Friday, October 30, 2009
Abram 'amen'-ed, and God declared him righteous.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Abram asked a question.
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 dictionary.com 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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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 (http://www.kreasjonisme.com/artikler/_images/longevitychart.pdf) 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.
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.
Acts 16:31 (NIV) They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."
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.
Japheth spread into Europe
Shem spread into Asia
Ham spread into Africa
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 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.
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.
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.
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."
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...
Monday, October 12, 2009
"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)
Joseph.......son# 11 (R)
Zebulun.....son# 10 (L)
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?
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.
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)!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
'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.
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).
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'.
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 Youtube.com. 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.
"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.
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.
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. Ah...am 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)
When I study the Bible, I am reminded of what my friend said to me as I was pointing out some misunderstandings in the Bible we have been taught in Christian churches. She pointed out that a lot of people have come to know Jesus even through those messages...
I must have been becoming too proud and also too focused on details. I should look up often and make sure that I am saved by the grace of God, not because we know the Bible more. I understand that. And I will also keep looking up the words and studying because my heart rejoices as I do that. I am full of joy when I understand something....and I believe it is not because I am trying or I am 'getting there' or I am diligent. I believe God is revealing certain things to me when I go into the word of God. Anyone who go there will receive something from God!
So today I went to youtube and looked for some Hebrew teaching material. A lot of people are studying. I was encouraged. I haven't made much progress since I started learning the aleph-bet (Hebrew alphabet), but I am not giving up...
(edited from 9/1/2008)
This portion is called Re'eh and it means 'see'. Up to this point, I saw that God in the OT wants us to be careful not to follow other gods. All the laws and regulations are to protect the children of Israel. God wants us to come to Him.
I read in a commentary that the book of Leviticus covers only one month, but Numbers stretches over almost thirty-nine years. Deuteronomy covers the end of the forty-year period in the wilderness right before the new generation was on the verge of entering the land of promise.
(edited from 8/31/2008)
He came to my town several years ago and my Messianic friend took me, but I wasn't into his music so much. This CD was given to me last year...at the right time! I just hope that I don't get tired of it after listening to it so much.
- The third portion in the book of Deuteronomy is titled as 'Ekev' and that means 'because'. When I started reading the portion, I noticed my Bible says 'if' and not 'because'. I am certainly not an expert, but I think whether the word is 'if' or 'because' make a big difference to understand the sentence. 'If' and 'because' make a difference. I opened Complete Jewish Bible (OT and NT) by David H. Stern and it says 'because'. In Blue Letter Bible website, the original language Ekev is explained as 'because'.
- Deuteronomy 9 was very interesting. It shook my heart. The reason why the Israelite took possession of the promised land was not because of their righteousness or not even because their heart was so upright. Only because of God. This reminds me of Gideon's story in the book of Judges. He started out humble but towards the end of his life he sort of forgot who he was. His heart seems to rely on his own strength because he named his son 'a king's son', and it shows Gideon's heart. (per pastor David Jeremiah on the radio) When things go well, I, too, forget who I am. I don't want to, but I do. May I not forget who I am. I am merely one whom God has mercy on!
- I find Deuteronomy interesting because it is almost like a summary with a little commentary about their history. I like summaries. Sometimes I tell my kids to tell me the summary of the book they are reading because I don't want to read it...(lazy mom??)
- Moses went up to the mountain twice. When he went up there the second time, God told Moses to cut out the stones whereas God himself prepared the stones for the law when Moses went up for the first time.
- One new word I learned this week is 'keren' in Hebrew. I love Hebrew. I have a friend who likes Greek because it has much more vocabulary compared to Hebrew. But that makes me like Hebrew more. One Hebrew word has many different meanings sometimes and that may be why there aren't many vocabularies. 'Keren' is one of them. When Moses came down from the mountain, his face was shining. In the original language, 'keren' is used here. 'Keren means 'radiated light' or 'horns'. Interesting. Wikipedia website says that the translator at the time, Jerome, translated it as 'horns' and that could be why the sculpture of Moses has horns. I think I accept it even though smeone told me it was not true...
- The image of the Old Testament is old, strict laws that don't apply now, and so on. I learned in Deuteronomy 10 that God wants us to love him. That is what God wants from us now as well! Deut. 10:16 says 'Therefore, circumcise your heart.' I heard this verse in messages in the past, but I always thought the verse was in the New Testament. In the Old Testament, God was already looking for our loving, genuine hearts.
- In Matthew 4 (a part of this week's portion from NT), Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy, too, when he was tempted in the wilderness. 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord' is famous. Jesus said that, and it is written in the OT!
(edited from 8/26/2008)
Saturday, October 10, 2009
This cord is a tzitzit. Tzitzit is a Hebrew word for a fringe. God told the Israelites to tie them on the corners of prayer shawls. Here is one of the verses from the OT.
In the NT, on the way to someone's home to heal his daughter, Jesus met a woman who was suffering for 12 years of bleeding who touched the fringe of Jesus' robe. Here is one of the translations. According to the Blue Letter Bible, the fringe in the NT for Hebrew translation is tzitzit. The woman did not touch just an edge of Jesus' clothes. It was a tzitzit she touched. A tzitzit spells out the sacred name of God. The cords wrapping around are counted to spell out this name because each Hebrew alphabet has an assigned number. (like a=1, b=2, etc)
Just like the menorah I bought, I wanted to see what a tzitzit looked like so after some prayers, I decided to buy a prayer shawl - just to see what the fringe was like. Then I happened to find a book on Judaism that looked simple enough and very interesting at Barns and Noble. This book has an instruction to make a tzitzit. So I bought some linen yarn and made some. I like it very much. I have seen little cross at a Christian bookstore to put in a pocket to remind us of Jesus. I am saved because of Jesus and I thought it would be wonderful to have a fringe with me all the time to remind me of our great God who loved us so much that he sent his only son to us... I think of God my Father who sent Jesus when I see my tzitzit.
(edited from 8/22/2008)
It is a Greek word and it means 'repetition of the Torah.'
In Hebrew it is called Devarim and it means 'words'.
I see... Moses is repeating the instructions he received from God.
I simply want to know the Lord more just like my title says. Then my interests pointed towards Judaism naturally. Many years ago, as I was listening to a testimony of a Jewish lady, it suddenly dawned on me that Jesus was a Jew. I knew that before, but it entered into my heart in a different way. Jesus talked to the Jewish people who lived their Jewish lives. Since then I started seeing the scriptures in a different way. It has been very interesting. I would like to keep the records of those things here in my diary.
A couple of years ago I bought the 7-branched menorah shown above from eBay. I prayed about it over a year because I didn't know if it was okay for me to have it, and then I didn't know if it was okay to buy one from eBay - auctioning God's menorah. Am I allowed??? If not, who is not allowing me? I didn't feel like I heard from God. I wasn't sure it it was okay with him. Yet after one year I told God that I would buy one and I finally bought it! I certainly don't worship this. I just wanted to see exactly what this was like. It is like a visual aid. God knows my heart.
It all started with my 9-branched Hanukkah menorah I bought at a local store during the Christmas time. I was so excited even though it was a mini menorah. Then I realized that the menorah the Bible talks about (not just the OT, but also in the book of Revelation in the NT) has 7 branches. I had never thought of that. Then I started to research a little. Some websites which sell gifts and Judaica don't differentiate 7- and 9-branched menorah. It was confusing. So when my friend and I visited a Messianic Church I asked one person which menorah he had. He said Jews have both. ( It was several years ago.) Then I decided I would like to see and feel the Biblical menorah. That's how I got interested in having a 7-branched menorah. It is about 17 inches tall and is beautiful!
The church next to the menorah is something I made out of an old garage door which I kept in the back of the house when we replaced it with a modern, metal one. I like woodworking and country stuff. I kept the old garage door because I though I may use the wood for something. Then I saw a church-shaped mail holder in a catalog and I copied it! It was fun making it. I learned that if there is a will, there is a way. It was true.
I love this corner of my house.
(edited from 8/16/2008)
Friday, October 9, 2009
The New Testament tells us that two disciples were walking towards 'Emmaus' after Jesus was raised from the dead. I was curious and looked up the word. It means 'bath water'. They were talking about Jesus, away from Jerusalem, as they were walking towards the 'bath water'.
To me, it sounds like they were going to take a little break from all the commotions and go to relax somewhere---like a spa.
Then I heard my son explaining something to his friend tonight. He was reading from his new book by Joseph Prince, a pastor in Singapore. I heard my son say, 'Emmaus means warm baths or warm springs'. ???!!! What timing! I didn't think anyone would care so much about what Emmaus meant. Pastor Prince says that nothing in the Bible is wasted. I believe that, too. But sometimes I wondered if I was getting too much into details. But ...my curiosity is not so crazy after all. This pastor wrote about "bath water" in his book. I was excited to hear someone like a pastor writes about this. Pastor Prince says in his book that "the disciples' hearts experienced "warm baths'". It must have been like healing water to their soul because after this incident, they went right back to Jerusalem. They didn't need to rest in the spa. Instead, they were refreshed and had more energy after Jesus' living water!
Jewish New Testament (Complete Jewish Bible, translated by David H. Stern) says in Matthew 26:30 that 'After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives.' Other translations says 'a hymn'. This is the definition of the original word, according tho the blueletterbible.com.
1) to sing the praise of, sing hymns to
2) to sing a hymn, to sing
a) singing of paschal hymns these were Psalms 113 - 118 and 136, which the Jews called the "great Hallel"
I used to wonder what kind of hymn it was. Wow. this Jewish Bible says they sang 'Hallel'. The blueletterbible.com points to the specific hymns (Psalms 113-118, 136), and that caused me to be curious to see if there was a prayer called 'Hallel' in the Jewish prayer book.
A few years ago because I wanted to explore more, I bought a Jewish prayer book and some Cd's to listens to some prayers a cantor sings (chants). I looked for the song called Hallel in the prayer book...and there it was! Could this be the same Hallel as Jesus and his disciples sang? When we think about it, the psalms were written long before Jesus' time. It says taht 'Hallel' has been sung during the Passover and Sukkot. Matthew 26 is around the Passover...right before Jesus was crucified.
(edited from 08/08/2008 blog)
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I like studying Hebrew language to read the Bible. This is a quote from "Zola's Introduction to Hebrew", written by John Parsons. This is my Hebrew textbook I bought a few years ago.
The original Torah was written without any vowel points at all. This meant, of course, that in order to read the text properly, the reader was responsible for supplying the missing "intonations" or vowels.How interesting!
Why is this the case? Why would the Lord provide only the consonants without the vowels? Some sages have said that by supplying the vowels, the reader must be active and do his or her part -- that is, the reader must supply the intonation and "exhale" the words that the Lord has so graciously inspired.
The reading of Torah, then, involves two things: the text itself and the reader who brings to the text the willingness to breathe out the divine inspiration. And without the Ruach(the Spirit), the text itself is dead, "for the letter killeth, but the Spirit gives life" (see 2 Cor. 3:6)
The original Old Testament was written in Hebrew without any vowel symbols. The language doesn't really have any vowels. The symbols (or points) were created to add to the language later to make it easier to read. I didn't know that. In the book of Acts you can see that the Jewish people read the Bible in the synagogue every sabbath. The reader was called out and read the portion from the scriptures. Then, the reader has the responsibility to read it correctly.
The reader cannot just read the scriptures mindlessly in order to read it correctly out loud in front of the congregation. Now I understand that besides his/her mind to concentrate on the pronunciation, he/she has to 'exhale' the words, using his/her breath. Breath in Hebrew is 'ruach', and it also means 'the Spirit'. So, the reader needs breath = the Spirit to make the scriptures alive and deliver it to the people who are listening.
Isn't it the same today in many ways? We need the Holy Spirit to help us understand the Bible. That is why we should pray before we read the Bible. I understand it a little more now... John Peason's explanation of the Hebrew language helped me learn a lot.
Even from the beginning of the world, even in the Old Testament days, God wants us to come to Him and depend on Him. We cannot just study the scriptures for the sake of studying if we are looking for life from it. God made it that way so that the Spirit can aid us. The Holy Spirit teaches us.
Isn't that interesting!
Today my son's friend came over and cleaned my son's room! My son helped him, of course. His friend was so good. His mom left the family long ago and he has been in charge of cleaning and other things around the house. This young man had a difficult time when he was a little younger, but now his life has changed because of Jesus. He told me. I am usually too shy to jump in and talk with teenagers (even among my kids' friends), but I sat with them while they came home from their part-time summer job for late dinner. We may think that those life-changing stories are only on TV shows or only in another country but it is happening around me (around my son). God is doing something in the next generation and they are inspiring us, the older generation, to dig into the Word. I have to admit that I am not as evangelistic as they are, but I am very encouraged!
They also inspired me to clean the laundry room today. That's good. ヽ(＠^ー^＠)ノ
(edited and transferred from 7/24/2008)
The first five books of the Bible are divided into something like 54 sections and are read in a year. It is kind of like the one-year Bible, but not the entire Bible. Each section is a story such as "In the beginning" (about creation) and "Noah" (about the life of Noah). Phinehas is one of them.
Pinehas is Aaron's grandson. Eliazar is his dad. Phinehas' name means dark-skinned. This meaning caught my attention. As I researched, I found out that his mom was one of the daughters of Putiel (Exodus 6:25), which means 'contempt of God'. According to the dictionary.com, synonyms of contempt are:
contempt, disdain, scorn imply strong feelings of disapproval and aversion toward what seems base, mean, or worthless. contempt is disapproval tinged with disgust: to feel contempt for a weakling. disdain is a feeling that a person or thing is beneath one's dignity and unworthy of one's notice, respect, or concern: a disdain for crooked dealing. scorn denotes open or undisguised contempt often combined with derision
There was an interesting article on this portion, Phinehas. It says that Eliazar married to a non-Jew (gentile).... I don't mean to upset anyone, but it is a fact that the gentiles were looked down on. So I guess that if a person is described as "contempt", it means non-Jews to the Jews those days. The fact that the name of Phinehas' mother was written is interesting. There are tons of things the Hebrew readers can understand just by understanding certain words. This is one of the occasions. We can imagine a lot more things after we understand the meaning of certain words. I have to do some more research!
I am not a good reader so I thought I would have fun reading it if I looked up the meaning of the names, using a Greek dictionary, as I read. In doing so, I would more likely finish reading it until the end.
It turned out to be fascinating. Philemon means 'forgiveness' and he had a slave named Onesimus. This slave fled from Philemon, he possibly stole something from Philemon according to what Paul said, and ended up in prison where Paul was. Onesimus means 'useful or profitable'.
This reminded me of the Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. This is one of my favorite books. In this book people's names show who they are. You don't have to see them. You can imagine what they are like. The names explain it.
The letter to Philemon is just like that! You can't tell by reading the translated version of the Bible. ( Not that I can read the original language.....:( )
Basically Paul is asking Philemon (=Forgiveness) to be ready to be kind, forgive and accept Onesimus (=Useful), who used to be non-useful to him, but now, a changed man.
Isn't that interesting!!
That was the joy of my day when I read it.
ジョンバンヤンの天路歴程 を思い出します。彼の本の登場人物はみな、名が体を現すのです。 パウロの手紙もこんなんだったのねって。うれしい一日でした。
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Ruhamah means 'the one who has received mercy'. To me, it is the same as John's name, who is said to be the youngest among the disciples, and who called himself 'the one whom the Lord loved'.
John's Hebrew name is Johanan (or Jochanan) and it means 'the one whom Jehovah graciously bestows'. Then, to me, it means that ruhamah is the old version of the name John.
John didn't mean he was the only one whom Jesus loved. John simply knew God's love has nothing to do with him loving God. God loves us first. God loves us the most and there's nothing we can do about it. John knew that. John wasn't Jesus' favorite, either, for God has no favorites. Yet he called himself "the disciple Jesus loved." In a way, he was simply stating the meaning of his name...
I know, too, that God loves me and it has nothing to do with how I love Him back. God loved me first. I am just one who received mercy from God. My real name is Akemi.
Japanese translation (Sort of)
ヨハネのことを調べていたとき、彼のヘブル語名はヨハナンで、 神から慈悲深く与えられた。。みたいな意味と知りました。そこで あら、ルハマってヨハナンと同じような意味だわって思って じゃルハマにってなったわけです。
わたしも神様から情けを受けた者 ールハマー です。