Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Lessons in Grace

We Bible folk use the term "grace," pretty casually and loosely.  Oh, we speak of it's value and importance, yet many use it as an excuse to "do what is right in their own eyes."  Then there's the other camp who seek strict Torah observance and seem to place "grace" on a back burner, or worse, never mention it.  Amazing Grace is a long time favorite for many, and it truly is only by the grace of our Creator, through His Son, that we can be forgiven and have a relationship with Him.  But I'm not talking about our Heavenly Father's grace toward His people, I'm talking about His people having grace toward each other and those who do not yet know our Heavenly Father.  I'm talking about born again Torah observant children of the Most High, walking in grace . . .

Messiah said we'd be forgiven as we forgive.  With that being true . . . Shouldn't we be extending the same grace we've been shown?  As this came to my heart, I became astonished at the number of times in any given day, we are called to extend grace and be gracious.  I double checked the list of the fruit of the Spirit, and graciousness is not included.  Even in the meanings of the words in the list, gracious is not a synonym for any of the fruits of the Spirit.  I'm not going to argue with Scripture, nor am I adding to, but . . . those of us who have received grace, should be extending and sharing grace!  Perhaps it's not in the list of fruit of the Spirit, because it supposed to be a "given."  Torah obedient followers of Messiah should be gracious!  As I've sought to understand grace, I've found myself in several situations for which grace is called.  Often we are called to show grace or be gracious when we'd truly rather offer a piece of our mind . . .

As Sukkot was approaching, I found myself being bombarded by situations of aggravation.  Many of us feel the extra stress and chaos as the High Holy Days approach.  It seems, many on social media actually include stress, argument, and discord as a part of their celebratory ritual.  So many folks talk more about what they don't believe, than what they do believe.  It's easy to become distracted, and then to find ourselves in need of more repentance than when we began the days of introspection and repentance.  I learned grace is an atmosphere that protects the children of YaH from distractions and discord, if we walk in grace.  In a conversation about grace, with one of my granddaughters some years back, she looked at me with light in her eyes and said, "G-ma, grace is like living in a bubble!"  Grace allows us to be in the presence of a Holy G-d; and grace empowers us to walk through an unholy world, set apart.

Another wonderful lesson I've learned and it's been coming gradually.  When dealing with folks who need a lot of attention and seem to make every situation about them . . . I just pray for them and listen.  In this high stress, fast paced culture, many people feel overlooked and neglected.  Then there are others who just truly seem to need the spotlight, while some find themselves to actually be the center of a very difficult situation they never wanted.  Those are needs, I can meet graciously.  I don't want anyone to feel overlooked in my presence, and the spotlight is simply not my cup of tea.  Father has pulled these natural traits together to expand the ministry to which He's called me.  It's not a big showy outreach, at all; but it speaks to hearts with very few words.

Every single High Holy Day this year was preceded by someone's rant out of the blue.  Then every High Holy Day actually had an unavoidable problem as well as interruption that could have been avoided!  In these situations, although I still had to repent for a few thoughts, my words were chosen carefully.  As a matter of fact, that's one of the biggest lessons in grace I learned.  There are going to be conversations with some people in which we must watch every word.  Our job isn't to change the other person, but rather take the opportunity to learn to mete and monitor our own words.  I came to realize very quickly that Father blessed me in that discovery.  The folks I feel the most guarded in a conversation do most of the talking in all conversations!  We really can't "out give" our Heavenly Father.  The less we say in times of stress, the less can be misquoted and the fewer regrets.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of YHUH.  Genesis 6:8

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of Elohim:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Y'hshuah unto good works, which Elohim hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:8-10

Grace is not the end of the journey.  We do not receive the grace of our Heavenly Father to then sit back on our "blessed assurance" of our own idea of "righteous."  Grace is given to begin the relationship with our Father and we are to walk in His grace to accomplish His purpose.





Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Almighty of Israel

Last Friday afternoon, I received a phone call from the young man's mother, asking me if I'd be willing to step in, speak with a caseworker, and if possible, have her son come stay with me.  I said to go ahead and give the caseworker my phone number and I'd keep the phone close.  She stated . . . she had already given him my number.  It wasn't fifteen minutes later, he called.  The tossing of hoops for me to jump through, began immediately, and there was a check in my spirit.  Between the call from the mother and the call from the state, I sensed a "showdown" between Elijah and the prophets of Ba'al.

I am certainly not claiming the spiritual stature of Elijah, but I do serve the same Mighty G-d.  There was what I would call an Elijah moment with this individual that seemed very similar to the one described in I Kings 18, as Elijah was dealing with the prophets of Ba'al.  Since this situation involves a minor, I will not use names.  A true miracle took place in the next three days, and she along with her family rejoiced in that miracle!  The happy mother then matter of factly stated to me, "I know you think this happened as a result of prayer to your G-d, but I know it's a result of prayers to my gods."  Her statement made me physically ill, and then I considered the facts . . . Spiritual blindness is causing horrendous audacity in America.

A very contentious situation had revolved around this particular child for 12 years,  from the time his parents divorced.   Although I never had any power or clout in the situation, I did pray that the child would have some peace and not have to endure the strife, nor come to feed on the tension . . . and that Father's will would be done.  Five years ago, the situation erupted with a change of primary custody, in favor of the father.  The father then became even more controlling and ruthless than he had been, but the young man became active in his church and sports.  In some of the photos posted in social media, seeing places his sisters and mother were going and some things the mother had said to me, I do believe sports and church were much preferred in Father's will through that time, but . . . there was more to Father's plan.

As I considered the statement this woman made about her god(s), I knew it was the G-d of Israel that had moved and brought this about.  Her god hadn't manage to do anything for five years.  It was she, herself, who had contacted me on Friday afternoon, asking for help.  When the caseworker called me that same afternoon, I listened to his schpeel of state authority and simply stated, "The young man should be with his mother, I'll think about what you have said and will pray on the matter."  I had a client, so the prayer wasn't immediate, but I already knew I would not be jumping through state hoops to become a foster mother to a child who'd had both parents fighting over him for most of his life.

When I was alone, I did pray and immediately heard, "Call his mother and tell her to get to Missouri, this is her opportunity."  I called her and delivered Father's message.  Five long years her god piddled, while she endured mountains of heartbreak, rivers of tears, and spent thousands of dollars.  When she sought a servant of the Most High G-d of Israel, the matter was resolved in three days!  Within 72 hours from the call for help from his mother, he was with her, Monday afternoon.  Also amazing to note, this involved no litigation, no lawyer fees, only airfare and hotel accommodations; which were gifted to the woman.  That's the way the G-d of the Bible answers prayer!

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if YHUH be G-d, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. . . And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. . . And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, YHUH G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day That thou art G-d in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.  Hear me, O YHUH, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art YHUH G-d, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of YHUH fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.  I Kings 18:21, 26-27, 36-38 .

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Smack Down

About an hour before Shabbat, Mavis brought twins into this world.  Mavis is my Toggenburg goat and she arrived in Goshen right about 5 months ago.  All day, I could tell by her behavior, she was getting close, but since she was such a recent newcomer, I wasn't sure how close . . . As I walked out of the milking parlor with Lily, I thought I saw something small and moving in the south east pasture.  I took the milk into the house, then for the first time in nearly two weeks, put on shoes to walk down to see what was going on.  By the time I got there, a second baby was on the scene.   Mavis wasn't "tending" to them as I thought she should be, so I stepped in with a couple of the "goat towels" and dried the babies' faces and rubbed them up a bit . . .

The next thing that happened truly upset Mavis, as the babies were nudging at my legs, rather than hers.  I tried to unite mama and babies, but that only made everyone more stressed.  In the midst of my intrusion, Mr. B decided to join the mess and got behind Mavis to pick up hay wrapping or something, and having someone behind her only irritated her further.  I suggested we back up and stop intruding in this bonding period.  Let me share just a bit.  Once I realized she was getting close, and it's nice weather, I didn't pen her up, but there were nice clean goat huts for her to give birth.  Rather than use the nice, clean, private huts, she opted for the RV carport where all the goats have been lounging through this rainy August!  So, the babies were born in that mess . . .

As I headed for the gate, I asked Father to raise up the maternal instinct He'd placed in Mavis.  I looked back toward her.   She was absolutely refusing to let the kids get close to her and she wasn't licking them at all!  At this point, I began to formulate a plan to obtain the colostrum and feed it to the kids.  A short quote from the prayer book at shul came to mind.  "Pray as though everything depends upon G-d, then work as though everything depends upon you."  I'm sure the dissection of the soundness of this theology could take many tangents, but I do believe in putting feet to my faith.  James tells us "faith without works is dead."

So, there was one important factor, I was really doing wrong, and sadly Father had to tell me about it.  The plan I hatched seemed brilliant.  I would lure Mavis with grain, to the milk parlor, break in a goat that had never been milked, then bottle feed the kids, but since it's August, I could leave them outdoors.  All these years the kids arrive in late winter and early spring.  This is my first year of having both spring and fall kids.  So, I'm not fully sure what I'm doing, but I never let that stop me.  Back to my plan.  I took the milk bucket to the milk parlor, got grain in the feed box on the stanchion, put some grain in a bucket, grabbed the lead and was heading out the door, when I heard the Voice of our Creator.

It was a simple question that stopped me in my tracks.  "Why are you preparing for the opposite of what you asked of Me?"  I had asked Him to raise up her maternal instinct, even acknowledged that He was the One who created that in her, and then  . . . I had already realized my "help" initially had been an intrusion to her, so, here I am preparing to commit further intrusion . . .  All I could do, was hang my head in shame, ask forgiveness, and STOP.  I had actually been working against what I'd prayed.  That's not feet to faith!  

Thankfully, in spite of my demonstration of lack of faith, He honored my request.  Within moments, I could hear Mavis "cooing" to them.  Then just as Father ordained at creation, those babies were latched on and tails were flagging.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

An Unexpected Answer

When I fell, last winter, the injuries were pretty severe.  I prayed and asked for prayer.  Actually, I fell twice.  The first time was painful, but I kept going, the second fall . . . was a show stopper!  Some nearby friends reached out to help me do some things around here, that I was simply too injured to do.  Even Mr. B stepped up to the plate.  I was really in a bad way.  Half of my face was black and blue, but it wasn't as painful, swollen, or discolored as my back, hip and leg.  Several folks were praying for me.  Giving all glory to ADONAI, He has healed me instantaneously, and used me in healing others, but this time, as I prayed and cried and wailed, and prayed some more, NOTHING.  Although He didn't speak it, there was a knowing in my spirit that there would be no sudden or even quick healing.  There were a couple of times, it was so severe, I was tempted to seek medical relief.

Moving was so very painful, but then, so was sitting as well as laying . . . In this, Father did bless me to make a wonderful new pain relief formula, and He did deal with me about other matters . . .  For a time, life just felt very, very bleak.  Thankfully, I never spoke it aloud, but there were a few times, the thought crossed my mind that I would never recover . . . As I was struggling to get some seeds in the garden, while still on crutches, I heard The Voice of Father!  It was a short and very direct statement, "Finish the Book."  Immediately, I knew the book to which He referred.  I'd had the title for awhile, and started it four different times.  The fourth attempt was in the works, but still wasn't gelling as I'd hoped.  What does one do, when hearing a specific instruction?  Just DO IT!

Any one position for very long, was painful, but soon there were writing stations for sitting, reclining, and standing.  As I progressed in the book, my body was improving . . .  I'm not a patient patient, actually I'm a horrible patient!  So, I maintained a certain level of my activities, like seeing clients and maintaining orders.  I did slack on housework and the garden . . . just hitting the high spots in the house, and facing the fact, the garden just wasn't going to be large.  As it turns out, now through canning season, I didn't need to plant much, as there aren't that many empty jars.  In my slacking due to the injury, I hadn't done as much cooking through the winter.  Mr. B's idea of helping in the kitchen is going to the deli in town, so I didn't have to cook for him.  Even with the small garden, there is abundance to share produce with others.  Back to the book . . .

This book was built, and built in pieces, by faith.  As I wrote, I literally had no clue how it would be assembled.  When the time came to type it, Father again spoke.  "Arrange in recorded order, not historical order, and use recognized dates."  Now, I had the plan.  As I typed, it just flowed so easily.  Adding the dates was a bit tricky, but once I established a pattern, it flowed as well.  As the book came together, I realized I was able to physically do more, as well as a dramatic decrease in my pain level.      


By the time "Coffee with Paul and Moses" went to the publisher, I was back to my regular activities, and I got up from my desk walking like I had before the two accidents.  Although I can now accurately forecast rain coming, I'm healed, stronger, and more flexible than before.  I've also learned some great stretches and exercises through this recovery time.  What did "finish the book" have to do with my healing?  Nothing and Everything!  It wasn't the book, it was Father's blessing of obedience!  In the nearly 20 years that I have completely trusted my health to our Creator, this was a real test of my faith.  More than once, I spoke aloud that Messiah Y'hshuah is my High Priest, and the High Priest intercedes in the health care of Israel.

YHUH Raphah b'shem Y'hshuah HaMoshiach.  Amein

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Talked Out of the Plan

I was blessed sometime back to launch into a project that I had been prepared for, and yet was uncertain in some of the foundation work . . . So I prayed.  YHWH gave me a perfect plan, a complete drawing of the project, but . . . I let men who claimed to know more about it, lay aside what I'd been given, do it their way, and it left me with a bigger price to pay.  Now, here's the kicker.  It didn't seem spiritually significant at the time, but in retrospect, who are any of us to say, we know better than YaH?  And where was my faith to not stand up to those men, who ultimately laid the responsibility on me anyway.  It won't be cheap to clean up the mess, and sadly, it's costing time.  That's the biggest concern, is the time.

I've really not even been able to think straight since I let it happen, until I began to write this.  I've been so disgusted with myself for allowing what took place!  And what is so frustrating is, it's far from the first time, I have fallen into this sort of trap.  It's truly changed my perspective of dealing with these individuals and at first I was struggling to know if it's wisdom or a grudge.  Realistically this dilemma is aimed at the woman in the mirror, so perhaps it is true introspection and I will simply know better next time, which would be wisdom.  The individuals simply didn't know any better, so it's not really about them at all, they just serve as a reminder, a difficult sad reminder of my lack of confidence in walking out the plan of YaH.  That lack of confidence translates to lack of faith.

I cowered and walked away when what I knew was overridden by the plan of man.  Funny how I gave man's plan priority over YaH's plan, just because He gave it to me . . . a woman.  I have to get over the religious brainwashing, that I've entertained far too long.  Unlike Eve, I was not trying to lead any man away from what YaH had said and I truly try to direct everyone toward His Word!

Life is more spiritual than we realize.  Our purpose is 100% spiritual and we need to realize that fact, for the plan to manifest properly in the natural.

Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey ADONAI rather than men.  Acts 5:29

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Samson

While so many are discussing a Jezebel spirit, and rightfully so, in that narcissism is quite widespread.  The church at Thyatira was named in the Revelation and warned about entertaining a Jezebel posing as a prophetess.  This "lover of self" in the last days is not just a secular problem fostered in humanism.  Most can draw some clear parallels to that warning in what we are seeing in some of the big religious movements of the day.

So much info out there about the Jezebel spirit and recovering from a narcissist, and basically a Delilah presence is the same, but  . . . we tend to view Samson as some sort of dumb victim of Delilah without fully understanding the spiritual truth in the relationship.  I believe it may be, because it just brings too much conviction, as we ask in our own minds, "Samson, what in the world were you thinking?"

Dealing with a spirit of Jezebel or Delilah, and they come in both genders, is of course painful, and the full recovery sometimes just doesn't happen, and may be a thorn in the flesh for the rest of our days.  We do, however; have to take responsibility for our Ahab or Samson mentality or . . . even a moment of that weakness . . . The consequences can be quite far reaching, but YaH is greater than our mistakes.  In reading the articles about narcissism, I'm seeing a real trend toward manufacturing a new victim mentality for the "strong" individuals that fell to the wiles of these manipulators.  We have to "own" the fact, that at some point in the relationship, we chose to be deceived.  Even with read flags and neon signs, we made ourselves vulnerable to someone who had other than loving, intent.  

I don't hold to the "traditional image" of Samson, as a Mr. Universe, type.  I envision him to be a scrawny guy, awkward in his masculinity, with long hair.  I fully believe his immense power and strength was inexplicable by his size and presence.  To further support my idea of his awkwardness, a well built strong man really wouldn't have a need for a prostitute . . . Since there's nothing new under the sun, it would seem a well built, handsome strong man would have quite a bevy of beauties surrounding him, yet Samson did not.

I didn't realize how much I relate to Samson, but with the opposite sex issues.  I'm the exact opposite of a petite feminine flower which has also left me awkward in my femininity and feeling like I'd have to settle . . . So strong was this thinking, I refused to ever even date a man who had not been married before, as I didn't want to be "the woman" that let him down and ruined his life.  I've since changed that view, but it was far too late and I just had too many years on me, by that time.  It was the grace of G-d that caused me to change that perspective, but I still struggled with my self-image, which blinded my discernment.  And yet, I judged Samson!  How foolish, I was.

It was so easy to read the account of Samson, and judge him, as in: "Samson, what in the world were you thinking?"  Everything you told her, she did to you?  Why would you trust her with your weakness?"  And then, I did the same thing . . . I even spent a couple of years, blindly going in a circle, unable to see . . . or unwilling to look at the reality of what I had done.  Oh, I could have just kept on blaming the one who deceived me, but that wouldn't have changed my heart or my circumstances.  As for further comparison to Samson's later circumstances, it could be the very captivity we find ourselves in, is at least preventing us from making the same mistake, again!

I can't say that certain things didn't cross Samson's mind after he wrongly trusted Delilah and found himself blindly going in circles, but we do know, he seized the moment of opportunity when it became presented.  Too much time is spent on regrets, past hurts, and being wronged . . . That is not to say people haven't suffered, but focusing on the past doesn't change what happened and it can cause us to miss our present opportunity.

Samson, was still blind and held captive, even being made a mockery when he destroyed the temple of the Philistines.
We don't have to recover according to worldly standards or even religious teaching, to be used of YaH; we just have to let Him use us!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Prophets and Apostles in 21st Century America?

How would Jeremiah, the"Weeping Prophet" be labeled in today's America?  First, I would guess, many of those "in the religious know" would say he's a "doom and gloomer," a "fear-monger," or even "lacking faith."  Considering how much of the Hebrew Scripture was already written and recorded before Jeremiah, he could have been facing exactly what we are today, with the "positive attitude" motivational, prosperity preachers.  Those "prophets" telling the children of Israel, prosperity was coming, may have actually been quoting Deuteronomy and the Psalms, out of context.  Undoubtedly, someone learning a new Hebrew word, these days, would be raising an eyebrow and muttering "lashon hara."

What would "the powers that be" do to a guy who insists upon laying on one side, eating a specific bread and drinking measured water, while bound?  The first thought through my mind would be some sort of forced mental evaluation . . .  On the outside chance he would get through the first forced evaluation, then there would be a repeat of this same procedure, only lying on the other side for a shorter time.  If he were still allowed to have sharp objects, there is the shaving and splitting the hair event.  I'm guessing between Mandatory Health Care and Big Pharma, pharmakeia (sorcery) would be prescribed, so he'd stop hearing "the voice."

How would America respond to an Apostle?  Not the title, as we already know the religious response to that, but someone who truly does live by the faith they claim, regardless of the circumstances.  It seems the American society has so mingled holy with profane, we'd be hard pressed to even identify a true apostle, without attaching the word cult.  An apostle lives by Scriptural application.  An apostle's words match their lifestyle, and they will face captivity, even death based upon The Word of YHWH.  I can say with complete assurance, we are not going to see the manifest glory, if we don't trust Him in the fire.  

Why is it, society and social media are filled with "Pastors and Teachers," even "Rabbis," who expect respect; yet eyes are rolled if anyone mentions "Apostle or Prophet?"  Here, I've been praying for the five fold ministry to gather for 20 years now, and I find those two words somewhat intimidating, myself.  "Evangelist" seems much more comfortable, and I've been using the term "emissary" for years now to describe the office to which I'm called.  An office in the five fold ministry is not about a title, it's about responsibility.

The one thing that stands consistent through history, is the utter disregard, even disdain for the servants of The Most High who desire to please Him.  That's not to say, we humans can't incite some disdain aimed at us, due to our own flesh, but pleasing YHWH has never been popular with the majority.  The first murder recorded in history is a witness to what I'm saying, and the last murders prophesied will be based on the same.

This is real.  We are living in what Messiah said would be "as in the days of Noah."  The passengers on the ark were obviously a small percentage of the population of that time.  Just as ancient Israel refused to heed the warning and the call to repentance, America has done the same.  We need to see this, truly see it, for what it is.  Sounding the warning to repent and prepare spiritually and physically is not fear mongering.  The true apostles and prophets of our day, just as the ones who have gone before, are more than likely, going to be falsely accused and disregarded.

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 1:9