Sunday, March 31, 2013


In the last six months, I've seen two incidents with fire and I know both of them could have no other source, but YHWH, Creator of heaven and earth. The first one, I mentioned a few months back in which the issue was timed and completely eliminated with fire from heaven in the form of lightning.

The situation I want to share happened the Shabbat before Passover so it's quite recent. I'd really been sprucing up the place, cleaning, and even doing some refinishing work on bathroom cupboards and counters. Late last week, a great deal of the country received a rather chilly introduction to spring, with unseasonably cool temperatures and in some areas, upwards of a foot of snow. The southern Ozarks just a received a dusting of snow with rain and wintry cold winds. I was getting to the living room for my Passover cleaning and decided a fire in fireplace for Shabbat seemed more energy efficient than the furnace or my moving the last of the firewood that was stacked by the hearth. A fire seemed a WIN/WIN solution. I'm always careful on Preparation day to get the fire started early in the afternoon, so it's going well by sunset. As I started the fire, I noticed it started very easily, easier than usual. I was grateful for the ease and went on with my cleaning and preparation.

I do chores a little earlier on Preparation Day, so I'm sure to be finished in time to light candles before sundown. I came in, lit my oil lamp and candles and threw another log on the fire. What happened next was most harrowing. From the dining room, I heard a sound that immediately took me back over 40 years to when I was a kid and our chimney caught fire. I went tearing into the living room to find a roaring blaze with flames shooting well up into the chimney. I went out the back door to get my large stainless steel soap kettle, grabbed the fire tongs and literally put that blazing log into the kettle and took it outdoors. Now, keep in mind my hair is well past my waist and was hanging down for Shabbat, so giving YHWH all glory that I didn't just burst into flames . . . I got the kettle on the front deck and looked up to see the chimney bonnet literally glowing red with sparks shooting out everywhere and blue flames licking the evening sky.

I grabbed some water and put the log in the kettle out and even splashed some in the fireplace, but I knew there was nothing I could do about that chimney, and it was still glowing in the night sky, still shooting red sparks and blue flames. I had been so careful to have everything "ready" for Shabbat, and now here I was standing in the cold on my front deck, barefooted, realizing it was now Shabbat.

As a rule, I don't ask YHWH for things on Shabbat, after all, it's His "day off." Now if someone has an emergency, that's a different matter, and it appeared that I was someone with an emergency. My prayer began specifically, "Abba, I know this is Shabbat, but I need your hand of intervention. I cannot stop this fire, and I need you to stop it, please." No major formality, just an honest, urgent plea. As I stood there looking up, I then saw a shadow come over that chimney. I witnessed the sparks begin to diminish while the flames lessened, then I saw the bonnet go from glowing crimson to dark.

Immediately, I began to weep in gratitude and thanked Him profusely. I praised Him and I "apologized for bothering Him on Shabbat." That was still big in my mind that He had heard my prayer and answered me directly and expediently, on this the day He has called holy.

Later, after shalom had settled over the place, a "knowing" came to my mind. All my extra cleaning almost went up in flames tonight for what had seemed to be no apparent reason. Then I remembered in working on the bathroom cupboards, just how strong those fumes were and how they had filled the house. I could even smell the fumes outdoors as I did chores because the exhaust fans were running. The fumes were intense. The fear that was trying to settle on me about the fireplace in general were allayed in the knowledge that the fumes had actually settled on that small stack of wood at the hearth.

I was blessed to receive the word of knowledge and the peace that passed all understanding after standing barefoot on the deck in the cold, knowing I could do no more than I had already done. But greater than the knowledge of how the fire began, I will never forget watching the shadow of the hand of The Almighty cover the chimney and literally consume that fire.

For our G-d is a consuming fire. - Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. Hebrews and Jeremiah

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Celebrating the Feasts

Sadly, every time traditional "religious" celebrations coincide with the Feasts of YHWH or Biblically mentioned celebrations like Hanukkah, the debates begin. This year is particularly gripping in that Passover and Easter are within days of each other. I'm truly looking forward to the Passover Seder and the Week of Unleavened Bread this year. It seems, it will put everything in proper perspective. The disobedience and uncertainty of last year will be behind me, and the uncertainty, but absolute direction will be ahead of me. I'm seeing more and more of just how much of life is uncertain, either way, but I know, that I know, I'd rather have YHWH establishing the direction than the manipulation and obligation of humanity.

I have a real sadness for people who don't want to participate in the Feasts of YHWH. I think some of them don't even know they are invited. While others may think they have been invited to something better. Now that I can't understand. What in the world would be better than an invitation to a Feast of The Most High G-d?

I've done some thinking on this very subject and I want to reach out to Christians who either use one of the following terms to describe their standing in the Kingdom. The three most common references are "grafted in, adopted, or bride of Messiah." Well, I just happen to have some insight in all three of these areas.

I've been doing some shopping for fruit trees and there are a couple of offers out there in regard to different types of fruit on the same tree. Now, I'm not talking about peaches and pears on the same tree, but different types of apples on the same tree, and the specific advertised purpose was to have ripened fruit all summer, as in an early harvest and later harvest apples. I didn't get any, but I considered this in comparison to Paul's writings of the wild olive branch grafted in to the olive tree. The branch doesn't change the root, at all. The branch produces a later harvest, but the root is what produces the life giving flow of water and nutrients to the branch. The branch was once not a part of the tree, but once it was grafted in, it became a part of the tree . . . and supposed to partake of the fullness of the tree and the root. The olive tree is Israel and according to the Word that stands forever, the Feasts are for all generations and to include foreigners who enter covenant.

The next reference is "adopted." I happen to be an adoptive mother, as well as a birth mother, so I know a little about how this works, also. I will say this going in. Once all my children were grown, adopted or natural, they had the choice to keep me involved in their lives or not. And they have all had that same option. When their Dad and I were still married, all the kids were invited to participate in every family gathering. It was up to them whether or not to attend, but to be honest, it was kind of expected by the parents. Not trying to play favorites, but it's just natural to feel a bit more respected and honored by the ones who show up . . . I'm guessing our Heavenly Father feels the same way about the Feasts He's invited His children to attend.

The last reference I have in this is the term "bride of Messiah." Let me tell you, first hand, I know how it feels to be excluded from invitation. I've put my foot in my mouth so many times with Christians, trying to make sure they know the Feasts and celebrations of YHWH are not legalistic ritual, but awesome events. Many have listened to another spirit and do not realize the bride should want to celebrate every feast in which her bridegroom is invited or better yet, is the focus and guest of honor. It didn't take too many dis-invitations in my last marriage for me to realize, I truly wasn't wanted, yet my husband chose to attend without me. It didn't take long to simply prefer to not be a part of that family and it gave me a real compassion for people who may feel awkward about participating in the Biblical feasts. I certainly don't want anyone claiming a relationship with Messiah to ever feel they are not invited to these wonderful events of YHWH.

The Last Supper was a Passover Seder, and Messiah said to His followers, "Do this in remembrance of me." Whether one is celebrating the Exodus or remembering Calvary, it is the deliverance and salvation of YHWH for all generations.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Opportunity is Random, Kindness is Character

I don't think any act is random, it's an opportunity that can appear unexpected, and kind people use those opportunities for kindness, and others either miss them, or use them for unkindness.
So often we talk about, blog about, and report bad news; but I have to share what many might call "a random act of kindness," but I simply refer to it as a kind person utilizing an opportunity to show kindness, completely unexpected by the recipient.

I realize there is a big debate about whether G-d's people should even celebrate birthdays. Well, I don't get too far into the debates about not celebrating life, because I don't really have a dogmatic view, but I have witnessed and been a part of a most amazing birthday gifting. I grew up in a family that celebrated within the vicinity of a birthday, usually a Sunday afternoon closest to the date of birth being celebrated. It was simply a matter of working around the adults' work schedules. Now that I am fully aware that G-d's calendar and the Gregorian are different, I'm guessing my birthday celebration usually landed somewhere close to both and sometimes maybe even on one or the other!

As an adult, birthdays haven't been quite the big deal they were as a kid, and to be honest, I truly prefer to spend my birthday alone with no particular obligations of participation. I always get a few cards from friends and family, a phone call or two, and "the check" from my parents, but as for my child and my last spouse, there was just never any reason to hope it would be even acknowledged. If I got a phone call from my daughter, that was great, and if not, it wasn't really a let down, I just knew not to expect much. I say all that to say this . . . what happened last year was the most awesome gift and example of celebrating a birthday, I've witnessed in a human being and he taught his son something of value for life.

My buddy-in-law, Scott, was going to Omaha when I found out my friend in Iowa was having a health crisis. I'd seen her just weeks before and knew she wasn't in a good place with her health, so the conversation we'd had on the phone a Shabbat in July, really concerned me. I explained it to everyone when I got off the phone and asked Scott if he'd mind letting me ride along up north. He said, of course, no problem. So Sunday morning, we headed north, he and I, and picked up his son, my grandson, in KC. The three of us had a pretty nice road trip. It was a bit out of his way, but he showed no irritation and my grandson is a great little traveler. They had their soda pop, I had my water, and we were road trippin.'

We got to my destination about four in the afternoon and those guys still had about an hour and a half to go. I knew I had truly gotten there just about in time. By later that evening she was in the hospital diagnosed with a heart attack in progress. It was not a good prognosis and hospice was notified. We got back to her house and to be honest, I didn't know what to expect through the night, so I prayed . . . and prayed some more. The next day, there were lots of plans made and meetings, etc. I was to be there until Tuesday, which just so happened to be Scott's birthday. I had planned to have a more uplifiting visit with my friend, and pick up a card when running errands, but the events didn't exactly unfold as I hoped. So I thought I'd try to do something when we got back home that evening. I was truly hoping everyone at the house had at least baked a cake, or done something for him. I do try to be pretty conscientious in remembering special occasions.

My road trip buddies showed up just a little after noon, that Tuesday afternoon and it had been quite an ordeal, to say the least. Scott knew it was bad, and his mother had packed us ice water, etc for the trip back home. As we left that little Iowa town, I told Scott "Happy Birthday!" He said thank you, then looked in his rear-view mirror at Boston sitting in his big boy car seat and told him to give G-ma the present they'd picked out. I sat there a bit puzzled, and reminded him it was his birthday not mine. He smiled . . . Boston's little face just beamed as he produced a wonderful hummingbird feeder and proclaiming, "This is for the little birds on the deck." Except for a thank you, I was speechless. I can picture both of their smiles as I write this. I'd never seen such a self-less way to celebrate a birthday and he'd taught his son a lesson most of us never even think about.

It's been years since I've received anything but a few cards and phone calls and "the check" from Mom and Dad, on my own birthday. Although I'm grateful for those acknowledgements and the money is always nice, I'll never forget the thoughtfulness of a gift given to me from someone on their birthday! That was no random act of kindness, that was a purposeful act from a kind person.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dying to Self

Dying to self involves grief. Some areas of my "self" was an easy surrender, and an easy epitaph, but the socially religiously promoted things were another matter. There were things upheld in our society that I didn't even know I had to die to, but I did, and some of those issues were grievous. Dealing with grief involves some of the most difficult emotions a human faces. Grief is often much more difficult than anger, although according to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, anger is a stage of grief. The five stages of grief according to Kubler-Ross are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As a person of the Hebraic-Messianic covenant, we are called to die to self. I had no idea how involved that was until very early this morning.

When I entered covenant with the G-d of Abraham, I didn't fully understand the cost. Oh, don't get me wrong, He was very upfront about it and even put it in writing. I just had no idea about some matters and now I do. When I first entered covenant, I knew I was a family failure, so I thought that was something I needed to make amends. I made apologies to everyone I thought I offended, and made many efforts to allow hurt feelings and offenses toward me, go by. I did everything I could to go a second mile and beyond to make up for what I had lacked and caused in the past. It wasn't until this last year that I realized, it's simply over. I can't make up for anything, and what's worse, there is Scripture backing where I am in all these situations.

I can't make the proper amends, and I had to come to a place of accepting that, or in short, dying to self. As I looked out the window this morning as the snow fell gently, I knew this was the day I died to self. I've been through the five stages of grief in this past year, and sadly a year ago, I was given warning. Two years ago, upon writing, "Can We All Be Wrong?" I knew I had signed my own death warrant in the statements contained in the book. There would be no way to ever go back to life as I'd known it. I began walking with YHWH nearly 20 years ago, following Messiah, but of course the destination isn't even on the horizon in the beginning. There have been awesome and amazing sights along the way, but I'm just now getting a glimpse of some of the expected end . . . and it's well beyond surrender now.

There were things I was so afraid of in the beginning of this walk. I was afraid my daughter and I would have as bad a relationship as my mother and I, but we don't, it's much worse, and I'm not supposed to fix it, I have to die to self. That's not to say YHWH won't bring reconciliation and even resurrection, but it's not in my power to fix. Job said it best in verse 25 of chapter 3: For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

I was afraid I was going to die a marriage failure, and I am. Words cannot express the deep wound of complete rejection and disregard I received from my last husband, and I had entered into the marriage so sure that YHWH had ordained the union. The truly sad part is, I still believe that, but it was no Ruth and Boaz. It was more Hosea and Gomer, only gender reversed. There is no hope of reconciliation or success in the marriage department for me, and I am just crazy about men. I love 'em! Fortunately for me, Messiah is the perfect man, who just happens to love crazy women with a past . . . enough to die for us; Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much

I'm not going to be rich, either, but that was never one of my goals. I have "kingdom wealth," I never would have imagined or even thought to ask for, and YHWH told me I would leave a legacy to my descendants! I have no idea how He's going to work all that out, but I know HE cannot lie, so it's a done deal . . . He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.

My parents aren't proud of the path for which I've been chosen, but they were the ones who gave me the name, Elizabeth, which means consecrated to Elohim, and although I only use the initial, my name of dedication is, Deborah, who was a prophetess and judge in Scripture. It would seem they named me properly for this call. Logically speaking, even though they are not happy with my beliefs, they weren't happy with me before I began walking with YHWH, either. Leaving His Service would not change their feelings or win their approval. I have asked for their forgiveness for my early indiscretions and disappointments to them, and I've certainly not engaged in the same behavior since walking with Messiah, so I will die to self at peace, having done all I know to do. As a numbers person, I love the fact that YHWH's promise is in both: Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 11:29. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says YHWH, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. - For the gifts and calling of Elohim are without repentance.

I'm so grateful for YHWH's mercy and goodness, in that He allowed me to go through the stages of grief. And even though the first stage is denial, I was so deeply in denial, in the beginning, I thought I could actually make things right. Then came the disbelief that what I heard, had actually been said, and I knew then . . . I, in and of the flesh, would not recover. I got angry for a time, but that was exhausting. I tried bargaining with YHWH. How foolish of me! It's His word that says I would not live, but Messiah, in me. I did have a time of disappointment, even depression. I think that I knew; not only would I die to self, but very likely actually come to my numbered days without any change in the relationship statuses. I came full circle to understanding and accepting, it would be all right.

It's funny, but as I looked out the window and realized this indeed was a good day to die, I thought of the Obama campaign promises. Hope, change, and forward. My hope is in YHWH, maker of heaven and earth. The change is in me, which is repentance, surrender, and death of self. A new direction means Forward, has a different destination than I knew, but was His plan all along. But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

So until the end of my numbered days on this earth, I shall move forward, a woman, forever changed, hoping only in His plan. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.