Don’t be upset by evil doers or envious of those who do wrong, for soon they will wither like grass and fade like the green in the fields.
Trust in Adonai, and do good; settle in the land, and feed on faithfulness. Then you will delight yourself in Adonai, and He will give you your hearts desire.
Commit your way to Adonai; trust in Him, and He will act. He will make your vindication shine forth like light, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before Adonai; wait patiently till He comes. Don’t be upset by those whose way succeeds because of their wicked plans. Stop being angry, put aside rage, and don’t be upset – it leads to evil.
♡ Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
1 John 4
1 Dear friends, don’t trust every spirit. On the contrary, test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 Here is how you recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges that Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) came as a human being is from God,
3 and every spirit which does not acknowledge Yeshua is not from God – in fact, this is the spirit of the Anti-Messiah(anti-christ). You have heard that he is coming. Well, He’s here now, in the world already!
4 You, children, are from God and have overcome the false prophets, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
5 They are from the world; therefore, they speak from the world’s viewpoint; and the world listens to them.
6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God doesn’t listen to us. This is how we distinguish the Spirit of truth from the spirit of error.
7 Beloved friends, let us love one another; because love is from God; and everyone who loves has God as his Father and knows God.
8 Those who do not love, do not know God; because God is love.
9 Here is how God showed His love among us: God sent His only Son into the world, so that through Him we might have life.
10 Here is what love is: not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the kapparah (sacrifice) for our sins.
11 Beloved friends, if this is how God loved us, we likewise ought to love one another.
12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God remains united with us, and our love for Him has been brought to its goal in us.
13 Here is how we know that we remain united with Him and He with us: He has given to us from His own Spirit.
14Moreover, we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as Deliverer of the world.
15 If someone acknowledges that Yeshua is the Son of God, God remains united with him, and he with God.
16 Also we have come to know and trust the love that God has for us. God is love; and those who remain in this love remain united with God, and God remains united with them.
17 Here is how love has been brought to maturity with us: as the Messiah is, so are we in the world. This gives us confidence for the Day of Judgment.
18 There is no fear in love. On the contrary, love that has achieved its goal gets rid of fear, because fear has to do with punishment; the person who keeps fearing has not been brought to maturity in regard to love.
19 We ourselves love now because He loved us first.
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if a person does not love his brother, whom he has seen, then he cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
21 Yes, this is the command we have from Him: whoever loves God must love his brother too.
I often wonder, how to begin to comprehend God’s Love. Myself, being a creature that taps the shoulder of fear without realizing it, grabbing it’s hand and making deals. Fearless in this world paints a picture of fierce boot strap pulling. Fearlessness requires a total shut down of human emotion for us. That is, in our own strength. Fearless, often looks like foolishness, indeed it can be. Most often this kind is the ultimate; fear of fear itself. God made us with emotion, feelings that have cause and effect. Fear is a reaction, not emotion. Yet I often don’t know how else to describe it, so I say “I feel afraid.” Fear is ultimately about control, or rather our inability to deal with our lack of it. There is only One who has all control all, the time – God. So as I acknowledge fear inside me, I am in turn questioning God’s promise, that He will do no harm but only good and what’s best for me and those I love, for everyone, all the time. No one on earth can do this, noone human. There was One human who did, Yeshua. Never did He harm. Never did He react in fear. Never. I must remind myself that often I may hurt feelings, have my feelings hurt, but there’s a huge difference between hurt and harm. God makes many things hurtful, but nothing harmful.
When I was very young, I was attracted to the glow of the burner of the stove. I love(ed) anything that produced heat, perpetually cold, I was drawn to things of this nature like a moth to a flame. My mom had just removed a pot of boiling eggs from the stove, there before my eyes was my opportunity – to see what the glow was all about, just how hot that heat could be. An hour later, I sat with big tears rolling down my newly educated cheeks with throbbing fingers now extended with blisters. It was too hot for my skin. God did not design the flesh to withstand that much heat on the surface of any part of my body. My fingers taught the lesson. I could have reacted in such a way of fear from that point on. I could have refused to ever deal with glowing red burners again. Praise God, I was taught that such fear would limit my ability as a wife and mother forever if I blamed the burner for the effect of the heat on my fingers. I did not ever touch a glowing burner again on purpose, but praise God my family has enjoyed many a meal from those same fingers since. Yet, God made the reaction of fear to do us good. I learned, heat, is good, the glow of burners are good, but I’m limited to what I can do with both. Fear teaches and reminds us of our limits. God is Love, because He has no limits. None. God placed the choice to fear inside us to teach us. Everything that rubs up against Truth, goodness, – teaches.
The disciples called Yeshua, Teacher, for good reason. Since the beginning of time human beings have been “touching (testing, curious but foolish) the glowing red burner” of God. We seek to learn where He ends and begins, and learn every time He has neither of these aspects to His Being. Except to say He is, – the Beginning and the End, of which, we will never in the sinful flesh be able to find. Hence we are instructed often to fear God. Lesson? Only fear Him who can change all the “rules” to get what He wants. He can turn gravity upside-down. He can make light dark and dark light. He can turn hatred into profound love. He can turn envy and jealously into graditude. He can turn sorrow into joy. He can turn hard-heartedness into compassion. Sin into victory. And vice-versa. There is nothing He can’t do. These are the tangilibility of God’s love. But we, we are extremely limited and for the most part, can only go from the positive to negative. Insecurity in our hands turns everything into a battle. The more we try to make ourselves feel secure, the more we do the opposite and take many people down with us. Insecurity is the most profound instagator of fear.
Look at the song Christ the Solid Rock:
My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus love and righteousness.
Human security is achieved only in these 10 words. Not in ourselves, but God. He alone can drive out fear. For all of fears reactions in us, we have one hope – Yeshua. That when He said, “It is finished.” on that cross, then proved it by rising up stone cold dead back to life, that the limitless power of Himself shall always be the sure thing. It’s the only gamble worth taking. I say gamble, because we are so limited, we most often can’t see the goodness in hurtful things. Not because there’s any doubt God wins every time. Often I’m afraid God’s good will harm me. Yet every time I am afraid in such ways, I’m confusing hurt and harm. My comfort level is always being challenged. Nothing challenges our comfort like pain. I must remember, no heart has broken more than God’s. No one has hurt, physically, emotional, mentally more than Yeshua on the cross. No one. God is the only one who can handle sin and its effects. I can’t, we can’t – ever. The effects of sin is death and pain. Doubt, insecurity, jealousy, envy, strife, hatred, and the like are all effects of sin. Reactionary responses in defense, on our part, are the hallmark of fear.
Then, why not just do away with such reactions within us when we become saved? Because purity is the goal of God for us. Refinement, – fire is painful. Yet it is effective in teaching. We are continuous learners. Only able share the lessons, not teach them. We know this because we know we can talk (preach/teach) for hours on the harm of sin, but the lesson is best learned in experience. Who among us with children doesn’t know this well? And, oh, how we fear for them!
Yet we learn best from Job. Who sacrificed on behalf of his children, just incase they sinned. It was never a question they would, and thereby suffer it’s effects. Jobs only hope was built on nothing less than God’s love and God’s righteousness. What animal did Job sacrifice? The animal of fear. Dangerous, cunning, sneaky and sly. He put his fears to the fire for refinement. The only way for us to do this is to put down fear and pick up faith. The only way we can is with the Spirit given us at the time of our rebirth in Yeshua. This is why only followers of Yeshua can put fear in its place. Without Him we are reduced at best to denying our insides, and seeming faith-filled when really we’re fear-numbed. This is leprosy at its core. Where we are cut and bruised by fear but don’t know it.
I’m saved because of the powerful incomprehensible love of God. Who is the only caster out of fear. I can only accept such love in the dose of His Son. In this way only have we been created to do so. Every time I “feel” fear, I ask myself “Abba, show me where I don’t accept You, what You say, what You do, what You’ve done or Who You are.” Fear is the red light to doubt. Red lights are meant to stop us – wait on God’s evaluation of our state. Not ours, His. He’s the teacher, we are the learners. Forever this is how it shall be. The tangibility of Love, is this process. Nothing more, nothing less.
♡ Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage, yes, wait for the Lord.
I was walking out of church service this Sunday, following directly behind my Dad, who led my mom through the crowd, but kept looking back to see if I was there. It made me smile, such joy these simple things bring me now. A teenager is annoyed by dad looking back to see if they’re there. It feels like being hovered over, corralled. I’m a full grown adult now, I see it different.
As I started to praise God in that moment, He prompted me to look through the moment of nostalgia and listen in to a different perspective. The verses of instruction from Yeshua (Jesus), to “come follow Me.” were the first thing that registered. Then I was shown how my dad was leading his family at that moment. One in front, one in back. One being guided by the touch of hand and pressure here and there. One having to follow exactly where the leader went from behind. The next image in my mind was of a mine field. He spoke to me of how most of life is like that in the following of Him. He goes before, knows the dangers, and we must keep our feet in time exactly with His to make it through without loss of limb or life. Where His foot goes, our foot must go.
The next thing I saw was the picture of a child, blind folded, with a parent, leading the child by the shoulders through a maze, head close to the child’s ear, whispering instruction, guidance and encouragement. In both cases, there is following. It never occurred to me to see following from both angles before. I always took the rear view, I’m behind and follow from there only. Being led always meant someone in front to lead, the follower in the rear. I smiled, knowing that these perspectives were not done stirring from within, they were only beginning.
We are now under contract with a different house and set to close mid March. The one we’d been waiting on fell through. Long story, not worth repeating as it only pours dirt on the other parties involved, for which I feel no need to do. It is over, done. The process taught alot, created character craters inside. Still being honed. I’m grateful to be moving on. Here’s the rub though, you’re going to laugh or at least giggle, those of you who have read the other parts to this process: the action now is in high speed. Now I’m groaning about the lack of time to get everything done before we move/close – again! Full circle, started out that way, then four months of complete halt, now the dotted lines on the road are going by so fast, they are becoming a solid line. What is different this time? I’m not in the hurry. By some miracle I’m able to step back and let time slip in and out according to God’s will. Oh, I get frustrated at certain moments within, like when other people don’t do their job so I can’t do mine. But as far as the rush to move, get going? Not anything like it was at the beginning. Weariness on both Sam and I’s part, desires for this to be done and over, but the excitement has long wore off. Torn between being too tired to move and too tired not to. Ahhh, where we are weak, He is strong.
So now I’m looking back at the last 5 months and starting to see, (thanks to my eyes being opened), where I followed from up front, and from behind. In times of intense battle, oddly enough I followed from behind. First, He’d face me towards Him, firmly speaking to me to place each foot exactly where He placed His, urging me to listen to His voice, not to be distracted, stay with Him. Obedience is key to following Him. One can not be in motion, living, and walking with the Lord God without obedience. At all times our lives are being poured out for His glory. Without obedience His glory diminishes in its reflection in us. Not His glory itself, just it’s reflection in us. Battle times and they were constant, rear-end focuses. Learning to listen from up ahead, but focus on the ground where the feet gave way to freedom.
Not oddly though, the weary, sick, and broken times He required me on my feet, moving forward, being guided by His touch and pressure to keep going. The focus of listening from behind, if you will, reminders of promises, urges of courage, whispers of love so strong they were winds that often propelled me forward all on their own. His strong presence ever before and behind me. Hemmed in as the Psalm says. Yes.
The guest speaker at church was on fire. Spoke of choosing courage in a society fast asleep with comfort and apathy. The Spirit swept in during worship, strong and gentle. The Word of God spoke, firm and caused much shifting in seats. The alter call was for those who know they need courage. The whole church should have rose as one. The few who rose, got what they asked for. Boldness for the Kingdom of God with the strong balance of love. Ahhh, how the Lord works within such tiny small gears in time, no one walked out of that building without the work began being moved to completion.
Why is this blog titled The Gathering? Do you not know? Have you not heard? This is what God is doing. He’s leading always but gathering us all, like Yeshua wept in Jerusalem, gather us like chickens under His wings. Yes, chickens, that is what we are at our core. Small, vulnerable, afraid of every little thing, chickens. But the God of the Universe made us, these chics! He loves us so. He is and ever shall be the fierce warrior for our home coming. We can go home to Him every day, but He sends us out, to gather. His promise – He will never leave us, always with us, Emmanuel, God with us! His Name engraved on the tombstones of our deaths along the way. Those Graves emptied every day, we arise in Christ, new creatures.
Follow in front, follow in the rear, follow Him! Follow Him, He’s gathering, gathering the broken pieces of our hearts to be made whole, gathering dispersed family grafted in and lost, gathering the product of His labors, the fruit of His planting, gathering seeds to plant more, gathering…
He comes soon! Everything about our daily living has meaning beyond our ability to comprehend without Him. Lean in and listen to your Shepherds voice, so you will know the imposters. Train your ears to hear Him from every direction. Train your eyes to see Him everywhere. He is.
♡ Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
I wonder…at the simplicity and complexity of the truth at times.
To ponder it too long it would seem, can send it further out into a boundless place, mankind was never intended to fully grasp, yet could never escape. The tree of knowledge of good and evil. Yet at its most simplistic level, God, Himself, was always enough. That prefect balance that we need, always have, always will. Knowing a truth, for knowledge sake, this is the abominable forsaking of it. How many of us, (only the truly insane of human kind being the exception), how many of us don’t know a basic truth: lying is wrong. The only time we excuse it is when we’ve lost the ability to apply it to ourselves. To lie, for example, to “protect someone” from the truth; this is the ultimate oxymoron. Why in heavens name would there be an ounce of sanity involved in the mind of man to think it’s protection to keep the truth from someone; especially someone we love? Everyone knows lying is wrong because we don’t like to be lied to. Yet somehow, we make exceptions for someone else when the truth then becomes a matter of the free will God gave for everyone to accept it, let it live in them, remake them. It’s not our job to protect or defend the truth. It NEVER will be. We do many many things out of this false sense of protecting people, especially those we love. Nature gives us every clue as to Who the job of protecting belongs to. Look at the earth, such a tiny layer of protection God has given it from the vast enemies from space to kill her. That layer is, if you will, His “skin”. Nothing can kill God. Or break His “skin”. In fact there’s is only one thing God has given to us that we can break, this is His heart. His heart is Truth. His Son. Which bled out on a stake, broken for us. I begin to understand, which is to say, like Paul, through a mirror dimly, what a delicate line the Truth draws between sanity and insanity. Why, to so many, the One True God just doesn’t make sense. They are, of course, trying to use that “knowledge” intellect alone to grasp it. I know many truths, but none of them have ever done me any good until they’ve broken me, became a matter of the heart and soul, not just my head. Truth made alive, begins and ends in brokenness. Our ability to grasp that it – in and of itself – can not be held in the head for profit, but must reflect the Heart of it, that which has broken from the beginning of time, because just having Him, wasn’t enough. Can we not relate? Who among us at our very core can honestly say, that this at its very core is relationship essential: To know that just us, all that we are, good and bad, is enough for someone who says they love us.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only and unique Son, so that everyone whoever trusts in Him (Him alone)may have eternal Life, instead of being utterly destroyed. – John 3:16
How often has this verse been repeated? Used? Notice how the very last part seems to always get chopped off in the quoting so famously of it? You see, the truth has blessings, but denied it bares consequences. I almost forgot, myself, that this last part was included in the famous verse. Everyone can quote it, followers or wayward, by now everyone can quote that very first part by heart. We avoid truth because of its consequential nature, not because we can’t see the benefits of it. Everyone agrees, to be lied to hurts, it’s benefits are are acknowledged on a selfish level. We don’t like to hurt. Selfishly at the same time we throw away the benefits of the truth, to lie to ourselves first and then others, in the efforts to “protect” – ourselves. Even when we say we’re trying to protect someone else, at the very core of it, we are trying to protect ourselves first. Ever notice the lack in the Bible of any concept of our duty to protect…anything? We were told to, be fruitful, care for, but not protect. Cherish, value, teach, exhort, admonish, forgive, love, be compassionate, encourage; conspicuously the word protect is missing. There is one word that could be mistaken for it; guard.
Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences. Proverbs 4:23
But guarding in this sense is not the power given to direct and defend as if the sole responsibility is left in our hands. Guards can’t keep the heart beating as God can. They can only attempt to keep an outsider from entering in to try to kill, but the life beinging guarded is only directed by God. He counts the days of each child on earth. Many of them have been guarded, but ultimately not “protected”.
You who live in the Shelter of ‘Elyon (The Most High), who spend their nights in the shadow of Shaddai (The Alimghty), who say to Adonai (the Lord), “My refuge, My Fortress! My God, in whom I trust!” – He will rescue you from the trap of the hunter and from the plague of calamities; He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His truth is a shield and protection.
See David, who “got it”, he knew protection only came from God. That truth broke him first. He fled for years of his life, had many guards, but only One Protector. I love the CJB version of this verse. Notice why we are to guard our heart? Because it’s the source of life’s consequences. We are told the heart is deceitful above all things! Where does Life come from? If God, Yeshua, lives in your heart, its protected – the Way, the Truth, the Life can dwell within. If they do not, well enough said. My heart can now, no more be deceitful with Messiah living in me, than the ground can cave in our heave without the breath of God to move it. I can now, being given eyes with the power of Truth, see where the lies shall come to enter in to my heart and attempt to rob the truth with illusion. I can bat them away, now. Before I could not. But the protection within, is still God, Himself. Please don’t misunderstand, we in no way protect God from lies, or ourselves. The Spirit (Truth) is the power given, we just choose it, and that ability to choose only comes from one being saved/rescued by Yeshua – the Truth. NOTE: verse 24 of Proverbs is about lies and deceit. Not coincidental.
For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but rather so that through Him, the world might be saved (protected). Those who trust in Him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the One who is God’s only and unique Son (protector). Now this is the judgement: the Light (truth) has come into the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the Light (truth). Why? Because their actions were wicked. For everyone who does evil things hates the Light (truth) and avoids it (protects themselves), so that his actions won’t be exposed. But everyone who does what is true comes to the Light ( truth – surrenders, makes themselves vulnerable) so that all may see that his actions are accomplished through God.
Self protection is an oxymoron too. But a choice to be sure, we can accept God’s or choose our own. The truth protects, anything other than truth in its purity, no dilution, no variation, attacks! The “consequence” of truth is vulnerability, exposure to great hurt, great pain, great rejection, great loss but also great peace, great joy, great love, great passion, great perspective and first and foremost a great life lived in the presence and relationship with a Great God.
Truth: we can not live within a deep and abiding relationship with God, and not know great pain. This pain is the constant open eyes to the consequences of our own and others rejection, avoidance and blindness to the Truth. Everyday, my closeness to Messiah, brings with it a brokenheartedness over His absence as the Way and Truth in lives all around me but especially mine. The lack of Life. Yet on the same string of brokenness, comes increasing joy, for His protection. That thin layer on the world? It protects everyone, those who love Him AND those who don’t. Grace and Mercy is God’s “molecular DNA to His skin”.
When we guard, we stand watch to only stay true to the truth that’s been given to us. We don’t protect it, or defend it. Truth, itself, does that for us. We have no power in this way, none. The watchful guardianship we are given is with eyes only on its application to us in all things, not others, not selfishly used for our gain, or as a measure of our worth.
The Word of God is protection and Truth, all by itself. It never returns void – ever. Even if we don’t choose it’s protection for ourselves, it will move beyond us into someone else. We just won’t know how. Blindness is the first symptom of truths rejection. One may ask: “how then, will I know if I’m blind?” God will be sure to send an agent to attempt to remove the scales, this is His job, and why He chose this particular application in Paul for us to learn from. Someone was sent by God, faithful as He is, to remove the scales from Paul’s eyes. They came with vulnerability, humility and truth. God is the great scale remover of all eyes. His promise never fails.
I wonder…how lately these thoughts roll down and up the halls of my mind, causing great flows of tears to fall down their walls. What purpose do they serve? I see the reflection of so many beloved faces in there, fallen, blind, beloved, prayed for with bloody knees, and (only because of the God who lives here in me), speaks the truth to each without regard to its rejection of me by them. What compels me to write this night is that brokenness, those tears, that heart that shares in Abbas suffering and hurt. Not some strange ability to know the truth, or indignation for it, or even a great grasp of it! It’s expanse is still so far beyond my ken. Unless the Truth keeps hold of me, I’m completely beyond its reach. God never gave mankind the ability to hold it in their hands, only to invite it into their hearts. Every time I’ve tried to lay hold of it in any other way, it has nearly severed every “appendage” I’ve attempted to hold it with. Remember the Scripture? It’s a double edged sword. Metaphorical – yes, but still accurate. Function is the key to understanding God’s Word and His speaking. Man is like dust, for example, what is the function of its application? Unless the Spirit (truth) guide you in the study insanity will ensue to try and grasp it. Leaving so many of the lessons making so much of dirt on the ground as we know it. The dust being referred to is that which is held in the hands of a living God at the very beginning, when He breathed His Life into it and formed the first of us. We always start at the beginning to get to the end. There are no short cuts.
The ultimate test of true bonds of love in any relationship is that the truth is always held at the center of it. Any variation, any slight shift or severe, will bring a sad illusion of strength of bond, but in truth, it will be bondage instead. Then God will send the scraping scouring agent to remove the scales, for relationships are His specialty. His invention, idea, and dedication. Not ours, and most certainly the design of His enemy and ours plainly seeks to destroy any resemblance of it or hope of it. Noone has a relationship with the devil. They are prisoners, there’s is no relationship possible with him. A relationship by God’s definition, is a total surrender to Truth, it’s direction and it’s product. He walks and talks and listens and teaches ands guides and comforts in relationship, yet there is still our ability to acknowledge we are willing slaves to Him who sets us free. What sets us free?
you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
Notice it doesn’t say, love, empathy, compassion, only truth. Which when one walks with God, we learn, all those other things only come as a result of a surrender to the Truth first. In 1st Corinthians 13, is a portrait of God, Himself. The chapter of all chapters on Love. Everywhere we see the word love in it we can replace it with – Yeshua, the Way, the Truth, the Life -.
There’s no Way to the Truth without Him, and thus no Life. There’s no Love apart from Him. No love, is no love. There are no degrees to it. We are never sort of in love, kind of loving, almost loving, we either are or we are not. We put degrees and levels on things like truth, love, grace, mercy and justice and most grievously forgiveness. God does not.
The truth in its very nature repels a rebellious heart. This is why it’s said to cut. In the Hands of a Loving God, it’s like pruning sheers. Removing the dead, lifeless, limbs, making room for the new, full of life, truth and promise to…(key word here)…grow. It’s a process, limbs get cut and it takes time to see the fruitful product of such a pruning. Many reject the truth due to the lack of ability to wait, feel the loss of the old dead unproductive thing that held life back. In time, we don’t count it as loss, as Paul spoke so well. Without the time, all we will feel is loss. Hence God doesn’t stop the suffering we often have instantly. Yet the truth to live at this point is, trust…wait and trust that God is growing something new within it. It takes time to remove scales.
Here is how we will know that we are from the truth and will set our hearts at rest in His presence: if our hearts know something against us, God is greater than our hearts and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts know nothing against us, we have confidence in approaching God; then whatever we ask for, we receive from Him; because we are obeying His commands and doing the things that please Him. This is His command: that we are to trust in the person and power of His Son, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and to keep loving one another, just as He commanded us. Those who obey His commands remain united with Him and He with them. Here is how we know that He remains united with us: by the Spirit whom He gave us. – 1 John 3:19-24
♡ Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ♡