Tag Archives: Christus

ORNERY SHEEP

Ornery sheep just are. They think the grass is greener on the other side of the field. Maybe they have a buzzing in their ears that keeps them from hearing the special voice of their shepherd. Or maybe – they are just adventurous and want to see what is on the other side of the mountain.

But ornery sheep are pretty defenseless. They get sidetracked by tasty grass or a lazy afternoon nap or caught between a rock and a hard place. Sometimes, those ornery sheep just miss the danger clues that a shepherd could have given them.

I would imagine that shepherds get pretty frustrated at times with their ornery little critters, and until that ornery one figures out the strange un-like sheep voice that calls them by name, life is probably pretty complicated. No matter how you look at it, loving a group of orneriness – whether sheep or humans or angelic beings – sometimes just takes superhuman love and maybe a voice that can pierce the clamor of the chaotic darkness by calling the name of the ornery one.

There came a day when Yeshua, the carpenter, cleaned his tools, talked to his siblings, hugged his mother and walked out the door in search of some ornery sheep. Since he had grown in stature and wisdom (Lk 2), he knew the voices of his lost sheep, and he knew the voice of His Father’s love and grace.

Wearing but the clothes he needed, he began a journey to rescue the orneriest of sheep. Yeshua knew the Father as surely as he knew himself. He knew that any lamb to be sacrificed needed to be declared pure and without blemish. A pure priest of Aaron in both maternal and paternal line, A priest uncorrupted by the politics of the Sanhedrin. A priest calling in the wilderness. A priest who was calling, listening, and watching for the “one to come after…” him.

“It happened that when he had baptized all the people, he baptized Yeshua also, and as he prayed, the heavens were opened. And The Spirit of Holiness was descending upon him in the form of a body of a dove, and there was a voice from Heaven, which said, “You are My Son, The Beloved, in whom I am delighted.”~Lk 3:21-22

G-d is faithful to all the feasts and covenants that He made with His people. Yeshua held them in his heart as well. When I look at all the ties between Passover and Easter, I feel deeply that there are many more things that happened like that in Yeshua’s journey, so that those with eyes to see and ears to hear would recognize the voice of the shepherd calling out.

When I imagine it in my head, I like to think that the man Yeshua chose to walk away from his earthly life around the time of the Jewish Festival of Lights – just because he would be the Light in that – clamor of chaotic darkness. The man Yeshua walked into the Jordan River to be sanctified by a priest as the perfect, unblemished lamb of G-d, blessed by his heavenly father’s voice and walked out to become Rabbi Yeshua.

A little over three years later, that same lamb – sanctified as pure and unblemished – would be condemned by the head priest as in accordance with the law as the Passover lamb. Led to slaughter for the redemption of all the sins of the ornery sheep no matter who they were – what they had done – or where they lived. The Lamb was sacrificed for all ornery sheep and became the Christus.

Ornery sheep are still out there. There is one sitting in a chair tonight and typing a blog. The shepherd is still calling. He calls me by name and the tears flow once again. Hopefully, ornery sheep everywhere will recognize His voice and run – run as fast as they can to the gate that only He can open. [google images]

DICHOTOMY

sunset mar 16 2015aI don’t know what it was that drew me outside tonight. The geese were talking down by the lake. There was a basketball bouncing somewhere on one of the other cul-de-sacs. A bird was singing in one of our oak trees in the front yard. Soft voices of our neighbors drifted up from the lake. But I don’t think it was any of those things, that pulled me away from the comfy chair.  I think it was the quietness of G-d.

I stepped out on our tiny front porch and looked toward the east. The typical deep blues and grays were overcast with an even deeper purple as the approaching night crept closer. Turning west took my breath away. Aquas, Carolina blues, ribbons of pinks stretching the length of the horizon while a lone goose soared, looking for the perfect place to sleep away the night.

“Yeshua said to him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have shelters, but The Son of Man does not have a place to lay his head.”~Lk9:58 (ABPE)

You have to understand, I don’t take many pictures. That was mom’s job. She lovedsunset mar 16 2015f taking pictures – sharing them with her friends and relatives – capturing the moment that she saw with her artistic eye. Instead, I tend to absorb the moment, treasure it in my heart; maybe pulling it out to write about it at some later time. Yet tonight, I turned back to the house and grabbed my phone.Not content to snap one picture, I ventured (in my barefeet, no less) out into the yard. I wanted to capture the eastern sky as much as the western sky. The dichotomy of the two pulled sharply at me, but the camera’s eye couldn’t catch the mingling darkness tinged with the fading rays. So I settled for snapping pictures of the final evolving colors in the west.

Yet, in between the snaps, I kept turning back to the eastern sky. It pulled me in as much as the western sky. Back and forth. Back and forth. Until it dawned on me. It was the lion and lamb dichotomy.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” ~Is 11:6

I have loved this section of Isaiah since I was a child. Actually, Isaiah uses this same contrasting picture of different animals several times in his book. Before the house burned, I had a print of this verse hanging in our house. It was done, not in full color, but through the eye of a brown lens. The lion, the lamb, the curly headed child. It was a treasure that couldn’t be replaced.

Recently, as I was reading Mark Batterson’s The Grave Robber, the Holy Spirit drew a different picture in my mind. This was not just a picture of things to come – not just a picture of our return to the habitat that G-d envisioned when He placed us in the Garden – but it was also a picture of Christ himself. When the WORD became flesh the first time as Rabbi Yeshua, He had to come as a LAMB. The world was a pretty violent place…crucifixions, beheadings, wars… His people needed to see how His Father’s LOVE could change a world – could change our sin nature. And it did…off and on – bright spots in a long history of darkness – for a while.

But as seems to be the case, we often choose the idols even when we know better – even when we have been shown perfect LOVE. It is much easier to love the ease of idols rather than strive to perfect ourselves. It is much easier to excuse our weaknesses rather than strive to correct them. It is once again, a violent world – crucifixions, beheadings, wars….

When the Messiah Christ comes again, He will show another side of His personality- the LION. 2000+ years ago, we were shown His great LOVE, and still – we ignore the wisdom He taught. We walk away. We hide our face. We cover ourselves with leaves of excuses. We have lost our innocence – our righteousness. Only a LION’s roar will be able to break through our cacophony and lead us back to Our Father’s habitat that He designed just for us.

Tonight was a dichotomy of G-d’s making – darkness on one side – light beckoning on the other. The choice is ours. The LION is coming.

“…Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” ~Matt 6:10peace

Commandment Series: Prohibition of Coverting

ten-commandments-400.hebrew abbrevThis has been a strange year.  A faith journey that has brought me to my knees emotionally, physically and spiritually in so  many ways that I have lost track of all the steps backwards compared to the few steps forward.  Yet – despite it all – I am right where God wants me to be – in a temporary shelter, on my knees, looking up at the stars and in awe.

My son encouraged me to start a blog back in 2011.  A blog that I largely ignored until November of last year, when I started writing an Advent series about things I had been reading. It was a year when my “vessel” was weakened and holes had appeared in the “shelter” around me.  Retired. Moved to a new state. Marital discord. Arguments.  Tears.  Separation.  New job.  Church-less.  Loneliness. Fear. When I lay down at night, I felt the stress cracks in my vessel and saw the darkness through the gaping holes of my ceiling. The evil one whispered to my fears and smiled.

In that day ‘I will restore David’s fallen shelter— I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins— and will rebuild it as it used to be . . . ’ ” — Amos 9:11

What I didn’t realize was…only broken things can be filled – – – only destroyed shelters can be strongly re-built. It was the beginning of  a search for the new me that was starting this new life.  After all, it is only holes in the ceiling that allow the light of the stars and the moon rays to light the way through the night.  And yet – amid all of the surface issues – the inner core of the vessel was being shaped. A shape that I didn’t recognize and had never seen.  Yet, as I buried my tears and uneasiness into the WORD, the shape crystallized and was made whole.

A book here.  A book there. Lots of reading on-line.  Listening to many different rabbinical and christian perspectives.  Sharing thoughts with other like-minded sukkahstudents of the Christus. A step forward and twenty back.  The vessel began to be made new while a new foundation was laid for my shelter. This summer, illness tried to crack the vessel once more with fears and doubts.  Yet, the vessel didn’t crack. Instead, the search expanded and walls began to be erected.  Faith, although not as big as a mustard seed, began to grow larger. Not a genetically modified seed, but a  spiritually enhance seed created by the Trinity. Found a church based on the WORD.  Started a new series on the commandments. The vessel began to shine. Reassured continually by Jehovah-Raah, that the shelter was being erected on a sturdy foundation.  Sukkot for the christian child in a far away country was being completed.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Ex 20:17

Coveting is what, I think, humans do best.  We look at a new house and wish it10 commandment was ours.  Look at the old boyfriend/girlfriend and daydream how perfect it could have been.  Look at the co-worker, have a few drinks and think those thoughts no one wants to admit to thinking.  Tractor. Car. Talents. Abilities. Jobs. Bank accounts. It all describes us at our worst, and God saw it and loved us anyway.  That’s why He set the laws in stone and then sent His son, Jesus to show us how it could be done.  In John 7:2-24, even Jesus’s disciples coveted.  During Sukkot of that year, they tried to talk Jesus into doing what they wanted.  “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” Jn 7:4.   They coveted acknowledgement for having the greatest rabbi.  They wanted status that they thought was due to them.

The 10 commandments are there for us.  Jesus abided by these laws, and all the other 603 commandments recognized in Jewish wisdom. He did not always abide by the religious laws, but He upheld His Father’s laws.  His words echoed them over and over. Somehow – I think that if Rabbi Yeshua thought they were important enough to follow, then I probably would be wise to follow them as well.