It is the season of reflection. The season of repenting.
But how do we do that?
What does that look like after working an eight or ten hour day, picking up children, cooking dinner, paperwork, bills, the grocery, pet care?
Do we say a prayer in the car and call it a day? Do we turn off the television, Facebook, Twitter? Do we spend more time outside in a quiet spot? Get up earlier? Do we fast by skipping some meals or even fast for many days? Whatever it is that we do, it’s personal. I don’t know what needs to be cleansed from your temple and vice versa. We may see what we think is wrong with a person or signs of things that we feel they need to work on, but we don’t live with them behind closed doors. Often what we view as truth is not as it seems. I present that case all too well, in Walter the Homeless Man. If you need to forgive anyone during this time, Walter can help.
But on a serious note, sometimes I picture the most devout Jews doing what we try to do during the Ten Days of Awe, magnified times a hundred on just their regular days. Now, if it’s just rote it means nothing. However, if it’s from the purest of hearts, well it’s an amazing perfume–a symphony of glorious showers being poured out to heaven’s door.
Last night while lying in bed, meditating on the Word and eternity; I kept thinking about my past, in that I really didn’t fear this God or fathom His Greatness. Greatness isn’t even a word to describe Him. It’s not immense enough or deep enough in grandeur. A God who would take the time to know us—really knows us. A Yah who cleanses us, names us, and give us new garments. A God who stores our tears and also keeps track of them in His books. “. . . Put Thou my tears into Thy wineskin; are they not in Thy Sefer (Creation Book)?” Psalms 56:9 OJ.
A Father who is seated on the throne and One who has multiple books and in a sea of people, as the sand on the shores, since the beginning of time, He knows our names and our hearts and every tiny hair on our heads.
“While I was watching,
Thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His garment was as white as snow,
And the hair of His head like pure wool.
His throne was ablaze with flames,
Its wheels a burning fire.
A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him.
Thousands of thousands attended Him
And ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
And the books were opened.” Daniel 7:8-10.
I was reminded, as I was meditating on this, of a time when I was so sick that on awakening, instead of thanking Abba for my breath, I would pray to die. The pain was so indescribable. My life resembled Job’s. One morning as I was begging for Him to snuff me out, I heard a voice in my spirit say, “Do you not value the life I have given you?” Ouch.
A beautiful gift.
A treasure box of sunsets, babies, bulbs bursting with colors, laughter, tears, triumphs, and tragedies. All treasures. To even be born in America. To have the comforts of shelter, fresh clean sheets, water, and food. The freedom to purchase a thousand Bibles, if able. It is all truly amazing and yet so often we fold gratitude up and complain while we stand in line to purchase His blessings. If it hadn’t been for my sickness and Job journey, I would have never feared Him. There are still times I lack a healthy awe.
“Then they that feared (God) Hashem spoke often one to another, and Hashem paid heed and heard it, and a Sefer Zikaron (book of remembrance) was written before Him for them that feared Hashem, and that meditated upon Shmo (His Name).
17 And they shall be Mine, saith Hashem Tzva’os, in that Yom when I make up My Segullah (special treasure, possession); and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own ben haoved oto (son that serves him).” Malachi 3:16-17 JOB.
I want to be found worthy! To be spared. To be HIS treasured possession. OH MY! All the junk we treasure here on this planet that is of material substance–made by man—He said, “Don’t store it up. He said it will rust. Thieves break in.” He said we should store up treasures in heaven. He said it’s not the outside of these temples that need to be cleaned up, it’s the inside.
Jews pray three times a day. The same time our Savior was being put on the cross—9 am. They pray at noon: the time the sky grew pitch black and they pray at 3 pm, the exact time Yeshua said, “It is finished.” Notice this was not something that stopped happening.
A great healing took place in Acts during this prayer time. “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. . . But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. Acts 3:1,2,6-.
They pray anywhere from 500 to 600 hours a year. Think about that. What does prayer mean to them? Do they pray that their son will get a job making six figures? Or that their aunt Jean will humble herself, or that their son-n-law will stop bad mouthing people? Doubtful.
“Tefillah is also one of many Hebrew terms (but the most common in the Bible) for prayer in general. The Hebrew root means ‘to think, entreat, judge, intercede’, and the reflexive means ‘to judge oneself’, and ‘to pray’.”
To judge oneself. . .
As soon as a child learns to speak, he or she is taught the first line of the Shema. What is the Shema? Jesus/ Yeshua said it was the most important commandment. “Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31.
His people fear Him.
I wanted to post a portion of the Amidah for those who possibly have never heard of this prayer.
The Amidah is read while standing. It is called “THE STANDING PRAYER or The prayer.” It was composed around 450 BC by the 120 Men of the Great Assembly including Ezra and Nehemiah at the time of the rebuilding of the Temple. If you have ever read Ezra chapter 9 or Nehemiah 8, please meditate on the fear and reverence they had for the sins of the people–as we are one. They stood whenever the Torah was read.
Notice what Jesus/ Yeshua said, ”
“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” Mark 11:25.
Here is a portion: for the full prayer click here
“Blessed are You, Lord our God and God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob, the great, mighty and awesome God, exalted God, who bestows bountiful kindness, who creates all things, who remembers the piety of the Patriarchs, and who, in love, brings a redeemer to their children’s children, for the sake of His Name.
During the Ten Days of Penitence add:
Remember us for life, King who desires life; inscribe us in the Book of Life, for Your sake, O living God.
O King, (You are) a helper, a savior and a shield. Blessed are You Lord, Shield of Abraham.
You are mighty forever, my Lord; You resurrect the dead; You are powerful to save.”
He said, “Those who fear me and meditate on My NAME– “They shall be mine!”
To be on the mind of the Creator of ALL and for Him to think of us. My HEART be still!
What if we could watch our life on a movie screen? I’m fifty years old now, and every now and then, I have a flashback of when I was a little girl—a teenager—a broken woman. How time blows through the winds of change and we forget who we are. How far we’ve come or digressed. What dirt we came from. Our roots. His roots. I began to meditate on both the good and bad things I’ve done in my life under the sun. The kind words I’ve spoken and the not so kind. The disobedient acts mixed with the “here I am Abba send me” moments. What if we were shown a video of our lives played out? Our words? Our actions? Slow motion. MERCY!
“The LORD knows the days of the blameless,
And their inheritance will be forever.” Psalm 37:18 NASB.
This time of returning and reflection can be deep. Every year during this season I am reminded of friends that left and others I distanced myself from. I grieve over it. Sometimes we can leave too soon and other times we can stay too long. Both are bad. We pray. We reflect. We ask for forgiveness on our part and for healing. We take the flashlight and we shine it on us. We notice the things we say or don’t say. We notice the actions we do and don’t do. We notice the thoughts we have that aren’t so good at times and we try and think about whatsoever things are pure.
“ Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any virtue and if there is anything worthy of praise—dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 Tree of Life Version (TLV).
Painting: God’s Holy Throne Room @SilviA
editing by Debbie Kessler