If We Took Worship Songs Seriously …

Shabbat Shalom! I hope that you have had shalom with God this weekend. I have been disturbed with a phenomenon going on in the church. This is not a new trend by any means. The phenomenon is worship music! Sounds kinda strange and off beat, right? Well, in some ways it is.

I sit in synagogue, chapel, or Bible study and witness the same thing over and over again: myself and my siblings in Christ sing songs with lyrics they don’t truly desire. Songs that invite the Rauch HaKodesh in the room and ask Him to challenge our faith but with no comprehension of what that means.

When you truly invite the Rauch HaKodesh in your presence many events can happen that requires a lot of responsibility. Sometimes a special apearance from the Holy Spirit happens and He will ask you to do certain tasks that deep down you may not truly believe that you can accomplish.

Songs about faith are similar. I think that sometimes we want amazing things to happen when we are finished with the song. Sometimes that does happen! Many times God allows your faith to be tried in ways we don’t want it to be, then blame God for it when in reality we asked for it. You may be joyously singing about faith on a Sunday morning at Church, then when you are ready to go home and car won’t start, it becomes a little uncomfortable. It’s a test of faith that you don’t want. 

I’ll tell you a little story about my own experiences singing about faith. About two years ago I thought that I wanted to become a missionary in the entertainment industry. I prayed for God to open doors. Less than five minutes after praying for this He gave me an opportunity for an audition. I had a month until the audition and I didn’t truly know what song I was suppose to sing until about a day before my audition. The song was about calling on God when you are in danger. Well, by the grace of God I received a call back and I needed to have another song prepared. The song “Oceans” by Hillsong United was one of the top Christian songs on the charts at the time. I began working on it and practiced any chance I got (the car, doing homework, and any spare time I ever had). The lyrics of part of the song goes, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.” I thought this was perfect because I thought I was being called to be in this field at that particular time in my life. I was praying secretly, “Spirit, lead me to a runway show, or a stage to perform on for You.” I was asking for the faith for God to send me to Los Angeles. I thought that’s were I was suppose to be heading. I went to the call back and had the time of my life. I created memories with others who were also auditioning and the topic of bullying came up and I had the opportunity to share a little bit about my story of being bullied. It was really the first time I was emotionally strong enough to talk about it. I cried but I healed some that day. Well, that day I didn’t make the cut. They did tell me that I did have an opportunity to work with them, however, that season was not my time. There were many tears that day. I still believe that I will be called into some aspect of the entertainment industry, however, I do not know when.

I sang to God for faith to do amazing things but instead he gave me the strength to have faith to heal. It’s not what I was expecting — not at all. It wasn’t what I wanted but it was so much more.  I challenge you to consider the lyrics the next time you are worshipping through music because sometimes what you may image God is going to do, He won’t allow at the moment. 

Bring A Little Color Everywhere You Go

“Bring a little color everywhere you go.”

Doesn’t that just sound fun? Well, I (unintentionally) did just that today. About a month ago my friend asked me if I wanted to try a cultural experience. I’m always up for trying new things so I eagerly agreed. My friend took me to a Mennonite German fundraiser. She told me that she’d introduce me to German food. I was excited. This morning when I was selecting a outfit my mindset was to pick something conservative. What I ended up finding was a pair of colorful tie-dye-style high waisted loose pants, a crop top with a cami underneath (you couldn’t tell it was a crop top because my pants were so high waisted), black sandals, and to complete it a hippie headband. I was proud of myself for finding a modest but yet stylish outfit. I wear outfits simular to this to school and I go to a conservative Christian school so I thought this was socially appropriate.

When my friend came and picked me up she made a little comment, “You may stick out a little.” Oh, I sure did! I forget that when you get out of the city fashion isn’t a big deal anymore. We drove an hour out of town but the social atmosphere changes as if we were in a different country. Suddenly, wearing jeans and a t-shirt was fashionably acceptable. One of my first thoughts was a line from the theme song from the television show, “The Nanny.” The line goes, “She’s the lady in red when everyone else is wearing tan.” But my song would’ve gone, “She’s the lady in a hippie headband when everyone else is wearing sneakers” or something like that, but, of course, it would rhyme. 😉

Although I was overdressed I didn’t feel out of place. I dressed in my own style even though I got a few funny looks. I wouldn’t have changed my clothes even if I had the chance. Ironically, the verse of the day on my Bible app was Romans 12:2; this verse states the following:

“In other words, do not let yourself be conformed to the standards of ‘olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will agree that what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.”

Don’t let others preferences change who you are or make you be uncomfortable.

Don’t be conformed.
Stand out.
And leave color everywhere you go.

Lama Leah: The Reason Behind The Name

Happy weekend everyone! May you be blessed.

I have writers block. By nature I’m not someone who plans things out. I didn’t really know what to address this week and so I decided to tell you more about what Lamaleahblog is really about and why I named it this.

A llama is protective by nature. If you haven’t been able to tell, I am protective. I am protective of the not-so-popular point of view. I am especially protective of the messianic Jewish movement. I see the Jews go through persicution daily even from so-called Christians. I believe that social change can happen if we get rid of stereo types and begin treating those who are different from you as people.

Llamas don’t fit in, neither do I. I have a vast variety of interests and I don’t solely fit in at any one place. Llamas are put into farms to protect animals and they don’t look like they belong there, but they continue to do their job. I do the same. I’m a city girl with social just and I go to a small private Christian school and students have sports on there minds. I’m a intellect but I’m not academically smart, and I have deep thoughts but no one would expect it.

I can’t tell you how many times people have me that I can’t do something. I’m not typically respected because of who I am. I’m not a good orator and I’m not confident to share my thoughts. After many deep thoughts I was sitting in class I thought to myself, “Why don’t I actually share these thoughts?!?” Nobody will ever know what I’m thinking if I don’t actually express them! I found a journal that I had written in when I was in elementary school. When I read it, it was basically a Lama-Leah post just on paper with the same format and everything. I look back now and think, “Where would my writings be now if I started sharing them when I started deep thinking?”

I know not everyone appreciates what I write about. I have gotten my fair share of “Hate mail.” I’ve also been overwhelmed by the amount of postive feedback that I’ve received. As far as the hateful words, at least someone is reading and thinking about what I’m saying. I eventually want to take Lamaleahblog and do more public speaking with it. I rely on God as to how far this project is going to go. If you have any ideas for content please let me know! Blessings to you.

Beautiful Music Through The Walls

Happy Wednesday! God has been teaching me a few things and I cannot wait to share.

Recently I was at school and had a free period. I decided to practice a vocal solo that I have coming up. Not very long into my own little practice session, sound from someone else practicing was coming through the wall. My peer was in the room next to me playing her violin. The violinist is one of top musicians in the state. As I listened to her I thought to myself, “Why can’t I play my violin that way? I’ve been taking lessons almost as long as she has!” Not too long reality set in. I have not dedicated as much effort to my instrument as I could; I don’t practice as much as I should. Early on when I started playing I had a few bad violin teacher experiences and I let that affect my willingness to invest into it. Part of me plays because I’m the fourth generation to play on the specific violin that I play. I want to be the one to continue this tradition, and I want my kids to play the violin that I played, as well as my dad and grandma. My friend plays violin so well because she loves it and devotes many hours a week to it. I dedicate maybe a few hours and that includes the time that I play in my hour long lesson.

In countless ways this little scenario reflects on many Christians walk in Christianity. In the church we tend to compare each others journey. I have found myself comparing my growth to those who have had a personal relationship for much longer than me and think, “Why am I not as spiritually strong as…. [insert name].” But I can’t compare myself to that.

Sometimes a dangerous thing to do is to hear missionaries speak. This is dangerous because many times missionaries are challenged to live boldly for God and growth comes with that. However, in America God isn’t really accepted, but you won’t have (hopefully) any punishment for living boldly for God.

Countless times I hear about people deciding to be luke warm Christians because someone had a bad experience with a legalistic Christian.

I attend a small Christian school and this next point is close to home. The reason a countless number of my peers are Christian is because their family is. That’s awesome if you decide to follow God and your family does, too. Remember to make the faith your own. Heavens gates don’t unlock because your parents were followers.

Most importantly many have lack of motivation for personal devotion. Can anyone relate? Simply go into a Christian book store and without looking hard you’ll find books called “Five Minutes with God” or similar things. Why is there a need for these books? It’s a discipline issue for sure. I understand that it’s hard to find time to get into the Word but praying can happen anywhere anytime.

I’m guilty of falling into every one of these traps as I search for a deeper relationship with God. I challenge you to exam your own heart. Now I need to go practice my violin. 🙂

Hands Cuffed

Forgiveness brings emotional healing, even when the person who was in the wrong did not seek forgiveness. Some would even use the analogy that forgiving is “as sweet as walking into a candy shop.” Forgiving is in no way saying that what the other person did was okay but rather saying I see past that and I’m not holding a grudge anymore.

I am a caring person. Sometimes I may even become too caring at points and take on other people’s problems. At a young age I figured out how to get people to talk about things that they would have normally kept private. Even in my very young age I had several conversations with people that the world would consider to be  victims. Victims of bullying and rough household situations mostly. Because of this I have a huge heart for victims.

I love serving the victims of the world. I am often times praying for healing over them. A verse came to mind when I started to ponder the other side of victims – the abusers. James 5:8 says: “Confess your  sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful and affective.”

When you are in the middle of a sin it chains you down. Confessing it to man can be relieving but also terrifying because a lot of sin breaks not only the biblical law but the courts system law as well.

When I read James 5:8 for the first time I realized something, the abusers are people, too! I know it’s obvious but embarrassingly in my mind I think of these people as being horrid creatures forgetting that they need help in forms of emotional and spiritual realms just as much as the victim does. I would hope that they get legal justice but I still hope that they have a positive and wise mentor who helps them get out of the chains of their sin and began a new godly life.

My Uncle Nick is a godly man who does this. Once a week he goes into the local prison and has a men’s ministry. For years he has done this and because of his willingness to serve, hundreds of prisoners are going to heaven.

If we don’t invest in the victims and the abusers too, we are impacting society in negative ways. I say this because its extremely hard for an abuser to change their ways even if they have a desire to. It’s only through Christ that this can happen, but how can a transformation take place if they don’t even know Christ or have Christ like examples in their life?

You have to be someone special to be involved directly in this form of ministry. You MUST have decernment, strength, and caution. However, everyone can pray. Powerful things can happen through faith in Him. With faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains. What’s stopping you?

Lessons From Queen Esther

Chag Purim Sameach–happy Purim to you! Some of my most memorable synagogue memories are of this holiday! Something about going to church wearing a costume and eating Hamentashens is exciting to a little girl.

If you don’t know the story of Purim read the book of Esther. Queen Esther saved the Jewish people from being murdered purely for their Jewish blood.

Esther was a brave girl. She wasn’t someone to wait for someone else to take action, but rather stepped in herself. She was willing to sacrifice her own life for the lives of others. She used her beauty to her advantage and did what seemingly the impossible, and most importantly she was selfless.

Who is the Esther in your life? How would the world be different if everyone who claimed to know Christ took on character of Esther? The Jewish people have always been under attack how many are willing to fight for them?

Historically Irena Sendler is a hero for saving Jews. She saved over 2,000 children from Polish concentration camps. What kind of lives would those children have if none tried to save them?

In America there’s not much physical persicution of Jews, or at least not much that we here about in the news. It probably won’t always be that way however. What are you willing to sacrifice to save others?

An Empty Tomb Vs An Empty Plastic Egg

Chocolate bunnies and colorful eggs, Easter Sunday is coming up!  As I have mentioned before, I have grown up a Messianic household observing biblical Jewish holidays. My family has not personally observed this holiday in over twelve years. I personally don’t remember observing this holiday with my immediate family, however I have family who celebrate this holiday and have gone to Easter related events in honor of my protestant family.

I embarrassed to admit that I have participated in the Easter bunny. I have hunted for Easter eggs and have had an Easter basket. I am trying to erase those memories because I have always been exposed to the evils of the Easter bunny from individuals of my congregation. I must note that I had a big rebellious stage growing up and participated in pagan events that many Christians code as being Biblical. Since that stage of life I have repented and have learned what I believe and why.

During this time of year I always get a little bit grumpy. Now and at Christmas time I try to be in a good mood but I’m usually not. At this time of year it become extremely obvious as to who’s really following God and who is following the world, and sadly most are following the world.

I say this because Easter, especially, is filled with pagan traditions. What Easter stands for in itself is pure, it’s when the world starts making their own traditions that it starts to become tainted because humans are tainted and sinful creatures by nature. It’s wonderful if you are going to celebrate Yeshua rising from the dead! Remember why you are celebrating this.

This year in paticular, I have heard about more and more Christian churches hosting big events exalting the “Bunny”. My question is why? Christians say that Jews forgot why they follow the law and find meaning in the law instead of God, but they can say the same about Pagen traditions in Christian holidays? The difference between my synagogue having a large Passover Seder versus a Sunday church having a community huge egg hunt is that God commands us to observe this holiday and egg hunting has deep roots made from false gods.

My intention is not to point out these Church’s in a bad way, but question. I’m questioning your motives. If the motive of a church hosting a big Easter bunny extravaganza is to “bring families to church,” I think there are more effective ways to do so. Any parent who does not want to hear about Christ, will not bring their children to a church egg hunt. If you want to bring families to church start by taking care of their physical needs first, then their spiritual needs. Maybe instead of churches having huge Easter egg hunts they could have a big community Easter dinner or a clothing distribution day. How cool would it be if instead of celebrating the miracle of Easter to serve HIM instead of taking part of traditions that are anything but Christ like.

I am going to argue that all of the “fluff” that comes with Easter is the enemies way of distracting us from the real reason Christians celebrate this holiday in the first place. Satan CAN’T STAND that Christ rose from the dead because in that Christ defeated Satan! The enemy tries so hard to stop God’s children from following Christ. Unfortunately, this is working in so many churches today. It’s sad because we can combat this through Christ’s blood, but how many are really doing that and desiring to celebrate Christ in a pure matter? I could attend any Christian church on Easter Sunday and hear talk about the bunny; in fact I might hear even more talk about “Easter fluff” than the real reason for the season. Christians have dumbed down the miracle that Yeshua defeated death and have put this in the same category as a fictious bunny and plastic colorful eggs. How can you not say that Satan isn’t trying to use his weak powers to take away from Christ?

I don’t write to please readers, I write for readers to look at topics in ways that they may not have before. I do ask that if you have something negative to say about this specific post, please contact me in a private manner. I would love to have feedback. You can contact me at: lamaleahblog@mail.com

Two Full Days, Four Powerful Lessons

Happy Saturday lamaleahblog readers, I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend. On Wednesday I went on a small road to visit my big sister and came back today. I learned several things while on this adventure and this week I’m going to share with you some of the things that I have learned.

1) It’s okay to relax.
It sounds simple but it’s harder than some think. I have been under a lot of stress and it’s been hard to relax. However I realized it is actually okay to relax.

2) When you don’t have the the right supplies, be creative!
On my first full day there, my sister left with instructions for me to make homemade applesauce. If you have never made applesauce before, you need something to smash the apples with. However, I had one little problem, they didn’t have anything to do this with. By the time it was time for the apples to be mashed the two other girls who live there came home. Both of them wanted to help and had ideas as to how to get the job done. Some ideas where using a whisk or even a hand mixer. However, with team work and creativity we were able to get the job accomplished.

3) Sharing about truly difficult journeys bring emotional healing in the long run. Yesterday my sister left with the instructions of, “Get out of the apartment today!” I personally desired to stay in and watch Netflix. I decided to at least search for something to do. Well, I had forgotten that a Starbucks was near by. I hadn’t eaten lunch so I set out by foot in search for some food and caffeine without any particular plan, but I knew the general area that I was headed. After stopping at a few stores, I decided to go to a favorite local cafe. The last time I was in there it was a hard night. That visit to the beloved cafe, I shared with someone pain that I had been keeping inside for many years. I was crying and was unintentionally making a small scene. It was hard because I’m not one to really share my personal feelings with anyone. This visit was much more delightful. I was alone this visit and brought my poetry journal and reflected how much I have actually healed since the last time going in there. I had come to the realization that, that particular evening I emotionally healed more than I had in the years that I had kept that chapter of my book to myself.

4) Your dog will always welcome you home. I am very close to my two dogs. I was ready to come home. By the time I got home I was tired and little was on my mind. I was home for almost ten minutes before realizing that my furry babies had not said “Hello” to me. I asked my parents where they were and they told me that the dogs were running around in the backyard. I went back there to tell them that I was home again. My sweet Pomeranian ran to me and tried to jump into my arms; this was a special moment for me. This reminded me how special it is when God greets a lost Christian coming back home to Him. Just the way my dog does, He misses us and is patiently waiting for you to come home.

Everyone turns away from God at some point, however, it’s the uniqueness of when you come to Him when He Ftruly welcomes you back home.

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Once Upon A Time

The world is obsessed with telling stories. In nearly every aspect of life stories are being told and heard. Television, books, art, social media, dance, plays, and performances. All of these elements of life are telling a story. We try to escape our own reality by living through someone else’s even if they are fictional plot lines.

I love to story tell by creating my own stories and retelling familiar ones. I do most of my original story telling through art on a canvas all through my emotions, use of color, and then portray my message through these elements. I also retell stories by my music. Vivaldi is my all time favorite composer. I am in love with his style of compositions. With my instruments I retell something that someone else has already written, within this I add my own interpretation of what I think the author originally intended the notes to be played. Or change it a little bit by using different dynamics and note variations. It doesn’t matter what instrument I use. It could be violin, or even my voice.

Whether you want to believe it, YOU TOO are a story teller. How you live your life is a reflection of your compositions. You have the power to make it a best seller or have it barely be read. However, so the unexpected is always listening to your stories you are telling. Your stories are compiled upon how you do the mundane in life and most importantly how you walk  the pages of life.

If your life was a reality TV show would others want to watch it because of the monotony or how you told your adventurous stories.

Be-YOU-tee-FULL

To a woman it is dangerous to read a magazine, especially, fashion magazines. Women of all ages are constantly bombarded with images of what the media says we are suppose to look like, especially teenagers. Teenagers are vulnerable and ultimately looking for acceptance. February was National Eating Disorder Awareness month. I apologize that I did not reflect on this issue during February, however, I realize that that I can write about this on any day.

During my childhood I was vulnerable, even though I had many once-in-a-lifetime experiences, I ultimately wanted acceptance in society. I often times thought that I wanted to be a “normal little girl living a normal life.” I wanted to wake up early, get on a  school bus, and live a slow paced life. I dreamt of going to a Sunday morning church with my family. My parents did take me to Sunday church when I asked them to but it was different because a lot of people knew that my family left the entire conventional church to “do some Jewish thing.” Even though I was little when I went to attend normal church, I felt maybe a little looked down upon and really out of place. I didn’t have the same traditions or beliefs as the other children and I didn’t go with my family as many did. I live in the mid-west. There are not many Jewish people, especially Messianic Jews and Jewish culture is looked down upon to a degree, but then again, it’s probably looked down upon in every part of the world.

I never knew where exactly I belonged. I still don’t. Outside my identity in Christ, I don’t have anything. As a young child I struggled
immensely in trying to find my place. I tried about a dozen sports (ice skating, karate, gymnastics, etc.), several odd hobbies, and many other things butbultimately I still didn’t feel accepted by society. In several places, some not God-honoring things where said to me because of my Messianic background. I would not abandon my beliefs because It feeds so much into my idenity.

Well, I couldn’t find my place in this world, but I could look/dress like society in hopes of being accepted into some form of it To put this into perspective, I was very young when my parents started going to Synagogue. I was almost five years old and my body image issues started around then. I didn’t know much in my young age, but I did know that the skinny girls where the beautiful ones. I would watch T.V. or movies and see this expectation of what I was suppose to look like. Even my doll’s looked this way. There wasn’t any reason why I shouldn’t look this way. At the age of seven years old someone told me that I needed to lose weight and I started a diet for the first time. I would work out constantly (let me clarify this was the only time in my life I’ve been willing to work out) and restrict food. This was not an eating disorder, just a diet, but this was the start of my journey of having a distorted view of food and my body. From my first diet it led to another one to another one. I became a pro at dieting by the time I was a pre-teen.

I became obsessed with weight loss shows and wanted to have a dramatic transformation that contestants had on those shows. Even though I didn’t need to do that from a health perspective. I have been overweight from a medical standpoint. In fact, I have been under. But I have also have never had the body that the girls have on T.V. This puzzles me. Today I have a healthier relationship with food but I still secretly strive for unrealistic beauty expectations.

My struggle with body image from a young age is sadly too familiar to most. Eighty percent of girls say that they have been on a diet by the time they are the age of ten. Older people are often times shocked by this satistic. If you put the pieces together, it makes perfect sense. Little girls are always surrounded by unrealistic body expectations. Toys have them. I challenge you to go into a toy aisle and find a toy that doesn’t have unrealistic body standards. If they turn on the television to watch a kids show every female is underweight; almost 90% of the females on the major TV stations that are appealing to girls this age are underweight, too. Young girls have the exact same pressures to be thin as teenagers, and any woman, for that fact.

Prevention is key to protecting the hearts of young girls. I want to see a world that it is barbaric to diet when being underweight. But I don’t know how this can happened. Although I do have some ideas. Girls need to be taught that girls have the power to empower each other. If girls spent the amount of time and money that they do on their appearence and used it for the higher good, think about the postive change that could be done in the world. We need to educate students how to use discernment when on the internet, and become involved in the changing of Photoshop laws for models.

Statistically you know one of those girls who have dieted by the age of ten. How do you plan to positively influence her and emphasis that she is beautiful?