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  However, I had a chapter from my memoir (Still unpublished) titled “Can You Drink this Cup?”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

 

 

 

 

Do we hate Him?

 

Image result for free dove photo

“Though you have slept among the sheepfolds (the sheepfolds, שְׁפַ֫תָּ֥יִם Strong’s Hebrew 8240: fireplaces, ash heaps), yet shall you be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold” (Psalm 68:13, KJ).

Recently, I received an urgent prayer request for a little girl who is three years old. She was rushed to the hospital with a fever, the inability to breathe on her own, and a bleeding heart. We later learned that this precious girl named Kabreeyah (He will be Praised) had a heart murmur, and a rare condition called Cor Triatriatum. She had an extra layer of skin that needed cut from her heart. It is here that I must ask a serious question: Do you and I have a layer that needs cut from our hearts too? During this blog, I pray a spiritual scalpel knife will cut away our flesh nature. It may hurt, but afterward, we will be free.

 

What is Cor Triatriatum?

“First reported in 1868, cor triatriatum, that is, a heart with 3 atria (triatrial heart), is a congenital anomaly in which the left atrium (cor triatriatum sinistrum) or right atrium (cor triatriatum dextrum) is divided into 2 compartments by a fold of tissue, a membrane, or a fibromuscular band.”

Once I learned of this heart condition it reminded me of another condition.

“So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer” (Deut. 10:16).

To add to this story, after the child came through surgery, she was to remain sedated for three days. I was suddenly thinking of Yeshua in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, and His blood that covered all our sins. We often get caught up in knowledge and forget about blood and blood covenants. But before we dig into this blog, I am pleased to tell you Kabreeyah is doing well. Praise the Yah in her name.

awake

There are many incredible women in the Bible. Some of them we glance over while reading without thinking much about their tenacious spirits or their holy acts. One woman helped save a whole nation from bondage in Egypt by sparing her husband’s life. Her name is Zipporah which means ‘bird.’ She is found at a well trying to draw water among evil shepherds. They are harassing her as Moses comes to her rescue.

Zipporah was the 7th daughter of Jethro. The number seven represents order, completion and rest. The very root of her father’s name means to be at rest, but the definition of his name means ‘remnant.’ Hmm, a remnant at rest.

Zipporah is remembered as the wife who circumcised her oldest son or son’s so that the Father would not slay her husband. She is also known due to Aaron and Miriam calling her a Cushite (Dark) woman. Could it be possible, that in this one short story, the whole Biblical journey of redemption is hidden–hidden like the dark name Cush? Hidden like the Holy Set-Apart Spirit. Hidden like Moses in the Ark among the Sea of Reeds?

“And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married; for he had married a Cushite woman” (Numbers 12:1, NASB).

Cush or Kush is thought to be the land of Ethiopia.

“The first part of our name Ethiopia is thought to derive from the verb αιθω (aitho), meaning to light up or kindle. The related adjective αιθος (aithos) means shining or blazing, and αιθοψ (aithops; also containing οψ, ops) means fiery-looking or sparkling. The ethnonym Ethiopian means Fiery Eye and implies Bright Eyed or Keen of Vision.” Abarim Publications.

Possibly, at this point, you are seeing how this woman, Zipporah, represents the Holy Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)?

“Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the LORD met him (Moses or his son?) And sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, “You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.” So He let him alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood”—because of the circumcision” (Exodus 4:24-26, NASB).

There are several different opinions on the matter. Some believe it was his oldest son who was going to be killed. Others believe that Moses was busy with lodging arrangements and his appointed task, and he failed to circumcise his sons.

“Rabbi Shimon Ben Gamliel, assumes that the resolution of the episode, the circumcision of the child, is intrinsically related to the entire event. According to this opinion, the intended victim is not Moses but his son. While this would clarify the identity of the victim, the motive for the attack remains obscure. When we recall the context, the discussion of the death of the first-born of Egypt, the threat of a child’s death becomes more intelligible — Moses’ hesitation in coming to redeem the people indicated some type of indifference to the nation described as “the first born of God.” Therefore, Moses’ own first-born is in peril.” Aish.com.

Why do we need to reflect on circumcision and our hearts?

“Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” 10but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face” Duet 7:9-10).

Ouch! Sadly, we can think we love Adonai and that we are keeping His Commandments but instead we may actually hate or despise Him. How can that be?

Dr. Skip Moen explains this better than I can in his blog titled “Esau have I Hated.”

“Hatred” and “despise” are from the same Hebrew root, sane. To hate describes an emotional reaction of repulsion. In this state, a person wishes only to keep distant from the offense or the offender. Hate entails distance. It is just the opposite of love which brings about the desire for closeness. When the word is used in the Tanakh, it is often associated with idolatry, opposition, aversion, and ill-will. In this regard, the verb describes a reaction rather than a causative action. Something or someone acts in such a way that we react with a strong emotional rejection.”

Notice the word distance. This happens in our relationship with Him and with our family, and our brothers and sisters. That’s why it is always good to reach out to someone who has hurt you or someone you have hurt. If not, distance happens.

Image result for free hurt crying photo at love pic

In Revelation, Yeshua warns us to come back to our first love. He tells one church that he has this against them, they have lost their first love. They have distanced themselves and possibly you, and I have too? Desensitization and the things of the world can damage our love.

Zipporah says, “A bloody husband–A bridegroom of blood.”

Is our Father a bloody Husband? Let’s go deeper.

A blood covenant was not to be annulled. This very ancient covenant was given in Genesis 15. Abram brings a heifer, a goat, and a ram three years old. He also carries a turtledove and a pigeon. He splits each down the middle except the birds. It’s a cutting— a covenant. Think of a virgin on her wedding night and the blood—two becoming one. The husband carries his bride over the threshold.

The Father told Abram that his descendants will be strangers in a land and mistreated for hundreds of years, but He explains that He will judge that nation and free them by sending Zipporah’s husband.

When the sun had set, and darkness had fallen, behold, a smoking firepot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the halves of the carcasses. On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram” (Gen. 15:17-18). This should remind us of Passover and the blood on the doorpost.

On Sinai, God made a covenant with His people Israel. All the people swore to uphold their part of the agreement by being obedient to God’s commandments and instructions. There are blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. We are to act in such a holy manner, we become priest, but we can’t do that if we hate Adonai or our brothers and sisters.

Paul writes letters to Corinth and the assembly there, and he speaks to immature people. He even confronts the leadership to throw some out who claim to keep this covenant.

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?” (I Cor. 3:1-3).

Paul becomes highly sarcastic, and in irony, he speaks more. Before posting Paul’s (Sha’ul’s) words, I want to add a snippet from Gill’s commentary.

They were not full of Adonai, and divine things; nor of Christ (Messiah), and of grace out of his fullness; nor of the Holy Spirit, and of faith, as Stephen and Barnabas are said to be; nor of joy and peace in believing; nor of goodness and spiritual knowledge; but they were full of themselves, and were pulled up in their fleshly minds with an opinion of their abilities, learning, oratory, and eloquence, of their ministers, and of their own great improvements in knowledge under their ministrations. They fancied they had got to a perfection in knowledge and were brimful of it; and as the full stomach, from which the metaphor is taken, loathes the honeycomb, so these persons loathed the apostle’s ministry, and the pure preaching of the Gospel; imagining that they had attained to something above it, and stood in no need of it; when, alas! they were but babes, children in understanding, and needed milk instead of strong meat; so far were they from being what they thought themselves to be.”

Oh, friends! We can be right here and not even know it. We can pass by a mirror and not even see our true reflections.

I think you will be surprised by Paul’s words and his description of what it is like to take up a cross and follow Him. Before you read his words that cut as sharply as the surgeon’s tools on a three-year-old child, imagine him speaking it to your assembly. Can you imagine what the people would say?

He says in sarcasm,

“You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you. 9For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor. 11To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; 12and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure; 13when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.” (I Cor. 4:8-13).

He says he did not write this to SHAME them! He continues in chapter five with removing people from among them. Is that loving? Some would say, no. Matter a fact; some wouldn’t dare speak this raw truth. Where are the apostles? We need them in the body more than ever. Where are His prophets who hate sin and see the greater issues? Maybe I sound a tad strong or judgmental? I’m asking leadership to start  praying for the Father to send them to your assemblies. Look out among you and pray.

Let’s read more of Paul’s words that cut.

“I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.” I Cor 5:9-13, NASB).

He tells the people in chapter six not to be bound up with unbelievers. He asked them a question: What does light have in common with darkness?

This covenant is serious business.

I want to wrap this up with a closer look at the names of some of the key players and a closer look at our hearts.

The daughter of Pharaoh is named Bithiah. Strangely this Egyptian princess has a name that means, “Worshipper of Yah or daughter of Yahweh.” She, like Ruth, has cut a covenant with Adonai. She goes against her father’s wishes to kill the Hebrew boys and spares Moses. This woman draws Moses out of the ark (basket). Later on in our story, the Torah will be given to Moses, and he will place it inside the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark is the heartbeat of the tabernacle. This golden chest with its hidden Torah is to be circumcised on our hearts. It is more precious than GOLD.

“Yet shall you be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.”

The worshippers of Yah draw out water from His Torah. The Torah is an abundant fountain of water. Yeshua even informs a woman at a well that if she had but tasted His living water, she would never thirst again.

What are you thirsty for today? Fame, fortune, a spouse, a number one best seller like Paul’s letter here that was written in chains in a prison cell? His living springs bring more refreshing than any silver or gold. His sweet water and Holy breath are greater than any accomplishments, accolades, riches, or kingdoms of this world.

We are peculiar people. We should look and act differently. We should eat differently. Our clothing should be modest. We should celebrate differently. We have a different calendar. We are to speak words of life. We do not look like the world, and that is exactly what perks their appetite. Without Him in our lives, we are just drinking bitter water and complaining and searching for things that can never fill us up.

Oh, Abba cut me!

CUT ME!

Cut the fleshly skin from our hearts!

Image result for scalpel photo at love pic

“The Rabbis applied to the daughter of Pharaoh the verse from the “Woman of Valor” poem “She sees that her business thrives; her lamp never goes out at night” (Prov. 31:18). In the Midrashic exposition, the “night” in this verse is that of the plague of the firstborn, in which all the firstborn of Egypt died. The female firstborn also died in this plague, with the exception of the daughter of Pharaoh. Despite her being a firstborn, Moses was an advocate for her, and she was saved by merit of his prayer. Solomon, therefore, declared (Prov. 31:18): “She sees that her business thrives [ki tov],” since “ki tov” is an appellation for Moses, of whom it is said (Ex. 2:2): “she saw how beautiful [ki tov] he was.”

Noah’s Ark comes from Strong’s 8352 ‘tebah’ in Hebrew, and it is the same word used for Moses basket. Noah’s Ark saved eight souls and protected them from the judgment. Babies are circumcised on the 8th day, so why wouldn’t the man who the Father is sending to free His chosen people, why wouldn’t that man, Moses, circumcise his son or sons? One son is named Gershom (Exiles) or (stranger in a strange land). NOBSE Study Bible Name List Eliezer as God Is Help.

“Note the (assumed) phonetic similarity between the word עזר (azar) meaning help, support, and עשר (‘eser), meaning ten; to a Hebrew audience, the name Eliezer may have sounded like God’s Ten.” Abarim Publications.

And here we see the lost tribes of Israel needing the Holy Spirit (a pretty little bird) to bring them back into His covenant. A little bird, like a dove, descended on the spotless Lamb as he came forth out of the water.

After a bloody death on the cross, the lost sheep of Israel were able to come back into His covenant. He ascended to the heavens, and they waited for the promise, the comforter, the Holy Spirit, the dove, which was poured out at Shavuot.

 

Zipporah’s name means bird—(Holy Spirit)

Moses name means (He Who Extracts, or He Who Draws Out Of The Waters).

Moses mothers name, Jochebed, means YHWH, the Name of the Lord.

Jethro (Zipporah’s father) a remnant at rest.

The Father of Glory wants to live inside or dwell inside our temples. Our temples are supposed to be filled with His Spirit, lit with His menorah, and full of His Bread of life, giving a sweet smelling incense. May the Master surgeon take His Spirit and His scalpel and cut away our flesh, so we can live and draw water from His well.

“Then you will say on that day,

“I will give thanks to You, O LORD

For although You were angry with me,

 

           Your anger is turned away,

           And You comfort me.

2“Behold, God is my salvation,

I will trust and not be afraid;

For the LORD GOD is my strength and song,

And He has become my salvation.”

 

3Therefore you will joyously draw water

           From the springs of salvation.

 

4And in that day you will say,

           “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name.

           Make known His deeds among the peoples;

           Make them remember that His name is exalted.” (Isaiah 12:1-4).

Willy Wonka Meets Joni & Job, Soul Shine Part VI

Image result for willy wonka golden ticket

We ended our last entry looking at two people, Hellen Keller and Nick Vujicic. In this section, we will look at Job, his four friends, and a woman who has inspired me numerous times. But before I lose half my audience, let me say, I do love researching good health and natural medicines. I love the plants and seeds our Father created in all their wonder!

 

“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” (Genesis 1:29, ESV). The Bible lists many healthy foods and tips for healing. Song of Songs has various oils and healing properties associated with them, and Deuteronomy can also teach us what there is to eat from in a good land.

No matter what we do to stay fit and care for our temples, these temples will never walk through walls like our Messiah nor will they dine with Him until ‘That Day.’

Paul also tells us that “just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:42-49), and John tells us that “when he appears we will be like him, because we will see him as he is.

But until then, we have pain, suffering, and death. (Romans 8:18, ESV) “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

sun rising

But until That Day, pain comes in many forms. Some of us get a taste of multiple layers of pain like an onion. There is pain that cuts our teeth, as we grind in our sleep. There’s suffering that knocks the breath out of us. Old age–creaking pain that bends backs over. Pain that chews our inner cheeks and nails down. Pain that oozes out of our hearts like blood and stains our clothing. Pain that keeps our minds occupied in the night. Pain, due to stiff necks–prideful pain of bitterness.

The pain of divorce, abandonment, losing loved ones, rejection, losing a spouse or a child, or both. There is the pain of homelessness while living inside a house where no one communicates except through anger, silence, and unforgiveness. We have trauma triggers, Soldiers suffering from wars, poverty and so on. No one reading this is getting out alive.

 

Pain shouts. It shrieks, it even roars, but there are treasures hidden inside of it.

 

TREASURES!

 

“TV NEWSMAN: And now, details on the sudden announcement that has captured the attention of the entire world. Hidden among the countless billions of Wonka Bars are five gold tickets. And to the five people who find them will come the most fabulous prize one could wish for: a lifetime supply of chocolate.”

“SOMEDAY SWEET AS A SONG

     CHARLIE’S LUCKY DAY WILL COME ALONG

     ‘TIL THAT DAY YOU’VE GOTTA STAY IN STRONG, CHARLIE

     UP ON TOP IS RIGHT WHERE YOU BELONG

LOOK UP CHARLIE

   YOU’LL SEE A STAR

     JUST FOLLOW IT AND KEEP YOUR DREAM IN VIEW

     PRETTY SOON THE SKY IS GONNA CLEAR UP CHARLIE

     CHEER UP, CHARLIE, DO

     CHEER UP, CHARLIE

     JUST BE GLAD YOU’RE YOU.”

 

Cheer up, Job, cheer up, pretty soon the sky is gonna clear up. Just be glad you’re you.

 

The Creator of All told a man sitting in ashes scraping his sores with broken pottery to pray for his healthy ‘friends’ to be healed of a heart condition. Job’s pain had become a jawbreaker, a gobstopper, but the sky was getting ready to clear up.

gobstoppers

 

Read chapters 38-42 of Job (Lyov) when you have time, but let’s look at a few verses where the Voice of Mighty (YHWH יהוה) thunders!

 

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,

2“Who is this that darkens counsel

           By words without knowledge?

 

3“Now gird up your loins like a man,

            And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!

 

4“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?

           Tell Me, if you have understanding,

 

5Who set its measurements? Since you know.

           Or who stretched the line on it?

 

     6“On what were its bases sunk?

           Or who laid its cornerstone,

 

7When the morning stars sang together

And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

 

8“ Or who enclosed the sea with doors

When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb.

When I made a cloud its garment

And thick darkness its swaddling band,

 

10And I placed boundaries on it

And set a bolt and doors,

 

11And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther;

And here shall your proud waves stop’?

 

12“Have you ever in your life commanded the morning,

           And caused the dawn to know its place,

 

13That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,

           And the wicked be shaken out of it?

 

14“It is changed like clay under the seal;

And they stand forth like a garment.

 

15“From the wicked their light is withheld,

And the uplifted arm is broken.

 

16“Have you entered into the springs of the sea

Or walked in the recesses of the deep?

 

17“Have the gates of death been revealed to you,

           Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?

 

18“Have you understood the expanse of the earth?

Tell Me, if you know all this” (Job 38:2-18, NASB).

WOWZER!

 

The Book of Job is an ancient piece of comparative theology and a deep well of wisdom to glean from. By the time Job, a blade of grass, a worm, stood before the Mighty YAH, he was seeing himself for the first time in the light of how small and insignificant his knowledge and understanding were.

 

“ 1Then the LORD said to Job,

2“Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?

Let him who reproves God answer it.”

 

3Then Job answered the LORD and said,

 

4“Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?

I lay my hand on my mouth.

 

5“Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;

Even twice, and I will add nothing more.”

 

6Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm and said,

 

7“Now gird up your loins like a man;

           I will ask you, and you instruct Me.

 

     8“Will you really annul My judgment?

           Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?

 

     9“Or do you have an arm like God,

           And can you thunder with a voice like His?

 

10“Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity,

And clothe yourself with honor and majesty.

 

11“Pour out the overflowings of your anger,

And look on everyone who is proud, and make him low.

 

12“Look on everyone who is proud, and humble him,

And tread down the wicked where they stand.

 

13“Hide them in the dust together;

Bind them in the hidden place.

 

14“Then I will also confess to you,

That your own right hand can save you” (Job 40:1-14, NASB).

job 2

 

Can you imagine? Do you tremble when thinking about what it would feel like to stand before HIM and hear the voice of thunder proclaim the message above while shaking in sackcloth and covered in sores? And I didn’t even touch the length and depth of suffering in the previous chapters.

Job is sitting in ashes scraping his boils. He has watched his life and identity collapse in front of him. His friends accuse and judge him wrongfully while giving him useless advice. They are scholars. His children are dead, and his wife tells him to curse God and die.

Suddenly, this man Job has eyes to see and healing to meet.

Abba speaks to him and tells him something unique. He informs him He has wrath for his friends, but first let’s look at how Job answered the Mighty King and Creator of ALL THINGS!

 

1Then Job answered the LORD and said,

2“I know that You can do all things,

And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

 

3‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’

“Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,

Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”

 

4‘Hear, now, and I will speak;

I will ask You, and You instruct me.’

 

5“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;

But now my eye sees You;

 

6Therefore I retract,

And I repent in dust and ashes.”

Wow, I want to repeat one sentence– read it slowly with me.

“I have heard of YOU by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees you;”

Oh, Abba help us all!

 

It came about after the LORD had spoken these words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. 8“Now, therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” 9So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job.

A sick, broken man scraping PUS, who has lost it all, is going to pray for the intellectuals— and they are going to make sacrifices.

We must rethink what we know. After losing his cattle, sheep, donkeys, servants, and children, this man does something unthinkable.

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 He said,

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

And naked I shall return there.

The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

The epistle, James, tells us that Job was an example of how to endure trials, and According to Abarim publications, “Bildad the Shuhite probably had something to do with Baal, and Bel centered theology, and young Elihu, son of Barachel of Buz of Ram, probably represented the El cult of Canaan. Job’s friend Eliphaz the Temanite was roughly a contemporary of Eliphaz, the son of Esau, and the father of Teman. In that particular model, Job would represent a proto-form of Hebraic Yahwism, whereas Eliphaz would represent the belief system of Edom at large. Note that both Job and Eliphaz lived in Edom — Job in Uz and Eliphaz in Edom’s capital Teman — and the friendly friction between Job and Eliphaz may, in fact, be a re-visitation of the brotherly friction between Jacob and Esau.” Click Here.

But let’s continue pealing the onion and look at a woman with a heart for Him regardless of suffering. This next lady is an inspiration for us all.

I watched a show years ago on TBN where a woman gave her testimony, and at the end of the show, the host wanted to pray for Abba to raise her up out of a wheelchair. She said, “That’s great; I’ll take any prayers I can get, but pray for my heart to be right, pray for me to forgive quickly and be used for his glory… I’m paraphrasing, but I never forgot her; her name is Joni.

When I think about Joni Eareckson Tada, my heart wants to burst. A teenage dive into shallow water goes wrong. “She suffered a fracture between the fourth and fifth cervical levels and became a quadriplegic (or tetraplegic), paralyzed from the shoulders down.”

A woman with no ability to use her arms has written over 40 books.

A golden ticket!

“Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.” Willy Wonka.

Back in the day, Joni learned to write with a pen between her teeth and paint with a brush there as well. For me to list all her accomplishments and works would take up this whole blog post, but I’ll share a few.

Image result for joni eareckson tada

Tada founded Joni and Friends in 1979, an organization to “accelerate Christian ministry in the disability community”[5] throughout the world. In 2007 the Joni and Friends International Disability Center in Agoura Hills, California, was established. The Joni and Friends International Disability Center runs a multi-faceted non-profit covering a number of program outlets. The longest running program is “Joni and Friends Radio” and can be heard each weekday on over 1,000 broadcast outlets. Tada also records a one-minute radio broadcast “Diamonds in the Dust” that airs daily.[7] Other Joni and Friends programs include Family Retreats (a camp/retreat experience for families affected by disability),[8] Wounded Warrior Getaways (which offer a similar experience for families of Wounded Warriors),[10] and Wheels for the World (collects manual wheelchairs and other mobility devices which are refurbished by volunteers in prison restoration shops then shipped overseas where the wheelchairs are fitted by physical therapists to people in developing nations).”

What would possess a person to help so many suffering souls? What would cause a person to refurbish wheelchairs and help wounded warriors?

Another wounded warrior!

A diamond in the dust.

She could have wallowed in pity and defeat but what amazing accomplishments she has acquired while running her race to get the gold. Her paintings and words help heal many who walk upright and use hands and feet and limbs that work perfect! She is running even though she cannot stand.

“GRANDPA JOE:

     I NEVER THOUGHT MY LIFE COULD BE

     ANYTHING BUT CATASTROPHE

     BUT SUDDENLY I BEGIN TO SEE

     A BIT OF GOOD LUCK FOR ME

 

     ‘CAUSE I’VE GOT A GOLDEN TICKET

I’VE GOT A GOLDEN TWINKLE IN MY EYE

 

  I NEVER HAD A CHANCE TO SHINE

     NEVER A HAPPY SONG TO SING

     BUT SUDDENLY HALF THE WORLD IS MINE

     WHAT AN AMAZING THING

 

 ‘CAUSE I’VE GOT A GOLDEN TICKET.”

 

“The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. 11 Then all his brothers and all his sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversities that the Lord had brought on him” (Job 42:10-11, NASB).

May He restore us. May we use our teeth, our thumbs, ears, every part of our body that will function because all the parts of the body joined together is like a well oiled machine.

Blessings, Tekoa!

Part #1 HERE

Part #2 HERE

Part # 3 HERE

Part # 4 HERE

Part #5 HERE

Sources:

Willy Wonka:

http://wonkadotcom.tripod.com/script.html

Abarim Publication: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Job.html#.XDIIAE3sbUg

The Candy Man: Sammy Davis Jr.

Joni Eareckson Tada: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joni_Eareckson_Tada

Photos of Job: http://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/job/

Photo of Joni: Ambassador Advertising

Various photos of movie: Google

Willy Wonka and Soul Shine Part V

What can healthy people learn from the chronically ill or those with disabilities?  I want to show you something extraordinary, but you’ll have to take some advice from Willy Wonka and his fantastic quote.
‘Strike that, now reverse it!’

Roald Dahl, the author of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, has many hidden gems– so many indeed, I’ll be sprinkling them throughout.

Yes, strike out what you’ve been programmed to believe and reverse it.
Grandpa Joe, in the movie Willy Wonka, got out of his sick bed when his grandson received a golden ticket, but I have some dear friends right now with ALS, MS, RA, etc. that haven’t been able to get out of bed for months—can’t feed themselves, bathe themselves, wipe their __ themselves. Unless Yeshua walks into their rooms and heals them, they are going to be gathered with their loved ones sooner than later. And HE can, but He hasn’t yet.

No golden ticket, Charlie.

I have another friend with RA that has been in a nursing home bed over a decade—a decade in bed, but she has ministered to me during some of my darkest hours. She ministers from a bed of suffering typing text on good days with her pinky fingers as her other ones are like crinkle French fries.

time

“Time is a precious thing. Never waste it.” Willy Wonka.

But I ask, which person would waste more time, a person disabled or one with good health? All of us are prone to waste precious time, but I think you’ll be amazed at some of the people I cover in this post. Many of them could have consumed their whole lives in pity, anger, doubt, and fear, but instead ministered and still are ministering to the masses. They don’t have long healing lines wrapped around buildings. They don’t make millions or own jets, but what they have sparkles and shimmers from the inside–out.

“Where is fancy bred? In the heart or in the road?” Willy Wonka.

I asked the Father some questions the other day. Perplexing questions. I was feeling overwhelmed by the many sick people He has sent across my path, and also not having the time or strength to be there for them like I want to be. Many times, I talk to the Father but don’t get a quick response, but that day He astounded me.
That day, multiple blogs, memes, and posts on social media were upsetting me, but not just me, friends as well. I’ll give a couple of examples:
“Start each day with a jog–eat these foods instead of these–motivate yourself, make kale chips, take a yoga class, gets some CBD oil/ essential oil, water mineral drops, bone broth, etc.”
Sometimes healthy people upset sick people, and sometimes sick people frustrate the healthier ones, especially those who’ve conquered obesity, Cancer, thyroid issues and the list goes on. They want to fix us.

While meditating, Suddenly, I heard this in my spirit.

 

 

“Nick Vujicic wouldn’t have the ministry he does encouraging people if he had limbs.”

Immediately there Nick was before me smiling.

legless man
I meditated on that for a bit. If you don’t know who Nick is, He is one of seven known cases in the world of people born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of arms and legs. ” According to his autobiography, his mother refused to see him or hold him when the nurse held him in front of her, but she and her husband eventually accepted the condition and understood it asGod’s plan for their son.”

His bio is long, but here’ a snippet.

“Since his first speaking engagement at age 19, Nick has traveled around the world, sharing his story with millions, sometimes in stadiums filled to capacity, speaking to a range of diverse groups such as students, teachers, young people, business professionals and church congregations of all sizes.”

The Father speaks to Moshe, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11, NASB).

Let’s get back to what I heard:
“Nick Vujicic wouldn’t have the ministry he does, encouraging people, if he had limbs.”
What a profound thought! And possibly due to his smiling photo splashing in his pool, we only see one side of his life. If he was sitting in a wheelchair looking disparaged and weary, would we see him the same? Would our emotions change? Of course, they would.
Some would argue that if the Father healed him and he grew limbs, he’d have a more prominent ministry, but what has given him a ministry is his attitude and vigor to make something of this precious life regardless of his physical condition. By the way, two of the seven with tetra-amelia syndrome are sports writers and journalist.

I believe in healing and multiple ways of being healed, but is everyone healed physically? No. Not even the most righteous missionaries in the Newer Testament. Not even the great prophet Elisha who died in his disease. Wouldn’t they be eating foods that were grown the Torah way? Eating Kosher? Of course! Wouldn’t they have a better grasp of anointing oils and laying hands on the sick? Why would Paul (Sha’ul) tell Timothy to have a little wine for his stomach, if a swing of his suit jacket, a dab of oil and a “By His stripes you are healed” would work?

“Wrong sir, wrong!” Willy Wonka.

But let’s face it, there are many people with arms and legs that are suffering greater than smiling Nick. He encourages people to enjoy life and be thankful, grateful even, but if you give him enough kale juice, cut out sugar and carbs, slather him in oils, will he grow arms and legs? Not likely. These things work well for the person who is healthy, or for the ones who have taken their health for granted and have become couch potatoes.
I want to present a thought: Could Nick be more whole than you and I? More joyful–More thankful? Wasting less time than those with limbs?
Have you ever visited a nursing home, hospital, or orphanage to minister to someone and they ended up ministering to you? Happens every time!
There was a man named Lazarus who died and went to Abraham’s bosom. He wasn’t wealthy or healthy. He was sick and in need of food. He had sores oozing. However, in the next life, it was the wealthy strong man who was in torment.

The next life. . .

“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores” (Luke 16:19-21, NASB).

If you want to view paradise, take around and view it.” Willy Wonka.

I’ve written about sickness often, but possibly not in these shades of grey and the worse I suffer, the more I have to say. These blogs aren’t for everyone, but perhaps they will help a few.
People quote multiple verses on healing. They use them over and over for friends who just received a diagnosis, but most of these people boldly quoting, still wear prescription eyeglasses and see a dentist, take medications for pain or a Tylenol on occasion. Possibly many who claim divine healing took the chemo, had the surgery, etc. for extra coverage.
If a person who has paraplegia or a person with quadriplegia is brought into the room, will those who are shouting verses, and natural cures, will they walk over and yell “Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Stand up and walk! He came for you to have an abundant life!”  Would they be inclined to tell them to just eat some kale and drink some pomegranate juice– live the Torah way?
Doubtful.
He did come to give us life and life more abundantly! And Nick is living just that! But Lazarus wasn’t. He was right in front of the Rich man, but the rich man never poured wine or oil in, he didn’t medicate his sores or let him eat at his table. It was a healthy, wealthy man who needed to be healed of a heart condition.

By His stripes, we are healed,” is a popular one used for the sick.  Peter uses this verse to point out a truth. “…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1st Peter 2:24 NASB). Yes, often it’s talking about being healed from sin, and the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

Is there a measure used when regarding how Powerful Our Father is? Is someone with poor eyesight or an earache a better candidate to be healed than say, Nick, growing arms? Why don’t we pray to throw out our bifocals at 40? Why did a man who had vigor and perfect eyesight walk up a hill and die? Because Abba said, it’s time, Moses. Because Abba said its time, Son.
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, the time for you to die is near; call Joshua, and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the tent of meeting” (Deuteronomy 31:14, NASB).
Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated” (Deut. 34:7, NASB).

“Bubbles, Bubbles everywhere, But not a drop to drink” Willy Wonka.

bubbles

I know that most people want those suffering to get better–to live happily ever after. They do everything out of love, and they want the ones in anguish to be made whole! But what if the person in front of them is more whole than they are? Even happier?
Sometimes things are opposite.

“Strike that, now reverse it!” Willy Wonka.

Psalm 73,

Surely God is good to Israel,
            To those who are pure in heart!
2But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling,
My steps had almost slipped.

3For I was envious of the arrogant
As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4For there are no pains in their death,
            And their body is fat.

5They are not in trouble as other men,
            Nor are they plagued like mankind.

6Therefore pride is their necklace;
The garment of violence covers them.

7Their eye bulges from fatness;
The imaginations of their heart run riot.

8They mock and wickedly speak of oppression;
They speak from on high.

9They have set their mouth against the heavens,
And their tongue parades through the earth.

10Therefore his people return to this place,
And waters of abundance are drunk by them.

11They say, “How does God know?
And is there knowledge with the Most High?”

12Behold, these are the wicked;
And always at ease, they have increased in wealth.

13Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
And washed my hands in innocence;

14For I have been stricken all day long
            And chastened every morning. (Psalm 73:1-13, NASB).
Do you feel stricken and chastened? Job did. Jeremiah did and many others.

Another person who was born with much adversity was Helen Keller, but she accomplished more than most people who were born with eyes to see and ears to hear.

“Anything you want to, do it; want to change the world… there’s nothing to it.” Willy  Wonka.

“Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. The story of Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was made famous by Keller’s autobiography, The Story of My Life, and its adaptations for film and stage, The Miracle Worker.”
What would her life have been like if she was healthy, had perfect vision, and powerful hearing?

AWW, BUT SHE DID!

helen_reading

She saw and heard things many did not, thanks be to her mentor, Anne Sullivan. Who are you mentoring right now that has greatness inside of them, things that need to be birthed for future generations?

One for Israel has a fascinating blog on the life of Hellen. Here’s a snippet:

Helen visited Israel shortly after it was founded, to promote rights for the disabled and to be an encouragement to the newly-born state. There she met Golda Meir who was Israel’s Labor Minister at that time, and the friendship between the two continued through letters after she had returned to the United States.
She worked with the American Institute for the Blind for 44 years, and while in Israel teamed up with the Jewish Institute for the Blind, who presented her with a special silver-covered Jewish Bible when she visited them there.

Many of these facts, visits, and letters are not well known to the public, but possibly one of the most powerful pieces in the Keller archive is a letter to the Student Body of Germany, written in 1933. The German universities had been burning books that contradicted their evil agenda, including a book that Helen herself had written on socialism and social justice, and hearing of it shortly afterward, Helen’s anger and sharp words warned the Nazis;

History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas….
Do not imagine your barbarities to the Jews are unknown here.
 God sleepeth not, and He will visit His Judgment upon you.”(1). Click HERE

Would Helen Keller be the same bold, compassionate woman without her disabilities? Without her teacher? Perhaps, but doubtful in the measure of hunger she exuded. How many people with spiritually closed ears and eyes laid hands on her or prayed for her to see while they sat blind and naked without hunger or passion? We can have 20/20 vision and be blind as a bat.
Oh, friends, we must rethink some things.

We have so much time and so little to see.
Strike that, now reverse it!”  Willy Wonka
We’ve looked at a few people with disabilities in this portion, but we will look at some with dis-ease, depression and mental health as we continue in our next portion of Willy Wonka, Part # VI.

wonka suspense

Part # 1 HERE

Part # 2 HERE

Part # 3 HERE

Part # 4 HERE

Part # 5 HERE

Part # 6 HERE

The Story of Us

jenn 2This blog is especially late and should have been posted right after Yom Kipper/ Day of Atonement, but life happens. I hope you enjoy this tribute to friends who have a unique story to share. Keith & Jenn, I wish you nothing but the best.

In Sleeping Beauty, due to a curse, the Princess falls into a deep sleep for 100 years until one day she is awakened by a kiss from a king’s son. What would cause a bride to forget about her wedding date, lose interest in her first love and fall asleep? It could only be poison.

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. (Matt 25:1-10, NASB).

 

This blog post will tell a unique story of two lovers and their journey. Throughout this blog, you will hear two distinct voices, the voice of the bride, Jennifer, and my own voice. I will warn you, it is a tad longer than most my writings, but one of my favorites thus far. Before we get started on this journey, I want you to picture a Glorious King and our bridal clothing, clean and white, without spot or wrinkle. Brides get new names. Brides wear royal garments. You are about to enter a wedding ceremony on a most peculiar date. It’s not a lavish ceremony. There were no tuxedos, no grand ballroom displays. No champagne or limousine for the bride and her maidens, but there was something there, something tangibly felt. The wind of His Breath breathed on the people, and many of the people wept. The name Jennifer means ‘Fair one.’ Keith means ‘the Forest/ Wind.’ Both meanings hint to His Holy Spirit—a MIGHTY rushing wind blowing upon us.

Jennifer:

Our wedding date was chosen because it was 13 days after his birthday (Sept

5) and 13 days before mine (Oct 2).

I felt completely confirmed in the date because of not only our favorite number 13 (love, unity, covenant, and eternity) but also because the date would be 9-18-18. Nine (fruitfulness, fruit of the spirit, and the womb) being the number signifying birth and 18 (life, prayer, worship) being double that (plus 8+1=9 again). I felt it appropriate that we would be birthing our future, our permanence, and our ministry from the very day of our wedding onward.

 

This event was placed on a very unusual date indeed, the evening going into the Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur, a Tuesday night at 6:30 pm. If you are unfamiliar with this day, I hope the theme of the wedding and the hidden nuggets from His Word spark your interest.

Jennifer and Keith had been young sweethearts; now 30 years later, they were becoming ONE. The non-denominational church where the event was being held is called ‘Awakening Church.’ How intricate our Father is. We blow the shofar in this season to awaken us from our slumber so we can prepare our bridal gowns. “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ (Messiah) will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14, NASB). Even the age of their first proposal reminded me of the 12 tribes of Israel. Remember, Judah was only one tribe.

Jennifer:

We met when I was 11 and he 12. We dated about a year and a half during which time he proposed to me at the old farmhouse I used to live in (I was 12 and he 13 at the time). We were broken up after that (in 7th grade) by his cousin who was my best friend and who deceived us with lies. We went through the rest of middle school and high school together watching each other grow up but never speaking. We were both destroyed emotionally by it, never speaking to the other one about it, and went on to pick multiple toxic and abusive partners.

 jennn

Years ago, I met the groom online, and learned that Keith was working on a murder mystery that’s now available on Amazon titled Foolish Pride. He picked up my fictional works and loved them. He opened up about his personal past and the many hurts he’d endured. After reading my fiction, he began to read my teaching books. Once while my husband and I were speaking at an assembly, he drove over an hour to attend, and he purchased more books. My husband and Keith soon realized they knew each other from their background in law enforcement. We heard from Keith periodically. We learned later on that he was going through a personal journey of crushing. Our hearts went out to him.

Jennifer: Fast forward to May 1, 2013, we found out that the breakup had been a lie and that neither of us had intended to leave the other. We spoke long enough to heal the old wounds and get closure. We lost touch for a bit but then began talking in late Aug of 2015.

Unlike Valentine’s Day, the Hebrew holiday of love happens each year in late August in the month of Av’. The single women borrow white dresses from one another, and they go out into the fields to sing and dance. The single men come out to gaze upon the fair maidens. Can you picture our Heavenly King?

“And the daughters of Jerusalem would go out and dance in the vineyards located on the outskirts of the city. And everyone who didn’t have a wife would go there. And what would they say? Young man, lift up your eyes and choose wisely. Don’t look only at physical beauty’ (Proverbs 31:30). “And the daughters of the rest of Israel would borrow from each other, so as not to embarrass those who didn’t have.” (Talmud, tractate Ta’anit 30b-31a).

“There were no better (i.e. happier) days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Israel/Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)?” (Ta’anit, Chapter 4)

Jennifer:

We finally saw each other face to face again in late Oct 2015 after 25 years of not seeing each other in person. I became certain that God wanted us together for a purpose and continued to place myself in Keith’s presence as often as I could until he was healed enough to see for himself that we needed to be together. Keith taught me about faith, patience, and how to seek God intensely with passion. By April 3 2016 he was willing to go on “a date” with me. He reminded me not to get my hopes up. But he also told me, when I asked what book of the Bible I should start with, to read Ruth. So I did. I believe that he deeply wanted to try again with me but was so broken that he didn’t want to hurt me or get himself hurt again. On my 40th birthday Oct 2, 2016, he kissed me for the first time (our second “first kiss”) and agreed that we were finally dating.

jennnnn

I wanted to chime in here again before getting to the wedding ceremony. Let’s relook at the date above. October 2nd of 2016 was the Feast of Trumpets in the year 5777. Another name for this feast is Yom HaKeseh, “The Day of the Hiding” or “the Hidden Day. Jesus/ Yeshua spoke about this day.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah” “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming (Matthew 24:36-37 42, NASB).

In ancient customs, a Jewish wedding proceeded with a betrothal period when the groom worked on building a room onto his father’s house for his bride.

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2, NASB).

While the groom was working on the house, the bride was working on her wedding garments. When the father told the son, ‘it is time,’ a shofar was blown, and the groom would go get his bride for the wedding ceremony. The bride was to keep her bridesmaids near, their lamps filled with oil, and her garments clean, white, and ready. The verse from Matthew above explains that we will not know ‘which day’ our Messiah is coming, but friends we can know the very season when we keep His holy days. They were still being kept throughout the newer portion of the Bible. Let’s look at this deeper. ”Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day” (I Thessalonians 5:1-5 NASB).

 

We do not have to be in darkness! We are to be sons of light and sons of the day. “Thief in the night” is a Jewish idiom for the Feast of Trumpets/ Rosh Hashanah. These days are all about Jesus/ Yeshua and hold the keys to His coming return–the day He will set up His glorious Kingdom. The reason no man knows the day or hour is because the Feast of Trumpets always falls on a new moon. Since weather can affect the sighting of a new moon sliver, we soon realize why no man knows the day or the hour. They had moon spotters back then who would search the sky for the first sliver of the moon. The Sanhedrin, like our wedding couple, would need two witnesses (moon spotters). The world has its own calendar, but Abba has written His in the Heavens. The moon is ‘born again’ every month. Jennifer was returning to her ‘first love.’ Yeshua said this to one of the 7 churches, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4, NASB).

 

After some time, Keith informed us that he had reconnected with his ‘first love,’ and he was getting his CDL license. Things were looking up. Shortly afterwards, He came to one of our meetings and shared his testimony. It’s touching to see an ex-marine, truck driver, with a law enforcement background get teary eyed, but he did. He explained how reading Polishing Jade and Walter the Homeless Man helped him forgive his abusers and heal from the pain of his past. He shared his journey of faith with the Father of Lights and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

The next time my husband and I saw him, he had his soulmate by his side, and she was everything I imagined. Soft, kind, intelligent, a wordsmith, a caregiver, a counselor for those troubled in spirit, and I instantly liked her. We learned of their engagement, and they shared their story of how the Father brought them back together after 30 years. But guess what event he brought her to? It was none other than the Feast of Tabernacles/ Sukkot. This is our wedding day. When Yeshua returns to tabernacle among us.

Finally, the day of the wedding was here, and I was wondering what to wear. I was accustomed to wearing white on (Day of Atonement) Yom Kippur, but everyone knows the bride wears white. Ha! Yes, the Father was already putting the puzzle pieces together. I kept hearing “Just show up for the wedding!”

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8 NASB).

jen and maid

The theme of the wedding was ‘books.’ Ironic that it fell on the eve of the day when our names are said to be sealed in His Book for another year? Allow me to give you a short synopsis of this amazing event before going into the wedding ceremony.

The seventh month is called Tishri in Hebrew. Remember this is when Keith first proposed and also the exact date of their second kiss, its none other than the Feast of Trumpets.

“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:24, NASB). If a man were elected as King, he would not be crowned and eligible to rule until after his coronation during this time. This is the season we look for our returning King, Yeshua, who will be crowned King of the universe! He will be ruler over all the kingdoms of the world. Paul spoke about these awakening shouts!

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52 KJV).

Jesus/ Yeshua has fulfilled the first portion of feast called the spring feast, but we are still waiting for the fall feast to come forth. So after the Feast of Trumpets, known as Yom Teruah (Awakening Blast or Shout), we enter a time called the Ten Days of Awe, where we begin great introspection, repentance and trying to make right with anyone we may have wronged. Salvation isn’t a one-time prayer. Paul said we were to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1st Thessalonians 4:16, NASB).

During the season of this Feast, the gates of repentance are thought to remain open until the Day of Atonement, at which the judge makes His final decree. Yom Kippur is the holiest day. It marked when the High Priest would go behind the veil into the most holy place and make atonement for the sins of the people. Hebrews chapter 9:12-13 explains how our Messiah went one time for all. “He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God. . .

This couple unknowingly had picked the eve of this date to take their vows. Kol Nidre is an oath recited before sundown on Yom Kippur and it means “all vows.”

Oh, friends, think about this on a deeper level! What man hurries to pick a bride? Men of great wisdom carefully study a possible mate. They don’t just rush in and pick a woman that looks good on the outside; they look at her heart. They watch, study, and make sure the woman they become intimate with will be a wise woman who builds her house. Jennifer believed lies and left her first love. Through lies and deceit, Israel went far away from her husband, and He divorced His bride. “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce” (Jeremiah 3:8, NASB). He uses the prophets to explain how one day He will gather them again. And He is! Yeshua said He came for the lost sheep of the House of Israel.

But let’s get back to the Book of Life and visit this very curious wedding invitation! Actually the most peculiar and inventive wedding invitation I have ever seen. It was a library card—old school! I want you to imagine the heading where it says author, and picture the Author and Finisher of our faith. “looking to the author and perfecter of faith – Jesus (Yeshua), who, over-against the joy set before him — did endure a cross, shame having despised, on the right hand also of the throne of God did sit down;” (Hebrews 12:2, YLT). It is the story of us. I hope you are as touched as me as we watch this library card unfold in the spirit during this blog.

 

card lib

Truth was revealed at Mount Sinai. Acts chapter two is also about a Feast day termed Pentecost or Shavuot in the Hebrew. This was when the Torah was given over 3,000 years ago, and our wedding vows were said. This truth revealed matches their card. Just days later, on May 15, 2013, was the day of Pentecost or the Feast of Shavuot, rather. A shofar was sounded at that time as well.

First Proposal:

Abba Father (the Groom) and Israel (His Bride—the story of us) took their vows. The shofar waxed louder and louder, and our Father gave the people a moral code of conduct which we call the Ten Sayings or Ten Commandments, written in chapter 20 of Exodus. Before the commandments are even given in chapter 20, the bride says this, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” (Exodus 19:8, NASB).

As my husband and I walked into the church, we were delighted to see the reception area adorned for the wedding supper. Each table held something mind-blowing. In the place where one would usually see flowers and candles, their tables were adorned with books tied with strings. Excuse me while I stop to sing.

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things!”

Books on the day of His Books! Amazing. And atop the books were glass jars that had written scrolls rolled up and sealed instead of flowers. Each stack of books on Jennifer’s tables had a typed quote or passage from a favorite book, and there at one of the tables, I spotted one of my own babies, Polishing Jade! My heart jumped with joy at all the Father was showing me concerning His feast day and our soon coming wedding day. He even whispered a vow He made to me concerning my pen.

books

Yes, like the quote from The bridge of Terabithia, just keep your mind wide open to these Feast. They are filled with wonder. Jenn and Keith were about to give their vows and say “We will do.” They were making vows on the day when our names are sealed in the Book of Life.

The Father knows the time of His first proposal to all of us. I was five or six years old, but I remember the day quite well when with tears in my eyes I asked the Father and His Son to accept me and change me. I also remember the day when I was like the prodigal son and went far away from my Father, living with swine and in drunkenness. I am thankful for a merciful Father who has made a way of redemption for us all, aren’t you?

In Acts chapter two, over 3,000 souls came back into their wedding covenant. Although they had sinned and He had scattered them across the earth—He had even written them a certificate of divorce, but now the blood of Yeshua had covered their transgressions and made a way for them to be united again. I’m singing an oldie but a goody, REUNITED and it feel so good.

After Rosh Hashanah or the Feast of Trumpets, we say to one another, “May your name be inscribed in the book of life.” It is during these ten days we try and repent for anything we may have done or any person we may have hurt.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelations 20:11-12, 15, NASB).

The Day of Forgiveness (Yom Kippur) is spent fasting and praying. Because this day is the most solemn day in the year, it is known as “The Day.”

“The First Trump,” blown and associated with Shavuot (Pentecost);
“The Last Trump,” blown and associated with Rosh HaShanah; Feast of Trumpets
“The Great Trump,” blown and associated with Yom Kippur.

It is on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) when the Great Trumpet (Matthew 24)), known in Hebrew as the Shofar HaGadol is blown.

“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9-10)

 

doors

We entered the church (Awakening) and were seated in the sanctuary. It was dimly lit and lights shined from strands laced on the altar. Suddenly the bridesmaids (Wise virgins), (5 total), came down the aisle carrying their own stack of books tied in string. As they passed by I noticed one of my books in their hands. I learned later, that all the bridesmaids carried one of my books in their stacks. I wept more. How many times have I laid my books at His altar? Our Father is so intricate. He doesn’t miss a beat! He said, “Just go to the wedding, Tekoa!” He had treasures for me there. He has treasures for you there. He is saying, “Just come to my wedding feast!” This reminded me of several passages.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come” (Matthew 22:2-3 NIV).

Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. “Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves” (Luke 12:35-37 NASB).

The pastor opened up the ceremony and informed us that the bride to be and groom had requested to worship before they exchanged vows. The singers came forth, and the music started. Many arose from their seats and lifted their hands to the Father of Lights. A sweet smelling fragrance entered the room and then a song was played. This song touched us so much we were both in tears. The Title simply “History.” History is a love song from our Father to His Bride. A song of redemption. How far back do we go? Remember the first proposal! Oh, how He loves us!

You and I, we’ve got history
We go way, way back
We go way, way back
You and I, we’ve got history
We go way, way back
We go way, way back

[Verse 1]
For eons I thought about you
Before I ever made you
I wrote every moment down
You were all my idea
Above all I created
You are my most precious crown

[Chorus]
You and I, we’ve got history
We go way, way back
We go way, way back
You and I, we’ve got history
We go way, way back
We go way, way back

[Verse 2]
I saved words just to say to you
Before you ever met me
So take some time and hear them now
I gave you my greatest gift
My love cannot be measured
You’re my treasure, You’re my child!

So after the reception and book talk, we gathered around for cake and dancing and singing, then home to begin our fast. After the fast is over, we enter into a time of great celebration. The feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. This feast is the 7th Feast and it happens in the 7th month and it last for 7 days. It’s our wedding rehearsal for the real deal! Oh Saints, think about the beauty of a bride on her wedding day. When Yeshua returns in all His Glory, and we rule and reign with Him it will be the season of our joy.

Remember those wise and foolish virgins at the beginning of our blog? They all had something in common, they all fell asleep. “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6 ESV).

While the foolish went off to buy oil, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Notice what happens when the foolish virgins return from purchasing more oil, “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open up for us.’ “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.” (25:11-12).

Notice the five doors in the photo above. One door for each wise maiden. The symbols at this wedding were everywhere.

Like the inscription on the pillow below, “We are waiting for ‘just one more chapter!’ His Fall Feast. May we all return to our first love in this season. May we be ready and waiting with oil in our lamps, our wicks trimmed, our garments clean, our hearts prepared. May we see His Feast in all their glory and May the Father of Lights use this couple to spread the gospel with power and might. After 30 years they are reunited. It was at the age of 30 that the King of Kings began His ministry, our Messiah Yeshua, may He be lifted up!

Many blessing to this couple!

Tekoa

jenn and story

The Photograph

mom poem

It hung there like a branch on a tree.
The color?
It was more of a brown,
Like shoe leather and cream with orbs of splattered sunlight.
The timeworn camera had captured a split second of special.
We would call it a black and white photo today, but to suggest it had a quality of such would be illogical.
The little girl in the picture was very colorful, indeed.
Her eyes were sorrow filled holes that bored into your soul.
Her hair was ringlet curls that hung draped in perfection adorning her oval face.
No one could have noticed anything else in the photo—not the trees or the rose bushes or the sailor dress that draped her thin body.
Her eyes were too potent,
They pled for love, solace, or some form of healing.
They drank you in, mesmerizingly, till one could scarcely pull themselves away.
They held you
Captive.
Concealed in black and taupe, were irises speckled in a blue of the palest sky.
Eyes of wonder.
The picture hung on the refrigerator,
A constant reminder that the white-haired woman with Parkinson’s disease,
The one who could empty a whole coffee cup within seconds by sloshing it on the floor was the same child in the photo.
A child who would later hold the title of my mother.

Wholly Illuminated

This week while scrolling through social media I read a meme (below) that described my week or parts of my whole existence.

survive

 

The meme along with the raw words written by a friend pierced me. Her vulnerability at that moment ministered to me. It went to a place in my soul that was in need of a bandage. It helped me cry. I believe there is rainwater from heaven in every droplet of our tears. Feelings are meant to be felt.

I had no idea when I started this blog last week that I would add a portion exposing my vulnerability, but here I am.

I am a person that’s dealt with trauma in my lifetime. None of us are getting out alive.

When my husband and I go for short walks at night, he knows that if a dog barks I am going to jump two feet. A loud horn blares, I squeeze his hand until my nails leave indentions. Earlier in the day, he walks behind me unannounced in the bathroom, and I scream bloody murder, my arms flaring and my heart pounding. Later, he wants to look at a property for sale in the country, secluded– and my first thought is a book written by Truman Capote called “In Cold Blood.” It would be funny if it weren’t true. Perhaps this is what helps me write fiction? I’ve lived a thousand lives under the sun…He briefly touches on the topic of my fears, and I blurt out,

“I am fearful of everything and nothing!”

“What?”

“I’m scared of people hurting me, dogs, going for walks, evil men, living in the middle of nowhere—living in the city. I’m petrified of hospitals, doctors, and the whole time we lived with my father I never once went on a walk with you for fear of a dog, a bobcat, a snake, or some ferocious animal attacking me.”

He’s listening, and I am wondering what he is thinking, but I continue talking this through.

“At the age of 9 or 10, my brother had a paper route. If he missed a couple of houses, my father would toss me in the back of the truck. He would pull in the drive, and I’d place the paper on the porch and hop back in the bed. One particular house stands out. Before I could reach the porch, a large German shepherd lept over the fence and landed on top of me gnashing his teeth. Luckily my dad got it off of me. I went on to babysit for our neighbor at 13, who had the most massive, loudest, German shepherd on the block. The fear started after a dream of hungry wolves surrounding me. I was 30, and they were there.

“I’m scared of everything and nothing, I say again.”

“I’m not scared of sickness, death, demons, or losing all my material possessions and becoming homeless.”

He looks confused.

“Honey, “Do you know how crazy that sounded? Do you even understand what you just said? You just named things most people in the world are scared to death of. Even death.”

“Maybe it’s because I have faced those things, I think to myself?”

Some of us have a point on a map, a calendar, a datebook locked in our brain and we can tell you the exact moment of the car wreck, the diagnosis, or our child that died before it ever learned to talk or even before it exited the womb. There is a moment in time where we look back at the shattered glass, the addiction, the iron bars, the chemo, the foreclosure, the divorce papers, the bruises, the rape, the welfare department, the mental break down, or the charade of pretending to be really put together when we were one button shy of EXPLODING!

Yes, we all have our moments, and some of us have another type of trauma. In World War II with gunfire and bullets whipping around his head, my uncle wading in freezing waters, stopped and threw his hands in the air and cried, “The war is over!” Of course, it wasn’t. He just had wishful thinking. He had seen too many bodies stacked in piles– stripped of all dignity— He had seen and smelled enough death.

But, some of us don’t have one memory or one vivid scar—it’s not one childhood adventure filled with nightmares, but more of a series of unfortunate events—sometimes it is an everyday battle just to get through.

Sometimes we wonder how we can take another step—breathe– trust again–go back out into the world and try and be a candle burning for someone else. We too cry and throw our arms to heaven exclaiming “The war is over!” I’m exhausted Abba. Take the pain, sorrow, shame, guilt, confusion, debt, unbelief, sickness, and trauma and take my weapons of fear. Take the bars I have built to protect me. Take the suffering.

pottery job

 

 

Job took broken pottery, and he scraped his sores. He came to a place where he was okay with death. Matter a fact; he welcomed death. He said the thing he feared the most had come upon him, but what was that thing?

He starts the beginning of chapter three cursing the day of his birth. He wishes that he had never been born because his pain is so deep. He explains how those in the grave are at rest. Job 3:16-17.

One morning, in the midst of some of the worst pain I have ever felt, I awoke to this pain in terror that I was going to have to get through another day of suffering. I prayed to die. I quoted Job verbatim. Then I heard an echo, “Do you not value the life I’ve given you? Do you not hope for better days?”

Job goes on to explain his fear.

“Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come,” Job 3:20-21.

And that is what he feared. A death that does not come. He feared he wasn’t going to get to escape such misery. He had lost children, cattle, oxen, servants and he was suffering so severely. He wasn’t a man steeped in fear. He was a righteous man who wanted to go rest. I remember relating to such words. “Just take me Abba! I’m finished here. What good am I to anyone laying here suffering? I have nothing left here to do!” But I was much mistaken. I hadn’t even tasted what He had in store for me.

What does it look like when we use all our experiences and healing to help another heal? What does it look like when we embody Him and are a light? A candle. A burning flame that can’t be hidden because His light outshines all the darkness we’ve been through?

 

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What if The Father of Glory wanted to come spend an evening with you? What would that look like? What did Shavuot and the tongues of fire sound like?

We often imagine what it would have been like to walk with Yeshua/ Jesus. To intently listen to Him tell parables, but what about as we go through our repetitious life? A typical workday or weekend. What would that look like to meet the risen Savior face to face? I’m talking about something fragrant. Something memorable. Something that’s hard to even articulate.

You may have gathered from my previous blog, that I don’t like to be at the hospital without my husband. Our first night back at the hospital he slept on a couch next to me. By the second evening, between his back and his hip, he was ready to go home and get some much-needed rest. Before he left, he came over and said a simple prayer asking The Father to watch over me and protect me while we were apart. He also prayed for the Father to send compassionate people to care for me. What a very precious husband I have.

After he left, I was exhausted and a tad anxious, but I was prepared to try and rest until he returned. If you’ve ever spent much time in a hospital you know it’s difficult to get any rest with pain, nurses coming in and out, beeping IV’s, as well as bathroom help and so forth. On my second return to this hospital, I had some of the best nurses I’ve ever come in contact with. However, there was one that seemed explicitly handcrafted for me. I’ll call her Daffodil.

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I’m fast asleep, and around 8 pm I hear my door open. I turn, sleepy-eyed and look up at this woman who has just entered my room. She is tall– with a smile that made her eyes twinkle like stars in the night. She did not walk but seemed to sashay around the room in ballet slippers softly checking this and that.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Manning; I’ll make a note that you’re an early sleeper so that I won’t disturb your rest.”

“Oh, I’m not an early sleeper. In fact, I’m a night owl. I was dozing from the medicine.”

We began to talk, and before we knew it, we were knee deep in cooking shows. The Great British Bake-off! Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were our first topic.

“Did you know that Mary contracted polio at the tender age of 13 and had a weaker arm due to it?

“No, I did not know that.”

“And did you know Paul would help her roll out her dough and prepare items?”

“Really,” I said, trying to sit up more.

“I think Paul looks like the guy from American Idol.”

“Oh, Simon!” Yes! Ha-ha!”

She laughed heartily, and then we were off to our next cooking adventure. Daffodil expressed her aspirations to create fabulous food. Her stories of family and grandparents who loved to bake were sprinkled throughout. I discussed my mom’s homemade carrot cake, and she described a delicate Italian cream cake made by her grandmother. The conversation was light but personal.  We left baking and then traveled to World War II episodes on Netflix. Soon, we were reliving Foyle’s War, Land Girls, and Call the Midwives. Before I knew it, we were sailing on to authors and our favorite all time books.

When Daffodil smiled, her light lit up the room. She exclaimed, “I love books! I love the smell of books!” I responded with an unquestionable, “YES!” Like fresh crayons in kindergarten! We giggled like school girls. Her phone buzzed, and she had to scurry off to another room. Suddenly, I felt revived. She was one of my people, and I was going to be blessed with her light for the next three days.

We discovered we lived very close to one another. Right down the road from Barnes and Noble bookstore—a landmark. I mentioned my new grandson.

“Oh, I bet you just want to eat him up!”

She began to tell me about her nephew who had high jacked her heart.

“Even if I have worked all night, need to clean, do laundry and catch up on things, one call from him “Aunt Daffodil can we go out?” and I am like “Baby, yes, we can!”

Suddenly, we were laughing, and I had to hold my side that was still very sore to release the joy I felt. She caused me to forget my pain—my fear, and that my husband wasn’t coming back until morning.

Since the surgery, I have met two stoma nurses, both kind and good at what they do. Their profession is to try and prepare people to change a colostomy bag and empty it. For me, it was overwhelming and quite frightening to take in. It was humbling. You notice things and smells and the level of care. Since I had been back in the hospital with my wound, no one had helped me one on one yet, but Daffodil did. She took me in the bathroom and equipped me with gloves, tips for spraying, cleaning, and deodorizing the room, and she did it with the most compassion I’ve ever felt from any human. I wasn’t embarrassed, humiliated, or even scared to allow her to help me, help myself. This woman snuck into my room over and over again. She learned I was a writer of fiction and Torah teachings and wanted to know how to order my books.

She never told me about her religious beliefs. She never preached to me. She never quoted scriptures. No politics. No pushing or pulling, but her words held LIFE. Her tongue FRUIT.

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Daffodil walked into my room like a candlelit burning brightly–like a flower pouring out fragrance. She bowed lowly. My husband witnessed her in her other patient’s chambers as he walked down the hall and he said: “She is that bright no matter where she goes.” That BRIGHT. Like a candle on a lampstand. Oh, Saints, we can be those candles! We can be the hope of glory!”

When we are crucified with Messiah Yeshua/ Jesus, we no longer live, but He lives in us.

The Zohar states, “When a Jew utters one word of Torah, the light [in his soul] is kindled…and he sways to and fro like the flame of a candle.”

CCR, Credence Clearwater Revival, has a song called “Long as I can see the light.” John Fogerty bellows for us to put a candle in the window.

“If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays.” Luke 11:36.

What does Yeshua tell us before this? “No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.”

Thank you, Daffodil for being a light to me and thank you Abba for hearing my husband’s prayer and bringing light into my room.

We can heal from all the trauma by shining our lights to those in need. By listening. By praying. By giving sound counsel. By measuring our words. Even at our darkest moments in our deepest misery, we have LIGHT.

The picture of my husband below seemed to shine with extra light, and I wanted to personally thank him for being a bright light in my life for seven years now. Blessings friends. SHINE!

 

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Retribution

I am seeing an ostomy nurse who specializes in patients with acute and chronic “wound” care. Things in the natural often mimic things in the spirit.

Wounds and pain are funny things. They have layers. They have smells and degrees of infection and pus. They can be covered up with a Band-Aid or douched in ointments, but if they keep getting infected, they never heal up to become scars. How do we deal with the people, situations, and traumas that have hurt us to the point we need an ostomy nurse?

Everyone I know has pain. A story. A wound. A past. We often try to take matters into our own hands and fix things that are causing us pain. We want to secretly punish our enemies or those who treat us with disrespect, contempt, isolation, jealousy, and hatred. We want our Father to expose them but cover us.

Many times we are standing in the face of a storm that’s so powerful the dust is stinging our eyes, and the tempest is shattering our peace. It’s during these times of difficulty that we scream, “Abba look what they are doing to me! Listen to what they are saying about me! Look how they have treated me in this relationship, this family, or on this job. We smugly add, “and after all, I have done for them!”

We keep track of their wrongs and our rights.

We want a God in those moments who looks a tad different than the God we want when we realize we have used our words to tarnish others. We have purposely treated others in a manner that was not with a servant’s heart but a selfish heart. We want this Father to overlook–to dismiss when we steal our brother’s birthright, or when we take our earthly father’s idols and hide them under our skirts. Yes, we want the compassionate and merciful Father at those times, but when we are wounded, we want a WARRIOR to stand and fight for us.

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My first night home from the hospital was slippery. I am swollen and hurting, and there is this bag attached to me. In certain glimpses, I am reminded of an old vacuum cleaner bag that connects over a round circular tube. My stomach looks quite bruised and this bag swinging from my abdomen is a foreign object that frightens me. I am not used to this contraption that makes sounds and becomes heavy on my thigh. I’m a bit overwhelmed by the boxes sent home with me. There are gloves, odor drops, disinfectants, wipes for my rolled up Velcro tab and sweeper bags.  I’m thinking a million thoughts. Mostly will I ever feel human again or like a vibrant, sexy woman?

I am not second guessing the surgery or the fact that the surgeon found scar tissue and places where my colon and intestines were seared together due to another surgery from 2004. I’m reminded of this faint journey where I referred to myself as the woman with the issue of blood. “Endometrial ablation is a procedure that surgically destroys (ablates) the lining of your uterus. The tools vary, depending on the method used to ablate the endometrium. They might include extreme cold, heated fluids, microwave energy or high-energy radio frequencies.”

No amount of juicing, fasting, cutting out sugars and carbs, and so on, could have un seared or straightened the zigzagged mess the surgeon ran into, but let’s get back to wounds and enemies.

After spending four nights in the hospital and one night at home with my new sack, I awake in the morning with a knowing that my colostomy bag has to come off. This doesn’t make sense, but I am sure Holy Spirit wants my husband to help me remove the bag and look at my stoma. As we uncovered my stoma, we see that it is separating and there is a gaping place. Possibly from throwing up much the day after surgery.

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We take pictures and send them to the doctor’s office, and they contact the home health care nurse who patches and changes the bag and makes an appointment for me to see the ostomy nurse. But by that evening my stoma isn’t working, and my stomach is as red and swollen as a watermelon. In the natural, it looks like they may be rushing me to the OR. In other matters, my husband and I are battling painful problems with those we love. There seems to be a separating going on in more ways than one, and the wounds we are feeling hurt horribly. No patching can fix the underlying issues. What is happening in the natural is happening in the spirit. The waste isn’t coming forth to bring healing as there is no communication.

We get to the ER, and it’s a bustling Sabbath. It’s the last place we want to be. This ER is in an area of town laden with drugs, crime, and poverty. However, this hospital host some of the best doctors in the world. It’s touted for the first fully self-contained artificial heart transplant and the first successful hand transplantation.

We wait over an hour, and my pain is horrible. I’m crying and praying and looking around the room at many who needed set free from addiction, demons, and agony. Finally, I ask the lady at the desk how many are in front of me, and she says five. She then says let me check with the supervisor. Suddenly, a lady comes out and says, “Mrs. Manning we are not sure how this happened, but we show that you are already in a bed in the ER. Obviously, that is not you, but since you are already in our system, and you just had surgery, I’m going to get you a room. Hold still.” Baruch HaShem! He hears. He sees.

We sit back down, and a lady comes out to get my blood. She looks at my husband and says I’ll bring her right back,” I tell her I want my husband to come with me. She exhales roughly and says, “There is no reason for that ma’am, you are just getting blood drawn, and I’ll bring you back out–5 minutes tops.” I look at her again and mouth something like “I know the drill, or this isn’t my first rodeo.” She is quite ticked off now. I plead and explain that hospitals give me PTSD and she says “okay, come on, but this is ridiculous. He’s just going to walk right back out here in a second.” I feel the lack of compassion, and my heart hurts.

Both my arms are bruised from the I’V’s used before and after surgery. It seems my left arm went hard as a brick and they switched to my right. The phlebotomist finally finds a place on my right wrist. She places the tourniquet on tightly. I grimace with an “ouch!” To which she jabs the needle in my vein roughly. I look down, and the whole thing blows up like a balloon and turns greenish purple. It doesn’t really hurt, as the pain from my wound has overtaken any other pain in my body and made it minimal.  I secretly think she has done this on purpose, but I cannot be sure. I ask for a Kleenex as more tears come and she says harshly, “We don’t have any back here.” Suddenly, a lady two feet from her picks up a whole box and hands it to my husband and says “she can have the whole box.” The Phlebotomist ignores this. She is labeling vials and rummaging through things, and then she stands up and says something about getting us back out to the waiting room.

I look at my husband who is looking at my arm, the box of tissues and then back at Nurse Cullen from Twilight. He can tell people off without them realizing it until much later. I can tell that he is getting ready to let this lady have it. I say, “Don’t do it Chief. It’s not worth it. He looks at me and back at her. “Just let it go. It’s Shabbat.”  I see the wheels turning, and about the time his lips part to utter something, a male RN at the desk across from the blood station stops the commotion and says, “I will take them now.” He is quick to look at the photo of my stoma on my hubby’s phone. But as he is looking at my stomach and examining me, I see the Phlebotomist looking over and catching a bit of my colostomy bag and wondering what the picture might look like that my hubby was showing the RN. Had she overheard him say I might need surgery?

Next thing I know, I am in a bed in the hallway of the ER. Doctors and nurses are flying by and then suddenly the nurse who had drawn blood swoops over and says “oh, I’m so glad they got you a bed.” At a closer glance, I realize she is much older than me. She looks uncomfortable. I am looking at her strangely, like who are you? What is this nice act all the sudden? She looks at hubby and says let me get you a chair. She leaves and comes back carrying a black office chair. I can’t tell if this is genuine or if she’s scared we will complain about her. She offers to bring him water. Five minutes later she is back with a plea to bring me a heated blanket. She smiles exhaustedly, and I see it… That look that says I was wrong about you. I thought you were a wimp who couldn’t get poked without your hubby by your side.

She was saying she was sorry over and over, with no words. Hubby saw it too.

We’ve all heard this Torah verse quoted in an assembly or an old western movie, but what does it look like when it happens?

“Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord; I will repay.” Deuteronomy 32.35.

“Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord” Romans 12:17-19.

So many times we want to repay. My husband could have made that nurse feel small. He could have called her out—reported her, or even told her a thing or two, but would it have had the same result. Would she have brought him a chair in the ER? A warm blanket? Doubtful. So many times if we would just back off and say I’m going to let my Dad take care of it, He would. In His way. And His way will affect them much greater than we ever could.

1 Peter 3:9

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this, you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Some people are so wounded it doesn’t matter what we do or say; they take offense. Often the person just doesn’t know us. They take our words, actions, and our very hearts wrong. Like that nurse who had no idea that I have had over a 100 vials taken in one sitting. I’m not scared of needles. I just like my husband by my side. I pled for my husband to come back there with me, and both of them did. My earthly husband and my heavenly Husband. What happens in the natural is happening in the spirit.

Don’t let folks treat you like a doormat, but also discern when to let the Father swoop in and take care of things. He will fight for you and is fighting for you in the background. You may not see it or know about it up close and personal, but trust me, He sees you! He also saw that nurse and had compassion on her. Being a nurse/servant can be a tough job, and at times we can be harsher than we need to be because we haven’t taken the time to fill our empty vessels up so we will have something to pour out. We’ve all been Nurse Cullen at one time or another, bruising others and overlooking the tools around us. Hopefully, we will have the grace and humility to offer a chair, water, or a warm blanket of love to those who come to our tent looking for refreshing waters, when we are as empty as the foolish virgin’s lamps.