Sunday, July 24, 2016

Work for the Waiting Room...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

So, for the second time in my adult life, I have been summoned for Jury Duty.

I'm really hoping that I don't get picked for a jury...I have some important meetings at work at the end of the week.  So I'm heading to the courthouse tomorrow praying that all the cases on the docket get resolved before they get to the jury selection stage.

I wasn't so lucky the first time...I actually got picked and was on a case in which I honestly wanted to render a verdict of 'stupid' for all parties involved.

If adults would just act like adults it would save our court system much expense and effort.

But, be that as it may, I'm looking at up to two full days of hanging around the jury lounge.

So I'm taking my schoolwork with me...I just finished the second class on my online journey to a Master's of Ministry in Religious Education ('Biblical Interpretation') and the third class is looking to be very interesting.'Understanding Church Ministries' is the name of the class, and the textbook is 'Re-Thinking Church' by James Emory White.  I've read the introduction (which was required) and a bit of the first chapter and am already having paradigms creak and groan. I've also got 5 articles to read and comprehend...and a good bit of  writing to do concerning the book.

So I think I've got enough to stay busy.  And, who knows, if I work two straight full days, I may finish this class up in less than a month.  That would be good; I'm a little behind on my self-imposed 'finish by May 2017' time line.

But, you know,  I might take my sophisticated coloring book and colored pencils too...just in case I feel the need to stop and ponder what I've read...

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Tour through Psalm 119 : Pe

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Pe is kind of an interesting letter...I've tried to think of a simple way to describe it, and the best I can come up with is my impression of it as a sort of backwards  'e', only bigger and squarish.  Which is not at all a good description, but it's the best I've got.

Anyway, 'Pe' is the initial letter in each verse in the passage that goes from verses 129 through 136, which run like this in the NIV 84:

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.
The unfolding of your words gives light; it give understanding to the simple.
I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands.
Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts.
Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees.
Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.

And...this is what I have cobbled up from crawling through the dictionaries:

Your testimonies are marvels!  Therefore, over them my soul keeps guard.
The opening of your words brings light [and] gives understanding to the foolish.
My mouth gapes, gasping with desire for your commandments.
Turn and look toward me and be gracious to me [consistent with your] judgment [of] those who love you.
Establish my footsteps in your word and do not let any wickedness be given power over me.
Ransom me from the oppression of mankind so I may observe your statutes.
Shine your faces [yes - the Hebrew word is clearly marked 'plural'!] on your servant and teach me your statutes.
Canals of waters go down [from] my two eyes, for your law is not kept.

Some random thoughts that occurred to me as I dug through this:

I wonder if 'unfolding' was the word used here due to the fact that the scriptures were written on parchments, and kept in scrolls or folded books.  Opening the scripture would be a very different experience than flipping open a Bible today.  But I think it's a lovely picture...just the opening of the book brings light.  The least consultation of the Word will bring blessing and understanding.

Verse 131, kind of uncomfortable.  The connotation in the Hebrew is physical desire. Um...when was the last time I had that kind of craving in my spirit for God's word?

Interesting that 'faces' is plural.  Very interesting.  Father - Son- Spirit making an appearance here?

Again, we see the psalmist's grief that the world in general ignores the word of God and does not follow His commands.  I can kind of identify with that...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A little Hodge Podge Collecting....

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Haven't done a  Hodgepodge in a while...and I'm feeling the need to break up the stream of heavy posts.  So, here's this week's random questions from Joyce at This Side of the Pond...

1. Pokemon Go...your thoughts? Are you playing? Do you even know what it is?
Well, as a proud user of a flip phone, I don't even have to decide whether I want to play or not, although at least one of my kids may have gone on extended bike rides in search of the little digital creepies.  My thoughts...well, I was so taken by the phenomenon that I made a meme and posted it to Facebook:


It's really is not about the seeming political statement but about our incredible ability to be distracted...

2. What was something you collected as a child? Do you still have that collection? If you're a parent what's something your own children collected? Have you ever camped out, stood in a crazy long queue, or paid a ridiculous sum for a 'collectible'?

 I had a shoe box in which I kept some interesting rocks that I picked up from the driveway for a while. It certainly was not a collection by any stretch.  I do still have some books that I got as a kid; that's probably the closest thing to a collection that I have, unless you want to count the  fabric and pattern stashes. My kids have some video games, which may count as collectables in the not-to-distant future.

3. "Collect moments, not things"...tell us about a moment you've added to your collection this summer.
Co-writing a song with a friend before she moved across the country, having breakfast with a friend I hadn't seen in two years, watching the strawberry moon come up over what passes for a mountain in my neck of the woods,  sitting in the front porch swing, listening to the birds singing in the can I pick one?

4.  What's something collecting dust in your home right now? Any plans to do something about it?

Um, can I plead the 5th on this one?

5. A favorite song relating to time?  

Suddenly, 'Time is tickin' away, tick tick tickin' away' has lodged in my brain to the exclusion of all else.  My favorite?  I don't know...but it certainly feels appropriate.
ETA later in the day...I finally had a minute to look it up on Youtube...


6. What's been your most frightening or your most interesting encounter with wildlife?

Um...there's a story about a snake, with pictures, that I thought I posted to one of the blogs but I can't find it.    Just let me say that I'm really glad the snake was apparently just chillin' that day....

7.  On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong set his foot down on the moon. If you could travel to the moon would you go? Why or why not?

I remember watching those first steps on TV.  I was ten; it was a hot day in central Indiana, and we rarely watched TV in the daytime, but farm life stopped while we all watched.  Years later, I heard folks talking about staying up all night to watch them and I was really confused, because I knew we'd watched in the afternoon.   I finally decided that what we had watched was a replay and all my life I was mistaken when I thought we saw it live.  That's right up there with finding out there was no Santa Claus.

But, given my inclinations to motion sickness and claustrophobia, I don't think I'd make a good astronaut.  Despite my love of all things science fiction...I'd never make a Starfleet recruit....  

I'll just have to enjoy watching the full moon slide up past the mountain.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

School starts a week from Monday in these parts.  Even though I don't have any kids in school anymore,  it just feels like we've bob-tailed summer.  Not done, nope, just not done.

Time is tickin' away, tick tick tickin' away...  

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Tour through Ps. 119: Ayin

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
A quick little anecdote before I jump into this week's passage...I read a number of sewing-related blogs, and one of them is written by a lady in New York who creates beautiful Jewish ritual articles.  She recently posted about a Torah mantle she repaired; in the photos, one Hebrew word is prominent on the mantle.  As a direct result of studying Psalm 119....I figured out what the word is.

The word is Shalom.

I felt inordinately pleased with myself.  I have definitely learned at least a little by doing this. ;-)

This week we're looking at the 8-verse section that starts with the Hebrew letter Ayin, which looks very much like a script 'Y'.    Verses 121-128, as presented in the NIV 84:

I have done what is righteous and just; do not leave me to my oppressors.
Ensure your servant's well-being; let not the arrogant oppress me.
My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise.
Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees.
I am you servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.
It is time for you to act, O LORD; your law is being broken.
Because I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, 
And because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.

And, my dictionary -dredging has resulted in the following:

[I] Have produced judgement and justice; [do] not abandon me to my oppressors.
Pledge good to your servant; do not let arrogant [ones] oppress me.
My two eyes are completed by your salvation and by your word of righteousness.
Deal with your servant with your loving kindness; your statutes teach me.
Your servant I [am]; give me understanding to know your testimonies.
Time to act, Yahweh, for your law is violated.
Concerning, howbeit, your commandments; I love [them] above gold, even above pure gold.
Howbeit, since all your statutes lead straight; I hate every false path.

There is a plea in this passage, regardless of the translation, that I think is most appropriate for this time...It is time for you to act, O Lord, your law is being broken.

Not just broken...violated, ignored, overturned by people who want to promote their notions of what should be right over what God has said. Every news broadcast lately seems to have prompted me to cry from my spirit, 'It's time for you to act!  We are making a mess of it all!'

But I truly can only answer for myself.  Where am I ignoring God's law, to do what I think best?  How am I listening to His teaching, seeking out the straight paths?

Back to the word that crossed my path earlier...what am I doing to foster Shalom, nothing missing, nothing broken, nothing hurting...?

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Tour through Psalm 119: Samekh

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

If you flat-topped an o and gave it a hint of a stroke on the upper left, you'd have something that looks kinda like the letter samekh, which starts each of verses 113-120 in the Hebrew, rendered thusly in the NIV 84 :

I hate double-minded men, but I love your law.
You are my refuge and my shield;  I have put my hope in your word.
Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!
Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees.
You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their deceitfulness is in vain.
All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes.
My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.

My first reaction  to this, kinda harsh there.  Words like 'hate', 'reject',  and 'discard'  fly in the face of the 'God loves you no matter what' philosophy that seems so prevalent.

Now, to be strictly honest, I do believe He really does love us no matter what.  He wouldn't have sent Jesus, while we were still in opposition to Him, if  He did not love us no matter what.  But 'love' is not the same thing as 'excuse'... somehow those words have gotten confused, so that 'God loves you no matter what' becomes understood as 'God excuses you no matter what'.

But then you still have to reconcile that with those strong words.  And, while God loves, he does not excuse.  He does distinguish between the holy and the profane.  And ....well, there are consequences.

But that's the NIV.  Let's see what we find in the dictionary exploration...

Whew.  That took a while, but I think I have something more-or-less coherent...

I hate skeptical thinking, but I love your law.
My shelter and shield you are; [I] wait for your word.
Away from me, doers [of] evil!  [I] keep the commandments of Elohim.
Sustain me by your word, so [I] have life and [am] not confused by my hope.
Sustain me [and I will] be victorious and [have] regard for your statutes continually.
[You] make light of all those who go astray from your statues, for their treachery is falsehood.
You remove the wicked from the earth like dross, therefore I love your testimonies.
I get goosebumps ( literally, 'My flesh bristles')  from reverent dread of your judgements. 

That doesn't strike me as being quite as strident as the actual translation, but I wouldn't build a doctrine on what I came up with...there's just too much I'm guessing at.  But the word 'dross' has only one translation, and the intention is clearly that the wicked...those folks who go astray from God's command and behave treacherously, based on lies and falsehood...are cleared away like dross from silver.

But...on a lighter note...I smiled when I saw that what had been translated as 'my flesh trembles' literally means 'my flesh bristles'...goosebumps, y'all.  He's talking about goosebumps.

Y'know, I probably should check the Message and see how it translates some of these verses...just to see if I'm close...

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Tour through Ps. 119: Nun

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Today's passage, Ps. 119:105-112, starts off with a very familiar verse:

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.
I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.
Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws.
Though I constantly take my life in my hands, I will not forget your law.
The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts.
Your statutes are my heritage forever, they are the joy of my heart.
My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.


Each of these verses start with the Hebrew letter nun...and I'll be honest, I had to pull out my magnifying glass to see the difference between nun and gimel.   They both consist of a vertical line, with a stroke  to the left on the top and bottom.  The only difference I could see is that the bottom stroke on gimel is a diamond shape, while the bottom stroke on nun is a square.

And they didn't have bifocals back in those days....

Anyway, here's what I came up with after digging through the dictionaries...

[A] lamp to my foot [is] your word and light to my pathway.
I have sworn and will fulfill to observe your righteous ordinances.
[I] am excessively afflicted; Yahweh, preserve my life by your word.
The free will offerings of my mouth accept, I pray, Yahweh, and your ordinances teach me.
My soul continually in my palm, yet [I] forget not your law.
Guilty [ones] have set a snare for me, yet from your precepts [I shall] not go astray.
[I] have claimed possession [as an inheritance] [of] your testimonies for all time, for they are my heart's joy.
I have inclined my heart to accomplish your statutes continually to the end.   

I think the verse that struck me most this week is I have claimed possession as an inheritance of your testimonies for all time, for they are my heart's joy.  It'  Intentional.  In the NIV, it reads as a transaction accomplished, a description of the status quo.  But the Hebrew is much more dynamic.  The Psalmist went after something, because it was precious to him.

How hard to we go after the testimonies of God?  Are they worth an intentional us? To me?  Have I made them a part of my inheritance...or my legacy?