Sunday, February 23, 2014

No Man's Land

As human beings we look for formulas. We try to figure things out. Sometimes we find them. Sometimes we don't. When all the pieces fit together nicely and things work we are happy. These successful endeavors build our confidence that whatever the problem, if we work hard enough and long enough we will find success, solve the problem or complete the equation. For a while, maybe for most of our lives, this little theory works very nicely. We look pretty good. Everything is going our way. Folks come along and inquire why it seems to be working so well for us and not for them and we just give them our "sage" advice and decide they must not be trying hard enough or there was some error in the process they are using. Maybe we give them a book by Joel Osteen or Zig Ziglar. (A little humor there) We may even experience a few speed bumps along the way ourselves, but we overcome and are able to formulate faith in our abilities and skills. Things seem to be working pretty well for us!

One day something comes into our lives that is bigger than anything we have tackled before. We are not intimidated. We employ the formula. We take on the challenge! After all we have been so successful before. This is no problem. We hit a brick wall. What just happened? We try the experiment again and same result. We do it over and over again and nothing! On that day we learn that our theory was incorrect and our methods are lacking. That’s a hard day. Sometimes that day stretches into years. It’s devastating. It’s depressing. Some of us, me, even knowing the truth deep down inside, refuse to give up. We won’t even consider that we might be unsuccessful. If anyone comes along raining on our parade we get away from that individual as fast as we can! We convince ourselves they were sent by the competition to weaken our resolve and we will not hear them! We won’t even entertain those thoughts! We keep trying and fighting that little voice inside that says, “Your way isn’t going to work.” We stifle that little voice inside and decide it must be from hell. We hold on to our hope so hard that are knuckles practically turn white and everything, and I mean everything and everyone else in our life is neglected. We consult the experts. We read all the books. Somewhere, somehow there has got to be an answer to this equation.  Our friends, what is left of them (remember the neglect part) are on the side lines rooting for us, helping us to drown out the little voice that “might” be coming from hell. They mean well. But, that voice isn’t from hell……

Would it surprise you to learn that I believe in God? From what I have written above it seems I put a whole lot of confidence in my own abilities, doesn’t it? Not exactly. What if I told you my “methods”, my “tools” in all this were faith and prayer? Prayer worked pretty nicely for me for a lot of years. I really thought I had a lot of faith too. It was pretty successful for me. I saw results. Then one day I saw nothing. I began to examine all the variables. What was I doing wrong? It all seemed to be working and then one day it just didn’t anymore.

In the church I was taught that if you pester God enough he will answer your prayer. Boy, I was an expert at pestering!! The verses below are pulled out of context to support that point.

Luke 18:3-5

And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

We have been taught, at least I have that “God” represents the judge and we represent the widow. That is how I approached everything in my life. Just keep asking, begging, pleading and eventually He will give in and give me what I perceive I need. He will just get tired and hand it over!

I can’t and won’t take credit for another man’s revelation. What I am about to share was revealed to me because it was first revealed to this man. Regardless, it confirmed something I believe Abba has been showing me for some time that I just didn’t want to take hold of it. To take hold of this truth was far too scary a proposition. It defeats my “formula.”

First, do know, we have a loving Father. His character is not like the judge described in Luke 18:2
Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

This judge did not fear God and he had no regard for man. He was hard, uncaring and unethical having no respect for the commandments of God. Does that sound like our Father to you? He did not care for men. Yet our scriptures tell us that Father loves us so much He even sent His son to die for us! So that being said, Yeshua is not describing His Father when he speaks of this judge. He is drawing a comparison explaining that Father is good and not at all like that judge.

Luke 18:7-8

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Will you trust Him? Will He find faith on the earth?


A few years ago my oldest son was in an accident late at night. I was asleep when we got the call. My whole body shook until I found out that he was OK. After that I prayed and prayed constantly that Father would keep him safe. I had developed almost a superstition that if I didn’t pray constantly Father would allow another accident. One night, months later, my son was again working late and I began my silent begging of safety for my son. I clearly heard within me a voice that said, “I heard you the first time.” My begging Abba simply communicated lack of trust. I have stopped asking more than once. Last fall I faced a similar test when my daughter had a much more serious accident when we were out of town. I had to wrestle myself that entire night to surrender that situation to Father. Or was I wrestling with myself?  I know He hears me and I am so sorry I doubted that.

These 3 words used to send shockwaves through my system…………

But if not,

They come from Daniel 3:13-18.....

 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

I have a very difficult situation and have for a number of years. It looks as it the answer to my prayer may be no in this situation. It certainly is wait if nothing else. Please consider the youths.

Just like I misused prayer, I have also misused faith. I freely confess that to you. My faith was not in my Creator. My faith was in my hope that He would do what I wanted Him to do. In putting my faith in my hope I, again, was communicating to Him, that I did not trust Him.

You see, I have come to understand after many years of wrestling with this, that He is my Abba. He loves me. He loves my son. However, He sees things I do not and His ways are far above mine and if He says “wait” or even “no”, and even if it causes me great pain, it is for a reason. There is and has always been a purpose. The youths understood that. They continued to be faithful even in the face of death. They knew He was more than able to save them but He may chose not to. They did go into the fire. They stepped into No Man’s Land. The guards were consumed as they ushered them into the fire.

They trusted Him….no matter what…..and that is Faith.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Letter from a Judaizer


(Well, honesty, I am not. However that is the perception...... so let’s go with it for a while.)

Dear Friend,

First let me express my love for you, my brother and my sister. It was so good to see you. I have truly missed you! I mean that from the bottom of my heart. We went through so much together over the years and I really thought of you as family. I just knew when things got tough you’d have my back no matter what! Through all the church splits, controversy, drama and general difficulties of life I thought we’d always be in one another’s corner through good times and bad….

When we ran into each other in the parking lot at the grocery store recently and you asked me what was going on and how everyone was I could feel the tension in your voice. I knew you didn’t really want an answer to that question. At least not an honest one. The rumor mill had made its rounds and you’d already formed an opinion of me and of my family. I hesitated and chose my words carefully to protect your comfort. Your comfort is what you wanted right? In the past when I have run into old church friends they seem a little shocked and possibly appalled by what I have excitedly shared with them. I have learned honesty is not necessarily what they are looking for. I suppose I cannot blame them. So I know why you were nervous as we spoke. The truth demands an examination and who wants that?! Our lives have radically changed over the last 4 years and it has become very obvious to anyone who knows us. You seemed worried that what I have, and what my family has, might be contagious! So rather than give you details you did not want to hear I politely answered and generalized for your benefit. Or was it for your benefit? I have to admit I am little confused by that.

I am fine. My husband and children are fine. The sky is blue…………etc., etc. We used to share our hearts and now we are sharing the weather report with one another. As we depart and go our separate ways you say, “I will call you” and “We will get together sometime”. The thing is, you have said that the last 5 times I have ran into you here. I really wish you would tell the truth. I think that would be easier to handle than the façade.

The truth has become pretty important to us. I guess you could say He has become everything to us. You see we don’t go to “church” anymore. We realized we are the church and we assemble with others from time to time and especially on the Feast days (in Leviticus). We keep the Sabbath because our Messiah did and nowhere in scripture was that changed. In fact the Catholic Church admits to changing it.  (I really respect their honesty, don’t you ) We don’t have a pastor anymore because we learned we have only have one Teacher, one Head, and one Shepherd and we are all brethren and are to serve one another in humility. (1 Cor. 11, Mat. 23, 1 John 2 etc.) We don’t keep Christmas or other popular “Holidays” anymore as we learned of their disturbing pagan origins and it seems God really doesn’t like that! (Jeremiah 10, etc., etc.)  Christmas is not in scripture and it’s easy to find out that Messiah wasn’t born on December 25th. Nowhere in scripture are we told to celebrate the birthday of Jesus, but we are commanded to remember his death and resurrection in the Passover. Don't even get me started on Easter.

We have found such rich blessing in our marriage and family in keeping The Feasts of the Lord and His commands. There is nothing in scripture that tells us not to. On the contrary we have found that keeping His commandments demonstrates our love for Him and He has asked us to keep them in Scripture…..even in the red words! (John 14)

So a lot has changed with us. It has been wonderful and difficult at the same time. Wonderful because we have grown so much closer to our God and have seen His hand in our lives like never before! Difficult because just being “us” and walking this out has made us Judaizers in your book. The thing is we have never answered a question you didn’t ask. Regardless we are seen as having some sort of contagious disease that you might contract if you come in contact with us. Some who are a little bolder than you have actually asked us if we have become Jewish. No, we don’t practice Judaism but perhaps a sect of it called “the Way”. We are just trying to be obedient.

I often wonder, if I am that lost and have “fallen from grace”, why are you not discussing it with me? Why are you not trying to get me “saved”? Where have you gone? Am I not worth the effort? If I am deceived can you show me how? I have to wonder if you really love me. I love you and I miss you. I think as hard as it would be to not agree with one another it’s harder still to not have relationship with you. Can we understand one another, not agree and still maintain fellowship? I don’t need you to agree with me to love you.

I am sorry that I make you uncomfortable. That isn’t my intention. My intention is to be like my Messiah and live and walk as He did. I guess that makes me pretty unattractive to you.

Well, stay comfortable friend. It’s hard on this side and the road is really narrow!


More than a Conqueror

Sunday, September 8, 2013



This seems like a strange topic to write about during the fall feasts. As I write this we are celebrating Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets. Yesterday was Shabbat and my husband and I were discussing what it means to be unleavened.


Every year since embarking on this journey we have participated in the act of ridding our house of leaven before the Feast of Unleavened bread. It’s my job, and sometimes my kids’ help, to locate and eradicate every crumb of bread that is in the house. It’s quite a laborious task. The toaster is the absolute worst! We were taught that doing this was symbolic and would remind up to get sin out of our lives. It really isn’t that simple. We recently learned that leaven isn’t what we thought it was. Someone very wise brought it to our attention, thankfully!


Leaven is not sin as we have always been taught. If it is sin then why did Yeshua compare the Kingdom of Heaven to Leaven in Matthew 13:33? That doesn’t make any sense. Really think about that. If leaven were sin then Yeshua was calling the Kingdom of Heaven sin and we know that is not true.  Right? The bread Yeshua shared at His Passover was leavened bread, "artos" in Greek. Why would He do this if leaven is sin and call it "His body"? Besides those examples there are multiple instances in the New Testament that give us more clues about this. Another is when Yeshua warns his followers to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. He gives this warning in three of the gospels, Mathew 16:6, Mark 8:15 and Luke 12:1. So, I am thinking it might be really important that we understand what “the leaven of the Pharisees” is.  Yeshua goes on to explain that this leaven, the leaven of the Pharisee’s, is hypocrisy. The word Hypocrisy comes from the Greek (transliterated) word "hypokrisis". It gives us a picture of an actor on a stage trying to appear to be what he is not. John 12:42 indicates that some of the rulers believed in Yeshua, but because they feared the impression of the people and other rulers, they did not confess Him. They “acted” or performed differently for acceptance and popularity. They feared the opinion of man. This is hypocrisy and is the leaven of the Pharisees. It is a snare! This is politics folks! It’s everywhere and not just in our government. It’s in our everyday lives and in our places of worship. And it has an uncanny ability to spread!


So leaven, just like it is in the physical, is simply an agent that causes things to spread and grow. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it is a conduit. It transports whatever you put in it. I am a baker, so this makes complete sense to me. I have made artisan breads for years. I have made some very good loaves and unfortunately some very bad ones. Most of them have risen because of the yeast I introduce. If something unpleasant somehow makes its way into the dough, the entire loaf takes on the unpleasant taste of that ingredient and it is the same if something pleasant is introduced to the dough. Hypocrisy is a bad ingredient. It is something we must avoid. Hypocrisy is living a lie and we all know who the Father of lies is. We must guard ourselves and not live a lie! We must love truth. We must seek to be honest with others and ourselves. So having finally begun to understand leaven, especially the unsavory ingredient of hypocrisy, and how it has affected our lives and the lives of others around us, we began to ask ourselves what does it mean to be unleavened? Perhaps this is the more important question?


So sitting at our kitchen table yesterday morning, with hot cocoa, my laptop and our scriptures spread out before us, we decided to look at every instance of the word “unleavened” in scripture in an attempt to understand the meaning of that word and what it means to be “unleavened.”  The first mention of the word unleavened surprisingly occurs in Genesis 19:3. Lot prepares unleavened bread to feed the messengers of Elohim before he is taken out of Sodom. Next occurrence is in Exodus 12:8 when the Israelites are commanded to prepare unleavened bread before they are taken out of Egypt. This same account is repeated over and over again throughout scripture and they are commanded to continue to remember Father taking them out of Egypt every year by preparing and only eating unleavened bread for 7 days. Other instances of unleavened bread being used occur in burnt offerings to YHVH except in the ordination of priests and in the Nazarite vow where leavened bread is used as well. I don’t begin to understand that, so if you know, please let me know.  So as far as I can tell unleavened bread seems to always be a paired with being taken out or being set apart from the world. Being Holy as He is Holy perhaps? Yes, yes, yes …..without sin, sure, but so much more! It’s deeper than that. I like what Paul said:


1 Corinthians 5:6-8


 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed, therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.


Here Paul is calling this kind of leaven pride. He is warning them to empty themselves of pride which is wicked and malicious. These are people that obviously keep the feasts. Outwardly they are doing the right things. Here he is reminding them to clean up and be changed! Being an "unleavened batch" is about being changed on the inside and not just about what you do on the outside.  “Regeneration, not behavior modification.” (Don Harris) Unleavened bread is dead. No life of its own is in it. We are to be dead to our own plans, agenda and ideas and go with Him and be set apart! All the things we “do” will not make a difference if what is on the inside is not right. All the things we do will not change who we are!

In other words….I can outwardly keep the commandments. I can keep the feasts. I can learn Hebrew and Greek. I can learn to recite the Shema. I can wear a prayer shawl or scarf over my head and I can memorize the Kiddush and study till my eye balls fall out of my head! I can go to church, synagogue or bible study faithfully. I can attend every conference there is. I can do all these things and not be right on the inside. We must be regenerated or born again to enter the Kingdom of God. The only way to be regenerated is to die and that is a process. Paul said he did this “daily”! Perhaps I am over simplifying this, but I really don't think Father's truths are so complicated that we cannot understand them.

So soon it will be the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. This is a time to examine ourselves and prepare for the coming of our King. We are rehearsing the actual event before it happens. Before that happens do you think maybe we need to be “unleavended"? Perhaps this isn’t such a strange topic to explore in preparation for the fall feasts? What do you think?



Blessings to you in Messiah,


More than a conqueror.






Friday, February 1, 2013

Making Bricks Without Straw

Exodus 5:4 But the king of Egypt said, "Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!" 5 Then Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working."

6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7 "You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies."

For most of us there are times in life when you come to the conclusion that you don't have the inner resources to complete or even cope with the task or tasks put before you. You come to a dead end. This is a place where your efforts seem fruitless and in vain. You shape, mold, sweat and toil and it's to no avail. None the less you have to keep on going. Quitting isn't an option. You are committed and invested. You intend to keep your word and press through. do. Every day. The alarm goes off and it begins again. There is no turning back. It can be frustrating, extremely discouraging, you can feel trapped and tapped of all your energy. You try all the formulas to the equation and it dawns on you that you are missing a key component and you are not the one that can produce it. Pharaoh has played a cruel joke and commanded you to proceed without what you need. You find that you in and of yourself are helpless to remedy the situation. The sun beats down on your head. Your neck and back are tight and fatigued from the strain. You look around and all you see is "Egyptians" that just don't get it! Pharaoh mocks you and laughs at your pain. The days are long and the nights even longer. It can feel like a very lonely place.

You might be facing what seems impossible. There seems to be no remedy or solution for what you are walking through. Well meaning friends try to help you but they don't have any straw either and they don't know where you can get any. You just don't have the materials to "build your bricks." You might be asking, "what I am I going to do?" You might be asking, "why,  Father have you allowed this trouble to come?" Moses asked the same question (which makes me feel a little better, LOL).

Exodus 5:22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, "Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all."6:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country."

And He did it! He will do it for us too! If patterns repeat, and they do, it might be a while before we reach the promise land. Maybe not 40 years, but none the less we are going to have to brave the plagues and some serious lessons in the wilderness. That being said, the good news is, minus a few plagues, we are almost out of Egypt! In the wilderness He will give us what we need (not always what we want). He will teach us, grow us and deliver us.

Exodus 14:13 But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.

Sometimes my emotions get the best of me. My circumstances can feel like they just might swallow me whole, a lot like that Reed Sea. It is amazing how simple things can become in the center of it all when you finally get worn out from building bricks.

I don't have all the answers and it seems like I have less and less the more I learn, but I will share with you what little I do know: (Although, honestly, I don't always act like I know.)

Do not fear.

He is who He says He is. He does what He says He will. He changes not.

He doesn't promise that life will be perfect. It wasn't for Him when He was here. He doesn't promise there won't be loss, pain, suffering or very difficult situations. He doesn't promise others will do what they are supposed to. He doesn't promise that our situations will turn out how we'd like them to. He said we'd have trials and tribulations. That is a promise that we don't always want to remember.

He doesn't promise we won't have regrets or make mistakes. He promises to forgive us when we do when we confess and repent.

He will abide in you when you abide in Him, that's a promise. He does promise to walk with you through it all as He will never leave you or forsake you.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and transient troubles are achieving for us an everlasting glory whose weight is beyond description. 18 We concentrate not on what is seen but on what is not seen, since things seen are temporary, but things not seen are eternal.

So I have to get back to my brick building. I know that without straw there will be no bricks. It's not looking like I am going to get any straw. It's OK.  It's just what I have to do until I leave Egypt. One day the bricks will just be a distant memory, if I remember them at all.
He is about the eternal, not the temporal, the heavenly, not the earthly, the spiritual, not the physical (thank you Andrea).

There are so many promises in that.

Chazak, chazak v’nitchazek! Be strong, be strong and may we be strengthened.

Many blessings to you in Messiah,

More than a Conqueror


Sunday, December 30, 2012


Today my two younger children, my oldest daughter and myself visited The Anne Frank exhibit in Sandy Springs Georgia.

I had an individual ask "why" I would expose my young children to such information and I replied that I felt it to be vitally important that my children understand what fortitude is, particularly in the times we are living in. Fortitude is the strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage. I believe we are living in times that require fortitude. I hope my children do not need a great deal of such an attribute, but I am not naive as to what is going on in our world. I believe Anne Frank was one of those individuals that had fortitude.There were many of them during WWII, that had fortitude. Most of them will tragically never have their stories told. We are very blessed, world wide, to have the privilege to at least hear Anne's story and hopefully not repeat such an atrocity. Despite what Anne was going through, hidden in the secret annex, she remained Anne and she was strong. Sadly Anne did not survive, like many, many others,(6 million Jews, but up to 11 million murdered if one counts the disabled, elderly, Romanies and others.......they should not be forgotten) but her legacy of fortitude lives on and inspires and strengthens others even today. As we toured the exhibit today we viewed many pictures displaying the murderous affect of hatred. Jews, Gypsies, the disabled and elderly being treated in the manner of disposable refuge. Trash. Less than human. You could see the fear in their eyes eternalized on film. Then there were other examples of "less than human" treatment, in our own country, that were also documented next to the photos of the Shoah, the Holocaust. The treatment of minorities, particularly African Americans, is also documented at the exhibit as well. It's a shameful blight in our nation's history. It's a shameful blight on human history. There are so many throughout history......

"An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel."

Proverbs 18:19


As we were leaving the exhibit my eight year old, my youngest, asked me why people do such things. It was beyond her, as it should be. Only one thought entered my mind. My only answer, very simply, was offense. Offense! What an evil thing offense is I told her! I explained to her that when a person becomes offended they create a "door" for all sorts of evil to enter. When that evil enters then a person's thinking, their mind, their very perception, can be twisted and they will believe all sorts of lies! It "colors" everything they see and soon they just don't see things in the correct light. It isn't long until the person believing those lies develops hatred for others that they percieve have "hurt" them and then eventually they act on that hatred. Germany, for example, had been enduring all sorts of severe financial hardship, prior to WWII. As a country they were really hurting. People were starving. Hitler exploited their desperate situation and turned them against those that were different than them or those he viewed not worthy of life because of his own twisted perception. He served up a group of individuals to blame for all their problems and encouraged them to take revenge. As I pondered my own words (were they my own words?) I thought about how easy it is to become offended and then as a result become deceived. Offense is truly the BAIT OF SATAN!!!!! (John Bevere's book goes into this at great length and in great detail) Offense literally gives the adversary "license" to reign in our lives since forgiveness is central to our faith and the kingdom. I thought rather than judge Germany or anyone participating in discrimination or hatred it would be prudent to continually examine my own heart so that I do not enter into such a state of being. It really is so easy to go there. We all suffer. We all get hurt. We all live in this fallen world. No one is above it, really. In small ways, through out our world, I see it every day. In small ways I even see it in the community of believers from time to time. One does not agree with another and rather than agree to disagree in a respectful way the situation proceeds to offense. Offense then becomes destructive. Do we realize what we are "playing" with? Father help us!


These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
James 1:15


Forgiveness is the central to our faith, I explained to my children. Why did Yeshua die? He died so that our sins might be forgiven. If that is the case who are we to think we EVER have a right to be offended with another? We do not. The cost, for our Savior, was way too tremendous.


How many times are we to forgive others? Always.


But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matthew 5:44-45

Enough said. Don't you think?

Never forget..........


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Song of the Times

The appointed time has come. You will arise and have mercy on Zion; it is
the time to favor her.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Create in Me a Clean Heart

Just some simple thoughts................

The month of Elul, that we are currently in, is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holidays (Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement and Sukkot or The Feast of Tabernacles, see Leviticus 23 to read more). Put very simply it's a perfect opportunity to examine our hearts and clean up, so to speak, before coming into the presence of a Holy Elohim. Really, thinking this over, this should be an everyday pursuit no matter the time of year. How different would our relationships be, all of them, if this was something we did continually?

Psalm 51

King James Version (KJV)
51 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

Our relationship with Father and our relationships with others can sometimes get pretty convoluted. Very much like a pipe in my kitchen sink. You might find this an odd comparison but read on. We had a little bit of a back up in our kitchen sink last year. It was pretty ugly. It is amazing how junk can get stuck in there and you don't even know it until it's too late and the sink is barely draining. My husband is a pretty handy guy so he got right in there and started cleaning it all out. I felt sorry for him when I saw what was coming out! Yuck! It looked and smelled awful but he was resolute and calm and got the job done. When it was all over I so was grateful. The drain worked like it was brand new and the smell and mess were gone.

Our hearts, I believe, can work very similarly to that pipe. In our physical hearts, when we neglect our health or as we age, we can develop plaque in our arteries. If that plaque grows very thick a serious back up can occur and then the blood flow to the rest of the heart can become sluggish and dangerously slow which can rob us of our energy, vitality and good health. Sometimes this built up plaque can cause a  complete closure of an artery and then parts of the heart will begin to die. This condition can result in death if it is allowed to continue. Likewise, our spiritual hearts can begin to harden over time when we have neglected to examine them, confess, repent and ask Father to make us clean from our sin. We have to seek Him, speak to Him, spend time with Him and ask Him to reveal the hidden things to us. Sometimes there are old hurts, resentments and unforgiveness in there that we may not even be aware of. Maybe we have learned to justify a thing or just put a different label on it rather than call it what it is. If we truly desire to be spiritually well once more and most importantly be right with Him we must surrender these things and allow Him to do what He must to make us clean once more. Our relationships with others will suffer if we are not in good relationship with the Father and our relationship with the Father will suffer if we are not in good relationship with others. It's just the way it works.

Romans 12:18
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live in peace with all people.

Communication is crucial. Yeshua (Jesus) and the Father are one. "Echad" in Hebrew. Yeshua was always, and I mean always, talking to the Father and still is. His prayer was that we would be One as He and the Father were One. (John 17:22) AND He said that the world would believe that the Father sent Him IF we would be one in THEM (Yeshua and the Father). Sadly, I often see groups of individuals so bent on being right that they throw their relationships right out the window. The baby goes out with the bathwater so to speak. That which should be most precious to us is discarded in the pursuit of pride. How quick we are to do that! How deceitful our hearts can be! They betray our best interests pretty quickly if we are not sober to our own tendencies. If we don't communicate with the Father we won't know that there are issues adversely impacting our hearts until it becomes an emergency, spiritually speaking, and in that condition we can not be one with Him or anyone else for that matter. Our perceptions will be colored by our spiritual pain and sickness. We will not be able to hear Him properly with all that gunk clogging up the line and when we do hear Him our flawed perceptions will taint what we think we might have heard.  If we don't communicate with one another and work to resolve the gunk that has collected and built up between us imaginations can come into play and resentments can build, just like the plaque can build up in our physical hearts. This state of being will rob us of our life and vitality and make us spiritually ill. We may then see any attempted communication on the part of the Father or others that love and care for us as confrontational because now the hardness that has developed and collected in our hearts must be worked out.That process can be very painful. It's a terrible condition to be in. It happens and when it does we need to address immediately it to prevent it from becoming worse. Or even worse than worse if you get my drift.

This happens to be the month of Elul, which is, I believe a model for how we should always conduct ourselves. Let us humbly seek to allow the Father to search us, purge that which is evil and might have invaded our hearts and cleanse us from all unrighteousness so that we might be found clean and rejoice when He comes to Tabernacle among us!

Blessings to you in Messiah Yeshua,

More than a Conqueror


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm a Liar....Ok, Was

Disclaimer: This could be offensive, it's not meant to be, it's truthful. Read on if you are game.

I have made a discovery. I am a liar. No, I don't write bad checks, steal or cheat on my taxes. I feel guilty for not putting my shopping cart away in the supermarket parking lot. I am not an obvious liar. Well, at least it wasn't very obvious to me.

Isn't it funny how we don't realize things about ourselves until we are much older and have fought a few bloody rounds in the boxing match of life? Funny, well maybe not, comical, yes. I think some things only come with age, unless of course you are extraordinary. I am not extraordinary, I just pretend to be. I could play extraordinary on TV, but I am not extraordinary. I am just me. It sometimes takes some serious hard knocks for me to learn.

Somehow, long ago, I got it in my head that acting OK meant you are OK. I also thought acting nice made you nice. Being quiet and not telling people how you really feel made you polite and a "lady". Taking others verbal jabs and digs made you brave, a martyr and honorable. The list goes on and on and on......You could probably add a few of your own erroneous "self narratives".

I think society is rather supportive of this self narrative. Don't you? Here is a quiz: What are you "supposed" to say when you are at church or your fellowship and someone asks, "how are you?". You are "supposed" to say, "I am fine, thank you. How are you?" and then expect the very same response, whether you are OK or not. I used to be quite good at this. I am not so good at this anymore. That is making me so uncomfortable, you have no idea, but perhaps it's meant to.

It's so automatic. I mean it turns on before you know it does. After a while you begin to realize you are rather resentful towards certain people. (Not you, come on, you're great! ;) )You have a hard time being in the same room with them. The problem at this point is that you are so detached from yourself you don't even know why you are so uncomfortable around them. You have ceased to exist. You are just a piece of dutiful furniture at that point jumping when told to jump and ignoring what is wrong deep inside. You are angry and you don't even know it. You are walking in unforgiveness and you are not even aware of it. The resentment has been building and now you are just numb inside.

The problem with these self narratives is that they are big, fat, ugly LIES! The worst part about it, beside lying to Abba, is that you have betrayed yourself. I have BETRAYED myself!!  Not to mention you have betrayed the person or persons you are lying to. Did I say "lying", yes that is what I said. If you tell them the truth they may run the other way. Yes, they may leave you. But, I have started to ask myself, are these the relationships I really want to have? Is there any possibility of having an close friendship with a person like that? They are comfortable with the "pretend you", the one that does what they expect, because that is who they think you are. But you are not that person are you? That person will never have the opportunity to grow past their issues and neither will you if you are not truthful. You will never have a close relationship and it's not their fault, it's yours. They may grow, they may not, but you could provide them that opportunity if you'd just tell the truth. It is worth the risk? Yes, I believe it is.

The Word says that "you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32) What does that mean? I think it is fairly multi-dimensional like most everything in YHWH's Word. It has many applications. His Truth is endless and I could really go down a rabbit trail right now, but I won't. For this purpose, the writing of this blog, I think it means to be genuine and authentic. Face who you are. Know the truth about who you are and ask Father to change that about you if it doesn't line up with His Word and cooperate with Him when He brings about circumstances in your life to accomplish that. Ouch....I know.

I have had some serious circumstances brought into my life. Physical issues, depression, along with a special needs adopted child that hurts others, almost daily, for 6 years, to deal with his pain are just a few of them. Everyone has "stuff" and that's just mine...... currently. These challenges are provoking me to become increasingly more honest with myself and with others. This is painful. I won't lie (LOL). Some people have and will walk away as a result. It can be a bit much to deal with some days, I get that. I guess, at this point, I'd rather have that then live another day not being real with the people in my life. I guess I'd prefer to have warriors come alongside me then pretend for people's benefit that I am OK everyday just to keep them as friends.

So maybe you are not like me. You are honest. Good for you! There is no guessing what you think or feel. You pretty much tell it like it is.........but maybe you don't see the skid marks you left on the person you just ran over? It happens. But, I think there is a remedy. Just humor me here. I think the Word provides it.

Ephesians 4:15
"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."

So, maturity is being truthful, but doing it in a loving way. If we, as a body of believers, desire to be mature and function in what He has called us to do, then we need to get real with one another, but do it lovingly. How amazing would that be and how much more could we be one and a powerful force to be reckoned with then? I believe it's possible and it will happen, one day. Watch out when it does!

I am learning, every day. If this is what my 40s have shown me I am going to be seriously blown away by the 50s! I am so grateful that He hasn't given up me. I am so grateful for Him.

Many blessings and love to you in Messiah.