Harp and Story

Travel Journal 2018 — Eagle, Kayaks, Food

May 21, 2018

We were paddling our kayaks around Lake Barkley yesterday when Steve exclaimed, “look, a bald eagle!” Sure enough, soaring high above us was a magnificent bald eagle. As we watched this majestic bird glide effortlessly across the sky it suddenly went into a power dive toward the surface of the lake and at the last possible second leveled out to fly parallel with the lake’s surface and then slowly began to gain altitude flying off with a snake clutched in its talons. The bird circled around us and made its way to the grassy expanse of the picnic area where it proceeded to have dinner. Steve grabbed up the camera he had in the kayak with him and turned on the video to capture this moment for our repeated enjoyment and awe; we missed filming the dive but did catch the eagle coming off the surface of the water with the snake in its talons.

Eagle
Bald Eagle flies off with snake dinner! Lake Barkley, Kentucky

I am reading the book MORE by Greg L. Hawkins; How to move from activity for God to intimacy with God. At the end of the first chapter he has a point to ponder section titled REFLECT: The scripture is from Ephesians 2:2 (MSG) “You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live.” Then he asks this question: On a scale of 1 (very UNsatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied) are you with your life right now? Does it feel like you are living a full life or just a busy one?DSC_5792

I gave myself a score and then went off to take a shower. As I was arranging my bath items on the bench provided in the shower stall I heard the sweet gentle voice of the Holy Spirit say to me, “Food, did you eat only enough to satisfy you until lunch?” Wow, what a question and what does it have to do with living a very satisfied life or not?

YHVH is VERY interested in having a relationship with us and us with Him. He wants to be more than an item we check off our list of daily activities. He wants us moment by moment and if we are willing He will uncover even what might appear to be an insignificant trifle to help us remove obstacles that keep us from living a Full and Very satisfying life with Him.

Now, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story!

That question took me immediately back to a time in my childhood when my parents were struggling financially and emotionally. As a young child I remember waking up one morning to the sound of my mother crying; she was sitting before the food cupboard repeating over and over, “there is no food, there is no food, I have nothing to make for supper.” I looked in the cupboard and sure enough it was bare. “Daddy will bring some home, mommy,” I remember saying as I snuggled up close to my mother’s side.

I have no memories of ever going hungry, but I do have boatloads of memories of being told to clean my plate; the implication being to eat enough because there might not be any food tomorrow.

The Holy Spirit spoke again in my mind, “Are you, when you are eating from the bounty of My creation, living a Very Satisfied life in the Present moment with Me? What insight into the deep, dark recesses of my soul; NO, I had to answer, I am still eating with a sub-conscious fear that there will not be food for tomorrow’s table.

“So, you are worrying about tomorrow’s provision while you are eating from today’s abundance?”

“It seems so,” I responded.

Hebrews 13:5-6, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So, we can confidently say, “YHVH is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

I have been practicing the Immanuel Approach on myself and this exchange with the Ruach was a perfect Immanuel moment so I sought the interactive presence of Yashua and asked where He was during this exchange with my mother, as the above scripture promises His constantly abiding presence with us; and in my mind I saw Yashua standing before my mother holding fragments of broken bread and fish in His hands and the scripture from Luke 12:29-32, came immediately to mind; “And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Live NOW, trust YHVH moment by moment and life will be VERY Satisfactory indeed!

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Travel Journal 2018 — Shavuot!

Back in 2001 Steve and I were privileged to travel to South Africa and spend two weeks at Kwasizabantu Mission near Durban. We were actively pursuing a more intimate experience with the Holy Spirit in a community of like-minded believers setting and from everything we had heard this was the place to go for that kind of experience; we were not disappointed! At that time there were 1200 people living together on 800 acres of land; eating, worshiping, praying, learning, and working in unity. “How did this unity happen?” we asked. We were most curious to know for we had been a part of several attempts at community which had all failed. (We have learned a lot in the process of failure though!)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book, Life Together, makes the statement that “community will not happen until we have no other choice.” Choosing to live in the unity of community will not guarantee community unity. We can make choices all day long to do good and righteous things and still fail to live up to our choices. What is needed is what the elders of Kwasizabantu discovered; unity in community is relational and to be relational with one another we must be relational with YHVH. A relationship with each other and with YHVH is more than following a set of prescribed rules and regulations; it is living from the heart of Yashua.

In 1966 after ministering among the Zulu for over a decade, Erlo Stegen, the head elder of Kwasizabantu Mission found himself desperately wallowing in the slough of despond, swallowed up in doubt, and hopeless routine. “Was God real? Was the Bible true?” He no longer had answers, because the answers he thought he had had proven to him to be useless. God was a means to an end and that end had let him down; what else was left to him but a job that had no life or meaning.

In desperation to find meaning in what seemed meaningless Erlo called for his team to come together for a time of prayer, fasting and Bible study. They would study the book of Acts word by word and set aside previous held beliefs and read and study these scriptures like they had never read or seen them before.

As they humbled themselves everyone in the team were convicted on deep levels of the heart and mind and made quick work to forgive, reconcile and make restitution where needed. Erlo too, had his own time at the foot of Yashua’s execution stake. Nearing the end of their second week of prayer and study the team asked if they could have their evening meeting in the afternoon instead as it was Friday and they wanted to get home and prepare for the weekend. They were having their prayer and study meetings in a converted chicken shed next to the tennis courts of the area country club. Erlo came from a wealthy Dutch family who were members of the country club, he had grown up in this elite environment and when everyone gathered to pray he asked his team to close the windows — it was a very hot day — but he didn’t want his family friends to hear him praying with the “blacks”. Immediately God spoke to him, “Erlo, you are a racist!”

That weekend Erlo had no rest as he tried to convince YHVH that certainly not, he was no racist! I have spent my life ministering to the Zulus; that must count for something!

But YHVH held firm and by the time Monday morning meeting came and Erlo walked into that converted chicken shed and saw his faithful team gathered for prayer and study he knew God was telling him the truth and he fell on his knees before his team and confessed to them his sin of racism. As the story goes a sound like a jet engine taking off was heard by all and the room filled with the mighty rushing of wind.  The presence in power of the Holy Spirit blew on each person gathered in that converted chicken shed and they were all changed! For the next two plus years they hardly had opportunity to sleep as people kept showing up at their door saying, “God had sent us, now please tell us who God is.” (This drawing of the Ruach is continuing to this day!)20180520_173651

We had a sweet, gentle Shavuot, gathered as family and friends in the foothills of eastern Tennessee. We sang and read the book of Ruth and prayed for the peace of Jerusalem, I told a story of Yashua, and Steve shared his music of the Psalms, but did we rejoice in Pentecost as an experience or as a memory? Am I ready to pay the price for a Pentecost experience or am I content with a memory? How about you?

Micah 6:8, He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does YHVH require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

 

Travel Journal 2018 — May 17

It’s hard to express thankfulness to YHVH when life is throwing you some pretty mean curve balls isn’t it? There is a story that goes something like this: Saint Peter is taking a man on a tour of heaven; as they walk through the halls of the administration building the man notices a lot of activity coming and going from one of the offices; “What happens in that room,” he asks St. Peter. “Oh, that is where requests are processed,” St. Peter replies, “always a very busy place.” As the two walk on they pass a room that is very quiet, not a lot of activity coming from this office. “What happens here,” the man asks. “Well,” St. Peter says somewhat sadly, “this is where the expressions of gratitude for answered prayer are processed.”

DSC_5771Psalm 107:1, Oh give thanks to YHVH, for he is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! 20180515_065617

We are quick to ask, but are we slow to acknowledge thanks? And if we do express our gratitude to YHVH are we only grateful for the good things that come our way like provision and deliverance, or do we thank Him for the trials and tribulations also?

If it is true that we are special and highly favored of YHVH; that He has “glued” us into the palm of His hand (John 10:29), then it must be that all things that come upon us, both the good and the bad, are allowed by Him. The apostle Paul helps us understand this in  Rom 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” And Joseph, the son of Jacob, first voiced this mystery of YHVH when he said to his brothers, (Gen 50:20), “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

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YHVH has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us, (Deut 31:6 and 8). Even though you may think it impossible for you, at this moment in your “valley of the shadow of death” to do this, take a moment to express something, anything you are thankful for to YHVH. As you express gratitude the vicious spiral into the dark depths of hatred, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, strife and all manner of ugliness and dissension will be broken. Expressing gratitude to YHVH releases the darkness and allows us to walk in the Light of His presence manifesting the fruits of His Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness and self-control. Do this as often as needed! Do it even when you don’t think its needed!

1Thess 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Yashua our Messiah concerning you.”

 

Travel Journal 2018 — May 15

We’ve moved our “home” to Eureka Campground north of Grand Rivers on Lake Barclay. A gaggle of geese came calling early this morning, looking for hand-outs no doubt! What a beautiful world YHVH created for His kids. I can hardly wait to see it fully restored!

Does what is happening in the world around you occupy more of your time than walking hand and hand with Yashua, gazing up into His wonderful face, listening to His sweet words of love whispered in your ear? In the day to day struggles, trials and temptations of life can you still say:

Oh, what a beautiful Mornin’
Oh, what a beautiful day.
I’ve got a beautiful feelin’
Everything’s goin’ my way.                                                                                                          (from the musical Oklahoma)

We had a most delightful weekend in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Sabbath was a wonderful day spent with our friends JT and Virginia and their Sabbath group. This video link is a sampling of our worship experience. I just love the way YHVH brings about TRANSFORMATION in the lives of His children — all who are willing to submit to His GRACE.

Shirley's Berries
Steve surprised me with some Shari’s Berries for Mother’s Day! Yum

We celebrated Mother’s Day by going to the movies. Steve and I have been wanting to see “I Can Only Imagine” the life story of Bart Milliard of the worship band, Mercy Me. If you go take tissues! We blubbered through the entire movie. What a story!steveandharp.jpg

GRACE is such an amazing gift of YHVH to His kids! The common definition of Grace, unmerited favor, doesn’t do much to excite the imagination and motivate us into the arms of our Heavenly Father, however when one understands the word GRACE to mean that YHVH sees us as “special and highly favored” now that’s something to get excited about. We are, all of us, special to YHVH. We are, all of us, highly favored by YHVH.

Rom 5:6-8, For while we were still weak, at the right time Yashua died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but YHVH shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Yashua died for us.

John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true Elohim, and Yashua haMashiach whom you have sent.

We are Special and Highly Favored of YHVH! Each one of us!20180515_065521.jpg

So… Mat 5:43-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Oh YHVH, may we all see each other through the eyes of Yashua as special and highly favored in Your sight.

 

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The Abundant Life