Chanukah Patience

On the third night of Chanukah the “Love” candle lights Joy, than Peace and now PATIENCE…

The word patience usually stirs up lots of emotions in people. Most parents are constantly telling their young children, “just be patient.” As adults we struggle when things don’t happen right away and we often get impatient. As a society, we constantly want something and want it instantly. As a society, we often supply things pretty instantly as well.

Today, as I sat down to type this, I struggled with patience myself. Interesting that God always places things in our lives and has ways of forcing us to think about our actions. Once again we need to look at what the Word of God says and ask Him what HE wants us to learn.

Proverbs 15:18 Hot-tempered people stir up strife, but patient people quiet quarrels. (CJB)

Psalm 37:7 Be still before Adonai; wait patiently till he comes. Don’t be upset by those whose way succeeds because of their wicked plans. (CJB)

There are not too many Bible verses in the Old Testament that use the word patience. These two are clear that patience is a virtue God wants us to have. If “hot-tempered people stir up strife,” that would obviously be something we should get rid of. We should not answer with a temper. We should be patient and quiet a quarrel.

David teaches us in the Psalm that we must “wait patiently” until Adonai returns. I know that you can read this clearly for yourself, but really stop and reflect on those words today… What does that mean? My initial response is that it means not to complain about what is happening currently in my life.

It says, “Don’t be upset if others succeed in wicked plans.” I admit, I struggle with this. It is hard to watch when people who are not trusting God have plans that move forward and the plans you believe God has given you seem to be stalemate.

As I reflected on this verse, and the fact that the word patience is not in the Old Testament too often, Holy Spirit reminded me of all the people in the Old Testament who had to wait. He brought to my mind all the people that had terrible things happen to them, and because they did not stop trusting, things came to pass later. All of these people had to have PATIENCE!

We can all name these people… Joseph, Job, David, Hannah, Ruth, Daniel etc… the list is LONG. People in history, that we can reflect on, that should encourage us to BELIEVE that PATIENCE is a virtue we should have!

The New Testament has many verses about patience… Here are a few that are common, but great reminders as we reflect on how Adonai wants us to act.

Ephesians 4:2

Always be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love, (CJB)

Romans 12:12

Rejoice in your hope, be patient in your troubles, and continue steadfastly in prayer. (CJB)

James 5:8

You too, be patient; keep up your courage; for the Lord’s return is near. (CJB)

I admit to being very scattered in my thoughts tonight as I write this. I know that the thoughts I write here today are not profound or new. My prayer is, that as you reflect on the word “patience,” you TRUST and BELIEVE that God has GOOD THINGS in store for you. That as you READ His Word, CLAIM IT as TRUTH for your life, and continue in FAITH with ALL that He asks you to do, that your PATIENCE will be rewarded.

As we continue to move towards Chanukah, reflect on being a LIGHT for Him by showing PATIENCE to those around you. When you face difficult situations and circumstances, STOP and reflect on ALL He has done for you. Find a way to be PATIENT in the midst of it and let HIM handle it all.

Matthew 5:16

 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. (CJB)

May you find a way to be “patient in your troubles” this week. May you “keep up your courage.” May you “rejoice in your hope” and pray. Always be humble. Be gentle. THESE virtues will help you have PATIENCE!

Love & Blessings,

Rose Horton

 

Chanukah Peace

On night two of Chanukah the LOVE candle lights JOY and then PEACE.

What do you think of when you hear the word, “peace?”

Some people think of calm waters. Some think of no fighting. I’m sure that people who live in war torn countries think of no gun fire around them. Some people might just think of enjoying a peaceful massage or dinner. There are so many different ways that peace could be interpreted.

What does the WORD of God say about peace?

Isaiah 26:3 “A person whose desire rests on you, you preserve in perfect peace, because he trusts in you. (CJB)

Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways please Adonai, he makes even the man’s enemies be at peace with him. (CJB)

Matthew 10:34 “Don’t suppose that I have come to bring peace to the Land. It is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword!” (CJB)

John 16:33 “I have said these things to you so that, united with me, you may have shalom. In the world, you have tsuris (trouble). But be brave! I have conquered the world!” (CJB)

PEACE… there are things we need to DO in order to have peace.

Isaiah tells us we must REST in Adonai and TRUST in Him.

Proverbs says that when our WAY PLEASES Adonai, than even our enemies will be a peace with us.

If we skip to the verse from John it says that if we are UNITED with Jesus, than we may have peace. We are also to be BRAVE.

Too often we expect PEACE to be present everywhere. If we look at the verse in Matthew we can understand that this is not the case. Jesus clearly told His disciples that He did not come to bring peace to the Land. In fact, He came with a sword and knew that there would be divisions along the way. He knew that families, friends, and communities would struggle. He said there would be wars and rumors of wars. He knew that famines and earthquakes will shake the land and bring chaos. What do we do in these situations?

There are people who have missed their Messiah because they thought that the Messiah was going to bring PEACE to the world. Jesus did not bring peace to the world. Jesus brought peace to HEARTS. Jesus brought peace to the LIVES of people, but not to the world. This will happen when He returns and takes His place as KING over ALL the earth.

Those who are looking for peace in the world are missing the teaching of Jesus. Jesus wants PEOPLE to have peace in their LIVES. Adonai desires for those who trust Him to have PEACE in their HEARTS. It is more about what is on the inside than what is taking place on the outside.

Jesus tells us that in this world we will have trouble. We are to be BRAVE through it and stay UNITED with Him. When we stay close to HIM and follow HIS ways, HE conquers the world for us and we can have PEACE in our HEARTS. When we are FOCUSED on His words, than we have PEACE in our MINDS.

Are you looking for peace to come around you? If you are, STOP and focus inward! What are YOU doing to bring peace to your heart? Are you TRUSTING? Are you RESTING? Are you FOLLOWING HIS WAYS? Are you UNITED WITH HIM? In order to find peace, we MUST walk with Adonai. We must TAKE the TIME to LISTEN to Him and let Holy Spirit lead us and guide us.

Be a person of peace to those around you. Be the LIGHT He has asked you to be by finding a way to be PEACEFUL in the midst of chaos.

Here is a verse about LIGHT which, if we truly follow the LIGHT of the world, we will have PEACE and LIFE!

John 8:12 Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life.” (CJB)

I pray that you find a way to have PEACE inside. When you have peace, than it spreads to those around you. May HIS LIGHT shine through you and bring PEACE and LIFE to others.

 

Love and Blessings,

Rose Horton

Chanukah Joy

Chanukah Joy…

If you remember what I wrote last week, you will know that the LOVE candle is lit every night. This candle lights the other candles. On the first night of Chanukah, you light the “servant candle” and then use it to light the JOY candle.

JOY! So many verses about JOY. Where does a person start?

Ecclesiastes 9:7 So go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God has already accepted your deeds. (CJB)

Nehemiah 8:10 Then he said to them, “Go, eat rich food, drink sweet drinks, and send portions to those who can’t provide for themselves; for today is consecrated to our Lord. Don’t be sad, because the joy of Adonai is your strength.” (CJB)

Psalm 47:2 Clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with cries of joy! (CJB)

John 16:22 So you do indeed feel grief now, but I am going to see you again. Then your hearts will be full of joy, and no one will take your joy away from you. (CJB)

Philemon 1:7 For your love has given me much joy and encouragement. Brother, you have refreshed the hearts of God’s people. (CJB)

JOY, based on these verses, can be something we experience personally, or it can be something that someone else feels based on something we have done (see the verse from Philemon).

I don’t want to base my actions on what I feel. Feelings will come and go. It is my personal belief that JOY is much deeper than happiness. JOY, in my opinion, can be something present in our lives whether we “feel happy” or not. Therefore, JOY should be something that we carry in us always.

IF the JOY of Adonai is our strength (Nehemiah), and we BELIEVE and TRUST that Adonai is WHO He says He is, than we should have JOY no matter the circumstances around us.

This is a struggle. It is so easy to get caught in the negative this world spreads. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and than lose heart because we don’t live like they do. It is so easy to “live in the moment” and feelings that we forget WHOSE we are and how HE wants us to live.

As we prepare for Chanukah and understand HIS LOVE for us, we should be able to stop and CARRY JOY. As we are HIS LIGHT to the world in need, they should see HIS JOY inside of us. Even when frustrating moments come, our JOY should be apparent to those we meet because HIS strength is inside of us.

How do you share JOY??? I don’t believe we have to act all crazy or out of control. We simply need to smile and show laughter and love. Sincerity goes a long way when you are with others. Paul felt “refreshed” from the JOY Philemon shared with him. I like that… we need to leave people feeling “refreshed” when we share HIS JOY to those around us.

Because Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, here is a verse about LIGHT:

John 12:36 While you have the light, put your trust in the light, so that you may become people of light.” Yeshua said these things, then went off and kept himself hidden from them. (CJB)

When you TRUST HIS LIGHT, YOU become a LIGHT. Today, bring JOY and REFRESHMENT by being HIS LIGHT to those around you.

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

Chanukah Love

Chanukah… Known as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication (the Temple was rededicated). Our family celebrates this holiday even though it is not a “biblical holiday” commanded in the Torah. It is mentioned in the book of John, which explains to us that Jesus was in Solomon’s Colonnade during the “Feast of Dedication” (see John 10:22-23).

Our family chooses to connect the Fruits of the Spirit when we light the candles. We began this years ago when a Jewish friend who believed in Jesus (she has since passed away) taught us how she ties the two together. We thought it was a beautiful way to weave these teachings into the idea of Chanukah, which is the understanding that we are to “be a light.”

I have chosen to blog about each “fruit” for the next nine weeks. The plan is to end around Chanukah time and then let you decide if you would like to join our family in lighting the candles each night.

If you count the fruits of the Spirit there are nine. Chanukah only has eight nights. How does one bring the connection?

Technically the “shemash” candle, or the “servant” candle, which we call the “love” candle, is lit every night. This is the candle that is set apart, or higher, than all the others. For those who believe in Jesus as their Messiah, this candle represents Him. Jesus was the ultimate LOVE sacrifice we all know. Jesus was the ultimate SERVANT we all have been taught about.

This candle is the one that lights all the others. If we have Jesus as the Lord of our LIFE, than HIS LIGHT should shine through us to everyone we meet. HIS LOVE should be the source of ALL we do. HIS LOVE will bring the fruits of the Spirit into our lives.

Here are verses about LOVE:

Isaiah 54:10 For the mountains may leave and the hills be removed, but my grace will never leave you, and my covenant of peace will not be removed,”

says Adonai, who has compassion on you. (CJB)

In the ESV the translation uses the word, “love” instead of grace:

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,

but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (ESV)

John 15:12 This is my command: that you keep on loving each other just as I have loved you.

Ephesians 4:2 Always be humble, gentle and patient, bearing with one another in love, (CJB)

All three of these verses demonstrate to us that God’s ultimate plan and intent was for community to LOVE one another. HE shows us His love, like He clearly states in the verse from Isaiah. Then He sent His Son, Jesus, who demonstrated the ultimate LOVE sacrifice by dying for us and commanded us to LOVE others as HE loves us. The command to “love each other” carried over into the teachings of Paul because Paul was educated from the Torah. He knew the desire of God’s heart was for everyone to “love the Lord your God with all your heart… and love your neighbor as yourself.”

I believe that throughout the whole Bible there is a teaching of LOVE. Even in the middle of the judgement and wars that God allows, His ULTIMATE plan and DESIRE is for LOVE to win. When we show HIS LOVE, HE WINS.

Love is shared and shown to others in many different ways. We can bake a cake, or change a tire. We can give a hug, or enjoy a cup of coffee and listen. Find ways to SHARE HIS LOVE with those you meet. Think outside the box and be a BLESSING to someone. By doing this you will let HIS LIGHT shine through you.

Genesis 1:3-4 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. (CJB)

God saw that the “light was good.” Choose today to be HIS LIGHT and LOVE to those around you.

 

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

 

 

 

 

Sukkot

Sukkot…. Feast of Tabernacles…

Do these titles mean anything to you?

Leviticus 23:33-36 Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the feast of Sukkot for seven days to Adonai. On the first day there is to be a holy convocation; do not do any kind of ordinary work. For seven days you are to bring an offering made by fire to Adonai; on the eighth day you are to have a holy convocation and bring an offering made by fire to Adonai ; it is a day of public assembly; do not do any kind of ordinary work.

This festival began Sunday night and it continues for seven days (plus one). Monday will be the final day of celebration and then Monday night they will re-roll the Torah Scroll and begin reading from Genesis again. This holiday was given to the Hebrew people when they were wandering in the wilderness. God gave them this one so they would remember.

“Remember what?” you may ask.

I have found that as much as God wants us to move forward and let go of the past, He wants us to REMEMBER what HE has done for us. The appointed times that He set up were for His people to do exactly that – Remember Him.

Many of us know how to do this during Passover. Most of us are not aware of how we can Remember Him during the fall festivals. I have spoken about Rosh Hahshana and Yom Kippur. Let’s take a look at Sukkot.

During these seven (plus one) days of celebration, we are to remember all He did for us while we were in the wilderness. He provided places to live, food to eat, and even the shoes did not wear out while the Hebrew people were wandering for 40 years. Most of us have probably not faced a wilderness season in our life quite like the Hebrew people did, but we have experienced struggles and trials and our own form of a wilderness. Sometimes they feel like they are going longer than we want. The days of this festival we are to take time to be thankful for His provision during those times. We are to take time to tabernacle with Him. We are to take time to REJOICE!

This festival is the only one that God commanded the people to be JOYFUL.

Deuteronomy 16:14 Rejoice at your festival — you, your sons and daughters, your male and female slaves, the L’vi’im, and the foreigners, orphans and widows living among you. (CJB)

Today, following the command given by God, the Jewish people build a “sukkah” which they use for meals, and some even sleep in them. They are to be three sided, and the top is to be covered with something like palm branches (open to be able to see through) so they can see the majesty of God in the heavens.

Sukkah means “covering.” God wants to be their covering. God wants His people to recognize that HE is taking care of them and that all they have need of is in HIM. As they eat and fellowship in their “temporary dwelling” they remember that God is majestic and watching over them.

There are other significant pieces to this holiday. When you are in Jerusalem you see them carrying a “lulav.” There are four pieces they carry and wave each day. Each has its own spiritual significance. It is easy to google and read about this. Some of this is tradition, but it is based on the verse:

Leviticus 23:40 On the first day you are to take choice fruit, palm fronds, thick branches and river-willows, and celebrate in the presence of Adonai your God for seven days. (CJB)

Our family has always found Sukkot to be fun. Rosh Hahshana has been celebrated as a remembrance of WHO God is and that He will be coming back as KING over all the earth. Yom Kippur is our reminder that HE is our atonement and we are forgiven when we TRUST in Him.

Sukkot is now our time to FELLOWSHIP with Him and ENJOY all His blessings! It is a time to GIVE THANKS and celebrate meals together and FUN. Do you realize that we will have a table feast with HIM someday when we tabernacle with Him forever? What a day to look forward too!

In Zechariah 14:16 it is prophesied that one day ALL nations of the world will be in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. I believe this is something to ponder on…

Finally, everyone remaining from all the nations that came to attack Yerushalayim will go up every year to worship the king, Adonai-Tzva’ot, and to keep the festival of Sukkot. (CJB)

If you have not taken the time to learn about these appointed times and seasons that HE has blessed us with, I encourage you to read and ask Him to show you the secrets that can take you deeper in your relationship with Him. Take time to sit and REMEMBER all that He has blessed you with. Tabernacle with Him. Feast with Him. Let Him be your covering.

As you discover His secrets, you will find REST in Him. You will RESTORE yourself to Him. You are then REFRESHED to walk forward day to day.

 

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

 

Forgiveness And Yom Kippur

Forgiveness… a word we often hear, but often don’t want to hear. What does it mean to forgive? Why should we forgive?

Numbers 14:19-20 Please! Forgive the offense of this people according to the greatness of your grace, just as you have borne with this people from Egypt until now.” Adonai answered, “I have forgiven, as you have asked.

 

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now,” says Adonai, “let’s talk this over together. Even if your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow;even if they are red as crimson, they will be like wool. (CJB)

Luke 17:3-4 Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Also, if seven times in one day he sins against you, and seven times he comes to you and says, ‘I repent,’ you are to forgive him.” (CJB)

Colossians 3:13 Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him. Indeed, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive. (CJB)

If you notice in the picture, the young man is holding a sign that says, “Forgiveness.” However, on his t-shirt there is a sign that says, “I’m sorry.” Both of these aspects need to happen within the realm of forgiveness. At times we might not be able to receive forgiveness as we would like, and we must realize that God asks us to forgive no matter how the other person responds.

 

Israel is a key to understanding our Bible. Israel is a land that holds many insights into the Word of God. As I mentioned last week, they just celebrated Rosh Hashana, which is considered the “Jewish New Year.” Two days ago (Wednesday) the nation observed their most High Holy Day of the year, Yom Kippur. For those who have visited Israel during this time, you know that the whole country shuts down, even the airport. There are no automobiles, no stores open, no places to eat etc… Can you imagine the United States, Germany, or any other country being able to do this?

This is the day they have anticipated all year. This is the day they know their sins have been forgiven. This is the day they are released from all the wrongs they have committed. This is the day they can be released and walk forward in freedom because they have asked God to forgive them. Forgiveness… obviously an important part of God’s plan!

From the day of Rosh Hashana, they begin special prayers every day for 10 days. Our last several days in Israel we were awakened at 5 am when the shofar would sound in the small synagogue below our apartment. Then their “singing” of prayers would begin. During this time they ask God for forgiveness and ask family and friends for forgiveness. We have received texts and messages from others asking us to forgive them if they have done anything to hurt us. When handled properly, this can be a powerful time of year.

For those of us who believe that Jesus is our Messiah, we can be THANKFUL that He removed our sins when He died on the cross for us. We can walk in FREEDOM every day because HE has already removed our sins. We just have to BELIEVE!

This knowledge, however, does not give us the right to sin and choose to disobey. We all understand that yes, He has forgiven us, but we all know that we need to walk in RIGHTEOUSNESS because of this knowledge. We should DESIRE to walk in HIS ways and repent when we disobey.

So why would a “holiday” like Yom Kippur be important for those who follow Jesus? Because it can be a day of remembering what HE has done for us. It should be a day of THANKSGIVING for KNOWING that HE forgave our sins so many years ago and now desires a RELATIONSHIP with us. It should be a day that we REJOICE in the FREEDOM that we have because we have chosen to follow Him.

Yom Kippur has now passed. Have you taken the time to forgive those who have wronged you? Have you reached out to those you have hurt and asked them for forgiveness? Both of these things need to happen in order to walk in the LOVE and LIGHT He has blessed you with.

Will you take the time to reflect on forgiveness today? What do you need to do in order to be RELEASED into ALL that HE has called you to do?

When we come to the realization that forgiveness brings FREEDOM, than we can find REST in Him. We will RESTORE ourselves to Him. We are then REFRESHED to walk forward day to day.

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

 

Shana Tova

I had plans for writing about Rosh Hashana and to share a bit more about Israel.

Well, after arriving in Israel I realized my iPad said disabled, and the only way to get it to work again was to connect it to a computer, which I had chosen to leave at home so my daughter could complete her schooling easier (my children are homeschooled and use the internet).

So… the device left for me to type on is my phone. Not very exciting when you want to try and bold, copy and paste, and generally make things look nice. Because of this, short and sweet this week!

All I can say, after driving up to Jerusalem today and watching God bring people into my life right when I needed them (someone to help me park my car and a woman staying in the room next to me that is a complete divine appointment), is TRUST HIM!

When you LISTEN and meditate on HIS WORDS, He will lead you and guide you. There is no reason to get stressed or worry (but I admit, I still do). He truly has your best interest in mind and LOVES YOU.

I celebrated Rosh Hashana tonight with South African friends. A true blessing and gift from God. Encourage one another. Be there for one another. Take care of one another. Start this new year by being a BLESSING to someone else.

Leviticus 23:23-24

Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar. (CJB)

Psalm 133:1-3

A song of ascents. By David: Oh, how good, how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in harmony. It is like fragrant oil on the head that runs down over the beard, over the beard of Aharon, and flows down on the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon that settles on the mountains of Tziyon. For it was there that Adonai ordained the blessing of everlasting life. (CJB)

Shana Tova. May your new year be filled with HIS oil of gladness and LIFE.

Love and blessings from Israel,

Rose Horton

Shabbat

I am writing this blog on Sunday, but preparing for a trip to Israel. I leave on Tuesday and will spend 10 days with a couple who are celebrating 50 years of marriage and 50 years of ministry. Their son spent time with us in Israel 5 or 6 years ago and it has been his dream to send his parents ever since. It is finally happening.

This blog is released on Fridays, which means as you are reading, I will be celebrating Shabbat with dear friends on their kibbutz close to the Sea of Galilee. Shabbat is one of my favorite times in Israel. The country truly has an understanding of what it means to rest and refocus on life and family. I will share about this a little later, but first, here are a couple of verses about Shabbat.

Genesis 2:3 God blessed the seventh day and separated it as holy; because on that day God rested from all his work which he had created, so that it itself could produce. (CJB)

Isaiah 58:13-14 “If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, Adonai’s holy day, worth honoring; then honor it by not doing your usual things

or pursuing your interests or speaking about them.

If you do, you will find delight in Adonai —

I will make you ride on the heights of the land and feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Ya‘akov, for the mouth of Adonai has spoken.” (CJB)

Mark 2:27-28 Then he said to them, “Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat; So the Son of Man is Lord even of Shabbat.” (CJB)

Hebrews 4:9-10 So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people. 10 For the one who has entered God’s rest has also rested from his own works, as God did from his. (CJB)

I said I would share a little about Shabbat in Israel. I must admit that Shabbat in Israel is changing. It breaks my heart that ideas and thoughts from the West are creeping in. When we first began traveling to Israel in 2005 there was not much traffic on the roads and most shops were closed. I always had to plan to have enough diapers because Shabbat meant I couldn’t go get any! During our time there I began to see changes. More shops open. More people out and about. Not all of it is bad because some of it is family’s spending time together. However, more and more want to shop. It changes the dynamics of the land. It begins to take the focus off of Adonai, and being together with Him, and places it on man’s desires instead of God’s.

For those who live in the United States, think back to the time when stores were closed on Sunday. Remember the times when you could not get gas on a Sunday. It almost feels backwards now, but it truly MADE a person stop for a day. I remember Sunday being the day that families and friends spent time together after spending time with their community of faith. This is what GOD intended to have happen on the 7th day of the week.

The book of Genesis tells us that God BLESSED the seventh day. HE made it HOLY. The book of Isaiah says we should, “call Shabbat a delight.” Jesus teaches in Mark that Shabbat was made for man and that HE is the Lord of the Sabbath (meaning HE truly is our Shabbat rest – “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest…”). Hebrews reminds us that there is a Shabbat-keeping and we should enter the REST of God (just as God did from His).

What has happened in our society today? Around the world, we do not stop. Even on Sunday (which some people now consider their Shabbat), most people do not STOP. Most people have so many errands to run, or places to go (including church activities), that they do not take time to STOP, REST and REFOCUS on WHO is taking care of them. They get so caught up in everything around them that there is no true REST.

Shabbat for me is a time to STOP on Friday night and as often as possible our family will eat together. The father blesses the children and wife, than we participate in communion as a family before eating our meal together. It is a time when we FOCUS on HIM and bless HIM, than we focus on each other and talk about what we are THANKFUL for. It truly is a time to set things from the week aside and be WITH HIM and each other in a unique and special way.

Saturday (Shabbat) becomes a day of being together as much as possible. We play games, visit a park, or spend time with friends. It is supposed to be a day to be “off” our normal routine. It should be a day of recalibrating ourselves so we can begin fresh and new Sunday morning. I will be honest and admit that it doesn’t ALWAYS happen this way and I can feel it the next week. I truly MISS the time to REFOCUS on what HE wants me to do.

I understand that there are many arguments that can be gotten into about what day “Shabbat” is, but that isn’t the point of this article. What I want us to focus on is the question, “When do YOU stop?” When do YOU take time to bless your family (aloud) and take communion together? Are you taking time to LOOK vertical, and then LOOK horizontal to make sure everything is aligned properly? That is what Shabbat is about.

Our bodies NEED rest. Our bodies NEED a time to recalibrate. And it isn’t just at night… God asked us to take a DAY to do this. I believe this is one of the “secrets of the Word.”

When you realize that HIS command to take a day to REST should be an important part of your life, than you really will find REST in HIM. You will RESTORE yourself to Him. You are then REFRESHED to walk forward day to day.

Shabbat Shalom from Israel,

Rose Horton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Is Your Passion?

Last week as I was typing my blog I kept hearing the word, “passion,” partially because of the picture I found on Unsplash (used for todays post). I started asking myself, “What is your passion?” and “Where do my passions lead me?”

When I looked for verses containing the word, “passion,” I found that most are about fleshly desires. Here are a few:

Romans 7:5 For when we were living according to our old nature, the passions connected with sins worked through the Torah in our various parts, with the result that we bore fruit for death. (CJB)

Galatians 5:24 Moreover, those who belong to the Messiah Yeshua have put their old nature to death on the stake, along with its passions and desires. (CJB)

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time is coming when people will not have patience for sound teaching, but will cater to their passions and gather around themselves teachers who say whatever their ears itch to hear. Yes, they will stop listening to the truth, but will turn aside to follow myths. (CJB)

When I began searching for these verses, I came across an article written January 18, 2015 by Jack Wellman on a site called patheos.com. Here is an interesting quote from his blog:

“What is Passion?

The word passion originates from the Latin word “passio” which is closely related to the Greek root “path” meaning “to suffer.”  When this word is applied to the mind, it can relate to the mind being controlled by emotion which we will see in later verses.  This is not just a weak emotion but a very powerful one.   Passion can be good and bad, sinful and righteous and can certainly be overwhelming and override rationality.  When Paul wrote that God gave them up to their (sinful) passions (Rom 1:26) the Greek word “pathos” was used and can mean several things; “an affliction of the mind, emotions,” and “a feeling which the mind suffers” so the word passion can swing in many different areas but almost always is extremely intense.”

I appreciate the fact that this statement says that passion can be good and bad, sinful and righteous. I fully believe this is true. We have passions that are negative for us, and (hopefully) passions that are positive for us. The key is keeping things in balance.

Passions, even “positive” ones, when they are overwhelming, can “override rationality.” Since passion usually implies something that is “extremely intense,” we must be careful and mindful about what where our passions lie.

To put this into perspective, think about working out. Lifting weights, running, swimming etc… whatever someone finds that works for an individual to bring health to his/her body, if done too often and with too much “passion” can actually harm the person. The same thing can happen with dieting. People can become overly passionate about losing weight and they harm their bodies.

Let us think about passion in the realm of sharing the Good News and LOVE of Christ. Have you ever known someone that is shy and never speaks about it? Maybe this frustrates you because you believe he has no passion about what God has done for him. There are also people who are so zealous for the Word of God that they turn people off because they are overly passionate and “so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.”

Even with sharing the Word of God and HIS TRUTH, we must be careful that we do not become so intense that we hinder the process of bringing people into a relationship with their Messiah. It is my belief that Jesus never forced Himself on anyone. He sat down to have a conversation with someone and started a relationship that showed love and mercy. That is what drew His followers to Him. He was PASSIONATE about loving people.

The quote on the picture says, “Passion led us here.” It made me stop and think about where my passions have led me. Some have blessed me, some have caused pain. Some might be for a season, and then need to be released.

If your passions are dragging you down, it is time to look into something new. All of the verses above clearly show us that passions that are connected to sin or earthly pleasures will bring fruit for death. We are to set aside our old nature. We are not to cater to our fleshly passions and desires.

If we are PATIENT and FOCUSED and desiring TRUTH, those passions will bring LIFE and ABUNDANT fruit. Fruit that will last! If we are sharing HIS Truth with those around us, and LISTENING to Holy Spirit, than we will share HIS passion and love.

Where do your passions lead you? Do they lead you closer to the Creator and Father who loves you? Do they bring HOPE and JOY into your life? Do they draw others into a stronger relationship with Him?

Passions are not bad, just make sure they are leading you to HIM. His desire is for you to have LIFE and LIFE more abundant, and that happens when HE is in control.

When we come to the realization that PASSIONS focused on HIM bring healing and peace, than we can find REST in Him. We will RESTORE ourselves to Him. We are then REFRESHED to walk forward day to day.

Love and blessings,

Rose Horton

 

 

 

Pray As If …

We used to attend a Reform Synagogue on Friday evenings when we lived in Nashville. There was a song that we sang often during the service, and then I found it in the prayer book:

“PRAY AS IF everything depended on God.

Act as if everything depended on you.”

Mishkan T’filah

A Reform Siddur

Page 165

As I was reflecting on my week, I thought of this song. It started “playing” in my head. Then I thought of verses about faith and works. God wants us to have FAITH and that is the most important. However, He definitely wants us to “act as if everything depends on us.”

God is in charge of everything! He created it all. He desires for everything to worship Him and TRUST Him. When we pray, we truly are DEPENDING on Him. He KNOWS that we put our FAITH in HIM.

Because we put our TRUST in HIM, we should DESIRE to ACT like Him. Here are a few verses that should inspire us to understand this concept of faith and actions:

Hebrews 11:6 And without trusting, it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches him must trust that he does exist and that he becomes a Rewarder to those who seek him out. (CJB)

Ephesians 2:8 For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. (CJB)

Romans 3:28 Therefore, we hold the view that a person comes to be considered righteous by God on the ground of trusting, which has nothing to do with legalistic observance of Torah commands. (CJB)

(I encourage you to understand this verse based on the Complete Jewish Bible because as you can see it has nothing to do with “law.”)

All of these verses help us see that everything is based on FAITH and TRUST in God. We know that this is the ONLY way to receive God’s gift of eternal LIFE.

James chapter 2 is the one that can cause some controversy because it seems to say in verse 24:

You see that a person is declared righteous because of actions and not because of faith alone. (CJB)

If we read earlier in the chapter from verses 12-17 we see that what is really taught is that Torah brings FREEDOM. Following what Adonai taught us should help us LIVE like He wants us too. If we don’t ACT like He taught us, than why would people believe that HE actually lives?

Keep speaking and acting like people who will be judged by a Torah which gives freedom. For judgment will be without mercy toward one who doesn’t show mercy; but mercy wins out over judgment. What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but has no actions to prove it? Is such “faith” able to save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food, and someone says to him, “Shalom! Keep warm and eat hearty!” without giving him what he needs, what good does it do? Thus, faith by itself, unaccompanied by actions, is dead. (CJB)

I understand that this topic can get controversial. My desire is that today we “keep it simple” and stop to think about how we act. May we all realize that what we DO is important. We need to completely depend on God, but we also should make sure our actions are in line with His desires.

Will you take the time today to “Act as if the world depended on you?” Will you share HIS love, grace and mercy with those you meet along the way? Will you care for those around you and bless them as Jesus would? Will you be like Abraham who had FAITH, and acted on his faith, so he was called a “friend of God?”

James 2:23 “Abraham had faith in God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness.” He was even called God’s friend. (CJB)

 

Our FAITH needs to be COMPLETE with ACTIONS that lead those around us to the Father. Our TRUST needs to be strong enough that we bring HIS JOY to the people we come in contact with. This weekend stop and REFLECT on your actions. Are they declaring your faith to those around you? Is your faith drawing you closer to an understanding of what HE wants you to do?

I challenge you to TRUST Him, LISTEN to Him and DEPEND on HIM for everything,

then ACT on what HE is telling you to do.

It might actually change your community, than your world.

 

 

 ~ Rose Horton