Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yesterday was Yom Kippur!

Normally I try to do a blog post about the Holy Days before they arrive. That way friends and family at home will know what we're up to and maybe even get inspired to join us from afar. This time it didn't quite work out because I was hit with a strange wave of second trimester nausea the few days before Yom Kippur! I'm still not quite feeling 100%.

Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement is one of the appointed feasts from Leviticus 23. Specifically, the word says:

26 The LORD said to Moses, 27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire. 28 Do no work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. 30 I will destroy from among his people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath."

Yom Kippur is primarily celebrated by fasting, so I did a computer fast, while Devin went all out, abstaining from food and drink from sunset the night before to sunset that day. We spent the day reading, painting, and playing games with friends before breaking the fast over a spaghetti dinner. To keep with the "frangrant offering" found in some other passages about this feast, I lit some pineapple scented candles in our apartment. Devin was joyfully amused by my efforts!

Jerusalem takes some unique measures to keep this day set apart. The most obvious of all would be the lack of cars on the streets. No one drives during the time of Yom Kippur, so the roads become quiet, expect for the voices of small children riding bikes around places that normally would be dangerous! It was quite joyful to see so many kids outside playing, and people taking long walks around the neighborhood. And I surely didn't miss the sounds of traffic that are so prevalent in urban life.

Like Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur was not fulfilled when Yeshua walked the earth, and has prophetic meaning for His end time return. Many believe it is symbolic of the final day of judgment. I won't go into all the theories, but I do think its significant to realize Rosh Hashana is the Feast of Trumpets, then follows the Day of Atonement (think trumpet blows, then we're brought into judgment). For those of us who believe, our atonement has already been made through the blood of Yeshua. It is for that reason that we should celebrate this day full of joy and even longing for His return!

Also see:
Lev 16
Num 29

Related Post:
"Shana Tova!" Its Rosh Hashana!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

I wish you all could have been here with us in Israel yesterday. Our congregation decided to have a meal together to celebrate Rosh HaShana (New Years), so we went to a place just outside the city to have a picnic. We were all surprised when it started to downpour rain just as we started to gather. The congregation had to take all the food as fast as we could to a tent that was set up a few hundred meters away. We all got soaked, but we had a fantastic time sharing and praising the Lord together. If you have been receiving these Shabbat Letters for a while, you may remember how I told you that Israel practically never sees rain until after Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles). Sukkot starts two full weeks after Rosh HaShana, so having rain at this time of the year is really a miracle. In fact, in all the years I have been here, I have never seen rain come so early. This is truly a blessing from the Lord because the Land did not receive enough rain in the previous years. We are hurting for water as this country, so we are desperate for a good year of rain. Please pray that the rain would continue here so that this beloved Land would truly blossom.

Callie and I are amazed at the creative power of the Lord. I know many of you are parents and have already been through this, but it seems so impossible that there is a baby growing in Callie now. We see the ultrasounds and we can hardly contain ourselves. To have such a wonderful wife who is willing to sojourn with me here, leaves me continually awestuck. Raising a family here, in the Land of my inheritance, is such a wonderful privilege. May the Lord be blessed through us and our children to come. Please pray that the Lord would continue to provide all that we need. He is the Provider and nothing is out of His hands.

Operating in spiritual gifting can be a very tricky thing. There is a real danger of exalting those spiritual gifts and as a result, we see the operation of those gifts at a sign of godliness. We begin to put men and women on pedestals that no one should be expected to occupy. Our spiritual gifts are given to us for service, and it is out of that humility that we should operate. A spiritual gift that doesn't operate out of humility will never achieve what it was intended to be. There are many gifted people in the world, but a spiritual gift, coupled with humility can effect supernatural changes. The opposite end of the spectrum is that some become so skeptical or cynical that they begin to neglect the things that the Lord has gifted them with. I have personally met people who have seen all sorts of spiritual gifts in operation, but they became turned off by the people who they saw operating in them. The "spiritual" men and women were drawing attention to themselves and as a result, these believers were turned off from using spiritual gifts all together. Everything they said was a criticism against all things spiritual and now any gifting they did have is now buried in their own pride and cynicism.

We as a Body must learn how to release people to use their gifts, but have the wisdom to know how to nurture these gifts. The time has come to stop exalting the PEOPLE who have certain gifts, giving them cause to fall into pride. We should be glorifying God that he has given such gifts to Man. Humility, not charisma, must be a prerequisite to operating in the these spiritual gifts, because without it, we are not glorifying God. A Body, humbly serving the Lord with its array of spiritual gifts, would be an awesome thing to see. Blessings!

In Yeshua,

Callie and Devin

Related Posts:
"Shana Tova!" Its Rosh Hashana!

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Shana Tova!" Its Rosh Hashana!

We have now entered into the glorious time of the High Holy Days! Because all Holy Days start at sun set of the day before they are noted on our western calendars, yesterday evening marked the beginning of Rosh Hashana. Also known as the Feast of Trumpets, this Holy day is the Jewish new year!

All around town, we hear people greeting each other with "Shana Tova!" which equates to us saying "Happy New Year!" in English. My bosses brought us gifts of wine, olive oil, jam and honey at work, and several clients stopped by with gifts too! Last night, Devin and I celebrated by feasting with friends who have 5 small children. They blew little shofars, which their dad said had "a strong annoying." ;) It was a great evening! Tonight, we will feast with our kahilah (congregation) on a Moshav (sort of like a community farm).

Rosh Hashana is one of the appointed feast from Leviticus 23. In this chapter, it says:

23 The LORD said to Moses, 24 "Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present an offering made to the LORD by fire.' "

Just as all of the appointed feasts of Lev 23, Rosh Hashana also has prophetic meaning regarding the Messiah. If you remember from other posts on the Holy days this year, Jesus - Yeshua- was crucified on Passover, He rose on the Feast of First Fruits, and the Holy Spirit came on the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (remember the cheesecakes?). This all falls perfectly in line with the Hebrew calendar.

The next three feasts were not fulfilled while the Messiah walked the earth the first time, so it is believed they have significant meaning for the end of the age. Rosh Hashana, for example, likely coordinates with the trumpet blasts described in Revelation. I'm not going to speculate what all this might mean, but knowing that significant events in Jesus' life occurred with the feasts makes me wonder what might take place on this feast in the future!

No matter what, it is a fun Holy Day to celebrate!

Related Posts:

Celebrating the Resurrection in Israel
Need and Excuse to Eat Cheesecake?

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Oh Big Baby!"

Those were the words of our quirky French-Israeli doctor at our last visit! At 6.4 cm, (about 2.5 inches) the baby is hardly big, but Little One has grown a ton since our 7 week appointment! As it turns out, I've grown too!

Here's Baby at 12 weeks and 6 days:

Its amazing how much of a tiny face the baby already has! It moved and wiggled for us too!

I know the Doctor didn't put my name on these images. She didn't last time either! Its our baby, though! I promise! We can blame it on socialized medicine. hehe. ;) We get an ultrasound every visit, so I can't complain too much!

Here's Mommy just a few days later at 13 weeks:

A doula friend said she was surprised I'm showing so much on my first baby. I think its the Lord's way of encouraging me because I've been pretty sick! The belly helps me remember why!

Abba had to get in this post too! We didn't want him to be left out!

My sweet sweet husband!

Related Posts:
Ity Bity Baby Bump
The Sweetest Thing

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thoughts on When to Start Your Family

Some of you might remember my review of Steve and Candice Watters' book Start Your family. Just recently they did an interview together about their journey into having children that I found really touching.

While listening, I was reminded that their convictions and passion about this topic truly do come from the heart of walking out this process with the Lord. At one point, Candice says:

"Mary and I were talking and she just said, 'So, are you thinking about having kids?' We’d been married about six months at this point. I said, 'Oh yes, we want kids some day, but we have things we need to accomplish!' She said, 'Well, what are you waiting for?'

I said, 'Well we have all this debt, and I just started this great job. She just looked at me and stopped and said, 'Candice, how do you know that when you decide you’re ready you will still be fertile?'

It was interesting that when I got to the age where we had said we were going to wait I started having some secondary fertility problems. So, I just look at that, and our story and I think if someone hadn’t come along and challenged us there’s a chance we might not have had kids. Or, we might have only had one baby.

Can you imagine having real reason to believe you might have missed out on having children, had not been for the encouragement of others to move forward with forming a family?

On the second part, Steve points out:

"Two percent of people deliberately don’t want any children, but 20% of couples end up not having kids at all. You know its one thing to lose these babies through miscarriage and through still births and other tragedies, but another tragedy is how many lives don’t even get begun because the timeline, the economy, the coach or the pressures around them are keeping them from even being able to pull the trigger to try>

Its a shame that so many marriages are missing out on the blessing of children because of worldly wisdom.

Though they do encourage prudence and not taking the limitations of our bodies for granted, their hearts are tempered by the reality of God's soveriengty and ability to answer prayers, after experiencing a miracle baby of their own. For those details, I encourage you to listen for yourself!

With the direction my own life has taken, delaying my last year of school to have a surprise baby, I have much more peace about this change in plans because of the wisdom I've inherited through their testimony. The Lord has asked me to trust Him with one dream, in exchange for another. I'll admit its been a challenge for me at times, but when it comes down to it, I would much rather open my body to the possibility of having children, and finish school later, than miss this opportunity to see the Lord do such a creative work through Devin and me. We couldn't be more blessed. :)

Please take some time to listen to their interview, and let me know what you think!

Part 1: Should We Have a Baby?
Part 2: Getting Started

Related Post:
Start Your Family - Review

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shabbat Shalom

Dear Family,

Callie and I just got back from a wonderful time in the Negev (southern desert in Israel) where we attended a wedding of a good friend. It was the first time that Callie had seen the Negev and she loved the peaceful spirit that rests on that blessed part of Israel. We were greeted by a herd of gedis (wild goats) who walking around our guest house. The Negev is a place where you truly feel that you are a guest in the wild landscape you see. You feel like you are foreign to it, but it welcomes you to experience its color and its life. The pressure we feel living in Jerusalem fell off when we where there and we were able to relax. Israel is an amazing place and if you have never been, I do hope you try to make the trip. The Lord's Spirit continues to move over this Land, preparing for the time when all the promises made to Israel will come to pass. May it be soon Lord!

Bless the Lord for His times and His seasons! In Ecclesiastics, we read about how everything has its season and I have been blessed recently by reflecting on what that means. Our natural seasons carry with them their natural beauty along with the difficulties you may face. I don't know about you, but the changing of the season for me is always bittersweet. There are new things that we can look forward to, but there are always things that we leave behind with each passing season. It is so important to know how things need to change to meet what the new season brings. If you are caught in spring with only winter clothing, you will have a very uncomfortable time. It also makes no sense to try to use your winter clothes and your summer clothes when June rolls around. As in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. We must know what season the Lord has us in. This is a fairly common preaching within the Body, but the teaching rarely pays attention to this aspect of the season. There are many within the Body who are caught unprepared because we have no idea what season the Lord is bringing them into. They are comfortable with the way this season is going, and they don't seek the face of the Lord to see if He has a new season for them. Settling into the season is one thing, but refusing to leave the season which we find comfortable is another.

There are others who are trying to take the things with them that were useful in a different point in their walk, but have absolutely no use now. Their season has changed, and they want to walk in the new season, but they don't want to leave behind the things the Lord provided for in the previous season. When someone gets married, they must leave the season of "singleness" behind. All the independent decisions, social life, and single living tendencies need to be left behind so that the married couple can truly act as "one flesh". Two people within this union who are still acting as though they are single will eventually devastate the relationship. The Lord is taking us all on a journey through His set seasons that He has ordained for us. We must be willing to enter fully into the new season when He tells us it is time to change. We must also take on the new things He has for us and leave those things He is calling us to leave. Blessings to you!

Devin and Callie

Related Post:
Our Messianic Wedding