Overlooking A Fence

Mark 5:25-34  Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch the hem of His robe, I shall be made well.”
Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.  And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.  But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.  And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
Yesterday,  while in my kitchen washing dishes,  I looked out of the window at my yard.   We have a small yard with a chain link fence that separates our yard from the parking lot of a teacher’s union.    Both are hideous sights – the parking lot in my back yard,  and the old fence.    
I found myself thinking about fences and that we put them up to keep what is ours in, and what is not ours, out.   The fence is there to keep anyone from coming over into my space unless invited. 
 In the past few weeks, I’d been feeling like my “yard”  was trampled upon.  Well-intention-ed others, entering my space, pulling for my time.    I had work to do.  I was on a mission.  Focused.  I’d love to have given them the time for chat but I just didn’t have any.   This is my busiest time of year at work, and I’m pretty busy around the house too.  
 I found I didn’t have the time to give. 
But then I “saw”  Jesus pressing through the multitudes,  and there were people pulling at Him, and one who touched the edge of His garments.   Many were pulling at Him,  but He wanted to know “who touched Him.”    
He noticed, because His thoughts were not on just trying to get through the crowd or the day.   Yes He was on a mission, but not so focused on the mission that He could not see others along the way.   He did not put up fences to keep others away from His personal space.  So secure in His Father’s love, that He needed no fences to divide what was His from what was theirs.    
Multitudes.  What does that look like in our day?  There is a revival coming you know.  People will be pushing up against us and pulling at our garments.  We need to understand boundaries soon because one day soon, our boundaries will seem trampled upon.  
Dwelling together in unity has no fences.  No De-Fence nor Of-Fence. 
John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

And I reflected on this more as I looked out my kitchen window,  overlooking “A Fence”, I was singing  “Keep me from building a fence in my heart” 
Proverbs 19:11 A man’s wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook offense. 
 Father how can we prepare for multitudes of revival when we have fences of offense right now in our hearts?   Be our DE-Fence as we learn to let go of our need to protect our space because we are safe and secure in Your love.  While we need to have our boundaries now, they are never meant for forever. Prepare our hearts to offer freely all that is in our “yard” as You direct.    May there be no offense found when You return. 

Why The Waste?

Why the Waste?
Psalm 133:1-2 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.

 Matthew 26: 6-11  Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper,

a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.

But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste?

“For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.”

But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me.

“For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.”

Spending so much of our time and resources on Jesus looks, to the world and even the religious community as waste, for THEY see the value that is in a human life.   “Why should human life be wasted upon Jesus when he died and now there is much work to do?    Wouldnt even Jesus want you to feed the poor,  minister to the sick,  and sit with the lonely?”

I have been reading much and learning much about precious oils, and their medicinal value.   These oils can take up 30 years to produce,  or thousands of pounds of flowers before one ounce is extracted.   This is what is so costly and valuable about perfumes and medicines.     This is why the disciples were upset that it was wasted on the feet of Jesus.  It could have been sold to give to the poor.

I could do the same.  I could get educated and read all about the oils, run down to the Health Food Store and put a few together and sell them for our food pantry’s ministry to the poor (which I am not saying this is out of the question, but that is not the point).

The Lord is looking for our hearts.

Will I take what I have come to love, and waste it at His feet?   What is valuable to me?   Will I waste it at His feet?

Is my past valuable?   Will I waste it at His feet?

The world knows the value inside each one of us.    Once this value has been established,  what will we do with the jewel we have?

Or better yet – what will we do with the Jewel given us by the Father?   What will we do with Jesus today?

Father I offer my heart to You this day as You offer Christ to me daily.   What will I do with Him today?   Jesus is the Precious Ointment that flows from the Head down the heads of priests and to the outer garments and by their feet.   Jesus is the Precious Ointment whose saturation upon us is the fragrance of Your love, and for whom we waste our lives upon.    Teach us Lord, not HOW to waste ourselves, for the Precious Oil Himself has already been given….   But teach us how to remain broken in humility,  that the OIL would freely and extravagantly and continuously flow.   Amen.

Like Precious Oil

Ps 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robe.
A great deal of work is required to produce just a tiny amount of precious oil.   
Sixty thousand rose blossoms are required to produce one ounce of rose oil.

220 lbs of lavender will produce 7 lbs of oil.

Jasmine flowers must be picked by hand before the sun becomes hot on the very first day they open.  It takes 8 million hand-picked jasmine blossoms to produce 2.2 lbs of oil. 

The sandalwood tree must be thirty years old and thirty feet high before it is cut down for distillation.  (Christ’s ministry also began at 30). 

 Resins such as frankincense and myrhh, are obtained by tapping: making deliberate incisions with a specially designed tool or ordinary axe, about 2 inches long, into the bark of the tree. The milky liquid that exudes hardens on exposure to air into droplets or “tears,” and are detached and collected 2 weeks later.  New tappings are made at the same place as old ones after removing hardened resin from the previous cut. If the tapping interval is short, then a light scratching of the wood is usually sufficient to cause the resin to flow again. The particular details of the tapping-the time of year it is undertaken, its duration, and the interval between individual tappings-vary according to the species and the customs in the area of production.  It may take 3-4 months to produce resin, and then 12 weeks to harden, before collection. 

And then the myrrh or frankincense must be  sorted and graded to determine quality.  

Much goes into the process of producing just a small amount of oil, and the oil that flowed down upon Aaron’s beard was the Holy Annointing oil of  Exodus 30:23-25

23Take the best spices: of liquid myrrh 500 shekels, of sweet-scented cinnamon half as much, 250 shekels, of fragrant calamus 250 shekels,

24And of cassia 500 shekels, in terms of the sanctuary shekel, and of olive oil a hin.

25And you shall make of these a holy anointing oil, a perfume compounded after the art of the perfumer; it shall be a sacred anointing oil.

It is as valuable oil that has taken months and years, even a lifetime, of cutting, of waiting, of expressing, of distilling, of fire, of tapping, to produce the abundance necessary to waste upon Aaron’s head, or the feet of Jesus. 

Father,  May we not go another day without realizing the value You place upon the unity of Your people in You.  The coming together often with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, the uniting of hearts and minds that we collectively have Your thought and mind.   May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts, may our prayers offered to You, our songs sung to You, our fellowship had in You,  be a pleasing and sweet fragrance,  a valuable offering, wasted upon You today and everyday.

 

Learning to let Him lead

“Beloved, Come.  I am extending My hand to you.  Will you let Me lead you in this dance?” 

Proverbs 3:3-6 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight

Graceful was not a word I’d have used to describe myself.   In fact, I had visions of me in an adult body but about the size of a large bug.   I was running all over the floor trying to dodge everyone’s shoes.    “Watch out for me!”  I’d shout up there, but nobody would hear me.    Nobody listened and nobody saw.

Well, that’s what it all felt like.

Around 1989, the Lord came to me while I was in prayer.  He told me of a story about a mother with several children she locked up in a room for years.   She would keep them locked in the room because they “told on her” or “embarrassed her” in front of others.   She did this for a few years, only opening the door a crack at a time on occasion, and when she was by herself, and they would peep their head out for a short while and then the door would get closed when they started to whine.

As long as they would peep out of the room and be quiet, she would open the door a crack again.

The Lord asked me “What do you say about such a mother?”

And I responded that this woman needed professional help.  These children needed to be free, and needed room to grow and most importantly they needed to be loved and nurtured and cared for.

But then the Lord showed me that the children, as they grew inside the locked room, would become angry and destructive.   They even found ways to open the window a bit and let in strangers from the outside into their room who would defile the room even further.

Soon, there was so much commotion coming from the room, the mother could no longer conceal her children from her friends.   She plotted to suffocate them.

I said “Lord, this woman is a danger!  She needs deliverance.  She definitely has a mental imbalance, may even be possessed.”

The Lord said to me “The woman is you.”

I didnt understand.    But I was listening.
He went onto say the room was my heart. The children were my emotions and the product of what I had done to them over the years.

Fear…   hurt….  bitterness…..guilt….shame….indifference….sorrow…..anger…..impatience…frustration…

I locked them away inside the room of my heart and squashed them down because they were too loud and told on me.   They embarrassed me.    They caused me to lose friends.    They ridiculed me and mocked me.

But the Lord said that I was to begin to let them out and give them to Him.  To entrust them into His Fatherly care

I asked “How do I do that?”   He said “slowly and one at a time.  They don’t know Me yet, and building relationships are not hurried.”

So I began to let Fear out, a little at a time.   I saw that over time, His response to my Fear, was that of faithfulness.  In my unfaithfulness, He was still faithful.  In unpredictability, I could trust Him to do as He said He would do.  He was Faithful.   Fear’s name would change to “Assurance.”

And then Anger stuck his neck out.    As I gave Anger over to Him, slowly, The Lord’s responses to Anger were different than anything I’d known or understood.   His response to my little Anger was that of gentleness and kindness.  It was cool, and peaceful, not hot and unsettled.   Anger’s name eventually was changed to Peace.

Bitterness became Sweet as the Lord would become manifested by the sweetness of His Word to me.  He would show me my sins and yet in my sins, He drizzled them with honey from His Word of Forgiveness.

Guilt became Freedom.   The Lord’s response to Guilt, whenever I would sense Guilt rising up to have his way and overwhelm me with incredible burden, was the truth behind the Cross.   When Guilt was younger, he loved to sit upon my shoulders and cover my eyes, while pressing himself down upon my head.  As he got bigger and stronger, (and heavier) I could no longer carry him yet he expected me to.   Guilt was too heavy of a yoke.  I could not carry him.   But Jesus said to me Take upon yourself My Yoke.  For my burden is easy and my yoke is light.”

Shame became Honor.   Shame was only as big as the door I hid it behind.  When shame was allowed to come out, and Jesus responded, Shame was no longer met with disapproval and disgust and religious responses.   Shame was treated with honor.   Not because Shame DESERVED honor mind you.  No, Shame had really done some pretty intense, ugly things.   But instead, SHAME did not get what it was accustomed to getting, nor did it receive the response it deserved.   Shame received the response of honor and over time, Shame began to walk in that honor, with head held high and face forward, not in pride but in humility.   Shame could never be humble while it was still Shame.  Shames’ name had to change.

Indifference became Passion.   “Whatever!” That was about all you would hear from the mouth of Indifference.    His nickname was Luke (short for lukewarm) but Indifference was the name given at its birth.   Indifference was the easiest one to deal with, I think because he was so mellow and easy going, except for when a response was required.   Indifference and Anger were very close to each other.  I’d say that of all my little emotions, those two were very close to each other.   Indifference caused me very little concern because he kept mostly to himself.  Isolated.   Except for when he and Anger got together.  Seemed like the more they got together, the quieter Indifference became.   But he knew so much about Anger and wasn’t talking.   As Indifference would emerge, the Lord greeted him with Passion.   Not Anger’s type of Passion but a Passion that ignited flames of motivation.   Indifference would become a world changer.   Indifference found a mission and a vision and a purpose.   Indifference became Passion.

Sorrow became Joy.   Sorrow was very very depressed.  Wounded.  Whenever sorrow appeared, my whole body felt bruised, beat up.  I could not bear sorrow but I didn’t have the strength to shove her back in the room so I would build up my strength with food.  It seemed sugar (and most carbohydrates) helped me to get stronger so I could push her back into her room. I needed joy and LOTS of carbohydrates provided that boost of joy I needed.  After all, joy is strength right?    But Jesus said there was a better way.  When Sorrow emerged, I could allow myself to feel what she felt, only for a little bit.   Never NEVER allow Sorrow to come out without the Presence of Love and Joy.    When I began to feel bruised all over, I allowed myself to feel what she felt, while the Lord infused HIS Joy which became MY strength to bear her and present her to Him.  She was such a little frail thing, with bruises.   Sometimes, all I could do was cry “Daddy!!!! I’m hurting.   Please please stroke my hair!”   Love is gentle when He strokes the hair.   Eventually Sorrow became Joy and united with His Joy which became my strength.

Hurt became Mercy.    Hurt was different than Sorrow.  While Sorrow was very deeply bruised, Hurt’s pain was more superficial.  Hurt seemed to look out for Sorrow and divert attention from attack in order to protect Sorrow. It was like this is what Hurt felt he was supposed to do.  Defend.   I let Hurt out of the room more often than the others because he wasn’t going to let anyone do harm to the others.  In fact, it seemed that whenever Hurt emerged, others around became full of care and concern.   He just had that effect on people.   He was in a way, a safety net.   The problem was that Hurt’s judgments were not right and he saw nearly everyone as possible attackers.   He was ready to defend when there was no need to.  Jesus changed the response that Hurt had come to know and instead of requiring the enabling care giving of others around him,  he began to require mercy and that meant that bandages needed to be applied ONLY WHEN THERE WAS A REAL WOUND.   Hurt would become Mercy when Hurt stopped looking for care-giving in order to thwart off possible attacks, but was available to apply care-giving and receive true care-giving where needed.

Impatience became Patience.  Always had to have it NOW!.  She often threw temper tantrums and then demanded her brother Fear join in.  She usually needed others to join in with her, just to make her point when she didn’t get her way.  She was way out of control.   As she slowly would emerge Jesus gave her a different response as He would not answer except with scriptures about waiting but it was not the ones most would expect.  Isaiah 30:18 – He LONGS to wait for us.   Whenever Impatience emerged, the Lord would say with compassion “Come wait with me, we will do this together.”   His Presence brought the stillness.  His Presence alone, brought the power to wait.  To be still.   Waiting with Jesus became easier when Impatience felt comfortable just sitting alone with Him.  Impatience would become Patience.

Frustration became Rest.   Once Impatience became Patience, it was not hard for Frustration to follow.  Frustration was usually in as much agreement with Impatience as Indifference was to Anger.   Frustration would easily become Rest when Impatience became Patience.

The Lord wants us not to keep anything back from Him.  He takes all our “children” that we keep separated and locked up and held as captives and he frees them, changes their disposition by showing them a different response then they have ever seen, and gives them a new name.

Once these emotions lined up with His Word to them, it was easy for the Fruit of His Spirit to be made manifest in my life because Holy Spirit was right at home.