Harp and Story

Travel Journal 2019 A Question

Our son and his family hosted a Basque teenager to spend a month with them this summer so he could experience life with an American, Christian family. We shared part of this experience and found him to be a very likable young man. He did not grow up in a Christian home, but you could tell from his attitude and mannerisms that he did grow up in a loving, caring and responsible home. The time we were together raised this question in my mind, “What is it about my life that would make someone want what I have? What is there about my spiritual walk with Yashua that would draw an unbeliever into their own salvation experience because of what they observe in me?

Biking with my granddaughter, Emilie, along the Olympic Discovery Trail
Kayaking with my grandson Dylan

One of the weekends during our visit we attended church service with our son and his family. The pastor delivered a very insightful sermon on Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.”

Definition of Resolve — to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine — to do something. (Taken from dictionary.com)

My precious grandchildren — Jacob, Dylan, Emilie and Isabelle — I am a very blessed Grandma indeed!

So, Daniel, being very well versed in the Torah or instructions of Yahweh knew not to eat food sacrificed to idols, which would have been the case if he had eaten from the king’s table. This simple obedience on the part of Daniel and his friends was amply rewarded with favor in the court of Nebuchadnezzar (verses 9, 20).

Jake and me, downtown Seattle

Perhaps step one, in answering my question, as I’m seeing it, is to live a life of resolve where your talk matches your walk. Dr. Jim Wilder has an interesting talk from Proverbs 10:4; 12:24, 27; 13:4; 21:5 about diligence and slothfulness. He gave some compare and contrast examples that made me squirm just a bit. The diligent person starts a task and finishes it, whereas a slothful person may start, but does not see his work through to completion. He may buy a book yet not read it, or start a project but never complete it, or purchase expensive, organic produce only to let it rot in the refrigerator. Or maybe buy clothes that you do not or can not wear. Resolve has a lot to do with how we are viewed by others as slothful or diligent. They may not use these words, but who would you rather take your example from; the diligent, resolved man, or the indecisive, slothful man? Which makes me wonder, which one am I? Which one are you?

“And I say unto you…”


The Torah is the “Yes” of YHVH to Israel. The Prophets are a: “Yes, but what if…” The Torah establishes the consensus, but then the prophets raise questions which break or challenge or criticize the consensus for the sake of a new word from YHVH.(1) This is what Yashua did to the prescribed legalism of the Scribes and the Pharisees. It is what happened to Saul on the road to Damascus; it is what happens to every believer that is born again of the Ruach haKodesh; the consensus of how we live our life is broken, challenged, or criticized. We are forced to look at our life in new ways. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Scripture has many examples of, “this is how it is, but wait, let’s look at that through this lens.” (Yashua was a master at turning stone into flesh!) One example: “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. And this is the manner of remission; every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because YHVH’s remission has been proclaimed.” Deuteronomy 15:1-2

But Yashua expanded that scriptural understanding by telling His followers that forgiveness of debts was a daily lifestyle “…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Pray then in this way: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:8-13

“For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. ,”Matthew 6:14-15

What amazing statements these were concerning the command of Torah to grant remission, or forgiveness of debt, at the end of every seven years! Is it any wonder that later Peter asked Yashua how many times he should forgive his brother – seven times, he asked, but Yashua said not just seven, but seventy times seven and that every day if need be!

What was the purpose of Yashua’s birth; taking on the form of humankind to live among us, suffer with us, die for us, experience resurrection and ascend to once again sit at the right hand of YHVH?

After returning from Babylonian exile the Jewish people were so intent on never letting that happen again that they made obeying the commands, statutes and ordinances of YHVH a matter of strict adherence. It was the letter of the law or else. This is reflected in Yashua’s words from Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light.” The people of YHVH were hard-pressed by the burdensome requirements added to the instructions of the Torah.

Yashua, at every turn, was breaking, challenging or criticizing the consensus for the sake of a new word from YHVH! At the end of His earthly ministry Yashua left us with this promise:

“…I will send the Helper to you, and He, when He comes will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.” John 16:7-8,14

The New World Order; Yashua’s? Today, I witness more and more people trying to live by a strict adherence to the commands, statutes and ordinances of YHVH. There is a need to live to the letter of the law, to be, as it is defined by those, perfect as YHVH is perfect. They tie themselves up with their own manufactured rules and regulations about observances and festivals and dress code and diet and order of service so much so that there is no room for the Helper/Holy Spirit to disclose anything to them. In their own puffed-up knowledge they think they have all their bases covered and whoa to the one who doesn’t agree with them!

Then there is the Dominionist who think that it is their task to make the world a “perfect” place so that Jesus can return. If it is to be, it is up to me! The end justifies the means! They hold to the understanding that Jesus can’t return until everything around the world is in perfect order; governments, businesses, media, education, entertainment, churches, everything. And then on the extreme end — Jesus won’t need to return because there will be no need. They too, have returned to the commandments, statutes and ordinances of Torah, albeit with some twists and turns.

Both of these opposites want the same thing, a new world order fashioned after their likeness! I doubt if any would admit this startling observation, but actions do speak very loud.

Is it any wonder that Yashua said the road that leads to eternal life is narrow and few there be that find it. We, as humans, want to “do” something. We want a formula to follow that will give us proven results. We, actually excel at works; which makes it difficult to really believe that a relationship with Yashua is free for the asking!

People do ask, but then most go about setting out to Yashua the life they want to lead and then expect Him to put His stamp of approval on their plans. And that is why we have so many people with so many views of the way to live! Yashua said in John 14:26,  that the Father would send the Helper, Spirit of Truth, who would teach us all things, and bring to our remembrance all that He has said to us. Yes, we study scripture, and we let the Holy Spirit direct our life. He will not contradict YHVH’s Living Word, but will make the living Word come alive in us!

It seems to be the tendency of human nature not to trust what we cannot control. Letting the Holy Spirit take control is a matter of trust.

The Holy Spirit is the One who does the “work” in us. He asks us to give Him things that are not pleasing to YHVH. He is the One that refines us as silver and gold is refined; fit for the Master’s use. We shema — listen and obey; we do not dictate! We think we know best, but we do not.
I pray that time is close for the second coming of Yashua. The world grows darker by the second as more and more men and women are opting for their own truth and thereby rejecting the leading of the Holy Spirit. Could this be the unpardonable sin?

Daily Bread Thoughts… Offerings

The Peace Offering

Continuing to talk about the various offerings from the aspect of the Spirit of the Torah…

Peace offerings — Lev 3:1 “’Now if his offering is a sacrifice of peace offerings, if he is going to offer out of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without defect before the LORD. ‘He shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slay it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood around on the altar. ‘From the sacrifice of the peace offerings he shall present an offering by fire to the LORD, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys. ‘Then Aaron’s sons shall offer it up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering, which is on the wood that is on the fire; it is an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.”

When we need a “do over” we most likely have allowed chaos to take control assaulting shalom; which is YHVH’s power that destroys the devil’s works that brings chaos; whether it be in us, our home, workplace, or with our family and friends; our behavior, thoughts, attitudes and actions have been such that we have attracted hasatan and not YHVH. It is the Priest’s job to offer atonement to the penitent one. The sacrifice of “me” as a whole burnt offering allows Yashua to put His Hand over the mouth of the accuser of the brethren (hasatan). “Shhh!” He says, “you may not say one more word against her/him, they are covered!”

YHVH wants all the fat! In our bodies we burn fat for energy; YHVH says give all the fat to Me. Could this be a representation of giving to YHVH the energy we spend in destructive endeavors that do not promote Shalom. YHVH wants the fat to remind us to work the muscles of our heart to love our fellow brethren, work the muscles of our diaphragm to speak words of encouragement, edification and exhortation, work the muscles of our hands and feet to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison.

Abba, forgive me for allowing the one who is in this world to steal Your Shalom in me. I thank you that You are in me and You are greater than he that is in the world. I lay my peace offering; the energy I expended for unholy and unrighteous actions, on my whole burnt offering which is all of me. Please may my offering ascend as a soothing aroma before You.

How Did We Get Here?

For Expediency’s Sake

I grew up during a time when parents didn’t think twice about letting their children play on the streets of their neighborhoods; or ride their bikes down the road to the local mom and pop convenience store.  A family was a mom and a dad with kids, not a dad and another man who was mom or a mom and another woman who was dad.  Boys knew they were boys and because they were boys they used the boy’s bathroom and girls knew they were girls and knew to use the girl’s bathroom.  On my street “drugs” was something that you got from the drugstore for a headache or fever or cold.  We hardly ever locked the house and almost always left the keys in the car; our house was never robbed nor was our car ever stolen.  I grew up in a security that I didn’t even think about – it just was.  My teachers at public school started the day with prayer and a reading from the Bible, before we all ate lunch in the cafeteria someone went to the microphone on the stage and offered thanks to God for the food.  No one even thought to propose that somehow this magnificent world came into being by anything less than the Hand of God.  We went to church, we sang songs, we listened, we prayed, we loved our neighbors and took care of them when they needed our help. Children rode in the open back of pick-ups, the wind blowing our hair in wild disarray and when we were naughty we were disciplined, more than likely with a paddle to the bare behind. We loved and rejoiced over all our babies; they might have come at an inconvenient time, but no one I knew ever thought to murder this precious, thriving life.  These blessings to us were more than a mass of tissue leaching a woman’s vitality, they were gifts from God.  We lived God’s commandments as best we could, we paid our taxes and we went to work, we supported our families with what we earned and we never realized a malignant, wicked force was slowly, bite by bite, eroding away what we loved, cherished and valued; until one day, bemused and befuddled we awoke with a startled, “What happened,” and then we realized we had come to the game late, having been lulled into a state of apathy by our own sense of peace and safety. So what happened in the intervening years between then and today?  I think we can find the answer to this question in the story of Y’Shua before Pilate from John chapters 18 and 19. 

Here’s a summary with a bit of commentary:

*  Y’Shua is brought by the high priest’s and officers to Pilate, whose first question is: “What accusation do you bring against this man?”  Every day an assault is brought against the character of Y’Shua YHVH by mankind’s schemes of wickedness, his occult practices, greed, murder, homosexuality, adultery, drunkenness, all manner of perversions, deceit, slander, the hating of Elohim, and inventing of evil and… Those who brought Y’Shua to Pilate were of this ilk.

*  The people respond, “If this man were not an evil-doer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.” And Pilate tells them, “Take Him yourselves and judge Him according to your law.”  But these Jews respond, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” These people don’t want the penalty of judgment on their hands; but they do want their way.  They are vocal, they are persistent.

*  Pilate asks Y’Shua, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And Y’Shua replies, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?”  We try to gather facts to help us make an enlightened decision.

*  Pilate answers, “I am not a Jew, am I?  Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have you done?”  Y’Shua answers Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If my kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”  We may not like what we find out.

*  Pilate comes back with, “So you are a King?”  Y’Shua answers him with, “You say that I am a king.  For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”  Pilate says to Y’Shua, “What is truth?”  We may try to discount what we hear.

*  And then Pilate goes out to the crowd and announces, “I find no guilt in Him.”  Pilate attempts to get out of this situation by offering the agitators a choice; the release of a convicted felon or their king, but the crowd chooses the release of the criminal.  We state our findings and then maybe we look around for a way to compromise our convictions, hoping the mob opinion will be favorable to ours.

*  At the mob’s insistence Pilate takes Y’Shua into custody and treats him like a convicted criminal.  After Pilate’s soldiers abuse, beat and mock him, Y’Shua is once again brought out to stand before the crowd where Pilate proclaims, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.”  Wearing a purple robe and a crown of thorns, Pilate presents Y’Shua to the people and says, “Behold, the Man!”  But the mob opinion turns ugly and wanting to preserve our own skin we give into a pretense of acceptance hoping that somehow the attitude of the mob will change.

*  But the chief priests and the officers respond with, “Crucify! Crucify!”  Pilate says to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.”  But the Jews are adamant, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of YHVH.”  But the mob seeing a crack in your defense demands more.

*  When Pilate heard this statement he was even more afraid and said to Y’Shua, “Where are you from?”  But Y’Shua did not answer him.  So Pilate responded with, “Do you not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?”  Y’Shua answers this statement of Pilate’s with, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin.”  The camel’s head is in the tent door.  Do we, like Pilate attempt to threaten Y’ShuaYHVH because things have not worked out how we wanted them to? What are we to do?  Give me something to work with, we plead, (something other than His Truth.) 

*  With this verbal exchange Pilate makes efforts to release Y’Shua, but the mob is having none of it.  “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar’s; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar,” they vehemently declare to Pilate.  One last chance, please, listen to reason, but the opportunity has passed to nip the thing in the bud, it has grown into a full-scale take-over by the rabble.

*  Pilate responds to their intimidation by once again bringing Y’Shua out and then sitting down on the judgment seat to render his verdict.  “Behold, your King,” he says to them, but they shout back, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!”  Our voice grows dim amid their shouts like a child’s piano tinkling out “Jesus Loves Me” against the rant of their fury.

*  And one last time Pilate halfheartedly tries to reason with the crowd, “Shall I crucify your King?”  And the chief priests answer, “We have no king but Caesar.”  We finally cower under their threats and intimidation; they no longer hear our voice, because we gave them the microphone. 

*  So Pilate then delivered Him to them to be crucified.  And another principle of Torah bites the dust, the Word that became flesh and dwelt among men has been silenced again.

We, like Pilate will have to make a decision.  We hear the accusation, we may try to not accept responsibility for the action we see taking place, but sooner or later it will demand a response from us.  We may try to deny involvement, or blame someone else or cast doubt or dispersion on credible evidence, but the matter is landed squarely in our lap and there is no avoiding it.  But what is truth anyway?  Truth for you may not necessarily be truth for me, thereby trying to absolve our self from any guilt, perceived or otherwise.  And then for expediency’s sake we compromise; well it’s not really that bad, and then we give in, we adjust and our reality is changed. 

Torah, YHVH’s instructions for life, was given to us for our benefit and well-being; they are a guide that keeps us from injury and harm.  YHVH made a path for us to walk; as long as we stay on that path we are kept safe by the Light of His presence.  Darkness and light cannot abide together; where Light is darkness cannot be.  Go into a dark room and turn on the light, what happens to the darkness – it flees. 

We have to know what we know and then stand on it. Ephesians 6:11-13; “Put on the full armor of YHVH, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the full armor of YHVH that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

 Which side will we take a stand on, or maybe we won’t take a stand at all, or maybe for expediency’s sake we will make a statement that this action is wrong, but then take no action to try and make our voice heard.  We have to, we must learn to stand – to stand firm in YHVH.  As a light set on a hill cannot be hidden so we must let the Light of Y’Shua YHVH shine in and through us so the whole world can witness the glory of His presence abiding in us.  Whether we go into captivity or perish by the sword or by pestilence or famine or if we escape and endure unto the end we must not compromise with evil, we must stand firmly grounded in YHVH’s Truth as revealed by His Ruach; for we shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set us free.

Let Your Light shine in me,

Let Your Light shine in me,

Let Your Light so shine that ALL men might see,

Let Your Light shine in me.

This is my prayer for you!