I am republishing some of my older blogs as my site New wine skins is closing. I hope you will enjoy these writings even if you’ve read them years ago:
When my grandpa was an old man, he got pulled over one night for a broken tail light in his pick-up truck. The officer, who had known my grandpa all his life, was stunned that he had never received a driver’s license. My grandpa lived through the great depression. He was a sharecropper at a tender age. He never finished school, and he never learned to read. How could he take the written exam?
The officer decided to just go for a drive with my grandpa on a trip. Afterward, if his driving went well, he’d issue him a license. Of course, he was a careful driver and passed, but times sure have changed. Missouri was one of the first to require a driver’s license in 1903, but South Dakota didn’t until 1959. Driving without a license today will get you in jail. Our cars require our attention. During this blog, I will compare us to a car.
A broken tail light or headlight is dangerous. Brakes that need to be repaired, even windshield wipers may not seem serious until it starts pouring rain. Our horn can cause an accident or prevent one. Ecclesiastes says, “There is a time to honk your horn and a time to remain silent.” Sometimes we need our horn. Sometimes it just makes a loud noise.
My husband and I went to dinner the other night. As we pulled into the parking lot, there weren’t any parking spaces close to the door. I noticed a car right across from the entry that was parked wrong– taking up two spaces.
I said, “Look how they parked. They caused everyone else to park wrong.”
He said, “There’s a sermon there.”
Whatever we do impacts those around us. It’s the ripple in the water. When we are angry, anxious, bitter, unforgiving, and impatient, we can significantly influence those around us. It works in the opposite manner too. If we are full of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, and keep no record of wrongs, we also affect those around us.
If I rear-end you in traffic, I can greatly harm your car and mine. If I slam my vehicle into one of your children, this doesn’t just impact your child. It distresses you too.
Miriam was put out of the camp for seven days and isolated for beeping her horn too loudly. God exposed her. When we speak negatively against another, we cause people to isolate the person or view them in a bad light. We plant seeds about their character. We can even plant seeds about their gift or assignment. Sometimes our license to drive is taken away from us, and we are removed from the road for a season because we were laying on the horn.
Not only does parking wrong cause a chain reaction but other things we do as well. If we want the person in front of us to go faster, and especially if they are in the fast lane, we may get as close to their bumper as possible. We aggressively are saying speed up. We are pushy, but do we do this in other areas? Yes.
What about when a car pulls out in front of us? We may have to slam on the breaks to prevent an accident. The guilty party in a wreck usually says, “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you.” Many times we don’t see or hear others because we are too focused on ourselves. Are we a better driver this year than last year?
Wrecks can happen in our relationships. Wrecks influence every car behind us and can leave others at a standstill. Jonah impacted everyone on the ship. They lost their cargo, but they also, in fear, prayed to Jonah’s God. The choice Jonah made to flee from his assignment caused the storm, not the devil. Maybe we all need to start becoming better drivers and obeying His road signs before we receive a ticket.
We yield at the stop signs instead of coming to a halt.
Have you ever been a backseat driver or tried to tell someone how to drive? Most of the time, people don’t like it. They have a route they are used to. People are afraid to take new paths–make new traditions. We are creatures of habit that have inherited lies. “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.” Jeremiah 16:9. We throw out the olive tree and drag an evergreen in our house.
We want to drive our own way.
The more dents and wounds our car has, and the more wrecks we’ve been a part of, may cause us to get out of our vehicle for a season. We don’t feel like driving anymore. It’s hard out there on unpaved roads with potholes and construction zones.
Yes, this ole flesh of parking or driving any way we want, no matter how it affects everyone on the road, is not good.
How do we control our steering wheel? James says we can put bits in horse’s mouths and control them and also a ship but the tongue? Fuhgeddaboudit!
How much wood our tongues do kindle! Even our tapping fingers.
As I pondered the car space, I started thinking about our last vehicle, a Ford F150. I never could drive it well, and I never could park it. Many times when I parked it, my parking job looked like the car that had thrown everyone off. But what if someone passing by thought, “Look at them, they think their truck is all that!” And this is what we do. We assume. Even the car I saw and pointed out that had parked wrong may have had no choice because the car next to them was parked wrong.
We justify riding close to the person in front of us because, after all, what we have to do is important. We are trying to get somewhere, and our destination more important (sarcasm.) Even the car riding on our butt may be trying to get to a hospital before a loved one passes away. We ease off the gas to teach them a lesson when we might not have all the facts, but most of the time, it’s probably just rude behavior.
The person in the fast lane poking along might be zoning out. At times like this, we want to be in control of their car. We want to push them in the lane we think they should be in, even if they are driving the speed limit—even if they are getting off at the next exit. Our way of driving is best.
We even get offended when drivers don’t take our directions. Don’t we know the best way? Don’t we have all the truth? (Sarcasm.)
It is Abba who searches the engines in our cars. “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2nd Chronicles 16:9 NASB.
Completely His . . . not double-minded.
A heart that doesn’t have two opinions. It doesn’t have an olive tree and an evergreen. A heart that is separated from the world and the things the world does. The world drives hard and fast and has no patience for anyone. It’s pushy and loud. It can run people over for a Black Friday sale. It’s always riding our butts, and blasting out profane lyrics, and giving directions that lead to death. The world doesn’t take instructions. It closes its ears.
Regardless of these factors, my point is our parking job or driving can throw off everyone in our lane. So can our words or lack of them. I am guilty!
Have you ever been in a snowstorm that was so bad you found an 18 wheeler and stayed close behind it because it could light the way? Yeshua said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12 NASB.
Let’s all try and get in the slow lane and turn off the noise. Give people their space. Pray for those we love to find The Way. If our light is shining brightly for Him, we can act like that 18 wheeler amid the storm, and they will be drawn to HIM.
God has a GPS. When we follow His Ruach HaKodesh and His Word, He lights our path. His word is a lamp to our feet. Let’s all open the door and let the Authority inside our vehicles. He can show us how to drive better, safer, and softer. Let’s obey the traffic signs, and if we don’t understand them because we lack, perhaps He will send a teacher we can let in our car as my grandpa did.
May the Great Mechanic check our oil lamp and our engine light. When we allow Him to be in control, we are destined for greatness!
Beethoven was born on December 17th, 1770. Right away, I noticed the sevens and looked up the date on the calendar for that year. His date of birth fell on the 7th day of Chanukah (Hanukkah) in the Hebrew month of Kislev. (Although Hanukkah always begins on the 25th day of Kislev, that date can fall anywhere between late November and late December on the Gregorian calendar). Beethoven’s birth, name, and deafness all orchestrate a melody. And just like the celebration of Chanukah, Beethoven would shine his light in the darkness of deafness.
“The name Kislev derives from the Hebrew word kesel (כֶּסֶל), which means either “security,” or “trust.” There are two states of trust—one active and one passive—both of which manifest in the month of Kislev, which in the human body correspond to the right and left kidneys, respectively. In Hebrew, the word for kidney is also kesel (כֶּסֶל).” Gal Einai.
May we actively trust the Father!
Several of my readers may remember a blog I wrote entitled The Kidneys and the Ears. Hearing the most profound truth is attributed to the kidneys. If you slice a kidney in half, it looks just like our ears.
“You are near in their mouth but far from their kidneys” (Jeremiah 12:2 ISR). Our Bible translators have replaced the word kidney with rein or heart and often as inward parts, but kidneys were the original wording.
Beethoven’s autopsy report showed he had renal disease among a whole list of disparaging health issues. Some of his aliments were caused by roots and bark used as medicine back then.
Ludwig van Beethoven is a name most people all over the globe are familiar with. He wrote nine symphonies that took music to another galaxy. But it’s his personal life and calling that I want to zoom in on. This man suffered horribly, and yet, his heart-wrenching soul was able to strike keys, and soar violin bows into a place where melodies leave us mesmerized.
I often say, our pain is usually for another’s gain. Frequently the world sees the gift and not the person. We know Beethoven due to his masterpieces. I could listen to Fur Elise or Beethoven 9th Symphony – Movement IV – “Ode to Joy” daily, but what about the man who composed them?
Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time, had a horrible childhood, was often misunderstood, and later became deaf. His name from birth was prophetically chosen. “Van meaning (from)– Beethoven meaning gardens or fields (from the garden (paradise)). Ludwig–The first element is (h)lūt (“famed; loud”) (whence modern German laut), (whence also English loud), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱlew- (“to hear”). The second element is wīg (“battle, strife”)”
A man who would battle hearing loss with great strife would become loud and famous for his musical brilliance. Yes, his name has all those aspects embedded in it.
Beethoven had two younger brothers, Caspar (Keeper of the treasure) and Johann (God is merciful). His mother, Maria (sea of sorrow), experienced so much grief, I find no words to describe the magnitude. She married at the age of 16 and bore a son who died in infancy. Her first husband died after just two years of marriage. By the age of 18, Maria was already a widow and mother. This did not appeal to Johann’s father, the Kapellmeister. Maria would marry Johann, and once again lose a son shortly after his birth. This happened multiple times.
“The British playwright Enid Bagnold once asked a feminist what advice she would give to a twenty-three-year-old housewife who, having lost four children, found herself pregnant again by an abusive, alcoholic husband.
“I would urge her to terminate the pregnancy,” the feminist replied.
“Then,” said Ms. Bagnold, “you would have aborted Beethoven.” (Edmund Morris, Beethoven:The Universal Composer).
Kislev is the 9th month, the time of pregnancy in the womb, and all LIFE is precious. The truth is, Beethoven’s mother lost two sons before him, one of them being her first husband’s, but she did go on to lose even more children.
Besides Beethoven, Caspar, and Johann, she had three more children (one boy and two girls); all of them died very soon, respectively, at the age of four days, two years, and one year. She is poetically described by Edmund Morris like this:
” Her final confinement left her depressed and frail, doomed to expire herself, at forty, of consumption. Slender, earnest-eyed, moralistic, genteel, she floats like a faded watercolor sketch in the van Beethoven family scrapbook, amid more robust images of men of high color and stocky build.”
Beethoven’s father, Johann, was a drunk and a mediocre court singer. He sang in the chapel of the Archbishop of Cologne in Bonn. However, Beethoven looked up to his grandfather, whom he was named after, Kapellmeister (Master) Ludwig van Beethoven, for he was Bonn’s most affluent and celebrated musician. His home was filled with silver and wealth, while Beethoven’s father’s home was filled with banknotes and poverty.
According to Biography, “Sometime between the births of his two younger brothers, Beethoven’s father began teaching him music with extraordinary rigor and brutality that affected him for the rest of his life. Neighbors provided accounts of the small boy weeping while he played the clavier, standing atop a footstool to reach the keys, his father beating him for each hesitation or mistake.”
The one area that brought Beethoven so much pain would also bring him fame and joy. Many times our gifting can cause us pain and joy.
Beethoven was deprived of sleep for extra hours of practice. On a near daily basis, he was flogged and locked in the cellar by his father, but one can’t hide LIGHT in the darkness because a lamp will only shine brighter. Sadly, Beethoven received custody of his nephew and was often cruel like his father had been to him. He longed for him to be a musician, but the young man was not gifted in this area.
“He studied the violin and clavier with his father as well as taking additional lessons from organists around town. Whether in spite of or because of his father’s draconian methods, Beethoven was a prodigiously talented musician from his earliest days.” Biography.
Some historians say, by the age of 13, Beethoven became Assistant Court Musician and placed on salary to support his family because his father’s alcoholism had reached the point that he could no longer provide for the family. In 1787 the court sent Beethoven to Vienna, where he longed to study with Mozart. “Tradition has it that, upon hearing Beethoven, Mozart said, “Keep your eyes on him; some day he will give the world something to talk about.”
When the Father sends people who want to learn or be mentored from us, we should have the heart of Mozart and not see the person as a threat, but instead, someone who will use their gifts to glorify the Father. All people are unique in their gifting. Although Beethoven had a cruel upbringing, he later composed much that was for the sole purpose of exalting the Father of LIGHTS.
Beethoven started becoming deaf at around the age of 26. The intense buzzing in his ears caused irritability, and for many years, the people around him had no idea he was suffering so. I cannot imagine losing my eyesight. I never know what story will come forth from my fingers until I start typing, and that is the one course I failed–typing. So as I write books and blogs, my eyes are always on the keys. Beethoven’s ears were still on the keys, straining to hear a vibration.
His ruddy complexion bore the scars of childhood smallpox. He unruly dark hair and bushy eyebrows stood out making his sorrowful eyes only more dramatized. His deafness was socially awkward for him. He was a short man and unprofessional in his behavior. I’m reminded of a passage that may have comforted Beethoven. “He had no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” (Isaiah 53:2). The leprous Messiah.
A man so highly gifted in one area, yet lacking in so many others.
Listen to Moon Light Sonata #14 and tell me if you picture a dyslexic, clumsy, awkward man with no rhythm? Many times, when a person is gifted in one area– and that area is sensitively magnified, they may be quite challenged in other areas.
Several close friends left a multitude of adjectives to describe this creative genius.
“Beethoven’s personality was also challenging:
“As a young man, Beethoven was frank to the point of rudeness. Headstrong and proud, he was never willing to conform in his behavior… As he grew older and deafness overtook him, the negative aspects of Beethoven’s personality came to the fore. He was increasingly given to bouts of despair, the difficulties of communication made him more reserved, and he became more suspicious and distrustful of others.” (read more, HERE).
Our ears and what we hear and how we hear it can affect our thoughts. If my heart sees your heart as FOR ME, and you speak something that sounds the opposite, I am going to ask you to elaborate. On the flip side, if we do not think the person in front of us has a good heart, we may take their words and misconstrue them. Hearing and seeing are vital in the spiritual sense.
Beethoven’s behavior and personality—utterly unpredictable. Domestic luxuries were unimportant to him, and he was a creature of disorderliness.
Baron de Tremont writes of a visit to Beethoven in 1809:
“Picture to yourself the dirtiest, most disorderly place imaginable – blotches of moisture covered the ceiling, an oldish grand piano, on which dust disputed the place with various pieces of engraved and manuscript music; under the piano (I do not exaggerate) an unemptied pot de nuit; (portable toilet)… the chairs, mostly cane-seated, were covered with plates bearing the remains of last night’s supper and with wearing apparel, etc.”
Count von Keglevics, the nephew of one of Beethoven’s students, wrote:
“he had a whim, one of many, since he lived across from her [his student], of coming to give her lessons clad in a dressing gown, slippers, and a peaked nightcap.”
Many times those gifted with extreme wealth in one area are labeled strange in another. Beethoven couldn’t spell very well or do simple math, but he could surely compose! Because Beethoven dropped out of traditional school at 10, he never learned the fundamentals. Multiple historians believe he had learning disabilities and possibly dyslexia. From reading the few comments left by acquaintances, and knowledge of his upbringing, it’s easy to see the genius was still suffering from trauma, suspicions, and fearful of the world. He was most comfortable alone in his apartment wearing pajamas and writing music in his head from the memory of what each musical note held. Bathing was overrated, and cleaning up would take away from the very thing that had been beaten into him from childhood.
In his earlier days, Beethoven would leave Bonn and travel abroad, teaching students and being taught by the likes of Hayden and other greats. It has been said that this free spirited man, Beethoven, rewrote the rule book for Classical music.
In his later years, reaching total deafness, he depended on writing pads or notebooks to communicate. He stayed isolated in his apartment much of the time. Many of these conversations written on notepads have survived. Some of them are only one-sided, but they give the reader much to ponder.
Taking advice from one physician, during his darkest days of depression, he took to nature.
– July 1814
“My miserable hearing does not trouble me here. In the country, it seems as if every tree said to me: ‘Holy! Holy!’ Who can give complete expression to the ecstasy of the woods! O, the sweet stillness of the woods!” (Ludwig van Beethoven).
In 1814, in a rehearsal for the Archduke Trio, it was said that Beethoven pounded on the keys until the strings jangled, and in piano, he played so softly that whole groups of notes were absent. His deafness had crippled his ability to discern this. How many of us have a beautiful melody inside but at times when we try to orchestrate the words, they come out harsh?
One day, we too pray that Yeshua will turn us toward the Father and we will hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” In the mean time, let’s become so swept up in HIM, that we do not even hear the accolades of men. Our gift is for the Father. We work with our hands to glorify Him. In this week’s haftarah, we read of David. He is old, dying, and trying to stay warm, but his Psalm’s warm our very souls with glory, glory for the Father.
What is the Glory of Adonai? Dr. Skip Moen explains it this way in his blog titled Glory.
“Glory – Our western culture pushes God into categories governed by the Greek mind. We think of God in terms of logic and rationale. We end up with descriptions of God as omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. All true, but all sterile. David knows God in an entirely different way. David’s God is amazing in deeds, awesome in power, and wonderfully beautiful.”(Here)
Can we be so caught up in His Glory, that even our weaknesses become our strengths? Paul said, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, THEN I AM STRONG.” (II Cor. 12:10).
Who are we with stinky chamber pots, needing a change of garments or warmth, pounding on keys to make a melody for You that we often cannot even hear Your Voice, Oh, Great and Mighty, Father. And yet, You are mindful of us! May we run the race with horse blinders on, running to get the prize even with our imperfections and times of deafness. Not a prize given to men by men, but a prize that transcends time.
Surprisingly, it was in Beethoven’s late years, that he produced some of his most admired work, and he was utterly deaf then. When we have spiritual ears, we can still hear the melody of heaven. These outward bodies are perishing daily, but our spirit man grows stronger. I laughed at the last words recorded by Beethoven, “Pity, pity—too late!” as the dying composer was told of a gift of twelve bottles of wine from his publisher.
Beethoven’s father wanted his son to become Mozart. As a piano virtuoso, Beethoven went on to surpass Mozart in measures unheard of. Every flower has its day in the sun when its colors burst forth, and people walk by and say, “Look at the beauty of those orchids, roses, and daffodils and smell their sweet aroma.” But once the colors fade and the petals drop, the stem bent and shrinking towards the earth, that season is over. Let us work while its still light and let us shine even in the darkest cellar.
Some sources have listed his last words as, “I shall hear in heaven.” And so shall we, friends, and even now as our Father’s Kingdom is burning in our kidneys like a flame. During the month of Kislev, the month of dreams, the month of light in the darkness–May we dream, and may we get to the very root of the riddle. May we hear and obey. May we take our precious gifts from Abba and use them as Beethoven did. Even with the loss of his natural hearing, he could still hear the music!! Even with our disfigurement, our frailties’, our lack of communication skills, our dyslexia’s, our past beatings, and cruelties,’ MAY WE SHINE.
The aged man named Joshua stepped carefully to the first oven with his ancient tools. He wore steel-toed boots and protective glasses. He knows that synthetic garments cannot be worn here because anything made of false fibers will melt. The heat from the oven warmed his face as he continued spinning the metal rod in a circular motion. He had great vision for his work and could foresee the finished masterpiece before he ever breathed upon it.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
There were three furnaces in the hothouse where he labored. The first one is the initial furnace, inside of which is a pot (called a crucible). Like a gold jar containing manna, this crucible transforms. The sizzling pop of glass altering and shifting in flames was like a melody in his ears. He smelled a sweet aroma as smoke blew forth from the piece he was working on. The light of the fire from the furnace glimmered upon his face catching the hairs of his auburn beard as more sparks flew like fireflies.
“And you came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness” (Deuteronomy 4:11).
The dictionary defines the word crucible as a situation of severe trial, in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something BRAND NEW.
The man knows those pieces of glass will join together and eventually be an object of exquisiteness. But for now, they are just ‘BROKEN’ pieces of clear glass.
“You are to tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and I will put them together with the stick of Judah.I will make them into a single stick, and they will become one in My hand.’ (Ezekiel 37:19).
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
He notices that his piece is beginning to take shape as he reaches inside the furnace and into the crucible and gathers another layer on the end of his blowpipe. Joshua, now, directs his attention to the table of stone, rolling his molten glass on the marver.
The marver is a slab of stone upon which molten glass is rolled to give it its shape. His Father, long ago, wrote on Sapphire stone tablets with his very Finger the Words of LIFE. This Word became flesh.
All the words and symbols of the hothouse have meaning just as His Torah does. Reflect on how the Word marver is similar to marvel, “a miracle; a thing, act, or event which causes astonishment.” “Joshua is called a glass smith, gaffer, or a LAMP WORKER. A lampworker (often also called a glassblower manipulates glass with the use of a TORCH.
“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire“ (Matthew 3:11).
“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ (Yeshua, Messiah).” (I Peter 1:6-7).
We are to be lampworkers, shining for all to see.
“You are the light of the world. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14,16).
After rolling and shaping his instrument, Joshua then heats the glass in the GLORY HOLE – all the while, in the glow of the fiery flames, he is turning the blowpipe and keeping it in constant motion.
The Glory of our Father, His Shield, His Bow, and His Strong Right Arm is shaping each of us with continuous motion, like the intensity of a dove in rapid movement fluttering over the waters. His Glory will come out of that hot hole like gold. His Glory will shine through His Creation. His Shekinah and the light of His fire is changing the elements in each of us—burning out our fleshly natures.
“When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
From the Corning Museum of Glass:
How did the furnace acquire the name glory hole? “While there is no concrete answer, there are several plausible origins of this term. In an old factory, where smoke and dust were everywhere, a 2100° opening would have created an illusion, not unlike that seen in paintings of saints and angles where “The Glory” radiated from their heads. A break in the clouds where sunlight passes through is also called a glory hole.”
The man takes the heated glass on the blowpipe and rolls it over the colored powdered dust. He picks up pieces with each roll. He places fragments of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control onto his creation. Then, it’s back to the Glory Hole, where the colored glass is heated to melt into the clear. Again, he turns the pipe to keep the shape at the end of the pole. He takes his other hand and picks up the cherry block of wood (to bud and flower-like the almond tree) and then wet paper (Like the fresh ink of a new Torah scroll), stainless steel, and other tools to help fashion his creation. Sitting at his bench, he determines the shape of each piece with a careful eye.
Now, the actual blowing begins:
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit“ (John 3:8).
He lifts the blowpipe to create a bubble and blows a puff of his Ruach HaKodesh into his vessel. He cannot blow too much at this stage, or the piece will not take shape. Then it’s back to the Glory Hole for reheating and reshaping. He walks back to his merciful bench, inspecting. He continues this over and over again until he has a vessel worthy of use.
“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make”(Jeremiah 18:3-4).
The man wipes the sweat from his brow and takes his creation to a punty. This is another steel pipe that’s been heating over flames. Moving the piece from the blowpipe to the punty will make it possible for the artist to create the opening of the vase or the bowl. He knows this opening will allow his vessel to hold oil. The punty (rod) will be attached to what will become the bottom of the piece.
“Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps“ (Matthew 25:3-4).
Eventually, the man wraps the blowpipe and snaps off the piece, breaking it away. After heating it again in the glory, he returns to his bench and uses multiple tools to open the mouth of his vessel.
“I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:10).
The blower then takes the punty and hits it firmly so that the piece drops off into a box that is filled with thick layers of fire blankets. Our Father blankets each of us and protects us from all the fiery darts of the enemy.
The man then walks to the Annealing Oven to Cool his masterpiece.
“The function of an Annealing Oven is to perform the process of softening an object or changing other properties of the object through cycles of heating and cooling.”
The word annealing is derived from the Old English word onǣlan, which was formed from the Old English root āl, meaning “FIRE.”
The Hebrew word for fire is Esh: (Genesis 2:7)
Creator Fire maker: From the ancient Hebrew text.
“And the fire maker formed a man of dust on the tinder, and he blew into the tinder the breath of life, and the man became a living fire.”Jeff Benner.
OH, THE GLORY OF ADONAI!
“Using gloves, the artist picks up the scorching-hot piece and quickly transfers it to an annealing oven. This oven is kept at 960⁰F and then cooled down over a period of 14 hours to room temperature. This slow cooling down is to prevent the piece from cracking or breaking.”
(14 is the number of Messiah).
The Lamp Lighter and Glass blower reminded me of a passage from Malachi chapter three.
“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. 2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. 4 “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.”
As we venture into the crucible, the Glory hole and the KNEELING oven.
May we allow the Lamp Lighter to form us and create a vessel worthy of holding His oil and His Spirit. May we let His Ruach Breath breathe in us, and reside there. May we bless the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, The G-d of Israel! The One who created the Universe. And may our fast go well with us to inscribe our names in His Book of LIFE.
“You are holy and Your name is holy and those who are holy praise You every day. Blessed are You Adonai, the Holy G-d.”
When I posted part one of Up to Half the Kingdom, I had typed a portion of part two already. However, I had a chapter from my memoir (Still unpublished) titled “Can You Drink this Cup?” ringing in my head. Although I do plan on posting one more chapter on connections made with ‘up to half the kingdom,’ I believe this chapter I’ve tweaked is to come first. Travel back in time with me to (2006—7).
Can You Drink This Cup?
It was late afternoon, and I was sitting in the bathtub with the shower turned on full force. Warm beads of water were spraying over me–pelting my skin. I was beyond weary. I sat there due to the sound from the water pressure; it helped drown out my sobs. I was crying so hard my body shook.
I had just started a round of steroids to bring me back from the neurological monster that had gripped me and depleted me of strength. This disease was causing painful muscle spasms and slurring of speech. I could not stand in the shower because I was so off-balance, I feared that I might fall over. Also, my legs were too wobbly to hold me up. They felt like tree trunks.
I had just shared with my (previous) husband a concern about one of my symptoms that was growing worse—I was losing control of my bladder. I spoke to him in a voice that quivered about how one of my friends with multiple sclerosis was wearing diapers now, at the age of forty. I was terrified of what was happening to my BODY. My underpants were staying soaked, and the smell of urine was quite embarrassing. However, instead of the compassion that I had received from him in the past, I was now getting disdain and regret. He was regretful that he had married me. It was written all over his face. We began to argue. He informed me that he did not plan on taking care of a sick wife for the rest of his life and that he sure was not going to change diapers. He mentioned harshly, my father’s name, who at that time, was taking care of my mother with Parkinson’s.
“I am not going to end up like him!” He voiced loudly.
I tried to dissolve under the kitchen linoleum.
He would later go on to leave the country and never return. I would lose not just him, but my precious step-daughter, who called me Momma, Bonnie. A child, now 7, who had lived with us bi-weekly since she was a baby, had become a bright ray of sunshine in my life. Months later, on a warm spring day, her mother would arrive to pack up her things, and I would stand frozen, yet horrified, as her mother unpeeled tiny fingers from my shirt. To this day, I can still hear her voice sobbing, “Please, momma, please, can momma Bonnie come live with us, pleeease!” These words will be forever seared into my memory.
Her father was tired. Who could blame him?
So as I sat in the shower with my head between my knees, sobbing uncontrollably, a million thoughts fired through my brain. Who would take care of me? I already knew he was leaving. It was all part of a bigger plan that I couldn’t see yet. My mind raced with fear. I was crying for two reasons: 1) I was in horrific pain. 2), my husband no longer viewed me as a vibrant woman but more of a grotesque, sloppy person that he had to care for. I had come to see myself in the same manner. I missed the life we had before the sickness came. Just when I thought it could not get any worse, my husband entered our small bathroom and ripped the shower curtain back. He began to yell and curse with bulging eyes and throbbing temples. I felt like death, and my words slurred when I spoke to him. His eyes glazed over my body that had become overweight and flabby. He continued to yell while I sobbed, and like a scene from the Garden, I tried to cover my nakedness.
This was my husband. The one who had recently purchased a Bible. The one who had started taking me to a local assembly on my better days. I knew this man loved me and had taken care of me up until this point. Now he had become overwhelmed by the situation. My sickness had taken its toll on everyone.
I pleaded and begged him to leave the bathroom, telling him that I just wanted to be left alone, but the more I cried, the more he yelled–even cruelly mimicking my slurred speech. I finally just stopped talking.
I wanted to stop breathing.
At that very moment, I wanted more than anything to check out.
Have you ever wanted to check out? Yeshua, the Messiah, did!
He cried, “Lord, take this cup from me!”(Luke 22:42). Then He said, “not my will Father, but your will be done.” He began to sweat drops of blood. He knew the PRICE.
After my husband left the bathroom, I was alone with my thoughts.
The Holy Spirit reminded me of a prayer I had prayed days before. I remembered then what I had asked for. I had cried out for forgiveness. I had made so many mistakes. “Help me be like Yeshua! I want to think and act like Him; I want to be a reflection of His love.
My mind began to picture Yeshua needing Peter and Peter denying him three times.
“Woman, I do not know Him.” (Luke 22:57, NASB).
Perhaps, Peter wasn’t completely lying. Possibly, in a sense, he did not know this ‘man. Yes, he knew the man, Yeshua, who raised the dead, opened the eyes of the blind, healed the sick and cast out demons, but this bloody, beaten man? Who was he? This man stripped of his robe, beaten, and spit on—who was this? Hadn’t they laid the palm branches down and sang to him?
Woman, I do not know Him!
The night before, in the garden, Yeshua requested prayer while all of his best men fell into slumber. These were his Talmidim, the ones who swore they would die for him. All his close friends deserted him when He needed them most. Mine had diminished entirely since the sickness.
My mind pictured the crowd gawking– thorns crushed down into his skull and the spit of men. How many times had I spit and not even consider my salivary glands? We all have three of them–the parotid glands, the submandibular glands, and the sublingual glands. The saliva produced in these glands is secreted into the mouth from a duct near our upper second molars. Oh, how we forget what a magnificent Creator we have! To spit upon the one who created spit?
Yeshua was not standing with a golden crown, dressed in His Kingly attire riding on a white horse. He was not roaring like a lion from the tribe of Judah. Who was this man? A sacrificial Lamb stood before them naked and bloody, and Peter screams, “I don’t know the man!”
My bathroom shower curtain had been flung open, and my nakedness had been looked upon with such contempt and repulsion, I could feel the disparagement in my bones.
Our Messiah could count his bones.
Yes, I was getting a taste—
I continued to meditate on how Yeshua’s beard was ripped out in the hands of hate. Indeed, it all became crisper from my weakened condition.
I had prayed to look like Him. Now, Abba was asking me a question. “Do you know what you are asking? Are you able to drink the cup, I drink?”
The sons of thunder wanted the glory and the seat next to him in his Kingdom, but could they taste his cup of suffering? And so it is the same with many of us in the body of Messiah. We pray to be like the spotless Lamb, but we do not want to suffer with him. All his disciples went on to drink this cup. They were tortured, beheaded, crucified upside down, killed with the sword, boiled in pots, and put to death. The Father did not spare them. The head of His prophet was whacked off and placed on a platter. Were these men not chosen for such a time as this?
“Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies” (II Corinthians 4:10).
“From now on, don’t let anyone trouble me with these things. For I bear on my body the scars that show I belong to Jesus” (Gal 6:17).
Paul knew this pain. He had been stoned, beaten with rods three times, imprisoned and shipwrecked. He was left in the open sea for two days, clinging to a plank with the sharks. He was whipped with thirty-nine stripes. He had been given a thorn in his flesh!
How do we prosper amid such trials and places that seem void of the Father? How do we get back up with that cross on our shoulders and keep climbing up the hill towards Golgotha so we can get this flesh crucified? Can we drink this cup? Did the world know the apostles due to their prosperity, ease, fame, and accolades of men?
“You adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).
Good questions to ask are: Is the whole world doing it, watching it, talking about it, buying it, wearing it, and celebrating it?
How can the things of this world compare to eternity with The King of Glory?
Do people hate you? Maybe you’ve been taking some drinks from His cup?
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you” (John 15:19).
James said to count it all joy when we go through trials and sufferings. Paul said, “And not only this, we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
I feel like we in the body of Messiah, at times, have just wanted the meek and mild Yeshua, the One who took the stripes for our healing. The Messiah that gives us wealth, a good parking space, and answers all our prayers. We don’t like the Yeshua that offendsus–the Lamb that says, “Pick up your cross–drink my blood– eat my flesh and drink from my cup.”
The sons of Zebedee wanted the upper room experience, the resurrection glory–they want it without the DEATH. If we don’t drink the first cup, can we partake of the second cup?
After Yeshua spoke of eating his flesh and drinking his blood, the Bible says, “From then on, many of His taught ones withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.67יהושע, therefore, said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”68Then Shim‛on Kĕpha answered Him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You possess words of everlasting life” (John 6:66-68, ISR).
Is it our best life now?
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:24-26, NASB).
So let’s recap Part #1:
(Matthew 20:17-21) “As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, 18“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. 21And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom, these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.”
We read the same story in another Gospel, and it shows that the brothers asked as well. They came worshipping him, but they wanted to be exalted. They had a taint in their worship. They tried to bargain–make a deal with the Moshiach and exchange their devotion for a place of honor and esteem. If He was going to have a kingdom, they wanted to be on the throne and exalted right beside him.
Yeshua said, “Ye know not what ye ask! Are you able to drink the cup that I shall drink of and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? John said he baptized with water, but one was coming who would baptize (Immerse) with FIRE. Our Messiah could not baptize them with fire until he was baptized in sorrow—immersed in all the anguish and cruelty that the garden of Gethsemane and the cross held in its hands. They slept while his very blood dripped and oozed out of his pores. My family members, for a season, seemed to snooze through my suffering. To this day, when I mention some of the things I went through, they respond with, “Hmm, I don’t remember that.” The friends I had for years were suddenly gone. They didn’t know how to react or be around this woman. They said, “I do not know that woman!” These men wanted to worship him, but they had not spiritually died with him yet. I was beginning to die to my flesh. This suffering was causing me to reach up and seek a place of death so that I could live.
I was learning more from the pain than I had ever learned when I was healthy. I was becoming thankful for the mornings I awoke in my right mind–my very breath. Sometimes it takes getting on a cross and dying, to worship a Father without bargaining. I had reached a place where I could honestly say, “If I never get any better and only grow worse, I am still going to praise You because Adonai you are WORTHY!
Sometimes in our suffering, He seems a million miles away. You may feel that way right now? It’s as if He has forsaken you. His Son, Yeshua, felt the same way.
Psalms 22 says, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver him” (22:1, 6- 8, KJV).
The psalmist continues, “They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones: They look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength haste’s thee to help me” (Psalms 22:16-19).
I needed Him more than ever as I sat twelve years ago in my bathtub, naked and sick, and dying a death. I felt so frightened, so alone. Abba led me to this verse.
“You who fear Adonai, praise Him!
All Jacob’s descendants, glorify Him!
Revere Him, all you seed of Israel.
25 For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the lowly one.
Nor has He hidden His face from him,
but when he cried to Him, He heard.
26 From You is my praise in the great assembly.
I will fulfill my vows before those who fear Him.
27 Let the poor eat and be satisfied.
Let them who seek after Him praise Adonai.
May your hearts live forever!” (Psalm 22:24-27, TLV).
Abba, Daddy, did not loathe me when I was crying out, sitting in fetal form at the bottom of my bathtub. He did not hide His face from me. He was there all along. It was my husband and me, who abhorred my illness, not the Father. Suffering brings sweetness and compassion for others. He is right there with you!
The prosperity lies in what we learn during the trials of our sufferings. I learned my Heavenly Father would never leave me nor forsake me. He had a plan.
Let us look at Isaiah 53, “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with His stripes we are healed, all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to His own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (4-6).
It goes on to say in verse 10, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; He hath put him to grief.”
Have people accused you of being stricken of God?
Yeshua knew the end of the story:
“But I say to all of you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt 26:63-64).
Has He bruised you? He sees the end of your situation too, and He longs to bring restoration.
King David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (Psalm 119:67). When we begin to cry out, “Not my will for my life, but your will Father–You do what needs to be done, you pluck out what needs to be removed, You put me on that Potter’s wheel and smash the clay. You take those pruning shears and cut away. Yes, it is then that He shows up mightily on our behalf. That’s when he says hand over the clay. I am molding you and making you into an instrument worthy of use.
Adonai is full of mercy, and He longs to know us on an intimate level. Do you have the courage today to say, “Yeshua, I want to be just like you, instead of, I want to sit next to you on the throne in an exalted place?” Earthly Kings can only offer up to half of their kingdoms, kingdoms they do not own.
Can we see the end result?
Amy Carmichael said it best, “No wound? No scar? Yes, as the master shall the servant be, and pierced are the feet that follow me; but thine are whole. Can he have followed far, who has no wound? No scar? 1867-1951.”
Several people in the Bible made requests–dire requests. Esther (Hadassah) stood before a King to save her people. One man on a cross next to Yeshua requested forgiveness and received the promise of Paradise. Even in our silence, we are continually asking of our King Yeshua, Messiah. He tells us who He is in the Gospel of John. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;” (John 14:6, NASB). There is nothing hated as greatly as truth.
Stephen speaks truth in the book of Acts and is stoned to death. John speaks the truth and ends up on the menu. “For Herod, himself had ordered that John be arrested and bound and imprisoned, on account of his brother Philip’s wife Herodias, whom Herod had married. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife! So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him” (Mark 6:17-19).
Grudge in the Hebrew sense means to cherish an anger and nurture it.
Herodias wanted John dead. Her daughter dances for Herod on his birthday, and he tells her that he will give her anything, even half of the kingdom. She, like Esther, is standing before a king. What will she ask for? What will we?
“The king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom!”
Then she went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”
And Herodias answered, “The head of John the Baptist.”
At once, the girl hurried back to the king with her request: “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist on a platter immediately” (Mark 6:22-25).
Immediately. Chop chop–literally.
What are our souls requesting from the Master, the King of Kings? When our King waves his scepter and says, “Ask whatever you wish.” Are we coming boldly to His throne room like Esther? “Assemble all the Jews in Susa. Fast for me: Do not eat or drink at all for three entire days. My servants and I will also fast. After that, I will go to the king, even if it is against a royal decree. If I die, I die” (Esther 4:16, GWT). Esther said, If I die, I die? What does our request look like?
Some of my most significant accomplishments and life lessons have been birthed out of tragedies, mistakes, weaknesses, and fears. It is often on this journey under the sun that we find ourselves in incredibly uncomfortable circumstances. We may have moments that turn into seasons where we want to check out. We huddle up in a fetal position and hold our broken souls, or we run full throttle, keeping busy with life, never slowing down long enough to deal with our past or present wounds.
Can we sit still long enough to question why we take flight or sit paralyzed—why we scream to be noticed or slink into corners? Why we need to fill up a room with our grandeur, or why we feel invisible and unworthy of being seen.
As a society that makes millions off social media and reality television, can we capture sacred moments without publicizing them? Can we enjoy a sunset alone with our Creator without sharing it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter every time? Even if it’s royal purple and red? Are my treasured moments, thoughts, or accomplishments in life measured by the number of views, hearts, likes, or shares I get? Can I be silent without ‘my’ opinion being stated? Or worse, have I kept silent while Haman is erecting gallows for my people?
Who are my people?
In our sorrow or complacent posture, we ask questions to the King of the universe, or we request nothing. Is it possible that our flesh grows louder, and is in fact, screaming for red stuff because our souls are as dead as a corpse?
Yeshua said, “You wash the outside of your cups and dishes, while inside there is nothing but greed and self-indulgence” (Matthew 23:25).
In our deadened state, we tell the world we are alive and excited! Prosperous, even, but by whose standards? We say we are blessed, but how is this defined for us?
“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:21-22). Truth can get you killed by the sword or by men with sharp tongues.
We venture outside and see each person with fresh eyes, eager to learn from their wanderings, or we smugly think they have nothing to offer us. We magnify their faults and forget their strengths. We notice their blackheads while our pimples come to a head.
They offer us clothing, but we judge their shoes and where they’ve traveled as less than and dismiss their offerings–or we crave their attention so much, we tap dance for them and parade our peacock feathers in prideful fashion.
We get so caught up in the hustle, we forget about our soul and leave it on the counter like our lukewarm coffee cup.
“The soul is always whispering to us,” taught Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz.
“Then why don’t we change?” asked the disciple Reb Raphael of Bershad.
“Because,” said Reb Pinchas, “the soul never repeats itself.”
Spring arrives, and we are still naked. In our effort to sprout or bud with some form of life, we speak to our soul in the silence and say things like, ‘Has anyone ever truly loved me? How can I love my neighbor as myself after what I’ve done or failed to do?’
Why am I here?
What am I created to do?
We stare at scars where our breasts used to be. We remove the wig and see a few spry hairs. We study the MRI report. We look at our ex’s new lover and make comparisons. We receive a frightening diagnosis, a foreclosure, job loss, family issues that seem irreparable, or worse, a call in the middle of the night.
We replay the past and multiply our guilt. We say words like ‘if.’
“If I had only done this or said that, perhaps things would be different. Suppose I would have taken a different route that day. If I just would have made the phone call. If I would have taken them to the doctor sooner—replaced the batteries in the smoke detector, showed them love, and not just enunciated the words carelessly—flinging them from my keyboard or lips with such ease.
l o v e
y o u
But can we love like a lamp with all its warm glowing light?
Can we love like Yeshua?
Would we know what love looked like if it slapped us in the face?
Have we ever felt it from someone? Who was that person that created a space for our voice, our sorrow, our joy, and our accomplishments? Can we be like them?
Have we returned an ear?
A shoulder to cry on?
Been silent long enough to listen—really listen.
When we lack stillness– we forget the birds sing to us every morning—when we don’t absorb the Sonshine or actually taste our food, we wander over hills searching for manna on day 7, forgetting how it arrived effortlessly on days 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and doubled on day 6.
We purchase hair extensions instead of waiting like Samson for new growth. We try and fight for ourselves instead of being still or letting Him. We toss memes up with sharp points that stab people. “Aha, take that!”
We clean out our cabinets, closets, cars, toxic people list. We apply for new occupations, start new projects, enroll in a class, and rearrange the furniture. Finally, we open the mini-blinds and allow light to sweep over us like a vacuum collecting debris. Our eyes squint at this beam of radiance as if it’s some foreign object of torture.
We forget that we are lamps.
We forget to buy oil.
We proclaim that we have oil. Meanwhile, our oil light flashes for all to see, but we don’t notice it.
We go through the motions and never enjoy the moments that make up our lives.
We are corrected and can’t admit that the other person has light to give us.
Have we ever really seen the other person?
“We each have blind spots, just as every candle casts its own shadow. Only when you place a second candle next to the first, do the shadows disappear, illuminated by the other’s light.” Ariel Burger.
We study other humans and decide that we know them. We gaze at people over seasons and form an opinion of their soul—what needs removed, added–like a cake recipe, we have the formula.
Yes, we have the ingredients they need for success, knowledge, health, better posture, greater peace, cleaner foods and how to live their best life now.
We don’t listen.
We don’t have empathy, because after all, our pain is more considerable.
We want them to measure our pain, and so we tolerate theirs until we can chime in.
Tolerate? Elie Wiesel, explains,
“I don’t like the word tolerate. Who am I to tolerate you? I prefer the word respect. I must respect you even if I do not agree with you. In fact, my disagreement may be an expression of my respect for you. If I truly respect you, don’t I owe you my honesty?”
Honesty? Didn’t John (Yochanan) say honest things to Herod?
Can we handle such a big word in a day and time where everyone gets a ribbon, a medal, and must never be offended? Isn’t pride the reason behind most of our offenses? Our flesh wasn’t noticed. Our feelings were hurt. Our work wasn’t honored or seen. Our talents overlooked. Our children were left out. No one thanked us for our generous gift or time. Or worse, the truth they spoke enraged us to cut off their head.
We wander about not knowing what those we meet daily are going through. We express the rudeness of the bank teller. Like Haman, concerning Mordecai, we say things like, “He didn’t even smile at me or greet me.” We look at the gas station attendant and say, “It can’t be that bad, smile.”
For all we know, they just lost a loved one, a pet, their home, etc.
“Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.” Proverbs 25:20.
We bounce words off the walls to describe the waitress who leaves our glass empty of tea or never returns with our check, never weighing that possibly she was raped the night before. Abandoned. Had a miscarriage. Is contemplating suicide.
We disregard our family members who put on smiles and utter “life is great! Sales are at an all-time high.” We call him or her pompous on our car ride home, not knowing they hide behind horrific loneliness, addiction, and depression. We accuse others of being hypochondriacs and needing attention. Meanwhile, they suffer with chronic conditions unseen to the naked eye.
We lack empathy.
What have we become? Mere mortals scrolling through our phones, computers, remote controls. Do they control us? Desensitize us? Entertain us? Are we becoming more remote due to them? “Remote–distant, having very little connection with or relationship to.”
We place on mask and hide behind them.
We lack vulnerability, so we build walls to protect ourselves.
“From the Latin word vulnerare, “to wound,” vulnerability is our susceptibility to be wounded.”
At times, there are people in our lives, who blurt out their sufferings with great vulnerability, but where are we while they stand naked before us? Where was Yeshua’s disciples when he cried out,
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up” (Matthew 20:18-19).
This passage is just placed in-between two bookends. We read no responses to Yeshua’s words. There are no words of sympathy. No, “I wish you wouldn’t have to suffer so.” There’s not even a “But on the third day, you’ll be fine!” Matter a fact, the next verse we read is the words of James and John’s mother requesting that her sons may sit on the right and left-hand side of Yeshua when he sits as King in his kingdom.
She bows before him and makes her request. It seems vastly different from Esther’s appointment with a king.
What are we asking of him to do for us in this season?
The gentile Kings, Herod, and king, Ahasuerus both offer up to half their Kingdoms. Kingdoms they wouldn’t have if it weren’t given to them by Adonai.
Herod means to flee or be a afraid. Are we afraid of the truth? Haman’s Name means a multitude of noise. He proclaims truth is what he says it is. Do we make noise when we hear truth?
“The council members shouted and covered their ears. At once they all attacked Stephen and dragged him out of the city.” (Acts 7: 57).
“Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!”And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guiltdemandingdeath; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voicesbeganto prevail.” (Luke 7:20-23).
Haman’s request is to kill a people– Esther’s is to save. The sons of Zebedee and their mother request positions and titles. What are we requesting from such a Holy King?
In part II of this teaching we will look at more request given to kings and what the heart of the matter is.
There is a children’s book written by H. S. Anderson titled The Emperor’s new clothes. I’ll be weaving this tale along with a man named Naaman in this writing concerning self-perception and denial.
“The name Naaman is derived from the verb נעם (na’em) meaning be pleasant, sweet, delightful, and beautiful” (Abarim Publications).
We can be all these things and still have a sickness. This man, Naaman, was commander of the army of the King of Aram. The Bible describes him as a mighty man of valor.
“A great man in his master’s sight (Naaman) and highly esteemed, because through him Adonai had given victory to Aram. Though the man was a mighty man of valor, he had tza’arat (leprosy).’(II Kings 5:1, TLV).
Many of us have this disease and don’t even know it.
Leprosy is incurable, and in advanced stages, the face is covered. This can produce a hideous disfigurement. As the disease advances, insensibility of the skin and paralysis follow, and the fingers and toes may rot away. Naaman had the esteem of men, he was famous for possibly wounding King Ahab, but all his wealth, honor, and fame could not make him clean. Like Miriam, he was separated from the people due to his condition.
In this blog, we have two men, one is fictitious, and the other is real. The Emperor in Han’s Christian Anderson’s story was also a great leader of an empire, but he was so consumed with himself, he had no time for his officers or his kingdom. Every hour of every day was spent looking in the mirror and having royal garments custom made for him to parade around town in so all the people could see him. This emperor had leprosy too, but he didn’t even know it.
“One day two swindlers came. They told everybody that they were weavers and that they could weave marvelous clothes. Not only were the colors and the patterns of their material extraordinarily beautiful, but the cloth had the strange quality of being invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office or unforgivably stupid.
“This is truly marvelous,” thought the emperor. “Now if I had robes cut from that material, I should know which of my councilors was unfit for his office, and I would be able to pick out my clever subjects myself. They must weave some material for me!” And he gave the swindlers a lot of money so they could start working at once.”
There is only one King that I know of who has the ability to see our garments and know whether they are unfit for His Kingdom.
“But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14“For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14).
The two thieves set up looms and act as if they are weaving beautiful garments, but secretly they have hidden the golden threads and fine silks. They are pretending to be able to dress the kingdom, but their hearts are greedy and interested in storing up riches here on earth where thieves break in and steal, where moths eat, and rust destroys. Vanities—chasing after wind, the wrong wind, instead of His Ruach Wind and Spirit, these men chase after what holds no joy. Our Father feeds the birds of the air and clothes the flowers of the fields, and He has beautiful garments for us.
But, let’s get back to Naaman, a real commander and leader of the king. Naaman was more than likely the talk of the town, both for his ability to shoot a bow and injure Israel’s king, and also for being leprous. He needs new garments, only his involved fleshly skin.
A little maid girl, a captive taken in war, a servant of Naaman and his wife, has a cure for this leprous man. This young maid is nameless, faceless, and dressed in servant attire. She should be angry at being captured and made to work. Some of us, if in her shoes, might have secretly swelled up with delight that our captor had leprosy. But not this young lady! She says, “If only my lord went before the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his tza’arat (Leprosy).” (II Kings 5:3).
Her heart is for her enemies to be cleansed. This reminded me of Moses and his brother and sister. As they gossip about Moses, the Father hears it. “OUCH!
As Miriam turns leprous, Moses doesn’t say, “Aha! That’s what you get for messing with a prophet and leader!” No, he cries out and says, “O God, heal her, I pray!” (Numbers 12:13, NASB).
This is the heart the Father is looking for. Do you see your brother or sister and their condition? Have they spoken about you in a negative light? Or did they go to you in private? We need to address and handle situations the Torah way, if not, we may end up with a stinky mess.
I found the following information very curious. The king of Aram sends a letter to the king of Israel, and with it, he sends ten talents of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold, and ten garments. This just sings ten lost tribes, scattered, leprous, and in need of new garments. After 6,000 years, in the 7th year, we see completion, rest, restoration. Six days a week we work, and on the Shabbat, we rest and enjoy the fruits of our labor; the same is true with millenniums. And so we wait for our King Yeshua to come set up His kingdom.
Naaman goes to the king who writes a letter and sends it to the king of Israel.
“And now as this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me.”
It happened when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent word to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Now let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel” (II Kings 5:6-8).
Before we get to the climax of the story, I want to return to the emperor and his new clothes. The emperor was very inquisitive as to how his new garments were coming along, but he remembered that those who were stupid or unfit for office would not be able to see the material.
“Everybody in town had heard about the cloths magic quality and most of them could hardly wait to find out how stupid or unworthy their neighbors were.
“I shall send my faithful prime minister to see the weaver,” thought the emperor. “He will know how to judge the material, for he is both clever and fit for his office, if any man is.” The good-natured old man stepped into the room where the weavers were working and saw the empty loom. He closed his eyes, and opened them again. “God preserve me!” he thought. “I cannot see a thing!” But he didn’t say it out loud.
The swindlers asked him to step a little closer so that he could admire the intricate patterns and marvelous colors of the material they were weaving. They both pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old prime minister opened his eyes as wide as he could; but it didn’t help, he still couldn’t see anything.
“Am I stupid?” he thought. “I can’t believe it, but if it is so, it is best no one finds out about it. But maybe I am not fit for my office. No, that is worse, I’d better not admit that I can’t see what they are weaving.”
“Tell us what you think of it,” demanded one of the swindlers.
“It is beautiful. It is very lovely,” mumbled the old prime minister, adjusting his glasses.
“What patterns! What colors! I shall tell the emperor that I am greatly pleased.”
The story continues until the evil thieves have taken all the money, gold, silver and fine silks for themselves. It’s like Egypt and the evil task masters. No one wanted to point out the truth. In doing so, they might be deemed stupid or unfit for kingdom work, so they pretend. They are pretending that those in authority are actually clothed in garments of beauty when in fact they are naked.
By the end of the story, the Imperial Majesty stands in front of a mirror, and the swindlers have him take off his clothes. He stands naked before them and his elected officials, but he doesn’t dare admit it. They fashion an invisible garment around him with a long flowing train.
A perfect fit!” everyone exclaimed. “What colors! What patterns! The new clothes are magnificent!”
“Well, I am dressed. Aren’t my clothes becoming?” The emperor turned around once more in front of the mirror, pretending to study his finery.
The emperor walked in the procession under his crimson canopy. And all the people of the town, who had lined the streets or were looking down from the windows, said that the emperor’s new clothes were beautiful. “What a magnificent robe! And the train! How well the emperor’s clothes suit him!”
None of them were willing to admit that they hadn’t seen a thing; for if anyone did, then he was either stupid or unfit for the job he held.
No one but a child!!!
“But he doesn’t have anything on!” cried a little child.
“Listen to the innocent one,” said the proud father. And the people whispered among each other and repeated what the child had said.
“He doesn’t have anything on. There’s a little child who says that he has nothing on.”
“He has nothing on!” shouted all the people at last.
The Emperor shivered, for he was certain that they were right; but he thought, “I must bear it until the procession is over.” And he walked even more proudly, and the two gentlemen of the imperial bedchamber went on carrying the train that wasn’t there.”
Oh, how very spiritual this story is! It is both a tragedy and a form of pride and being stiff-necked. We look in the mirror and never see what we truly look like.
The man Naaman becomes a lot like this Emperor. He has envisioned in his mind how things should come about. He thinks the mighty prophet Elisha will come out and possibly all the people, and he expects the mighty prophet in his mantle to call forth from the heavens and lay hands upon him and poof! Bingo! Ding! Ding! But, no, he must descend to the bottom of the Jordan on his own, and then he will be cleansed. He must immerse himself in the laver, in the cleansing waters of a Mikva. He must dip seven times as instructed by the prophet, but he is angry and wounded—insulted even. How dare him! Does he not know who I am? I’ve got better water, larger areas of water in my own area, he thinks proudly. Can Elisha not see my emperor clothes? Does he not know that I am over the whole army? I’m highly esteemed and a man of VALOR!
Naaman is so stiff-necked, he turns and walks away in a rage.
“Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.” (II Kings 5:13-14).
A little child calls out the emperor in public and tells all there just how stupid and unfit they are. Pretending to have royal clothing on in front of the people, when in fact we are naked is a fearful place to be in. We don’t even know our condition or perhaps we do know it, we look right in the mirror and see our nakedness, but like Naaman and the Emperor, we don’t want to confess to the people who have held us in esteem just how rotten our condition is.
There is a King who is very aware of our garments. He is preparing a banquet, and he will throw out those not dressed in wedding garments.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).
Sometimes the Father sends prophets to warn people, but they leave in a rage. Sometimes the Father send little handmaids to warn those in authority of a condition that needs to be healed. Sometimes a little child has to proclaim the truth in the streets.
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matthew 18:3-6, NASB).
May we clothe ourselves in garments of beauty before our King. May we become like the little maidservant and a child.
“Though you have slept among the sheepfolds (the sheepfolds, שְׁפַ֫תָּ֥יִם Strong’s Hebrew 8240: fireplaces, ash heaps), yet shall you be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold” (Psalm 68:13, KJ).
Recently, I received an urgent prayer request for a little girl who is three years old. She was rushed to the hospital with a fever, the inability to breathe on her own, and a bleeding heart. We later learned that this precious girl named Kabreeyah (He will be Praised) had a heart murmur, and a rare condition called Cor Triatriatum. She had an extra layer of skin that needed cut from her heart. It is here that I must ask a serious question: Do you and I have a layer that needs cut from our hearts too? During this blog, I pray a spiritual scalpel knife will cut away our flesh nature. It may hurt, but afterward, we will be free.
What is Cor Triatriatum?
“First reported in 1868, cor triatriatum, that is, a heart with 3 atria (triatrial heart), is a congenital anomaly in which the left atrium (cor triatriatum sinistrum) or right atrium (cor triatriatum dextrum) is divided into 2 compartments by a fold of tissue, a membrane, or a fibromuscular band.”
Once I learned of this heart condition, it reminded me of another condition.
“So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer” (Deut. 10:16).
To add to this story, after the child came through surgery, she was to remain sedated for three days. I was suddenly thinking of Yeshua in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, and His blood that covered all our sins. We often get caught up in knowledge and forget about blood and blood covenants. But before we dig into this blog, I am pleased to tell you Kabreeyah is doing well. Praise the Yah in her name.
There are many incredible women in the Bible. Some of them we glance over while reading without thinking much about their tenacious spirits or their holy acts. One woman helped save a whole nation from bondage in Egypt by sparing her husband’s life. Her name is Zipporah, which means ‘bird.’ She is found at a well trying to draw water among evil shepherds. They are harassing her as Moses comes to her rescue.
Zipporah was the 7th daughter of Jethro. The number seven represents order, completion, and rest. The very root of her father’s name means to be at rest, but the definition of his name means ‘remnant.’ Hmm, a remnant at rest.
Zipporah is remembered as the wife who circumcised her oldest son or son’s so that the Father would not slay her husband. She is also known due to Aaron and Miriam calling her a Cushite (Dark) woman. Could it be possible that in this one short story, the whole Biblical journey of redemption is hidden–hidden like the dark name Cush? Hidden like the Holy Set-Apart Spirit. Hidden like Moses in the Ark among the Sea of Reeds?
“And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married; for he had married a Cushite woman” (Numbers 12:1, NASB).
Cush or Kush is thought to be the land of Ethiopia.
“The first part of our name Ethiopia is thought to derive from the verb αιθω (aitho), meaning to light up or kindle. The related adjective αιθος (aithos) means shining or blazing, and αιθοψ (aithops; also containing οψ, ops) means fiery-looking or sparkling. The ethnonym Ethiopian means Fiery Eye and implies Bright Eyed or Keen of Vision.” Abarim Publications.
Possibly, at this point, you are seeing how this woman, Zipporah, represents the Holy Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)?
“Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the LORD met him (Moses or his son?) And sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, “You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.” So He let him alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood”—because of the circumcision” (Exodus 4:24-26, NASB).
There are several different opinions on the matter. Some believe it was his oldest son who was going to be killed. Others believe that Moses was busy with lodging arrangements and his appointed task, and he failed to circumcise his sons.
“Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel, assumes that the resolution of the episode, the circumcision of the child, is intrinsically related to the entire event. According to this opinion, the intended victim is not Moses but his son. While this would clarify the identity of the victim, the motive for the attack remains obscure. When we recall the context, the discussion of the death of the first-born of Egypt, the threat of a child’s death becomes more intelligible — Moses’ hesitation in coming to redeem the people indicated some type of indifference to the nation described as “the first born of God.” Therefore, Moses’ own first-born is in peril.” Aish.com.
Why do we need to reflect on circumcision and our hearts?
“Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” 10but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face” Duet 7:9-10).
Ouch! Sadly, we can think we love Adonai and that we are keeping His Commandments, but instead, we may actually hate or despise Him. How can that be?
“Hatred” and “despise” are from the same Hebrew root, sane. To hate describes an emotional reaction of repulsion. In this state, a person wishes only to keep distant from the offense or the offender. Hate entails distance. It is just the opposite of love, which brings about the desire for closeness. When the word is used in the Tanakh, it is often associated with idolatry, opposition, aversion, and ill-will. In this regard, the verb describes a reaction rather than a causative action. Something or someone acts in such a way that we react with a strong emotional rejection.”
Notice the word distance. This happens in our relationship with Him and with our family, and our brothers and sisters. That’s why it is always good to reach out to someone who has hurt you or someone you have hurt. If not, distance happens.
In Revelation, Yeshua warns us to come back to our first love. He tells one church that he has this against them, they have lost their first love. They have distanced themselves and possibly you, and I have too? Desensitization and the things of the world can damage our love.
Zipporah says, “A bloody husband–A bridegroom of blood.”
Is our Father a bloody Husband? Let’s go deeper.
A blood covenant was not to be annulled. This very ancient covenant was given in Genesis 15. Abram brings a heifer, a goat, and a ram three years old. He also carries a turtledove and a pigeon. He splits each down the middle except the birds. It’s a cutting— a covenant. Think of a virgin on her wedding night and the blood—two becoming one. The husband carries his bride over the threshold.
The Father told Abram that his descendants would be strangers in a land and mistreated for hundreds of years, but He explains that He will judge that nation and free them by sending Zipporah’s husband.
“When the sun had set, and darkness had fallen, behold, a smoking firepot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the halves of the carcasses. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram” (Gen. 15:17-18). This should remind us of Passover and the blood on the doorpost.
On Sinai, God made a covenant with His people Israel. All the people swore to uphold their part of the agreement by being obedient to God’s commandments and instructions. There are blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. We are to act in such a holy manner, we become priest, but we can’t do that if we hate Adonai or our brothers and sisters.
Paul writes letters to Corinth and the assembly there, and he speaks to immature people. He even confronts the leadership to throw some out who claim to keep this covenant.
“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (I Cor. 3:1-3).
Paul becomes highly sarcastic, and in irony, he speaks more. Before posting Paul’s (Sha’ul’s) words, I want to add a snippet from Gill’s commentary.
“They were not full of Adonai, and divine things; nor of Christ (Messiah), and of grace out of his fullness; nor of the Holy Spirit, and of faith, as Stephen and Barnabas are said to be; nor of joy and peace in believing; nor of goodness and spiritual knowledge; but they were full of themselves, and were pulled up in their fleshly minds with an opinion of their abilities, learning, oratory, and eloquence, of their ministers, and of their own great improvements in knowledge under their ministrations. They fancied they had got to a perfection in knowledge and were brimful of it; and as the full stomach, from which the metaphor is taken, loathes the honeycomb, so these persons loathed the apostle’s ministry, and the pure preaching of the Gospel; imagining that they had attained to something above it, and stood in no need of it; when, alas! they were but babes, children in understanding, and needed milk instead of strong meat; so far were they from being what they thought themselves to be.”
Oh, friends! We can be right here and not even know it. We can pass by a mirror and not even see our true reflections.
I think you will be surprised by Paul’s words and his description of what it is like to take up a cross and follow Him. Before you read his words that cut as sharply as the surgeon’s tools on a three-year-old child, imagine him speaking it to your assembly. Can you imagine what the people would say?
He says in sarcasm,
“You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you. 9For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. 11To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 12and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.” (I Cor. 4:8-13).
He says he did not write this to SHAME them. He continues in chapter five by removing people from among them. Is that loving? Some would say no. Matter a fact; some wouldn’t dare speak this raw truth. Where are the apostles? We need them in the body more than ever. Where are His prophets who hate sin and see the greater issues? Maybe I sound a tad strong or judgmental? I’m asking leadership to start praying for the Father to send them to your assemblies. Look out among you and pray.
Let’s read more of Paul’s words that cut.
“I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.” I Cor 5:9-13, NASB).
He tells the people in chapter six not to be bound up with unbelievers. He asked them a question: What does light have in common with darkness?
This covenant is serious business.
I want to wrap this up with a closer look at the names of some of the key players and a closer look at our hearts.
The daughter of Pharaoh is named Bithiah. Strangely this Egyptian princess has a name that means, “Worshipper of Yah or daughter of Yahweh.” She, like Ruth, has cut a covenant with Adonai. She goes against her father’s wishes to kill the Hebrew boys and spares Moses. This woman draws Moses out of the ark (basket). Later on in our story, the Torah will be given to Moses, and he will place it inside the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark is the heartbeat of the tabernacle. This golden chest, with its hidden Torah, is to be circumcised on our hearts. It is more precious than GOLD.
“Yet shall you be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.”
The worshippers of Yah draw out water from His Torah. The Torah is an abundant fountain of water. Yeshua even informs a woman at a well that if she had but tasted His living water, she would never thirst again. What are you thirsty for today? Fame, fortune, a spouse, a #1 bestseller like Paul’s letter here that was written in chains in a prison cell? His living springs bring more refreshing than any silver or gold. His sweet water and Holy breath are greater than any accomplishments, accolades, riches, or kingdoms of this world.
We are peculiar people. We should look and act differently. We should eat differently. Our clothing should be modest. We should celebrate differently. We have a different calendar. We are to speak words of life. We do not look like the world, and that is exactly what perks their appetite. Without Him in our lives, we are just drinking bitter water and complaining and searching for things that can never fill us up.
Oh, Abba cut me!
Cut the fleshly skin from our hearts!
“The Rabbis applied to the daughter of Pharaoh the verse from the “Woman of Valor” poem “She sees that her business thrives; her lamp never goes out at night” (Prov. 31:18). In the Midrashic exposition, the “night” in this verse is that of the plague of the firstborn, in which all the firstborn of Egypt died. The female firstborn also died in this plague, with the exception of the daughter of Pharaoh. Despite her being a firstborn, Moses was an advocate for her, and she was saved by merit of his prayer. Solomon, therefore, declared (Prov. 31:18): “She sees that her business thrives [ki tov],” since “ki tov” is an appellation for Moses, of whom it is said (Ex. 2:2): “she saw how beautiful [ki tov] he was.”
Noah’s Ark comes from Strong’s 8352 ‘tebah’ in Hebrew, and it is the same word used for Moses basket. Noah’s Ark saved eight souls and protected them from the judgment. Babies are circumcised on the 8th day, so why wouldn’t the man who the Father is sending to free His chosen people, why wouldn’t that man, Moses, circumcise his son or sons? One son is named Gershom (Exiles) or (stranger in a strange land). NOBSE Study Bible Name List Eliezer as God Is Help.
“Note the (assumed) phonetic similarity between the word עזר (azar) meaning help, support, and עשר (‘eser), meaning ten; to a Hebrew audience, the name Eliezer may have sounded like God’s Ten.”Abarim Publications.
And here we see the lost tribes of Israel needing the Holy Spirit (a pretty little bird) to bring them back into His covenant. A little bird, like a dove, descended on the spotless Lamb as he came forth out of the water.
After a bloody death on the cross, the lost sheep of Israel were able to come back into His covenant. He ascended to the heavens, and they waited for the promise, the comforter, the Holy Spirit, the dove, which was poured out at Shavuot.
Zipporah’s name means bird—(Holy Spirit)
Moses name means (He Who Extracts, or He Who Draws Out Of The Waters).
Moses mothers name, Jochebed, means YHWH, the Name of the Lord.
Jethro (Zipporah’s father) a remnant at rest.
The Father of Glory wants to live inside or dwell inside our temples. Our temples are supposed to be filled with His Spirit, lit with His menorah, and full of His Bread of life, giving a sweet smelling incense. May the Master surgeon take His Spirit and His scalpel and cut away our flesh, so we can live and draw water from His well.
“Then you will say on that day,
“I will give thanks to You, O LORD
For although You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away,
And You comfort me.
2“Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the LORD GOD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.”
3Therefore you will joyously draw water
From the springs of salvation.
4And in that day you will say,
“Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted.” (Isaiah 12:1-4).
I went to visit some dear friends a couple of weeks ago. I love these people. I love their hearts and how they have done missionary work in poverty-stricken countries. I love how they don’t have much money, but what extra they do have, they use to buy Bibles for orphans in Malawi or put a roof on a church that literally has an open heaven with rain coming inside.
Most of us wouldn’t even walk a mile to sit in a building in the rain with no roof. These people in Malawi are hungry in more ways than one.
My friend shared how she collected money and had a tin roof put on the church and how the people lined up when she got out of the car. They were in such awe and crying tears of gratitude. They were running to honor her! One woman gave her a royal gift–a chicken!
So as I was saying, I went to visit my dear friends, Cheri and Wade, and Wade was diagnosed with ALS. I made a meal to bring with us in the car because Wade can’t get out anymore.
We laughed and ate and talked and prayed. It was Shabbat, and as I watched my friend feed her husband his taco, I wondered what it was like for her to hand feed her spouse. The movies usually depict a sexy couple feeding each other seductively with chocolate covered strawberries, but what is it like to look into the eyes of the one you are one with and realize that each moment is sacred. Each smile. Each wipe of a cheek.
Her shoulders are pillars, and her legs are firmly planted. She is like a strong tree–a woman of valor.
Cheri is exhausted, but you would never know it.
After a bit of visiting and eating, I went to sit with my friend on his enclosed patio. He rode in his chair, and I followed. I plopped down on a cushioned seat and admired the beach theme, and petted his dog, Tutt. After a moment, my friend said, “I like to sit out here in the mornings and look outside. The sun cascades through the window and shines on my legs and my face.”
Wade hasn’t been able to leave his home for months. As he spoke, I remembered a time, shortly after my release of Walter the Homeless Man, when I had been to Mayo clinic and was very ill. There had been much stress and family issues that seemed to take me over the edge. I had to stay in bed upstairs at our old house, and my hubby had to make sure I had water, medication, and snacks– everything I would need because I couldn’t get up and down the steps while he was at work. I was much too weak. A few weeks later and a few rounds of IV steroids, I was able to take a car ride to a restaurant called The Overlook–Walter’s Pub. Floor length Glass windows on a hillside overlooking the water. It was fall, and all the leaves had changed from green to a beautiful golden orange that lit up the sky. I was weak, but, oh, so thankful to be out of bed. I cried most of the way there. Tears of JOY!!! Have you ever cried over the color of the leaves? Have you ever cried over the sun shining in your face?
I love Abba, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of the journey– as Garth Brooks bellows in my head– I could have missed the pain, but I’d a had to miss the DANCE!
Oh, My SOUL!
May our SOULS SHINE! May we not ‘overlook’ His beauty and All of His wondrous creation.
My friend Wade never complained that day. The once strong carpenter, a trade of our Master and Savior, has gained some different tools in his toolbox. These tools were teaching me many lessons, and as the evening drew near, Wade struggled to cough up the stuff in his chest he needed to get out. After composing himself, he continued to smile and joke about the ball game. He spoke about how good it felt to sit in his recliner since my husband was there to help him in and out of it. He was enjoying the day. The Shabbat in all her Glory was shining on him.
My friend Wade didn’t lament about a whole host of things. Tiny things we take for granted. Tiny organs that lay hidden behind ribs and bones that one day will come together and stand dressed in glory, but for now, each day, my friend grows worse, yet stronger:
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
–II Corinthians 12:9-10, NASB
Meeting Wade and Cheri have been one of the biggest blessings in our life! They are people of integrity, and one day I’ll dance with Wade and Cheri, and we will have a drink of the best wine we’ve ever tasted–poured out by the greatest Servant that’s ever walked this earth, but for now, time is a precious thing.
A personal message on Cheri’s Facebook page recently ministered to me. She said this:
“One year ago, our lives changed forever. One year ago, we heard a doctor say “as a physician, this is one time I wish I could say you have cancer. I’m sorry.” That’s when the letters A L S entered our life, and invaded our home and the body of my sweet husband. But one year ago is also when we learned a few other things as well. 1 . Never take your loved ones for granted. 2. Pray big, worry small. 3. God is an ever present help in time of trouble. 4. Never ask why. Even our Savior Yeshua suffered on this earth. 5. Trust in Him with all your heart and soul. 6. Take that much needed trip. Before you CANT. 7. People disappoint, but Abba will never let us down. 8. Speak life, be a light to others, stop all the negative junk with yourself, and others. 9. Sometimes we are stronger than we ever imagined we could be. And 10. Sometimes our hero is right there under our nose….mine was. I love you Wade Fox. You are amazing.”
Each morning presents new obstacles and new sunrises — new colors of paint. Today, His Spirit lives in us, and we are said to have the same mind as Yeshua. May we try harder to reflect His foliage. Yes, let’s work harder to have compassion for the hurting. See the trees for the first time. Taste the rain when we are sick of it. Make a snow angel as a child would. Notice the people He places in front of us. Look at the sun like Wade does, and sing to the moon, for time is speeding faster, and each day the mirror shows us we have grown older–weaker. Let us give Glory for our breath in the morning. May we become more forgiving–more steadfast. Guard our hearts against those who would cause us to dwell on things that are toxic and meaningless.
I don’t care what kingdoms we have built, what business, how much is in our bank account, how educated we are, how esteemed we are by men; it can all be taken from you in an instant.
Moses, today you are going to walk up a hill and die.
Take this cup from me, Yeshua cried. Take this cup! But not my will, but Yours be done.
This life is such an incredible journey, no matter how long we are here. Each day is like putty in our hands, a paintbrush between our teeth, a golden ticket, a song, and we can feed a hungry child naturally or spiritually. We can collect money for a roof, notice the sun shining in our face and the color of the leaves, or the bareness of a tree waiting to bud for the next season. Even a tree that looks dead has sap bubbling up underneath, just waiting to blossom and bloom.
I hope this message ministered to you and that you will keep my friends in your prayers, and if you feel led to give this couple a love gift to help them during this difficult time or perhaps a gift for some of the orphans, Cheri and Wade love, please click the contact box and send us a message. We will make sure every gift gets in their hands.
Yes, I’ll admit it, I’ve snapped at my children, gotten angry at friends, and said things I regret. I once told my husband while we were dating that I had been through a lot and that I felt like a dog that had been beaten half to death. I informed him that when people held up their T-bones and said, “Here girl,” most of the time, I was still too afraid to come. I did not trust them.
A year later, after much healing, I noticed a friend’s behavior that was controlling and defensive towards me. She seemed to yell at me a lot when things were taken wrong. As I pondered the snapping issue, I heard in my spirit this message — “If a dog has been abused, it may snap at you.” Oh, my, revelation into the healing of the soul!
So I did what any other certified google-oligist would do, I googled it. “How to care for an abused pet.”
The number one item on the list was to provide a safe place for your abused pet to live. The second suggestion was to make sure they have plenty of fresh food and water. Since I had been abandoned by my ex-husband when I was chronically ill and eventually became homeless, I needed these simple necessities myself afterward. Once you get the basics for your abused pet, you must go more in-depth into helping them heal.
# 1) Give your abused pets treats SLOWLY. Use one hand to approach them gently–two hands may scare them.
#6) Don’t allow the abused pet to interact with other pets until they are whole. If the other pets are pushy or mean, this will cause the abused pet to be even more submissive and scared. Never hit or scold an abused pet. Reward good behavior, but do not punish your pet.
I began to notice how we humans tend to be a lot like these fur companions that have been wounded. We have trust issues, and at times we need to be approached with ease. We don’t like to be pried for information or pushed into doing something. We don’t want to be controlled through harsh words or even bribed with treats. Syrupy compliments can also evoke warning signals. We tend to think things like, “What do they want?” “What are they after?” Yes, too often, pets and people who have been hurt are quickly ready to runoff from a family function or an event that makes them feel worse about themselves. Their lack of self-esteem can be crushed when others are given all the attention in the room, and yet they are not ready for the focus of everyone in the place to be on them.
Next, I wanted to know how a person could tell if their dog (pets) had been harmed or abused, so I researched this topic. While you read the list below, try and think in people terms.
# 1. Check the dog for physical signs of abuse. These could include scars, lesions, burns, or open wounds. Also, missing fur or sores around the neck could indicate a dog was chained up for long periods of time. The pet may have missing teeth that rotted out, cloudy eyes, show no energy, and be generally fatigued. An animal may also have been starved. Repeated vomiting and bloody diarrhea are other signs of trauma.
Did you notice that the signs of abuse are physical illness, mental stress, and fear? Could past trauma and abuse cause sickness in our bodies at times? Yes, I believe it could. Ask a person who has PTSD, and you will get an even broader understanding of what our environment can do to our mental health. Sometimes our sickness and wounds were brought on by ourselves.
(Psalms 38:4-7, CJB) “Your indignation left no part of me intact; my sin made my whole body sick; for my iniquities loom high over my head as a heavy burden, too heavy for me. I have stinking, festering wounds because of my foolishness. I am bent down, prostrate completely; I go about mourning all day long.”
We must heal our spirits, our souls, and forgive the abusers. We have to take action to see a healthy body come forth, for it will not without us making the phone calls to the counselor, joining a fitness program, caring for ourselves by watching the words we speak about ourselves and others.
Abused, tattered souls may need to write their abusers a letter that never gets sent. This type of journaling helps release bottled-up anger. We vent and get rid of the pain. At some point, we will cry out to our Father to help us forgive the person who kept us chained, muzzled, or unfed. And He will because He is a good Abba. Our trauma and fear may not be something that is cured overnight, although it can happen. The mighty hand of HaShem is not too short to save. His powerful Spirit can find the mangiest scrawny, scared pet in the darkest alley and rescue it from the power of drugs, sickness, pain, guilt, and shame. Our Father sweeps in and brings us to an animal shelter. Pets who have mangled and matted up fur have to be shaved and shampooed with medicated ointments. We need the balm of Gilead, the anointing oil, and the covering of prayer.
If you have been abused today, the Father of Lights wants to hold each of you and comfort you. The Father’s love and compassion have no limits; it’s unreachable. He is holding out His arms to you right now! Reach up and take the Masters’ hands. Run to Him instead of getting back into a relationship with a new partner. Chances are you will run smack dab into another person who will harm you if you haven’t healed. We must become whole and healthy to attract someone healthy for us.
“For I will restore you to health and I will heal you of your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘Because they have called you an outcast, saying: “It is Zion; no one cares for her”‘ (Jeremiah 30:17, NASB).
Someone cares for you! Yeshua, the Messiah, is interceding right now on your behalf.
This week while scrolling through social media I read a meme (below) that described my week or parts of my whole existence.
The meme, along with the raw words written by a friend, pierced me. Her vulnerability at that moment ministered to me. It went to a place in my soul that needed a bandage. It helped me cry. I believe there is rainwater from heaven in every droplet of our tears. Feelings are meant to be felt.
When I started this blog last week, I had no idea that I would add a portion exposing my vulnerability, but here I am.
I am a person that’s dealt with trauma in my lifetime. None of us are getting out alive.
When my husband and I go for short walks at night, he knows that if a dog barks, I will jump two feet. A loud horn blares. I squeeze his hand until my nails leave indentions. Earlier in the day, he walks behind me unannounced in the bathroom, and I scream bloody murder, my arms flaring and my heart pounding. Later, he wants to look at a property for sale in the country, secluded– and my first thought is a book written by Truman Capote called “In Cold Blood.” It would be funny if it weren’t true. Perhaps this is what helps me write fiction? I’ve lived a thousand lives under the sun. He briefly touches on the topic of my fears, and I blurt out,
“I am fearful of everything and nothing!”
“I’m scared of people hurting me, dogs, going for walks, evil men, living in the middle of nowhere—living in the city. I’m petrified of hospitals, doctors, and the whole time we lived with my father I never once went on a walk with you for fear of a dog, a bobcat, a snake, or some ferocious animal attacking me.”
He’s listening, and I wonder what he is thinking, but I continue talking this through.
“At the age of 9 or 10, my brother had a paper route. If he missed a couple of houses, my father would toss me in the back of the truck. He would pull in the drive, and I’d place the paper on the porch and hop back in the bed. One particular house stands out. Before I could reach the porch, a large German shepherd lept over the fence and landed on top of me, gnashing his teeth. Luckily my dad got it off of me. I went on to babysit for our neighbor at 13, who had the most massive, loudest, German shepherd on the block. The fear started after a dream of hungry wolves surrounding me. I was 30, and they were there.
“I’m scared of everything and nothing, I say again.”
“I’m not scared of sickness, death, demons, or losing all my material possessions and becoming homeless.”
He looks confused.
“Honey, “Do you know how crazy that sounded? Do you even understand what you just said? You just named things most people in the world are scared to death of. Even death.”
“Maybe it’s because I have faced those things, I think to myself?”
Some of us have a point on a map, a calendar, a datebook locked in our brain, and we can tell you the exact moment of the car wreck, the diagnosis, or our child that died before it ever learned to talk or even before it exited the womb. There is a moment in time where we look back at the shattered glass, the addiction, the iron bars, the chemo, the foreclosure, the divorce papers, the bruises, the rape, the welfare department, the mental break down, or the charade of pretending to be put together when we were one button shy of EXPLODING!
Yes, we all have our moments, and some of us have another type of trauma. In World War II, with gunfire and bullets whipping around his head, my uncle, wading in freezing waters, stopped and threw his hands in the air and cried, “The war is over!” Of course, it wasn’t. He just had wishful thinking. He had seen too many bodies stacked in piles– stripped of all dignity— He had seen and smelled enough death.
But, some of us don’t have one memory or one vivid scar—it’s not one childhood adventure filled with nightmares, but more of a series of unfortunate events—sometimes it is an everyday battle just to get through.
Sometimes we wonder how we can take another step—breathe– trust again–go back out into the world and try and be a candle burning for someone else. We, too, cry and throw our arms to heaven, exclaiming, “The war is over!” I’m exhausted, Abba. Take the pain, sorrow, shame, guilt, confusion, debt, unbelief, sickness, and trauma and take my weapons of fear. Take the bars I have built to protect me. Take the suffering.
Job took broken pottery, and he scraped his sores. He came to a place where he was okay with death. As a matter of fact, he welcomed death. He said the thing he feared the most had come upon him, but what was that thing?
He starts at the beginning of chapter three, cursing the day of his birth. He wishes that he had never been born because his pain is so deep. He explains how those in the grave are at rest. Job 3:16-17.
One morning, in the midst of some of the worst pain I have ever felt, I awoke to this pain in terror that I was going to have to get through another day of suffering. I prayed to die. I quoted Job verbatim. Then I heard an echo, “Do you not value the life I’ve given you? Do you not hope for better days?”
Job goes on to explain his fear.
“Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come,” (Job 3:20-21).
And that is what he feared. A death that does not come. He feared he wasn’t going to get to escape such misery. He had lost children, cattle, oxen, servants, and he was suffering so severely. He wasn’t a man steeped in fear. He was a righteous man who wanted to go rest. I remember relating to such words. “Just take me Abba! I’m finished here. What good am I to anyone laying here suffering? I have nothing left here to do!” But I was much mistaken. I hadn’t even tasted what He had in store for me.
What does it look like when we use all our experiences and healing to help another heal? What does it look like when we embody Him and are a light? A candle. A burning flame that can’t be hidden because His light outshines all the darkness we’ve been through?
What if The Father of Glory wanted to come to spend an evening with you? What would that look like? What did Shavuot and the tongues of fire sound like?
We often imagine what it would have been like to walk with Yeshua/ Jesus. To intently listen to Him tell parables, but what about as we go through our repetitious life? A typical workday or weekend. What would that look like to meet the risen Savior face to face? I’m talking about something fragrant. Something memorable. Something hard to even articulate.
You may have gathered from my previous blog that I don’t like to be at the hospital without my husband. Our first night back at the hospital, he slept on a couch next to me. By the second evening, between his back and his hip, he was ready to go home and get some much-needed rest. Before he left, he came over and said a simple prayer asking The Father to watch over me and protect me while we were apart. He also prayed for the Father to send compassionate people to care for me. What a very precious husband I have.
After he left, I was exhausted and a tad anxious, but I was prepared to try and rest until he returned. If you’ve ever spent much time in a hospital, you know it’s challenging to get any rest with pain, nurses coming in and out, beeping IV’s, as well as bathroom help, and so forth. On my second return to this hospital, I had some of the best nurses I’ve ever come in contact with. However, there was one that seemed explicitly handcrafted for me. I’ll call her Daffodil.
I’m fast asleep, and around 8 pm, I hear my door open. I turn, sleepy-eyed, and look up at this woman who has just entered my room. She is tall– with a smile that made her eyes twinkle like stars in the night. She did not walk but seemed to sashay around the room in ballet slippers, softly checking this and that.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Manning; I’ll make a note that you’re an early sleeper so that I won’t disturb your rest.”
“Oh, I’m not an early sleeper. In fact, I’m a night owl. I was dozing from the medicine.”
We began to talk, and before we knew it, we were knee-deep in cooking shows. The Great British Bake-off! Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were our first topic.
“Did you know that Mary contracted polio at the tender age of 13 and had a weaker arm due to it?
“No, I did not know that.”
“And did you know Paul would help her roll out her dough and prepare items?”
“Really,” I said, trying to sit up more.
“I think Paul looks like the guy from American Idol.”
“Oh, Simon!” Yes! Ha-ha!”
She laughed heartily, and then we were off to our next cooking adventure. Daffodil expressed her aspirations to create fabulous food. Her stories of family and grandparents who loved to bake were sprinkled throughout. I discussed my mom’s homemade carrot cake, and she described a delicate Italian cream cake made by her grandmother. The conversation was light but personal. We left baking and then traveled to World War II episodes on Netflix. Soon, we were reliving Foyle’s War, Land Girls, and Call the Midwives. Before I knew it, we were sailing on to authors and our all-time favorite books.
When Daffodil smiled, her light lit up the room. She exclaimed, “I love books! I love the smell of books!” I responded with an unquestionable, “YES!” Like fresh crayons in kindergarten! We giggled like school girls. Her phone buzzed, and she had to scurry off to another room. Suddenly, I felt revived. She was one of my people, and I was going to be blessed with her light for the next three days.
We discovered we lived very close to one another, right down the road from Barnes and Noble bookstore—a landmark. I mentioned my new grandson.
“Oh, I bet you just want to eat him up!”
She began to tell me about her nephew, who had high jacked her heart.
“Even if I have worked all night, need to clean, do laundry and catch up on things, one call from him “Aunt Daffodil can we go out?” and I am like “Baby, yes, we can!”
Suddenly, we laughed, and I had to hold my side, which was still very sore, to release the joy I felt. She caused me to forget my pain—my fear, and that my husband wasn’t coming back until morning.
Since the surgery, I have met two stoma nurses, both kind and good at what they do. Their profession is to try and prepare people to change a colostomy bag and empty it. For me, it was overwhelming and quite frightening to take in. It was humbling. You notice things and smells and the level of care. Since I had been back in the hospital with my wound, no one had helped me one on one yet, but Daffodil did. She took me in the bathroom and equipped me with gloves, tips for spraying, cleaning, and deodorizing the room, and she did it with the most compassion I’ve ever felt from any human. I wasn’t embarrassed, humiliated, or even scared to allow her to help me, help myself. This woman snuck into my room over and over again. She learned I was a writer of fiction and Torah teachings and wanted to know how to order my books.
She never told me about her religious beliefs. She never preached to me. She never quoted scriptures. No politics. No pushing or pulling, but her words held LIFE—her tongue FRUIT.
Daffodil walked into my room like a candlelit burning brightly–like a flower pouring out fragrance. She bowed lowly. My husband witnessed her in her other patient’s chambers as he walked down the hall, and he said: “She is that bright no matter where she goes.” That BRIGHT. Like a candle on a lampstand. Oh, Saints, we can be those candles! We can be the hope of glory!”
When we are crucified with Messiah Yeshua/ Jesus, we no longer live, but He lives in us.
The Zohar states, “When a Jew utters one word of Torah, the light [in his soul] is kindled…and he sways to and fro like the flame of a candle.”
CCR, Credence Clearwater Revival, has a song called “Long as I can see the light.” John Fogerty bellows for us to put a candle in the window.
“If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” Luke 11:36.
What does Yeshua tell us before this? “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.”
Thank you, Daffodil, for being a light to me, and thank you, Abba, for hearing my husband’s prayer and bringing light into my room.
We can heal from all the trauma by shining our lights on those in need. By listening. By praying. By giving sound counsel. By measuring our words. Even at our darkest moments in our most profound misery, we have LIGHT.
My husband’s picture below seemed to shine with extra light, and I wanted to personally thank him for being a bright light in my life for seven years now. Blessings friends. SHINE!