Harp and Story

Read at Your Own Risk !

This blog is reflective of my and Steve’s (he asked me to add his name), thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and/or opinions. If you are offended by what you read here then please take your offense to YHVH and ask Him why you are offended — maybe in your “offense” He has healing and deliverance for you.

Several years ago, Steve and I attended the funeral of a co-worker’s husband. We were friends of the family and had always had delightful interactions with the husband; but his wife, evidently, as we were soon to discover, didn’t quite see her husband with that same perspective. I guess you could call what she did in her eulogy to her husband a cathartic moment for her. She wanted everyone at that service to know that the man she knew and had lived with for many years was, plainly stated, an inconsiderate, thoughtless, self-serving, jerk — and that with a capital J! Maybe friendly, helpful, always ready to lend and do whatever it took to make others happy, but that was not the man she knew and lived with at home. By the time she finished excoriating her husband’s memory, everyone in that service was squirming uncomfortably in their seats. Whispers were heard going back and forth across the auditorium, “Is she talking about the man we knew?” “How embarrassing for her,” to, “I am embarrassed for her!” “Oh my, this is awful!” And it was… It is only as time has distanced me from this very unfortunate incident that I have been able to put some perspective on this sad event.

As Steve and I have traveled all over America and Internationally these past 12 years I have seen with my eyes the tears of women and heard with my ears their sadness, regret, and hopelessness that accompanied those tears. I am grieved to the core of my being when I see a man treat his wife with such disregard as if she were only put on this earth to serve him and that at his pleasure. (There are even teachings and books going around supporting this idea!) And what grieves me even more is when women take his abuse and total lack of respect with head bowed “submission” to a so-called higher authority; as if their place is to be the doormat their husband wipes his feet upon.

These unholy, unrighteous dynamics can’t help but breed two conclusions: someone becomes a bully and someone becomes a controller; and the game of Predator and Possum continues! Neither one may look like they’re playing this “game” to the casual observer, and the couple may even “play” at loving each other in public, but homelife is filled with conflict and abuse.

Where are the gentle Protectors? (More on Predators, Possums and Gentle Protectors in up-coming posts, or go here for additional info.)

LADIES, you are the keeper of the Light in your home — the caretaker of the Eternal Flame, so to speak. If you let the Light grow dim or the Flame sputter and go near to out you are allowing for the entrance of darkness into your home. This happens when you lose your voice — your ability to speak Truth in LOVE. Remember, it is the devil that comes to steal, kill and destroy. Don’t let him steal your voice. Giving up your role as equal partner with your mate in the kingdom of YHVH will turn your mate into a bully. I strongly encourage you to set a better witness for your children.

MEN, your wife was created to be your equal; not above you as a dominatrix nor below you as your slave, but as your equal, your HELPMATE! Believe it or not you are fallible. That is why Yashua is the HEAD and we ALL are to look to Him, emulate Him. You want your wife to look to and submit to you with complete, unquestioning obedience? What a terrific burden to bear, the salvation of your wife and children. What execution stake did you hang on? Who made you their Savior? Why are you negating the competed work of redemption of our Adonai, Yashua haMashiach? MEN, wake up! You are following a god of your own creation! Our YHVH will NEVER join your side — He doesn’t take sides — We are to come over and join His side! Be transformed into His image!

All the anger, frustration, silent tears falling into the dishwater or soaking the pillow in the deep darkness of the night are because we, as women, intuitively know that we can’t serve you as Elohim, because there is only one Elohe, and it is to Him that we live and breathe and have our being. And out of that relationship flows love, pure, unconditional LOVE. MEN, you want your wife to love you; then YOU learn to love Yashua and accept His loving you, and from that place of intimacy will flow a love for your wife and children, your friends and neighbors that will far surpass anything you have ever known when you were trying to be her/their god.

The best marriage model is represented by a triangle — a three-way covenant agreement, in which the husband represents one side and the wife the other with the base of the triangle representing their distance apart and the apex at the top representing our Heavenly Abba. As the husband gets closer to Abba, he will come closer to his wife. The same is true of the wife. They each need to focus on becoming more Mashiach like. As they come closer to Mashiach, they will come closer to each other. If either one of them does not hold up their side, the whole triangle collapses! When Yashua said, “As you would that men (meaning all people) do unto you, do you even so to them”, He wasn’t just addressing one gender. He is our example of how to treat each other, period!

Take a moment to reflect on this question: As a covenanted member of your marriage would you treat Yashua the same way you treat your spouse?  Would you do anything differently and if so what?

Don’t put your spouse in the place of our friend; don’t make your spouse feel forced to set the record straight. And most importantly treat your spouse and family in such a way as to hear YHVH say: “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of My kingdom!”

Gal 3:27-28, For as many of you as were baptized into Mashiach have put on Mashiach. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Yashua haMashiach.

Eph 4:31-32, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of Elohe, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as YHVH in Mashiach forgave you.

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Travel Journal 2018 – Friends-Love-More!

Jeff and Kim Puckett biked with us 10 miles on the Tunnel Hill Rail to Trail route in southern Illinois. We started at the parking lot that was closest to the tunnel and then biked down to Vienna — down being the operative word in this sentence! Solomon, their 5 year old, didn’t want to ride back to our starting point so Kim and I stayed at the park to let him play on the equipment while Steve and Jeff rode 10 miles uphill back to the vehicles. Such loving, gallant men our husbands are! About an hour and a half later here come our valiant, albeit weary warriors with; “next time you go get the vehicles and we’ll stay behind and watch Solomon play!”

I love all the friends YHVH has put in my life! For many years I prayed for friends, real friends of the heart. But as the years rolled by I became more and more cynical and depressed because no such people existed, or so I thought. I couldn’t tolerate superficiality, but I became superficial to deal with superficial people and then despising that expression of myself I isolated from people or worked very hard to control people who entered my environment. A lousy life really!

But, one day in 1992, I met my Bridegroom, Yashua, and He changed my heart. Little by little, bit by bit He crushed my hard heart and gave me His heart. He became my BFF, my Best Friend Forever! I still longed for friends of the heart, but without those years spent learning to be His friend of the heart, learning to listen to His voice, learning to speak from His point of view, learning to love others as He loves me, learning to love others as He sees them — I wouldn’t have had any idea of what a heart friend is or does!

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Friendship is like the Tunnel Hill ride — a long, graveled trail that as long as you stay mostly centered you won’t fall off the edge and slide into the ditch. It is shaded from the hot sun with beautiful green, leafy trees and gently, babbling streams meander along the trail; a 20180524_120332thoroughly enjoyable ride until you see a tunnel ahead; a long, dark tunnel. I can see the light at the end, it doesn’t look too bad, besides I have a flashlight — let’s go. But your friend cautions, it’s deceiving — when you are in the tunnel even though you can see the light at the end it is very dark in the middle and it is longer than it appears! My flashlight is useless in the inky darkness of the tunnel — it is true that I can see the tunnel’s exit, but without following the lights woven into the spokes of my friend’s bike wheels I would have quite possibly run into the tunnel walls as many who have done this ride have cautioned. thumbnail (10)

Friends help each other through the dark times in each others lives!

Friends of the heart support each other in the scary places of our lives and help each other to remember that even if we have to “let go and let God” it is amazing to “fall into the arms of Yashua!”IMG_20180524_112606799

And when we are tired friends go the extra mile to let us rest while they return for the vehicles! Friendship is a sharing of the heart, a give and take, an attitude of, I am so glad to be with you, I will hold you while you cry, I will laugh with you at a funny; I am just glad to be with you! In the hurts and pains, the joys and sorrows of life are you a friend of the heart?!thumbnail (11)

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1Cor 13)

John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

I thank YHVH for ALL my friends of the heart! You are, each one, a blessing!

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.

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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!

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.

 

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The Abundant Life