Friday, August 20, 2010

A New Day; Luke 9:18-22

There were a few things that I learned from commentaries on this passage of Scripture. Generally I like to complete my study BEFORE I look at a commentary. Luke 9:18-22 seems straight forward enough. As a matter of fact, it seems like all the information I glean from this passage has been given to me in the chapters and verses that came before. Praise Elohim for minds that are wiser than my own.
  • This is the first time Luke does not have Y'shua praying alone (Luke 4:42, 5:16, 6:12)
And while he prayed alone with his disciples, he asked them and said, "Who do the crowds say about me that I am?" Luke 9:18 AENT

My human mind is able to gather facts but there are times that truth comes by the breath of Elohim and his word, in my heart or lap. Herod asked who the people said Y'shua is. None of their answers rang true to him. But there is no evidence that Herod was able to put the facts and opinions together to come up with the truth. His fear told him one thing, his servants were divided over different answers, but none of their answers were the truth.

When YHWH puts a question on your heart (like he did to Herod, like Y'shua did with the disciples), where do you go to find the answer? Even though today we "see as by a mirror, in dark reflection;..." 1 Corinthians 13:12a and must request "That the Elohim of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of Wisdom and of revelation in the recognition of him. And that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, ..." Ephesians 1:17-18 we can still run to prayer with the Word for Truth.

Pray with others. I can testify that he speaks to individuals (glory of glories) but has promised to be in the midst of two or more who gather together (Matthew 18:20) Who do you say that he is?
  • The One who sets us free must suffer.
Then he said to them that he, the Son of man, would suffer many things and that the elders and chief priests, and scribes would reject him. And they would kill him and on the third day he would arise. Luke 9:22

It shocks me that the very man who has already set two people free from the grip of death, who has healed sickness that no doctor can cure and sets men free from the dark spirits that have taken hold of them cannot prevent his own suffering. At the cross the crowd will taunt him, "he saved others, he cannot save himself" But he did not come to save himself, he came to save me, to save you, and the cost was overwhelming. He paid the whole cost. In return he will ask that we pick up our cross (the penalty for sedition in Rome) and follow him as our only King.

Don't decide this emotionally, go to prayer, challenge him to be real to you. A cross will not be thrust upon you. You cannot inherit the result of someone else picking up the cross, you must prayerfully pick up your own.

He was in the world, and the world existed by His hand and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But those who did receive Him He gave to them authority that they might be the sons of Elohim, those who have believed in His name. Those who neither by blood nor by the will of the flesh nor by the will of a man, rather were begotten by Elohim. Yochanan (John) 1:10-13

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I am my brother’s keeper. Luke 9:12-17

"You give them something to eat."

I find it easy to put a wall around my heart. My deepest joy is in breathing in the breath of Elohim. Even so, for reasons that are difficult for me to understand, the wound I feel when people belittle me for what I do (or fail to do for them) and the rejection they express for my Messiah and his Father, hurts. Being a spiritual beggar is not a burden most of the time. Being dependent on the grace, the loving kindness of an unseen but very real bride-groom is an amazing way to live.

I live in an era when tolerance for others is the demand of the day. The tension of life is that I am not to "shove my religion down their throats." My solution tends to be isolation, living behind the walls of my secret garden, not wanting to lick my own wounds or be responsible for offending others. Except that the way I choose to conduct my life within my walls is not walking in the freedom that Y'shua has called me to. You may well wonder what this has to do with the passage of Luke that is under consideration today.

Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, "Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place." But He said to them, "You give them something to eat!" And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people." (For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, "Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each." They did so, and had them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. Luke 9:12-17 NASU

Everything in the first half of this chapter received a delightful "Amen" from the depth of my soul. Receiving power and authority to fight the enemy as I proclaim the kingdom is a challenge I willingly accept (though I, like the disciples, did not fully understand it). Becoming a spiritual beggar as I go from town to town without personal means, without a backpack or money to provide for myself seemed like a reasonable challenge. Being dependent on strangers, just as Elijah was upon the widow sounds acceptable to me. But to have others dependent upon me? What do I have to give? And that is just the point that Y'shua is making. Because I have nothing to give but my faith in Him, He is showing me that I have all that I need.

Like the twelve, I feel some level of compassion for those who come to hear the message of life. Let them go and find rest and food in the world. Let them be dependent upon strangers as I have been. But my King, my bride-groom asks me to provide for them. I am sure he said the some thing to the widow of Zarephath. (1 Kings 17:8-16 ) Like her, I look at what I have and realize there is only enough for a little cake of bread for me and mine. I simply cannot fathom how I can feed others. I even protest, "I cannot make others want you my Y'shua." He quickly reminds me that "making others want him" is not in my job description.

But what do I have for them? The little I have in this world is not elegant, it is not desirable. What satisfies me is not the food of proper hospitality so it is not worthy of a buffet fit for guests of a king. But my beloved asks me to trust Him, not the resources. Bring to Him what I have. After all, even what the twelve brought to him was not theirs; it was a gift from a stranger (John 6:9). It was hardly enough for them, but for such a crowd? Surly Y'shua meant to send the crowd to proclaim the Kingdom, to depend upon the hospitality of strangers just as he had sent them to do. The Twelve had come to rest and revel in the accomplishments of the past. Now Y'shua commands them to feed this crowd, to live before them what they have been proclaiming and like me, there is, perhaps, a deep feeling of not being adequate. "You give them something… " Prepare them as if the caterer has arrived, knowing that you have placed what you have in Y'shua's hands. Knowing that there is only water in the jars (John 2:6-11). But I am willing to obey, to be seen as the fool for my beloved. Stepping outside of my comfort zone, I organize the people he has prepared to receive. He has fed their souls, and as his beloved, I will obey him because I have believed him.

It isn't the bread that is broken so much as my heart. He picks it up, he blesses it and keeps giving to the bride, to set before the people. In my broken heart is the secret of satisfaction, the filling of the Messiah of Elohim. His love has both broken and expanded my heart. He breaks down my wall and his own loving kindness gushes out. I give him my inadequate love, my heart, and he breaks it, feeding the many love hungry souls (as I once was) and wonder of wonders, gives me not twelve times what I gave him, but twelve baskets full.

My cup overflows in the valley of the shadow of death. And truly goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life! (Psalm 23)

Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs." He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep. John 21:12-17 NASU

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Weekend in the Rainforest

We came for a wedding. Ben and Rebeca sent an invitation for us to witness their covenant to forsake all others, in good-times and difficult, to love, to cherish, until death parts them. A beautiful couple, a good match. Family came, everything was ready.

Ray and I also came, anticipating a warm August weekend both in solar heat and family. Family was warm but during this unusual weather year, the rain forest lived up to its name. Generally we can count on days of sunny bliss in August. Not so this year. At the last minute the wedding was moved to a hall in Arlington. Maybe not as breath-taking of a setting, but a place were the promise of growing love and commitment was made just as sincerely. Even so, Ray and I stayed at Turlo Campground in Robe Valley and remembered why we love this place.... and why we are now content to visit instead of living there.

The plan was to walk as many of the old paths that we once counted as familiar friends. We had a good start but the wet kept us close to the trailer. We marched all over Turlo and Verlot. Chris came with Bomber on Saturday. He and I walked while Ray slept. The noise in the Hall pierced through Ray's temple and he needed time to relax the sound away. The rains were just starting, softly on our faces, a sensation I miss in town. What I had forgotten was how these soft rains can leave me feeling wetter inside my clothes then outside. A simple walk left our skin soaked but not our jackets.
Twilight comes early in a mountain valley. The sun sinks into the fingers that are the cragy peeks the encircle the river. There is no TV, not Internet or cell-service to interrupt our appreciation of all that the Creator, Elohim, has provided in this portion of His Creation. Never mind that the cloud cover was low and thick. There was no star-gazing to be done, but the rain was there to sing her lullaby on our tin (aluminum actually) trailer roof. It is a song we adore when it only lasts a night or two. In the morning, the song of the Thrush was missing. But the blue Stellar Jay could be heard. It brought a smile to both of us.

Breakfast at a cafe in town for a final family gathering before we all went our own ways again. It is sweet to be part of such a big, raucous group. So many little ones, just as it should be. We laughed, we teased, we got caught up with each others lives, than we hugged good-by (till we meet again.
Back to the rain forest for Ray and I for yet one more night to relax in the embrace of her wet love. A little Geo-caching (very little), a little camp cooking, a lot of kicking back and just talking of what comes next for us. Dreaming.
Congratulations Ben and Rebeca. We pray for you that love serve you well. We pray that the one who proclaimed, "the two shall become one" be precious to you. Honor Him and He will walk with you, in good times and bad, and you both shall live. The favor of Elohim, who brought you together shine on your marriage from this day forward.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oregon Spring in Washington

I realize that the rest of the country has been busy keeping up with their tomato harvest. I read about stewing and saucing, canning and freezing. They brag (maybe they are not bragging) about neighbors who run and hide when they come with yet another paper sack of beautiful red tomatoes.

Green has been the dominant color in the tomato patch this cold, wet, western Washington season. The peas held on to the end of July, Lettuce keeps giving and giving, and I have learned to love garden greens, but the tomatoes that grace my meals come from Trader Joe's. The cucumbers had to be replanted three times before they were able to do anything but rot in the ground. Even now, the vines that I celebrate are not doing much, if there is a home-grown cucumber before the end of the season I will be delighted. But pickles? Forget about it.

Just this morning I was talking myself into being content with just the pretty pink sunrise, the kind that seems to foretell a storm. My country is not at war, my children are not starving and my husband still proclaims his love for me. I am blessed beyond what most of the world is able to grasp yet I easily take it for granted and start to fuss about how God is maybe too busy to remember me. Peh-shaw (as Leah used to say). After a moment of praise in the pink light of the sunrise the words of Lamentations 3:22-23 began to roll through my head. The steadfast love of The LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end. That is how I learned it. Here it is from the Complete Jewish Bible.

But in my mind I keep returning to something,
something that gives me hope -
that the grace of ADONAI is not exhausted,
that his compassion has not ended.
[On the contrary,] they are new every morning!
How great your faithfulness!

All this from a tomato that is just beginning to blush.

Thursday, August 5; Thunderstorms could roll through this morning but the afternoon should be hot (by PNW standards) reaching the upper 70's to mid 80's. Still muggy out.