Monday, June 25, 2018

Water from the Rock (2)

ADONAI spoke to Moses saying, "Take the staff and gather the assembly, you and your brother Aaron.  Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will give out its water.   Numbers 20:7

In the readings in this week we see the story of where Moses hit the rock when He was asked by God to speak to the rock.  The photos are of stretches of water of the Beppu Bay and these rocks that seemed to give forth water, outside of the Aquarium.

We know that this act of hitting the rock had powerful consequences when Moses was just to speak to the rock for it to bring forth water.  Somehow these views seemed to speak of God's amazing hand over and on everything, and because of the reading and having these scenes on my mind, I tried to take a few pictures to express that sense of the water coming from the rock.  I won't speak too much in this post, but will just share the photos and set the scene.

Please feel free to share any reflections or add any scriptures about God as our Rock.  I may add some too to follow!

Blessings and Shalom.  Have a Great week!



Water from the Rock

Adonai Lives,
Blessed be my rock.    --Psalm 18:47(46)

You will need to look very close at these photos to see Mt. Fuji, but it is there.
A huge mountain but in the photos only a tiny bit of the top of the mountain is visible over the clouds from the airplane to Tokyo.

I have taken this trip many times over many years and have come to be able to spot Mt. Fuji even if it appears just as a spot.  Looking at this view I connected to the week"s reading of where Moses was asked by God to speak to the rock to bring forth water for the children of Israel.  Instead, Moses hit the rock.  Because he did not trust in ADONAI so as to sanctify Him in front of the children of Israel, he was not able to bring the Children of Israel into the promised Land.  (Numbers 20:1~13).  

Seeing all the water almost spilling forth in this scene, and the huge "rock" of Mt. Fuji that was there, and yet barely visible, made me think of these scriptures and  the importance of obeying God's voice and sanctifying His name in our hearts and lives.

For who is God but ADONAI?
Who is a Rock but our God?      ---Psalm 18:32 (31) 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Aaron's Blossoming Rod Challah!

Taking a closer look at almonds, in this weeks Parsha!
and behold, Aaron`s staff, from the house of Levi, had sprouted, blossomed, and produced almonds!
---Numbers 17:8


You will see the blossoms will begin to sprout off of the ends as you make the long strands.
Make almond paste simply by mixing almond powder, sugar, an egg white and vanilla or almond essence.  Not the bitter almond kind though!

Notes on Making the Challah;
The Whole Wheat Challah dough is perfectly elastic and easy to use for the long rods that will make the main challah, as well as easy to fill for the rounds that will be the blossoms!! It sprouts and blossoms as you make it.

The delicious almond paste filling is easy to make.  It goes in the middle of each of the strands.  You can be creative with sprinkling and decorating with almonds.  When making this challah I also looked closely at the almonds, their beautiful texture like wood, and the contrast to the rough outside.

Almond trees are  the first blossoming tree in Israel, in late winter.   There are many almond trees on Mt. Zion.  The almond blossoms are used on the motif for the Menorah in the Holy of Holies, which is made in the shape of an almond tree with bulbous blossoms at various points.  In the scriptures we know that Aaron`s rod and a rod itself represent authority and God`s chosen oneIt speaks of blossoming and a time yet to be revealed.

It will come about that the staff of the man I choose will sprout.   --Numbers 17:5A

Notes on the Flowers! I  like to make connections to the weekly parsha when getting ready for Shabbat, and when  choosing flowers for Shabbat.
This week there was a special on a bunch of roses at the flower shop!  That gave me the inspiration to "act out" the parsha in flowers.  They represent the twelve rods that each tribe had to set before ADONAI and one would blossom.  As you can see the open pink rose represents Aaron's rod that blossomed!

at the flower shop, always so many choices!  Even seeing the roses laid out like this reminded me of the rods that were laid out in the Tent of Meeting.  Only one would blossom!

Almonds, almonds and more almonds,  an amazing breakfast idea for the Shabbat of Parsha Korach, Aaron's Blossoming Rod Challah with Almond butter, Fig shake, and almond milk!

God Bless you and  Shabbat Shaolom.
Have a great week!  Shavu'a Tov!

I will bless ADONAI at all times.
His praise is continually in my mouth.  --Psalm 34:2

For more on how to make Aaron`s Blossoming Rod Challah, see HERE

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Blossoming Clouds

I just had to stop to watch the blossoming clouds! 

This long challah, I mean, cloud, was even long and rectangular like the rod that blossoms!
The sky reflects the Parsha and that God is always...watching!

and behold, Aaron`s staff, from the house of Levi, had sprouted, blossomed, and produced almonds!  --Numbers 17:8
Friday early afternoon sky.
The clouds were blossoming!
Just like Aaron's rod!
I love the scriptures and the image in this weeks reading of  how Aaron's rod blossoms and bloomed with almonds.
 I spent some time admiring and watching the blossoming sky.  I have heard the expression about chasing clouds before, but this may be the first time I ever really did it!!! Racing on my bicycle to see the clouds over the river, and then once there I just stayed a while.

 I love this word about the rod that blossoms and produced almonds, and also made a blossoming challah (post to follow!) this Shabbat.   The meaning of "almonds" in Hebrew is the from the root word "shaked"  and I learned it can have a double meaning in scripture as it is from the same root as the word that means "watch",* as in God is watching over us.   In the blossoming  sky,  He is there watching, and even reflecting what is in our hearts.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;  
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121:5~8

Blessings and Love!
Shabbat Shalom,


*post.note, a correction about my Hebrew discovery... after writing I looked up the word in Hebrew in the Psalm verses quoted above, and actually for `watch` in this case,  it is more like `guard` than `watch`, so it is not the same word as `shaked` in this case.  It`s `shamor`, which is `guard`, or `keep`, a new interesting discovery, as that is the word that we say every week at Shabbat in `Remember` (Exodus 20:8) and `Keep` (shamor, which also means `guard`) the Shabbat (Deuteronomy 5:12)!  So as He lovingly watches/guards over us, and we actually have the loving command to be the ones to  `guard` His commandments.  

 Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.  --Exodus 20:8
Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it    --Deuteronomy 5:12

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Drawing ministry story

I was reading a book called the Transforming Journey  and having coffee at the pool lobby, late this afternoon after swimming.
I saw a little girl, she was so sweet and smiled at me and I asked her if she likes to draw.  She said yes.  I invited her to pick a postcard she likes from my `collection` ( I always carry around a selection of the Postcards you see here on this blog to give to people when the chance arises), and she picked one of the recent ones, the one in a post a few posts down with the SHALOM and the girl with the blue hydrangea ball and the scripture from Jeremiah 31.

I asked if she wanted to draw something on the other side of the postcard.  Her mom came near us and encouraged her.   I gave the little girl a pen.  The little girl was so shy at first.  She could speak a few words of English, which surprised me as she is only 5, it was so cute how she said `Hi`.

Soon she loosened up and wrote her name in Hiragana (Japanese alphabet), and drew a flower.  She looked at my postcards for what to draw next, and she then kept adding to her drawing---she drew herself and she!  ... and grapes!  And Mt. Fuji!  And three butterflies, a tree, the sun and a rainbow.   We had a nice time together.  Her mom too enjoyed it.   She was so precious, her little hands holding my pen and  when she drew herself she drew little lines on the hands, as she counted   and drew in 5 fingers so carefully on each hand!! When she pretty much drew everywhere she could on the postcard, her mom told her to say `thank you`, and she did.  I asked her and her mom if it would be ok if I read to them what the English words say, and they said ok.   I read these words that I had written on the post card from Jeremiah 31:
"Yes, I have loved you with and everlasting Love.  
Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness. "   --Jeremiah 31:2(3)
The little girl really seemed to be listening attentively. She knows the word LOVE, as it was written on her t-shirt, and she then held up the postcard and  tried reading the words herself!!! It looked like she was really reading it, you know how a child sometimes does that and sort of imitates an adult reading but she couldn`t really read it... except she did read LOVE and then she really wanted to read `everlasting` and made sounds for the other words, as if she was reading, her little lips moving so delicately.  Even though she is only 5 and hardly speaks English it was as if these words from God`s Word were really speaking to her!! And she was wanting to `speak ` them out loud.

It was such a sweet moment with her.

 I  don`t have a photo, but if you can imagine, please do, can you see her, she is such a preciously drawn child of God!  With her little black bangs and bob haircut and her hand holding the pen, as she sat kneeling at the low table and drawing all the things she knew how, and oh the grapes were sooooo sweet!  I asked if she know what the `challah` shapes were, and she didn`t know, but then I told her its a kind of bread and they said it looks delicious!! Then they recognized the challah in another drawing, so it was fun too to see that they learned a little that there is such a thing as challah.

So I will just leave you with another drawing,  my drawing of the grapes, the Big Grapes from the Land of Israel!! She looked and saw the grapes in this postcard,  and then drew grapes on hers!! And funny, this drawing is from yesterday, before I met the girl.  And  I just realized is of a little girl sitting at the Banquet Table of God, and funny, how today  I was sort of the `big person` at the table with the drawings spread out, ministering the Father`s love to her!!  Thank you Father, wink wink to the Holy Spirit because He was making me laugh so much yesterday over the big grapes in my picture!! May laughter and joy be the key today.  AHAVA, Love, Shayndel

He brought me to His banquet table,
His banner over me is Love.

--Song of Songs 2:4

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Spying the Land, Flowers and Grapes--* some notes on Parsha Shelach Lecha

Big Grapes! (above), "small" grapes below.  All a matter of perspective!!

They went up and scouted the land, from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, at Lebohamath.

They reached the wadi Eshcol, and there they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes--it had to be borne on a carrying frame by two of them---and some pomegranates and figs.   That place was named the wadi Eshcol because of the cluster that the Israelites cut down there.   
---Numbers 13:21, 23~24

 Friday late afternoon.
Coming home with flowers for Shabbat,
I begin to think about the Parsha Shelach Lecha, this week`s Torah reading.

In the reading this week Moses, by the Lord's command (Numbers 13:3) sent the tribal chiefs to scout out the land, in the famous or infamous story of the sin of the spies.  They came back with a report about the produce in the land--exemplified by the huge grapes carried on a pole by two persons!  But about the people, they expressed fear,  and showed their lack of trust in ADONAI . Only two, Joshua  and Caleb, gave a positive report and would be able to enter the Promised Land.

There are times of testing in our lives, maybe every day, when we have a chance to doubt or trust, to fear or go forward.  I know I am still a huge coward in so many ways, and often my fears give way to doubt or lack of trust.  When I read this I see how it was so terrible to God, and see the sin it is when we do not trust His promises and plans.   What were the reasons that they gave a bad report?  Was it they lacked faith in God and the confidence in themselves so much that they gave a bad report?  Was it that they feared the "reality" of entering the land of Israel, and couldn't see into God's vision and  beyond their small perspective, thus seeing themselves as grasshoppers?  Whatever it was, it was clear in God's eyes that their whole generation, except for Caleb and Joshua, would not enter the land.

 Spying out the land before Shabbat, I enjoyed taking some photos in the green light after the rain cleared.  I noticed how beautiful the greens are after the rain, and what an amazing job the gardeners have been doing this week to make it shine.

  We have officially entered into rainy season!  I was inspiretd to take pictures of  the grapes, somehow setting them up (photos above) was fun to try to imagine the parsha.  Some even landed onto the ground when I was finishing and taking them down,  grapes in the land. 

Allow the yeast to blossom
 Other notes on the parsha:  In Numbers Chapter 15, after the sin of the spies is described, there is the section about  the fragrant offerings to the LORD in the land of Israel.

Included in these verses is the offering of Challah !! As you can see in THIS POST, it was an amazing discovery one year ago to read this Torah portion the first time.    I believe that reading on the Torah cycle gives us a special perspective to see one year to the next as we read the same portions and seek new revelation in each new reading on God`s eternal cycle!

Note:I also like the words in the challah recipe that say to allow the yeast to `blossom`.  

One more thing in this week`s reading  is about the tzitzit and the color blue that is mentioned in verse 16:37,  hence, I chose this blue tall flower this week!  And added the rose, a blossoming complementary hue to the beautiful and harmonizing Israeli blue.

There is a lesson in this parsha, about "perspective" when we look at the great difference in how 10 of the spies gave the negative report, and only Joshua and Caleb were sure that "we will surely overcome it" (Numbers 13:30).  They all saw the same thing, but there was such a difference in perspective. When 10 scouts saw the people in the land they saw the people as huge giants and  themselves as small as grasshoppers.  Whereas Joshua and Caleb understood that to trust in the LORD makes all the view much different and from their perspective of confidence in God and in themselves as going with God, they said "Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it." (Numbers 13:30)

And what about the man who was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day and was put to death, as the Lord had commanded Moses.  What are we to learn from this?  There is so much in this parsha, but for now I will finish my report here.

So that is my report this Friday afternoon as the sun is still  high in the sky.   I don`t know if I told you how much I love the time at the end of the week, as the day starts at night---There was evening,and there was morning,---and begin to enter into the appointed time and Shabbat delight.
Dear Father, Help me this Shabbat to see You and to know that we can overcome all that is in the world because He who lives in us is so great!! Help me to know and trust in You in the deepest recesses of my soul so that nothing outside of me will look like a giant to fear.  May the things we once feared  become little as grasshoppers and may they hop away as we learn to trust in YOU and not to fear.  May we see shift to a heavenly perspective and see see from the lens of the LORD most high.

Blessings and Shabbat Shalom! Shavu'a Tov!  Have a blessed week!

When you enter the land to which I am taking you and you eat of the bread of the land, you shall set some aside as a gift to the LORD:  as the first yield of your baking, you shall set aside a loaf as a gift; you shall set it aside as a gift like the gift from the threshing floor.  You shall make a gift to the LORD from the first yield of your baking, throughout the ages.  --Numbers 15:17~21

Grapes a must for Parsha Shelach Lecha!!Blessings and Shalom, Love, Shayndel

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Shavuot Diary--Postcard from Shavuot & Story of Two Loaves, in pictures

From wherever you live, bring two loaves of bread as a wave offering of first fruits to the LORD.

--Leviticus 23:17

I love the spring feasts center around bread!!

Israeli oranges in Japan

(with Israeli oranges, and following the feast days, an `otsukaresama-de` cranberry smoothie)
something new

PS  my Shavuot postings are late! But as its still the month of Sivan...still within the Hebrew month, I am seeing if I can smoothly insert them in!
For more postcards from Shavuot, please enjoy posts here. 

Blessings and Shalom! Love,  Shayndel