We have just finished Christmas, and now we are only five days away from entering into 2019. How has your Christmas been? Do you feel as if this Christmas and this year has been a blessed year or is it more a feeling of this year has been cursed? If you had asked me the same question 5 years ago, I would have answered I am not sure, but it feels more like I have been cursed. One year ago I would have answered, “I must finally be doing something right because things seem to improve.” If you ask me this question this year I would answer it has been a blessed year, a blessed Christmas and all those other Christmases 5 years and last year were blessed, but I did not know how blessed I was back then.
Five years ago I was sitting outside a shopping mall in my car a few days before Christmas. The snow was falling, everyone seemed so joyful, and all I could see was couples doing their Christmas shopping. There I was in my car alone; my wife was home sick confined to the house. I had prayed for her, many others had prayed for her, but her illness seemed to increase instead of decrease. So there I was worried for her, scared what might happen and my heart was breaking because I missed her so much and I wanted her well, healthy and able to be there with me to do the Christmas shopping. I can honestly say I did not feel the joy of the season back then because my mind was so focused on her sufferings and me having to deal with all the Christmas preparations by myself.
Two years ago my wife was healed so now we were both out doing the Christmas shopping together. But sometime before this, we had spent money we did not have, so we had next to nothing to live on for Christmas since our wages were garnished. I can remember walking in the stores, trying to find the cheapest Christmas gift for her, the cheapest Christmas food. Not because she did not deserve something nice, but because I had no choice. We had to stretch a buck and try to make do on next to nothing. All around us we saw couples with shopping carts brimming with gifts and food. On Christmas Eve that year, we were invited to eat dinner with her parents, but she came down with a migraine headache. So we ended up at home eating mashed potatoes on Christmas Eve.
When I think back on all of this my first thought is that I had such high expectations for Christmas, but because of outside forces (such as migraine headaches, and unexplained illness and inside forces such as our stupidity spending money we did not have), those expectations fell through. I remember I was so frustrated because I was a Christian, saved by the Blood of Yeshua and I had done everything by the book. I had prayed, worshiped, tithed, given gifts of money to ministries, rebuked the devil, but nothing helped. So instead of being thankful for what I did have, a wife, a house, food on the table, I was so focused on the negative I forgot to be thankful. And that is why I would have answered “it feels more like I have been cursed” if you had asked me how my Christmas had been.
This year we were both out doing the Christmas shopping, we had enough money to buy gifts for each other, to buy a real Christmas dinner for the both of us. So this year our expectations were met with some exceptions. We are still in debt, but we are slowly paying our debts through a chapter 13 solution. We are running a global online ministry with more than 170 000 members, but no one wants to help us pay the ministry bills. So we have to pay them from our own pockets, something we are thankful to do but we also need that money for ourselves. So things are not perfect this year, but for the first time in my life….I felt thankful.
This is when I felt as if Yehovah asked me a question: Why are you thankful when you dont have all that you desire?
Back then I was a Christian, saved by the Blood of Jesus, reading my Bible and praying. I did everything by the book living the Christian life, but still, I was so disappointed and ungrateful when my plans and expectations for Christmas fell through.
Now I am Torah observant, still saved by the Blood of Yeshua, reading my Bible, praying and making sure to take time to be quiet before Yehovah through meditation and chanting.
So the difference is this, now I am Torah observant, and I take the time each morning to meditate and seek Yehovah in silence with my mind focused on the mantra OM.
What I discovered was this, when I started meditating and being Torah observant I was finally able to live in the now. Making the decision to live right here and now changes you and makes it possible for you to be thankful for what you have right here and now. It also makes it is so much easier for me to believe Yehovah will do great things for my wife and me in the future. Because I am living Torah obedient here and now, believing Yeshua died for my sins, I have no problem being thankful for what I have. I also find myself being able to believe Yehovah for the future, for freedom from debt and for partners to the ministry.
If I could have gone back in time, I would have told myself back then to shut up and become quiet before Yehovah in deep meditation, chanting of OM, praying and being Torah observant. This is what I am doing now, being Torah observant, believing Yeshua died for my sins, meditating and chanting OM each morning and during the day and it has made it possible for me to live in the power of the now.
Your Christmas might not have been all that you wanted it to be, and perhaps you feel as if 2018 has been a cursed year. The Bible says in 1.Thess 5:18 we are to be thankful no matter what happens to us. Your life might not be perfect right now, but if you are obeying the Torah believing Yeshua died for your sins, you have every reason to be thankful because you are Israel and a Jew in covenant with Yehovah. Choose today to be thankful and quiet your mind of all the distractions going on by meditating and chanting OM.