Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Women of Faith: Julie from Savvy Homemaking

Welcome to the Women of Faith Series!

These women contributing have poured their heart and souls into these posts wanting to share their beliefs with you. I welcome them with open arms and I pray that you will as well.

A little about the series, I asked them all the same 12 questions to shed light on the beliefs of their faith and their personal journey. 

This is meant to be educational to expand your view of what others believe. I ask you to be respectful in any comments you leave and really start a conversation into exploring each of these faiths. Though you may not agree with their faith or beliefs, let's respect them by making this a safe place for them to share. 

1. Please give an overview of your faith and what it believes.
For me, there is something tricky about defining my beliefs in the box of some denomination. I don't believe in sectarianism, but rather simply abide by scriptures total picture, from Genesis to Revelation. According to this understanding, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, I can say I am a whole Bible believer who loves Yahweh, our Elohim, Yeshua (Jesus) His Son, and freely receives the joy of salvation as offered by His Son! What a joy! To reverence Yahweh and welcome the change from the old creation to the new, I live and breathe the joy found in the Law, His Torah, that guides mankind in the Ways of righteousness.

2. Was there a specific time of reason why you believe what you do?
I have been walking with the Lord intentionally since I left home at 18 to join the Navy. It has been a step-by-step walk over these last 13 years of gradual change, sanctification, and growth, and only recently connecting the dots of the importance of knowingly and intentionally looking to Torah for guidance, because of the clarification of the Feast Days, pagan ways that still abound, and clear guidelines for interpersonal relationships in the face of offenses.

3. Does your faith have religious books? Please name them all if more than one and give a brief description of its purpose/origins.
I follow the Bible, in its entirety, reading both many translations. I will often read various thoughts and beliefs regarding it and it's compilations, but always pitting them against Torah and Deuteronomy 13 to determine if there is any lasting value. But, the Bible is the only book to which I turn for Truth.

4. How do you put your faith into practice everyday?
I live out my faith with Yahweh in every moment of every day, sometimes stumbling, sometimes falling, but always getting back up, dusting off, and continuing on. I know that my "failures" are tools for growth that permit me to realize my own inherently fallible nature. My flesh wars with the Spirit, but day-by-day it dies off piece by piece, changing me to a new Creation in Christ. I make food choices according to Levitican dietary laws, not to be confused with Kosher Rabbinical Laws. Overall, we enjoy Yahweh, honor and recognize Him in our words and actions, give praise to Him when times are good AND bad, and trust Him with all that we cannot see or do. He is our good Provider and Sovereign Lord. We are so very honored to love, and be loved by, Him.

5. Do you believe in Heaven? How do you get there? If you don't, what do you believe happens after you die?
We receive salvation through the simplicity of the peace offered to us through the sacrifice and victory claimed on the Cross by Yeshua. The process of sanctification happens after that gift is accepted as we walk according to the leading of the Spirit, which is in accordance to the Law (Torah). This applies the words of James so very clearly, bringing solid footing to the "works" that prove our faith, revealing the life that it gives in our actions from our thoughts. The journey of sanctification and commitment of the saints reveals a true and living faith that is not shallow or founded in falsehood. Only God truly knows who are His and who follow Him in Truth, not by some attempt to earn salvation.

6. What do you/faith believe about the human condition? Is being a good person enough according to your religion?
There is never any "good enough." "Good enough" to do or be what? Before God, who is perfect and just, we all fall short. But, praise be to Him that He provided the path to redemption and recompense through His Son, who became the sacrificial Passover lamb and First Fruits of all the Saints, revealing once more the importance of Torah as He fulfilled the Spring Feast Days perfectly. There is still a Fall grouping to be fulfilled in days to come, as yet unfinished and unfulfilled.

7. Who do you/your faith believe Jesus is? What do you know about him?
Yeshua was the perfect Passover lamb, whose coming was predicted and practiced for millenia through the Spring Feast Days mentioned in Deuteronomy 16. He was God's chosen Son, who was sinless and fully obedient to Torah, righteous and complete, the perfect sacrifice to cover the sins of the elect. He humbled Himself to come to earth and become man, even dying on the cross for mankind. It is through His blood and salvithic work that we can all give praise to Yahweh for His grace and mercy and continue to obediently follow His Ways as explained in Torah out of love for Him.

8. Who do you believe God is? If you believe in God, what is he like? (Base this on your religious beliefs) If you don't believe in God, why not?
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, foundation for all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is both loving and just, merciful and righteous, long-suffering and holy, gracious and forgiving. He protects and provides for His chosen people for ever, but is a gentleman and does not force those who call on Him to obey His Word. Disobedience to Him brings about consequences, but prayer and repentance brings about forgiveness. It is to Him all glory and praise must go for all mankind.

9. Have you had to defend your beliefs? What happened?
Often. Some people ask questions to seek understanding and contemplation. Some people ask questions to find arguments and fight in contention. What happens depends fully on the heart of the listener. They are the determination of what happens with seeds of faith.

10. How has your faith/beliefs changed you?
I have been so mightily changed over time. I have moved from a scared person, strongly intimidated by the approval of man, to a learning-to-be-bold woman of God, holding out the Truth of the Word to those who are looking for the Light. I have grown in the importance of selflessness, humility, dying to self daily, although I still stumble often. I have been challenged and grown in my character, like patience, kindness, mercy, gentility, etc. My faith has only made me stronger and more in love with Yahweh. His Word guides my thoughts and words in each moment.

11. Have you ever questioned your faith? How did you question it? And did you get the answers you were searching for to keep believing?
I have questioned my faith and various beliefs as the Lord reveals them many times over the years. But, these questions motivate me to dig in deeper to study and learn scriptures to understand why I believe and think what I do. My faith and questions have only stirred me deeper into the strength of my faith.

12. What is something that you want to tell people about your faith?
Scripture lays out a simple path for living at peace with Yahweh. It reveals the Ways of God found in the Law, which is perfect and beautiful and honoring of all creation. The sacrificial system of the Law was fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Yeshua, but the moral aspects of the Law, which most focus on as the Ten Commandments, remain in effect today. We are called to love the Lord above all else and to Love our neighbors as ourselves.  These two concepts are the foundation of all the Law and Prophets. Torah simply explained what Yahweh meant by these proclamations and the commands of the ten commandments as given to Moses.

 However, man continues to this day to add to the Law and apply more and greater laws upon each other, placing nooses and millstones around the necks of those who try to follow it. Torah was meant to provide a free system of interaction between individuals and entire systems of community, but abandoning its simplicity has brought about trouble time and time again. Neither Rabbinical Laws or other religious laws, can add anything of value to God's Law.

 It is perfect as it is. Removing the "Law" removes the path of Holy living, and brings about confusion more than peace and order. Although there is much to understand in its regard, the beauty is that the process of sanctification permits us the time and process to grow in understanding according to Isaiah 28:10, "a little here, a little there."

This is what Yeshua's sacrifice created for us: the peace to walk obediently through faith without fear of judgement from God for not understanding and stumbling in sin and ignorance. God is loving, and He provided His Spirit to guide us and counsel us step-by-step as we walk with Him in obedience. So, now we can be free to love Him back the way He likes to be loved (by walking according to Torah, which is revealed over and over in the Word; Psalm 119 declares this sentiment repeatedly).

 We need not expect ourselves or others to be perfect in obedience, for if that were doable, we would not have needed Yeshua. Now, we can offer grace and mercy to ourselves and others while we persevere onward towards righteousness and eternity. The Bible brings true peace when we can shake off the confusion of man. Shalom!

Julie Ann Filter, of Savvyhomemaking.com, has been a lover of Yahweh since her late teens.  She has been married for nearly 12 years and been blessed with six children so far.  She is passionate about Biblical living, love for God, and learning the blessings of faith and mercy.  She enjoys learning about God's creation more and more as she studies natural health, living, and eating methods.  She has a BS in Health and Wellness and is currently pursuing an MA in Counseling with a focus in Life Coaching, a certification in Strategic Communications, as well as Certification as a Childbirth Educator.  She hopes to one day also bless women as a birth and post-partum doula, but will likely pursue that in years to come.

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