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.

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 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 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!


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' 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 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 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!!