Crystal Writes A Blog

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10 Ways to Live a Happier Life


Ten Commandments by Flickr User Gerry Dincher, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike

Ten Commandments by Flickr User Gerry Dincher, CC License = Attribution, Share Alike
Click image to open a new tab/window to view the original image and to access the user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

TEN WAYS TO LIVE A HAPPIER LIFE…

  1. Don’t prioritize anyone (or anything) that doesn’t love you with the greatest love ever offered. In other words, put God first because if you gave your all to someone, that’s what you would want too.
  2. Remember that statues cannot see, hear, or answer prayers, so it’s useless to worship them. Besides, if you were the one who sees and hears, you wouldn’t want to be ignored for a statue.
  3. Don’t call out to God unless you want Him to answer because when you call, He wants to respond.
  4. Remember Who gives you rest and Who came up with the idea of rest on the last day of the earth’s creation.
  5. Give honor to the ones who didn’t abort you and who set you on the path of life. Be thankful God used them to create life for you, and honor Him by honoring them just as you like someone to respect gifts you give them.
  6. Don’t murder unless you like the idea of someone else murdering you.
  7. Don’t cheat on the one you promised your faithfulness, especially if you don’t like being cheated on yourself.
  8. Don’t take or harm something that does not belong to you. Respect the property of others as you want yours respected.
  9. Don’t lie about other people, and remember how bad it feels to have someone tell a lie about you.
  10. Don’t be jealous of the properties and gifts of others since you don’t want someone to make you feel bad about your own gifts and properties.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 5:1 through Deuteronomy 5:18 (in the Complete Jewish Bible), and through 5:21 (in the Amplified and other versions), Moses takes Israel back through God’s commandments and laws for them to live long and happy lives in their new land of promise. He reminds them of the covenant made with them in Mt. Horeb when God spoke to them face to face from the fire. Moses says he stood between them to receive the commandments so they could live, but the covenant was between God and His people. Moses begins with God’s words that say, “I am The Lord that brought you out of the bondage of Egypt” and then goes into a reading of the Ten Commandments given to them during the covenant.

We read these same commandments when we did our studies in the book of Exodus, so I won’t rewrite the actual Scriptures again, but I did write my own version of them with a bit of a twist; I wrote them with the “why” factor. I believe God’s laws make perfect sense, and we can reason among ourselves why it is good to follow them. If we cannot find any other good reason, we have the reason that all of God’s commandments are to treat others the same way we want to be treated.

Think about it this way: If any one of us were God, we wouldn’t want to give our everything to someone only to have that someone give their lives and thanks to someone who didn’t love them with the ultimate love. We also wouldn’t want them to say “thank you” to a brick wall when we are the ones actually answering their queries. And we wouldn’t want a person to keep calling our name only to ignore us when we answer.

The commandments God gives us will bring us to a happier life because they help us to think of others and not just of ourselves. The saying is true that a person all wrapped up in themselves makes a very small package. We will always be happier if we consider our effect on the world instead of always trying to judge how the world affects us. The two greatest commandments, to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourself, follow the same rule of not making ourselves number one but of putting others first. That’s why the other ten can hang on those two. Whether it’s stated in ten, or two, or just the golden rule, the secret to living a happier life is always to think of others first.

July 29, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Light Painting


Light Painted Face by Flickr User Beo Beyond, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works

Light Painted Face by Flickr User Beo Beyond, CC License = Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Believe it or not, there is a whole genre of artistic creation that falls under the heading of “Light-Painting.” You would be amazed at what people can create with cameras and light. There are entire groups at Flickr dedicated to light-painting, though I couldn’t share most of their photos due to copyright restrictions. But, if you’d like to see at least one, take a visit to the “Light Junkies” group by visiting… http://www.flickr.com/groups/lightjunkies/pool/ where you’ll find over 100,000 photos to amaze you. Another type of light-painting is achieved digitally by photo manipulation software. I enjoy the one called “Fractalius” and you can see some of what it creates by visiting the Flickr Fractalius group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/fractalius-photo/pool/ with about 6000 very cool photos.

In today’s reading from Exodus 34:27 through Exodus 34:25, we complete another Torah portion as are invited in to see Moses back on the mountain top with Yahveh, This portion brings another week comes to a close, so Shabbat Shalom to all of you. And, by the way, if you click the link to read the portion yourself, you’ll find links to the recommended readings from the rest of the Old Testament and from the New Testament if you’d like to do more study.

So Moses has gone forty days and nights with nothing to eat or drink. He is totally engulfed in the presence and the words of his Creator. God has Moses write down all the laws and commands that were previously written, and then God inscribes something on the tablets Himself. I was a little confused from the reading if God wrote the title, The Ten Words, or if He actually wrote down what we call “The Ten Commandments.” Either way, imagine being called as a scribe for God, and then having God write with His own hand on the cover of your book. I have a friend who is called as a something of a modern-day scribe, and I can just imagine an indescribable level of excitement if that happened to her. (Yes, Debbie, I’m talking about you. 🙂 ) (Note: click on her name if you’d like to read about Debbie and find information about her books that tell stories of God’s “Miraculous Interventions-tm” in human lives.)

Now Moses comes down from the mountain with the two tablets and doesn’t realize that God has done a little light-painting of His own. Moses face is glowing and sending out rays of light from his skin. At first, people were afraid to approach him, but he called them over, so he could present the tablets of testimony and pass on all the orders God gave him on Mount Sinai. Once he finished speaking to them, it says he put a veil over his face that he would leave on until he went into the tent of meeting to speak again with God.

See, I love the idea of God doing light-painting on His creations. There are times when the glow of the sunshine almost seems to paint the surrounding view and make it glow. On my kaleidoscope set at Flickr, I make the following statement:

I believe God sees the people of His creation in the same way we see a kaleidoscope image: all different yet all beautiful and even more beautiful when light (especially God’s light) shines through them.

God is the ultimate Light Painter, and I will gladly be one of the subjects He uses to show Himself to the world. How about you?

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ten Suggestions?


Ten Commandments by Flickr User Glen Edelson, CC License = Attribution

Ten Commandments by Flickr User Glen Edelson, CC License = Attribution
Click image to open new tab/window to view original and access user’s photo stream at Flickr.

So your child is playing at the side of the street, and the ball bounces out of his reach. As “Little Johnny” turns and starts to run after the ball, you see a car speeding down the road in his direction. You holler “STOP!” Now, what do you want Johnny to do? Stop right then, or keep running for a bit while he thinks about whether or not you know what you’re shouting about? After all, you’ve told him things before and then changed your mind, right? Didn’t you promise just last night that if he didn’t quit playing with his food, he would go to bed without supper? But then you felt bad when he said he was hungry, so you went ahead and reheated his dinner in the microwave.

Of course, this scenario plays out in millions of households day after day because love covers a multitude of sins, and we want our children to be happy. But if we are teaching them to not take our word seriously, then what will be our cost when it really matters, like when a car is headed right to part of the street where the ball bounced?

In today’s reading from Exodus 19:20 through Exodus 20:14, we see God laying down a way of life for this new people of His; this treasure He loves and wants to protect. He sees the future, and He knows that they must see Him as one who means and keeps His word if He wants them to listen when it matters the most. As God talks to Moses from the top of Mount Sinai, God tells him to warn the people to not force their way up the mountain to see Him. Even the priests, He says, must remain holy and must not force their way through.

In Chapter 20, it says, “Then God said all these words,” as it begins the count of what is typically known as The Ten Commandments. I used “suggestions” in the title because many people, even those who claim to love God, live as if they are just that. But unlike human parents, God does not make suggestions because that would make Him wishy-washy. On the other hand, even though He is strong on the rules, He is even stronger in His mercy. In the first commandment, as He states that people should have no other gods before Him, He says He is a jealous God who will punish those who hate Him up to the 4th generation, but He will show grace to the thousandth generation of those that love Him and keep His commandments.

The best analogy I ever heard for comparing God’s rulings to His grace is that of the criminal who ends up in court in front of a judge who was also his best friend. The friend thought he had it made when he saw who was on the bench, but he was greatly surprised at the turn of events. The judge, as a judge, issued the harshest sentence available for the crime. But, just as his friend stood watching in utter astonishment, the judge stood up, removed his robe, walked down from the bench, and–as a friend–paid the fine.

Most of us know the commandments, so I will end this by simply paraphrasing the remainder of them…

2. Don’t create any images you would call a god and bow down and worship them as you would Yahveh.

3. Don’t think of God’s Name as just another word in your vocabulary. Value it as you value Him.

4. Remember the seventh (Shabbat is Hebrew for “seventh”) day to keep it holy. God rested on that day and set it aside from the beginning of creation. (It was Sabbath before there were Jews, so it is not just a Jewish thing.) Bless it as God did by remembering to do what Yahveh did and resting from your human works as He did from His creative works. In other words, WWYD?

5. Honor your parents to live long in the promised land from God.

6. Do not murder. (Just a simple reminder to value life as something God made.)

7. Do not commit adultery. (A couple together represents God’s unity. If we bring others into the relationship, it defiles that unity. Even liberal physicians will tell you that you keep cells from former partners for years after. Purity is truly freedom.)

8. Do not steal. (If it doesn’t belong to you, don’t take it. Just like you don’t want someone taking from you something that does not belong to them. Simple.)

9. Do not lie against your neighbor. (Just like you wouldn’t want your neighbor to lie against you.)

10. Do not covet. (Wouldn’t you rather other rejoice with you over your blessings than curse you because you have them and they don’t?)

All of these commandments really bring about a simpler life. If we live by them, we will be living by the golden rule without even trying. Why should people want things to be any different than common care and love for fellow human beings? Me, I prefer the simple life of living in the light of God/Love in all things, so as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.

January 23, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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