Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Divine Appointment

Sukkot has been wonderful, even if I am sukkotin' solo!  It's been so much better than last year!

Last year, was so sad and painful on so many levels.  It was my first Sukkot alone in years, and I was still grieving the fact that my daughter had left to never return, and wondering if I'd see my grandkids again, before they were grown.  One of my friends who had been "sukkoting" for several years with me, even if not always in person; was in hospice care.  Then, as if that wasn't enough . . . After getting my sukkah all ready in the afternoon, I was just finishing up chores, when I broke my arm and a bone in my foot.  I broke my arm quite badly, so I didn't notice the foot pain so much til the bone began poking out the skin!  Last year was a rough Sukkot!  Yet it was still a very special time to be alone with my Creator and my Messiah who love me more than anyone ever could.

I gained a genuinely deep appreciation of just the fact that I was allowed to know about this special time.  He could be sitting up there on His throne, saying "Guess when it is and try to guess what pleases me!"  Our Heavenly Father loves us enough to tell us what pleases Him and what days belong to Him!

So this Sukkot, was different.  It wasn't about my pain at all, for which I am very thankful!  I was still alone, but I feel very confident that will not be the case next year.  Sukkot was different this year, in that I continued to function from the sukkah, on days that were not the High Shabbats.  I received a deeper understanding of just how temporary this wilderness journey truly is, and how amazingly awesome YHWH's provision and shelter are!  And HalleluYah, no broken bones, this year!

As this special week was coming to an end, I discovered an e-mail telling me about a meeting the next day.  With the next day, not a High Shabbat, I felt a tug of obligation to attend, but there was no address given, so I decided I'd call the next morning to inquire.  The next morning began a wonderful day, I shall not forget.

Wednesday morning I awoke early in the sukkah.  I love just lying there for a few minutes aware that I am in the sukkah.  I say good morning to Adonai and good morning to Y'hshuwah.  I came into the house to use the facilities, then following morning chores, came back in to make the phone call.  There was no answer, so I sat down to do some reading and wait.  I was already beginning the self talk of arguing against going, and a time limit for the return phone call was set.  The phone rang, and I lost that excuse, but since it was farther away than I had thought, I manufactured a new excuse, but left the option open.

I did a bit more around the place and decided I'd just head out and see what it was all about, so I did.  I was ready at any time to turn around, I don't know why, other than the flesh.  I know it was the flesh, for two reasons.  The blessings that transpired through this journey and the fact that I was looking for a religious reason to not go.  I got to the meeting late, because I went to the wrong building, but the people were gracious and I made some new connections for my business and a great advertising offer at no cost to me.  How nice is that?  After the meeting I decided I'd stop by Subway to get their special.  Five Dollar Footlongs, all month.  Now this was a great plan, in that the next day was Simchat Torah, and I wouldn't need to prepare any food ahead of time.  A footlong is two meals.  Dinner after sundown and lunch the following afternoon.  So, buffalo chicken was the plan with fresh cucumber salad from the garden!

It was in the Subway, I was blessed beyond measure.  A young man was ahead of me in the line and he had a pretty large order.  He looked at me, with my headcovering and tzitziyot and I looked at him with his beard and the "look," but no tzitziyot.  The awkward silence continued as we both sort of studied each other out of the corner of our eyes.  Finally, the ice was broken by a comment behind the counter.  Then he looked at me and complimented my tzitziyot.  I responded with a question about their Sukkot gathering and I thought he was mishpochah.  He stood there for a moment, looking almost embarrassed, saying his tzitziyot had been destroyed and a new set was being made, while he ran out for lunch.   I gave him a card and a bar of G-ma's Goatmilk Soap.  We chatted a bit more while they finished his order.  He looked at the soap, sheepishly grinned and after a pregnant pause, asked me if I was G-ma.  We parted wishing each other blessings, and all I could think was I'd already been blessed more than I would have asked or imagined.

Now, blessing upon blessing are  you ready for this . . . They were observing Sukkot, but it was in the yard of their new home, as they've recently relocated to the area!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Keeping Watch

It's been nearly twenty years ago, since my first encounter with what I thought was an angel.  YHWH is truly awesome, in that He sends beings into our lives on our behalf.  This particular incident, I'm quite sure happened, for no other reason than bring YHWH glory, and all these years later, I am so thankful for what was offered that day, and that I get to keep sharing the goodness of our Heavenly Father in the retelling of this account.

This was back in my days of being a restaurateur.  I had come to know YHWH and begun following Y'hshuwah over a year earlier, I believe.  It was about this time of year, I remember school had already started.  I was one of those employers that had High School kids working for me, and between the lunch hour and the closing shift, I was often there by myself.  I must interject this, at this point.  I'm very thankful for the success YHWH gave me in that restaurant, and I'm very glad to be out of that business.  I cannot imagine all the wage issues, religious boycott issues, discrimination accusations . . . yet I digress.

The second shift "rush" had already taken place.  It wasn't so much of a rush, but the place filled up just enough to keep my hopping for about 30 minutes, then there was lull between 3:30 and when my after school help would arrive at 4:30.  Usually, I had things well timed and could take that hour preparing for the dinner rush and closing, but that day, I realized I was out of something and the supplier closed at 4:30.  I didn't have to worry too much about disappointing customers that time of day, as it was the dead hour in the place, so I decided I'd run down to the supply house and be back before my employee even came to work. I grabbed some money out of the cash register, which was nicely filled from the lunch hour and headed out the door and down the road.

The trip didn't take long at all and I was back turning into the parking lot in about 20 minutes, when I realized there was a man standing in the restaurant.  The next realization that occurred to me, was that I had left the door unlocked!  Then things changed . . . As I rushed into the restaurant, not really sure what to expect, I greeted him with a smile and "Hello" and told him I'd take his order in just a minute.  He smiled and said he wasn't placing an order, he'd just been "keeping watch."  That expression caused me to give pause, as I thanked him.   This gentleman appeared to be in his late sixties, nicely dressed in a a gray suit, with hat in hand.  He could have been any of the distinguished gentlemen at Temple, but he wasn't.  I'd never seen him before, and certainly not since.

I again asked him if I could get him anything "on the house" and he responded with "No thank you, he'd be going now, as he was no longer needed here."  I thanked him again for "watching the place."  With that he went out the door turned to the right.  As Hebrews 13:2 hit my heart, I nearly climbed over the counter to get out the front door, but as I'm sure you've already guessed, he was gone.  There had been no car parked in the lot or in front of the restaurant.  I looked to the right, first, but could clearly see both directions up the road and saw no pedestrians.  To this day, I believe he was an angel sent by Elohim, but I can't be certain.  I'm not sure I entertained well, but am very glad that when I thanked him, I offered him food and beverage.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.                                                                                                 Hebrews 13:2 

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Angels have been on my mind as of late.  We are specifically directed by Paul to not worship them, and I am certainly not suggesting that we do.  I want to address the concept we have developed socially for what an angel is.  There are several careers that are often compared to angels, and I don't buy that.  Angels are true beings that serve our Creator.

The images for angels are numerous, but most are portrayed with a child like innocence or a feminine softness than I just don't see as Scriptural.  I'm not saying angels cannot be feminine, but the image of frilly is simply misleading.  As servants of the Most High Elohim, they are not standing around polishing halos.  I've had three encounters that I believe were with angelic beings, and on all three occasions none of them were "cupidish" or what we would term cherub faced, or even feminine.

I'm going to share each occasion in the next few editions and I would invite our readers to share experiences they have had as well.  The occasion I want to share today is simple and I didn't see their faces, but what I did see immediately took me to the 91st Psalm and Matthew 28:3.

It was late one evening and I'd been invited to a special service with a friend.  I'd ridden with her and she was dropping me off.  As I said, it was late and I'd forgotten to leave the front light on, so it was dark.  I got out of her car and headed toward the door.  In the dark, I misstepped on a loose rock, and immediately began to fall.  I literally felt a strong hand and arm around my waist, and one on my shoulder, to steady me.  In that moment, I saw what looked like lightning flash next to me.  Sound dramatic?  You bet it does!  It was!  Immediately my spirit was filled with the 91st Psalm.  My foot was not dashed on the stone, and I didn't fall.  YHWH sent His angel to keep me from being hurt.

Which of course brought me to another thought later that night. I'm not petite.   These angels are no lightweights!  All these years later, I saw an image of an angel that made me think of the ones that YHWH's Word promises that He sends, as well as various ones in Scripture may have seen.  I mentioned to a friend of mine who does work out and stays in good shape, that I figure more angels have a resemblance closer to him than to the flowery, frilly images we've come to associate with heavenly beings.

As the end of days continue to unfold, I'm very thankful to know YHWH is host of a heavenly army, as described throughout Scripture.  The term angel appears in Scripture over 250 times.

. . . Thus saith YHWH unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but Elohim.  history in Holy Scripture