Signing the Contract!

Signing the Contract!

Signing my book contract!

I am so excited, and I wanted to share it with all of you who have not seen my FB page! 

I wrote about my Bible study, The Jewels of Hebrews, last week in the post called Gift of Gab. Mt. Zion Ridge Press will publish it in December 2020. Yay!!

It is definitely a huge praise and an answer to prayer! I am so thankful the Lord has allowed this to happen and I look forward to how He uses it.

 Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

Psalm 89:8 ESV

He is faithful. So many times, I nearly gave up. So many times, I figured writing wasn’t for me….

The naysayers beckoned me to listen to them, too.

Satan’s voice was loud, but God’s was louder. He kept me on the right track and at the very moment I needed it, I received encouragement from someone who read my blog, or one of my devotionals, or a fellow writer or Word Weaver.

I remember a time I was praying, asking God if my writing mattered to anyone. That very day a woman named LuAnn sent me a message telling me how much my post on Yoga (which she read on Charismamag.org) meant to her. It was something I needed to hear.

God cares about our discouragement. If we ask, He will send someone to encourage us. I can’t tell you how many times He has for me and I am not special.

God cares about our discouragement. #ThisSideofHeaven #Signingthecontract #Biblestudyauthor

Find out what God has for you. What was the last thing He asked of you? What was the last thing He told you to do?

Do it….He will guide and direct your path.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

    and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,

    and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

He wants us to succeed.

Not in a worldly way, but a spiritually maturing, God-strengthening way. Whatever your gifts, use them to glorify Jesus.

You will be fulfilled and satisfied.

And you will influence others for Jesus. Don’t let satan steal your dream or gift. He has no right to it. We serve a great God.

The Lord says,

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Psalm 32:8 ESV
The Gift of Gab

The Gift of Gab

A few years ago, I had some genetic testing done through 23 and Me, a branch of ancestry.com. 

In addition to finding out I have a few enzymes missing, I found out I am 87% Irish/English. My great-grandfather came from Ireland to the United States, but I had no idea I had that much Irish in me. 

Throughout my adulthood, I have been told by complete strangers how “Irish” I look. I have even been asked where I’m from because of my “accent.” When I said Ohio, they laughed and said, “No, it’s not an Ohio accent I hear.” 

I have never been to Ireland, but I am dying to go! 

I read more about Ireland and things to do there. One interesting article I read had to do with the Blarney Stone found near the top of an old castle. You must hang upside down and kiss it to receive the gift of gab. 

The gift of gab is defined as the ability to speak with eloquence and wit. 

I need to kiss that rock! 

 The Irish American Mom, whose website you can visit here, quotes John O’Connor Power, an Irish politician. 

“Blarney is something more than mere flattery. 

It is flattery sweetened by humor and flavored by wit. 

Those who mix with Irish folk have many 

examples of it in their everyday experience” 

~ John O’Connor Power (1846 – 1919) 

I really love to talk but write, uh, not so much. 

I want to speak with eloquence and wit. But, I’m not sure that is me. 

Sometimes I write like I talk, too. Ugh! 

So, when God called me to write I felt obligated to explain to Him that I was NOT a writer. He seemed unconvinced. 

I wrote and taught a Bible study twelve years ago on Revelation. It was okay and my class liked it. Soon after that I felt led to write a Bible study on the book of Ephesians. I included Spiritual warfare since it is covered in Ephesians 6 and I titled it The Few, the Humble, the Church; A Study in the Book of Ephesians and Spiritual Warfare. (You can purchase yours at the bottom of my web site.) 

I self-published it eleven years ago. Since I was inexperienced in marketing, I did my best to get it into churches and bookstores. I got very discouraged when it proved to be difficult. 

I knew I was to keep writing, but I really had no interest in it. I avoided it for many years until 2017. 

The Lord led me through the book of Hebrews during my quiet time. When I wanted to move past it, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to write a Bible study on it. 

didn’t want to! 

“Who will read it?” I asked. “What’s the purpose?” 

He replied, “I can’t do anything with it if you don’t write it.” 

“Okay, fine!”  

It has been quite a ride writing this study. I have learned so much from Him and His Word. I began small Bible studies as well as attending writers conferences, and I have recently become a chapter president for a critique group called Word Weavers, International. My sister was an immense help reading and working through it as I wrote each chapter. 

Its title is: The Jewels of Hebrews 

Each chapter is named after a beautiful gemstone, like amethyst, ruby, sapphire, emerald, plus many more. #JewelsOfHebrews #ThisSideOfHeaven #StephaniePavlantos

Each chapter is named after a beautiful gemstone like, like amethyst, ruby, emerald, oe sapphire, plus many more.

You will also STUDY the Bible! 

I take you through the Torah, or Law, the Prophets, and the New Testament as we study Hebrews. It is a mixture of reflection, teaching, and fill-in. I pray God will use it to set people free and reveal His Son to everyone who reads it.  

Here is the “back cover” for the book: 

You are a treasure hunter on a mission to find hidden jewels. Your guide Stephanie Pavlantos has gone before you and now joins you on an expedition to unearth a hidden gem from each chapter of Hebrews. When you open your beloved Bible and dive deep into the book, you will find a rare diamond, ruby, sapphire, and other gems. You will explore the rich history of the early church and the connections the book of Hebrews has to the Old Testament. The supremacy of Yeshua and his royalty will be revealed as the Jewels of Hebrews are discovered one chapter at a time. Learn about these jewels and the meaning of their color as you find relatable and practical applications for modern times. Get ready for a life-changing journey! Yeshua is eager to reveal the Jewels of Hebrews to you and crown you his prince or princess. 

Jewels of Hebrews

It is not published, yetThat’s my next step. 

But someday, Lord willing, I will be able to gab with you through my book while you read and study God’s Word. 

I may not be the most eloquent or witty, but my desire is to teach you about Yeshua through my studies. 

Be on the lookout for it! 

Breathe

Breathe

As I was driving home this weekend from my sister’s house, I saw a sign on the overpass with the words, “Are you breathing?”

Obviously this sign referred to the senseless death of George Floyd.

But, as I thought about it, I also realized that Covid-19 took away the breath of many people. As we all know this virus attacks the lungs, leaving its victims unable to perform the most basic of needs–breathing.

The verse that immediately came to me was:

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

Genesis 2:7 ESV

What sets us apart from every other created animal? God Himself breathed into us.

EVERY human being gets their life from God.

But what do we do with that breath? Scripture tells us…

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they 
breathe out violence.

Psalm 27:12 ESV

Our country has seen so much violence over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, there are those who “breath out violence.” Anger and bitterness can breed this kind of aggression.

Forgiveness can put an end to it…even undeserved forgiveness.

Satan wishes to divide us….that is not God’s will. Yet, here we are living in a divided world in many ways, a divided country with divided families.

In John 20, Jesus met with his disciples after He rose from the grave. After He showed them His hands and feet, He said, “Peace be with you…”

…He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

John 20:22 ESV

As Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on them, He spoke of forgiveness. We need filled with the Holy Spirit in order to live the life God wants us to and be able to give forgiveness as well.

\What are we to do with this breath the LORD gave to us?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Psalm 150:6 ESV

I saw many videos of people praising God instead of the hateful, hurtful speech and actions of some. Where there is praise, the Spirit of God resides. God is the answer for this world.

We are broken.

Only Jesus can fix what is broken…

He gave us His Word that we may know Him and know His ways. It says in 2 Timothy:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

God breathed out His Word as Jesus breathed out His Spirit on those He breathed life into. His Word with the power of the Holy Spirit can change the hardest or most wounded heart. HIs Word will teach us His ways and His will, it shows us our faults and sin, it corrects us and judges our intentions, and it trains us to be righteous and mature.

God breathed out His Word as Jesus breathed out His Spirit on those He breathed life into. #Breathe #ThisSideOfHeaven #Forgiveness

Without God’s Word, we will not grow and mature. How can we understand His Word?

But it is the spirit in a man and the breath of the All-powerful that gives him understanding.

Job 32:8 New Life Version

Take a deep breath…because you can.

Let the Spirit of God heal our wounds as we forgive. Let us love our neighbors as ourselves.

Is Healing for Real?

Is Healing for Real?

Has God healed you from an illness, injury, or some other condition?

Do you believe God heals today?

In my Bible study, Jewels of Hebrews, I wrote about Jesus/Yeshua healing us body, soul, and spirit. I had someone proofread two chapters for me and surprised me when she suggested I remove the part about Yeshua healing physically and rather say, “He heals the sickness of our sin.”

Unfortunately, she no longer believed Yeshua healed our physical bodies since God had not healed a few people she knew. I thought that was sad, but I know sometimes Yeshua does not answer our prayers for healing in the way we hope.

Why? Why doesn’t God always heal our bodies from the aches, pains, chronic illnesses, cancer, and injuries we sustain?

There is more to healing than we can understand.

I have had a nasty fungal infection for at least ten years on my foot, and I have tried everything. Nothing gets rid of it. I prayed for healing, I removed all sugar out of my diet since I know fungus feeds on sugar. But no change.

I also have TMJ, which is when the joint in my jaw becomes inflamed and often slips out of joint. As many of you know this is painful. After it popped out while flossing my teeth, I prayed and asked Yeshua to heal it.

For about two weeks it felt great. It stopped dislocating and I could yawn and floss my teeth without pain.

One day while reading my Bible, my jaw suddenly went out. I immediately asked God why.

I said, “I thought you healed my jaw, Lord, why is this happening?

He spoke to my heart with the words, “Don’t believe satan’s lies.” I rebuked satan and his lies and told him, “Yeshua has healed my jaw and nothing you do can change that.”

My jaw has been fine since that day two months ago.

There are reasons we don’t experience healing:

I think God knows whether the healing or the suffering will keep us close to Him. Does the pain or the healing give testimony to Yeshua? Does the pain bring you closer to God in complete dependence or will the healing bring you closer to God? Only God knows which one it is.

Are we sabotaging our health by our diet? Has God put people and doctors in your path to instruct you about eating right, yet you ignore them? God has given us many good fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and lean meats to eat. Has He spoken to you about your way of eating? Our poor diets will affect our bodies negatively. We want to eat all the fats, sugar, and bad carbs, then we want Yeshua to take away the adverse effects of it.

Believe it or not, even critical attitudes, bitterness, and unforgiveness can affect our health. We open a door to demonic spiritual influence through our sin.

Our sin can make us sick.

I have told this story before, a friend of mine called me complaining of her heart palpitations. She made an appointment to see her doctor but wondered if she should be worried. We prayed for healing.

Within a few days, the heart palpitations had stopped…. but within two months they were back. When we prayed together again, the Holy Spirit dropped a line into my heart: “Her heart problem is a heart problem.”

This friend was dealing with bitterness and resentment, which she confessed to me later. Once she asked for forgiveness, her heart problem went away.

Satan can also lie to us about our healing. God heals us, then satan comes along and makes all the symptoms return, leaving us feeling like the healing was not real.

That is what he wants us to believe. Does satan have that kind of power? Yes. He has the power to deceive us. Without knowledge and understanding of satan’s’ ways, tricks, and deceit, he steals what Yeshua has given, destroys our peace, and kills our faith.

Without knowledge and understanding of satan’s’ ways, tricks, and deceit, he steals what Yeshua has given, destroys our peace, and kills our faith. #IsHealingforReal? #ThisSideofHeaven

I have heard of many healings which have “reversed” themselves. We must not allow satan to steal our healing!

I was once praying over a young man who had come up for prayer at a Sunday morning service. He wanted prayer for healing of a family member who had cancer. While a friend and I prayed for him, the Holy Spirit surprised me by saying, “I will not heal him on this earth. I’m taking him home.” I wasn’t sure I heard correctly, so I ignored it…The next morning, I began praying for this young man’s family member, and again the Holy Spirit stopped me with, “Don’t ask me to heal him, I will heal him in Heaven.” I stopped praying for his healing and instead prayed for the family.

The man passed away a few months later, He is perfectly healed in the arms of Jesus.

This may sound strange or even unloving of God, but I know of a close friend who also had God tell her something similar while praying for healing.

God’s compassion and love says, “I will not let you suffer here for long; I am taking you home.”

So, our physical healing can be instantaneous, over time, or in Heaven. It is God’s decision.

There is a word in Greek which means saved. It is sozo.

Sozo means: to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction, rescuing one (from injury or peril), to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health, or to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue.

https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Lexicon.show/ID/G4982/sozo.htm

The woman healed from a bleeding disorder when she  touched the fringe of Yeshua’s prayer shawl in Matthew 9:21…

For she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well [sozo].”

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g4982

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save [sozo] the lost.”

Luke 19:10

 Yeshua came to find us and to save us by giving us eternal life, healing of our hearts, souls, minds (emotions), and bodies, and by rescuing us from the evil one. He is our hope, our Savior, and our Refuge.

How has Yeshua saved you? Please share your story!

A Sign and Seal

A Sign and Seal

This past weekend was Pentecost or the Feast of Shavuot. It is celebrated fifty days after Passover and the death of Jesus/Yeshua.

In the Christian church we think of it as the day the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples waiting in the upper room. But the first Pentecost occurred for a different reason.

Exodus 19:17-20 tells us the first Pentecost was when God came to Mt. Sinai to meet with the people. God called Moses to the top of the mountain so He could give him the Law as we know it. It is also thought Moses received the Oral Law or Talmud at this time as well.

Exodus 20:18 says, “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid[a and trembled, and they stood far off.”

Can you imagine walking towards a smoking, trembling mountain with thunder, lightning, and fire coming from it as the God of the Universe descends upon it because He wants you to hear His conversation with Moses?

“Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder…” Exodus 19:19

Moses apparently understood thunder.

Exodus 20:18 is describing the same scene, and according to what I have learned, the original Hebrew states this verse as “The people saw the voices and fires…” It’s an interesting way to think of this, but as God spoke they saw His voice as fire and the people were afraid. 

How does that compare to Acts 2?

In the New Testament Pentecost, we read Yeshua gave the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire to His disciples. The people who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks heard  the disciples speaking to them in their own languages and were puzzled, amazed, or amused.

It may not have been thunder or fire coming from their mouths, but it was still impressive.

The very first Pentecost, God spoke to everyone through Moses.

After Yeshua ascended, God spoke through His Holy Spirit through fishermen, tax collectors, shepherds, and other people.

God still speaks through His Holy Spirit! #ThisSideofHeaven #ASignandaSeal

In Exodus 32, Moses came down the mountain to find the people worshipping a golden calf. In verses 25-29, Moses instructed the Levites to strike down those who built and worshipped this idol. Three-thousand people died on that [Pentecost]…

Fast forward to Acts 2:41 and we read on that Pentecost, three-thousand people were added to the numbers of those who believed in Yeshua.

God does not work on a linear timeline, but a circular one. Everything comes back to redemption.

I miscarried my first baby in late September 1995. The following year on September 23, 1996, I brought my twins home from the hospital. That date was not lost on me. I knew God was redeeming the loss we experienced.

He is so kind. He loves us like He loves His Son.

Nearly everything God did in the Old Testament reflected Yeshua.

As the Israelites wandered in the wilderness, God had Moses number each tribe and gave them a specific order when they camped and traveled according to Numbers 1 and 2. As they camped, all twelve tribes sat around the tabernacle, in four groups of three, while the Levites circled the tabernacle in the center of all the other tribes.

Most drawings I have seen of this looked like a mess of tents and camps around the tabernacle.

biblical-tabernacle-reproducti

But, using the numbered group of tribes as “legs” you see a pattern in the orderly arrangement of this camp. 

They were arranged with the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali grouped together with 157, 600 north of the tabernacle.

The tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad were south of the tabernacle numbering 151, 450. These two groups are close in size giving them equal “legs.”

Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun were east of the tabernacle with 186, 400 – the longest leg.

And finally, west of the tabernacle numbering 108,100 were Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamín, with the shortest leg. When you lay the tribes out as they would have looked from the top of a mountain, you get a shape like this:

 

https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Tabernacle-Typology-Part-3

In the Hebrew alphabet, the last letter is a tav, which at the time of Moses was shaped like a cross or a lowercase “t.” Their alphabet letters have meanings unlike ours. According to the Talmud, the tav means truth. It is also the first letter in the word Torah. https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/137287/jewish/Tav.htm

Along with truth, the tav means a sign, seal, or mark.

Deuteronomy 6:4-8 is called the Shema. God told us His commands (Torah) should be on our hearts. It should be taught to our children and spoken about in our homes and wherever we go.

“You shall bind [my commands] as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.”

Deuteronomy 6:8

The Torah was a sign or mark of following the Lord.

In the New Testament, we read that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a sign of our faith in Yeshua as born again believers.

Ephesians 1:13 tells us, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit

From the beginning of time as we know it, God has orchestrated signs, wonders, and miracles to show Himself to us, lastly sending His Son as a sign of His love for us and desire for relationship.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

Hebrews 1:1-3

When Yeshua said, “I am the Alpha and Omega,” in Hebrew it would have been, “I am the Aleph and the Tav. Aleph being the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet meaning Leader or First. This letter is used to represent God. Essentially what Yeshua was saying is, “I am God, and I am the sign of the covenant.”