Posted in Passover/ Pesach, Pentecost/ Shavuot, Tekoa Manning, TM, Unleavened Bread

Blankets of Light

This morning while sitting outside with coffee, I noticed two birds flying toward me and then over my head. One was dark, resembling a raven. The other was as white as a dove. I stopped, mesmerized in disbelief. They flew side by side like friends on a journey. In swift thought, my brain asked, “Was that a white dove? No, surely not.” I gazed up again steadily, and just before they passed over my house, the birds’ wings fan out above me. They are as white as snow and as black as soot. I am awe-struck. My mind then began calculating events concerning an Ark and Noah, Elijah, and the ravens that fed him. Soon I am meditating on a Lamb and a Ruach Wind that appeared and descended like a dove on our Messiah–A dove whose white wings flapped mightily over the waters when HaShem said, “Let there be LIGHT” (Genesis 1:3). Out of thick darkness, light was born.

“In your days (Job), have you commanded the morning or assigned the dawn its place, that it might spread to the ends of the earth and shake the wicked out of it?” (Job 38:12-13, BSB).

Sometimes light stands in front of darkness. Sometimes a dove and a blackbird take flight side by side. There were two men on a cross next to Messiah–one cried out for light, and one remained in darkness.

And one of the evil-doers who were hanged was speaking evil of Him, saying, “If You are the Messiah, save Yourself and us.” But the other, responding, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear Elohim, since you are under the same judgment?”

–Luke 23:39-40, BSB

Light stands before darkness every day in multiple situations, weighing much less than my description above. We are candles. We are to shine. “But if your eye is evil, all your body shall be darkened. If, then, the light that is within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23, ISR). Evil eyes. What a concept. How we look at others through our eye gate can be with light or with darkness.  Yeshua said, “No one lights a lamp and covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he sets it on a stand, so those who enter can see the light” (Luke 8:16). A Lamb, the Light of the World, stood in the midst of darkness and did not open His Mouth.  “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7, BSB).

Picture our words as blankets of light. Every soul on this planet was created with a divine flame inside them, even those who walk with evil eyes. Have you ever heard a conversation or watched a scene play out before your eyes that was so grievous, your whole insides were weeping, but on the outside, you could not flinch or appear at all like the conversation or surroundings you found yourself in bothered you? Perhaps it was a holy day on a sacred calendar that no one close to you realized was sacred. Maybe it was a death and burial of a soul created in the image of light that no one could find words to bring that were reminiscent of describing the person’s days under the sun. The people wore black, but no one spoke of the light that once shined out of the eyes of the person who now has left this place for another.

We must bring the light on our tongues.

Maybe you weep inside over a child you failed to teach properly– harmed by divorce, abuse, lack of attention, and instruction who now stands before you broken?

We must wrap them in light and hold them in love.

Maybe your grief is a date on a calendar. “You may have six months, or a year to live.” The doctors pronounce death over you, but you stand strong for your family. Inside, you are a grieving person trying to dance with your son, daughter, or spouse until your future is revealed. You drink in smiles and words, grasping them in your heart while holding on to faith and life in Messiah. A dark report does not put out your flame.

We must stand with our wicks trimmed and our lamps full of oil.

Possibly your grief erupts over a dark world you see filled with unrest, disease, idols, death, and lusts of the flesh boiling over in a pot of filth. But what if you saw the opposite too? The smile of a child in innocence. A butterfly landing beside you to remind you of transformation. The buds on the trees. Flowers popping up in colorful hues, red birds singing and wild violets poking their heads up through a field, a sun bursting forth to welcome the day as you thank Abba for coffee, tea, a breath.

Sometimes the light and darkness mingle, and this union causes a taint. Leading up to Passover, one year, I emptied half a bottle of 100% pure maple syrup with half a bottle of cheap pancake syrup. I was busy removing hametz. The Holy One said, “Bonnie you just mixed the holy with the profane.” I was horrified, but the Father was showing me more profound things.

“Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness? And what fellowship has light with darkness? Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you and I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says יהוה the Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:14, 17-18, ISR).

What is unclean right now during the feasts of unleavened bread is bread. Why? Because the Holy One said do not eat bread for seven days. Eat matzah for seven days. These are the Father’s appointed feasts. If our earthly fathers told us not to eat bread as a child, we would do good to obey them. How much more the One who created LIGHT?

“‘These are the Lord’s appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The Lord’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast'” (Leviticus 23:4-6, BSB).

A Sacrifice is something we give up for something else. Our Messiah gave up His life for us. We give up yeast for unleavened bread.

“For when I brought your fathers out of the land of Egypt, I did not merely command them about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but this is what I commanded them: Obey Me, and I will be your God, and you will be My people. You must walk in all the ways I have commanded you, so that it may go well with you” (Jeremiah 7:22-23, BSB).

Adonai’s point was not to command them in the ways of offerings and sacrifices but to obey His Voice. Shema. Sometimes this looks strange to others.

A sacrifice is about us and not an animal. Many times we are in situations that cause us to make a sacrifice. We sacrifice a party, wedding, or event to rest in His Sabbath, or we sacrifice bread for a striped, scorched piece of matzah. In this sacrificial place of obedience, we notice that we are a peculiar people set apart to HaShem. The One who sent the darkness, palpable darkness, would also send an angel of death.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, so that darkness may spread over the land of Egypt—a palpable darkness.”

So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and total darkness covered all the land of Egypt for three days. No one could see anyone else, and for three days, no one left his place. Yet all the Israelites had light in their dwellings” (Exodus 10:21-23, BSB).

We have all found ourselves at work, a social setting, a party, a family gathering, or an event where darkness showed up. Darkness cloaked and draped in thick glee. Darkness wearing light like an angel. Darkness boasting in neon colors. Black draped words that fly and soar with edges– sharp points that stab and pierce. Words swathed in prideful mocking like Pharaohs or one of the thieves on the cross. Strange chatter where teeth bite and we chew people into pieces in one sentence and then try to mend them on sewing machines like a garment we’ve ripped in two like an offering or a dove with its head wrung off. We see the darkness in those around us as familiar and remember our own dwellings and journeys of learning the difference between the mundane and the holy. We recognize that we, too, have darkness that we battle. We realize we have far to go when compared to a Lamb that did not open its mouth.

white lamb on road

Photo-Nadia Supertino

When we are obedient and sacrifice our flesh on the altar, we are a sweet smelling fragrance unto Him.  “And this day will be a memorial for you, and you are to celebrate it as a feast to the LORD, as a permanent statute for the generations to come. For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you are to remove the leaven from your houses. Whoever eats anything leavened from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:14-15, BSB).

Darkness shows up during seasons and appointed times. But darkness also reveals light. Are we learning about light in the darkness? Are we bathing and cleansing our eyeballs in light? Are we able to not open our mouth in the midst of darkness, mocking and scorn, like a lamb–a lamb we ate in haste that then resided in our bellies. Did you know Adonai made darkness His covering?

“And He bowed the heavens and came down, And thick darkness was under His feet. And He rode upon a keruḇ, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His covering; Around Him His booth, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed, hail and coals of fire.” (Psalm 18:9-12, ISR).

Kisha Gallagher author at Grace in Torah has an anointed blog on darkness and light that I feel everyone would do well to read. I had a disturbing dream months ago depicting darkness and light. Her blog post titled What the Darkness Reveals brought healing and revelation to my soul. You can find it HERE. Before I wrap up this post on light and darkness, I want to direct you back to the two birds. Unbeknownst to me, I learned that there could be albino blackbirds from my husband. A blackbird with a pigment deficiency becomes white.

See the source image

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:19, BSB).

We can often look white as a dove but be a blackbird with a skin issue—this is one topic I have written about often and more for my own good. It is the same issue that made Miriam white as snow. Lashon Hara/the evil tongue–leprosy. Words are more powerful than we know.

All the evils that men cause to each other because of certain desires, or opinions, or religious principles, are rooted in ignorance. [All hatred would come to an end] when the earth was flooded with the knowledge of God.” – Maimonides

The earth flooded with knowledge of a Holy God. A fearful Ruler and Creator of all life sent a dove with an olive branch in its mouth. What if we carried that olive in our mouth?

During the Omer count, a count that we are commanded to do by Elohim, we count up to the 49th/50th day of Pentecost or Shavuot in Hebrew. The Holy Spirit fell in the book of Acts as tongues of fire. Oh, how our tongues need to be baptized in fire. Oh, how we need sweet water and not bitter. Even when we think we are speaking life, correction, and encouragement, it is possible to speak death due to our own ignorance, pride, pain, or fears.

Sometimes light shines so brightly it hurts eyes and causes people to place their hands over their face–their fingers in their ears, or run away. Sometimes truth is so loud it is like wind that knocks us down. Sometimes we see through the lens of grief. We open our arms and hug people we see as blind, deaf, having tongues that need coals from the altar. We hold them close because we love them so, and we bathe them in all the light we have to give in that moment knowing we too deal with our own evil tongues and puffed up yeast. Perhaps the darkness senses our light and is changed in some way spiritually. Maybe we receive light from those we see bathed in yeasty darkness. Perchance we notice what is in our own hearts?

clear glass bulb on human palm

Photo Rohan Makhecha

May we see the dove this Shavuot/ Pentecost. May we be a blackbird with skin clothed in light pigments that turn us whiter–brighter. May our leprosy be cleansed as Moses cried out concerning his sister, “Heal Her!, we picture the Body of Yeshua and cry out too. May we wrap ourselves in chesed and loving-kindness that bubbles forth without our left hand knowing what our right hand is doing. May we eat unleavened bread with purpose and not rote. May we count up to the comforter, the Ruach Wind that hovers over our heads and purifies our hearts and burns the dross off our tongues which no man can tame. May we hold up two loaves of bread and shout for joy at the promise of redemption, the comforter, and the Messiah.

“My little children, I write this to you, so that you do not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Intercessor with the Father, יהושע Messiah, a righteous One.

And He Himself is an atoning offering for our sins, and not for ours only but also for all the world.

And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands.

The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked” (I John 2:1-6, ISR).

Posted in America, Tekoa Manning, TM, torah

The Coup and the King

sun rays piercing through gray clouds

In this blog, we will meet a king who must flee his palace because his own son has planned a coup to overthrow his kingdom. David’s son Absalom has been quite successful in winning over the people with his charm. David and his men are not prepared with food and supplies to withstand such a battle. The King will have to go underground, and then he will have to operate using a secret informant to listen and give him the plans of his own son’s military tactics. The story seems remarkably close to our own situation in Washington.

In this blog, you will meet a man named Barzillai:

1.        He can no longer discern what is good and what is not.

2.        He can no longer taste.

3.        He can no longer hear the voice of singing.

In 2nd Samuel 19, David learns that his son, Absalom, who tried to usurp the kingdom from him, is now dead. King David has already lost two sons. The son he had with Bathsheba and his son Amnon who raped Tamar, was killed by Absalom because David is not good at confronting situations concerning his seed. In chapter 19, word has come to the King concerning the death of Absalom. The King is weeping. Yes, David is crying out from the depths of his belly, “Oh, my son! My son, Absalom! How I wish I would have died instead of you. Oh, my son, Absalom!”

King David’s servants and all the people hide themselves in humiliation. But the king does not have time to weep or mourn; he, after all, is still the king. Joab comes to David bringing strong rebuke and correction.

 “Today, you (David) have disgraced all your servants who have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters, of your wives, and of your concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you! For you have made it clear today that the commanders and soldiers mean nothing to you. I know today that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead, it would have pleased you!

Now, therefore, get up! Go out and speak comfort to your servants, for I swear by the LORD that if you do not go out, not a man will remain with you tonight. This will be worse for you than all the adversity that has befallen you from your youth until now!” (II Samuel 19:5-7).

Have you ever loved those who hated you and hated those who loved you? We can often blindly do just that.

David straightens his crown and dries his eyes and sits at the gate. All the people come out to congratulate the king. Those who had left him to follow Absalom had fled to their tents, but with Joab’s wise advice, the king prevents possible anarchy. The text says all the people throughout Israel were arguing over whether David should still be the king. Does that sound familiar?

“And all the people throughout the tribes of Israel were arguing, “The king rescued us from the hand of our enemies and delivered us from the hand of the Philistines, but now he has fled the land because of Absalom. But Absalom, the man we anointed over us, has died in battle. So why do you say nothing about restoring the king?” (II Sam. 19:9-10).

Sometimes, we must restore the king, and sometimes the one usurping the kingdom hangs himself. Those who were deceived by Absalom’s charm are now in limbo. Before Absalom’s death, he sent spies to all the tribes and told them as soon as they heard the shofar, then they were to say, “Absalom is King!” Regardless of who is placed in the White House as president, Yeshua is still our King. He is King of King’s. No man will get His glory. 

white concrete building during night time

David’s son, who tried to take the kingdom from him, ends up hanging from a tree by his thick hair (pride). Joab, David’s commander in chief, took three darts and thrust them through Absalom’s heart, killing him. Absalom was usurping something that was not his. Absalom’s name means “My Father is peace.” Adonai does bring peace after this horrific situation.

David, who has been in hiding from his seed, is going to cross back over the Jordan and take back what is rightfully his. He has been cursed and pelted with rocks. He has lost another son. He is a broken man who no doubt is replaying Nathan’s words from Adonai in his head. Weeping and repenting as he goes. Before David approaches the Jordan, something peculiar happens. A man who is 80 years old comes out to meet king David as he is getting ready to cross over from exile. His name was Barzillai. II Samuel 17 gives us a description of this man:

Barzillai: “A wealthy Gileadite noble of Rogelim (meaning fullers), who, together with two other prominent chieftains of the east-Jordanic territory, met David at Mahanaim, when he was fleeing with only a few followers from Absalom, and provided the king and his weary men with food” (2 Samuel 17:27).

He was a noble from Rogelim (meaning fullers). Fullers were men who treaded on clothing to cleanse the garments. Fuller’s soap is used to scrub the wool of sheep. Think righteous garments. Rogelim also means feet, and feet represent our walk. He meets David (Beloved) at Mahanaim.

Mahanaim is an interesting place.

 “Right before Jacob names the region Mahanaim, he is met by angels of God that motivates him to say, מחנה אלהים וה (“This is God’s camp”), using the word מחנה (mananeh)”(Abarim publications).

It is interesting to note that a man with crippled feet is also mentioned right before Barzillai. This man was Mephibosheth, meaning “one who DESTROYS SHAME. When he was five years old, a report came that Saul and Jonathan had been killed in battle, and when the boy’s nurse heard the news, she picked him up and fled. But as she hurried away, the nurse dropped Mephibosheth, and he became crippled (II Samuel 4).

Oh, the misfortune of it all. We do not hear much more about this young man again until II Samuel. David decides to bless anyone left of Saul’s house, the greatest enemy he ever had. David approaches Mephibosheth, and Mephibosheth says, “What is your servant that you take an interest in a dead dog like me?” How ironic that the name “Mephibosheth” means destroyer of shame, yet his crippled-up legs had brought him just that, shame. When Mephibosheth walked into a room, he was noticed, not for his beauty or even his heritage as the grandson of a king and the son of a mighty warrior, Jonathan. No, that is not what people noticed; they noticed his hobbling bent up legs.

When David searched for Jonathan’s son, and brought him to the palace, and placed him at his table, the King’s table covered his twisted legs that would not work right. The king’s table hid all his infirmities. He was under the shade of that table, and he was fed delicacies. One day, Mephibosheth went from thinking he was a dead dog to eating at the king’s table. One day we shall, too, eat at His Table if we do not lose heart and faint.

 Barzillai had the same opportunity to go with David and be fed by the king, but he does not. He is prepared to die and be buried with his parents. However, this very wealthy 80-year-old man wants to escort the King over the Jordan. Meditate on the number 80 and the crossing of the Jordan.

“The Hebrew number 80 is Pey and represents the mouth. The Hebrew number 8: “Shemoni [f.], shemonah [m.] Literally to “make fat.” New beginnings, not just complete (like seven), but satiated. Becoming “fat” is having more than enough. Full to overflowing. Moves from natural to supernatural. Transcends natural time and space to supernatural realm. Figuratively, eight takes one through a full cycle of seven, and begins anew – the One Day – Yom Echad – of creation.” (Grace in Torah)

Moses is 80 years old when he is sent to lead the Children of Israel to cross over the Reed Sea. Barzillai is 80 years old when he comes to escort David over the Jordan.

In our story from II Samuel, David tells Barzillai that he will provide for him and give him a place in Jerusalem if he crosses over with him. His name means man of iron. Barzillai teaches us how to die, and there is quite a contranym in his message and age. Remember, the Jordon is the place Yeshua was immersed in by John. It means to descend downward, and after we descend into the waters of the Jordan, we are cleansed just like Naaman from his leprosy. Naaman had to dip seven times, the number of completions. But Barzillai is 80 years old, and he tells David something I have been meditating on all week.

“But Barzillai replied, “How many years of my life remain, that I should go up to Jerusalem with the king? I am now eighty years old. Can I discern what is good and what is not? Can your servant taste what he eats or drinks? Can I still hear the voice of singing men and women? Why should your servant be an added burden to my lord the king?

Your servant could go with the king only a short distance past the Jordan; why should the king repay me with such a reward? Please let your servant return, that I may die in my own city near the tomb of my father and mother. But here is your servant Chimham. Let him cross over with my lord the king, and do for him what is good in your sight.” (II Samuel 19:34-37).

He can no longer discern what is good and what is not.

He can no longer taste.

He can no longer hear the voice of singing.

Barzillai sends his servant—his son ChimHam instead. Chimham means to thirst, pinning, and having a great desire. “The verb כמה (kama) means to thirst but specifically expresses a desire for liquidity in the exchange of knowledge and wisdom (rather than the light of wisdom itself, or the eventual productivity that results from having wisdom). This verb also resembles the particle of comparison כמו (kemo), “as if” or “like.” (Abarim Publications). Chimham is mention in Jeremiah. It is the name of a town near Bethlehem, from which it would seem that David gave Barzillai’s son some land that was passed on to his descendants in his name. Barzillai sends his son over to Jerusalem, the one whose name means desire and thirst, a pinning to be in the Land. The man of iron cannot go. The man who can no longer discern what is good and what is not. The man who can no longer taste and see. The man who can no longer hear the voice of singing will remain on the other side of the Jordan. Jerusalem means rain of peace and a foundation of peace. Oh, how we need this today!  

I pray this has blessed you. May we continue to keep our eyes on the King of Kings and the Lord of All. 

Posted in devotional, Memoir, Tekoa Manning, TM, torah

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. I sat there due to the sound from the water pressure; it helped drown out my sobs. I was crying so hard my body shook.
I had just started a round of steroids to bring me back from the neurological monster that had gripped me and depleted me of strength. This disease was causing painful muscle spasms and slurring of speech. I could not stand in the shower because I was so off-balance, I feared that I might fall over. Also, my legs were too wobbly to hold me up. They felt like tree trunks.

grayscale photo of woman crying holding her right chest

I had just shared with my (previous) husband a concern about one of my symptoms that was growing worse—I was losing control of my bladder. I spoke to him in a voice that quivered about how one of my friends with multiple sclerosis was wearing diapers now, at the age of forty. I was terrified of what was happening to my BODY. My underpants were staying soaked, and the smell of urine was quite embarrassing. However, instead of the compassion that I had received from him in the past, I was now getting disdain and regret. He was regretful that he had married me. It was written all over his face. We began to argue. He informed me that he did not plan on taking care of a sick wife for the rest of his life and that he sure was not going to change diapers. He mentioned harshly, my father’s name, who at that time, was taking care of my mother with Parkinson’s.
“I am not going to end up like him!” He voiced loudly.
I tried to dissolve under the kitchen linoleum.
He would later go on to leave the country and never return. I would lose not just him, but my precious step-daughter, who called me Momma, Bonnie. A child, now 7, who had lived with us bi-weekly since she was a baby, had become a bright ray of sunshine in my life. Months later, on a warm spring day, her mother would arrive to pack up her things, and I would stand frozen, yet horrified, as her mother unpeeled tiny fingers from my shirt. To this day, I can still hear her voice sobbing, “Please, momma, please, can momma Bonnie come live with us, pleeease!” These words will be forever seared into my memory.

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 anymore.67יהושע, therefore, said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”68Then Shim‛on Kĕpha answered Him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You possess words of everlasting life” (John 6:66-68, ISR).

Is it our best life now?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:24-26, NASB).

So let’s recap Part #1:

(Matthew 20:17-21) “As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, 18“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. 21And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom, these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.”

We read the same story in another Gospel, and it shows that the brothers asked as well. They came worshipping him, but they wanted to be exalted. They had a taint in their worship. They tried to bargain–make a deal with the Moshiach and exchange their devotion for a place of honor and esteem. If He was going to have a kingdom, they wanted to be on the throne and exalted right beside him.

Yeshua said, “Ye know not what ye ask! Are you able to drink the cup that I shall drink of and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? John said he baptized with water, but one was coming who would baptize (Immerse) with FIRE. Our Messiah could not baptize them with fire until he was baptized in sorrow—immersed in all the anguish and cruelty that the garden of Gethsemane and the cross held in its hands. They slept while his very blood dripped and oozed out of his pores. My family members, for a season, seemed to snooze through my suffering. To this day, when I mention some of the things I went through, they respond with, “Hmm, I don’t remember that.” The friends I had for years were suddenly gone. They didn’t know how to react or be around this woman. They said, “I do not know that woman!” These men wanted to worship him, but they had not spiritually died with him yet. I was beginning to die to my flesh. This suffering was causing me to reach up and seek a place of death so that I could live.

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