Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Walking the Word (Guest Post)

Hi Everyone! I'm slowly getting ready to get back into blogging. Now that our baby is here, we're trying to get a routine down again (and you know how that is the first few months with a newborn). It looks like I'll begin blogging in February, but in the meantime my homeschooling friend, Theresa, is guest blogging on here today. Won't you welcome her as she shares about the perspective she has gained over the years with how Yahweh (God) has created His Instructions to suit all learning styles? I pray you are encouraged in your school year as she shares her heart and personal testimony.

I'll be in touch soon!

Thank you Principled Academy readers for allowing me to join you today. For more than forty years I have been following Yeshua (Jesus) and the longer I know Him, the more I realize how much I don't know and that there is so much out there to learn. One of the greatest joys in my journey has been to learn in new ways - no longer just reading, thinking, discussing - but literally and physically walking out my faith.

Yahweh (God) does speak to us in His Word. Many people learn through reading and hearing His Word spoken, but we forget that it has not always been available to us personally. Personal Bibles are a relatively new concept. For millennia, the faithful have learned primarily by hearing the Word spoken. Parables, analogies and word pictures are used throughout the Scriptures as visual aids and teaching tools and for hundreds of years, cathedral windows served as visual reminders of Scriptural accounts.

As a creative, artistic person, I enjoy and relate to "seeing" Scripture concepts this way and it has long been a part of my faith journey. Then, when I began walking in all of the Father's instructions, remembering the Sabbath and keeping the feasts, I discovered that in all His wisdom He designed our walk of faith to appeal to all of our senses and helps us to learn and remember in many ways. As a homeschooling Mom, I have researched learning styles in order to help my children. It strikes me that our Creator designed us all unique and that like our children, we all do our best learning in different ways. He desires His instructions and commandments to be approachable and available to all of us. After all His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)  He has designed His instructions to teach us in ways that we can understand. 

Yahweh (God) calls us to be set apart and Holy just as He is holy. People should be able to see a difference between those who follow Him and those who do not.

But how does that happen? What does that mean? Isn't that being "legalistic" to follow rules? How do we walk in His way? Are we left on our own to figure it out? No! Just as He led the Israelites through the desert, He leads us by the hand and teaches us. He sets us apart. He makes us holy and washes us by the blood of Yeshua (Jesus) and He expects us to grow in our faith and in our obedience to Him. Most of us have been trained to think that grace and obedience to His instructions are mutually exclusive. But what loving parent would throw out expectations without teaching their child how to meet them? Our loving Father not only teaches us but qualifies us. In the New Testament we often think that we are saved by Yeshua and then that is it, because if we followed "laws" that would negate the mercy and grace of Yeshua. And we think the Israelites were saved by laws. In fact, Yahweh's grace is all through the Old Testament. In His mercy He saved the Israelites through the Passover blood on the doorposts in Egypt and carried them through the Red Sea. He sanctified them and dedicated them as His own and then He gave them instructions on how to walk in that holiness. Today it is the same for you and me.  We are saved by grace, by the blood, believing in Him. We repent and begin the process of being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). We enter our Father's House and then we begin learning the house rules.

When I first began keeping Sabbath on the 7th day (Saturday) and researching His commands, it was overwhelming. I attempted to cram every article, book and audio teaching I could find into my brain. I was leaning on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6), which gets me nowhere, fast!  About the time I felt my head would explode, I slowed down, took a deep breath and tried to focus simply on the Word of Yahweh and not on all the other voices around me. Doing this revealed such treasures. I discovered the above mentioned different ways He teaches and realized that He has created physical rhythms and patterns to life that resonate with our bodies as well as our minds. Not only is there wisdom for readers and audio learners and "pictures" for visual learners, but there is whole body and life involvement for the kinesthetic learner.

Even in the natural world there is a school of thought that believes that what we do physically creates patterns in our brain and can change how we respond and think. For example, some believe that missing the step of crawling as an infant prevents certain things from developing in the brain. Also, studies have shown that doing something physical in combination with thinking, such as knitting or crochet, actually aids the brain in warding off symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease. Knowing this I cannot help but wonder if our Creator designed us to do some things in physical obedience so that they would be ingrained in our minds and hearts.

Many teachers say "Hebrew is an action language", but I didn't fully understand that until I was blessed by putting my faith and belief into action. The best example of that is the "Shema", a Hebrew prayer taken from Deuteronomy 6, that affirms our faith and desire to obey Him.

In English we see the word "hear" and we think of the physical ability to hear sound or listening. In Hebrew the word for hear is shema or shama 
which carries with it the sense of listening with the intent to obey. We can hear the Word and never respond. Or we can "shema" - listen and carry it out.  So there is a physicality involved; there is a need to get up out of our chairs, so to speak, and do something about it. In other words, you love Him, you hear His instructions and because you love Him, you choose to obey Him. ("If you love me you will keep my commandments." John 14:15 NASB and "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome." 1 John 5:3 NASB) Our faith needs feet and hands.

For me this physicality of obedience begins in the small things. For example, every day we make a choice to eat what Yahweh considers food. This has involved eliminating some favorites in our kitchen. But it is not a burden. To the contrary it becomes a delight. Right away we have made a choice and a change to do something for Someone we love. The physicality continues in the rhythm of the week.

We have six days of the week to do our work and focus on ourselves, our business and personal pursuits. The seventh day is a dedicated day of rest. Soon after we began observing Sabbath we started seeing a pattern in our lives and in our bodies. We looked forward to Friday in a new way! Friday is our date night with Yahweh and Saturday we rest and we study to grow closer to Him and spend time with each other strengthening our bonds of friendship and love. Now my body even seems to know that Sabbath is coming and it is time to rest. My body seemed to learn and understand the pattern before my mind.

The day, the week and then the month comes in a cycle. We watch the sky for the signs He has given. With the first tiny sliver of light, we know that the beginning of the Biblical lunar month has arrived. And by these months we count out the seasons and the feast cycles of the year. We watch. We learn. We obey. We rejoice. Each time we go through the cycle we are establishing a physical pattern that affects our spiritual lives.

The cycle of the feasts is amazing. This year will mark our 4th cycle through observing the feasts as a family. Each year we look forward to them with joy. One might think doing the "same old thing" each year would get boring. Never! Each year the Father reveals more of Himself and more of His Son to me and to my family through the feasts.  We began simple and each year as we learn, we add more. I realize that most of us were taught that the feasts are the "feasts of the Jews" but Leviticus 23 begins by telling us that the feasts are HIS: The Lord spoke again to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times... Leviticus 23:1 The chapter goes on from there to describe His feasts.

Each feast tells us something about the history and lives of the Israelites that came before us, but also about Yeshua and His life and how the Messiah delivers us.  I would also say that each feast reveals something to me about myself.  There are some specific instructions for the feasts, found in Exodus, Leviticus 23 and Deuteronomy. Not everything can be completed without the presence of a Temple in Jerusalem, so, much of what we do is a memorial. One might understandably ask why we need to do this after the death and resurrection of Messiah. One reason would be that they were given to be "perpetual" or "forever". Another reason is that keeping the feasts is like walking out the Gospel. They tell the story of Messiah. The spring feasts have been mostly fulfilled by Messiah's first coming. The fall feasts prophecy of what is to come with His return. Once we are "saved" do we no longer need to know His plan of salvation? On the contrary - we should rejoice in that plan and share that plan. What better way to be a light and salt than to walk out the Gospel in obedience to the Gospel Giver? So each time we celebrate we are a living object lesson for our children, each other and anyone else who is interested to learn. We are setting an example of obedience and we are making physical patterns of obedience which train us up in righteousness and give an example for others on how to be His set apart people. When we walk in His ways we are living, breathing stained glass windows sharing His ways with those around us.

In the feasts we weep and we rejoice. We feast and we fast. We dance and we fellowship. We learn and we grow. We teach and we spread light.

If you have made it this far in the post, thank you for joining me. I wish we could sit over a cup of tea and discuss this further and pray together, but I appreciate the time you have given me today in reading this. I encourage you to "put on your sandals and start walking". Our Father has good plans for His children and He has given us times and seasons and instructions to meet with Him and learn from Him. When we walk this out we begin forming patterns and habits. We discover the joy of obedience.  Please, do not take my word for it.  Pick up your Bible and read it, searching for buried treasures as you go.  Remember:

Enjoy the learning journey. May Yahweh bless you and keep you. May He shine His face upon you and be gracious unto you!  


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this inspiring and intersting blog. I love waht you write about the sjabbat.