Harp and Story

You and Your Household

Three plus years ago I posted a video teaching titled “Take A Lamb” that is a study about you and your household being saved. In Joshua chapter 2 there is the story of Rahab who hid the two spies being saved along with her family and from the book of Acts chapter 10 we have the story of Cornelius and his entire household being saved and the story of the jailer from Acts chapter 16 being saved along with his household. There is an aspect to these “you and your household” stories that I had not noticed until today that I now want to share with you.

These stories of the households of Rahab, Cornelius and the jailer were those who were gathered into their house. This is an important spiritual point; the folks who were saved were gathered into the house. read more…

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Why Indeed!

Have you ever wondered why truththe minority opinion almost always seems to get it’s way? Is it because those with the minority opinion are the loudest, or the bigger bully? Is it because the rest of us don’t want our little boat to be upset so, we just give in? When we ‘give in’ or stay silent we allow the minority opinion to frame the argument thus giving them the road to securing their desired outcome. Think about the decision to take prayer and Bible reading out of the public-school classroom; or the Supreme Court decision permitting the free exercise of abortion; or the redefinition of marriage. These decisions, that affect all of us in one way or another, were given life because, I believe, the Christian majority in this country have an incorrect view of Yashua’s teaching on ‘turn the other cheek’.

What has our ‘turn the other cheek’ philosophy regarding the liberal view of separation of church and state done to our society? “Just over 60 percent of millennials say that Christianity is “judgmental,” and 64 percent say that “anti-gay” best describes most churches today.” LINK

What has our ‘turn the other cheek’ attitude done to the family?

The data on abortions displayed on the Worldometers’ counter is based on the latest statistics on worldwide abortions published by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to WHO, every year in the world there are an estimated 40-50 million abortions. This corresponds to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. In the USA, where nearly half of pregnancies are unintended and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion [1], there are over 3,000 abortions per day. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies in the USA (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion. LINK

And what about the outcome of the re-definition of marriage?

“Changing the law so that marriage includes same-sex unions would be a change to what marriage means. Currently marriage involves a comprehensive union between a man and a woman, and norms of permanence and exclusivity. Marriage has a place in the law because a relationship between a man and a woman is the kind of relationship that may produce children. Marriage is linked to children, for the sake of children, protecting their identity and their nurture by a mother and a father.”

“The State supports marriage because children may result from it. The State lacks a reason to legislate to promote relationships that do not produce children. The State has an interest in the exclusiveness and permanency of marriage because they are needed to protect the identity and status of any children who result from marriage, in the first instance, and to preserve their rights to know, to have access to and to be cared for by both a mother and father.”

“Research clearly demonstrates that family re matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes … There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents … It is not simply the presence of two parents … but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children’s development.” LINK

From the 6th day of creation and on through-out our history YHVH has made it clear that He is about FAMILY! Genesis 1:27-28, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth...”

And this scripture from Malachi makes it pretty clear what YHVH thinks! (Mal 2:13-17),

“And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

Read this article from Dr. Michael Brown as a witness of twisting and perverting YHVH’s commands. “Clay Farris Naff, (humanist author writing for the April 29 Huffington Post) was upset that the highest court of the Methodist Church struck down the consecration of Bishop Karen Oliveto, since her only infraction was being married to another woman. How, he wondered, could the church punish her for love?

He writes, “To anyone free of ancient prejudices, the injustice of condemning Oliveto is plain. How can love be wrong? How can love enfolded in commitment and fidelity be wrong?” LINK

And, if we continue to keep silent what kind of country will our grandchildren inherit, or will there even be a country left to inherit…

The 1st amendment right of the freedom of speech is under severe attack. Will we “turn the other cheek” on this assault too? Quoting from Free Speech Is Central to Our Dignity as Humans by William Ruger, “Restrictions on free speech imperil our democratic system, as well. When the government can restrict speech it finds offensive or dangerous, officials can easily use that power to serve their own partisan purposes.”

“At its most fundamental level, free speech is our natural right to express ourselves, consistent with the equal rights of others to do so. Protecting this right respects the moral dignity of individuals as reasoning, autonomous beings with their own ideas, beliefs and values. This means that speech should not be restricted, even when we think it is wrong or dangerous. When we vociferously disagree with someone and willingly engage them in a dialogue, we actually reveal our deepest respect for their dignity as reasoning beings.” LINK

A famine is coming; a famine of truth and righteousness as revealed in the Word of YHVH, the Bible. We must stand up now and speak the truth in love with boldness before there is no freedom left to stand and speak the truth of YHVH’s Word.

Mark 13:9  “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them.

Mark 13:11  And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

To ‘turn the other cheek’ does not, I believe, mean that we just take it on the chin and shut-up. When we are silent evil triumphs. We must learn to speak the truth in love, not with anger or rancor. We must consistently present the truth of YHVH’s Word; in our homes, in the workplace, in the public arena, being ready with an answer; speaking the truth despite what the detractors say; despite all efforts to silence us. We must face our fears of being despised, ridiculed, mistreated, persecuted, or abused and boldly speak truth in the power of the Holy Spirit. To ‘turn the other cheek’ is not responding in kind, but in love, presenting the truth of the gospel in the unflinching boldness of a martyr. Are we willing to give all for what we say we believe? Our Savior, Yashua haMashiach did! And He said you go and do likewise.


Playing Two Sides Against the Middle

Back in my  counseling days I would often listen to clients tell me stories of parental abuse. It was always the same story; one ‘bad’ parent and one ‘good’ parent. However, as our conversations progressed they would discover that both parents were abusers; one just acted ‘good’. This revelation was ALWAYS a surprise to them. In fact, one client told me that they had asked their father once “why didn’t you ever protect us kids from mom?” Their father had no answer for them.

We are conditioned to believe that there has to be ‘good’ somewhere; someone has to be good; someone or something has to look out for us; someone or something is going to take care of us, right? So, we put our trust in man, only to be disappointed, dismayed, disgusted, and/or disillusioned time after time. (NOTE: I am in no way saying that all parents are bad, or fall into the above description, but I do believe that there are no perfect parents as there are no perfect children. We live in a sinful, fallen from grace world, but thankfully we have a Savior who extends, without reservation to us, forgiveness, mercy and grace for the purpose of restoration!)

Yashua tells us in John 13:35 that all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. But in John 2:24-25, it is recorded of Yashua that “He knew what was in their hearts, and he would not let them have power over him, (or entrust Himself to any man). No one had to tell him what people were like. He already knew.”

Definition of ‘entrust’ from the English Oxford Living Dictionary; Assign the responsibility for doing something to (someone); Put (something) into someone’s care or protection.

Yashua didn’t ‘entrust’ Himself to any man. So, was He disappointed when His disciples abandoned Him in the Garden of Gethsemane? Was He dismayed when only one leper returned to thank Him? Was He disillusioned when the crowd called for His crucifixion? Was He disgusted when the rich, young ruler turned away from Him? NO! A resounding NO! Why? Because He knew the heart of man; He knew that man is weak and easily persuaded to be swayed by prevailing opinions; the loudest voice, the most persistent belief. He knew that only His Heavenly Father is absolute and unchanging; perfect and completely trustworthy. But how many of us look to man for our direction even when we say that we are followers of Yashua? How many of us love without condition?

Let me flesh this out a bit more. The United States of America is divided about 50/50 with those promoting a conservative opinion and those advocating a liberal/progressive opinion. There do not appear to be too many sitting on the fence between these two opinions. I try not to watch a lot of television for one main reason, besides that I am busy with other more interesting things, but that I don’t care to be programmed in how to think. But in light of that statement the other night I did watch three episodes of “Homeland”. I admit I was drawn in and when the TV was finally turned off for the night I couldn’t help but find myself wondering what was the program’s agenda? And then it came to me; this show is all about playing two sides against the middle. The goal — to have the watching public trust neither side, which will eventually lead to first anarchy and then surrender because ‘we need order’ and whatever you, (meaning the government — whatever that may be) have to do to bring about order, do it! We in America witnessed this after 9/11 with the introduction of the TSA, the Patriot Act, and the Department of Homeland Security. The New World Order motto: Out of chaos, order. We give away our ‘freedoms’ for the promise of ‘peace and safety’. But is there ‘peace and safety’? No, but there is growing hopelessness.

Hopelessness! This is what is being flashed across every television screen on a consistent basis. It comes in many different forms; some disguised as ‘good’ and some openly ‘bad’, but hopelessness just the same and the programming continues with a ‘savior’ coming to rescue, but it isn’t our Savior, Yashua haMashiach, it is subjection, “Do this and we’ll (the devil and his minions) take care of you.” Remember this line comes from both sides; the perceived ‘good’ side and the perceived ‘bad’ side. We, as followers of Yashua haMashiach, can only find our way through this complicated and troublesome maze as we keep our eyes focused on our Savior and follow Him whole-heartedly, turning neither to the right or to the left, but staying on the straight and narrow path that leads to life eternal.

Pray for Wisdom and Discernment!

Superficial Really Bugs Me!


1Samuel 16:7, “But YHVH said unto Samuel, ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for YHVH sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but YHVH looks on the heart.’”

The word superficial has to do with appearances and the surface. If a car is in an accident, but it only has a few scratches, you could say it has superficial damage, because the important parts are OK. If you just glance at a movie for a second, your opinion will be more superficial than the opinion of someone who watched the whole film closely. Superficial can have a negative flavor; calling someone superficial is saying that they are shallow and care too little about meaningful things. (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/superficial)

Superficial is everywhere especially when it involves people. We look at someone and if their clothes are shabby, out-of-date, or dirty we tend to think the person themselves are probably shabby, out-of-touch, or unsavory characters. Just the other day my husband and I were dumping a load of trash at the county waste disposal site; we had some electronics to recycle when a man dumping a load of trash next to us said, “if you are getting rid of that computer I’ll take it, my friend recycles computers.” This man had multiple tattoos and piercings; was driving an old, rusted pick-up truck pulling a rusted, broken-down dump trailer. “No,” my husband answered, “I haven’t taken the hard drive out of it yet.”

We looked at his appearance and made an instant decision, “no, too much potential for theft of personal information.” We didn’t know anything about this man, but we judged him according to his appearance. He might have been a born-again believer in Yashua haMashiach, saved from a previous life of crime and debauchery; without more information gained from a personal relationship we could have no way of knowing. Now it is wisdom to keep the computer and remove the hard-drive before giving it away for recycling so as to protect one’s personal information, but I must admit that the man’s physical appearance was a major factor in not giving him the computer.

Which brings me to the remarks I heard today about our United States president, Donald J Trump. “I just don’t like him, he’s crazy like a loon. You know all those gestures he makes with his hands when he’s talking and his hair and that fake tan; he scares the beegeebers out of me.”

This person wasn’t upset because of his executive orders, his views on making America great again or his policies regarding immigration, health care or supreme court nominees; their dislike was totally centered on the surface appearance of the man himself; not what he stands for or even what he is trying to implement.

We seem to have become a society of superficiality; only concerned with what is on the surface. Personally, I think the biggest indicator of this very concerning drift is found in the fashion trend of woman’s pants; holes, big and little, ripped and frayed; from the crotch of the pant down to the ankle. It used to be that holes in pants were seen as a mark of poverty, but now women pay ridiculous amounts of money for pants with holes and tears. A few years back my husband and I had to make a VISA run into Cambodia to get a two-week extension added on to our Thailand visa. We crossed the border into Cambodia at Poipet, as we were walking to the border crossing I couldn’t help noticing mountainous piles of clothing with women scrambling up and down these huge piles collecting and organizing all of this used clothing into yet other mountainous piles of like-kind garments. I saw pile after pile of jeans and later when the ripped jean became such a fashion item I couldn’t help wondering, are these “new” pants just recycled “old” pants?

To me the rips, holes and frayed edges of these “fashionable” pants symbolize pot-hole views into the decaying fabric of a civilization that has lost its way, desperately trying to take something that is worn out and used up to say, “I am still relevant.” But it’s all just a game being cruelly played by master puppeteers on a willing but unsuspecting public.

We have allowed superficial to define us; what will they think of me if I say this, if I wear that, if I eat this or don’t eat that, if I drive this vehicle or live in this part of town or in that old house, or have that person for a friend? If you were totally honest with yourself right at this moment when would be the last time you asked YHVH what He thought about the decisions, plans, and even the thoughts you are thinking? Have you taken His wisdom, counsel, knowledge, or understanding into your decision making? Scripture tells us in John 12:49 that Yashua spoke not from his own authority, “but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.”

I do think that Donald J Trump is YHVH’s man for this time in America’s history, but at the same time I do not believe that he will be America’s savior. The holes in America’s fabric are too big, too glaring; too much fabric has been lost to fashion to ever make a whole piece of cloth again. In Donald J Trump YHVH has given us a reprieve from His carrying out our well-deserved sentence of judgment; what we do as believers with this reprieve is up to us. A good place to start is to do away with the things that breed superficiality in our own life. Then adopt habits that promote character, thoughtfulness, compassion, discipline and good works. Remember Yashua associated with sinners, publicans and tax collectors and many of these same despised people became His closest allies. And without a doubt the most important thing to help us get out of the superficial trap is to “go to a solitary place and spend time in prayer” refreshing ourselves in the arms of our Heavenly Father. This is what Yashua did and He said, now you go and do likewise.