Re-routing

Although some may disagree, life is fair in the way that you get out of it what you invest in it. It is fun because we all blindly wake up not knowing what will happen and walk through to the evening never knowing what will happen. Sometimes the great Lord gives us detours in our day-to-day life.

Yesterday I was blessed to have a detour. My family and I skipped church to see God’s beauty in a different form by going to a few community art shows. Towards the end of the evening we decided to go to an art gallery that we hadn’t gone to before. Well, the parking was full and we ended up accidentally taking a detour. The next block after the gallery laid a high class apartment building. Somehow in hopes of finding a parking spot we end up behind this apartment building in an alleyway and,  let me note, that my family has lived in this city for years and has passed by this building hundreds of times. It turns out that large Victorian homes are tucked away in a busy intersection. This was one of the blessings of Shabbat.

The second blessing arrived moments after the first one. Once a parking spot was foun, I finally was able to enjoy the art. Now, art shows are almost as much about the social aspect as the art. It’s about running into old friends, making new ones, and meeting the artist. It is a type of atmosphere that you have to experience and words cannot explain. In the midst of all of the people I ran into a dear friend that God has given me. This lady is very special to me. This was only the third time that we have seen each other ever but yet I am very blessed. She told about what God is doing in her life amongst other things. I secretly hoped to be a little introverted that night. This was definitely God re-routing my evening, but it was 100% worth it.

In a day the Lord will always be sure the sun rises and the sun sets, however, when He sees fit, He throws in hail storms, warmth, wind, spring storms, and snow storms, but it is your own atitude that decides if you dance in the rain. Embrace every moment.

If my family hadn’t been desperately looking for a parking spot, we wouldn’t have found  the beautiful houses. I was extremely fortunate that these detours were good ones; however, life doesn’t always play out that way. As I live in this life that’s full of blessings, some of which I can see now and some that I don’t understand, yet I learn it always works out best to be open to directional  changes because you never know where He will lead you until you actually move forward in that way.

Blessings,
~Lama Leah

sTeReOtYpEs

Do you ever notice that notice that who look like each other are often friends with each other? No matter where you go Aclose friends will often times have similar occupation, world views, social class, and maybe even dress like each other.

I understand why people do this. We find comfort in spending time with others who are just like us. We relate to each other. This is great. I don’t have many close friends but those friends that I do have act just like me. As much as I love spending time with others who have similar views on things as religion, ethics, and politics, I can’t do that all the time.

In my journey of self educating myself, I have noticed some pattern`s between people who always had the same friends who were just like them. The danger that lies in having friends that are not diversified  that too often occurs called stereotypes.

STEREOTYPES ARE DANGEROUS! Often times stereotypes are far different then what they appear to be. One example, out of many examples that I have of how a stereotype was rebuked for me, was when I was very young. Now my parents sheltered me to a degree. They didn’t shelter me as in trying to not expose me to the “evils of the world” but they sheltered me by not always telling me what the typical stereotype of how the world sees certain groups of people. When I was very young, I was lucky to serve others who had disbilities. Through that I quickly learned that those with disabilities are not any less of a person because their body works differently than mine. By having the opportunity to serve those different than me it really has changed my perception on stereotypes.

I argue that if you don’t expose yourself to those in different cultures you will have more biases towards others. Building relationships with the weird, lost, broken, and different will give you a  deeper love for others. In the book of Matthew it says that the greatest commandment of all is to love the Lord and the second is to love others. If you are doing well with the first one, you most certainly will be succeeding at the second one. God doesn’t put limits on who to love. He just says to love others. By building relationships and serving everyone, you will be following exactly what His law says.

You may be thinking “this is great, but how do I find diversified people?” The answer to this is easy — just look around! Become involved in your community and get to know others. Go to coffee shops and at about any coffee shop there’s going to be a cork board advertising different cultural events in your community, read the newspaper and be on the look out for upcoming events and classes, volunteer at places you wouldn’t normally go, ask everyone what their stories are, and anywhere you are ask questions.

If done in a biblical way, the Kingdom will be expanded and you will become a more well rounded person. Don’t think of new friends by labeling them as the world labels them. Think of them as being a child of God whom you can minister to, and most importantly be a light to others in a world of utter darkness.

Be the Change You Want to See In the World

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Gandhi

This quote means more than words can express. This entire blog is based off of this concept. My entire life I have witnessed, learned, and experienced things about the world othat I would love to change.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you most likely have picked up that I am passionate about a wide variety of topics and subject matters. I have a tender heart and so sometimes things bother me that would not particularly bother others.

One thing that bothers me immensely are misconceptions of the messianic po. Christians can be cruel in their words and sometimes actions to Gentile messianic but paticularly the Jewish ones. I have gotten to experience first hand what the these are when my parents put me in a Christian school.

When I started attending this school I was the very first person that most other students and staff HAD met that has any knowledge of the Jewish/Messianic faith. When someone meets a minority it is easy to single them out/unknowingly bully them because they don’t know how to respond to someone of a different culture than they are use to. Some incidents that have happened I have not been sure if it was intentional or unintentional because my culture is completely different than the ones I’ve been around at school  (although this year another Jewish student came so that makes two in the school).

In hopes of changing misconceptions of the messianic faith, I have started to become more vocal about my faith over the years at my school. I answer questions my peers have and try my best to explain the differences between my faith and their faith. I am constantly inviting others to my Synagogue  (although only few have taken me up on my other) and I often write about messianic misconceptions on Lamaleah blog.

In my own school I am sneaky about witnessing to the staff. My mother and I are a team in this. My mom is extremely talented in the kitchen. She has few recipes that are flops and even when the recipes don’t turn out as intended she still rescues it and tastes amazing. 😊 Well, there are several biblical Jewish holidays and most of them involve traditional delicacies. For  every holiday my mom leaves treats in the teachers lounge. She makes something and I write  about the holiday and creatively display it.

By doing this I am ministering but I am not doing it in ways that will draw others away. Sometimes when you desire to make a change, you have to do it in quiet, peaceful ways.

Gandhi made changes in the world that he wanted to see. However, He had to do it in sutle ways in order to be successful. In my quest to Dubuque myths in the Messianic faith I have learned lots here are a few tips to be successful in making the  change  that YOU want to see in the world.

1) Be kind
This  is mandatory! None will take an aggressive person seriously.

2) Know what you believe and why
If you don’t know why you believe what you believe, how will you change anything?

3) Be open
Be open to discuss things with anyone and listen to differing opinions.

4) Be ready to stand alone
You will lose friends when you stand up for something.

5) Be a strong leader
Lead by setting examples of the change that you want to see.

6) Always love
Love everyone all the time.

7) Don’t settle for anything less than what your goal is.
Be bold and stand up for your beliefs. Ask yourself what you’re willing to risk by achieving your goal and remember the reason why you wanted to make a change in the first place.

Until Everything is Complete

Dayenu! Mazel tov! Latkes! Any of those words sounds familiar? Well, most of the words previously mentioned are common words to know? even if you have not been exposed to the Jewish culture.

Because of my location that I have grown up in, few people outside my synagogue know that ethnic Jews and Gentiles believing in a Jewish Jesus live in my area. I sometimes think that there’s little knowledge of the small little Jewish communities that exist in my area of the country.

When I try to begin explaining my religious beliefs to many/most Christians a typical response is, “Jews cannot be Christians” or “That’s not biblical; Jesus abolished the law so it does no good to follow it.” Something such as that will/has been said.

For some reason the only holiday I can convince skeptics about Messianic Judaism is Passover. Dozens of people who claim the name of Christ, say that Passover is a holiday to at least go to a service because Jesus celebrated it. This does not make one bit of sense to me because even though in America Jesus is pictured as having blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin, he IS Jewish, not Norwegian, as Americans tend to portray him. As a Jew, he would have celebrated all of the biblical holidays as a part of the culture. I don’t know about you, but anything that Yeshua did, I want to do, too. Isn’t that enough? As much as I want to write about reasons to observe Jewish holidays this isn’t this weeks topic.

Too often when I invite someone to a holiday or a regular Shabbat service I get a response of, “I went to one of those services one time. I don’t need to go again; I’ve already experienced it.” Or “My Church {Insert denomination} did a Passover Seder once, I’m an expert. I don’t want to go: I already know everything.” These comments deeply bother me because those who say things similar to this when I invite them to synagogue it becomes obvious that they don’t want to expand their knowledge of Christ because He was Jewish. Then culture that one grows up plays a huge role in their worldview and how they view life.

How weird would it be if you celebrated your birthday just one time? Do you set up a Christmas tree just one time in your life? Do you attend church one time after being saved and call yourself connected with the beliefs and people in the church? No, mostly likely you observe these things yearly or weekly. If you celebrate holidays such as Halloween,  making and distributing Valentine’s cards, and other non-biblical holidays, how do you justify these holidays over God’s appointed ones?

The Bible commands us to observe the Jewish holidays until the end of time on this earth untill everything that God said will be done, is done. Not once in your lifetime but every appropriate time according to the moons. Did you just skip over that in your Bible study? Or did you simply interpret this as this portion only being for the Jewish people? Make sure to read Romans 11 about that. 🙂

I challenge you to take Old Testament holidays equally as serious as the New Testament.

Shalom Y’all!

Worthless Insecurities

Valentine’s day! My absolute favorite holiday. This is my last post about V-Day I promise! Well at least for a year. 😉

Yesterday I had a “Makeover day.” I was going to a school dinner with a honorable young man and went to a salon to have my hair and makeup done.

Well lets face it, when a girl walks into a room they compare themselves to every other girl in the room. The more confident that one is, the less need to compare themselves.  Every lady has insecurities about their appearance. It does not matter how confident one is, they will still have insecurities.

All of my life I have been insecure about my eyes. I have been made fun of for them for many years, and before others started making fun of them I was still insecure. Bullies have said lots of things about them. One year for a science project I made it all out of googly eyes, just to show it to the bullies in my class.

For my dinner, I asked the makeup artist to do smokey eyes. I am highly vulnerable about my eyes. Someone who influential in the modeling industry came over to talk to me. They started a conversation with me, and complimented on the very thing that I am most insecure about… my eyes! He told me that I have eyes and lips that models have.  My mother recognized this person and came over to join this conversation. To my embarrassment my Mother tells this person how bullies make fun of my eyes. In a nice way they told me that I am stupid if I believe them because I apreantly have good model eyes. I am not sure if they were just being nice or if he was genuine. However it was encouraging.

This really made me think about insecurities in general. Humans degrade ourselves and others all of the time. I will believe what bullies say about my eyes. This is not the first person, “In the industry” who has told me this a few people have in fact. However I still don’t believe anyone who actually knows what they are talking about if or when they say something positive about my appearance.

Ladies do this all of the time too.  G-D CREATED YOU IN HIS PERFECT IMAGE, AND YET YOU STILL BELIEVE WHAT OTHERS SAY INSTEAD OF REMEMBERING THAT G-D ULTIMATELY KNOWS THE PERFECT STANDARD. Why do we do this? You were created in HIS image then why does it matter what anyone else about your appearance? You are beautiful in your own way. Why don’t you believe it?

What good does it do if you listen to those who don’t know anything about beauty instead of the one who created beauty itself? HE created YOU and knew YOU before you were born. Isn’t that good enough for you?

Go Ahead and Call Me an Angry Feminist

I gladly call myself a feminist. To many the word feminist is almost a cuss word. After realizing that I am a feminist, my (former) friends first response was, “Feminist are annoying.” Honestly I had no idea how to respond to this comment. She went on to explain how if women were truly equal, men would not be “socially obligated” to do things such as opening doors or paying for dates.

Before you make any assumptions about me, I am a conservative feminist; I am not an advocate for abortion (although I have mixed views on it), I am not a man hater, I don’t argue that women are always physically stronger then men, I am not an agressive person about my options, and I know that I am not going to change anyone’s opinion about this topic who is already set in thier opinions, I just ask that you keep an open mind while reading what I have to say.

I think the word  appalled would be appropriate when I started to really learn how girls are treated differently then boys. I was in a new friendship with a male and was in a vulnerable frame of mind and was searching for companionship in the form of a friend. Well, this so called friendship did not go as I would have liked because he became angry with me. He wanted to do some things that I was not comfortable with and I let him know that I would not participate in those activities. Before I knew it he was saying things to me that were not G-d honoring. I told him to talk to me like a lady and he told me he didn’t have to do that. Then he is started dropping the f-word repeatedly and calling me a b**** because he didn’t get his way.

 At this point I knew that the friendship was over, but I wasn’t going to walk away after being spoken to in this manner. I told him to respect me and he told me that he doesn’t have to do that because I am a girl. That makes sense, right? Basically because I have different body parts I don’t have to be respected. What does it really matter? We are both human; we both have legs arms, eyes, and ears and so what makes one susceptible to harassment and one isn’t? It is kind of like saying one skin color has the right to bully another based off of something they cannot control.

The media portrays women as sex objects and these boys are learning patterns as to how to treat the other gender. Is it a horrible thought that ladies are more then physical beauty but are also intellectual beings? 

I am a feminist, but I know that there wouldn’t be a need to be one if our views of each other hadn’t become corrupted. If both genders genuinely respected each other in godly ways. G-d created men and women to be different but we set man made limitations on each gender. In the Christian culture, we label men and women and put limitations as to characteristics in each gender. Men are not suppose to show emotions and are to be physically and emotional strong leaders; women are suppose to be physically beautiful, good cooks, and a soccer mom. While there’s nothing wrong, per se, to have these characteristics the Bible does not explicitly say that two genders are suppose to have these in particular.

I am for women rights and for women to be portrayed for more then just a sex object. You call that being an angry feminist, I will take that as a compliment. 

Yes, I Do Dance at Church

As I have written about before, my parents have raised in me in the Messianic Jewish church/traditions. Well, in the region of America that I live in, there are few Jews (believing or non-believing). I have grown up mostly around those who are middle class, Christian, and Caucasian; middle class, Catholic, and Caucasian; middle class, atheist, and Caucasian. You kinda get what I am saying. Everyone is basically the same. Outside of my friends from Synagogue, most everyone does not understand or make an effort to understand Judaism. It’s unique and not the everage Baptist, Pentecostal, or Catholic church.
Things that seem normal to me, seem obscure to others who are not familiar with the Jewish and especially Messianic traditions. I will never know what it’s like to wake up on Christmas morning as a young child, or to have a free Friday night without being guilty about not going to Shabbat, or not know how hard it actually is to blow a shofar. This are simple things that I have learned not every Christian has become a custom. Especially when I try to explain how Messianics praise through dance I will get a response similar to the following:

Person, “So did you actually say that you dance at church?!
Me: “Yeah… isn’t that normal?”
Person: “No that’s NOT normal!”
Me: “Umm, I don’t really understand.”
Person: “Dancing is NOT for church.”
Me: “But it says to praise Him through dance.”
Person: “Okay if that’s what you think. You don’t eat bacon so obviously your theology is a little wacky anyway.”

When I try openly talking to (conservative) Christians about dancing at Church I always get an unusual response. Depending on who it is, they will always say basically the same thing, “That dancing is not G-d honoring,”  “Dancing leads to sexual things,” “We do not need to ‘dance’ to get G-ds ‘attention.”

It may be just because of my theological background but I have a hard time responding to this.

In several areas of the Bible dancing is mentioned and to my knowledge it does not ever mentioned in a bad way. The book of Psalms is filled with verses about dancing. And so when is it ever okay to just take out parts of the Bible because it is not something that you are a custom to.
Psalms 149:3 “Let them praise HIS name with dancing; let them sing praises to HIM with the timbrel and lyer.”

To those who shy away from dancing because “It leads to sexual things,” I can’t argue with that too much but I can expand your thoughts. If one is truly worshipping G-d through dance, it will not be sexual or lead to sexual things because it is a reflection on Him. If you observe one completely praising HIM through dance, you will not be thinking that it leads to the bedroom.

Lastly, to those who say praise dancing is not profitable because we don’t need to get G-d’s attention, think about it this way. He created the universe, the birds in the sky, He knows the number of hairs on your head, and went through torture for YOU, so why would you not desire to give HIM your highest praise? He knows and created everything around you and yet the stars still shine at night. What makes you want to say that you don’t need to dance to get G-d’s attention?  Yeah, you don’t need to do anything to get HIS attention but HE does do everything in deserving our praise.
Yes, I do dance at church and I would have it no other way.

HE Completes Me

Ladies, it’s that time of year again! Valentines day! As I have mentioned earlier, this is my favorite non-Jewish holiday. This holiday features some of my favorite things: chocolate, the color pink, and red, and lovey dovey stuff. Oh, it’s my favorite time of the year. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to the Valentine’s day section of Target in anticipation and my home was decorated for this before New Years; I decorated on Christmas eve day because what is one who does not really observe Christmas suppose to do on the awkward days of Christmas eve and Christmas day? All of the stores are busy, it’s cold outside, and many places are closed and so I find pleasure in just staying at home during those retail oriented days in December.

For me, Valentine’s day is an exciting time of year. Growing up my mother always attempted to make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast and my family would have a little celebration in the morning at home.

Well, as I have become older the whole Valentine’s day thing has gotten less fun and games and more serious. I am in the awkward stage that Valentine’s day is no longer just fun. It is romantic  for many in my age group. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of romance but sometimes I think it becomes overrated to a certain degree.

As Valentine’s day comes closer, I, and probably everyone reading this, will see or hear someone proclaim that their relationship completes them. Isn’t that special?

This saying comes from the understanding that soulmates exist, no one can ever be complete without being in a emotionally and sexually satisfying relationship. Everyone is walking around with a puzzle piece trying to find someone that the piece can fit with. Sometimes around Valentine’s day people walk around trying to force that puzzle piece to fit and by the time that Purim comes around those are just two puzzle pieces all alone without having a fit. To my readers, what is the point of forcing a relationship to work for the holidays if you don’t think that the relationship with last in the long run?

Let’s pretend that it is Black Friday. You have been shopping all night and you finally purchased an iPhone 7. You have wanted this item for months since Apple has announced it. You have been dreaming and planning on buying it for a long time and you simply cannot wait to play with your new device.  You already know what apps you want to add and have a case picked out. The moment of purchasing it has come. You are extremely excited to open the box and play with it. Several hours into playing with the phone the battery is dead and you are bored with it. You hoped that it would satisfy your desires, but instead put you in line for the next apple device. The longing and expectations that you had for being satisfied did not last more then a few hours. You ended up disappointed and just wanting something else.

I used this analogy because this society seems to do this with relationships. We count on a significant other to fulfill and satisfy our deep emotional needs. However, when one person or one item does not do this, we continue to search in new relationships or toys and eventually have too much stuff that we don’t know what to do with, or single and just more hurt than you had been because in what you were hoping to become complete in ended up not doing for you what you hoped for.

Relationships are great. Whether it is in a form or friendship or romantically. I truly believe that sometimes romantic relationships do not always work out but were still meant to happen. Sometimes a significant other can teach you life lessons about experiences and cultures, even if it does not end with a wedding ring. The same goes with friendship.

However, healthy Christian romantic relationships should draw you closer to G-d than to each other.  It should be challenging each other in your faith and testimony. A relationship will have a hard time surviving if you truly believe that your significant other will complete you because you will end up emotionally empty at the end of the day.

BEFORE pursuing any kind of romantic relationship, you need to discover who you are in Yeshua and that HIS BLOOD is the only thing that will TRULY complete you!

Men and women were created for each other, but in the unity of G-d. When Adam and Eve took G-d out of their plans that is when they sinned. So how is that different from modern day boyfriend / girlfriend relationships?

G-d creates in HIS image so how does that not make you special in HIS sight, let alone anyone else’s? If you completely believe this, then why are many of my generation still searching for fulfillment outside of HIM, because that’s clearly not how life is suppose to be?

As Valentine’s day quickly arrives, I challenge you who are or desire to be in a romantic relationship to SEEK your identity in Christ – not in any thing, position, or anyone. If you truly do this, your life will drastically change.