This Can’t Be It

That-s-all-folks“Fear is the parent of cruelty.”

-James Anthony Froude

I’ve tried to be fearless in pursuit of God and chronicling my journey along the way. I can pretty much put up with name calling and people disagreeing with me. What I can’t tolerate is being the source of pain for other human beings, and yet no matter what I do or say, I end up hurting someone. I don’t think you can really blog in the religious space without stepping on toes, but we were commanded to love one another, not to step on each other’s toes.

Far from pronouncing judgment and condemnation and trying to constantly correct others, Yeshua taught his disciples to be peacemakers, merciful, meek, humble, patient, and longsuffering, even under persecution (Matthew 5:1-10). Rather than boasting about being right, we should seek to do what is right.

-Boaz Michael
“Becoming a Shaliach,” pg 95
Tent of David: Healing the Vision of the Messianic Gentile

I’ve come that close to shutting down this blog on more than one occasion over the differences between being right and doing right, but never closer than I have with today’s “meditation.” I had a email “conversation” with a friend who both (without his realizing it) triggered the desire to close up shop and then encouraged me to keep on going. I won’t go into the details, but all kinds of misunderstandings can happen when we rely on the Internet for communication. I’m thankful that God is patient and that He gave me the time to reconsider my original course of action.

The image at the top of this missive was the one I originally selected and I decided to keep it because one: I love Looney Toons, and two: as a reminder that the show must go on.

You are not required to complete the task, you are not free to withdraw from it … but be aware that the reward of the righteous will be given in the World to Come.

-Pirkei Avot 2:21

strengthSo the sages say I can’t give up, even when I want to, even when I don’t think I’m doing such a good job, even when any blog post I create can be sharply diverted from its course by someone commenting off topic. I guess like Bugs Bunny and company, as well as everyone in show business has traditionally said (and as I said above), “the show must go on.”

But as I wrote yesterday, I need to spend a lot of time at the feet of my Master, learning, studying, meditating, and pondering on his words and his teachings. If what I do isn’t about serving God and showing love, then it’s not worth it at all. I need you, my readers, to understand that. I think a lot of you do, but there’s always the potential for the more “controversial issues” in the religious blogosphere to get in the way, especially through comments and conversation.

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7:5 (NASB)

Even when I express frustration at what happens at church sometimes, I am absolutely not placing myself above the church or criticizing other human beings in the church. We’re all running madly along the edge of a razor blade anyway, desperate to not fall one way or the other and be sliced to ribbons on the blade of our own folly.

For man is born for trouble, As sparks fly upward.

Job 5:7 (NASB)

This much is true, but I’m reminded that in some corners of Judaism, the Divine in each of us can be seen as “sparks” and these “sparks” always desire to fly upward to rejoin their Source, the Holy One of Israel. This same train of thought states that we are all put into this life to search for very specific “sparks,” the shards of Divinity “with our name on them,” so to speak. It is our task to uncover these sparks to send them upward again. The world is in disguise, covered with mud, and blood, and worse, but that’s not how it was created and that’s not how it’s going to end up. Beneath the disguise is something beautiful. Beneath the masks of ugly, base humanity we wear, we are beautiful people made in God’s image. All we need to do is learn how to uncover the world and ourselves to see the beauty that God built into Creation and into us.

bugs-bunnyIf that is my mission, then as you can see, I have little time to focus on “negativity.” If I’m tempted to take pot shots at someone else or some organization, I should take the Master’s rather sarcastic words from Matthew 7:5 to heart.

The blog post I originally intended for today was difficult to write and I couldn’t think of a single portion of scripture that seemed to fit. After some reflection and no small amount of influence from the Holy Spirit, this “replacement” for today’s “morning meditation” is more in touch with who I believe I am in Messiah.

It’s funny how something as simple as a childhood memory can remind you of what’s really important. Thanks, Chuck Jones. You’ll never know how much of a hero you are, and through your artwork, humor, and a scrappy little “wascally wabbit,” how much you showed me that being down doesn’t mean being out. On with the show, this is it.

Overture, curtains, lights
This is it, you’ll hit the heights

Tonight what heights we’ll hit
On with the show this is it

Peace.

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13 thoughts on “This Can’t Be It”

  1. Good morning James. Let me just tell you something that I wanted to tell you before, but didn’t maybe because it was not the right time. I admire you because you are using a gift that HaShem has given you by having this blog. You are a very good and talented writer. And also, you happen to make time to write. And best of all, you write from your inner soul. That is great. Not so many people use their gifts as you do. Thanks brother.

  2. James, just wanted to agree with everything ‘alfredo’ has just said above. If I may, I just wanted to add a few words. I feel very blessed to read your blogs. They wake up things in me that I wish I could say but aren’t as gifted to say them as you are. You’re a voice for many of us out there. 🙂

  3. Thanks, Alfredo and Vincent. I can’t say that I’ll end up doing this forever, but it seems I’m intended to keep on doing it for now. We’ll see which way God has me going as time progresses.

  4. James, your blogs have been of great interest to me. I frequently refer selected ones to our Messianic Jewish Rabbi (now retired) who, at the age of 80 after many years of low key struggles with the issues of the Church’s relationship to Messianic Judaism, feels you have often ‘hit the nail on the head!’ We would feel disappointed if you discontinued writing. I personally have purchased books you have commented on but because I AM NOT a ‘theologian’ per sec have not entered in to the fray! Do keep up the good work…this may be your ministry OR Not…in any case, I am blessed to read your blog and find myself thinking in more depth on the Topics.

  5. Thanks, Pat. Tell your retired Messianic Jewish Rabbi that I’m honored he reads some of my blog posts and is complementary.

  6. Don’t give up, my friend! I don’t sense a spirit of meanness in your writing. You aren’t out to attack anyone. If people take what you write personally…then maybe that’s a sign that they have something that they need to work on. Just keep pecking at that keyboard. Keep being obedience to the Spirit’s leading.

  7. I just joined this community this morning. I was called into a time of fasting and prayer to get clarification and to my surprise (and not YHVH’s) to be called upon for the benefits of others. This is one of of the most well-written blogs I’ve read, and the comments/replies are thoughtful, respectful and informative. At the crux of our faith is our Creator and the whole counsel of His Word, including the Torah and the new covenant we have in Yeshua.

    To be a little more candid, one of the reasons I’m fasting is due in fact to the desire to give up on what I’ve been assigned to do. Serving the Almighty truly acquaints one with the sufferings of Yeshua. I am reminded what He said to us, that the world hated Him, and it will hate us; but we are to persevere, pressing towards the high mark of our calling.

    We need to pray for one another, because the spiritual warfare is real, and starts with the private warfare we have within ourselves first, let alone as we launch out into “deep waters.” Whether in the deep water, or the shallow pools, YHVH has promised to be with us.

    To the Beloved, I pray for daily – which is both for Isra’el and the Gentiles who have been grafted into the Olive Branch.

    May the Holy Spirit who was sent to teach us all things, continue to encourage each of us so that we will complete our race, and run it with endurance through the strength we have access to in Yeshua.

    Shalom & Blessings.
    \

  8. Greetings Py. When you say you recently joined this community, you mean the private Messianic Judaism group in Google+. You probably found this or another one of my blog post linked there. I just wanted to clarify that point for anyone else reading your comment.

    Serving God is certainly challenging. I’m always reminded in reading the letters of Paul how much he sacrificed for his faith, but then again, his life was his faith. Anything else, even his being a Pharisee, even his being Jewish, paled by comparison (not that either of those aspects of his identity weren’t important, though).

    I agree we should pray for each other and pray for ourselves, that God is merciful, that God gives us strength to obey Him and to lead Holy lives, that God will not bring us into strong testing, that He will deliver us from evil circumstances.

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m feeling better than when I wrote this missive, but I appreciate your encouragement. Hopefully, something I’ve written encourages you.

    Peace.

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