Thursday, December 31, 2009

Abraham's prayer for Abimelech

This is after the three men appeared to Abraham and told him that Sarah would have a baby.

Gen 20:1 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar.

There Abraham said that Sarah was his sister (again!), so the people in Gerar took her. It is interesting to know that Abraham told the same lie for the second time regarding Sarah after the LORD and two angels visited Abraham and told him that Sarah will have a baby. Then God visited the king in his dream and told him not to touch Sarah. (Then it is clear that Isaac was not from this king.)

Then Abraham prayed for him.

Then what happened?

"God healed Abimelech, his wife and his slave girls so they could have children again".

To me, it looks like what God just did was to show Abraham that God was able to close and open the womb. I wonder what Abraham thought of this! He was getting too old, yet God confirmed that Sarah was the one to have the baby. Then he lied, putting Sarah in danger underAbimelech. Yet it is clear in the scripture that Sarah was untouched. Then God told Abimelech that Abraham could pray for him. When Abraham prayed, Abimelech's wife and his household could have babies!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Happy are those who finds the meanings of the scriptures

Azazel is the Hebrew word for a scapegoat. Some translations make me think that it is the name of a place, including my Japanese Bible.

Negev is an example of confusion. Negev is a name of an area and it means south.  In some translations it is translated as 'south' and it is confusing.  Negev was where Abraham went from Egypt, which means he went up towards north, but if your Bible says south, then, it doesn't make sense and that causes people to say "See, the Bible doesn't make sense."

The word "lots" in "casting lots" is pebbles. This changes the picture we have in our own heads as we read the Bible, too. I would think of sticks or something. In Japan, we "draw" instead of "cast."

When you know the original meanings, it helps to understand the Bible more clearly, and different translations won't threaten you and makes you happy that the God of the Bible is still active and alive. I am happy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Naaman's story

Naaman's story

I have always admired the young girl's courage to tell Naaman about the prophet in Samaria. She had been captured and taken to the foreign country, working as a maid. Her situation didn't look good, but she had faith, and that faith caused her to say “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.” Would I still I have passionate enough faith to tell someone that God can heal him/her if my situation doesn't look good? It is a good question!

God sometimes uses foolish-looking things to deal with us. Are we willing to look unimportant? I pray that I would not be too proud...

I see that God also performs miracles quietly. In Japan I heard a lot of people apologize for not having a dramatic and significant story before they gave their testimonies. I think they are the miracles to believe and follow like that. God loves you!

Demonstration of Christian love

My son loves the LORD and His words. He went to a church meeting one night (one of the churches he visits sometimes) and came back, looking solemn. O, oh..what happened? I started to be worried because even in the Christian world, people hurt people, and a lot of ugly things happen. I waited over night, then I asked him how the church was. He said the message was okay. Then I tried to tell him that it may not have been for him (trying to be an encouraging mom) and so on. BUT my wonderful God is already present in is life. God loves him more than I do. My son is experiencing and understanding much more than I can imagine. He said that he was blown away by the overwhelming love and support the church showed to the young speaker who gave a message that night. It is so precious. He is experiencing God's love. The look he had was not a disappointed look, but was a deeply-touched-by-God look.

I have friends in pentecostal church, Methodist church, non-denomination church, and so on. I still tend to judge by the names of the church, but I am quickly ashamed by my thoughts. Praise God. Who am I to judge if I don't know who they are? (even if I know who they are??)

Then I came across this tonight. I was touched by his statement. Here is Mr. Bill Johnson!

God is breaking down the walls among us.

Friday, December 18, 2009

And he went out (VaYetze)

Reading portion...Genesis 28:10-32:3

God of Jacob
In this portion Jacob went out to his mom's brother's place. Then God appeared him as 'God of Abraham and God of Isaac'.

I joined a woman's Bible study group even though they had already started several weeks before I joined. The day I joined, they were studying this passage about Jacob. Then for the first time I saw how God of Abraham and God of Isaac became God of Jacob also.

After God appeared to him, Jacob said this in Genesis 28:20-22(NIV):
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."
Jacob got to his uncle's house, met Rachel, married Leah, then Rachel, and he had children. After working for his uncle for 20 years, he left his father-in-law's house. Then God appeared to him again in Genesis 35 (NIV):
1 Then God said to Jacob, "Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau." 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3 Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with wherever I have gone."
I see that God indeed answered Jacob's first prayer (Gen. 28) and now God has become Jacob's God!

This reminded me of a story I heard on the radio many years ago. A student at a seminary always prayed for other people, being a good seminary student, but never prayed for herself. A personal/social problem happened and she did not know how to handle it. Then a professor told her that it is okay to ask God for guidance for her personal problems. The student was amazed that the professor would say something like that...but then she decided to pray for herself. In the meantime, the professor and his wife prayed earnestly for her because the professor really wanted this girl to experience God in her daily life. And God answered all of their prayers in a very personal way that no one expected. Then she became a changed woman. Her face was glowing because she now experienced how much God cared for her. God became her personal God. God will be everyone's personal God because He is willing!

God of Abraham and Isaac is now God of Jacob also. Jacob experienced God in his personal life. God is his God now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hanukkah candy dish

I love this dish. The color and design and everything is perfect. It is a candy dish for Hanukkah.

I remember you, Devorah. If you ever see this blog, leave a comment!! Years ago when I first started to be attracted by the Jewish culture and the Old Testament, I was listening to a message on a tape. She challenged the audience to love a Jewish person. I prayed that God will send me a Jewish person that I can love because I didn't know anyone. Then, out of nowhere I met a Messianic Jewish lady, Devorah. I gave her one of my favorite CDs, Old and New, for a Christmas present that year and she gave this dish to me. We didn't know we had gifts for each other. After awhile she moved away and we didn't continue contacting each other. I hope she is doing well.

I haven't looked into the Jewish festivals all these years because I am trying to understand how they started first. Then, of course it will take a long time... But when God wants to show it to me more in detail, I think the right timing will come. In the meantime, I keep studying the scriptures.

This year my daughter saw a Hanukkah cat bed at Target and we bought it because our cat doesn't have a bed. I will have to post a picture sometime.

Generations (Toldot)

The meaning of the names
Esau was named "hairy"because he was hairy. Jacob was named "heel holder" because he was holding on to Esau's heel when he came out of the womb. I read in a Messianic commentary that Jacob doesn't mean 'deceiver'. When I think of it, when we discuss Jacob's story in a bible study without consulting the original meaning and by simply comparing the different translations, our opinions are usually based on the image of Jacob as a deceiver. All my Christian life I was taught that Jacob meant deceiver. Did 'holding on to a brother's heel' automatically mean 'deceiving'? If not, when did people add the meaning of 'deceiver' to Jacob's original meaning? I just wonder.

My husband and I named our children with hopes that their lives will be blessed, that their names will somehow be true in their lives - like 'Christ's light shining', which is the meaning of our daughter's name. Don't we choose our baby's names because we want them to be blessed and we are thinking more of their future rather than right now? We were thinking toward the babies' future when we named them. But! Now that I think of it, my name was given because of the time of the day I was born - in English, that would be 'dawn'. My aunt wanted me to be hopeful --- because more light comes at the dawn. Well, at least mine is not like Moses (sorry!) who was name "drawn out of water" because he was drawn out of water. Benjamin was at first named Ben-oni which means son of suffering because Rachel was suffering when he was born. She named him first then later Jacob changed his name to Benjamin. We usually don't choose the names for our babies because we were thirsty or we were in pain. But the Old Testament people seem to do that.

the image of Jacob

We tend to form a certain image of a person according to their nickname even before we get to know him/her. My image of Jacob has changed since I started reading this passage from the Jewish point of view, with the Hebrew dictionary, and both Jewish and Messianic commentaries. If I don't think of him as a deceiver from the very beginning, then I start to see things differently in the Bible. Esau sold his birth right, knowing what he was doing. The Bible says so, too. He despised it and sold it to Jacob.
In Genesis 25:27 we read that Jacob was a plain man (KJV), a kind man (NLT), a quiet man (NIV), etc... Compared to Esau, the verse makes us have an image of Jacob as a weak person. But behold the meaning of the original word! (from the Blue Letter Bible) 

1) perfect, complete

a) complete, perfect

1) one who lacks nothing in physical strength, beauty, etc

b) sound, wholesome

1) an ordinary, quiet sort of person

c) complete, morally innocent, having integrity

1) one who is morally and ethically pure

other notes

This could be just me, but doesn't it look like it is a family trend to favor one child over another? Both Abraham and Isaac (and Jacob, later) favored one son over the other. Abraham seems like he liked Ishmael a lot because he was reluctant to listen to Sarah, so God had to tell him to listen to her, and Isaac loved Esau more. Then later Jacob favored Joseph and it was obvious, and that caused a problem.

uncle Laban

I did not know that Abraham was from the Syrian family. Some other translations I saw said "the Aramean." Some people who use certain translations wouldn't know what I am talking about (I didn't know, either) because certain translations omitted that part (Syrian or Aramean).

a little bit of Hebrew lesson...

On the way to his uncle's house, at a place called Luz (it means 'almond tree'), God visited him in his dream. Jacob called the place Bethel. Beth means house and -el means, the house of God.

After the dream,
Jacob said that this place is like the gateway to heaven.
Later Jesus said that he is the gateway. I wonder if the Jewish people were reading Toldot during that week when Jesus said this. Now, that would have been a true life application from the Bible!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grant peace - Sim Shalom

This is called Sim Shalom (Grant Peace). This is one of the songs/prayer from their prayer book. I love it. After the interview part, the music starts.

This is what the song is about. ( I don't know if he is singing all this or not.) Here is where I got the translation.

"Grant peace, happiness, and blessing to the world, with grace, love, and mercy for us and for the people Israel. Bless us, our Father, one and all, with Your light; for by that light did You teach us Torah and life, love and tenderness, justice, mercy, and peace. May it please You to bless Your people Israel in every season and at all times with Your gift of peace. Praised are You, Lord who blesses His people Israel with peace."

May God's peace, happiness, blessing, grace, love, and mercy be for all of us.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rebecca and her water

There is an interesting Jewish custom in the kind deeds Rebecca displayed.

Genesis 24: 18She said, "Drink, my lord." And she quickly let down her jar upon her hand and gave him a drink. 19When she had finished giving him a drink, she said, "I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking." 20So she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels.

The Jewish way of understanding this passage is like this:
After letting a stranger drink from her jar, Rebecca had to make a choice. She couldn't have taken the rest of the water home to give to the family after a stranger drank out of it. But it would be rude to the stranger if she spilled the water in front of him. So Rebecca told Eliezar that she would give water to the camels also, then pour the water into the trough. She wanted to maintain the dignity of the stranger. She genuinely cared about others. ( and animals at the same time)

I think she is quick to do the right deeds. She reminds me of Abraham.

I found similar commentary here. This website is not a Messianic but I think we can learn a lot from their way of understanding.

The roots still support the branches.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fertile Crescent and God's trace

Here is a quote from Wikipedia.
The term "Fertile Crescent" was coined by University of Chicago archaeologist James Henry Breasted in his "Ancient Records of Egypt", around 1900.[1] The region was named so due to its rich soil and crescent shape.

"Due to its rich soil and crescent shape," it says!
Here is the map that shows the Fertile Crescent. I was amazed to see the map!! It is as though God has blessed Abraham wherever he went! I think it shows how God was truly with Abraham! It is as though God was already blessing him, and the rich soil is the evidence.

It is just like Christians because we carry God's light.

My son took me out to dinner last week when the rest of the family was out of town. His choice was an Asian restaurant where they displayed the whole body of so-called gods. He said, "It's a little dark, not so crowded, and some statues of Buddha are there." And he smiled. At first I resisted, then decided to go along with him because he said that we carried the light of Jesus and go in there. We had a good time and enjoyed the food.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sarah's life (Chayei Sarah)

Abraham wanted his servant to find a bride for Isaac. Eliezar, Abraham's trusted servant, is just like Abraham. He left with gifts right away to Abraham's brother's town to look for Isaac's bride . Just like Abraham he was quick to obey.

An interesting thing I noticed was that even though Eliezar was sure that God guided him to Rebecca, he wanted to see what they thought, for he said this to Rebecca's family: v,48 “Then I bowed low and worshiped the Lord. I praised the Lord, the God of my master, Abraham, because he had led me straight to my master’s niece to be his son’s wife. 49 So tell me—will you or won’t you show unfailing love and faithfulness to my master? Please tell me yes or no, and then I’ll know what to do next.”

He knew God led him, but he didn't push it to the other party. A wise man! I like his approach.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dance with me

After digging into God's words and looking into Hebrew dictionary with numbers, then my textbooks and more numbers (because I am studying med. billing and coding), I remembered to look up again... Thankfulness and worship are essential for my soul yet I ...sort of... neglected because I was reading and I thought studying was satisfying my inner self. Over and over again I do this. Over and over again the LORD is waiting.
Lord, I seldom dance, but ..

Dance with me!

I feel like it today. What a great song!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A year ago

In October 2008 I was laid off from my part time job after 8 years, and God opened a door for me to go to a vocational college. Usually I don't have much confidence in daily lives but when I was trying to decide whether I could go through a school or not, God gave me encouragements from different directions. The courage sprang up within me gradually to make a decision and jump into the program . The final encouragement from God for this decision came to me after I signed up. I came home that night and turned on DVR and watched Pastor Joseph Prince. He was teaching on tithes. We give ten percent to God because the number ten represents the whole 100 %, he said. We give him 10%, ( = first fruit) to God and he will bless the whole thing. Since 10% represents the rest of it, the whole 100% becomes blessed. All God wants is 10%. If the first fruit is holy then the rest is holy. Pastor Prince went on to talk about our brain. (as if this message was for me who didn't have confidence in my brain) People say that we use 10 % of the brain. Pastor Prince basically said that if we dedicate the 10% of our brain that we use, then the rest of it becomes blessed because the 10% we give to God represents the whole. This whole message made sense to me and I was greatly encouraged by it, because my concern had been that my brain may not be good enough to go to school. But God was encouraging me to simply give the 10% to God, then he will bless the whole brain! It may sound silly, but I believed. If I trust God in this and keep Him first, I believed God would bless me.

Now I am almost done with the program (it is a one-year program), and getting ready to go on. It was an amazing, amazing experience. I was so blessed. Praise God.

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (Zech. 4:6)

List of Genesis portions for the beginners

Genesis is divided into 12 portions or stories.

Jewish title
English translation
B’reisheet In the beginning 1:1-6:8 God's creation
Noach Noah 6:9-11:32 Noah's story
Lech Lecha Go forth 12:1-17:27 Abraham's story
Vayera And he came 18:1-22:24 The LORD appeared
Chayei Sarah Life of Sarah 23:1-25:18 Sara lives on
Toldot Generations 25:19-28:9 The coming generations
of Isaac
VaYetze And he went out 28:10-32:3 Jacob went out
VaYishlach And he sent 32:4-36:43 Jacob sent gifts
to Esau
VaYeshev And he settled 37:1-40:23 Jacob settled in
the land
Miketz At the end of 41:1-44:17 Joseph explained
the dreams…
VaYigash And he drew near 44:18-47:27 Judah drew near to
face down ….
VaYechi And he llived 47:28-50:26 towards the end of
Jacob's life

Reading the scriptures as stories helps me a lot, I think. I like the way it is divided.

Today's song in my heart.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit”, says the LORD of hosts. (Zech. 4:6)

My church in Japan used to sing this a lot. I just started singing this while I was on line looking for a job, remembering that God is the source of everything.

Monday, November 2, 2009

And He Appeared (Vayera)

Gnesis 18:1-22:24 is titled "And he appeared".

The title for each weekly reading is usually taken from the beginning of the portion. The LORD and two men appeared where Abraham was - at the door of the tent. According to the commentaries I read, this was when Abraham was hurting the most after the circumcision.

Abraham is always quick to obey God's words and he is kind.

  • He was told to leave his father's house and he did. (Genesis 12)
  • He gave up his right to choose the good-looking land and let Lot decode which land to take when the possessions grew too big. (Gen 13)
  • He got up and departed to rescue Lot after he heard that Lot was captured. (Gen 14) --Then apparently Lot went back to his wicked city.
  • He let go of Hagar and Ishmael when Sarah was not happy. Abraham was reluctant but God told him to listen to Sarah.(Gen 16)
  • He circumcised himself and his household soon after God told him. (Gen 17)
  • He was willing to to sacrifice his only son ( he left the next day). (Gen 22)

Now when the LORD showed up with two other men, Abraham ran to meet them, then he asked them not to pass away. He said he would bring a little water to wash their feet, and a morsel of bread. Then he hurried to Sarah and asked her to bake a large bread with fine flour, then ran to fetch a calf tender and good (he even picked it himself), and told the young man to dress it. Then he took the butter, milk and the calf to the men. Abraham stood by them while they ate. What a man! He spoke humbly, but his action was great.

Let's compare Lot to Abraham.

Lot chose the best-looking land when he had a chance to choose land. When the two of the men who visited Abraham went on to Sodom where Lot lived, he told them that they could wash their feet with water and spend the night. And Lot cooked flat bread. I wonder if his wife was from Sodom because I don't read about his wife until after he moved to Sodom...

Our kind God asks, “Do you have any other relatives here in the city?” (Genesis 19:12)

A few years ago as I was looking for a direction for prayer for my father, I felt like this was what God was asking me. "Do you have any family member in the city?" My quick response was, "My father is still there in the darkness, and he doesn't know it!! And he doesn't want to get out!" Then in Genesis 19:16 says this: "When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful." My prayer for my father changed that night! I asked God to grab his hand and take him out of the darkness, because he will not be willing to leave the darkness. A few weeks later I went to see my father and I witnessed a miracle of this stubborn man nodding to my question, "Do you want to believe him?"

Silent three days

In a way, Abraham's son was dead for 3 days... I wonder what Abraham and Isaac talked on their way to the place where the LORD told him to go. After 3 days, Isaac was about to be sacrificed but the LORD told him to stop, and a ram took his place. Until the LORD told Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac, it must have been as though he was dead...and came back to life.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Avram Amen-ed?

He (Avram) believed, and he was declared righteous. ( Genesis15:6) When I read this verse in The Complete Word Study Old Testament I saw that the original word for 'believe' is pronounced 'amen'. Is this amen the same as Amen that we say in church? It looks like this amen in Genesis 15:6 is a prime root, and it means to build up or support. In Psalms 89:52 we read "Blessed be the LORD forever more. Amen, and Amen." And this amen (#543)came from Avram's amen (#539). So they are related!

Abram 'amen'-ed, and God declared him righteous.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A heifer and a ram

I saw something interesting in Genesis 15:9.

Abram asked a question.
(Genesis 15:8)
But he said, "O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?"

Then God told him to bring him some specific animals.

What is a heifer?
My English-Japanese dictionary says a female cow under 3 years old which has not produced a calf. One commentary said that 3 yeas old is ceremonially mature (for sacrifice). The said 'a young cow over one year old that has not produced a calf.' Then it means a mature female cow which can have a baby but hasn't had one yet.

Then a female goat.

Then a ram. What is a ram? It is a male sheep old or mature enough to be a father.

Two female animals, one mature male animal, then two birds. It almost looks like the heifer is Sarai and the ram is Avram!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New beginning, loving others

I came across this messianic rabbi's website and learned a lot today. (*^-^)b Thank you, Rabbi Levine. His message of "Rejoicing in the Torah" led me to repent of my stubborn attitude. He said that he noticed as he was reading a lot of articles about Genesis that people want to cancel each other out, so he decided to ignore all of that, because some things are not very clear in the Scripture. There is room for us to perceive differently. As I listened to his message, Christ's command to love one another came alive. We are called to love one another! Not to make a point and win in an argument. It was a wonderful teaching.

In the morning service at my church today we sang a song which says, "you're all I want." I always skip this part because I cannot say that Jesus is all I want a lot of times. Usually I quickly confess that to God during that song. It is a popular song among the Christians. Then the pastor said at the end of the service that sometimes Jesus is not all we want if we are honest (may not be exactly what he said), and I talked to him about that after the service. Rabbi Levine's message said that God saw that it was not good for man to be alone, so He made Eve. He said loving God alone is not enough. (This reminded me of the song.) We need to love others. That is so true. In loving others, we show our love to God.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I am a Christian, and I was very touched by a commentary of a rabbi named Mordechai Kamenetzky. How I got there is a long story, but I thought this was an amazing explanation of Joshua's name as Hoshea!! Joshua's name is called Hoshea and it happens only in this verse. This is in Deuteronomy 32:44. Here is the whole chapter. My heart rejoiced after learning the insight. If anyone reads my blog, I hope I don't offend Christians or Jewish people by my usage of the rabbi's commentary. I couldn't find a satisfying answer in Christian commentaries, so I turned to the places where they understand the Hebrew. I have learned that God loves the Jewish people and God loves us. I have learned that Judaism is the root of Christianity. I want to love what God loves (I am still learning to do so...). So here is the link. After reading this and understand a little more, I could almost sense that Moses called Joshua without the letter yud with his whole emotion. He wanted the Israelites to follow God, being led by Joshua. His desire towards the next generation and towards the one who was to lead the people into the new land was that they would follow God, but he could not force them or Joshua. They had to choose.

A little explanation.
Ha'Azinu is one of the reading portions in Deuteronomy (32:1-52) and it meanse "give ear" = listen. Moshe is Moses. Yehoshua is how Joshua is pronounced in Hebrew. Hoshea in the commentary is Hosea in the Christian's Bible (Deut. 32:44). In some translations, Hosea is translated as Joshua instead of Hosea, which is in essence right, but then the impact is not there after we understand why Joshua's name is not Joshua here.

The "yud" which the rabbi is talking about is one of the Hebrew letters. Just like the letter h (I wrote about it some somewhere, and I learned it from other messianic website), the letter yud has some meanings. Even each little dot counts in the old testament. Jesus said so, too.

After I read the commentary, a prayer for our next generation flooded within me.
The next generation needs to decided on their own whether they are for God or not, just like Joshua did. Now the leader (Moses) is going to stay on this side of the river, and they have to go on with the Israelites beyond the river, to the new land. All the glories we saw in the past and all the success we experienced in the past, are they because of our own strength? I pray that my children, their generation and their children and and grandchildren will choose to walk with God!! Each generation needs to make a choice, and not just the next generation. We cannot believe our 'hand-me-down' Christianity. God wants us to choose him on our own.

We also need to remember who we are. So many examples in the Bible teach us that they fall because they forgot who they were.

Joshua remembered who he was.

All the victories did come from God, and without God, he did not have the power to lead the Israelites to the promised land. After Moses called him Hoshea, Joshua's name is Joshua again.

God is teaching me that in my situation at school... As I have gained some confidence and started to feel comfortable, I noticed that I feel like I can go through another class because I did well in my previous class. How easy it is to think that 'I' did it when the strength and power and success only come from our God. I forget how desperately I prayed at the very beginning. When I was scared to face this new season, I prayed a lot! Confidence is good, but it I am still a timid person with a proud heart. So I have to remember who I am.

Ha'Azinu insight by Rabbi Mordecai was a very, very powerful! Now I understand that the name of Joshua was not Joshua in Deuteronomy 32:44 on purpose. This is a great example of "It is written."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Avram went down further to Negev. Then he went to Egypt. Egypt in Hebrew is Mizraim. It is the name of one of Ham's sons, isn't it? Ham is one of Noah's sons.

Then after Egypt, the scriptures say this:
Genesis 13 (King James Version)
1And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.

Some translations said he went to the Negev. It used to confuse me because Negev is north of Egypt. Then found out that Negev means south!

Lot had a lot of animals, too, so he departed from Abram. Abram is so nice. He let Lot choose his land. Lot chose east and journeyed on. The LORD spoke to Abram after Lot (= 'covering') left, saying, 'Lift up your eyes and look...'.

The Jewish people call the gentiles 'Goym'. It actually means a nation. I still don't get it because it looks like sometimes it means simply a nation and most of the time it means gentiles. How do you know which translation to use? I am not sure. When God made a promise to Abram, saying that God will make him a great nation(12:2), the original word is this 'goym'. Does it mean that God was including everyone? ( I mean, I know anyone who believes is included, but I just wondered if the Jewish people understand this part I wonder if it is tied to Paul's letter to the Galatians. He said in his letter that
the scriptures looked forward to this time when God would accept the gentiles, too, on the basis of their faith.

In Gen 14:1, four kings are mentioned. Some translations says different things. The original word for the fourth nation is "goym". Some translations says "the king of Goiim." Some translations say the king of the nations. This is interesting.

Avram the Hebrew
Then there was a war. Four kings against five kings. The latter group included infamous Sodom and Gomorrah, and they lost. Lot was living in Sodom and was in trouble. One person escaped and went to "Abram the Hebrew." Avram is called the Hebrew for the first time.. Hebrew, according to The Complete Word Study Old Testament, means descendants of Eber. Eber is Shem (Noah's son)'s great grand son. Eber means to cross over.

Gen 10:21
Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were [children] born.

I wonder why Eber is so significant.??

tithes and circumcision
This is still the pre-law era.
Avram gave tithes---God appeared and made a promise ---Abram believed, so God counted it to him for righteousness---THEN circumcision AS a token of the covenant between God and Abram.

Here are some interesting verses to read together: this (Genesis 17) and this (Galatians 5).

If Paul's letter was in Hebrew, I wonder if we would see any wordplay in it.

Ishmael is also circumcised.

organizing who's who

It is a little blurry but this is what I have been doing to keep track of who's who.

God created Adam and Eve, then they had 3 sons and others.

Cain killed Abel, and Cain's line eventually disappeared.
Seth's line continued to Noah, and from Noah's sons 70 nations spread out.

Cain's descendants and Abel's descendants have similar names.

This is Noa's family line.


Old and New

Here is one of my favorite Cds. You can hear the sample music. It is called 'Old and New'. I listened to my CD so much that I couldn't listen to it for awhile then this came back into my life again lately. Everything in this CD is my favorite but there is a song called 'The Messianic Banquet', and I was fascinated by that tune. It is in Yiddish. The lyrics in the original language for this particular song was not included in the cover, so I was a little disappointed. I will probably never learn Yiddish but I would love to learn to sing this song. I looked all over for the lyrics in transliteration on and off for two years and suddenly I found it by accident yesterday. This is the lyrics for it. The children ask a Rabbi some questions and the Rabbi would answer. It is a Jewish folk song and the Jewish children sing this during the passover to ask the rabbi about the Savior they are waiting for. It is like a tongue-twister song.

What will happen when the Messiah comes?
What will we eat at the feast?
What will we drink at the feast?
Who will explicate the Torah to us at the feast?
Who will play for us at the feast?
Who will say words of wisdom for us at the feast?
Who will dance for us at the feast?

Here is the 5th verse that Avner & Rachel Boskey, who are Christians, added.

Who will redeem us so that we can partake of the messianic banquet?

The answer is
"Yeshua the Messiah will redeem us, and in His good gospel we will rejoice!"

I really recommend this CD.


I need faith

"Where is your faith?" my devotional book says.
I see the overwhelming big wave coming my way because my faith is suddenly in the surroundings. Jesus says to believe Him.

Abraham believed and he was counted as righteous.
When he believed God for the promise, there was no signed paper or any thing to prove that it would come true. He had only God's promise, and he believed.

'Faith like Abraham's ' is what I need lately.


Go forth! (Lech Lecha!)

Lech Lecha! ( Go forth!) is the title of the next portion. It is about Abraham.

I am thankful for the Old Testament! We say that OT = law and we are now living in the New Testament, and NT= grace. But there are different parts to the OT: before the law, the law through Moses, history, the prophecy. etc. It is not only the law. I am thankful for the specially-trained Scribes who hand-copied the OT with the strict rules. So even a little dot has been preserved and placed in the right place in the Book. I think the NT is sometimes like a commentary to the OT. The NT explains the OT and helps us understand more.

The beginning part of the Bible is free from the law.
Paul explains in his letter to the Romans.

Then the law came through Moses to protect the Israelite people.
Then Jesus came, and we don't need the law any more.

We are acceptable to God because of our faith. (Galatians)


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The second portion of the Jewish Torah reading cycle is 'Noach' (Noah).

It is interesting to know that even though everyone in the Bible in Genesis lived long, these people were all dead before the flood came except for Noah and his family. I made a chart on a piece of paper after I saw the Inductive Study Bible's chart. I wanted to follow the Scripture and try to created the same chart on my own. I was looking for a way to post it here, then, I found it on line. Here is a chart that shows the longevity of the Bible people ( It is really interesting to see this. The first thing I noticed was that Noah was alive when Abraham was born. Isn't that something.

Methuselah is the person who lived on this earth the longest. He outlived his son. Then notice that all mentioned in the Bible -Noah's family- died before the flood. The Jewish tradition says that Noah had a grieving period of 7 days after Methuselah died and then God closed the door of the ark.

Noah is the only righteous person but 7 more family members got to go on the ark. I think of this verse.

Acts 16:31 (NIV) They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."

Only Jesus can save our lives. No human can. But because whoever believes Jesus can pray for their family until the very end, that is what all believers should and want to do! That's what I do - keep on praying for my family.

One Hebrew word has some different meanings.

Here is an example of רוח (ruwach). It is the word for wind, breath, or spirit. When I read the English Bible or Japanese Bible I just accept what I read as it is, but reading with some Hebrew knowledge helps me to think more.

Gen 1:2 "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

Gen 7:15 "And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life.

Gen 8:1 "And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind ..."

The Hebrew text uses the same word 'ruwach' for all the purple words above: Spirit, breath and wind. I have a lot of questions.. How do you know which English word to use when you translate? By context? Could you translate Gen 1:2 as 'wind'? Could it be that God sent the Spirit in Genesis 8:1? When a Rabbi reads Genesis 8:1 and sees the word 'ruwach', would he be thinking that this has something to do with the Spirit even though it is a wind? I would love to know if they are interchangeable.

God repeated the creation after the flood.

to Adam
to Noah

water was separated
God made an expanse to separage the water (Gen. 1:6)
The rain from heaven was restrained (Gen 8:2)

dry land appeared
Dry land appeared (Gen 1:9)
The ark rested (Gen 8:4)

God's words to all creatures
Be fruitful and increase in number.(Gen 1:20)
Multiply upon the earth.(Gen 8:17)

God's words to human
Be fruitful and increase in number; (Gen 1)
Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.(Gen 9:1,7)

God gave Adam all the greens and herb to eat (Gen 1:29), but God added beasts for meat for Noah. (Gen 9:3)

When we talk about Noah's sons, it is always 'Shem, Ham and Japheth', but the Jewish teachings say that Japheth is probably the oldest.

Some more thoughts on Noah's story.

I tried to draw the ark by just reading the Bible.

Gen 6:15-16 (NIV) This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.

Gen 6:15-16 (NAS) "This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

Gen 6:15-16 (KJV) And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

I am just a regular person and I still don't know the grammar of Hebrew, but the word top or above make me want to draw one window on the top. (just an opinion of a mom...but I like my drawing!) I found an interesting commentary right after I drew this today.

"Noah's window only looked upward. It had no outlook on the waters; therefore, he sent forth the birds." (F.B.Meyer)

The rain must have come in. Still this one window on the top fits my image after drawing the ark as I read the Complete Word Study Old Testament. One window to only to look up, trusting the LORD... They were not allowed to see the world go under the water, but just trust in the LORD.

"What drowns other men only lifts the child of God nearer his home" (F.B.Meyer)

This is still encouraging to us in modern days. When the water is coming down and we are scared but we need to remember to look up to Him through the only opening we have on the top...

Just a little note...
Only those who were on the dry land perished! The creatures in the water remained the same before or after the flood. Interesting.

spread into Europe
Shem spread into Asia
Ham spread into Africa


my study of Genesis

B'REISHEET - In The Beginning

God is called Elohim again in Gen 4 (except that part that Eve is talking about God).

I thought it was interesting.

The word snake derived from 'whisper'. That makes me think that whatever the shape it was, it whispered to Eve. And the snake became the shape of snake we know AFTER God cursed him. So....what did he look like before the curse??

Cain killed Abel, and Seth was born later.
Cain's descendants' years are not recorded where as Seth's line is recorded in detail.
Cain's line is Enoch - Irad, - Mehujael - Methushael - Lamech.
Seth's line is Enosh - Kenan - Mahalalel,- Jared - Enoch - Methuselah - Lamech.

Since Cain's family's years are not recorded, I don't know if they line up like this, but they have similar names. Interesting.
In Chuck Missler's website, he wrote the meanings of Seth's descendants' names if anyone is interested. Personally, I love reading those things but I try not to put too much thoughts into it. I keep it in the back of my mind. If I get into something like that, ( which I tend to do) I might loose balance and I don't want to do that.

Whenever somebody's name ends with -el, that has something to do with God.
Mahalalel (Mahalal'el) means praise of God. There are other famous names like Daniel and Nathaniel.

These are the things I learned and wondered.
(from 11/07/2008)

God is bigger than any trouble

I am looking for a job right now and I started to feel pressure just because days are going by quickly and feel the need to rush and go to another chapter of my life quickly. The timing looks bad now that a lot of American people are in trouble financially and I feel like everything is going downhill. But I was forgetting that my God is bigger than any trouble around the world. A friend of mine sent me an email with a very encouraging words of God. It was not specifically for me, but it was very encouraging to be reminded that our God wants to give us peace that comes only from knowing Him.

(from 11/7/2008)

A lot of info from Genesis

Adam and Eve's story begins in chapter 2 verse 4.
From Genesis 1:1 to 2:4, whenever the Bible says God, the Hebrew word is Elohim which means God but it is a plural form (and the singular verb is used after that). After 2:4 the Bible says LORD God, which is Jehovah Elohim instead of God (Elohim). LORD is Jehovah in Hebrew - the most sacred word that the Jewish people don't pronounce. Whenever they see this word, they read it as 'Adonai'. After some research, I think Elohim is used when we want to talk about God who is the creator of everything. There must be a reason why Moses suddenly changed God's name (title?) from Elohim to Jehovah Elohim. I want to ask someone, because I haven't found a satisfying answer on line yet...too much information!!


More things I learned since I started to think about Jewish roots... (regarding this portion of the Bible).

The Jewish people seem to talk about numbers a lot. Seven is the number of perfection. For 6 days God created and made things, then He rested on the seventh day. So there are 7 days in God's creation.

When God created and made things, He said 'it was good'. How many times? Six times He said 'it was good' and one time He said 'it was very good'.

Day 1...God saw that the light was good
Day 2.. He did not say it was good.
Day 3...God saw that it was good...He said it twice
Day 4...God saw that it was good
Day 5...God saw that it was good
Day 6...God saw all that he had made, and it was very good

In one book I was reading, there was a question. Why didn't God say it was good on the second day? I could not answer for 2 years. It bothered me. One answer I found was that God knew that the flood was going to happen and the water from above will come down to vanish the living things on the earth. So He was sad. Another website said that it was probably because God's work regarding the water was not done yet on the second day. Water was divided and the land showed. God did not say 'it is good' until a certain work was finished. The second answer makes sense to me.


There was evening, and there was morning on 1st through 6th day, but not on the 7th day.

Oh, one more interesting thing I found was that Hebrew readers probably see that Cain and Abel had siblings ( besides Seth who was born later) in their Hebrew text. I am not advanced in Hebrew at all, so even when I read the description I cannot understand, but it looks like the way it is written causes the Hebrew reader to understand that they had siblings. I would love to know more because I always wondered where other people came from even though they all died during Noah's age.

One of God's commands to us is to be fruitful and multiply. He said that to Adam and Eve, and He said that to Noah and his wife, and his sons and their wives. He still cares about our next generations. I pray for our next generation.

(from 10/30/2008)

Two trees in the garden of Eden

Adam and Eve's story is well-known even among the non-Christians. We say that they ate the apple that was forbidden to eta. That is the tree Eve took the fruit from. The tree was the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and it was in the middle of the garden, and God had told Adam clearly that he was not supposed to eat any fruit from it.

Then Adam and Eve was kicked out from the garden of Eden, and an angel came to guard another tree so that no one could come and eat from it. I always assumed that it was the same tree that Adam and Eve took a fruit from . But it was not.

There were two trees in the middle of the garden. I didn't pay any attention to them all these years until my friend called me one day and told me to read this portion of the Bible and paint the picture of the garden of Eden in my mind. But I was supposed to paint only the items that I read from the Bible. Then we can see it.

The Bible says that God planted two trees in the middle of the garden. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)

That means that they had been eating from the tree of life because the one tree that they were not supposed to eat from was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Then they ate from the forbidden tree, and the angel was sent to guard the tree of life, not the forbidden tree.

They couldn't eat from both trees at the same time.. The tree of life gives eternal life.
They couldn't have the knowledge of good and evil and live forever at the same time.

Those who believe Jesus as the Savior will have eternal life. Jesus is the tree of life.

(from 10/29/2008)

small miracles

One teacher said that actually putting your thoughts and ideas into action is just like God actualized his thought to create the world into existence.

Never thought like that before but this actually encouraged me today because this Bible teacher said that it was like performing a miracle. I want to imitate God and perform a miracle (meaning, actually do those things that I am planning to do). Even little things around the house become difficult sometimes (either I don't feel like it or I an feeling down) and keep putting it off. Then they become a mountain in front of me..

Today I thought about those mountains and wrote them down on a piece of paper. Then I actually did them. I feel like I performed a miracle. Praise God.

(from 10/29/2008)

In the beginning

"In the beginning..." (Genesis 1:1)

This is the first portion of the Bible. It is the beginning of the Bible. I like Genesis.

Then the Bible tells us about what was created.
Hebrew words are self-explanatory sometimes. People who read the Hebrew scriptures must understand something that the rest of the world doesn't see. I want to know how they see the scriptures and I want the Holy Spirit to reveal things to us!

I used to wonder about the light God created. At first God said 'let there be light' (verse 3). Then verse 14 says that God said 'Let bright lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night'. In Hebrew, the word light in the verse 3 and in verse 14 are different.

The light in verse 3 is אור ('owr), which means light of day, light from the luminaries, light of lamp, etc... It must be like light that exists around us during the day because of the sun, the light that causes us to see the things around us.

The light in verse 14 is the luminaries. The source of light.

That means the light already existed before the sun and the moon were created. I heard that the light was because of God's presence.

I used to be scared to think about the time when the sun will no longer be there- the end time-( Matthew 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken"), but if we believe in Jesus, He is the light. God is the source of light.

Other words I learned are ברא (bara') and עשה ('asah).

Bara means 'created' and it is used when something was created out of nothing.

Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created (bara) the heavens and the earth.
Gen. 1:21 So God created (bara) great sea creatures...
Gen. 1:27 So God created (bara) man in his own image, in the image of God created (bara) he him; male and female created (bara) he them.

Asah means 'fashioned' The Complete Word Old Testament AMG Publishers says that this word's emphasis is on fashioning the created objects.

Gen. 1:7And God made(asah) the firmament...
Gen. 1:16 And God made (asah) two great lights...
Gen. 1:25 And God made (asah) the beast of the earth...

I never paid attention before, but the English Bibles use two words, 'created' and 'made'. Understanding the Hebrew meanings help us see more and the verse in chapter 2 becomes clearer.

Gen. 2:3 "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."

(from 10/2008)

Nahum 1:7

I was encouraged when I read this verse.

Nahum 1:7

The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.

God knows us! When everything in the world seems chaotic, the best thing is go cling to God, go to God, and trust Him. We see the examples over and over in the Bible. Yet we who live in the modern days don't actually do it for some reason. I battle in my mind. But if I confess in worship ( services, songs, etc.) that He is the source of everything, I have to act on it even though I fail again and again. Paul says in his letter to the Galatians that the old sinful nature loves to do evil which is opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants, and the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. He also says that these two forces are constantly fighting each other and we are NEVER free from this conflict. So... I am reminded that I need to make a choice...

(from 10/24/2008)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Where is Simeon?

"This is the blessing that Moses, the man of God, spoke over the people of Israel before his death..." (Deut. 33)

This is how this last portion (= Parasha) of the Torah reading cycle starts. I started reading. Blessings for each tribe.
(L) means Leah is the mother. (l) means Leah's servant is the mother (R) means Rachel is the mother. (r) means Rachel's servant is the mother

Reuben......son #1 ..(L)
Judah.........son #4 .(L)
Levi............son#3.. (L)
Benjamin...son#12 (R)
Joseph.......son# 11 (R)
Zebulun.....son# 10 (L)
Issachar.....son#9.. (L)
Gad.............son#7.. (L)
Dan.............son#5 ..(R)
Naphtali.....son# 6..(R)
Asher..........son# 8 (L)

Does it matter whose name comes first?

Well, when I read this portion, I noticed one tribe was missing!! Who is it?

It was Simeon.
Where is he?


3 forces in 3 levels

I am back from my 2-week visit to my hometown.
I reached my hand to an inductive Bible Study book I did some years ago. Reading Galatians over and over caused me to notice that Paul repeats the same thing 3 times often. We can see it in the New Living Translation. I seem to understand better reading New Living Bible if I am reading to get the concept as a whole. I use other translations when I study the scriptures, like word by word.

The armor or God in Paul's letter to the Ephesians is well-known and even kids memorize the verses. Well, I couldn't. For some reason I could never grasp this for all these years as kids were growing up. But the New Living translations helped me get the picture more clearly because in this translation it explains that we are against the evil that are in 3 levels. It suddenly clicked in my mind! I am glad.

We are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against..

1) the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world
2) those mighty powers of darkness who rules this world
3) wicked spirits in the heavenly realms

I can see more clearly finally.


The anniversary of God's creation

Yesterday (09/30/2008) American congress was closed due to Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish holiday. Does this happen every year?

Well, the new year started. This is the anniversary of God's creation, according tho the Jewish information. I would think that the first portion of the reading cycle will start on the New Year's Day ( is this an Asian way of thinking?), but it doesn't. If I was to decide, I would like to start a brand new year with the very beginning of Genesis...

My love and best wishes for the new year to the Jewish people and also to the Christians, branches, who are grafted into the root (Judaism)!

(from 10/01/2008)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Who is standing?

This is from a portion of Deuteronomy, called Nitzavim, and it means 'standing'.
'Today you are standing, all of you...'
is how this portion starts. Then there's a list of the people who are there.

*leaders of the tribes.
*all the other men of Israel
*aliens here in the camp
*the aliens who chop your wood and carry your water.

Different translations say in different ways and it was confusing. I am not from a group of people who say the King James version is the only way, but KJV seems to work the best here, especially the last group of people in the list - the aliens who chop your wood and carry your water. The way some translations say makes me think that all the aliens chop wood and carry water, but it is not so.

Who chop wood and carry your water?

In Joshua 9, the people from Gibeon deceived the Israelite and Joshua did not kill them but he kept them as wood choppers and water carrier. One commentary says that just like Joshua, Moses made the aliens to chop wood.

The word 'aliens' in Hebrew in this passage is not 'gentiles'. I assumed it was, but it was not. This word means 'sojourners'.

The Bible emphasizes over and over that we are not to worship idols of wood, stone, etc. God does not live in man-made items. But we humans like having something to worship. In both OT and NT, I see that God wants us to choose to come to him from our heart. He showed the Israelite people two paths in this portion of the Bible. One for blessings and the other for curses. We have plenty of warnings. May our eyes be opened so that we can choose to be with God.

(from 09/?/2008)

The name change of Abram and Sarai

Why Hebrew? Because I have come to believe that it is eventually a shortcut to understand the Bible.

Each Hebrew letter has meanings just like Chinese characters do.

Here is one of the examples I learned from making efforts to understand Hebrew.

When Abram's name changed to Abraham, and when Sarai's name changed to Sarah, we (English readers or Japanese readers) learn that Abram means 'exalted father' and Abraham means 'father of a multitude". Sarai means 'my princess' and Sarah means 'princess'. One website stated that the meanings of Sarai and Sarah are identical.

I learned that the letter H makes the difference. In Hebrew alphabet, the letter Hey ( H ) represents God's presence inside human. Interesting. Both Abram and Sarai received the letter Hey. Isaac was God's own fulfillment of His promise (Galatians).

Praise God.

(from 09/25/2008)

The book of Job and my curiosity

My family left the TV on while we were getting ready to go to church. Adrian Rogers was preaching on the book of Job in the Old Testament. The OT is divided into three sections: the law(first five books), the prophets (Joshua, Judges, etc), and the writings (such as Job).

The Book of Job is hard to read for me. I can't quote from it because what I thought may be good to quote is actually the words of Job's friends and God was not happy with them. I need to read the entire book before I say anything about it. (when will it be??)

Job was a righteous and upright man who feared God. Then he lost all his animals and seven sons and three daughters. This is what it says at the end of the book.

" He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys." Job 42:12

When we look at the beginning of the book, we can see that the number of the animals doubled. God gave Job a double portion. But the number of children is the same. Job lost 7 sons and 3 daughters. After he lost all his children,

"And he also had seven sons and three daughters." Job 42:13

God gave Job the same number of children. Not doubled??
I never heard this before. God gave Job seven sons and three daughters for the second time. Pastor Adrian said that the reason why God did not double the number of children is because they were never lost. They are all in heaven with God. So the total of the children is doubled!

Then I kept reading. The names of the three daughters are mentioned there.

" The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. " Job 42:14-15

I know the name Jemimah. A girl in the movie Chitti Chitti Bang Bang. Jemimah is Mr.Potts' daughter's name! (Mr. Potts is the main character.) I didn't see the description of the name in the Blue letter Bible, but my Bible dictionary said that Jamimah means warm and affectionate. Well, I know it doesn't help me with anything but isn't it interesting. The third daughter's name is Keren-Happuch. Keren is the word I wrote about in my blog earlier. It could be 'horn' of 'light'.

(from 09/14/2008)

to be free

I worry too much even after I came to believe in Jesus. My son is being free spiritually more and more, and he is telling me not to worry. By his words I realize I am worrying or being in the negative mode instead of praying.

My motto is, "let the Baptists reach out to people through potlucks (they are known to have potlucks), let the Evangelicals reach out to people through their serving hearts (they are evangelicals), let the Charismatics roll, be healed inside, and give testimonies (they are called 'holly rollers' sometimes)." I did not know what the denominations were when I started going to church. In fact, because the name sounded similar, I went to a Catholic church when I was looking for a protestant church someone told me about. I even talked to the priest there and explained who had told me about his church. He had no clue. The following week I realized that it was a wrong church, and I never went back there. I didn't know the difference. My church I went in Japan was a pentecostal church. There were gentle missionaries from Europe. I took a lot of notes which I sill have and look sometimes. Looking back, I learned a lot from them. After I moved to the States, my husband I went to a traditional church. My husband is Baptist/Presbyterian as he was growing up. Then we moved from church to church for some reasons that I am not going to write here. You know what. I have friends in a lot of different churches. When we talk about Jesus and the Bible honestly, I feel that the Holy Spirit is indeed One. I don't want to look down on other churches even though I may disagree with what they teach. They are also believing Jesus. Wherever we go, if we believe in Jesus, we can be one. I need to be reminded of that because it feels good like sweet honey in my throat and my flesh enjoys it when I talk negatively about what is wrong with some churches. (The ones that don't deny Jesus as the Savior are what I am referring to here.) I want to love them as they are, but I was struggling to be free to love them, because I could not be free to be myself.

This morning I listened to Joseph Prince on His message gave me energy and freedom. I had been trying to be a 'good, regular christian'. I tried to fit in the traditional churches. But I feel like an ugly duckling. Listening to Pastor Joseph Prince simply showed me I was bound by my own idea of what a christian should be and somehow I decided the way I was was not right. Pastor Prince said to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit. When we follow the Holy Spirit, we are led to the only one place - the victory.

I want to walk the path in front of me with the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I want to be free to be in the Holy Spirit and be free to love others without worrying about them to love me back.
Please, Holy Spirit, come and guide me. I cannot do it myself.

(from 09/14/2008)

Paul's nutritious friend

Sometimes I like odd verses in the Bible. 2 Timothy 4:20 says
"Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus."
I learned of this verse in a Bible study I was in, and not from reading the Bible. I never noticed it before. Paul was given a great power from God to heal the sick, and a lot of people came to him. He was a great healer. Then his friend had to be left behind because he was ill.

Here is what I thought.
I was impressed that Paul, who was given such a great power to heal people in public, wrote in his letter the fact that his friend was sick. To me, it clearly shows that Paul knew who he was: he was not the one who healed. God gave the power to Paul and Paul knew that. People around him might have thought that it was not good for Paul's friend to remain being sick because it would hinder his ministry... That's how humans think. The healer's friend had to be left behind because he was sick?? To me, it only reveals Paul's humble heart more. He knew the power came from God alone. Healing never exceeds Jesus himself!

When I went to the Blue Letter Bible, though, I started to think that maybe Trophimus was not sick because the original Greek word for 'sick' is not necessarily 'sick'. I am not a scholar, but I thought it was an interesting point. The outline of Biblical usage is:

1) to be weak, feeble, to be without strength, powerless

2) to be weak in means, needy, poor

3) to be feeble, sick

And the interesting thing is the meaning of Paul's friend Trophimus. Trophimus means "nutritious". Wow. Interesting! I almost feel like this nutritious friend might have been just weak and needed to rest...maybe too much ministry with Paul??? Just my guess.

(from 09/10/2008)

Mt. Gerizim, Mt. Ebal, and the samaritan woman

Deuteronomy 11:26 started out "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse- ". Then God mentions the twin mountains - Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses. They still exist in Israel. There are some websites with the pictures.

My first thought was that there must be some meanings that may give me some insights regarding this. Gerizim means 'cut off' and Ebal means 'bald'. So??? Some websites say that Gerizim is fertile and Ebal is dry. As far as I can see, they look alike.
However, one website for Israel tour says that Mount Ebal has barren slopes and they are strewn with gray rocks. This place represents the curse that would be upon those who disobey God. Mount Gerizim has beautiful tree-covered slopes and represents the blessings that would come to the Jewish People if they obey God.
I read in Wikipedia that the Samaritans, after separation from the Jews ( I don't know when this happened. ? It must be long before Jesus' days.), see this place as a sacred mountain and celebrate Passover there. Wow. I really haven't grasped the Jewish (Israelite) history about the temple and locations and other things but this reminded me of one story in the NT. The well-known story of the Samaritan woman and Jesus. (John 4:7-) When this woman suddenly started talking about mountain, she may have meant this Mount Gerizim!?

Those mountains or those stones or that bronze snake were never meant to be worshipped. We love to have something we can see when we worship but God doesn't live in any man-made figures. God doesn't want us to worship the stars or other created things, either. He is a jealous God.

God put curse and blessings on those mountains. The Samaritans decided one of them was a sacred place. Jesus wasn't just talking to the Samaritan woman about worshiping in general (even though it is for everyone). Jesus was also talking about what pertains to her life and her people.

Was Jesus saying, "God will not be worshiped only in your mountain, woman"?
God will not be worshiped in only Jerusalem, either.
He can only be worshiped in spirit and truth. I am sure Jesus wanted us to know God is not limited by places.

Jesus is the Lord of every man. He was speaking in the Samaritan woman's personal level. This possible connection between the Samaritan woman and Mount Gerizim makes the story more alive.

In John 4, the cross reference mentions Deuteronomy 11:29. But John 4 is not in the cress reference of Deuteronomy.

It was a short, interesting learning experience.

(from 09/06-07/2008)

memorizing scriptures

When I started going to church many years ago, I didn't even try to memorize scriptures. I felt like my brain would burst if I tried to quote a verse even though I heard one many times, like "God so loved the world that He gave his only son..." John 3:16. I still can not say it perfectly after so many years..But I know what it means and where it is.

Then when Vineyard music came into my life, I sang their songs and worshiped whenever I had a chance just like my kids listen to Hillsong a lot nowadays.. After a while, I realized I knew some scriptures mentioned in the sermon. That was because of the Vineyard songs I was learning. A lot of their songs are directly from the Bible. I was singing some scriptures. While singing Vineyard songs, I was singing scriptures without knowing it. I was hitting two birds with one stone! Nice.

Then I found out it is true that one goes closer to God when she/he is having difficult times. I was in a pit. My dear friend told me to be free in my worship time at home. Then she recommended to read Galatians because Paul's letter to the Galatians is about being fee. I was in trouble. I had never told anyone that I had a problem with Paul. Yes. Paul in the New Testament. He is difficult. He doesn't make sense. I cannot read his writing without being frustrated. But the majority of the NT is his letters. I really a Christian? ( I knew I believed Jesus and my salvation has nothing to do with who I am, yet I was feeling I was not a 'normal' Christian because I had a problem with Paul.) I said 'OK' to my friend.

During that time another friend of mine was leading a women's group at church. The title of her group was something like 'memorizing scriptures'. I felt terrible for her. It didn't sound very interesting. I thought, 'I hope some people would come..'. After a while there was a women's conference at church. Ladies who memorized scriptures shared their testimonies and their memorized scriptures. It was not a verse here and a verse there. It was either an entire chapter or an entire book! I looked around. No one was asleep. Everybody's eyes were staring at the front, and everybody's ears were listening. There was a great quietness in the whole place. It was one of the most pure, joy experience I ever had.

It took me 3 years to memorize the whole book of Galatians. I said Galatians 1:1 over 1000 times!! (1:1 is "this letter is from Paul, an apostle") Now I am working on a slide show to go with it.

I am also working on the book of Revelation because I have a wonderful study tool: a CD set of Karen Heimbuch. My goal is to go up to the end of the letter to the seventh church. (chapter 3)

(edited from 9/4/2008)