Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Purim Parties!

We just concluded the joyful feast of Purim over here in Israel!  Purim is probably one of the most fun celebrations on the Hebrew Calendar!   It is the feast of Esther, commemorating how the Jewish people were saved from annihilation while living in Persia, and it is celebrated as one giant costume party!  

A few things set Purim apart from the typical "They tried to kill us.  We survived.  Let's eat." celebrations.   This is primarily because Purim is not an Appointed Time of the Lord from Levitcus 23; although, there is biblical support for celebrating this feast.   In Esther 9:20-32, the Jewish people, and all allied with them, are to celebrate this feast annually....

...because on those days the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, and it was a month which was turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and rejoicing and sending portions of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (v. 22 NASB)

And because of the instructions in this letter, both what they had seen in this regard and what had happened to them,  the Jews established and made a custom for themselves and for their descendants and for all those who allied themselves with them, so that they would not fail to celebrate these two days according to their regulation and according to their appointed time annually. So these days were to be remembered and celebrated throughout every generation, every family, every province and every city; and these days of Purim were not to fail from among the Jews, or their memory fade from their descendants. (vs. 26-28 NASB)
 As part of the traditional celebration, we all dress up in costumes, which has something to do with Esther concealing her Jewish identity.  We eat a triangular shaped cookie called hamantaschen (haman's ears), and read the Megillah, or Book of Esther.  While reading Esther, everytime the reader says "Haman" the audience says "Boooooo!"  Everytime the reader says "Mordicai,"  the audience says, "Yea!!!"  and cheers!

This year, we attended two parties.  The first one was with a group of friends who all have kids around Aviel's age.  The second was with our Kehilah (congregation).  


Here are a few photos of this year's celebrations....   


We dressed as lions, because Aviel is going through a growling phase. 

He didn't want his face painted until he saw mine. 

Bethany came as a leopard. She looked pretty sassy!   We didn't plan our complementary jungle cat ensembles. Great minds...  Great minds.... 

The kids made a little craft as part of the tradition.  We cut circles, decorated them, then folded them in the shape of Hamantaschen, to be filled with treats and given to friends.  This was to teach the the tradition of  mishloach manot, or the sending of packages.  At the end of the party, each child gave the one he or she made to a friend. 


After craft time, Angela, Bethany and I put on an very impromptu puppet show of the story of Esther.  The kids absolutely loved it.  


A few days later, we attended a Purim celebration with our Kehilah.  After our normal time of worship, we had a time of intercession for Israel, since that's what the story of Esther is about!  After that, we had a reading of the Megillah, then a celebration with yummy food! 

Devin dressed as a Court Jester.... and Aviel and I put on our Lion gear again!

Abba and Aviel making funny faces.  

Lion with a sword. 

Phone camera self portrait. 

Thank you for celebrating Purim with us this year!  

Purim Sameach! 

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Working Out "Quiet Time"

I am a different person when I am in the word daily, seriously. 

Since the Operation Pillar of Defense, (which I prefer to call Pillar Cloud), I have had a true hunger for the word.  The manifest presence of God that I experienced combined with the shaking of my flesh that occurred that week gave me a taste of Matt 24:35  where Yeshua says:

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

As I've prayed and sought Him about how to be better spiritually prepared for the next conflict, His constant leading is...

Stay in my Word.

In terms of my heart condition, that's not hard right now...  sometimes it is...  but not right now.  I know that I need Him.  His word is eternal and I desire to be filled with the things that will last beyond today.  So often I wish I could sit and soak up scripture all day long, but the needs of living in this present age persist.  My Mary heart has to turn to necessary Martha work.  

I can't sit and read the bible all day, or lay on my face bathing in the Spirit under the fragrant sound of worship music like I could when I was single, or married without a child.   Even the discipline of getting up and starting my day in with bible reading has become more of a memory than a reality as little hands paw all over me the minute the sun rises, "Can we get up, Ima?  The sun's up now.  I want cereal and cow's milk."  Then, "Play cars with me...  Play trains with me..." 

Not to mention hand washing dishes, line drying laundry, maintaining all the dust in the summer from open windows, and mildew management in the winter due to persistent rains.  It takes a lot of work to keep an orderly home in the Land.  I'm on my feet all day long, and I crash at the end of the day.

When Aviel was a small baby, I would sit and nurse him and read the bible,  but his needs have changed.  I went through a season where I remember saying,  "Lord, I miss you!"  The Lord was so good to meet me where I was was, powerfully maximizing short times with Him.  I'm deeply and desperately hungry for the Lord right now, so I want more of Him...  more time with Him.   

What I'm finding to help is to embrace this idea of starting my day in the word by turning on some scripture to music.  Aviel and I listen to all sorts of worship music as well, but something about having the straight forward word of God to music empowers my day.  Even if its only on passively in the background, I'm still absorbing it, and so is Aviel. 

Right now, I have three different musical resources I'm using for this:  Seeds Family WorshipGlory Revealed, and Hidden in My Heart Scripture Lullabies.   (If you know of others please pass along titles, links, etc!). *

Next, I'm trying to take full advantage of Aviel's naptime as a time for building my understanding and knowledge of scripture through listening to strong bible teachings.  My favorite, right now, is a podcast by Nancy Leigh Demoss called Revive Our Hearts.  She regularly has expository teachings on various passages in the bible, and her anointing to teach the word is incredibly strong.  I listen while I go through my afternoon cleaning routine, but often times end up on on my knees in a prayer posture, asking the Lord to make His word real in my life.  His presence is that powerful through her show.

Another important matter is actually reading my bible!  The best way to go about this, for me, is to leave my bible open someplace in the living room or kitchen.  I can always squeeze in a Psalm on a busy day, or get into some deeper reading and study while Aviel is sleeping.  Having my bible open and present is a great reminder to dig in!  And sometimes its a matter of making a personal choice to disconnect from social media, phone calls, or general web surfing,  and spend time with the Lord instead. 

My friend, Bethany,  one time shared that she reads scripture to her three precious little girls when they stop to eat.  "I want them to know that we don't just feed our bodies, but we feed our souls as well."  The wisdom the Lord gave her to implement this into their day is quite profound.  It works on a practical level, keeping bible reading a regular part of their day.  Its sowing something much greater into her children, transcending beyond meeting their physical needs.    

Another wise friend, Kris, who is a mother of six shared that she makes a point to pray over each of her children while she folds their clothes.  As I've implemented this practice into my laundry routine, so not only are Devin and Aviel prayed over as I pull shirts and pants off the line, but it also makes serving them a joy, as I lift my eyes above the sacrifice and work involved.

So, how about you?  How are you making a point to prioritize your relationship with the Lord during this season of raising small children?  I'd love to hear about what's working in your heart and in your home.  

* I don't receive any form of income or compensation from this blog.  Anything I recommend is 100% because its something I enjoy! 

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