Salt – a Good and Bad Thing

The Bible tells us: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savour, ….it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” Matthew 5:13

We have read this over and over but most of us don’t know what it means… “trodden under foot of men
“Bad” salt was scattered on the ramp leading up to the Temple altar. The priests (who were from 30 – 50 years of age only) were required to serve bare footed. The ramp up to the altar got very bloody and they needed traction – so salt was used to trod on! That was one of the uses of salt in those days. The weather was often very cold. It does occasionally snow in Jerusalem —– and many priests died from pneumonia.

Salt was often used as wages in the ancient world. Remember the expression: “Any man worth his salt …”?

Balance is such a good word!
Salt – too little is bad, too much is bad. Most Americans use 3,500– 4,500 mgs salt per day, while only 2,300 mgs (or 1 tsp) per day is recommended. For African-Americans, the elderly and those who have high blood pressure, only 1500 mgs are recommended. Too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and stomach cancer. It is estimated there are 150,000 premature deaths per year due to excessive use of salt.

80% per cent of the salt we ingest comes from processed foods, such as bacon, processed cheese (Velveeta) , lunch meats, hot dogs, sauerkraut, canned foods – especially soups, and pickles. Cut down on salt as much as you can. One way is to rinse canned beans and canned tuna with plenty of water, not using a salt shaker at the table and not adding salt to cooking water for potatoes, rice and vegetables. Check your labels when purchasing canned goods. Use only air-popped pop corn instead of microwaving it. Use dry roasted unsalted peanuts. Find other creative ways to cut down on salt.

Restrict bacon, ham, (yeah, right! ;o) hot dogs, cold cuts, smoked salted fish, sauerkraut, pickles and processed cheese. Eat fresh vegetables. They’re naturally low in sodium and high in potassium. Bonus: Potassium forces the kidneys to excrete more sodium.

These suggestions came from an article in the USA Today magazine section of the Herald newspaper, June 26, 2005. “Eat Smart” by Jean Carper. See usaweekend.com. She also has a website called stopagingnow.com Very interesting!

If we DON’T get enough salt, that’s not good either….

The human body contains about four ounces of salt. Without enough of it, muscles won’t contract, blood won’t circulate, food won’t digest, the heart won’t beat. In fact, doctors at one hospital have discovered that a treatment for chronic fatigue includes salt supplements and plenty of pickles and other salty foods. Salt tablets are used in extremely hot weather. Let’s use common sense and make sure we use the correct amount of salt.

http://www.smithsonianmag.si.edu/smithsonian/issues99/jan99/salt.html

Other uses for salt include:

Clear the air with this homemade air freshener. Just cut an orange in half, remove pulp, and fill the peel with salt. It will provide a pleasant, aromatic scent anywhere in your home.

Cleans Vases
Restore the bloom to a glass flower vase. Just mix 1/3 cup salt and 2 tablespoons vinegar to form a paste. Apply to inside of vase (for a large vase, double or triple the quantity of paste). Let stand 20 minutes, scrub, and discard paste. Rinse vase and dry.

Cleans Coffee Pots
To remove coffee stains from the inside of a glass coffee pot, add 4 teaspoons salt, 1 cup crushed ice, and 1 tablespoon water. Gently swirl until clean, then rinse. Coffee pot should be at room temperature before cleaning. Do not use if pot is cracked or chipped

On the Move
Don’t let bicycle rust slow you down. To clean the rust from bike handlebars and tire rims, make a paste using 6 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Apply paste to rusted area with a dry cloth and rub. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Smooth on Silk
Make your silk flowers think Spring. Place the silk flowers into a large bag and pour in one cup of salt. Shake vigorously. Remove. And voilà Your flowers are clean.

Salt Dough is fun for kids and adults. Try this website and this recipe:

http://www.mortonsalt.com/consumer/fun_stuff/Dough_It_Yourself_Handbook.pdf


Recipe for Salt Dough

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water

Combine flour and salt in a large flat-bottomed bowl and add water slowly until you form a ball. Don’t use enough water to make the ball sticky! You may need more if the air is very dry.

Knead the ball with floured hands for 7-10 minutes. Store in sealed plastic bag to keep from drying out.

Some tools you may want to use:

Aluminum foil
Basting brush
Candle, candy molds – first coat with small amount of oil
Cookie cutters – see above
Fork
Garlic press
Pizza cutter
Rolling pin
Spoons
Tooth picks
Water color brushes
Wax paper

The above website has 42 pages of things to make and do – check it out. It’s a wonderful summertime activity for the whole family!

Don’t lose your savor!
Shalom, Sharaka
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Principles of Healthy Living!

Our bodies are G-d’s Temple — let’s keep it healthy!

Here are 10 principles for Healthy Living …
1. Breathe Deeply – Air is the cornerstone of life. Every moment of every day your body exchanges carbon dioxide for oxygen to keep each cell in your body alive and functioning. A rich supply of oxygen can make the difference between feeling tired and stressed and youthful and focused. Take at least five deep breaths from your abdomen several times a day.

2. Drink Water – Water is essential for everything your body does. In fact, you are 98% water! Nutrient absorption, blood flow, respiration, elimination and your ability to see and hear require adequate consumption of pure, clean water. Your body cannot effectively store the water you need throughout the day. Drink water often.

3. Sleep Peacefully – Sleep is the only time your body has to repair and rejuvenate every organ and system in your body. Sleep depravation causes cellular damage, and limits the production of enzymes and hormones your body needs to keep your cells healthy, and prevent premature aging. Sleep also has a powerful impact on your emotional health – it eases stress and helps you cope with the ups and downs of your day.

4. Eat Nutritiously – Food has a powerful impact on your body. Every day, food, in large part, determines how you feel and how your body functions. A balanced diet, rich in whole foods, combined with quality nutritional supplements created to meet your specific needs, will give you the energy you need today, and the disease-fighting strength you need to build a healthy future.

5. Enjoy Activity – Your body was created to move – and move often. Activity increases your circulation, speeding oxygen, nutrients and water to your cells. Your Lymphatic System requires activity to purge your body of deadly toxins. Activity also triggers your brain to release health-giving hormones and enzymes which lift your spirit while they bolster your immune system. A small investment in daily moderate activity will enable you to reap tremendous health benefits.

6. Give & Receive Love – As you give and receive love, freely and generously, you will be blessed with meaningful, lifelong relationships and cherished memories that will bring joy in happy times, and strength and peace in difficult times.

7. Be Forgiving – By forgiving yourself and others for past and present mistakes, real or perceived, you will gain freedom from negativity and guilt that will strengthen you and those you love.

8. Practice Gratitude – Sincere gratitude will lift and inspire you. Recognizing and appreciating all you have empowers you to find and express true joy.

9. Develop Acceptance – When you develop the ability to identify and accept the circumstances in your life you cannot change, yet strive to make positive changes whenever and wherever you can, you will discover lasting peace and hope.

10. Develop A Relationship with God – You build a relationship with God in the same way you build a relationship with those around you – through sharing and listening. By offering a simple prayer daily, you will enjoy a sense of well-being you will not experience any other way.

God loves you and wants you to be healthy and happy. You are His precious creation. He has blessed you with unique gifts and created you for a divine purpose. God wants to have a relationship with you – He has chosen your body as His temple (I Corinthians 3:16). As you recognize and develop your relationship with God, you will be inspired to live a life of purpose and love, and experience health and well-being beyond measure.”

This is taken from TriVita website. Excellent company – look them up!

http://trivita.com/principles.asp?principle=010

See you next time – stay healthy!
Shalom, Sharaka
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Father’s Day at Cedar Park Church

About Fathers – Father’s Day 2005
by Pastor Joe Fuiten, June 19, 2005

Romans 8:15-17 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs– heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

America is experiencing a crisis in fatherhood.[1] It is worse today than it has ever been. An estimated 24.7 million children (36.3%) live absent from their biological father. 26% of absent fathers live in a different state than their children. About 40% of the children who live in fatherless households haven’t seen their fathers in at least a year while 50% of children who don’t live with their fathers have never stepped foot in their father’s home. Today nearly 4 out of 10 first marriages end in divorce, 60% of divorcing couples have children, and over one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents. With remarriages, one out of every six children is a stepchild. Even so, there are nearly 1.9 million single fathers raising children under the age of 18.

The consequences of the fatherlessness crisis are staggering. Some fathering advocates would say that almost every social ill faced by America’s children is related to fatherlessness. Six are noted here. As supported by the data below, children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens.

Poverty is a major consequence. In 1996, young children living with unmarried mothers were five times as likely to be poor and ten times as likely to be extremely poor. Almost 75% of American children living in single-parent families will experience poverty before they turn 11 years old. Only 20 percent of children in two-parent families will do the same.

The incidence of drug and alcohol abuse is related. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.” Children growing up in single-parent households are at a significantly increased risk for drug abuse as teenagers. Children who live apart from their fathers are 4.3 times more likely to smoke cigarettes as teenagers than children growing up with their fathers in the home.
Growing up without a father impacts the physical and emotional health of a child. A study on nearly 6,000 children found that children from single parent homes had more physical and mental health problems than children who lived with two married parents. Children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems. Three out of four teenage suicides occur in households where a parent has been absent.

It impacts how well they do in school. In studies involving over 25,000 children using nationally representative data sets, children who lived with only one parent had lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations, poor attendance records, and higher drop out rates than students who lived with both parents. Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school. School children from divorced families are absent more, and more anxious, hostile, and withdrawn, and are less popular with their peers than those from intact families.
There is also a relationship to the incidence of criminal activity. Children in single parent families are more likely to be in trouble with the law than their peers who grow up with two parents. A study in the state of Washington using statewide data found an increased likelihood that children born out-of-wedlock would become a juvenile offender.

Compared to their peers born to married parents, children born out-of-wedlock were:

1.7 times more likely to become an offender and 2.1 times more likely to become a chronic offender if male.
1.8 times more likely to become an offender and 2.8 times more likely to become a chronic offender if female.
10 times more likely to become a chronic juvenile offender if male and born to an unmarried teen mother.
The lack of a father impacts the rate of teenage sexual activity and teen pregnancy. Adolescent females between the ages of 15 and 19 years reared in homes without fathers are significantly more likely to engage in premarital sex than adolescent females reared in homes with both a mother and a father. Children in single parent families are more likely to get pregnant as teenagers than their peers who grow up with two parents. A white teenage girl from an advantaged background is five times more likely to become a teen mother if she grows up in a single-mother household than if she grows up in a household with both biological parents.
It is not as though these adverse consequences can be eliminated entirely by substituting other adults to take the place of the missing parent. There is great value of a teacher or some other adult person becoming a role model. But in the end, there is no substitute for mom or dad. As a society we have become painfully aware of these facts. However, the advocates of same-sex marriage pretend these facts don’t exist. They tell us that eliminating dad or mom is of no consequence as long as there is another loving adult to take their place. All the facts that we cite here demonstrate otherwise. Dad might not be everything he could be but you can’t replace him with just another person. A child needs their dad!
We can change or reverse those trends with a few key ideas.
Dad, I know there are times you feel very inadequate. You don’t know what to say or what to do. When you feel that way remember this, just being there is 75% of the job done. Trust the Lord and ask for his help with the other 25% and you will do quite well. Be there with your wife. The idea that your kids will be better off if you and the wife go separate ways is not true. Be there with your kids.

Raising kids is a lot like going to work. You need to show up!
The role of the father is not to solve problems for their kids. Rather, the wise father allows his children to experience enough of a challenge to help them grow to the next level. This is how God deals with us. I think most of us dads feel a little short of confident. It is really hard being a parent. Knowing how much to help and how much to step back is difficult. You want to help but if you take over, they don’t get a chance to grow. Maybe we can learn from how God works. When he helps us, he requires us to be involved. We have to pray and we have to work. We have to deal with the uncertainty.

Our prayer should be that God would help us deal with our kids the way he deals with us. Think how God has worked with you. God’s combination of discipline and mercy are perfect. We need to provide discipline but also grace, just like God does with us.
Provide encouragement to your children. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says it directly: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Live a consistent life. I have tried to assess what it is that my father has given me. There are many things to be mentioned but one thing might easily be overlooked. That is the power of a consistent lifestyle and mood. He is predictable. It assures me that the world is not random, but orderly. Actions will always yield certain types of reactions. We can say that of God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is always true to his word.

[1] The statistics for this sermon came from the website of the National Center for Fatherhood. They give the reference for each of the facts noted in this sermon. For the sake of brevity, I am not repeating them all here.”
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used by permission

This was quite revealing news to me. I knew it was harder for single parent kids – but these statistics are startling! Let’s do all we can do to keep our own marriages together by daily prayer, attendance to His services, Family Devotions one on one with each of our children and lots of time spent with our spouses.

Let’s pray for fatherless kids.
Sounds like they barely have a chance. How many of these children can YOU touch this week? The Word tells us to take care of the fatherless and the widows. We CAN do this!!!

S ee you next time!
Sharaka
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Sittin’ on the Porch

“Porch Sittin’ ”

“What are you doing?” I asked Willie as I passed by his house on my way home.

“Awwww, I’m just doin’ some porch sittin” he replied as he swung back and forth ever so slightly on his porch swing.

As a child, I would often see Willie out on his porch. He was an older man who still worked hard around his place but he often took time off for some “porch sittin’”.

“I got the radio on and the Cardinals will be playing ball here in a minute if you want to sit a spell,” Willie said as he scooted over on the swing and patted the seat next to him as he adjusted the volume on the radio.

It was summertime and many other scenes such as the one I mention above took place everyday where I grew up. “Porch sittin” was a common activity. Nearly everyone had a porch with a wooden swing that hung down from chains that were held by hooks on the porch ceiling. Most swings held two or three people and if neighbors showed up to sit a spell then more chairs would be brought out from inside the house. The younger folks might sit on the porch steps while children played in the yard or found a tree to climb.

The porch was like an extension of the living room because it was cooler out on the porch when the summer’s heat became uncomfortable. There wasn’t air conditioning so houses were often built so that they were situated where the breeze would waft across the porch and there was a roof that protected porch sitters from the sun and rain. Essentially, all the work that could possibly be done outdoors was transported to the porch where it was cooler and it seemed to make the job more enjoyable just by being outside in nature’s living room.

It seems like a lot of living took place on porches in times past. At least it was that way where I grew up. Seeing a person sitting on their front porch was pretty much the same as an invitation for neighbors to stop by and pass the time of day.

Many people did part of their garden work on their porches. It didn’t matter if it was snapping beans, hulling peas, or peeling apples someone was apt to sit down beside you and give you a hand with the chore.

I remember a lot of visiting, discussions, and even problems solved while snapping green beans. Women learned from one another and often offered help for whatever need that was mentioned. “Try using a little corn starch on that baby’s diaper rash,” a young mother might learn from an older neighbor lady, “And next time you need to work out in the garden, just bring that little one over here and I’ll watch him, I kind of miss having a baby around,” the neighbor might say.

Those were good times when porches were used for many things. Women did needle work or rocked babies, men whittled or fixed things, and children played “pretend”.

Sometimes the porch was used to just get off alone for a time and read, meditate, or just do some thinking…“woolgathering” Momma used to call it.

Even if the sun wasn’t shining, there was nothing quite like the sound of rain on the porch roof. It was such a secure feeling and a perfect time to curl up on the porch swing with a quilt and a good book and listen to the soft pattering of the raindrops.

The summer nights were also very good for “porch sittin”. We made friends with the night sky as we enjoyed God’s creation. As a child I learned about stars and constellations from my parents. I learned how to identify the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, and then identify the North Star and the Milky Way.

There were all the different night sounds that were a little frightening at first until Momma explained the howling of the coyotes, the loud noise of the bullfrog, and the calls of hoot owls and whippoorwills. We also watched the mysterious twinkling lightning bugs flit around in the dark. A permanent picture is engraved in my mind of my mother standing in a long white nightgown, arms outstretched above her, as she caught lightning bugs in a jar for me one hot summer’s night.

Occasionally, when summer nights didn’t cool off enough to be comfortable for sleeping, some folks would sleep outside on their porches. My girlfriends and I thought that sleeping on the porch was a great adventure, except for that one time when the cat decided to bring us a gift and we woke up to find half of a mouse upon our quilt!

In later years, my parents enclosed our front porch for an extra room. I hated to see the porch closed in but I was glad when my parents simply moved the old porch swing and hung it from the huge old maple tree where the family still gathered. Daddy and my brother would often sit out there under that tree and play their guitars, usually with a dog or two stretched out beneath their feet as they played one more chorus of “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.”

I have always loved porch swings. After I was grown and married, the one thing that sold me on the house that we bought was the swing on the back porch that overlooked a pond.

I’m glad to see that some houses being built today are going back to adding porches. Yet, it isn’t the porches, it’s the people that make the difference. As I drive through neighborhoods these days I sometimes wonder, “Where are all the people? Are they all at Wal-Mart or inside watching television?” If so, they are missing out on a lot.

Why not shoo the kids outside and take a little time out for some “porch sittin”? Take something along to read or work on if you like but there’s nothing wrong with just sitting and doing nothing because it really isn’t doing nothing, it’s “porch sittin”. If practiced enough, you can become an expert at it.

It seems like “porch sittin” is nearly a lost art. Perhaps we can still revive it. If you don’t have a porch, don’t worry, a chair out under a shade tree will do. I don’t have a porch like I once had either but I have a great imagination and all of God’s creation is still right there to enjoy.

Well, it’s been a long day so I think I’ll go outside for a spell because it’s just about “porch sittin” time.

….© June 2005 Pamy Blaine (pamyblaine@blaines.us) (http://blaines.us/PamyPlace.htm ) Pam lives in Missouri with her husband, Michael, and enjoys composing music and writing for her local newspaper. Pam and her husband are active in their church where she plays piano and he is music leader. Several of her stories have been published on the internet as well as in books. Her goal is to write to encourage others and to write stories for her children and grandchildren so that stories and family history will be preserved.

Beautiful! Wish I’d written that myself!
Shalom, Sharaka
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The Heart of a Father …

by Roy Lessin
“See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children, and we really are!…” I JOHN 3:1 NLT

The heart of a father is found in the heart of God. In order for a man to be the kind of father that his children need, a man must understand what kind of a father God is to his children.

Here are four important areas to consider:

1. Leadership — Children need leadership. A father has been called by God to instruct his child, point his child to the path of life, and show his child how to walk upon it. A father is a child’s spiritual leader. From a father’s lips, a child needs to hear wise words and wise counsel; from a father’s steps, a child needs to see the importance of wise choices and good decisions; from a father’s love, a child needs to discover his purpose, his identity, and his true worth.

A Dad is respected because he gives his children leadership.

2. Care — Children are very needy people. Every child needs to be cared for and have his or her basic needs met. A father has been given the main responsibility of caring for and providing for his children. A man’s work is a God given way for a father to care for his family. No work is small or insignificant in the eyes of God. A man’s work is honorable and is a doorway through which a father helps to express his love and care for his children in practical ways.

A Dad is appreciated because he gives his children care.

3. Time — Every child has a need to spend time with his father. Being a father is about being together with your child to share life’s joys and God’s blessings. Every moment a father spends with his child is another opportunity for good to happen in a child’s life. A father needs to value and guard his time with his children. Time is a precious gift that a father can give his children and it will have far greater value than any material gift he could ever buy for them.

A Dad is valued because he gives his children time.

4. Himself — Even greater than a father giving his child the gift of time is when a father gives his child the gift of himself. When a father gives the gift of himself, he is saying to his child, “I am not only spending this time with you, but you have my complete attention. My eyes are upon you, my watch-care is over you, my thoughts are with you, and my love is around you. When God spoke to Abram, God gave him this precious promise, “ ‘…Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.’ ” GENESIS 15:1 KJV

A Dad is loved because he gives his children the one thing they treasure most—himself.

Happy Father’s Day!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
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Hebrew History – Joseph – Part II

More about Egypt —–
The exact beginning of the Egyptian civilization in unknown, but it is believed to be somewhere around 3300 BC, or in the Early Bronze period. It was very well developed and advanced. The Great Pyramid known as “Cheops”, a tomb, the largest ever built, was 13 acres in area, 500 feet high and took 5 million tons of stone. It is estimated that it took 30 years to build and 100,000 men. Why such energy on a tomb? These people were preoccupied with death. They perfected mummification, and their “holy book” was called the Book of the Dead. What a lively book to read!

Since they believed their Pharaoh (a title, not a name) was a living god – and the welfare of the future of Egypt depended on how he was treated here and on into the afterlife. If it wasn’t done properly – all the county would suffer. The people worshipped at least 2,000 different gods. All the plagues represented one of their “higher” gods and when YHVH defeated each one, it was a real blow to their spirituality!

Immorality was not a problem with any of the gods, so it was very common and almost expected. This is the culture young Joseph was thrown into. Not good!

Remember, Joseph, a very handsome, strapping young man, was a man of great faith in his God. Even separated from his family and their influence, he kept his faith. When his boss’s wife, finding him extremely attractive, tries to seduce him, he refuses – many times. Finally, in desperation, she cries “rape”, knowing her husband will get rid of him. If she couldn’t have him – she wanted him out of there. I think if Potiphar really believed her charges, he would have had Joseph killed, but I suspect his wife had a history of such things and he only had Joseph thrown into prison to save face. Now Joseph, the head man of the house so to speak, was once again on the bottom – where he didn’t stay for long. He is soon running the place —– . It’s a Jewish thing ….

Pharaoh has dreams which no one can interpret and it comes to him that Joseph, the Hebrew, can reveal them. Joseph’s cleaned up (the first mention of shaving in the Bible. In fact all Egyptians were clean shaven. They even shaved their heads to prevent lice infestation! ) and brought to Pharaoh. God gives him the interpretation and he informs Pharaoh of the seven years of plenty followed by seven years of great famine. Amazingly, Pharaoh believes him and makes him Viceroy, or the most powerful man in the empire after the Pharaoh. Once again, from rags to riches! He even gets a wife. Osnat, the daughter of Potiphar. What a slap to Mrs. Potiphar. Joseph had obviously seen the young Lady Osnat and was happy to have her as his wife. She produced two sons, Menashe and Ephraim. To this day, myself included, Jewish and Messianic parents bless their children every Erev Shabbat and ask that their children grow up to be like Menashe and Ephraim. Why? Unlike other brothers in the Bible – Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Jacob and Esau – they love each other and grow up to be completely totally Jewish in all respects in spite of their Gentile mother. They could have grown up being spoiled Egyptian brats, worshipping all those idols. They stayed true to the God of their fathers. Remember, the mothers of the aforementioned brothers, with the exception of Cain and Abel, were also Gentiles. So many Biblical mothers were Gentiles. Ruth being another.

With the whole country in great famine, the surrounding countries are also affected and even back in Canaan, there was no grain. Soon Joseph sees his brothers bowing before him. Dreams can come true!!!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
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What is the Church?

This is a question you may have never thought of.
But is one that needs to be addressed. The “Jewish Voice Today” magazine, of which I am a subscriber, had the following article in its May/June issue. Their website is www.jewishvoice.org and is headed by Jonathan Bernis. You may have heard of him and his work among the Jews of Russia and other Eastern European countries. Our friend, Linda Caffaro, has worked with his organization for many years. She has worked on ships bringing the Jews “home”.

Here is the article in question:

“Dear Jewish Voice,
I love ministries such as yours that reach out to the unsaved Jews. However, I don’t understand why the Jews that become Christians don’t come to church. In our city, we have a “Messianic Synagogue” where Christian Jews go. Why don’t they go to church on Sunday, since they are now Christians? Doesn’t the Bible say, “To God be the glory IN THE CHURCH?” CAF, Jackson, MI”

Dear CAF,
Thank you for writing with your kind encouragement and thoughtful question. You are referring to Ephesians 3:21, which indeed says this exact phrase. We must look at this phrase, however, within the context of who was speaking, to whom it was spoken, and what it meant in that context. We must consider that at the time this verse was spoken/written, “church” did not have the same meaning that it has today. (We can see this idiomatic phenomenon with the word “gay“ very clearly.)

Let’s look at the Greek word used in this text for “church”. ekklhsia, pronounced “ekklesia”
say (ek-clay–SEE–ah) It means:

1. a gathering of citizens ‘called out’ from their homes to a public place
2. The assembly of the Israelites
3. An assembly of Believers gathered for worship in a religious meeting
4. The whole body of Believers scattered throughout the earth
5. The assembly of faithful Believers already dead and received into heaven

Are you surprised? Most people think that “church” means a building that Christians go to on Sunday – but that is not the biblical definition. God desires that He be glorified through the lives of those that love Him, whether we are gathered together to worship, pray or study, or simply living our daily lives as His child.

Regarding Messianic synagogues; these would be similar to the meetings of Yeshua’s followers and the Apostles of the First Century. The concept of a building that people go to on Sundays had not been considered. The total break from the Hebraic foundation and expression of faith did not occur until later centuries. As we have addressed in this issue, this was a very decisive move to break ties with the Jewish People due to rabid anti-Semitism. It was not birthed by God. After the Third Century, the Hebraic expression of faith became extinct as “the Church” was radically altered, changing the days of Biblical observance, including a change from Saturday to Sunday, and accommodating the pagan practices of the Roman empire. For 13 centuries, the Bible was forbidden to the common man, and “the Church”
(Catholic) ruled with an iron hand. A step toward restoration came through Martin Luther. However, in 1967 when Israel regained Jerusalem, there was a rebirth of the “First Church”, or Hebraic style of worship. There was also the phenomenon of Jewish people coming to faith in Messiah – the first time in such numbers since the First Century!

With these Jewish Believers in Messiah came a God-birthed desire to reach the Jews with the message that the long awaited Messiah of Israel had come. With the advent of Messianic synagogues and the restoration of the Hebraic (Biblical) roots of the faith, a message that has been irrelevant at best and hateful at its worst to the Jewish people, became recognizable and more easily embraced. Messianic congregations have sprung up all over the globe with membership including large numbers of Gentiles that have embraced this vision.”
from “Sarah”

What “Sarah” didn’t say was that Jews need to be Jews. They need and want to be obedient to Torah not just follow pagan customs that have become infiltered into the “Church”. Y’shua did not come to start a ‘new’ religion – He came to correct to original one that had been comprimised and to further its growth. His disciples were not Christians! They were Jews. The Scriptures Timothy told us to study was the Torah – the “Old” Testament. They kept the Sabbath and G-d’s holy days. We made them holidays and quit observing them and instead substituted the pagan ones.

Many Gentiles have seen the truth and have joined their Jewish brethren in Messianic synagogues. After all, we (Gentiles) are adopted in to the Commonwealth of Israel and are now part of G-d’s family. There is one law for all. So let’s let the Jews be Jews and let’s join them in Spirit and in Truth and do it G-d’s way!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
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Hebrew History – Joseph

Joseph

The story of Yosef (Joseph) is the story of the Jew! He arrives with nothing by the skin of his teeth, works hard despite hard trials and has to swim against the current all the while, rises to the top only to be knocked down again and persecuted! Leaves the country with nothing and starts all over again.

If Ya’acov would have been allowed to marry his true love – Rachel – as he had intended – Yosef would have been his first born son. As number 11, he still managed to be number one! G-d has His ways!

He instantly became the favorite at birth. Jacob (Ya’acov) gives him a special coat – one having more to do with the sleeves than the colors. It represented authority – and was much resented by his brothers.

Joseph has a gift for interpreting dreams and isn’t shy about sharing. I don’t really see him as ‘showing off’ in the telling of these dreams to his family. I see him as just a young kid, out alone by himself, trying to figure out what’s going on and in the telling, he is not exactly enduring himself to his brothers. They are already jealous because of his status as favorite son and then to hear they will “bow down to him”! They think not. They have seen the black sheep of the family – Ishmael and then Esau – and now is Joseph to be next? They plot to get rid of him. Only Reuven, the eldest son, carrying all the usual responsibilities of being eldest, tries to figure out a way to save his little brother and save face at the same time. It doesn’t work and when he is off somewhere, they sell Joseph to a caravan of Ishmaelites going to Mitzraim (Egypt) where he is sold as a slave to the nobleman, Potiphar.

Egypt, one of the greatest civilizations in the world, centered around the Nile River. Only about 3% of the rest of the country was inhabitable. The Nile was the life of the country and worshipped as a god. Only three times in 3,000 years was Egypt invaded. The Hyksos (believed to have provided the Pharoah who “didn’t know Joseph”) the Assyrians and finally Alexander, the Great. It was very difficult to successfully invade the country as it was totally isolated and self-sufficient. That makes a country resistant to change. Look how little Egypt has changed in the past 3,000 years. After the exodus, she was broke economically and spiritually. Egypt has never again returned to her former glory – and she never will, because of the way she treated Israel. Any country will suffer the same fate.

Look at England, the once proud empire who proclaimed “The sun never sets on the Union Jack!” That was the name of their flag which flew over many colonies the world over. Look how she treated Israel in the 30’s and 40’s when the Jews were so desperately trying to get ‘home’. I’m afraid for America…. Look what we are demanding of Israel! Give up of all their land back to the borders of 1948? I don’t think so. Our president wants Israel to commit suicide. What will G-d do about this? It isn’t going to be pretty. I’m so glad, as a Believer, I can expect Him to take me through the coming days. May Messiah come quickly and in our lifetime.

More next Shabbat;
Shabbat Shalom, Sharaka
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It’s Easy as the ABCs!

Are you shy about sharing your faith? Do you make a point to talk about the Lord when you meet someone? Of course you don’t want to shove “religion” down someone’s throat, but we are told to be witnesses. What is the best way to do that?

Some say it is best done by simply sharing what G-d has done in your life. No one can dispute your experience! Look for ways to get in a word about the Lord. You can ask them where they worship, or make some remark about how good G-d is. Opportunities will often easily present themselves. If the Lord seems to make a way for you (and He will if you ask) just tell your personal story. Show them the Word if they are receptive and pray with them if they allow you to. Don’t fail to follow up with them. You can’t just leave a “new baby” hanging. Point them to, or better yet take them yourself, to a good Bible believing, true gospel teaching place of worship. You could offer to meet with them weekly to answer questions and help them with the ‘hard things’. Then look for them in the Olam Haba! (the world to come)

Here are some Scriptures you might want to use:

It’s as easy as ABC ——

A = Admit you need a Saviour I John 1:8; Rom 3:23
B = Believe on Y’shua/Jesus John 3:16; Acts 16:31
C = Confess and forsake your sins I John 1:9; Rom 10:9

This is only the beginning! It’s like graduating from kindergarten.
Salvation is just the first step, There is so much more!

Rav Shaul (Paul) said: “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” Acts 19:2 KJV
What does that mean? What about the gifts of the Spirit? What about obedience to the Torah?

You need to know these answers yourself before you can help someone else.

When a kid gets out of kindergarten (child’s garden in German) there are 12 more years of school! So many stop at the cross and never get any further. Some Believers never get off the bottle – they drink the same old milk day after day, year after year. We need to grow and get to where we can eat solid food – and finally good meat!

Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.” We need to dig in His word to find the “good stuff”!

Y’shua (Jesus) said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
His commandments are for us – not for salvation, but to help us live a life that is pleasing unto Him. He said didn’t come to destroy the commandments (law – which really translates instructions) but to fulfill them.

This is something everyone can have a part in. Why not determine in your heart to serve the Lord in this way? Be sure to start with prayer – ask the Lord to search your own heart and clear up any problems there might be between you and Him. Then you can reach out to others and be a soul-winner!

Blessings upon you as you begin or continue your special ministry!
Shalom, Sharaka
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Dairy Desserts

Shavuot is almost here. If you are following the Hillal II calendar.
We waited a long time, counting each day since Passover. And now, together, we will receive the Torah.

The custom is to eat dairy – so it’s a great opportunity to make all those amazing dairy desserts you’ve been longing to create, in honor of the Yom Tov.


Strawberries or Bananas with Sour Cream

My favorite!

1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. sugar (adjust to taste)
1/8 tsp. vanilla (optional)
2 tbsps. molasses or maple syrup (optional)
1 pt. Strawberries or bananas, cut up

In a small bowl, mix together sour cream, sugar, vanilla and 1 tbsp. molasses or maple syrup. Add strawberries or bananas, or both. Drizzle molasses or maple syrup over servings.

Makes 2 servings.

* * *

Strawberries and Grapes with Mint and Vanilla

For the lactose intolerant . This colorful salad is accented with mint.

2 12- or 16-oz. baskets strawberries, hulled, quartered
2 cups seedless green grapes
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps. finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in large bowl; toss to coat fruit. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 and up to 4 hrs. Spoon fruit intow bowls and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

* * *

Chaim’s Dessert

My friend, Chaim, gave me this family favorite of his.

1/2 cup sour cream
1 pt. of fresh ripe peaches cut up or any fruit
1 box any flavor of Kosher Jello

Prepare the Jello according to the instructions on the box. Add fruit and sour cream, then chill and enjoy.

* * *

Fake Napoleons

1 roll puff pastry
1 box of pudding – chocolate or vanilla
milk
cream

Roll out pastry dough to fill a 9 X 11 cake pan. Bake separately 20 minutes at 400°F until brown.

Prepare pudding according to the instructions, using both cream and milk. When dough is cool, place one sheet on the bottom of the pan. Fill with pudding and place the second sheet on top carefully. Push down and freeze. Remove from freezer 5 minutes, cut into individual servings, let thaw and serve.

* * *

A Bowl of Fun – with pudding, cookies and bananas

1 1/2 cups sweet cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2 pkgs vanilla instant pudding
30 vanilla waffles
3 bananas, sliced
1 8-oz. whipped topping

Pour milk and cream into a large bowl. Add dry pudding, mix. Beat 2 minutes until well blended. Arrange half of the wafers on the bottom and up the sides of a 2-qt. serving bowl. Add a layer of half of each banana slices and pudding. Repeat in layers. Spread whipped topping over pudding. Refrigerate 3 hours.

Makes 14 servings.

* * *

Strawberry Shortcake

2 1/2 lbs.strawberries, trimmed and quartered (7 1/2 cups)
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 to 2 tbsps. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 buttermilk biscuits

Toss strawberries with granulate sugar in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently press strawberries with potato masher to help release their juices, being careful not to crush them to a pulp. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

Beat together heavy cream, sour cream, confectioners sugar (to taste), and vanilla in a bowl with a mixer at medium-high speed until it holds a soft shape (not stiff).

Split biscuits horizontally with a fork and arrange 2 halves, split sides up, on each of 6 plates. Top strawberries and juices, then with whipped cream.

Makes 6 servings.
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…… and the winner!

Never-Fail Cheesecake

1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 pints sour cream, at room temperature
3 tsps. vanilla, divided

FOR TOPPING

Your choice of cherry pie filling, maraschino cherries, pineapple chunks, half an apricot, etc.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Cream the cheese (easy to do if it’s at room temperature). Add eggs, one at a time, and then beat in 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 tsps. of vanilla. Using small muffin tins filled with paper liner, fill the tips to 1/8-thick from the top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops begin to crack (if tops have not cracked after baking 30 minutes, remove them from the oven anyway, as they are adequately baked by that time).

While cakes are baking, mix sour cream with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsps. vanilla in a bowl.

Remove the cakes from the oven, leaving the oven on, and cool on wire cake racks in tins for 5 minutes, or until the cakes drop. Then cover the tops of the cakes with the sour cream mixture and put them back in the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove the cakes from their tins, use a teaspoon to help get them out, and set them on wire racks to cool. Once they have cooled, put the cakes in the refrigerator. Before serving, add toppings of your choice.

Makes 48 small cakes.

by Chef Herschel of Aish.com For more see:

http://www.aish.com/shavuotfeatures/shavuotfeaturesdefault/Shavuot_Dairy_Desserts_Deluxe_.asp

Chef Herschel prepares hundreds of meals a day at Aish HaTorah’s World Center in Jerusalem. He caters the five star meals for the Jerusalem Fund missions as well as the daily food for the Yeshiva students. Before arriving at Aish HaTorah Jerusalem, he received his B.A. in Business administration and his M.A. in education. While working at Aish he completed a chef’s course in Jerusalem

See you next time – happy eating!
Shalom, Sharaka
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The Brothers Meet Again

Jacob has been gone from home for over 20 years. His “dying father” is still alive, but his mother, who favored him, has died. He never saw her again after he left home. She must have suffered a lot knowing she was mostly responsible for his absence. The tighter we hold on to things – the more chance there is of it being taken from us. G-d wants to be first place in our lives, not our spouse, our children or any other thing.

Jacob has quite an entourage – 12 sons and at least one daughter. Dinah was the only girl recorded – doesn’t mean there weren’t lots more girls born to Jacob. He had many servants, and was rich in livestock. Esau, who has learned of Jacob’s journey home, comes to meet him with an army of 400 men. Jacob fears the worst and divides his family into two camps, thinking if he loses one group, the other may survive. Interesting that he puts his dearest wife, Rachel, in the way back, Leah next and the two concubines (means secondary wife in polygamous cultures) in front. You can sure tell where his priorities lie.

Esau, who had wealth and a large family himself, seems to have had a change of heart. He offers a business proposition. He is probably thinking “with his brains and my brawn, we can control the world from our home at Mount Seir!” Could have been, but that was not G-d’s plan. Jacob tricked him again, telling him to go on ahead and he would follow slowly because of all his stock. Actually, he turned the other direction and never merged with Esau at all. What’s with all the lying we find in the Bible in so many places? This has always bothered me. Many times it seems as if the end justifies the means and that doesn’t seem right. What the Ten Commandments say is to not bear false witness. Is that different from ordinary lying? Selah (stop and think about this.)

Jacob takes his family to Shechem where the story of Dinah takes place. A sad tale, indeed.

The struggle between Jacob and Esau continues today. It will never end until Y’shua comes.

Next week: Joseph

See you next time!
Shabbat Shalom, Sharaka
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GO FORWARD, TALMIDIM!

F = FUTURE BELONGS TO THE LORD
AND IS UNDER HIS CONTROL
Deut 31: 3,6,8; Deut. 32:29; Phil 3:12-14; Rom 8:28-30;
Prov 4:18; Prov 10:9

O = ORDINARY PEOPLE ARE GOD’S SECRET WEAPONS
II Tim 4:1-16; Rom 16:1-27; Luke 10:1


R = RESILIENCY
IS THE KEY TO FINISHING THE RACE
II Tim 4:17; Micah 7:7-8; Prov 24:10,16


W = WHOLEHEARTED
PRAYER MOVES THE HAND OF GOD
I Chron 28:9; Luke 18:1-8; II Chron 7:14

A = ATTITUDES OF FAITH AND COURAGE ARE
FUEL FOR THE VISION
Deut 31:6-8 I Chron 28:20

R = REMEMBER ALL THE WONDERFUL THINGS
GOD HAS DONE
Deut 31: 20; Psalm 103:1-3; Deut 8: 10-20; Psalm 7:11-12

D = DECISIONS DETERMINE DESTINY – CHOOSE
CAREFULLY AND WISELY
Josh 24:15; Deut 30:15; Luke 10:42; Heb 11:25; Prov 1:29

Author Unknown

God always moves His people forward; they are always advancing, never retreating, never status quo! God is a God of progression; a God who desires us to fulfil our destiny! Let us strive to accomplish this noble goal for ourselves this summer.

Talmidim is the Hebrew word for students or disciples. Ones who are learning and striving to be all they can be for the Master. Choose to be a talmid. (talmidah if you are a woman)

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka
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