Special Moments

I fingered impatiently with the folds of my dark green, flower-printed dress, looked at the interesting yellow lines criss-crossing the large room’s red carpet, and waited for the youth group to begin. I definitely was not the only one waiting. Many youth were waiting and talking all around the room, either standing or sitting like I was at white plastic tables. I had never seen that many youth in one place. As I sat with my sisters at our table and delightedly watched everyone around me, I wondered what special moments Yehovah might have in store for me there.

It was a hot June day in Florida. Outside the large window at the side of the room, palm fronds waved, reminding me of where I was and making me grateful that I was inside with the air conditioning. It was not only the first day of the Revive conference, but also the first day I had ever been able to go to a youth group.

“In case you didn’t know, we are now on Messianic Standard Time, so we are going to wait, as most of the people arrive fifteen minutes late,” said the youth teacher in his especially deep and booming voice that was a little intimidating to me. During those minutes of waiting, a girl entered the open double doors behind me and with a swift, graceful move, sat in the chair beside me. She had a sweet, youthful face, a smile both adventurous and shy, and a head covering decorated with a band of beads over her light brown hair. I gathered the courage to talk to her.

“You are Gabrielle?” I said, looking sideways at her name tag.

“Yes,” she answered quietly.

“I’m Faith,” I said. “It’s nice to meet you.” I introduced my sisters to her, but other than that we did not talk much.

Later, when the youth teacher mentioned Israel, Gabrielle said that she had lived in Israel for a year. I have a special place in my heart for Israel and had been learning Hebrew for years. As soon as the youth meeting was over, Gabrielle and I got to talk about it. We saw each other many times during the conference. When we left for our homes we exchanged contact information. We were able to continue that friendship that had started from the seemingly inconsequential act of picking a seat.

As our friendship grows deeper, I marvel at how the Father knew of both of us and decided that we ought to meet and be friends. Friendship is a great blessing, and truly life-changing. It is curious to see how something that special can come from something as simple as picking a seat. It makes me wonder what other people the Father wants to put in my path, and what seemingly trivial way He might use to make us meet. We can never know when we will encounter a “divine appointment,” but Yehovah does. It was not just coincidence that guided our steps that day in June, for “the steps of a righteous man are ordered by Yehovah” and “every good and every perfect gift is from above.”

Monty’s Story

A real-life salvation allegory

Hi, I’m Montana Crow, but you can call me Monty. At this moment I am on my owner’s lap dictating everything I want to tell you today. No one knows how long this moment shall last because I’ve been on this lap for about an hour while my owner does random things I don’t understand, and coos over how cute I am. I think I’ll want to go back outside to my domain soon.

Anyway, my story begin when (can you guess?) I was born to a feral cat living in the pine woods in the spring of 2017. My litter mates and I stayed with our mother until we were ready to go off on our own. We went our different ways into the wilds of the big wide woods. As I went through life, taking care of myself and hunting whatever game I could find, I began to realize how dangerous the woods were. Some of my litter mates were killed by coyotes (a common fate for feral cats), but Yehovah protected me for a special reason.

Thus I wandered in the world–hungry, vulnerable, and lacking love. One day I came to a house and smelled some wonderful, fishy food. Despite the tiger-like cat that prowled the grounds, I managed to make it to the food bowl and scarf a little of the strange, small nuggets of food.

Then I heard a jingle. Humans! I was terrified of what the huge, strong people might do to me. With a bolt of speed I dropped off the second-story porch and charged toward the woods–a place where I felt safe.

But I was so hungry. In the following weeks I continued to visit that food bowl when I came back from my various excursions in the wild. I would eat as much food as I could before the humans came. Then I would make my characteristic dash to the woods.

One day I decided not to run away when they came out. Instead I sat on the porch and made my scared noise, “Ger-e-ow!” I thought they would fight me or chase me because I had taken food from their cats. But no. Instead, they pet me and told me I was a good cat. I was still scared, and not sure if I should trust them.

I continued to visit them when I returned from my adventures. And they continued giving me pats. I was not sure why they wanted to give me love, as no one had loved me before, but I began to enjoy the pats and the visits to their house.

Then one night I got into a terrible fight. (I won’t go into the details, as my owner doesn’t know the details, and I’d rather keep them private.) I trudged back to the house, wondering what they would think of me now that I was oozy-eyed and weak.

They welcomed me with love, giving me a blanket, food, and whatever else I needed. I eagerly responded to their love. As I recovered, I came to see them every night. They picked me up, told me I was sweet, and showed me off to those they knew.

As the months and weeks went by, the wonderful cycle of them loving me and me loving back continued. Now I can almost always be found on their back porch, which is now my back porch. They have adopted me as their own cat. They continue to pet me, feed me, and take care of my medical needs. No longer do I have to fend for myself in the dangers of the woods. I have a new life. I am now a domesticated cat that knows how to give and receive love.

I love how my owners bring me inside to cuddle on their laps, but my owners insist that I’ll never know quite how much they love me or how much their hearts melt when I purr or look at them with my so-called “adorable spark-yellow eyes.” When I bat or nip them, they don’t love me any less. They just teach me to mend my ways by sending me back to the cold outdoors. I suppose they’re right–that I’ll never know quite how much they love me–as they are humans and have a level of consciousness and feeling that is above a cat’s. But I certainly do know that I am loved. And here, with my owners, is where I want to be for the rest of my life.

My Redeemer

I don’t know why
But I’m sure You do
I don’t know how
But You’ll see me through
I don’t know when
But You will guide me
I don’t know what
But one day I’ll see

Yet I do know
That You’ll light my way
Yet I do know
You’re with me each day
Yet I do know
That You’re always true
Yet I do know
My hope is in You

You are the One
Who shields me from pain
You are the One
Who knows me by name
You are the One
Who lives inside me
You are the One
Who always shall be

I know that You
Have saved me from death
I know that You
Give me all my breath
I know that You
Can wash away fear
I know that You
Are always so near

With You I can go
And tell of Your Son
With You I can go
Help Your kingdom come
With You I can stand
Through trial and war
With You I can do
What You made me for

Through You I’m victor
In weakness I’m strong
Through You I’m cheerful
For You are my song
Through you I am blessed
I’m peaceful; I’m free
Through You I am light
For You shine in me

In You I can run
And jump over walls
In You I can trust
You, Yah , hear my calls
In You I can stand
And proudly proclaim
“My Redeemer lives,
And blessed be His Name.”

My Grace is Sufficient For Thee

Right now I feel just fine
But what if shadows fall?
What if the darkness deepens
And I can’t see at all?

Right now all things are well
But what if I meet grief?
What if my life brings sorrows
And I long for relief?

Then, Yah, You’d light my path
Then I would trust in You
Then You would care for me
Then You would see me through

Then I would truly learn
What leaning on You means
I’d truly get to say
“Yehovah my soul leads”

You’d lead me to Your pastures
To Your still waters sweet
You will never forsake me
Whatever grief I meet

You would restore me being
You’d guide me to Your path
For comfort’s not from pleasure
But from Your rod and staff

I would truly love You
And cling with all I’ve got
You’d truly be my hope
My portion and my lot

Then I would see each day
That Your great love boundless
Is why I’m not consumed
Great is Your faithfulness!

You are my Good Shepherd
With You I will not fear
The Vale of the Shadow of Death
Is harmless when You’re near

Oh Yah, You truly love me
And if I counter pain
Although it won’t be easy
You’ll use it for my gain

Your power shows in weakness
In pain Your will You do
So in the deepest darkness
Please help me shine for You!

Whatever trial comes
Your love will cover me
Then I’d truly know
“My grace is sufficient for thee”

Music

I think it is about time that I spend a moment on another passion of mine, one even stronger than my passion for writing: music. My attraction to music has been evident ever since I was little. I can remember as a child how much I enjoyed it when Dad or Mom would turn on a song. When my two older sisters Joy and Amy Grace would play the piano, I would listen with keen interest and wonder how they always knew, usually without looking at a music book, how to play so beautifully.

My sister Joy started giving me piano lessons when I was ten. She was a patient, excellent teacher and nurtured my interest in music. Through many hard hours of practice, joy and tears, my love for music slowly unfurled its vibrant colors. Now, five years later, it is stronger than ever. Pressing the pedal, hitting the keys, and hearing the wonderful orchestra of frequencies known as a song all give me a special thrill. Now I, just like my sisters, can play many songs without looking at a music book. In fact, now I think can I play much better without one.

Determined little me working on a song not long after I’d first started lessons

Then, a few months ago, I realized how much I enjoyed hearing the strains of the violin. When I borrowed my sister-in-law’s violin, I was captured by its beautiful sound. There was no stopping my passion now. Thus my mom took me to the Howard Core wholesale operation near us and I bought my prized violin. Her name is Zimrah, which is the Hebrew word for music. Few words can accurately express my joy to have her. My Mom quickly arranged for me to take lessons. My new teacher has been fabulous. At our first lesson she taught me everything about the violin: the fingerboard, where you press down on the strings; the end button, a small black button at the bottom of the violin; the tail piece, the piece where the strings go into the violin; the nut, a small piece at the top of the fingerboard; the scroll, where the tuning pegs are attached; and even the purfling, the small lines edging the violin. She even explained that the top of the violin is made of pine or spruce and that the bottom is made of strong maple. She is obviously a very thorough teacher and pushes straight for perfection. I am a perfectionist, so I enjoy her very much. Lessons have been such a delight, as have practices. The joy from bowing, the pleased feeling from holding my hands correctly, and the brilliant, vibrating sounds from the violin make me excited to learn more.

My very loved violin, Zimrah

I also enjoy listening to music. My favorite songs are Hebrew songs, especially those in KSM Israel’s “Praise to Our God 4” and “Praise to our God 5.” They are so beautiful. Unlike most of the Hebrew songs that I have heard all my life, these albums are performed live in concert by believers in Yeshua Messiah. As for English songs, I enjoy some contemporary and older Christian tunes. And I love old hymns, including “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” “He Brought Me Out,” “We’re Marching to Zion,” and any hymns by Fanny Crosby. I also love the newer hymns, “Come, Behold the Wondrous Mystery” and “In Christ Alone.” Basically, I love any meaningful song about Yehovah and Yeshua.

Music is to me like an exhibition of what life is–happy notes, sad notes, vibrancy, tremors, and beauty. I say that I am not an extrovert or an introvert, but a “musicovert.” Yes, I made that word up. But it is true; I can handle being around people for a long time or being alone for a long time if I have music. Also, music helps me commune with my Father above. Not much can touch my heart the way music does, and I can’t wait for the day when I will sing unending songs of praise with all the redeemed in heaven.

“My heart is steadfast, Elohim. I will sing and make music , even my honor. Awake the lute and harp! I awake dawn. I thank you among the peoples, Yehovah. I will make music to you among the nations. For great above the heavens is Your compassion and as far as the clouds is Your truth.”
~Psalm 108: 1-4

The Loving Father

Oh, a child will not fear
When he knows his Father’s near
If that child ever cries
Father hurries to his side

When the child learns to stand
Father takes him by the hand
Father teaches him to walk
How to jump, to wait, to talk

The young one knows not where he’ll go
But he’s sure his Father knows
The Father is the one, you see
The child trusts implicitly

Father tells him where to go
Tells him all that he should know
He hears His child when he calls
Picks him up whenever he falls

When the child asks for fish
Father gives him what’s his wish
The Father will give him good gifts
He’d not give him stones or sticks

He makes sure his child knows
That he loves him wherever he goes
And though the Father disciplines
He’s eager to forgive all sins

Yah is our Heavenly Father
With love more than any other
Yah’s children are all those, you see
Who trust in Him implicitly

***************
“I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms…” –Hosea 11:3

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of Elohim, to those believing in His name.” –John 1: 12

“Behold what great love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of Elohim!…” –1 John 3:1

The Servant King

Psst…this is free verse; don’t expect it to rhyme.

He loved us even when we forsook Him
The King of Kings became lower than all
He gave up His glory for flesh
So we can give up our flesh for glory

He the One Righteous died for all wrong
He became cursed so we could be blessed
He gave up His Spirit so that we could receive Him
And by His stripes we all are healed

Because mankind fell, He was raised on the cross
He became sin so we could be pure
He became weak so we could be strong
He came from the Father so we could go to Him

He took our troubles so we could have peace
He knew our grief so we could have joy
He carried our burdens upon that cross
So we could lay all our burdens down

He brought us from darkness into light
From slavery to blessed freedom
Once without mercy, now having mercy
Not His people, now the people of Yah

He gives wisdom to the fools
He takes our sorrow, gives us joy
Our struggles He will make a victory
And gives us beauty for our dust

We were once orphans, now his children
Once full of grief, now ever rejoicing
Once without hope, without salvation
Now we have hope in Yeshua, our Savior

Once far from Father, but now very close
Once sinful, but now He’s our righteousness
When we die with Him, then we live
He died for me, now I live for Him

***************
-Scripture References-

Isaiah 53:4+5; 61:3
Jeremiah 33:16
Hosea 1:6+10; 2:1
John 3:14; 19:30
Romans 6:6+7
2 Corinthians 6:10
Galatians 3:13
Ephesians 2: 12, 13, 17, 18+22
1 Peter 2:9
1 John 4:10
Revelation 19:16

The Song of Courage

I’m marching into battle
But I am not afraid
I know I have to do this
And for this I was made

I’ll march through any forest
To deserts I will go
Yah’s given me a calling
That I surely know

I’ll fight against the enemy
No foe will hold me down
I’ll stand upon my watch post
I’ll bravely hold my ground

Yehovah is my stronghold
He trains my hands for war
Why should I fear the battle?
It’s what He made me for

Why should I ever fear
The taunting enemy?
Yah who made the heavens
His Spirit lives in me!

A thousand fall at my right
Ten thousand at my left
But it will not come near me
Yehovah’s my strong cleft

Therefore I will not fear
Though mountains crumble down
Though ocean waves keep swelling
Yah is my joy and crown

The One who made the blind see
Has given me His Light
The One who made the lame walk
Has sent me to this fight

The world may cry in fear
But no, I say, not I
Yah is watching o’er me
The apple of His eye

Yah’s my help and shield
He saves me from Sheol
So forward, upward, onward
I’m marching to the goal

*************
What then shall we say to these things? If Elohim is for us, who shall stand against us? ~Romans 8:31

-Scripture References-

Deuteronomy 32:10
Psalm 18:34, 33:20, 46:1-3, 91:7+9

Oh, How I Love Vitality!

Oh, how I love vitality!
The fresh green leaves upon a tree

Tiny little sprouts of green
Light blue flowers, barely seen

A promising, small, tender shoot
Little hairs upon a root

The sound of gladly clapping leaves
As the breeze blows through the trees

The bright and colorful days of spring
The birds that from their perches sing

A darling little baby’s cry
Birds that sail the great blue sky

The sun rising in the morn
A bright pink rose, just newly born

Blossoms shining white or pink
The brush of flush upon a cheek

A mewing cat, a wagging dog
A swift squirrel rushing to a log

A tiny newborn after birth
A pretty smile, laughs of mirth

Little girls with their hair all done
Little boys just having fun

A vibrant, joyful, echoing song
The feeling as you run along

A mind working to find a sum
The hope inside of things to come

The waves ascending from the sea
Oh, how I love vitality!

The Greatest Story

I can write a poem or I can fill a page
With a fictional story that I hope will engage
Your interest or your liking, but I can surely never
Make a fiction tale or find a true tale that is better

Than the most amazing tale that man has ever heard
The astounding, great Good News, the true unchanging Word
That in the beginning there was Yah, His Son and Spirit too
They made all things we see around–the birds, the trees, and you

He made us and He loved us, although He knew we’d fall
He knew we would not listen and would not obey His call
So disobey we humans did, He banished us away
From His marvelous garden, and we went our sinful way

But Yehovah still did love us even after we’d gone astray
He sent His prophets and His Word to guide us in the way
He saved us from His captors and He fed us with His bread
But we would always scorn Him after we had been fed

So we continued sinning but Yah’s plan was far from done
Despite our wicked, adulterous deeds He sent His only Son
To save and free from hell and death all those who trust in Him
To bring from darkness to the light, and deliver us from sin

He’s the king; He made us all; He died upon that tree
For those dead, for those alive, and for those yet to be
He gave His life so we can be joined one with Yah again
To open up the gates of life so we can enter in

To go back to the garden we lost, to give Him praise and love
To obey His Words so He can bless us from above
How can I tell how much He’s helped me? He’s saved me; I’m His own
How can I list all of His blessings? He’s going to bring me home

How can I make a better story? What’s more amazing than this?
How could I live without my Savior? He’s my strength, my bliss
How can I tell what all He’s done or sing all of His praise?
His love’s beyond my mortal mind; I’ll praise Him all my days