New Blog Address!

Hello, all you subscribers! I wanted to let you know that as of August 6th, you will not be able to find my blog at storiesoffaithblog.com. You will have to go to storiesoffaith.dview.us in order to find my blog. I don’t want any of you to lose track of where I am!

Thank you for subscribing, and I hope my writings will continue to be a blessing to you.

~Faith

If Yehovah Had Not Been For Us

Some may wonder why I, some girl from Alabama, care about the Jews and am passionate about learning Hebrew. It is because, in Messiah, I have become a part of the chosen people of Israel, and a sharer in the covenant and promises (Ephesians 2). As a part of Israel, I have to come face to face with the awful fact that from the days that the forefather Jacob, named Israel, was on this earth until now the people of Israel have been hated and often persecuted. It is a miracle that they are in their land today, that they are still alive. But I also read in my Bible of how through Yehovah we are able to withstand whatever horror comes our way. That is what this poem, based on Psalm 124, is about. This psalm is just as applicable to us now as it was when King David wrote it thousands of years ago.
~Faith

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If Yehovah Had Not Been For Us

“If Yehovah had not been for us,”
Let all Israel now say,
“If Yehovah had not been for us
When hate’s influx rushed our way

“When men rose up against us seeking
To destroy our life, our soul,
The waters would have gone above us,
Overwhelmed us ‘neath their roll.

“Oh, blessed be Yehovah,
Who did not give us to their teeth as prey
The trapper’s snare was broken;
Like a bird, our soul has flown away

“Oh, yes! The snare is broken now!
And, yes! We have escaped; we fly!
Our help is in the Name of Yehovah
Who made the earth and sky”

Writing Poetry

One of the most beautiful things you can do with words is write poetry. Poetry helps you not only convey meanings, but also feelings. And if you add music to a poem, you have a beautiful song. I would like to share with you the first steps of writing poetry, the basic elements of poetry, and a few hints to help make your poetry more appealing.

Poetry cannot suddenly appear from nothing; it has a beginning. For some people, inspiration comes from a creative idea or something they have seen. Others get inspiration from things that have happened to them, or things that they have learned. Some people find ideas easily; others have more difficulty. A moment of inspiration is priceless, however it comes.

The next step is getting your thoughts down in a somewhat organized fashion. You will need to understand that even though your poem is short compared to a novel, it is a story in itself. Good poems have a moral, truth, or lesson behind them and sometimes possess such story characteristics as cliffhangers, climaxes, or resolutions. It is the poet’s job to gather details and order them in an interesting and concise fashion. You are going to need to collect whatever details pertain to what you are trying to portray. Some poets write down topics or facts that they want for their poem. Some make mental notes. Yet others find that writing the poem as soon as they get the inspiration is the best for them (although they risk the possibility of their poem being unorganized). It is important for you to decide what works best for you.

After that comes the writing and perfecting of your poem. Usually the most noticeable element of poetry is its rhyme. Some poets prefer strict rhyme, as in star and bar; other poets use a more loose rhyme, as in fare and shared. And when you write a poem, you have to decide what kind of rhyming scheme you want to use. Here is an example.

Before your face
I’ll find your grace
Your presence I shall know
You’ll take my pain
Your love shall rain
Your mercies shall be shown

The first two lines rhyme, the third and sixth lines rhyme, and the fourth and fifth lines rhyme, so this stanza’s rhyming scheme is aabccb. Let’s try this again.

From where comes hope? From where comes joy?
They only come from You
If I don’t have You in my life
Then, Yah, what would I do?

 The rhyming pattern here is abcb. Usually the poet will use the same rhyming scheme throughout the whole poem, but some choose to change. When you are the poet, you get to decide.

Another important element of poetry is the foot. Foot is the order of accented syllables in a poem. Here are some basic kinds of feet.

–Iamb: a foot consisting of an unaccented syllable, then and accented one (e.g. display)
–Trochee: a foot that is the opposite of iamb–accented, then unaccented (e.g. ready)
–Anapestic: a foot of two unaccented syllables, then an accented one (e.g. happy day)
–Dactylic: a foot with an accented syllable, then two unaccented ones (e.g.  joyfully)

The rhythm created by the feet in each line is called the meter of the poem. Now look at this stanza and carefully notice how many iambic feet (unaccented, then accented) are in each line.

Yehovah is my strength
He trains my hands for war
Why should I fear the fight?
It’s what He made me for

The iambic foot repeats three times in each line. The meter of the poem is then called iambic trimeter, with “tri” for three. Here is another stanza.

In jubilant praise
To El I will sing
He rescued my soul
Now He is my King!

Each line in this stanza has an iambic foot followed by an anapestic foot. In the last line, the iambic foot is “Now He” and the anapestic foot is “is my King.” Many poems are created by combining various types of feet in a line.

The poet uses feet, meter, and hard work to transform plain words into a rhythmic flow that makes the poem enjoyable. Rhythm helps your poem portray feeling, and appeals greatly to your readers. It also makes it easy to change your poem into a song because your poem already possesses a distinctive beat.

There are certain devises that make poems more enjoyable. One common devise poets use is personification. Notice how this stanza refers to time as if it is a woman.

My moments make me see
That time so loves to flee
I’d wish for time to stay
But time must have her way

Another trick to make your poetry appealing is alliteration–the repetition of a consonant sound. The top line of the last stanza is an example of this.

My moments make me see

Notice how many times the m sound is repeated.

Another device, similar to alliteration, is assonance. Assonance is the repetition of the same vowel sound. You can notice this in the third line of the next stanza.

My Father, now I seek You
The Maker of all things
I pour my soul before you
Please give to me your peace

Repeating sounds by either alliteration or assonance also lends to the rhythm and beauty of your poem.

Poets also like to use simile, the comparing of one thing to another. It creates a good mental picture for your readers and helps them understand what you are trying to portray.

My soul is a bird
Once trapped in a snare
But lo, my dear King
Released me from there

Here the soul is compared to a bird in a snare as the poet attempts to provide a vivid picture of what her King has done.

Another important thing to keep in mind when you write a poem is that poetry is an art, meaning that you can do whatever you want with your poem. You do not have to obey the generic rules of meter or rhyme to have a good poem. Poets throughout the ages have used many different styles of poetry. Some poets like to use free verse, which often has no organized stanzas, rhyme scheme, or meter. Whatever style you choose, you must understand that not everyone is going to like it. People often get very particular about what styles they like. But do not be discouraged, for when we make something beautiful, it should be for Yeshua’s glory, not our glory.

Writing is not easy, and it takes much practice. But it always takes work and time to make something beautiful. My advice is to never give up and to always imagine. Good poets are almost always thinkers or dreamers.

For some people poetry is a helpful creative outlet and a good way to get thoughts and feelings out of our brains. It is often a source of solace or delight. Yet others go through life without even considering writing a poem. If that is the case for you, I hope that this post has opened your eyes to the world of poetry and maybe encouraged you to visit that world.

בצל כנפיך / In the Shadow of Your Wings

One of my passions is the Hebrew language, and it is about time that Hebrew appeared on my blog. For the sake of those who know only English, I shall add an English translation of this poem of mine below. It shall not have meter or rhyme, but at least you will get the meaning of the Hebrew.

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בצל כנפיך

ישוע אאחז לך
אבטח אדון ברב עוזך
בעת צרה וניסיון
אזכור כי על צדי עליון

בצל כנפיך אחסה
ידעתי שאתה רואה
את כל מחשבותי לבי
ואף אהבתי עוד אלי

בצער מר וכל קשה
אך לא תטשני לא תרפה
תשקם מדשן ביתך
גם נחל עדניך יה

לצל כנפיך שם ארוץ
ושם אסתיר מכל בחוץ
ושם אשב בכל יוםיי
אתה תשמרני אלוהי

באהבה בחרת בי
ישוע רק אתה פודי
קנית יה אותי בדם
אחיה עמך אל לעולם

מן צל כנפיך לא אלך
אתה משביע כל זורך
אולי תקום סביבי רעש
אבל שם בי היא לא יגש

וודאי נושעה כאן אני
אודך לנצח מושעי
נתת בלבי שלומך
אז בשימחה אשיר לך

בצל כנפיך שם ביתי
בקרבך שם משגבי
ולא אברח אל צור נשא
או שום מקלט אל זולתך

עדי אני אותך אראה
בצל כנפיך אחסה

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In The Shadow of Your Wings

Yeshua, I will hold onto You
I will trust, Master, in Your great strength
In a time of trouble and trial
I will remember that Most High is at my side

In the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge
I have known that You see
All thoughts of my heart
And although, still have loved me, my El

In sadness, bitterness, and all hardship
Surely You will not forsake me, not leave
You will satisfy from the abundance of Your house
Also the river of Your pleasures, Yah

To the shadow of Your wings, there I will run
And there I will hide from all outside
And there I will dwell in all my days
You will guard me, my Elohim

In love You have chosen me
Yeshua, only You are my Redeemer
You bought me, Yah, by blood
I will live with you, El, to eternity

From the shadow of Your wings I will not go
You fill every need
Maybe tumult will rise around me
But here it will not touch me

Certainly I am saved now
I will praise You forever, my Savior
You placed in my heart Your peace
So in joy I will sing to You

In the shadow of Your wings–there is my home
In Your presence–there is my fortress
And I will not flee to a high rock
Or another refuge, El, but You

Until I will see You
In the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge

Courage

An extended definition

Courage is a goal that many like to dream of or hope for, yet courage is not obtained by hoping or dreaming. Courage is found by thoroughly reading the Scriptures. When one reads such verses as, “Yehovah is our refuge and strength, a help in trouble soon found. Therefore we shall not fear though the earth is removed and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,” (Psalm 46: 1+2) they cannot help but gather a special sense of strength. One of the main components of courage is strength–not always a physical strength, but more often a mental strength. It is strength in the midst of trouble–the moments that you feel weakest. That gift of strength comes straight from God, as “He gives power to the weak and to those who have no strength He increases might.” (Isaiah 40:29)

Another key component of courage is trust in Yehovah. Those who are courageous often face great dangers. How shall they march boldly toward these obstacles if they do not have trust in Yehovah? They must believe that Yehovah has the world in His hands, and that if danger leads to death, He will take their souls safely to heaven above. Some people try to get courage by trusting in something else: a false god, a false doctrine, or themselves. Such courage, no matter how honorable it may look, is a house built on shifting sand. It will soon fail and give way to fear. True courage comes from a soul who believes in righteous morals and truths, and marches into battle knowing that even if they fall, the truth of what they stood for will live on. It comes from someone who believes that he can can do all through the One who strengthens him. They have reasons to be brave. Their house is built on solid rock, and they shall not be moved, for “if Elohim is for us, who shall stand against us?” (Romans 8: 31)

Also included in our recipe for courage are the sister virtues self-denial and self-restraint. They are so closely intermingled, it is hard to distinguish the two. Self-denial denotes giving up pleasures for the sake of others, or ignoring desire; whereas, self-restraint denotes holding back emotions or fear. Either one means thinking of someone else before you think of yourself. They both are heightened and admirable forms of selflessness. A courageous person is willing to take great pains in order to relieve someone else. A courageous person has a great love in his heart for others. That love is also a gift from Yehovah, who Himself is love.

And certainly courage requires difficult work, whether it is marching into battle, telling someone that they were wrong, or simply practicing the different attributes of courage. It requires facing your fears and not letting them conquer you. It requires showing that there is something or someone that you are willing to stand up for, sweat for, or fight for. It requires not backing out on the truth. It requires persevering until the end. It requires not giving into peer-pressure or doing something simply because everyone else is doing it. It requires being different and distinguishing yourself from the crowd. Courage never comes easily, for courage means resistance to whatever rises against you. It is easier to stand back and do nothing, but the cowardly on earth are the cowardly in heaven. What crown do they have to lay before the Master of all?

For the courageous soul there is honor waiting at the end of struggle. They shall receive a crown of glory, whether it is a military victory or a simple assurance that when faced with a problem, they did the right thing. That crown shall be worth whatever hardship they faced. Paul reminds us, “For I consider that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed to us.” (Romans 8: 18) This verse is ever so true.

With all this in mind, let us turn to the greatest example of courage and every other noble virtue: Yeshua the Messiah. He came to earth in the strength and power of the Father. He trusted the Father implicitly and, abandoning His own desires, prayed, “Not My will but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) In the face of all horrifying, shameful, and undeserved suffering, He possessed absolute perfection and retained a marvelous stability of mind. He persevered through all hardship and did the Father’s work until all was finished. He gave of Himself, gave even His life, for us: the greatest gift of love ever given. He was the blameless Son of Yehovah, sent to save us and show us all how to live by the Spirit. He “saw the labor of His life and was satisfied.” (Isaiah 53: 11) He was lifted up into glory and now sits at the right hand of the Father.

So now, those who are courageous, keep up the good work! For those who still struggle to be brave, with the power of Messiah, know that you can overcome whatever enemy is looming before you. Let us all run the race of life with both courage and endurance. With our eyes upon the prize before us, let us bravely hurry to fight sin and fear. At the end of the race is a crown, a crown to lay before our blessed Savior. And if He says unto us, “Well done, good and faithful servant,”(Matthew 25: 21) may we reply in humility that we have only done that which was our duty.

I will leave you with the charge Moses gave to Joshua thousands of years ago. It is still applicable to our lives today: “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear nor be afraid by them For Yehovah your Elohim is the One going with you. He shall not leave you nor forsake you.” (Numbers 31: 6)

Passover Songs

Hello and happy Feast of Unleavened Bread! It’s Passover time again–time to remember when we were freed from slavery in Egypt and when we were freed from sin by Yeshua’s blood. This year I recounted the story by song, and I thought I’d share the lyrics I wrote.

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This first song, a duet with my sister, was about the distinction made between the Israelites and the Egyptians during the plague of flies.

Chosen Me

Yehovah, my El, all now can see
The difference so clearly
That we are precious in Your eyes
You’d fight to make us free

I’ve heard of You for many years
And I knew that You could
Save us by Your mighty arm
But I didn’t know You would

(Chorus)
That You would hear our feeble cry
And see our slavery
That You have loved and chosen us
That You have chosen me
Chosen me
Chosen me
Chosen me

Yehovah, almost all we’ve known
Are sufferings and pain
Why would You ever care for us
And know us by our names?

Why when men on earth are cruel
Would You be so gracious
That You would guard the covenant
That You  have made with us

Yehovah my El, how can it be
That You have chosen me?

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This next song is in memory of the plague of darkness–and Yehovah’s light. Scriptures referenced include: Revelation 4:8; Psalm 118:27; Lamentations 3:23; and Isaiah 9:2.

A Great Light

Hear me, oh please, Yah, hear my cry
Listen from Your great throne on high!
Why will Pharaoh not let us go?
When will these plagues end; I don’t know!

But You bring night to day
And with that hope I’ll say

Those walking in the dark
Have seen a great light
To those who sit in chains
Yah has sent a savior
He keeps His promises
Great is Your faithfulness
To us!

My hope, oh Yah, is in Your light
So long we’ve lived in darkest night
To You I cried in toil and pain
And You have acted; You shall reign!

You’ve brought Egypt to shame
And glorified Your Name

Those walking in the dark
Have seen a great light
To those who sit in chains
Yah has sent a savior
He keeps His promises
Great is Your faithfulness
To us!

Yes, Yah, I’ll wait and see
That You’ll deliver me
Whatever pain or ill
Your love is greater still!

Those walking in the dark
Have seen a great light
To those who sit in chains
Yah has sent a savior
He keeps His promises
Great is Your faithfulness

Praise be to Yehovah!
All glory and greatness!
Praise be to Yehovah!
Who shines through our darkness
He’s El, who gives us light
Removes our sins from sight

Praise be to Yehovah!
All power forever
Praise be to Yehovah!
Our wonderful Savior
Who has made us His own
Who was and is to come
Yehovah!

Special Moments

I fingered impatiently with the folds of my dark green, flower-printed dress, looked at the interesting yellow lines criss-crossing the large room’s red carpet, and waited for the youth group to begin. I definitely was not the only one waiting. Many youth were waiting and talking all around the room, either standing or sitting like I was at white plastic tables. I had never seen that many youth in one place. As I sat with my sisters at our table and delightedly watched everyone around me, I wondered what special moments Yehovah might have in store for me there.

It was a hot June day in Florida. Outside the large window at the side of the room, palm fronds waved, reminding me of where I was and making me grateful that I was inside with the air conditioning. It was not only the first day of the Revive conference, but also the first day I had ever been able to go to a youth group.

“In case you didn’t know, we are now on Messianic Standard Time, so we are going to wait, as most of the people arrive fifteen minutes late,” said the youth teacher in his especially deep and booming voice that was a little intimidating to me. During those minutes of waiting, a girl entered the open double doors behind me and with a swift, graceful move, sat in the chair beside me. She had a sweet, youthful face, a smile both adventurous and shy, and a head covering decorated with a band of beads over her light brown hair. I gathered the courage to talk to her.

“You are Gabrielle?” I said, looking sideways at her name tag.

“Yes,” she answered quietly.

“I’m Faith,” I said. “It’s nice to meet you.” I introduced my sisters to her, but other than that we did not talk much.

Later, when the youth teacher mentioned Israel, Gabrielle said that she had lived in Israel for a year. I have a special place in my heart for Israel and had been learning Hebrew for years. As soon as the youth meeting was over, Gabrielle and I got to talk about it. We saw each other many times during the conference. When we left for our homes we exchanged contact information. We were able to continue that friendship that had started from the seemingly inconsequential act of picking a seat.

As our friendship grows deeper, I marvel at how the Father knew of both of us and decided that we ought to meet and be friends. Friendship is a great blessing, and truly life-changing. It is curious to see how something that special can come from something as simple as picking a seat. It makes me wonder what other people the Father wants to put in my path, and what seemingly trivial way He might use to make us meet. We can never know when we will encounter a “divine appointment,” but Yehovah does. It was not just coincidence that guided our steps that day in June, for “the steps of a righteous man are ordered by Yehovah” and “every good and every perfect gift is from above.”

Monty’s Story

A real-life salvation allegory

Hi, I’m Montana Crow, but you can call me Monty. At this moment I am on my owner’s lap dictating everything I want to tell you today. No one knows how long this moment shall last because I’ve been on this lap for about an hour while my owner does random things I don’t understand, and coos over how cute I am. I think I’ll want to go back outside to my domain soon.

Anyway, my story begin when (can you guess?) I was born to a feral cat living in the pine woods in the spring of 2017. My litter mates and I stayed with our mother until we were ready to go off on our own. We went our different ways into the wilds of the big wide woods. As I went through life, taking care of myself and hunting whatever game I could find, I began to realize how dangerous the woods were. Some of my litter mates were killed by coyotes (a common fate for feral cats), but Yehovah protected me for a special reason.

Thus I wandered in the world–hungry, vulnerable, and lacking love. One day I came to a house and smelled some wonderful, fishy food. Despite the tiger-like cat that prowled the grounds, I managed to make it to the food bowl and scarf a little of the strange, small nuggets of food.

Then I heard a jingle. Humans! I was terrified of what the huge, strong people might do to me. With a bolt of speed I dropped off the second-story porch and charged toward the woods–a place where I felt safe.

But I was so hungry. In the following weeks I continued to visit that food bowl when I came back from my various excursions in the wild. I would eat as much food as I could before the humans came. Then I would make my characteristic dash to the woods.

One day I decided not to run away when they came out. Instead I sat on the porch and made my scared noise, “Ger-e-ow!” I thought they would fight me or chase me because I had taken food from their cats. But no. Instead, they pet me and told me I was a good cat. I was still scared, and not sure if I should trust them.

I continued to visit them when I returned from my adventures. And they continued giving me pats. I was not sure why they wanted to give me love, as no one had loved me before, but I began to enjoy the pats and the visits to their house.

Then one night I got into a terrible fight. (I won’t go into the details, as my owner doesn’t know the details, and I’d rather keep them private.) I trudged back to the house, wondering what they would think of me now that I was oozy-eyed and weak.

They welcomed me with love, giving me a blanket, food, and whatever else I needed. I eagerly responded to their love. As I recovered, I came to see them every night. They picked me up, told me I was sweet, and showed me off to those they knew.

As the months and weeks went by, the wonderful cycle of them loving me and me loving back continued. Now I can almost always be found on their back porch, which is now my back porch. They have adopted me as their own cat. They continue to pet me, feed me, and take care of my medical needs. No longer do I have to fend for myself in the dangers of the woods. I have a new life. I am now a domesticated cat that knows how to give and receive love.

I love how my owners bring me inside to cuddle on their laps, but my owners insist that I’ll never know quite how much they love me or how much their hearts melt when I purr or look at them with my so-called “adorable spark-yellow eyes.” When I bat or nip them, they don’t love me any less. They just teach me to mend my ways by sending me back to the cold outdoors. I suppose they’re right–that I’ll never know quite how much they love me–as they are humans and have a level of consciousness and feeling that is above a cat’s. But I certainly do know that I am loved. And here, with my owners, is where I want to be for the rest of my life.

My Redeemer

I don’t know why
But I’m sure You do
I don’t know how
But You’ll see me through
I don’t know when
But You will guide me
I don’t know what
But one day I’ll see

Yet I do know
That You’ll light my way
Yet I do know
You’re with me each day
Yet I do know
That You’re always true
Yet I do know
My hope is in You

You are the One
Who shields me from pain
You are the One
Who knows me by name
You are the One
Who lives inside me
You are the One
Who always shall be

I know that You
Have saved me from death
I know that You
Give me all my breath
I know that You
Can wash away fear
I know that You
Are always so near

With You I can go
And tell of Your Son
With You I can go
Help Your kingdom come
With You I can stand
Through trial and war
With You I can do
What You made me for

Through You I’m victor
In weakness I’m strong
Through You I’m cheerful
For You are my song
Through you I am blessed
I’m peaceful; I’m free
Through You I am light
For You shine in me

In You I can run
And jump over walls
In You I can trust
You, Yah , hear my calls
In You I can stand
And proudly proclaim
“My Redeemer lives,
And blessed be His Name.”

My Grace is Sufficient For Thee

Right now I feel just fine
But what if shadows fall?
What if the darkness deepens
And I can’t see at all?

Right now all things are well
But what if I meet grief?
What if my life brings sorrows
And I long for relief?

Then, Yah, You’d light my path
Then I would trust in You
Then You would care for me
Then You would see me through

Then I would truly learn
What leaning on You means
I’d truly get to say
“Yehovah my soul leads”

You’d lead me to Your pastures
To Your still waters sweet
You will never forsake me
Whatever grief I meet

You would restore me being
You’d guide me to Your path
For comfort’s not from pleasure
But from Your rod and staff

I would truly love You
And cling with all I’ve got
You’d truly be my hope
My portion and my lot

Then I would see each day
That Your great love boundless
Is why I’m not consumed
Great is Your faithfulness!

You are my Good Shepherd
With You I will not fear
The Vale of the Shadow of Death
Is harmless when You’re near

Oh Yah, You truly love me
And if I counter pain
Although it won’t be easy
You’ll use it for my gain

Your power shows in weakness
In pain Your will You do
So in the deepest darkness
Please help me shine for You!

Whatever trial comes
Your love will cover me
Then I’d truly know
“My grace is sufficient for thee”