Harp and Story

Travel Journal 2018 — Joining the Snowbirds!

October is coming to a close and our time in Iowa is also ending, but what special and precious memories we will be taking with us of our time spent with friends in this state! The past three weeks we have been helping start a Joy Starts Here study group. Speaking as a teacher one of the most, if not the most rewarding thing is to see a “lightbulb” turn on; that ah-hah moment when a concept and reality meet forming a new identity in a person’s mind.

Our last time together, for this year anyway, we talked about masks and maturity. Maturity is about reaching one’s God-given potential. It means maximizing our skills and talents and using them effectively while growing into the full capability of our individual designs. (Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You, p. 33)

And masks are what is used to cover up our God-given potential. Many of us grew up without consistent and strong “glad to be with you” joy experiences. When joy is inconsistent, weak or missing, our fear, anxiety and stress systems shape our brain’s structure, chemistry and growth. The lack of joy leaves gaps in our relational style, identity and ability to respond to upsetting emotions. Before long, these malfunctions become such a part of us that we tend to see them as totally normal. We are the last to know we even have a weakness. (Joy Starts Here, p. 36)

Scripture tells us in Proverbs 15:4, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” 

“You are stupid,” said to a child causes that child’s brain to make that statement become fact, as is “You are fat,” “You are ugly,” “You are bad,” all these become self-fulfilling prophecies as they are repeated over and over re-shaping the child’s brain to believe and act on that belief.

Every mask we put on removes us farther and farther from the person YHVH created us to be. We become a shell of what Jeremiah was told in chapter 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Psalm 139:13-14, “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

“Be very courageous,” YHVH told Joshua. “Be very courageous,” YHVH tells us. It takes courage to ask YHVH to reveal our masks and again, the courage to ask for His help in removing them — one by one — until the REAL you is finally revealed and you stand fully matured in the Light of His glory and Grace.

 

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Who’s Your God?

Who’s Your God?

In this world of subtle and not so subtle deceptions it is easy to lose track of who God/YHVH really is.  It is our human tendency as Believers in YHVH to perceive that we are worshipping YHVH with our whole heart, loving others as we would want to be loved, praying with fervency and effectiveness, all with no or little realization that fingers of arrogance, pride, control and enmities, strife, jealousies, disputes, dissensions, anger and idolatry are creeping in along the edges of our consciousness. Y’Shua spoke to his disciples in Matthew 24 saying, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  

As fallen humanity do we judge YHVH according to our circumstances?  Is your God stingy because you live in lack – lack of proper housing, lack of reliable transportation, lack of finances, lack of medical care, lack of love and acceptance?  Is your God generous because you have abundance and live very comfortably?  How would your God-view change if your circumstances were reversed?  Do you think YHVH has abandoned His creation because of the dramatic increase in racial tensions and world conflicts?  Are your eyes focused on Him and His reality, or have you shifted your focus to the news headlines that are rife with distress and war?

Rav Shaul in Philippians 4:12,13 says, “ I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  This is the key to Y’Shua’s admonition in Matthew 24, this is how we will be able to endure to the end and be saved, by learning how to be content no matter our circumstance.  And how do we learn to be content?  Philippians 4:4-9,Rejoice in YHVH always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. YHVH is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to Elohim. And the peace of Elohim, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Y’Shua haMashiach.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things and the Elohim of peace will be with you.”

It is high time to “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Messiah will shine on you,” Eph 5:14.  Take thought to your careless and inattentive ways lest He come to you and say, “Your words have been hard against Me,” (Malachi 3:13). “If a man does not repent, He, (YHVH), will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready,” (Ps 7:12). 

Egypt had to be destroyed before the children of Israel grew desperate enough in their bondage to cry out to YHVH for deliverance.  What will it take for us to release our world-view of God in exchange for a YHVH-view of this world? 

A baby, optimally, spends nine months in its mother’s womb. There are, however, world forces that make every conceivable attempt to thwart that baby’s birth.  Now think of yourself and all the rest of humanity in YHVH’s womb awaiting birth.  Our mom/YHVH is preparing a beautiful world for us to be birthed into, but right now, at this time, wars and rumors of war and trials and tribulations and hatreds and betrayals and false messengers are trying to steal our life before we have a chance to take our first breath. Have we become so focused on the tight, cramped conditions of the womb, our brothers pressing us so tightly, that we despair of life? Have we given in to what we are experiencing refusing to believe that there is any hope for us?  Or have we stuck our thumb in our mouth, pouting about the horrible conditions, refusing to take nourishment, refusing to thrive? Or have we assessed our options and made a decision to endure to the end and be saved knowing that someone we have not yet met face to face is taking care of us, is providing for us, is keeping us safe until the time is accomplished for us to be brought forth, a live and healthy birth despite all the odds against us.  Birthing is not easy, transition is intense and excruciatingly painful, but the reward of persevering to the end will be worth all the suffering. Eternity is waiting!

YHVH has to become more for us than a perception of generous or stingy based on our life experience of plenty or lack.  If this is all He is then when the “cosmic vending machine” stops dispensing our requests when we drop in the required quarter, or the “fairy god-mother’s magic wand” loses its luster, we will end up bowing the knee to hasatan, all because we never allowed our self to meet the One who holds us in the palm of His hand; we never took the time to lean on YHVH’s chest, like the disciple John, and listen to His heart beat.  Have you composed and quieted yourself, settling into YHVH’s lap like a weaned child against his mother?  (Psalm 131) Think about that…The only need the child has is to sit contentedly snuggled against its mother.  Is YHVH that for you?  If not, ask Him to be.