Grace

cabin

The picture above is a cabin that was built out of refurbished wood from my grandpa and grandma Green’s home. It was built on their land, and I love it.

I entered this particular poem in a contest a few months back but did not win. However, I enjoyed writing it and since my husband and I just moved into our new home, with the lights of Hanukkah shining brightly, it seemed like a good time to post it. I hope you enjoy!

 

Even the quilts were tired here.
The bedraggled mattress sagged like an old man’s baggy trousers.
The tile floors were worn, and the grout had crept away little by little with every sweep.
The stairs hung like a sunken ship,
its stepping too exhausted to hold up feet.
The chairs, with their feeble legs, refused to offer any bones a place to sit.
The walls held each other in an embrace that looked like men coming home from battle.
One huff and one puff from the wolf would collapse the rooms like a cardboard box
still, the house hung on for dear life.

Rumples and cracks filled corners like spider webs.
The ceilings with their age spots and vein lines gave way to the constant dripping of tears that needed proper patching.
Pipes coughed up hairballs but never found the strength to feel a river run through them again.
The windows plucked their bushy eyebrows by shedding the moth-eaten cloths that covered their eyes. The sun had given up trying to shine through their glass panes coated in grime.
The front door hung on one hinge, swaying to the sound of the mulberry trees mournful refrains from the yard.
The foundation raised up in a few places, trying to gasp for a breath of strength but never falling back into place—stuck in passing.
The cupboards echoed with emptiness, no longer a place where little hands grasped the delicacies hidden on shelves.
No more little feet were running to greet its arms.

The shades closed their eyes, and the chimney stopped its breath.
And the dilapidated old house, board by board was falling to its death.
The autopsy revealed it had died of a lonely heart.

One day some men came.
The house straightened his torso as best he could, and attempted to hold the beams and the boards for the men’s girth and weight.
One young man looked familiar
As if the walls held bits of his laughter,
Smudges of his fingers and words soaked in plaster
Yes, the house had felt his presence, he was sure of it now.
Another man yelled, “Shall we bulldoze it and throw the wood in the fire?”
Another mouthed, “Yeah, doesn’t look like there is much left here to savage.”

The house gathered all his strength and mouthed an exhausted, “no.”

The following week a young man in a truck took the bones and stacked each limb, even the stair rail was placed neatly in the bed of the pick-up.
“Where are you taking me?” the disjointed pieces asked.
Shiplap, and refurbishing the old with the new, and the tired house straightened its shoulders as each piece was nailed in place. Each limb was given a new anchor to hold.
Once again was heard the sound of tiny feet, a bark, a yell, a chimney sweep–music and laughter, and chatter galore.
The old house felt as useful here with his new friends as before.
The windows needed no scrubbing. The stairs were sturdy and straight, and the stars danced on the roof with the sound of rain.
It’s like a dream thought the house as he looked around. Freshly coated paint and shiny new floors. No mildew, no spiders, no rotten floors. No broken down bedding or sheets with stains and the old boards embraced the books on the shelf, the scent of babies and freshly baked breads.

Suddenly, the front door opened, sturdy and straight adorned with a brass knocker, and from the front yard, a new maple tree waved as the new owners invited their guest to enter the threshold.

“I love what you’ve done with the place! Using grandpa and grandma Green’s wood from the old homestead was a magnificent idea! ”

And the chairs in the kitchen straightened their backs as the children sat down to enjoy a meal. The adults held their glasses up for a toast, “May peace, joy, health, kindness, and good fortune live here!”
And the house straightened his posture, and bowed his head and in appreciation said
Grace.

Hate is?

blog hate

Hate is like a piece of yeast.
It permeates and puffs up with satisfaction
It says, “I am right!”
I hold truth!
I carry all knowledge!
I will rebuke!
It wipes its mouth with a napkin
And still the juice runs
Hate dripping off chins
Spilling over into diaper bins
And storefront shelves
Magazine covers,
Fake news
Hatred from the SAME WOMB.

What words will we choose?
To
Soak
In
Kerosene
And engulf in flames
A big ball of detestation
Abomination

Hate picks apart a man born of a woman
It pins labels neatly on their chest
Or even discusses the cup size of her breast

Hate inspects with microscopes
And pulls apart the chambers of one’s heart
And looks for dirt
It gladly finds a few choice particles and cries
AHA!
And holds it in its fist
Towards the one who created the dust and says,
LOOK!
See what I found
IN THEM.
As if Yah could not see the grease and sludge pumping through our wings

Hate never brushes its teeth.
It calls throughout the streets
Looking for flaws in people

She’s too skinny
Too white
Too black
Too blue
Too conservative
Too liberal
That dress won’t do

New age
Snowflakes
Ignorance is bliss
You Baptist
You Messianic
You Stinkin
Methodist

You Muslim
You Kabbalist
You
Fat
Rich
Jew,
You Whore
You Bastard
You Pompous
Proud
Fool!

Hate is a Parade
Noisy and loud
Marching proudly down streets
Getting the attention of everyone it meets
Hate invites us to wear white
And enter buildings where good people go
As we stretch out our pocketbooks on the front row

Hate is quiet
It’s silence during a time of applause
It can’t stand or clap for those whom it hates
It can’t even acknowledge
A floral bouquet
Why is that?
Might the one we hate smell better than our scented stew?
Oh hate, please take a look at YOU!
Might their floral arrangement
Blossom
and
Bloom
With more color
More fragrance
More honey
More
bees?
Oh, hate let love bring you to your knees!

Hate will try and cover the good that we do
Hate twists its lips while it shifts with its eyes
Hate acts as if it has nothing to hide

Hate passes the poor in the poverty rich streets
And whispers I am better than thee
They did it to themselves
It’s their own damn fault
And hate tightens its purse
Its wallet won’t belch
It wraps its wool scarf around its stiff proud neck

Hate cannot waste even a dribble of spit
It doesn’t even move its teeth
To celebrate
Another’s life
It loves jealousy,
envy
and strife

Hate has seeped into our pores
Even in the silence
It snores
Loudly in the stillness
Hovering in the dark
Hate cringes at one single scented spark
Of love

It whispers words
Green tainted
Streaks
Soaked into our walls
Encased with Leprosy
As hearts are searching for one
Single
Tiny
Mistake
To
Grasp
And splatter across the front page
And why?
For the sake of making us taller?
Better
Holier
Than thou?
As if we had all the answers
Like Job’s best friends
As if we could enunciate His Name
And pretend
To have His
Dust on our shoes
As if we were the one who ran to the tomb
On resurrection morning

Hate invites
It makes a request
Come, join in the gossip
Slander
The ‘those people’ salute
No, I think I’ll pass this time
I’m going to the juke
I’ll Smoke another cigar
Pray with a sinner at the bar
For the hatred has spread even among the ones
Who
Say
God
Loves
You and me!
And when we bow in front of heaven
And we smile, and we say
I am not like them
I am better, you see?
More righteous
More holy
More pure
And our lips part to utter
Words

Empty
Painted
Words
Floating up
Laced with snuff
A Lingering
Garbage dump of
Words shut up in our bones
rotting

Let us stop
May we
Inspect our own fruit
May we inspect our love?
And the weight thereof
Weighing it against the hate that’s still pumping through our veins
And wash
And submerge
In the waters of the muddy Jordon
And allow Him to scrub us clean
And echo His Words
The one who bled and died
For
ALL
The wombs that ever came forth
And inhaled Eden
Or crossed the Reed Sea
And left Egypt for a mouth
Flowing with milk
And honey!

Oh, Love come and save us from our lips,

And burst forth like the light of Sabbath rising over the hills.

into our parched hungry souls.

Help us to become

Whole

Echad.

 

The Kidneys and the Ears

listennn

For thou hast possessed my kidneys: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 JB. “I shall bless Lord Jehovah who counsels me and my kidneys teach me in the nights.” Psalm 16:7 AB.

 

I’m five or six years old, and it hurts to breathe. I’m feverish. The doctor puts his stethoscope on my chest and tells me to take a deep breath’s, which is difficult. He removes his lighted earpiece and looks deep into my ear canal. He asked me if my ears hurt. I answer in shallow rasps. As he peers, he says something to me that today seems humorous. He says, “What have you been planting in there, corn or potatoes?” I sink down and become embarrassed that I have dirty ears. Forget that I’m dying. Not really, but you get the gist of the situation.

I was ashamed that I wasn’t clean. Of course, as I type this, I realize I have often had dirty ears. Yes, ears crammed and packed full of potatoes. He tells my mother I have asthmatic pneumonia; while I sit wondering in childlike fashion, what is growing inside my ear canal.

As I write this blog, my husband has eczema and is currently dealing with an itching ear. His left. I ponder a swab of olive oil on a Q-tip to soothe this. Later, I wonder if perhaps peroxide would bubble up and lessen the itch. After a week of constant irritation, today the doctor has sent out steroid drops to soothe this issue. I will close this blog with a scripture about itching ear words.

We have two ears and two kidneys. Hearing the most profound truth is attributed to the kidneys: “The Kidneys give advice” (Babylonian Talmud, Chulin 11a). Ancient Chinese medicine also connects the kidneys with the ears and our ability to hear.

Our ears and our kidneys look very similar. Slice a kidney in half, and you get this.

 

kidneyyy

 

 

We hear, but we do not listen. We talk, but we do not choose our words carefully.

The prophet explains our condition: “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. It was the sweet fat of the sacrifices. Our kidneys purify us. They separate the good from the bad.

“The position of the kidneys in the body makes them particularly inaccessible, and in cutting up an animal, they are the last organs to be reached. Consequently, they were a natural symbol for the most hidden part of a man (Psalm 139:13), and in Job 16:13 to “cleave the reins asunder” is to affect the total destruction of the individual (compare Job 19:27 Lamentations 3:13). This hidden location, coupled with the sacred sacrificial use, caused the kidneys to be thought of as the seat of the innermost moral (and emotional) impulses.” For more info on this topic click here.

“The Sages teach that:

  1. The kidneys advise us on what to do.
  2. ALL cognitive functions relating to making decisions occur in the heart and kidneys.
  3. NOTHING relating to this occurs in the brain. (see too Midrash Tehillim 14)
  4. One kidney advises to do good, one to do evil (this is presumably intended literally, since it is stated immediately next to the statement about the function of the organs).
  5. When God wants to judge whether we are good or not, He examines the heart and kidneys, not the brain.”

“ A person has two kidneys, one of which counsels him to do good, and the other counsels him to do evil. And it is reasonable that the good one is on his right and the evil one on his left, as it is written, “The heart of the wise man is to his right, and the heart of a fool is to his left.” (Talmud ibid.)

During the Jewish morning praises, there is a prayer called Nishmat or the breath of every living thing…It says this:

“For every mouth is in acknowledgement to You, and every tongue swears to You, and every knee bows to You, and every erect spine prostrates itself to You, and all hearts fear You, and all innards and kidneys praise Your Name, as it is written, “All my bones say, Who is like You, O God.”

Our kidneys AND BONES praise Him!

Science has discovered that hearing loss and moderate kidney disease are connected. Our kidneys filter our blood and remove toxins which go into our bladder and are excreted from our bodies. When they don’t work right, they can damage nerves and yes, hearing. Our Creator is perfect and each organ functions to cause a complete and perfect body. May His Body begin to function in the Spirit of truth, unity, and complete harmony as 1st Corinthians 12.

Our ears are like our hearts. Our hearts need the flesh cut off, and so do our ears.

To whom shall I speak and give warning That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed–And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them;They have no delight in it” (Jeremiah 6:10).

I once had a friend who would try and show me scriptures that I could not see. She spoke words that I could not hear. I heard her mouth moving and enunciating the scriptures, but someone had already stood in front of me year after year proclaiming a different picture. Her words were not worth hearing. I knew more. Her exhausted facial features expressed how ‘put out’ she was with me not hearing and receiving. No matter how hard she tried to open the verses up to me, I had dirty ears. I had potatoes in my ears. My kidneys and heart were not open to hearing her. I had kidney issues. I had heart issues. I had a pride issue.

This woman had no doctorate degree. She was sick. She wasn’t wealthy. Matter a fact she was quite the opposite. She wasn’t going to ‘church’ every week. I had been taught by men behind pulpits that sickness, poverty, and issues that were not positive were due to a person’s sins. They were out of church. They were perhaps not tithers. They were ignorant. Her explanations on His Feast & Sabbaths were interesting, but why would I listen to someone like her? She was in bondage. I was free (Sarcasm). James tells us to be quick to listen, but are we? Are we quicker to listen to those we esteem?

Last week, I walked out of our meeting, and the car parked next to ours had a license plate that said, “Listen.” This week’s Torah portion is not listen but Vaera which means “I appeared.” However, listening is the main theme of this portion. The Israelites would not listen to Moses. He had uncircumcised lips. Pharaoh would not listen. He had an uncircumcised heart. “But Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?” Exodus 6:12. Verse nine explains why their ears were shut. “Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor.” HCS.

Sometimes we have been through so much hell even a morsel of hope is not accepted.

When Yeshua spoke, many picked up stones. When Stephen spoke the people put their fingers in their already dirty ears, and they too picked up stones. Stephen told the complete Biblical account and ended with this…

“You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. “Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it” (Acts 7:51-53 NASB).

“He who turns away his ear from listening to the law (instructions), Even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9).

The prophet Isaiah when asked who will go to these people with hard hearts, says,  “Here am I. Send me!”

He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10 NASB).

Be healed from what? Diabetes? MS? Pneumonia?

No, something far worse. Kidney disease.

I’m going to close this blog with ears that itch. They itch to hear things. What type of things? Blessings, prosperity, honor of men, fame, mansions and everything good. No correction, no suffering, no poverty, no humbleness, nothing that would cause an ounce of repentance… only itching ear words that no matter how hard you scratch, cannot be soothed because the flesh is never satisfied.

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2nd Timothy 4:2-5).

I’ll continue to rebuke the false prophets and those who preach for filthy gain. I will continue to call out those who preach that His Feast and Torah are done away with. I will continue to stand with olive oil and peroxide, and I will try and clean my own ears.

 

Sources:

photo: Bonnie Manning

https://hods.org/pdf/The%20Question%20of%20the%20Kidneys%20Counsel.pdf

Biblehub.com

http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/05/kidney-summary.html

What’s New With Tekoa?

 

Welcome readers! I’m eager to announce my 7th release will be out soon! It’s been an exciting month and quite a journey. Doctrines of Demons #3 is going to be a book you’ll want to give to every fire-breathing dragon you meet 🙂  It’s a book that has taken a while to write and many hours of research. I can’t wait to get it in the hands of those who have always pondered the afterlife.

I began writing stories in my head and heart as a little girl. And, I did so daily, until one day in 4th or 5th grade. According to my teacher, my poem about spring wasn’t mine. She accused me of plagiarism– quite sure I had stolen a poem from Emily Dickerson. The teacher called a meeting with my mother, and a school counselor demanded to know the origin of the poem. I didn’t understand what plagiarism meant and I sure didn’t know Emily Dickerson; but, I did know that my poem caused my parents and teachers to be very upset with me. So, I stopped writing.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
Emily Dickinson

Flash to me at age thirty—I was a late bloomer entering college in the 90s. My wonderful English professor, who had a doctorate in English literature, told me I had a gift. She told me I was a writer. She encouraged me to enter a writing contest about women through the ages. And, I won. You can read that poem here.

Then, shortly before college graduation, I developed a debilitating neurological condition that caused me to lose my health, my job, and, ultimately, my home. What I gained was worth more than gold. It awakened me to my spiritual condition.

With my new found weakness and fatigue, I began to study scripture with binocular vision and soon my concordance fell apart. I also began to do what I wanted to do my whole life—write. I dug up spiral notebooks of stories I had started in the late 90s and with the encouragement and help from two dear friends, I finished both novels.

After two years, I was thrown into multiple ministries and completed my first teaching book, Doctrines of Demons Part #1. You can read a free chapter here. Part #3 will be released soon.

My husband and I started It’s All About Him because we have a desire to bind up the broken hearted. We want every word He has given us and all profit to go to the shattered, the hurt, and the sick, as well as, widows, orphans, and shut-ins. We also long to help homeless Veterans and those who have lost homes due to sickness, disease or addiction. And always, what are you, my readers, struggling with right now that needs hope, light, healing? Let’s encourage one another in this season and hold up weak arms.

Thank you for supporting our ministry, and allowing us to encourage and help others. We are so grateful for all of you who inspire and encourage us daily.

I was pleasantly surprised to be invited back on Renewed with Dr. Deborah Wiley and Kisha Gallagher.  Thank you ladies for the opportunity to discuss dreams and more on Hebrew Nation Radio. It was truly an honor.

A special thank you to Lynette Marie Smith and Tina Mackin. After much prayer, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised when The Father led not one, but two marketers to our weekly meetings. We have been so blessed by Lynette, a graphic design artist, and Tina, a communications consultant. Lynette has breathed fresh life into our Facebook pages and book design headers, while Tina has reworded my bio, giving my readers a greater understanding of my heart and my work.

 

Many Blessings and shalom!

Tekoa Manning

Purple TM Logo

 

Candy Apple Leaves

Yellowed candy apple leaves floated down the skies and melted into the grassy brown earth.

The wind sang in her ears.

It shrieked with delight, whipping and twirling more leaves, causing them to dance a forceful Allegro!

The sun crackled from a fire on the horizon, and her heart drank in winter like a warm chimney puffing softly in the folded hills that seemed to request snow.

Their bareness needed a covering.

Who made a storehouse for the snow?

It was the same one who opened the water spouts.

The same one who filled the womb.

His breath had filled everything with LIFE and was tossing up dead leaves to the wind.

She wrapped the scarf around her cheeks and felt guilty for loving the sandy beaches that left the soles of her feet as warm as her heart that burst at the sound of the ocean’s voice which was louder and grander than the greatest sound she had ever heard– minus the cries of her son’s taking their first breaths.

His VOICE!

He was born in November and tossed with gold. A grandson named Truth.

Such wonders untold.

Holding life in the palms of her hands.

Letting go of dead things.

Sweeping leaves up from her floor into heaps to burn.

Watching the faces of her son’s dream a dream, and seeing it come forth from the bitter bare hills of nothing.

Could something so warm be born in the month of Cheshvan?

Could a flood of water pour over her and her seed?

Although her legs felt like dead trunks, suddenly she could leap like a prima donna assoluta.

The sky opened its gates, and the birds all gathered in place.

They were as white as the snow that had started to fall in a steady rhythm.

The sound of stringed instruments and a fragrance of cassia, myrrh, and cinnamon bark dripped from the trees, and they began to bud with new leaves in the midst of winter.

Almond buds like cherry tree blossoms weighted down the arms of the trees, and she glided ever so softly into His hand, and He carried her to a quiet place.

“Rest my child,” He said, and this time she was obedient and did.

 

leaf yellowleaf

 

BOOK REVIEW: Walter – The Homeless Man by Tekoa Manning Best Blog India!

BOOK REVIEW: Walter – The Homeless Man by Tekoa Manning
November 2, 2017
@amanhimself  Link for Review

Walter Cover Final

Pages: 512, Paperback
Published: 2013 by It’s All about Him, Inc.
Cover Rating: 4/5

I am glad I got the chance to read this exceptional work. It is a wonderful feeling for a reader to read a book that has a strong on going plot with mature and very well build characters. This quality to be expressed in the form of writing is rare, and Manning has displayed this through her novel.

Walter: The Homeless Man is a story about a man in the sixties who has suffered a loss and is trying to avoid the pain that came afterward. He is on the run in a different town where he sleeps under the stars and in the day, breaks into a young widow’s home for shelter. Unknown to him, his routine touches every life in that home changes the course of their lives. A misunderstanding that is displayed in a fruitful manner starts another journey for Walter, that changes him for the good.

The plot of this book is smooth that possess a series of events happening one after the other in a manner of completing the puzzle. The theme touches include integrity of man, forgiveness, and redemption. The plot revolves around our protagonist, Walter but the two subplots that meet at a point do take a massive space inside the book. I like the way the author has entwined characters with plots and forming a perfect ending to the book. The plot has steady pace that grows further, and a reader would be able to finish this book into time. I was hooked by the plot, the characters, and the writing style, and regardless of its length, I did manage to finish it in two sittings.

The characters will take you on a journey and will make you feel and realize the themes I mentioned earlier this book covers. They are so realistic and developed without any complexity. Every character has something to show a reader how humane they are. This simple manner of developing strong characters did astonish me. Even more, often times a reader will find that these characters drive the plot forward. The narrative voice is good, and the dialogue formation is flawless.

The writing style smooth and simple and understandable. The author does try to let lose her characters at some point in time in the book, and it seems these characters have their own destiny and are controlled by it. I like the way she writes in a flow that seems satisfying for a reader like me to enjoy. I recommend this book to any reader who wants to enjoy a well-written book.

4 out of 5!

 

Why do you Speak to Him? (Doctrines of Demons #1)

Chapter 9

I remember the power that rang through the voice that was speaking to me and commanding Satan to turn me loose.  The large hand was placed on­­­ my forehead, and the prayer continued with more screaming at the enemy.  “Satan wants to take you out! He wants to literally destroy you, but he must bow!”

Sadly, I was suddenly feeling a little prideful that Satan wanted to obliterate me. Was I so anointed that he was on a mission to take me out?  No, I was just your ordinary follower of Jesus/Yeshua trying to live a holy (set apart) life.  I prayed. I read His Word, and I tried to live a life worthy of His commandments. This is hard enough to do in this day and time. But this Shepherd was telling my enemy to bow.  I wondered why I had never read of any great men of the Father in the Bible praying such a prayer.  Did they?  I began to study this and wore my small concordance out looking up every verse on the “father of lies.” Although I studied every scripture concerning him, in no place did I find that type of prayer. I hear so many today praying to Satan in the assembly.  I know that I have mentioned this in an earlier chapter, but the need for truth on this matter, especially in the charismatic church today is much needed.
I have heard many pray prayers that contain dialogue like this, “We bind you Satan, you must bow, and you cannot cross this bloodline.  Satan you are a liar and the father of lies.  Satan you are under my feet.”  Is he?  If he is, why does Paul warn that he roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour?  Again, If You bind him, how long is he bound?  What is he doing while you yell at him?

So back to the man praying over me, he continued with a great swelling boast: “I take authority over the powers of the airways, and I command you to take your filthy hands off of my sister…” Again, this didn’t sit well with me. If we had power over the airways, we could stop the missiles from hitting Israel. We could end wars. Well, you get the picture.

I was raised in a church with this particular teaching, but I have to tell you, I just don’t agree with it, and I don’t find it biblical.  Now once again I want to show you in the word of God, precept upon precept, and line upon line.  When we study the Bible both the Older and Newer portions, we have a complete picture of how the Godliest men and women fought their battles and nowhere did they converse with or curse Satan during those times.  Job didn’t. King David didn’t.  Moses didn’t, and neither did the mighty men and women of Jesus/Yeshua’s day.

After Paul and Silas are thrown in prison and beaten unmercifully, they didn’t curse Satan. They praised Adonai by lifting their voices and singing praises. Let’s read that account:  “A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” Acts 16:22-26 NLT.

No yells or threats made to Satan, but they do go on to lead the jailer to salvation.

Once when Paul was speaking to the church in Thessalonica he had this to say, “We wanted very much to come to you, and I, Paul, tried again and again, but Satan prevented us” (1 Thessalonians 2:18 NLT).  Let the scripture speak for itself. There is no record of him talking to Satan; he just says he was delayed. We also have to remember Satan means adversary or enemy.

Peter, chapter two, discusses false teachers and prophets that would be among us. Then the passage describes some of their characteristics: …  “Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality.  And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed, they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money.  But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed”  (2nd Peter 2:2-3 NLT).

Peter went on to explain just how corrupt these men are. “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.  But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;” (2nd Peter 2:10-12 NLT).

Jude had this to say: “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion and speak evil of dignities.  Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core” (Jude 1:8-11 KJV).

Jude uses three different people in the Bible to describe them. Cain who murdered his brother over the jealousy of Abel’s righteousness.  Next, he uses Balaam who would have cursed Israel for his greed if G-d had not stopped him and Korah who rose up against Moses and Aaron and tried to exalt himself in the camp. However, instead, the earth opened her mouth and swallowed him.
Now if angels don’t speak evil to Satan but say, “The Lord rebuke you.”  Should we not tread where we are ignorant?  And why should so much time be spent talking to the enemy? Wouldn’t it be better to cast out the demon and let the person who comes for deliverance get into G-d’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit? What power is there in repeating repetitious prayers to the enemy?  None. According to Peter, Jude, and many others, we don’t have any business doing that anyway. We just learned that men who do this are filthy dreamers–brute beast even. They are corrupt, filled with pride, arrogance, and ignorance.

Now in the Older Testament (Tanakh), there is a story about Daniel and his prayers getting through.  Daniel says a prayer during a twenty-one day fast, and an angel appears to him. Let’s look at that closely.

“Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven.  I have come in answer to your prayer.  But for twenty-one days, the spirit prince[c] of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way.  Then Michael, one of the archangels,[d] came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.[e]  Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come” (Daniel 10:12-14 NLT).

Now Daniel didn’t know there was a war in heaven for his words.  Daniel wasn’t commanding the Prince of Persia to bow. HaShem sent Michael the archangel to help this angel battle a General and ruler over Persia. The rulers at that time were fierce! Remember they threw Daniel into a den full of hungry lions. Think about world leaders for a bit and remove the focus from how it was explained to you by your pastor or priest.

Daniel pours his heart and soul out to God in chapter nine and ten. He humbles himself through prayer and repents for his nation and the people. He knew God had made a specific link between these seventy years in captivity and the number of Sabbaths they had missed. Just like the famous verse we quote so often in times of need, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
However, when we read verse ten, we understand the secret Daniel knew about this Prince of Persia.

(Jeremiah 29:10) “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place.”

Daniel knew that the time was getting close to being fulfilled. However, the Prince of Persia knew that as well. Earlier, in Daniel chapter five, we read about a feast put on by Belshazzar for thousands. Who was Belshazzar? He was a sixth century BC Prince of Persia.

“Belshazzar, when he tasted the wine, commanded that the vessels of gold and of silver that Nebuchadnezzar, his father, had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem be brought, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them” (Daniel 5:1-2. ASV).
He must have had a reason for drinking from those vessels at this time. And I am betting that he thought the seventy-year prophecy had passed and that he had been triumphant over Israel’s God.  Then the finger of Yahweh wrote upon the wall of his palace, Belshazzar died, and Babylon was taken over by the Persians. You can yell at Satan and Princes over territories, but ultimately God is in control and what moves God’s heart is prayer, fasting, and repentance like Daniel did.

I honor the ministers who are gifted and take on the foulest demons from hell, but at the same time, I think a lot of this doctrine needs light.  Conversing with Satan is not one of the ingredients for victory. Getting puffed up and shouting at a being G-d controls, created even, and uses for His purposes is not wise.
How do these ministers think that they have a right to make Satan bow when God has sent him? The pride of it all is baffling to me.  Paul had this to say about the wicked in the church who wouldn’t repent, “Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day the Lord returns” (1 Corinthians 5:5 NLT).  Do you knock on Satan’s door and say, “Hey buddy, I got a live one for ya!”   No, we have got to start thinking clearer about verses.
Satan shows up in the Newer Testament when the Spirit leads Yeshua into the wilderness to be tempted by him.  Ironic?  I think not.  Hopefully, you are getting a better understanding of your adversary.  Praying prayers where men and women of God shout at Satan is not mentioned in the Bible.  Yeshua gave us an example of how to pray.  He said to pray after this manner,

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:5-8 KJV).

Yeshua said to pray to be delivered from evil and for us not to be led into temptation.

In the Newer Testament, we hear about Satan or the Devil, our adversary, but not once do we hear anyone conversing or shouting at him.  Even when Yeshua was warning Peter about Satan, he didn’t say anything but the fact that Satan desired to have him.  Let’s read to get more understanding.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32 NLT).

Notice Satan had to ask Jesus/Yeshua if he could get permission to sift Peter.  Also, we notice by reading this that Jesus doesn’t say anywhere that He told Satan to flee or bow, but that He instead was praying for Simon Peter’s faith to be strengthened. He was praying for him to pass the test. Shouldn’t we follow the examples set before us in the scriptures? Talking to Satan is a waste of time and energy.  Just think you could be praising the King of Kings!   The book of James says this, “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 KJV).

 

How did the Yeshua converse with the devil when He was tempted in the wilderness?  Did He curse him and tell him to bow?  Did he tell him that one day he would be shut up in a pit and laugh at him? Again, no. He said, “It is written…” (Matt 4:4 KJV). Again, he said, “It is written….” (Matt 4:7 KJV).  “Get thee hence, Satan: For it is written….” (Matt 4:10 KJV).  In Luke, He says, “It is written…”, “It is said…”, “Get thee behind me Satan: for it is written” (Luke 4:4, 12, 8 KJV).
Yeshua fought his wilderness temptation with the Word.  The enemy will come to tempt us all, and the Holy Spirit will help us overcome, but it seems we do that by using the word of Adonai.

“…for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death”  (Revelation 12:11 KJV).

 

This is the scripture God gives us to follow. He said we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony.  If we keep talking to Satan and incorporating him into our day when things don’t go right, aren’t we really giving him attention and more credit than he deserves?

 

In the next chapter, we will look at how Satan has evolved over time and through literature.

demon book cover

 

 

1,000 Words

I am not sure when I started writing this poem or why or whose kitchen I stood in, but possibly it will help all of us think more about words. Ironically when I was finished, it had a word count of 1,000. I know with social media and texting we often take words wrong or quickly respond without thinking about our words. Even still, what if all the words we spoke about ourselves were tasted and measured?

Psalms–Tehillim 139:14 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) ” I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy ma’asim (works); and that my nefesh (soul) knoweth very well.”

I dropped words

They shattered on the floor.

Right in front of you

He dropped words, 22 letters crowned with Glory.

Splendor

Torah

Holding the cosmos together

I never meant for my words to fall, or me, for that matter.

But you didn’t seem interested in catching them.

His words sailed through the seas.

They were brightly colored blooms of an almond tree.

My words went soaring through your kitchen towards your heart.

You stood awkwardly and let them fall.

I held Words out for you in the palms of my hands.

Big pink balloon blossoms,

You pulled out a needle and popped them

You squinted your eyes, and then you twisted your mouth.

Yes, you released silent words in ways that needed no explanation.

I acted as if my words were not lying on your cold tile floor.

You stepped on two verses as you maneuvered to the coffee maker.

And flung a few careless words into the air.

Cream?

Sugar?

Not only did you not catch the ones I gave you.

Later you stopped sending any words at all.

The few that made it into your mouth you spat back out.

I tried to package mine better, and I held them in my mouth for a bit.

Measuring their worth before releasing them to you

I added hues of ruddy sunburst and hints of emerald green.

Tiny delicate touches to make the words kinder, sweeter.

I bounced words up and down like a basketball.

Then polished them up like golden apples.

But you kept looking for a worm.

Inspecting them for flaws

I extended them again.

Take these pretty words from me, I said

Yet they dangled there in mid-air

Words suspended with no one to grasp them.

Just hanging there like a dangling modifier.

And why?

Was there something so ugly inside of my soul that your eyes bore holes?

I left and came back another day.

I brought different words.

Yes, that day. . .

I held words in my fist.

I clenched them tightly to my chest and blew them into the air.

Into your face

I looked intently into your eyes.

Like a breath of wind, the words breathed

You made your face like stone and wrapped it in a marketed smile.

A fissure really

Like a pumpkin face

Perhaps you didn’t know how to taste the words I used from His Word?

The power of them is mightier than the sword.

Forged in fire and blasted with Ruach

Words

They are like the gilded wings of a bird taking flight.

Or

Like a wasp stinger embedded in our soul

We wad up words and layer them with love, judgment, and hate.

Then fling them in the face.

Or throw none at all.

To

try

and

Make

Each

other

Feel

small

Some words smell like a rotten corpse,

Lying naked on the floor

Other words float above like a tuft of cotton.

Our jaws can bring a stale perfume.

Thoughtless words dissipate before noon.

or

Words that linger on the surface

Words that rattle from a cage

Words that splatter candle wax

And words that type

tap

tap

tap

tap

Empty words from comic books and politicians with a hook

Words from the young still tainted with puffs of air, pride and sexual flair.

Words like magic carpet rides

And words like diamonds light up the skies.

Words as thick as molasses

Words that comfort heal and hold

Words that open doors and shut

Words from babes who utter sounds

And all the words that fell to the ground –

That no one caught or let soak in,

To lend an ear or be a friend

And all these words clutched in my fist.

I hope one day to breathe on paper and send words that sail the seas.

Words layered with Torah seeds and honey from bees.

Words that stand up tall and hold sounds

Words that were spoken on the Mount and words that cause fires to burst

Words that no longer can break or hurt

Or wound or tear

or make feel bare

Yes, Words that bring a shine.

Words that neither run nor hide

Nor bother to rhyme

Words that are tucked away in shoes

Standing on His Word

Words that form a song that soothes

And words that sing a halleluYah

Words that pump through my veins

For all, I have to give to you are words

I have no fortune; I have no fame,

All I have are these words in the palms of my hands

The ones I picked up off your floor

The ones I washed and prayed over again

I extend

With my frail limp hands

These

Words

Are

For

you

Please

Accept

My

gift

For it is all I have

To give

My Abba Father—

My best friend

The one who washed me with His Words

Like goat milk soap and the freshest rain

Like precious oil upon my head

His Words hold me still.

Help me heal

Turn my heart

Still my soul

Brokenness

Becomes

Whole

King David’s words helped me through many nights.

And Job’s words I carried in my lungs.

Yes, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

Songs from Solomon

And cries from Jacob.

Wisdom words marching with ants

Proverbial songs and stories that dance

I long to hear from you again.

Without your words, my heart feels bruised

My Abba’s Words are like aged wine.

That gets smoother all the time.

His Words I’ve wholly stored

Tucked and polished and hidden beneath

Inside my soul forever they keep

Like a river of never-ending love

Hold me up by Your Word.

Hold me up by Your Son.

Take my Words and wash them in Yours.

Take these words spilled on the floor.

And whisper to those who no longer speak.

Who step over the words I am trying to fly.

That I love them regardless of my inability to form one word to heal

To still

This

Storm . . .

Photo by Robonwriting.

1000 words

Elmer the Rich Man

elmer the rich man

 

 

Elmer Chastening stood atop a bluff overlooking his vast acreage. The velvet green rolling hills cascaded into the distance.  The tall pine trees breathed in deeply and exhaled into the misty fog beneath. The thick, dense forest stretched its arms and waited patiently for maturity. But Elmer didn’t see trees. His eyes saw crisp dollar bills waving in the breeze where leaves should have been. He would wait patiently for cutting the timber, as he had waited patiently for most of the things he valued in his life.

He was barely eleven years old when he’d learned to strap a yoke collar on a mule. Elmer remembered clearly the day his father had taken him down to Saline Clifford’s place and told him to get the mules hitched for plowing; he’d had a putrid hatred for heat, sweat, blisters, and the sound of his stomach demanding food that wasn’t there for the taking. No, he would never let that happen again. He couldn’t.

 

He wasn’t going to have one of his children walking to school with no shoes on, or worse, shoes so tight they rubbed the back of your heels until the flesh came clear off. “Why wear any shoes at all, thought Elmer?” Pride, he guessed. No, sir. His children might hate him for the workload he gave them, but he’d rather they did that then live with the humility he’d been cloaked with growing up.

 

Elmer owned a good deal of the small town of Heaping KY– if you didn’t count color town which ran clear across the other side of the tracks down Lewis Street. Most the white folks didn’t cross the tracks and seldom did a black man dare cross except to see a doctor, dentist, or the likes. The small town was seldom silent and almost never dull.
Heaping had been abundantly fertile to Elmer, just like his wife, Gladys. But life had not always been perfect, and Elmer had seen the effects of the Great Depression first hand, as he was born during the beginning of it.

 

Elmer had six children; all strong and of goodly countenance. War had taken its toll on a couple; but they sprang back like the elastic of a rubber band, sturdy yet versatile.
His wife, Gladice, was anything but giddy; although her name might suggest otherwise. No, she was serious and inquisitive, annoying at times even. Of course, he wasn’t the most comfortable fellow to get along with and could lose his temper over the smallest irritant. When this happened, he seemed to completely black out and become someone he was not even familiar with. It hadn’t been that long ago that he had taken a fresh green switch and beat one of his children until the blood sprang forth. Gladice had grabbed the switch and broke it in half. “Elmer stop!” she’d screamed.  “ELMER LOY CHASTENINGS you’re going to kill that child!” It was in that moment that he seemed to come crashing back into reality, and felt sure that the proverb that said “punish them with the rod and save them from death,” was not perhaps meant to be as forceful as he had taken it. He’d tried hard in the last couple years to stop disciplining them at all. He’d let Gladdy do that he thought. Yes. For Gladice’s words were like chicken soup– warm and nourishing to the soul, but his words tended to be more aptly described as tar trying to mix with water; hot and sticky, repellant even.
Gladice was a sturdy woman with broad shoulders and breast that had satisfied Elmer for over twenty-five years now. She had dark chestnut hair, thicker than the pines, and her eyes were as violet as an Aster bloom. She could outwork most men, and she cooked better than his mother ever did. Perhaps it was because there was plenty of food to be had in Heaping and an abundance on Elmer’s table–and he needed an abundance to keep all the mouths fed.
His son’s names and their order of birth are as follows– Elmer Almon jr, Samuel Wesley, Johnathan David, and Joe Dellas.  His last son, Clifton Robert, died of measles shortly after his first birthday. They would have grieved in anguish longer had it not been for the surprise of a daughter, their first, Katheleen Sophia, and then two years later Eva Victoria was born. She being the last of seven.
At night, after all the children were in their beds, Elmer would reach for Gladice, and she would lay listening to the sounds of mattress springs keeping rhythm with her husband’s body. She’d sigh softly wondering if this would be the last time her womb would fill up with life. Elmer figured the more children he had, the more workers and the more workers meant more money and money was his constant companion. The fear of never having enough was a restless irritant.

Yes, Elmer and Gladice were proud of their four sons and two daughters. The eldest was one of the most excellent men in town. Almon was a good shoulder above the rest of the boys and handsomely mysterious with his seaweed eyes and blondish auburn hair. Elmer put him in charge of the service station he’d opened last June. His charisma worked somewhat of a magic over the customers. They trusted Almon with their vehicles, the cost of repairs and the prices he quoted to them.  He had a  humble smile and what appeared to be a genuine concern for their pocketbooks. Many young men his age were moving to bigger cities to work in the automotive industry or factories that were popping up after the war, but Elmer wanted his children to stay in Heaping and Almon wouldn’t begin to know how to think for himself. No, that was something his father did for him. There was an understanding among the Chastening’s, and that was to never go against Elmer’s wishes or desires.
Heaping was growing for a town its size and Elmer saw to it that he was part of that growth. The station had been profitable, and he had hired a mechanic who was training his sons on all the repairs of the latest automobiles. Once Elmer felt secure with the first service station, he had plans to open another in the next town over.

Elmer sighed again as he looked over his land and thought about all the sweat and determination it had taken for him to become someone. Yes, he was someone now.  Elmer had made something of himself, and as you can imagine when Elmer walked down the streets of Heaping everyone knew who he was and what he was worth. Everyone in the town loved Elmer and used words such as good, kind, a man of God, a great father and husband, a loyal friend, easy going and even comical jokester was added at times. Yes, all these adjectives were used to describe the affections bestowed upon him.  After some time he acquired a nickname in the town of Heaping. There was Charlie, the milkman, Frank the postman, Connie the beautician, Lane the tailor and the townspeople referred to him as merely, “Elmer, the rich man.” Just the sound of it tickled his ears and made his chest puff out further. “Elmer the rich man,” he spoke into the thick air of the morning. His eyes twinkled. He clicked his teeth making a tweak, tweak, click, click sound and kicked up his heels. He counted the coins in his left pocket as he walked down the hill with a sass in his step.

Elmer loved to count things. Nothing was ever wasted in his sight. If extreme was what Elmer wanted than extreme is what he got. He prided himself in having the same car for almost fifteen years. Of course, he had splurged on a new 47 Cadillac, with white wall tires. It was pearly cream in color, but he’d never driven further than the church house and back home in it–Kept it clean and waxed and covered. Everything was measured in worth here at the Chastening’s home. To get something new for a Chastening was a rather peculiar occurrence and yet their house stood higher than anyone’s in the town. Sunday morning attire was the finest to be had, and even his daughters were cloaked in satin and silk. Come Monday it was back to basics and cutting corners to squeeze a dime out of a nickel.

Elmer didn’t trust banks and although he had a large sum in the First Bank of Heaping. He also had quite a few coffee cans hidden in the barn, among other precarious places.

 

Elmer’s front porch wrapped around the house and stood tall from the Corinthian columns that lined the front. The inside was even more breath-taking. The spectacular circular staircase greeted guest at the entrance, and the woodworking was impeccable. Dust did not have a chance to settle in Elmer’s home because he was a perfectionist. Each lamp, crystal vase, and gilded gold picture were placed just so–causing the light to catch the eye and leaving one mesmerized by the beauty of the objects. But like all houses which kept their tenants sheltered underneath their dwellings, their occupants carried secrets–secrets the window curtains tried to cover with their heavy tapestries. Secrets the birds knew that chirped outside in spring and secrets that were forbidden to be discussed for fear that once the words were spoken their power would destroy every occupant. Each family member knew that speaking these secrets would forever change the course of history and then everything the occupants were trying to hold together would collapse. Implode, and erupt.
And. . . Even the biscuits and redeye gravy seemed to try and cover them like a thick coating that stuck to their insides and stopped the pain from seeping out. Sticky jams and marmalades drenched in butter churned and beaten covered them. Sometimes the secrets were covered by music, laughter, and even a taste of wine or sherry on occasion, but mark my word they lingered like the smell of eggs after a boil. Putrid and rotten. Even the fans and the perfume couldn’t escape them. Yes, the Chastening’s had their own demons to deal with, but we’ll get to that later. As for now in our story, Elmer has just left gazing over the land he owns and has just kissed his wife, tickled the youngest Victoria in the ribs and grabbed his coat and hat.
It’s Monday morning in the town of Heaping and Elmer is getting ready to drive into town and check on his Service Station and his saw mill.  He’s about to get inside his car, the one he drives everywhere, not the one for show. Indeed, that’s really where our story begins, because Elmer Chastening routine is getting ready to become significantly altered and the choices he makes will forever change his path, and I would assume your path as well.  If I could oblige you to bend your ear for a moment, I’d like to tell you the story of Elmer’s predicament and how it came about. Perhaps, I’ll articulate it well enough to leave just a touch of Elmer’s fingerprints upon your soul?

If you ever find yourself in Heaping KY, look for the flagpole on Taylor Street and turn right at the service station. Follow the light post and the road that winds and curves down Boulder street and just to your left; you’ll see a road tucked back behind some trees, a road named after the very folks who live there, The Chastenings. If you walk up the exquisite porch and take a hand to the brass knocker on the cherry red doors, you might just meet Elmer’s wife, Gladys. If she invites you for tea, which more than likely she will because that’s just her nature, do try and study the creases right above her temple area and the violet of her eyes that now has softly faded. And after you dip your silver spoon into her rose covered teacup and taste of the orange Asberry spice with ginger, do gaze out the sitting room, past the redwoods, and down the hill. There you’ll see a large oak tree with some carvings dug neatly into its skin and six steps beyond lies a secret box buried deep beneath the earth. A box filled with secrets that were never meant to be dug up. . . Or buried for that matter. Buried secrets cause the most disparagement. For even though they may lie quietly at the bottom of the sea, their spirits walk amongst us.

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 huge 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 did He has 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 in 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.

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