from haRold Smith
"...and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O LORD, are in the midst of this people. For you, O LORD, are seen face to face. Your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night." Numbers 14:14
I have a confession to make to you. Sometimes, I just miss what the Father would have me to do. In fact, the epitaph that should be written on my headstone is, "�but for His Mercy." My sole redemption in any venue, any feature of my life is that His Mercies are new every morning. Great is His Faithfulness - not mine (Lamentations 3:22-24 click on highlighted verse to see scripture). I occupy the space directly in the center of the Mercy Seat on the ark of the Testimony (see the Testimony) and, were I not allowed that position - I would be toast, roasted duck, somebody's dinner.
It seems my friend, Elton, and I either jumped the gun or missed the Lord entirely in the last article (see Calling Forth...) on inviting folks to come visit with us in the Land as, today, he and I both are leaving the country - he back to England and I back to the States. No sooner had that invitation been sent than our lives began to be drastically altered - his more dramatically than mine, but altered none the less.
and with the perverse You will show Yourself contrary." Psalm 18:26
Most of us carry an image of perversity as some deep, dark, evil proponent when, in fact, there is no moral equivalency associated with its definition at all. The word Perverse comes from the Hebrew lezuwth (Proverbs 4:24) which means a deviation, a changing of course. The Greek word is diastrepho and means to distort, a turning aside (Matthew 17:17). So, we see in both languages the meaning of perverse is not some demented thing, but merely a slight turning from the Truth. The motivation behind how that turning comes to be is not addressed in the definition. That motivation could be very well intentioned.
So, then, what does it mean to be 'pure'? Here, again, there is no moral equivalency associated with the word's meaning. Pure comes from the Hebrew barar and means to purify, select, polish, choose, purge, cleanse or make bright, to test or prove (2Samuel 22:27, In the Greek, the word is katharos and means purified by fire, sincere and genuine, free from every admixture of what is false, unstained with guilt (translated as 'clean' in John 15:3, see Salt).
How, then, are we able to determine whether we are BEing Pure or Perverse in a situation? It is by how we respond when we are confronted with adverse circumstances. We can embrace the Father's Glory as demonstrated by the Life of Yeshua, allowing the Father to use the situation to polish us into a brighter Light of His Image (see the Glory), or we can lay hold of the situation and become determined to fashion it into what we would like to see happen - all in the 'name of righteousness', of course, and 'all for the glory of God'. For me, throughout my life it has been a struggle when I hear Him speak or see a need to continue to wait until He illumines the next step in the path He desires me to take. Waiting for Him to not only say, "�this is what I would have you to do" but, also, and equally as important, "�this is how I would have you to do it." The bane of my spiritual walk has been seeing the path He has laid out before me and thinking, "�I know how to do that" (a slight turning), then skipping merrily off doing what I know to do, sure I am in His Will - until I find myself way off down the road in an utter balagan (Hebrew for a huge mess) wondering what happened.
YHVH does not need my help in executing His Plans and Purposes in this earthly realm. All He is after is a willingness on my part to be obedient to what He places in front of me (Isaiah 1:18-19, For some of us (me) that is easier said than done. In a sweet conversation this past week with an equally sweet sister in the Faith, Y'hudit spoke of a hobby someone in her family had of polishing rocks. This person kept a small rock polisher in a back room that, when filled with water and a drop of lubricant, would cause the small stones placed inside to tumble against one another for 24 hours, knocking off the impurities they had collected lying around in someone's driveway. What would start out as insignificant, ugly rocks would emerge as beautiful, polished gemstones - sparkling in the light of day. She recounted of how she remembered this person saying that there would always be one stone harder than the others that would require many sessions before it became radiant, but, in the process, was instrumental in making sure the softer rocks were cleaned and polished thoroughly. Some of us (like me) are just a bit harder and require extra sessions in the tumbler to be polished completely. To become a highly polished gemstone, to be stripped of our own agenda, to be cleansed of the things we have held onto as dear to us, is not a 'fun' process. It is an essential process if we desire His Life to become our Life. But, when we allow Him the freedom to do with us as He pleases, the end result is that we BECOME Pure and are able to see Elohim in the Purity of Who He Is (Matthew 5:8, see Becoming Vulnerable).
Tradition comes from the Greek word, paradosis and means -
1) a giving up or giving over, the act of giving up
2) a giving which is done by word of mouth or in writing, i.e. tradition by instruction, narrative, precept, etc.
a) objectively, that which is delivered, the substance of a teaching
b) of the body of precepts, esp. ritual
For most of us, what we believe is what we have been taught by others. We carry within us a mixture of what is true and what is false coming mostly from our embrace of the traditions of men handed down to us and what has been taught to us as "truth" (Mark 7:6-9, see Arrows of Famine). We embrace what we have been taught because those teachings sound good and keeping them is easier than digging out Truth for ourselves (not really, but we convince ourselves so). In so doing, we forfeit the ability to hear Elohim for ourselves by surrendering ourselves to the agendas of other men. Scripture tells us we do not need some man to teach us of Who He Is. When we embrace His Life and surrender ourselves to allow Him to teach us, Yeshua said we can trust that Spirit to guide us into all Truth for He is Truth (John 16:13-14, see 1John 2:27). There is a price to pay for learning of Truth from Him, however - we begin to be 'tumbled' (Matthew 7:13-14).
Many of you have written very graciously and kindly over the past while about how the words in these articles have touched and enriched your lives. While I am sincerely grateful and humbled by the encouragement I receive from you - I cannot take credit for what is flowing here. The irony of it all is that, throughout high school and college, I flunked English - every single year. The only reason I graduated was because the grammar portion was always in the first semester and the literature portion in the second and it was required that you had to pass the second semester to be sent up to the next grade. So, every year, I would make an "F" in the first semester and (because I loved literature) would make an "A" in the second, thereby being sent on with an overall "C" average. If those two curriculums had been reversed, I would still be there. Today, I can't tell you the difference between an adverb and a participle. I set out to become a journalist, but because of my grades, was encouraged to pursue other avenues - told I lacked the 'equipping' to be successful by the world's standards. I realize full well the exceptional awesomeness of His ability to transform lowly things into vessels for His Honor and I am thankful to just be along for the ride (2Corinthians 4:7).
Having said that, I am not allowed the privilege of being a conduit by which these articles flow without them first becoming Life within me - which means I get to live out these precepts before sharing them. Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) has been proclaiming from within me for some time that "�you can't give what you don't live." This walk we have with Him is the same walk He exampled before us in the flesh - an impartation of Life (John 8:12). It is impossible to give anything out of an empty (or impure) vessel. Our vessel becomes full as we embrace His Life. He said He came to give us Life in abundance (John 10:9-10).
What is abundant Life? If you put Life on a graph from 0 to 100 (with 0 being the pits and 100 being the highest mountain top experience) then the line denoting 'Life' within the graph would be 0 and 100 - and everything in between! Abundant Life is experiencing everything - love, loss, joy, grief, gladness, sorrow, success and failure. It is from these experiences, the circumstances of our life lived in this earthly realm with others, He is able to polish the impurities of our life into the Glory of Who He Is IF (a big little word) we give those circumstances to Him and, while in the middle of the circumstance, proclaim His Goodness. This is what it means to 'embrace' His Life for this is what He did while in the flesh (Philippians 2:7-9).
The Father knows my heart is toward Him, but it is only because He loves me that I am still here (see A Shaking). The only reason the apostle Paul was able to lay claim to being the "least of all" was simply because I had not yet been born (Ephesians 3:8). It was not until after I had failed through the better part of three decades of life, even while knowing Him, I came to understand that the Father loves failures - He endears Himself to them (Isaiah 57:15). Today, because I have given Him those failures to use however He wishes, somehow (and I honestly don't know how He does it) He is able to sculpt those failures into something that imparts Life to others who are at a loss, grieving or in the depths of despair. He uses them to encourage and help keep some who would receive the lessons of those experiences from falling into a place of embitterment (Hebrews 12:15). It is only from languishing in that pit of despair that causes one to be able to relate to the pain others are suffering. Our testimony then becomes how the Faithfulness of this One Who First Comforted me with the Light of His Life while still in that blackness sustains me today (2Corinthians 1:4, Sometimes He extracted me from the pit, but more often than not - He allowed me to remain there for my spiritual benefit and that I might have a testimony of His Goodness in the face of overwhelming darkness. (Romans 8:28, Revelation 12:11). He was able to show me, in the middle of what seemed to be entirely bleak situations, how He had never left me, had not abandoned me, had not forsaken me. He imparted Life to me. He gave me hope that I might share that Hope with others (Romans 5:1-5).
It was not until I decided that, regardless of the circumstances confronting me, I would wait on His Goodness. If my waiting on Him in those circumstances meant it would cause me to perish - then, like the boys before Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace, I would perish. When they made that commitment with their lives, they did not know whether the Lord would deliver them or not. Either way, they were determined to not bow to unbelief (Daniel 3:17-18). It was not until I became determined to remain in that place that He brought me into the realization of how seeking for healings, signs and wonders to extricate us from the uncomfortableness we find in our life is just an indication of our unbelief in His Goodness in the present circumstances (John 4:48, 2Corinthians 12:7-9). The external manifestation of His Power is deliberate - to gain the attention of those who do not believe. For we who do believe, who have embraced His Life, that Power becomes manifested internally, within us, to purify, to cleanse and that we might be made whole. This is virtue - an excellence of spirit. This is how we BECOME Light (1John 4:17). We BECOME Light, as Yeshua, for the benefit of others - not ourselves (James 4:3).
We look upon this brief, breath of a lifetime as trying to make it as comfortable, convenient and painless as possible. The whole of society, indeed, the world is geared toward convincing us that we can extend our life and make it better by doing certain things, eating certain foods and thinking certain thoughts. The reality is - everybody dies. The most important lesson I took from my heart attack (see Preserving Our Life) is that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow. We are not even guaranteed the rest of today! Every person Yeshua healed - died. Except for Yeshua, no one has escaped this life with their flesh intact - and His was transformed. The Father knows this. This is why He said to "�take no thought for tomorrow," and, "�He knows what you have need of" (Matthew 6:31-34). We have not been placed here to curry a few more days of favor on this planet. We have been placed here to be a beacon of Light set on a hillside in the midst of turbulence for all to see that others might be influenced to partake of this Life we are so privileged to enjoy (Matthew 5:14-15). The Father is more interested in the eternality of our spirit than He is in the immediacy of our circumstance. We should begin to approach this life from His vantage point instead of from our own.
It is with the treasure of those past experiences, watching Him just 'show up', that I leave this dear Land that I love expecting to see Him move once again. As you read this, I will be in the cloud - literally - landing in DFW airport the morning of the 9th of August. Where I am to go, how I am to get there and how long I will be gone I do not know. I only know He is Good - no matter what I see, no matter what I hear, no matter what I feel, no matter what I think. That I will see His Goodness is my hope (�to be continued).
"In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Yeshua haMashiach for you."|