Harp and Story

Getting the Leaven Out!

     Some views from our place!
As we are approaching Pesach and the week of Unleavened Bread we are reminded of not only getting the leaven out of our houses but our hearts as well. In the Messianic movement Matthew 18:15-17 is often quoted as the standard for dealing with controversies between people. But there seems to be almost a glee sometimes in getting to the point of vs. 17 – maybe even skipping the protocol of vs. 15 and 16 in our rush to label the recalcitrant one a “heathen and a publican”. Sad to say, we have been a part of this mad dash to vs. 17 in the past, only realizing belatedly that by what measure we judge it will be measured back to us. We’ve all made mistakes, none of us are immune, but thank YHVH His mercy triumphs over judgment! If we took the time to read the entire 18th chapter maybe we wouldn’t rush so quickly to defend our view. (Here’s a word to meditate on – narcissism, its definition is: A pattern of traits and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one’s gratification, dominance and ambition.)

As the chapter goes on Yashua tells a parable of a King that forgave a servant of a great debt then the same, now forgiven servant, doesn’t pass the compassion on but puts in debtor’s prison a fellow servant who owed him much less than what he had been forgiven. When the King finds out about the forgiven servant’s cruelty to his fellow servant, he severely chastises him and then puts him in prison until his great debt is paid. The conclusion to this story:
So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.
We all have been forgiven much by our Heavenly Abba. His compassion is great towards us. Yashua said, a new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. Let’s put this “new” commandment in relationship to Matthew 28:15-17; and if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. If our brother sins do we then go to him in condemnation? And if he doesn’t listen to us do we then reject him and throw him out of our midst? Let us think hard about these words of Yashua:
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

1Peter 4:7-8: The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be clear-minded and self-controlled, so that you can pray. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. And from Matthew 24:10-13: And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.
Yashua said in response to the question, “how many times shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Till seven times?”

Yashua said, the classic phrase we all know so well, but practice so poorly, “I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.”
We’ve recently been the recipient of vs. 17 without benefit of vs. 15 and 16. Ecclesiastes 11:1 seems to apply both positively and negatively; “Cast your bread upon the surface of the waters, for you will find it after many days.” What goes around does indeed come back around and usually in greater measure for we’ve been further condemned with these verses from Titus 3:10-11; “Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and sinning being self-condemned.”
The persons leveling these accusations at us are even spreading tales about our unwillingness to respond to them as they think we should respond.
So what do we do?

We forgive? Yes – according to the direct command of Yashua up to seventy times seven.
Let’s look at the number seven. It is an interesting number, it means perfection or completeness. So taking this into account I forgive until the work of forgiveness is perfected or complete in me. In other words until there is no leaven (sin) doing its fomenting action in me. If I say I forgive you and hold a grudge or resentment or anger or malice or hatred or jealousy or vengefulness or revenge against my brother I have not forgiven as Yashua said to forgive – until the work of forgiveness is complete in us – no leaven.
We are given this opportunity of Pesach / Unleavened Bread to forgive our brother with the same level of compassion the King forgave His servant – totally and completely. Will YHVH be honored in our midst if we go to this feast with leaven in our hearts? Read the haftarah portion of Isaiah 43:22 – 44:23 and let it speak to you about the kind of people YHVH wants to serve Him. And remember what happened to the forgiven servant who did not practice forgiveness, “and the King, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.” Is holding onto leaven worth it?
I confess that I often struggle with the complete, perfected work of forgiveness, especially when “friends” falsely accuse you. It is difficult to turn the other cheek and not harbor bitterness and resentment toward them in your heart. But whatever momentary pleasure might be derived from this bit of self-pity will only lead to devastation, for as scripture says, a little lump will leaven the whole loaf. Soon your life will be consumed with leaven’s evil rewards for it is true that hasatan comes to do three things – to steal, kill and destroy and he is just waiting for any opportunity to wreak his havoc in you. If your life is in shambles check for leaven and then get it out for today is the day of Salvation!
Let us all come to the Pesach table free of leaven and truly celebrate the redemption provided us by The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world!

YHVH’S Blessings to you all this Pesach season!

Chag Sameach!

Home

March 10, 2010
We have been home now, in California, for a couple of weeks and this is where we are going to stay at least for awhile it seems. Steve is quite ill and both our vehicles are not operable, we are at the mercy of friends for whatever transport we do need, but I cannot say it is a totally bad place to be. The California hills are green, such a glorious green! The beautiful wild lupines are beginning to bloom along with the baby blue eyes and shooting stars, the sky was a magnificent blue today, the oaks are beginning to leaf, the sun shone and the stars are lighting up the night sky like so many twinkling diamonds. Even though some days it may not seem so obvious – YHVH is still in control! When I get to looking at the crazy, berserk antics of man, his absolute disregard for the supreme sovereignty of our Creator, I go sit in the sun and watch the new little leaves unfold before my eyes or stand under the flow glow of a brilliantly lit night full of stars and I am reminded of David’s psalm 8:
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Yes, He still rules over the heavens and the earth no matter what our natural eyes may be trying to tell us.
Here is an email I received today that is worthy for consideration:
Are You in Satan’s Crosshairs?

Satan seems to be more active as we approach the Holy Days. This is one of the reasons why the Bible contains numerous warnings about how Satan operates to deceive, divide and destroy God’s people.
Satan is described as a hunting lion who stalks his prey (1 Peter 5:8).
He is a dangerous adversary searching for vulnerable individuals (1 Timothy 5:14-15).
Satan does not hunt with claws or bullets, but instead spreads gossip, rumors and lies about others (1 Timothy 5:13, Leviticus 19:16; John 8:44).
He fosters dissension and divisions by stirring up fears, jealousy and wrong ambitions (1 Corinthians 1:10-13). He will also use anyone—members and ministers—to sow discord and do his work (2 Corinthians 11:1-15).
Satan zeros in on people who have doubts, hurts and resentments, who feel wronged or who feel their ideas, opinions or ambitions have been overlooked or denied.
He uses such individuals to criticize, lash out at or undermine others—especially those in leadership positions. We are advised not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
As the Holy Days approach, let’s be ready to recognize and resist Satan’s attempts to deceive and divide.
Let’s not become unsuspecting victims of negative attitudes that he beams at those in his crosshairs (Ephesians 2:2.

There seems to be such a separation going on – in this are the tares being identified from the wheat? I heard an interesting talk about the tares awhile back that went something like this. When it comes time for harvest the tares are the ones standing straight up in the field while the wheat is bowed over because it is heavy with fruit. The tares have no fruit and therefore are not burdened under its wait. Whether this is indeed true agricultural fact or not I have not researched, but I did find the analogy interesting and appropriate for so many in this time.

There’s a lot of weariness among YHVH’S set-apart ones. We have struggled for the rich nourishment of the soil, the moisture from heaven, our share of fertilizer, space to grow, holding onto our fruit through adverse weather and now it is close to the time of harvest and our heads are bowed – waiting to be brought into the barn and delivered of the fruit we have carried to maturity.

The tares have no such weariness and with impunity suck up the richness of the earth and the heaven, crowding and jostling for space and standing tall as though impervious to all elements until the harvester’s scythe comes and cuts them down and throws them into the fire. They might have looked good, even sounded good, but they had no fruit.

“Well done” the Father is saying to His weary ones, “come now and enter into the joy of Your Master Yashua.”

Let us keep looking up for our redemption draws nigh.

Canada Wedding Celebration


Kim and Holly under the Chupa with sons and attendants Don and Maureen

On February 17 we were privileged and honored to attend a wedding renewal in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada. About 25 people were present and the bride later told me that they had made the date for this very special event so we could be a part of it. We were thrilled to be present! A big part of this renewal celebration was due to the movie, Fireproof. The website that goes along with the theme presented in the movie is: http://www.fireproofmymarriage.com. Our last night in Salmon Arm, our good friend Maureen put the movie on and we sat together and watched it, (for her the third time). The message came across loud and clear, take care of and cherish your spouse or one day you may wake up and find yourself alone. In a very clear and understandable way the movie presented a path to reconciliation and love again.

Steve, Don and Jesse leading worship
Reflecting on this wedding renewal I am wondering if I/we have come to a place of taking for granted, ignoring needs and requests, putting off responsibilities, not taking time, the specialness, the romance, the love for not just my/your spouse but for our Yashua. Has His need for intimacy gone unmet? That door He is standing at knocking is ours! These words were written to the congregation of Laodicea:
Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Signing the Ketuba

It would serve us well to take these words of Yashua to heart not only in our relationship with Him but also with each other. Kim and Holly took the initiative and by and through the incredible Grace and Love of Abba laid down their lives for each other and took up new lives together in their Master Yashua.
We applaud them for renewing their life-long commitment and doing the work it took to make that renewed commitment a covenant contract. YHVH Bless you abundantly – good measure, pressed down shaken together, running over, blessings!

Faith Like Potatoes


Arrow Lake Near Nakusp- B.C.,Canada

February 19, 2010
We’ve been in Canada since Monday and plans are to leave this beautiful part of the country on Sunday heading for California with a couple of stops along the way. It amazes me every day how different – wonderful and fresh and beautiful – everything (for me) is on this road trip. There’s a part of me that keeps wondering if this is going to last – when is the other shoe going to drop and things, me, will be back doing stuff – acting – the old way. But every day that passes the new life grows stronger and the old gets weaker. I lift my hands to Abba and praise Him for His glorious deeds manifest in and around me!
Galena Bay
Anyone seen the movie, “Faith like Potatoes”? We highly recommend it! The interview is especially compelling. Anyway, there is a theme in the movie that jumped out at me and has caused me to do much pondering and meditating and repenting. When Steve introduces us as The Peregrinnatti, he talks about faith as substance and evidence; YHVH steps in – that’s substance and His answer – that’s evidence. This FAITH that is substance and evidence doesn’t leave room for “if”. What kind of faith raises people from the dead; the faith that moves in belief to the “Word of YHVH!” That’s why when we pray we must pray according to the Will of The Father. We must take the time to KNOW His will. When we pray The Father’s will there is no room for “if”. Then, praying the Father’s will requires obedience. What is Abba telling me? Am I willing to do what He is telling me to do?
Ferry Crossing at Galena Bay-B.C., Canada
Several years ago our best friend was tragically killed in a work-related accident. I knew with everything that was in me that his death was not the will of YHVH. I prayed and declared and proclaimed and everything else, but what Abba had asked me to do. I was “afraid” of the opinions of man. The years since I have tried to justify in my mind my lack of obedience; what I needed to do was humble myself and repent. My heart realizes now that I use the word “if” all to frequently in my interactions with Abba; the little word that has huge implications.
We use “if” as a back door just in case Abba doesn’t answer our prayer and then we say “well it must not have been The Father’s will” to heal so and so or to deliver or, as in our friend’s case to raise them from the dead. The strong conviction that came upon me in watching this video is that my faith has become substance and evidence-less. I have emasculated myself with this one tiny, little word. I use it as an excuse why the Power of YHVH is not flowing in my life like “rivers of Living Water” that Yashua promised would flow out of those that believe. I want to believe, I must believe, my faith must become real substance and evidence. The word “if” has no place in the life of a follower of Yashua. No ifs, ands or buts about it! We must learn to pray the prayer of faith, believing YHVH to be who He says He is.
Here is a saying The Father gave me some time ago that had unfortunately become relegated to the cobwebs of my mind, “Trust to see what you have had faith to believe and been obedient to do.” The 4 cylinders in the engine of your car!
Beautiful Mountains Near Hope, B.C., Canada
It is recorded of Yashua in John 10, “The sheep hear His (Yashua’s) voice and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. He goes before them and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice, and a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” When I pray the prayer of faith I am responding to the voice of The Shepherd and following Him. When we are called to an action of faith we come under the unction of the Ruach (Holy Spirit)and The Spirit flows out of us for the Doing of the Father’s will.
When we pray out of an emotional need to see YHVH intervene in a particular circumstance we can come under listening to the voice of a stranger – “Did not God say” – as was said to Eve in the Garden of Eden.
In the movie, “Faith Like Potatoes”, when Angus believed the Lord was telling him to plant potatoes he had a host of nay-Sayers come against his plan. They all had good intentions – wanting to keep him from financial ruin to protecting him from losing his faith when the crop failed due to the lack of rain and the weather forecast of no rain in the foreseeable future. Angus could have listened to their good intentions and not planted potatoes, but if he had done so he would have been following the voice of a stranger not following the voice of The Shepherd. But Angus knew the voice of The Shepherd and was able to resist the temptation to deviate from the word of YHVH to him. By being faithful to The Shepherd a great miracle happened that was witness to the Glory of God.
We must get so in tune with Abba that we walk in His Light, we dwell in the shadow of His wings, under His feathers we shall find refuge. It is in our relationship with Him that we hear His voice telling us what to do. My sheep hear my voice and the voice of a stranger they will not follow. It is the stranger that takes us in our emotional moments and tries to be the voice and authority of YHVH to us. It is at these times that we are pressured to act presumptuously or arrogantly or blindly. Each day as Paul admonishes us we must die to self so it is YHVH’s will we seek and not our own. As bondslaves we put His needs, wants and desires ahead of our own. Our natural self would seek to judge, to heal, to deliver and feed every person that comes across our path, or not, but it is recorded in scripture that Yashua said that “He can do nothing of himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
I want to hear what Yashua is telling me. I don’t want to trust myself to know what to do. I want to follow Him so closely that when He says rebuke death and raise this person up I want to be in a place of obedience and do what I have been told to do. I want to be in such close relationship with Him that when He says my greater purpose is going to be revealed by this person’s death I want to obey Him rather than the need of my flesh to see a person’s life restored.
Help me Abba to stop lacing my life with excuses and justifications for my inabilities, for in doing so I am essentially blaming You for my lack of power in Your Ruach that comes from being in relationship with You. Forgive me for listening to and following a stranger instead of You Abba. Turn my heart back to You Abba that I might Be all that You created me to Be and Do all that You have for me to Do.
If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My Face, turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Remember the story of the blind man, the disciples asked, who sinned this man or his parents that he should be born blind? Yashua answered, it was neither that this man nor his parents that sinned that he should be born blind, but that the Glory of YHVH might be revealed.
When we follow The Shepherd, when we obey His voice the Glory of YHVH is made manifest in our midst! Oh to hear and obey!
Even so come Lord Yashua!