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The healing is God’s. The recovery is ours.

The hollow is all black and white today.

10:15 a.m. Thursday February 2, 2023. 33F/1C.

Recovery. The winter skies have granted a repose to the forest. Daffodil spears have returned to their work of shooting up above the ice. Some leaves even sport yellow-green bulbous forms at the top. A golden feral cat sits on the top step of the porch and yowls. He looks in both directions, then he yowls again. His secret friend only came to visit once every other day for the duration of the storm. The song of his aching heart is loud and obvious. Do any of us understand why we were not chosen? The cabin bears the scent of burnt propane gas. Gray skies warn of more weather and the neighbors are out driving on the ice in tractors. The work of storm recovery begins now.

Neighbor wants to go to town, so he put this thing on his tractor and cleared the road!

The Gospel of Matthew, chapters seven and eight

Heavenly Father, grant us your peace. Grant us your mercy and grant us your peace. Nothing is near as important as having your presence before, during, and after a storm. Amen.

When Yeshua finished delivering the sermon on the mount, the followers sat amazed.

And when Yeshua Mashiach had spoken these words, the people were astonished by his instruction, for he taught like a powerful one, not like their wise ones and their Perushim.

from the Sepharadic gospel of Matityahu, chapter 7, translation by Justin van Rensburg
  • Yeshua Mashiach = Jesus the anointed
  • powerful one = one capable of teaching
  • wise ones = sages
  • Perushim = pharisees

Yeshua taught like someone who understood the reason the Torah was written. Plus, he was willing to put the law in plain language for the people.

The next person Yeshua healed, he instructed to follow the law of Torah, to the letter.

And when he went down from the mountain, many people went after him. And he saw a leper who worshipped him, saying, “If you want to, you are able to cleanse me.” So Yeshua Mashiach stretched out his hands and touched him, and said “I want to cleanse you.” And immediately he was clean from the leprosy. Then Yeshua Mashiach said, “Beware – do not speak to any man, but go and show yourself unto your priests, and present to him an offering, just like Mosheh commanded as a memorial.”

The Sepharadic gospel of Matityahu, chapter 8, translation by Justin van Rensburg
  • Leprosy = disfiguring skin disease
  • Cleanse = to make ritually clean
  • Mosheh = Moses, or the Torah, the law

Yeshua came down from the mountain where he delivered his teaching on Torah. As soon as he walked down, a man whom the priests declared unclean, according to Torah, was there. The ritually unclean man came and worshiped, laid out on the ground in a worshipful manner before him. Yeshua would not have been able to walk without stepping on him. The man got his attention.

The priest’s guide to diagnosing leprosy is in the Bible book of Leviticus. Skin cancer could have been called leprosy. Many types of skin diseases were considered leprosy. Actual leprosy today, Hansen’s Disease, is a contagious, disfiguring bacterial disease. And yes, the man could have had Hansen’s Disease and had Yeshua been an ordinary man, he might have gotten sick from the exposure.

But the lesson at hand was not disease prevention. The lesson was this: Did Yeshua rise to fame to negate the Torah?

And everyone was watching.

The sick man lacked no faithfulness. He worshiped. He expressed no doubt, saying, “You ARE able.” Furthermore, the sick man never asked to be touched. He only asked to be cleansed.

In an act of compassion, before a man who acted as if he was desperate to be shown mercy, Yeshua stretched out both hands toward the man,

and laid hands on him.

The man was healed of his skin disease. Matthew made no mention of whether Yeshua went directly to the Sea of Galilee to bathe. There was a good chance he did not.

But he warned the man, saying, “BEWARE!” The man was not to stop and chat, stay over at anyone’s home, but go straight to work fulfilling the law. It would take over a week for the man to fulfill all that Torah required, to be declared clean by a priest.

Why beware? After so much time, maybe years, of isolation, the man’s emotional state would have been frail. Lawyers from the temple watched Yeshua and were ready to rip into the healed one, making his state worse than before.

He was touched by God’s own son. He was healed. But something more he must do. He must obey the law to keep anything worse from happening to him at the hands of the priests. His recovery was suddenly dependent upon his own actions.

Lovely, pure, white. May it melt rapidly.

Life in the hollow, Thursday

I took a long nap this morning, unintended. It really bit into my time to work out doors on the collapsed greenhouse.

Our world, especially my nation, is in an unusual state. More people are seeing sickness and violence. More people are seeing an image of Yeshua walk into their homes and make a difference in their lives, just as I have.

By the way, you can pray that God would grant that to you.

I honestly believe that God will pull us out of this time of extremes, and he will do it in a way that only God can do. It will require that we all take part in the recovery work. We all will need to forgive one another, and bless one another.

And never wander from his way again.

Invite Yeshua.
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We are all prophets

Photo from January 22. I tried to get a picture of the elusive gray cat, but she took off running.

9 a.m. Wednesday February 1, 2023. 23F/-5C.

Confinement. The cabin door has opened, only once, and only for the purpose of setting out a tray of food for two feral cats. One golden cat arrives quickly, meowing and prancing. One dark gray cat stays hidden. A quick glance around the porch is taken. A white sheet of ice covers all surfaces. The door shuts quickly again. Indoors is a tent of blankets surrounding a certain area. There the temperature is 35 degrees above the outdoor temperature. The indoor tent feels confining. In only a few days, the confinement should be over. Hot sweet tea is sipped from a mug that is warm on stiff fingers. The cabin carries the spicy aroma of cumin and chili, which has been bubbling in a pot for a full day. Confinement.

Photo from January 22. I tried to get a picture of the golden cat, but he hid behind a tree.

The Gospel of Matthew, chapter seven

Heavenly Father, guide us please in the reading of your word, the Bible. I pray in the name of your word, Yeshua. Amen.

Moreover Yeshua Mashiach said to his talmidim, “Not all those who call me Adon will enter into the heavenly kingdom, but they who do the will of my Father will enter into the heavenly kingdom. In that day many will say, ‘Adon, we were brought in your name and healed the satan-possessed ones, and in your name we did many signs.’ Then he will say to them, that he never knew them: ‘Depart from me guilty ones, full of corruption of heart.’ Every man who – hearing his words – do them, will be like the wise, who founds his house on the established rock. But he who hears my words and does not do them, is like a fool who builds his house on the sand, then there came rains and winds and torrents, and they made it fall with weight.”

The Sepharadic Gospel of Matityahu, chapter seven, translated by Justin van Rensburg

Yeshua, Jesus, made two points in the above verses that were similar to each other. Both points were about disciples, talmidim, who claimed the name of Yeshua. The name of Yeshua is powerful in heaven and on earth, just as the name Yehovah is powerful in heaven and on earth. In those names, men can be led by the Spirit. In those names, men can work signs and wonders.

Signs and wonders do not mean the person is doing the will of God.

Not all who called Yeshua by the names “rabbi”, “Lord”, or “master” would be living by the Spirit. Only the ones whose lives revealed the love and intentions of our heavenly Father were living by the Spirit. Otherwise, they were simply building their houses, their generations – on shifting sand – falling to dishonor whenever the tide rolled in.

But there was a second startling point!

Yeshua spontaneously switched from saying “hearing his words” to “hearing my words”. Did you see that? As I read further through Matthew, I become more and more convinced that Yeshua was indeed mute, except for the words that our heavenly Father spoke through him. He repeatedly compared himself to Ezekiel, calling himself “son of man”. “Son of man” was God’s nickname for Ezekiel during his mute years.

But back to the sermon…

Disciples who heard “his” words, who heard the words of our heavenly Father as Yeshua spoke, were the ones who obeyed. The disciples who heard “my” words, who only listened to the human sound of Yeshua’s mouth, were the ones who had hearts full of corruption. Houses that fell were not just buildings, they were generations of families.

The simple solution is and was to believe in Yeshua, not just that he carried a powerful name, but that he is the very utterance of Yehovah God.

The creek, photo from January 22.

Life in the hollow, Wednesday

I have an addiction to following modern prophets, but I am learning that not all of them are worth my time.

A fascination for prophecy was certainly part of the reason why crowds followed Yeshua. They followed him to be “in on” the next miracle he would perform, the next oracle he would speak. While he had their attention, he taught with words from our heavenly Father. Some of the crowd listened. Many did not.

The Lord has offered to give me some predictive prophecies and I am uneasy about responding to his offer. These people, these modern prophets, make a dozen videos, put them on the internet, and then skyrocket to Youtube success. Is commercial sensationalism my notion of spreading the word of God?

Perhaps I should delete all these internet bookmarks of prophets?

But if not sensationalism, how does a person spread the word of God? Yeshua was sensational – with a biting edge. Spreading the word of God can be done by introducing people, one at a time, to the wonders of intimacy with Yehovah through acceptance of his son Yeshua.

And in this manner, every believer can become a prophet and a miracle worker. So be it.

The fruit of true and false prophets

2 p.m. Monday January 30, 2023. 28F/-3C.

Adventurous. With the ground solidly frozen, it is a good day to venture into parts of the woods rarely visited. Rare visits makes picking out a path more difficult. One foot is raised a good twelve inches above the path so that thorny vines may be trampled down and walked upon. The usual spot by the creek was found and the water was cold, running swiftly, but not icy. The tree across the water had both roots dipped into the clear stream. The level is certainly higher than it was last week. Only a few feet up, the bank suddenly rose to about twelve feet above the water. And there was the path to the road. Deer hoof prints pointed the way. The noisy creek was behind, the muddy road before. With a light coating of ice on every surface, it is not a day for many humans to venture out this way.

The Gospel of Matthew, chapter seven

Abba Father, I humbly beseech thee to challenge us to get into your word, to challenge us to be filled with your glory, to challenge us to belong to you and serve you. In the name of Yeshua Jesus, your son, I pray. Amen.

Within chapter seven, Yeshua explained how we can recognize false prophets.

Spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with delivering a precise accounting of future events. It has everything to do with the intention of the prophet’s heart.

“Guard yourselves from the prophets of deception, a who come in clothing of ewes but in their inside they are rending wolves. By their deeds you will recognize them – for a man is not able to gather grapes from a bramble, neither figs from thorn bushes. And every good tree produces good fruit, and a bad fruit tree produces bad fruit. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and burned. By their deeds you will recognize them.”

The Sepharadic gospel of Matityahu, chapter seven, translation by Justin van Rensburg

A prophet does not predict the future. A prophet is a person who speaks what God’s Spirit tells him or her to speak. A false prophet is one who speaks in a manner that purposefully deceives God’s people, for personal gain.

How do we recognize them? They love to drive fancy cars. They love to own big houses. Their desired reward for speaking in Yeshua’s name has already been claimed. They will have no prophet’s reward in heaven. Some will have no reward in heaven at all.

We are to beware of prophets of deception. The true prophet is the one who produces righteousness, in himself and in his followers.

Watch for their fruit.

Life in the hollow, Monday

The golden feral cat has barged into the cabin to nap in my recliner again. He’s an oddity who acts more like a bobcat than a domestic short hair – round eyes, long tail, sits upright on his haunches and claps his front paws together, regular cat ears, golden-red stripes and splotches in his coat. Strange.

Speaking of unusual, an image of Yeshua got my attention this morning and I watched him send out sparkles and flowers and Holy Spirit to children. I’m very interested in seeing what children across the nations do after that!

One time, when my blog had more followers, the Holy Spirit gave me a “thus saith the Lord” word to publish. I cannot remember the word. It seemed like nonsense, really. Here was the problem with the Holy Spirit’s word: It was clearly not an accurate prediction, given the state of the world.

So, what he gave me was actually a mental puzzle to solve. Should I present the word as a metaphor for something else, in other words, should I justify his word? Should I just do as the Holy Spirit instructed, and do not worry about the consequences? In the end, I printed his “word” to my blog and promptly lost several followers.

I asked him later, “Did you get the result you wanted when I published your word?”

Oh, yes!” his Holy Spirit replied in gleeful words on my heart.

I guess that was what mattered. A prophet is not one who accurately predicts the future. A prophet is someone who faithfully speaks or writes what God desires, achieving the results that God desires. And it doesn’t matter the cost.

The closer I get to Yeshua, the more this becomes my favorite praise song!

Mankind chooses his own way

Photo taken on the 25th. Two days of no electricity. Neighbors used their tractors to get around.

2 p.m. Sunday January 29, 2023. 42F/6C.

Readiness. It does no good to discard meats in the composting barrel. It only brings stronger animals to dump the barrel over. So the bowl behind the barrel is filled with chicken soup. Some shivering possum or raccoon or turkey vulture will finish it off before the sleet hits, never questioning the green color. What chunks they peck around will go on into the barrel. It is a day of oddities. The air that drifts down from the sky contains an odd odor, like diesel fuel, but few jet planes have been flying over. Even the porch had the scent of pipe tobacco early this morning. It is colder than the temperature on the thermometer. The sky is a menacing gray tone. Roaring sounds from the creek are so loud, it is hard to hear anything else. Insulating sheets will be re-installed around the cabin tonight, near the collapsed greenhouse. Better get ready, in case another storm hits.

The mound of snow in the forefront is the remains of the greenhouse.

The Gospel of Matthew, chapter seven

Heavenly Father, please be in our reading of the sermon of Yeshua Jesus. Please guide and reveal your truths. Fill us with your words, preparing us for the storm at hand. Amen.

Here are the next verses from an older manuscript:

Yeshua Mashiach said unto his talmidim, “Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the way that leads man to destruction, and many are entering by it. But the gate and the way that lead to life, it is exceedingly narrow; and few are they who find it.

The Sepharadic gospel of Matityahu, chapter seven, translated by Justin van Rensburg

He never said “eternal destruction”, although the word he used, avadon, meant a place of destruction and ruin, which we MIGHT associate with eternal separation from God. Will the majority of humans destroy their own lives? Or will the majority of humans march happily off to eternal damnation?

There is a great difference. I choose to believe the first scenario. I have no reason to believe such, other than the fact that our heavenly Father is so loving, that he would never desire the loss of one person to eternal destruction.

Each person must pray and seek discernment for themselves. As for me, I read Yeshua warning his disciples that the people have the choice to make their lives a burden or a blessing. But most, will choose the burden because it is the well-trodden way.

That mess of snow, plastic and pipes is the collapsed greenhouse.

Life in the hollow, Sunday

The golden feral cat is currently sleeping in my easy chair. Every few days of the storm, he yowls to be let in. When I open the door, he darts in between my feet and takes over. But he is frivolous. It is sometimes as long as a week or two between his visits.

Before the last storm, I was re-thinking all my visions and imaginings of heavenly beings and, well, kind of determining that I am a lonely and disabled old person with a vivid imagination. I spent a half of a day just enjoying reality while heavy snow fell on the hollow.

Then the white bear popped into my field of vision, just as soon as I decided he, of all things, had to be fiction.

Me see problem here. Me find new house for kitty.

Was Spirit Bear taking the cat away from me?

Cat still here. Me find new house for kitty.

I didn’t understand until about twelve minutes later, when a loud boom and clattering came from just outside the cabin door. Upon opening the door, I saw that the entire plastic greenhouse had collapsed under the weight of new-fallen snow on its roof.

Apparently, the cats got out of their warm corner in plenty of time. No possum, no raccoon, no bird, and no cat was hurt in the collapse.

I gave up the need to write off my visions as imagination. They are a gift, whether I understand the reason or not. I was about to remove the greenhouse anyway, but I was stalling, because I couldn’t figure out the best way to get started on demolition. Problem solved!

And.

I understand how the majority of people miss the “narrow gate” of Matthew 7. They cannot comprehend God. Our God is the most unusual character in the whole Bible. Nothing I have ever been taught prepared me for his playfulness, his precious forgiveness, or his powerful love.

Life can be a burden or a blessing. The difference is in our acceptance of Yeshua Jesus as messiah, redeemer, and gatekeeper.

Enter by the narrow way. Enter by speaking faith in Yeshua. All else leads to ruin of our own plans.

I’m out surveying the damage.

The law and the prophecies

My photos are from yesterday. I did chores instead of walk this morning.

8 a.m. Tuesday January 24, 2023. 25F/-4C.

Waiting. Two feral cats huddle in a corner of the cabin porch, one golden red, the other hardly visible, is deep gray, the color of a shadow. They watch as laundry is carried out the door, but they do not move. As soon as a human footstep hits the lowest step, paws scurry. Wet laundry freezes rapidly. The last load is already stiff. The cold air will extract all moisture and leave the laundry extra soft when it is dry. The dry air carries a scent of freshness. Bubbling noises, soft ones, arise from the area of the creek. Two birds circle overhead. When their wings catch the sunlight, they appear white at the wing tips. Otherwise, they are just more dark birds of prey. Only one streak of cloud adorns the blue sky. Jet planes roar overhead. A storm might hit tonight. Waiting.

The Gospel of Matthew, chapter seven

Heavenly Father, please guide us as we read your word, our Bible. In the name of Yeshua Jesus, I ask. Amen.

“Ask of El, and he will fulfill your request. You are willing [or search] and you will find. Knock on the door, and it will be opened to you. For every man who asks, receives, and he who searches, finds, and he who knocks, will enter. Who of you, if his son asks him bread, will give him stones? And if he asks him a fish, will give him serpents? Thus, you – if you know with your discernment to give good things to your sons, how much and how much more does the heavenly El know that he should give good things to those who ask him? Everything that you want that men should do to you, you must do to them. This is the Torah and the Prophets.”

from the Hebrew Gospels, Matityahu, chapter seven, translation by Justin van Rensburg

Yeshua told his disciples that they should ask of God and he would fulfill their request.

The prophets lived under the wings of the almighty. The disciples did as well. Yeshua’s words were aimed at his disciples, his talmidim. No other.

When Justin van Rensburg translated the above, he discerned a spelling error, which changed “You are willing and you will find,” into “If you search, you will find.” I don’t think it was a scribal error. I believe it was a statement from Yeshua, who already knew his disciples, his core twelve men, and knew them well. There was no “if” concerning the twelve. They were searching.

Knock on the door and it will be opened to you. Again, this was a statement of Yeshua’s. It was a sure thing. But to what door did Yeshua refer? Was that the door to the kingdom of heaven? Yeshua was the door. They need only express a need to enter the kingdom, and it was opened to them.

To prove his point, Yeshua suggested that if each of them was a father, and his son asked for food, would a father give less? If the disciples, with everyday common sense, knew to give food to their children, how much and how much more in his daily custom would God display, and give good things to his children.

Then Yeshua seemed to veer off subject, but did he?

“Everything that you want that men should do to you, you must do to them. This is the Torah and the Prophets.”

Was Yeshua speaking of the disciples relationship to each other? Was he speaking of how our heavenly Father greatly desired that man should act toward him? Both?

Both ways, the purpose of the law and the prophecies was to promote love and friendship.

Life in the hollow, Tuesday

Jewish mealtime prayers. I’m learning them as a way of learning enough Hebrew to understand the language better. They are different for me. We always bow our heads, close our eyes, and thank God for our food and ask him to bless our food. Amen.

However the traditional blessing in Hebrew says, “Baruch ata adonai eloheinu, melech ha olam. B’reh p’ri adamah,” which means, “Blessed are you Yahweh our God, king of the universe. You bring food from the earth.”

Attention should be shifted from blessing the food toward blessing the God who created the food! Which is better? Which expresses the way we want our relationship with God to go? Think! Is there a right answer?

What would Yeshua, the son of God who adored his heavenly Father, what would he pray? Should we read that as, “Everything that we want that our God should do to us, we must do toward him”?

Let him speak? Read his words? Say please and thank you to him? Bless him? Repeat his truths? We are, in the end, still learning.

Everything that we want that men should do to us, we must do to them. For of such is the law and the prophecies.

It’s backward

There are jet planes up there, but instead of making clouds, they are pouring something clear and cold into the sky.

2:15 p.m. Monday January 23, 2023. 46F/8C.

Forewarned. Music drifts into the cabin from outdoors. Such a sound is rare here in the hollow. A delivery truck is parked in the drive. No doubt the driver is attempting to find a cell signal. He’ll soon enough discern that no cell towers exist out this far. Outside the cabin door, the creek is still splashing and bubbling on its way down the mountains. Two feral cats hide under the porch and watch the truck tensely. A jet plane transverses the sky, one of its many journeys, but this time dispersing clear chemicals instead of clouds. The music stops. The truck engine stops. A tall bearded young man steps toward the porch, holding a cardboard box. “Are you ready for the snow?” he announces as he steps gingerly amid mud and gravel. “All my deliveries are going out today, as much as I can get done. Then,” he slams his hand downward, into the air, “ten inches of snow for you! Eight inches for the terminal! I get a day off.” He’s laughing as he announces it. “Get ready.” Forewarned.

The path had frost on it, in the early hours of today.

The Gospel of Matthew, chapter seven

Heavenly Father, thank you for people who care. Watch over that young man and keep him safe. Keep the animals of the forest safe. Keep the people of the forest safe. Keep the people of the storm safe. Lead us all to you. And guide us, please, as we read your word. Amen.

The older, Hebrew, manuscript says the following:

Yeshua Mashiach said to his talmidim, “You must not speak about the set apart writings before the refusing animals, and not bring the precious words before the pigs, that they do not trample them, and not tear them.”

The Hebrew Gospels, Matityahu 7, translation by Justin van Rensburg

It is stated a little different in the KJV:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 7, KJV

The set-apart writings were the Torah and the prophets, we would call that the Old Testament. The talmidim were the disciples. Refusing animals were pigs and dogs – they ate refuse, or food scraps and garbage. What were the pigs in this verse? People? Perhaps people who consumed all sorts of religion, and called them ALL holy? After being translated into Latin, Greek, and then into English, the verse seems to have changed meaning, but only slightly. Yeshua expressed love for the heart of the Torah and prophets. After translations, a warning about the safety of Bible teachers emerged with the pigs possibly turning and rending the speakers. Such a warning does not appear to have been in his original purpose.

Yeshua Mashiach was the Hebrew for Jesus Messiah. I find it extremely interesting that the older version of Matthew never once lost its boldness in declaring Yeshua as messiah. It was a point that Matthew made repeatedly.

The second point of amazement in this journey to hear the original words of our messiah, was his intense love and respect for the heart of the Torah and the message of the prophets.

We have it backwards, folks. We have most of what Yeshua did backwards. He didn’t fulfill the law so that we can ignore the law. He fulfilled the law so that we can be forgiven and accepted by God. I’m reading a whole different story that I once thought was true. Saturday is the sabbath, according to the law. As for the sacrificial laws, those are why we plead the blood of Yeshua. But we need to know the laws. We need to study them and know the heart of them! The heart of the law was the theme of Yeshua’s sermon on the mount!

We have the whole thing backward.

The water was not very cold this morning. The air temperature was below freezing.

Life in the hollow, Monday

An image of Yeshua has visited in visions, and always comes in through the wall, not the door.

Until today, I had a box on that door jamb. I repent. Here’s why.

The box contained a tiny reference to the Shema. I took it down after praying over why the vision of Yeshua never comes in through the door. And why do the characters of my worst daydreams want to come in that way, through the door?

I did a re-read on the Shema. The Shema is that one law that begins, “Hear, O Israel: YHWH our God is one. YHWH. And thou shalt love YHWH thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Yeshua quoted that one as the greatest commandment. I think we Christians have taken that commandment to heart. We understand that we are to love our God.

Some Jews write that commandment, the Shema, in tiny script and put it in an attractive box and attach the box to their door posts and gates. Deuteronomy 6:9 says to do something LIKE that, “And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

I had a box like that. I had it backward. When the law says, “they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes,” it doesn’t mean to write the law in script too tiny to be read, and hidden in a box and attached to the forehead, or a door post, or anywhere else, like a cheap good luck charm. Not that those boxes are cheap, but you get my drift.

It means to write the greatest commandment in places in our homes, on our doors, on anything we see with our eyes, and remember to obey. We cannot read the tiny script, hidden inside of a box! It has to be out in the open!

I had it backward!

It hit me, months ago, that we Christians nod to the Jewish tradition of never saying the name YHWH, instead we say “God” with a capital G. That’s not in the law. Man made that up as a fail-safe. The fail-safe is this: If we never speak God’s name, then we’ll never profane it, right? Wrong. That’s not the heart of the law. How about we just call on his name with love and respect?

We have it backward.

Then we ignore the words of Exodus 23:13, which says we are NOT to speak the names of idols and pagan gods. And it does not say that we’re allowed to speak those names if we’re doing an archaeological dig, or casting out demons. No, it says NOT to speak them.

We have God’s laws backward. We declared that Sunday is the sabbath, but in the Bible, Saturday is the sabbath. And after we declared Sunday as sabbath, we declared that if something new is introduced to the Christian community, it had better be in the Bible! Never mind that huge elephant of sabbath in the room!

I don’t know what to do with this new thing I’ve learned, all I know is that what I’ve always accepted as truth…

… is backward.

Pay attention. A new day.

1 p.m. Sunday January 22, 2023. 41F/5C.

Sunrise. Since the beginning of day, the sun has not shone through. The bank of cloud is thick. Water that rushes through the creek is cold, a little too cold on old arthritic fingers, but in the new day ahead, when Yeshua heals all ills, it will be good. A single jet roars overhead, likely dropping more cloud into what has already accumulated. The landscape is rusty brown at ground level, fresh about a human height above, and all gray above that. Tree limbs are brittle, except for one that has grown into the path to the creek. One limb will not break, and has something green running in a streak along the length of it inside. It is a good day. It is winter. The sun will set and the sun will rise. Amen.

The Gospel of Matthew, chapter seven

Abba Father, with much praise and with very much gratitude, we live this new day. Let your will be done in heaven, on earth, and in the heart of man. Amen.

Moreover Yeshua Mashiach said unto his talmidim, “Do not execute judgment, then judgment will not be executed against you, for with the measure that you let go, so you will be let go. You see the splinter in the eye of your companion, and do not regard the beam in your eyes. And how will you speak to your brother to remove the splinter from his eye, while the beam is in your eyes? You who show yourself right, cast away the beam from your eyes, and afterwards you may come to remove the splinter from the eyes of your brother.”

from the Sepharadic gospel of Matityahu, chapter seven, translated by Justin van Rensburg

Jesus, Yeshua, messiah, said to his disciples that they should not act on their judgment of others. For whatever action they take against another, such will be the action taken against them. Then Yeshua in the same sentence shifted into speaking of splinters and beams obstructing our vision.

Any person who has observed the human race has seen our human desire to point out our own sins as they rise up in others.

So, be careful. Do not be quick to pass judgment on others. For the sin we so easily see is quite likely the sin we daily commit.

Amen.

Life in the hollow, Sunday

On Friday night, in the night, I woke and could not get back to sleep. It was tempting to play a game on a tablet, but Yeshua popped into my field of vision.

When a spirit appears in our field of vision, it is a good idea to pay attention, either to rebuke it if it is demonic, or to listen if it is from heaven.

I watched as he sorted cubes, as though he was playing with them, ordering them, organizing them. Some were large and some were small. Some were elongated, and some were square. They were white with a sort of raised panel on each side of the cube. The cubes floated in the air. They each had some sort of blue-gray inscription on them, in their lower right panel corners.

Were they numbers? Or letters?

He said, quite pleased, “Names. Abba names them all.” He continued to rearrange, sort, and order the cubes as they bobbed around in the air, and then the cubes took off, floating in lines.

They were evenly spaced, as if electrons or molecules might be floating on currents of electricity or plasma. The floating cubes caught the attention of angels, birds, and animals, who played with them and played on them. They seemed to create both beauty and melody as they floated away.

Was that music I heard?

Praise to Abba,” he said.

When I see this image of Yeshua, and he is concentrating on something, he is intensely focused. His purity is even more than a child’s and his intelligence is beyond my comprehension.

Was that a current of … electricity?

Love,” he corrected, as if to say that the cubes were ordered and sorted and floating on a current of love, more powerful than forces we know of in our world.

After a day of questions and guesses and hints, I finally guessed the nature of the cubes.

Are they alive? They could come to life, he hinted. Books! Maybe? More than books. The cubes were ideas, floating out to men.

Good ideas,” he confirmed the identity of the cubes.

How fascinating. That the Holy Spirit could simply say to some person, “Pay attention. I’m sending some good ideas out to mankind tonight!” But he did not. Instead he woke one person to demonstrate an unusual process by which he inspires men.

A new day is coming. Good ideas have been released into the atmosphere. Pay attention. Be sure to catch one.

Seek first the kingdom of heaven

lichen on a fallen branch

Saturday January 21, 2023. 43F/6C.

Shabbat. The golden feral cat is acting less like a feral, and more like a pet. He hits the cabin door when he gets hungry and meows loudly as he does. As darkness approaches, he demands an additional snack. He is growing larger than an average cat would grow, and certainly larger than his mother was. Who knows what breed he might be? A day of rest is nearing its end. The scent of the outdoors is fresher than expected. The water of the creek nearly runs clear again, a couple days after a hard rain. The ground is soft but not slippery, and there are large dry stones near the water’s edge that help feet stay put. The water in the stream is cool and seems to always feel softer than the water from the kitchen faucet. It is a joy to touch. Hands dry rapidly after skimming it. Perhaps this summer, a pair of wading shoes should be purchased, just something thin, to keep the crawdads from pinching toes. It is a day to play. Shabbat.

The Gospel of Matthew, chapter six

Abba Father, thank you for a day of rest. Thank you for the inspiration to take this day without guilt, without anxiety. Thank you. Please stay near with help as we read the Bible. In the name of Yeshua Jesus, I ask. Amen.

Therefore, do not sigh, saying, ‘What to eat?’ – ‘What will we drink?’ – or ‘What will we wear?’ The peoples are asking all this. Your Father knows that you need this. Ask first the kingdom of El [God], then more, and you will have all of this. So, do not sigh for the day of tomorrow, for the day of tomorrow will think about itself, and the day will supply unto its trouble.”

– from chapter 6, the Sepharadic Gospel of Matityahu, translation by Justin van Rensburg

There were many followers of Yeshua who wished to become one of his talmidim, his disciples, but they were not ready in their hearts. They worried. They needed someone to supply their food and drink and shelter and clothing. But that was not the purpose of Yeshua’s teaching. His purpose was faith. Their first act of discipleship needed to be perfect, unyielding faith. Such a prerequisite turned many followers away.

The only ones left of the great crowd were the needy, the ones in need of healing redemption. They alone understood how to give up all to God and trust in him to supply.

Life in the hollow, Saturday

As far as today is concerned, I have need of nothing. I cannot say often enough what a blessing it is to take a day of rest between sunset Friday and sunset Saturday. And what a blessing it is to be able to see the manifestation, the image of Yeshua who comes near.

So, I asked him yesterday, what he wanted us to remember about him.

Peace,” he said. “Great peace in your heart when I arrive. Amen.

When we seek first the arrival of Yeshua Jesus into our hearts, everything else will be provided by our heavenly Father.

Peace”.

How great is our God

Vision. If you are of a rational mind, as I once thought I was, you may as well skip reading this altogether. An image of Yeshua Jesus spoke with me today. I gave up justifying myself for the world. The vision was unusual.

The image of Yeshua once, months back, let out a sigh when I asked him about Joseph, his earthly step father. Why a sigh? It took time to figure out that there was no problem with his relationship with Joseph, but honestly, Yeshua would rather be asked about his heavenly Father.

“Would you set aside time today, Yeshua, to talk about our heavenly Father?” I asked aloud when I thought about it, on the way out to the mailbox.

He appeared.

Now!” he cheerfully responded. I was outdoors without a pen and paper, but he only gave me a single word, so it was easy to remember until I got indoors.

What was the word he gave me about our heavenly Father? “Great!” he told me. That was not the “affirmative, yes” word meaning, “Great, I’ll answer your question”. No, he meant great, as in size and might. A spirit bear hopped up alongside to fling his front paws in a wide circle, also saying, “Great”. Two spiritual beings repeating, “Great, great,” didn’t really answer the where, what, how, when of the inquiry about our heavenly Father.

“You mean, great big?” I prodded for specifics, a little disappointed. Everyone knows that God is great.

He stated three ways in which our heavenly Father was great. His words were, “Great. Size, glory, love. Great.

“Let’s start with size. Tell me about that.”

He is really big sometimes.

Some times? What times?

Big as the universe!” Yeshua does get excited when asked specifics about our heavenly Father.

He can put the universe inside himself.

“That’s pretty big. But only sometimes?” He fell silent rather than elaborating. “Well, what about glory?” I asked.

Glory. He shines like the sun. He shines.”

This was not the same image of Yeshua that I had been speaking to and watching daily. He was excited, almost as a child. I had to re-adjust my ideas about who he was. When he reacts with facial expressions and body movements, I believe those expressions are mostly his. However, his conversations seemed to have been totally our heavenly Father’s words. Yeshua is of intense creative intelligence. His excitement over his heavenly Father was so pure that it required a rethink.

I mean, Yeshua has lived in our heavenly Father forever – forever in the past and forever in the future. His reaction to our heavenly Father’s glory was as if it was brand new!

“Tell me about his love,” I asked to gauge his response to that subject.

Love. He IS love. You can live inside his love – stay alive forever, on love,” the image of Yeshua was again excited to tell about the love, as if it was something fresh and new, as if he had just experienced it for the first time. “Great! Gadol! Great!”

I still was not understanding his excitement and descriptives. I wondered if our heavenly Father has a face, like an ordinary man. “Does he have a face, like people have faces?”

Sort of,” he answered.

“Eyes? Mouth? Hair? Beard?” I received a response on each inquiry. Yes, he has eyes, mouth, hair and beard, but not facial hair like the spirit bear, more like a man. “Does he smile?”

Smile,” the image of Yeshua agreed. “Nice smile.”

Why did he say that our heavenly Father was only “sort of” like people in his face?

Radiant! Bright. Shine. I go in and out. His word.” The image’s voice was fading with my ability to pay attention. This was going to take intense concentration.

“And you’ve been with him… forever?” I asked.

FOREVER,” he answered clearly.

“Who is Yeshua?” I tested him.

Yeshua is Lord and king, son of God, forever,” he stated.

I wrote in my journal. “Apparently, this is Yeshua’s favorite subject – his heavenly Father.” I saw in the spirit his hand reach out and touch my right hand as I wrote.

Yes!” he agreed. “We fill book after book after book on Father!” His eagerness and joy in speaking of his Father impressed me. His eagerness was his, but whose are his words? Are his words today, his alone? The Father’s words? Or are they words that he and the Father have agreed upon?

He is now standing at the bookshelf, near the cabin windows. He is ripping pages out of my writings on the prophet Ezekiel. He is throwing them out the window. It’s hard to do anything but laugh, because he delights me so much. He wants pages filled with our heavenly Father instead.

What do we believe?

The rain kicked up a mist as it approached.

8:45 a.m. Wednesday January 18, 2023. 57F/14C.

Now. The cabin is cooling, with at least one window wide open. The large heavy raindrops hit with the sound of an audience of thousands, clapping and stomping. The creek is surely filling quickly. Only a few minutes ago, an attempt was made to walk to the creek. A golden feral cat followed, keeping a few paces behind. As the sound of rain approached, the cat meowed fiercely, as if begging. “Don’t let the rain hit your ears! It feels so icky!” He paced between a pickup truck, where his secret kitten friend hid under its shelter, and the path to the creek, where the human stood. A few large drops hit one shoulder. This rain was not cold. The cat yowled loudly. Like the gallop of horses, the rain drew closer, crossing the creek and the treetops. The golden cat ran back to his friend. Old human legs are no longer ideal for running, and wet dead leaves become slippery underfoot. That was this morning. Now the lights are on in the cabin. Now the window is wide open, so that thunder and rain will seem closer. Now.

The golden feral was really trying for my attention this morning.

The Gospel of Matthew, chapter six

Heavenly Father, cause your children to take care of what goes into their ears and comes out of their mouths. Lead us, I ask, in a study of your words, spoken through your son, Yeshua Jesus. Amen.

Disciples, in the Hebrew language, were talmidim. Talmidim gave up their careers and home lives to follow their master. It was not an easy decision, except for twelve. Thousands followed Yeshua. They ate of fish and loaves. They saw miracles. He was the best show in town. But for twelve men, there was nothing else so fulfilling as following Yeshua at any cost, and even one of them was a traitor.

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.

Are ye not much better than they?

Most students of Roman culture agreed to follow a master. The master, under a standard teacher’s agreement, would house and feed the student for the full year of his education. At the end of the year, the student’s family would pay the master his wages. Yeshua had no such standard Roman agreement with his talmidim. They gave up everything with no Roman business agreement attached. They gave up everything with only God to provide their sustenance.

Could they really trust God for everything?

Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

Can we add an extra measure of life to our bodies? Are we capable of that on our own?

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Are we ever guaranteed clothing, food, shelter? Even today, if Yeshua came to earth and sought followers, would we – would I – be bold enough to make a I-give-up-all-for-you commitment to him?

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Even the sweet everlasting weed retains its bloom for less than three months. Then it dries up. And falls over, under the hooves of a deer, or with the wind. What wonderful fragrance, and unusual beauty God gave to that one skinny weed

But what did Yeshua mean by “O ye of little faith?” Were they still worried about shelter, clothing, and food? What was his purpose in saying their faith was little? I looked in the older, Hebrew, manuscript, and found that Yeshua was pushing his talmidim with a question. His statement began with “mah”, a word that meant how, or what. In modern English, this might be translated as…

Just what do you believe about God?

Yeshua, with all his intensity do to only the will of his heavenly Father, was asking others to search themselves while they were aware of being fully exposed to God.

What do you believe?

Amen

Life in the hollow, Wednesday

Whenever I read a list of three things in the Bible, I end up pondering whether the three things can be matched to God our Father, his son, and his Holy Spirit.

In Deuteronomy 6, Moses gave the Shema:

Hear O Israel

The LORD our God, the LORD is one!

You shall love the LORD your God

… with all your heart,

… … with all your soul,

… … … and with all your strength

The God who is all three, is one. The human heart might be matched up with God our Father, who is the center of all things, ruler of the universes, central processing unit of perfect love. The human soul, that life package of intellect and will and emotions, added to the spirit, that develops with the maturing of our bodies might be matched up with Yeshua, God’s spirit voice in the flesh of man. Human strength, our intensity, our drive, our passionate desire, might be matched up with God the Holy Spirit.

The image of Yeshua that I so frequently see, asked me last night, “What do you think of me?” I think he is fascinating, but that did not seem to be the answer he was seeking. I tried several answers.

“I keep checking,” I told him, “throughout my day to see if you are still there. It is as though, if I turned away, I might miss something.” It seemed the silliest of all the answers I gave, really. However, that was the answer to which he responded.

That’s what I need my people to do. Stay alert – you might miss something!”

And so,

… We search the Bible.

… … We search ourselves.

… … … We stay alert to the God who asks us,

“Just what do you believe?”