Posted by: Heather | March 23, 2016

Vashti: Hidden Heroine of Freedom

Queen Vashti is an unsung heroine in the struggle against man’s political Authority.

In the first chapter of the Book of Esther, we have the picture of a monarch who has assumed Total Authority over property, bodies, lives, and thoughts. That is to say, in terms one might recognize from the Declaration of Independence, he had no respect for Life, Liberty, or Property (happiness was a poor substitute and may be a direct cause of all our present political woe in the States: As Bastiat warned, without property, there can be no liberty in thought, speech, or action).

We read that Xerxes uses his subjects’ property for his pleasure. He mutilated some of his subjects’ bodies so that he could keep them as eunuchs. And he believed he could control the thoughts of the women in his kingdom by making an example of his wife. He assumed he had power to enforce his will on people’s wealth (property), bodies (property), and minds (property): this is monarchy grown despotic, just one more iteration of Totalitarianism.

All the kingdom heard about Vashti’s refusal to come before the king. It’s the “No” that is still heard ‘round the world even though we never hear her voice. It is the stage for the drama of Purim. The idea of Natural Rights existed in the kingdom at its highest levels. Totalitarianism lost the war by telling the kingdom about the battle.

What happened to Vashti once she was dethroned? Some sources say she was killed, a likely result. A government keen on enforcing its Authority over the minds, bodies, and property of its subjects is endangered by the idea of Natural Rights. Whether she lived or died, Vashti gained something precious when she lost her title and position: Freedom.

Happy Purim, Vashti. You have been called a rebel and an enemy of the State, but you are a heroine of individual liberty in a time of oppression, a defender of your own right to your own mind and body, and you are an inspiration to all who would later defend themselves and others against force used to plunder life, liberty, and property.

Posted by: Heather | January 19, 2016

Torah Study Resource Links

Here are some resources that have been ministering to my heart this last year:

Beth Immanuel Sabbath Fellowship in Hudson, Wisconsin, has interesting articles, the best series I’ve ever heard on the book of Hebrews, and a great series right now on Revelation. D. Thomas Lancaster researches the historical and cultural context of scriptures. I’ve had my mind blown more than a few times.

Restoration of Torah Ministries has study guides that train readers to discover chiasms in the Bible and analyze passages thematically. It is Aleph Beta on steriods with Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) at the center of every PDF parsha commentary–the adult versions of which, by the way, run 20+ pages per Torah Portion. Restoration of Torah Ministries also has a children’s guide for each portion that is about 5 pages.

Beth Tikkun is a newer discovery, and I’m being fed Grant Luton’s journey through the book of Matthew. I appreciate his emphasis on feeding the sheep with the Word rather than… well, rather than anything else a teacher might do.

Passion for Truth used to be my go-to Saturday night service. We often gather with friends and aren’t home in time to catch many live services right now, but I just listed to a recent teaching and had another witness of the Lord helping me get the message that loving others is part of loving God.

Hollisa Alewine leads viewers through beautiful lessons on Creation and other topics. They are in-depth and rely heavily on thematic analysis. She is careful to bring her audience to a place where viewers can reflect on their own lives and behavior in the light of the glorious gospel and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Torah Class has excellent material on the first five books of the Bible. I learned a lot from Tom Bradford’s trip through Leviticus, the beautiful heart of the Torah. The website switched to a logon format, so I haven’t been there in a while, but I remember being impressed with the way the teachings always increased my love for Jesus and other people.

What’s been ministering to your heart? Feel free to add links in the Comments. Please take care not to post anything disparaging about a ministry listed above or a ministry someone posts below. This is a place to add honor to the body of Christ, not subtract from it.

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Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Grace, peace, and love to you all,

-Heather

 

Posted by: Heather | January 17, 2016

Creation in the Exodus Torah Portions

Anyone else seeing Genesis in Exodus as you read through the Torah portions this year? In Shemot, the children of Israel are described in terms of the blessing on man and on fish & fowl. In Ve’iera & Bo, the plagues look like creation week being undone, reversing to the darkness of day 1 in Exodus 10 and reversing further to the lamb slain from the foundation of the world in Exodus 12 and the death of the firstborn. Last year, all I could see was the gospel in the Torah portions. This year, it’s all about the new creation. Do you notice a different theme each year as you read? What theme are you noticing this year?

Microcosmos


Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Anyone struggling with the Passover guest list?

4 Cups

In the past, I’ve been sorry even when extending the invitation to the mainstream Christian, even though I wholeheartedly believe as Jonathan Cahn put it, “Passover is at the heart of the Christian faith.” But I’ve watched people balk at the broken bread and cups, and then here’s this beautiful night tainted with “but-we-don’t-have-to.”

This year, Read More…

Readers,

How have you handled the transition to living Leviticus 15’s marital purity regulations (or counseled others to handle the transition) when a spouse has been reluctant or even hostile to making the change? Please protect names/identities so that no one’s reputation is hurt through the discussion.

Would your advice change if the spouse was a nonbeliever verses a believer?

 Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I hope to write a post at some point that brings in the scriptures I feel address this issue, but I value your experience and want to start a discussion first. 

Please comment below or link to posts where you’ve addressed this issue. Thank you! 

Posted by: Heather | August 8, 2014

Ways to Dip without a Mikvah

What if you don’t have a community mikvah? Read More…

Hello, blogging friends!

You’re invited to view this video about the irrepressible romance of the 4th command. If you’re a Sabbath-keeper, help me change the conversation about these commands: They are life and they are a delight! I’d love to hear how you prepare and keep the Sabbath!

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If you’re not (or not yet) a sabbath-keeper, I hope the video will give you a glimpse into the weekly anticipation and joy that comes with remembering (acting on behalf of) and keeping (guarding) the 7th day: you, too, were created in God’s image and have a right to rest!

Grace, peace, and love in Christ to you all. And pray that I have the courage to post a link to the video on Facebook Friday afternoon. (Am I the only one who finds the environment of “friends” on Facebook more harsh than the encouraging community on WordPress?)

 

 

Alexander Scourby, move over! This link takes you to a video of a friend explaining what she believes while I narrate the corresponding Scriptures for her.

She thinks she’ll be able to refer church family to the video if they have questions about, well, what she believes. : )  What do you think? Good idea? Would you do something like this, or have you? Would love to see it if you have your own “I believe” proclamation!

God bless,

-Heather

 

 

Posted by: Heather | March 14, 2014

What Not to Say When You’re Sorry

Remember Boy George’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” song? I’ve had it in my head all day as I was musing about things we say that we would be better of not saying.

The line: “If I really wanted to hurt you, _____.”  This could end a number of ways: “I’d do such-and-such,” or “you’d know it!” or “such-and-such would happen.”  Let’s face it: there’s no good way for this kind of line to end. It’s not going to help the situation. We probably mean, “Hey, I’m so sorry: I didn’t mean to hurt you at all.”  However, that’s not exactly how it comes across. Read More…

Do you have a default question you ask yourself or take to prayer when things don’t go well? One lady I know would ask, “Where does this fit in my maturation process, Lord?” That’s a good one. It kept her from holding grudges, so it worked for her. I’d been thinking about what question I could ask, and settled on this: “How can I glorify God in my response to this situation?”

I had the chance to try it out this week. Read More…

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