I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO

haight a

Ezekiel 36:26 — I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Twenty-six years ago, I left my heart [of stone] in San Francisco. On March 19, 1989, the Lord gave me His Spirit and a heart of flesh, right there in San Francisco. This week Michael and I visited the city and I was overwhelmed as I saw our Lord’s sovereignty and His goodness.

As I contemplate the story God wove together, I am brought to my knees in gratitude and amazement. Back in the hippie days, a church followed Yeshua’s command and opened a Christian coffeehouse right there in Haight Ashbury. A young man named Peter walked into that coffeehouse and heard the truth. Peter then prayed with a member of the church in the back of this place, asking Jesus to cleanse him of his sin and become his Lord and Savior. When I met Peter in New York City back in 1989, he did not walk like the new creation he was meant to be. When Peter refused my attempts to reform him and I refused to marry him, he went back to San Francisco and began attending the church which had sponsored the coffeehouse. I remember an entry in my journal at that time: I’m looking for my great savior love, but I can’t find him. Thinking that savior was Peter (oy vey), I flew to him in San Francisco. The night I arrived, Peter had me pray with him, asking Jesus to cleanse me of my sin and asking Him to be my Lord and my Savior.

And all that time, the Lord had the gift of Michael waiting to surprise me.
haight ashbury

TRUST AND OBEY
I remember the day I was baptized turning to Jeanne Waterman, the precious woman who had been discipling me. My relationship with the Lord had been like a “whirlwind romance.” My Messiah had wooed me, I had fallen into His strong arms, and Yeshua had transported me into the Land of my Longing. After being baptized, I asked Jeanne, “What’s next?” Her answer was simple: “Trust and obey.” Didn’t sound all that exciting. Now, twenty-five years later, those words resonate with all their profound truth.

In 1 Peter, we are told that those who have been begotten again, according to His abundant mercy, are being kept by the power of God through faith. THROUGH FAITH. More and more I realize He is training me for the battles of this world. I will be kept by His power if I hold onto faith—and my faith is in His faithfulness. As for the battles, we are told we will be grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of our faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. And He alone is the Wise One—the One who knows if need be. He provides the trials/battles as opportunity for me to trust Him—to exercise faith—that I may actually experience His power keeping me.

And don’t I want that?? Yes, it is a trial of endurance, but the goal of experiencing Him in all His power, His love and His majesty—it is worth fighting for.

seder luverne
Today I finished reading Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef. Fascinating story about young Palestinian man who falls in love with Jesus. He ends with the most beautiful quote:

Pray for me, that I will grow in my faith and that I WON’T STEP ON TOO MANY TOES AS I LEARN TO DANCE WITH THE BRIDEGROOM.

ROMANS 8

I long to grasp and live in the reality of this exchanged/translated life. “If anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” I no longer live in the flesh “for the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Y’shua has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Can I hear a long chorus of hallelujah? My longing is not only to grasp this amazing reality of what it means to be born again by His Spirit who now dwells in me (want to say breathtaking reality, but actually it’s a BREATH-GIVING reality), but I long also to communicate this to others, that they may leave the kingdom of darkness and enter into the Kingdom of His Marvelous Light.

How are you today? I’m blessed.

Jesus tells us the poor in spirit are blessed, those who mourn are blessed, the meek are blessed, and we are blessed when we are reviled and persecuted.

From Steve Wilmshurst’s The Kingdom Manifesto:

: “Let’s think about ‘blessed’ first—it’s clear that we can’t make much sense of the Beatitudes if we don’t know what Jesus means by ‘blessed’. When Jesus says these people are ‘blessed’, He is saying they are in a good place. . . . Sometimes the word is translated ‘happy’, but that makes it sound as if it’s about how you feel. You might feel happy this morning and unhappy this afternoon . . . no one is happy all the time, and that’s not what Jesus is saying. No, if you are ‘blessed’ it means that God has put you in a good position [you are in His Kingdom]; and that doesn’t change with your mood swings! You are well-off. People ought to look at you and say, I wish I was you!

“As soon as you look down the list of Beatitudes you can see how unexpected that is. Many of these descriptions don’t sound like being in a good place at all . . .”

I read the above on a Saturday night before going to sleep, and the following morning at church we sang “THIS IS MY STORY, THIS IS MY SONG, PRAISING MY SAVIOR ALL THE DAY LONG.”

Lord, forgive me for all the kvetching I do. Your daughter Miriam is blessed—my cup runs over—may I be found praising You all the day long.

honeyA big question we hear asked usually goes something like this: IF GOD IS SO GOOD, WHY DID HE LET _____________________ HAPPEN? (fill in whatever evil, and today there are many choices).

I’ve been pondering this. What if we consider how far we have fallen?—so far that even though we were made to commune with our Creator as Adam and Eve did, by the time of Moses, God could show Moses only His back. Then because our sin was so ugly we did what we did to God when He came to us. Jesus came to our fallen world and we literally MANHANDLED Him.

And today even with as far as we have fallen, we still have blessed times amidst the fallenness. Instead of putting God on trial, we should be thankful for the glimpses into Paradise in our lives, and should take advantage of every opportunity to trust Him and thank Him—as we wait for re-admittance into Paradise. DAYENU

REJOICING IN Y’SHUA’S EMBRACE

cropped-cropped-jewish-prayer-shawl.jpgDeut. 33:12 – “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.”

Imagine this: someone is “assaulting” you (whether physically, verbally . . .) and you are tempted to either run away from the assault or plunge yourself into the heat of the battle. In the midst of this attack, you realize Y’shua Himself has given His back to the attacker while shielding you from the abuse. One day the Lord showed me I had three choices:

  • I could enjoy His embrace, accepting His protection;
  • I could turn and run away from the attack (thereby letting go of my Savior and running away from Him);
  • I could decide to defend myself and run headlong into a battle my Bridegroom was shielding me from—thereby, again, walking away my Beloved’s embrace.

If I believe 1 Cor. 10:13, then I will not believe my flesh or the voice of my enemy telling me, “You can’t take this—this is more than you can bear.” I will not make my own means of escape, but will instead rejoice in His embrace.

February 17, 2015

This quote from Chuck Colson’s Novel, “Gideon’s Torch,” becomes more relevant every day:

“… This is the real-life problem. People want to do their own thing. They see liberty as the right to do what they want, but it isn’t. Liberty is the right to do what you ought to do. So now we have chaos because we have not moral consensus… There are only two restraints on human behavior…the inner restraint of conscience. MORAL. And the other…the outer restraint of force. POLICE. The less you have of the inner, the more you need of the outer…When the restraints of conscience are broken down, when there is chaos, people welcome force… They’ll trade in their liberties…a little at first, then everything. IF TRUTH RETREATS, TYRANNY .” 

 

February 16, 2015

MichaelandMimi Finesilver

“Humiliation is the only ladder to honor in God’s kingdom.” Andrew Murray.

Protect me, Holy Spirit, from the pride which still tries to be my lord. You alone are Lord. You alone have the words of life, You alone could have delivered me from destruction and You alone could and did crown me with Your lovingkindness & tender mercies.

PRAYER – Our Soul’s Blood

George Herbert once wrote that prayer is “God’s breath in man returning to his birth.” Something exists in each of us that tells us we are not alone in the universe and we were not designed to go it alone. George Herbert poetically refers to prayer as the “soul’s blood,” because it is the source of strength and vitality. This beautiful poet also wrote that prayer is a “kind of tune.” It tunes our hearts to God.

“Prayer is awe, intimacy, struggle—the way to reality.”

If we think of prayer as a glorious opportunity to take hold of God, to know Him more (with this being more our passion than outward circumstances), then prayer is a joyful embracing of One we love – and we can live with a more vivid sense of the reality of Y’shua’s presence (NOT His presents) and a shared life with Him.

Flannery O’Connor’s desire to feel inspired (in her writing) with love toward God: “Dear God, I cannot love Thee the way I want to. You are the slim crescent of a moon that I see and my self is the earth’s shadow that keeps me from seeing all the moon . . . what I am afraid of, dear God, is that my self shadow will grow so large that it blocks the whole moon, and that I will judge myself by the shadow that is nothing. I do not know You God because I am in the way.”