Hebrew month of Tevet 5777 (2016)

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Today we enter in to the Hebrew month Tevet.  Tevet is the 10th month of the year on the Hebrew Biblical calendar.  10 is a number of divine order … 10 is also 5 + 5… five being the number of grace or in this case a double grace…. multiplied grace… abundant grace… dare I say it?… hyper grace!  😮

Tevet is a month full of the goodness of God.  The first two letters in the word Tevet is tet and vav.  Tet and vav make up the word “tov” which means good.  The first time the letter “tet” is used in Scripture is Genesis 1:4 …. and God saw that it was good.  The final letter in Tevet is also “tet”…. so the whole word Tevet from beginning to end is a word full of God’s goodness.   A month beginning with goodness and ending with goodness.  

I’m a lover of all things good.  I’m an incurable optimist.  I like looking for redemption and goodness….in people and all things in general.  I do believe it’s a gift from God… I’ve always been like that.  My mom nicknamed me Pollyanna Sunshine when I was little because of this abundance of optimism and hope.  Though, these past couple of years, there have been a lot of personal challenges that would try to produce a critical spirit instead of seeing the good.

Sometimes it is going to require more effort than usual to find the good in something…. thank God for His grace to help in those times.  Especially today when we are inundated with bad news from the media, bad attitudes from people, etc.  It’s a choice we have to make.  And when we make the choice, God will be faithful to open our eyes to see something good… even if it’s just hidden potential…or buried treasure in someone.  Then we get the privilege and joy of co-laboring with Him to pull out that potential and treasure in those around us.  

If I want to be like my heavenly Father then I need to make that choice to look for the good in everything around me daily.  Because He is good… ALL THE TIME!  In fact, good isn’t just a description of Him… it’s who He is.  1 Chronicles 16:34  O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.  Good in this Scripture is called an absolute noun, meaning it follows another noun forming a single idea. “Good” and God are one single thought. There is no “good” separated from God and then associated with Him. “Good” and God are the same thing (see my blog post on Goodness and Goodness and Grace)

I’ve been teaching weekly Bible studies this past year and I’m always amazed when I teach on the goodness of God, how some people will adamantly argue against it.  They prefer to see God as judgmental, harsh, punishing and while they’ll see Him as sometimes good it’s based on only if they’ve done something to deserve it.  Sadly, their interpretation of Scripture is in light of that perception of God…. and their representation of Jesus and of the Father is also through that perception.

There is nothing I can ever do to deserve His goodness.  He is not good to me because I’m being good and “obeying” His Word (for a definition on obeying see my blog post on No Hebrew word for obey).  Goodness just overflows out of Him in my life because it’s who He is.  He can’t help Himself.  He’s not angry with us… He’s not angry with the sinner who is unsaved either.  That’s the good news of the Gospel.  Jesus satisfied the wrath of God, the punishment we deserved for sin, and He reconciled us to God.

Then He made us ambassadors of that reconciliation (2 Cor 5:20).  It’s going to be hard to be an effective ambassador for Christ if we fail to see the goodness of God in the land of the living (Ps 27:13).  2 Cor 5:19 says “He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.” We have been anointed to preach the good news just like Jesus (see my blog post on Jesus is our JubileeThe widow of Sidon and one of my favorites Naaman the Syrian).  No one wants to be reconciled to an angry, harsh, God who is only going to breathe down our necks and punish us every time we slip up….. that’s not the good news of the Gospel.  

This month of Tevet, I encourage you to dig deeper into the Word and find out about the goodness of God… to quote Bill Johnson, “He’s better than you think”.  We have a responsibility to re-present Him correctly.  The more we begin to see Him as good in the Word, the more we will begin to see the goodness in the people around us and in this beautiful world of ours.

Then our co-laboring will be a joy to us and we will become true ambassadors of Christ…. running after ALL people, begging them to be reconciled to God because He is GOOD and wants to overflow that goodness into their lives.  

~ Robin

Christmas Reflections

seashell ornamentsThis morning I sit here in my favorite room of the house enjoying a chai latte and reflecting on Christmas yesterday.  4 kids, 2 dogs and 4 cats usually take over the entire house!  But I have one room that is mine…. they are all welcome in it, but they know it’s my sanctuary.  It’s the place I come to write, pray and enjoy my morning coffee.  It has a comfy red sectional, all of my favorite furniture, and a gorgeous view of our orchards.  And most importantly it’s quiet 🙂  

This was our first Christmas back here at the farm in 4 years.. we’ve been in San Clemente building our business and spent Christmases there… a So Cal Christmas is pretty hard to beat… the weather always cooperates and we can usually spend Christmas afternoon at the beach, wonderful neighbors who bring all kinds of yummy baked treats or great wine to your door,  no family drama to deal with 😉, great friends filling our home and celebrating with us… but this year we decided to spend it here since we’re up here taking care of things around the farm.  I can honestly say this was the best Christmas we’ve ever had!  In fact, we were enjoying the moment of opening gifts so much that we forgot to take pictures… I think I have pics of the kids opening gifts every year except this one.  We just savored the morning filled with joy, peace and love.   It has been a challenging year and we just wanted to spend Christmas quietly together with no drama… no conflicts.

2015 began for us with a move from Southern California back up to Northern California (to our farm) and as soon as we got here,  Steve’s dad became sick and unexpectedly died in April.  Because neither of us have ever lost a parent, we had no idea just how hard it would be… how emotional and how deep the grief would be.  Thank God for eternal hope, knowing that we will see his dad again one day and that for now he is in the great cloud of witnesses cheering us on!  What comfort.  We also went through a very horrible church split and an extremely painful close family split.  It has definitely been one of the hardest years of our married life. Although looking back on it… isn’t hindsight a wonderful gift…. God’s grace was so abundantly supplied to us.  He took our hands and hearts and led us through all of it.   

I was re-reading my blog from last year around this time (2015….will be a good year) and truly 2015 was a year of “grace upon grace, spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, even favor upon favor, and gifts heaped upon gifts”… a year of multiplied grace to us amidst the challenges and hurts.  It was also a year of refining… although last year I didn’t realize that was what this year was going to hold for us.  We definitely went through a refining process this year… hurts and disappointments being healed, seeds that had been sown over the years by well meaning loved ones being dug up, and over all just unlovely attitudes rising like dross to the top and being scooped off by such a loving Father!  We’ve had to realign and readjust this past month… purposing to position ourselves to further walk out God’s plans for us… letting go of things He is telling us we don’t need and things that will hinder us… and grabbing hold of by faith all that He has promised us.

Last month we were on vacation in San Clemente and having dinner with great friends and one of our friends, who is also our pastor in S. Ca, spoke these words over us that He heard God saying… he said he saw God standing with His arms upraised cheering us saying, “Yeah!!  You did it… you passed the test”.  Ahhhhh we passed the test!!  What a great feeling.  It wasn’t the test of going through a family death, church split, or family loss.  Rather, it was a test of standing still…. trusting Him during the refining process.  The test of yielding over to Him the pains and disappointments… the dross that had risen to the top.  Allowing Him to mold us this year and to allow Him to lavishly pour out His grace upon us…. breathing His life into us.  Holding fast to our confessions of faith of who we are in Him…. even when it looked like things were falling apart all around us.

Allowing Him to prepare us for what I believe will be one of the greatest years of our lives.  So although I was really just looking forward to getting through Christmas and starting a new year fresh.. one full of new hope and possibilities.  God truly gave me exceedingly above and beyond that… this Christmas was in a word “full”.   That “fullness” is spilling over into the new year… it’s like a sneak peek at what He has for us.  I am so excited for 2016!  This week, every year, is my favorite time of the entire year.  I spend it seeking God and listening to His heartbeat about the coming year.  I can’t wait to hear what He has to say this week…..I know it will be good because He is good!

I hope everyone reading this had a wonderful Christmas… but if not, don’t lose heart.  God has some great things planned for you this coming year … get ready for your best year yet ❤

Now to Him Who, by the power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams—  Ephesians 3:20

~ Robin

Goodness

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This Hebrew month of Tevet is a month filled with the goodness of God.

God is a good God… He can’t help but pour out His goodness on us all the time!  The word good, which in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word tov, is listed 562 times.  Strong’s defines it as favorable, pleasant, festive (I like that one!), pleasing, well, better, right, best. Some of the translations in the KJV are beautiful, best,  bountiful, at ease, joyful, prosperity, ready, wealth.   In the New Testament the Greek word for good and goodness is “agathos” and is mentioned 101 times.  It describes goodness as something that originates from God and is empowered by Him in our lives, through faith.  Good originates from God… I really like that!

The Psalms mentions good in connection with these things….

  1. God… He is good!
  2. having life and adding to to thatlong life
  3. God’s name
  4. His loving-kindness
  5. drawing near to God… is good and releases good into our lives
  6. increase… gotta love this one!
  7. giving thanks to God… again like #5 not only is it good but “thanks” is a releaser, releasing even more good into our lives!
  8. God’s judgements… it doesn’t say judgment is good, it says God’s judgements are good because He is good!
  9. God’s mercy
  10. God’s dealings with us ….I especially like this one!! .
  11. It is good to dwell in Unity…. ooh this one is really good, and our lives are good when we walk in unity… I did a study on this not too long ago….
  • unity is:to be in tune or in sync with one another.  All going the same way, headed in the same spiritual direction together.
  •  “to breathe” or “to breathe spiritually together”. Breathing together speaks of covenant relationship… becoming one (Jn 17:21).
  • it is not based on likes and similarities… it is having one heart and one mind

12.  God’s spirit

The Psalms also say….

  1. that to find goodness we are to look to God – because there is no good without Him
  2. that God sends blessings of goodness to us
  3. that He makes goodness follow us
  4. that we are to taste and see that God is good
  5.  when we choose God we will lack no good thing in our lives
  6.  God gives good things

Truly, life is good because God is good!  Life is not supposed to be hard for us…. Prov 13:15 says that the way (or life) of the transgressor is hard (and continues that way).  We are not transgressors, we are righteous… in covenant with God.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us He has good plans for us.. plans that give us a hope and a future.  Psalm 23:6 tells us that goodness and covenant loyalty (God’s loyalty to His covenant toward us)  follow (pursue us, chase us down) us ALL the days of our life.  Psalm 103:5 says He satisfies (fills me to full) my life with good things.

That’s not to say that life is always sunshine and roses.  Many in the Bible had circumstances in their lives that didn’t appear to be good… Joseph, David, Daniel, etc… but God’s goodness was still working in their lives in the midst of those circumstances… producing favor in these circumstances and using it to fulfill His destiny in their lives!   The root word for tov is “tet-bet” which means preparing something to receive.  God is always preparing us to receive more of His goodness…. preparing means to set us up or establish us.  Good in Hebrew  means working the way God created it to work..  functional, kind of like a well oiled and tuned machine….. whereas evil which is “ra” means dysfunctional.  God is always at work in our lives setting us up and establishing us to receive even more goodness than He has already poured out on us and causing all things to work together for good (Rom 8:28) the way He designed and purposed (Eph 1:4, 2 Tim 1:9, and Eph 2:10 just to name a few) for us.

1 Chronicles 16:34  O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good…….Good in this scripture is called an absolute noun, meaning it follows another noun forming a single idea.   Good is not an attribute of God. “Good” and God are one single thought. There is no “good” separated from God and then associated with Him. “Good” and God are the same thing…. good is who He is. He can’t be anything but good to you!  

life is good

Today begin looking at your life as good… regardless of your circumstances.  Begin confessing His goodness over your life today… saying….”My life is full of God’s goodness…  it is  pleasant, it is festive , it is truly the best!  My life is beautiful, it is bountiful it is at ease and full of joy.  My life is full of prosperity, wealth and abundance.  My life is full of His good plans, full of hope and a future.  His goodness is chasing me down and pursuing me.  He is filling my life with good things.  God is preparing me today to receive even MORE of His goodness.  My life functions the way He designed and purposed it to function… there is no dysfunction in my life.  Truly, my life is good because my God is good!

~ Robin