THE LITTLE MERMAID
Yesterday my youngest daughter and I went to see the theater production of “The Little Mermaid.” She won tickets (very expensive tickets) and going to Broadway theater shows is her and my thing. We dress up, we see a show then we go out to eat. Super fun. The rest of my family prefers the perfection of movies, but Hadassah and I prefer the art of a stage production.
Now before any of my sensitive readers throw me out with the bath water because I took my daughter to see such a pagan show -– let me just say that I know that the union of man and fish to create a mermaid is an unholy thought. I’m quite sure that the legends of mermaids are rooted in the truth of a past reality that disgusts our Creator. And I have no intention of promoting the idea that we tamper with Yahovah’s Creation and mix kinds. That is not the point of this blog. My thoughts are on a much higher plain. That said, it is my experience that Yahovah uses all kinds of things to speak to and heal me. So, yesterday Papa began a conversation with my heart as I sat in the dark theater watching an incredible performance of this well known Disney story. And this morning I write to flush that conversation out.
THE CONCEPT OF VOICE
As I was watching the part of the show where the Little Mermaid makes a deal with wicked Ursula I began to hear something stir in my heart. The idea of “voice.”
Voice. Your voice. My voice.
But what exactly is “voice?” Well, among many things the Thesaurus says that the word “voice” can also be:
…an opinion, a view, a feeling, a wish or a desire. It can be your will, your influence, your vote, your input and your role. It is your representation and your seat at “the table.” It is a speaker, a champion, a representative, a mouthpiece, a vehicle, an instrument, a channel, an agent. A voice is also to declare, to state, to assert, to reveal, to proclaim, to announce, to publish, to publicize, to utter, to say or to speak.
The Dictionary describes voice as: “an agency by which a particular point of view is expressed or represented”; “the right to express an opinion”; “a particular opinion or attitude expressed”; “giving instructions or advice”; “express (something) in words.”
So your (my) voice is our thoughts and opinion on a matter expressed in words. It is our influence upon that matter. It is our declaration. It is interesting to note that one of the things we are to do during the Feast of Shavuot is to make a proclamation. Did you know that? (Lev. 23:21) And King Daveed says,
“With my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever.” Ps. 89:1-2.
Papa wants us to use our mouth to express our “voice.” To declare things about him!
FINDING MY VOICE
When I was at Boise State University a few years back finishing up my degree, the focus of my Senior year was on “finding my voice.” Throughout the entire year I was given a ton of opportunities to find, define, refine and strengthen my “voice.” What was I going to declare to the world? How was I going to say it? In what manner? Was I going to let someone steal it from me or was I going to own it? All my teachers and fellow students at BSU knew what I was about. My voice, my point of view was strong. I graduated that year with a focused voice (a keen view) and a ton of passion to speak it out into the darkness.
Directly following graduation, my family and I embarked on a journey of faith to seek the opportunity for me to speak my voice. But within two months the wind was knocked out of me and I couldn’t speak. No matter how much I fought it, the pain made a deal with me and ha’Satan was able to shut me up––for a time.
TRADING OUR VOICE FOR PAIN RELIEF
Yesterday I watched the clever and wicked Ursula sell the Little Mermaid on why it was a good idea to trade her voice for pain relief. But in the end, in seeking pain relief she almost lost her life. For me, this past year has been a process of finding my voice again. The pain has stalked me and the situations I find myself in have been much harder than when I was in the bosom and nest of BSU. I have overcome many times in the dark of night and not sold out to the temptation to trade my voice for pain relief, but sometimes I need someone to help me navigate those waters.
The other day I was in need of Isaac’s voice –– his deep opinion. I was mentally and emotionally struggling with the frustrations associated with one living their life out loud as a royal priest in a world that doesn’t acknowledge that occupation. I needed a voice to drown out the crazy-making, positioning and arrogance of the leadership and a voice to slice through the deafening silence of no responses to our extensive and costly campaigns to “get-people-to-the-Feast.” I needed the life-ring of a passionate view that would give my heart input and call me back from the edge. A voice to speak words of strength into my heart to help me see straight, to be strong and declare outloud the truth about The Story, who my Elohim is, who I am and what we are called to do. A voice like that would destroy the agreement Fear was seeking from me.
But Isaac’s voice wasn’t there. Many times it is, but not this time. He was silent. He is tired of seeing me hurt. He is tired of talk. As we all want, he wants action and hope restored instead of talk. I totally agree and I live for that day of full restoration and vindication, but that is Papa’s job and his timing. So, without Isaac’s voice and words of influence directed towards me, I floundered. A few of the right sentences, from the right person to point my heart in the right direction could have saved the day.
YAHOVAH NEEDS OUR VOICE
Our voice; our opinion; our input into another’s life or into a movement is a powerful thing. A clear voice. A voice that is strong and steady. A voice that doesn’t falter, but that is true and sound. It goes beyond this realm though. I’m also realizing that Yahovah needs our voice. Yes, on a personal level. He has a heart, people! He also craves our voice. He wants our adoration, he wants our thoughts and our view. He’s jealous for your voice spoken out and lived out before him. Not only can our voice encourage others, but it can encourage him too! Just consider how much hatred and foul voices he has to contend with every day! What a pleasure it is to him to find a voice of truth crying out from the dust of Earth.
“For the eyes of Yahovah move to and fro throughout the earth that he may strongly support those whose heart is completely his.” 2 Chr. 16:10
What a joy it is to his heart when he finds a voice on the Earth that is proclaiming his love for them and their devotion to him! Yahshua and the Ruach ha’Kodesh are on the move raising up royal voices to help him save people from perishing and floundering around in the dark. Our voice could help bring people back from the edge. It could help to light up someone’s path so they know where to travel.
THE VOICE OF THE SILVER TRUMPET
So, Yom Teruah is coming up. It’s called the Feast of Trumpets. Studying this Feast we can see that the Scriptures talk about how voices are like trumpets (Rev. 1:10; 4:1; Is. 58:1). The two silver trumpets used in the Yom Teruah celebration represent the voices of the two houses of Israel–Judah and Ephraim. They represent your voice. My voice. Our voices will shout out [teruah] as witnesses for Yahovah! With our voice we will side with Yahovah or against him. With our voice we will help clarify his cause or complicate it. Will our voices be clear and give a confident sound or will they be hesitant, tentative, faltering, unsure and unconfident?
1 Cor. 14:8 says, “for if the trumpet [our voice] gives an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for the battle?”
Can you imagine the Seventh (the last) Trumpet from heaven sounding a weak sound? A sound that was kinda-sorta loud, kinda-sorta strong. It would send everyone into a situation of he’s “kinda-sorta coming, I guess.”
Jim Staley says that we are like those silver trumpets and Yahweh wants to send his frequency through you and me to the Earth. A frequency that gives a certain and sure sound to those around us and to the nations. Those silver trumpets represent our voice. Jim points out that silver is the precious metal next in line to gold and we are next in line to the King through the work of Yahshua (who sits beside YHVH). He reminds us that silver is the best reflector of light, but in order to reflect well and sound good these silver trumpets have to go through quite a process to become a trumpet that is worth sounding. From what I understand silver ore is crushed, put in the fire and acid is poured on it. Then it is hammered till it shines. Silver goes through an extreme process to get it to the point where the sound coming out of it is clear and beautiful! I feel like all of that has happened to me. Perhaps you do to. I want my voice to be strong and clear so that people will not perish. If going through intense pain and severe trials is what tones and tunes up my instrument then so be it! I bow my head in humility and trust the Maker of my trumpet to take me through the hammering.
PRACTICE USING YOUR VOICE
One thing I gotta remember is that you can’t kinda-sorta play the trumpet. A trumpet player either goes big or goes home! The trumpet player has to give it their all when they practice or they will never get good at making that trumpet sound the way it was intended. Every practice session is not beautiful, but you still have to blow with all your soul in order to practice. Without practice you’ll never get good at trumpet playing. Every Erev Shabbat Isaac or Hadassah blow the shofar before dinner. If he is tired then the sound is small and timid. But it is the most incredible sound when Isaac feels good and blows with his everything! It echoes off the hills for miles. It is a steady confident sound! It always gives me chills. Every Erev Shabbat is practice.
It’s the same with us. Embrace what you know at this point in your journey and play it loud. Let your voice become tuned by allowing the Teacher to instruct you on how your playing needs work. The trick is to play with all your heart while at the same time approach the practice session with a soft spirit that is open to learning new things from the Teacher. But don’t be shy about sounding. At one time in my life I was training to be a concert pianist. By 6th grade I was accompanying choirs and playing special musics. By 8th grade I was teaching piano. One of my students was such a gentle, timid player that I could barely hear her notes. It frustrated me. She was timid and didn’t want to make a mistake. Oh, how that frustrated me as her teacher.
We need to find our voice and then not be too timid to practice expressing it. Not only do you have a right to your voice –– you MUST blow your trumpet. Your voice is what Yahovah needs! It is what Israel needs. It is what your spouse needs. It is what your children need. But for the most part, not many of us are using our voice! Instead, we have sold our voice to the devil in trade for peace, comfort and pain relief. Just like the wicked Ursula, our voice is what ha’Satan wants. He doesn’t want us to speak. He doesn’t want us to sound to warn people and invite people into the Happily Ever After –– of which he will not be partaking. Throughout the course of our life ha’Satan offers us deals that, if agreed with, will silence us. Don’t let him do that to you!
HARMONIZING OUR VOICES
We are trumpets. Each of us has a sound to make––a call to put forth. I can’t play your trumpet. You can’t play mine. Perhaps we can play together and make harmony and create a song to YHVH, but I must play my own and you must play yours. Among many things, I am passionate about repentance and living in the rhythm of Yah’s Feasts! My opinions are spoken out clear and strong. It is my voice. I know a family who loves orphans. Their voice is strong and clear! Just being around them makes me remember the part of the Royal Law where we are commanded to care for the poor, widows and orphans among us. They are sounding their trumpet! They are calling attention to this part of the Royal Law. Papa needs them to give the clear sound they are giving. To get that clear of a sound there has to be a ton of pain (the crushing, hammering; the time in the fire and soaked in acid). But how glad Papa is for the sound coming out of their trumpet! How glad I am for their voice. Together our voices harmonize and the music we make is a witness for our King on Earth calling people back to YHVH and towards the Happily-Ever-After.
S’aul tells us to run the race and not give up until the end. If we give up we will lose our reward. When I was a teenager on swim-team I raced the butterfly. In our swim meets it was imperative that we encouraged each other from the deck as we raced. I remember seeing my team mates walking on the deck along with me as I swam. As I turned my head to breathe I could see their blurry figures. Hands clapping. Hands cupped over their mouths yelling at me. I could hear their cheers and encouragement as I approached the end. I didn’t look at my competition. I listened to my coach and my team. They believed I could win. Because they believed, I believed. Their voice pushed me through the pain. It was what drove me on. And what a party when I hit the wall ahead of the others!
Our voices are crucial to each other finishing the race. That is one reason community is so important. I know that coming together for Sukkot to soak in a supportive community of like-hearts is part of YHVH’s idea. His people should leave the Feast with their hearts filled with love and encouragement. Community helps to cheer each other on to finish the race strong. Therefore, one of my passions is to form community.
I used to have community and applause in abundance when I was a Christian and working for the church’s cause. But now that I have left organized religion and I’m fighting for YHVH’s cause, their is no abundance of cheer, support or encouragement. In fact, there is very very little. Instead of the community of believers applauding a job well done, I get torn down, torn apart, critiqued, criticized and spit on (okay, I guess Yahshua said that would happen). I have discovered that the idea of being “teammates” isn’t exactly the focus of people with “Moses envy.”
Perhaps you feel like this too. I’m sure that I am not alone. I feel like I have been working (swimming the race) in the pain of silence and aloneness for so long. My swim coach would have never accepted that behavior from the rest of my team. To let me swim alone to the finish line. That would have been enough to get you kicked off the team! And of course, when my race was done, I was expected to return the favor for my other teammates –– and what fun that was! To see someone finish the race strong! But now, though I crave support from the deck and pats on the back when each of my races are finished, I stay in the water and I continue the race by remembering that my reward comes with Yahshua! And so I continue with little encouragement, support or recognition. Some days I am strong in that thought. Other days I need someone’s voice to help me stay in the water. Of course, the trials have really glued me to Papa, but I believe he intended for us to work together as a team (community of love and support).
May you find your voice. May it be a strong voice, a perfect mixture of love and strength. When you find it, practice it! Then, when your Teacher tells you to, stand on the roof tops and play your trumpet so that everyone can hear it!
MY VOICE RIGHT NOW
I want to sound my trumpet about a specific situation. I want to offer my voice regarding the present issue of having absolutely no registrations for The National Melchizedek Sukkot Campmeeting! Perhaps for my own heart and the Cruz’s hearts.
It is September first tomorrow––our deadline for paying Friend’s Camp half of the $2,000 bill. Both family’s have already spent $500 to reserve it. By Thursday I have to pay $600 for event liability insurance. And my family is literally struggling to put food in our fridge. I expected to have registrations by now to help cover the costs. But so far, not one. We have spent a ton of time and money this summer trying to get people to join us. We began campaigning early to give people time to plan. We set up a payment plan for them. We offered people 50% off their registration fees. We extended the deadline for that. We were going to take the financial hit ourselves just to get people to come. We produced a series of videos that encouraged people to come and addressed different issues people might have (which took a ton of editing and publishing). I have been working on the program and details of Sukkot all summer! The offer has gone out and come back with silence!
The question on the table now is –– is this Papa’s will or is this the stubbornness of Israel? Between the extreme poverty of those coming out of the nations, the rebellion of our Christian friends and the dis-unity and craziness within the movement regarding the calendar and confusion betwixt priesthoods we are not able to find community or one voice! I’m about ready to give up!
WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE….
I went for a walk the other morning to find my heart and my voice. I decided to simply talk out loud about what I know for sure. So, at this point, this what I am sure about:
1) We are commanded to keep Sukkot Therefore, that is what my family and I will do wherever we are.
2) We are to celebrate Sukkot for 7 + 1 days (which starts 15 days after Yom Teruah (Yom Teruah happens at the 7th New Moon). Therefore, my family and I will keep it for those 8 days.
3) There are 2 High Shabbats in Sukkot we must honor (the 1st and 8th day). Therefore, my family and I will honor those 2 days by not working but resting.
5) The Aviv / Sighted Moon Calendar is the Biblical Calendar. We trust Nehemiah’s checking of the aviv barley in Israel. He did not find it aviv on March 10th which made this year a 13-month year. Therefore, Sukkot is Oct. 16-25, 2016. Therefore, we know when Sukkot is and is not. My family and I will honor it by this knowable, simple, beautiful walk-with-YHVH, non-calculated Biblical Calendar.
6) Yahshuah’s birthday is the first High Shabbat of Sukkot and he was circumcised on the 8th day of Sukkot (a High Shabbat as well). Therefore, we will celebrate his birthday on that day with a party of some sort.
7) We are to assemble for the Feast (as in, have people join us for it). This is truly the heart of the Feast (for encouragement) and yet it is truly the problem: finding people to come! Yet, in our case, we know for sure that somehow we can spend Sukkot with one other family, the Cruz’s. Yipee!
8) YHVH says to not show up empty-handed to his Feasts. Therefore, like King Daveed (2 Sam. 24:24; 1 Chronicles 21:24) I will not offer YHVH something that costs me nothing. Planning this Sukkot in the way we have has cost me a lot! But no matter on what scale I celebrate it, or with whom I celebrate it, I will always give Papa’s ways my all.
9) I am to “commit my ways [the rhythm, path, calendar of my life] to YHVH and HE [not me] will make my plans [to follow, celebrate his rhythm] succeed.” This is exactly what we (the Garvin’s and Cruz’s) have done! Now, it is up to him to make our Sukkot plans succeed. It is clear that nothing I do will force success. I need him to show up to make the plans we create work. If he chooses to not bless our plans, what can I say? Perhaps I will just have to simply save my craving for understanding for a coffee date with the King someday.
10) I am a Melchizedek priest. And Melchizedek priests are to make offerings directly to YHVH for myself, not for others. To elaborate on this: the curtain is ripped, people! We do not have a Levitical priesthood anymore making sacrifices for us. We’d like to just sit in the pew (turn on the TV or tune into the live web stream) and listen to the guy up front. That is a Levitical throw-back because it is only the guy on stage who is making a sacrifice to YHVH! It was his time he put into preparing his sermon, not yours. It was his energy he spent to deliver the message, not yours. As Melchizedek priests we are not to simply sit in the pew or click on the website and sit back. Now, I’m not suggesting that we never sit and listen to someone teach us something. There is a season for everything. And we believe strongly in the concept and process of LEARN.LIVE.TELL. But for heaven’s sake, if all we do is inhale a truth and never walk it out; if that is all you do week after week is tune into someone’s 5:00 Shabbat teaching and the rabbinical parsha teaching –– you are not operating as a royal priest! Each of us are now called, because of the work of Yahshua, to make offerings directly to the Melech Tzedek, YHVH. And there is absolutely no better way to make an offering to the King than to prepare his Feast! Preparing the Feast, inviting and planning his event is my offering to the King, as it should be yours. Royal priests are event planners! If you’ll notice, the priests were most busy in the temple during Feast days. Why should that be any different with us royal priests now? Of course, once a priest makes an offering to YHVH (that costs him/her something–a sacrifice), YHVH can do with it as he pleases. Perhaps he wants to blow it away with a wind storm (that has happened to us). Or perhaps he want to burn it up with fire. Perhaps he wants it all to himself. Perhaps he wants to share it with the poor and passersby. Whatever the case, as an offering, it is his problem as to what to do with it. If he wants to take all our money, time and energy we have spent on creating a really beautiful Sukkot and he wants to send us no campers, then so be it! That is his problem. And of course, my broken heart and spirit will also be his problem! Which leads me to number 11….)
11) I am positive that I am to “seek first his Kingdom and his right-doings” before taking care of myself. If I do that then all my needs will be met. He promises. And from experience, he does! It may not be as I dreamed of or the abundance I am created for, but the manna comes. Therefore, if we have given him all our resources for the Feast and he chooses not to bless us with registrations to pay for it and replace what we have spent, then it becomes his problem if we can not afford to celebrate any of his Fall Feasts with more than a quiet dinner of rice and beans on china and water in a pretty glass. If our offering is taken, but doesn’t feel blessed it will be a poor Feast for our two familys — and I have come to the conclusion that that is his problem.
OPEN TO WISDOM
In conclusion and that said, I am open to wisdom. But the above is what I know for sure. Taking all the above things into consideration, I have to ask myself: “If we panic now and pull out of the plan we have made regarding how we are going to celebrate Sukkot, is that a god-less action? Or is it the smart thing to do?”
It would be so easy to give up and have a pity party and try to console myself over all the time spent on a no-go. But haven’t I already made the gift / the offering to him by making these plans? If I say, “Well, the response isn’t in our favor so we are going to change plans.” Isn’t that coming from a position of making an offering to Israel instead of making an offering to YHVH? Let YHVH burn it up how he wants to. It’s my sacrifice to him. It’s his problem what happens. Perhaps he wants Israel to pay full price and doesn’t want anyone to get a deal that puts us out? I dunno…
That said, I have no idea where I am going to get $500 for our part of tomorrow’s down payment on the camp or the final $500 on Oct. 16, let alone the money needed for the program without a minimum of 30 registrations by tomorrow. The last time we went forward like this with another family––we lost their friendship. I do need wisdom. Perhaps I am still trying to find and hear Papa’s voice on this subject…. if I don’t have the money, I just plain don’t have the money for the offering …. 😦
I have a huge headache to boot.