Up to Half the Kingdom

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In this blog series, we will look at those like Esther, who stood before kings and made request, as well as the request of one man on the cross next to Yeshua.

At one point, I’ll ask you to sit with me, as we shine a light of introspection inside our souls. Even in our silence, we are always making request of the King. If we pray without ceasing, our hearts cry out.

There is nothing hated as greatly as truth.

Stephen speaks truth in the book of Acts and is stoned to death. John speaks truth and ends up on the menu.

“For Herod himself had ordered that John be arrested and bound and imprisoned, on account of his brother Philip’s wife Herodias, whom Herod had married. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife! So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him” Mark 6:17-19.

Grudge in the Hebrew sense means to cherish an anger and nurture it.

Herodias wanted John dead. Her daughter dances for Herod on his birthday, and he tells her that he will give her anything, even half of the kingdom. She, like Esther, is standing before a king. What will she ask for? What will we ?

“The king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom!”

Then she went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?”

And Herodias answered, “The head of John the Baptist.”

At once the girl hurried back to the king with her request: “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist on a platter immediately.” Mark 6:22-25).

Immediately. Chop chop–literally.

During this blog, I hope you will pause here and there, as we ask the question: what are our souls requesting from the Master, the King of Kings? When the king waves his scepter and says, “Ask whatever you wish.”
Are we coming boldly to His throne room like Esther? If I die, I die? What does our request look like?

Some of my most significant accomplishments and life lessons have been birthed out of tragedies, mistakes, weaknesses, and fears. It is often on this journey under the sun that we find ourselves in circumstances that are incredibly uncomfortable. We may have moments that turn into seasons where we want to check out. We huddle up in a fetal position and hold our broken souls, or we run full throttle, keeping busy with life, never slowing down long enough to deal with our past or present wounds.

Can we sit still long enough to question why we take flight or sit paralyzed—why we scream to be noticed or slink into corners? Why we need to fill up a room with our grandeur, or why we feel invisible and unworthy of being seen.

As a society that makes millions off of social media and reality Television, can we capture sacred moments without publicizing them? Can we enjoy a sunset alone with our Creator without sharing it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, every time.? Even if its royal purple and red? Are my treasured moments, thoughts, or accomplishments in life measured by the number of views, hearts, likes, or shares, I get? Can I be silent without ‘my’ opinion being stated?
Or worse, have i kept silent while Haman is erecting gallows for my people?

Who are my people?

sunset by Peter

In our sorrow or complacent posture, we ask questions to the King of the universe, or we request nothing.

Is it possible that our flesh grows louder, and is in fact, screaming for red stuff because our souls are as dead as a corpse?
Yeshua said, “You wash the outside of your cups and dishes, while inside there is nothing but greed and self-indulgence” (Matthew 23:25).

Self-indulgence: gourmet foods, pampering, massaging, plucking, plumping, sitting on ivory couches eating choice lambs.
DEAD.
Who will awaken the dawn?

In our deadened state, we tell the world we are alive and excited! Prosperous, even, but by whose standards? We say we are blessed, but how is this defined for us?

“Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laughBlessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:21-22). Truth can get you killed by the sword or by men with sharp tongues.

We venture outside and see each person with fresh eyes, eager to learn from their wanderings, or we smugly think they have nothing to offer us. We magnify their faults and forget their strengths. We notice their blackheads while our pimples come to a head.
They offer us clothing, but we judge their shoes and where they’ve traveled as less than and dismiss their offerings–or we crave their attention so much, we tap dance for them and parade our peacock feathers in prideful fashion.
We get so caught up in the hustle, we forget about our soul and leave it on the counter like our lukewarm coffee cup.

The soul is always whispering to us,” taught Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz.
“Then why don’t we change?” asked the disciple Reb Raphael of Bershad.
“Because,” said Reb Pinchas, “the soul never repeats itself.

Spring arrives, and we are still naked. In our effort to sprout or bud with some form of life, we speak to our soul in the silence and say things like, ‘Has anyone ever truly loved me? How can I love my neighbor as myself after what I’ve done or failed to do?’ Why am I here? What am I created to do?

lonliness

We stare at scars where our breast used to be. We remove the wig and see a few spry hairs. We study the MRI report. We look at our ex’s new lover and make comparisons. We receive a frightening diagnosis, a foreclosure, job loss, family issues that seem irreparable, or worse a call in the middle of the night.
We replay the past and multiply our guilt. We say words like ‘if.’
“If I had only done this, or said that, perhaps things would be different. If I would have taken a different route that day. If I just would have made the phone call. If I would have taken them to the doctor sooner—replaced the batteries in the smoke detector, showed them love and not just enunciated the words carelessly—flinging them from my keyboard or lips with such ease.

I

l o v e

y o u

But can we love like a lamp with all its warm glowing light?
Can we love like Yeshua?
Would we know what love looked like if it slapped us in the face?
Have we ever felt it from someone? Who was that person that created a space for our voice, our sorrow, our joy, and our accomplishments? Can we be like them?

Have we returned an ear?

A shoulder to cry on?

Been silent long enough to listen—really listen.

When we lack stillness– we forget the birds sing to us every morning—when we don’t absorb the Sonshine, or actually taste our food, we wander over hills searching for manna on day 7, forgetting how it arrived effortlessly on days 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and doubled on day 6.

numbers

We purchase hair extensions instead of waiting like Samson for new growth. We try and fight for ourselves instead of being still or letting Him. We toss memes up with sharp points that stab people. “Aha, take that!”

We clean out our cabinets, closets, cars, toxic people list. We apply for new occupations, start new projects, enroll in a class and rearrange the furniture. Finally, we open the mini-blinds and allow light to sweep over us like a vacuum collecting debris. Our eyes squint at this beam of radiance as if its some foreign object of torture.
We forget that we are lamps.
We forget to buy oil.
We proclaim that we have oil. Meanwhile, our oil light flashes for all to see, but we don’t notice it.

We go through the motions and never enjoy the moments that make up our lives.
We are corrected and can’t admit that the other person has light to give us.
Have we ever really seen the other person?
Our spouses?

Children?

Family?

Friendships?

“We each have blind spots, just as every candle casts its own shadow. Only when you place a second candle next to the first, do the shadows disappear, illuminated by the other’s light.” Ariel Burger.

We study other humans and decide that we know them. We gaze at people over seasons and form an opinion of their soul—what needs removed, added–like a cake recipe, we have the formula.

cake batter
Yes, we have the ingredients they need for success, knowledge, health, better posture, greater peace, cleaner foods and how to live their best life now.
We don’t listen.
We don’t have empathy, because after all, our pain is more considerable.
We want them to measure our pain, and so we tolerate theirs until we can chime in.

Tolerate? Elie Wiesel, explains,

“I don’t like the word tolerate. Who am I to tolerate you? I prefer the word respect. I must respect you even if I do not agree with you. In fact, my disagreement may be an expression of my respect for you. If I truly respect you, don’t I owe you my honesty?

Honesty? Didn’t John (Yochanan) say honest things to Herod?
Can we handle such a big word in a day and time where everyone gets a ribbon, a medal, and must never be offended? Isn’t pride the reason behind most of our offenses? Our flesh wasn’t noticed. Our feelings were hurt. Our work wasn’t honored or seen. Our talents overlooked. Our children were left out. No one thanked us for our generous gift or time. Or worse, the truth they spoke enraged us to cut off their head.

We wander about not knowing what those we meet daily are going through. We express the rudeness of the bank teller. Like Haman, concerning Mordecai, we say things like, “He didn’t even smile at me or greet me.” We look at the gas station attendant and say, “It can’t be that bad, smile.”

For all we know, they just lost a loved one, a pet, their home, etc.
“Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.” Proverbs 25:20.

We bounce words off the walls to describe the waitress who leaves our glass empty of tea or never returns with our check, never weighing that possibly she was raped the night before. Abandoned. Had a miscarriage. Is contemplating suicide.

We disregard our family members who put on smiles and utter “life is great! Sales are at an all-time high.” We call him or her pompous on our car ride home, not knowing they hide behind horrific loneliness, addiction, and depression. We accuse others of being hypochondriacs and needing attention. Meanwhile, they suffer with chronic conditions unseen to the naked eye.

We lack empathy.

What have we become? Mere mortals scrolling through our phones, computers, remote controls. Do they control us? Desensitize us? Entertain us? Are we becoming more remote due to them? “Remote–distant, having very little connection with or relationship to.”

We place on mask and hide behind them.

We lack vulnerability, so we build walls to protect ourselves.

“From the Latin word vulnerare, “to wound,” vulnerability is our susceptibility to be wounded.”

At times, there are people in our lives, who blurt out their sufferings with great vulnerability, but where are we while they stand naked before us? Where was Yeshua’s disciples when he cried out,

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up” (Matthew 20:18-19).

This passage is just placed in-between two bookends. We read no responses to Yeshua’s words. There are no words of sympathy. No, “I wish you wouldn’t have to suffer so.” There’s not even a “But on the third day, you’ll be fine!” Matter a fact, the next verse we read is the words of James and John’s mother requesting that her sons may sit on the right and left-hand side of Yeshua when he sits as King in his kingdom.

She bows before him and makes her request. It seems vastly different from Esther’s appointment with a king.

What are we asking of him to do for us in this season?

The gentile Kings, Herod, and king, Ahasuerus both offer up to half their Kingdoms. Kingdoms they wouldn’t have if it weren’t given to them by Adonai.

Herod means to flee or be a afraid. Are we afraid of the truth? Haman’s Name means a multitude of noise. He proclaims truth is what he says it is. Do we make noise when we hear truth?

“The council members shouted and covered their ears. At once they all attacked Stephen and dragged him out of the city.” Acts 7: 57.

20Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, 21but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him! 22And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”23But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail.” Luke 7:20-23.

Haman’s request is to kill a people– Esther’s is to save. The sons of Zebedee and their mother request positions and titles. What are we requesting from such a Holy King?

In part II of this teaching we will look at more request given to kings and what the heart of the matter is.

PART #2 Click Here

sources:

Quotes from Witness, by A. Burger

Photos by:

Gabriel Testoni —sunset
 
Gaelle Marcel —cake batter
 
 
Cristian –Newman hidden
Austris Augusts —numbers

Empathy–Soul Shine Part II

Soul Shine Part 2

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A car alarm at my apartment complex has been going off repeatedly of late. Like the psalmist, it was putting out a cry for help. This can be a sign that someone other than the owner of the vehicle, may be trying to cause damage or theft. But sometimes the alarm, like on this particular car, is going off when there is no danger present–not even a car parked closely in its vicinity. Our body is equipped with its very own alarm system too. Just like the horn that blared when no one was near due to faulty wiring, as in autoimmune diseases. Our immune systems can attack healthy cells by mistake or ring with pain from hidden issues. The Body of Messiah can attack itself just like an autoimmune disease. All sickness, like the car alarm, is a warning signal.

Healing our soul can quiet any alarm, but it takes steps to get there. A person can even find a place of wholeness in their spirit when their body is in pain; even if their hip is out of socket like Jacobs after he wrestled and was given a new name.

Mental peace instead of worry can occur even if the person is shackled in chains between two Roman soldiers like Paul was. Sound asleep.  He said, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” 2nd Timothy 4:6-7 (TLV). No alarm going off here. No panic that his life was going to be taken by a cruel death. He says, “holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.” Philippians 2:16-18 (NASB) These words were spoken by a man who was getting ready to be decapitated. He’s not screaming for help with alarm. He is not bitter at His God. He is not begging for prayer and saying, “You do not know what all I have gone through!” He said, I am being poured out like an offering before my Heavenly Father, and I am going to receive a crown that can’t be attained on this earth with its fleshly desires for crowns.

If you are uncomfortable, anxious, suffering from physical, mental, or emotional pain, my prayer is that you can quiet the alarm and find wholeness. Towards the end of this blog, I’ll explain The Spoon Theory, a true life story that ministered to me deeply at a time when I was suffering greatly. The short story is easy to pass out to family, and friends, and those in chronic pain.

If you have a family member, friend, or spouse who is suffering, there are multiple things you can do to help them. Many times prayer, a home cooked meal, a maid for a day, spa-massage, calls, get-well cards, or even understanding more of what’s going on in their body can help.

Aging is not a sickness. These bodies, like the trees, and the flowers wear out, grow old, wilt, drop leaves and expire. Our teeth become loose. Our hair fades like the petals of a rose. Our skin, no matter how much Botox is injected, wilts, sags, and the skin hangs.

“All flesh is like grass, and its glory is like the flowers of the field,” the prophet Isaiah bellows! Old age is natural–sickness is not. Infection and dis-ease can be very painful. Millions, if not billions, are spent annually in the United States to stop one from feeling pain, but too often the person is given a label and a drug that actually prevents the body and soul from protecting itself. Have you ever read the side effects on some of these Pharmaceutical drugs? Scary.

Antidepressants are good for a season if the person cannot handle the amount of mental anguish, but our emotions work together. We can’t feel joy when we’re numb to all our emotions. In Hebrew thought, everything has feelings. The rocks cry out. The trees clap their hands. The mountains burst into song. Everything is ALIVE! Dead people feel nothing. Yeshua, even says “let the dead bury their dead.” Some of my greatest joy came forth out of devastation. After losing my home and all my possessions, a year later, I opened the door to an apartment that was 650 square feet and hit my knees with great joy. I could control my thermostat, use my water, drink from my coffee cup in the serenity of a space chalked out for me. The smallest space I’d ever occupied was peaceful. There was joy in that space, but what if I would have never experienced being homeless and just went from my home to the tiny place? Would I have had such gratitude for it?

“Weeping may stay the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5 BSB).

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2nd Corinthians 4:16-17 (NASB).

A hurting person often needs to speak of their strange symptoms and pain. They need to vent via describing it to those willing to share in their suffering. They need someone to believe them and offer compassion. I’ve found this type of servant in my life to be few and far in between. Most of the people I know who have compassion and a willing ear have suffered. Listening with empathy or even a response of “Do you want to be made whole?” is needed.

There is nothing as difficult as sitting in a room full of healthy people laughing and talking and being in horrific pain or depression, or worse cooped up in a hospital bed. We try to appear normal for the sake of family or friends, but our body is screaming, or our mind is screaming, “Don’t you know what I am going through?” This is what we want to say, but instead, we ask for water or inquire about Betty’s new hairstyle. Even worse, is having someone tell us not to speak it. They quote ‘life and death are in the power of the tongue.’ True. Look at the giants and the grapes. But Caleb did not say the Giants didn’t exist; he said they could conquer them because of the faith he had in His Heavenly Father. If your child were to cut off his arm, would you just tell him to say that his arm was whole, while he bled out? No. Of course not. We need to be more like Caleb, who had a different spirit. When he saw giants, no alarm went off!

On the other hand, is it good to sit and talk about our pain, nonstop? No, not always. What we focus on grows. If you have a loved one battling depression, give them space to heal. Try not to use words like “Snap out of it.” “You just need to go for a walk, get some sunlight, or take a yoga class.” Really? Depression can be crueler than physical pain. Even Job’s friends started out with great compassion.

“When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was” Job 2:12-13 (NIV).

The Book of Proverbs warns us what not to do around these.

“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart” (Proverbs 25:20 (NIV).

If one has a child or friend diagnosed with a chronic illness or something like ADHD, Asperger’s, dyslexia and so forth, learning about their issues is a kindness we can do for our loved ones. Learning the best way to teach them, correct them, or how their brain works compared to ours, is also essential to those suffering. Not all minds are the same. Would a man as wise as Solomon have a brain that looked like ours? I think some of these children and adults are fearfully and wonderfully made by The Designer of all for a particular purpose.

Many times, a parent frustrated by a rumbustious ADHD child, who is making poor grades, may be tempted to use a rod of punishment when if they had the knowledge of how the child’s frontal lobe differs from others, they would have more compassion and more tools to research natural remedies and the best way for their child to learn and do well academically. A website called understood.org has a section titled “Through Your Child’s Eye’s” where parents can select an issue their child is having and experience what a child with dyslexia and ADHD feels by tools that lead to stimulation.

Sometimes education from Science about pain helps the person in pain. When I went numb from the waist down, I wanted to know why this was happening to my body? When it felt like spiders or creepy things were crawling over my skin, or when I couldn’t remember how to get home from a store a couple of miles away, I had questions about what was going on in my body and my mind. It was scary! Sometimes research answers these questions and stops the person suffering from feeling like they are going insane. They connect with others who have the same symptoms, the same labels, and even learn from communities like Daily Strength, a social network that connects people who are in pain, even the pain that comes from the loss of a child.

A person who has progressed with Alzheimer’s won’t have the ability to learn about the disease and retain it, but the loved one can. Recently, doctors at Mayo Clinic found that slapping nicotine patches on Alzheimer’s patients is helping them with memory. CBD oil is helping people who suffer from epilepsy, anxiety, Cancer, Lyme, and other health issues. Plants are good medicine. Learning from research often helps the one who is too sick to research. Also, when family members search out the disease their loved one has, they can become more understanding, compassionate, and even find helpful tips. On the flip side, sometimes the advice from others who haven’t taken the time to research their loved one’s illness bring a different pain.

All knowledge is good when we have empathy and love behind it.

My husband, while loading his truck with items was asked by a close relative, why he had a motorized scooter in the back. He explained that it was ordered by my doctor for when my muscles are feeble. No one had looked up the diagnosis I had been given and read up on it. Many times people do not understand why a person has to leave the party early or not show up at all. Many people with chronic illnesses and disease, look fine, but inside their body is screaming. My most significant plea to my readers is for them to research the symptoms of their loved ones suffering, and please don’t say, “It’s just the devil!”

When they don’t offer to help clear the table after a dinner gathering, or they seem disgruntled or don’t show up for grandma’s birthday, offenses can take place if we don’t have an understanding–even if they went to an outing the day or week before. Everyone has good days and bad.

Sometimes a family member may have the doctors scratching their heads, and no diagnosis has been given yet, trust me, the person is still going through something. My mother had Parkinson’s disease for a decade before she was diagnosed. Most people do not crave this kind of attention.

Here is the link below to the wonderful spoon story. It can be handed out to family and friends who lack understanding or empathy, and it ministers to those with chronic illnesses.  The Spoon Theory here.

Part #3 Will involve people who can destroy our destiny and even our heath. Bullying, and Torah.

Healing of the Soul Part #1

Healing Part #2

Healing Part #3

Healing Part #4

Healing Part # 5

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“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Blessings,

Tekoa

You can find Part #1 here.

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