Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Go! See!

I love to travel, I think it was inbred into my DNA. Throughout my life, when my mom would say "ok we're going to see your sister" it was an literally an adventure! What was always funny is that even using a map, going along the route planned each day (no not before leaving), sometimes along the freeway but most days on some country back road that led in the general direction of our destination. We would go out of our way to see some special landmark or place that she had heard about. One time, when we were leaving SC (she and my aunt coming to pick me up from AIT graduation) we took a scenic route through WV looking for the infamous bridge that people had started bungy jumping off of. After 2 hours of driving the same 4 miles, back and forth, we realized that the bridge we were traveling over was the bridge we were looking and mom laughed my aunt not so much. The fun thing about being raised by a single mother was that she was - I think- a little bi-polar. She would come up with a plan and one day get up and say 'let's go, we're going on a trip' and off we'd go. No planning or very little planning, she would just load us up and away we'd go!

Now, I am much more of a planner which is odd because I wasn't raised that way, maybe because I was raised that way. I laugh because my husband could NEVER go on a trip with my mother...I mean NEVER! HAHA! And as I remember the instant going without warning, I thought it was funny that she could just instantly decide that the trip was going to happen, pack up what was needed, load me and my brother up, and out the door we'd go. It was as though she wasn't afraid of anything, willing to just go and see things and be in places that she had never been without any cares.She would take us to go and see things that I wish I had taken my children to go and see, places that are just pictures to my children but places that I have seen, had pictures taken standing in front of, places that are majestic that could only be described as God made. She would take us without any fear, and go.

This morning I started a journey, not a physical journey, but a journey all the same...a journey through Elah ha-Devarim - to you and me Deuteronomy. For whatever reason, I was urged to begin reading this elongated book with 34 chapters, that is the be'er (bay-air), explanation, plain detail, simple writing of the law that God gave the Isrealites. Sounds like an exciting book doesn't it! I told you yesterday that this was going to be exciting...are you ready to find out what I found? I found a man who was told to Get up and Go, and he took with him thousands and thousands of people. He was given no direction, just a cloud by day and  fire by night to follow on a trip for 11 days. The didn't take anything from when they were told to go, just what they needed, nothing else and off they went. I and you know that this man led the Isrealites to the Jordan to take the promised land God promised these people. And you and I know that those who left Egypt never got to see that land, not even the man. These people we're going to get to see a land that they had been told about for generations; stories told about a land that was to be theirs; a land that was beautiful and full of fruit; and they let it slip through their hands. They went but they never got to really see what they were promised. Could you imagine being told your entire life, for generations, about a place that was real, that you were going to get to see and then never get to see it? Never get to set foot near or in it? Never get a picture of you standing in front of it? That's what happened to these people, they lost faith, fell to unbelief, and all of a sudden they only got to see the same desert for 40 yrs, the same sand, the same mountain, the same place they had been before, the same, the same.

The journey I'm on to read this book was just a read, that's what it started out as this morning, something that I felt inspired to do, mostly because I haven't read it ever. What I found was a couple sentences that detailed my history, get up and go to see, to wait and let things happen. My journey through Elah ha-Devarim has all of a sudden, in 6 verses changed...changed from a read to what? I don't know but something happened when I read what Moses said to the people of Israel as they were about to enter the promise land.   A journey that was just to get up and Go, See.  Deut 1:6-8 "The Lord our God spoke to us at Horeb (Sinai) saying " You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn, Get up, Go, and set your journey and go to the hill country of the Amorite, and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the  hill country and in all the lowland and in the Negev and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. SEE, I have placed the land before you; GO in and posses the land which the Lord swore to give your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them." I don't know what it is that I am suppose to See, not yet, but I know that in this verse there is something that God it telling me to move from, move away from this protected place that I have manufactured and Go. What is it He is trying to tell me? My best guess is that I need to step out in faith in something He has been putting before me, step out and go without thinking just go....there is something out there He has placed for me to see. Now all I have to do is cast off the unbelief that has taken up residency, step out of the fortress that is between me and the see, and go. What am I waiting for? What are you waiting for?
"And God said, why are you waiting, why have you stayed here this long? There is nothing here for you, there is not fruit, no land, it is desolate. Ger up and Go, I have something for you to See. Past the walls that surround you, past the things that are in your way. Trust me! The things I have for you stretch from lowlands beyond the valley, over the hills and mountains to the sea. Go and See."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Class Is In

Do you remember being in elementary school? How about sitting in class on the week before Christmas? Everyone running around not really listening to the teacher, the boys throughout the class launching spit balls at each other, the girls screeching when they got hit, the teacher getting the lesson ready in the morning, seemingly ignoring what 25 children are doing behind her. Then with authority and structure she would turn around and do...what? If you were a child anything like me, and every other 3rd, 4th or 5th grader, your thoughts were probably something like this "its the last day before Christmas break-I'm here to have fun, not learn or listen. I'm not going to see some of my friends for 2 weeks! I've got to get some good times in before the end of the day."  And often without warning, the teacher would walk calmly over to the door and shut the lights off! Oh the nerve!  (Allow me to take a break, if you don't know what it means to have the lights shut off in school....then you are missing an enriched part of your childhood life, a part when a light switch has the same affect on a child as wooden spoon!) Within seconds, literally seconds, everyone was quiet, heads on their desks, and no one was moving...oh you might have the occasional giggle from the class clowns but for the most part, quietness had overtaken the ruckus and noise. It wasn't amazing to me then, just part of life in class, but now looking back, that was an amazing trick performed by our teachers. And throughout time there have been a plethora of teacher trickery, if you never experienced it you have seen it on TV; a teach walking around the class with a ruler (very effective by the way), or my favorite from A Christmas Story "Class, class, its time to get started" and viola, like magic everyone was quiet.  So, for lack of a better term.....Class is in!

One of my favorite parts of school was English and vocabulary. I was a really good speller, one of only 2 in my family, me and my older brother, Chris, could spell and write like it was second nature. So every time I am in a class setting and I get to learn a new word...I am very excited! Well that's exactly what happened last night and I am going to teach you the words I learned - why? Well for no other reason than I was told that I needed to write again. Aren't you glad you read my blog!? :)

Words mean a lot in my life, I work with words in ways to get people to understand what they are doing in the legal system, how the law works and how they are required to obey that law intently. Words are my life line to explaining what the attorney details in legaleese (as we call it) and I get to translate. Words are very important, they are so important that I learned that in Hebrew every book is titled by the first words in the book. A great example is 'once upon a time' (I'm stealing this example from Beth Moore); if a fable had been written in Hebrew that started with this phrase that would be the book's name. Not a bad idea, not a great idea but not a bad idea.  Or at least I thought so until last night.  In Hebrew, the books of the Bible are named in Hebrew for the first words of each book; our translations (whether the NIV or King James) came from the Greek translation of the Bible from Hebrew.  Each Greek word, like Genesis, means what the book is about. Genesis means 'birth', 'genealogy', 'history of origin', 'source'; in Hebrew it was "in the beginning" or bereshit (bear-ah sheet).  Neat huh!? Excited yet!? I can tell all the way through the internet that you are very excited! Last night, in a weird course of events, I started a new class called Law of Love by Beth Moore, we are studying Deuteronomy. (I know hold your excitement down I'm typing as fast I my little fingers will let me!) The majority of the lesson last night was learning new words. My favorite - as of last night, of which I pummeled into my head - is Elah ha-Devarim (eh-lay ha-dev-a-rum), the Hebrew name for Deuteronomy. What doe these words mean? They translate "these are the words".  What a powerful phrase, I never thought they would be until I had to repeat this over and over last night in class, and 'these words' became powerful to me, meaningful to me, they meant something (although what-well I'm not to sure yet), but they mean something. Don't they mean something to you? I mean without knowing anything else 'these are the words' hold an introduction to someone's thoughts, someone's intent, someone's ideas...'these are the words'.

I know you probably stopped reading right after all honesty, I probably would too. But if you happened to stick with me, hold on to the thought that I am running through, I wonder if you think that Elah ha-Devarim might hold something for you too. Without knowing what I was getting myself into, I entered into a book that was old and unknown and probably a boring and tedious read to me. Especially after the cool stories and details of the New Testament, Deuteronomy seems, well.....uneventful. Even the name seems uneventful...who came up with Deuteronomy! What Greek was sitting around and said..."oh I got! Deuteronomy!" And yet, that is exactly where I landed. This is a long book, a book of Moses speaking to the Isrealites after they made it out of the wilderness and are about to cross the Jordan. It is Moses detailing their journey, their time in desert and giving their history to the new generation, the generation that didn't spend 40 yrs walking around Mt. Sinai. A story that the new generation would not know all the details of and he tells them this story in what I would call layman's terms...easy to understand, plain and simple (the Hebrew word be'er [bay-air]). A story to keep them reminded of a place that they do not need to return to, that they have been moved into the promise land, through a turmoil of  rebellion, and homelessness, and into a new life. In the words of Beth Moore, "Deuteronomy is the story of going through, being brought out of to be brought into."

I really have no idea what I am doing in this book of words, but for whatever reason, I feel compelled to read it. Read the words that start with 'these are the words'. Compelled to detail what I find, what I am meant to find.  So I embark on this weird and old journey, reading Deuteronomy, and lucky for you, I am going to write about those words that I hope hold meaning and in-sight. Hoping to find the words that I am meant to find, hidden somewhere in the text of Deuteronomy.

Elah ha-Devarim, these are the words, the words that tell how to get out and how to be free, the words that tell me that I am far from alone in this journey I am on and I think there is no point in what I am doing. These are the words, the words that I am going to trek through, the words that will hold some meaning that I have not found yet, words that in all hope and desire, give me freedom to be brought into whatever it is that has been waiting for me, whatever it is that has been planned and designed for me. Where are you in the journey out of the desert? I have no idea, I don't even really know where I am but I am 'breaking camp', going somewhere...for lack of imagination, I'm heading straight into the word!