Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I just did a quick check over the last 6 years that I've been here on Beer Lahai Roi, and was a bit surprised that I did not post on Dec. 31 for any of them.

New Year's being a time of reflection and all, I figured I'd done it at least once.  But...no.

So 2014 is going to be a shift on that, too.

Last year, I looked up all the 20:14 verses .  I went back and read them again, looking to see if there was any premonition in them of the shifting and ending that would happen in 2014.

There were verses that came to mind at various points in the year...notably 2 Chronicles 20:14, as that had a direct influence on a situation I found myself in...but the one that seemed to sum up the  year was from 2 Kings...in which Hezekiah mentions that the guests he had just entertained were from Babylon,  little knowing what that would bring about down the road.

Who would've guessed that by the end of the year I would no longer be involved in ministry to teen girls or that My Sweet Babboo would be looking for a job? (By the way...it looks like he is set to start a new job on January 20, unless something goes wildly wrong.  More on that once all the details are set...).

I did skim through the 20:15 verses in the ESV on the computer desk;  as they are just the next verse after the 20:14 verses, there wasn't really any new revelation.  But 2 Chronicles was a repeat of a theme for me in the last year:

And he said, "Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat:  Thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's...' "

And, as I see a great need for me to use words more judiciously, Proverbs 20:15 also stood out:

There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

 I need to remember that the battle is not mine, but God's,  and to reflect His knowledge in my speech at all times.  That's a good focus for the year.

2015 looks to be a year of new beginnings.  I'm feeling optimistic that the circles will come around; the things that ended in 2014 will turn into new opportunities, and this time next year I'll look back on the year and see change...not in terms of endings but in terms of growth.

So...for all my friends who are following me along this journey, thanks so much for stopping by, and God bless you and yours in 2015!   


Sunday, December 21, 2014

I will find myself...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Back in September, I wrote about a song that just undid me in worship...

As it happened, the worship teams from all campuses came together last fall to do some music videos and 'All Is Lost' was one of the songs that we recorded that night.


All is Lost from The Rock Family Worship Center on Vimeo.

Worth a listen...

Because that song continues to minister to me.  Just this past week, in fact, I was puzzling over one area that was still not really quite healed, still painful, still awkward.  Not knowing if I needed to take a step towards a conversation about it or if I needed to still follow the word that I had from the beginning to keep silent and let God work for me.

And after listening to a timely message, the chorus to this song came back to me... 'When all is lost, I will find myself in You.'....  and I realized that I didn't need to look for the answer to my questions by trying to fix something on my own.  It is IN HIM that I will find myself...find my peace...find my answers and find my closure.

I will find myself in Him...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Season of Praise: Halal

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Dec. 19 - Halal (Strong's 1984)

This is another primitive root verb with a bunch of meanings depending upon the tense and context.

The Strong's Hebrew/Chaldee Dictionary in the back of my Zodhiates defines 1984 as:   to be clear (orig. of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causat. to celebrate; also to stultify: -- (make) boast (self), celebrate, commend (deal, make) fool (-ish, -ly), glory, give (light)  be (make, feign self) mad (against), give in marriage, (sing, be worthy of ) praise, rage, renowned, shine.

Can I just say....'(clamorously) foolish'?  Can you see why this is my favorite word for praise?  'Cause 'Clamorously foolish' could SO be part of my personality description.

This is a noisy praise.  A boasting, loud, clear, shining, celebratory praise.  A praise that makes other folks shake their heads and wonder if the sister really has it all together.

And...personal opinion here...I think for some folks, this is the breakthrough praise.  When we stop caring about how we look or what other people are thinking or whether or not we look foolish and just let ourselves react from the innermost core of who we are to who God is and what He has really done.  Because once we learn - really learn- how to walk before God, with that relationship being the primary focus in life-- how can the opinion of any one else influence us anymore?

Now, don't get me wrong, here, I'm not advocating being loud and wild in every praise situation.  The Spirit will not cause a commotion that will detract from the worship of the moment.  But there ARE times when the whole assembly celebrates, and a full expression of whatever praise is in the heart is an addition to the glory...and the  breakthrough comes when we give over caring what people think and focus on praising God.

Although it isn't described specifically as praise in the text, we have a perfect picture of a Halal praise in 2 Samuel 6, when David had the Ark of the Covenant returned to Jerusalem and 'danced before the Lord with all his might' (verse 14).

Clamorously foolish, indeed...David's wife, Michal, was embarrassed by his behavior and scolded him when he came to bless his household.  But David basically replied, 'B-B-B-Baby, you ain't seen n-n-n-nothin' yet' -- declaring that he celebrated for God and all He had done, and that he would make himself more contemptible, abase himself even further, to celebrate before God.

The Blue Letter Bible scholars report that Halal is used 165 times in the Old Testament...and  the King James translators rendered it most often as Praise - 117 times, to be exact.  It was translated Glory 14 times; Boast 10 times;  Mad eight times; Shine and Foolish three times each; Fools, Commended and Rage, twice each; and one time each as Celebrate, Give, Marriage and Renowned.

Here's how some of the verses are translated in the Amplified:

2 Sam. 22:4 - I call on the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised [Halal], and I am saved from my enemies.

1 Chron 16:4 -  He appointed Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to celebrate (by calling to mind), thanking and praising [Halal] the Lord, the God of Israel;

1 Chron 16:10 - Glory [Halal] in His holy name; let the heart of those rejoice who seek the Lord!

1 Chron 23:5 - And, said David, 4,000 shall be gatekeepers, and 4,000 are to praise [Halal] the Lord with the instruments which I made for praise [Halal].

2 Chron 5:13 - And when the trumpeters and singers were in unison, making one sound to be heard in praising [Halal] and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and other instruments for song, and praised [Halal] the Lord, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure for ever, then the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud,

2 Chron 20:19 - And the Levites, of the Kohathites and Korahites, stood up to praise [Halal] the Lord God of Israel with a very loud voice.

2 Chron 23:12 - 13 - When Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising [Halal] the king, she went into the Lord's house to the people; And behold, there the king stood by his pillar at the entrance, the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with musical instruments led in singing of praise [Halal].  Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason! Treason!

Ezra 3: 10 - 11 -  And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their vestments with trumpets, and the Levite sons of Asaph with their cymbals, to praise [Halal] the Lord, after the order of David king of Israel. They sang responsively, praising [Halal] and giving thanks to the Lord, saying For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure for ever toward Israel.  And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised [Halal] the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid!


Ps 22:22-23 - I will declare your name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise [Halal] You.  You who fear - revere and worship - the Lord, praise [Halal] Him!

Ps. 56:4 - By (the help of ) God I will praise [Halal] His Word; on God I lean, rely and confidently put my trust; I will not fear; what can man who is flesh do to me?

Ps 102:18 - Let this be recorded for a generation yet unborn, and a people yet to be created shall praise [Halal] the Lord.

Ps 113: 1 - Praise [Halal] the Lord! -- Hallelujah!  Praise [Halal], O servants of the Lord, praise [Halal] the name of the Lord!


Ps. 150:  Praise [Halal] the Lord!  Praise [Halal] God in His sanctuary; praise [Halal] Him in the heavens of His power!   Praise [Halal] Him for His mighty acts, praise [Halal] Him according to the abundance of His greatness!  Praise [Halal] Him with trumpet sound; praise [Halal] Him with lute and harp!  Praise [Halal] Him with tambourine and (single or group) dance; praise [Halal] Him with stringed and wind instruments or flutes! Praise [Halal] Him with sounding cymbals; praise [Halal] Him with loud clashing cymbals!  Let everything that  has breath and every breath of life praise [Halal] the Lord!  Praise [Halal] you the Lord!  Hallelujah!

Joel 2:26 - And you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise [Halal] the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you.  And My people shall never be put to shame.


Wow.  Typing all of that has made me want to give a Halal praise myself...God is amazing and worthy of our praise!  He made Himself nothing, took the nature of a servant, walked among us, and loved us to the point of death...then turned death backwards and loves us still.   There is no one like Him...rejoice this Christmas, because He came to US!

Hallelujah!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Season of Praise: Tehillah

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

12/12/14 - Tehillah; Strong's 8416  - praise, song or hymn of praise.

Every time we study these words at church, my pastor cautions us not to confuse Tehillah with Tequila... 

This is only the second noun in the list (the other that we've looked at, which I didn't mention at the time, was Towdah...thanksgiving).  This is not an action...this is the thing itself.  A praise song.

Tehillah appears 57 times in the Old Testament and the King James translates it as praise or praises.  Every. Single. Time.

Of course, other translations may do it a bit differently....

Let's look at some (Amplified):

Deut 10:21 - He is your praise [Tehillah]; He is your God, Who has done for you these great and terrible things which your eyes have seen.

Deut 26:19 - And He will make you high above all nations which He has made, in praise [Tehillah] and in fame and in honor, and that you shall be a holy people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken.

1 Chron 16:35 - And say,  Save us, O God of our salvation; gather us together, and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy name, and glory in Your praise [Tehillah].

Ps. 22:3 - But You are holy, O You Who dwell in  (the holy place where) the praises [Tehillah] of Israel (are offered).

Ps 35:28 - And my tongue shall talk of Your righteousness, rightness and justice and (my reasons for) Your praise [Tehillah] all the day long.

Ps 40:3 - And He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise [Tehillah] to our God.  Many shall see and fear -- revere, and worship -- and put their trust and confident reliance in the Lord.

Ps 51:15 - O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth your praise [Tehillah].

Ps 66:2 - Sing forth the honor and glory of His name; make His praise [Tehillah] glorious!

Ps 78:4 - We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praiseworthy [Tehillah] deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonderful works that He has performed.

Ps 111:10 - The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and skill (the preceding and the first essential, the prerequisite and the alphabet of them).  A good understanding, wisdom and meaning have all those who do (the will of the Lord).  Their praise [Tehillah] of Him endures forever.

Is. 42:10 - Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise [Tehillah] from the end of the earth!  You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, the islands and coastal regions and the inhabitants of them sing (a song such as has never been heard in the heathen world)!

Is 61:3 - To grant (consolation and joy) to those who mourn in Zion, to give them an ornament -- a garland or diadem -- of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of  joy for mourning, the  garment (expressive) of praise [Tehillah] instead of a heavy, burdened and failing spirit; that they might be called oaks of righteousness (lofty, strong and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice and right standing with God), the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Zeph 3:20 - At that time I will bring you in; yes, at that time I will gather you; for I will make you a name and a praise [Tehillah] among all the nations of the earth, when I reverse your captivity before your eyes, says the Lord.

Praise is not only our response to a holy and glorious God, it is also a sign to others of who God is...not only by what we express, but what God expresses towards us.  I was surprised to see the references to God making His people a praise...something that declares His character and goodness to others.

Praise is more than just an expression.  It carries power.  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Faith comes by hearing...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

One of the items in my DIVE goodie bag was a set of CD's on breaking free of personal bondages, Foundations of Freedom.  I'm listening to them kinda slowly as I've been doing a bit of sewing and, let me tell you, it is powerful stuff.

One of the CD's I listened to today had to do with hearing God...and what we perceive as hearing God.

And you know, when I'm listening to a message of any kind and God stirs stuff in my spirit...I really can't tell what I heard in the message and what it sparked in my spirit.  Dots connect.  Paradigms shift.  So...I'm not sure how much of this was on my CD and how much of it came from dots connecting.

But...the Bible says that 'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God' (Romans 10:17).

So we have all applied the Bible to that verse...which is, of course, the Word of God.  But the Greek word translated as  'Word' there is rhema....(Strong's 4487), which Mr. Strong defines as 'Utterance' (I did a post on 'rhema' vs. 'logos' 5 years ago, in which I found that both words carried a connotation of something spoken).

It would not be out of line to read that  as 'Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by God speaking.'

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to speak to a group of girls in a nearby town.  I didn't know them, they didn't know me, but I talked about lies and how to turn them around.  I had them do a little exercise in which they wrote down a lie that they have heard a lot from the Enemy, then I had them write down the opposite of that lie and tear up the piece of paper that they wrote the lie on.

One young lady emailed the leadership of the ministry and gave a short testimony of how a word from another person tied in with what she had written in such a way that she knew it had to be God speaking...her reaction was, 'That really happened!'

I remember my own 'That really happened' moment...it was when we first started attending our church; we had a ladies study that I was attending, but I had to leave early each session because I was also teaching James at a local Christian Women's Job Corps site.  One particular day, I was preparing for the class I was to teach in the morning before I left to go to the Bible study, and as I was preparing I had a sudden, random mental picture of sitting in a chair being prayed over.

Now, there is prayer ministry that happens at church, but this was not a 'prayer ministry' kind of study...that just wasn't part of what we did.  So I shrugged off the mental picture and went back to my preparation.

When I got to church, the study began as usual, but there were a couple of ladies who asked for prayer for specific situations and they came up and sat in two chairs at the front and we gathered around them and prayed.  But there were a couple more who also had prayer needs, so they sat in the chairs next and we prayed.  Well, one thing lead to another and at some point it became apparent that we were going to skip the lesson that day and everyone was going to get prayed for.  In the chair.  But it wasn't until I realized that I was going to have to leave soon that I remembered I'd gotten a picture of that very thing happening that very morning.  Only it looked like they weren't going to get to me before I had to leave.  I waited to see what would happen...and I got called into the chair just before I had to go.

There was no way I could've had any inkling at all that would happen.  That was God.  And I left carrying the fragrance of the nard from the anointing oil and an awe in my spirit...thinking, 'That really happened!'

When God speaks to us, individually and uniquely, our faith is settled.  Strengthened. Confirmed.  And no one can argue that experience away.

Now, I have had similar experiences from reading the Scripture...from a random verse I read or someone posted on Facebook or whatever speaking exactly and precisely to an urgent need in my spirit.

But as I listened to the CD tonight, I was struck -- again-- by the necessity to pay attention and listen.  Because my faith is built as I hear Him speak.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Season of Praise: Shabach

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Shabach - Strong's 7623

That link is to the Blue Letter Bible lexicon that I've been using so far in this study, but I found that it differed from the definition in the Hebrew/Chaldee dictionary in the back of my Zodhiates, which is the definition listed here.

Again, this is a primitive root word and has a number of tenses and meanings...I suspect it's a word like the English word 'TEAR'...which means entirely different things, depending on the context.

So.   The BLB folks list two primary meanings for Shabach; the first one,  to soothe, still, stroke, really isn't applicable to the current discussion, so we'll look at the second one listed,  to laud, praise, commend; congratulate, boast.  This one is, at least, comparable to Strong's definition of properly, to address in a loud tone, i.e. (specifically) loud; figuratively, to pacify (as if by words):--commend, glory, keep in, praise, still, triumph.

But the Strong's entry also mentions 'loud tone'...and the definition I have heard before included 'to shout'.  It is interesting that volume is not mentioned in the BLB lexicon, whereas it's the primary connotation of Strong's.

So let's see how it is used.  The BLB folks tell us that it is only used 11 times in the entire Old Testament, and it's translated  in the King James as Praise 5 times,  Still twice, and once each as Keep it in, Glory, Triumph and Commend.

Let's see how the Amplified translates the applications that involve praise:

1 Ch 16:35 - And say, Save us, O God of our salvation; gather us together, and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy name and glory [Shabach] in Your praise.

Ps. 63:3 - Because Your loving-kindess is better than life, my lips shall praise [Shabach] You.

Ps. 106:47 - Deliver us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy name and glory [Shabach] in praising You.

Ps. 117:1 - O Praise the Lord, all you nations!  Praise [Shabach] Him, all you people!

Ps. 145:4 - One generation shall laud [Shabach] Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.

Ps. 147:12 -  Praise [Shabach] the Lord, O Jerusalem!  Praise your God, O Zion!


Just for grins, I checked the words that are translated 'praise' in the verses that have more than one appearance of that word...and they are the other two words that we haven't looked at yet.  But it makes sense...as you'll see in a couple of weeks...when you add the connotation of 'loud' to the words that were translated from Shabach.

 Now, I'll admit I am not typically a loud-praising kind of person.  My praise tends more to poetry than screaming.  But, you know, there are times when a loud raucus praise fits the occasion.  There are not a ton of instances of loud praise in the Bible, as we can see from the short list above...but there are some.  

And I've observed judgement passed upon folks in both directions.  Some for being 'too loud'...others for being 'too quiet'.  I remember being in a church service a number of years ago in which I had the conscious thought , 'This is a circus and I don't want any part of it'...had a mental picture of collecting my kids from children's ministry and going home...but I immediately felt an overwhelming grief in my spirit even as I thought that.  Would I shut out the Spirit of God just because I was uncomfortable with the way people around me were reacting to Him?  I actually felt a bit frightened that I would consider such a thing.

My praise may not be loud...but 'loud' is definitely a connotation of Shabach,  There are times when a shout is the very thing that will bring down the enemy's wall. Who am I to say whose praise is too loud for their breakthrough?  Someday...I may need to be free to shout through a wall myself.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Celebrating the Hodgepodge: 200 weeks of questions

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Hey, this is the 200th week that Joyce has done this...which, given the fact that there are things like vacations that happen, means this sharing meme has been going for more than 4 years.  So how could I not celebrate the milestone with her and answer the questions?

Click through to This Side of the Pond to see all the linky fun!

1. What is something in your life right now that feels a little 'hodgepodge'?


It might be easier to say what DOESN'T.   It seems there's always this and that going on; I'm even spreading myself out over three or four pretty major projects at work.  No boredom anywhere in sight...

2. What does 'peace on earth, goodwill to men' mean to you?

I think it's how God means for us to live on earth; how would human relationships change if we made peace and goodwill our priorities? It's a shame, though, that just a few with selfish agendas take advantage of others' good hearts.  I don't think we'll truly see peace on earth and goodwill to men until we see Christ's reign and heaven's peace....but that doesn't mean we should give up the efforts to live in peace and goodwill.  It's a high standard.

3. Which edible treat you are most looking forward to sampling this December?

My waistband tells me I should not be looking forward to any edible treats... ;-)...but probably the gooey rolls I make for New Year's Eve.  I only do those once a year...

4. It's that most wonderful time of the year...do you agree, and if so why is it so wonderful?  If not, what would you say is the most wonderful time of the year?

Well...Christmas *is* a very special time for family and fun...but it can also be a land mine of missed opportunities,  disappointment,  stress and hurt feelings.  With much grace, it's a wonderful season, but, you know, I  kinda think 'the most wonderful time' is any moment that you are full of joy and aware of blessings...and sometimes that's a perfect morning in June, or a gorgeous sunset in September, or just a chilly night by the fireplace in February.  I think it's a huge temptation to put all the expectations of the whole year into the Christmas season, and that's just too much for any one month to handle. 

5. What was the last word you looked up in a dictionary (actual or online) and why?


I use dictionaries all the time...I play Scrabble with the computer, and it likes to use words that are not in the Official Scrabble dictionary.  I looked one up a couple of days ago...and was surprised to see that 'emoticon' IS in the Official Scrabble dictionary.  50 point bonus for me. ;-)

6. Besides a Christmas tree, what is your favorite thing to decorate this time of year?


Cookies!  But we don't get to do that very often; cookie baking is one of those things that I only get to do when the schedules align just right.  No free weekends this year, so it's not going to happen in 2014.

7. Share one thing you've learned (about yourself, people, or anything at all) in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, or through blogging in general. 



Blogging has taught me that I have to write for me, not for an audience.  I go back and re read old posts all the time, and find new revelation or get reminded of something I should not have forgotten.  I think I added up all the folks who follow this blog in all the places I knew to look, and there's something like 25.  Not a huge audience; if I were writing for an audience I would've given up long ago.  But once I decided I write because I want to write, whether anyone reads it or not,  I found that I enjoyed it.  It's always a bit of a pleasant surprise when I see a comment and find that someone else had a thought about it, too.  I tend to forget that other folks come by.

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

Congratulations to Joyce on 200 weeks of Hodgepodge prompts!  It's a lot of work to maintain the random and while I don't always get to play along, I do enjoy thinking the questions over!  Thanks so much for the effort!!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Tree Is Up

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I didn't think it would ever represent a victory for me to put up the Christmas tree...but this year, it kinda did.

See, I'm not ready for Christmas this year.  So not ready, that my subconscious is trying hard to push it back and be in denial that it is coming.

I woke up Friday morning almost dreading the decorating process...which I usually love.

So, being me, I had to do some prayer and soul-searching to see what is going on.  Why have I been infected with a humbug virus?

Once I figured out what was going on...and I did...then I had a choice.  Do I let what is essentially fear rob me of something that I love?  Do I let a desire for comfort and ease make me dread a little inconvenience to the point that I miss a blessing?  Do I allow memories of past difficulties to shade my expectations to the point that I don't want to even try to pray for a different experience this year?

Oh me of little faith.

I overrode my desire to just do minimal decoration this year and pulled out the whole enchilada...the tree spins, blinks, bubbles and talks.  And it's going to be my constant reminder to pray and expect God to make the paths straight, keep the roads safe, hold the flu and whatever other ailments that have plagued our Christmases in years past at bay, and give us a blessed Christmas with our family this year.

Because I *am* going to pray for that.  Instead of just hoping it happens or dreading that it doesn't.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Season of Praise: Barak

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Nov. 28 -  Barak - Strong's 1288 

This is another primitive root word with a handful of tenses.  The lexicon linked above and Strong's Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary agree that Barak primarily means to kneel, but Strong adds that implications include to bless God (as an act of adoration)  and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit);  apparently one of those tenses means the opposite, as the word can also be translated to curse (God or the king, as treason).  

The word appears a whopping 330 times in the Old Testament; 302 of those are translated in the King James as Bless, but it also appears five times as Salute, four times as Curse, twice each as  Blaspheme, Blessing, Praised, and Kneel down;  once time each as Congratulate, Kneel, and Make to kneel, and finally, with a notation I haven't encountered before, the Blue Letter Bible lexicon just says that it is translated  eight times as what appears to be miscellaneous unspecified words.

If I counted right, the word is used 65 times in the book of Genesis alone, 34 of those instances are God giving His blessing.  Here's a  glimpse (and I'm using the Amplified again):

Genesis 1:22 - And God blessed [Barak] them, saying, Be fruitful, multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let the fowl multiply in the earth.

Genesis 1:28 - And God blessed [Barak] them, and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it (with all its vast resources); and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.

Genesis 2:3 - And God blessed [Barak] (spoke good of) the seventh day, set it apart as His own, and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all His work which He had created and done.

Genesis 12: 2-3 - And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless [Barak] you (with abundance and increase of favors)  and make your name famous and distinguished, and you shall be a blessing - dispensing good to others.  And I will bless [Barak]  those who bless [Barak] you (who confer prosperity or happiness upon you) and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you shall all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [Barak]  - by you they shall bless themselves. 

Genesis 26:12 - Then Isaac sowed seed in that land, and received in the same year 100 times as much as he had planted, and the Lord favored him with blessings [Barak].

Genesis 32:29 - Then Jacob asked Him, Tell me, I pray You,  what (in contrast)  is Your name?  But He said, Why is it that you ask My name?  and (the Angel of God declared) a blessing [Barak] on (Jacob) there.

Genesis 39:5 - From the time that he made him supervisor in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed [Barak] the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the Lord's blessing was on all that he had in the house and in the field.

Genesis 48:3 -  And Jacob said to Joseph, God Almighty appeared to me at Luz (Bethel) in the land of Canaan and blessed [Barak] me.
 
I knew from previous sermon series that Barak  means to kneel, to bless God but I had not seen that it also means God blesses as well.  I think it's really interesting that the word used for God blessing man has in its root the connotation of kneeling.

I know I've wandered a bit from my stated purpose in studying praise, but I'm not so sure it isn't related.  The position of kneeling is synonymous with submission; one kneels to a person in higher authority.  It shows recognition of overlordship; a subject presenting himself to his liege lord.

The position of an individual blessing God results in God blessing the individual.

Or nation, for that matter.  When we acknowledge the power and authority of God, from a position of kneeling and blessing Him, that puts us in the position for Him to put His blessing on us.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Short workweek = time for a Hodgepodge post!

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi.

I haven't had time to properly think through the questions lately, so I haven't Hodgepodged for a while...but I decided that, since the office is closed for Thanksgiving, it will be a good opportunity to play along.


So, if you're in the mood, hop on over to From This Side of the Pond and play along or see what everyone is up to while we're doing the last minute Thanksgiving prep...

This weeks questions:

1. Besides U.S. Thanksgiving, it's also National Game and Puzzle Week...what game have you played most recently, and who were you with? Have you worked a puzzle of any kind in the past week?

My most recent game-playing has been Mario Party 8, with the Flute Player when she was home for a wee bit.  I absolutely stink at video games...I just do not have the eye-hand coordination to do a lot of that stuff...but we found a way to play on the same team, against a pair of computer-operated opponents, so my ineptitude does not impair my enjoyment.  We both get to win.


As for puzzles, I am a logic puzzle fiend.  I carry them around in the car so that if I get stuck waiting somewhere, I have something to do.  Since I just have a stupid phone and can't cruise the web while I wait.

2. What is one place you were thankful for this year?
 (because church isn't a place ...it's a body...) Gorham's Bluff.  We got to sneak off for an overnight to celebrate my Sweet Babboo's birthday...it is such a treat. 

3. Take a nap, watch football, go for an after dinner walk, or hit the stores...which ONE is on your must-do list for Thanksgiving day? For those of you playing along who aren't in the US, answer as it relates to any big holiday meal.

Um, none of the above.  The we-must-do-this-on Thanksgiving is to sit down and watch Miracle on 34th Street while we eat pie, once dinner has settled enough that the pie is possible.  Sometimes a walk follows, if the weather's fit.

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what's your favorite home cooked meal?


Tough question, because any other meal could happen at any other time of the year for any reason, while Thanksgiving is  a feast on a particular day, and there's so much more than food that makes it special.  I will say that My Sweet Babboo grills a mean steak...sometimes we'll do that for Mother's Day, sometimes for my birthday, which is in July.  So that probably counts.  Steak, salad, onion rings. And almost always with the kids, if they know dad's grilling steaks. ;-)  Simple and yummy.  But not cheap.

5. What product from an infomercial would you most like to own?
I haven't seen an infomercial in so long that I don't even know what is offered anymore.  So I have no clue.

6. Christmas shopping? Have you begun? Finished? Will you shop on Black Friday? How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day? What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?


I have a bit done...mostly what I have done so far has been done online.  I may order a couple of more things; some things I make and some things I just go looking for what suddenly fits.  If that makes sense.  I have quite a bit more to do...but you will not see me on the hunt for sales on Black Friday.  I don't need anything that bad.  I don't have anyone in the 'toys' age group anymore, although a toy or two may end up under the tree.  You never know.

7. What are you most grateful for that adds beauty to your everyday life?


Music. As I'm typing, I'm listening to the Allegro from Bach's Concerto for Violin.  Perfect for the season.

We actually have music that is associated with Thanksgiving.  The current CD playing is a compilation disc titled The Bells of St. Genevieve and Other Baroque Delights, but also in the rotation is Bobby McFerrin's Simple Pleasures, a compilation disc titled Tapestry: Evening from Warner Alliance;  Quietime: Hymns...which was a random find in the church bookstore...and The Bach Variations, which is a compilation from Windham Hill. We'll switch to kind of obscure Christmas music on Friday; I try to hold off on Andy Williams and The Boston Pops and Robert Shaw until later in the season...although we've got so much Mannheim Steamroller that there's usually one of theirs in the player from Black Friday to Epiphany.  But I start with their newer stuff and work my way backwards.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Talk about transition....

...this was one I did not expect to see...

http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2014/11/boeing_layoffs_in_huntsville_t.html#incart_river

After 35+ years with the company, My Sweet Babboo got caught in the wrong group at the wrong time and got the notice yesterday. We have dodged that bullet several times over the years, so it is kind of a shock for it to hit now.

But the phrase that is ringing in my head is 'Now you will see what I will do...' (Ex. 6:1)

So.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Season of Praise: Zamar

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

11/21/14 - Zamar - Strong's 2167

I recollect from our pastor's previous sermon series on these words that zamar was interpreted 'to play skillfully upon a musical instrument'

The Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary in the back of Zodhiates  defines it as a prim. root; prop. to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, i.e. play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music; -- give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.  There is a mention of an association with another word that involves the connotation of 'striking with the fingers', although I am not really able to figure out quite what that association is.

The linked reference mentions 'to pluck or to prune, especially a vine'.  But, out of the 47 times the word is used in the Old Testament, the KJV translates it as  Praise  26 times, Sing 16 times, Sing Psalms twice and Sing Forth once.  All but 4 of those references are in the Psalms.

No mention of musical instruments in that list, but, looking at the Hebrew meanings of the word, it's clear that musical instruments are implied.

Over and over in the Psalms, the idea that one should just grab anything that makes a sound and use it to proclaim God's praise is presented.  Cymbals, flutes, trumpets...anything.  David's harp playing could calm Saul's torment (1 Samuel 16); Elisha asked for a harp player to help dispel an atmosphere of unbelief so he could discern the voice of God (2 Kings 3:15).

I marvel at folks who can sit down and pick up an instrument and worship.  I played the clarinet in school band for years...even a bit in college...but it is not something that came particularly easy.  I had to work at it to just be a fair musician.  But some of my best playing was done years later, in our little 'we're all family here' church, along side  the church pianist.  Who, fortunately for me, always transposed anything with more than two sharps into the corresponding flats key...down half a step, which meant that the B flat clarinet didn't have to play in foreign keys that had a bodacious number of sharps.  I even did a little arranging of songs to play.

Don't get me wrong.  I was still just fair at it.  But I loved doing it.  Praising Him with an instrument blessed me.  Maybe at the cost of the folks who listened...but I was encouraged to do it, so I am taking that as an indication that it wasn't terribly offensive to the human audience.

So...what can you do?  Play a tambourine, like Miriam?  Play the piano...which is really just a harp turned sideways?  Play an accordion to the glory of God?  A harmonica?  The guitar, which is the descendant of the biblical lyre? Or just listen and rejoice in the gifts that God gave others to enter into worship with their skillful playing upon instruments?  Put in that cd...or pull up that song on the mp3  player...and let the worship minister to you in trouble, like it did for Saul, or help you focus and discern the voice of God, as it did for Elisha.

A smattering of verses that use Zamar - from the Amplified:

Ps. 21:13 - Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength; we will sing and praise [Zamar] Your power.

Ps. 57:7 - My heart is fixed, O God; my heart is steadfast and confident!  I will sing and make melody [Zamar].

Ps. 71:22 - I will also praise [Zamar] You with the harp, even Your truth and faithfulness, O my God; unto you will I sing praises.

Ps. 95:8 -  Sing  praises [Zamar] to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the voice of melody.

Ps 144:9 - I will sing a new song to You, O God; upon a harp, an instrument of ten strings, will I offer praises [Zamar] to You. 

Ps. 147:7  -  Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praises [Zamar] with the harp or the lyre to our God!

Ps. 149:3 - Let them praise His name in chorus and choir and with the (single or group) dance, let them sing praises [Zamar] to Him with they tambourine and lyre!

Monday, November 17, 2014

True Confession Time

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Nothing like getting called out by a reader.

True Confession time:  I was up at 4:15 because sirens were going off near my younger daughter's apartment and she wanted to know where the tornado warning was.  No sirens were sounding on our end of town...yet, anyway, which surprised me.  I knew we were to have some rumbly rain ahead of a cold front, but I had heard nothing of  any possibility of bad storms.  Still, this is North Alabama, so I got up and turned on the tv...no severe storm coverage in process.  I turned on the computer and checked all the radars...nothing.  We decided it must be a malfunction and headed back to bed.

It was 5 AM by that time, about 45 minutes before my alarm was going to go off.  I thought about just staying up...but I was tired.  I knew I wouldn't get good sleep...but a 40ish minute nap sounded like it would be a good idea.

I went back to bed...and when the alarm went off, I subconsciously hit 'snooze'...more than once.

When I got up, I shaved my 'to do' list down, got myself dressed and then got on Facebook to see if anyone had answered the query I'd posted about the bogus sirens when I was up earlier.  No one had, and, well, I thought I'd check and see if I had comments in the moderation page.

Amy had logged on about 6 AM, asking me if I'd gotten up and had  my time with God.

Um.

I didn't even publish her comment.

I turned the computer off, picked up my journal and Bible and spent some time with Him before The Actor came downstairs and we had to head to work.

Thanks, Amy... I needed that. ;-)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Those Cards...

Posted By Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Two weeks ago, I had the idea that I could take those cards from Dive and go through them one at a time, praying over it and listening to see how it should impact my life.


So, when we got our overnight getaway to celebrate My Sweet Baboo's birthday, I took the cards and my journal and picked up the first one.

The gist of the card was that I need to make room daily for time with God.

That was one of my big concerns this summer, when I was spending my lunch hours listening and journaling. I knew when the 40 days were up, I needed to resume the regular lunch;  there's a fellowship amongst all the office ladies that I need to be part of, and it pretty much happens at lunch.  Skipping it for a season is ok...dropping out altogether is not good. So I was concerned that I would not find an alternate time slot.

And, yeah, I didn't.  Here and there, odd moments when I could manage it, but it was managed...not planned.

So the card kind smacked me...both at Dive and two weeks ago.

So I came up with a plan.

Unfortunately, the plan involved getting out of bed early.

Have I mentioned here before how much of a morning person I am NOT?

Fail.

Last week, I sat down with my journal and thought I would ponder card 2.

And realized I had not yet implemented card 1.

I'm determined not to rush this; I'm not going to card 2 until I have card 1 working in my life.

So...back to the bare facts that, if I'm going to manage a regular quite time with God, I'm going to have to get. up. in. the. cold. dark. morning.

So.  Tomorrow's Monday.

Take 2. 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Season of Praise: Towdah

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

11/14/14 - Towdah:  Strong's 8426


I had a panicky moment last week when I first looked this up in my Zodhiates lexicon and read:

This fem. noun has its source in yadah (3034).  It means an extension of the hand, a confession, a vow; thanks, thanksgiving, a sacrifice of thanksgiving, a type of peace offering, offering praise to God for a sacrifice; a thanksgiving choir or procession who gave thanks in praising God.

I read 'extension of the hand' and thought, 'Oh, no!  I mixed them up!'

But when I checked the online listing linked above, I realized that no, I had not mixed them up.  Yahdah has the connotation of throwing or casting...fling the hands out, so to speak, while Towdah implies holding out a  hand with something in it... a Thanksgiving offering.

The Blue Letter Bible listing states that Towdah is used  32 times in the Old Testament. The King James Scholars translated it as Thanksgiving 18 times,  Praise six times, Thanks and Thank offerings three times each, and Confession twice; the translators connected the word with Thanksgiving two-thirds of the instances it appears.

And my memory of past sermon series based on these words agrees...one of the words meant 'thanksgiving.'

If you go back and study the sacrifices that the people were to bring, you'll see that it was not always a burnt offering per se...usually, the animal was ceremonially slaughtered, specific parts of it were burned as an offering (the fat and certain innards...not what was particularly healthy to eat), a portion was set aside as holy for the priests and Levites and their families, and the rest was to be eaten with thanksgiving by the individual and his household.  It seemed to be that this was so taken for granted that it really is only kind of peripherally mentioned...see Lev. 7:15, for example.. (I'm quoting from the Amplified again today):

The flesh of the sacrifice of thanksgiving [towdah] presented as a peace offering, shall be eaten on the day that it is offered; none of it shall be left until the morning.

In fact, the passage in Lev. 7 describes thanksgiving offerings in great detail, and then goes on to say that if the sacrifice is not completely eaten in the specified time, it should be burned, and if it is not burned but eaten after that time has elapsed, then the one who brought it shall not be credited with it; it shall not be accepted.

I see in this something pretty amazing.   These were poor people who did not have a lot of meat available in their diet; the instruction was to bring a choice animal, sacrifice it ceremonially, and then have a family feast with the bulk of the carcass. It was a designated time for the family to gather, to eat well and enjoy each others company.  The direction to consume it immediately not only protected them from food-spoilage ailments but made sure that there were no sly plans to preserve the feast for later and dole it out slowly (I suppose they could've dried the meat into jerky or smoked it to keep it for later); it all had to be eaten...and, if there weren't enough people in the household to eat it, they were encouraged to share it with others.  All as part of the thanksgiving ritual.

A portion to God, a portion to His servants...and the rest intended for family, food and fellowship.  God's gift back to His people when they praised Him with their thanksgiving offerings.
 
I have been really surprised lately by the number of folks who have commented to me that their favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I don't necessarily think the Hebrew feasts were in anybody's mind when the American Thanksgiving tradition developed, but Thanksgiving is...or was at one time, anyway... very, very close to the concept. 

Give something to help others. Bring your family together. Have a special meal.  Thank God for all His Blessings.

Looking forward to it already.

More Thanksgiving references:

Lev. 22:29-30 -  And when you sacrifice an offering of thanksgiving [towdah] to the LORD, sacrifice it so that you may be accepted.  It shall be eaten on the same day; you shall leave none of it until the next day; I am the LORD.

2 Chron. 29:31 - Then Hezekiah said, Now you have consecrated yourselves to the Lord; come near and bring sacrifices and thank offerings [towdah] into the house of the Lord.  And the assembly brought in sacrifices and thank offerings [towdah], and as many as were of a willing heart brought burnt offerings.

2 Chron 33:16 - And he restored the Lord's altar, and sacrificed on it offerings of peace and of thanksgiving [towdah]; and he commanded Judah to serve the Lord the God of Israel.

Ps. 50:14 -  Offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving [towdah]  and pay your vows to the Most High,


Ps. 107: 22 -  And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving [towdah], and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing!


Ps. 116:17 - I will offer to You the sacrifices of thanksgiving [towdah], and will call on the  name of the Lord.


Jer. 17:26 -  And people shall come from the cities of Judah and the places round about Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland, from the hill country, and from the South, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, cereal offerings and frankincense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving [towdah] to the house of the Lord.

Jer. 33:11  - (There shall be heard again) the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing as they bring sacrifices of thanksgiving [towdah] into the house of the Lord, Give praise and thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy and kindness and steadfast love endure for ever!  For I will cause the captivity of the land to be reversed and return to be as it was at first, says the Lord.
 
Jonah 2:9 - But as for me, I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving [towdah]; I will pay that which I have vowed.  Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Season of Praise: Yadah

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

So, ok, wow, I may have jumped right outta the boat into the deep water here.

I'm not even gonna try to describe the maze of the Hebrew lexicon... I will just say that my search for a dictionary/concordance led me to this page, which in turn took me to  this listing for Strong's 3034 (Yadah).   I dug around a little more and found that I was looking at four different tenses/voices/whatever of Yadah, which result in that particular word being translated in various ways. 

The scholars state that it appears a total of 114 times in the Old Testament, and is translated in the King James as 'Praise' 53 times,  'Give thanks' 32 times, 'Confess' 16 times, 'Thank' 5 times, 'Make confession' twice,  'Thanksgiving' twice, and once each as 'Cast', 'Cast out', 'Shoot' and 'Thankful'.

The root of it, per Mr. Strong's Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary found listed in teeniny print in the back of  the Zodhiates text, means to use (ie, hold out) the hand; to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; espec. to revere or worship (with extended hands).  There is also a mention that in one tense it can be translated as wringing hands...as in bemoaning, making confession.

So much information!  My head was spinning.

But then I remembered my purpose...studying the words for PRAISE. 

So, for today, I've pulled the curtain back enough to show you some of where I've been to dig, but I'm not going there every week.  I'll link up the reference, so you can look if you want, but for each of these words I'm going to focus on the aspect of praise that is represented.

Which means we're considering Yadah with the translation given as 'espec. to revere or worship with extended hands.'

I have to admit, worshiping with 'extended hands' was a foreign concept to me until I was in my 30's.  It just Wasn't Done in the denomination that I grew up in....at least, not in the years I grew up.  But in the late '90's we began venturing outside of the denomination to youth events and conventions that were not affiliated with any particular denomination.

And we found ourselves amongst people who worshiped with extended hands.

It was a paradigm shift.

But I just thought it was a different worship style; aside from the instruction in 1 Timothy to men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, I really didn't know there was a Biblical basis for extending hands.

So here's a smattering of references, all using the Hebrew word yadah (translated as 'praise' in KJV, but other words may be used in other translations) with the background meaning of  'revere or worship with extended hands' (all references here from the Amplified):

And when all the people of Israel saw how the fire came down and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed with their faces upon the pavement, and worshiped and praised [yadah] the LORD, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure for ever. - 2 Chron. 7:3

I will praise [yadah] You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (recount and tell aloud) all Your marvelous works and wondrous deeds! - Ps. 9:1

Why are you cast down, O my inner self?  And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me?  Hope you in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise [yadah] Him, my help and my God - Ps. 42:5

I will make your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore shall the people praise [yadah] and give you thanks for ever and ever. - Ps 45:17

Let Heaven (the angels) praise [yadah] Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones (the holy angels) - Ps 89:5

All the kings of the land shall give you credit and praise [yadah] You, O Lord, for they have heard of the promises of Your mouth (which were fulfilled) - Ps 138:4

All Your works shall praise [yadah] You; O Lord, and Your loving ones shall bless You -- affectionately and gratefully shall Your saints confess and praise you! - Ps 145:10

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise [yadah] Your name; for You have done wonderful things, even purposes planned of old and fulfilled in faithfulness and truth. - Is. 25:1

One thing I hadn't noticed before cruising through these verses...the angels are described as worshiping God with a yadah praise (Ps. 89:5).

There is something about a worship that involves extending the hand; it's a little more of a public demonstration than simply speaking; it requires more of a personal commitment/ involvement. A little more boldness.

But here's something totally off the wall -- it's interesting to note that the act of extending hands in such a way has an actual psychological effect on one's attitude; check out this TED talk to see what the research has shown.  Now, mind you, praise was not even a consideration in any of that research and it wasn't mentioned at all in the talk, but when I saw her demonstrate the 'posture of power' it struck me at once as  a position of praise.  If secular research has found that just taking the position of a yadah praise could have so much impact on an individual; what impact would actually adding praise to that position have on one's life and situation?

Could it be that one of the reasons praise involves lifting hands is because it not only honors God but strengthens and encourages the individual?

Wouldn't that be an amazing thing for God to have instilled in us...to be strengthened by the very action of praise?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Thought for the day...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

And now, for a little frivolity....

Two quotes that somehow have linked themselves in my brain and put themselves on repeat for the last week or so:

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus -- The Apostle Paul

I never look back, darling.  It detracts from the now. -- Edna Mode


Even animated characters get it right sometimes....

Friday, October 31, 2014

Season of Praise: Intro

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

When I saw how exactly the weeks line up with words...well, praise is the topic on Fridays here for the rest of the year. ;-)

Now, this is probably not going to be new revelation for most of the folks who stop by.  I know we've had at least two different sermon series at our church on the Seven Hebrew Words for Praise; I rather expect we're not unique in that.

So consider it a review....just because I want to focus on praise for a bit.

I have a Zodhiates Complete Word Study Old Testament that I'm probably going to be using for much of my resourcing...I *think* we have a Strong's concordance around someplace; I'll use that if I'm right and if I can find it...or, if I'm wrong and I can't...I'll probably use an online concordance.

I forget we have the world at our fingertips sometimes.

Anyway, the syllabus as I've laid it out  goes something like this:

Nov. 7  - Yadhah (Strong's 3034)
Nov. 14 - Towdah (Strong's 8426)
Nov. 21 - Zamar (Strong's 2167)
Nov. 28 -  Barak (Strong's 1288)
Dec. 5 -  Shabach (or Shavach, as it is rendered in my Zodhiates; Strong's 7623)
Dec. 12 - Tehillah (Strong's 8416)
Dec. 19 - Halal (Strong's 1984)

I've seen other lists here and there that have other words on them, but I think these are the seven most common; certainly they are the ones that I have encountered the most.

And...that arrangement...we begin with hands, mention knees, and finish with voice.  More or less, anyway. ;-)


Monday, October 27, 2014

A little celebrating, a little looking ahead...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I know I've been a bit scarce in these parts...we had kind of a major event over the weekend: My Sweet Babboo hit the big Six-Zero.

I am SO not believing that...just doesn't seem possible... (I freely acknowledge that I make the Worlds Ugliest Cakes, but they taste good...)

But, his parents came to see us, our youngsters joined us for dinner...except for the Flute Player, who is in Mobile with Rock Masters Commission doing a fall outreach...anyway, it's been busy and, while I have been thinking a bit about where I'm going next on the blog, I didn't get much chance to sit down and write anything.

And, truth be told, we've got some things gonna happen on the next two weekends as well...hey, sixty is a pretty major birthday...so I'm looking at busy still to come.

But I'm thinking.  I'd really like to do a Friday study again...haven't for quite some time.  And, while I'd really like to do something related to the season; I also have got a hankering to do a study on David...the good, the bad, the ugly, the noble.

I'm planning to do the Elijah House School of Prayer Ministry course offered at church in Jan- April; there's a TON of work to do...reading, listening to teaching tapes, answering questions...and I've about decided that if I'm going to do it, this may be my best chance, since I'm not actively teaching at the moment.

So I'm sorta thinking of saving David until after Elijah house, since I don't think I can say everything I'd want to say between now and the first EH class.  Which means I could do some kind of Thanksgiving/Advent something.

Maybe a look at the 7 Hebrew words for 'praise'?  We've covered that quite a bit at church over the years, but I would kind of like to dig into it to refresh my own memory...and 7 weeks would just about finish out the year...

Hm....

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Other Side

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

3 months ago I believed there was another side...and I believed I would get there.

But I couldn't see it and I couldn't imagine how it would happen.

However...I'm looking around now and I realize that I really am on the other side.

I had a little counseling, I had a lot of friends praying, but mostly I had the grace of God. 

I'm a little surprised that I'm here... because I couldn't imagine it, couldn't picture it even as little as 6 weeks ago. 

I'm pretty sure I'm not quite the same person I was.  I'm not sure I can identify exactly what has changed, but there has definitely been a shift in more than just my perspective. 

So...lots of new stuff to take in, to ponder, to explore.

For those of you who prayed me through...thank you.  Thank you....thank you.

God is faithful, and He is good.

Friday, October 17, 2014

...and it's a week later

posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Like any break in the routine, be it a vacation, a conference, a personal spiritual retreat, whatever... the true test of it is...did it make a difference?  When you come back down from the mountain, be it literal or figurative, what has changed?

I know my mindset has changed; I've got closure on some things that needed closure.  Even if I'm still a little sore in those spots, it's no longer a raw wound that puts me in an embarrassing emotional state when it's touched.  I may be wistful or a little sad, but I think my sinuses are safe now.

I'm thinking of doing another study on the blog.  I really  haven't done one in a while...I'm not counting the Ephesians study, because that was really for the girls clubs and I just posted my notes here.  But, well, I study better when I'm teaching something. So...anyway, I'm thinking. :-)

But really, I'm using my non-committed time at the moment to do some serious catching up on things that have been languishing on the home front.  And it feels kinda good.

I know that there's more ministry coming, that I've got stuff yet to do, but I'm not going to worry about trying to find it.  I have a feeling that it will be pretty obvious when I get there.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

That Invisibility Thing...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

In all honesty, one of the biggest revelations I had last week did not come because I was at Dive, specifically, but just because I was pulled away from the normal distractions of everyday life and my listening was dialed in...

I took advantage of the workout room in the hotel, and Wednesday was one of the days I was up early and hitting the treadmill. The only person in the room, I had music on my iPod, but I was more or less talking things over with the Spirit as I walked.

And I was thinking about the girls clubs...the revelation I'd had about it during the fasting day and the difference that had made.

But there was still one aspect of that whole thing that hurt.  It had to do with specific relationships,  and I still wasn't sure how to deal with it.  But as I was holding that up, asking what I needed to do to move through it and resolve it in my spirit, I got a flash of revelation about it.

'Oh...it's that invisibility thing, isn't it?' I said, suddenly remembering that my whole involvement in the girls clubs was part of what I had been told would be invisible.  And, being invisible, I shouldn't wonder that there would be certain folks who would just not even see that I was walking through a rough spot and could use a little encouragement. I've run into it before, in other areas.

And if HE made me invisible...well, I can't put any blame on PEOPLE.

And the answer I got was, 'Yes.'

But He continued.

'But that season is over, too.  You're done with invisible.'

I almost got dumped off the back of the treadmill.

'What?'

'You are done with invisible.  The time in those classes wasn't just about you teaching the girls...you were learning, too.  And now that season is done.'

Y'all, the world changed right there.  I had the original word about being invisible in 2002....that's 12 years ago.  I don't even know what it's like to be seen.

I changed the wording in my song lyrics slightly, because of that conversation.

Thursday evening, before we left our ice cream party at Rita's, she asked me, 'What are you going back to?'

I couldn't even answer that.  I have no paradigm for not being invisible...for being in the front and not in the back. I have no idea what is coming next.

But I have a feeling I'm about to find out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Smashing the Pumpkin

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi 


As I mentioned in the first post, Wednesday night we had an impromptu pumpkin-smashing event.

Someone mentioned that it works better with watermelons, because they are so much easier to break, but, well, this country gal thought that would be a colossal waste of watermelon.

But, in October, pumpkins are easier to find anyway.

So, there we all were in Rita's driveway, standing around the tarps, each of us with a small pie pumpkin.

The first couple of folks did not say what the lies were that they were consciously breaking, but once someone mentioned it then the rest followed suit.

I was working hard to remember the three lies I had posted about  back when I was working through the early bits of Rita's Finding Eve study, before she had to pull it since the publisher apparently decided to do one (I meant to ask her what the status on that was, but I never thought about it at the opportune moment).

So I wasn't quick to jump in...I wanted to remember them correctly.

We had some pauses and some time to think in between.  It was kind of a pensive thing, interspersed with moments of violent release.

I could remember two of them... 'You are Flawed' and 'You're a Jinx', but the third one...I could remember what it was, but not the word I used for it.  So I pondered that as two or three others broke their pumpkins.

And I was surprised by something...how nice the pumpkin felt in my hands.  It was a comfortable size for me...not too heavy, but large enough to be substantial.

I began to be reluctant to throw it on the ground.

My mind began spinning with the spiritual implications of that.  Of course the lies are comfortable...we wouldn't hang on to them otherwise.  Of course they're tailored just for us...the enemy makes sure we feel an identification with them.  It becomes part of who we are.

One of the ladies commented as she approached the tarp with her pumpkin.  'This is serious.  Once I break this, I've got to be done with it.'

Yes.

As I held my nice little pumpkin, something in me got mad...not just at the reluctance to break the pumpkin/break the lies, but at the perfectionist insistence that I get that third lie just right.  So I quit trying to get the specific word and just looked for a word that worked to describe it.

The word I came up with was 'Inadequate' (The actual lie was 'You are Disappointing' -- close enough).

Once I had that third lie labeled, it was time.

The first slam into the ground split it; I picked it up by the stem and hurled it again, breaking it open.

I will NOT believe that I am flawed, that I'm a jinx, that I am disappointing/inadequate.  I am created in His image, to do the works that He ordained for me from the beginning.

And I got an application for that before I came home.

We are doing a book study at church...on Wednesday nights and in small groups.  My Sweet Babboo and I are doing the study in a small group that meets on Sunday mornings, in between 1st and 2nd service worship, so there is no need for me to go to the Wednesday night service.

Except to hang out in the youth group.  Which I had been doing, to kind of facilitate the girls who had been in my class to move into the group.  I'd actually been asked to do that.  But, the last couple of Wednesdays I'd been in there, the girls were moving with the others.  They didn't need me...and I had neither a real purpose nor  a place in the adult leadership.  It was getting increasingly awkward.

So I prayed, 'God, what do you want me to do on Wednesdays?'

And I actually heard the answer, 'I'm not requiring you to go.'

I was surprised. We are ALWAYS at church.  It's...expected...

'No.  You can stay home.  Work on your decluttering.  Do some laundry.  Sew something.'

So, kind of as a statement that I have broken that 'other people's opinion' thing, for the next 4 Wednesdays, while they're doing the study, I'll be home.

Doing some laundry.  Working on the decluttering.  Maybe even sewing something...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Songwriting

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Dive is a worship school; we had classes on songwriting...structure, thinking out of the box...guitar and the Nashville Number system...and piano, with a side trip down current recording/electronic music software.

But the big emphasis is songwriting.  We each were to present an original song to a board comprised of worship leaders (all instructors in the school for the week) on Thursday morning.

Now, I knew it was coming before I applied.  As one of my friends who has attended Dive in the past commented, 'You dig down into who you are and get rid of a bunch of junk, then you write a song about it.'

Well, in the weeks leading up to Dive, I decided that would not be my story.  No angsty song about being so beaten down and broken and waiting for Jesus to come and fix it.  I was going to write an up beat declaration.

So, the week before I left, I sat down with my notebook and got a chorus and a bridge in a snappy 4/4 about the Rock that is Higher.  All I needed to write at Dive was two verses and I had a song.

Then Saturday night in the hotel room, I got a wild hair about the widow and the oil in 2 Kings and, before I knew it, I had a page and a half of potential lyrics about being broken and empty and waiting for the oil of the the Spirit to come and fill and heal.  In 6/8.  In spite of myself.

It needed a serious edit, but it was real and honest and, most importantly, it was written while at Dive, which is not a requirement but I took that as a personal challenge.  So I kinda shelved the Rock song and decided to work on the Oil song.

Sunday was a late night after a long and intense day, so I didn't work on the song again until Monday evening.

I cut, I pasted, I moved pieces around, tried different combos and got two verses and a chorus that I was reasonably happy with.  It was going on Midnight when I began to work on the bridge...and when I found that I worked myself into the last line 'Let it flow, let it flow'... I knew it was time to put away and start fresh in the morning.

But...I did do one thing after we shut the lights off.  I prayed for inspiration and good lyrics.

The next morning, I got up and went early to breakfast and took my notebook with me. With just a wee bit of rearranging of what I had,  and adding a line or two, the bridge fell into place.  I had a song.

One of the other ladies agreed to play piano for me, and we met that evening and she polished up my rough melody and put chords with it.  I whacked off half the bridge...once we put music to it, part of it just didn't seem to fit...and after our work session, realized I was repeating the chorus too much and taking the song too fast.

I got one more quick practice with her the next day, with those changes, and got through it.  It wasn't flashy, it wasn't deep, it was just a simple little statement of need and expectation.  And it was ok.

So, when Thursday came, I'd only sung it with music about twice.  I figured I'd go first or second...I was just waiting for that awkward moment when no one wanted to get up.  But everyone was determined to get up and do it, so I waited and listened and waited and listened...and I became more and more convinced that my Oil song was just kind of lame and cheesy.  But it was what I had.

I actually went 3rd from the end; for whatever reason Rita decided it was my turn and called me up. Now, I'm an alto.  Melody is not generally what I sing.  And I'm just part of the choir.  Alone is something I just DON'T sing.  And we'd only rehearsed twice.  So...I kinda forgot the melody line in a couple of spots, and I miscounted the break between the chorus and the bridge and had to stop and start again there.

But despite my goofs, the panel (Rita, Kallie Hieligenthal and Kristene DiMarco) actually liked the song and said very nice things about it.  I was flabbergasted.

 I don't necessarily take that as a sign that I should quit the day job and start writing songs.  But it was a confirmation that there is more in me than just  keeping the data base clean.

And I have a song to share next time the church songwriter's life group meets.  Actually, I have two...I did get two verses for the Rock song on Wednesday afternoon, while the rest of the group got their practice time w/the piano.

If I can remember the melody lines. :-)

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Fast Day

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Sunday is Fasting Day for Dive Students...at least as much as they are reasonably able to do so.

The objective is to work on the ability to hear prophetically.  We were each given a stack of decorative cards, with the numbers 1 - 14 written in a corner, and instructed to go off by ourselves and write something on each card...it might be a Bible verse, or a mental picture, or a phrase.  Then  all the cards would be sorted by number, and names drawn to determine who got stack one, stack two, etc.

I know this could sound weird to folks who do not actively expect the Holy Spirit to work through people in that way, but, wow, it was powerful.  Over and over again, for each of us, the words on the cards were significant and many times incredibly specific.

I was number two; one of the cards I got repeated almost verbatim the message that Rita had written on the note on my welcome bag.  One note card was something that was so apparently about the transition out of Girls Ministry that it totally changed my perspective on what I was to be praying about it and enabled me to release it even more.    Plus, previous Dive students, knowing that we would be fasting and praying, also fasted and prayed and sent in words of exhortation and encouragement.  It was amazing...it was confirming...it was intense.

I've read my cards through several times...and, so far, I haven't shared them with anyone.

It's still too precious.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Creative Journal

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

When Rita told us we would be doing 'creative journaling' on Saturday, I envisioned some exercises in writing in the journal that I brought with me.  But I was mistaken.  We were making a creative journal.

This is an exercise that we have done at various girl's events at church...shoot, we did this for the project for the 'Holy Spirit' unit in Friends Club...take an ordinary composition book, cut photos/words/etc from magazines and such, and make a collage to cover the front and back of the composition book to make a unique custom journal.   When we've done it at church, we covered the collage w/clear contact paper; Rita had Modge Podge to use to seal it (confession:  my experience w/ Modge Podge has been that it's ALWAYS sticky, so I carefully packed my journal up and brought it home and covered it w/ clear contact paper).

This is a common first day exercise at the Dive school, to get the creative process cranking. Rita had TONS of magazines, as well as some old Bibles and dictionaries, rubber stamps and ink, stickers, bits of interesting fabric, silk flowers, craft jewels...all KINDS of stuff. It was interesting to see those who made true works of art, with sparklies and stickers and flowers, those who just put things on they liked and then found what they had done revealed something in them they had not paid attention to before they saw it on their journals.

Now,  as I said, I've done this a couple of times before and normally I've been late to the party, looking for significant things in magazines that have already been culled once or twice.

But Saturday, I got a brand spanking new 'In Style' magazine.  I laughed, wondering what of spiritual significance I could find in a fashion magazine.

Y'know, if you pull stuff in a fashion mag out of that context...it can be...well, interesting.  I just started at the front and pulled out anything that caught my eye.  This is something that needs to be done from the gut...not over thought (overthinking was a common snare throughout the whole week for many of us...it's hard to just let go and trust that God will use the creative process).

I ended up with a lot of pictures of gems and jewelry...and words that went with them, so I decided to put them on the front cover.  Then I found that no one had yet cut out the definitions of 'jewel' and 'gem' from the dictionary, so I helped myself to those and added those...and the definition of 'gem' included something prized for its beauty or worth, while the definition of 'jewel' included a thing or person of great worth or excellence. 

I'm not sure just exactly how I chose the things that went on the back, other than they were the things that seemed most significant of the rest of my 'cut outs'.  I put the cat on just for fun, 'cause you know I love me some kitties, but after it was all finished I found that the cat really did have something to say to me.

One of the things I wanted to work through at Dive was my tendency to worry over much (overthink?) how what I said and did would appear to other folks.  What would they think?  How would that affect their opinion of me?

Cats don't care about that.

I also thought it was interesting that the words on the front were almost totally adjectives, while the words on the back were, by and large, instructions. 

'BE' then 'DO'...in that order.


And I did not set out to instruct myself....but I got instructed just the same.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

What a difference a week makes....

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I'm going to be processing for a while, I'm sure, and there's no way I can begin to sum up the week in a single blog post.

So I thought I'd just share some images from the week...there will be more later, I'm sure, but for now, here's a glimpse of  a week that has changed my life.


The first hint of what was to come was waiting in the hotel room.  I honestly nearly cried when I walked in and saw the gift bag with my name on it.   I know that our church does gift bags when we have special guests come in for the women's conference or other events...but for such a bag to be prepared for me nearly undid me.

It was a few hours later when I began to wonder how I would get the books and other goodies that were in that bag packed into my already crammed suitcase for the trip home...so thankful for that extra 2" I got from unzipping that little fold. ;-)
 



Rita has a really cute reception space on her front porch; you wouldn't think I'd be surprised to see my name there,  but I did have a moment when I saw that I was listed along with all the others.  The icing on the cake is that royal blue is my favorite color in the whole world.





Being as how there were 14 of us at this event, we were a perfect van load.  Driving it around the Dallas area is NOT something I'd ever want to do; so grateful for Janelle, who not only drove us everywhere but made sure we had food delivered, picked up ice cream, prayed over us all week...you name it.  She was a huge part of the success of the week.





One of the most powerful moments  happened on Wednesday night; Rita had special guests Kristene DiMarco and Kalley Heiligenthal come in and share on Wednesday.  In the course of the day, a story came out about Kristene smashing a pumpkin as she was making declarations of things that needed to be broken in her life.  Someone mentioned that perhaps we should go get pumpkins and all smash them as we declared that we would not carry those lies back home with us.


Before the night was over, there were pumpkins procured and each one of us declared what we would see broken...what we were done with...as we smashed a pumpkin (yeah, that's a whole blog post by itself...). 
 







It was amazing to watch how everyone developed, changed, broke free, opened up as the week progressed.  I knew what to expect from Rita...she's been to our church several times to minister and I knew that she would not let anyone retreat into what was safe or stay where she was comfortable.  But what surprised me was that all the other ladies were so awesome.  Such talent, such depth, such promise on all of them.  I kinda think in 5 years, there will be 13 ladies that I will be able to point out and say, 'Hey, you know, she was in my Dive class.'

Thanks to Rita Springer for investing so much in so many.  Love, love her!


If you're curious about the DIVE  school...here's more info.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Not Quite Believing It

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

So.  This is the week.  Friday morning I get on a plane (I haven't been on a plane since 1999...) and head to Dallas for a week of creative worship workshopping.

And I'm taking a huge deep breath...it doesn't seem quite real to me.  Yes, I've wanted to do it for several years.  But...it really is a huge step out of the comfort zone.

We will present an original song to a board.  We will have guitar classes (I have a guitar that I pull out and play with it...as opposed to actually playing it...every once in a very great while.  I think I remember the C, G, D, F and A minor chords...). I'm not going to be at the top of either of those efforts.

But it's good.  It's good to be challenged, to be put in a position of taking risks.  Especially when, really, I'm not looking for validation as a worship leader or song writer or musician.

I'm just looking for the kick in the backside that will knock the melancholies out.  A fresh vision to take the place of the one that has gone away.  Courage to not take that personally.

Yeah, I'm still fighting that.  It's crazy, but, well, it's the truth.

So I'm pushing past the comfort zone and headed out into something way different for a week.

I'm hoping I can articulate it when I get back. :-)