Winter

December 13, 2017 at 1:48 pm (Poems, Remodeling the Mind, Thoughts to Ponder) (, , , , )

Frosty breath

Crisp blue skies

The hush of winter lullabyes 

Drawing down to warmer protective interiors

Where Adonai reigns supreme

The season of rest

His ruling breath

O coat my soul

With Your fire

Color this inner chamber

With Your desire

Plant the permanent flowers of peace

That no earthly changes can cease

Shelter me in Your radiant will

And teach me the wisdom

Of Peace, be still.

(2017- by Lisa VanValkenburgh)

 Isaiah 55:8-13

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways,” says Adonai. “As high as the sky is above the earth are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For just as rain and snow fall from the sky and do not return there, but water the earth, causing it to bud and produce, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so is My Word that goes out from My mouth – it will not return to Me unfulfilled; but it will accomplish what I intend, and cause to succeed what I sent it to do.”

Yes, you will go out with joy, you will be led forth in peace. As you come, the mountains and hills will burst into song, and all the trees in the countryside will clap their hands. Cypresses will grow in place of thorns, Myrtle will grow instead of briars. This will bring fame to Adonai as an eternal sign, imperishable sign.  

Job 37:5-7;9-13

God thunders wonderfully with His voice, He does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth!’ – likewise to the light rain, also to the downpour. He brings all human activity to a stop, so that everyone He has made can know it. 

Out of its chamber comes the storm, with cold out of the north. By the breath of God, ice is given and wide waters freeze over. He weighs the clouds down with moisture, and they flash forth His lightning. He, by His plans, turns them around, so they do what He commands them anywhere on earth; He brings them forth on the earth sometimes to punish, sometimes to express His grace.  

✡ May the season of rest and shalom be richly poured out into you by the power of Yeshua the Messiah, and for His namesake! ✡

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Shabbat Shalom! The Joy of Yeshua

May 25, 2017 at 11:07 pm (Thoughts to Ponder, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , )

Anyone who has followed me on this blog has likely picked up that I am fond of the Hebrew language and the beauty of the traditions our Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) was brought up in and part of. 

There is a growing anomosity and misunderstanding in the believing community I’d like to separate myself from. This takes clarity on my part. First, I’m not what some would term part of the “Hebrew Roots” movement. Second, I don’t affiliate myself with any ‘movement’ in this regard. I simply asked one day, “who are You, Yeshua?” (Jesus at the time as that was the name I was raised to call Him by). I still call Him Jesus, and Yeshua. I am not of those who think the pronunciation of His name is cataclysmic to one’s walk with Him. God sees the heart, He has known when I said Jesus, who I was referring to every time. There are those who argue, insanely in my humble opinion, that His name should be said and spelled in various forms in Hebrew to the point of division within the body. I am vehemently against this kind of division! There are 100’s of languages spoken on this planet today. In every language Yeshua/Jesus, the Son of the Living God, God of the Bible, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the Father of Yeshua, has revealed Himself. God knows who is calling to Him and who is not. We are not to knock heads over semanitics. The only arguments I’ve entertained in a calm discussion format is the comparison that all gods in all religions are referring to God Almighty of the Bible, not true; and the subject of rigidity within the body of pronunciation of Yeshua in Hebrew. I simply refer to the Apostle Paul’s instruction for this not to be found in the body of Messiah (Christ). 

Moving on…I believe in answer to my prayer, God began to show me what Yeshua grew up with, the language and culture. This took me back to why God called Abraham out and made the Hebrew nation in the first place. So in getting to know Yeshua more, just like He said, I would see the Father more! The Hebrew language made the Word make sense in ways that it never did, and made it more than it was before. Not the forbidden ‘adding to” but the deepening of its richness. Example: in the hebraic perspective what is “in front of us” is what we have known/know – our past and present – because we can see it. What is “behind us” is the future – what we can’t see and don’t know. Now let’s look at a scripture that often confused me growing up. 

Luke 9:62

To him Yeshua said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and keeps looking back is fit to serve in the Kingdom of God.” 

Now to put this in context: three people talk to Yeshua about following Him, one declares he’ll follow Him wherever He goes and Yeshua responds about the foxes and birds that have places to lay their heads but He does not. The second asks to go home and bury his dad first, Yeshua responds to let the dead bury the dead but tells him to follow Him. The third says, I’ll follow You but let me say good bye to the people at home to which the verse above is Yeshua’s response. 

His last response here was to all three of the people in the section of verses and all those listening to the conversations. There is no doubt theres alot to be taken from this section of scripture but I’m focused on the hebraic perspective above. I was always taught that “looking back” was the referring to the past. Taken from this perspective one can still gleen from scripture a good lesson. Not to let the past define your present and thus your future, not to get stuck in the past and so on and so forth. All good and worthy but not what Yeshua was saying! Yeshua spoke from the hebraic perspective, He is saying don’t get caught up trying to figure out everything; past, present or future, just follow Him! This perspective ties all three examples together and speaks a powerful instruction especially for those who would believe and follow Him when He returned to the Right Hand of the Father. Another example is the word peace, means completeness/wholeness in Hebrew, not absence of strife. It changes the way you understand what He means when He says this word! If you look in the books of Kings and Chronicles you will find this phrase in every reference to each leader/King…”so and so did what was evil/good from God’s perspective”  This is very important. Man is ever taking things and putting them in their own perspective and acting on that perspective. To Follow Yeshua, in other words, to do as He did, think as He thought and act as He acted on – one must submit to The Father’s perspective. It’s not how we think of things that matters it’s how God does. I don’t refrain from murder because I just think murder is wrong, I refrain from murder because God says it’s wrong. Let’s face it, many people refrain from murder because they just don’t like it or agree with it or even have the ability to see it as okay. Yet, there is a difference between them (driven by morality) and one who acts only on what God says is good and refrains to act on what God says is bad. It’s becoming a child of His Kingdom or just a nice child of this one. It’s like taking His mark, rather than being marked by this world. Every time my heart transforms into the image of His likeness it because it simply trusts God because He’s God. I don’t get the credit for being good in this case, God gets the credit for transforming me through trust/faith. 

So this is how my mind has been transformed the most. It’s not that I wasn’t a Believer before I embarked on learning the Hebraic perspective, it just grew me up more in Him, enabled me to Follow Yeshua. This is how God has moved me. It’s not a prescription to follow, it’s not personal to anyone but me and Adonai. It may encourage one to look into the things I say because they, too, find their hearts being drawn closer to the God who made them, if so, PRAISE ADONAI! If not, it’s not “sign” that God is not doing the same for anyone else but differently. (Not differently that theres any other way except through Yeshua, I must qualify this!) 

As a result, we celebate the Sabbath. Friday evening as the sun sets we light the candles, break bread, and drink the wine with their messianic hebrew blessings. Again from the hebraic perspective, one learns that God gave the instructions for these things for a very good reason. To act on something is to make it a part of you. God wants us to enter His rest, not our own. Yeshua never failed to do the Sabbath – not one time; and it was His joy! Let’s be honest, He could not afford not to enter His Father’s rest! Neither can I! There is something beautifully mysterious about acting on the ushering in and participation of the Sabbath. It’s not legalism, it’s worship and honor in my heart that motivates me. I don’t believe I’m better because I do it or I get special kudos from God. Except that which comes from being united with Yeshua and in turn with the Father as Yeshua says in John 17. 

Perhaps you may want to know what this ushering in of the Sabbath looks like?

I will tell you what we do, having learned from various Messianic (meaning those who follow Yeshua as Messiah) resources.

We have two candle holders, a kaddish cup, and plate for the bread (a simple glass and plate will do). At just before sunset on Friday night we say the following blessings, I light the candles, say a silent prayer, we then say the blessings over the bread and wine, and say a prayer over each other (my husband, Sam and I). If our children were there we would say the blessings for children. They are grown and not living near us but we still count them in our prayers. Here are the blessings. 

To usher in Sabbath, all present recite:

I then cover my head with a scarf as a symbol of my coming under God’s Authority. I light the candles, reaching with both hands out beyond the candles and pulling my hands forward to my face three times in honor and welcome of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to receive His light, resting my hands over my face in a silent prayer. Then together we recite this blessing:

We then recite the blessing over the bread, break and eat. 

Then we recite blessing over wine, and drink. 

(I apologize if the pictures are hard to read, but it’s alot to type, my prayer is printed out or zoomed in on,  its legible) 

We then say our prayers with and over each other, at times Sam will just pray over us, we don’t allow our personal hearts to become formal, we want God to move in us. Reverence is never to be confused with religious formality. 

We are still learning hebrew, so we follow the English transliterated and English. We are learning and have fun with it, again it’s not meant to be legalistic. 

I pray this encourages you in your following of Yeshua. May He come soon with the shalom of eternity!

✡ Grace and peace to you in full measure in Yeshua the Messiah ✡

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Sorrow = Opportunity 

September 1, 2016 at 5:00 am (Devotionals, Remodeling the Mind, Thoughts to Ponder, WSGD Newes) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

“Sometimes the evidence of our senses and the testimony of the world’s wisdom are plain wrong. Sometimes the Lord is busy forging victory when the mind expects only defeat.” 

– Tessa Afshar ~ Land of Silence

There is something universal about every human condition. Language does not change it. Geography does not change it. Personality, nationality, and religious tendencies do not change it. Love that lights the eyes of a soul, looks the same no matter the color of irises. Arms that reach out in tenderness can be of any color or size,  dressed or naked. Sorrow, despair, agony and depravity are all pregnant with God-touched opportunity. 

These are the conditions that form the questions of “when, how, where, and why” from the depths of souls world-wide. Embalmed with freedom or anchored to yet more slavery; sorrow seeks to unhinge the hands that lay hold of anything but the One who made them. Human beings are always at the peak of ability to learn when their mind, body and emotions are tossed into the sea of adversity, trial, suffering, loss, and torture. We can learn in happiness, but it doesn’t retain the depth of engraving on the memory as sorrow. Hence why we forget the good so quickly when hardship starts to ink it’s way into our grey matter. Likewise we recall so well the negative and hopelessness colors our spirits so immediate we feel shot into another world in an instant. There is no place else that brings us all to a unified place in the human condition. It’s often said love is such a place but I beg the differ. There are too many illusions of love for such a unity to be possible. No one is can paint sorrow with different colors. It’s very darkness outlines the same light no matter the shadow of the Sun or moon in the sky.

All my life it seems as if God has placed some special favor on me. Where my sister seemed to struggle and have to push for the simplest joys. Yet at every turn, our sorrows held the same DNA of pain and questions. Circumstances are the greatest illusions of favoritism. As I write, my sister sits where she is full of joys, doubts, gratitude, and questions the same as I. Yet, on the outside anyone would say she has it harder than I. Often I’m tempted to agree. Yet in each of our varying circumstances these things are the same: We are in places where God has provided abundantly, yet wonder what is next. We struggle with hurt, resentment, anger, bitterness, physical deficiencies, heart aches and knee bloodying prayers for our children and grandchildren; loved ones, we both sing, we both cry, we both are loved and misunderstood. That which makes us up inside, pours out from within, and effects us from without though incredibly unique, we are the same. Both of us are being taught everyday Who made us and why. We both have illusions, deceit, kindness, generosity, compassion, tendencies to complain, aches and pains, things hidden and things exposed, things being revealed, things on the way to unveiling, promise, hope and despair and sorrow. 

The purpose of comparison is not for comparison itself, but for defining the difference between what’s on the outside and what’s on the inside. Outside looks different, inside does not. 

“God’s Spirit can ride a puny breeze as well as a hurricane.” 

– Tessa Ashfar ~ Land of Silence

Psalms 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is unbounded joy, in Your right hand eternal delight.  

The Word of God is true for one and all, all the time, everywhere. The above scripture offers the same salve to the human heart no matter their circumstances. Sorrow is an opportunity to watch God become a heavenly Father for every soul on earth. Pain provides the path to true knowing who we are and why we’re here. God alone can provide the answers to our questions, and keeps them all open-ended. The answer today will not be the same as tomorrow. Except that Who He is and how He loves us, desires us and reaches for us, never changes and carries not one ounce of favor for one over the other. Our circumstances can not and must not define the riches of His glory. Circumstances are all of the following: outward characters, features; singleness or married, childless or having children, wealthy or poor, sick or healthy, geographic locations, personality traits, internal make up, extroverted or introverted, talented with art or talented with intellect, high or low IQ’s. To name a few, but hitting the main things. Everyone one of those things are the intricate detail drawn by the Hand of Adonai on each one for their good and those they effect and His glory. Sorrow gives us the glasses to correct our vision in life; for joy is it’s designation and it won’t stop until it’s reached its goal. For you, for me, thanks be to God! The definition of true joy for every soul He made is Himself, nothing more and absolutely nothing less. 

In a world that is changing and churning, this one constant remains. Psalms 16:11, Is. 50:4…

Jeremiah 31:25

For I have satisfied the weary and filled the needs of all in distress.

Matthew 11:28

Come to ME, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest.  

The reason why our Messiah invited all who are struggling and burdened but not “happy” is because we all are struggling and burdened, not happy. Oh we may have joy and contentment, but they always come after sorrow, and after we have accepted His invitation to receive such rest. Waiting on Him, running to Him is the only path to such joy and peace/rest. For each of us this is the same. Sorrow aimed at His unveiling, His presence, His company, His love, His compassion, His comfort, His answer, His directions, His discernment, this is sorrows purpose. Don’t miss the opportunity. Don’t be tempted to compare, or focus on the outward appearance of things. Hold on to Yeshua  (Jesus) our Messiah and Master… and let Him order up the exact prescription for your knowing Him. Pray for each other thusly. Praise Him in their joys and walk beside them in their sorrows. 

♡ Grace and peace to you in Yeshua the Messiah ♡

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Created to Rest

December 2, 2015 at 1:55 am (Mile Stones, Remodeling the Mind, Thoughts to Ponder) (, , , , )

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I’m currently in Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. I believe New York “coined the term”, I’ve no idea, I’ve never been there. We are here for a business trip planned months ago. It feels like a yank on my chain when I “should be home packing to move”, but alas God said go, and I obeyed. At the time I had no idea why, I assumed it was to provide a slight time of rest in a schedule that makes the most hearty tired. I wasn’t completely wrong, but I’m starting to understand a bit more now. This city really never does sleep! The hotel mall shops don’t close till after midnight, some till after 2am. At all times the casino has desperate gamblers, hoping – praying that one more round will be the big payoff. Dreams hinge on the pull of a handle, turn of a card, or slow dropping off a little white ball into a black or red spot on a wheel. You can sense the tension that the illusion of money gives, it pours out of their sweat. Then there’s the never ending flow of booze. So they can be happy to give their money and time away. Rings under blind eyes, that plead for rest. Inner rest, physical rest, spiritual home coming.

I must confess, I’ve always hated sleep. I felt life would get much more accomplished if it wasn’t required. I was born a night owl. I have often said God put me on the wrong side of the planet as I am best between the hours of 8pm-4am. I used to feel awful shame, like something was incredibly wrong with me because I couldn’t train myself to be a day bird instead of a night owl. God worked tirelessly to heal such thinking in me (no pun intended). I was born in a big city, used to things that had “open 24 hours” signs. Then we moved to Kalispell, MT. Oh how I resented the total shut down at 6pm. These people take their rest seriously! Just like Vegas takes its constant alertness seriously. Money can’t be made if people sleep. Rest provides sanity. It is a command to take one whole day to rest. God set the example at the beginning, and every time the order of rest is defied, bad things happen. Good things are missed, forgotten and eventually considered irrelevant.

So I sit out at the entry to this magnificent hotel at 11pm, reading Wayne Stiles book Waiting on God. A strange Vegas combination, I’ll say. I’m learning why He brought me here, besides the reasons we signed up to come. To watch with new eyes what I’m like at all times inside. Wanting (even pure and good things) so badly for things to line up perfect so I can “rest”. My idea of perfect and God’s has always been a contrast between light and dark. One must wait on the line of definition to see the difference. That is the line we avoid, we don’t wait well. And if forced to, our spirits of restlessness and complaint, often blind the thin line of light dawning in the darkness.

The sad illusion of this opulent place is that no rest – lack of sleep, prospers. Everywhere you look you see extravagant money. City of lights, for which its also called, drowns out the dawning of the sun. There are black out shades here such like you find in Alaska due to the lack of actual night in the sky. It’s a night owls dream. But I’m finding this night owl understanding the difference between function and frantic fretting. I don’t like it here. I want the rest God provides in quiet, solitude, everything shut down. Here, everywhere one goes there loud music, clanging and ringing machines, cell phones going off, cars coming and going with people happy to come and sad to go. Hung over on another sleepless search for – anything. Horns honking for attention or out of irritation. Bell hops whistling to serve the patron who likely just spent their mortgage payment so they could get paid to work. Restaurants serve delicious meals for outrageous prices. The illusion of getting full on food that keeps you hungry. All with a free drink, not soda, tea or water, but coffee or alcohol, they gladly pay to keep you restless and dumbed down in desperation. Everywhere you look one sees “the life that could be” if only, if only money rolled down like a red carpet to grace the fancy shoe that doesn’t fit.

At first, the sadness of it all overwhelmed me. (A good thing – part of the process) Then, the gratitude for the ability to see how unsatisfying all this is compared to the sweet, soft, quiet presence of the God of the universe truly is. Now, as I wait on Him, to show me all this trip is meant to produce within my character, I’m leaning, leaning into His instruction, and even His silence (which often instructs more loudly).

The rest He so insistently encourages us to take is the definition of true prosperity. Wealth beyond opulence and decor. Hope beyond a dollar bill. Draining dreams that can’t give rest of all that appeals – entices. Sobering, hungry and full of strength to wait on Him. Him who owns everything, makes everything, chooses everything and gives more than we know to ask for. Haunting the heart for the realness – true reality of Life, Yeshua – Jesus. I say haunt because we are so very unsure exactly what it is we desire most the time. But it’s always Him, no matter what we think it is, it’s always Him. Our hearts, mind, souls were created to desperately want Him! What a gift! And how cursed we can live trying to grasp anything else.

Rest, inner and physical, is priceless. No one has ever painted an accurate picture of rest. Only God. He paints in active motion, real life, within moments that will never come that way again. Example? That place where you see a sunset or sunrise that takes your breath away. Or that moment of complete calm reflecting off of a lake, the surrounding creation reflecting the heart of its Maker, always at peace, sure, true – no trace of uncertainty. We blink and these moments are seemingly gone. At least to our physical eyes. But to our souls, when they line up with Him, they last a lifetime. Carry us into and out of chaos. They remind us why the Word speaks of all these times. ..to cry, laugh, die, live, love, hate, wake, sleep, war, peace, lie down, get up. ..you remember the one. All things are found in Him and Him in all things, without Him they are events to dread or wish never ended – always stuck in a state of slavehood. Chained to the moments themselves instead of the Timeless One.

The hour of my rest now calls, but the One of Rest has and will continue to be with me here. I require a compete shut down (where His work continues profoundly), but He will never sleep, His is the city that never sleeps. This city is dead asleep even though they seem to be awake around the clock. I’m counting on that contrast to build something of His architecture within the halls of my heart tonight. Even as. ..I sleep. Tonight I’m grateful to go to sleep, rest in His arms, let Him move in ways that my wakefulness resist. I’m reminded, I depend on Him, awake or sleeping for all things – and He will not fall asleep on the job.

Thank You Father, for rest. Rest of soul, heart and mind. Your rest. What a jackpot I’ve found this night. May it prosper me all the days and nights of my life!

♡ Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ♡

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A Sabbath Sonet

January 31, 2015 at 1:52 am (Poems) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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I look with spirit up at this tree
That rises up in front of me
The dark blue pitch of night behind
Its branches deep in the soil like mine

They mirror up and down so deep
Down into the earth they creep
And up into the very Breath
By which You breathe it’s branchy depth

The night is still – shabbat a’calm
Commanded rest all the earth a Psalm
Rocks cries out an ancient song
I lean into the notes – belong

Whispered love scoops in and out
While rancorous lives begin to shout
Lofty attempts to dull and subdue
The Day of Rest that worships You

Teach me Yahweh to be like this tree
Reaching up while You breathe on me
And I follow You down into the roots
Being grafted into Jesse’s shoot

Oh Life-bread Vine
Adopt and graft
Split these seas with Your righteous Staff
Where Freedom stands before and Protection behind
I am a branch that depends on Your Vine
Turning Cornerstone Bread
Along with water and wine

The Silent night breeze sends forth Your peace
Though the stars hide behind a curtain of cease
“Be still!” The shout echos out from Galilee
A timeless peace broke out eternally
Love at rest, Love at work
Restless Love, Creating Love
Moving Love, Ceaseless flow of Love’s repair
The stones cry out and teach the air
The Sabbath rests in the balance there

Tree-like posture
A constant Praise
With planted feet so strong and brave
They fear no dark or airy grave
Reaching hope-ward the Arm that Saves

My fingers write the thoughts that flow
A timeless language You’d have us know
By diving deeply into Your heart
That says, “Rest now and we’ll start!
The key to My sweet Sabbath Rest
Is a soul that quakes to bless and bless
With driven need to seek out Me
And catch a glimpse of eternity
I feed My sheep, I make them grow
And lean upon My Staff aglow
A cleansing flood I send into
The parts of you, you can’t subdue
The Wine of peace shall feed your soul
The Lord of the Sabbath shall make you whole!”

All this You teach me with this tree
By leaning on and listening
To Your Sabbath song within its depths
Pouring out Your heart to bless
Inviting me to look beyond
The leafless form of branches strong
Asleep for now the Sabbath still
The tree can teach Your winter Will
A call to enter and sit with Thee
Just like the nighttime Sabbath tree

It is itself a shining Light
Calling now the darkness bright
In silent sway upon Your breath
The Lord of the Sabbath knows the death
Of rotten roots, decayed by sin
Exposed by suffering akin
To darkened skies and lightest wind
Abba’s breath brings back again

So trust all ye who know this truth
And be taught by the tree sent by the Shoot
Enter in with Sabbath song
To the Father’s heart where you belong.

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♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡

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