Friday, April 13, 2012

Dayenu - My Testimony

I was asked to give my testimony, so since I had to write it all down, I decided to add it to my blog. Those who know me, know my story and have heard it many times. I will never stop telling my story. We all have testimonies of what God has done for us. Please always share your stories for the glory of God.
"Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable . One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, And I will tell of Your greatness. They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and merciful ; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, And Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power ; To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom." Psalm 45:2-12

We are in the middle of celebrating the Passover season. The first night of Passover begins with a Seder, or dinner. During the Seder you read a Haggadah, meaning “The Telling”, about the story found in Exodus, God’s salvation and deliverance of the Hebrews from bondage. One of the traditions is to sing a song called “Dayenu” – which in Hebrew means “It would have been enough” or “It would have been sufficient.” I’m telling you all this, because this is the background for my testimony.

This season will forever remind me of how the Lord gave me personal deliverance from my own bondage that was affecting my faith. Infertility. Some of you may share the same kind of story. My husband and I have been married for almost 16 years now. After 3 years of marriage we started trying for children. For 7 years, we tried. We did fertility treatments, and called on all our friends and church family to pray. 7 long years. It was agonizing. I began to think, “Why? What did I do wrong? Why was I being punished?”

My faith was wavering. I was depressed and losing myself in my circumstance. Then just before Passover about 5 years ago, I went to lunch with a dear friend of mine and had a complete breakdown. I just poured out my sorrow all over the place in the middle of Chipotle. I explained to my friend that I was feeling so guilty and ashamed. The Passover season was going to start and we’re going to sing Dayenu and I don’t even feel worthy to sing it. Why don’t I feel like God’s deliverance is enough for me? Why do I want more? Isn’t it enough that he sent his son for my eternal salvation? And I am angry because He won’t give me a child? What is my problem? That friend is a prayer warrior, and I have no doubt that the Lord heard hers and everyone else’s prayers that had been lifted up for 7 years because after that something changed in me. I decided that if this is the way it is suppose to be, then I wanted my prayers and the prayers of people who prayed for me to be that I would be content with God alone. That He would be sufficient for me. Passover was coming, and I should embrace the “It is enough” mentality. God is enough for me. If I never become a mother…God is enough. If I can never bear my husband’s child…God is enough. If I can never have the joy of nursing my own child…God is enough. I celebrated that Passover without my yoke of infertility. In fact I was pregnant and didn’t even know it. I found out about a month later, and the next January I had my first son. I have two boys now, because as you know, when you pray, sometimes the flood gates of heaven open up and the Lord just keeps on giving! Just after the Seder this last Friday, my husband and I were lamenting about how the boys kept us on our toes the whole Seder and they were so loud and running all over the place, you know, basically being normal 4 and 2 year olds, during a 3 hour Seder. And one of the Elders in our congregation commented, “But you know, that’s what we all prayed for. We prayed for those children. That’s what I think about every time I hear them. We prayed for those children. And now they’re here.” When I look at my boys, I remember that the Lord answers prayer. Maybe not right away, but He does.

I heard a teaching once and I never forgot it. It was at a Messianic conference and the Rabbi said, Sometimes as we go through our trials it’s easy to say, “Oh why is this happening? Why am I going through this?” But people, the point is you’re going THROUGH it. God doesn’t leave you there to wallow in it! No! He brings you through it, to the other side, where you are better and tougher than you were before.” That’s’ how I feel about what I went through. I truly believe that my faith was enriched and I grew closer to the Lord because of my infertility problem. Who knows if I would have the walk I have with the Lord now, if I had never gone through that. 

This time of year is so precious to me. During Passover the Lord reminds me that no matter what I am going through, He will be enough for me. Whatever He gives me or doesn’t give me, it will be sufficient. He is sufficient.

This is a lesson I have to remember to apply to other areas of my life. I didn’t end up with the career I thought I would have, but God is sufficient. I don’t have the body I’d like to have, but God is sufficient. I may not be as financially stable as I’d like to be, but God is sufficient. And He always will be. God gave His Son, to die for all of us. He is sufficient.
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have abundance for every good deed" 2 Corinthians 9:8

I'm thankful for the opportunity to share my testimony. I hope that as the Passover season ends, we all take the lesson of Dayenu with us throughout the year!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Counting Up

The Passover season is upon us and with it the hustle and bustle of cleaning homes and getting prepared for the days of Unleavened Bread. I usually am so focused on this that I miss what comes next. The counting of the Omer. The Omer is the span of days in between the 1st day of Passover and Shavuot which total 7 weeks. Shavuot is the Feast of Weeks, also known as Pentecost (because it occurs on day 50).
“You shall count seven weeks for yourself; you shall begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then you shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give just as the Lord your God blesses you." Deuteronomy 16:9-10
I'd rather not look at the counting of the 49 days of the Omer as a countdown, but rather a counting up, or a counting forward to the great time of out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. It is a joyous occasion and something to look forward to!

I have seen instances where congregations choose these 49 days as a time to have targeted prayer. I have always thought that this was a great idea. So I wrote my own list and this is the targeted prayer I will pray each day during the Omer. Feel free to print this out and join me in prayer!

49 Days of Targeted Prayer During the Omer:
1. I pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.
2. I pray for the unborn, that they may not see abortion.
3. I pray for the orphans, that they know a father with Adonai.
4. I pray for those without husbands, that the Lord will be their covering.
5. I pray for the people with cancer, that they receive healing and are blessed with Shalom.
6. I pray for the family unit, that it returns to a focus on the Lord of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
7. I pray for the abused and beaten, that they find relief and hope in Adonai.
8. I pray for our youth, because they will be our leaders.
9. I pray for those who need jobs.
10. I pray for the poor.
11. I pray for the opportunity to witness and for the Holy Spirit to use me.
12. I pray for the unsaved souls, that they may see Yeshua and be filled with the Holy Spirit!
13. I pray for the future of my children.
14. I pray for the school systems who are molding the next generation.
15. I pray for people with financial stress.
16. I pray for people with spiritual stress.
17. I pray for people who are missionaries.
18. I pray for missionaries whose lives are at risk at this moment.
19. I pray for the eyes of Jewish people to open to their Messiah.
20. I pray for the leaders of our congregations, churches and synagogues.
21. I pray for the leaders of our cities and towns.
22. I pray for the leaders of our states and nations.
23. I pray for Barack Obama, the President of the United States specifically.
24. I pray for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister specifically.
25. I pray for my husband, the leader of our household.
26. I pray for people who own and run their own businesses.
27. I pray for charitable organizations such as the Red Cross, and the United Way.
28. I pray for the financial stability of our nation.
29. I pray for the preservation of the freedom to worship the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.
30. I pray for the wisdom to prepare for end times.
31. I pray for the wisdom to bring my children up in the way they should go, so they do not depart from the Lord.
32. I pray for the adversary to be bound and cast out of our congregations, churches and synagogues.
33. I pray for a repentant heart to fall on all peoples, so they may seek the Lord's forgiveness and grace.
34. I pray for the people of God to learn to live healthier lifestyles so they can be better equipped to do the Lord's work.
35. I pray for the protection on God's people when they are witnessing to the nations.
36. I pray for the Christian churches to gain a better knowledge of the Feast Days of the Lord and how it applies to their life.
37. I pray for the United States armed forces serving in active duty or who are deployed away from home and their families.
38. I pray for the Israeli armed forces and their families.
39. I pray for the farmers and their crops.
40. I pray for a mild summer without harsh temperatures.
41. I pray for the work of my hands and that of my husband's to be pleasing to the Lord.
42. I pray for relationships to be mended in families and friends in the body of Messiah.
43. I pray that I do not get in the way of Your plans You have for me, Lord, please help me to live out Your will.
44. I pray for runaways.
45. I pray for gang members, drug dealers, prostitutes and other people like them, that they turn from their ways and seek out the Lord's ways.
46. I pray for the moral standard of society to rise up to the Lord's standard.
47. I pray for forgiveness of my sins, for trampling on the blood of Yeshua each time I sin.
48. I pray for whatever need or person enters my mind at this moment.
49. I pray for righteousness to rain down on us.
"You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it." Isaiah 45:8
Passover is about the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world. Shavuot is when He sends back the Holy Spirit to help us until His return. Don't miss the point...He showers us with His Spirit until His return!! Baruch Hashem! Blessed is (His) Name!
"All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:25-27