Up to Half the Kingdom, Part II, Can We Drink This Cup?

Up To Half the Kingdom

 

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  However, I had a chapter from my memoir (Still unpublished) titled “Can You Drink this Cup?”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. The main reason I sat there was 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.

grayscale photo of woman crying holding her right chest

 

I had just shared with my (previous) husband a concern about one of my symptom 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 bladder and my bowels—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 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 stepdaughter 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 arrived 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.

girl holding paper boat illustration art

 

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—

a

very

teensy

sip

of

a

cup.

 

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 offends us–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 any more.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 snoozed while his very blood dripped and oozed out of his pours. My own 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.

group of people attending burial

 

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.”

pink rose

 

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.”

man and woman on seashore nearby starfish

 

Blessings!

Tekoa Manning

Part #1 HERE

Sources:

Artwork–photography:

Toa Heftiba@heftiba

Sharon McCutcheon@sharonmccutcheon

Rhodi Alers de Lopez@20164rhodi

Zhang JR@z734923105

Aleyna Rentz

Kat J@kj2018

 

 

 

 

Who Has a Broken Heart?

Who Has a Broken Heart?

 

Memoir Chapter

 

I peered into the reflection of the mirror, and I wondered who the person was staring back at me. I had been too depleted financially to get my hair done at a beauty shop and was taken by a friend to a hair design school. This is a shop where the students learning to cut hair practice on you.  I sat nervously in the chair as the dye was placed on my head and the foils. Soon I was ushered under the dryer, but something kept running down my neck. The dye had seeped through the foil. After shampooing the stylist showed me the brown spots that ran and dried. There were large dark brown spots in my blonde hair that looked horrible. Her assistant came out, the manager and soon a host of women were standing around my chair trying to decide what to do with the mess. The manager asked if she could re-dye and cut my hair. I nodded and sat in shock as I heard her clippers begin to literally shave the back of my head in a boy type haircut that left me with about an inch or two of hair on top that she spiked with gel. The color red she chose was more of a burgundy and covered the brown spots. It was such a drastically different look for me that I still had trouble gazing into the mirror when it was time to go out in public.

 

 

Losing my hair was just an outward sign. I had lost so many things I loved with such swiftness, it seemed like one blow would knock me to my knees and before I could recover from the next one, down, I’d go again.  The pain I felt seemed to seep out of my pores.   I felt as if I was walking around with blood oozing from my heart. I kept dabbing at the seeping places, applying pressure but to no avail. This pain was so heavy it made breathing problematic.

 

I drove the short distance to the church assembly and made my way inside with my new fashion statements, my cane, and red hair. Just trying to stand during one song was a struggle for me. Although I was better and able to drive some, I was still very spent from the chronic fatigue. Losing my health was more like losing my freedom.
Everything that identified me as a person had been plucked away.  I had begun to talk to Job as if he and I were old friends. “Oh Job what did it feel like when the messenger came with the news of more pain”? “How did you bow and begin to worship our Lord Adonai after hearing of the death of your children, your livestock, your servants, your health?”  I sighed and hobbled out of the mini-van and entered the sanctuary. I tried to focus on the people around me in the pews. They smiled, clapped their hands and sang loudly. Many had the joy that I coveted. Genuine joy. I am sure they all had a story–it seemed many I encountered did.

 

The message the pastor gave was well needed and many scriptures he quoted seem to speak to me, encourage me even.  He was gifted in the prophetic and humble, and I knew I was where I was supposed to be going back then. I had just started driving this small distance to fellowship with other believers a few months prior but sitting alone on the pew was just a reminder that everything in my life had become empty.

 

I knew the Father had taken the desire from my eyes in more ways than one when he took the man I was sharing my life with.  He was in control, but the pain was unbearable some days. I missed people; I missed my pets, my stepdaughter, my job, my life as I knew it and yes a man that left me.  I couldn’t help but wonder how God could take my life and make anything out of it again. It seemed hopeless. I was too sick to start over and too empty. I did not know then that God loved empty vessels that He could fill. Elijah said to an empty widow, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few” 2nd Kings 4:2 ESV. She borrowed, and the oil poured forth and filled them all. I needed to become empty of everything that was SELF so He could pour in HIS oil and His Spirit.

 

The service was coming to a close, and soon the minister was asking if there was anyone who needed healing in their body. “If you have any sickness or disease, please come up front we would like to pray for you according to James 5:14, Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord”.
I stood there on wobbly legs, my cane in hand but did not budge from my seat. I watched as many made their way down to the “altar.” I listened as the minister placed his hands on the heads of the many and began to pray for each one. My heart hurt so badly.  At that moment I started to notice the seeping blood and the sweeping sorrow and the constant throbbing that seemed to take my very breath. My heart felt like a sieve that blood was pouring out of. HELP! SOS! HELP!

 

I began to scream inside my soul, pleading even, “Oh Abba Father I am sick in my body, this is true, but MY HEART IS BROKEN IN A MILLION PIECES. PLEASE HEAL MY HEART. Father can you take this grief away; it’s more than I can endure”.

I began to cry and ask Him over and over until something profound happened. Something so incredibly intimate it brought tears that poured down my face like the constant rain. Suddenly the minister raised the microphone to his lips and said, “I need everyone to stop for a minute, I need your attention, The Father is telling me that there is a person here who has a broken heart, and I can see it, its battered, shredded and bruised. WHERE ARE YOU?” He began to look over the congregation, and I raised my hand, my small insignificant hand. He said, people, I want you all to lay hands on our sister as we pray for God to heal her heart and at that moment, in that precious moment I suddenly didn’t care about my heart. I was so in awe that HE HEARD ME and that He loved me enough to speak to His minister. He loved me enough to stop praying over people with physical ailments to envelop me. He knew. He saw. He wanted to take His Son’s nail-scarred hands and hold my gaping places and pat the blood that had oozed out with His blood. Oh, I needed an Intimate Father in more ways than one–one that was intricate and detailed. He would speak with not only A ROAR THAT SAID, “GET YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER” But also in a whisper that blew across my heart and held it to His. Oh, what a GLORIOUS Father!

hands-heart

Psalm 34:18 (TLV)

The righteous cry out and Adonai hears,
and delivers them from all their troubles.”

Boot Camp

~Memoir~

Chapter 5
Boot Camp

It seemed like it only took months for my sickness to progress into a total meltdown. I felt depleted of every ounce of strength, like wafting wet paper I floated along drained. It was a weekday in winter, and the chill was all around me. I could smell death and taste it. I had become a snag embedded in stagnant waters. A dormant, dead tree that just laid there, unmovable. My stale morning breath was merely a disdainful reminder that I was just existing and awakening brought only more dread.
Suffering.
My eyes opened and fixed upon the jagged line that seemed to be forming one large crack in the ceiling; pulling and even bowing down one side of the room. The plaster hung there like a distant reminder of how a structure can crumble and how my own body felt as weighted down. I had been watching it bow more every day as I laid in one position.
I was 38 years old, but my body felt ancient. The taupe couch had become my home for about a year now. The view from this position was a picture window draped and covered, a blue chair, plaid with hints of mauve and mint green, a coffee table lined with medicine bottles, water bottles, and a box of Kleenex.
In the silence, I heard a voice say, “Go check your e-mail.”
My computer was set up in a bedroom down the hallway and to the left. I stared at the distance that was only a few feet away with dread. My body was racked with tormenting pain, and moving any part of it was like a bolt of electricity. When I walked, my legs were equivalent to colossal elephant soles that had become plunged into quicksand, only to be forced out again. I did not want to move!
Again the whisper, “Go check your e-mail.”
I had come to know this soft voice a little louder while lying flat on my back in the silence.
The reprise to check my mail pressed into my spirit.
I reached for my cane and made the excruciating journey from the couch to the bedroom; falling into a wall on the way and holding the same wall up to gather strength. As soon as my feet stepped past the living room into the hall area, I heard it, an almost thunderous roar. It was the sound of my ceiling collapsing completely! I stood there in the moment, a cloud of smoky surrealism.
We’re not talking ordinary drywall; this ceiling was heavy plastered sheetrock and an electrical mess of wires that ran my heating system in this older home. I stood on wobbly legs and surveyed the spot on the couch where moments before I had laid and argued with that voice.
“But I’m so fatigued and tired, why do I need to check my mail?” “Father, if someone sent me a letter, I’ll read it later. If someone is going to send me money, thank you for helping me, but again, I can read it later.” I argued with the voice as if my intellectual mind was filled with more wisdom than the one who created it.
I gauged the couch where my body laid just minutes before again in disbelief.
Now the entire structure of pillowed taupe was covered by a massive mountainous pile of debris. I should have been dead or unconscious! I let out a slowly scattered sigh and thought about how many times I had ignored that voice, that soft still voice.
It was at that moment that I realized once again, I was in boot camp, and my trainer was trying to teach me some things. The more logical my mind thought or sure of my faith I became, the more He began to explain that I knew nothing about Him.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD ADONAI.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9.
I stood in the hallway and gazed up at the rafters; empty A-framed timbers held bits of insulation, and I held myself and leaned into the wall.
Abruptly, I became aware of the gift of life and how, when I was well, and my body was whole, I had taken it for granted. I had been requesting to die because of the pain, the loss, and a host of sorrows, but now suddenly, in spite of feeling like death, I wanted to live.
No, I said aloud, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.” Psalm118:17.
As my eyes traveled over the room wrecked with rubbish, I knew that I had just witnessed one of the WORKS of the Lord Adonai! I did not realize that it would be one of much more to come; nor did I know that His voice would become louder in my ear.
Anxious to lie down again, I shuffled to my son’s bedroom and waited for him to arrive home from school. I felt barricaded in, and my medicine laid somewhere beneath the wreckage. Even though I had just witnessed a miracle, my mind was already wondering how I would pay my homeowner’s insurance. I was now several house payments behind. I slowly pondered all the losses that had come upon me; my health, my job, my career, the people I thought were my friends and now possibly my home. I feel like Jeremiah when he said,
“I don’t understand why my pain has no end. I don’t understand why my injury is not cured or healed.” Jeremiah 15:18.
“Oh, Father, why do you keep me here?” I asked.
“When I wake up, I feel like I haven’t slept. When I want to speak my words are jumbled. My mind is so bad I don’t remember my name at times. “Why, G-d?”
My soul felt the tug of something bigger than me. It was a subtle knowing that He had a work for me to do. He has a task for all of us.
My heart began to meditate on what I feared was true. The fear of how I would ever become Holy enough, or good enough, or physically well enough to do it frightened me. Also just what exactly does He have planned, and what if I let Him down? I knew He was speaking to me and that He had just spared me from disaster. He had spoken, and I had heard Him. How many times had He spoke, and I didn’t even recognize His voice?
The echo of His whisper-haunted me in a good way now. I could still faintly hear Him say,
“Go check your e-mail.”
There are no words to describe the sound of eternity. His voice, His most Holy Voice, it can roar like the sound of many waters; as potent as the thunderous ceiling crashing into me or it can be as gentle as a feather on the cheek.
I laid on that bed and pondered the event. I touched the pillowcase and rubbed my fingers across the ridge. I stared at nothing, in shock and disbelief.
“Did my ceiling just implode?” I asked the silence? I laid there for a fraction of minutes and continued to just bask in awe of the glory of the Father.
But I couldn’t be still. I reached for my cane in wonder. I had to go again and look a second time at what He had spared me from. I leaned into the hallway and slid my hand along the wall to balance me. Then the view of the avalanche hits me. The surrealism becomes very real at that moment. My eyes traveled across all the red and blue electrical wires I see dangling throughout until finally, they rested upon the place where I should have been buried. I exhale the breath that I have been holding in.
“Oh, God!”
“Thank you, Father, thank you!”
I stand and soak it all in one more time before making my way back down the hallway.
In my heart, in the midst of my fatigue, my pain, my loss, and my inability to even clean up the mess, I know one thing. . . Yes, one thing is true. I know Abba Father is good and He is with me

2016new-martin-boots-ankle-boots-women-shoes-flat-round-toe-motorcycle-boots-combat-boots-large-size

Frozen with Fear– Memoir Chapter

The prior had a few lessons I learned in elementary school.

Once I had ventured through 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade, my mind catapulted to middle school. This place was better by far, and I had a girlfriend from my neighborhood who shared classes with me. We were into Led Zeppelin, Journey, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. We went roller skating every weekend and played Pac-man until dawn. We laughed, talked and shared many secrets. This was some of my best childhood memories.
But for some reason, it seemed like I walked through life with a target on my chest. Something inside of me seemed to draw the sharks. Have you ever seen a geek with nerdy glasses and high-water pants get the attention he didn’t want? I think we all have seen an antelope on the Wild Kingdom walking with a limp. The lion crouches. He crouches down and waits for the sick one, the scared one, the one that can’t keep up with the herd. It’s an easy target. I seemed to have one of those postures that bent downward.
And then one day something happened in music class, something that wounded me even more. It was choir practice, and we were standing on the bleachers. I accidentally fell into the girl next to me. She was thin, pale, angelic looking and strikingly innocent. I said I was sorry and helped her up. On the back row, standing taller than all the other students in 8th grade was Melissa. She was 15 and had given a baby up for adoption already. She was hard, cold, and ready to pounce on me. After class, we went to lunch, and as I ate, I had this sinking feeling. The kind you get when you know something terrible is coming, but you’re not sure from where or what it will look like. Sort of like when the meteorologist says a tornado is headed in your direction, and you need to take cover immediately. You hear the sirens, and you see the sky turn black with a greenish tint illuminating the darkness. You have no basement and nowhere to go, so you sit in the bathtub and wait for it to pass over. That day was like that.
I walked home with one of my girlfriends every day. And so after the stumbling bleacher incident, I headed down the sidewalk oblivious to the funnel cloud. The school sat back off the road and was almost hidden by the trees. The adjacent parking lot was that of a church with a line of trees and a fence. The sidewalk that ran down the long road between buildings eventually led to a big intersection where a crosswalk officer directed the school traffic and allowed us to cross the street. This was, however, unseen from the church.

As we rounded the sidewalk and were half-way up, I saw a large gathering of students huddled outside the church. The buildings lot, which was empty during the week seemed filled like an arena and there in the midst of the crowd was Big Mellissa and several of her tough wrangling friends from the rougher part of town. They were yelling for me to come over. I didn’t want to. Their blackened pupils and mouths kept calling me. I did not want to face them–or what I discerned now to be the storm I had felt all day.

About that time Melissa had one of her cohorts grab me by my hair and drag me over to where pretty angelic Michelle stood. Her short stature and frail frame looked up at me. I was under 5 feet in height, and I could tell she was caught in the middle of doing what they wanted her to do. She had become their excuse to attack me.
“You pushing my cousin?” “You knocked her down in chorus.
Tekoa, why don’t you knock her down now B*%$#!” I started trying to explain it was an accident but they kept shoving me. One girl grabbed me and started punching me in the face with her fist as hard as she could. I began to fight back even though I did not want to. The crowd roared, and the more I fought, the more girls joined in and pretty soon they were holding me down. One had my hair wrapped around her fist and was bluntly jostling my head into the aluminum fence post. I felt a sticky substance running down my face and a taste of crimson blood in my mouth. By this time I gave up and let them get the best of me. The crosswalk lady came and blew her whistle a little too late, and my one friend stood with the crowd, scared, helpless and frozen to do anything other than stand there gawking. My right eye was swelled shut, and my bottom lip felt like it had been injected with Novocain. My first shiner!
I walked home alone. Blood ran down my face, and my hair had patches of places that were bloody. My friend was saying something but the air was thick, and my robotic legs were moving like something you’d see in a slow-motion film reel. I remember thinking, “Jesus/ Yeshua is this what you felt like when they shoved those thorns into your skull?   I opened the door and entered the house spitting more blood out of my mouth into the yard. I was too wounded to cry.
My sister was the first to get a look at me, as my parents were working.
“Who did this to you? Do you know where they live?”  She scooped me up along with a baseball bat and went driving neighborhoods looking for those girls, but to no avail. That night I was told by my mother that I had to go back to school tomorrow and face these girls or they would continue to pick on me and bully me. I was terrified! I couldn’t breathe, but the next morning I entered the building. I heard the whispers–the eyes that followed me–the snickers and yes, a frozen fear. I couldn’t shower or wash my hair for days because the bruises and knots were dreadfully painful– but my heart was worse. Why was this happening to me– the shy little girl who never wanted to fight anyone?
Later that night my best friend’s father brought her down to our house and made her apologize for not helping me. I didn’t blame her. It was us two against ten or fifteen. We were innocent. I lost my innocence that day in a way I can’t explain. I continued to shrink back from people, faces, friends, and enemies.
That week I prayed with all my heart and asked God to save me, but not like you do on Sunday morning at the altar. I asked Him to protect me and to remove me from the situation. A prayer I would become an expert at.  He did not remove me, but He did send a girl who was even bigger than Melissa. She was from Paducah KY, and her family raised horses. Her name was Kendra, and she had missed a few grades too. She towered above the girl’s heights and was even taller than most the boys. She said she heard about what those mean girls did to me and that she wanted to be my bodyguard.

I let her.

Pretty soon the word going around school was, “If you touch Tekoa, Kendra will kick your Butt!
I still had nightmares. I still had fear, but for some reason, I grew thicker skin. I probably made friends with some folks a tad more colorful than my gentle friends from youth. Almost 20 years later at an Italian restaurant, I waited on Mellissa. She was with a man. He possibly could have been her husband. She still looked rough, and she had quite a few tattoos. She smiled at me oblivious to who I was and ordered a manicotti as if it were the most ordinary item on the menu. I was amazed that she was capable of offering me a smile that looked almost surreal.  I waited on her like a good server and thought how ironic it was to look her in the eye, refill her drinks, and take her dirty plates to the kitchen. I said Abba what are you trying to teach me?

And then suddenly it was quite clear. . . The Father had taken my share of dirty plates, and if He could forgive me, I had to forgive her. I hoped that she had grown kinder, gentler and that whatever had happened to her in her childhood was being healed. I knew I still had a long way to go.

free

Author of the Month

charlie

It’s an honor to share this month’s “Author of the Month,” and it couldn’t be a more fitting day today because it’s her 72nd birthday. Happy birthday Charlie! I am so thankful that this kind soul came into the world and my life. Charlene Manning, no relation, came to me at a time when I needed a friend, mentor, and even a mother figure and she filled all spaces. About six months before I met my husband, Jeff Manning, I met a woman named Charlie Manning, thanks to a good friend on Facebook, who said she felt led of the Lord to introduce us. Mary Merth thank you for your obedience. Soon I was receiving emails from a lady who I’d never met, and she was slowly and charmingly giving me a peek into her world and tearing down the walls I had built to protect me. Little did I know that this woman once led a congregation, wrote weekly Shabbat blogs and had also published a book. All those things were exciting enough, but it was her strength, love, and prayers that carried me through some of the most challenging times in my life.
After two devastating church hurts, she shared with me her own story and how the people in her town would cross the other side of the street when they saw her coming. She told me of how she poured her heart into her ministry only to be shattered. Not only had this woman been through church hurts but she had lost her breast to Cancer as well. She knew about pain and suffering. I soon found out that her wisdom and compassion was like a cool compress to my heart and shortly after meeting her my world collapsed. I missed my church family where I did ministry, I was battling an illness, and then my mother died of Colon Cancer. Again, Charlie was a sounding board and a true friend.
During this time I had just gotten disability and moved into an apartment after being homeless and times were tough. This woman sent me checks in the mail when I had no money for electric or food. Not because I hinted that I was in need, but because she felt led by the Lord to bless me. Before I knew it, I looked forward to my mornings so I could read her notes and hear her voice. When it was time to publish Polishing Jade, I felt led to send her the manuscript to look over and add anything she felt might brighten the pages. She breathed new life into Ellen Cotton and soon informed me that “Cotton” was a family name. Once the books were printed, my husband told me one evening that I should deliver the book to her in person and before I knew it we were headed to Texas to meet the other “Manning’s.” When I hugged this woman’s neck for the first time tears began to well up in my soul. Would she ever know what a blessing she has been to me?
Charlene Reams Manning is a native Texan. Most of her life was spent in her hometown of Del Rio on the Mexican Border. If you met her, she would give you a good handshake and might say, “Call me Charlie; most everybody does.”
Charlie has a great affection for the State of Texas. From a young age, she spent a lot of time outdoors. She says she is “outdoorsy” and not afraid of what she calls “man work.” She was always very comfortable with farm life. In her younger days, she learned to swing a hammer like the boys. At age nine, with her Mama, she carried her half of 5-gallon bucket of sour milk and food scraps out to the pigs. She rode her horse around the dusty roads and cotton fields every chance she got. In summer, she mostly wore shoes only on Sunday. She is a real country girl.
Charlie served as pastor to a small church in Del Rio for five years. Some of that time she was on the speaker circuit, traveling a couple of times a month to speak to women’s groups, churches, and camp meetings. As time moved along, her life underwent some significant changes. After several years of living single in San Antonio, Charlie remarried and began to write. At last, she found her true calling. She enjoyed the preaching and counseling and fellowship that goes with being a pastor, but she LOVES to write.

At the moment, she writes a weekly ‘column’ publishing it in e-mail and on a website. Each week she sends a brief Bible teaching, or testimony, or editorial opinion/life observation from her ready pen (or fingertips). She has written poetry and short stories, none of which have been published. She has published an inspirational devotional book. It is a testimony, history lessons, and Bible teachings. Teaching articles written by Charlie have been featured by other ministries on their websites. She lives in Georgetown, Texas now, with her retired mail carrier hubby Tony Manning. He owns a clock repair business. Charlie helps him with that. They have two Boston Terriers and a beautiful flock of chickens. Nearby are both her sons, her daughter-in-law, and all three grandchildren, ages 20, 14, and 9.
I hope this excerpt from her book, Memories of My Earth Home: 40 meditations on our natural world blesses you. Here’s Charlie in her own words, “There were friends over the years who encouraged me to write. But I never felt like I had an idea for a book. One day, the Lord Himself showed me the format for a devotional book that would be a compilation of my experiences, my home state, my faith, Bible truth, and other things that I find important and of interest to me. Once I got the go-ahead, I began to write. The Lord was the inspiration. Some days I typed almost like taking dictation the words flowed effortlessly chapter after chapter. It was (is) my hope that this book would encourage Believers and maybe lead others to experience God and Jesus for the first time.

I have a couple of ideas for other books, but old age and illnesses here and there have kept me from focusing enough to get them written. I also have an online ministry, which keeps me writing often. Anyone interested in receiving this can also contact me by e-mail.

Memories of My Earth Home: 40 meditations on our natural world is no longer available in print, but I have a few copies I would sell. Contact me at Redhen1944@aol.com. Cost is $15 which includes shipping.

Excerpt:

At the age of nine or ten, I was already very aware of adult conversations and the BIG DEAL about rain. There wasn’t any. We went to the Baptist every Sunday and always prayed for rain.

In 1954, spawned by a hurricane that made landfall at Brownsville, there was a huge rain north of Del Rio, and the Rio Grande River was swollen to a raging torrent. Although we only got big clouds and a couple of days of misting at The Farm, we heard about the Rio Grande being at flood stage and drove over to Eagle Pass to see. The streets were muddy, and the flood marks on the buildings were halfway up, about six feet high. Store windows were broken out. There were furniture and clothing littering the downtown streets. Also, store mannequins lay around in grotesque poses. I thought they were dead people, but Mama assured us they were not. I stared at them for a long time to make sure she wasn’t just saying that to make us feel better. I determined that they really were mannequins, but still felt very disturbed by the sight of them. They looked so much like real people. Daddy drove slow because the streets were barely passable.

We made our way down to the river. The bridge was still there, but it was knocked off its pilings on the Texas side and sitting kind of sideways in the river. The river was a muddy, boiling mess and still way up above its normal level. Brush and various objects floated by. The bodies of dead cattle came along, turning over and over in the water as they swept by.

Then came the most distressing sight of all. A very large entire tree came floating along branches, leaves, roots and all. Clinging there amongst the branches were three terrified goats, bleating and crying as they went by. I voiced my concern that someone should rescue them. Daddy said the goats were smart and they would hang on until they rode it out and the water got calm enough for them to swim out. I wasn’t sure of that and pictured them drowned like the cows.

I was very quiet on the ride home, remembering the things I had seen and heard: the pitiful looking mannequins with limbs all askew, the deafening roar of the water, and the crying of those little goats. It was all very upsetting.

But nothing has stopped me from enjoying the rain. Even now, when there has been a long dry spell, I sometimes go outside when those first drops fall and feel the sprinkle on my skin, smell that clean earthy aroma and enjoy the thunder and lightening.

There have been times in my life that have seemed that spiritually dry for me—times when the rain of God’s blessings, the water of His Spirit, the cool refreshing nearness of His presence all seemed almost a dim memory. So, we pray for rain, both the natural and the spiritual, remembering that God promised there would be former (Spring) rain and latter (Fall) rain, and even sends a few sprinkles in between to help our faith.”

If you would like to be added to Charlie’s list or order a copy of her book just send her a message at Redhen1944@aol.com. Or you can read her Weekly Sabbath devotion at https://weeklysabbathsurvey.wordpress.com/

Blessings!

Tekoa

Enjoy Chapter One Of My Memoir

Chapter 1

He Will Cause you to Serve Him

 

downnn

 

My mother was urging me. “Go stand in the line, Bonnie, hurry!” I turned and looked back at the many people, young and old waiting.
It was the late 1970’s, and I was wearing a long maxi dress. The brightly colored flowers were bursting forth at the seams, and my sandals had large buckled squares that draped across my ankles. My hair was sapling bark brown, straight, and hanging down my back mid-way.  In the summer it was glossy satin but come winter, a stringy static mess. I was a young girl, preteen or just above that, and utterly naïve of my own beauty or worth. I was self-conscious, scared and a tad pigeon-toed.
The line was now draped around the church’s outer wall, lingering on towards the back doors of the sanctuary.
The excitement in my mother’s voice was charged.
“Bonnie go get in line and see what he tells you! ‘He’ being the prophetic evangelist that was visiting our church.  ‘He’ who apparently had a direct line to the Creator of all.
Again my mother exclaimed, “Go on. He is very gifted and just told me many things only God would have known. I want to see what he tells you.”
I never liked being in the spotlight and shied away from the front of the sanctuary. Certain people had a habit of frightening me as a young child. They sang in languages I had never heard of and spoke in unknown tongues. No one had educated me on the tongues of angels and of men.
Up front stood the pastor, the elders, and the catchers. I knew what the catcher’s job entailed. Catchers were the people that stood behind you in case you fell under the power of the Ruach Holy Spirit. They draped cloths over the women’s dresses after they had floated backward–just in case anything might be exposed that shouldn’t be.
My mother always fell.
She said, “They just barely have to touch me Bonnie, and I go down.” As if this signified some level of holiness. She assured me that it didn’t hurt and that she felt as if she had landed on cotton. “Honest Bonnie, it doesn’t hurt at all. It’s the most wonderful experience!” Her eyes twinkled with excitement. I nodded–still unsure of my quest for significance. Did I really want to feel this Holy Set-Apart Spirit, and was this really what they were feeling? I knew what I personally felt but wasn’t quite sure it was the same. Unknowingly, this along with many other quizzical moments would one day cause me to study doctrine with binocular vision.
I headed to the back of the line that was becoming shorter and nervously sighed. I secretly hoped I wouldn’t fall on the floor to be draped in a black cloth, while onlookers gawked. What if I became stuck there crying uncontrollably and couldn’t move like some I had seen in the past?
I was doing this for my mother. I wanted to please her, and I wanted to get a pleasant word–one that would mesmerize my mother. I longed to hear how I would do something great for The Father of lights one day. I thought in my underdeveloped brain that if this man told me something spiritually creative about myself, my mother would be very proud of me, and I wanted so desperately to please her. This too would one day cause me great pain.
As I moved forward, I looked at the balding dark headed man who was of large stature and wondered what he would prophesy over me.
There are moments in life that stick with you, like a piece of putty stuck in your conscious mind. This man is one of those plasters that have lingered with me forever.
He placed his large hand on my head and began to pray in the spirit. Then he looked into my eyes and said, “Daughter, the Lord says, He will cause you to serve Him!” He repeated it even louder and with more force, “I said, HE WILL CAUSE YOU TO SERVE HIM!”  I stared at him frozen with fear. Then he motioned for me to go on back to my seat. I was stunned. The women behind me made faces at one another and then looked at me very strangely. This prophet had spoken words of encouragement to many.  Meanwhile, I get a peculiar look and a stern word. Not only that, but he looked as shocked as me that it had come out of his own mouth.
My mother was anxious to hear what this holy man of God had spoken to me. Her ears were standing at attention like a Chihuahua as I made my way down the aisle.
“Well, what did he say?”
I must have looked funny. I’m sure my cheeks were rosy, and my mouth was tight.
“Bonnie, what’s wrong?”
I struggled to state the one sentence but finally got it out.
The echo, “He will cause you to serve Him!” Only mine was a whisper.
“He said what? I repeated it hoarsely.
“God will cause me to serve Him.”
“Well, that sure was different. Goodness, what do you think he meant?” Her eyes had lost the glitter and were now wide open. I felt the scrutiny of her eyes upon my soul for a moment. She looked up and down.
“Gosh Bonnie, I don’t know what I would think if he would have said that to me?”
She then stared at me again intently–like the women behind me in line, who had heard his voice boom.
I shrugged my shoulders and sat down, but in my mind, I was asking God a question, “Do I not serve you already?” I had been ‘saved’ at a very young age and loved God. I already felt invisible at home, and I didn’t seem to fit in at school. Now, I was hearing from this man that I was not serving God? He was supposed to hear from the Father. My mother called him anointed.
I went to every church service, and I learned multiple scriptures. I won awards for memorizing the most verses. I prayed, and I secretly wanted to do some type of work for God. Why was this happening to me?
I hung my head down. I felt funny inside.
I never forgot this man’s prophecy, and some twenty years later, in the midst of one of my most turbulent lifestyles, He did cause me to serve him. Yes, the man who had laid hands on me years before had heard the voice of Yahweh clearly in his ear.
It was a summer night in 2005. I had gotten married two years prior at the little white chapel in Las Vegas, but never finalized it. There was nothing white or pure about the union. So after drinking and having sex with a man, I called my husband, but like the woman at the well, only lived with, I heard the sound of all the water in the ocean come crashing into me.
The voice spoke only five words, “Get your house in order!”
I catapulted up in the bed and looked out my window at the moon that for the first time in my life looked different. For the first time in my life, I knew that the same voice that just spoke to me had also hung that moon in the sky, along with the whole host of heaven. “God is that you?” I couldn’t breathe.
My heart was beating faster than it ever had and waves of the vibration from His voice were still plummeting into my soul. “Get your house in order!”  It ricocheted through me. I remember thinking, “Could God be trying to talk to me?” Is this voice I just heard that caused me to jump, really God or am I going crazy? I couldn’t get the sudden fear of God out of my mind. My whole body was vibrating. I cannot tell you how I knew this, but suddenly I knew that this voice was THE ANCIENT OF DAYS. This voice was The Great I AM! Every bit of the blood pumping through my veins was confirming it. I don’t know how, but I knew the VOICE I had heard knew all about me and everyone else for that matter. It was an all-consuming voice, but why was He speaking to me? Out of all the sinners in the universe, why did He want me to get my house in order? Was it due to my parent’s prayers? Was he taking me home? Did He have an assignment for me? I didn’t have the answers yet, but I knew something bigger than me was happening.
I did a quick mental sweep of my spiritual house and my natural home, and then my heart sank.
I knew where those scriptures fell in the bible because even in my backslidden state I read His Word daily and wanted to change. One was a king, Hezekiah was his name.
“Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amos went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: PUT YOUR HOUSE IN ORDER, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
Was I going to die? I knew Hezekiah pleaded with the Father and reminded him of all the righteous things he had done. Therefore, HaShem gave him fifteen more years, but I had nothing to plead with.
I laid there for what seemed like hours meditating on the state of my conscious mind and what had just transpired. Finally, I drifted off to sleep, and in my dream like state, I began to hear the book of Genesis.  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
This reading of the Word was being narrated to my spirit man in a way the Bible had never been deposited before, and it continued. “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Then I began to hear The Voice again, only this time it was different. It was more of a narrator in my spirit man speaking to me. “Bonnie do you think that I gave you life so you can fulfill it on the lust of your flesh? Do you think I gave you life so you can aimlessly throw it away? Do you not see how I had an order to my creation? Do you not know that I am a God of order?
“Get your house in order.”
I continued to hear scriptures throughout the night and into the wee morning hours.
Something happened the next day that I cannot explain. I awoke with an incredible terror of God.  For the first time in my life, I knew what the scripture meant which said, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
I spent two days staring. I didn’t speak much. I sat and relived the voice.  I could still hear it inside my soul. I didn’t share this experience with anyone but pondered it in my heart.
I had a fear now of a God I had heard about all my life but never knew in this manner. I knew the Sunday school teachings I had learned. The countless services and tent revivals I had been drug to since birth. I knew all the Bible stories, and I talked to this God often. I told my children about the God of the Bible, and I hid as much of my sin as I could from them. I talked to God as if He were my friend, and I told Him I was sorry often. I cried and read the Bible and pleaded for Him to forgive me over and over again, but I kept doing what I didn’t want to do. It was just as Paul said in Romans, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” 7:15.
Now, I feared the sound of many waters. He was Holy—kadosh—set an apart. He was omnipotent. I was grass.
“Get your house in order!”
Yes, His voice had penetrated my heart and my soul. He was causing me to serve Him. He was causing me to sit up and take notice of a God that was engulfing the universe and hovering over the waters—the very molecules He breathed into existence. He was all-encompassing. He did not just have a title; He had a Name. His name was Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh (YHVH), and it meant ‘Behold the hand—behold the nail.’ His Son’s hands had held those nails for lil ole me and also for the whole cosmos.