Monday, December 26, 2011

(link) Good pre-christmas reads.

Happy Holidays
I have spent the last 8 days in bed....mostly in bed. It has been a long time since I was this sick. YUCK. I did not do any writing (or shopping or visiting) but I got a little bit of reading in. I am just happy that school is out so that I did not have to keep up with my students.
Deb's favorites at Music of the Rain

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Foggy Walk on the Snohomish River Dike

December 9, 2011 Walking the Snohomish River Dike Jason and Ray
The thing that seemed so odd this cold December morning was that we drove away from a home bright with sunshine into the thick fog of the river valley to go for a walk. You might think that since you cannot see very far in the fog that there would be nothing to see. The truth is, when the vista is just off the end of your nose you see what you have missed on sunny days.
It seemed like good duck hunting weather. The season is open. We did see three river boats with hunters as well as a father and son out for duck. The fog was so thick I think most hunters decided to just go to work.
Wet Web overlooking the ponds
More wet webs on weeds

Yet more wet webs. Beyond the winter grass is the river

Ray and Jason

The Path on the River Dike

Chilly mist muffles sound

Pack Leader
Cat tails
River grasses mark the waterway in the fog

Golden Kinglet ???
We had a great time. We laughed (we missed Chris) and watched the dogs romp along. The boys revisited old geo-caches without adding to their total. Geo cashers like to keep track of how many finds they have the way bird watchers like to track birds they find. By the way, we did see a few more birds than the kinglet. Mallards few over us in pairs, apparently unaware of hunting season. A flicker teased the dogs. We could actually hear more birds than we could see. What we did see is the beauty of a foggy winter afternoon....right in front of our noses.
Find what you are looking for?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Deb's favorite reads around the web, December 8, 2011

Web favorites for the first week of December are posted on Music of the Rain. Most of them are about getting out and getting dirty now that the garden has been put to rest for winter. Humm. There is a good recipe for a cookie of a candy (or maybe a candy like cookie?). Click on "Web Favorites"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Keep the Faith; Matthew 24: 3-8

Glacier National Park 2007, the beginning of a steep and narrow path
Something just happened. The Son of YHVH/God pronounced misery upon the upper-crust religious folk in the Temple. The Temple was the center of Jewish life. At least that was where Jewish life was supposed to be centered. Not just on a beautiful building but on the Elohim, God Almighty whose throne, the mercy seat, was said to rest in the inner-most room of the temple. Never mind that His Spirit, the Glory of YHVH, had left years ago. His Son, Y'shua ha Machiach (Jesus who is the Christ) He once again stood in the Temple as a common man among common men. If only those arrogant men realized just how common they truly were and how majestic He is.
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.  He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.   John 1: 10-11  RSV
In a dramatic moment, Y'shua pronounce misery upon the religious men with whom he had been extremely patient. The worst of the misery would be that they would face the full force of the seven woes without the national comfort or aid of their Elohim and Messiah ......until they acknowledged him with the words, "BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF YHVH" (Psalm 118:26.)
"And Y'shua/Jesus came out from the Temple and was going away.... Matthew 24:1a
What just happened? In my mind I imagine the disciples running through the scripture files in their heads, the many readings and lessons they had sat through over the years, trying to mentally catch up, to even know what question to ask. Their comments about the central building in all of Israel did not bring a reaction that most Pilgrims in Israel would have expected. As a point of fact, Y'shua foretold doom for even the building. The boys finally started putting the facts together and began asking their questions directly to the man they just followed out of the Temple of Israel.
As he (Y'shua) sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"   Matthew 24:3  
It looks like they asked three questions, when will this be (the destruction of their temple), what sign, and when is the close of the age. Greek does not work like English. The last two questions are really just one question that does not translate well. ....what is the sign of your coming (the Parousia) which closes this (that) era?

Of the commentators that I have reviewed, they are firmly divided. One speaks of everything that follows in Matthew 24 and 25 as Temple destruction. The other sees Y'shua fully focused on the return of Messiah and the End Times. Both make good arguments. Either way, the disciples have just been handed a bombshell. What responsibility do they have? How much time do they have to get ready? (...when will this be?) How long will the coming trouble last? (...what is the sign that you are coming to end this era?)

The answer?
And Jesus answered them, "Take heed that no one leads you astray.   Matthew 24:4  
The question is not "when" or "how long," as a matter of fact, a question of time is not appropriate. We who believe in Y'shua, have an answer for all our questions. Faith. You must prepare yourself to "see" with eyes of faith (word study link: blepo- on Be Careful What You See). Our Elohim has assured us that he will not leave us (though he just left the religious at the doomed Temple) nor will he ever forsake us
".... I am with you always, to the close of the age."   Matthew 28:20b  RSV
Look with eyes of faith. The Word (Y'shua IS the Word made flesh) is the substance of our faith, Hebrews 11:1. This is the only way to not fall to the primary problem of false Messiahs and their seductive lies while we wait for Y'shua to return.
For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray.    Matthew 24:5  
The Greek transliteration of "I am the Christ" is egoo eimi ho christos. The Hellenist way of communicating the name of Elohim's anointed Messiah. Instead of YHVH, the Hellenist Greek would say, "egoo eimi" (I AM). The apostle John uses this very phrase as a name of Y'shua to the Hellenistic believers he wrote to. "ho Christos" is just the Greek translation of "ha Machiach" or The Messiah. A much stronger deception than how it reads in English.

If the believer can stand firm on the Word of YHVH, written on the hearts of us who are indwelt by the very Spirit of YHVH, the Spirit that deserted the Temple of Israel, if by our faith, we see Y'shua and trust that when things are at their worst, he has not forgot us. He has not left us on our own, than the rest is just details of glorious living. We are not alone. The Apostle Paul said it well...
What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?  Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies;  who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written,

"For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39  
Isn't that what faith is about? It is not about freedom from persecution. Y'shua actually promises we will be persecuted. It surly is not about wealth. We are to live as beggars in the Spiritual realm, meaning that prayer is to define us. This life we have chosen, this difficult path, so steep and narrow, The Way that few will find, is about becoming like our Y'shua/Jesus, about knowing the One who so loved us that he paid the blood penalty that we were unable to pay. He asks nothing in return except that you give up your perception of yourself and live the life he gave up, let Him live through you. Galatians 2:20.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places:  all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.   Matthew 24:6-8  
How than shall we live? Can we be sure of anything? When I ask that question, I realize something about myself. There is more I need to learn and practice about faith. Death cannot separate me from the love of YHVH. The thing is, Y'shua/Jesus did not come so that I would worry about death. He came to give me LIFE, abundant, glorious LIFE. Is it easy? Some days it is fantastic, but that is not always my experience, This life is compared to a steep narrow path. Is it carefree? I am sure it is not, I am to be a spiritual beggar, to show mercy, to cry with those who cry. But with Paul I again say, In all these things, we are more than conquers through Y'shua who loves us!

While the walking is still easy, learn to walk by faith. Deb at Glacier National Park 2007
Mrs. Hagerty, December 11, 2011
Updated January 3, 2016 by MsH

Robert H Gundry, MATTHEW-A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church under Persecution, Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co. Grand Rapids 1982, 1994

RT France, The Gospel of Matthew, Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids / Cambridge, UK 2007

Commentary on the New Testament use of the Old Testament (Matthew section by Craig L Blomberg), Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2007

Monday, December 5, 2011

Be Careful What You See

A word study on the Greek word, blepo (blep'-o) as used in Matthew chapter 24; see, take heed.

Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.  But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down."

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?" And Jesus answered them, "Take heed that no one leads you astray.
Matthew 24:1-5  RSV
At the basic level, blepo (Strong's #991) means more than just look at something. It communicates the idea of understanding what it is that I see. Matthew 24:4, "understand what you see" so that no one can trick you or lead you astray.

Other places Matthew has used blepo: Y'shua/Jesus has used blepo to describe why people do what they do based on their understanding as well as their lack of understanding.
But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 5:28  RSV

"Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:2-4, 6, 17-18   RSV
YHVH knows how his beloved creation looks at things. The natural man is strongly affected by the image of a person instead of the heart of a person. I personally believe that this is a reason we must "see with eyes of faith". YHVH's servant Samuel had to be reminded of looking at a person the way YHVH/LORD look at them.

 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7  RSV
The only thing the natural man can see is the outward appearance. YHVH alone can see the heart. Without faith it is impossible to see as YHVH sees.

Look at how Y'shua/Jesus spoke to different groups of religious people. The first group is of faith, the 2nd is simply religious.
Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me."
Matthew 11:2-6  RSV

Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.  This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
Matthew 13:10-14  RSV
It takes faith in the Word of YHVH (and Y'shua is the Word of YHVH) to understand what we see in this world.

There are many frightening events taking place in Matthew chapter 24. The chapter begins with the disciples focused on the shadow of the heavenly reality, the Temple. Y'shua directs the boys to "have a good look, understand what you are seeing" An empty building, beautiful on the outside, but empty.The Spirit of YHVH left long ago. Now Y'shua has also walked away.

 Rather like King Saul and David. Saul was beautiful on the outside but full of rage, insecurity and death on the inside. David was thought to be part of a band of traitors, robbers, vag-a-bonds, but he was the chosen of YHVH. David was not chosen for "looking presidential" but for his heart. Men of faith would look at these two kings and see who YHVH had chosen. Men who looked but did not really see, blepo, would respond to Saul the way the disciples first responded to the temple, "See how beautiful, how impressive!"

To see as YHVH sees, to blepo, cannot be learned. It has to be accepted by faith.
And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Hebrews 11:6  RSV
If you are a believer in Y'shua the Messiah (Jesus who is the Christ), ask YHVH to open your eyes to see as you read through Matthew 24 that you may "stand firm" (to take your stand on Torah) in the days to come. If you are religious, and feel somewhat afraid as you read through the things to come, perhaps you will accept the prompt of YHVH/God to believe in Y'shua, to die to yourself and let him live through you to eternal glory. In the days to come everyone will go through the events foretold in Matthew 24. Only we who believe will press forward to eternal life. Won't you take the hand of love offered to you and follow on the hard narrow path?

Open your eyes, see with your heart, where Y'shua takes the throne of life.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Deb's picks for best posts of Thanksgiving Week

Sunrise, December 1, 2011
Deb's favorite reads for this last week of November On Music of the Rain