Monday, December 4, 2017

Oh Come Oh Come Immanuel (Advent Hymn)

Hello Grafted in Readers,

Today is December 4, 2017 in my corner of blog land and evening is beginning. It is also the period of time in some circles known as Advent. It is also one week before the Jewish people, worldwide, and some Messianic believers, worldwide, observe the eight-day festival of dedication known as Hanukkah.

There is an interesting short article, pasted below, from the December 2017 "Levitt Letter" produced by the Zola Levitt Ministry about the link between Hanukkah and Christmas. I think it deserves thoughtful consideration; hence, this is our post for this month!
-------
Christmas Connection to Hanukkah
BY DAVID BRICKNER, Executive Director, Jews for Jesus
Jewish historian Flavius Josephus
referred to Hanukkah as the Festival of
Light, but light was historically connected
to the Feast of Tabernacles. Four giant
candelabras were lit in the Temple’s Court
of the Women. The blaze could be seen all
around Jerusalem. How appropriate that
Jesus chose this area of the Temple to de-
clare: “I am the light of the world. He that
follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but
have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Jesus, like the servant candle on the
Hanukkiyah
, lights our way and sends His
Spirit to ignite us so that we can shine
His light in a dark world. We do not have
enough “oil” to live a life dedicated to God,
but Jesus miraculously provides for us.
The Hanukkah miracle of preserving the
Jewish people made Christ’s birth (and
Christmas) possible, and Hanukkah’s mir
-
acle of the lasting light foreshadows Jesus,
whose advent Isaiah predicted would be “a
light to the gentiles” (Isaiah 49:6).
The common theme: God with us
(“Immanuel” Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
links Hanukkah and Christmas. A traditional
Hanukkah hymn declares to God:
“Rock of Ages, let our song
praise thy saving power;
thou admidst the raging foes
wast our sheltering tower;
furious they assailed us
but thine arm availed us;
and thy word broke their sword
when our own strength failed us.”
Jesus

Immanuel

the Hope of Hanukkah
and the Christ of Christmas.
1
https://www.levitt.com/


May G-d bless and keep you today and always!

Mellow Rock

David Russell

Author: Waiting For Messiah

Available from
www.smashwords.com and major online vendors in EBook

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thermometers and Book Reads

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is November 28 in my corner of blog land, still 2017. In about one month, cold and related seasonal conditions will be rampant in my area as is the case with the onset of the winter season. The Mayo Clinic newsletter, Housecall, recently had an article about the different types of thermometers, mostly digital.

Briefly, there are pacifier thermometers that are best used with very young children who might use pacifiers. One thing to note is that to get an accurate temperature, the pacifier thermometer has to be in the child's mouth for at least three minutes.

There is also a digital thermometer for the armpit, mouth, and rectum. It is strongly suggested to have two thermometers if one is going to be used for recording rectal temperature, and the other for oral or mouth temperature. Evidently, temperature recordings from the armpit are the least accurate.

Current Book Reading

I am currently reading "The Centurion's Wife" which is published by Bethany House and by two authors. It is set just right after the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah. Roman rule is concerned and wanting to verify that the prophet Jesus whose Hebrew name is Yeshua by the way, is dead, and that revolution is not going to occur. Chapters are a comfortable length and the read is enjoyable.

I would like to ask you to comment if you are reading this blog. A simple yes I am, or I do but not often, will suffice.

Meantime, Kevod Yeheveh, may the presence of God be real in your life and world today and always.

Mellow Rock
Waiting for Messiah, my 11 story anthology is available from smashwords.com in EBook and other major vendors online.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

If I Had Known (acoustic Song, Greg Brown)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is November 9 in my corner of blog land!
It was twenty-one years ago this evening that I became engaged to my wife Sherry, and we are still married happily today! Although this year we both have a common cold! Like then, minor snowfall is predicted in the weather.

The health letter, Housecall, Mayo Clinic, makes the following observations about the common cold:
The cold lasts about one week to ten days; it is a harmless viral infection affecting the upper respiratory tract, i.e. nose and throat.

Children under age six are at greatest risk for a cold, and adults may have up to three colds per year.

A cold virus enters the body through the mouth, eyes or nose. Furthermore, air droplets can carry the virus when someone coughs, talks, or sneezes that already has a cold. I did not note remedies.

Talk Big
Invite someone to confabulate with you. You're asking them for a chat or informal conversation.

Fossick: This is an Australian word according to dictionary.com. It means to hunt, seek or ferret out.

Until next visit, Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with you.

David Russell
Mellow Rock

Author
Waiting For Messiah
http://www.smashwords.com/view/books/747411

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tenth Avenue Freeze Out (Song, Bruce SpringSteen)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is October 24 in my corner of blog land. Next week we will be bidding this month farewell and entering November! Earlier today, I heard the overnight is to be rather cool in my corner; good for snuggling with one's spouse or putting on an extra blanket or both. Soup weather is arriving. That may be an upcoming post.

Health Info
We are headed toward colder months in my part of the world, and that means the cold and flu season is around the corner. Perhaps you have heard zinc is a good remedy for the common cold. I have. Well, according to our friends who produce the newsletter, Housecall, from Mayo Clinic, reviewing a group of studies seems to indicate that if someone takes zinc lozenges or syrup when the signs and symptoms of a cold are first noticed, they may reduce the length of that cold by one day. So, it does work somewhat. Historically, zinc got noticed as a cold remedy after a 1984 study showed it to help people who took zinc supplements have less frequent episodes of sickness.

Books

Interest is still being shown in my anthology, Waiting For Messiah. Consider giving this short story collection to your friends for a holiday gift. There are eleven stories that are warm and personable. They imagine what Bible characters might have felt when meeting Jesus the Christ when he came into their life situations. You can find this at

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/747411

I just began reading the very interesting autobio of Alice Sebold titled, Lucky. It is about her life, but the central point is survival during and after her rape when in college. The book opens with this incident detailed, and the remaining chapters are of her family life before, and after this life-changing event. What amazes me is the sporadic occurrences of inhumanity that she experienced in the 1980s when we may have thought the world was so advanced and civilized.

For those believing Christians honoring the Reformation this weekend, I wish you Happy 500th anniversary on your commemoration. Avraham, Noah, Moses, Paul, Peter, Mary, Esther, Ruth, you and I are all saved by the favor of G-d through his provided support known as faith.

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence accompany you always.

Mellow Rock

David Russell

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Something Happened On The Way To Heaven (song, Phil Collins

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is October 17, a cool day with temperatures in the mid 50s or mid teens Celsius, in my corner of blog land. I just ran across an interesting article about apologies. Did you know that several types exist?

This article is copied here from the grammar site, www.grammargirl.com.

It's good mental and Spiritual health to not only practice forgiving, but also apologizing when necessary. I share this post:
-------

If you follow this apology template step by step, it will helps you explain clearly what you did and understand how you affected someone else. Rather than having you fill in the blanks, it helps you find the words to say what you really mean.
By Samantha Enslen, read by Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl
October 12, 2017
A picture of a woman who might need to write an apology letter.
OK, let’s admit it.
None of us really likes to apologize when we’ve done something wrong. 
In fact, the ways we avoid apologies are so common they’ve been given names. There’s the “nopology,” the “unpology,” and the “fauxpology,” just for starters. And the hashtag #sorrynotsorry has trended for years. It’s used to indicate a sardonic lack of shame, as in: “Binge-watching instead of cleaning house #sorrynotsorry.”
So how do you write a good apology and avoid one that rings false?
Let’s start by talking about what NOT to do.
Types of Non-Apologies
1. The “If” Apology
2. The Passive Voice Apology
3. The Reverse Apology
4. The Florid Fauxpology
Let’s explore each non-apology a little further. 
The “If” Apology
First, avoid the “if” apology. It’s probably the most common non-apology. It can suggest oversensitivity, as in, “I’m sorry if you were offended.” It can imply that others weren’t smart enough to understand your intentions, as in, “I’m sorry if my remarks were taken out of context.” And it can suggest that a perceived wrong might not have even occurred, as in, “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.”
To avoid this, drop the “if” from your apologies and simply admit what you did. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings,” try “I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings.”
The “that” makes all the difference.
The Passive Voice Apology
Next, avoid the passive voice apology. Sometimes it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong. When that happens, we can subconsciously slip into the passive voice to give ourselves an out.
“I’m sorry I lost your keys,” becomes “I’m sorry your keys got lost.” “I’m sorry I backed into your car,” becomes “I’m sorry your car got hit.” 
This phrasing lets you acknowledge an offense—while softening the fact that you’re the one who did it.
The most infamous version of the passive voice apology is “Mistakes were made.” These three words have been used by politicians from Nixon to Reagan to Clinton. They’ll surely be used again, anytime politicos want to acknowledge a mess-up without admitting it’s their fault.
To fix this non-apology, use the active voice. Say clearly what you did. For example, “I’m sorry the dishes didn’t get loaded,” becomes “I’m sorry I didn’t load the dishwasher.” “I’m sorry there’s dog pee on the floor,” becomes “I’m sorry I forgot to let the dog out.”
The Reverse Apology
Next, avoid the reverse apology. This one is particularly nasty. It takes a wrong and lays the blame for it at the feet of the accuser. 
Say you had a bad cold and sneezed on a good friend—who justifiably yelled at you. You could say, “I’m sorry I sneezed on you!” Or you could say, defensively, “I’m sorry you’re so sensitive to germs.” 
Or imagine you ate all your roommate’s Captain Crunch. You could say, “I’m sorry I ate all of it.” Or you could say, “I’m sorry you’re not very good at sharing.”
In the first case, you’re admitting that what you did was wrong. In the second case, you’re admitting what you did—but you’re saying that the other person had no reason to take offense.
To reframe a reverse apology, focus on what you did—instead of how the other person reacted. “I’m sorry you’re so sensitive to cold,” becomes “I’m sorry I left the window open all night.” “I’m sorry your allergies are so bad,” becomes “I’m sorry I brought my dog to your house without asking.”
The Florid Fauxpology
Finally, avoid the florid fauxpology. This is the most ridiculous non-apology. Think “I offer you my sincerest apologies,” or “I deeply regret the events of that day to the core of my soul.”
These non-apologies use language steeped in emotion, and they may sound earnest at first blush. But their overheated language makes you wonder if the speaker is sincere—or is just trying really hard to sound sincere.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your apology sounds like soap opera dialogue, rethink it. While you’re at it, cut out unnecessary words, which can dilute the real intention of your apology. For example, “I offer you my sincerest apologies for mowing over your flowers,” would become “I’m sorry I mowed over your flowers.” 
How to Write an Apology
Now that we have these fauxpologies out of the way, let’s talk about the right way to say you’re sorry.
Luckily, there’s a foolproof template you can use. And the template’s not a trick. If you follow it step by step, it helps you explain clearly what you did and understand how you affected someone else. Rather than having you “fill in the blanks,” it helps you find the words to say what you really mean.
We got the idea for this template from Professor Aaron Lazare, and his book “On Apology.” Dr. Lazare explains that a genuine expression of remorse should include these components:
1. Acknowledging the offense clearly
2. Explaining it effectively
3. Restoring the offended parties’ dignity
4. Assuring them they’re safe from a repeat offense
5. Expressing shame and humility
6. Making appropriate reparation
This may seem a little much if you’re apologizing for a small offense, like eating the last of someone’s ice cream, but we’ve found that the little offenses sometimes sting the most. Eating someone’s ice cream becomes a proxy for how little respect you have for them. Or how few boundaries you have. Or how you’re a taker and not a giver.
Let’s see how an apology template might work in this situation. We’ll pair Dr. Lazare’s advice with a sample sentence.
Example of an apology using Lazare's advice
Notice that this apology doesn’t include a justification, such as “I only ate your ice cream because I was so hungry after working all night.” Excuses like this make you feel better. But they don’t mean much to your accuser—and can even negate the impact of your apology. 
It’s hard to do, but leave excuses out of your apology language.
Here’s another example of how the apology template might go:
Another example of an apology using Lazare's technique
Remember, even a sincere apology might not be accepted right away. If that’s the case, try to react with graciousness. You could say, “Thanks for hearing me out,” or “I know you’re still upset, but I appreciate you listening to me.” 
Then give the person time to consider what you’ve said and come to their own conclusion.
Fortunately, to paraphrase Justin Bieber, it’s often not too late to say you’re sorry. And even if you really messed up, a thoughtfully-worded apology can go a long way toward healing hurt feelings. 
Samantha Enslen runs Dragonfly Editorial. You can find her at dragonflyeditorial.com or @DragonflyEdit.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Festival, Health, Book Buzz

Hello Grafted In Readers,
_ Feast of Tabernacles
- Oral Health
- Book Bloggers

Today is October 6 in my corner of blog land. It is also for many the second full day of a week-long festival known as The Feast of Tabernacles. This festival was given by G-d to the children of Israel to recall his providing for them during their forty year nomadic journey in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt. As they settled in the promised land, this festival took on celebrating the in-gathering of the Fall harvest too. Customs have also sprung up as this festival has been celebrated down through the centuries.

On the Sabbath during this festival, synagogue services feature a public reading of the book of Ecclesiastes. It is best known for the phrase, "Vanity is vanity, all is vanity."

The newsletter from "My Jewish Learning" notes,
"This book struggles with the meaning of life in the light of death. ... Readers are informed, Ecclesiastes is read so that we can rededicate ourselves to living the moments G-d has given us here on planet earth. "One must find intrinsic value in the present."

Health Note Our Mouth

The Mayo Clinic newsletter, Housecall, had a feature on oral health in its recent edition. Of note: Certain diseases such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body's resistance to infection.
Moreover, certain medications including diuretics and decongestants, can over time reduce saliva flow. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acid. Drinking water on a regular basis helps balance this level.

Book Interest
First, I am happy to inform you, another blogspot neighbor has posted a concise review of my anthology, "Waiting For Messiah."
The URL is: http://tinyurl.com/ycq5enp6
and I thank Elma for so doing.

Next, I wonder if you may be interested to coordinate something with faith bloggers who write works of fiction and may want to promote our writing activity on one another's blogs. Perhaps we could begin this in early November. If interested, email me at
david.sonofhashem@gmail.com
It could be as simple as mentioning book title, publisher and 3-sentence summary. This might include what formats the book is in.

Until next visit, shalom and G-d bless you in your coming and going.

David Russell
Mellow Rock

Monday, October 2, 2017

Let Her Go (acoustic song, Jasmine Thompson)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today Is October 2nd in my corner of blog land. I am listening to acoustic singer, Jasmine Thompson, who is a new singing voice to me, but would liken her to a ballad singer with a somewhat folk tone to her voice. I titled this post, Let Her Go, in the generic sense as in life, we are each letting things go much of the time.

My book editor for "Waiting For Messiah" has had quite the year herself in terms of personal issues. Recently, she emailed me a note including news that her father has been diagnosed with blood cancer. I sent her some "reminders" from the Mayo Clinic newsletter that I want to share with us in this blog that are good for all of us to know when we are diagnosed with cancer or something bigger than anything we have ever faced or seeming so. Keep this on hand just in case you need it one day:
-Know what to expect and plan accordingly. That may be self-=explanatory.
-Get the basic facts about your diagnosis.
Ask what is your diagnosis and what does it mean? Where is it in your body and will it spread?
Is treatment a possibility? What is the chance for a lasting cure?
What tests or procedures are necessary?
-Decide how much you want to actually know about your diagnosis. Some folks are happy with the basics.
- Keep the communications lines opened with everyone involved; family, friends, healthcare team, etc.
- Know that physical changes may be ahead.
- Do what you can to observe a healthy lifestyle, i.e., rest and eating; and get what exercise is possible.

There are possibly more suggestions that could be added, but these will be good gentle nudges for us. I emailed my friend and said,
"I asked Hashem, just how much does one have to endure before they get some pleasantries from life?
Of course, no direct answer followed."

Meantime, Waiting For Messiah, is enjoyed by those who are reading the warm personable stories of Bible figures who met Yeshua during his time on earth. The authors did well to imagine what these meetings may have been like.

If interested, go to

www.smashwords.com/books/view/747411

This coming Wednesday evening begins The Feast of Tabernacles. This is also called Season of Our Joy. It is a seven-day sacred festival celebrating God providing for our lives and those in the past such as the children of Israel during their forty year sojourn in the wilderness following their exodus from Egypt to the promised land.

Until our next visit, may we find shalom for our bodies, minds, souls and spirits that come from the hand of Adonai.
I would love to hear from you; leave me a comment relative to this post please.

David Russell
Mellow Rock

Monday, September 18, 2017

Waiting For Messiah, Vegetarian Dish, Book Recommend

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Monday Sept. 18 in my corner of blog land. Unlike last week, tensions in our country seem to be again focused on one's inhumanity toward another, whereas last week, it was on "mother nature's inhumanity" as a second hurricane named Erma, traveled across the state of Florida leaving about six million without power and doing a LOT of damage.

This week too is the Jewish New year known as Rosh Hashanah, which arrives at sunset on Sept. 20. It is proceeded by a ten-day period of prayer and personal introspection leading to Yom Kippur, the Day Of Atonement, followed just days later by a one-week festival known as The Feast Of Tabernacles or Feast of Booths. This festival recalls the protection provided by G-d to His people past and present.

In light of this season, my anthology, Waiting For Messiah, is now available for purchase from major book vendors and also on smashwords.com.

The link for your interest for this 13-story anthology is:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/747411

Six authors imagine what it was possibly like for first-century people to encounter Yeshua during his time on earth and reflect on their meeting him. Stories are personable, warm, and the reader will find a sense of connection with these persons!

As the author, I welcome your comments when you choose to read this anthology, Waiting For Messiah.

Health Recipe From Housecall
Recently, the Mayo Clinic health newsletter, Housecall, offered a recipe for a side dish called Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. It does sound yummy! This serves four.

- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 clove garlic and 1 leek (white only);
- 1 tablespoon soft-tub margarine, nonhydrogenated
- Pepper to taste

Directions
- Break cauliflower (leeks) into small pieces.
- In a large sauce-pan, steam cauliflower, leeks and garlic until tender; 20-30 minutes.
- Use either a blender or food processor to puree the vegetables until the texture is much like mashed potatoes.
- Pepper to taste, then serve and enjoy!

Final Note For Book Lovers
I just finished reading a biography of the Russian composer Demetri ? Schostikovitz (probably misspelled) titled The Noise Of Time, by Julian Barnes. Somewhat maudlin, philosophical, reflective and serious are adjectives befitting this title of under 200 pages. I found it enjoyable and informative, and find some of the author observations worth pondering. It would be a good book to check out of one's community library.

Until next visit, Kevod Yeheveh, the presence of G-d be with you throughout your waking and sleeping hours!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Waiting For Messiah: Other News

Hello Grafted In Readers!

Yep, the exclamation point means this is going to be a special post. I'll start with the good news!
****
The anthology, "Waiting For Messiah" is about to be released on Smashwords.com in E-book format.
Smashwords – Waiting for Messiah – a book by David Russell
https://www.smashwords.com › Fiction › ReligiousResult details
Discover the Messiah in a different way with this collection of stories about Christ from a Messianic Jew point of view.
Smashwords – About David Russell, author of 'Waiting for Messiah'
https://www.smashwords.com › Fiction › ReligiousResult details
This is the biography page for David Russell. ... Books. Waiting for Messiah by David Russell. Pre-release—available September 13, 2017. Price: $3.98 USD.

Six authors including me, created 12 stories and one free-verse poem set at the beginning of the Common Era, and imagine what it was like for some Bible persons to have encountered Messiah Yeshua, Christ Jesus. These are warm, humane accounts. In some way, they challenge us today to ask for what type of Messiah are we waiting for in our lives?

I wanted this anthology to come out around the time of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. The date for that is sunset, Sept. 20. It also would be fitting for those Christ believers who observe Advent. I am donating about 25% from each book sale to the faith charity, Bridges for Peace International, which has numerous charitable causes ongoing in the Holy Land.

I noted a couple facts about Rosh Hashanah from the website, My Jewish Learning.

- Foods eaten to symbolize wishes for prosperity are varied and include apples dipped in honey; beets, dates, leeks, pumpkins, pomegranates and string beans.
- It is traditional to fast on the day after Rosh Hashanah.
-Rosh Hashanah became the Jewish new year between the time of the Torah and the codification of the Mishnah.

If you observe Rosh Hashanah and the period known as the Days of Awe, Yom Kippur and the Feast of Tabernacles, may these forthcoming days be truly special and full of meaning as you renew your relationship with Adonai and those loved ones in your life.

One final note, and this is from the Mayo Clinic health newsletter, Housecall.

The subject is Parkinsonism, which is different than Parkinson disease. Parkinsonism is believed to occur because of loss of dopamine-containing nerve cells (neurons). People with Parkinsonism may have slow movement, impaired speech or tremors, or some combination thereof. Keeping active, and keeping one's environment safe are two immediate things one can do to minimize hazards. Also, confer with your healthcare provider for further planning.

Thank you for dropping by and do leave a comment related to our post if you care to do so! Until next time, God bless and keep you in your season of life.

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Friday, August 25, 2017

Help For Stomach Aches or Heartburn?

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is August 25 in my corner of blog land. I am soooo glad to tell you our humid weather has broken like a fever! Weekend temps will be in the mid 20s C during the day, around 10 degrees C overnight. Love it!

Today, we'll talk about our stomachs, bellies, guts. The Mayo Clinic newsletter, HouseCall and Science Magazine newsletter are our resources for this post.
HouseCall talks about something called "Nervous Stomach." It usually is a term used when tests fail to show the presence of an ulcer or gallstone for example. You might have to suggest or ask about more testing.
Anyhow the symptoms of "nervous stomach" are said to be: anxiety, bloating, changes in bowel habits, e.g. times you poop, and frequent indigestion.

I was listening to the daily radio news program, All Things Considered, on Thursday, and they referenced this piece from "Science" online about a study concerning stomach bacteria and diet. I am posting the article below:
*******
Early human gut bacteria may have cycled with the season
By Michael PriceAug. 24, 2017 , 2:00 PM
You may be what you eat, but trillions of other lives depend on your diet: the microbes that live in your digestive tract. Scientists have long known that the foods we eat influence our intestinal microbiomes, but a new study finds that the gut residents of one of the world’s few remaining hunter-gatherer groups change seasonally, with different bacterial profiles in the dry and wet seasons. The findings—the first to show such a cyclical change in humans—may help researchers understand what our ancestors’ microbiomes were like before most of them switched to agriculture.
Nearly 200 of the 1000 Hadza who live near Lake Eyasi in Tanzania’s Rift Valley practice a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle, eschewing agriculture in favor of hunting and foraging. In 2014, anthropologist Stephanie Schnorr and colleagues at the University of Oklahoma in Norman found that many of them harbored considerably more species of gut bacteria than people living in modern Western nations (a finding that dovetails with evidence that the Hadza don’t suffer from colon cancer, colitis, or Crohn’s disease). The Hadza’s gut bacteria also appeared to specialize in breaking down their fiber-rich diet.
Unlike most people in industrialized nations, the Hadza eat seasonally: During the wet season, they forage for berries and eat honey, and during the dry season they hunt and eat game like warthogs, antelopes, and giraffes. They eat starchy tubers and baobob fruits year-round.

_______
Interesting stuff indeed. Increase the intake of vegetables, grains and oatmeal, (little brown sugar on mine without milk please).

Until next visit, feel free to say hello and leave a comment related to the post.

Kevod Yeheveh, his presence is with us.

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Prepare For Elul (Mellow Rock)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is August 17 in my corner of blog land. I am hoping we have thunder-showers today, cooler temperatures prevail, and the near 28 degree C temperature in our house drops to perhaps 22 C or thereabouts in the near future. I must still have thick blood, though they say as we age, we prefer warmer temps. Hmm.

I want to share a health tip and a book review with you this post since Monday begins the Jewish calendar month of Elul. It is the period just before the High Holidays, and in brief, is the period where G-d invites us back to Himself from where we are or have been in those areas of life that have separated us from G-d.

The health tip is from the Mayo Clinic newsletter, HouseCall.

Flat Stomach
When it comes to a flat stomach, diet and exercise, not undergarments, are what count. Core exercises can strengthen and tone the underlying muscles. Core exercise examples include abdominal crunches, leg-lifts, fitness ball, Pilates, and bridge poses.

Book Review
The following book review is from the Messianic Jewish Publisher, First Fruits of Zion blogger, Toby Janicki:
This is offered this year by me in consideration of Elul and perhaps the High Holidays.
----------
The World Of The Ger
BY TOBY JANICKI
Over the past fifty years, the Noachide movement within Judaism has really taken off, and, in turn, a number of books have been written to help initiate Gentiles into the world of Torah for non-Jews.
I have read quite a few of these books and, unfortunately, have found more than a few of them to be less than encouraging for my spiritual walk. In many of them, I have felt that the path suggested by the author would cause me to take a step back in my spirituality, Torah practice, and relationship with God. With a few exceptions, I would not recommend these books to others. But The World of the Ger by Rabbi Chaim Clorfene is a completely different story.
The title comes from the premise of the book, which explores the concept of a non-Jew coming to the God of Israel not just as a Noachide but as a ger toshav (resident alien). The Torah gives instructions not only for Israelites but for the stranger (ger), sometimes referring to the convert (ger tzedek), sometimes to the resident alien (ger toshav), and sometimes to both. The ger toshav was a non-Jew who had publicly renounced idolatry and accepted the Torah’s universal moral laws. He then lived in the land of Israel and received certain rights such as legal protection and charity when he was in need. Rabbi Clorfene seeks to demonstrate that while the legal status of the ger toshav is not in force today, since the Jubilee Year is not practiced, in principle the category of the ger toshav has a lot to teach non-Jews about their relationship with the Jewish people and the Torah.
He cites Rabbi Yosef Rosen:
Because the rabbinic courts are powerless to accept the ger toshav due to a snag in halachah, the Rogatchover Gan ruled that a Noahide can become a ger toshav on his own simply by accepting the Seven Laws of Noah, without any need for rabbinic approval. And even on this basis, the Jewish community is obligated to support him if he fell on hard times, and he may take a share of the agricultural gifts for the poor. And he is permitted to observe any or all the mitzvot of the Torah, including Shabbat and Talmud Torah. (33)
Unlike many books for the Noachide that rely heavily on an in-depth overview of the seven Noachide laws, The World of the Ger focuses on “parables, stories, and historical narratives that form the character and worldview of a people” (27). The result is a work that was not only encouraging in my own pursuit of a Torah life but quite inspiring as well.
One of the aspects of this book that caught my attention right away was the way the author sought to connect the ger not only to Noah, as is typically done, but to Abraham as well:
The truth is that before there was a Jew there was a ger. Abraham said to the men of Heth (Genesis 23:4), “I am a ger and a toshav with you” … Abraham called himself a ger because he was a Hebrew living among Canaanites, a foreign resident. Abraham is the father of all gerim, both Jewish converts and Noachide gerim. (29)
Noah is the biological father of everyone on earth. Abraham is their spiritual father. Noah brought them into this world. Abraham delivered them to the World to Come. (64)
Rabbi Clorfene uses language that sounds apostolic, even saying of Naaman after he denounced idolatry and recognized the one true God, “The foreskin of his heart has been circumcised” (83). He also argues that Torah and the knowledge of God were first given to Adam and passed on through the generations to Shem before they were delivered to Abraham and his descendants. Hence, without these faithful non-Jews, the Jewish people would not have risen to the level of Mount Sinai.
The World of the Ger has three chapters on righteous Gentiles that serve as models for the modern-day Gentile who is drawing close to the Torah: Naaman, Jethro, and the Queen of Sheba. The book also contains helpful chapters on Shabbat observance and kosher laws that allow Gentiles to explore Torah observance beyond the seven Noachide laws. Also included is a helpful appendix that lists the forty verses in the Torah that deal with the ger toshav. The book is a great resource for anyone wishing to study a non-Jew’s relationship to Judaism from a rabbinic and biblical perspective. I highly recommend it.
----------

In brief, editing continues on the anthology, Waiting For Messiah. I am beginning to give some attention to organizing my short stories into a collection for possible publication in 2019.

Until our next visit, thanks for your time, possible comment or greeting, and Kevod Yeheveh; His presence be with us!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Those Memories Of You (Acoustic, The Trio)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Thursday, August 3 in my corner of blog land. I titled this post "Those Memories of You" for a couple different reasons:
-The Sabbath this week follows a special date in Jewish History known as Tisha B'Av on which the Jewish people may observe a fast to mourn the destruction of the two Jewish temples in history. The theme for the upcoming Sabbath, (August 5) is "Shabbat Nachamu" which means Shabbat of Comfort. Isaiah chapter 40 is the Haftarah portion for this date. It starts, "Comfort you, comfort you my people."

-Another reason for the title, I have two close friends who recently lost loved ones, and another friend lost a job suddenly only after being hired. Loss is a part of everyone's life! Comfort is the most appropriate to give someone in times of loss be it simply listening or just acknowledgement and presence.

Turning our attention to general health, The Mayo Clinic Housecall newsletter this week had a short feature on Kombucha tea. This is a colony of bacteria and yeast mixed with sugar and tea, and allowed to ferment. The liquid contains vinegar, vitamins B, and chemical compounds.

Studies so far indicate Kombucha tea acts much like a probiotic in that it helps prevent constipation and helps protect the immune system. Side effects have included some upset stomach and some allergic reactions. It is still being studied but wise to use on occasion if at all according to the Mayo Clinic advisor.

Writing and Reading: I am well into the process of editing the anthology, Waiting For Messiah. Please pray for my editor who has some personal matters ongoing at present. She is a very important part to this effort and G-d has blessed us in being able to work together thus far. For reading, I am enjoying the novel, A Few Green Leaves, by the late Barbara Pym.

Until our next visit, Kevod Yeheveh, His presence keep you sure, strong, and comforted.

Mellow Rock

David Russell

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Smile (Acoustic, Madline Peyroux)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Wednesday, July 26 in my corner of blog land. It's moderately warm with the humidity about 90% F or 30 C. Hey I'm catching on as a result of listening to Canadian radio. I guess that's an advantage of living near the border of our two great countries.

I am going to focus somewhat on health this post. Did I hear a cheer?

Having re-subscribed to the Mayo Clinic newsletter, Housecall, I am going to make us aware of some of the things they think we should know about. Not a bad idea to be honest. Then, I have some news about books, reading and writing.

Did you ever hear of a exercise routine called "Pilates." It sounds like Pi-la-tees.
Evidently, it is supposed to be part of one's overall exercise routine. You can sign up for beginner classes at a local gym or YMCA or perhaps Wellness Center. You need to check with places in your area to see if these are offered. One can even do light routines on the floor using an inexpensive mat. I like that idea!
What does this exercise routine do?
According to Mayo Clinic Housecall, Pilates
- Helps minimize back pain
- Improves flexibility
- Strengthens core muscles
- Improves posture and balance.
Pilates has been around for almost 100 years. It was created by someone named Joseph Pilates.
Sorry, no exercise routines included.

Books

Editing has begun on my anthology titled, Waiting For Messiah!
The anthology, Waiting for Messiah, Editor David C. Russell
will be published in e-book form in late September on Smashwords.
Hint. If you are a member of LibraryThing.com you might be able to secure a copy through there to review once the book is ready. Stay tuned.
I am very pleased to be working with an astute editor by the name of Connie Flanagan.
She has experience in the book world, with other writers, and in editing.

In terms of reading, I am making my way through a novel from the mid 20th century by the late Christina Stead titled The Little Hotel. I heard of her and this novel when reading
Where Are You Reading From by Tim Parks. It is not a spell-binding read but entertaining and relaxing.

I welcome comments from any of you as long as they are related to posts, or to you, and not nonsense.

Until our next visit, Kevod Yeheveh, His presence is with us in our coming and going.
The month of Elul will soon be here, which is God calling us to begin prepping for the high holidays. We'll talk about that here in brief.
Shalom and Happiness,
Mellow Rock,
David Russell

Friday, July 14, 2017

Troubles, Trials, Tribulations (acoustic, Valerie June)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is July 14, 2017 in my corner of blog land. I am amazed as we live in an age supposedly marked by inclusion, tolerance, political correctness, "understanding" that an international story like this would crop up in the news from a body believed to be the earthly expression of what Jesus Christ intended after his ascent into heaven. The main line church has an Italian or Greco-Roman Jesus as its head and Savior. This story reprinted from the Toronto Globe and Mail supports my claim in the Vatican ruling that no gluten-free bread can be used in its observance of Holy Communion. Here's the result of that grand mandate. I invite and urge you to read on those who kiss the Roman Catholic cheek:
Thursday July 13, 2017 Toronto Globe and Mail


When Andrea Adam’s Catholic priest told her she was coming between her daughter and God, she knew it wasn’t because of her lack of faith.
It was because of gluten.
The Ontario woman’s daughter has celiac disease, which makes her extremely sensitive to gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, and other products that make bread.
The condition means consuming hosts – the bread and wafers used to symbolize the body of Christ – at communion in Catholic churches has been a major problem for Adam’s daughter, who can become violently ill with even the smallest amount of gluten.
The Vatican, however, refuses to allow gluten-free hosts at communion and reaffirmed its stance in an announcement distributed last month. The notification said hosts used at communion had to contain at least a small amount of gluten to be valid.
For Adam, the Vatican’s position is deeply troubling and has affected how often she goes to church.
“When the church is struggling, I don’t understand why they’re chasing more people away,” she said.
The family’s first brush with the church’s ban on gluten-free hosts came seven years ago when Adam tried to take her daughter, who was seven years old at the time, for her first communion at her Catholic church in Dublin, Ont.
At the time, the priest at her church wouldn’t allow the use of a gluten-free host, even though a trace of gluten could make her daughter vomit over a dozen times.
When she tried to call another priest in the area to see if he would make an exception, he had already been warned about her case.
“He said it was ridiculous that I would do this to my daughter, and that I needed to just back off and let her do this,” said Adam.
In the end, Adam took her daughter to Ottawa, where she was able to receive communion with a gluten-free host.
Sue Newell, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Celiac Association, said the Vatican’s ban on gluten-free hosts has long been a contentious issue for her organization’s members.
“It is probably the most difficult problem for people who are active Catholics when they get this diagnosis,” said Newell. “We have priests and nuns who really struggle with what to do.”
For some with celiac disease, consuming gluten can cause a minor digestive upset, but for others, it can leave them ill for weeks, Newell said.
The Vatican has said extremely low-gluten hosts are valid at communion. Newell said those hosts have about 100 parts of gluten per million. Foods are generally defined as gluten-free when they have 20 parts per million or lower.
“Most people with celiac can tolerate them, but not everyone’s willing to do that,” said Newell. “Some people say ‘absolutely no gluten is going to cross my mouth.“’ According to Newell, some members of the celiac community have left the Catholic church because of its refusal to use gluten-free hosts.
But Terry Fournier, director of the national liturgy office for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said claims of people abandoning the Catholic church over the issue is a “gross exaggeration.”
“I think some of that is that people don’t inquire into what the alternatives are, because there’s usually a pastoral solution to everything,” said Fournier.
People who can’t ingest even the smallest amount of gluten can choose to receive communion solely in the form of wine, which symbolizes the blood of Christ, Fournier said.
He added that the need for gluten in the host is significant because of historic references to bread in the Bible.
But in Adam’s case, having her daughter receive communion in the form of wine wasn’t an option.
Not only was she averse to a child drinking wine, but the chances of cross-contamination from others who had eaten the host and then drank from the cup were high. Adam said she could even see crumbs in the wine.
Adam said the issue has been devastating for her and her daughter, who already had to be excluded from things like Halloween and in-class baking activities because of her condition.
“(The church) was kind of our safe place, so to have so many struggles and then have this on top of it,” she said. “It really brought to light that it’s not just a dietary disease, it affects every aspect of life.”
These days, Adam said she still calls herself a Catholic, but said she rarely attends church now.
“We definitely miss that, you know, leaving the house, the church bells ringing and seeing everybody going to church, it was a great time ... so it’s just tainted, it’s not something I enjoy anymore.”
! Report Typo/Error
Also on The Globe and Mail
My Comment
When you strip Yeshua of his Jewishness you end up with incidence like this and more to come. History is full of past incidence like the crusades and Spanish Inquisition. Even the doctrine of the Trinity has a dark history.
The truth will shake you and then set you free.
Mellow Rock

David Russell

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pathway Of Teardrops (Acoustic, Rhonda Vincent)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is July 11, 2017 in my corner of blog land. On the Jewish calendar, it is said to be the 17th of Tammuz.
In our appreciation for our faith heritage, I begin this post with a short snippet about this date in Jewish history from "My Jewish Learning."
_____
The 17th of the month of Tammuz is observed as a minor fast day, with eating and drinking forbidden from dawn until sundown. Like Tisha B’Av, which comes just three weeks later, the 17th of Tammuz (often called by its Hebrew name, Shiva Asar b’Tammuz) is said to commemorate not to just one calamitous event in Jewish history, but several tragedies of the Jewish people.
_____

A week ago, Americans were hopefully giving thanks for our independence as a people, and today our prayers turn toward an apparent accident that occurred overnight when a couple separate incidents occurred involving air-planes, one apparently a marine plane tragically went down killing sixteen crew and another was spared a fatal accident. July 11, or 17th Tammuz has events that call for pause and that call for some happy thanks.

I continue to make headway on seeing the anthology, Waiting For Messiah, head toward publication on Smashwords. It is due to occur in September, and stories are currently being edited by my astute capable editor! For reading, I have stepped into nonfiction and am reading Tim Parks, Where Am I Reading From. It is a reflective book of essays for both reader and writer alike. Thanks to him, I will be acquainting myself with some new names for me: Christina Stead, Barbara Pym, and maybe D.H. Lawrence. These are fiction writers from the mid 20ith century and perhaps a good alternative to much of what American TV offers during prime time.

Now, the small details of life are softly calling my attention. I did receive a comment from a reader in the recent past whose remark was somewhat baffling. I will thank them for their unique display of their personage, tell them that it's not the end but maybe the beginning of a long and beautiful dialogue together..

They had commented to my blog post title, Old-fashioned Love. Hmmmmm.

Until next post, do comment as I read them and ponder their possible meaning if hazy.
Shalom and G-d be near you,
Mellow Rock

David Russell

Monday, June 26, 2017

Hebrew Roots: The Word, Righteous, A Verb?

Hello Grafted In Reader,

Today is Monday, June 26, 2017 in my corner of blog land. Summer is well under way in my corner and winter is under way for some of you reading who live over in Australia and New Zealand. I hope your season is going well wherever you find yourself!

Of late, my posts have been focusing on our Hebrew heritage as persons of faith. That can be words we speak, ideas, beliefs, stories, things from the Bible, middle east geography, and so on. Today, we are going to look at a word that gets used quite a bit known as "righteous" or "righteousness." People will say something like "righteous anger" or, "self righteous or self righteousness."

I like the website, ancient-hebrew.org as it offers short insights in plain simple English into words and culture of our Bible ancestors. Here is a short article on the word - righteous. It may mean something different than what we often ascribe. It too is from the above mentioned website.
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Righteous

צַדִּיק
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry. (Psalm 34:15 RSV)
Who are the righteous and what is righteousness? As our verse above indicates, God sees and listens to the righteous so it would be in our best interest to have a biblical definition of righteousness. Every Hebrew word in the mind of the Ancient Hebrews paints a picture of action. By doing a little investigation this picture can be found.

The first step in finding a more concrete meaning to a word is to find it being used in that context. For example, the word ברך (barak, Strong's #1288 ) is almost always translated as "bless," but being an abstract word we need to find it being used in a more concrete manner, which we do in Genesis 24:11, where it means "to kneel". This gives us a more concrete picture of the word. The problem with the word צדיק (tsadiyq, Strong's #6662) is that it is never used in a concrete manner.

The next method is to compare its use in Hebrew poetry where words are commonly paralleled with similar meaning words, such as in the following passage.
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalm 32:11 RSV)
The Hebrew words tsadiyq, translated as righteous, and ישר (yashar, Strong's #3477), translated as upright, are paralleled many times in the Bible indicating that in the Hebrew mind they were similar in meaning. Upright is another abstract word but it is used in a concrete manner, such as in Jeremiah 31:9, where it means "straight" as in a straight path.

Hebrew Poetry will also parallel antonyms, words of opposite meaning, such as in the following verse.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken; but the LORD upholds the righteous. (Psalm 37:17 RSV)
Here we find the word wicked (rasha, Strong's #7563) being used as an antonym, here as well as in many other passages, to the word righteous (tsadiyq). While the word wicked is an abstract, we can find its concrete meaning in the verb form, רשע (R.Sh.Ah, Strong's #7561), which means to "depart" in the sense of leaving God's way.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. (Psalm 18:21 RSV)
We now have a few clues into the meaning of a tsadiyq. He is one who is straight and does not depart from the way of God. The next step is to understand these concepts from the Ancient Hebraic culture and thought.

The Ancient Hebrews were a nomadic people who traveled a circuit through the wilderness, following the same paths from pasture to pasture, campsite to campsite and watering hole to watering hole. Anyone leaving this path can become lost and wander aimlessly, one who has "departed" from the path.

A righteous person is not one who lives a religiously pious life, the common interpretation of this word, he is one who follows the correct path, the path (way) of God.




- Thanks for dropping by. I will visit with you some time during July. I wish our friends in Canada, Happy Canada Day, and US readers, Happy Independence Day on July 4.

Kevod Yeheveh, His Presence be near us always!

Mellow Roc!
David C. Russell, Editor/Author

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer Time, The Livin Is Easy (standard, Gershwin)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is June 12, 2017 in my corner of blog land. Temperatures are most definitely going to be quite warm and into the 30s Celsius or 90s Fahrenheit. A cool spell is to occur by this time tomorrow and Wednesday!

Generally, my mood has been beamish, and I have been keeping busy with a number of things highlighted below:
- The Anthology, Waiting For Messiah is now in editing phase. Our first potential readers may be from Texas, North Carolina and the country of New Zealand. Publication on Smashwords is planned for September 2017 in eBook form!
- I am reading a second book by novelist, David Baldacci. The first was titled, The Camel Club. The second is titled, The Collectors. Both are set in Washington, DC, and deal with the corruption of power among some high-end federal officials. Their sins are quite elaborate!
- My wife and I attended a local play over the weekend, and plan to attend a school assembly later this week to honor our granddaughter who was selected as school citizen of the week. In our area, public schools close for summer vacation on Friday until the first week of September.
- Father's Day in America is on Sunday June 18, 2017. I will be playing piano for a local restaurant brunch; then, plan to relax and have a quiet day with my wife. Our young adult children have plans of their own.

- Finally, in keeping with our study of faith heritage, for those who have a faith practice, I would suggest you inform yourself about the history of what that practice believes. How did it come about? I have found the clergy, "gate-keepers" do a thoroughly pristine job of upholding their duty to honor the loyalty they have sworn to their denomination whilst praying for G-d to reform the church, (better known as liturgical "collywobble." In a broader spanse, this is suggested by the folk at the Biblical Archaeology Society:
Why Study the Prehistory of the Land of Israel? Gaining better insight into the Biblical period
natufian
Excavations at prehistoric sites all over Israel have uncovered, among other things, stone tools, butchered animals bones and evidence for the control of fire. Daniel Nadel explains in BAR how studying the prehistory of Israel can give us a better perspective on Israel in the Biblical period. The long cultural history of this region can demonstrate how innovations that developed over millennia set the stage for the emergence of complex cities and mighty kingdoms in the Biblical period.
My comment, Then, you will be in a better position to determine if your clergy-person is giving you the "rest of the story" or the condensed church version.

You, of course can use sites like this or Ancient Hebrew Research Center, or the Holy Language Institute. Nevertheless, be informed! A clergy person after all will likely receive a pension when he or she retire, so they are going to protect their ass so it remains warm in winter, cool in summer, and comfortable in between because, they too, are human and enjoy creature comforts like the rest of us!

Until next time, Kevod Yeheveh, His presence surround you!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Everday Is A Winding Road (contemporary Song, Sheryl Crow)

Hello Grafted in Readers,

Today is Wednesday, May 24, in my corner of blog land. We are one week away from the Feast of Pentecost or Shavuot. This week also begins the reading of the fourth book in the Torah, (first five books of the Bible, or Moses, known in English as Numbers. In Hebrew it is B'Midbar. This book is highlighted by "numbers" or census taken throughout. The Torah is given in the wilderness. There is an interesting article featured at the Website, My Jewish Learning that discusses reasons for the Torah being given in the wilderness and not in Egypt or in the Promised Land. The wilderness also contained desert, fire, and water. These elements are gifts of G-d in our world. Arguably, water is less available to some. The point being, Torah is a gift of G-d to any who will receive it. Torah means instruction. Instruction comes to us to change us or change something we are perhaps doing that could be improved or perhaps banished. Maybe for example, we could benefit from improving our vocabulary by learning one new word a week. Or, we could improve our health by walking 15 minutes a day. Or, our faith could be enhanced by reading a chapter from the Bible daily or weekly. I think you understand the idea. We are on a journey, in fact, our blog recognizes that. We celebrate being given God's instruction on this journey at Shavuot. It is not just a birthday party for the Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Pentecostal church in the western world, or the independent fellowships that exist. So, may I wish you, Happy Shavuot!

Editing begins on the anthology, Waiting For Messiah! This is exciting! Eight authors have created stories based on select Bible characters who have imagined their encounter with Yeshua the Messiah and how that enriched their personal life. This is planned to be published in eBook form on Smashwords by September 2017. You will be among the first to know!

Are you doing summer reading this year?

I have a couple books by Nora Roberts and Devin Baldacci that will be occupying my reading list this summer. Currently, about two-thirds of the way through "Chasing Fire" by Nora Roberts and enjoying it immensely. I'm giving the 350 page novels a chance, though I prefer the novella of about 200 Pages or so to be honest. That puts me in a reading minority according to the stats.

Meantime, glad we had this visit. I know they have become a bit more sporadic, but hopefully the quality is still here. Please drop me a line at
david.sonofhashem@gmail.com
and say hello. Or, if we're Facebook friends, please do the same there.

Kevod Yeheveh, his presence be with you in your wilderness and on your plateau.

David Russell

Mellow Rock

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tribute: New York State of Mind, Billy Joel, American Entertainer

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Tuesday, May 09 in my corner of blog land. Our weather continues to be Fall-like with light frost overnight, and daytime temperatures between 10 and 15 degrees C, which generally means between 50 and 65 degrees F. Mostly sunny, but we have had our share of rain and some flooding too.

Today our look back is right here in the good old USA. It is based on a reference from The Writer's Almanac about one of our entertainers who has had quite the illustrious career. See below.

It's the birthday of Billy Joel, born in the Bronx (1949). Soon after he was born, his family moved to Long Island's Levittown, the first suburb in America. His dad was a classical pianist, and his mom made sure that young Billy learned the piano too. He started playing when he was four years old, and showed a natural talent. His father left when Billy was eight, and his mother moved with the two kids to Hicksville. She worked hard to support the family, but money was very tight. Billy fell in with a rough crowd, and took up boxing in his teen years.
He was not quite 15 when he saw the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and decided then and there that he would make music his career. He joined a succession of bands. He sneaked into a Jimi Hendrix concert by carrying around a bunch of electrical cables and pretending to be a roadie. He eventually dropped out of school to work on his first album, Cold Spring Harbor (1971), which was not a success. He moved to Los Angeles and took a job playing piano in a lounge on Wilshire Boulevard, using the stage name "Bill Martin." That job ended up inspiring his first big hit, "Piano Man." He stepped away from the pop music business for a while, beginning in the 1990s, in favor of composing classical music, which he released on the album Fantasies and Delusions (2001).
"I never wanted to be an oldies act, but I suppose I am," he said in a recent interview. "I never wanted to be a nostalgia act, but I suppose I am. But I listen to Beethoven, and that's really old stuff. Is that nostalgia? To me, that music is as alive as it ever was."

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence is with you and may He give us a new song of praise to sing!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Look Back: Faith Heritage In Your Bible?

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Monday, May 1 in my corner of blog land; happy May Day!
We are returning to our look back at faith heritage this post. For those of you who have Bibles with both the Tanakh and the New Covenant Scriptures, as you read through your Table of Contents, what is the title of the Book after Hebrews?

In some translations it may be titled, Jacob.

An informative Daily History post pasted below from Biblical Archaeology Review will provide an explanation:
I invite you to read on.
The problem of names surfaced at a recent Bible study at the St. Paul Union Church in Antalya, Turkey. Pastor Dennis Massaro was discussing the three men named “James” in the New Testament: Two were apostles, and the third was the leader of the Jerusalem church and author of the eponymous letter—the Book of James. Participants in the study came from a range of countries, including the Netherlands, Iran, Mexico, Moldova and Cameroon. When I asked what the name of these men was in their languages, they all said “Jacob.”
When I was teaching a course on the New Testament General Letters (Hebrews through Jude), I began by introducing the Book of Jacob, also known as the Book of James. Students were perplexed until they learned that Jacob is the proper translation of the Greek name Iakōbos. One student wrote later that knowing this “turned my understanding of the writing upside down.” Another observed that “with the name change, the loss of the Jewish lineage occurs.”
So how did the Jewish name Ya’akov become so Gentilized as James? Since the 13th century, the form of the Latin name Iacomus began its use in English. In the 14th century, John Wycliffe made the first Bible translation into English and translated Iakobus as James. (However, in both the Old and New Testaments he arbitrarily used the name Jacob for the patriarch). In all future English translations the name stuck, especially after 1611, when King James I sponsored the translation then called the Authorized Version but since 1797 called the King James Bible.
So what is lost by using James instead of Jacob? First, it has created an awkwardness in academic writing. Scholars providing a transliteration of James indicate Iakōbos, which even lay readers know is not the same. Hershel Shanks has noted that the reason Israeli scholars failed to understand the significance of the eponymous ossuary is that they didn’t connect James with Ya’akov.1
Second, James’s ancestral lineage is lost, as the student noted above. In Matthew’s genealogy, we learn that Joseph’s father was named Jacob (Matthew 1:16) and that his family tree included the patriarch Jacob (Matthew 1:2). James was thus named after his grandfather. As Ben Witherington writes, “It is clear that the family of ‘James’ was proud of its patriarchal heritage.”2 So Jacob was the third Jacob in the family.
The religion section of most bookstores includes an amazing array of Bibles. In our free eBook The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide, prominent Biblical scholars Leonard Greenspoon and Harvey Minkoff expertly guide you through 21 different Bible translations (or versions) and address their content, text, style and religious orientation.
Third, James’s Jewish cultural background is minimized. Tal Ilan identifies Jacob as the 15th most popular name in Palestine in antiquity, with 18 known persons carrying it.3 Including both the Eastern and Western Diasporas, Jacob was the third most popular Jewish name, with 74 occurrences.
Fourth, the Jewish literary heritage is muddled. The Book of Jacob (i.e., the Book of James) is addressed to “the twelve tribes in the diaspora” (James 1:1) and full of references and allusions to the Torah and Wisdom Literature of the Jewish Bible (Christians’ Old Testament). Scholars consider James the most “Jewish” book in the New Testament. Its genre is considered to be a diaspora letter like Jeremiah 29:1–23 and the apocryphal works The Epistle of Jeremiah, 2 Maccabees 1:1–2:18, and 2 Apocalypse of Baruch 78–86.
For these reasons, changing English translations of James to Jacob makes a lot of sense. In my lifetime we have adapted to a number of name changes: Bombay to Mumbai, Peking to Beijing, Burma to Myanmar, and Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. These changes were soon incorporated by the media as well as in subsequent editions of geographical and historical books. Making such an onomastic adjustment need not be too difficult in religious circles, either.
But can such a switch be made practically? Biblical scholars and publishers would need to agree that continued use of “James” is linguistically indefensible and culturally misleading. Most difficult to change would be Bible translations, which are very conservative. To start, a footnote could denote that James is really Jacob. And while we’re at it, let’s rehabilitate Jacob as the name of two of Jesus’ disciples/apostles. These connections, now lost only for English readers, were caught by Greek-speaking audiences as well as modern readers of translations in most other languages. Let’s give Jacob his due.
 

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with us always.

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Saying Good-Bye to Loved Ones

Hello Grafted in Readers,

Today is Tuesday, April 25 2017, in my corner of blog land. It has been a rather sobering month for my immediate family, as my 92-year-old father has been in and out of the hospital in another US state. He had cardiac issues which turned out to be gastrointestinal in nature. Presently, he is home, but talking with him on the phone, one can tell the stress is taking its toll even though he is strong and has a strong faith in G-d. Now his focus is learning how to "hang in there." What does that mean to any of us?

I am going to take a segue from our Jewish Heritage discussion, and return to the Mayo Clinic HouseCall newsletter of this week. There is an excellent article about caring for a loved one who is approaching the end of life. I cannot highlight all the tips given here. I'll give the starters though.

Our role, not easy, is to provide comfort and relief. Hopefully, some discussion has occurred to plan for that.
- Is care going to be at home by family, friends, or an agency or hospice?
- If inpatient care is chosen, will a holistic approach be considered? This provides symptom and pain relief, some spiritual/psychological care, focus on symptom control if supports are not to be used. This would be like respirators, ventilators, dialysis, etc.

Saying Good-bye
"You can help your loved one communicate their final wishes to family and friends. Encourage him or her to share their feelings, thanks or forgiveness, and give others a chance to say good-bye. This may stimulate discussion about important, unsaid thoughts, which can be meaningful for everyone."

The article suggests having the loved one leave a legacy albeit some letters, recording, or communication that conveys who they are and what is important to them that others recall. My mom before her passing, urged us to think of her when looking at the stars in the night sky. Her name was Stella, which means star.

Again, these are some things we can do to make the end of life for our loved ones a bit more graceful for them and perhaps for us too. It is by no means an exhaustive list.

I sent my dad an email this week. On the phone, I told him the email contains the current book I am working on, Waiting for Messiah, and it is the draft form. I don't know how much time he has left, but wanted him to have something of me in his life. If he reads any of it or not, that is strictly up to him. Right now, when we talk, my goal is to have each conversation be respectful and treat him with dignity. Honor your father and mother that it may be well with you. Very, very true!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hello Grafted In Reader,

Today is April 18, 2017 in my corner of blog land.

In previous posts, I mentioned working with other writers on an anthology on the topic of forgiveness. Well, I am pleased to tell you that work in progress is now reality! Last Friday, The Power of Forgiveness: A Collection of Short Stories was published on Amazon and CreateSpace. Some of the stories are based on true life events, while others are speculative fiction from the group Writers 750 on goodreads.com.
The link is rather lengthy and pasted below for your possible interest and perhaps purchase.
The Power of Forgiveness: A Collection of Short Stories
Hot off the press!  #AmWriting flash #Fiction - some stories based on true life events.

From the authors of Writes 750 at Goodreads comes an anthology that is now published at Amazon in time for Easter: The Power of Forgiveness

Edited & published by Stephanie Baskerville; edited and cover art by Glenda Reynolds; edited and conception by David Russell. We would appreciate some book reviews for this and if you could share with your friends, family, and church groups.

 www.amazon.com/Power-Forgiveness-Collection-Short-Stories/dp/1545309507

Forgiveness%2B6x9_%2B5B%2BDARK…


- I have two stories in the anthology. One is titled Released; the account of a personal friend's struggle with acquaintance, and, Forgiveness Takes Time, a speculative fiction piece on the Bible story of Joseph and his family from the Tanakh or Older Testament.

In my own life, forgiveness is a process ongoing with a person near to me. I don't know how it's going to conclude so names are left out. I can say it hurts not having contact with this person, but that's the way they want it!

- I keep working on my current anthology, Waiting For Messiah, playing piano gigs at a local restaurant and feeling somewhat young again in doing that. I'm glad younger folks are still singing I'll Be Watching You and Stand By Me for example.

Until we chat again, thanks for stopping by. If you care to drop me a note visit david.sonofhashem@gmail.com

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with us daily.

David Russell
Mellow Rock

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Anthology, Count the Days, David and Others

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Friday, April 14 in my corner of blog land. We find ourselves in the forty-nine-day period between the Festival of Passover and Pentecost known in Hebrew as Shavuot, and we will then celebrate G-d giving his Word, Torah (instruction) to Moses, the children of Israel and Hebrews of all time to aid our daily living empowered by the Spirit of G-d. We may count each day in preparation for receiving His word as direction to us. May our beings, souls, minds and hearts be clean and ready to hear what G-d wants to say to us. At evening some observe a custom called counting the omer. The following may be recited each evening.
"Blessed are you Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments, and commanded us to count the omer."

After reciting the blessing, one states the "appropriate" day of the count: This year counting began on Wednesday evening, so as of this post, tonight will be day three. After the first six days, one includes the number of weeks one counted. Example, Today is one week one day of the omer. You can read more about this by doing a Google search on "counting the omer" and suggest either My Jewish Learning, or hebrew4christians.com.

***** Announcement:::::

I am very, very pleased to let you know the "Forgiveness Anthology" has been sent to CreateSpace.com for publication and is reportedly available for purchase now. The title is "The Power Of Forgiveness" authors: Glenda Reynolds, David Russell and Stephanie Baskerville. There are twenty-one stories in this volume that focus on forgiving or being forgiven. They are well-written, genuine, and suggest the process is not necessarily an easy one for many of us. A Kindle edition and paperback edition are available at market prices. It would make a good reflective read! I am pleased to have two stories included. One is an adaptation based on the Bible story of Joseph and his brothers, and another, is the story of a personal acquaintance and the struggle to forgive her parent for childhood abuse.

Until next visit, may the presence of Adonai be ever near us as we lie down, wake, go about our day, ponder, piddle, play, or plow ahead at what tasks face us. I am glad for our visits!

David Russell
Mellow Rock

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Looking Back: Reflection For The Season by Julia Blum

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is April 8 in my corner of blog land. In most places the season of Passover begins this evening, and Jewish people internationally, recall and celebrate their freedom past and present from Egypt w which began with the Exodus over 3500 years ago.

Christians, internationally prepare to celebrate Passion Week or Holy week by remembering Yeshu's entry into Jerusalem. There are some parallels between this and Passover that are contained in a blog post I wish to share with you by author Julia Blum. This is posted below from Biblical ETeacher.
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PASSOVER REFLECTIONS: ENTERING JERUSALEM
In Blog by Julia Blum/April 6, 2017/7 Comments
When  did  Jesus  enter   Jerusalem?  
Christians over the world  know that Palm Sunday is the beginning of Passion Week. But do you know why Jesus was entering  Jerusalem on that particular Sunday? We can find an answer in the first verses of Exodus 12. In the beginning of chapter 12 of the book of Exodus, God instructed that the lamb that was to be slain on the eve of the exodus, be separated out four days beforehand:
In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house…
 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening[1].
So, we learn from the book of Exodus that on the 10th of Nisan, the Passover lamb was chosen and set apart and preparations began for its slaughter. For this very reason, Jesus had to enter Jerusalem on that very day, the 10th of Nisan – the very same day when the perfect lamb was to be selected and set apart.  According to the synoptic Gospels, Jesus was arrested on Thursday, the fourteenth day of the month, on the eve of Passover; four days before this, on Sunday, the tenth day of the month, He entered Jerusalem and began preparations for His sacrifice, in order to become the Passover Lamb on 14th of Nisan! The Gospels show clearly and convincingly that everything that happened to Jesus fulfilled the scenario laid out by God during the time of the Exodus.
Jesus’ Tears  
However, before this entrance to Jerusalem, something very important happens to Jesus: something that definitely belongs to His suffering, to His agony, to His pain – and in this sense, also belongs to His Passion week, even though it happens before the week itself. What are we referring to? In Luke 19 we read that when Jesus approached Jerusalem: “He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”[2] This episode is often overlooked or forgotten, however it is of crucial importance for those who want to understand His heart. Do you remember how many times Jesus weeps in the Gospels?  Years ago, my book about God’s tears over Israel’s suffering (“If you are the Son of God…”) started from the realization (revelation) of this simple and obvious fact that I had never before considered: in the entire New Testament, Jesus weeps only twice – once here over Jerusalem, and once over Lazarus (“Jesus wept”[3]). There are no coincidences in the Word of God, therefore it is important to see these scenes alongside one another, and the lessons to be learned from this juxtaposition are immensely profound. Of course it’s impossible to cover it all in one post – I have a whole chapter in my book about this juxtaposition – however, it is essential for us   not to overlook this scene:  knowing that He came not only for His own suffering but also for the suffering of His own people, for turning them into “enemies for your sake” – Jesus weeps openly over all the torment to be unleashed on Israel in His name.
A Man with a Jar
In Matthew 21, we see Jesus and his disciples approaching the Holy City. Jerusalem was swarming with people who had come for Passover. Every house had additional guests, every room was packed, yet Jesus seemed strangely unconcerned about a place to eat the Passover meal. Confidently, He told His disciples, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters.”[4] How did Jesus know they would meet a man with a water jar? A man with a water jar was a very unusual sight, as this was ordinarily women’s work. Why would a man be carrying a water jar in Jerusalem?
The only group of Jewish men that traditionally did carry water jars, were Essenes. Since Essenes were mostly celibate, their men did women’s work. Therefore, a man carrying a water jar could only have been an Essene. Essenes had their communities, not only in Qumran, but in various towns. They also had a community in Jerusalem. Josephus tells us that one of the gates of Jerusalem was called “the Gate of the Essenes”. Apparently, it was through this gate that they entered Jerusalem, and from Jesus’s words, his disciples understood they had to enter the city through the Essene’s gate. Also, since Essenes used a different calendar, their guest rooms were still available. That’s why the Teacher knew that a room would be available for the Last Supper.
What did the people of Jerusalem shout?
We know that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, “the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!”[5]
What is the meaning of these words in Hebrew? What did the people in Jerusalem think and understand about Jesus that made them use this particular Scripture?
I suppose that most of my readers know that the English word “Hosanna” transliterates Hebrew Hoshia Na (הֹושִׁיעָה נָּא – Literally: “save, please”) and that these words are taken from Psalm 118:25: Save now, I pray, O Lord אָנָּא יְהוָה הֹושִׁיעָה נָּא
What you may not know however, is that Psalm 118 is one of six psalms (113-118) of the so-called Hallel (Hebrew for Praise), the songs of praise and thanksgiving. There are special occasions when we have an additional obligation to praise God, and on these special occasions we recite special psalms, known as Hallel. According to the Jewish sages, there are several fundamental themes distinguishing the psalms of Hallel – and one of them is acknowledging the source of salvation.  On the other hand, we know that Psalm 118 was recited on the way to the Temple and also in the Temple on Passover Eve, Erev Pesach, at the time of the slaughtering of the Passover sacrifice (“korban Pesach”). So these words from the Psalm 118 not only confirmed that Jesus entered Jerusalem as the ‘Ultimate Sacrifice’ – as the Passover Lamb – but also recognized and acknowledged Him as the source of salvation.
CHAG PESACH SAMEACH! MAY YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL, TRULY BLESSED HOLIDAY SEASON!



Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with us always and forever freeing us from that which holds us enslaved.

David Russell

Friday, March 31, 2017

Looking Back The Balance of Power and the Past

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is the last day of March in my corner of blog land. Tomorrow we begin April, and according to the book of Exodus, (Shemot) it is also the month of Nisan in which the Festival of Passover occurs. Biblically speaking, Happy New Year!

See Exodus chapter 12. Remember, the Hebrew calendar is lunar/solar whose months start with the appearance of the new moon.

As we continue our look back at faith heritage, I want to share with you this post, a short commentary from the Website www.torah.org. It is based on the reading for this week from the Torah and in particular, Leviticus 1 through Leviticus chapter 5 verse 26. This will give you a snapshot of what this book is about and the belief of the time.
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Note from the Director
Perfection
In this week’s reading, we begin the third of the 5 Books of Moses, Vayikra, or Leviticus. It was undoubtedly dubbed "Leviticus" because much of it concerns the Temple services, done by the Kohanim, the Priests, descendents of Aharon HaKohen, of the tribe of Levi.

Here, at the beginning of the book, some of the first offerings to be discussed are those when various individuals commit a serious transgression through negligence -- by, for example, forgetting that the behavior was prohibited. And the Torah prescribes different offerings based upon who committed this sin: there is an offering for a High Priest who transgresses. Then there is one for "all of Israel," by which the Torah means if the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court, were to rule incorrectly in a matter of law, only realizing its error later. Then there is one for the King, and finally for the common individual.

Long before the modern era, the Jews had a Balance of Powers. No one could claim absolute authority; rather, King David himself had to consult with both the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) and the Sanhedrin.

But furthermore, everyone had to second-guess his own conduct -- even the King, even the Sanhedrin itself. There is no equivalent to "papal infallibility" in Judaism; on the contrary, no individual could avoid the possibility of transgression.

We could seek no better proof for the idea that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. So no one should look back at the past, and lose hope for the future. Nothing can stand in the way of sincerely turning back to the correct path, because G-d will always accept a sincerely repentant person. And as we see in this week’s reading, everyone does indeed make mistakes -- even the judges themselves!

Kevod Yeheveh, His redeeming presence sustains us.

I look forward to visiting with you again.

Mellow Rock

Monday, March 27, 2017

Don't Know Much About History (classic song, 1970s, Faith Heritage Continued)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is March 27, in my corner of blog land.

I titled this post, Don't Know Much About History, based on a popular song in the recent past sung by various artists, which espouses romantic love as a certainty even though the lyricist claims not to be an expert in the humanities. Recently, I learned from some discussion with others that history today focuses on the reason for events as opposed to when events occurred. When we read Bible stories, there is a school of thought called Purpose History that encourages a similar approach. It encourages us to ask:
Who is the audience? What are they being told? What reaction might they have to what they're being told?
What is the ultimate result of this information they have received?
How would you or how do you respond to this?

This removes the us versus them or minimizes it. You realize human beings were living and responding to something occurring then for some reason. For example, the last three minor prophets wrote after the Israelites returned from 70 years of exile to Babylon. Conditions were pretty bad and these committed people had to rebuild the temple, rebuild Jerusalem, and rebuild life as once known. They took their sweet time in doing so, and Haggi, the prophet, urged them with God's message to do otherwise, which they did!

Today, the Christian church still likes to blame the Israelites for being neglectful, forgetful, sarcastic, accusing, misinformed, and that Yeshua and G-d had it with the old covenant and instituted something brand-spanking new that is the be all and end all. Now, just love your neighbor as yourself and love God. That's it. Nothing else required. Soon, the hymn of the day may be, "All You Need Is Love" by the Beetles; some argue for their song, "Imagine."
Have the rules changed, asks writer Skip Moen.
Author Skip Moen makes some telling observations on how the Christian church may be doing with this mode of peration:
I say, congratulations Catholics, Episcopalians, Anglicans, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Church of Christ, Quakers, Christian Reformed, American Baptists, Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, you're doing a "damn" good job. Woohoo!

1. Do justice – recent reports rank the USA near the bottom of countries with equal opportunities for self-realization. We might quibble over the measurement, but any serious look at our society certainly demonstrates a lack of justice.
2. Righteousness – since the Bible defines righteousness as alignment with Torah in relation to God, even a cursory review of American society shrieks disconnect here. The fact that American religious institutions lead the way against Torah should be enough to make us shudder.
3. Deliver the one who has been robbed of power – Today’s legal environment seems to do just the opposite. Coddle to the one in power. Ignore the oppressed. On a national scale, we fail.
4. Do not mistreat – The Bible lists those near to God’s heart. As far as I can tell, the stranger, orphan and widow have a very difficult time in this society. There are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the USA. Perhaps we find solace in the fact that there are 60 million orphans in Asia, but what excuse is there for 400,000 in the richest nation on earth?
5. Innocent blood – Since Roe v. Wade, almost 60 million children have been killed before they were born. They are the most innocent of all innocents. Did we think there were no spiritual-social consequences for this atrocity?
Jeremiah is right. We have the results. In Jeremiah’s time it led to Babylon. Do you think God changed the rules somewhere along the way?

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence become your shalom!

Mellow Rock

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Looking At Words (David Russell)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is the second day of Spring or Autumn depending on what side of the equator one is on. I am on the side favoring Spring. I love many of you on the Autumnal side though. I appreciate a couple of you who have subscribed to my blog from the UK.

A few weeks ago I subscribed to the Weekly Prayer Letter by author and teacher, Joseph Shulam. He is based in Israel, and has an international ministry but this particular newsletter has been of interest. I share the content with you as it fits in our current look at faith heritage. I title this post, Looking At Words, because that is what this reflection by Mr. Shulam is largely about. I hope you enjoy and are also informed.
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The Jerusalem Prayer List – February 23, 2017
By Joseph Shulam  – From Belo-Horizonte, Brazil
We have been in Brazil for a week.  In the city of Vitoria we had the privilege of inaugurating a new congregation.  The name of the new congregation is Hesed V’Emet – Grace and Truth.  The text is taken from John 1:14, 17.  In the English Bibles and in other Christian Bibles you will find this term only in John chapter 1:14,17 – but if you check the Hebrew Bible you will find it more than 20 times.  The key to understand this term is in Exodus 34:6-7.  The reason that you don’t find this term in most Christian Bibles in the Old Testament is that the Christian translators decided that it would be confusing for Christians to find “Grace and Truth” in the Old Testament since the text in John 1:17, says: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  So if Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ – there must have not been Grace and Truth in the Torah or the Prophets or the Writings (the Old Testament).  Wherever there was “Grace and Truth” the translators masked it by using synonyms like: Gen. 24:49 “if you will deal kindly and truly” – Ex. 34:6 “abounding in goodness and truth” – 2Sam. 15:20 “Mercy and truth be with you.” – Psa. 25:10 “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” – Psa. 40:10 “Your lovingkindness and Your truth.” – Psa. 85:10 “Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed.”   These are just a few examples from the Old Testament.  The translators masked the fact that the Torah and the Prophets and the Writings – the whole Tanach – is full of Grace and Truth, and they did it by using synonyms.  So, we have a new congregation associated with Netivyah in Israel by the name Grace and Truth – Hesed V’ Emet.  We took a Torah Scroll as a gift for the new congregation and they have built a wonderful Torah Cabinet and a reading table.  However, the most wonderful thing about this congregation is that it is made up by young families full of energy and zeal to please God and to do His will.  Most of the members – are survivors of a previous congregation that we had a hand in establishing in the same city – a congregation that developed spiritual and moral mold and an abusive leadership of directed by women.  So, praise the Lord that gave Noah and his generation an boat to ride out the storm, and not in the city of Vitoria – there is God’s Hesed V’Emet – His grace and truth – to provide a home and a community for healthy growth and godly leadership that will work together and network with all brothers and sisters in that city and in Brazil.
This week the Parasha is Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18), The Haftarah (Reading from the Prophets is: Jeremiah 34:1-22, and the reading from the New Covenant is Mathew 15:1-14.
Immediately after God gave HIS instructions for everyone at the foot of Mt. Sinai – God expands his instructions (The Ten Commandments) and details the laws and the statues for the children of Israel and for every civilized society. The text starts with the laws of how to handle the weakest link in the society at that time, how do deal with a Hebrew slave.  The Torah sets limitations to power and authority.  When there is a person who out of circumstances in life had to become a slave – and even if you are a master – you can’t do with your slave as you wish.  You can’t abuse the slave, and you must remember that the slave is your “brother.”  There are so many interesting laws that God has given his children to regulate and have a society that is responsible for the weak and for the strong, and treats the weak and the strong, the poor and the rich, righteously and with disregard for the social position or political power.  Please read the the Torah and the Prophets and the passage in the New Testament and ask yourself the following questions: 1) Why did tradition chose the following readings in the Prophets and in the New Testament to accompany the reading of the Torah?  2) What are the principles and benefits that I can glean from these texts that would help me become a better person and a more faithful servant of God?

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These are questions we can all use in whatever portion of G-d's Word we are considering. Until next visit, Kevod Yeheveh, may the presence of G-d be very real to you and me!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Yeshua the Messiah a Legalist? (David Russell)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is March 15 in my corner of blog land, historically known as the Eides of March. On this historic date before the common era, Roman ruler Julius Caesar was put to death as he was deemed to be too dictatorial for what several wanted from Roman rule. They wanted more leniency from Government. Several decades later, during the latter part of the first century when the Messianic believers were both consisting of Jew and non-Jew, customs and culture were being worked out. Most worshipped on the Sabbath, and many observed the "law of Moses" as it defined moral and ethical behavior toward humanity and personal regard and reverence for G-d.

According to an online article titled "Understanding Acts 15" by Robert Clanton from www.auburn.edu, he notes there are two types of gentiles, non-Jews, described throughout the Bible.

-Proselytes: This person is also called the "sojourner" as he might be regarded as Jewish in religion. The proselyte if male, is circumcised, and thus bound by the Sabbaths, 613 commandments, and may have been a God-fearer but then decided to adapt proselyte status. He made the choice.

-The God-fearer is the gentile who denied belief or adherence to foreign gods and idols regarded by pagans and other gentiles. He/she professed faith in the one true G-d. These persons were not required circumcision, but if they did observe the feast of Passover, males were to be circumcised. They were not required to keep the ceremonial law in order to "participate or enter the congregation of God." They did observe the Sabbath and other feasts out of choice and desire rather than obligation!

Today, many programs define commitment in increments of days, weeks or months. Perhaps even in terms of dollars and cents. We have taken the Jewishness out of much of our faith practice in the western world. A God-fearer today may be regarded as opposed to grace and a staunch supporter of legal Christianity. Yeshua was a legalist in that He kept the Torah perfectly and in Him was no imperfection found!

Thank you for joining us as we take a brief look back at our faith heritage. I hope you are enjoying these glimpses.

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with you this hour and always.

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Monday, March 13, 2017

In The Beginning: Passover and Purim (David Russell)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Monday in my corner of Blog Land. A taste of winter has returned to my corner or region of blog land, and some parts are anticipated to receive major amounts of snow over the next couple of days. Our previous month had several days of above normal temperatures and now we are being reminded that the season of Spring is yet to arrive.

Meantime, we continue looking at faith practice in the light of Jewish heritage. Today our thoughts are courtesy of an article by Messianic Rabbi, Russ Resnik, from The Messianic Times. It is titled,
Purim, Passover and the Hidden Messiah

"Who has believed our report?

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" Isaiah 53:1

Citing Rabbi Resnik, "The phrase, the arm of the Lord, normally describes the mighty and undeniable acts of God. It reminds us of Passover, when God revealed himself openly to Israel and Egypt by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Isaiah says that "He is one from whom people hide their faces," (53:3) which reminds us of Purim not Passover.

Purim is the festival of exile, a time when God seems hidden. Passover is a festival of redemption, when God is undeniably present! The Good News of Mark 1:1-11 may well answer where we are today. Verse 24 even points out the demons believe Yeshua to be the hidden Messiah.

Purim reminds us: Things are not always as they appear. Outsiders and even God will ultimately put in place those who seem powerful and in control.

Note: One common practice during the festival of Purim, is public reading of the book of Esther that clearly shows how God did act on behalf of His people. Most main-line churches ignore this occasion and prefer instead, to paint the Jewish people as unfortunate, incapable, misinformed, persons who "didn't get it." Thank you for joining us in our look at our faith heritage.

Kevod Yeheveh, His Presence is full of shalom!

Mellow Rock.

Friday, March 10, 2017

In The Beginning (Breishit 1, Genesis 1)

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Friday, and at sunset, the weekly Sabbath will begin in our corners of the world. This has occurred each week since creation for an estimated 5771 years. As mentioned in my last post, we are going to spend a few posts looking at our Jewish heritage as persons who practice faith. It is a vast subject, and one that we can only brush against here. If you are curious and pressed for time, start by perusing Bible History Daily from the Website, Biblical Archaeology Society, or grab a copy of their magazine, Biblical Archaeology Review and read some articles inside.

I was given an online membership to the Website by my family, and found a very interesting article at Bible History Daily under the Beginnings of Christianity where I would like to begin our look today.

About six years ago, officials in the country of Turkey announced that through ground-penetration radar, a well-preserved large church building had been located. This church is in Laodicea, and probably built during the reign of the Roman Emperor, Constantine, in the early fourth century, but survived an earthquake that hit the city in the early 600s. Some speculate that this building may have been where the Roman Catholic church held its Council around 363 A.D. Laodicea had at one time been a prosperous center, but in the latter portion of the first century - believers were threatened by the rule of Diomician. He decreed that people also honor the state in order to trade and sell, or the option was famine, starvation and ultimately death. It's in this dynamic we read in Revelation, Because you are neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Imagine yourself in such a predicament. You have a family or yourself to support. What do you do when your life is literally on the line?

Have you heard this explanation from the pulpit?

Another Bible History Daily article by Dr. Douglas Boin, titled, "The Archaeological Quest for the Earliest Christians", alleges that findings indicate early Christians were not too impoverished or disenfranchised to leave mementos behind. There have been artistic works found near Bethlehem for example that depict representations of personages during the time of Christ. These are not in great quantity, but do suggest all may not have been as bleak as has been portrayed down through the years.

Thank you for taking the time to look back with me at a facet of our faith heritage. Please share this with someone who may be interested, or leave comment if you so desire.

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with us always.

Mellow Rock
David Russell