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 ♡
Today, those who follow Yeshua, are often accused of being narrow-minded. Unwilling to bend to social acceptability is labeled close-minded. Not long ago, yet by human years many years ago a people said the same thing.
Yeshua, prepared us as His sheep for such mantra. Yet Christians today shrink at being called exactly what He called us to. It’s no shameful thing to be narrow-minded in the light of Matthew 7. Close-minded in the light of…
Yes, there are ways we are to become impenetrable. Narrow and close minded, unbending, unyielding, straight, severe unto His will for the purity He directs us towards. The key is recognizing that that His direction for us, is not meant to to turned into finger pointing towards others. As followers of Yeshua, He tells us like He did Peter in John chapter 22 verses 20-23. Each of us have a call to a certain severity and adherence, that does not carry over to all. So we recognize that there’s a place where we follow Him, yet keep our minds open. Open enough to let prescriptions fly out and up into the Father’s hand when it comes to others.
But there’s a reality to following Him that makes no apologies or exceptions for how one becomes a follower of Yeshua. Only through Him, only by obeying Him, only by making all thing about and for Him. Sounds rigid and absolute. It is. He set the example, and now leads us down the direct path of its execution for each of our lives. Those lives are to look different, but all of them point to Him. He is the needle on the compass, He points in all directions but the driving force of its pull is the Father’s will for every one. Narrow, yes, hard, painfully, yes. Rewarding, emphatically, yes yes yes! Easy, not hardly (forgive the pun). Full of peace and contentment, nothing else on earth can fill us so.
Don’t shrink from being of the Narrow and Few, for the Author of these shrinks not from claiming you!
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
Ever spent an entire day looking at “things”, or some-“thing” specific. Something you think might be part of your future, but so far it’s just “wait and see”. So you go, even enjoy the hunt, finding new things that weren’t there last time, opening your mind to possibilities that hasn’t occurred to you much before, and stretching obedience out along the tight skins of faith. It’s the toughest when one year turns into two and two to four and so on. When you have to ask God to repeat Himself, because His “go do this” and our thinking for His timing somehow with the ticking of time on our calenders make for big question marks that pop up on our faces like acne on a pubescent youth. Yet certain of His patient repeating, we go. Ahhh, leaps of trust!
Sam and I went on such a hunt again this time of year, just like the preceding four years before. It was a good day. We enjoyed ourselves and the travels to “go and have another look”. We truly enjoy each other and what we are looking at, both of us content to just put in some “leg work” towards a dream/goal/desire neither of us feels any surer about in solidarity but sure about the instructions. Or should I say the Instructor. If you asked either of us if we are “excited”, the answer would be – “yes, and no.” I think the word that would best describe it would be content. We are excited for “if and when” the Lord opens the door but content to wait and sure that either way we can find joy and peace with and without.
I wonder if Noah felt the same?
Build a boat, huh, never seen rain or a flood before. Closest thing to a boat I’ve seen is a canoe/raft for the river. But here I am following these instructions for a boat. Not just a big boat either, a huge boat! People think I’m nuts, heck sometimes I think I’m nuts. But here comes that Voice, telling me to trust giving only as much details as the next task. Pitch actually comes in handy for more than this boat too. In fact I’ve applied more than a few of the techniques for the boat to other things. The Voice knows what He’s about. Been thirty-five years. Still never have seen rain or a flood, the boat is not done, but tomorrow I’m going back out to do more building. Wonder how it’ll turn out? Wonder if the dang thing will sit in this field for twenty years before I see its purpose? Not my business to know I suppose. So far everything the Voice has said has been quite convincing and always works just like He says it will. Better than I imagined it in my head. Sometimes I think I’m doing this just to see the thing done with my own eyes. Who cares if I ever see the flood, this thing is going to be quite the sight to see.”
Don’t your eyes bug out when you see how long it took for the “rain/flood” to come? Go back and look it up (Genesis 7:6). Makes you kinda think twice about waiting on God to complete His plan when He points you in a certain direction and a few years go by and you are tempted to scratch your head and think “well, I guess it’s not what He told us to do after all!” Look at the number of those years for Noah, and take heart. I do. The Israelites waited four hundred years for God to send the promised deliverer. Abraham waited beyond his years for God to send the seed that would make his seed like the stars in the sky! Some Jews are still waiting for the Messiah! For those of us who follow Yeshua (Jesus), two thousand plus years, we’ve been waiting for His return. Don’t know about you, but I’m not going to stop looking, waiting, believing, hoping, and trusting.
Time is nothing to God in the sense of limitations. He’s got nothing but time. And resources! Thats one of the things that trick us. Noah, I wonder if he had to purchase anything for that ark? Somehow I don’t think so. But if we are going to be doing this thing God said, we’ll have to have some moolah (that is money said in a word that defies the accounts). 🙂 Yet I know, Sam knows, it’s not a problem for God. Remember when Peter was instructed to go pull a coin out of a fishes mouth for their taxes? (Matthew 17:27) I figure God can provide pretty much anyway He sees fit, and the more shocking the better! (That’s human-speak for impossible) 😉
Why should I doubt Him? Why should we look for “normal” methods from a God who repeatedly has proven His ways are not our ways, and normal to Him is impossible to us!
So…we went today. Collected more brochures, saw more features, entertained different ideas, learned a little more than we knew before and obeyed the same God/Voice that spoke to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Elijiah, and on and on through the “Old” Testament into the “New” (quotes are added to emphasize the stretch of definition from old to new, the new has been around a while) 🙂 Saul (Paul) heard the same Voice, Timothy, Titus, and so on. Big instructions, with huge requirements, lots of impossibilities, and the sands in their “hour-glasses” always seemed to keep refilling! Patience isn’t a lesson for the young alone, but for life! All of it.
It was a beautiful day. I’m glad we obeyed. I’m glad He takes us on adventures and not just journeys. I’m most especially glad His ways are not mine, and His specialty is impossible and timing is perfect. We wait, because of Who we are waiting on, not the thought of what He said/says to do. That boat a.k.a. the Ark never would have got built had Noah waited on the flood to build it, or his own thinking to make sense of it.
Make plans, but count on God’s promises! Keep moving down the road He prompts you to go on. Don’t doubt in the darkness, what God has plainly shown you in the Light. One thing is absolutely sure, it never works out like you think it will, but it always leads us straight where we belong. In unity and harmony with a mind-blowingly awesome God. And down a path of adventure you would never have dreamed to see or go on. Don’t mistake a prompting to go from one step to another for the end result. The Promise is that we shall be loved and provided for, the plan…is to bring us Home!
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
Today, I wake up with a list automatically ready, dropping down with things to do. Where did it come from? How do these “list” get downloaded without much effort or thought? Life, we say, life is doing doing doing. Responsibilities abound, so list fall into our consciousness – bills to pay, people to provide for, needs that must be met, promises to be kept, broken things that must be repaired…and on and on it goes.
A dear friend stopped by yesterday, her Dad is now on the “list” of his doctors “things that cannot be done” now. The last of things broken and in need of fixing is beyond their scope. Her tears still were full of hope, mine too. Why? Because God is still at work. He has no DNR lists, no lists of responsibilities, just lists of people to love.
This friend recently had her tracks switched and has been launched into a new daily work. The outside circumstances have changed but the “work” has not. Adonai tells her (and us all) the same thing today as He did a year ago. “Just go, and be who I made you.” The pay is different, the surroundings, the tasks, but the people…these are the same. People who just need someone to BE with them. Fully present and attentive to the One who made them. In the end, everyone really only gets paid to do this same thing. No matter the occupation, career, or job. Retired, just starting out in a first place of employment, those who consider themselves “stuck”, those who consider themselves “finally arrived”. Our true occupation is the Kingdom of heaven. My friend reminds me of this with her life, and her words. God brought her into my life to teach me, encourage me, and reveal to me how to BE.
“Just follow Me.” He says. “Follow Me into the store, follow Me into that building, follow Me, into that scene, follow Me into that heart, follow Me into that life, follow Me into that car, follow Me while you drive, follow Me while you sit at that desk, follow Me while you do this routine and that task, Follow Me” Do you hear Him? “You follow Me, I’ll do the work, you just BE”.
My friends Dad, a dear man, is what we call “old”. His years are many, his body is cashing in on its “right to retire”. He is following Him as much in this as He did when he was young and full of lists of things to do, with the capacity physically to do them without much thought or effort at all. Now it takes all he’s got to breathe, and try to remember his name, with a longing as he’s never known before to be needed and useful. His years and years of waking up with those lists, echo off the walls of his memories. The joints ache with the doing in life and submit now to the BEING. It is holy ground he rest on today.
We need not wait till our years force us to BE. We get glimpses of his lot when we get sick. “No use to anyone” supposedly is such a state. What a lie. Just as we are, doing nothing but Being and following Him in our heart with prayer and praise we are fully alive and useful to the Masters hand. Our youth, our strength, our comprehension of mind deceives us. Whether young or old we are in His hands and His work – never our own.
This is why His yoke is easy and burden feather light. God has never sweat a day in His life, His “muscles” flex with the strength that never atrophies or grows old. His mind, sharp and never slows down to the task of His heart, which beats for ours and always has. His hands can cover and multitask with speed and precision such as we could not see with these lenses given to us so temporary and easily deceived. His feet swift and bionic, charging after the Finished work! Let that sink in! His work is finished! We are all in His beloved care forever, never to struggle again. The end is His beginning and the Beginning is His end – of which there is none for Him. Why do our list consume us so – given this truth so profound? We need things to end, hard long days, struggle, tears, bleeding, heart ache, fatigue, illness, hurt, pain, even days full of laughter and awe, for us – these too need rest and endings, so a new day can begin. Praise God we can know new hope and laughter and goodness too. Praise God He does not stop with our “best day”! But opens the door to another and another, better than the one before. We so often would freeze time to hold on to a moment of blessing, but only because we lose sight of the next one that will be beyond what we feel at that moment. He, in His wisdom will never let us sell ourselves short by doing so.
The sun goes up and sets, to usher in the cycle of MORE! Let our list fade away in subjection to His call to just BE. There’s no place on earth like His will, where all things are tended to in His time and with precision. His list always get done! Follow Him, take His “list” upon you and you will find rest for your souls.
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡