Caleb and his 8 year old daughter, Halayia were sitting at the park feeding the resident geese. The many flocks of spring and summer had flown south, the park was quiet, settling in to the crisper air of winter. The greese breath was visible as they gathered for the crumbs.
Caleb and Halayia took this path as they walked home from Halayia school. The park workers were finishing up the holiday decor. Halayia watched them, absent-mindedly tossing her crumbs. Caleb could see her little gears spinning and smiled, he knew a question was about to emerge. He sent up a request that the Lord would place the answer in his heart before he heard the question. Those gears were seriously grinding on something big.
“Papa?” came the sweet voice of his first born daughter. He smiles.
“Yes, Layia?” He threw another handful of crumbs.
“Why don’t we celebrate Christmas anymore? We used to, and I don’t understand. I miss the lights and all the stuff we did then. My friends all do, and Gail invited me to a church play, but Mama says no. Everybody does it, but us it seems.” The sadness and dejection in her voice broke Caleb’s heart.
Oh boy Lord, help me here.
“When is your birthday Layia?” The words were out before he realized it.
A confused face looked up at him. “May 6th, Daddy, you know that. I’m talking about Christmas.” Bright green eyes beheld him with question.
“Yes, I know, now when is Jesus birthday?” Caleb tried not to smile as he could see the Lord had heard his prayer and was answering. He began to see where this was going.
Halayia’s face scrunched in introspection.
“It’s not December 25th, but I don’t know….eerrr…I don’t remember His birthday day.” she thought more out loud than in answer.
“You’re right, His birthday isn’t on Christmas and today you will perhaps remember His real birthday from now on because you have asked these questions. But, before I tell you His actual birthday day, let me ask you…How would you feel if we celebrated your birthday on say… Alice’s birthday?”
Halayias face again scrunched up, this time in a form of disgust. Alice was a girl at school who was constantly belittling Halayia because she was a Christian. Many a tearful face had greeted Molly and Caleb from Layias sweet face after school from hurtful things Alice did.
“I would be very mad, Daddy, why would we do that? Halayia tossed another crumb-full down hard on the ground. a piece hit a goose on the nose and made it squack and flutter it’s wings.
“Absolutely, that would be very crazy, huh? You are a bit young dear Layia, but there is a long history to learn about Christmas and how it came to be, and if you’re willing we shall begin to teach you. But right now, let just say that how Christmas started was by people who worshiped the god Isis and this god was just Satan trying to fool these people. But in the real world, God’s world, Jesus’s world, His birthday got mixed up with His enemies party and over the years people tried to make it better and added to it to include Santa Claus and many things. So in truth people don’t even realize they arecelebrating Satan’s idea of a holiday for him but somehow because some Christians wanted to make it a good holiday, most now think that it’s Jesus’s birthday they celebrate instead. So you see, Layia, it would be like celebrating your birthday on Alice’s, who doesn’t like you because you love Jesus, but worse because Satan is actually Jesus’s enemy, while Alice is foolish and deceived, she is not your enemy. Does that make sense?” Deep inside Caleb took a deep breath, inviting the Spirit to open his daughters mind to understand what was a very complicated thing.
Halayia was quiet for a few moments, many emotions rolling across her face as her little mind and heart worked to process. Slowly…
“Well, it must hurt Jesus a lot since everybody has changed his birthday and they don’t know… Do they?…I mean, even Christians, our church, our family, who loves Jesus, they all do! How can they not know? Daddy, why doesn’t Jesus tell them?” Halayia was perplexed still, but Caleb could see she was grasping the truth.
“He does tell them. Just like your mommy and I learned the truth, everyone can learn it too. But just like you, it’s hard to change, to stop celebrating like everyone else, when it seems innocent and harmless. Especially for those who think they can say they are really celebrating Jesus so it doesn’t matter. But, Layia, always remember it’s not what you think of anything in this life but what God thinks that matters most, and He is very serious about the truth of things, it’s His thoughts we must take our actions on. He had a very special reason for sending His Son, Jesus, to be born when He did, the exact day and hour has meaning. HIS birthday is the most important birthday ever, we must be careful to honor God’s timing and ways. As you grow older He will teach you how very special each moment and event in your life has lots of meaning, but Jesus birthday is full of all the meanings of all the lives on earth in one Man. We want to honor that, so we don’t have anything to do with what makes Jesus birthday less. God says have NOTHING to do with evil. Sometimes, like now, that’s hard. The lights are pretty, the plays are well done, the gifts are fun, the songs and shows seem innocent and seem to be good, but to God its like everyone has decided to go to Satan’s party and this makes Him very sad.” Caleb began to gather the bags, now empty of crumbs. The sun had fallen behind the horizon. Darkness was encroaching. Halayia perceived they were leaving and took his hand.
“Does it make God happy that we don’t celebrate Christmas?” the question was full of more. More than just the one, as all things rich with a heart that longs to please God. Caleb’s heart soared.
“Yes, my cub, yes it makes Him happy. But more than that, it make us closer to Him, His presence is like you and me, here in this park, talking, feeding the geese and loving to be together. It gives us joy too! He can teach us many things when we are trusting Him and obeying. Especially when it’s hard. I’m sorry it is hard for you dear Layia to not be able to join in with so many things. I’m very sorry that your mommy and I did not realize before what Christmas was and we celebrated and it makes you miss it. Will you forgive me?” Caleb had stopped and knelt down in front of his precious gift God had given him to teach and lead.
Halayias little gloved hands reached for her Papa’s cheeks and she put her head in his forehead.
“Of course, Papa, I didn’t know either, will you forgive me? Maybe we can make a party for those who won’t go on going to Satan’s party. It could be like Moses and the Israelites who put the blood over their doors. Well just let it pass right by!” Halayia said with lighthearted fun.
Caleb teared up, what an amazing little person you have given me dear God!
He scooped Layia up with a big whoosh!
“Yes, let’s go home my cub! We shall talk to mommy and Josh and come up with a way to let all this pass over and party in God’s love together!
Seek good and not evil, so that you will survive. Then Adonai (the Lord) will be with you as you say He is. Hate evil, love good and uphold justice at the gate…
My son, don’t go along with them, don’t set foot on their path.
Don’t follow the path of the wicked or walk on the way of evil doers. Avoid it, don’t go on it, turn away from it, and pass on.
2 Timothy 2:19
Nevertheless, God’s firm fountain stands, stamped with these words:
“The Lord knows His own” and, “Let everyone who claims he belongs to the Lord stand apart from evil (wrongdoing).”
Psalms 37 – all of it.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Moreover, it is God who sets both us and you in firm union with the Messiah; He had anointed us, put His seal on us, and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee for the future.
Therefore, remember where you were before you fell, turn from this sin, and do what you used to before. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place – if you don’t turn from your sin! But you have this in your favor: you hate what the Nicolaitans do – I hate it too. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him winning the victory I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life which is in God’s Gan-‘Eden (Garden).'”
Stay tuned for part 2
Grace and peace in the Messiah, Yeshua. 🙂
What is the essence of Praise?
Is it just knowing God is? How often does it come easy when He paints a wondrous sky? When He does anything to make us smile? How does one apply the sacrifice of praise? This question lays heavy on my heart theses days. Almost every believer I know (almost) doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of sacrificial praise. When asked in a poll, nine out of ten believers could not quote a scripture that speaks of sacrificial praise. May seem rather inconsequential unless you realize how often its referenced in the Word. 218 times the word sacrifice is in the Word, half of them include praise with them. In the half that doesn’t refer to praise directly with it, it gives strong indications of it being in conjuction to or related to, or a result of. ..pretty incredible.
To sacrifice means to give something up. To praise means to lift something or someone up in exaltation. Put together, as the Word repeatedly states it, we sacrifice the opposite of praise for praise of God . After all it would hardly be a sacrifice to praise God when I’m happy. It would seem these days that we have this assumption that we are entitled to our feelings. So praise can come after I’ve had my pout, rant, disappointment, hurt, anger – especially if it comes on the heals of injustice. Yet as I enter into the presence of God, and He teaches me, He clearly says to sacrifice my feelings and with all my heart, mind, and soul praise Him, especially when I can hardly dredge up a thin whisp of His praise-worthiness, this is true sacrifice. It requires faith. Faith in the God who is working at all times to and for the good of those that love Him. This is a foundational truth that must be lived. How better to live it than to practice it? Or do it. Something can’t live, as dead words on a page, it must become active to live. Dying to oneself will always come with the sacrifice of one’s feelings. Not the ignorance of them, or denial, but the will turning towards the Father and actively willing itself into the Kingdom of Praise. It’s the arm wrestle of me and my view verses God and His. Every promise He has made can be used to contradict a complaint from human lips. Yes, every single one. Noone keeps their promises like God, not one.
Someone once said, “I really can’t see one thing today that is worth praising“. For those in throws of this temptation let me share a perspective. Everyday, in order for the day to be called a day, the sun must have risen(God be praised), in order for one to be able to call a day a day, one must have been given breath to enter into it(God be praised). One may argue, “what if I wish God had taken me Home instead?” Simply put, then your will has not entered into His, for if you were willed to go Home to be with Him, your breaths would have ceased and there you would be. So. ..sacrifice your will to the sovereign God you say you believe in and thank Him for the day He has made, ask Him to change your heart and open your eyes to the gift of the day you are in and thank Him for your purpose in His will to be here, now.
What does it cost you to call yourself a follower of Christ? Have you been stoned (with real rocks, not weed) for your belief in Him? Do you know the sacrifice of not doing the thing you think you can’t live without, just because He said “Live without it.” Do we truly know that when He says that He is prophecying? Literally, if you give it up, you will really and truly live, actively putting His Word to action, faith being a real live thing working inside you. This is Life, the Life Yeshua (Jesus) came to give. The Life He lived, and now we can by the power of His Spirit live too. I can honestly say I never succeed at such sacrifice, until I’ve admitted my defeat in ability and asked for the Spirit to give me praise instead. I can’t drudge praise up on my own. So, you see the denial of the feelings that cause complaint, pout, rage, bitterness, doubt, comparison, etc – may indeed be acknowledged but not lived instead they must be sacrificed, exchanged for what we don’t possess. The only reason we reason to our advantage to keep our feelings and “work through them”, is simply because we don’t want to let them go. Not one person has ever worked through their feelings leading to life, faith in God. Read Hebrews 11. There is no mention of one hint of one person of Faith who “worked through their feelings But had faith. Not one. Every single one, sacrificed their feelings and turned towards God to obtain faith. Often our feelings are cronic lairs. Why? Because they are hitched to our comfort, our perspective, our desires, our failures, the fallen nature of this world. But, what about delight, joy, love, compassion. ..aren’t theses feelings, you ask? Depends. Depends on Who gives them to you. Do you delight at the sunset? Any question as to Who gets the credit for it? And love? This is constantly being defined by feelings, it’s not a feeling, Love is and always will be a choice. Love is sacrifice, if you don’t sacrifice for the one you say you love, you don’t love them. To sacrifice in love, one must give up something of themselves for the other. It must cost something. Another long subject for another blog, but love is not a feeling, it’s a result of feelings being yielded to Love Himself. What does the Word say about joy? I won’t answer this for you, look it up, study it, it’s not a feeling we come by as good little human beings in and of ourselves. All things good – every single good thing ever only and ever will come from God. If you experience it, thank Him for it, cause we don’t get joy without Him or compassion, or delight. One may argue; “but non-believers delight in sunsets“. So? This is evidence of the contrary of what is true about sunsets? Whether one believes or not, God made sunsets, and if one delights at one, they delight in Him, whether they acknowledge it or not. The Author of the sunset does not change, and why wouldn’t He give delight to anyone for admiring His work? That is the amazing thing about God, He doesn’t wait to be who He is, do what He does, on us to believe Him or acknowledge Him. Never has, never will. He came while we were yet sinners, remember? Yes, indeed, even the sinners are given delight in the things that come from God alone.
But, praise, sacrificial praise, this is only given to them that believe and acknowledge Him. Those without Him are quite incapable of faith. But lest, we who follow and live for God be proud, we, too are incapable without Him. The difference is, we who have let Him take over our lives, have been given the power of the Spirit of God to do the things of God. So we see, it all comes from Him, not us. This why, I believe, that nine out of every ten of those believers in that poll, had no clue about sacrificial praise. It’s the stumbling stone we trip over, living a life we get credit for vs. living a life He gets credit for. Indeed it’s a contradiction to even say, I can live my own life. My life is dead if lived for me. Only Life and God go hand in hand. Without Him, death is the only result of anything.
I belabor, but I do so at the lead of the God of Life. Read up about sacrificial praise in His Word, ask Him to expand upon it into your limbs. You’ll find, much of the walk with Him will have this sacrificial praise as it’s hallmark. It takes faith to praise God when bills are due and money is no where to pay, it takes faith to believe He is working in such detail while the over due notices are stamped out. It takes faith to praise God for accidents and floods. It takes faith to praise God for hiccups and delays. Faith is trust in action. A moving, living trust that moves our lips towards praise and our hearts, minds and bodies in line with them. Every single person on the planet has trust issues. Don’t claim that as special or unique to you. Hint, God never said to trust anyone but Him. Most the time we have trust issues, it’s because we trusted the people He made, or ourselves instead of Him in the first place. Trust issues are cured only by trusting only in God. Faith can only come from a living active trust in God. Sacrificial praise is the epitome of faith!
Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see.
Through Him, therefore, let us offer God a sacrifice of praise continually. For this is the natural product of lips that acknowledge His Name.
Offer thanksgiving as your sacrifice to God, pay your vows to the Most High, and call to Me when you are in trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me.
♡ Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
Thanksgiving as a sacrifice…what does this look like?
Sacrifice means it cost us something to give; whatever the thing may be. Something that is hard, to the point of rendering one destitute. Lets look at the widow Yeshua (Jesus) praises in Luke (21:1-4) as she was poor, she likely had no way to know how she would pay for food or her bills, but God moved her to give all that remained of her money. Look at the depth of this story.
The widow knew the church (the body of people in the temple and it’s leaders) was corrupt. She could see very well that the money given to it was hardly being used to help the poor such as she, and likely most the people she knew. Yet, she obeyed, trusting God, not the church, giving her money to God, not the church. The sacrificial give here? Her own perspectives, way of thinking – rationalizing, she instead thanked God for what she had to give and gave it all to Him.
Verse 4: “…but she, out of her poverty, has given all she had to live on.”
She could have fallen back on the hardship of her widowhood, made her circumstances the terms by which she negotiated her thinking and giving. I’m sure times we’re hard. Instead she thanked the God who gives and takes away. The sacrifice of praise, even in circumstances that feel hard – don’t initiate praise inside; she chose instead to see her standing as unchanged in His sight. The outward circumstance may look different but the reality of her standing in the Kingdom was what she chose to live by. The sacrifice of giving up our own perspectives and praising God instead of pleading for help and staying in the sorrow – this is the greatest and most costly sacrifice we will make to God. It is most precious in His sight.
So she gave up everything she “owned” both in the physical world and in the inner world where transformation is done. We often make the people in the stories of the Bible inhuman, meaning above those human responses, just because they did indeed rise above them in the stories. The widow thought and felt just like we do, rationalized as best she could, as we do, but her knowing God, changed her choices. Isn’t this what it says?
And eternal life is this: to know You, the One True God, and Him whom You sent, Yeshua the Messiah.
Most don’t sacrifice with thanksgiving, because they don’t know God. Knowing about Him is not the same as knowing Him.
Do we teach our children how to do this? How young are they when they are exposed to the concept? When they scrape their knees and we tend to them with love, do we then pray with them saying,
“God we praise you for scraped knees, we don’t need to know exactly why they are given, but we trust You. May You open our eyes to look for You the most in painful circumstances. We welcome all opportunities for You to show Your love, healing and power as greater than anything on earth we experience and see. Thank You, Father, for scraped knees and the opportunity to praise You. Amen”
This contradiction to all our senses to think and act on such sacrifice is profound. Some may call it extreme, crazy and taking things “too far”. Some may, some do, always have, always will…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Yeshua praised the Father for what He was doing when Lazarus died. He waited to go, I bet He didn’t want to, but He waited till The Father told Him to go. Sacrifice is always what we give up of ourselves for another. We trade our desires, wants, needs, thoughts, perspectives, feelings etc…for God’s instead of our own. And we know that they will be strikingly different, as Isaiah was faithful to write it down – “My ways are not your ways, nor My thoughts your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8)
So read the first part of the Psalms above again.
“Whoever offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors Me…”
Then the next part comes into focus.
“…and to him who goes the right way, I will show the Salvation of God.”
The sacrifice of praise in all ways that seem contradictory, hard, and awkward…this sacrifices our view, our opinions, our perspective (which we know is always but a speck of the whole picture) and our lean or bent; this is what this Psalms is speaking of. Without the first, the second is impossible.
Show us our Father, open our eyes, for great is the need for this lesson to be applied to us, cemented in our hearts. We depend on You to teach us, as we know this action takes You, Your Holy Spirit, Your Word to enable us in action. Our lean is to complain, fall back on excuses, run towards a “help me” prayer (though we know that we need help, and this is not wrong) instead of trusting that You are working as hard for us when the hits come as when all is well. To say, “Praise You God” for the broke down car, loss of a loved one, hurt and pain of those who misuse, abuse and mistreat us – this is not our first response, and without You it shall never be. We want to be like Your Son, our Master, and be able to turn our cheeks to those who smack them, to give without looking and calculating whether we have it “in our opinion” or not. To simply obey, without hesitation, praising You the whole way, knowing nothing will happen that You can not provide for. ..this is what we pray.
It’s easy to think of sacrifice horizontally (with people). But vertically? What is sacrifice for God? How could it be anything other than our ways, and our thoughts? It’s easy to praise Him, when things are well, or even in the “norm”, but in hard times? To actually say “thank You.” when we are in a tough spot, experiencing great pain, hurt and anger? What else could it be but the sacrifice being spoken of so often in the Word. Is this not what we watched our Lord do, to our own perplexity? That even, steady, consistent example of His inner world (very human) completely sold out to trusting the Father. Oh how all who watched Him, walked with Him, knew Him, we’re touched by Him wanted this that He had. Peace.
Those who walk with, watch, know, and are touched by Him still do. They bare the hallmarks of it as well, as it begins to change them from the inside out. It’s more than a simple “I trust You, Lord”, it goes way down deep and pulls up a “Hallelujah, glory glory glory to the Most High”. Joining the constant refrain of Heaven (read all the refrains in Revelation) at times when doubt, fear, frustration, anger, and resentment lurk around looking for the opportunity to steal from this joining in with heavenly discourse. Do we remember how our enemy is described? A thief, searching for someone to devour, rob joy, pull down and snuff out the light? It’s not his delight to do this because it brings us down. No! It’s because it steals from the glory of God, which resides in the praises of His people. Not just the kind of praise of a thousand voices ringing in song to Him, but most importantly the praise that comes from a child whose tendency is to become self absorbed focusing with earthly eyes; instead – those eyes track with the eyes of the Savior and begin to lift up with heart, mind and soul a “thank You” and chorus of “glory” that heaven itself turns towards and joins. Sacrificial praise, points us to the Way, and we can not help but see the Salvation of God. He has and always will ‘out-sacrifice’ us! Glory to God, in the highest! And Shalom – peace to His people on earth!
Selah – Amen!
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
Sandra and Ellen sat in Sandra’s dining room drinking tea. Ellen was sharing a heartache with her neighbor who had happened join her on her porch as she cried that morning. Sandra, always having been a courteous neighbor, had invited Ellen over, curious as to why Ellen was so distraught.
Ellen began by telling her that she and her girlfriend were about to be married on Wednesday afternoon. Sandra, congratulated her. Ellen’s smile did not reach her eyes. Sandra waited for her to continue. A very treasured family member had told Ellen that she could not be there, due to her “love for God and His ways”. Ellen’s voice dripped with sarcasim as she held her fingers up to “quote-end-quote”. Sandra understood.
“She has ALWAYS been there for me! Always. And now this? How can I possibly forgive this?” Ellen cried, tears competing with a running nose.
Sandra handed her a tissue. After a few moments, the tears returned to a few trickles.
“I have a question, if you don’t mind telling me, has this person always lived everything she believes? I mean, backed it up in every way?” Sandra risked poking in.
“Yes, absolutely. I mean, with growth over the years. She always would tell me, ‘it’s not about being perfect, it’s about learning to stretch and grow’, but yeah.” Ellen sniffed.
“Well, I’m no religious person. In fact I don’t believe in God at all. But it strikes me that perhaps you should not see this as such a surprise. If you’ve always respected this person, and known where they end and begin, I suppose what just happened just reinforces what’s always been there. I mean, that you can count on this person. She hasn’t contradicted herself, in fact, with much risk, she maintained her stand. That’s rather rare in my opinion. Most the people I know that say the love God and believe in Him, are constantly doing things that seem to compromise their “belief system”. It’s one of the reasons why I’m an atheist. I’ve read the Bible, noone stands like those people did way back then. I mean the “good ones”. There always seems to be a place where they give in to something or other that contradicts what the God of the Bible said. Usually it is where loved ones are concerned. But it seems to me, if she loves you she’ll continue to be what she’s always been, an live what she really believes, even if it costs her something. Was she smug about telling you she couldn’t be there?” Sandra asked, almost hoping for some chink in this persons armor.
“No, I could see she was torn too. I guess I never thought of it that way. I should have known she would not be able to come to my wedding to another woman. She’s never rejected Gwen or myself. This, like I said, is the first time she’s ever had to say, “I can’t choose you on this one, kiddo” It just hurts, ya know?” Again the tears began to flow steadily down Ellen’s face.
“I bet, I’m certainly not saying it should not hurt. But when it comes to trust, I’d say don’t let the hurt of this take that away from you both. If she will back up her beliefs like you say. Then she’s likely still very trustworthy. Thats hard to find. I don’t want people in my life who just always do things that make me happy, and just like me. I want people who stand firm, and even challenge me at times.” Said Sandra
Ellen giggled through a sniffle.
“She does that! I just can’t image her not being there.”
“Does it make you think twice about what you’re about to do?” Sandra ventured
“Yes, but how can love be wrong? I love Gwen, if God is love, how can our love be wrong? I just can’t get around that.” Ellen went from tears to outright anger.
Sandra gulped, and charged ahead.
“Well, Ellen, I don’t know you well. But if you say you believe in the God of the Bible, then you are saying you think, well, He’s God. You know, the One that knows everything, made everything and can tell you how to do everything and you can trust that God. As I said, I’m not unfamiliar with the Bible. I like to know what I don’t believe. He makes it clear that your love for Gwen is at best misplaced. So it seems you have to decide if you can say, like your loved one, “I believe in this God, and stand and live accordingly”. Sounds to me like at least some of this hurt may be more to do with a crisis of belief than the events themselves. You’re in a tough spot. We’re you raised in a church?” Sandra let out an inner breath. Where did that come from, am I encouraging her to believe in God?
Ellen kept her head down and remained silent for a moment.
“Yes, I was raised to believe in Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Spirit, as the Bible states.” Ellen let out a huff. “Pfft, but in a church, no. Churches are hypocritical.”
Don’t I know it! Thought Sandra, relieved. Yet something else tugged at the edges of her mind. It irritated her, but her mouth was moved to open.
“I agree, they are, but it seems so are you right now, achem, I mean if you believe as you say you do, that is. I’m sorry, it’s not really my business. I don’t mean to offend ya.” Sandra blurted and covered it up with apology. How in the name of all that is did that come out of my mouth?
Ellen stared at Sandra for what seemed like an hour. And then…
“Well maybe, but then I’m just doing what everyone does I guess, learning. I love Gwen, that’s all I know. Guess God is going to have to work around that!”
Again, Sandra’s mouth opened and words stunned.
“Well, they do say He’s the God of the impossible!” Sandra quickly went into sarcastic mode to cover.
Ellen and Sandra giggled. Then Ellen excused herself and left. Sandra took a huge breath. What just happened here? Her mind was drawn over and over that day to – well… there’s no other way to put it – pray for Ellen and Gwen and Ellen’s loved one she was so hurt by. The whole day they would not leave her thoughts and the Words of the Bible she did not believe in kept playing like a “bad country tune” as she thought of them. It would seem that Ellen’s loved ones stand had made an impression on Sandra, and she didn’t even know her name! Respectability is hard to find these days, she rationalized. Sandra found herself hoping she might just meet this loved one who could not be at Ellen’s wedding because she loved God so much. At the same time the other part of her dripped with distain at the thought of it. Again another scripture from “that Bible” ran through her mind. Something about a heart divided not being able to stand or some such thing. It was absurd, she had only really read the dang thing once! Just as quickly the image of that Bible tucked away in the closet came to mind. She felt an irresistible urge to go pull it out. All day and well into the next day her thoughts centered around Ellen, her loved one, and that dusty old Bible. Wednesday rolled around and Sandra caught Ellen and Gwen leaving next door. They were on their way to their wedding. They looked happy, Sandra felt sad. She walked into her house, and went to the closet, found the dusty Bible and pulled it out. Intent on reaffirming her lack of need or belief for it, she sat down and began to read.
“In the beginning, God, …”
Meanwhile, Ellens ‘loved one’ was praying for Ellen, for Gwen, for everyone they know and all who would come to know the Lord through the “impossible”.
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
I bought a movie for $1. I’d been looking for this movie for months. Remembering that it was an “award” winning movie back in 1999, The Insider starring AL Pacino and Russell Crowe; somehow had become a 2nd rate movie. I scratched my head. (I do this a lot 🙂 ), as I always do when asking, “what’s changed?”. I was able to finally finish the movie (thank you techy Hubby) in parts and pieces late this evening. This movie contains one of the last great stories of News reporting and investigating of my generation and I believe, the buck will stop there. In these last days, great truth telling news and investigative reporting has been reduced to documentaries that get pushed down the media “slaughterhouse”. The major news networks don’t remember. Don’t recall. And more important; don’t have an audience to support the fame of truth telling to promote it anymore.
It grieves me. It grieves God. BUT.
It had been prophecied that this is how it will be. Once again, proving the Word of God, tried, tested, and true.
I sit here tonight… wondering…pondering…praying. A dear sister in the Lord and my Aunt just got called up to Adonai’s lap. I know she had so many questions, left this life with an anxious soul because the truth confused her rather than comforted. Though she loves Yeshua (Jesus) with all her heart, and her heart bore much fruit as a result, I can testify. Much freedom of the truth Yeshua spoke of was not realized for her “this side of heaven”. It’s undeniable to her now!!! It’s fully realized for her now. I praise God for His faithfulness. For that, in the end will be the only thing praise- worthy…the only thing. I also praise Him because of the process and the journey that somehow He knows is nesassary for us all – this moving between awestruck wonder of Him and total lack of trust from one minute to the next. Everything means something – and it all points to Him.
It occurred to me there is a great deal of connection between the truth of what Yeshua shared about the mustard seed and the law of tithing a tenth of everything we have to God. Not just of everything, but the best of everything we have. How the trust we have if even as small as a mustard seed moves mountains; that if even a tenth of what we are inside (this is the great harvest of fruit – fruits of the Spirit/Kingdom of God) stays true to the best (honesty, integrity, courage, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, love, endurance, purity) these things will carry the day and by proxy make the whole vessel move in Truth’s direction. I have lived long enough to see the truth of these principles, that originate from God, be true 100% of the time. Tithing was never meant to focus us in our money, it was meant to focus us on our worth to God. On how He provides the key instruction for our good and the good of all those around us. The Passion for Truth is not a trend or set of religious beliefs, it’s the breath of God! The Truth is a person – Yeshua Ha’ mashiach! The mustard seed of trust in the Father is as we speak moving mountains, changing landscapes, bearing fruit, – the Kingdom of God is near!
I suppose it does no harm to shout at the top of one’s lungs “Shun everything without absolute truth in it!”. Sadly though too many have trained their ears to hear rigid legalism in this mantra. So tonight, I whisper. Lean in…
Seek the meaning, the very character of God Himself in the instruction to tithe (Old Testament), and the story of the mustard seed (New Testament). I promise…there will be no doubting the results. Not compulsions to adhere to rules and religious works, but a response of joyous obedience due to the fact that freedom inside becomes more real. True freedom – from anxiety, worry, dispair, hopelessness, routine, boredom, hatred, resentment, bitterness and the stress of everyday living.
America, land of the free?
It’s possible and He starts within me.
Good movies are so rare these days. I recommend The Insider. It will point you to the Truth. Even though it never mentions His true name Yeshua – Salvation. There is a tithe and a seed in it. Who else can it point to but Him? For here is a truth: anything that points to truth can only be pointing to Adonai, Elohim, Yahweh,Yeshua, Jesus, the Spirit, – the One True God.
Don’t confuse facts with truth. Here is what I mean. Fact: Yeshua is the Son of the Living God, the Messiah – Salvation. Truth: anyone who puts their trust in Him will be Saved. See the difference? Even the enemy (satan and the demons) know the facts and shutter! But the Truth of Him does not save them. See the truth of His character spoken in example for us with Cain and Able with the principle (direction for living) of tithing. Able brought his sacrifice (tenth) from the storehouse (within) of what is acceptable to God, the harvest of fruit from within while he was doing it on the outside. Cain, however, brought just the product gotten from the outside (the fruit on the inside was dead – choked out by comparison to his brothers work and resentment of the fact that he thought he should have had something better). How could God accept Cains sacrifice? His heart was far from the truth and focused on facts. Truth points ones heart up and with humility sends one out. Facts fall like dead weight (enslave) compared to the truth. It’s possible to be very factual and totally clueless to the Truth. Wisdom is required to produce fruit from facts. Sacrifice is required to tithe. History has proven over and over (fact) that it is harder to sacrifice what we think and feel and see (what’s inside) as “right” and exchange it for only what God says is Right. But doing nice things on the outside requires nothing – anyone can do it. Or rather,God can cause anyone to do anything. Pharaoh was caused by Yahweh to let the people go, but his heart was unchanged and he quickly used his own mind as soon as God let go of it and went back out to round them up again. Fact: God free’d His people from slavery. Truth: Yahweh is Freedom. If one is passionate for Truth, Yeshua, His Father and the Holy Spirit will be seen in everything one does. Taken into consideration about everything, consulted first, and finally submitted to in all things. Cain could have submitted to God when He corrected him. He did not and the whole of his vessel was carried away by his inner fruit. He/she who has ears…let them hear!
Calamity will follow calamity, rumor will follow rumor; they will seek a vision from the prophet, but Torah (The Teachings/Instructions) will perish from the cohen (priest/shepherds) and advice from the leaders. The king will go into mourning, the prince will be clothed with fright, and the hands of the people in the land will tremble in terror. I will treat them as their way of life deserves and judge them as they have judged others. Then they will know that I Am Adonai.
1 Corinthians 2:13-15
These are the things we are talking about when we avoid the manner of speaking that human wisdom would dictate and instead use a manner of speaking taught by the Spirit, by which we explain things of the Spirit to people who have the Spirit. Now, the natural man does not receive the things from the Spirit of God – to him they are nonsense! Moreover, he is unable to grasp them, because they are evaluated through the Spirit. But the person who has the Spirit can evaluate everything, while no one is in a position to evaluate him.
2 Corinthians 4:2-4
…On the contrary, by making very clear what the truth is, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. So if indeed our Good News (New Testament) is veiled, it is veiled only to those in the process of being lost. They do not come to trust because the god of the ‘olam hazeh (this world-this age) had blinded their minds in order to prevent them from seeing the light shining from the Good News (Old Testament) about the glory of the Messiah, who is the very image of God.
2 Timothy 4:3-5
For the time is coming when people will not have patience for sound teaching, but will cater to their passions and gather around themselves teachers who say whatever their ears itch to hear. Yes, they will stop listening to the truth, but will turn aside to follow myths. But you, remain steady in every situation, endure suffering, do the work that a proclaimer of the Good News should, and do everything your service to God requires.
2 Timothy 4:22
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡