TAMMUZ – 4th Biblical Month – Being Holy, Being Whole

TAMMUZ

THEME:  VISION AND PERCEPTION

BODY:  EYES

QUOTE:  When you place your life in the hand of God, you begin to see His hand in everything.

PSALM : 42 G-d-my-Ever-Present-Help

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find pictures; draw your own; sketch; write down any other Scripture verses and/or quotes that will illustrate and express the theme and what you are
learning and experiencing this month. 

G-d-my-Ever-Present-Help 

Psalm 42 is a maskil – a song of instruction. Its words carry a spiritual lesson. It could well have been written by David while he was fleeing from King Saul, who was intending to kill him, and David was hiding in a cave at Ein Gedi. There he would have observed the deer and mountain goats and heard their panting for water as they approached the Ein Gedi oasis from the surrounding desert. The psalm vividly describes the pain of perceiving that, while separated from home, family and friends, one is separated from G-d Himself. As a deer pants for water, the source of life in a dry land, so one’s soul becomes dry and thirsty for the life-giving water of the presence of G-d.

It is, however, a false perception – a result of the scorn and reviling of those who jealously mocked him, saying, in effect,  “You are nothing but a fugitive. Where is your God now?” This same scorn followed Israel throughout her exile and has brought much pain and many tears. The psalmist, however, expresses the truth that G-d’s Word is the Hope they can cling to and rejoice in. His people are never alone. They can say: “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love [over me], and at night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.” (v.8). His hand always is there when we reach out for it. Our hearts always can sing to Him in response to His constant, unshakeable love. 

CE: Write out the verses that resonate with you and express your responses to the Psalm. 

PARTS OF THE BODY – EYES

Last month we saw how the Name of G-d was embedded in our skeletal frame. This month we will begin to examine the head, which would link with the first letter in the Name of G-d – the yod. The head is the head, the ‘manager’ as it were, of the body. As well as the brain, it carries the four sensory organs of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. This month we will focus on the eyes. The eyes are considered the most important of the four and often are compared to wisdom – the seeing and understanding the essence of something. 

The Hebrew word for eye – ayin / עיןhas the numerical value of 70; an important number in the Bible. Abraham was 70 when God cut the Covenant of the Pieces with him. There were 70 souls of the house of Jacob who went down to Egypt (Genesis 46). There are 70 archetypal nations of the world, for whom 70 bulls were offered as sacrifices during the week of the Festival of Sukkot. These correspond to 70 evil characteristics that epitomise the worldly nations, of which the trait of sexual immorality is considered the most widespread and damaging.  The Torah is considered to have 70 facets that counteract these evil characteristics.

The Shemah prayer, the first learned by Jewish children and prayed at least twice a day, is prayed with the right hand covering the eyes to impress the importance of sight and how we “see” things. The verse Numbers 15:39 is included in the Shemah: “…remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.” The verse refers to the tzitzit – the tassles on the corners of a man’s tallit, prayer shawl and tallit katan, a vest-like undergarment. By constantly seeing the tassles, a man is reminded to obey God’s will and to be “holy to your God.” Yeshua emphasised the importance of not “straying after one’s eyes” in Matthew 5:28, when he said:”…I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” 

Another important aspect of seeing is included in the portion. The account of ‘The Sin of the Ten Spies.’ The Israelites are camped on the border of the Promised Land and twelve leaders, one from every tribe, were sent by Moses to scout out the Land, to “see” what it was like, and to bring back a report. After 40 days they returned and, according to their report, ten saw one thing and two saw another. What happened? The ten described ‘reality’ as they saw it, from a fear-filled perspective, and gave a negative report of the ‘giants’ the inhabited the Land and made them feel like grasshoppers. The two – Joshua and Caleb, assured the now terrified people of the goodness of the Land and they would be able to conquer the giants because G-d had promised and was with them. Which perspective won out? Sadly, the faithless fear-based one… and, as a result, that generation continued to wander for 40 years and died in the wilderness. What was their sin, which is considered to be worse than the Sin of the Golden Calf? They did not see with eyes of faith and they turned their backs on the Land G-d had promised them for generations as their sacred inheritance.

We could argue that the two were facing reality and were only sharing what they had seen with their own eyes. Joshua and Caleb, by the way, did not argue with them about the challenge posed by the warlike inhabitants but emphasised how the reality we see with our physical eyes is not necessarily the truth of the matter. In a wonderful commentary by David Ebenbach, called The Artist’s Torah, he describes how, when a person is in pursuit of truth – about life, about meaning, about the universe, the Divine, often the things we discover may seem completely unrealistic! We need to see beyond the seemingly ‘real.’ Ebenbach quotes from scholar Earle Colman’s book, Creativity and Spirituality, how famous Jewish artist Marc Chagall called spiritual reality unreality. To see the spiritual view, which G-d was asking the Israelites to do, means seeing and grasping the truth that is beyond the mundane reality which we see around us. In his autobiography, Marc Chagall wrote of his search for truth and G-d’s unique purpose for him: 

I roamed the streets, I searched, I prayed. “G-d, Thou who hides in the clouds or behind the shoemaker’s house, grant that my soul may be revealed, the sorrowful soul of a stammering boy. Show me my way. I do not want to be like all the others. I want to see a new world.

Stained glass window – Marc Chagall

Interestingly, I believe that art and creativity are gifts, tools, we have been given to better envision the reality of the spiritual realm. It began in the wilderness with the creation of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) with all its beauty and design, color and pattern, as a vision of this “new world” – the world as G-d created it to be, with His Presence dwelling among us. In fact, the Hebrew words for art – ohmanut –  אמנות, and faith –  אמונה, both have the same root אמנ, amen, which is an acronym for El Melech Ne’eman,  which means G-d Faithful King. The truth of which is the basis of our faith! 

Ebenbach also quotes the well-known poet and author Saul Bellow (whose novel Seize the Day popularised the Carpe Diem saying, and whose novel Henderson the Rain King is a perennial favorite) who said, in his 1976 Nobel Prize winning acceptance speech:

Only art penetrates what pride, passion, intelligence and habit erect on la sides – the seeming reality of this world. There is another reality, the genuine one, which we lose sight of. This other reality [Chagall’s new word?] is always sending us hints which, without art, we can’t receive. 

We need to be visionaries. What does that mean? To be a visionary means, not ignoring the reality of what we see around us, but perceiving things that are not there – yet! It means standing with Caleb and Joshua against the fear and pessimistic proclamations and rather to proclaim the truth of what we can envision – that which is written and promised in the Word of our Creator.

HOW DO WE SEE? 

There are many idioms associated with seeing, for example, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” There is a danger in choosing to see only that which we want to see, as opposed to the reality of what actually is there. Our perception of things can be distorted by, for example, the desire to be right and to not admit to ignorance, or a mistaken understanding of the facts. The Torah also underscores in the case of making a judgment, “And you shall take no bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right” (Exodus 23:8).  There are many forms of ‘bribery’ – peer pressure, desire to be popular and accepted, or to be seen as important. If we succumb to these we can make unfair and unsound judgments and end up calling bad good and good bad.

The Sages of Israel describe the reality of a Good Eye – ayin tov (עין טוב), and an Evil Eye – ayin rah (עין רע).  Proverbs 22:9 tells us,  “Whoever has a good eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” Abraham is the prime example of one with a good eye for he intently watched out for those whom he could help and always tried to see the good in others. Balaam is an example of one with an evil eye – someone who always looks for fault, is willing to accept bribes, and is jealous of another’s goods or status. One with a good eye gives, while one with an evil eye takes and the latter is never satisfied with what he has; he is driven by greed.

In order to combat the presence of the ‘evil eye’ – from evil thoughts about others, from jealousy and covetousness, and all forms of negative thinking, our focus must be on God’s Word, which is Truth. We need to shift our gaze from the materialism and influence of the ‘kingdom of the world’ – Olam HaZeh around us and remain focussed on the Kingdom of God and Olam HaBa – the World to Come. That doesn’t mean, as the popular saying goes, that one must be so heavenly minded that one is no earthly good! It means that we need to train our eyes to see the Presence of God and the signs of His provision in this world, even while we know that this is but an all too brief transition to the eternal world to come. 

The eyes of our Father in Heaven always are upon His children; and upon those who are searching for Him. “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God” (Psalm 14:2). Psalm 145:15-16 also tells us how, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.” He is the prime Giver, the perfect Ayin Tov, Good Eye.We need to see and understand that all our provision comes from God. When we do we will have an attitude of complete trust in Him for all our daily needs. We will learn to see His hand clearly and will be able to respond in heartfelt gratitude without ever taking it for granted. Then we will be able to work more in harmony with Him in this world. We will be able to taste and see that God is good! (Psalm 34:9)

The prophet Isaiah gives a beautiful, joyful promise to those who are watchmen and women, watching for God, in 52:8, “The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice; together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion.” Seeing ‘eye to eye’ means being in perfect agreement. Coming to an intimate knowledge of God through His Word, and having one’s will in harmony with His; being ‘one’ with, just as Yeshua was with the Father. As he prayed to the Father for his disciples before his arrest in John 17: 17-24, 

Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth. As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world….The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and You in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent me and loved them even as You loved me. 

The prophet Habakkuk tells us that after Messiah is enthroned in Zion, ruling over God’s Kingdom, “…the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (2:14). Until then, let us pray…

Abba, Father, our desire is to “see eye to eye” with You. Help us to surrender our lives more fully into Your Hand and to begin to see Your hand more clearly in all things. Thank You for Your faithful provision. We pray that you will continue to sustain us and strengthen us in all You call us to do. May we continue to grow in knowledge of You, and to become more and more the people You created us to be; each one unique and in Your image. 

Help us to study and gain deeper knowledge of Your Word that we may stand securely on it and proclaim is Truth without worry of being led astray. Our trust is in You Abba. Thank You that You hear us when we call to You.You see our hearts and know our love for You and for Your son and Messiah. Let us keep our gaze upon You and Your amazing wonders even in this world; and may our inner focus be on the glory and reality of the World to Come. For Your Holy Name’s sake! 

                                    May we constantly…

Thanks to Geneva Seeds for the photograph!


 

We are blessed and honored this month to have TERRY MASON, a dear friend, share with us his perspectives on the value of eyes and sight, both physical and spiritual, and his experiences of birdwatching in Jerusalem. 

 

SIVAN – 3rd Biblical Month – Being Holy, Being Whole

SIVAN

THEME: MOVEMENT 

BODY: Skeletal system; legs, feet; arms, hands

QUOTE:  Act with confidence. ‘Humility’ that disempowers can indicate an inflated ego.

POEM: ‘Toward Myself’ – Lea Goldberg

PSALM 41: G-d-Who-Heals-the-Wounded-Heart

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find pictures; draw your own; sketch; write down any other Scripture verses and/or quotes that will illustrate and express the theme and what you are
learning and experiencing this month. 

G-d-Who-Heals-the-Wounded-Heart 

Living in this imperfect world inevitably results in hurts and wounds, which lead to the formation of negative concepts and perceptions in our minds that hinder us, block our creativity, and stall us in becoming more fully the person our Father created us to be.

The wounds often are hidden from our minds and are deeply embedded in our hearts. We read in Psalm 41 how the psalmists overwhelmed by fear, anger, and grief as he faces the pain alone. Although  knowing the “good way” of the Lord, he cries out for pity, healing, and forgiveness for he has realised, “I have sinned against You!” (verse 5). We, too, are assured that we can cry out to G-d, the One-Who-Heals-the Wounded-Heart. With His unfailing help we can be healed and set free from any hidden blocks. Then we can rejoice in gratitude as we happily grow in holiness and wholeness.

CE: Write out the verses that resonate with you and express your responses to the Psalm. 

Toward Myself  ~ Lea Goldberg   (1911 – 1970)

Lea Goldberg is one of Israel’s most respected poets. With added melody, many of her poems have become classic songs. In 1935, at age 24, after her university studies, she made Aliyah to Israel from Lithuania. She was a prolific and versatile writer. Her publications include ten collections of poetry, plays, novels, and stories for children. She translated major literary works into Hebrew, including War and Peace, plays by Shakespeare, and stories by Chekov, Moli`ere, and Ibsen.

Although Goldberg lived through both Word Wars and their horrors she expressed a commitment in her poetry “to remind humankind, every moment and every day, that the opportunity to return and be human is not lost.” 

The years have made up my face
With memories of love
And have adorned my hair with light silver threads
Making me most beautiful.

In my eyes
landscapes are reflected.
And the paths I have trod
Have straightened my stride –
tired and lovely steps.

If you should see me now
You would not recognise your yesterdays –
I am walking towards myself
Bearing the face you searched for in vain
When I was walking toward you.

CE:  Write out the poem in your Journal. Can you identify with it in any way? Jot down any thoughts you may have. 

HOW THEN SHOULD WE WALK? 

Of all the many beautiful and powerful Scripture verses connected with walking the one I come back to time and again is Micah 6:8, with it’s direct simplicity: 

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

The emphasis on what to do to please Him is not on theology, sacrifices, and rituals. The most significant of God’s desires for mankind as we walk through our days are justice, compassion, and humility. Note that, as we walk together with Him, these requirements relate to how people interact with one another. Thus, we may understand that the primary goal of our thoughts and actions in every situation is to use our intelligence and creativity, and any gifts the Father has given us, in order to fulfil the chief interpersonal commandment, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

“Being Holy” is predominantly connected with the motivation and the execution of one’s everyday actions. This involves our physical bodies. Our legs take us where we want to go and our hands do the necessary actions. The greatest thing we can do is to bring blessing in whatever we do. First we want to bless God and then to bless others. The Sages say we should find 100 reasons to bless God every day. Hebrew blessings are essentially an expression of grateful praise. They begin with, “Baruch Atah Adonai Eoheinu, Melech HaOlam…”  Blessed are You O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe…, and then follows the reason for praising Him:-  “…for restoring my soul to me in compassion” (said first thing on waking); “…for bringing bread from the earth” (before eating a meal with bread); “for the fruit of the vine” (before drinking wine); “who has made the great sea” (on seeing the ocean); on hearing good news, “…who is good and does good” and even on hearing sad news of a death, “…the true Judge.” And so on…one hundred reasons to praise God. In Israel we are used to saying “Baruch HaShem” – “Praise or Bless HIs Name”, at the drop of a hat. 

God Himself is the great bestower of blessing, therefore, our desire, in order to emulate Him, should be to bless others as well. In fact, when we do we are sanctifying His Name. Based on the third commandment in Exodus 20:7, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,” and Leviticus 22:32, “You shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctifies you,” observant Jews pray twice daily, together with the Shemah, to “nekadesh et Shimcha be’olam” – to “make Your Name holy in the world.” How does one do this? Firstly, an interesting point grasp is that, in Exodus 20:7, the Hebrew word usually translated as ‘Do not take’ –  Lo tissa, literally means “Do not carry the Name of the Lord in vain.”

We are created in such a way that we physically carry His Name in our bodies. 

PARTS OF THE BODY – THE SKELETAL SYSTEM

The human skeleton is the framework and support for all the organs of the body. It is divided into two categories: the axial, which is the central column – skull, spine, ribs, and sternum, and the appendicular – the shoulders, arms and legs. As well as being of vital importance to our physical well-being and strength, it is in the skeleton that we see a diagram of the Name of God. We are told in Genesis 1:27 that we are created in the image of God and this is illustrated, as it were, in our very bones! Externally we all look very different but when we get down to the bare bones level we all are very similar!  

Back to the question, “How do we carry His Name in our bodies?” Let’s take a look. The Name of God, the Tetragrammaton, as written in the Hebrew Scriptures is Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh. י-ה-ו-ה  Now look at the skeleton. The skull fits the shape of the yod; the arms form a heh (with an open space for the heart); the spine fits the vav, and the legs form the final heh! We carry the Name of God in our very being. How is this of relevance in our daily lives? It is intimately connected with how we walk through our days. In our video this month you will learn more about the importance of standing and walking correctly according to how our skeleton is created, but let us consider how the shape of our skeleton in the Name of God, together with the breath He gives us, affects our spiritual lives.

Simply put, when others, particularly those who do not know God, observe your behavior and appreciate the righteousness of your actions, and the godliness of your character, they will be drawn closer to God and His ways – and that is Kiddush HaShem – Sanctifying His Name.  It stands to reason that the opposite of Kiddush HaShem, sanctifying His Name, applies. The desecration of God’s Name is called in Hebrew Chillul HaShem. If others, who know you are a believer in God see you acting in dishonest or obnoxious ways their opinion of God will  be lowered negatively. 

From the start, Abraham and Sarah serve as great examples. As renowned medieval Torah commentator and physician, Maimonides, describes: “Just as Abraham, being a lover of God, summoned mankind to believe [by constantly opening their tent to serve wayfarers with food and rest and ave praise to God for the provision], you must love God and summon mankind to Him.”  Maimonides also noted that the greater and more prominent a scholar or leader, the greater responsibility they have to act in an exemplary, God-honoring way. As examples, he cites that they must (i) pay their debts promptly, (ii) never embarrass colleagues, and (iii) not overindulge in merrymaking in public. (The Foundations of Torah 5:11)

In relation to the body part of feet and walking, It is said that your feet will take you where you want to go. It is important to be aware of where we go and who we are seen to be associating with. In 1965, the esteemed teacher and author Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Selma civil rights demonstration. It showed that he cared about righting the injustices of segregation and believed that all are created in the image of God and are equally deserving of respect. He later famously commented, in effect: “It felt as if my legs were praying.”

The perfect example of Kiddush HaShem is Yeshua himself. His motive, in all he did, was to bless and please our Father in Heaven.  As he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” (John 5:19) In so doing, he could extend the blessings of wisdom and healing to others and open the way of God’s Kingdom to all the world – to whosoever would come and respond to the good news he proclaimed.

Considered the greatest of Yeshua’s teaching on blessing is the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5:1-10. The focus behind the beatitudes is love of God, stemming from a pure and humble heart. Interestingly, when Yeshua began his teaching with, “Blessed are you…”, the initial reaction could well have been to think, for example,“…when you are healthy; when you are well off financially; when you have all you desire.” However, he says, “Blessed are those who are poor in spirit; who mourn; who are meek and humble; who hunger and thirst after righteousness; who are merciful and pure in heart, and make peace; and even those who are persecuted!”  The blessings come through the love and grace of God when the mourners are comforted, the hungry satisfied; when the meek, humble, and pure are called “sons of God” and inherit the earth. And those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for Kiddush HaShem, can rejoice and be glad for their reward in Heaven will be great.

Yeshua underscores for us in the Beatitudes that the Father is the first and only Being we can rely on. He reaffirms this in the next chapter, Matthew 6, when he teaches the disciples to pray to our Father in Heaven. The first proclamation is Kiddush HaShem – hallowing God’s name. It continues to proclaim that our aim is to do His will on earth as it is done in Heaven, and we grateful receive our daily bread and forgiveness of our sin. It is He who safeguards us from temptation and who delivers us from evil. Baruch HaShem – Praise His Holy Name, for His is the Kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen!

Yeshua continues, in verses 25-34, that when we serve God in love, we need be anxious for nothing. Our Father knows of all our needs, we need only seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, and all will be added to us in His loving grace. And in chapter 7:11, we are again assured, “If even an evil man knows how to give good gifts to his children, how much more will our Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?”

WALKING HUMBLY WITH OUR GOD

Let us finish with a final look at our legs and humility!   We are told in Scripture that Moses was the most humble of men who ever lived. And yet he was called and used by God to perform powerful and mighty deeds in the liberation of His people from Egypt. This indicates that to be humble does not mean being a wimp. To stand strong and balanced we need to have two legs – one leg of humility and another of confidence. We may consider the two pillars that led the Israelites through the wilderness, which often are described as the “legs” of God going before them, one was bright fire and the other cloud. At times our confidence in God’s calling and gifting in our lives must allow us to shine and to be self-assertive; at other times we must, as it were, hide and ‘cloud ourselves over.’ In wisdom, we need to discern when it is appropriate to remember that God created each of us uniquely for His special purposes and when to remember that, without Him, we are nothing but dust and ashes! 

The prophet Micah’s words echo those of Moses in his final farewell to the people of God, in  Deuteronomy 10:12-13,

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good.”

Let us stand strong on His eternal Word and carry His Name with joy and blessing! 

VIDEO – “STEPS TO PERFECT POSTURE”  – ‘Good Posture means Lasting Health’

In the West we need to relearn the basics of good posture!  Keren’s sister, Cathy Daley,  is a trained Physical Therapist as well as a Yoga teacher. Here she shares the principles of correct standing, sitting and walking that will help enforce correct skeletal alignment, and improve circulation and muscle tone. All towards better health!

Posture Overview by Cathy Daley

IYYAR – 2nd Biblical Month – Being Holy ~ Being Whole

IYYAR

THEME: THE HEART, THOUGHTS AND CONTEMPLATION

QUOTE: “Faith exists only in the imagination. In that sphere which the mind is able to comprehend, the concept of faith cannot exist.” ~ Rebbe Nachman 

POEM:  Waves of Light  by Rumi.

PSALM 32:  God-Who-Envelops-In-Chessed/Lovingkindness

CREATIVE EXPRESSION: Find pictures; draw your own; sketch; write down any other Scripture verses and/or quotes that will illustrate and express the theme and what you are learning and experiencing this month.

 

 

IYYAR – Heart – Thoughts

Paul writes in Romans 14:17-19 that the kingdom of God is a matter of righteousness, peace and joy in the Ruach HaKodesh – the Spirit of Holiness. A friend pointed out that this is a progression. Righteousness (holiness) leads to Peace (Shalom – shalem -wholeness) and Peace leads to Joy. The greater our righteousness, the greater will be our peace, and, in turn, the greater will be our joy.

The question then is, “How do we become more righteous – more holy, and thus more whole and more deeply joyful?” The process requires Tikkun – healing, rectification, restoration.The key to Tikkun is the reality and power of our Father’s Infinite Love.

The body part we are focusing on during the month of Iyyar is the heart – lev (לב). The Psalm for the month is Psalm 32, which number, interestingly, is the numerical value of lev – ל = 30 and ב = 2.

The heart is the seat, as it were, of the emotions and the organ we most associate with love. What emotion do we commonly consider as the opposite of love? In my research I [Keren] came across the interesting concept that the opposite of love is not hate but Fear! If one digs deeper into the roots of hatred one can discover that hate is a manifestation of fear. It turns out that most negative emotions we experience, such as pain, grief, anger, resentment, depression, and guilt, are all rooted in, and are forms of, fear.  When true love and real peace are allowed in these negative emotions disappear – just as darkness does when light shines in.

Another interesting idea, according to Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, (formerly on the faculty of the University of California’s Medical Center, and author of Love is Letting go of Fear) is that, “Love and peace are so interwoven that they never can be used separately.” To be able to experience the enveloping love of God in our lives, we must allow peace in our hearts, and, vice versa, to experience true peace, we must open our hearts to the love of God.

We can apply this concept – the reality and power of our Father God’s love, and the Shalom that accompanies it, in many different scenarios. Even politically. For example,  a core issue in the ‘Middle East Conflict’ is the desperate attempt to devise a “Peace Plan” between Israel and so-called Palestine. This seems doomed to failure. Why? Because peace and love are interwoven with the light of Truth. The three realities must work together. Picture a three-legged stool – with peace, love and truth as the legs. Remove one leg and the stool will topple. It cannot stand. Any relationship, whether between friends, family, spouses, political partners, etc, must be based on all three – truth, love, and peace, then the relationship will have a base upon which it can grow and endure. Without the three working together in harmony, the fruit will only be fear, hatred, and violence in one form or another.

We all naturally want to be happy, healthy, and productive human beings. During this ‘Being Holy, Being Whole’ series, we are aiming to take gentle and manageable steps to clear our minds, nurture our spirits, and to strengthen our bodies. Now is the time, as we contemplate upon the theme of Thoughts and the Heart,  to make the decision to respond in love rather than in fear to any situation or circumstance in our lives. How do we do this? Remember the three-legged stool! 

First, each thing needs to be brought into the light of truth – the warm, holy light of God’s loving truth; not a harsh interrogation spotlight! This is where the vital link between our thoughts and our hearts comes into play. Our thoughts and imagination are powerful and feed what we believe in our hearts. They are the interface or bridge, as it were, between the physical and spiritual – our bodies and souls. Our thoughts and imagination are the source of our creative ability and can raise us up to spiritual heights or drag us down to  the depths of sin and degradation. 

The mind is a battleground and the apostle Paul  refers to our godly thoughts and beliefs as ”weapons” of our spiritual warfare. He exhorts us to: “…destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Messiah” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We can only “destroy the strongholds” of the enemy if our minds are filed with the knowledge of God and the truth of His Word, as patterned and exemplified in His Son and Messiah Yeshua. 

Raynna, in this month’s video, challenges us to contemplate and answer God’s question to Adam, “Ayeka? Where are you?” Of course God knew Adam’s physical location. The deeper question is: “Where are you now in your relationship with Me?” Are we separated and distant from Him or are we peacefully enfolded in His loving Presence as we rest in the assurance of His truth.

According to His Word, the first basic, foundational truth to grasp is the assurance that you are a child of God, precious in His sight. Secondly, you are not a bad person or a failure for having problems or having made mistakes and, as a result, are unloved and being punished. Thirdly, you are unique and have a purpose in God’s plan that only you can fulfil. Finally, He always is there when you call or reach out for Him. 

These truths are beautifully illustrated in Yeshua’s parable of the merciful father and his prodigal son (Luke 15). The son, who had insulted and disregarded his father, left home and wasted the inheritance he had demanded from his father, and ended up in a pigsty.
As soon as he woke up to his mistake, and saw the results of his bad choices, he truly repented in his heart.  He turned around in humility and, willing to admit his error and to work as a servant, he decided to return to his father. What was the father’s response? It was the same as our Father in Heaven’s when we repent of sinning against Him and causing Him pain. The father was waiting and constantly watching for his child and, when he saw him far off on the road, went running to meet him. He embraced him with great joy. He took him home, dressed him in beautiful robes, gave him a ring of authority, and celebrated his return with a huge feast! 

Mistakes and pain come and go in life. They are a great means of learning and growing. It’s when we get stuck in our pain, as it were, or bury it and ignore it, that it becomes detrimental to our well-being and growth. Nobody likes pain. Children are able to cry, and even throw a tantrum, to naturally express their pain, and then let it go and move on to new experiences. If children grow and  mature in a healthy environment, they learn that there are better ways of dealing with pain. However, if our childhood environment was not loving and healthy, we develop negative coping strategies to deal with our pain. We can repress our feelings, or deny and run away from them. We can even close down our heart and be unwilling to trust or to try new things, all in order to avoid suffering heartbreak, rejection, or failure. Another negative result of being stuck in one’s pain, is that a person can get so used to living with their pain that the thought of being without it scares them; making it almost impossible to let it go. 

So, what can one do? Whether our pain is from childhood or from an experience this week, we need first of all to face it – be aware of it. We can begin to notice familiar patterns of pain. Then we need to bring it into the light of God’s truth and love. Then we can gently let go of any hurt, hatred, bitterness, guilt, resentment, and release them into our Father’s outstretched hand, which always is there ready and waiting. As we allow His healing love and peace to flow in and displace the pain, we can go forward – joyfully reconnected to the source of His life. Then, we must determine to keep moving forward. Each new day, each new moment, our response can be one of love and peace. Sometimes it may be difficult, but the more we embrace the reality of our Father’s Love, the more we will understand that it is far more powerful than our own pain or guilt, as well as the other person’s behavior and guilt.

In every situation, the only meaningful choice we have is between fear and love. Let us choose to fill our thoughts with truth and righteousness, and our hearts with love. Then we will be filled with the joy of Adonai, which is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). As Yeshua described in his parable of the master and those servants who had served him faithfully, the master proclaims: “Well done, good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things; enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:23).

 

IYYAR – PSALM 32

Aim to identify individually with the content of the Psalm in a deep and meaningful way and attempt to apply it to oneself – to find one’s self in the psalm. May our lives become harps that play the songs of God. 

Write out the verses that deeply touch you and express your responses to the Psalm.

The first two verses are an expression of the “joy of deliverance” – the happiness experienced with the realisation that one’s sin is not only forgiven but is completely washed away as if it had not happened. Such is the power of the forgiveness of our Father in Heaven when we confess our sins and repent. We can see how the the prodigal son of Yeshua’s parable clearly reflects the dire scenario of the Psalmist. His confrontation with and confession of the sin, and repentance of it, is the turning point. No sin is greater than God’s infinite love and forgiveness and, once truly repented of, one’s life can be centered in the Father’s Loving Presence and not in the pain of shame and guilt. 

As verse 10 beautifully describes: “Many are the troubles of the wicked, but one who trusts in Adonai will be enveloped by Chessed / Lovingkindness.” His loving Presence surrounds one constantly and, as a result, one can joyfully sing His praise: 

“Rejoice in Adonai! Exult, righteous ones! Shout for joy, all who are upright in heart!” (v.11)

Even if you are suffering or in pain, your preciousness to God cannot be diminished. Nothing can cancel the truth of your being loved. Your Father’s face is toward you and His eye is on you every moment. When your trust is in the God of Love you are surrounded by His steadfast love that never wavers. There is no need to fear, for He constantly reminds us, “Fear not, for I am with you always!”

 

 POEM

           Poem to Ponder for Iyyar 

       Write it in your journal and jot down any thoughts.

                              Waves of Light by Rumi

[Abba, Father]

You are ‘there’, I ‘here’

Worlds separate us

Death’s angels, 

the void of space…

Yet I say Your Name,

and waves of Light

Wash to me silently

from Your Heart.

 

JOURNALING – CHIDUSHIM

The Hebrew word chidushim means new insight and thoughts; fresh inspiration. During this year’s monthly cycle – Being Holy Being Whole – we are encouraging each other to keep a journal and to express our thoughts, ideas, sketches, pictures, doodles – whatever, in order to give expression to the chidushim in our hearts and minds. 

Before you start journaling remember the blessing: “Blessed are You O Lord our God, I dedicate the work of my hands to Your glory and I ask for Your inspiration and anointing upon it. Amen

Shemah Yisrael!
You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your might.
(Deuteronomy 6:5)

Yeshua affirms this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
(Matthew 22:37-40)

Take 5 minutes or so and write spontaneous answers to the following questions:

  1. Loving wholeheartedly involves loving God, loving yourself, and loving others.     What are your strengths and weaknesses in this regard? 
  1. To build authentic connection in one’s relationship with God and others takes courage – to be who you are, compassion – towards yourself and others, and vulnerability – a full awareness of your value and worth as one who is unique and precious in God’s eyes that enables you to reach out in love without guarantee of reciprocity. 

      Where do you stand in these three areas?

  1. Based on what we learned, if you could give yourself one small but practical piece of advice to help you grow in this area – something you can intentionally implement during the month ahead, what would it be?

When we love with all our hearts we can…

~Keren Hannah Pryor

 

In this month’s video,  HIS-ISRAEL friend RAYNNA MYERS shares how she finds creative expression with thoughts from her heart.

 

JOURNAL: BEING HOLY – BEING WHOLE

Blessed are You O Lord our God,
I dedicate the work of my hands to Your glory
and I ask for Your inspiration and anointing upon it. Amen

Experiences can fade with time and even be forgotten. A journal is a wonderful place to hold these memories. It is a place of return –  to mntemplate healing and growth, to be encouraged and even at times to simply water the seeds that were planted long before. A journal can act as a mirror, a lens, or a window.

As technolgy and the keyboard or Smart-phone take over, the power of the personal, handwritten word is being rediscovered. Whether in a journal or a handwritten letter, the positive, and even healing, effects cannot be exaggerated. ~ Keren Hannah

Your journal is a place for you to be creative, to draw, doodle, record thoughts, quotes, poems, and Scriptures. It’s a safe place where you can have honest conversations without the worry of being misunderstood or rebuked.

If you haven’t previously developed the habit of journaling, we encourage you to begin with this very special Rosh Chodesh cycle. Not much is needed to join us on this adventure. Basically, you only need sheets of paper, a pen, and a binder to hold your thoughts and mementos of this season. The rest is up to you. Remember that you can journal with more than just words – include images, doodles, scribbles, and even tangible mementos.

Invite our Creator G-d into the heart of your journaling and enjoy!

Keren and Cindy

Each month we will provide a PDF download of Keren’s notes, including a journal page with ideas to respond to in connection with the themes of the month.

Here is a ‘Journal Page’, with the banner, that we invite you to download and use for your Ohr Kadosh – Being Holy; Being Whole  journaling adventure. Here, also, is an optional ‘Front Page’ download for your journal binder:

Journal Page

Front page

This is Cindy’s Journal cover, using a beautiful piece of her artwork.  We have made it available here for those who desire to download and make use of it:

Being Holy Being Whole Notebook Cover

Following are a few examples of my [Keren’s] past Journal notes. They include quotes, meaningful cards from friends, notes from othere sources and my own thoughts. I have kept these for years and I am amazed at how the Lord leads me to a specific one when I need to review the contents. This year, though, I aim to expand to include more drawing, sketches maybe, and illustrations! More color! There are always new possibilities. Simply enjoy making a start if you haven’t journaled before.

* From the same root as chodesh (month) and chadash (new), the Hebrew word chidushim means new insight and thoughts; fresh inspiration.

NISSAN – 1st Biblical Month – Being Holy ~ Being Whole

THE NEW ROSH CHODESH CYCLE

A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
A spring locked, a fountain sealed.
Song of Songs 4:12

Every woman has innate feminine creativity that can be expressed as gifts to her family, her friends, and to the world. As many and varied, and uniquely created as we are, that is as unique and varied our gifts can be. Home-making, decorating, cooking, sewing, and gardening, are all forms of creativity, as are painting, sculpting, writing, dance, and music. 

Children naturally are bursting with creativity and curiosity. Inevitably, either by family, teachers, peers, or society in general, as a child grows different forms of creativity are squelched or restricted. Most unfortunately, what is repressed may well be the one particular gift or voice that only that individual child has been given. The world needs to hear that voice. 

Now is the time to allow the wind of the Spirit to blow, as it were, on any “locked gardens” in our lives, so that fruit may blossom and the unique and fragrant spices may be released – to the delight of the Beloved; and to help bring beauty and healing to the world.

Let my Beloved come into His garden and eat its choicest fruits.
Song of Songs 4:16

 

TIKKUN of BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT

Each month we will focus on a particular part of the body and see how the three elements of our being are related to the functioning of that member of the body.

During Nissan we will explore why how and what we speak is important. What prompts us to speak as we do? What effect do our words have on ourselves and others?

NISSAN – Mouth – Speech 

NISSAN – the first month of the biblical year and the Rosh Chodesh Cycle. The month is associated with the mouth and words. The first festival of the year is celebrated – Pesach / Passover. The name Pesach is comprised of two Hebrew words…peh – mouth and sach – speaks or converses. The Israelite tribe connected with Nissan is Yehudah; which means praise. How fitting that a mouth filled with praise describes Nissan – the month of the Exodus and God’s mighty deliverance of His people from slavery. As His redeemed, He brought them to Mount Sinai where His mouth would confirm HIs covenant faithfulness to them and would speak forth the Ten Words that would transform them into a holy nation and would change the world forever.

In connection with the festival of Pesach  – when the enslaved Israelites were delivered by God and brought into freedom, including the freedom to speak and have a voice, Rabbi Nachman states in Likutei HaMoharan that pure speech leads to freedom, while blemished speech corresponds to exile. If we rectify our speech we become free people; an exalted creation. Such is the great value and power of speech.

“With every breath one takes, with every word uttered, one can evoke God’s honor. Speaking properly, even when speaking of mundane matters – and avoiding blemished speech – brings one continually closer to God. …These are words through which we merit the Exodus. Through them we become free.” Likutei Moharan 1, 55:7
And then, with each breath and word, we are able to praise God.

Good vs Evil Speech

One needs wisdom to distinguish between good and evil speech. Evil often can masquerade as good! Apart from the obvious hate-speech, profanity, and slander, today, with the general lapse in morality and integrity, many lies are accepted as truth. Evil speech has a powerful and detrimental effect on the one who speaks them. They also cause damage to the listener and to the one who is being denigrated or slandered.

To strengthen good and holy speech we need to consciously reflect on God’s Word and express His words in prayer, praise and song. Rabbi Nachman taught, “Through song and joy one can guard and preserve one’s memory  and [always keep in mind] the World to Come.”  (Likutei Moharan 1,54:12) Also, “It is good to make a habit of inspiring yourself with a melody. Great concepts are contained in each holy melody and they can arouse your heart and draw it towards God. …The loftiness of a melody is beyond measure.”

Even Moses had a problem with speaking. Medically, It has been  proven that singing, even by yourself in the shower, and reading poetry, helps to rectify speech problems.

Mashiach – Messiah

Yeshua, as the Word made flesh, is the perfect example of good, holy speech. Rabbi Nachman points out that the Hebrew word MaShIaCH relates to ”MeSIaCH the mute” – “God causes the mute to speak.” In the era of Messiah, when he is ruling as King of kings in Jerusalem, everyone will be dedicated to the pursuit of peace and holiness and all will be able to speak freely without causing pain to another. At that time, when God’s Kingdom of Love, Unity, and Shalom is established on earth, then all speech will be holy, as proclaimed by the prophet Zephaniah,

For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.” (3:9)

PSALMS – HEALING HARPS

On a harp of ten strings You have made me rejoice Adonai in Your works!
Psalm 92:4-5

It has long been understood that the Psalms carry a special anointing and blessing of healing. I call them “harps of God,” the strings of which produce music that severs the bonds that the world and the enemy of our souls attempt to lay upon us. 

As an aid in assisting us towards wholeness – be it mental, physical, or spiritual, we will be focussing on the ten Psalms identified by Rabbi Nathan of Breslov as Tikkun Klali – Complete Healing or Repair.  

The Concept of Tikkun

The word tikkun means healing or repair in the context of the perfecting of the individual, the Jewish people and the nations, and the universe in general. The phrase Tikkun Olam means the repair of the world. The ultimate goal, working together with God, and with His help, is to bring the world to wholeness and perfection as far as it is in our ability to do so. Every tiny, individual act of healing and reconstruction of brokenness contributes to the repair.

The Word of God is the Rock we stand on in this work. 

To quote Midrash Tanchuma – Yitro 8:

     Said the Holy One blessed be He:
     “There is no affliction
     for which there does not exist a cure;
     the therapy and medicament for every affliction is discernible.
     If you seek that misfortune befall not your body,
     engage in the study of Torah,
     for it is therapy for the entire body.”

The ultimate purpose of Creation is to reveal and establish God’s Kingdom in the world. Every person created in His image has this purpose and can only find meaning and fulfilment to the extent that he/she discovers and releases their innate godliness and creative gifts. We can only do our part, in whatever situation our Father places us, remembering the wisdom of PIrkei Avot 2:16,

“You are not required to finish the task,
but neither are you allowed to desist from it.”

Often we can feel intimidated and question our own worth and ability. The world can be like a mighty, churning, often threatening ocean. Rabbi Nachman points out:  

“[One’s] life is like a very narrow bridge, and the essential thing is not to fear at all!”

Even if one falls into the waves there is no room for despair, for, as he explains, there are “rafts” to cling to for safety, such as: 
Faith, encouragement, melody, dance, appropriate self-criticism and introspection, learning from others, and the yearning for a deeper relationship with the Creator.

We also have the assurance that our Messiah, Yeshua, is there to raise us from the troubled sea and he can speak the words to still the storm! (Mark 4:39).

How to Apply the Psalms

Each month we aim to read a particular Psalm and attempt to apply it to oneself in a meaningful way – to find one’s self in the psalm. How?

  1. Find a word or phrase or passage that resonates with you. Consider expressing it through writing your thoughts or composing a verse or poem; doing a sketch, painting, collage, or illustration in your journal; sing it, express it in movement or dance. Make it yours in whatever way you can.
  1. In place of ‘Lord’ or ‘God’ the Hebrew word Adonai can be used to shed a fresh perspective on the verses. We also will seek a more personal, descriptive name for the Almighty in each Psalm.

Understanding that this is “holy work,” and in order to sanctify it as a sacred, set apart time, we suggest you do a special washing of your hands at the start.
(i) First get your Journal, any artisitc materials needed, Bible and notes ready.
(ii) Do a traditional netilat yadaiim – pouring cool water from a cup [use a traditional two-handled one if you have one] first over the right hand and then the left.
(iii) Before drying them, say, e.g.,
Blessed are You O Lord our God, I dedicate the work of my hands to Your glory and I ask for Your inspiration and anointing upon it. Amen


NISSAN – PSALM 16

In verses 1-4, David is feeling vulnerable, unworthy, and guilty. Maybe he believes he is suffering because he deserves it? Reassurance comes in verse 5 with the knowledge that Adonai is his “portion.” When we reach out to take hold of His right hand, it is always there and He, in His great care for us, leads us toward the destiny He has planned for us.

Our loving Father does not want us to wallow in our troubles and sorrow. When we, as verse 8 tells us, keep Adonai continually before us and keep our eyes upon Him, we see His power at work and we gratefully can appreciate that we are beloved and beautiful in His sight. We need to understand that we each are equally and completely worthy of being here in this life. We are essential to God’s unfolding plan of Redemption, of which we, individually, play a tiny but important part. As Madyson Tigler says, in Healing of Soul, Healing of Body: “Seeing ourselves as part of something larger, as beings called to serve, is the ultimate cure for feelings of unworthiness.”

Because of God-Who-Is-My-Right-Hand, we can stand strong and press forward with perseverance. Our whole being can be joyful and we can rest secure and sing, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; let all that is within me bless His Holy Name.”

My [Keren’s] response:

God-Who-Is-My-Right Hand
is my refuge in times of trouble.
When I am weak, He is strong.
I am not over, finished with; rather
I am starting anew!
In His strength and compassion
I am revived; myself.
Ready!

POEM to Ponder for Nissan 
* Suggestion:  Write the poem in your Journal and jot down any thoughts.

Water Without a Tongue  by Malka Heifetz Tussman / original in Yiddish

The sea
ripped a rib
out of its side and said Go,
lie there,
be for me a sign that I am great,
mighty am I.
Go,
be for me a sign.

The canal lies at my window
Mute.
What could be sadder
than water
without a tongue?

As a 16 year old, in 1912 Malka immigrated to America from the Ukraine. Having to learn the language and suffering the limitations that entails, she described it as the experience of becoming inconsequential. You lose your voice and cannot communicate or contribute to society. 

The sea can be heard. Its waves sometimes resound with mighty crashes – a canal, however, lies motionless, the water constrained and uncommunicative.  

The description of a canal being ripped as a rib from the side of the sea clearly is a reference to Genesis 2:21-22, making Eve a kind of “tributary derivation from Adam, as Andrew Vogel Ettin describes in his book Speaking Silences. While useful and practical, Ettin continues to describe, “…a canal is quiet and subsidiary, sadly lacking a tongue and language for wider discourses; mere water without substance, effect, or majesty.” How many women, mistakenly, feel that they fit this description?

Author Tillie Olsen, in her book Silences, notes the significant fact of “…women’s silence of centuries. Not until several centuries ago do women writers appear.” She encourages those “…who begin to emerge into more flowered and rewarded use ourselves,” and says, “…by our achievements [we are] bearing witness to what was [and still is] being lost, silenced.”

Dear women of God, as we do our part in TIkkun Olam, let us discover and exercise the different “voices” the God-Who-Is-Our-Right-Hand has gifted us with and begin to sing them forth for His greater glory.

CHIDUSHIM – JOURNALING

From the same root as chodesh (month) and chadash (new), the Hebrew word chidushim means new insight and thoughts; fresh inspiration. During this year’s monthly cycle – Being Holy ~ Being Whole, we are encouraging each one to keep a journal and to express our thoughts, ideas, sketches, pictures, doodles – whatever, in order to give expression to the chidushim in our hearts and minds. Each month we are aiming to share a video of a woman who is finding a way to creatively express the physical focus of the month.

This month HIS-ISRAEL friend SUSAN MAXON shares how she finds creative expression with her words.

Download OHR KADOSH – NISSAN Notes

OHR KADOSH – Holy Light – Introduction

Art in Hebrew – omanut – has a semantic connection with emunah, “faith” or “faithfulness.” A true artist is faithful both to his materials and to the task, teaching us:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake

…As Goethe said: “Where there is much light, the shadow is deep.” When art lets us see the wonder of creation as G-d’s work and the human person as G-d’s image, it becomes a powerful part of the religious life, with one proviso. The Greeks believed in the holiness of beauty. Jews believe in ‘hadrat kodesh’, the beauty of holiness: not art for art’s sake but art as a disclosure of the ultimate artistry of the Creator. That is how ‘omanut’ enhances ’emunah’, how art adds wonder to faith. [1]

*

We are reminded of ohr (light) from Genesis to Revelation. From G-d’s work in creation –  Let there be Light (Genesis 1:3) to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in the book of Revelation – And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of G-d has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb (chapters 21 and 22). G-d is light. [2]

G-d’s light – lights our way, overcomes darkness, illuminates the shadows in our lives, encourages us, warms us, blankets us with compassion, stirs us, delivers us, and causes us to grow.

His light shines into our past, onto our sufferings, through the 
cracks of our brokenness - restoring, creating new and shining bright.

We know Yeshua, the Word of G-d enfleshed, the Light of the world. And Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:6:

G-d has shone in our hearts the Light of the knowledge of the glory of G-d in the face of Yeshua
(2 Corinthians 4:6).

Yeshua himself tells us to let that light SHINE! (Matthew 5:14-16)

Within each of our hearts G-d has shone His light and planted seeds of possibilities and talents to share His light in a ever darkening world. Keren and I want to invite each of you to explore with us how each Hebrew month reveals a special way to creatively express and share G-ds light / presence with the world around us. How through purposeful creativity we can partner with G-d in tikkun olam – healing and hope to the world.

**

Some may be thinking that you are too busy for this – too busy to set apart time to create. We encourage you to think outside the box. There are endless opportunities and possibilities in your everyday life to live artistically and creatively. Edith Schaeffer in her book Hidden Art (of Homemaking) shares, “For many… the areas in which they could be creative have been encased in a cast, and the creative muscles and joints have stiffened with disuse.” Maybe it’s not so much that your creativity has gone unused but that your creativity has simply been overcome by the follies and busy-ness of this world and lie dormant.

***

But we have a Father who shines His Light on and through us - removing casts - setting captives free - restoring life to stiffened and dead limbs - making straight, strengthening, healing - and sounding the shofar to those of us who are sleeping - rise up!

We want to encourage each of you (ourselves included) to:

GO! MOVE, DANCE, SPEAK, PAINT, FEED, LISTEN, WRITE, SING, TOUCH, 
EXPLORE, PAUSE, ENCOURAGE, INSPIRE - sharing through your creative works His TRUTH, BEAUTY, HOPE, LOVE, GOODNESS, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS, HEALING, COMPASSION, LAUGHTER, WONDER - - and become these things 
 (2 Cor. 3:18). 

Influence your world to the praise and glory of our Father - SHINE!

Each month, beginning with Nissan (17 March, 2018), Keren and I will share the notes on “Being Holy, Being Whole” and a creative expression from a friend of His-Israel. Each month we ask you to share in our comment section, here on HIS-lSRAEL or on HIS-ISRAEL Facebook page, how you are enjoying the Light of G-d’s Presence and the ways that you are able to creatively and artistically reflect that in your life.

**** Go and tell about the creative song He has given to you.

There is a breath of G-d in every man, a force lying deeper than the stratum of will, and which may be stirred to become an aspiration strong enough to give direction and even to run counter to all winds. [4]

Blessed are you oh Lord our G-d Creator of the universe. How marvelous and great are your works! Thank you for surrounding us with beauty and wonder and thank you for your Presence which sustains us and enables us to be holy and whole.

*****

Pray with us:
Abba, Father, open our eyes, so we can see. Stir and strengthen our hearts, so we can move.
Open our lips Lord that we may raise our voice and sing a never ending song of praise to You.
Abba, inspire and bless our work, infusing it with Your Spirit to reflect Your truth, Your good, Your beauty, Your love, Your wonder, Your hope and bring about Your purpose.
May our work carry with it the song of your mercy and grace, your restoration and healing.
Through our work, Abba, may others see clearly Truth and from Truth – hope and vision.
Abba, may the works of our hands touch others – to give food to the hungry, water to those who thirst, sight to the blind, balm to the hurting, healing to the sick.
Reveal to us the beauty of Your holiness, a revelation of You our Creator!
Abba, may the works of our hands bring a smile to your face.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Abba that you have called us to partner with you in this Kingdom work!
Abba, Father, we love you so much!

******

Literature, painting, and sculpting are able to bring to fruition all the spiritual concepts engraved in the depths of the human spirit, and so long as one brush is missing, which is stored away in the depths of the spirit – which ponders and feels – but has not been realized, there is still an obligation on the purposeful work to realize it.

The matter is self-evident, that only these treasuries, when they are opened, will sweeten the air of all existence. It is good and beautiful to open them. [3]

 

Photos are of some of my (Cindy’s) ‘openings’ over the last year.

* My creative expression of Gan Eden (The Garden of Eden).

** This is a piece I made through a cry to our Abba about how far from Truth and how angry the world has become. He reminded me of Micah 6:8.

*** A piece created in response to the warmth and light of G-d at a special moment in my life.

**** I made this piece hoping to encourage myself and others to boldly sing the life song(s) our Abba has given us.

***** This piece was the first ‘opening’ to me last year when I had a revelation of the overwhelming Presence of G-d.

****** This piece was created in part with sand and shells – treasures collected from one of my explores on the Gulf – asking our Abba to help me love passionately both the people and the things that He loves.

1. Rabbi Sacks, Vayakhel (5771) – G-d’s Shadow
2. See Exodus 10:23, Psalm 27:1, Isaiah 9:2, 2 Corinthians 4:6, 1 John 1:5…
3. Rav Kook, as related by Dr. Benjamin Levin 1901
4. Abraham Heschel, The Call of Transcendence, p 79