|Posted by [email protected] on June 3, 2014 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
Consistently, since following Messiah and serving YHWH, my testimony can be summed up in a couple of women of the Bible. When I fell to my knees on the third floor of my Victorian home, in 1994 at the age of 36, I was
a “Mary Magdalene and Woman at the Well” all rolled into one! The only redeeming quality I had, is best described in Romans 5:8. But YHWH commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us.
I was familiar with a large portion of Scripture, but the information had been filtered, diluted, and altered through religious dogma; so the practical application in my life was difficult and minimal. I spent the first 18 years of my adult life, church-hopping off and on, while trying to muddle through my messy life the rest of the week. I thought, for all practical purposes, I was a typical American Christian; but there were a few a-typical details. As for the "woman at the well" comparison. The moment in which I heard that passage, I didn’t even have my Bible open. It was a regular early evening in our home, bustling with teen activities. I was in the kitchen, the kids on their various “perches” chatting when their Dad came home at the usual time. We did the usual, kiss, embrace, ‘hi, honey, how was your day?’ Everything was business as usual, except as I was in the embrace, I heard ever so clearly in the ear not against his chest . . . the voice of Messiah saying,
“For thou hast had five husbands;and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband . . .” John 4:17
He was indeed my fifth husband. Although we were legally married, I knew at that moment, I wasn’t his ordained helpmeet. He was a good man, but he wasn’t mine! Sadly, even after coming to Messiah, I didn’t understand that a woman could serve in ministry without being a helpmeet to a man, so I gave it two more tries. Both men, I met in church, and both marriages were devastatingly painful. I love men, but it seems they see me as sort of a novelty and apparently the new wears off of me pretty quickly. I’m not pretty enough or rich enough to have been married to as many men as Liz Taylor, but I have had seven husbands. Since she married Richard Burton twice, I am thankfully, one marriage behind her. That little bit of trivia, however; doesn’t make my track record any better!
Now, as to the Mary Magdalene portion of this account. I had some pretty serious issues from my first 18 years on the planet. I even had a diagnosis. I was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, or MPD as it used to be called. I was a very broken individual and there were blank spaces between the pieces. I tried to cover the blank spaces by accepting guilt and blame and filling in the missing information in a way I thought would resolve the problem. Accepting more responsibility and blame to keep the peace is just as dishonest as denying responsibility. Apparently there were several times in my early years that I just couldn’t look at the whole picture, so my life became a fragmented collage. As an adult, my mother asked me to explain myself regarding that diagnosis. I used the therapeutic terms, then offered terms like broken and disconnected . . . She said, “Oh that’s ridiculous, you were just always trying to reinvent yourself.”
The wonderful news is, one summer afternoon a few months after hearing John 4:17 in the kitchen, I heard that same Voice, only this time it was John 10:10. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” In that instant I dropped to the floor in repentance, in confession, in awe, and in surrender. The next moment, in that upper room I was filled with His Holy Spirit, and I felt my mind healed! I felt my mind made whole. In an instant, I had a connected memory. The problem with that was, the history wasn’t very pretty. I then, thanked the G-d of Israel for saving me and for healing me. My Bible was down on the second floor, but I heard yet another Scripture. Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of G-d are without repentance.
I was being given the chance to serve in the calling I’d heard at the age of 12. With that I did run downstairs to get my Bible, and ran back up the steps. I have no idea how long I was up there, but that “session,” if you will; closed with my answer to a question from on High. I naively said Yes, when I heard Him ask, “Are you willing to lay down everything you think you know?” I had no idea what that question actually meant, but I knew I wanted this relationship with every fiber of my being.
Thus the journey of actually and actively following Messiah, began. As the path has narrowed, I've gotten pretty close to the ditches, there have certainly been some bumps and potholes . . .
|Posted by [email protected] on June 2, 2014 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
Three passages of Scripture opened my eyes, ears, and heart twenty years ago, that I continue to cling to, to this day. All three are found in the gospel according to John. I now read the Bible regularly, but the Creator of the universe spoke these verses into my spirit when I didn't even have my Bible opened, and certainly was not walking in any sort of victory. I was an "American Christian." I knew quite a bit about the Bible, was faithful to my husband, but had been divorced, so I was in "G-d's permissive will." There will be a blog dedicated to the topic of “G-d’s permissive will.” Basically, I was doing the best I could, church hopping off and on, but couldn't find a religious gathering to join. Please let me share my experience of what it was to be an American Christian.
I "got saved" when I was ten years old. At that time, however; my desire for salvation was not about forgiveness, but about a sense of belonging . . . I just wanted to feel loved and accepted in a family, G-d's family. Oh, I wasn't unrepentant or trying to get saved so I could get rich or be bad, but "kid level sin" was explained at that time as, stealing a candy bar or disobedient to parents. That definition, in my case, didn't bring much clarity of understanding. I read the passages, said the prayer, but I remember feeling very sick at my stomach when the pastor asked me to kneel and pray, turning my back toward my parents. Already by that age, life experience had taught me to never turn my back . . . I knew though, that "Jesus" would be watching over me, as I knelt vulnerably.
Once the prayer was finished, the official "confession before men" was planned, which in those days consisted of "going forward" in the next service at the precise time of the final hymn, a.k.a. the invitation. In my particular case, it was determined that I go forward when the congregation began to sing the first line of the second stanza. Then there is the vote for membership, which kind of had me worried. Even at the age of ten, I knew I was not all that popular . . . I look back knowing that isn't even in Scripture, but I was ten and the grown-ups were heavy handed with their authority. That was the introduction to "requiring" the approval of man to follow Messiah. We had communion that morning. I was uncertain if I should participate, but with parental permission, I did and I was baptized the following week. I wanted to share this big news at school for "show and tell," but mom said, that was not the place . . .
I wanted to do "Bible stuff!" I asked, “What do we do?” I was told, several things we don't do, and the great thing was, 'when I died, I'd go to heaven' . . . To be honest, Christianity seemed to be a rather hopeless belief system to a preteen. There were plenty of things to not do and with the average lifespan, a number of years of waiting to die? Something just didn't seem right. Then one day, at the age of 12, on the back pew, I heard the Voice and call of our Creator. He did have a plan for me! After all, He is the G-d of the living . . . Sadly, in still believing I was to please religious man to be pleasing to G-d, the path was long, treacherous, winding, and bumpy; until I came to the fork in the road many years later. I finally realized I had to choose between "The approval of man" & the Narrow Path.
Then I saw it repeatedly in Scripture that has been the case throughout history. How had I missed that?
|Posted by [email protected] on June 2, 2014 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
With that realization of the enormity of forgiveness I'd received, of course came the reminders of the past. I truly believed I was to make amends, specifically with family. I continued to browbeat myself with Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Even knowing Romans 8:1, I still lived for years, believing I was no longer condemned by my Heavenly Father, but I would be perpetually attempting to reconcile with family for the rest of my life. It never even occurred to me to forgive them, as I was always the one at fault . . .
For years, eighteen to be exact, every time the path would narrow in following Messiah, a situation of the past would present itself, and brought with it the flood of family obligation and the bondage of social expectation. I do recognize the difference between Living Water and the Dead Sea! Although I’ve known the Voice of my Heavenly Father and walked with Messiah for twenty years now, it wasn’t until two years ago, I finally recognized the 18 year incremental pattern and made peace with the fact there would be no peace in some relationships.
It was 18 years to the day in my walk with Messiah, when I heard the Voice of YHWH clearly speak, Matthew 10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. I quickly opened my Bible, read that passage, and then the verses that followed. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37-38. I realized immediately, there was a choice to be made. I had been attempting to drag some seriously old baggage down the narrow road, and if I was going to go any further, I had to let go. I had not intentionally held family on the same level as my Creator, but that is what I'd done. By definition, that is idolatry. It was as if I had been fettered to that guilt and rejection so long, I thought it was just a part of me, but it was a graven image of expectation and obligation. That is huge sin in G-d's book! So, while I was there in The Answer Book, I ended up in Genesis.
The first situation covering an 18 year span, seemed to appear pretty early in history, long before Messiah loosed that woman in the synagogue. The account of Abraham had a situation that went on for about 18 years, a family situation, no less. Ishmael was 14 when Isaac was born. The timing of his ordered departure was mentioned in correlation to a feast celebrating Isaac being weaned. The reason given for his expulsion was mockery. From what I’ve read, a child was weaned at about 3 to 4 years old. We know Sarah and Hagar had a “falling out” through Hagar’s pregnancy. Although I wasn’t there, considering human nature, I’d suggest the tension didn’t lessen after the birth of Ishmael, and we know the tension increased after Isaac arrived. Mathematically, a good estimation of time would have been about 18 years that Abraham endured and juggled that divided house before he sent Hagar and Ishmael packing.
Torah is actually best translated: Instruction. Abraham is mentioned throughout Scripture as being righteous, a man of faith, and G-d's friend. Since Abraham extricated himself from family and threw out a disrespectful kid, I decided maybe I needed to reevaluate my situation. Even as I wrote this today, a phone call came offering yet more confirmation.
Every attempt at resolution or reconciliation with family was a distraction from the path to which I’ve been called. The past cannot be changed and at the age of 54, I realized and accepted the fact, the enemy was of my own household and would rob me of my future, if I didn’t let go. I simply could not participate in the situational ethics demanded and to be honest, at this point being the black sheep is really a badge of honor. I don't want to get puffed up!
In following Messiah, I’ve been forgiven, I’m a new creation. I have been given a new life; abundant life. The fact that the family disapproval has continued so long, is proof I can't make up for the past of my former self, with anyone on earth. I can't justify or rationalize their values and perspective, I simply cannot. There is nothing I can or should do about that. It is absolutely impossible to exalt Exodus 20:12 above the rest of Torah. I’m absolutely thrilled and rejoicing in gratitude to Abba, that my years with Messiah now exceed my childhood years, and those of my wasted young adult years! I’ve passed the third 18 year increment!
The completion of that third 18 year span was a milestone of major significance. I do know the truth and it has made me free! The chains are broken. I've moved on and I'm ready to tell my story.
|Posted by [email protected] on May 29, 2014 at 10:30 AM||comments (0)|
As I look back over the nearly twenty years of following Messiah, I've had several "Ah-ha! HalleluYah moments." The very first thing I heard when receiving the Holy Spirit, was a question. The question seemed simple, but I had no idea how deep. "Are you willing to lay down everything you think you know?"
Although my answer was "Yes," I had no idea how many errant teachings and religious traditions had been entangled with Scriptural truth. As it turned out, most of them . . .
Years later when writing "Can We All Be Wrong?," in 2011, the book was both the summation and the catalyst of what it was to lay down everything I thought I knew. It took until my 54th birthday in 2012 just before Passover, for me to hear the fullness of the blunt truth. In one simple question, there was more truth than I wanted to hear, but there was simply no way to deny it. Y'hshuwah said a lot in question form, while he walked this earth, and Hebrews tells us, he's the same yesterday today and forever. He brought back to my remembrance a promise Abba had spoken to me in 1999, that I clearly didn't understand when I heard it. I was at the cemetery, when I heard, that I would receive the promise of Abraham. Y'hshuwah's question was to the point. "Do you want the promise of Abraham, without the faith of Abraham?"
The bottom line is, faith is believing, not just what we say, but true faith is to live according to what we actually believe. The word, "believe" has been seriously misinterpreted and taught in traditional error for centuries. If we actually believe what G-d has said in His Word or directly to us, it will be demonstrated in our life. Verbalizing that we believe the history of Scripture is not the same thing as actually personally believing The Word of our Creator. One of my pet peeves in Scriptural study and discussion, is the over analysis of the people and situations in Scripture, while distancing ourselves from personal application. We speak as if culture and time afford us some sort of excuse . . . I had to face the fact, although I'd confessed and asked forgiveness, I, like Abraham had an Ishmael to deal with.
In every example in Scripture of the greatness of G-d, His servants stepped out in faith trusting Him, without knowing what the results would actually be, or how they would get there. We can turn the page in our Bibles and read how it all turned out! They could not. Saying we believe in G-d, is clearly not enough, as explained in James 1:19-20 Thou believest that there is one G-d; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
From the time I first experience the Christian version of salvation, I knew there was more, but I simply couldn't reach it. Since YHWH is eternal, and Messiah said I didn't choose Him, but rather He chose me, I'd describe my spiritual life as follows. I was born again at the age of 10, struggled in religion but failed to thrive. I was "saved" in a denomination that didn't believe in a separate "filling of the Holy Spirit" as I discovered later . . . years later, in Acts 19. At the age of 18, it was easy to just walk away from organized religion. In that move, I discovered I didn't associate the Creator with organized religion, and what I'd been taught just didn't make sense when aligned with Scripture.
Just before the age of eighteen, I discovered there was going to be a harvest as a result of sowing some wild oats. I knew I didn't want to trap a man in marriage . . . I'd seen that done, and it didn't seem to turn out well for the man or the child. I'd wear a scarlet letter before I'd be "that kind of woman!" Although shotgun weddings were referred to as "doing the right thing," I simply could not justify using an unborn child to control anyone! Unfortunately, in my ignorance and rebellion, that become the turning point to spend the next 18 years trying to succeed as a matriarch. I naively thought, my 18th birthday would finally bring closer to my failure as a child. The hope of a successful adulthood, didn't last long . . .