Reuben and Achim (A-keem) were walking home from a late morning trek out to fish at the small lake about 3 miles from the family farm. Reuben took his chosen path to swing wide around the Zac Farm to come home at the far end of their own homestead. There was a giant tree there, Achim’s favorite. The tree was said to be two hundred years old, though none could know for sure without cutting it down to count the rings. Reuben’s father, Abe, had carefully constructed a swing on the tree. Unlike most, who usually attached a rope to a sturdy high up limb, Abe had opted to do an addition to the tree. It was a grafted in limb of his making, attached to the main trunk of the tree; a brilliant set of pulleys, chains and ropes gave the swing it’s life. Abe had said to attach the usual way would wound the tree and weaken the whole thing, eventually the limb would fall off threatening to harm the precious child (or adult) who sat upon it to share it’s joy. Achim knew the story well as he had asked for Reuben and his wife to tell him nearly every year. It had become the father and sons special spot recently. Reuben was in the special forces of the military. Whenever he was about to be “shipped out” He found a way to make their way to the tree to tell Achim. He would part with his son, having given him a gift and a nice long swing session the day before he shipped out. Achim was now ten years old, hardly a child anymore. Yet still small enough at heart to carry the tenderness of years before manhood would begin to shape him. Achim was prattling on about the huge fish his friend Danny had caught just before they left the lake. Reuben smiled, ahhh…the freedom of youth with excitement filling all things. Well, most things.
Finally the big tree came into view and Achim exclaimed his joy, dropping his pole and running straight for the swing.
Reuben stooped to pick up the pole.
“I’ll set up the blanket and food”, he hollered.
Achim was fast and already swinging with gusto!
So many memories here, Lord God, keep them ingrained upon my heart in the days ahead.
The meal laid out, Reuben enjoyed watching Achim and began to nibble on a carrot. He hadn’t realized how hungry he was till then.
“Come on, Keem, I’m starved, let’s eat!” He called.
Achim flew off the swing in midair, making a perfect ten landing at a run for the food. He came to a stop and plopped down. Reuben pulled out the chicken and salad, chips and veggies and they began to feast. The two o’clock sun was veiled by the giant protector they sat beneath. The day was perfect, blue skies and whispy clouds with a slight breeze to cool them down in the 85° Idaho sun. Father and son exchanged hungry looks and giggles as they consumed their lunch.
“Did ye have a good time, Keem?” He asked. Prepping the soil for words to sew the next segment of time.
Achim shook his head vigorously, bright eyes gleaming…”Mmmhuummm!” He munched.
They continued to eat until they were satisfied. Reuben allowed the silence to water the soil.
“You’re going away again, huh, Papa.” It was a statement, not a question.
“Indeed, I am, Achim. How did you know?” Reuben pretended to be curious.
The boy shrugged his shoulders. “Just knew…” came the reply.
Again quiet breezes filled the air between them for a time.
“So what will you be giving me this time?” Again it was more like a statement than a question. No bitterness colored his tone. Reuben thanked the Lord.
Reuben reached into his pocket and pulled out a small seed. Achim arched his posture toward his hands with curious aplomb. Reuben opened his hands and pulled the boys hand to him, placing the seed in his sons hand.
“It’s a tree.” He said, with a smile, a knowing thought, synchronized with his sons head, as it cocked to one side, unconvinced.
“It’s a seed Papa, not a tree!” Achim said with youthful authority.
“Nope, a whole tree is inside that seed, it just needs to grow, son.” He added, with renewed enthusiasm.
It was comically predictable when Achim’s head zoomed into the seed in his hand with a look of epiphany.
“Wow, I never thought of it like that! A…whole…tree…well, of course it’s all got to be there in some way, huh?” Achim was an endless learner and open to big thoughts. He always had been.
“But – well it can’t all be in there, it needs the stuff from the ground and water and sunshine and stuff to be a tree, though.” Ten year old deduction flowed out of his mouth.
“Let’s think about that a minute. Look around, there’s one tree here. All around for quite some distance, no other trees. But soil and water and sunshine abound. So why do you suppose there are not more trees?” Reuben primed the pump.
Achim scanned the scene around them, looked up and down and back at the tree. Then his gaze fell in new wonder to the seed in his hand.
“Thank you, Papa, for my tree!” Achim wrapped his arms around Reuben’s neck. “You always give the neatest gifts! When can we plant it? Can we plant it out here next to Grandpa Abe’s tree?” The boy released his snuggle and looked into Reuben’s eyes.
Ach, Adonai, what have I done to deserve this son?
“Well…I don’t see why not.” He smiled.
“When?! When?!” Achim’s excitement was better than the meal they had just consumed. And Laura knew how to satisfy not just the hunger, but the palette!
“Let’s plan it for the weekend after I return, eh? Sound good?”
Achim’s excitement faded and turned introspective. Silence hung and swung in the air like the swing on the tree. Reuben let it gestate.
“What if you don’t come home this time?” ‘The question’ wrapped a breeze around them both, cold and foreboding.
Reuben pulled his Keem into his lap and wrapped his arms around him. Placing his hands over the seed-filled hand of his son.
“We have talked about that possibility my dear boy, it’s true, Adonai could make that decision. But He tells us not to anticipate death, but hold on to life, dear Keem. So that we must do!”
Achim’s small head rubbed in the affirmative against his chest. Reuben sensed the tears before he saw one drop down into the now open palm with the seed. His heart broke. The tears of a child are a precious gift, but hard to want to receive.
“Do you know what your name means, Achim Kaleb Seth?” Reuben hardly realized the words were in his mind before his heart held them out to his voice. He smiled, and looked up to acknowledge His Makers mind.
“Yes.” sniff. “It’s God made me, or something like that.”
“Well…close. Achim means; constructed by God. Kaleb means; to be faithful. And our shared last name means, Appointed One. So, in truth, your whole name means; constructed by God to be faithful to the Appointed One. Do you know what that means?” Reuben again primed the pump.
“Yes, it means God made me to be faithful to Him.” Came the half hearted answer.
Reuben turned his son around and sat him in front of him to see face to face.
“Not just faithful to God, but His Appointed One, Yeshua the Mashiach, God’s Son! You must understand fully, my son, that your name is your character. We chose it very carefully, eight days after you were born, we prayed to Adonai for the direction of the nature He shaped in you while you lived in your Mama’s tummy. You see we didn’t know all He was doing as you grew, like that seed, inside the womb of His construction. We prayed, asked Him for a healthy child, for a child with much heart, but we didn’t know until that eighth day what He wanted us to say to you everyday. ‘Constructed by Yahweh, let’s go fishing; constructed by Yahweh, have you learned your aleph-bet, I love you, constructed by Yahweh, faithful one to the Son of God, my son!’ These words continue to shape you everyday in agreement with Yahweh from the Beginning. It’s no small thing your name, Achim Kaleb Seth, you are constructed by the very words and breath of God. He will care for you with the same detail in every moment of your life. So don’t fear what may come. Only keep your eyes on this One, the One who made you, and all will be well. Do you believe this, my son?” Reuben held his face very close to Achim’s and waited.
Light was dawning in the mind of Achim as he let his father’s gaze penetrate his heart.
“Yes, Papa, I will remember what you say, and I will try to only think of you alive and just gone for a trip.” Came the world of enormous answer from the lips of this babe!
Reuben’s eyes swelled with tears. Again he embraced his child.
“We’ll all think the same with you, Achim, well constructed by God! As we all think of our Salvation, remember what He said and think only of Him as on a trip, coming soon, to take us all home! Yes, of course yes!” He laughed. Achim joined him.
“What does your name mean, Papa?” Achim pulled out of the embrace and curiosity regained it’s status in his spirit.
“Reuben means; see my son. Yashir means; God will answer and our shared last name means; Appointed One. So my name means; See! My son! God will answer His Appointed One! It’s an awesome name, it protects me, guides me, holds me, and shields me!” It had been a while since Reuben had pondered his name. He smiled as big as the tree next to them in renewed wonder. He would keep it in mind as he was away.
“It’s an awesome name Papa! I like it!. He will protect you while you are away! Mama says that Adonai hears His Sons prayers all the time and Yeshua always prays for our protection! She showed me the Scripture! I am happy grandpa Abe named you like you named me!” Achim smiled in wonder.
“Indeed! And listen! Our names together show us the way. See! My Son! God will answer! And constructed by God will be faithful to the Appointed Ones prayer! What joy we have to be named by Him and put together, eh?”
“Yes, Papa! I love that! I will write it down and put it by my bed so I can read it every time I see it and put my prayers with God’s! Thank you for my seed-gift, and fishing today. I love you, Papa!”
The squeeze that embraced Reuben with those words joined it’s voice with praise to the tree that they sat under and the tree in the palm of Achim’s hand. They sat there for a while together, watching the sun shift it’s path around the veil of the tree until they felt the veil fall away and the sun full upon their faces.
🔯 May the grace and peace of Yeshua the Messiah be with you in full measure 🔯
Shadows ands dust
That’s what you’d like me to believe I am
Floating on the winds of human illusions
Left to the chance breezes of monetary bondages
Cast into the shadow of man’s invention
Shaped by their slave molding institutions
Oh, but most of all!
Most of all you’d bind me to the chains of me-ism
Every thought revolving towards myself
Caught in the lightless shade of self-absorbtion
This is your highest prize
But by the Grace that shaped the universe
I speak the Name – Yeshua
My eyes begin to light
The world fades dark as night
Yeshua, Yeshua, the Great Light
Fear falls like the shadows and dust you intended for man
Your jealousy crawls in darkness
Yahweh has loved these weak-kneed creatures
Fear follows His thought to the pit
Loosened now, are the chains that perpetuate the self-full soul
The pin point flame of Grace begins a roaring fire
Refining the weakness into His strength
The me-ism loses desire
The inner soul turns instead to the Glory!
Glory, glory in the Highest!
Worthy is the One to be praised!
The envied little weaklings you so abhorred
Now turns from themselves to stand in His gaze!
You screech and paw, and maim and kill
But you are weakness imbodied still
Cast out as the dust and shadows you offered us instead
And what more do or did you have to offer?
You Liar, son of deceit!
I stand in the coat of Blood that’s been offered
Shaking your dust off His feet!
Hear and harken, dust and shadows
You’ll play no tricks on my Savior
My ears will close up to your shadow
My eyes shall see only His Light
HE! HE has decreed it! It will be so
So even if, I shall become dust again
His breath will again wake me and I will look upon His face, forever!
This is the program planned for all the earth, this is the Hand stretched out over all the nation’s. Adonai-Tzva’ot has made His decision. Who is there that can stop Him? He has stretched out His Hand. Who can turn it back?
There is coming a King who will reign justly and princes who will rule uprightly. A man will be like a refuge from the wind, like protection from a storm, like streams of water on arid ground, like a rock cliff shading a weary land. The eyes of those seeing will not be closed, the ears of those hearing will pay close attention. The minds of the impetuous will learn to weigh carefully, the tongues of the stutterers will speak readily and clearly.
From a distance Adonai appeared to me, saying, “I love you with an everlasting love; this is why in My Grace I draw you to Me.
Yes, I will pasture My sheep; and I will let them rest, says (declares) Adonai Elohim. I will seek the lost, bring back the outcasts, bandage the broken, and strengthen the sick. But the fat and the strong I will destroy – I will feed them with judgement.
I will proclaim the decree Adonai said to me, “You are My son; today I became your Father.”
But in my mind I keep returning to something, something that gives me hope -that the Grace of Adonai is not exhausted, that His compassion has not ended. On the contrary, they are new every morning! How great is Your Faithfulness! “Adonai is all I have,” I say; “therefore I will put my hope in Him.” Adonai is good to those waiting for Him, to those who are seeking Him. It is good to wait patiently for the saving help of Adonai. It is good for a man to bear the yoke from his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when He has laid it on him. Let him submit absolutely; there may yet be hope. Let him offer his cheek to the one who strikes it, and receive his fill of insults. For rejection by Adonai does not last forever. He may cause grief, but He will take pity, in keeping with the greatness of His Grace. For He does not arbitarily torment or punish human beings. When anyone tramples underfoot any of the prisoners of the land; when anyone deprives a person of justice, in defiance of the Most High; when someone is cheated of justice in court – does Adonai not take note of such things? Who can say something and have it happen without Adonai commanding it? Don’t both bad things and good proceed from the mouth of the Most High? Why should anyone alive complain, even a strong man, about the punishment for his sins?
In union with Him, through the shedding of His blood, we are set free – our sins are forgiven; this accords with the wealth of the Grace He has lavished on us. In all His wisdom and insight He has made known to us His secret plan, which by His own will He designed beforehand in connection with the Messiah and will put into effect when the time is ripe – His plan to place everything in heaven and on earth under the Messiah’s headship.
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
Yesterday was my birthday.
Birthdays have always been special. I wonder where the tradition began to celebrate the birth-day of a loved one? I remember as a child wondering why the mother didn’t get special mention on them. I can’t say why the impression moved me so young. Likely because I figured she did all the “work” that day. I figured it wouldn’t hurt for her to get a few balloons and some cake too. I went along with tradition and kept my thoughts to myself, but I mentioned it to God and asked for a special blessing for my mom anyway.
The older I got, sadly the more I argued with God about how He made me. Birthdays after the age of 18 were not a welcome thing to me for many years as a result. I had missed the “big picture” – errrr at least the truer one. Then about 10 years ago, God began to show me who did all the “work” putting me together. Using many words directly to me intimately but with His Word in many scriptures like the one above. One in Romans stuck out too, talking about how the pot shouldn’t argue with the potter about how it’s made. I began to submit to changing my thinking. The result? My birthday has a different element of celebration now.
A group of 25 people met up for dinner to celebrate me. I didn’t resist. Why do we resist taking love in? This is one change. I don’t resist love like I used to – by the Grace of Yahweh! I’ll tell you a secret though…shhhhh…lean in…
I went to celebrate them! Them and all those who could not make it there. Many more of them. I would not be who and what I am without all those Adonai used to mold and shape me throughout my 40 plus years. I celebrate them and Him who made me. It’s another change. Perspective is everything. It’s not about me. Never was, but He means to make sure I know I’m His and that makes my worth beyond reckoning. It’s the difference between truth and trying to be true.
I recently heard a different perspective on prayer too. It resonates with the same frequency of the change in celebration for me.
One was asked, “what do you ask God to do for you when you pray?” Response:”I don’t ask God to do things for me; I ask what I can do for Him.” You see it? So small a tweak, but the whole picture suddenly comes into focus.
I am basking in the love showered down on me everyday from the same One who used that love to mold and shape me before I entered my mother’s womb. I basked in the love of those who called, texted, sang, sent messages and pictures, and came to dinner last night; the same love that shaped and wove them too. I let it in, and let it pour out of me too.
I celebrate Life. L’Chaim. It still includes a special mention of my mom. But it includes every single life that has brushed up against mine and held me safe and fast in a womb-like love throughout my life. So I celebrate them, celebrating me. I celebrate Him who made us all, wonderfully – His works are wonders – I do know this well!
Thank You Abba, for Life!
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡
But I withhold my pen; for vain were the fancy, by treatise or sermon or poem or tale, to persuade a man to forget himself. He cannot if he would. Sooner will he forget the presence of a raging tooth. There is no forgetting of ourselves but in the finding of our deeper, our true self — God’s idea of us when he devised us — the Christ in us. Nothing but that self can displace the false, greedy, whining self, of which, most of us are so fond and proud. And that self no man can find for himself; seeing of himself he does not even know what to search for.
It is just the old way–that of obedience. If you have ever seen the Lord, if only from afar–if you have any vaguest suspicion that the Jew Jesus, who professed to have come from God, was a better man, a different man–one of your first duties must be to open your ears to His words and see whether they seem to you to be true. Then, if they do, to obey them with your whole strength and might. This is the way of life, which will lead a man out of its miseries into life indeed.
God is all right—why should we mind standing in the dark for a minute outside His window? Of course we miss the inness, but there is a bliss of its own in waiting. What if the rain be falling, and the wind blowing; what if we stand alone, or, more painful still, have some dear one beside us, sharing our outness; what even if the window be not shining, because of the curtains of good inscrutable drawn across it; let us think to ourselves, or say to our friend, ‘God is; Jesus is not dead; nothing can be going wrong, however it may look so to hearts unfinished in childness.’ Let us say to the Lord, ‘Jesus, art Thou loving the Father in there? Then we out here will do His will, patiently waiting till He open the door. We shall not mind the wind or the rain much. Perhaps thou art saying to the Father, ‘Thy little ones need some wind and rain: their buds are hard; the flowers do not come out. I cannot get them made blessed without a little more winter-weather.’ Then perhaps the Father will say, ‘Comfort them, my son Jesus, with the memory of thy patience when thou wast missing Me. Comfort them that thou wast sure of Me when everything about thee seemed so unlike Me, so unlike the place thou hadst left.
Doubt swells and surges, with swelling doubt behind!
My soul in storm is but a tattered sail,
Streaming its ribbons on the torrent gale;
In calm, ’tis but a limp and flapping thing:
Oh! swell it with Thy breath; make it a wing,
To sweep through Thee the ocean, with Thee the wind
Nor rest until in Thee its haven it shall find.
“If ye have faith and doubt not, if ye shall say unto this mountain,’Be thou removed and vast into the sea’, it shall be done.” Good people have been tempted to tempt the Lord their God upon the strength of this saying. Happily for such, the assurance to which they would give the name of faith generally fails them in time. Faith is that which, knowing the Lord’s Will, goes and does it; or not knowing it, stands and waits. But put God to the question in any other way than by saying, “What will You have me to do?” Is an attempt to compel God to declare Himself, or to hasten His work; the man is therein dissociating himself from God so far that, instead of acting by the Divine Will from within, he acts in God’s face, as it were, to see what He will do. Man’s first business is, “What does God want me to do?”, not “What will God do if I do so and so?”
God does not, by the instant gift of His Spirit, make us always feel right, desire good, love purity, aspire after Him and His Will. Therefore either He will not, or He cannot. If He will not, it must be because it would not be well to do so. If He cannot, then He would not if He could; else a better condition than God’s is conceivable to the mind of God. The truth is this: He wants to make us in His own image, choosing the good, refusing the evil. How should He effect this if He were always moving us from within, as He does at divine intervals, toward the beauty of holiness? For God made our individuality as well as, and a greater marvel than, our dependence; made our apartness from Himself, that freedom should bind us divinely dearer to Himself, with a new and inscrutable marvel of Love; for the Godhead is still at the root, is the making root of our individuality, and the freer the man, the stronger the bond that binds him to Him who made his freedom.
♡ Grace and Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah ♡