Mother’s Day and Overgrown Shrubberies

 

First I will tell you that there is a reward in any endeavor that is worth doing well. And I will forewarn you dear reader that this post is long-winded, but not in a bad way. In 9,000 words or less, you’re going to hear a lesson of a lifetime that although ridiculously long as a blog post goes, is time well invested. The breath of life is never wasted. Father’s Word always returns fruitful.

In my younger adult years, my husband worked six, sometimes seven days a week. For a brief season I was home raising our children alone. My husband was two decades older than I, so by the time he arrived home after a long work day, he was too tired to do much of anything, let alone home maintenance. So, taking care of the home inside and out as well as raising our children and preparing the garden, household and daily meals (like most women) fell squarely upon my tiny shoulders.

Being of somewhat elfin stature, even a small, 1400-square-foot, post-WWII 1950s-style ranch tract home in the states was more than enough space to keep clean amidst diaper changing and physical and spiritual caretaking of growing toddlers. If that wasn’t enough, I also ran a home-based business from our basement and cared for my elderly mother who lived in a house across the street.

I really didn’t need more to do, like cleaning roof gutters or weekly mowing of two lawns, but caretake I did. When there is no one else, you work or it doesn’t get done. We must have patience and long-suffering or we quickly become downhearted. After all, childbearing and rearing should be a labor of love, although many parts thereof often leave something to be desired. And my husband at that time, left for something he desired more: his job.

So worketh the Holy Spirit in the realms of patience and long-suffering.

Romans 5:3 – And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

The Living Spirit of the Most High God’s Son, our glorious Messiah teaches believers patience, long-suffering and all of the virtues of his righteousness. The voice of the Father, the Messiah who is Word made flesh (because he lives eternally), teaches us how to properly enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It isn’t through a window. It’s through him. He’s the doorway. Moms are the gate of life for the children. He’s the gate to eternal life. We come in by a fleshly gate and we leave by a Spiritual gate. Our entire life is like a great Spiritual game show akin to “Let’s Make A Deal.”

Ah, those tiny little feet to which we moms give birth; those rebellious little children are born of parents who themselves rebelled against the ways of the Most High God. In far too soon a time period, all become people of all ages who delight in mischief and being self-centered the way as little children we behaved before we had the wherewithal and experience to understand right (good) from wrong (evil). The game plan is to listen to our elders (our parents and grands), and to honor and obey them when they are honorable.

In order to play any game, we must first learn the rules (the old ways). Then when we have mastered those rules, we will know which rules to keep, which to bend and which must be broken and remade so that they will better serve us in the future. And while most people have only an inkling of an understanding of what “God” expects of them, even our greatest mistakes are great lessons from which to learn if we’ll listen and hearken to the hidden truths that may at first be difficult to see or endure. If we are honest, later on from a safe distance and in time we’ll see their full value in a new light of truth which will bring us to repentance and maturity in our flesh and Spirit.

1 Peter 5:1 – The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

When I was still in love with worldliness and worldly possessions (spiritual traps), I celebrated American holidays including “Mother’s Day.” One year my husband gifted me with power tools. Most worldly women are offended by such an “insensitive” gift; demanding instead idolatrous gifts such as jewelry, chocolates or a date night on the town. A few settle for the next best thing, a consolation prize breakfast in bed made by their loving little ones. This typically consists of an oversized bowl of the latest fad cereal bathed in a coat of sugar, a piece of partly burnt toast with way too much jam and a glass of O.J. as well as milk. You are expected to eat everything in their gloating presence with a hungry and appreciative grin. Do I get breakfast? No. I get an electric hedge trimmer for Mother’s Day.

I could be discontented, but the Japanese Yews in the front lawn were severely overgrown, so at least the gift made practical sense. I knew my then-husband too well to believe it was given in good humor and that he would offer to do the hedge work himself. (If you paid attention to this story, you can probably guess the outcome of our marriage without Messiah in the midst.) At any rate of the exchange, whatever gifts he gave always kept on giving. That apparently included my new elected duty of wrangling not only our children, but some exceedingly unruly hedges into our neighborhood-approved cosmetic height and width standards. This was suburbia. There is a certain image to uphold.

It is somewhat strange to think that I never purchased a spare key (or a step ladder for that matter). It was evident to all but myself, as our 18-month old son learned it was “fun” to lock mommy out of the house during her daily walk to the mailbox that was exactly eight steps outside of the kitchen door. Delighted by his new-found skills, his curly blond-headed face would chuckle in dimpled delight as I tapped frantically on the window pane. He’d toss his head back, laugh hilariously and scurry away triumphant in his red pajama onesie into the next room. He could not be enticed to return no matter how loudly I tapped or what the weather situation.

Not surprisingly, I quickly tired of climbing into what became our son’s perpetually unlocked bedroom window to regain entry. After all, his was the only window without overgrown hedges lurking beneath. I hadn’t yet learned to value the amount of time required to stand in line at the key counter of our local hardware store as my children bickered over the contents of the shopping cart more than the energy required to momentarily grab a metal milk crate from beneath my husband’s latest motorcycle build project; and slipper-clad, “break” and enter into our own home through the first-floor bedroom window.

Patiently enduring this way was not without judgment. I endured the neighbor’s cutting remarks, which I’m certain they meant to be humorous. We rarely stop to hold ourselves accountable for the things we do or fail to do, as well as how they may affect others who must endure them. If we would judge our actions before we take them (or fail to), surely many situations might be avoided. Failure to use wisdom and right judgment brands us for life — in this realm, as well as eternally. I don’t just mean that we’ll all be judged on the great “Last Day” where the Most High’s decision on where we’ll endure for eternity is made.

I mean that every day is judgment day for the living; or rather, it should be. That’s because if you judge yourself now while you are yet alive and you endeavor to correct the things that look like the enemy’s doing, then you won’t have the consciousness of sin on your head. You won’t feel condemnation and judgment of the Holy Spirit who urges you to fix situations that don’t seem to sit right in our spirit. Anger, hatred, malice, jealousy, greed, gluttony, rejection, oppression and so forth are all things that go against the Messiah Yahusha’s (Jesus’) teachings and the way he lived his life when he was here in the flesh.

All of these things and anything that isn’t the will of the Father in Heaven are things that look like Satan. And yes, we’ll be judged on that final day of judgment (at death). But if we choose to die right now to ourself, meaning self-will and self-direction and self-choices that don’t involve the Holy Spirit, we’ll die to the old ways that Satan tricks us into doing and speaking and feeling and thinking. And when that old man “dies,” a new one is resurrected within us. That new man is the Spirit of Messiah, Yahusha. He’s the Word made flesh within us. He’s a gentleman who doesn’t interfere with our choices, but his Spirit urges us into a better way and a better life, in him.

When we begin to judge ourselves and every thought that comes into our mind and heart, we’ll judge each situation before it even occurs. We’ll count the cost before we make that chess move in the game of life. We’ll know that what we do affects our brethren as well as ourselves. And when we love our brethren more than we love our desire to get our daily “mail” (in whatever form that takes), we’ll choose to prevent that little one from making their mistakes in the first place. It may be a mistake that they are blissfully unaware can cause harm, like locking mom out of the house because they are just a babe.

Or it can be judging a situation so that our teenager doesn’t go on that camping trip without a chaperone because you know how teenagers are, no matter how many times they go to church. We’ll have learned by the convictions of our past mistakes how to conduct ourselves in this thing called life. Usually our lessons came from something that has hurt us that we have had to overcome. Or we’ll have determined through the wisdom of others that people matter more than we matter ourself (to a point).

The best one who can tell you how to do this thing called life is the Father’s Holy Spirit. But he doesn’t enter households through a bedroom window — at least not most of the time. There are exceptions, as you might learn from my life in past or future writings.

At all times we need to “hearken” to the voice of One who is wiser and greater than we are so we may learn how to truly love. Love doesn’t mean we don’t have to say we’re sorry. It means that we are the first to say we are sorry, even if we haven’t offended anyone. Love means walking in this world in a way that is not deliberately offensive to anyone. It also means to be forgiving and to ask for forgiveness when there is offense. Rarely it’s being one who must walk away from an obstinate child or family member, friend or acquaintance, boss or stranger because they are unkind and unrepentant. We are to be examples of the Father’s light and love, even when we must walk away from others, as an example.

The Father in Heaven knows our true heart and ways, even when they don’t always align with our words or deeds. If we are listening, his Spirit will convict us and cause us to work to become the type of human being he has created us to be. If not, then we will go around in circles for a long season until we either grow tired of trying to do things our own way by our own choices and we begin to turn to him for direction, or we reject him, ruin our lives and the lives of those around us, and we die. It’s really that simple. His ways are infinitely higher than ours, and that’s a really good thing, as most people learn over time after enduring trials and tribulations.

At that particular portion of my life and path of learning who I was and who I was meant to become, my routine window escapades were readily observed by the neighborhood watch committee in both spirit and truth (flesh). The very human side of the accusers of my neighborly brethren made it their joy to point out the obvious faults in my parenting skills upon their next encounters with me.

“We noticed the baby locked you out again. Why don’t you get a spare key and save everyone the trouble and concern?”

I couldn’t imagine why they felt troubled or concerned about my childrearing or home entry. It wasn’t a daily occurrence–well, maybe it was weekly, for a season. In my young thirty-something physical state, I resented anyone “suggesting” how to do anything “better” than what my clever-minded self could possibly imagine. I held myself in a higher esteem than others. That’s probably because the important people in my life had hurt and/or oppressed me.

Oppression, verbal and physical abuse sow rebellion, and will reap what they sow. The more oppressed or hurt someone is, the more rebellious they will eventually become, if they can’t overcome it. It can be overcome, but not without effort and purpose. Most people don’t see a reason to do anything but continue in that rebellion until the Father stops them in their tracks. He loves us so much. He’ll do everything in our power to teach us by example, even negative example, to bring us to him. Ask a few people who have “died” and visited what they believe was “hell.” They saw a figure or heard a voice or saw a light that asked them a question. When they returned from wherever they had been, the visit was so frightening that they are literally scared straight. Yes, the Father will scare you literally to death if that is what it takes to make you cry out to him. Please don’t be that rebellious!

Life is like a field. What is reaped is largely what has been sown. Sure, there are a few weeds and rocks and the like, along with a piece of garbage that blows in from the neighbor’s trash bin on garbage collection days. But when you put your heart and soul into growing food, the food that is produced in a field or garden should be nourishing and plentiful. If you sow little more than negative words and hateful attitudes into your children or the brethren, you trample each new plant that is trying to grow. You’ll end up with a barren and desolate garden where the best and strongest plants are stunted, broken and barely surviving.

It makes no difference if that garden is a physical plot of land, a relationship, or the land of a child’s heart and soul. In order to produce fruit or have the hope of resurrecting into nourishment providers, those crushed seedlings must be rescued from that garden and transplanted. Then they must be watered and lovingly nourished in a garden bed that holds their best interests at heart. The only and greatest husbandman I know of who can rescue anyone is Messiah Yahusha. He picks us up when others have rejected us. His compassion, forbearance and love are exceedingly great. In fact, they are perfect and a perfect gift that he longs to give to anyone who receives him.

My then husband and I had allowed the enemy to rule over our lives long before we allowed him to rule over our marriage and the lives of our children. They would become rebellious as we were (in a manner of speaking). We might easily identify rebellion in the tiny happenstances of a toddler locking mom out of the house. But it proves more difficult to identify the rebellion yet to come in our loved ones or ourselves if the roots of such rebellion aren’t removed as soon as they appear.

Sure, the neighbors laughed at me. I laughed back. I turned a blind eye to their wise suggestions in their attempts to help me. I was silly to imagine that my life was hilarious and carefree. I was the neighborhood clown. I was the foolish one. I “loved” the LORD and all “he” would bring into “my” life, but I didn’t yet truly know the Lord of my life and everyone else’s. That was okay at that time, because he kind of winked at my ignorance. He hadn’t yet brought me to the end of myself and the true repentance that comes with a full level of humility.

About the time my wee son lost interest in his new hobby, he moved onto the next. That one involved the living room vertical window blinds. One afternoon I found them copiously “painted” in a brownish-pink hue that seemed vaguely familiar. Running my finger across the substance, I immediately recognized lunch’s liver sausage sandwich meat. Some things feel just too good in toddler hands. Good thing blinds and hands are washable. Oh that we might all clean up so quickly with a little soap and water.

Isn’t that what baptism is supposed to be? Man’s baptism rituals just get us wet. We have work to do once we recognize that we are born into sin. We need to repent on a daily basis to stay clean, just as we must wash our bodies daily. We must wash our spirit clean on a daily basis. We’re not “saved” once we’re dunked or sprinkled or immersed and then we’re good to go. We have to immerse ourselves in the water of the living Word of the Father. He is the One who cleans us up in our home, our body, our life and in every way we are walking. When we are ready (and he decides when that is), he bestows his Holy Spirit upon us. There is a great difference between being anointed by the Holy Spirit and being filled. Just ask the disciples in the Book of Acts, who experienced both states.

We have the right to hope for salvation when we accept Jesus Christ (Yahusha Messiah) into our lives, but then the real work begins. We have to do a daily evaluation in every situation before it even occurs. We have to count the cost. We must be willing to change the things we are doing and feeling and thinking and saying, at his direction. Those directions come in the form of the Father’s written Word as well as when his Spirit speaks to us by Messiah speaking to our spirit. The price of devoting ourselves to our Messiah on behalf of the Father costs far more than an electric hedge-trimmer, but the process is similar. We are pruned. We are given time to grow. We are pruned some more. We are reshaped from iniquity into something beautiful that is a reflection of him for the Father’s glory. In the beginning we hack away at things until we learn how to do better. If we are very careful, we won’t fall of the ladder or cut off anyone’s toes (and their subsequent walk).

Back in my earlier hedge-trimming days, prepared lunchmeats didn’t harbor the same level of toxicity found in modern foods. Then again we could sleep with our windows and doors unlocked. No one cared nor conspired to enter our domain in an unlawful manner. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case within the camp when our two-year-old daughter inserted a whole peanut butter and jelly sandwich into the hole on the front of the videocassette machine. It’s a good thing I was a witness to that attempt or our little “angel” would have spoiled that house on the first attempt.

Mark 3:27 – No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.

Binding a strong man requires diligence, and repentance when we don’t catch ourselves (or others) in the act. Yet we are to love and forgive ourselves and one another just as a parent is to love and forgive their child. We are all God’s children. We can’t refuse to forgive ourselves or one another because that refusal to forgive exalts itself above the love and forgiveness of our Lord.

Even if we fail to forgive, God swoops down into our life and completely obliterates anything we have been doing or thinking that doesn’t serve him. It is up to us to get the memo and allow him to clean house for us, through us and with us. The level of housekeeping required to overcome all of our issues depends upon the kind of start we had in life and the lessons we’ve been given to master and strengthen us. The game is all about loving the Father and one another as ourselves. Those whom he loves, he chastens. He convicts. He requires action. He requires repentance. And if we are good servants, we’ll not only be given little. We’ll be trusted with much. That’s Father’s way.

Romans 15:7 – Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

God gave us one chief and great command. It is the greatest one he can give. He gives it to us in the least manner. That means he gives it to us all by itself. It’s just one command. It’s simple. It doesn’t come with all kinds of other commandments surrounding it. It’s not given in the midst of other commandments. But it is found in the midst of the sea of words that are in the Scriptural texts. We have to be out at sea to see it. We are to seek so that we may find.

If we are looking and listening, we’ll see or hear it in our spirit. If we aren’t or if we’ve convinced ourselves that those “other” commandments we think are the “most” important ones to keep, we’ll miss HIS most important commandment. But in reality, all of the commandments (ie the infamous “ten”) are all portions of this one chief commandment.

If we aren’t listening, we won’t hear or recognize his voice when he speaks. And if we don’t know his voice, we won’t obey his Words that he speaks to us by his Spirit; no matter when he speaks them to us, even today. You see, the Most High God is a Living God who speaks in a Living voice to the living. Those are the people who live today. But too many people are trying to decipher what he spoke to people who lived long ago. That’s good to know, but it’s not the whole portion of our lesson on Loving. We’re still learning his lesson and about his Love! And those lessons will continue for eternity for all of those who are Living in him!

Whenever his Spirit speaks, his Word is the command and commandments that we are to keep right then and there, here and now. His Words never change. But the manner in which we perceive them changes because we change in our understanding as we grow in the knowledge of him and of the world around us. And as he transforms us from fleshly beings into vessels with his Spirit in us, we become part of the body of Messiah. All of his ways are judgment and mercy. When we learn of him, we learn to rightly judge and extend his mercy to ourselves and to others.

But as long as men have decided they have already judged a matter, their hearts become hardened to hearing the Father’s voice, like stones. We were created with hearts of flesh, as little children. Over time our hearts harden into stones as we are hurt. He wants to remove the stony layers to reveal the true heart of flesh that remains inside of us, if we let him. Life is a heart matter. God is a judge of our hearts, more than our words and actions. We can tell someone we love them, but if we don’t prove those words by a deed, then there is no evidence that we truly love them. Only God can see our inner heart.

There are two sides to every coin: one that is the foundation of the temple, and the other that is the face of the coin. But there is one composition that is the coin, and it is composed of a mixture of metals and handiwork. There are two sides to the human heart: the part that receives the worn out blood and the side that renews it with every fresh breath. How they work together in unison is essentially life-giving or life-threatening. There is also a hidden electrical system that we can’t see but that can be measured and assessed by the work it produces (or fails to produce).

If we truly love one another, we will instinctively keep the Father’s commandment to love one another. We won’t just keep it in principle. We won’t just say “I love you.” We won’t say “I (heart) you.” We’ll demonstrate our love in truth and in principal. We’ll keep our word and our love as we face one another. But people get in our face and demand that we do things their way or the highway. When we don’t agree, they get offended and send us packing, and typically wound us on the way out, whether we deserve it or not (no one does, ever).

The voice of the one you value the most is the god that you serve. It is written upon your heart. If you believe in the Law of Moses and try to keep that law the way the Israelites did (or how some fleshly teacher interprets it to be kept), you’ll have the fleshly sin punishment of death written upon your heart. If you don’t learn by the negative example of people who added to the Word and who were rebellious (Israelites), you’ll cut off people who don’t agree with you. You’ll be unloving. You’ll idolize things like religions and opinions and writings and things that you place before the Father’s Living spoken Word. (Remember that he still speaks to us today, not just from the records of the past.)

If your heart is hardened by traditions and rituals of the flesh, you will lack faith in yourself, in Messiah, and consequently your brethren. The Israelites didn’t understand faith. That’s why they asked Aaron to make them a golden calf to worship. They didn’t trust Moses, the leader of the brethren. They couldn’t see the full countenance of the Father at Mount Horeb in the Sinai desert. They didn’t know what God’s Son looked like. They didn’t see or know his mercy or what faith in the Father’s Word looked like. They didn’t have the Word made flesh to observe. He had not yet come to this Earth. All they understood was idolatry and rebellion, so the people died in the wilderness.

Those who lack faith in Messiah are not only in danger of the judgment that comes from rejecting him and wrongly cutting yourself and others off from relationship with you (and him). You’re in danger of accounting for that cutting off on Judgment Day. You need to repent and receive Messiah! It’s so important to keep the commandments of the Father, which are expressed in their fullness by his Son. The Father is the foundational principles we live by in obedience when we are still babes in the Word. They are broken into portions that we are to “eat” (intake) and to digest and apply in our life as we learn and grow in the Word.

When we are sufficiently grown to receive the Son, we can receive the “meat” of the Word in all of its fullness, which includes right judgment and application in every situation. We become like Messiah ourselves. We can be given a single commandment and it doesn’t need to be explained to us the way it was broken up for us in the “books of Moses” (Torah). We can receive not just “Torah portions” or Torah bread crumbs and sips of grape juice made by the hands of unskilled hands and hearts. As adults in Messiah we can receive the fullness of the Father’s Law of Love. That’s the Everlasting gospel of Yahusha Messiah. When we have received Father’s Holy Spirit, he pours out his fullness into our spirit by the anointing. Then we begin to really walk. We walk and act and even sound like Messiah because he Spirit is within us. You’ll know you have his Spirit because he will have filled you. It’s an awesome experience to be sure! But he doesn’t just fill you once. You get a double portion blessing. He fills you twice!

The Old Testament which contains the five books of “Moses,” the prophets and the writings, are bread and wine of man’s works. They lack faith and mercy. The Spirit is hidden in the Word because the people didn’t want to hear God speak to them. They can only be rebellious idolaters who receive the fruit of God’s wrath upon sinners. The Messiah is hidden in the works of fleshly men and women except to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear the Spirit speaking through those works. The New Testament is the testimony of Yahusha Messiah as Word made flesh who dwells among us. He calls all who come and came before him, thieves and robbers.

John 10:8 – All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.

Messiah’s Spirit never leaves us nor forsakes us. His Spirit is still walking among the living. You need to be willing to see him walking and talking in those who serve him.

Here is the Father’s commandment that the Son gives us today. His spoken Word (his voice) supersedes even his written Word, yet the two are never in conflict. It’s a perfect harmony of unity and Oneship. The Father’s Spirit is Holy. His Word is his Son, who is the maker of all he speaks. He is the express image of the Father who is Spirit, come to life in the flesh and Spirit upon and within his body. Isn’t he glorious? Here is his commandment.

John 15:12 – This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

John 13:34 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

We need 2 or 3 witnesses, right? We are to try the spirits. When we love one another, we love the Father in Heaven. That’s how it works. It’s simple, right? It should be, but people don’t understand the difference between a commandment and a command.

A command is spoken now, to a particular person or people, to do right then in their day, or for a season. It has a set time period in which it is to take place.

A commandment is spoken at any time, and it is good forever. It is a:

command (of) men that is taken up (t) wherever they walk. It is permanent.

command+men+t

That “t” is the tree, the stake, the cross. It is taken up by the Messiah, when he comes. Before he comes, it is taken up by men of flesh. But that stake, that cross, that tree is too heavy for one man to carry. Even Yahusha had help carrying his crucifixion stake, at least while he was still in the flesh. He made himself vulnerable so that we could learn of our need for him. No servant asks his brethren to do something he isn’t willing to do himself. Yahusha died for you and me. Is it too much to do what he tells us to do? No.

Here are the commandments of the Son. They are the same single chief commandment of the Father that has been broken into two portions for us to eat. That is his body and blood, or his flesh and Spirit as an example of our flesh and his Spirit combined) so we can  properly “eat” (hear) and digest (obey and apply) these two portions.

Matthew 22:36 – Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Matthew 22:37 – Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

That first great commandment is the minute hand on a clock. We are to love the Lord our God every minute of every day.

Matthew 22:38 – This is the first and great commandment.

That’s just the first course. It’s no longer the bread crumbs of the foundation of our faith. We’ve already eaten (learned) those, or should have. Now it’s a full meal of food and drink. The first course, the Levitical priesthood is the foundation of the faith. It teaches us the outer limits of the kingdom, and the mind of the Father. It’s the bread crumbs and the milk for the babes. It’s the wall of the city. We don’t want to live on the wall. We don’t want to become a wall. We don’t want to become stone. We want to come alive, not remain part of a dead work of people who are no longer living. We want to be alive and to minister to the living people who are alive with us right now, today.

We want to live in the Kingdom of Messiah. We want to enter the city and enjoy all it has to offer. That city needs a strong tower that is lifted up stone by stone. Once we’ve learned the foundational lessons that we aren’t to be idolaters and that there is a Father that we are to look up to, we’re ready to learn the next course, the second lesson, the testimony of the Son. The Father’s voice is his Law spoken and who calls us to his Father’s Kingdom. The Son is the full image of the Father’s Law and his spoken Word lives out in the flesh (and ours). He is the personification and embodiment of the Law in all of its fullness, rightly judged and applied to every situation in life. He is the Father’s full Law of Love that is exercised as servitude to him and to our brethren with wisdom and mercy.

And here is the second great commandment in the law. It is the second portion, which Yahusha lived out In the flesh in perfection first right before human eyes.

Matthew 22:39 – And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

When we love the brethren, we love the Father. When we love Messiah, we love the Father. And when we love the brethren, we love Messiah, and we’ll love ourselves too. The Love of the Father and Son are intertwined with our lives in time just as the hands on a clock work to tell us the exact moment ticking away on the great analogue clock of our lives. The lesson here is that we are to love one another every second of every day. When we can get that portion right, we have kept the fullness of the Law of Love. Since we can’t always love every moment, we need our Father’s Holy Spirit, his helper to rightly do this with us, through us, and sometimes entirely for us!

Keeping the Father’s Law of Love is a labor of Love that we are to work on every moment of our lives. And since we are in the land of the living and not the land of the dead, the works that we do, from hedge trimming to speaking to our neighbors, to allowing our husbands and wives and children and ourselves to be loving (and to encourage them when they are not), what we choose to say and do is of the utmost importance to us, in body and soul.

So let’s consider this a firm rebuke for all of our old ways and move forward into the future better armed with more than just an electric hedge trimmer. It’s the same Word we have all heard in the beginning, only by now hopefully our ears and eyes haven’t dulled and we will actually truly listen to the voice of the Father resurrected in the Son when he speaks to us. The Son is the Father’s Word made flesh. He’s his voice.

What does it mean to listen? It means to Hear and Obey. It means to hear and to do what he is telling us to do, not what man has trained us to do. Men of flesh can’t resurrect the dead without the Father, who is a Living Spirit.

John 13:34 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

1 John 2:7 – Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.

1 John 2:8 – Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

2 John 1:5 – And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

That “lady” is the “mother” of this latter season in all of us. It is the bride of Messiah. When we love our little children, we do what we must and endure for their sake because we love them. Sometimes that means we say “I’m sorry,” whether we are guilty or not. Sometimes we endure in a pregnancy that is “unplanned” by our flesh, but absolutely and purposely planned by the Most High who gives us life from the moment of conception. But that’s conception of HIS thoughts, not our flesh.

Psalm 139:13 – For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Sometimes in longsuffering we climb on a milk crate and reenter a house in an unexpected way. Sometimes even when it was right for us to walk away for a season, it is also right for us to return when thoughts or emotions aren’t running rampant or when people have a greater level of understanding than when they left or were cast out of a situation, even when they shouldn’t have been, but were.

If we return to another with an olive branch, it’s because we are the ones who understand that the other person is unable to be the dove. They have not love or faith in themselves and in their brethren. They need our love and forgiveness in order to be a shining example of who they might become. We need Messiah in us in order to see another person’s potential self, not the self they portray or prove themselves to be (to our flesh when the inner heart isn’t seen).

Those who do not repent aren’t mature enough in their walk, so we must be the dove of peace. Like Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh, the lead men must go over first to fight in the battle before helping their wives, children and cattle into the promised land. The firstborns are the first to go and spy out the land and who (like Joshua and Caleb) make the way for the rest of the family to walk a clear path in relative safety (pun intended).

You may think you are called to be the leader, but there are many others who have and are going before you. So find your humility because you may not yet be fully ready to lead. Forgive and keep moving forward toward the goal. When you reach it, Father will let you know. And he will give you your priesthood and purpose as well as direct you personally.

That walk will be difficult, but he’ll be with you every step of the way.

We must be the role model, soldier and angel of righteousness for others who are weaker. But make no mistake. It’s not “our” righteousness that moves anyone forward. It’s our Father working in us by the Holy Spirit of his Living Word. And while many people may have accused us of “thinking” we were “God,” or of having “a serpent tongue,” or (heavens!) of being “mentally ill,” the truth is that we knew all along we were among God’s chosen ones who are called to do a tough job that nobody else was or is willing to hear or obey to do when asked. When Father comes to us in the night and asks us to follow him and we answer, we may eventually get around to asking him:

“Why me?”

The servant may hear something like:

“Because you will listen.”

It’s not easy being the point man, the watchman, a footman, a leader, the one who is asked to step out first and be a firstborn of the Spirit. It’s not easy being a disciple, or a well woman, for that matter. But that’s what happens when you volunteer. You’ll be given a role to fill. Rather, you’ll be given a tool, like a shovel to dig a well, or a hedge trimmer to prune branches.

If there are no willing volunteers, the teacher may choose the ones with the loudest voices to be the example. When we become willing to be used by the Father, we must be prepared to say and do things that look very different from what man’s mainstream religious mindsets have adopted. That understanding and perspective got Yahusha killed, but that was part of the plan! Your convictions will bring persecution. Just be certain you have HIS, and not someone else’s. People may believe you are stubborn or self-willed or difficult. But standing with the Messiah is a difficult task. It won’t be your will that you are hearing and obeying. It will be his will, and other people will mock you, revile you and reject you for it. You’ll know you are a sent one. It will take others a while to catch on. And even when you are new at it, Father will work it all out for your good, even if you get tremendous backlash for your innocent efforts to stand in faith and deliver what he has given you.

He will send people to you or you to people. The ones in your realm are the ones he wants you to affect. And he will use you in the manner that he desires you to be used, if you allow him to do so. That won’t always be easy, but it’s for his glory and the good of all people. Just do what he tells you to do, even in the face of adversity or doubt.

A certain point man, a well woman is telling you from experience that there is one Law that must be kept for eternal life. It is the complete Law of Love. Remember how the disciples were off buying food for their stomachs when Yahusha/Jesus came to the Samaritan woman at the well and revealed himself to her? She received him and told the people in the city and he remained there for two days. His disciples were clueless until much later on, about Yahusha’s ministry and purpose, and they walked with him!

We must receive and keep Messiah Yahusha, the way to the Father by the way of the Son. We keep the full Law when we repent and forgive. We keep the full Law when we do the things that are pleasing to the Father and when we hear his voice and obey what he tells us to do today. He’s a God of the living, not a god of the dead. Repent of following dead works and dead examples and doctrines of men whose hearts have turned to stone and who lack faith in the Father’s voice and in the brethren through whom God still speaks. Learn from them, how not to be. Learn what not to become. Don’t share in their idolatry of the written Word. Use the Word to learn of our idolatry of flesh and dead works. Learn how to detach from the things of the flesh to serve the living by his Living Spirit.

And then do what Messiah does. He is the fullness of his anointed and oiled bread, the Father’s Law. He looks the same no matter how many portions he is torn and broken into. Eat that bread and live. If you are still eating the bread of Moses, you are lacking the oil and the anointing. That bread, those “laws” of Moses change depending on what perspective you read them from (even though God’s Word is unchanging).

If you’re a babe, your mother will eat food for you, and you will drink it as her milk. One day when you are older and wiser, you can thank her and your father for all they put into you, as well as our Heavenly Father in front of whom you will one day stand and be judged for your works. What are the works that are pleasing to him? Love.

Romans 13:8 – Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Did you catch that simple word? That’s how we fulfill the Law, his eternal Law of Love. We love one another. We give our first and best to one another always. We do unto others as we would desire be done unto us. And if we do that, if we obey the Father’s voice and his conviction when he calls us to it, we’ll forgive and love one another, even if we have to die to ourself to bring the other person Father’s truth and salvation.

We can’t be responsible for the other person if they refuse to hear our repentance. We can only pray for them. But if we don’t do the right thing, but instead pursue some other form of action or “law” that is man’s religious laws and interpretations, we’ll miss the weightier matters of the Law of Father’s love. We’ll be like the Pharisees. We’ll be men of woe.

Luke 11:42 – But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

That Pass over is a Day of Judgment and execution. You don’t want to be passed over by God’s love for unrighteousness. You want to be part of the Passover Lamb where the judgment passes over you and doesn’t convict and condemn you for eternity. Do you remember that famous prayer in the gospel that people call the “Our Father?” One of the lines says:

“forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…”

Those debts are the offenses that we have caused to another person and/or to ourselves, as well as to the Father. If we don’t forgive others or ourselves, then we may not be forgiven, and are in danger of the judgment. That judgment comes not only on the last day, but also today. That’s because people make their judgments of us based on what they think we are doing or saying. And unless the person truly knows us well because they have a close relationship with us, that person rarely renders a right judgment. That is, unless the Father tells them what to do and they obey.

That’s because our Father YHVH (Yahuah) is the only one who truly knows our heart and mind. Most of the time, peoples’ judgments are made too hastily. Often they occur before the people who are involved take any real time to give one another a true chance to discuss the offense that causes a breach in the first place. They haven’t invested any part of themselves in the other person to even begin to understand them or what is in their heart. They don’t even listen to their words. They only judge others based on their own flaws and flawed judgment. They aren’t judging others according to Messiah. He is not the one who judges! He came to redeem and to save.

But people who are prideful act like a pair of unrestrained hedge trimmers. When you cut off a branch, it’s cut off. It takes time for that branch to regrow. Until it does, it retains the shape and shadow of its first cutting. That cutting hurt the branch. It carries a wound, but in time the wound heals and a new branch sprouts next to the wound. In the cutting and all the clipping that goes into trimming unruly hedges, what is the most miraculous thing that typically occurs? The Father steps in and helps the branches you have haphazardly hacked away at, to regrow.

It takes time to learn how to properly use the tools we are given. And those who are supposed to be our mentors and teachers should be teaching the children how to use their tools instead of how to act and speak and look like their leaders. We aren’t to make fleshly disciples of fleshly teachers. We are to make disciples of Messiah, not of ourselves. The good news is that even when branches are half dead already, Father resurrects them with his breath of life by his Holy Spirit. And as he breathes new life into them, they become stronger and more full of life than they ever were before.

So, returning to my hedge trimming story, I climbed a ladder and began clipping away at the top of a shrub until my elderly Sheepshead playing next-door neighbor Edith (now deceased, God bless her soul) hobbled over to remark about the distinct absence of my husband in the matter.

(Sheepshead or Schafkopf literally means “sheepshed.” It’s a card game that is popular amongst the older German sect in Wisconsin. The term may be derived from Middle High German and involves playing cards on an overturned barrel [kopfen “playing cards”, and Schaff “a barrel”).

I don’t know if Edith had a barrel in her basement or not. But Edith, who liked to report on who won the tournament she held on Tuesday evenings, followed up her weekly report with a suggestion that hedges such as those I was altering are better off with their hair cut from the ground up. And so are the people of Messiah in this latter season better off as he tears down man’s religious walls and doctrinal teachings to rebuild his people from the foundation up, one stone, one heart at a time. (The Europeans have a unit of measure for the weight of man, called “stone.” I still haven’t figured out the conversion rate, but I am happy to report that I am not very many in stone weight.)

Edith muttered something about how branches require adequate light to grow, which I dismissed like an unwanted bee to avoid being stung. I thanked her for her peculiar interest in my personal life and turned my shoulder away. She was just lonely. I wasn’t impolite, but I didn’t go out of my way to be overly hospitable. I should have been. That wisdom comes to elders. Wine takes time to ferment and to receive its full flavor. It must be sipped, not guzzled. And oiled bread that is properly shaped, baked and spiced with herbs takes time and effort to be made ready for eating. Then it is to be savored and enjoyed. It must be eaten in the right portion or one becomes too full too soon.

No one can grow in darkness. We need the light of truth in our lives for any meaningful growth to occur. Without light, people (trees as we are called by the Word) whither and die. We inherently know this, but we don’t always do things the right way. Sometimes it’s because we just don’t have all the information yet that we need. Our leaders should provide wisdom, but they don’t. They can’t give what they don’t have to give. Many people rely upon emotions and act accordingly. Whatever the case, intentionally or not, people are offended because they themselves are hurt.

Only those willing to die to their own hurt, to themselves and their choices are the ones who can shed light onto a past or current situation. Then all can grow to become living branches that produce real fruit. While Japanese yews produce little berries that are inedible to us, the mere blessing of these little berries (although distasteful) are a sign the shrub is physically (and metaphorically) in spiritual good health.

James 5:14 – Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

Stepping back every once in a while to check my handiwork in the shape of the hedges, it became obvious over time why my good neighbor had given her advice. There is a way to do something. Then there is the right way of doing, which is to do something well. The harder I tried to make a perfect shape of a circular hedge by trimming from the top down, the more off balance the shrub appeared. And the more we attempt to communicate the Words we are given before pondering them and taking them before the Father so we know how to approach each individual, the better off we’ll all be. There is no “one size fits all” approach to the Word. It is really an individual lesson and journey. Although the body of Messiah’s bride is being built, thank Heaven we are not a pile of hands or mouths or feet!

On my second try carving shrubs, I began working from the ground up as Edith advised. Not only had her technique shortened my efforts, the circular arc of my cutting was far more effective from this new perspective. Once properly pruned, our shrubs began to grow in a new and vigorous way that proved the work and wounds had not only been beneficial, but essential to life. The end result was that my efforts produced something far more beautiful and eloquent than the haphazard technique with which I had first begun, all because I hearkened to a voice of wisdom who was undoubtedly sent by the Father himself.

Hedges and ornery babes as metaphors for the way into the Kingdom of Heaven. You’ve got to love the creativity of the Father by the hands of the one who walks in the fullness of Messiah.

Meaningful reflection on the path of our past efforts offers a greater perspective for the days ahead, provided we are actively and purposefully working out our salvation. We do this by looking at and adjusting our efforts to love the Father and our brethren in the manner the Word outlines for those with ears to hear and eyes to see. We can learn so many lessons that otherwise remain hidden in the shadows of past and current events if we would stop treating our lives, events, and other people (and their talents) as mundane or unimportant.

Every person who enters our reality has something that is a gift we are meant to open and receive. And we have something to give them. It is a gift exchange at the highest level, but we don’t see opportunity in others. It should be the joy in us to discover what that gift is that we are meant to receive from our Father through the people he sends to us. But if we do not receive people Father sends, and we don’t value them or their gifts (even when that takes work we don’t want to do), Father quite rightly may remove them or us in order to teach all powerful lessons in the process.

Every happenstance is allowed for our edification, even when it hurts. There is no comprehension of joy without an understanding of pain. There is no tangible growth without first a displacement, stretching and/or breaking of something. We simply need to be honest with ourselves and realize that what we think of as “our” life doesn’t really belong to us. We were bought with a price. We were sold to the highest bidder. But what we can’t see is that there is only One bidding on us who has all of the wealth. That would be the One in whose image we are created (our Father).

Hedge trimmers solve the issue of overgrown bushes, both functionally as well as visually. Needless to say, we need to pare down the wrong beliefs and attitudes we have carried on our own branches, so that those branches don’t become too heavy for us to bear. We need to not only understand that we must undergo a routine pruning in the flesh as well as the Spirit, but also be grateful for the ones who provide the righteous words to show us the way toward Father’s truths. The initial pruning may be painful, but we need to let the first wave be done by the Father. We must recognize when it is time to stop trying to prune others’ branches and where he takes over and does the pruning.

In order to love the brethren, we must carefully consider our words and count the cost before we deliver them to the people. We can’t afford to say whatever we think we are supposed to say, because we can’t see everything people have been through in life. We aren’t a righteous judge unless we have the Holy Spirit upon us. Many are called, but very few choose to become the truly chosen leaders. That’s because the job we are called to do isn’t easy. It requires complete faith and servitude. It isn’t your agenda. It isn’t your doctrine. It isn’t your beliefs. It is his. He tests you all the time. It is hard work, but the benefits are truly timeless and the gifts he gives you keep on giving forever.

We all know in part, but the ones who come before us who are sent by the Father are the ones who typically have been through the fiery trials of life. Their eldership is something about which we need to respect and take note. That doesn’t necessarily mean that physical maturity is a given, for there are many elders who aren’t old. And there are elders who may be good fleshly role models, but not Spiritual ones (yet), but you can’t tell them that.

Don’t prevent people from doing what God is telling them to do. Give correction only as Father leads, and with great care or you become a stumbling block for others. Stop judging other people! You are not in their heart the way the Father is, so you don’t know their true motivations or how Father is working in their life. Just judge the situation and take it to the righteous judge, and he will tell you how to handle it. Spiritual maturity is everything to consider, whether the lesson comes from the mouths of elders or babes.

Everyone wants to run around and teach the Word, but very few are willing to pay the price required to teach Father’s Word by his Spirit. That means he gives the interpretation. It isn’t a fleshly one. We need to begin loving and evaluating every person we encounter for whatever gift of wisdom they can impart in our life. Properly judging the “fruit” of the Spirit isn’t even taught in congregations today, although this is the season where true fruit inspectors are required. In order to fulfill that position, you must be willing to completely die to self and detach from the lusts of the flesh.  Everyone loves a fringe benefit, but few people are willing to put on the garment of true devotion. It requires a sacrifice of every area of your life.

This story is really about receiving what and whom Father sends with gratitude and reverence for the ones we are given and the One who sent them. As with all gifts, we must ponder and ask the Father what we are supposed to do with that gift. Like a divine “Cracker Jack(R)” box, every gift has something hidden inside. It takes time to get to the bottom of the box. We have to take the time necessary to closely examine the gifts and the people who bring them, even if some of them at first glance appear to be firecrackers. If we don’t get to truly know people on any more than a superficial level, then we’ll have no idea what lies within them. We’ll very likely throw them into the trash bin the first time our fingers get sticky because we’re just tired of dealing with their box. We haven’t even found their hidden gifts, but we don’t even care because we don’t have the faith and love that is required to see the Messiah in them. We just think we do.

Some people must be carefully unwrapped over time. These people are cautious by nature or may be reclusive or “odd” because they have been hurt. Your desire to ignore them or not “deal” with them only further serves to alienate them. In their zeal, some people will pour themselves out before us and make what we wrongly judge as a mess. They were sent to help us. But instead of showing patience and forbearance, pride gets in the way. We won’t see the gifts they bring because we want them to look a certain way. We want them to be perfect when no one is. So we take a spiritual dust pan out and sweep any trace of them under the carpet.  We don’t value them or the things they bring into our life that Father sends. We have decided within our stony hearts (even sometimes without so much as an intense conversation) that they aren’t “worth” our time. They require “to much” effort. But an oyster requires effort to first make and then reveal a pearl. You will never know the treasure inside unless you find the right tools to open that oyster.

It may be the person you have rejected, who is the one person Father sends to bring you the most growth. But you foolishly kicked them out of your life because they didn’t agree with your point of view. People reject with cross words, gossip, or “kind” words that aren’t kind simply because they are offended (whether warranted or imagined). They cross people off their real or imagined “friends” list. Rejection isn’t necessarily the love of the Father or of the brethren. Rejection can come because you lack faith in your brethren. That kind of attitude can get you killed, and it “kills” the person on the receiving end of that wrath. When you reject the brethren, when you lack faith in them and you accuse them wrongly, you reject Messiah. It’s that simple. Did that person really come against you or did you just insert your own will in there somewhere and they disagreed with your opinion? Did you imagine they rejected you because they rejected your opinion? It’s pride that causes offense. Forgive. Let it go and go and sin no more.

As I matured in my personal faith walk with Messiah, he taught me about the gifts of being a Mother to my children, a Mother to my own Mother when she could no longer be one, and a Mother to the little children of the world. It is a Mother’s duty to suckle the little children before the babes open their eyes and hearts to receive the Words their parents and our Father in Heaven desires for those meant to serve him for eternity.

We as people are a lot like mischievous babes who lock their mother out of the household and then stand on the opposite side of the door chuckling in delight before running away. We don’t care or aren’t aware that our actions have subjected the one who loves us to 20 degrees below zero (if you include a wind chill factor). Convenience or safety have no bearing on locking a person out of your life when you have no consciousness of sin. Sometimes even when you do, you refuse to allow people back into your “good” graces (which aren’t good at all) because you are prideful. Perhaps you still think more highly of yourself than you do of others. If so, you need to find humility.

You may be running around in your comfy-cozy “onesie” with non-slip footed bottoms. You don’t care that I am out here in the freezing cold in my bathrobe and bare feet, let alone that the only way back inside is to climb upon a freezing cold, greasy milk crate surgically removed from my husband’s vehicle that is perpetually under repair. That little child has no idea what it takes to pry open a frozen window pane with only a twig and nearly frostbitten hands. Not everyone understands that they have wronged you, or even how. But a good mother (or father) has perseverance, even if the neighbors call her “nuts” or the one who locked her out in the first place is still running around laughing at her. She doesn’t care. She gives her life for that child.

I am certain our Father in Heaven winks at the liver sausage blinds and the cheese-sandwich defiled videotape machines, for a season from all of the babes who are trying on his “shews”, his priesthood sandals when they don’t know his purpose for their life. He’s the King of patience. He’s the one who allows a mother to rise at the midnight cry of her three-year-old Paul Revere-yelling daughter about how her brother in the next room just “spilled.” “Why isn’t she sleeping?” is your first thought as you enter your son’s bedroom to find dinner strewn about the fresh linens you just changed the day before.

Father is the parent in you who cleans up the messes and sits up with the children until they are safely home and sound asleep, even if peace takes hours or days or years to return. And it is the Father in us who doesn’t complain upon the second wave of Paul Revere, this time in the third watch of the night. “Mom, that guy is spilling again!” tells you all you need to know. That guy of course, is your younger child, but the older one doesn’t know him that well yet because she is still a babe herself. She can barely accept any newcomer in competition for her parent’s love and affection.  It will take these two babes a lifetime perhaps (in some cases) to fully learn to love and trust one another. Thankfully our Father in Heaven doesn’t have the same fleshly restrictions on time and attention that we mere mortals do.

Father loves us so much that he holds us up in his arms no matter what we are doing. He can supernaturally pass through walls or shrubberies without a milk crate or stepladder, in any temperature, day or night. In a moment of fleshly weakness I might envy that skill, but then I think of all of the responsibility.  We can’t even manage our own lives. Nor can we interpret his revelations without his help. How would we ever handle the complexities of his Kingdom? Thankfully he is perfect and transcends all things. We forget that he knew us even before he created us, and that we are made for his purpose and pleasure. Every living human being is created in his image. We need to allow him to make us into the image of his Messiah. The Kingdom of Heaven is within us like an unborn babe.

What do fleshly people do? They kill their own babes, their own flesh, their own brethren. And in doing so, they are destroying the generations who are supposed to come forth. They are destroying the possibilities for their own future. They are destroying God’s Kingdom.

Every person made has a purpose, whether we like, or can see that person or not. That’s just the Father’s way. He creates and destroys. He wounds and heals. He teaches hard lessons. He provides wonderful joys. He loves everyone, so we have no right not to love them as well, no matter how small.

We just need to find new and creative ways to love others who are more challenging for us than some. And we need to find substitutes for things we call our “rights” which are no right at all. We need a different perspective. We need to begin at the bottom of the shrub and trim upwards. We’ve tried cutting the branches off ourselves and we’ve become lopsided in our efforts because we’ve forgotten from where we have come. We have forgotten our Father’s faith, his mercy and his love. We’ve been eating poisonous fruit.

Father remembers that our frame is dust. He understands that we just don’t know who we are or whose we are. We are truly babes who are busy exploring their world without understanding the things that are off limits That is, until like the good parent that he is, he deems us mature and worthy enough to handle them. That growth as an individual and as a body takes time to develop, because trust and worthiness take time to develop.

Babes are blissfully unaware that the things they do and the choices they make have form and function. There are rules and an order to this thing called life, and Father establishes the rules. He also tells us when we have learned the rules adequately enough that we may be trusted to follow them and interpret them uniquely to every situation. We are set free to be adults in the world, because he has trained us up in the way that he expects us to love. We are no longer ignoring the neighbor’s advice, and we have learned to value the simplicity of a spare key. And the teaching tool that Father uses is his voice as he speaks to our Spirit, and when he speaks through his written Word, if we live in it daily. The extent to which we come to truly know the character and personage of our Father is directly proportional to the amount of time we spend in conversation with him in the written Word and in daily prayer.

Mankind as a whole, is following his own voice and words, and not the Father’s.

If we don’t understand what our Father in Heaven desires for us, are we not like the little babes who run around filling toilet bowls with mom’s priceless antiques or dad’s expensive ratchet tool set? Give those babes a cabinet where it is safe to play with the pots and pans. Give them a wooden spoon they can bang on the bottom like a drum to make all the noise they want, for a season. But in time, what will they do? As long as they play respectfully, there is peace. But put an older child in the room who wants that spoon and there will be trouble.

Covetousness is the root of evil. It is the love of wanting something we don’t have. Covetousness brings a fear of lack. And all of that is borne of a spirit of rebellion. Where does rebellion come from? It comes from a recognition of division or separation. Human flesh has a warring spirit hidden inside of it because we are all fallen. That’s not fallen from grace as some religions teach. The grace is that the Father gives us a lifetime in which to learn how to love him and one another. The only way you can fall from grace is if you are hardhearted and reject the Father’s Voice (his Son’s Spirit in our flesh) and you make “your” life all about you.

Yahusha Messiah (a/k/a Jesus) helps us to identify the parts of our life that need to be pruned or outright taken away and burned. Trees and vines receive their energy to grow through their roots and by photosynthesis. The latter is a biochemical reaction to light energy, which gives them fuel to grow and to produce fruit.  If we hear and obey our Father’s voice, he will fertilize and water our land, our heart and mind, so that we can grow and even nourish others. He is the great husbandman who knows all that we are and all that is still missing from the whole person he has designed us to be. He tells us by his living voice, his Word made flesh, the way of our Messiah Yahusha:

“Enter here all you who need rest.”

He is the sheep gate of the city. He is the doorway to salvation for those who repent. Unlike some of our parents and loved ones and ministers and teachers, the Father never leaves us nor forsakes us; even if our naptime lasts for 120 or 6,000 years. He’s right there even at the very end of our days, speaking to us and asking us to make a proper choice. If we cry out to him, like a good parent, he’ll always answer and take care of us. He’s the good shepherd and we are supposed to be his sheep. His sheep hear his voice. If you want him to hear yours, begin with repentance.  Then say a prayer like this one:

Father, I praise and bless and thank you for loving me and providing your Son as the way to you. I ask for your forgiveness and give my life to you completely. Father, forgive me for my sins, transgressions and iniquities. I ask you to help me become the person you have designed me to be. Remove everything from my life that is not serving you and show me your truth. Show me what I need to change to be pleasing to you. And thank you that you hear my prayer and my desire to truly please you. Amen.

Then rejoice and give glory to the Father in all things, and be in his Word and in prayer daily.  Forgive one another. Love one another. Give to others your first and best in all things, all of the time. Those are your Firstfruits. When you set about prospering others, you are prospering the Kingdom. When you love others, you are loving the Father by way of Messiah. When you forgive others, you are forgiven.

The son of man has the authority to execute right judgment and to truly forgive sins when he has the Spirit of the Living Messiah within. When you have the Holy Spirit, you can forgive sin and execute judgment. You’ll stop sitting around listening to men teach “the Word.” You’ll be out being the Word made flesh and doing the Great Commission. It will be Messiah in you doing his works of healing and freeing captives. And that may look a little “odd,” but that’s okay. It’s him. He’ll live in you and you in him.

Truly love and forgive. Repent and receive the Spirit of the Living Messiah and be made well. Be his lowly handmaid. Be the works of his hands. All that from Mother’s Day and an electric hedge trimmer. Imagine what Father’s Day will bring.

I pray and hope for you and yours to be well made.

 

 

 

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