Saturday, March 21, 2020

Truth

In the last few days I have found myself waking up wondering how the world is and falling asleep with a heavy heart and a wave of anxiety.

Thursday night, I scanned an article that included bible verses before completing my bedtime routine. When I attempted to close my eyes the wave of anxiety washed over me. Thoughts ran through my head. Sleep eluded me. I went back to the article and looked up the verses on my Bible app and was struck with wonder.

Maybe as I process this with words, they will give someone just a little hope as we continue to navigate social distancing and live out this new for now normal.

 אֱמֶת

This is the Hebrew word emet. It means truth. The first letter is aleph, א , it is the first letter in the Hebrew aleph-bet, the second letter, mem, מ , is the middle letter in the alpeh-bet, and the third letter tav, ת , is the last letter in the aleph-bet. This shows us is that truth spans the entire alpeh-bet, just as G-d's truth spans the Bible. Every letter of the aleph-bet is a way He communicates truth. Each of these letters that make up the word emet, has a broad and stable base. 

With all the uncertainty going on we need a stable base.

I have seen several of my Jewish friends and my Christian friends post about reading Psalm 91 in regards to COVID-19. I have read it many times over the years. I wear my favorite verse from this Psalm around my neck almost daily. 

It was anxious thoughts and this verse, combined with my understanding of Hebrew that kept me from sleeping. 

"He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His truth is a shield and protection." Tehillim (Psalm) 91:4

As I read these words over and over again the letter zayin, ז , came to mind. This letter is a picture of a weapon, a sword.  I thought about this letter as I read "His truth is a shield and protection.

My mind can often wonder into the darkness of what ifs and falsehoods. If we were to look closely at the Hebrew word for falsehood, we would notice a word made up of letters that do not span the aleph-bet nor have a stable base.

I must always remind myself to look to truth. That is my stability. That is my weapon.

In the New Testament, Ephesians 6:17 it says "....and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of G-d." 

The truth that spans the Hebrew aleph-bet and the Bible is a sword. It is His stability, His truth that is our covering, our shield, and our protection. 

I discovered that the zayin does not appear in Psalm 91 in the original Hebrew, despite this psalm being one of warfare and often used in times of needed deliverance.

The world needs deliverance. 

There is a group of 8 Hebrew letters given a tagin or crownlet, zayin is included in this group. While the zayin is in not in the Psalm, the other 7 of this group are. Some of the Jewish sages have said that these crownlets are small zayinin and therefore when Psalm 91 is said, they function as spiritual weapons. 

I wrote briefly about this letter in my post for my one word for the year, explaining how this letter also symbolizes rest. 

As I read and mediated on all of this, the words truth, weapon, and rest stood out. 

As we all find ourselves in an ocean of unchartered waters, may the stability and foundation of truth be our life raft, may the words of our Creator be our weapon, and may we find rest and peace as we navigate this new normal. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

My One Word for 2020

Chase.
Be.
Transform.
Courage.
Trust.
Diligent.

Six years of words I spent one year with.

I have had several words scrawled on a piece of paper that I have been praying through.  I even discussed a few with my counselor. I don't announce or commit to my word, until I process it through writing. As I began this post earlier this month, it dawned on me that this will be the 7th year I have focused on one word for one year. This seems significant, no it is significant.

The significance has made it harder for me to complete my post regarding my word for this year. I started the post, but my word never felt confirmed and the words that I had written weren’t quite connecting with my soul. These one word posts have always been easy to write. I took the lack of confirmation, connection, and difficulty I was having as the Lord saying wait. The wait is over.

Studying Hebrew for the last few years, I have learned that each letter pictures something and has a number value. I would love to linger with you over coffee, telling you the many wonders I have learned from studying the language of the Bible, but for the focus of this post, I will share just a snippet from one letter. The letter that is 7 in the Hebrew aleph-bet is zayin  (ז). There are numerous truths to learn from this letter and it's value. It pictures a weapon and it’s form represents a sword. It also symbolizes Shabbat. Shabbat is the day of rest, the seventh day of the week. It begins on sundown Friday and ends on sundown Saturday. The picture of rest and fighting in this one letter inspires me. We have to fight, we need to put in work, but we need rest. We can't be ready for battle if we have not rested.

On February 1, I finished listening to a sermon by Michael Todd with Transformation Church. (You can listen to that sermon, here.)  In his message, the word resolve slapped me in the face a dozen or more times. I am pretty sure I can still see the imprint on my cheek or maybe I am just feeling the sting.

I hesitated to consider this word at first, because there was a word I wanted to use. I liked the meaning, it resonated with me, but it was never confirmed. I was reluctant because resolve seems so similar to diligent, the word I just focused on.  However, with every impact the word resolve grew roots in my heart, soul, and mind.

Resolve means a firm determination to do something, to form a purpose. Michael Todd stated in his sermon, "resolve is greater then results."  I think my face just got slapped again typing those words. I tend to focus on the results in some areas. I don't start writing the blog post, chapter, or book out of concern for the conclusion and burden of perfection.I want the healing that needs to occur, but I don't want to feel the pain. I easily get discouraged in my health journey, because I am focused on the end. I can be result minded, not process inclined.

I have to make a resolve. A resolve to take up the weapon and rest that the letter zayin teaches and apply it to my life and what G-d has for me.  Life requires battles. It requires rest. I need to resolve to do both.  Michael Todd states, "if you workout always looking for the result it will discourage the work."  I don't want to discourage the work I am made for. I don't want to discourage the work G-d wants to do. This year I want to be resolve minded. It is in this 7th year that I can fight, put in the work, and rest to allow me to have purpose in my moments, create habits that transform, and glean wisdom along the way. Going through the process and not around will create a result. I can't have a result, if I don't have a resolve.

One Word.

One Year. 

Resolve.