Chesed/Hesed

chesed

I am fascinated by this word!

Jonah 2:8 in the Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) reads “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own chesed.”

Definition of chesed/hesed—There were actually several different definitions for this Hebrew word, the most common of which was loving-kindness.

This explanation, a bit more than a definition was found at https://discovertheword.org/2010/09/08/the-old-testament-word-hesed-and-the-profound-meaning-it-has-for-us-today/

Hesed is difficult to translate because it stands for a cluster of ideas—love, mercy, grace, kindness. It wraps up in itself all the positive attributes of God.  Hesed is one of the Lord’s most treasured characteristics.

Hesed is a quality that moves someone to act for the benefit of someone else without considering “what’s in it for me?”

It may be translated as “loyal love.” Sometimes the emphasis is on “loyal” and other times the emphasis is on “love.”

Look at some other translations of Jonah 2:8

21st Century King James Version (KJ21) “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy,”

American Standard Version (ASV) “They that regard lying vanities
Forsake their own mercy.”

The only difference between these two translations is observe versus regard.

What does vanity mean in this context? vanityThis is the image that first comes to my mind when I hear the word vanity.  Insert picture.

 

 

Next is the quality of being vain or taking too much pride in oneself.

Then I was surprised that it can mean what at first glance appears almost the opposite—the quality of being worthless or futile.

All 3 of these, on overthinking, can mean the same thing. Look at that huge mirror on the vanity I chose for this blog. And are not the drawers used to store makeup and jewelry, things designed to make one take more price in her appearance? And is it not true that often the outer appearance does not reflect the true nature of one’s heart/soul?

Setting aside the above overthinking paragraph, it seems like the 3rd definition is the one which most accurately reflects what is being described in Jonah 2:8.  Not just a worthlessly futile thing but a lying worthlessly futile thing.

Going on to a couple other translations:

Christian Standard Bible (CSB) “Those who cherish worthless idols abandon their faithful love,”

Amplified (AMP) “Those who regard and follow worthless idols turn away from their [living source of] mercy and lovingkindness.”

So this worthlessly futile thing is an idol!

We follow the vanities/idols of our unfaithful hearts, be they any of the mind-numbing activities we use to . . . wow! . . . numb our minds! These could be addictive behaviors, unrighteous anger, self, maybe even things that aren’t necessarily bad but become bad when used the wrong way.  In so doing we are actually repenting—or turning away from—the chesed/hesed (It wraps up in itself all the positive attributes of God.  Hesed is one of the Lord’s most treasured characteristics) Abba so freely gives.

Please join me as, with the help of my Father, I learn to repent of the lying vanities and embrace the chesed.

praying

My Father in Heaven, I come before you having followed the lying vanities a large part of this day.

Tomorrow is a new day, and according to Lamentations 3:22-23 because of your great love (hesed/chesed) your compassions and mercies are new every day. I receive your perfect compassions and mercies working in my soul tomorrow, knowing that your love is making me complete.

Now, because of you, Lord, I will like down in peace and sleep comes at once, for no matter what happens, I will live unafraid!

Last Pew in the Sanctuary

pewAn interesting revelation occurred yesterday.

The pastor was going to mention my late husband in an honorable way during his message. I was working in the nursery and was called out when it was time for that portion of the message. Normally I sit near the back, but there were no places to sit at the back this time; so I was led to a chair in the second row middle section.

It sounds weird, but there actually is a different atmosphere toward the front than at the back. I don’t know if it’s because there are fewer distractions or the Presence really is more powerful near the altar, but whatever the case this is something I’ve noticed at every church I’ve attended. Yesterday every word the Pastor spoke seemed to sear itself onto my brain and is hopefully making its way into my soul even now.

At the Methodist church I attend, the congregation is very small, average of 9 on a Sunday morning; and the pastor is ESL. Of those 9 people in the congregation, at 56 I am the youngest. The pastor is 61. Everyone else is at least 70 and many are over 80; so we all sit toward the front to be able to better hear and understand the Word that is being taught. It’s been many years since I’ve sat in the back of that church. So, we are all fully entered into the Presence.

I believe we should all make more of an effort to sit closer to the front, even at the crowded OACF. Because, whatever the case, it feels like the Presence of God is stronger there. Since, as a human being, I do still tend to follow my feelings (and my Abba knows this), it just makes sense.

Verily, Verily

verily

Definition of verily:
1 : in truth : certainly

We trust Merriam-Webster to give us true definitions of unfamiliar words.  Here is some background info on Mr’s Merriam and Mr Webster.

Merriam–Webster, Incorporated, is an American company that publishes reference books, especially known for its dictionaries. In 1828, George and Charles Merriam founded the company as G & C Merriam Co. in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1843, after Noah Webster died, the company bought the rights to An American Dictionary of the English Language from Webster’s estate. All Merriam–Webster dictionaries trace their lineage to this source.

What else do we know about both the Mr Merriams and Mr Webster without further research on any of them?  They were born and died, had a beginning and an end.  Since they were human, they were imperfect.

God has neither beginning nor end. He is the alpha and omega. He is completely perfect and perfectly complete. We can be certain (verily, verily?) that, unlike every book ever written by man—which, of course, would be every book—that written by God, the Bible, is truth. So, for the Great Author of Life to precede a statement, already the utmost truth, with even one “verily” must mean we should pay extra attention to what follows. But what about when He precedes it with two?

Since I generally stick with the NIV, NLT, or CSB, I don’t encounter “verily, verily” often when studying. The verse in the picture above in CSB reads “43 And he said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be thiefoncrosswith me in paradise.” Another translation I discovered recently on my phone, The Passion Translation, says “Jesus responded, “I promise you—this very day you will enter paradise with me.”  Jesus didn’t just tell the thief this—that would have been enough—this time he promised.

 

rhema_sm

So when God speaks the same thing to me through more than one source, I tend to treat that as a verily, verily. Or, as was the case with the thief on the cross, a Rhema word from God.

 

All that to preface this occurrence which happened a few days ago

Verify #1:  I’d completed the online homework assignment for my Bible study and gone on to Bible reading.  Today, I read out of the NLT, and I was in Matthew.

My homework assignment was to journal about how comparing myself to others hindered my relationship with God and His purpose for my life.  Although this Bible study focuses on weight and body image issues, I was easily able to come up with several other areas where this could apply and jotted them down as well.  These included:

  1. Method and character of prayer.
  2. Method and character of worship.
  3. Career.
  4. Shyness (method and character of fellowship).
  5. Lack of pride in appearance.
  6. Ability or even desire to have an immaculate house.
  7. Poverty mentality (compared to peers).

Some of these are absolutely unbelievable, right? Take a look at the first two!

Yet I have allowed the enemy, oftentimes through well-meaning Christians, yes, even leaders in the church, to put these on me. The fact that I even put my mind to any of these indicates a lack of understanding of the truth of God’s love and my willingness to embrace the lies of the enemy.

What about you? Have you believed and internalized into your very being words that do not line up with The Word and, as a result, done yourself harm? Take a look at this:

Verily #2:  Matthew chapter 15, verses 8-11 (underlining done by me):

“8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’”

10 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 11 It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.””

 

These verses offer a succinct contrast of lips/mouth and heart. Unless we have some kind of gastric illness, what comes out of our mouths does not come from our stomachs; it comes from our hearts.heart

What goes into our stomachs–“bad” and “good” foods by man’s definitions–does not make us “bad” or “good” in God’s eyes. In fact, we are neither “bad” nor “good” in His eyes. It is impossible to be “good enough”. 

We are either covered by the blood or Jesus or we are not.

Thank you, Abba, for your verily, verily unto me.

Book Review – The Pirate Bride

the pirate bridethe pirate bridethe pirate bride

It’s been many years (decades) since I’ve read a pirate book, and in those days it would not have been faith based.

the pirate bride

I wondered as I started reading this how the world of piracy could jive with a Christian worldview.  Ms Y’Barbo did so by explaining the world of privateers and how they differed from pirates.  The hero, Jean-Luc, is a privateer.

Maribel is the last in a long matriarchal line of Mary’s.  We first encounter her as an 11-year-old girl who, along with her father, is a passenger on a “pirate” vessel in April of 1724.  She is a free spirit and loves the experience so much that the captain, Jean-Luc, grants her an honorary position on the ship as the lookout.  This requires her to climb the ship’s mast where she can spend her days lost in her favorite past-time, reading anything she can get her hands on, particularly books about pirates.

She is only on the ship a short time before it encounters enemies and is destroyed.  Everyone except Maribel and a couple of the ship’s hands are assumed lost as sea.  Maribel is deposited on an island in Caribbean inhabited by nuns and orphans.  She is raised by the nuns and upon reaching adulthood becomes a fellow teacher to the orphans.  She spends her spare time high up in trees enjoying her favorite past-time while trying to evade the all-seeing eye of the Mother Superior.

Eventually it comes to light that she is not at all an orphan as her mother and paternal grandfather, who have been searching for her for years, find her.  To be nearer the search, they had moved from Spain to New Orleans where Maribel is eventually reunited with them.  She is also reunited with Jean-Luc who is now a respectable man of 35.

Maribel’s mother and grandfather are having financial difficulties, and Jean-Luc’s family is able to help them.  In this process, more individuals from Maribel’s past step forward.

All loose ends, including the love affair between Jean-Luc and Maribel come to a satisfying conclusion by the end of the book.

This was a quick read, and I would have liked to see more historical detail and more interaction between the hero and heroine, but overall the story was entertaining enough that I will look for other books by this author and other books of this subgenre.

Book Review Innkeeper’s Daughter

 

I receInkeeper's Daughterived a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. 

Wow!

This is the first novel I’ve read by this author.  Now I’m going to have to look for her earlier work.  It has been many decades since I’ve read a Regency Romance (think Barbara Cartland).  What a pleasure it was to return to this sub-genre.

Ms. Griep has created a world of contrasts—good/evil, light/dark, despair/hope, unbelief/faith, and bad guys/those who seek to bring them to justice.  The book was so well written, it was many times difficult to tell into which category the secondary characters fell, and I found myself flip-flopping on cheering them on versus hoping they would hurry up and get caught. 

As for the principal characters, Johanna and Alex are an intriguing pair of individuals; after they meet captivating.  The romantic element is strong and believable, and the many action sequences are paced well enough to allow the reader a chance to catch her breath in between. 

There is one secondary character (or perhaps pair of characters is a better description!) who is utterly fascinating and one of those of whom it was difficult to decide whether he was a good guy or a bad guy.  There is another I hope to see in a future novel, and I’ll keep my eyes out for this.

The Christian themes of trusting God in trying circumstances and looking for the best in people despite what our senses tell us are threaded throughout the book, but this in no way diminishes from the plotline, and anyone will enjoy this book regardless of their faith status.

I am adding Michelle Griep to my list of must-read authors.

Leaning Into Jesus

walking-in-the-spirit
Today I was about to step on the scale when I heard God tell me “Don’t do it.”  I was obedient.  Since the first thing I usually write in my journal is my weight, today I wrote “No weight today”.  Then God started talking to me some more.

Those words “NO WEIGHT TODAY” primarily were written due to the fact that I didn’t step on the scale.  But what jumped out at me was the other type of weight.

  1. a : burden, pressure
  • the weight of their responsibilities

from Merriam-Webster

leaningNO BURDEN TODAY.  Jeannette (my coach at Finding Balance) has told me more than once to “lean into God”, and my best friend and spiritual mentor has told me over the past 2 days more than once that God has told her I’m under tremendous stress and to simply relax in Him.  They kinda’ mean the same thing, and it sounds like God really wants me to get this.  I will not bear any of that heavy weight of stress today.

But He wasn’t done yet.  A Bible study I’m doing referred to Romans 8:6, and I happened to read the Amplified which said:  “Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever];”  Notice God says the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.  Sounds like relaxing in God to me.

water rockNext, the same study instructed me to read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 which read “and all [of them] ate the same spiritual food; and all [of them] drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not well-pleased with most of them, for they were scattered along the ground in the wilderness [because their lack of self-control led to disobedience which led to death].”  In the wilderness the supernatural food (manna) and supernatural water (from the Rock) came day by day, and what came on one day was not good for the next day.  Application:  God was feeding and watering me today, but that won’t be good enough for tomorrow.

And finally, I realized the above verse wasn’t actually 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 at all; it was 1 Corinthians 10:3-5.  So I looked up the verses in 2 Corinthians, and they said “For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man. The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,”  Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ for me at this point in my life means especially all those thoughts that bring about stress.  Right now, those are most of my waking thoughts.  The only thoughts I can think that are beneficial are those from God, to be found in His Word and through other ways He communicates with me.

Can I do it?  Most assuredly not!  But when I lean into God and relax in His arms, He is more than capable of doing what I cannot.