As person seeking to live with integrity and with a good work ethic, one of my struggles has been financial concern. One of the most helpful and meaningful Biblical prayers is Jacob’s humble prayer recorded in Genesis 28:20-22.
“And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, ‘If Elohim will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall YHVH be my Elohim: 22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be Elohim's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.’”
If I was to re-word the prayer for me in this day and age, it would go like this: If You, YHVH, will be with me… Your presence, Your guidance, Your comfort, Your protection… and You will keep me on the right path, and direct me, and You will provide food for me, and You will give me the necessary clothes and garments, so that I travel and get to my destinations in peace, THEN You, YHVH, will be my God. And of all that I have been given, a portion I will give back to You, YHVH.
And after a hard life, this is the end result for Jacob as recorded in Genesis 45:16-20 and Genesis 47:9-12.
“And the fame thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, Joseph's brethren are come: and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. 17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, ‘This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan;
18 And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. 19 Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. 20 Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is your's.’”
“And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, ‘The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.’
10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh. 11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families.”
As I have been praying the prayer of Jacob, I am blessed beyond measure by the internal peace inside my heart and spirit. I am looking forward to all the provisions and “the best of the land” promised by YHVH as I continue to surrender.
So let it be.
I had to smile when I read the first set of verses in Mark chapter 3. The anointed one entered into the synagogue and encountered a man with a withered hand. The religious rulers and leaders were waiting to see what the anointed one would do because it was the Sabbath day. Everyone knew that ‘working’ on the Sabbath day was a ‘no no,’ even worthy of death.
The anointed one asked, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath day, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill?” The rulers were silent.
The anointed one looked around with anger. The Scripture says he was grieved due to the hardness/blindness of their hearts. Did he think to himself, "What would make someone so calloused to not care about a unfortunate man? Why would a community of people be more concerned about a rule rather than the health and well being of one of their acquaintances?"
Imagine the suffering of the man who didn’t measure up: The taunts he heard, the ridicule from the crowd The blind man story in John 9 tells how the religious believed that someone’s sin caused the deformity. Maybe some of them yelled, “Sinner,” at the deformed man.
Can you imagine the moment when the anointed one said to man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand!” The anointed one knew that his act of compassion would bring about judgment from the leaders. He acted in mercy anyway. The man’s hand was restored to wholeness.
Most people would rejoice, would they not? “Whoo Hoo. An amazing miracle just happened at the synagogue!!” But these law-abiding leaders were steaming mad. They went behind closed doors with other conspirators devising ways to destroy the anointed one. Not just get rid of, but destroy. Destroy is a powerful word. It means to demolish, to ruin, to abolish, or end something, to defeat in a crushing way. They wanted to destroy someone who broke the rules they cherished. They were disconnected from all that the anointed one offered… unconditional love and mercy, wisdom and understanding, grace and peace to all those who sit in darkness.
The religious rulers didn’t think they were in darkness, nor did they see themselves as blind. But the anointed one could see their hearts and called them “blind guides,” “hypocrites,” saying to them, “Woe to you,” in Matthew 23.
The anointed one walked away from them. He wasn’t going to stick around this crowd. He wasn’t welcome, and he also knew they didn’t have ears to hear or eyes to see him for who he was/is - the chosen anointed one, the light of the world. Because of their own self righteousness, they missed an Amazing Gift that has blessed this planet. He walked away from them. I know that there were many periods of my life that the anointed one would have walked away from me, too, as my heart has been hard and my ears closed. Thankfully, through life circumstances, consequences and grace, I've softened and am a better listener. :)
He withdrew with his disciples as they celebrated the miracle. The disciples most likely asking Him … “How do you heal like that, anointed one? So awesome!” He and his friends retreated to somewhere safe and did the work that his Father, YHVH called him to do. He healed the sick, released captives, and fed the poor.
This is the message of YHVH’s heart. Love. Restoration. Wholeness. Healing. Peace. Compassion. Tenderness. Opposition of the oppressors.
The anointed one came not to condemn the world, but to save it.
The anointed one demonstrated the essence of the New Covenant. Mercy and love triumphs over any law or rule. Due to the cross, resurrection, ascension, and filling of the temple (corporate body of believers) with YHVH's Spirit, the Old Covenant law vanished, making way for the New Covenant law of love to reign forever in our hearts. Amen.
“Choosing to step into the light sounds like an easy choice. I mean who wouldn't want to play in the sun opposed to stay in the dark. Right? Uh, right. And yet many of us can recall times, perhaps even now, when the darkness felt, if not comfortable, familiar and safe…Stepping into the light, while ultimately rewarding, is also scary. No longer can you hide who you are or what you want. When you move into the light, you are seen, not so much by others, but rather by yourself. No more subterfuge, no more camouflage. You see you…This conscious choice to recognize yourself, includes the good, the bad and the ugly. Stepping into the light is honoring the parts of us that we buried to make other people comfortable.” Buried Treasure, Shakti in the Mountains Newsletter, May 2014
I wrote this in 2014 but it still applies. :)
There is such a thing as law of reflection when it comes to light and mirrors. I never understood physics so I can’t explain it scientifically. I was a psych major so I will analyze this in terms that make sense to me.
When I was a kid, I loved passing out “gospel” tracks, especially putting them on car windows. It was my mission to save “the lost” by sharing the “way of salvation.” I put these words/phrases in quotations because I was taught everyone without Jesus was going to hell and my legalistic religion provided the only way to heaven. (I question how this mindset can be considered Good News since it is contrary to what the angels declared as recorded in Luke 2:9-11.)
More recently, when I see tracts lying around grocery stores or on my car window, I have gotten angry and disgusted. At work, a customer handed me a tract after I helped her. “The nerve,” I thought. She may have been acting out of love, but my internal reaction was, “How arrogant of her to think that I don’t have a relationship with Spirit of love.”
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Isn’t this woman reflecting the arrogance in me that proclaims to know truth for others? The light that bounced off of her exposed the shadow within me.
I find it very interesting that I have worked closely with "religious fundamentalist" women. Even though these ladies are wonderful, hard working ladies who have made my job easier in many ways, their religious mindset, one I once had, induces a fierce reaction deep within me. Again, I perceive they are mirroring my unhealed layers of belief systems associated with religion. As I heal and forgive myself, I can love and accept them for who they are and what they believe.
But why was it that one of my co workers bothered me so? At first, I thought it was just because she "rubbed me the wrong way."
One night, I went to dinner with this co-worker. The food was tasty but I had difficulty swallowing her opinions. She explained how being gay is against Scripture and that there is a program (Exodus – oh my yes, I am very familiar with this organization) to help people who are gay. I was furious. I shared that I lived, experienced, cried, pleaded and begged God to make me straight. I voiced that after I had invested many years in the mentioned program, it folded because the founder admitted that therapy and prayer never changed ones sexual orientation 99.9% of the time.
I struggled for years to adhere to her way of thinking and it about killed me. She had an agenda, which may have come from a loving and pure heart, but I believed she couldn’t hear me.
This experience reminded me of when my brother “took me out for coffee” (even though I probably paid my own way and I hate coffee) when I was 33 and living with a girlfriend. Did he really think that his persuasion and warning was going to fix me and set me on the “straight and narrow?” Again, I can't judge his motive, but I perceived boldness and arrogance! (Gratefully, my brother and I have worked through some of these hard issues having a greater compassion for each other.)
Mirror, mirror on the wall. The sad thing is, I have had similar conversations with others. I thought my answers were right for anyone and everyone I met. I now realize that this exterior self righteous crutch hides my beautiful vulnerable essence lurking in the shadows.
Robert Farrar Capon said, "Grace cannot prevail...until our lifelong certainty that someone is keeping score has run out of steam and collapsed."
I had been keeping score on a big note pad of my mind and I have a long list of others’ opinions, judgments, errors, mistakes, bad judgments, vengeful actions scribbled in anger and tears. I realized I have a longer register of my personal blunders. Hmmm, so if I am to show grace to myself and others, I have to continue to crumple up those note pads and let them go. Keeping score and choosing to continue to be around judgmental people are two different concepts. I can love myself enough to confront and/or walk away from those who are willfully hurtful.
It takes a lot of energy and strength to be willing to step into the light and take a good look at what is revealed. I am thankful for Spirit gifting me with these incidents of learning and healing. Now I can love these newly exposed aspects of me, forgive and release the energy they once held, and shift… make adjustments to live in love and peace.
For the past several years, I have been resonating with the following concepts found in the New Testament: Jesus reconciled the world unto Himself and doesn’t impute our trespasses against us (II Corinthians 5:17-21), and God didn’t send Jesus to condemn or judge the world, but to save it (John 3:17; 12:47).
Embracing this reconciliation and non-judgment has created a distinct shift in my spiritual outlook. Spirit of love isn’t finding fault with me; I am forgiven for all the irresponsible, thoughtless and painful actions I have caused myself and others. Even though I grew up believing I was a hopeless sinner, doomed to hell, this is not my outlook anymore.
Not only is Spirit of love not finding fault with me, Spirit of Love isn’t finding fault with anyone else, either. Love has forgiven everyone and Love expects me to do the same. I have held my share of grudges and have kept score, but I have worked very hard with EFT and other personal work to release and let go and tear down walls I have built.
Those above “time-honored” verses have renewed my mind, and the concept of forgiveness and letting go has made its way into my heart/spirit/soul. What has helped me internalize this concept is a forgiveness prayer meant to be prayed/meditated when thinking of dissonance with someone who has hurt me or is an annoyance.
You came here.
You played your part.
You helped me reveal my magnificence.
There is no need to forgive you,
for you are innocent,
and we are One.”
What if life is a big giant theatrical production where we all have a role and are acting on the stage of existence? How would I view my wounding circumstances if, after a chaotic or traumatic scene, the Spirit of Love Director yells, “Cut, that’s a wrap for today,” and we mingle in the break room contemplating the scene, making jokes and enjoying each other’s presence?
“You and I have played our parts” --- all of those I have hurt and those who have hurt me. You have been my teacher just as I have been yours. We are all innocent because Spirit of the universe doesn’t find fault with us. We are not judged. We are one. I choose to release and let go. I am trusting that the natural law of reaping what we sow graciously teaches us all how to be the best people we can be; specifically, speaking up for ourselves, being responsible and trusting our souls to the faithful creator in doing what is right.
The Interpretation Bible Study workbook and individual studies on my website are the bi-product of my many years of searching for answers and has led to understanding the deeper meaning of the mysteries of the Spiritual reign of Godde (Kingdom of Heaven). The majority of people during Biblical times were not able to read or write, thus storytelling was the main mode of communication. As I realized that Jesus and most of the disciples, apostles, and writers of the Old Testament books were Hebrew, it makes sense that the Hebrew language is bursting with idioms and metaphoric phrases to paint pictures for understanding.
An effective way to comprehend the mysteries of Scripture, I’ve learned, is to understand that Scripture interprets Scripture. When seeking the understanding of a verse, it is thus important to determine its context and to gather “the rest of the story” by studying the other words/concepts all throughout Scripture, Genesis to Revelation.
I’ve come to see that there are many obstacles to understanding the mysteries of the reign of heaven. First, the religious system is a major barrier. Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes” (Luke 20:46-47); a system of the supposed wise religious world that is made foolish by the truth of God (I Corinthians 1:20). Also, most of us have our own biases.
“We do not start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves; it is mediated to us by Christian tradition, in the form of sermons, books, and established patterns of Church life and fellowship. We read our Bibles in the light of what we have learned from these sources; we approach Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the Church and the world.... It is easy to be unaware that it has happened; it is hard even to begin to realize how profoundly tradition in this sense has molded us. But we are forbidden to become enslaved to human tradition, either secular or Christian, whether it be "catholic" tradition, or "critical" tradition, or "ecumenical" tradition. We may never assume the complete rightness of our own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them by Scriptures.” (Fundamentalism and the Word of God, by J.I. Packer. [Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1958.] pp. 69-70)
Second, language poses another barrier. Biblical ancient truths were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Most readers do not know these languages and must rely on concordances and Biblical handbooks for understanding. Lastly, the nature of the material requires Spiritual guidance.
But as I ask to know and understand, and seek to let go of any biases that I have formed over the years, I believe Godde is faithful to illuminate. As I see in the passages below, when Jesus is revealed in the Scriptures, eyes are opened. I love what Jesus said to the two men on the road to Emmaus:
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:27-32
Jesus said similar things to the rest of the disciples later that day:
“And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures…” Luke 24:44&45
During his time in the desert, the Apostle Paul received and delivered important revelations regarding the mysteries of God (Galatians 1:17). John, while exiled on the Isle of Patmos, received and delivered the revelation of Jesus in the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:9-11). Often times, like Job, seekers endure periods of sickness, loneliness or isolation and the end result of their trial (which can include wrestling with God), is enlightenment.
“…when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is...” I John 3:2
I desire to have my physical eyes and the eyes of my heart opened to understand more and more the magnitude of the riches of the Spiritual realm of love.