Vegetable Stand – Friday Fictioneers

No one tended the vegetable stand hidden in the hills. There was an open box where one could put coins and bills to pay for the vegetables all marked with prices. Customers made their own change from what was in the box.

Some took vegetables without paying. Some took some (and sometimes all) of the money in the box. Others put more money in the box than they were asked to. Others in repentance returned money or something as exchange for what they shouldn’t have taken.

At the end of the season enough remained to make the next year possible.

______

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields offers the photo below as the prompt for this week’s Friday Fictioneers.

PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox
PHOTO PROMPT © Brenda Cox

Ever Simmering Fluid – Six Sentence Story

The heretic hunters smirked as the paralyzed man was slowly lowered through the roof to the Master’s feet. Their ever simmering fluid of righteousness popped its cork when they heard the Master declare, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Some thought, “Just who does he think he is?” They argued that only the demon possessed would say stuff like that.

The Master waited for the heretic hunters to catch their breaths. The paralyzed man waited also since he couldn’t do much of anything until he first heard words, spoken with the proper authority, like, “Arise, pick up your bed, and walk.”

______

Denise offers the word “fluid” to be used in this week’s Six Sentence Stories.

For what really happened see Luke 5:17-24.

Seaweed floating to shore
Seaweed floating to shore

Exploration 94 – Demons

To paraphrase Andrew Wommack: If our lives aren’t supernatural, they’re superficial.

Through much of my life I didn’t believe that demons really existed. They made interesting characters in spooky stories, but from a superficial perspective psychology seemed to explain them away as personality disorders. That unbelief in them undermined, but it did not crash, my belief in the rest of the supernatural.

To counter that unbelief in demons and reaffirm a belief in the supernatural I remember reading M. Scott Peck’s People of the Lie on evil and Raymond Moody’s Life After Life on near death experiences. However, my grounding view of demons came more from movies like The Exorcist than the Gospels.

Sentimental New Age influences also crept in. The movie Labyrinth offered a view of the demonic that seemed simpler to cast out if only I could remember the magic spell. I began to realize it was easier to tell a demon he had no power over me than to actually stay free from demonic addiction. However much New Age spirituality invitingly plays with the demonic, it brings no authority with it to boss demons around.

Too often I forgot that it is only through exercising the authority of Yeshua (Jesus) that I had any hope of being victorious when facing a demon. Eventually I saw them manifest through their effects like addiction, anger, illness or sin on my life and the life of those around me.

As disciples of Yeshua we are sent to heal the sick and cast out demons among other things (Matthew 10:8). If we don’t know how to go about that, we could prayerfully start with ourselves. If Peter’s shadow is any indication of what is possible (Acts 5:15-16) we may not have to say a word before the demons scatter.


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Bechukotai, 27 Iyar, 5782 – May 28, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 26:3-27:34
Haftarah: Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Brit Chadashah: Matthew 21:33-46; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Pond and Forest
Pond and Forest

Detour on the Merry-Go-Round – Six Sentence Story

That detour Brian didn’t have to take took decades. When troubles knocked some sense into him, he lacked the sense to ride those blessings home. Sliding on curses he went where no one needed to go.

When Brian found his way home he told us, “If I knew how easy it would be to jump off that merry-go-round I’d have done it long ago.” Regretting the waste of life, he added, “Why didn’t you tell me?”

We were so glad to see him none of us saw any need to remind him just how often we had told him.

_______

Denise offers the word “detour” to be used in this week’s Six Sentence Stories.

Proverbs 15:32 – “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.” (KJV)

Forest Sunset
Forest Sunset

Exploration 93 – Not To Swear or Not To Swear Falsely (Matthew 5:33-35)

33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Matthew 5:33-35 King James Version

Matthew 5:33-35 is the kind of passage that I’d likely skip over, because I didn’t understand it. Is Yeshua replacing the law of not swearing falsely in YeHoVaH’s name with not swearing at all?

Nehemia Gordon translated the problematic portion of verse 34, rendered by the KJV as “Swear not at all”, from the Hebrew manuscripts in The Hebrew Yeshua vs. the Greek Jesus, page 65, as “you must not swear by anything falsely”. George Howard translated this portion of the manuscript as “But I say to you not to swear in vain in any matter” (page 21).

The difference is between not swearing at all and not swearing falsely (or in vain) by anything, let alone by YeHoVaH’s name. The Hebrew text does not prohibit swearing, but swearing falsely. Now that I understand. It makes sense.

According to Gordon, Yeshua countered a Pharisaic teaching that permitted one to swear falsely as long as it was not in the name of YeHoVaH. Gordon writes, “This strange doctrine was based on an over-literalization of Leviticus 19:12, “you shall not swear falsely by My name.”” (page 65-66). According to Howard, this raised a striking contrast between the Greek and Hebrew texts: “In the Greek, Jesus appears to revoke the law; In the Hebrew, he internalizes and radicalizes the law, but does not revoke it.” (Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, page 213)

What this tells me is that we need these Hebrew manuscripts to better approximate what the original autographs actually said. It also increases my suspicions that the Greek manuscripts were translations from a Hebrew source since this Hebrew manuscript still makes sense.


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Behar, 20 Iyar, 5782 – May 21, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 25:1-26:2
Haftarah: Jeremiah 32:6-44
Brit Chadashah: Luke 4:16-21
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Rest Area
Rest Area

Confused Confetti – Six Sentence Story

The puzzle looked like confused confetti so I jumped right in to set things straight. No piece was totally benighted because each had a right side though some of them displayed their wrong sides up. I was grateful for those few that had edges.

With all pieces properly placed (except for those the dog ate) the puzzle displayed an image of white puzzle pieces scattered on a dark table waiting for someone to jump in and straighten them out.

And that’s all there is to this confused tale. I’m still wondering why I jumped into that mess of confetti.

______

Denise offers the word “confetti” to be used in this week’s Six Sentence Stories.

Puzzle Pieces Prior to Polarization

Exploration 92 – The Creator’s Reckoning of Time

After adding Jewish and Messianic Jewish parashah readings, I began studying the ancient biblical calendar assuming such a calendar even existed. This calendar would be different from the Christian calendars (Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox) with holidays like Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Easter (Pascha). It would also be different from the rabbinical calendar at Chabad.org with a time since Creation of only 5782 years that follows a mathematical 19-year (Metonic) cycle for leap years.

The appointed times of YeHoVaH are Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Shavuot, Trumpets, Yom Kippur and Succoth from Leviticus 23 along with the weekly Shabbat. The biblical calendar needs to determine when to observe them so we can rehearse them as prophecies while remembering their fulfillments. There are also historical events which need to be dated, a year assigned to the Creation (or some other starting point), and an estimate when to expect the Messianic Kingdom.

I thought this would be an easy study, but I am still trying to make sense out of it. Here are three attempts to describe that biblical calendar that differ from both the modern Christian and Jewish calendars.

  • Navah’s The Reckoning of Time. He presents the evidence so clearly and in such great detail that I use this account as my baseline when reading others, keeping in mind that he might be in error.
  • World’s Last Chance: Yah’s Calendar. This calendar maintains that the biblical day extends from sunrise to sunrise, not sunset to sunset, that the Sabbath always occurs on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th day of the month, and that the first of the month is a special day of rest.
  • Michael Rood’s Astr0nomically and Agriculturally Corrected Biblical Hebrew Calendar along with The Chronological Gospels: The Life and Seventy Week Ministry of the Messiah.
    His calendar differs from the rabbinical calendar since it is based on crescent moon sightings and the observed ripeness of barley. For example, today, May 8th in the Gregorian calendar, on his calendar is the sixth day of the second month, day 15 of the Omer, year 6022 from Creation. The rabbinical calendar would call it 7 Iyar, day 22 of the Omer, year 5782 from Creation.

Below is the first of a series of videos on the Creator’s Calendar presenting Rood’s perspective created over a decade ago.


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Emor, 13 Iyar, 5782 – May 14, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 21:1 – 24:23
Haftarah: Ezekiel 44:15-31
Brit Chadashah: Luke 14:12-24; 1 Peter 2:4-10
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Mother’s Day – Friday Fictioneers

Miriam selected a white tulip for her mother. Later she wanted to treat her mother, father and younger brother to lunch at the botanic garden where many flowers were in bloom.

However, eighteen years ago her mother terminated that pregnancy and two years after that her younger brother would also be viewed as an inconvenience. None of the men in her mother’s life were good enough either.

Miriam and her brother still wait for their mother to find that narrow way even a thief on a cross could find and give her a white tulip to match her white robe.

____

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields offers the photo by Na’ama Yehuda below as a prompt for this week’s Friday Fictioneers.

PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda
PHOTO PROMPT © Na’ama Yehuda

Control – Six Sentence Story

Who controls the whirlwind? All one can hope when the debris settles is to find something left of value.

When Benjamin saw the twister head straight for the farmhouse he yelled to his wife to get the children. While they were driving away she noticed that the tornado had changed direction as if it were chasing them. With the sound of the wind ripping trees apart Benjamin braked, turned into the entrance of a field, backed out to face the opposite direction, shifted into first, accelerated, shifted into second, accelerated, and shifted into third to accelerate out of the reach of the advancing wind.

If that twister really did want to get them it miscalculated since it left chickens, cows, sheds, tractor, cellar and the farmhouse, all of it, intact and untouched, but glowing with Benjamin’s and his family’s praise rising heavenwards sweetened with gratitude.


Denise offers the word “control” to be used in this week’s Six Sentence Stories.

Proverbs 10:25, “As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.” (KJV)

Spring Storm
Spring Storm

Exploration 91 – Mutation, Evolution and Natural Selection

Sometimes we use words that subtly undermine what we value without our realizing it. I am trying to identify these words so I can avoid using them.

For example, when we say parents are we undermining the differences between fathers and mothers by lumping them under one term? Is the word gender similarly undermining the differences between the sexes, men and women? According to Owen Strachan they do.

In this post I want to focus on (1) mutation, (2) evolution and (3) natural selection. With a biblical creationist worldview, should I be using or avoiding these words? If I choose to avoid them, what alternative words should I use to reinforce rather than undermine my values?

Mutation

Mutations in DNA is the only one of the three that has usefulness from an operational scientific perspective because it represents something that can be measured which could falsify an hypothesis. Random mutational changes in DNA allow us to look back into our past. Measured rates of mutations allow us to anticipate future mutational meltdown through genetic entropy.

Random mutations do not support evolutionary change from something simple to something more complicated. Like other mechanisms found to operate in the natural world it is a measure of decay or entropy. It can only reduce what is complicated to something simpler. Since this does not go against my values I have no need to look for an alternative.

Evolution

However, when I use the word evolution indiscriminately for any kind of observable change I reinforce the idea that alleged unobserved Darwinian evolution is possible when I would claim it is not. A safe alternative for observable changes is simply to say change.

There are no random mechanisms in the natural world that could account for the kinds of unobserved changes needed to go from non-life to life or from slime mold to mankind over any time period. We would not be here today without an act of creation if we relied only on random, natural processes.

Natural Selection

Is it safe to use natural selection to describe the changes that occur within kinds of creatures through random mutations? Charles Darwin created the term natural selection to try to project agency onto nature where no agency exists. The goal was to replace the Creator from Genesis with a mindless nature that somehow could make selections.

In the video below Lauren Pennington interviews Dr. Randy Guliuzza to first show the problem with the term natural selection and then to propose an alternate way of describing change in living creatures.

If you know of other words that we should think twice about using, let me know in the comments.


Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Kedoshim, 6 Iyar, 5782 – May 7, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 19:1 – 20:27
Haftarah: Amos 9:7 – 9:15
Brit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 6:9-20; 1 Peter 1:13-16
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar

Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains
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