Toni Perms and Holiday Dresses

I sat in the  “cherry” decorated kitchen at my friend June’s house, last week.   There were nine  ladies crowded around the kitchen table, watching the last video of our Bible study series; staring up at the television mounted on the wall. Extra treats, and colorful wrapped presents line the counter for a full afternoon of celebration.

The temperature outside was frigid and about 20 inches of snow dumped on us the day before. Several of us still had more shoveling to do, clocks that needed resetting due to a spattering of power outages, and need to pour out the water jugs we filled when the storm warning was issued. We laughed at our own perseverance and dedication to our study.  Bragging that we are die hard, true, northern Michiganders- hearty, taking the cold and snow in stride. It is typical winter weather here in this quaint little town that sits right on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Winter, though less appreciated than summer, has remarkable beauty that unveils another dimension of nature; under grey and purple skies everything outdoors is layered with fluffy white snow appearing undefiled and pure. The tender boughs of the evergreen trees are bending low from the weight of heavy snow. There is now a pause, as if nature is taking a breath. There is a rest from the assault of the frozen precipitation. Here we sit, watching our video, learning of our God and our people’s history. No one would ever know that under our festive holiday garb is long underwear and cuddle duds.

Large flakes began to fall and the flurry of activity at the bird feeder catches my eye. I gaze out the kitchen window and watch the chickadees, sparrows, and even a crimson cardinal scurry to eat with their peers. I remembered what Messiah said about me, the birds and all those who trust in his name:

Matthew 6: 25-26 “Therefore, I tell you, don’t worry about your life — what you will eat or drink; or about your body — what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds flying about! They neither plant nor harvest, nor do they gather food into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they are?”

Staring out the window at the white wonderland vista, a memory from long ago flashed in my mind, it was vivid, as if it occurred this morning. I was at a birthday party for a childhood friend. A glossy black and white photograph of our eating birthday cake at her kitchen table is kept in my box of memories on the closet shelf. All the little girls were about five years old, decked out in our fancy stiff crinoline dresses, with black patent leather shoes. Our moms fixed our hair with barrettes and bows, we were styl’in with curly hair, ringlets, and pageboys! Much of which I am sure was the help of Toni Home Permanents…”which twin has the Toni?” We laughed and giggled as we played games. When the birthday girl opened her presents each watched with barely contained anticipation of her reaction to our gifts.   The photo is faded, but the camaraderie of girlfriends is ever present.

Fast forward fifty plus years. These are not the same girls but women from that era all the same.  Our lives witnessed first hand heavy phones with a short cord that hung on the wall or sat on a desk, black and white television, typewriters, Kresge’s dime store, rock and roll, Sputnik, bomb drills, Ozzie and Harriet, the assassination of president Kennedy, men on the moon, the Beatles, bell bottom jeans, the feminist movement, personal computers, the internet, cellular phones, 9-11, the “tech bubble”, TSA, DNA, genetic engineering, “over the top” TV shows, and we all belonged to the group know as “BABY BOOMERS.”

At one time we all were little girls with dreams of a future filled with fancy dresses, fame, a beautiful wedding with a handsome man who would love us forever, adorable babies, a three bedroom ranch with a new model Chevy in the driveway.  Dreams vanish when reality replaces idealism. Living in this world brings to our door life, death, joy and sorrow, and often paths far from what we dreamed. Each woman’s story is unique and treasured, the saga nearing the final chapters.

I recall my own life and path; it weaved all over the place, mostly in the wrong direction. But Romans 8:28 gives us ‘the save’-“Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose;” We not only put our faith in the redemptive work of Yeshua but turn every aspect of our lives over to him, and he will impart to us wisdom, understanding, and even a redemptive purpose of those experiences. Wherever our route has been, Ha Shem can covert it to testimony for his glory!

Thumbing through the pages of my Bible I follow along with the Scriptures as the lesson progresses. Tears fill my eyes several times as the Words come alive and I am amazed at my God. I am in awe of his loving kindness and his sovereign will in the lives of those who walked in faith long before me.

We gathered, not just for a party but to learn more about our Messiah Yeshua, (Jesus).  Our lives have come a long way and our priorities have shifted dramatically; from the temporary things of this world to the eternal things in the Kingdom of God. Also, we traded in our Toni for Miss Clairol.

Continue to dream, but not as before; be like ahveenu Avraham (our father Abraham):   By trusting, Avraham obeyed, after being called to go out to a place which God would give him as a possession; indeed, he went out without knowing where he was going. 9 By trusting, he lived as a temporary resident in the Land of the promise, as if it were not his, staying in tents with Yitz’chak and Ya’akov, who were to receive what was promised along with him. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with permanent foundations, of which the architect and builder is God.  Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 11:8-10

 This is where our future lies!!

 

Baruch Ha Shem (Bless God), Sarah Anne

Scripture quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. http://www.messianicjewish.net/jntp. Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources. http://www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Smile politely, pray, and write

It happened again! While conversing with a friend at a community event the ERROR message began to flash in my head! Ding, ding, and ding. The words she spoke hit the “discernment switch.” Once that switch is triggered a decision must be made. Instantly I wrestle with the options in my mind, ‘do I say something, or hold my piece?’ So I chose this, pray, smile and write.

Maggie and I attend a Bible study that is a learning fellowship with gals from different churches. My home “church” is a synagogue, a Messianic Synagogue. The activating element was her statement, “We all have different ways of arriving at the same thing.” The thing- is Yeshua, (Jesus), and includes the way we walk out our faith, our “halakah”. In Hebrew thought faith encompasses both: whom we have faith in and how that faith is expressed in our life.

In my mind I wanted to say, ‘wait a minute. God says in Isaiah  chapter 30:21 With your ears you will hear a word from behind you: “This is the way; stay on it, whether you go to the right or the left.”

Hmm, does this mean He says different things to different people, based on who we are? Are his ways changeable?  Different strokes for different folks? To quote yet another friend “…according to our likes and dislikes.” In other words, what PLEASES us, what FITS our personalities, tastes, and mindsets? Often I hear “everyone’s interpretation is different.” Really, yes I know that is true; after all there are bazillions of churches and denominations, and if you don’t like something about where you are attending start a new one! But is that the way God sees it or wants it?  I thought God says what he means and means what he says. He states, “I am God, I change not.” Do we believe that  Yeshua (Jesus) is the same yesterday, today, and forever?

I am sad, as this is the premise of the current church/Christian today. Many, so unaware of the detrimental influence of “political correctness, and Babylonian “it is all about me “ norms of the culture we live in. There has been an INVASION of these into the “church”, and why not? Our human default behavior and thinking is conforming to this world, NOT being transformed.

In fact, Romans 12: 1 states: I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you.

WOW, the word sacrifice is not in our modern day vocabulary. Sacrifice means to give something up that is valuable to us, to surrender it. It is hard to surrender our will, to give it up to Ha Shem, and to accept His will. I know. I lived in my own will most of my life…I made a mess.

Let us continue in Romans 12:2 In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh (this world’s system). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.

To paraphrase Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.” His “ways” are not my ways, and His thoughts far above mine. But when it comes to approaching Him, and following Him, most of us will disregard what He says in His Word and determine to do it “my way.”

Over and over the Lord states his reason why he brought destruction on Israel, whether corporately or individually. They “did what was right in their own eyes, but not in Adonai’s. Remember the Torah, the first 5 books of Moshe. Ha Shem was explicit with his instructions on how his people are to trust him and conduct their lives, and the remainder of the Bible testifies to this. Every issue and aspect in our lives is covered in his Word.

Deuteronomy 10:12 “So now, Isra’el, all that ADONAI your God asks from you is to fear ADONAI your God, follow all his ways, love him and serve ADONAI your God with all your heart and all your being; 13 to obey, for your own good, the mitzvot and regulations of ADONAI which I am giving you today.”

Account after account of real persons, real experiences of real consequences of either obedience or disobedience. Battles were lost; people were killed for not obeying the Lord’s commandments and rulings. Did he change them, or give us in 2011 a “pass”? Hardly, in fact we are told in that these things happened to them as an EXAMPLE to us!

I Corinthians 10:11 These things happened to them as prefigurative historical events, and they were written down as a warning to us who are living in the acharit-hayamim (end times).

Consider what happened to Israel when God tore the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand because…

1 Kings 11:33 I will do this because they have abandoned me and worshipped ‘Ashtoret the goddess of the Tzidoni, K’mosh the god of Mo’av and Milkom the god of the people of ‘Amon. They haven’t lived according to my ways, so that they could do what was right in my view and obey my regulations and rulings, as did David his father.

Let us examine ourselves and determine if it is indeed  “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Or are we following our own desire? (James 1:14)

Baruch Ha Shem for his unfailing Word!

Scripture quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible, copyright � 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. http://www.messianicjewish.net/jntp. Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources. http://www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved. Used by permission.