What’s This About Candles?

You’ve been to weddings where the Bride and Groom each take a lighted candle and light a larger one together. This signifies a change…. In this case, joining two lives into one.

In the same way, lighting Shabbat candles shows a change in time. It divides the mundane work week from G-d’s holy day of rest. In Jewish and Messianic homes, the mother of the household covers her head to show respect for G-d and that she is under His authority and lights two candles 18 minutes before sunset on Friday evening. This begins the Sabbath/Shabbat in their home. In ancient days, Jews were put to death if they did not keep the Sabbath. This 18 minute period is insurance thought up by the rabbis. Another candle ceremony 25 hours later, ends the Sabbath. It is called Havdalah. It uses a lapid (candle with 4-6 wicks, making it a torch) sweet-smelling spices and wine.

On G-d’s calendar, each new day begins at sunset. The Tanach says in Bresheet (Genesis) 1:5: “G-d called the light ‘Day’ and the darkness He called ‘Night’ . And there was evening and there was morning, a first day.” So Saturday/Sabbath/Shabbat truly begins at sunset on Friday night. The Roman powers that were, thinking they were so much wiser than G-d, decided the new day should begin a t midnight. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man……” We must live as directed by our society in this matter, but we must know in our hearts what G-d has said. “His utmost for our highest…” His ways are always best and one day will again be the norm.

Any two white candles may be used, but you may purchase Shabbat candles in many grocery stores. They will burn about four hours. In summer time, I often cut mine in half if I plan to retire early. Sometimes I light them early – around 6:00 pm and we have dinner immediately following. Sometimes we have dinner early and light Shabbat candles just before dessert. One can light them early, but never past sunset. Then it’s too late.

This little ceremony helps to make the change from our time to G-d’s holy time. I encourage you to do this. A woman living alone or one that is the only Messianic Believer in her household can still do this. The Bible gives no concrete directions about it – but only states we are to keep Shabbat. The two candles stand for “Observe” and “Keep”. It’s a great feeling to know you are doing what can to show yourself and others that G-d’s special holy day is just that!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

Going to a Wedding?

Guidelines for Attendees

Our #2, Army Ranger, grandson is getting married this week-end. It has been a whirlwind of activities for the past 6 weeks. He returned from Afganistan, got engaged and set the date. This is no doubt one of the most exciting times of their lives and remembered for all of their days. It promises to be an outstanding Garden Wedding overlooking the ocean. I’m happy for them.

Ann Landers, (by-the-way a nice Jewish girl) long gone now, but still remembered for her wit and wisdom with everyday things left this column. It would be well worth your while to clip and save this bit of wisdom:

1. Respond promptly to a wedding invitation. If no Response Card is included, write a short personal note to the hostess saying whether you will attend and how many. Their names will be on the invitation and their address on the envelope.

2. Single people may bring a date only if the words “and Guest” are written on the invitation. Parents may bring children ONLY if their names are specifically written on the invitation. Otherwise – DO NOT BRING THEM.

3. If you accept, GO! If after accepting, you find you cannot attend, call the hostess immediately and inform them.

4. Dress appropriately. Remember, this is a wedding, not a nightclub. If the event says “black tie”, do not wear a business suit. (Never under dress.)

5. Women – NEVER wear white. That’s the bride’s choice!

6. Never use another person’s wedding to announce your good news – no matter how good the news may be. You are not entitled to share the limelight on someone else’s wedding day.

7. DO NOT bring gifts to the reception. Send them before or after the wedding day. Gifts at a reception are a burden for the newly-weds and their parents since they must transport them elsewhere.

8. If you accept the invitation, send a gift. DO NOT BRING IT TO THE CEREMONY! Send it to the home of the bride in advance. If you decline the invitation, you should send a gift or at least a card. The choice is yours.

9. Before leaving the reception, try to find the host or hostess and thank them for inviting you to such a lovely event. They will appreciate it.

From a Wedding Coordinator

Dear Coordinator,
Thank you for sharing your know-how. You’ve done a splendid job of spelling out the fundamentals – which will be helpful to many. I hope my readers will clip this so they can find it when the need arises.

Ann Landers

Now let’s take this a step further ——
Y’shua has invited you to a Heavenly Wedding!
YOU ARE invited!

1. Respond promptly to His Invitation. He may not invite you again.

2. If you have no one to help you, just ask the Lord to show you what to do. Speak to a pastor or a Believing friend. Find a Bible and read the Scriptures. He will lead you. You know where to reach Him!

3. You are invited to bring everyone you know with you. He wants you to bring as many as you can. If you have children, they should be the first ones you ask to go with you. Pray without ceasing for all those of your household until they all agree to join you. Some may accept the Invitation even after your life on earth is finished. Never give up!

4. If you accept, never turn back! There is no good reason not to follow the Lord and be with Him at His wedding and forever after!

5. Dress appropriately! He will give you a “robe of righteousness”. Wear it with pride! Only those wearing the proper wedding garments will be allowed in. White is the color for everyone to wear. You will be washed whiter than snow!

6. There is nothing you can say or do that will be anywhere near as good as the Invitation to the Messiah’s wedding. Your best is as nothing compared to Him.

7. Begin to prepare your gifts immediately. Send your treasures on ahead. Don’t wait until you see the Lord to present Him with your good works.

8. If you accept the Invitation – send your treasures on ahead. (See above)

9. Be thankful every day. Seek Him out many times a day and thank Him for the Invitation and for what all He has gone through to prepare your Wedding and everything that follows.
After all, it cost Him His life!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

Praise His Name in the Dance

Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the saints. Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise His name in the dance: let them sing praises unto Him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord taketh pleasure in His people; He will beautify the meek with salvation. Psalm 149:1-4

To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the sun. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4

Said David to his G-d: Hear O Lord ….Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing. Psalm 30: 10&11

The Messianic Community has learned to praise G-d and worship Him in the dance. We rejoice in G-d our Saviour and wish to honor Him in this way. At most Congregations, everyone is welcome to join this form of worship. The only requirement should be that you take responsibility for the way you dress by wearing modest clothing.

During the hot summer months, some tend to dress more casually but there should be absolutely NO shorts, mini skirts, tank tops or low cut tops. This should be your standard for a worship service anyway.

If you have never danced before the Lord, you can try it in the privacy of your own home and see what a blessing it is to worship the Lord with your body. We are told to worship Him with all we are – our voices, our minds and our bodies.

I’m sure you will be blessed by this form of worship!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

How Should We Pray?

What really happens when we pray?

I know prayer is simple – it’s just talking to G-d like you would talk to a friend. But is there a way to reach G-d a way He has shown us in His Word? I think there is. Y’shua gave us a model prayer. “The Lord’s Prayer” – which should be called “The Disciples Prayer“. But I mean beyond that. I began to study this. Here is what I found – so far.

I see Daniel prayed to G-d three times a day – facing toward Jerusalem. (Sometimes I do that, too….. Where is Jerusalem from your house?) G-d required all males to come to Jerusalem for three of the Festivals every year. (There is something about the number – three!)

When the people came to Jerusalem, they had to “go up”. If you live in the north, you go down but not to Jerusalem. You ALWAYS go “up” because it IS up, about 2500 feet closer to heaven. So if you’re going to the Temple to seek the Lord, you started by going up– and singing as you go! They sang the “Songs of Ascent” from the Psalms all along the way to Jerusalem. When you get up to the City, you have to go up to the Temple mount. Then you had to prepare yourself to enter the Temple by going through the mikvah, a ritual immersion bath. When you came “up” out of the water – you were almost ready to enter the Temple. First you went through the gates into the courtyard, past the laver (place of washing) and the altar, and closer and closer until you go “up” the steps into the Holy Place. Next and last is the Holy of Holies where G-d dwelt.
Only then were you really in His presence.

From this I see that we begin our journey towards G-d by singing. Why do you suppose every service starts with music? It prepares our spirits to be in His presence. Many years ago at a Women’s Aglow Conference, I was meditating on the things of the Lord and I know He impressed on my heart this sentence: “Music is the pathway to the heart of G-d!” I believed in then and I believe it now.

Then we must wash ourselves with the Word. (read the Bible) and enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. We again ask Him to cleanse/forgive us from our daily sins and present the sacrifice of our own bodies before we can enter the Holy Place.

This then, is the entrance to the Holy of Holies and the place where G-d is. This is our Journey of Prayer. Sometimes we only start the journey – by singing. Sometimes we only get through the gates. But oh, those precious times when we enter the Holy of Holies and behold His Shekinah – His glory! How far do you go? Do you make this journey three times a day? Three times a year? What?

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

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