Saturday, June 25, 2011


Ellensburg has gone green. My mind has a picture of Ellensburg that is dry and yellow except for the cottonwoods that grow along the river banks. Maybe I've just not been to Ellensburg in the spring. The hay fields were green, lawns were green, everywhere I looked the dominant color was green. Oddly enough the town itself has gone Al Gore-Obama green. Coming into the city from Blewett Pass we were greeted by giant white windmills. Driving out of the city we saw bank upon bank of solar panels. That was kind of kewl. At first I thought, "What an eyesore" but I quickly pictured what a dam would do to the landscape and decided that green electricity isn't nearly as bad.

Like it does with everyone else, the economy is not smiling upon us. We are still finding opportunities get out camping. However we try to have a duel purpose to our trips. No more long, exciting trips to Yellowstone and beyond. This trip was about scouting for a deer camp this fall. Too often we go cold, settling in a spot hoping that there will be an animal to harvest.

Last time we got out to camp for a few days we dug clams. They were expensive clams but never mind. The good thing for us is that we love our home state of Washington. As much as we love to travel, as much as we hate what politics have done to our wild places, we still love Washington.

Chris and Bomber came on this trip. Chris just finished his second Tear Drop Trailer and was trying it out. He was pleased with the work. People were sure interested in it.

We loved the signage on this tree. The humor of people who live off the grid cracks us up. The truck was moving when I snapped this, normally I would not post a picture this fuzzy but the picture describes what I saw better than anything I could write. The top sign is a neighborhood watch sign. The next one says, "No Light Beer" and the last one says "No Video Games". Sounds like good rules for life. I wonder what caliber the neighborhood watch is?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"I do not accept that."

What a powerful phrase, "I do not accept that."

I know who Oprah is. I have seen many of her shows in the 25 years that she has been on American TV. I know some hate her, some love her. To me it was just TV. A place to land or skip if nothing else interested me. I have been enjoying is her show about the making of the Oprah show on the OWN network. Watching the making of shows for the final season has peeked my interest in watching her last season. One of these final season shows had a powerful effect on me. There was a guest who apparently was a regular for a while. There seems to have been a tiff between Oprah and the guest whose name starts with an L (she wrote a book, "Peace From Broken Pieces") She came to the show to clear the air between herself and Oprah. They had a heated (though not hateful) exchange. Ms L said something to which Oprah responded, "I do not accept that". I was stunned.

"I do not accept that."

I wish I had said that phrase to so many people I love. Women who have come to me, to tell me how I have destroyed life as they know it. These relationships have always started out positive. One woman told me that I was more of a soul-mate to her than anyone she had ever known in her life. Everyone knows that if they get put on a pedestal the only place to go is down. As a Believer in YHVH (a Christian) I do not believe in the Hindu concept of soul mates. I realize that is not what she was telling me, but it still seems like an ugly term to me. Latter, I was told that she was one of two powerful women who wanted to take me before the Church for sin, though I was never accused of any sin. If I had been accused I would have faced it, but all I ever got was silence. When it comes to being a soul mate, "I do not accept that."

There were two other woman friends, both of them powerful members of my churches, both of them married to important men in the church. I worked shoulder to shoulder with both of them. Prayer for the ministry was an important part of my life with them. Supporting their leadership roll in the ministry was a key element of our relationship. Both of them started treating me with disdain and gave me no reason to doubt that I was the object of gossip. Both of them are strong Christian women whose relationship with their God I respect. Both of them shocked me in the way they handled the "root of bitterness" they perceived had come between us.

I need to say something about sin at this point. Specifically, about conviction of sin. There is a concept that I learned early in my walk of faith. First, I sin. I try not to, but I still do it, I sin. I sinned and contributed to the break down of the relationships I have mentioned. Second, both the devil and Elohim/God convict me of my sin. Isn't that shocking. The devil as well as God convict me of my sin. How does one tell the difference? That is an important question because there is only slavery with the devil but there is forgiveness with God, the father of our Lord Y'shua/Jesus.

If we confess our sins, he (the God of Light and Father of Jesus) is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 RSV

How do you know the difference? I think it was a speaker whose name was Elton Gilliam who cleared this up for me. He taught that when God convicts me of sin, he convicts me of a specific incidence of sin. But when the devil convicts of sin he uses a broad brush (compared to God's fine point pen). In other words, God convicts of specific sin. The devil attacks your character. For instance, God may convict me of stealing a pen from work but the devil will simply call me a thief, which is a character attack. Because I am a blood bought child of God whose "sin" was 100% paid for on the cross (the wage of sin is death, Romans 6:23) I have been given the character of my Lord. When I sin it is between me and God, first and foremost, but my sin will cause bitterness between people and needs to be made right. The family of God has no room for bitterness. It must be cleansed and removed so that harmony under the head of Y'shua/Jesus can reign in the Kingdom of YHVH. Therefore God convicts of specific sin that can be confessed, forgiven and made right to the best of my ability. When the devil attacks my character I might be tempted to say, God made me this way, there is nothing I can do about this.

Two dear friends have come to me in days past, rightly wanting to make things right between us. The first brought me a 3x5 card detailing my sin that God had convicted her of (what?). At the end of the list she said that I speak in half truths and lie. When I asked her to be specific she refused, it was up to me to come up with the specific lies, not her. How does a girl agree with that? I have spent years anguishing over that moment. Because I love her I desperately wanted to make things right between us. Instead I found myself shunned by the ladies of my church. I suspect gossip. I SO wish I had loved her enough to say, "I do not accept that." If I could turn back time I would have been bold enough to stand up to the enemy who would plant bitter seed between the children of God but the time was not right, I had lessons to learn. Instead I went into shock that a fellow believer would be the source of an enemy attack.

A second beloved friend came to me and said that after a night of prayer and fasting she knew that she had to tell me that I do nothing but make her job harder than it needs to be and am the reason she is so miserable. How I wish I had said, "I do not accept that." She had some crazy stress going on in her life at that time. My whole ministry under God was to make her work as smooth as possible. Obviously I failed at that and instead I let her tell me that I make her miserable. She could not or would not give me any examples, she expected that if it was clear to her what was wrong with me, it must be equally as clear to me because she prayed about it. Heartbreak. Her and another woman in the ministry often had their heads together, treating me with disdain. What if I had just been strong enough to say, "I don't accept that." What if I had loved her enough to talk about what I have observed instead of panicking about letting down yet another dear friend?

The devil is good at what he does, he goes for bruised nerves. A family member has told me that if not for me her life would be perfect, up until now I have let a number of people say that to me, knowing that no one can make another person miserable or unhappy, that is a response to lessons that God is teaching us through other people. I choose how I respond, so do they. God gets the glory for the positive things that happen in life. When things go bad and we choose to see some person as a thorn in our flesh, how can we not instead give thanks to Elohim/God for that circumstance, that person, and learn to walk as Y'shua/Jesus walked, He who was despised and forsaken of who thought they were doing God a favor by persecuting him (Isaiah 53:3-7). He is my example to follow, so it is short sighted to think that I will not come under persecution from within the religious community, even from believers in Y'shua/Jesus. It is, as Amy Carmichael was fond of saying, a chance to die to self and live for him who died for me.

By the end of the Oprah show, Oprah and Ms L were able to talk about what really happened. They came to an understanding that their assumptions about their own actions were misinterpreted by the other person. Both thought the other intended ill, both believed they had done everything right. Ms L was a religious woman that Oprah respected, Ms L loved Oprah deeply. Yet a root of bitterness had grown between them. It was gone by the end of the show. I imagine there was still wounds that needed to heal but at least the cancer was ripped out. It is never too late, at least as long as we still draw air, bitterness can be removed and healing can begin. That IS something I accept.

June 18, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Of Swords and Nails 6-9-2011

Learning Hebrew is like learning to read the road signs on the path of life. I have been trying to learn it in my spare time, on my own. The little bit that I have learned throws open windows of heavenly light on the path God/Elohim has chosen for me.

Not long ago we were talking about covenants in Sunday School. The covenant of Noah was blown off as a covenant of Judgement. That is not what I remember about the Noach Covenant but it had been so long since I had looked at it that I made the wise decision to hold my tongue until I had a chance to look at it with fresh eyes. There are times when Elohim draws me to his Word in curiosity about one subject than takes me in a direction I did not expect, much to my delight. This has been the case again and again with Genesis 9:12

And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations." RSV

At times I get a sense that Hebrew is difficult to translate. It seems like a simple enough language, but I need to remind myself that I am hardly out of preschool when it comes to Hebrew. Sometimes I worry that the translator was anti-Semitic. Some things make no sense when looking at the little bit of Hebrew I am learning next to the English that I know fairly well. With my preschool education in Hebrew it could be that I am too stuck on the word pictures that the letters make. I'm just saying I could easily be all wet here (no flood pun intended)

"This is the sign" I went to Genesis 9:12 to reexamine an old word study of the word covenant. I did not get that far. I stopped hard at the word translated "this," z'ot. The 2nd part of this word "ot" is made from the letters translated "alpha and omega" in The Revelation 1:8, 21:6 and 13. Hebrew letters are not just simple symbols that represent sound. Each letter tells a story that contributes to the word they build. Alpha and Omega would be the alaph and the tav in Hebrew. The mighty God (alaph) and the sign (the cross-tav). Alaph and tav are the first letter of Hebrew and the last letter (the first and the last, the beginning and the end). 'ot is all through the book of Genesis even though it is not translated into English.

Zayin is the 7th letter of Hebrew. We use the letter Z to translate the letter zayin. Zayin represents a sword. Much to my amazement "z'ot" seems to be a picture of the sword of the God of the Cross or what we might know as the sword of the Spirit. Could it be that the Sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17, Hebrews 4:12, Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15, 21) which is the Word of God, is the "this" of Genesis 9:12?

Then there is the word translated "sign" or "token" from the Hebrew "'owt". 'Owt is another word that seems to have given the English translators trouble. It shows up in Genesis 1:1 translated "and" (heaven and earth). Again the basic word 'ot which is God of the Cross" is used with the added letter, vav. Vav represents a hook or a nail that connects two ideas or items. This is why it is often translated "and". But when added to 'ot it communicates a connection, a hook, between heaven and earth. It is not wrong to say that 'owt communicates "God nailed to the cross"

I am looking at Genesis with awe! The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, by the mighty God nailed to the cross, is symbolic of the covenant Elohim made with Noah and all flesh. Amazing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Whole Lot of Nothings

After almost 35 years of making Easter Baskets for my family I got a great idea. Someone else should be in charge of Easter Baskets. On Easter morning there were no jelly beans, no bright cello "grass" or chocolate bunnies. My Easter basket was a small cardboard box that made squeaky noise. Welcome to my world (from left to right) Bertha, Miss Purdy, Stella (formally known as Pecker Head because of her habit of pecking at the sides of the baby box ALL night long) and Lil'bit. When they came to my house they were just downy little black fuzz-balls. I live a very small life. I work from home, I've been almost a year now without a car and my walking partner, Connie, has retired and travels. Since the Nuggets have come into my life I have a reason to get up and get dressed at the start of every day....I do not want the neighbors to see me in my robe when I go out and let the girls out.

As a gardener, the most upsetting thing I have witnessed this year is not the lousy weather hitting most of the United States, it was the television coverage of the Japanese Tsunami. It made my small life, my small scale troubles seem utterly pointless. In America, when we think of emergency preparedness, gardening skills are on the list of top 10 skills. Then I watched that wave cover the Japanese farm land. I was sick for the people of a tiny nation that took care of themselves. Really, the nuclear disaster was secondary to the farm disaster. It has taken me this long to settle in my heart that God is still in control, that He is still Merciful and can be counted upon no mater what this world throws at us. The simple things in life are still the good things.

The little garden is still coming along. After a nasty spring we are on our second clipping of lettuces. Radishes have been eaten and replanted and eaten again. Even small lives go on and the joy of Elohim is still my strength to rejoice for the gift of today as well as being able to face an uncertain tomorrow.

The good thing about the tsunami, the tornadoes, the droughts, floods and the price of gas (we only have a surban now)? Everything, anything, is a chance to practice thankfulness, to rejoice in my small life and the joy that those around me infuse into my days. Little potatoes and plan old onions are a good reason to celebrate life. L'chime! Life is worth the living because Y'shua lives!