Harp and Story

No Thank You

How can three little words cause so much pain?

Yashua said No Thank You to Food, Presumption, and Power when the devil tempted him at the beginning of His earthly ministry. (Matthew 4:3-11) Are those temptations any less a snare for us today?

When we say No Thank You, we may expect these words of Yashua found in Matthew 5:11, applied to us, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”

No one likes to be maligned, scorned, discounted, beat upon, but that, according to the words of Yashua, is what we should expect when we say No Thank You. But do we compromise and justify our actions to avoid having to say No Thank You?

Do we compromise our No Thank You’s by justifying what kind of and the amount of food we eat presuming that just one time won’t hurt and after all, we don’t want to make waves — let’s just go along to get along! Or how about the things we buy or the words we say or our actions as in “I love you,” but behind my back is this knife that I will use if you dare cross me. How much do we compromise to avoid pain?

Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Yashua, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

There is a price to pay for saying No Thank You to this world’s temptations. We will be treated poorly and may even die for our No Thank You, but just look at the reward; John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

The response to our No Thank You may cause pain for a moment, but keeping our eyes fixed on the prize, it’s well worth the price!

John 14:1-3, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in Yahweh; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

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Grandma, Is Santa Claus for Real?

grandmas-way

 

It’s a tricky question to try and answer when ones  grown children support the Santa Claus reality for their children’s “fun” and “wonderment”. “Don’t spoil the magic of Christmas by telling them there is no Santa Claus,” they say.

Having celebrated Christmas for most of my life and propagated the Santa Claus fantasy with my own children and now watching them continue to propagate this fable with their children I pray for wisdom and discernment to know how to walk these troubled waters. Too late in life I came to realize that I was lying to my children when, for fun, I told them about the magic of Santa Claus, and various other “magical” beings like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Children believe us, their parents and teachers, when we tell them things as supposed “truth” only later to be discovered as lies and fabrications.

My grandchildren came home from school the other day all excited about the magical antics of something called, “Elf on the Shelf” where as the story goes an “Elf” is sent from the North Pole to watch the kids and report back to Santa. To help keep the belief that the “Elf” is real, each night the “ELF” goes to see Santa and is found the next morning in a new spot. The movement is what makes the “Elf” seem so real to the kids. Of course, parents or teachers, as in this case, the “Elf on the Shelf” was being used in my grandchildren’s school, are doing all the different placements and writing the notes and depositing the before Christmas goodies to encourage “good” behavior from their children or students. I finally broke into their excited chatter and said, “It is only a story.” “No, Grandma, it’s real, he’s magic; we can’t touch him or his power goes away,” both my grandchildren repeated several times with strong conviction.

I remember back in the Nineties George Otis Jr. going to the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock, Nevada to film a documentary of the goings-on. The one scene in his documentary that has stayed with me in vivid detail over the years was the scene where Zoe, or Life, was seduced by the devil and taken off to the fires of hell while a child’s piano tinkled Jesus Loves Me in the background. So very ineffective against the onslaught of the glitz and glamour of the enticements of the world and its wicked ways!

Have you noticed that almost everywhere you care to look the theme is “MAGIC!”

At the Frankfurt International Book Fair I attended this October I was told that the current publishing theme is “magic”. If your book has an element of “magic” in it, you will most likely get picked up by a traditional publisher. Magic is what’s selling!

Magic is seducing our children straight into the flames of hell! Did you know that the foundation associated with The Francis Schaefer Institute in the past has given the Harry Potter books an OK? Just a fun story to read to your kids! And we wonder why there is such a tremendous rise of all things associated with Wicca and the Occult!

Think about this… if you tell your child that Santa is real over and over again, multiple times and in multiple ways until one day they come home from school or a friend’s house or from church and with down-cast eyes and tear-stained faces or with defiance in their voice tell you that Santa Claus is not real, he’s only make believe; “you lied to me”, how do you expect them to believe the stories you have been telling, or want to tell them about their Savior, Jesus/Yashua? What is truth in their young minds?

Santa Claus is NOT just an innocent, fun concept to help make the Christmas season “magical” for your children. Watch this video link, Krampus Christmas parade, and then tell me that Christmas is an innocent, fun-loving time of the year to get together with family and friends; drink some egg nog, maybe burn a yule log, have a big dinner, open a mountain of presents then have a fight with your spouse while you listen to the kids whine, cry and complain about the presents they didn’t get.

I have never been so happy on Christmas day as the year 2002 when my husband and I decided not to celebrate this day. We have continued to avoid, as much as we can, the events of this day that defines so much heartache and unmet expectations for so many people.

I refuse to perpetrate the lie of Santa Claus. I believe this lie, and others of its ilk, is responsible for the alarming statistics of so many of our Christian young people leaving the faith of their fathers and mothers for the seduction of the devil and the flames of hell.

So, when my grandchildren ask me if Santa Claus is for real or tell me with such conviction about the antics of Elf on the Shelf I turn the conversation to the story of the birth of our Savior. It has now become the asked for story at bedtime. And NO, I do not believe that Jesus was born on December 25; but He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a cruel death on a tree, but rose to life on the third day and is now seated at Father YHVH’s Right Hand in the heavens. He did this for you and me that we might be saved and live in relationship with Him for all eternity. He is coming to this earth again and He is going to gather up all who believe in Him and take them to live with Him forever. This is the Greatest Story ever told and it is TRUTH!

 

The Journey Continues

…and they shall become one flesh

YHVH created man in His image and the image of YHVH is both male and female.  The first man, Adam, was given the task of naming all the animals of YHVH’s creation; every animal that Adam named had a mate, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.  The word “helper” is Strong’s number H5048 ‘neged’.  This word has a meaning of “a part opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate…”  Vs’ 21-22 of Genesis 2 says; So YHVH Elohim caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place.  And YHVH Elohim fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”  The Strong’s word for ‘rib’ is H6763, meaning “a side, literally (of a person)…”  The Rabbi’s teach that YHVH drew the female aspects of His image out of Adam, and fashioned a woman for the man He had created.  Think of what YHVH did as cell mitosis – out of the one He made two – male and female He created them. When a man and a woman come together in a covenant relationship they once again form the complete image of YHVH.  Genesis 2:24: “For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” 

 Did you ever stop to wonder why women in particular have had a hard lot down through the ages?  Have you ever wondered about what’s behind Islam’s brutal treatment of women including honor killings, or homosexuality, or fundamentalist interpretations of scripture about submission, or liberal feminism? Women through the millennia have been marginalized, criminalized, taken for granted, discounted and relegated to silence.  Why?  Because when a man and a woman are joined together in a covenanted relationship with YHVH they become His image, they are the representation of His Glory, His Power, and His Might on this earth.  Y’Shua said to his disciple Peter in Matthew 16:18-19: “…upon this rock (Y’Shua) I will build my congregation; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  We need to work together with Y’Shua for this fulfillment which will fulfill the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20. Haven’t we spent enough time being side-tracked by petty squabbles, and arrogant and small-minded ideologies?  Let us lay aside the things that hinder as is said in Hebrews 12:1-2: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Y’Shua the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of YHVH.”

When men take hostile and adverse actions against women the reality is that they are despoiling the image of YHVH. Rav Shaul tells us in Galatians 3:26-28; “For you are all sons of Elohim through faith in Y’Shua haMeshiach.  For all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourself with Y’Shua haMeshiach.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Y’Shua haMeshiach.”  I think Rav Shaul understood the image of YHVH as reflected in mankind on this earth. In Y’Shua we are one!  With this in mind let’s take a look at a couple more verses from Proverbs.

 Proverbs 31:3:  “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroys kings.” (The King’s mother, I believe, is referring to women and activities which will not complete the image of YHVH in her son. Refrain from these things which will despoil YHVH’s image, she teaches him. Then she goes on to instruct her son in the woman to seek that will complete in him YHVH’s image.  They are to be equals; she is not to rule over him, nor is she to be a doormat for his feet, he is not to dominate her or subject her, but they are to be a team working together, side by side for the glory of YHVH.                                                                                            

Proverbs 31:10:  Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.

Both the word strength and the word virtuous are Strong’s number H2428, ‘chayil’ meaning – Probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valor, strength: – able, activity, (+) army, band of men (soldiers), company, (great) forces, goods, host, might, power, riches, strength, strong, substance, train, (+) valiant (-ly), valour, virtuous (-ly), war, worthy (-ily).

A general without an army is no force to be contended with on the field of battle, just as an army without a leader is also no force to be reckoned with on the battlefield.  They each need the other.  Victory comes when each party operates in their skills, talents and training, working and cooperating with each other in confidence and dependence built of trust. 

The King’s mother taught this oracle to her son, who would one day be King.  She is telling him that he was raised as a God-fearing man with a life purpose to pursue justice for the oppressed, to seek after righteousness, to walk a different path, the narrow way that leads to life; so find a woman that will complete YHVH’s image in you; one who is your equal in every regard; one that you will not be tempted to dominate or despise, but a woman that will bring honor, success and praise to your house. 

The Hebrew word chayil (H2428) comes from chûl  chı̂yl  Strong’s H2342 which means; a primitive root; properly to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), that is, (specifically) to dance, to writhe in pain (especially of parturition) or fear; figuratively to wait, to pervert: – bear, (make to) bring forth, (make to) calve, dance, drive away, fall grievously (with pain), fear, form, great, grieve, (be) grievous, hope, look, make, be in pain, be much (sore) pained, rest, shake, shapen, (be) sorrow (-ful), stay, tarry, travail (with pain), tremble, trust, wait carefully (patiently), be wounded.

The root chı̂yl  (H2342) of the word chayil (H2428) seems to imply that there is an inherent pain that comes with being in the image of YHVH as covenanted man and woman – one flesh.  There will be travail, much pain, fear, grief, wounding, but if we wait patiently YHVH will be revealed in us.  Isaiah 53 is a picture of the suffering servant, Y’Shua haMeshiach; He was stricken, smitten, afflicted, crushed chastised, scourged, oppressed, slaughtered, cut-off, “but YHVH was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of YHVH will prosper in His hand.”  This lot fell to our Savior Y’Shua.  As His followers is it any less our lot, for He said if any would come after Me let him take up his execution stake and follow Me. 

Jeremiah 31:22: “How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For YHVH has created a new thing in the earth, a woman will encompass a man.”  How long indeed, before we, man and woman together, realize that we together complete the image of YHVH in the earth? 

To encompass, Strong’s number H5437, sâbab, means to: revolve, surround or border; bring, cast, fetch, lead, make, walk, whirl, round about, be about on every side, apply, avoid, beset (about), besiege, bring again, carry (about), change, cause to come about, circuit, (fetch a) compass (about, round), drive, environ, X on every side, beset (close, come, compass, go, stand) round about, remove, return, set, sit down, turn (self) (about, aside, away, back).  This is what the great cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 12 does, they encompass us so that we may run the race that is set before us.  As women we encompass our men so that we, together, may run and win!  1Corinthians 9:24.

A good General listens to and regards his troops and a good army follows and supports a good general.  If a general of an army devises an ill-conceived plot which will end in mass causalities among his army considering not his army’s welfare, their sustainability, or their morale, then that general will end up without an army. Just so a man that does not consider the welfare of his wife and children will end up without them, if not physically at least emotionally.  Just like an army encompasses their general, so a woman encompasses her man, together they are triumphant in the battles of life – a hand in a glove, one works best when working with the other. 

Ephesians 5:21-33: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Elohim. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto YHVH. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Y’Shua is the head of the congregation: and he is the Savior of the body. Therefore as the congregation is subject unto Y’Shua, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Y’Shua also loved the congregation, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious congregation, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourished and cherished it, even as Y’Shua the congregation: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Y’Shua and the congregation. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she respect her husband.”

Daily bombardments of liberal feminism, homosexuality, and fundamentalist interpreters of scripture all, I believe, play into the hands of the adversary, haSatan, to destroy the image of YHVH in the earth, and equally also making a mockery of the representation of Y’Shua and His bride.  They try to tell us that women don’t need men, that men are weak, (watched or heard any commercials lately?), that two women or two men in a “bonded” relationship are just as good if not better than a man and a woman in a marriage covenant, that women are best silenced and not allowed to move openly in the gifts of the Ruach haKodesh/Holy Spirit for they might contaminate the men; all of these are grievous assaults on the image of YHVH.  “YHVH so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son – our General, we are His army – that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”  He takes care of those He calls His own!

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Really Different?

Are You Really Different?

I was in a discussion with a young man the other day that grew up Buddhist and then converted to Christianity and is now a practicing Buddhist again.  “Why?” I asked him.  His reply, “they are so closed-minded, (referring to the Christians), they say Jesus is the only way to heaven, they just shove Jesus down your throat.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  The Buddah is much more open-minded and accepting. Buddah, Mohammed, Jesus, Moses, they all show a way to heaven, there is more than one way, too closed-minded to think there is only one way.  The Christians always say, ‘but the scriptures say, Jesus is the way…’  I say NO!”

He went on to say, “I live from my soul.  My soul tells me what to do. It’s the good energy that I want/try to live in.  Enough good energy in the world is what we need, you know, it’s all about good energy, the frequencies, a lot more dimensions are out there than we realize and if we just get in tune with all that good energy we can make heaven on earth.”

The Buddhists have a way to “heaven” called making merit.  I asked him about this and what he did to make merit – to be good enough for a better life.  “Oh that,” he said, “today they, the monks, want donations, more and more, bigger and bigger, but I practice making good energy so I’m something good in next life.”

Reflecting on this conversation I thought how very much alike are the major religions of the world; they all to one degree or another use good deeds, making merit, mitzvoth, to ensure their standing in the next life.  I grew up in a Christian church that recorded weekly how many articles of clothing had passed out, how many cans of food had given away, how many times  the church lesson had been studied and on and on. As a child I would lay awake nights wondering if I had done enough, if I had been good enough.  I heard my 102 year old great grandmother ask the pastor, “How do I know if I am good enough, if I have done enough for God?”  She died a few months later still not knowing the assurance of salvation.

 Y’Shua says He is enough – do we really believe He is enough? His death and resurrection assure all who believe on Him eternal life – reconciliation with YHVH – and from that place of acceptance we then begin to work out what He has put in – we live Matthew 10:6-8 “…but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”  Do we do this or have we too become about “donations, bigger and better donations” oriented as our entrance pass into the next life?

For the last several years many US ministries have established a “work” or headquarters in Israel.  There is much apocalyptic focus on Israel as we go through this 4th turning of crisis and ministries are using this time in the history of the world to gather in large sums of money from misguided supporters.  At one time I was giving to one such ministry.  They had great literature full of compelling stories and heart rending pictures, they also gave thank you gifts for my support; the more I gave the greater the gift.  Then one day I saw the organizations financial statement – almost half a million dollars was the founder/president’s annual salary not including traveling expenses and other miscellaneous expenses.  In my opinion he was using the emotions of his following public to make himself wealthy.  What ever happened to, the foxes have dens and the birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head?  What about he who would come after Me let him deny himself, take up his execution stake and follow Me? 

For years, in one form or another, Christianity has been about making the world ready for Jesus to come back. Y’Shua did tell us in Matthew 28:18-20 to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  But the Buddhists, the Moslems, the Jews, the Christians all believe that it is up to them to make a “Garden of Eden” if you will, that the Madi, Buddah, Hare Krishna, The Prophet, 12th Inman, the Last Pope, Rabbi Schneerzon, who ever, will come back from the dead to rule and reign in a pre-made glorious kingdom where we will live in “Nirvana/Heaven” forever.  We know one group that concentrates their efforts on promoting the making of wine for the coming wedding feast of Y’Shua and His Bride!  Y’Shua wants us, His Bride ready for Him!  Nothing more – nothing less than ALL of us! The end of everything else is found in Psalm 2:9  “You, (Y’Shua) shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” And in Revelation 19:15  “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of YHVH the Almighty.”  If the world is a perfect place when Y’Shua returns, why is there a need for Him to rule with a “rod of iron?” Answer: Because not everyone is going to choose to be His Bride!  Jeremiah 31:33  “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares YHVH: I will put my Torah within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their Elohim, and they shall be my people.” The rest of the world is the nations that will be instructed in Torah by Y’Shua’s rod of iron.  Zechariah 14:17-19 says that there will be no rain on the lands of those who do not go up to Jerusalem to celebrate Sukkot; that will be the punishment of all the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths.

Whatever happened to Y’Shua’s commission to us, his disciples – to go into the entire world and make disciples?  Whatever happened to going to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand?  Whatever happened to the fields are ready for harvest, pray for laborers to go gather in the harvest? 

Sitting on the doorstep of my little bamboo hut in the jungle of western Thailand I guess I see things differently than when I am sitting on my comfy sofa back home.  We have been given a commission and from my present perspective we are failing that commission miserably.  America seems to have lost the zeal for the harvest – now-a-days a “team” will come for a week or two, take a lot of pictures – smiles with the locals, hand out clothes, feed the poor, pass out Bibles, sing some songs with the kids – for a couple of days – then off to the elephant park, or sightseeing at the waterfalls, or playing on the white sand beaches.  But the report is bustling with all their good deeds, how they made life a bit more bearable for some dirt-poor villagers.  Personally, I think YHVH is spitting all this luke-warm slop from his mouth. 

Are we so caught up in end-time, apocalyptic prophecies that we have forgotten our purpose; our purpose being to seek out the lost sheep of the house of Israel and make disciples.  97% of all church monies is used for church programs in the USA. 2% of remaining monies is used for programs in developed countries; 1% is spent on missions. Pretty pathetic! But we can change things, we can become more like Y’Shua. How about finding a mission to do volunteer work with for a month or three months or a year or more.  How about coming out from under the clutches of Babylon so you can be a volunteer. How about trusting YHVH to make a way so you can go into the harvest – wherever that harvest field may be.  How about stop making excuses as to why you can’t go.  It’s hard to get out from under the control of Jezebel; her influence is strong in Laodicea America; she works diligently to keep those under her thumb apathetic and depressed and despondent, but you can get free, you can become “hot” for YHVH.  Press on, press through, there is victory for the one who keeps their eyes on Y’Shua!

2Co 6:17-18  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith Yahweh, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith Yahweh Almighty.

Two years ago YHVH highlighted these words to Steve and me: “The end of the peregrination of the sons of Israel in the land of Egypt.”  We have prayed about and wondered on this word for two years.  We thought maybe it meant a transition from our harp and story ministry to a community week ministry, but I’m not thinking that so much anymore.  The ancient Israelites didn’t immediately go from Egypt to the land of promise, they wandered about for some time in the wilderness – granted, longer than they had to.  I don’t want to be luke-warm.  I want – no – I need to live in the dictate of Matthew 10, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, not to the Gentiles or to the villages of the Samaritans, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  As we go into the entire world we will find the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  It’s not a comfortable assignment, but the end reward is well worth the effort! 

Matthew 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the majesty of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his deeds.”

It is time I am more earnestly about My Father’s business!  How about you?