just learning to speak. It’s not like Elohim was teaching him, ‘this is a bear’ and Adam would repeat ‘b…e…a...r…bear’. No, Adam looked at every single thing that God created and was able to recognize their very essence and had named them accordingly. So when he couldn’t find any suited for himself, he had recognized that there was none that shared his essence.
  So Hashem had made Chava (Eve) and had brought her to Adam and Adam took one look at her and called her Ishah (woman) after himself Ish (man). He recognized himself in the woman he had seen.

I have wondered often why Adam didn’t look at Adonai to find similarities in Adonai. That it had never occurred to him, as brilliant as he was, to look at Adonai. He has been made in HaShem’s image and Adam looked in creation for a suitable helper for himself. And Adonai, blessed be His Name forever, never took offense at this. He is so humble that instead of saying ‘Adam, look at Me! I am your helper! Pick Me! Name Me!’ -  He had made Adam someone in his image. And Adam was happy for a while
And Adam sinned and was cast out of Gan HaEden (Garden of Eden) together with his wife. And HaShem didn’t let go even then but instead made a promise of a Savior. He loved man so much that He just couldn’t stay away. It was love that guided His every move from the beginning and it will be love that will guide His every action until the end. And HaMashiach came. Because Adonai loved man so much that He gave Hid precious Son to us so we would never feel alone. So we would look at Him and know that we are loved.
Yeshua has many names in the Scriptures but probably the most beautiful one of them all is Immanuel. Im anachnu El. With us God. God with us. Because it’s not good for man to be alone. 


Bat Melech בת מלך
 Cristina כריסטינה