Monthly Archives: September 2017

APOSTASIA

Sometimes you just have to find light in the darkness. Darkness that continues despite the sun’s warmth. Despite the brightness of the blue sky. Despite the spin on society’s faces. Despite all the busyness of daily life. Despite that you just don’t feel like looking for any kind of light whatsoever.

I feel like I have been doing that all week. I hadn’t put a word to it until today. It started with a dream and has continued to dog my steps throughout the week.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not depression although tears have dribbled down my cheeks.  It’s not anxiety though there are lots of payers. A devotion here. A song there. A book pointed out by a stranger. A search for information. A search for truth. A search of the WORD. A light that exists in the darkness.

Apostasia.

It is that dark word that has haunted and darkened my week – darkened the world. Since before I could ride a bike, I have known depth of this word inside of me. It haunted my childhood nightmares – some which have occurred over and over and over – varying little in detail. It echoes on the wind howling outside my windows when my armor is misplaced. A word known by the images in my mind even before I could conceptualize just how it would eventually materialize to darken this world  – – – our world.

Obviously, it’s not one of my favorite words. Greek in origin, it basically means “to depart from a stand” – – – “to fall away from sacred values held at the core of self” – – – “to abandon truth”.

Who would have thought it would come to this? Basic truths thrown under the bus in the name of tolerance or political correctness or love or defiance. Today is the Eve of Yom Kippur.  Simply put – the holiest day of the Jewish faith.  For, after 30 days of repentance – 10 days of introspection and atonement (known as the 10 days of Awe) – they stand on the rock of renewed faith.  In the days of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, a red thread would mysteriously turn white to represent their change in the eyes of the Father and being sealed into His Book of Life for the next year. I like to think of Jesus (Yeshua] making this yearly journey – even though he was without sin. Shepherding us, His followers, even then.

“Because of this, put on all the armor of God that you shall be able to confront The Evil One, and when you are ready in all things, you shall stand.” Ep 6:13

It is not easy to stand when the visible rock is crumbling under the feet. As you age, you think – you hope – things will never “REALLY” change. Tweaks here. Re-direction there. That right will always triumph in the end. After all – strength is in numbers – education – military might. But as history has proven over and over and over again, history does repeat itself – especially when the defiance demon starts digging its claws into unprotected skulls willing to believe lies covered by the facade of something entirely different.

A wistful melancholy steals over me as I type. While I have always known that I was born for this time and to be in this place and to speak these words, it doesn’t mean that it is always where I want to be – in fact – – – tried my hardest to ignore it – – – tried to run the other direction – – – tried my hardest to prove I am worse than King David – – – tried to be defiant. It just comes down to the fact that I have always understood Jonah all too well. Never wanted to go to Nineveh and still don’t.

But like Jonah (thankfully without the whale), I have figured out how to be a servant even while I may drag my feet or try to cushion the words or wish I could find any way but this way. Yet – as I read the WORD, I am more and more convinced that we are here. I am here. Apostasia in all its ugliness is here, and although reluctant, I have picked up my staff and turned my feet toward Nineveh. When society confuses kneeling with standing for a physical symbol and doesn’t see the deeper spiritual metaphor hiding in plain sight, my heart hurts and the paradigm grows even larger.

“Behold, The Day of Our Lord has arrived.” Let no man deceive you by any means, to the effect that surely no revolt will first come and The Man of Sin, The Son of Destruction, be revealed, He who opposes and exalts himself against everything that is called God and religion, just as he will sit in the Temple of God, as God, and will show concerning himself as if he is God.” 2 Thes 2:2-4 (Aramaic in Plain English translation)  [google images]

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THERE

In the quiet of the morning, God walks with me and our girls. His Spirit breathes energy into my steps. And as I walk down the first hill – I can almost see it. The New Garden. There. Can you see it?

Just over the next hill. Around the bend. That place Yeshua will bring His many roomed mansion. The New Garden. The New Jerusalem. The place where we will walk together with the One who loves us best.

Walk together.

An amazing concept. Walking together. Side by side. Conversing. Laughing. Singing. Praying. As a people, we all don’t walk together so well since we quit walking with Our Father.

Our neighborhood is a quiet place by the time I take my dogs for their walk. The School buses have made their rumbling journey down the road. Construction workers rolled out of bed even earlier to reach their sites.  Office workers not long after. While those who cart their children to charter schools have also driven off with their agendas set for the day.

The girls and I enjoy our walks. How can we not? Birds sing to us.  The chatter of fall bugs (or it could be the ringing in my ears, depending on the day).  Stray cats dart out of our path while the dogs give chase. Squirrels throw hickory nuts on our heads. And – when we stop to gather a few scuppernong/muscadine grapes to eat on our return journey, a young female deer comes within inches of us before she sees us – – – and the dogs give chase – – again.

It is a good way to start the day.

Pray. Day. Way.

I often wonder if they rhyme for a reason. A Jewish sage once said that humans can not breathe without breathing God’s true name. The name that is ineffable, unutterable, distinctive – a breath of a name – YHWH. It is a breath of a sound. A breath returning to the Creator who breathed it first into our nostrils – – – the “breath of life” in so many ways beyond physical.

The walk allows time for many thoughts to circle. Breathe in. Breathe out. My conscious mind absorbs His name and lets it soak deep into my lungs. It flow through my heart – fills my mind with His Light – circles my soul with His Love. A day that starts as I pray. Pray for walks were we all join together. Pray for those trying to find life amid destruction. Pray for those who forget to breathe His name. Pray for – – –

– – -there.

There. That place over the hill – beyond the bend – where a many room mansion is almost complete – where a Garden waits to bloom – – where The Gardner waits to walk – to talk – to sing – to laugh with me and my girls as He dries my tears and offers me water that I might never thirst again.

Pray.

Day.

The Way.

“For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”~Rev 7:17

AS WE PRAY

I was on a journey tonight. I looked at the wild fire maps since we really don’t hear much about them on the news. There are a lot. They seem to be covering many states in many different parts of our country. I looked at the pictures of tired fire-fighters, wild animals wading in streams, smoke plumes blotting out the sun.
 
I felt sad.
 
I looked at the hurricane damage from Harvey in TX – Irma/Jose in FL and the various islands – Maria’s damage to those same islands and Puerto Rico. So much damage. So many people without power. So many people trying to figure out how to find a way to get food, shelter, clothing.
 
I felt sadder.
 
I looked at the pictures from Mexico. People digging with bare hands at a crumpled school. Parents crying over bodies. Buildings cracked. Roads separated. People sitting in the street with their head in their hands.
 
Sad doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.
 
Money doesn’t seem to be enough when the earth is quaking under the feet – the seas roiling past sandy borders – fires blackening everything in its path.
 
Tears gather. The throat tightens. I look away from the images and look out the windows of my well-lit, air-conditioned, over-stuffed refrigerator home and into the darkness of the night. So many people. Strangers far away. Not to mention – friends and family who message me – asking me to join them in prayer – the clerk at the grocery who can barely move her fingers due to scleroderma – the megastore worker who has to use a cart to get around – the military families separated to different parts of the world.
 
Shadow Kitten, who has taken to sitting on the back of my chair most nights starts to pat my hair with her paw. I reach up and she pats my hand. The dogs shift from their sleeping positions to look up at me. Hubby’s snores gently rattle the quiet and a light catches the corner of my eye. A verse circles round.
 
“Therefore, I beg of you that before all things, you will offer supplications to God, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving, for the sake of all people”~1 Tim 2:1
 
Feelings don’t really matter in the scheme of things, but there is one thing that does. Prayer.  
Time to talk with Our Father.  
Time to talk with His Son.  
Time in Pray.  
Time to pray as one voice.  
Prayer.
It is perhaps more important today than it has ever been in my lifetime. Yeshua modeled prayer many times as He walked this earth. The first century church flourished in prayer more than it did from preaching or creative song. We may not have enough money to help everyone. Many of us can not make our way or have the resources to get to all these places, but we all can pray. Pray as Yeshua taught us to pray. Pray for the people suffering – the people helping – the countries dealing – and the peace of the new day coming.
 
The first day of the month of Tishrei in the Jewish calendar is over. The shofar has sounded its warning to awake. The month of reflection and repentance end and the High Holy Days of 5778 now begin. It is – perhaps – a new day for all of us. All we have to do is trust Our Father. Trust His Word. Trust that we remember how to be His people. Trust His Son to help us as we pray….
 
“… ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’ ” ~Matt 6:10-13 [google image]110

FOLDED HANDS

Hurricanes are like people. They have a mind of their own and respond to pressures that surround it. sigh. People pressure – air pressures often change the course of humans and the things that operate in this temporary world as a part of our habitat.

Needless to say, this is one of those weeks when the Weather channel has been set semi-permanently on the remote. While most Carolinians are breathing somewhat easier, my friends and family in FL are taking deeper breaths as they try to decide what to do.

Leave? Ride it out? Go to work? Stay home? Kids safe? Elderly parents safe? Buy the right stuff to make it through a week – 2 weeks – 1 month of no electric???

One thing nice about this extended hurricane warning, people have had time to contemplate every day as it draws closer and closer. I often wonder how the people prior to technology dealt with the surprise of waking up to a 15 foot wave surge coming ashore? Of course, there were probably fewer people who were silly enough to live so close to the ocean back then. Personally, I like to think they were just that much smarter than us.

That being said, I gotta admit – there is nothing I like more than falling asleep to the sound of the ocean – or reading a book while listening to the sea birds AND the ocean. It is like classical music to me. Perhaps it is because I am made up of three-fourths water and the sea calls to me as the Sirens called to the sailors in the Greek mythology. Or perhaps, it is just the ocean carrying the imprint of My Father’s voice when He spoke it into being that I long to hear over and over.

Natural disasters change the thought processes of us mortals. We seek reasons. We seek answers. We seek hope in times of testing. And – like the disciples – we sometimes seek a hiding place.

Testing times in rain – or in fire – or in shaking are never fun times. They are time to change the thought process. Perhaps – that is what the month of Ehul has always been about. The word repentance in Hebrew means more than just saying, “Sorry”. Rather it means to “Change your path – change the course you choose for your feet walk”. “…and Yeshua said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, sin no more.”~Jn 8:11

So tonight, before I close my eyes – I will think about all of those who are watching fire and water approach their homes, those who have lost their homes to fire and water, those who have been shaken to their core by all that they see around them. I will pray that they seek Your face, that they find Your peace, and I will center my prayer around this part of the Daniel prayer:

“Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant, and his pleas for mercy…O LORD hear; O LORD, forgive, O LORD, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.”~Dan 9:17-19  

[google images]Prayer-Fasting2

PRICELESS PRAYERS

While the Hubby and I are monitoring Hurricane Irma’s destruction, approach and speed, we are – albeit slowly – preparing for – perhaps – our first major hurricane experience in NC. After all – we remember our ancient lessons and try not to be like the grasshopper who fiddles around until it is too late.

Generator wiring and the man to hook it up – check. Filling water bottles – check. Batteries – check. Extra gas – getting there. Batten down the hatches – pretty much. Peace that passeth all understanding – PRICELESS!

We are lucky. We live in-land, unlike some of my friends who live right on the coast. Better yet – we live on a hill. We should be fine. So tonight, when I hop into bed after prayers have been said, I think I will say a few more prayers for those who are living out West and dealing with fire. I think the wildfires, the first responders fighting them, the people, wildlife, plant-life effected by them have been lost in the squirrely-ness of the multiple hurricanes impacting the East coast.

It is the month of Ehul. It is the month of repentance. It is the month that ends the year of Jubilee. It is the month to hear Our Father shouting, “Here I AM! Here I AM!” [Is 65:1]. And if we are humble enough – faithful enough – brave enough, it is the month to answer, Ani Lo! Ani Lo!” [SOS 2:16]

Praying for all the states out West and for those I know and love who are watching and preparing for them as I am watching and preparing for hurricanes.

“Because of this, it is not tiresome to us, for even if our external person is being destroyed, on the other hand, that which is from within is renewed day by day. For the suffering of this time, while very small and swift, prepares us great glory without limits for the eternity of eternities. For we do not rejoice * in those things that are seen, but in these things that are unseen. For things seen are time related, but those things that are unseen are eternal.”~2 Cor 4:16-18

https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2017/09/wildfires-rage-across-the-american-west/538977/