** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 15
“ALL THINGS MADE NEW”
Have you ever had an unexpected guest come to visit your home with too little time to prepare for them? Someone important… someone that you respect greatly? If so, you probably rushed about to make things presentable only to have the time expire and there you stood, cleaning cloth in hand as you looked up in their presence.
One early morning during a time of earnestly seeking the Lord in prayer, I had such an experience. I was seeking Him because I needed SOMETHING to change. Years of active involvement in the Christian church and years of trying to apply techniques for better discipleship had left me frustrated. I knew deep down that it all felt shallow and inauthentic, so I found myself crying out that morning for God to reveal TRUTH to me and for Him to show me the PROTOCOL of His eternal Kingdom. I sensed a shift as I continued to pray. It was as if I myself and the room I was in were transported to a higher dimension. I somehow instinctively knew that the supreme, majestic, presence of the Most High God was about to enter the room! A room which was messy with several magazines laying around and un-swept floors. Then, right as I’m caught in a state of embarrassed panic and wanting to quickly sweep dirt under the rug and organize the magazines, HE ENTERED the room. I never saw His face, but I knew that He
extended His right hand toward me as I sat on the sofa looking toward Him. The gesture of His raised hand brought calmness and assurance to me as He said, “It’s okay, it’s okay… we’re going to take this ‘item by item’.” The very next instant He was leaving through the room’s eastern brick wall. I saw Him in faint detail at a distance, and He was wearing a backpack (yes…a backpack). He looked back at me over His right shoulder saying, “You know, We are ‘outfitting’ you for royalty” and He was gone.
As my eyes opened from praying, I was so stimulated with euphoria that I found myself repeating the words “DO WHATEVER HE SAYS!” over and over that entire day. I knew that the backpack symbolized an adventure and a journey whereby the “items” would be dealt with one at a time through my obedience. I also knew that the protocol which I yearned for would be given to me along the way in this journey toward the reality of His eternal Royal Kingdom. It was a personalized message of assurance and His answer to my cry. It was as if all things were being made new!
The next several weeks became some of the most rewarding of my life. A copy of the “Complete Jewish Bible” found me at a Christian bookstore. I read from it every day while seeking to obey, and the Holy Spirit began to reveal scriptural truth to me. I learned that thinking of the Old Testament through the “lens” of the New Testament because the Old Testament is “done away with” (a doctrine taught to me in Christianity) was completely wrong. The reverse is true! The Old Testament (the Torah or first 5 books, the Writings, & the Prophets) is the historical and chronological FOUNDATION of biblical faith. I also learned that the Hebrew word “Torah” (commonly translated into English as the “LAW”) literally means INSTRUCTIONS & TRAINING in RIGHTEOUSNESS. It was immediately obvious to me that obeying the Torah (instructions and training) was what God meant when He said to me that we would “take it item by item”. I thought,
“This is it! This is the PROTOCOL of the Kingdom that I was asking for!”
About this time, I began to attend a wonderful Torah observant Messianic assembly called Ruach International Ministries in Brandon, Florida. There it was revealed to me that most of the holidays that I had kept since childhood were rooted in pagan worship, and that God has appointed Holy days for us to keep instead. I learned that keeping the Torah means that we assemble with other obedient believers to keep the appointed times (weekly Sabbaths, seasonal feasts, & new moons) as a choice to keep the covenant offered by YHVH – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel – to His people. I also learned that Yeshua (Jesus) kept the Torah perfectly, and that by faith in Him & obedience to His and His Father’s commands, we are considered by God to be a part of the commonwealth of Israel and brought near to participate in the covenants and promises which have been made to Israel. Furthermore, I discovered that YHVH is calling forth a ROYAL Priesthood and a Holy Nation who keep HIS PROTOCOL to be light
unto the world as He establishes and gathers the body of Messiah Yeshua from the four corners of the earth for the restoration all things.
In retrospect, the experience of God’s personal visit that morning changed me deeply. It left me with an inescapable conclusion. If you want to be who our creator made you to be. If you want to be “outfitted for royalty”, you must love Him with all your heart and obey His Torah “item by item”. Everything else is chaff that the wind blows away.
** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 14
Give Me Your Eyes
My husband and I were blessed to have the opportunity to paint the inside of a vacant house. The owners requested ceilings, walls & trim in all rooms (3 bedrooms, living, dining, kitchen, bath, entry, and hallway), be painted all the same color – off white. Each room had a unique color (grey, lavender, tan, burgundy) and have required two coats of paint to cover.
While painting we had the radio on tuned to one of the local Christian stations. Today I heard the song “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath and it struck my heart. These are some of the lyrics:
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see,
Everything that I keep missing,
Give me your love for humanity.
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten.
Give me Your eyes so I can see.
We are almost to Yom Teruah (Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1) or the Day of Blowing and I have been searching my heart during the month of Elul. The lyrics listed above is my heart desire.
Abba, give me YOUR eyes so I can see EVERYTHING I keep missing. I have missed so much by focusing on self.
Give me YOUR love for humanity. I have been judgmental and not extending the same grace I have received.
Give me YOUR arms for the broken-hearted. I need to have more compassion. Give me YOUR heart for the ones forgotten. Who have I forgotten?
As I walked through the house from each freshly painted room to the next, I realized the inside of this house has a “new start”. The blemishes have been scraped away, holes filled in, scuff marks scrubbed off, and everything covered with white. Each room looks clean and without blemish.
Isaiah 1:16-18 16 NASB “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. 18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
Ephesians 5:25-27 NASB 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Song of Songs 4:7 NASB 7 “You are altogether beautiful, my darling, And there is no blemish in you.
I, too, have a new start! Abba has allowed me to see the roughness and imperfections in my heart so I can repent and be clean! Hallelujah!
** 40 Days of Repentance – 2019 – Day 13
Monkeys In Caps and Gowns
Our family had an occasion of great note a year or so ago as my grandson Gavin, at that time almost 5, graduated from Pre-School with all the Pomp and Circumstance expected from such grand achievement. We were amazed at the group’s recounting of the months of the year and days of the week. We were enthralled at their version of ABC’s, complete with sound effects and character attachments for each letter. These cap and gown clad scholars were individually recognized for their classroom accomplishments and their social contributions, awarded with a certificate and a stuffed animal. Cell phones filled any void of space available to catch the momentous occasion while parents and grandparents wept and cheered.
While the adults filed by tables lined with food for the “Graduation Picnic,” held indoors, kids squealed and bounced down a blow up slide. Someone thought it necessary to also bring out a ride involving a waist high car ramp complete with one yellow car. The car is placed at the top of the ramp, a child is loaded into the vehicle and a parent gives an easy push, allowing the yellow roadster to swiftly descend the ramp and roll with a laughing passenger across the room. The blow up slide became a “been there, done that device” and the line now formed at the car ramp. A couple of dads gave appropriate supervision and all seemed to be well and fun.
While munching on my chicken nuggets and fruit, my hearing was filled with the sounds of discontent and fierce debate. I looked up to see that the dads had vacated the ride in favor of the picnic, and now the children were running things for themselves. The car still traveled down the ramp giving one a thrill while others pushed, shoved, and cried for the next turn. I was sure that one little fellow was going to step in front of the descending vehicle and get run over. I turned to my son-in-law and surmised, “The monkeys are in charge of the zoo!”
Imagine with me the momentous occasion of Yeshua’s ascension. The Messiah Who had walked among us in bold power, exercising authority to teach the Kingdom and to cast out demons, now is taken from our sight. In His physical absence, mere mortals are left in charge of what Yeshua had fulfilled from the Prophet’s words and established by teaching proper understanding of Torah. Would this work stand as a fortress against the ages or fall like a house of cards?
How could Yeshua entrust His completed labors to the hands of fallible corruptible men, knowing our propensity toward selfish gain and ruthless religious schemes?
What prevents the monkeys from running the zoo, leaving us without proper supervision and the children of the Kingdom getting run over?
I recall a statement someone made to me years ago concerning this very same plight. Their words were “I would not want to live in a Torah-based society totally administrated by men.” Though the Torah is the ideal constitution for a righteous social structure, given solely into the governing hands of mere men, one might very well live in fear. Torah without mercy, without purity of heart, without the sole purpose of honoring the Creator Who gave it, becomes a religious code whereby a few judge the most according to their interpretation of letters, jots, and tittles. Their caps and gowns, glowing recitations of feast days and correct Moshe quotations do not prevent these men of graduate esteem from pushing and shoving to be first in line.
Lest we judge those seeking Torah ideals too harshly, let us also be aware that those who lead solely by the winds of the Spirit, floating one lofty “Word of Wisdom” after another “Word of Knowledge” or Prophecy can cause just as much pushing, shoving, and crying. Yeshua did indeed say, “But you shall receive power when the Set Apart Spirit has come upon you…” [Acts 1:8, The Scriptures 2009]. He did say, “But the Helper, the Set Apart Spirit whom the Father shall send in My Name, He shall teach you all, and remind you of all that I said to you.” [Yochanan 14:26, The Scriptures 2009]. However, these words of Yeshua were given to men whom He had personally trained in understanding of the Torah. They had a solid Torah foundation upon which to operate in the gifting and enabling of the Ruach haKodesh/Holy Spirit.
This is our key to proper balance. The Spirit applies the Torah to our hearts. The Torah determines the Spirit’s legitimate leading of our walk. The Ruach or Spirit was never intended to be separated from or superior to the Torah. The Torah was never intended to be embraced without the Ruach’s application or enabling. This is what keeps the monkeys out of leadership and allows mere men who are yet moved on by the power of the Ruach to use the Torah appropriately, continuing the work of Yeshua, and granting all His children a chance at the ride of a lifetime.
“The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:4-5 NASB)
Many years ago, I heard a pastor say that those who inflict harm on others do so for a reason: they have been victims themselves.
The pastor spoke about the cycles of misery that perpetuate suffering, not only in the ghettos of America, but everywhere. His point was that all of us, regardless of our status in life, seem to forget that even those who hurt others have themselves been hurt badly. The gang member, for example, who cruelly guns down a rival has, for all his life, been kept down by those stronger than himself. Is there any wonder that he acts in such a way, not knowing any alternative? How, then, can we judge him?
This lesson was made clearer to me recently when I read a social media post from a young friend. He wrote:
TO ALL OF MY FEMALE FRIENDS:
If you need to get birth control and are nervous about walking through the groups of protesters, I will gladly walk with you and fend them off for you.
If you are nervous about going to the abortion clinic, I will walk with you and keep them away from you.
I mean this. I seriously mean this because no woman should ever have to feel even more terrified and alone than they already do when grappling with such a private, difficult situation.
This is not about my beliefs, it is about keeping people safe and knowing they are loved, no matter what.
AND IF YOU DON’T LIVE CLOSE TO ME, I WILL TRAVEL TO YOU
If you are my friend, I will ALWAYS stand with you.
Do you see the heart of compassion in this young man’s words? It is very much there, but he sees only one side. I do not know why he does not recognize the pain of the unborn child. Perhaps he is simply unaware of it. However, he knows the pain of friends who suffer humiliation and trauma because of unplanned pregnancy, and his heart goes out to them. What we see as peaceful prayer vigils at abortion clinics, he sees as mobs of angry, judgmental people who care nothing for what his friends are going through. Yes, the unborn are the victims, but so also are their mothers and the people around them.
The hurting people of this world are already inclined to believe that even the gentlest and most loving among us are only ready to hurt them yet more. Even the slightest facial expression, tone of voice, or casual word can communicate a message of judgment, shutting off all hope that the one in need will be able to receive help from the one most able to give it.
This brings us to the real question: can those who have the heart of the Father help those who do not? He alone is the Judge. As long as we try to stand in His place, even unintentionally, we disqualify ourselves as instruments of His peace.
I’m reminded of sinful cities like Sodom, Nineveh and Babylon. They had their opportunities to repent and change the judgement that would befall them. Nineveh did repent upon hearing Jonah’s plea, but 100 years later, they would plummet into total sin and the King would declare that all that he accomplished was by his own hand. Babylon fell into the same fate as Nineveh and their King would make similar statements.
May we be reminded of these fates, may we be quick to remember the sinful cities of the past and present and not follow their pattern of unrepentant hearts. May we repent and keep the City of the Great King in our focus because as long as our minds and hearts stay connected to the sinful cities, we will be dragged down into the pit of destruction.
May Psalms 48 be upon our heart. Let us be quick to repent and set our minds on the City of our God.
1 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, In the city of our God, His holy mountain. 2 Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion in the far north, The city of the great King. 3 God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold. 8 As we have heard, so have we seen In the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God; God will establish her forever. Selah.Psa. 48:9 We have thought on Your lovingkindness, O God, In the midst of Your temple. 10 As is Your name, O God, So is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness. 11 Let Mount Zion be glad, Let the daughters of Judah rejoice Because of Your judgments. 12 Walk about Zion and go around her; Count her towers; 13 Consider her ramparts; Go through her palaces, That you may tell it to the next generation. 14 For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.
We may not reside in this city yet, but may this city reside in us now and evermore.
Besides bringing to mind a much-quoted Robert Frost poem (in which he never refers to a fork), the idea of choosing a road to follow is an ancient biblical metaphor.
Proverbs 14:12 declares, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
In D’varim (Deuteronomy) 30:15, Moshe makes the choice clear to the Hebrews: “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, (or) death and destruction.” The choice is ours, and the consequences of our choice are made quite clear in the verses that follow.
Y’shua also mentions this choice in Matthew 7:13-14, in which he says, “…narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
In the same vein, the first psalm, Psalm 1, lays a solid foundation for the entire collection of psalms by echoing this choice between righteousness and wickedness.
“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.”
For many years, this “opening” psalm has been what I consider to be my “life verse.” That means I consider it to be what represents the deepest core of my faith walk. The central part of the psalm contains that beautiful poetic imagery about being “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither.”
Those words are comforting and encouraging; a triumphant promise of goodness.
Yet overall, this psalm presents once again that choice that echoes what YHVH told the Hebrews when they were in the wilderness. Boiled down to its barest essence, Psalm 1 says, “Love God and live. Don’t love God and die.”
Why do we convince ourselves the decision is difficult?