Friday, August 13, 2010

House keeping days

Well here`s how our grandparents used to do it.

Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Sewing Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest

For me; Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday is ok.

Wonder if it will be possible to altogether skip
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday?

Can always substitute them with more Thursdays ?????

MMMMM I wonder ;-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wardrobe checklist

Always in Season

Black tank. A white tank has its place—at the gym or on casual outings—but a black one is more universal. Dress it up with dark jeans or a skirt.
Short-sleeved white T-shirt. White tees become unwearable quickly, so skip the costly designer versions and buy a bunch of good-looking inexpensive ones. Then replace as needed.
Short-sleeved black T-shirt. The best short-sleeve length is about 1/2 to 1 inch longer than a typical cap sleeve—it shows just the right amount of arm.
Long-sleeved white T-shirt. For a trim silhouette in white, choose a slim-fit T-shirt that skims your body but doesn't cling.
Long-sleeved black T-shirt. A surprisingly sophisticated layering piece, this works well under a dress shirt—or even a dress.
Black turtleneck. Consider investing in cashmere: You get more warmth with less bulk.
White button-down shirt. A fitted one will get the most wear: It's easier to tuck in and looks neat when left out.
Crisp white blouse. Softer looking than a button-down, a white blouse is a timeless addition to any wardrobe.
Crewneck sweater. Thin knits, in cotton or wool, layer easily for versatility and comfort.
Cardigan. A neutral shade goes with everything, and a longer style that hits at the hip flatters most figures.
A black dress. The “little black dress” is a cliche for a reason: It’s a wardrobe necessity.
Pencil skirt. This classic piece should be tailored so it grazes the tops of the knees.
Jeans. It's worth paying extra for jeans that fit and flatter. Your best bet? A pair made from stretch denim with no more than 2 percent Lycra. (The fabric will follow your curves while keeping its shape.)
Black pants. To get the most from this wardrobe staple, select a style made of an all-season fabric, like tropical wool or viscose.
Skinny jeans. Once considered a trend, they are now a denim staple. Skinny jeans look best when they don’t fit too snugly at the waist.
Khaki pants. For a casual, comfortable look, forget the pleats (a flat front is more flattering) and forgo the front crease.
Denim jacket. A dark wash and a slim fit look the most polished.
Cropped jacket: Made famous by Coco Chanel, this item has become a fashion mainstay. You’ll have more opportunities for pairing with one in a solid color or traditional tweed.
Black cashmere wrap. A fabric that was once seen only in fall and winter has become a year-round regular.

Fall Basics

Cotton waffle robe. Perfect over pajamas or after a shower, this robe is far less bulky than its terry cloth cousin.
The tuxedo shirt. The ultimate day-to-night top, it has a crisp quality that makes it a great multitasker.
Fleece vest. Terrific over a turtleneck or peeking out from under a coat, a vest offers versatility in unpredictable autumn weather.
Athletic sweatshirt. As comfortable as a flannel pajama top—but appropriate for wearing in public.
Lightweight waterproof coat. Ideal for traveling, this practical item looks as right with a skirt as it does with a pair of jeans.
Khaki trench coat. Structured and stylish, it’s a true classic.
Leather blazer. A trim leather blazer brings a little sophisticated edge to any piece. Add a scarf and you’re ready to go anywhere.
Peacoat. No longer just navy blue, peacoats come in a range of colors and a variety of lengths.

Winter Basics

Heavy sweater. Look for a big, chunky knit that’s both comfortable and stylish.
Cashmere hoodie. More luxurious than the cotton variety, this layering piece is a sportier version of the cardigan.
Dark-wash jeans. A wardrobe standby in the cold winter months that’s available in a variety of cuts. Keep in mind that boot-cut and wide-leg styles work well over boots.
Pantsuit. Wear the jacket and pants together to show you mean business—or treat them like separates to maximize their use.
Gray flannel pants. These stylish standards look great with brown, navy, and black—and also with brights.
Wool trousers. Look for a lined pair in fine gabardine wool, made with a twill weave, which won’t feel too heavy.
Down vest. Works best in a neutral color like brown, black, or navy, so you can wear it with anything.
Black cashmere wrap coat. Whether calf or fingertip length, this elegant item will work for day or evening.
Winter coat. Fur-trimmed, down, or wool, a winter coat should offer enough room to accommodate a sweater or jacket.

Spring Basics

Cotton polo. More tailored than a T-shirt, it offers cool comfort on even the stickiest days.
Cotton blouse. An airy and attractive springtime fundamental.
Printed tops. A few boldly patterned pieces add life and color to spring basics.
Lightweight cashmere sweater. Single-ply cashmere offers comfort in over-air-conditioned offices and movie theaters.
Cotton button-up cardigan. Combines the softness of a sweatshirt with the elegance of a cashmere sweater.
Lightweight waterproof raincoat. Easy to carry as a guard against spring’s fickle skies, it blocks wind and rain without weighing you down.
One-button blazer. A cotton or lightweight-wool jacket is a pulled-together layer that can be removed when the temperature rises.
Inverted pleat skirt. As good looking with a tailored button-down shirt as it is with a tank top, it can be paired with a jacket for a more professional look.
Capri pants. These ankle-baring bottoms look great with ballet flats or strappy sandals.
Chinos. Comfortable cotton pants that are durable enough for a day in the park but still look proper in the office.

Summer Basics

Bathing suit. A well-fitting one- or two-piece in a go-anywhere color like black, white, or navy never goes out of style.
Convertible strapless bra. This adjustable undergarment looks smooth and natural under a strapless dress, tank top, or halter.
Cotton pajamas. A pretty patterned pair works as both loungewear and sleepwear.
Built-in bra tank. Offering coverage and support (and an end to visible bra straps), this tank can be worn to workouts or cookouts—and even to the office, under a jacket or sweater.
Ribbed cotton tank. Originally made for men, these shirts are now available in female-friendly shapes. Pick one that fits your figure—it works well alone or under a suit jacket.
Cotton blouse. Choose a lightweight top from a range of colors and a variety of prints.
Cotton printed dress. Stay comfortable even in heavy-duty humidity.
Strapless dress. A white one will show off a great tan, but black, navy, and camel also work beautifully.
Khaki shorts. The summer-wardrobe equivalent of air-conditioning, khaki shorts keep you cool, comfortable, and looking crisp.
Cotton drawstring pants. A good-quality pair will take you straight from yoga class to lunch with a friend.
White jeans. Available in a wide range of styles, white jeans look chic with almost any warm-weather top.

Wardrobe essentials

The Basics
Build a strong foundation with a strategic selection of basics that will mix with almost everything in your closet.

Black tank: A white tank looks right at the gym and for casual outings, but a black one can be worn with everything from khakis to a cocktail skirt.

Crewneck sweater: Opt for thin knits in cotton or wool that layer easily.

Jeans: It's worth paying extra for jeans that actually fit and flatter. Your best bet? Stretch denim with no more than 2 percent Lycra (the fabric will follow your curves and keep its shape).

Long-sleeve white T-shirt: Looking thin in white doesn't have to be difficult. The trick? Choose a slim-fit T-shirt that skims over your body (but doesn't cling).

Khakis: Forget the pleats (a flat front is more flattering) and forgo the front crease, too. After all, these are casual pants.

Black turtleneck: Cashmere is worth splurging on―you get more warmth with less bulk.

White button-down: A fitted one will get the most use, because it's easier to tuck in and looks neater when left out.

Long-sleeve black T-shirt: A surprisingly sophisticated layering piece, this works well under a dress shirt―or even a dress.

Cardigan: A neutral shade offers the most versatility; a longer style that hits at the hip is the most attractive cut.

Short-sleeve white T-shirt: White tees become unwearable quickly―so skip the designer versions and buy a bunch of cheap ones, then replace as needed.

Black pants: Get the most out of these pants by selecting a style made of an all-season fabric, like tropical wool or viscose.

Denim jacket: A darker wash and a slimmer fit look more polished.

Short-sleeve black T-shirt: The best short-sleeve length is about 1/2 to 1 inch longer than a typical cap sleeve―it shows just the right amount of arm.

The Staples

Daily rations of these wardrobe workhorses will help get you through the week. Maximize versatility with neutral shades and classic cuts.

Wool skirt: An A-line style suits most figures, and pockets add practicality.

Black suit: Splurge-worthy? Definitely.

Pinstriped oxford: Update this classic by choosing an unexpected color.

Black dress: A shirtdress style can be worn every day, every season.

Silk blouse: A jewel tone accentuates the luxuriousness of the fabric.

Gray trousers: Charcoal pants look dressier than heather gray.

Fitted jacket: Leave enough breathing room for a sweater or a camisole.

Camisole: Go for an unembellished style and leave the lace trim for your lingerie.

The Statement Pieces

No closet is complete without a few signature pieces―the kind guaranteed to garner compliments (and attract notice if you wear them two days in a row).

Printed dress: Bold is beautiful, but large patterns work best when you keep the colors subtle.

Patterned jacket: Don't get overpowered by a print; show off your shape with a close-fit style and a shorter cut.

Bold blouse: Give a printed shirt top billing by pairing it with solid pants or dark jeans.

Graphic sweater: Pattern shy? Start with a neutral knit in a geometric design.

Tweed pants: In brown or black, they're a classic, but cream-colored tweed trousers are pleasantly offbeat.

The Evening Standards

Even die-hard homebodies need a couple of after-dark pieces, but you can also let these stunners see the light of day by pairing them with casual wear.

Velvet jacket: Whether you choose a modern or classic style, this piece will instantly upgrade your outfit.

Ruffled shirt: Don't go for all the frills. When wearing ruffles, skip the rhinestone buttons and fussy bows.

Cocktail skirt: What makes a skirt party-ready? It's in the details: Go for volume and embellishments such as beading.

Sparkly top: Sequins aren't the only way to shine: Metallics can be just as dazzling.

Velvet pants: With a heavier fabric, like velvet, black is the most slimming way to go. You can choose to save or splurge―there are styles to fit every budget.

The Showstoppers

Formal events may roll around only once a year, but it pays to treat yourself to a dress that guarantees a grand entrance every time.

Party dress: The rules of selection are simple: Choose a timeless style that is figure-flattering and, most important, makes you feel fabulous.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Most Perfect Love by Rich Murphy (

Love is one of those words that can be a little funny. It can be so vague as to defy description, or even definition. When we encounter it, we’re sure that we know what it is; even though we’ve never felt it before. When we ask others about it, they act as if they know all about it; but, they can’t define it for us; typically saying, “You’ll know it when it happens to you.”

Throughout the world, people say that they get married for love. But, just because they say they love one another, doesn’t mean that they really do. Let’s be honest with ourselves here for a moment. When we say “love” what do we really mean, anyway? What kind of love are we experiencing?

If it is really love, why is it so fleeting? Why do we have such a struggle to maintain that warm feeling in our hearts? How is it possible that just one wrong word or action from the other person can take away that feeling, and replace it with other, much uglier ones?

I have put years worth of effort into maintaining the feeling of love in my marriage; both in making sure I felt that love towards here, and that she felt that way towards me. But, even with all that expended time, energy, and even money, I can never be sure when something will come along in a second to try and rob that wonderful feeling of being in love.

Personally, I have always felt that if this great feeling was truly love, then it shouldn’t be able to be changed by something as transitory as a misspoken word. After all, isn’t love supposed to be timeless?

Maybe, if my love could be changed, or even destroyed that fast, maybe it wasn’t love after all.

If we want to know about love, we must go to the source of love, its inventor, Jehovah God. Since He is love (1 Jn 4:8, 16), He should know more about it than anyone else does. Looking in His book, we find that in fact, the Creator does give us a definition of what love is:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…

1 Cor 13:4-8a

Most of the time, we look at those verses, and think something like “what a wonderful bit of poetry;” or, possible, “yeah, I know.” But, have you ever taken the time to analyze that list of qualities, to make sure you understand it? Or, how a about using those verses as a checklist, to see if what you feel towards your spouse is really love?

I can destroy most people’s idea of their emotional love with just one of those qualities, the seventh in the list, where it says, “it is not self-seeking.” Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. How many of us can really say that we married our spouse for the purpose of being a blessing to them? Wasn’t our true motive more selfish than that? Didn’t we really marry them because we wanted to receive something from them?

All women marry because they want someone who will take care of them, buy them gifts, say sweet nothings in their ears, and otherwise be romantic towards them. You won’t find a woman who says, “From the first time I saw him, I just knew that I wanted to cook, and clean and iron his shirts for him.” No, she wants to receive something from the relationship.

All men marry because they want to have a regular sexual partner. They don’t marry thinking, “Oh, if I can just marry her, she’ll go to the mall and spend all my money for me.” Then I can smile at her and compliment her for the clothes she buys. No, he wants to receive something from their relationship.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to receive something from our marriage relationships; I’m just saying that doesn’t meet the definition of love that our Creator gave us.

You see, true love focuses on giving, not on getting. So, when we focus on getting, we’re not operating in love. In fact, that’s the opposite of love. When we focus on receiving, we’re self-focused; but, when we focus on giving, we’re focused on the other person.

Taking that thought one step further, when we look at our marriage relationships, we find ourselves dishing out our love in proportion to what we’ve received from the other person. If they haven’t given us enough to satisfy our wants and needs, we don’t give them what they want or need. Of course, nobody admits they’re doing that, but in fact we all do.

Let’s take for example a woman who doesn’t “feel like” making love with her husband? Why? Typically it’s because he hasn’t done enough to meet her emotional needs. Until he does, she doesn’t want to meet his. Or, how about a man who isn’t romantic towards his wife? He might say that he doesn’t know how to be romantic; but, the truth is that he doesn’t feel motivated to be romantic, because of something his wife is doing that he doesn’t like, or something that she isn’t doing for him.

Love is not supposed to be based upon conditions; it is supposed to be given away unconditionally. If we wait until the other completes our list of requirements, we aren’t loving them, we’re just rewarding them for good behavior.

We could actually take that whole list as a test of our love towards our spouse. If we do well on it, that means what we think is love, really is. If not, well, that means we have some problems.

Remember, this list is God’s definition of true love. It doesn’t say anything about being passionate, or about buying flowers. Nor does it talk about “how you feel in your heart;” it talks about the attitudes and actions that one portrays.

For each of the areas mentioned, rate yourself from 1 to 10; 1 meaning you fail in that area and 10 meaning you’re great in that area. If you don’t know what something means, give yourself a poor rating. After all, if you don’t know what it is, you’re probably not doing it. If you want, you can also rate your spouse as well.

This will only work if you’re honest with yourself. Don’t rate yourself higher than you deserve, or put what you think you should be; rate yourself on what you really do on a day to day basis. Just because you did something on her birthday, doesn’t mean that you do it every day. We’re not looking for a rating on your best day, but on your average day.

If you “feel it” but don’t do it, it doesn’t count either. One can say to themselves, “I’ll always be patient with my wife.” But, then, when he’s waiting for her in the store he’s growling to himself. In that case, the old saying “actions speak louder than words” is true.

True Love Self Test





1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10


1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Not envying

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Not boastful

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Not proud

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Not rude

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Not self-seeking

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Not easily angered

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Not keeping record of wrongs

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Not delighting in evil

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Rejoicing in truth

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Always protecting

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Always trusting

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Always maintaining hope

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

Always persevering

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

1 * * * 5 * * * 10

It’s amazing how many of those things can give us trouble. Take patience for example. We might think we’re patient, until we have to wait in a place where we don’t want to wait. How many men can wait patiently in a clothing store while their wives are trying on clothes? Or, how many women can wait patiently in the auto parts car, while their husbands are looking for some widget they don’t need, but want to install on their car?

Patience is only patience when we mange to remain patient in spite of circumstances; or in spite of the actions of the other person. If you can only be patient while waiting for your wife to get ready to leave if you’re watching a football game, you’re not patient. In fact, you’re probably hoping she’ll be slow, so you can watch more of the game. It’s true patience when you can wait for her to get ready to go to the game, even though she’s late.

Let’s try another one from the list; how about “kindness.” Are you always kind with your spouse? Ladies, when you have that time of month, do you speak with kindness to your husbands? Men, when you have a bad day at work, do you come home and tell your wife what a wonderful women she is?

Why is it that the people who are closest to us generally receive the worst from us? If they are the people we “love” shouldn’t they receive the best, instead of the worst? How can we say we love them, if we can’t even be kind to them?

I don’t want to go through every item on that list, so let me skip over a few. I already talked about being self-seeking, so I won’t repeat myself. But, how about the one that follows it; what about being easily angered? Do you find yourself being easily angered by the things your spouse says and does?

We all have little hot button items; seemingly insignificant things that can make us angry at the drop of a hat. Do you get as angry when your spouse does those things as you do when other people do them? Or, does your love overcome your anger?

You do realize that’s what God does, don’t you? Even though His justice requires Him to become angry at our sin; His love causes Him to forgive us. In fact, His love caused Him to pay the price for our sin; so that we wouldn’t have to.

Let me try and put that into the perspective of a marriage relationship. One of the common failings of men is that they throw their dirty clothes on the floor, instead of putting them where they belong. Many women are angered by this action, especially since they have to pick up those clothes that their husbands left on the floor. But, if that woman was thinking in love, she would not be easily angered. Instead of becoming angry at her husband for throwing his clothes on the floor, she’d pay the price for his “sin” by picking up the clothing, and putting it where it belongs.

That may seem like a pretty insignificant thing, but do you know that people actually fight over such weighty matters? Do you realize that when Christ went to the cross to pay the price for our sins, he also paid the price for the sins we committed against each other?

In the Old Testament sacrificial system, sins were divided into two basic categories. One would make a sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sins against God; or one would make an offering for their guilt for a sin committed against another person. When Jesus went to the Cross, He was the last sacrifice for both our sins, and our guilt. He is the only sacrifice we need.

The very next item on our list says, “not keeping record of wrongs.” I’m going to have to pick on the ladies here a little bit. It seems that they have a much better memory for these wrongs than their husbands do. Every time there’s an argument, the women are able to bring up every similar incident in the entire history of their marriage. I wish I had that good a memory!

Okay, I’ll have to admit that some things are harder to forget than others; especially events that have hurt us. But, where is the line between trying to remember something bad that happened and the memory staying with us whether we want it to or not? I think this verse refers to those who try and remember the bad.

I think you’re getting the idea of what I’m trying to say here. It isn’t what we think of ourselves that matters; it’s how we act that matters. We can think we’re okay; but, if our actions don’t back that up, we’re not okay. We can think that we’re acting in love; but if our actions don’t back that up, we don’t have love.

Have you seen how couples who have been married for years talk about each other? You can tell an awful lot about their marriage, just by listening how they talk. When their marriage is good, it is reflected in the good they say of one another. When it is bad, that too shows up in how they talk.

If we could turn the clock backwards on that same couple, to the time they were dating, we’d probably find them talking much differently; especially in the case of the couples who speak badly about their spouses.

When a couple “falls in love” all they see is the good in the other person; not the bad. Even when their friends point out the failings of the other person, they still can’t see those failings. Love or at least lust is truly blind.

Somewhere along the line, we stop seeing only the good in the other person and start seeing the bad in them. Now, I’m not going to tell you to ignore the bad in your spouse; every person is made up of a combination of good and bad qualities. It’s perfectly normal to see the bad along with the good. The real problem isn’t the bad that we find in our spouse, the real problem comes in when we focus upon the bad, instead of focusing upon the good.

So, if that person had enough good characteristics to overshadow their bad ones before marriage; why is it that the bad characteristics seem to overshadow the good ones a few years after marriage?

Marriage doesn’t typically make people worse, it makes them better. Most people, whether male or female, react positively to the responsibility of taking care of others. They may not know what to do or how to do it; but, they will do the best they can.

Typically, the problem isn’t in the other person’s bad actions that cause us so much trouble; it’s our perception of their actions that does. Or, let me put it this way: it’s not their bad actions that are the problem, but our bad attitude that is the problem. Because we have developed a bad attitude towards our mate, we interpret their words and actions bad. In fact, we magnify their bad words and actions to seem much worse than they are; while we overlook the good things that they say and do to us.

It is interesting to note that our perception of another person’s words and actions has more to do with how those actions affect us than the actions do. Each of us can easily twist something that is meant for good into something destructive, just by the way we accept it. In the same way, we can take something destructive that another person has said, and choose to ignore it; removing the sting of those destructive words.

Our attitude has a lot to do with maintaining a good, healthy, loving marriage relationship. If that is so, why do so many couples have trouble with bad attitudes? Why are they thinking so negatively about their spouses, the ones they promised to love “till death do us part?”

There are two parts of the answer to this question. The first part is found in the word “forgiveness;” and the second part is found in the word “decision.” Let me explain further.

As long as we are all human, we are and will always be imperfect. Since we are not perfect, we do imperfect things; things that can be misunderstood and things that hurt other people. Knowing this, we must make sure that we do not allow those things to stay in our hearts and lives. Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

Ephesians 4:26

Okay, that sounds like great advice; but, how do we put that into practice?

There’s really only two ways to get rid of wrath. The first is to forget the cause of the wrath; and the second is to forgive the offense. If we do like many people do, and just forget the offense which caused our wrath, then that offense stays in our minds and hearts, waiting until we stumble into its trap.

Because of that, forgetting isn’t really getting rid of the wrath; it’s only covering up the problem. The wrath is still there, it’s just hidden. All too often, another similar offense will trigger not only the wrath of the new offense, but the wrath that has been hidden along with the hidden offense. Instead of reacting normally to the new situation, we overreact, treating the offense as if it is much bigger than it actually is.

So, forgetting an offense isn’t really obeying the admonition that Paul gave to the Ephesians, it’s only pretending to do so. On the other hand, forgiving the offense eliminates the wrath at its root; it can’t come back, because it no longer exists.

Let me take a step aside for a moment to say this. Much of the offense and anger we have in marriage isn’t caused by what the other person has done, but our misunderstanding of what they have done. Remember what I was saying about attitude a little earlier? Because of our bad attitude, what is intended one way can easily be misunderstood another way. An innocent statement or action can become an offense; even though it isn’t intended that way.

To forgive another is probably one of the greatest acts of love. It, in effect, says, “It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, I love you anyway.” If we truly love one another, this will be our normal response. It doesn’t matter what the other person does, our desire to love them will overcome the offense, and motivate them to forgive.

Let me try and explain this with an example from my own life. When my wife and I started out in the ministry, we traveled in a motorhome that the Lord gave us. At the beginning, we had no idea how many years we would spend in that motorhome; but, we spent a total of nine years living in it. As you can imagine, spending so much time living in such a confined space was very hard on our family.

My wife was never comfortable living in that motorhome (which I really can’t blame her for), but she put up with it. Many times she had to pray, asking God to help her get through the day, or even get through the hour in that confined living space. When we were getting to the end of those nine years, she was at the end of her patience; she couldn’t stand it any more.

Wanting to do something about the situation, but not wanting to close down the ministry, my wife asked me to agree with her going back to work as a teacher in the public schools. That way, I could concentrate on the ministry, while she made the money necessary to move us out of the motorhome. Because of the nature of our ministry, neither of us could see a way that I could both work and minister. Although I was uncomfortable with the idea of her working outside the home, I consented.

The reason I was uncomfortable with her going back to teaching was that I knew there would be a price to pay. The price would be that she wouldn’t have time for the ministry, for the family, or for me.

She immediately found a job, and it went just as I thought it would. Teaching isn’t a nine-to-five job; it requires evenings and weekends for preparation and grading of homework. So, all of my wife’s time was taken up with her job, and she didn’t have time or energy for those things that I thought. Someone had to take up the slack, and that someone was me; forget about the fact that I didn’t have time to do it, I had to.

That’s where my problems started. I felt abandoned, rejected, and like everyone thought what I was doing was unimportant. In addition, my wife would expect me to take time from my work to help her with hers. I felt that was truly unfair.

Of course, the devil came along for the ride. He’s always looking out for an opportunity to bring division into our marriages. So, he was right there to tell me how badly my wife was treating me, and how unfair she was to me, and anything else he could think of to stir the pot.

Now, let me be clear on something here. She wasn’t doing anything wrong; even though I felt (emotionally) as if she was mistreating me. The problem wasn’t in her actions; it was in my attitude towards her actions.

Many times, the problems we have with family members and especially with our spouses aren’t for what they’ve done; the problem comes in how we accept what they’ve done. If we accept it well, their action was good. However, if we choose to accept it badly, then we react, both emotionally, and through our actions, as if they had done wrong.
Here’s where the forgiveness part comes in. I love my wife. I’ve always loved her. So, to react negatively towards her, for my perception of her actions, would not be in line with God’s definition of love. I had to deal with the situation on my own.

Okay, so how was I supposed to deal with the situation? There’s really only one way; that is to forgive. I had to forgive my wife for how I “perceived” she was mistreating me. Let me get something straight here. It doesn’t matter if someone has actually mistreated you, or if you just think they have, you still have to forgive. I wasn’t forgiving her for her benefit; I was doing it for mine. I needed to be set free from the feelings I had, she didn’t.

There is nothing that sets one free so much as to forgive another. As long as we allow the bad feelings towards someone to stay in our hearts, we are imprisoned by those feelings. But, at the moment we forgive them, we, not they, are set free.

Of course, the enemy doesn’t want us set free, so he’ll immediately work to bring us back under captivity. The fastest way for him to do that is to bring all those negative thoughts back to our minds. If we accept them, we also accept the hurt and bitterness that goes along with them. This puts us back into captivity. But, if we reject them, he just waits for a more opportune time.

Unfortunately, the devil can be very patient at times; at least, he was so with me. If I refused to accept those negative thoughts and feelings, he just kept coming back time after time, playing the same old recording over and over, until I did accept it.

Here’s the great secret that I learned from all this. That is, even though we’ve forgiven someone for something they’ve said or done, we may have to forgive them again and again and again. What I mean is that when we allow accept those negative thoughts and feelings, it is as if we’d never forgiven the person. Therefore, we need to forgive them again. Each and every time we harbor those thoughts and feelings, we need to forgive them again. We need to do it until our mind stops accepting all that negative junk.

There were times when I needed to forgive my wife twenty times in one day for what I was feeling about what she did. Even though she wasn’t doing anything wrong, I needed to forgive her. Even though I’d already forgiven her, I needed to do it again.

One of the truly great things about forgiveness is that once we forgive our feelings towards that person change. It is easy to feel like we can’t forgive someone, but if we decide to do it, as an act of our will, then our feelings follow our actions. Just the act of forgiving them opens us up to feel good about them once again.

Let me add this, as well. If we don’t forgive others, we can’t expect God to forgive us. Having bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart is a guaranteed ticket to hell. You don’t have to do any “big sins” just don’t forgive your spouse. Jesus said:

For if ye forgive men their trespasses (sins), your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses (sins), neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15 (parenthesis mine)

Ouch! If my forgiveness of others is a requirement for me to be forgiven, that gives me a lot of motivation to forgive others. I want God the Father to forgive me; so I’d better make sure I forgive.

Now, let’s tie this forgiveness thing in with the love thing and see what we get. I’ve said two things up to this point that are really important in making this tie-in. The first one is that our emotions follow our actions. The second one is that forgiveness is one of the greatest acts of love that exists.

Let me deal with the second one of those first. When we wait for the person who offended us to come and ask for forgiveness, we haven’t really acted in unconditional love. Our act of love is conditional on their asking for forgiveness. But, when we forgive someone who we feel has wronged us, even though they may not even realize how they wronged us; we are acting in unconditional love.

If you want to take even one step further (and we should), forgive them while they are still in the act of doing what is wrong; that is truly unconditional love; like what Jesus did on the cross:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Luke 23:34

This was the first thing that scripture records Jesus saying while hanging on the cross. Even though He was still suffering the cross, even though they were still killing Him; He chose to forgive them. That’s perfect unconditional love!

What I had said about our emotions following our actions was in the context of forgiveness as well. I said that many people struggle with unforgiveness because they “don’t feel like they can forgive.” However, forgiveness isn’t an act of our emotions; it is an act of our will. I also said that when we forgive, our feelings towards that person change. This is one of the truly amazing things about forgiveness, our emotions follow our actions.

However, this concept isn’t just limited to forgiveness; we can apply it to anything. When we take action, whether positive or negative, good or bad, our emotions will follow those actions. If we act as if we hate someone, doing bad things to them and speaking against them, we will find ourselves feeling hatred towards that person. If we start planning on killing someone, collecting the things we need, and seeking out the perfect opportunity; we will soon find ourselves wanting to kill that person.

On the other hand, when we start acting in love towards another person, we will find that we truly love them. It can be someone we don’t even know, but we’ll feel love towards them. Likewise, if we think positively about loving them, we will feel love towards them.

Remember, true unconditional love doesn’t wait for the other person to do what we think is the right thing, true unconditional love is expressed when we act in love while they are still doing what we feel is the wrong thing. That’s the type of love that Jesus said we are to have towards each other; a love that goes past forgiving, and expresses itself in both word and action, while the other person is acting in a way that shows that they are unworthy of our love.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Jesus is our example of perfect unconditional love. He showed us how to do it, then gave us a new commandment, the commandment of love. He expects us to love one another in the same manner that He has loved us.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:34-45

If we can’t manifest this love for one another in marriage, how will we ever learn to manifest it in the church. If we can’t manifest it in the church, how will we ever learn to manifest it in our workplaces? If we can’t learn to manifest it in our workplaces, how will we ever learn to manifest it in the world?

This is the great lesson that God taught me in my struggle, to love my wife unconditionally while my mind and emotions were telling me that she was mistreating me. How did I do that? By making a point of going out of my way to do some special act of love towards her, when those feelings would manifest. It didn’t matter so much what the act was, just as long as I did something. At times that would mean I would buy her a gift; other times I would fix her a special dinner (yes, men can cook in the home without affecting their manhood); still other times I would write her a love letter.

The result of those special acts of love was that my emotions followed my actions. Instead of feeling badly towards my wife, I would feel love towards her. Actually, I ended up feeling more love towards her than I had ever felt before. My affliction that was brought about by her working outside the home brought me to a point of greater love towards the one who I originally thought was afflicting me. How’s that for a change of heart?

Now, I don’t fix her dinner just when I feel I need to overcome negative emotions towards her, I do it every night. She works hard. When she comes home from school she’s hungry. If I didn’t have dinner waiting for her, or if I expected her to fix dinner for me, I would be a hypocrite in saying that I loved her; my actions would not back up my words.

Jehovah God, by His Holy Spirit, moving through the pen of the apostle Paul has given us men this commandment:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.

Ephesians 5:25

The word “love” in that verse is the word “agape” in Greek. It is the same word used in Romans 5:8 (see above) to describe God’s unconditional love towards us. If we don’t love in that way, we are in disobedience to God. The last I heard, that’s still called sin.

Ladies, don’t think that I’m just talking to the men either. Jesus said in John, chapter 13, verse 34 that we are to love one another. Once again, that’s the same word for Just as your husband is commanded to love you with an unconditional love, you too are commanded to love him with an unconditional love.

God’s love abounds towards us. It is plenteous throughout the earth. If we lack in love to give to our spouse, all we have to do is ask Him to give us more. He never lacks in abundant love and is always willing to give it to us.

If your marriage is lacking in demonstration of God’s unconditional love, repent before Him, and before your spouse. Don’t wait for them to do it; don’t cast the blame on the other person. Accept your part of the blame, and repent. Then, let God use you as an instrument of unconditional love towards your spouse. For doing this, you will receive a blessing in love so great, that you can’t even imagine it.



You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; and you shall love your husband as yourself.

You shall not make your husband into an idol, but you shall love, honor, respect and submit to him as unto the Lord.

You shall not take your husband's name in vain through gossip, slander, criticism, complaint or mockery; but you shall bless him both privately and publicly.

You shall work heartily as directed by the Lord and your husband, not by your own ideas of what should be done. You shall not be so busy working that you neglect to get alone with God every day. During this quiet time, you shall pray diligently for your husband. Be willing to put aside work in order to "play" when your husband asks you.

You shall honor your mother and father, but you shall not elevate their position or opinions above your husband's.

You shall not resent or revile or hate your husband, but you shall grant him grace, forgiveness and mercy and haseed love.

You shall not commit adultery, nor shall you think lustfully toward another man; but you shall thank God for your husband and be pleased with him.

You shall not steal from your husband. You shall not steal his marriage by threatening divorce. Nor steal his wife by leaving him alone all the time. Nor steal his time by placing unnecessary demands on him. Nor steal his joy by complaining. Nor steal his peace by endless nagging. Nor steal glances from other men by wearing provocative clothes and causing them to stumble. This defrauds your husband of an honorable wife, the other man of pure thoughts, and the other man's wife of her husband's faithfulness

You shall not lie to your husband, but you shall speak the truth in love. You shall practice a quiet and gentle spirit.

You shall not covet another woman's husband, children, friends, house, looks, wardrobe, possessions, talents and gifts, ministry, or any other thing that is hers; but you shall be content with all God has given to you.

Blessings and curses in the Bible

Sheepfold Gleanings


Deuteronomy 26:1 to 29:8
Isaiah 60:1-22
James 1:1 to 2:26
Romans 11:1-15

Deuteronomy 26:1-2 "When you enter the land that YHVH is giving you as a heritage, and you possess it and settle in it, you shall take some of every first fruit of the soil, which you harvest from the land that YHVH is giving you, put it in a basket and go to the place where YHVH will choose to establish His name."

There is an order here. First, that we enter the land. This is seen on a physical and spiritual level. Many people have come to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but physically and spiritually have not truly entered the land because of ignorance of His ways. They may have gone in to visit the land but not to live and take possession of it as YHVH originally commanded His people. The sinful natures, transgressions and iniquities from generations past will prevent YHVH’s people from fully walking in the Kingdom. If our sinful nature is allowed to live and rule in us, it will keep us separated from YHVH’s Kingdom. The Kingdom of YHVH is to be entered into. Many people spend a lifetime outside the land never venturing to enter in or understanding their identity as Israel. The only way you can enter the land today is through obedience to YHVH's teaching and instruction, the Torah. Without these instructions given from Mount Sinai we cannot enter in. The Children of Israel who left Egypt were never allowed to enter the land and journeyed for forty years in the wilderness because they did not follow the Words at Mount Sinai but instead stumbled over them. Moses is now teaching their children how to inherit the land. These are our ancestors and these instructions still speak to and guide us today. Those who believe in Yeshua have an inheritance in the land. The gateway is through Yeshua (Galatians 3:7, 29). We must take on the identity of the Messiah and walk in His gospel. Many of us say we believe but have not been able to walk in His footsteps or enter into the principles that govern the earth, i.e. YHVH’s moral, ethical and social requirements.

The second step of returning to the land is to take possession of the land. This must be done in our hearts first before physically possessing the land. If we do not identify with the land (which is synonymous with Torah) nor find our identity as part of Israel, how are we to take possession of it? As the land, the Torah and the people of Israel are all synonymous, let us look at our own lives. Do we have inhabitants within “our own lands” that do not belong there? Are we “mixing”? How clean is our camp? If Yeshua has died for everything so that we might live a life hidden in Him, why are we still the walking wounded? Why are we still dealing with bitterness, unforgiveness, resentment, retaliation, anger, hatred, violence, murder, envy, strife, jealousy, accusation, betrayal, rejection and rage, etc. toward one another or when situations arise in our lives? How is our health? Are we struggling with physical illnesses and diseases? Are we able to discern between clean and unclean ways, such as in the foods we eat? Can we love our neighbor as our self? The above list of various spirits that YHVH finds detestable is only a portion of what brings blockages in our lives and separates us from YHVH and His blessings. If this is going on in our lives, we may have to ask ourselves: Have we truly obeyed what YHVH taught us?

If YHVH has set us free, why are we not able to take possession of our land? It starts in our hearts first, beginning with the choice to wholly forgive ourselves, our family and others. Then, having love for one another, and offering up sacrifices of praise and worship in thankfulness to YHVH will be a natural response to the work He has done in our lives. We will have entered into Yeshua’s death that leads to His resurrection life and thus be able to offer this life to others. This is taking possession of the land. We are made of three parts: body, soul and spirit. We are to conquer all that hinders our walk and bring it into obedience to YHVH. To enter Yeshua’s life is to conquer the land within us. If we are not in Him, how can we see the growth, fruit, and signs and wonders of the blessings promised? We may need to reevaluate our walk and apprehend the priesthood He has offered us. (Exodus 19:5-6; 1 Peter 2:9; Hebrews 12:14).

More blockages that may prevent blessings could be ignorance in regards to YHVH’s Word or lack of knowledge of YHVH’s ways. For example: tolerating personal or generational sin issues, not have faith in YHVH but trust in man or when looking for signs, wonders and miracles, and have expectations of YHVH on our own terms. When we choose to be dishonest and participate in obvious or habitual sins, then these become blockages. Many of us have come to a knowledge of our salvation but do not walk in redemption through a sanctified holy lifestyle. We may still be partaking in sins that could lead to diseases and potentially death – sins such as bitterness, unforgiveness and fear. Other causes of separation from YHVH include: failure to pray, not caring for our bodies, not eating biblically acceptable foods, not resting on the Sabbath, murmuring or listening to gossip or idle talk, not blessing our wives or failing to take proper care of the widows, orphans and poor among us, to name a few.

1 Corinthians 9:23-26 Paul said, "I do all this for the sake of the gospel (Mosaic Covenant given at Mount Sinai that tell us how to receive our inheritance as Israel), that I may share in its blessings (Abrahamic Covenant defines the inheritance given to Israel). Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

The third and equally important step is that we settle in the land. There is a move by the Ruach Ha Kodesh/Holy Spirit and a call on people's hearts to enter, possess and inhabit the land. This is done in an attitude of righteousness which leads to holiness, for without holiness no one will see YHVH (Hebrews 12:14). Is this impossible? Not at all. Maybe we have given our lives to YHVH but never really given our hearts to Him. When we truly give our hearts to Him we see what is written on our hearts (Torah), and the Ruach Ha Kodesh/Holy Spirit begins to instruct us in that walk of holiness called redemption. We choose everyday to walk as YHVH designed life for us. In that choice the shackles of the past fall away, we conquer our minds and hearts for YHVH, and, in this way, we enter into the land. As we continue to pursue holiness we begin to possess the land, and finally we settle and have peace because we have become accustomed to walking in His ways.

When these three steps are carried out and we work the land that YHVH has given us, fruit is produced. We are to bring the first of this fruit (in Hebrew called bikkurim or “firstfruits”) in a basket before Him. “The terms ‘inheritance’ and ‘possession’ (in the sense of conquering) are often used in conjunction with the word ‘gift’ when referring to the Land of Israel. This is because the land that was originally given to Abraham as a gift was destined to be re-conquered by Abraham's descendants. Each generation must begin anew for itself the conquest of the Land." This is done on the spirit, soul and body level. (For further references to the land see parsha Va'etchanan – Deuteronomy 3: 25-7:11.)

Do we have a basket of bikkurim or “firstfruits” to present before YHVH, the fruit of our labor from the land He has given us? Many of us who have not entered into this walk of redemption may not have experienced His Fruit yet. The fruit is called signs and wonders and is what raises the dead, heals the sick and cleanses the lepers. These are called the elementary things that follow those who have a purified and holy walk in YHVH through Yeshua (Hebrews 6:1-2). We then become His firstfruits as we labor together in His field, white for the harvest (John 4:35; Ezekiel 37:1-14).

This is known as the order of Melchizedek (king and priest). When the House of Israel begins to walk in the ways of YHVH they bring the priestly order and receive their inheritance of “a land, a people and a blessing”. When the House of Judah begins to walk in YHVH’s ways they bring the kingly side and receive the same inheritance of “a land, a people and a blessing”. When both Houses begin to walk in YHVH’s ways in unity, as of one heart (2 Chronicles 30:10-12; Romans 15:5; Ephesians 4:3), David’s fallen tent (Covenant) is restored. This restoration ushers in the order of Melchizedek…last fulfilled by Yeshua. Thus, we are Yeshua’s firstfruits (Ezekiel 37:15-28; Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16-21).

James 1:17-26 "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of YHVH. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law (Torah) of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does."

We pray for a great return to YHVH’s ways that His people might enter, possess and settle the land (both spiritually and physically). May our baskets of firstfruits be overflowing as we come daily before YHVH, rejoicing in His abundant provisions.

Deuteronomy 26:12-13 "When you have set aside in full the tenth part of your yield in the third year, the year of the tithe and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat their fill in your settlements, you shall declare before YHVH: ‘I have cleared out the consecrated portion from the house; and I have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, just as You commanded me.’”

In Exodus 25 we have learned the Tabernacle was built on tithes. In Exodus 35, after the Tabernacle was built, the offerings were brought in to maintain it. In Leviticus 27:30, Numbers 18:26 and Deuteronomy 14, Scripture emphasizes the tithes maintain the Tabernacle and provide for the Levites, those who minister before YHVH and teach and uphold His Word to others.

Tithes are also set aside for the strangers, the fatherless and the widows among us. Today, as the Temple of YHVH resides in us, the tithes are foundational for doing His will plus maintaining our heart and walk before Him. YHVH blesses us, and we are to tithe from the portion He gives us. This tithe is consecrated, a sacred holy portion and a covenant of salt from our house. It literally has the mark of YHVH on it and is to be given freely, liberally and with great joy. Moses has taught us well, now it is up to us to carry out this fundamental commandment; otherwise we inhibit the blessings from flowing in our lives and in the Land of Israel.

When we have finished setting aside a tenth of all YHVH has given us, we stand before Him saying, "I have removed from my house the sacred portion and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow according to all you commanded. I have not turned aside from your commands nor have I forgotten any of them. Look down from heaven, your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land you have given us as your promised on oath to our forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey" (Deuteronomy 26:13-15).

Deuteronomy 26:16-19 "This day YHVH commands you to observe these statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. Today you have proclaimed YHVH to be your Elohim, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also today YHVH has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to YHVH, just as He has spoken."

By saying this, Moses is renewing the Covenant given them at Mount Sinai (found in Exodus 19-24) before they cross the Jordan River.

Deuteronomy 27:2-8 "When you have crossed the Jordan into the land YHVH is giving you, set up some large stones. Write on them all the words of this law. And set up these stones on Mount Ebal, as I command you today, and coat them with plaster. Build an altar to YHVH of fieldstones and offer burnt offerings there, eating them and rejoicing in the presence of YHVH. AND YOU SHALL WRITE VERY CLEARLY ALL THE WORDS OF THIS LAW ON THESE STONES YOU HAVE SET UP.”

When YHVH first gave this covenant to the Children of Israel, Moses built an altar and set up twelve stones representing the Twelve Tribes of Israel. He read the book of the Covenant to the people who agreed with all YHVH said. Moses then sprinkled blood on the altar and the people. This is called the “Blood of the Covenant”, which consequently sealed (like plaster) all the words spoken by YHVH and the people (Exodus 24; Hebrews 9:18; Hebrews 10:26-31).

Because their parents broke the Covenant with YHVH by worshipping the golden calf, forty years later Moses is told to renew this covenant with their children before crossing over into the land. The same Words that were spoken over their parents are now written very clearly on large stones covered by plaster, representing the flesh of the stones. They were then set up on Mount Ebal. Today, those who are in Yeshua now have written on their flesh the very words that Moses wrote on those stones. The Torah is written on our hearts. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

1 Peter 2:5 “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua Ha Mashiach/Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 10:26-31 “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of YHVH. Anyone who rejected the Torah/law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Deuteronomy 27:9 Moses and the Levitical priests spoke to all Israel saying: “Silence! Hear, (Shema) O Israel! Today you have become the people of YHVH your Elohim.” This is the confirmation of the Covenant of Moses.

Deuteronomy 27:12-13 "These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin; and these shall stand on Mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. The Levites shall recite to all the people of Israel in a loud voice..."

At their bases, Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal are only five hundred yards apart, with the town of Shechem lying between them. It is reported that there are eighty springs in or around the town. Shechem means shoulder, as well as to rise early in the morning. The town is a city of refuge forty miles north of Jerusalem in the region of Ephraim.

When Abraham was called from Ur, he entered the land and stopped here first to build an altar to YHVH (Genesis 12:6). It was here that Jacob buried his family idols and grazed his flocks at the well (Genesis 35:4; 37:12-14). Genesis 49:29-32 and Acts 7:16 records the patriarchs are buried at Shechem in the plot both Abraham and Jacob repurchased (Genesis 33). Jeroboam was crowned king of Israel here after separating and taking ten tribes from Solomon's son Rehoboam King of Judah. Shechem became the capital of Samaria for the Northern Kingdom, the House of Israel.

In the book of Joshua we read that, after entering the land, all Twelve Tribes presented themselves before this monumental place at the entrance of the land. Six tribes stood on one mountain and six tribes on the other with the Ark resting between them. In obedience to what Moses taught, the Levites declared in a loud voice the twelve fundamental curses from the Law of Moses over the Children of Israel. The last curse spoken over them was: "Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out." The people agreed and said “Amen” (“So be it”). Today may we also be a people, who know and understand the words of YHVH and say “Amen”, “So be it.” (Deuteronomy 27:15-26, Joshua 8:30-35)

After the people of Israel fully agreed, a condition was given. The condition was IF Israel would fully obey YHVH and carefully follow all His commands that He spoke through Moses. These words given Moses are still “speaking” to us today. The Mosaic Covenant is conditional. The Mosaic Covenant is YHVH’s teaching and instruction manual for the Abrahamic Covenant, the covenant that gave us our inheritance through Messiah Yeshua. If we obey Moses then we will inherit the land (the place of our identity and our inheritance), the people (i.e. become part of Israel) and be a great blessing.

Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says YHVH of hosts.”

IF we obey, we will be blessed. IF we disobey, we will incur the curses. Salvation is not the issue here. The issue is the act of obedience and our heart attitude. Our actions and attitudes are the “signs and wonders” or “fruit” that follow those who profess Yeshua as their Savior. Getting to know what the blessings and curses are helps us to see how we are walking in YHVH’s Kingdom. If we do not come to understand His teaching and instruction we will miss the message (Yeshua) and blessings. This is why we study Moses today. Those returning to the ways of YHVH are finding there is a direct correlation to how we walk that brings on the blessings or brings on the curses in our lives. In the past we may have blamed it all on ha satan. If we looked carefully, however, we might come to realize the lack of blessings may not have come solely from the outside but also from within. We need to look at ourselves and examine our hearts before YHVH. In what areas have we come into agreement with the enemy and his lies? The curses in our lives are signs and wonders warning us when we are outside of His will for our lives. The curses become a warning system to us. This is key. Knowing Moses is how we can know Yeshua better. How we enter His will is how we enter the land.

John 5:46-47 Yeshua said, "For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"

Deuteronomy 28:1-14 Blessings For Obedience to YHVH's Word
"IF you fully obey YHVH and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, YHVH will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey YHVH: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

"YHVH will establish you as His holy people, as He promised you on oath, IF you keep the commands of YHVH and walk in His ways. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of YHVH, and they will fear you. YHVH will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. IF you pay attention to the commands of YHVH that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them."

Just before Moses was to die, he renewed the Covenant with the second generation of those who left Egypt. Just before Yeshua’s death, He renewed the Covenant with His disciples and Yeshua renews the Covenant with us, those who are leaving Egypt (i.e. the iniquities, pagan ways and influences that yet remain in our hearts). The Covenant that was once written on stone tablets and on the twelve stones in the desert is now written on hearts of flesh sealed in Yeshua’s blood, the Blood of the Covenant. The circumcised hearts of flesh are then able to enter the Land and enjoy the Sabbath Rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4:1-13).

Luke 22:20 “In the same way, after the supper [Yeshua] took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new Covenant in my Blood, which is poured out for you.’”

Today we are the living stones, and the children of those who had broken the Covenant (1 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 4:1-13). At this time we are being restored, renewing the Covenant through Yeshua’s blood that was sprinkled on us. Through obedience and the walk of redemption in Yeshua, the Torah today is not written on plaster and stone, but on our hearts – of living flesh! We are sprinkled with the living blood of the Messiah (1 Peter 1:2). The “blood of the Covenant” literally seals us into the Covenant through Yeshua the Messiah. All that was given at Mount Sinai and that was renewed before entering the land is sealed in our hearts by His blood. Our walk of obedience to the Covenant, called the walk of redemption, is the “mark/seal” upon us.

What signs and wonders do we display today before our family, friends and “the nations” we are amid? Are our signs and wonders, blessings or curses, or are they a mixture of both? May we be a people who make holy choices and live in abundant blessings! May we embrace and walk in all the Words spoken so that we may enter the land and see our families live in peace (Revelation 3: 15-22).

Deuteronomy 28:15-44 Curses for disobedience to YHVH's word
"IF you do not obey YHVH and do not carefully follow all His commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you” (Deuteronomy 28:15).

"YHVH allows curses to come upon His people due to our transgressions (sins), many of which go back to our forefathers. “Transgression" literally means to cross or to go against YHVH’s will. This is our active refusal to acknowledge and observe the Torah (YHVH’s teaching and instruction) in our daily lives.

"The Torah describes in detail blessings and curses as consequences of our life choices. As a consequence of our actions, we either choose His way (blessings), or suffer from the consequences of disobedience (curses) in our own lives. Both of which may be passed down to the third and fourth generations. Curses that are passed down from generation to generation are known as iniquities. Transgression is the disobedience we willfully do on our own. Our transgressions can become iniquities. The decisions we make today not only determine our destiny but could determine the destiny of our children and their future generations. It is very important to recognize these as sins in our life and to take responsibility for them. Then to repent, renounce and remove it from our life. Finally, to resist it and thank YHVH for the victory in restoring you and healing you.

"Do any of these following curses apply to us or to anyone in our family? These signs and wonders in our life are YHVH's warning that we may have stepped outside His instructions for life and are touching the realm of death. (Deuteronomy 28:46) Fear, stress and anxiety are a major plague in the people of America today. It is also the root of many diseases. Bitterness is a principality that hosts unforgiveness, resentment, retaliation, anger, hatred, violence and even murder. Attitudes of the heart are the basis for many physical ailments and diseases in people’s lives, diseases that can bring death. Disease comes from within.

“Many curses are brought about by internal sins (iniquities) stemming from third and fourth generations or from this generation. The sequence of sexual sins may lead to mental/emotional breakdown, poverty then to rage/anger. (A More Excellent Way, Henry Wright)

1. Mental and / or emotional breakdown includes: madness, driven mad (Deuteronomy 28:28,34); confusion of heart or confusion of mind, depression (Deuteronomy 28:20,28); a trembling heart or an anxious mind (Deuteronomy 28:65); anguish of soul or a despairing heart (Deuteronomy 28:65). The areas affected are described as the heart, the soul and/or the mind.

Possible root causes: Occult involvement whether white or black magic, paganism, earth worship (wicca, new age), involvement in secret societies i.e., Freemasonry, Lodges (Elks, Moose, etc,) fraternities, sororities, etc., involvement in horoscopes, astrology, Ouija boards, tarot cards, etc. Possible symptoms/consequences: confusion and depression and emotional rollercoasters, rebellion.

2. Repeated or chronic sicknesses (especially if hereditary) include: plague or plagued with diseases (Deuteronomy 28:21); consumption or wasting diseases (Deuteronomy 28:22); severe burning fever (Deuteronomy 28:22); inflammation (Deuteronomy 28:22); incurable boils (Deuteronomy 28:27,35); tumors/cancer (Deuteronomy 28:27); scabs or festering sores (Deuteronomy 28:27); incurable itch (Deuteronomy 28:27); blindness (Deuteronomy 28:28); extraordinary, fearful, prolonged plagues like diabetes (Deuteronomy 28:59); serious and prolonged sicknesses or severe and lingering diseases like cancer or heart disease (Deuteronomy 28:59); every other kind of sickness and plagues (Deuteronomy 28:61). Either these are inherited through generations or brought on by self-inflicted.

Possible Root Causes: Bitterroot judgments or unforgiveness (especially towards parents, spouse, ex-spouse, and employers) or against anyone who abused or molested you; late onset of diabetes and asthma often result from bitter root judgments against your parents, and /or against present or past spouses, fear, stress and anxiety.

3. Barrenness, a tendency to miscarry or related female problems
The key phrase from Deuteronomy 28 is "Cursed shall be the fruit of your body" or your womb (Deuteronomy 28:18). This curse may affect any of the various organs or functions involved in procreation. These include: inability to conceive; a tendency to miscarry; fetal death during or before childbirth; endometriosis; failure to menstruate; irregular menstruation; debilitating menstrual cramps; frigidity; cysts, tumors or other growths or structural defects affecting any of the various organs connected with the reproductive process; any condition leading to hysterectomy; prostate cancer in men; low sperm count in men; sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Possible Root Causes: Many causes relate to violations of the laws of Niddah. Scripture is very clear about not having sexual intimacy with a woman during her monthly flow for seven days (start to finish) (Leviticus 15:19-33). Cervical cancer or other female related problems can be linked to violation of this law. Other possible root causes are: Bitterness or unforgiveness. Fornication outside Torah principles (marriage), pornography, abortion, affairs, soul ties (flashbacks of past relationships), comparing your spouse with your own or their parents, oral sex and masturbation (which is a homosexual act - witchcraft).

4. Breakdown of marriage and family alienation
Deuteronomy 28:41 "You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity." Possible symptoms/consequences: Divorce; poor relationship with parent/grandparents/in-laws; rebellious children; abuse to spouse and /or children' neglect or abandonment of children, causing them to be orphaned; critical or judgmental spirit, accusations, envy/jealousy.

Possible Root Causes: religious pride, anger, not honoring your parents. Note: divorce will cause us to live in poverty for a season, whether spiritually, mentally or financially.

5. Continuing financial insufficiency
Deuteronomy 28:17 "Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl or trough; 'You shall not prosper in your ways or you will be unsuccessful in everything you do." The full outworking of this curse, however, is most graphically presented in verses 47-48; "Because you did not serve YHVH with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom YHVH will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of all things [absolute poverty]."

Biblically speaking, God's abundance is having all you need to do God's will and something left over to give to others. We must recognize that there is a higher level of wealth than just the material (Proverbs 13:7).

Possible Root Curses: Adulterous affairs, pornography, and greed. One of the biggest areas of continuing financial insufficiency is related to sexual immorality. The spirit of lust is a root of both financial insufficiency and sexual immorality. Typically, when one is involved in sexual immorality, their spirit cries out in the form of anger and rage. They cannot save money because of the lust for more things or uncontrollable spending.

6. Being accident-prone
“You shall a blind man gropes in darkness” (Deuteronomy 28:29). Including: freak accidents, carelessness, impulsiveness, and unnatural impulse to do harm to another or to animals, an unusually high number of vehicle accidents.

Possible root causes: molestation, abuse.

7. A History of Suicides and Unnatural or Untimely Early Deaths, including: thoughts of suicide or trying to commit suicide; lack of joy in your life; critical or judgmental spirit; self-hatred; untimely death of family members due to murder, suicides, or diseases that took someone's life at an early age.

Possible root causes: Abuse, molestation, occult activity. (End of quote from Mikvah by STBM, Rabbi Ralph Messer)

Along with the list above, eating outside Biblical guidelines for our wellbeing further aggravates many of our health issues (including mental/emotional breakdowns, repeated/chronic sicknesses, and female problems).

We suggest that if the symptoms above from Deuteronomy 28:15-68 are more evident than the blessings from Deuteronomy 28:1-14 in one’s life, the notes at the end of this teaching may help. Yeshua's blood purifies us, yet we can incur contamination, which keeps holiness and righteousness far from us. The walk of holiness and the process of cleansing is our part and our choice. It is not a salvation issue, and the law still applies under Yeshua’s blood. With the High Holy Days coming, this is the time and season for repentance and a good time to cleanse our temples.

Romans 11:1-15 The Remnant of Israel
The Torah portion for this week closes with Paul sharing about YHVH’s plan for the remnant coming from the Nations and for the Jewish people. For those choosing repentance, cleansing and a walk of redemption through holiness, Paul uses the picture of an olive tree. Olive trees need to be engrafted with a wild olive branch in order to survive. The root and the tree is Yeshua, the Vinedresser. The tree also represents the Torah. The natural branches represent the House of Judah, the Jewish people, and the wild olive branch represents the remnant of the House of Israel coming from the Nations.

In the grafting process of an olive tree, the vinedresser first cuts off a natural branch, causing it to fall to the ground. This causes the bark on that cast-off branch to harden for a time. The vinedresser then goes out to find a wild olive tree and cuts off a strong branch, bringing it back and grafting the wild olive branch into the natural olive tree. The cut/grafting is called a “scion” (Strong’s G1461) pronounced “zion.” He uses worn High Priest garments, called “swaddling clothes”, to wrap the grafted wild olive branch to the natural olive tree. For three and a half years – the length of a Torah cycle – the vinedresser checks daily to see if the grafting will take. After that time, if the wild branch has adapted, the cut or “circumcision” is no longer visible. The wild olive branch has become like the natural branch of the olive tree. Then the vinedresser gathers the natural branch that fell and hardened for a time and grafts it into the same place that the wild olive branch had been grafted into. This process takes another three and a half years for a total of seven years. Each year represents a thousand years, corresponding to the seven thousand-year plan of YHVH. (Olive Tree: 7000 Year Redemptive Plan of God Rabbi Ralph Messer)

The wound in the natural olive tree is likened to Yeshua’s death on a tree, and his pierced side, when blood and water poured out. It was this moment the two sticks of Israel/ the Houses of Israel and Judah were grafted into the true olive tree (Ezekiel 37:15-28).

“I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Nations. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Nations, how much more their fullness! Israel (the Jews) has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Nations has come in and so all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:11-12).

Isaiah 61:1 “Because YHVH has appointed me to preach the good news to the poor."

Yeshua quotes this passage in the Brit Chadasha/New Testament in Luke 4:18-19. The good news is the gospel YHVH gave Moses at Mount Sinai. Yeshua is the one Moses said would come to bring the good news to the people as the fulfillment of those Words spoken at Mount Sinai. He is our Redeemer and our Salvation.

Shabbat Shalom
Carl and Julie Parker

The Mikvah:
The Mikvah is a Biblical practice of water immersion through which people around the world have reached out to YHVH for spiritual renewal and repentance from disobedience especially for believers for thousands of years. It encourages people to look deep within themselves and acknowledge any known or unknown sin or disobedience that they or their forefathers may have committed. After going through each section on the curses in Deuteronomy 28 listed in this lesson, ask the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) to bring to our attention things that may have been forgotten due to traumatic events that may have occurred earlier in our life. Write down any curse patterns that show up in our lives. We then invite YHVH to cleanse us of all iniquity and transgressions through a personal prayer of repentance through Yeshua. Mikvah’s grant us an opportunity to turn away from our former ways and to choose a deeper, more whole relationship with YHVH. First forgive ourselves, and then forgive everyone who has hurt us physically, spiritually and emotionally. (Colossians 3:12-13)

"Hebrew tradition identifies three stages in the process of forgiveness, whether you are being forgiven or you are forgiving other. The steps are identifies by the words 's'lechah' (forgiveness), 'm'chilah (letting go), 'nad kapparah' (atonement). Forgiveness begins with the conscious intention to forgive. But if the process ends there, the feelings of guilt or resentment reappear when you least expect them. Letting go means, '' you no longer need the past to have been any different than it was.' At this stage, you may remember the pain, but you are no longer consumed either with guilt or resentment. With atonement, you can accomplish something positive that otherwise wouldn't have been possible. You still remember, and you still may feel the pain, but the act of atonement transforms the pain into a blessing." Rabbi Ted Falcon, PhD.

Prayer of Confession before Mikvah: "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I ask You to forgive me of my disobedience, iniquities and transgressions. I forgive my forefathers for turning their backs on Your Torah. I forgive all those who hurt me physically, spiritually and emotionally. I ask that all demonic influences be bound and not permitted to operate in my life according to Torah, and that your Spirit be loosed to operate in my life according to Torah, to rule and reign in my life, and to help me walk out Your Will. I ask this in the name of my Lord and Savior, Yeshua Ha Mashiach. Amen.

In the month of Elul, the preparation month for the High Holy Days, many are preparing themselves for YHVH's Feast days: Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot/Tabernacles. People are coming to YHVH confessing and cleansing their bodies and souls (hearts) before Him.

How to take a Mikvah: Home Immersion
At home, fill the bathtub (or if you just have a shower with a couple of inches of water), get in, then turn the tap or shower on and let the water drain out of the tub while you submerge in the water. This way the “living/fresh” water washing cleanses the iniquities and transgressions. If there is a lake or fresh water source close to immerse in, all the better! (1 John 5:6-8)

If you do not know your Savior Yeshua Ha Mashiach we invite you to share this prayer with us: “I believe that Yeshua of Nazareth is the promised Son of God, the Messiah of Israel. He was crucified for my sins, was buried and arose the third day according to the scriptures. I believe He is ascended up into the heavens and all power in heaven and earth is given unto Him. I believe He has promised to return and all that believe in Him and are immersed into His name will receive remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit and citizenship in the Israel of God. I receive His forgiveness for my sins this day and confess Yeshua of Nazareth as my personal Lord and Savior.” Amen

Do you believe with all your heart that the Lord Yeshua is the revealed person of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Make your confession now of the oneness of God and your vow to love Him.

"Hear O Israel, YHVH the Father, Our God Yeshua the Son, And YHVH the Holy Spirit Is One and the Only God." "I vow this day to love and serve YHVH the God of Israel with all my heart and with all my soul, and with all my strength, and with all my understanding. I believe that when these words are in my heart and in my mouth and before my eyes, then it will be counted for me for righteousness. And God will not impute unto me my sins, but will cast my sins into the depths of the sea, and He will pour out His Spirit upon me, giving me a new heart, and He will give His angels charge over me to keep me and prosper my way. I believe salvation is not of works of righteousness that I have done but according to His mercy whereby He saves me, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit whom He promises to pour out on me abundantly through faith in Messiah Yeshua, our Savior.”

Now upon confession of Lord Yeshua, immerse in the Mikvah into the Name of Yeshua, the revealed person of: The Father, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. And the God of Peace who brought up Yeshua from the Dead, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, now cleanse you of all sin and fill you with the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit), making you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, though Yeshua, the Messiah, to Whom be all glory forever. Amen. (Quote from Mikvah by STBM Rabbi Ralph Messer)

Call to Torah by R. Munk Mesorah Publications, Ltd.
Parsha Va'etchanan:
Deuteronomy 28 Curses and Mikvah: by STBM Rabbi Ralph Messer
Blessings and Curses by Derek Prince.
A More Excellent Way by Henry W. Wright
The Olive Tree by R. Ralph Messer 7000 Year Redemptive Plan of God

Sheepfold Gleanings written by Carl and Julie Parker
Mail: 6655 Royal Avenue; P.O. Box 94014; West Vancouver, BC; V7W 2B0 CANADA
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Monday, August 31, 2009

Suzannes diary for Nicholas - Favourite Book - 5 balls

The lasting lesson in Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas is the story of five balls. In it Life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. Every day you keep them all in the air. Then you come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls are made of glass. When dropped, they will probably shatter.