A soapy story of encouragement

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I had coffee with a friend and we had the most amazing time of fellowship. I love it when you visit with someone and you leave with your inner-man refreshed and refuelled. We said our goodbyes and as I was getting out of the car she reached into her bag and fished out a bar of soap. She apologised that she had not wrapped it and whispered, “I am not sure why I am giving this to you, but I know there is a reason.” I took the naked bar of soap feeling its smooth surfaces and breathed in the fragrance. I wondered why soap, why that colour, why a rectangular bar of soap, why that fragrance….I may have sniffed myself too to check that it was not a personal hygiene gift that I was mistaking for prophetic.

The soap was placed on my shelf in the walk-in wardrobe. I would glance at it in the morning and evening, I never prayed about it. It just sat there being a rectangular piece of soap with a soft sandalwood fragrance, cream in colour with little streaks of brown. Just soap. Just there. Just being, until I was cleaning the shower and realised that I needed to replace the soap. We had used the bar of soap that was there and to maintain our personal hygiene I needed to replace that bar with a new one. On my way passed the shelf to the laundry I saw the soap, just sitting there. I picked it up and thought that it may be good to use this soap, after all that is what it is soap.

That evening I picked up the unassuming bar of soap. A soap that I had been given by a dear friend. I know that this friend never just gives gifts and what she gives is always prayed over. As I was using the bar I was aware that it was hard to use, the edges were sharp, it was not easy to hold as it was new, unused and a little hard. The fragrance was clean and fresh and it did what soap does. It has been a week now and the soap has softened edges, the little brown streaks that were visible have deepened to reveal rich orangery-gold  layers within the soap, it is so beautiful. The fragrance is stronger now that the soap has been used. It is easier to hold and use, it no longer does what soap does. This soap reminds me that our gifts are like a bar of soap. They are given to us and hold exceeding potential that need to be used, to reveal the fragrance and to cleanse.

If I had left the soap on the shelf, it would still just be a rectangular bar of soap with faint brown lines, hard edges and a faint fragrance. In the hands of the owner this soap is used, softened by the water (Living Water) to refresh, fragrant and cleanse. To reveal a deeper beauty that was hidden before. What can you be in the hands of the Master? What waters does He take you through to reveal that inner beauty by removing the outer layers? How does He soften you and form you from a sharp edged-being into a shape moulded by His hand? What beauty lies within your inner being? What fragrance is revealed by the cleansing of Yeshua’s blood?

You see, my friend had no idea what she was giving me, a bar of naked soap. The naked truth. Something that has to be used, not just left. The other lesson here is that we should listen carefully when we are asked to hand things to our brothers and sisters in Christ. It may not make any sense to you, but when He reveals to the receiver the secret of the gift then there is a renewing of mind, and growth in the inner being. To top this off another friend sent me Ephesians 4:23 this morning, just in case I had doubted that I need to be like a bar of soap and avail myself to the Master so that I can be all He has planned for me to be.

Amen

 

The sky is always blue and the sun always shines.

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I have been considering the seasons and weather forecasts of late. We attach weather patterns to seasons yet the weather forecast is not always correct, regardless of the season. I am not a scientist nor a well-read meteorologist, I see clouds and guess what may occur. In Queensland, Australia, if the clouds are a denim green you get your car undercover and make sure that things in the backyard are tied down because hail is about to fall. As I am typing the sky is a very dark grey and we are experiencing torrential rain. BUT…behind the clouds, regardless of the colour, there is a blue sky and the sun is shining.

As a family we have just been through a very difficult time, but not once did we doubt that YHWH has all things in His hand, that He has a sovereign plan and that His will is perfect. We are not out of the woods yet, but His peace has surpassed our human understanding and we rest knowing that He has the situation in His hands. As a dear pastor friend of ours said, “God’s got this”.  You see rain is necessary for growth and you can’t have rain without grey clouds that move over the blue sky and sunshine. They don’t block the sunshine out, if they did we would be in pitch black darkness, but they filter the light. Psalm 65 is so beautiful and it speaks of rain and blessings.

Verse 9: You have visited the earth and watered it, You greatly enriched it; the river of Elohim is filled with water (streams of living water).

This verse alone made me remember that too often we focus on physical weather and the forecast reports often determine what plans we make or cancel. Nobody would have seen the rain clouds this morning and heard the forecast for 95% chance of rain, yet still driven to spend the day at the beach. Do storms in life determine our spiritual walk? When the clouds appear and the torrential rains come do we hide and cower, or do we remember that the sky is blue and the Son is shining in all His glory? I am not articulating this very well. Whatever the circumstances, YHWH is always the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is lovingly-committed to His chosen ones and He does not slumber nor sleep. Yeshua, the Bridegroom, is preparing a place for His bride. He is glorious and King, shining like a bright morning star, He was and is and is to come. When the chips are down do we remember this? Are we where we should be, under His protection and in His presence?  The sky is always blue and the sun always shines, even when we can’t see the blue or feel the warmth of the sun.

I have a CD from Pastor Graham Cooke and he reminds us that we should not allow our circumstances to determine when we call on YHWH. Many times we turn and call on His  intervention when the storms are facing us, however we should continually wait upon Him and continually seek His intervention (guidance) and blessings on both warm, blue sky days and overcast days. If we are continually seeking His will and continually being enriched by His visitation and watering (Ps 65:9) then we will find that we rejoice on rainy days and during stormy times because we experience His power at work, we stand in awe and fear at His majesty and loving-commitment to those He has chosen to bring near to dwell in His courts (Psalm 65:4).

Psalm 65: 4 “Blessed is the one You choose, and bring near to DWELL in Your courts. We are satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your set-apart dwelling.

5: By AWESOME deeds in righteousness You answer us, O, Elohim of our deliverance, the Trust of all the ends of the earth and the distant seas.

I would encourage you today to remember that we serve an omnipotent and omnipresent Elohim, Who was and is and is to come (Rev 11:17). We serve a lovingly-committed Father, Who desires to be part of our sunshine days and our stormy nights. All He asks if for us to love Him above all and to obey Him (John 14:23), come rain or shine.

Take a minute and read Psalm 65, find the hidden treasures (promises) in the abundance of His provision.

Father, YHWH, I thank you that you never ever leave us. Your majesty and glory are always there, even when we can’t feel or see Your plan we know that it is a plan for good and not for evil. You do favour us and bless us, cause Your face to shine upon us. For Your way is to be known on earth. Your deliverance among all nations. I pray that people will see You and praise You, sing your praise. That You would increase our praise and worship and that we would fear You and honour You. (Psalm 67)

Amen

 

 

Fragrance

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I awoke this morning with the word fragrance on my mind. Fragrance is mentioned in the Bible with reference to oils and anointing. In Exodus 30 we find a recipe for mixing of a sacred oil that is not to be used for any other purpose than for consecrating the altar. In Revelations 5:8 we read, “And when He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the set-apart ones.”

If our prayers are incense then this would imply that our prayers are sweet smelling. This made me ponder if my prayers were sweet smelling, how could they be? Are my prayers lists of complaints and requests to fix things that are not working in my benefit? Do I groan and moan OR are my prayers petitions with thanksgiving? Do I worship Him Who sits on the throne and does my heart (that is what YHWH looks at) emit a fragrance that edifies Yeshua my bridegroom?

We read in Esther that in preparation for her wedding she spent six months preparing with myrrh and six months preparing with fragrant spices and oils. This was not synthetic perfume, but essential oils that would have seeped into her pores and she would have left a scent behind when she entered and exited a room. People would know she had been there because her fragrance would linger. I started to ponder, what fragrance do I leave behind? When we enter a room do we cause people to choke because we give off a toxic fragrance? Or do we walk into a room as the bride of Yeshua, with a fragrance that is unmistakably that of a bride preparing for the return of her Bridegroom? A spiritual fragrance from trimming our lamp, least we be caught sleeping when He returns.

I did a little bit of Googling and came across a website, that gave a good background into the use of perfume or fragrance in Biblical times. It reminded me that essential oils were expensive and used to mask odours during gatherings,for obvious reasons. (http://www.kubik.org/health/perfumes.htm). The article brought up the development of fragrance and the synthetic additions used to afford cheaper fragrances, and allow fragrances to hold their aroma longer. Here I pondered again…..

Some of us use perfume or aftershave to make ourselves smell good. We cover our natural smell with synthetic fragrance. How do we use synthetic, man-made doctrines and followings that cover the Truth, the true essential oils and fragrances? In addition, how many times do I leave a synthetic fragrance when I leave a room? Do I know what the Truth is, or am I unable to sense the Truth because I have become accustomed to synthetic faith? These are questions I asked myself, you may not need to ask them, however they may be applicable to loved ones you are lifting in prayer.

I have a very dear friend and she has shared her knowledge in essential oils with me, she is an example of a fragrant bride of Christ. She fills the room with a fragrance of acceptance, she never judges people, but rather actions. When she leaves a room she leaves a sense of peace, fellowship and love for her Bridegroom behind. She encourages and upholds. This fragrance is not from essential oils, it is a spiritual fragrance and being in her company is always so special because she oozes a love for Yeshua that is tangible, yet she will say in humility that she does not realise this. For guys this may be too warm and fuzzy…sorry.

Maybe a male version would be that person that encourages you by being loyal, honest and supportive. Someone that you can be yourself with, without fearing condemnation, competition or put downs. It does not matter, we are all called to be the body of Yeshua, the bride. We are all called to trim our lamps, gather oil and prepare for the return of Elohim. If we are in this state of preparation then surely we get oil on our hands, the fragrance of what we are busy with lingers in our hair and skin and permeates our houses. I recall my mum baking bread and making soup on a cold day. The whole house smelt so warm and inviting, when I gave Mum a kiss I could smell that aroma of baked bread in her hair…that is what I am getting at. If we are sitting in His presence, soaking in His word, breaking bread, filled with the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth, and fearfully and prayerfully using oils to set ourselves apart – then surely we should have a Heavenly, Christ-like fragrance as a bride preparing for her Bridegroom’s return.

YHWH, I thank You that You look upon the heart. I pray that as Your bride prepares herself for the return of Yeshua that we will be His fragrance to the world. That this fragrance will draw the lost to You, will bring esteem and honour to Your name. Amen

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

st. Francis of Assisi – 13th century

 

 

 

 

Which lens do you use?

MorningDevotionsDuring the process of formulating a document that outlines the proposed research during my doctoral research, I was to select a theoretical framework that would guide my research. This may sound daunting, it was at first, but what it means is that you choose an existing theory and use this theory as a lens through which you view your research. Much like choosing a pair of sunglasses or reading glasses so that you may observe things with more clarity. I began pondering how I view the world. What theory do I use when I look at others?

Our minds are amazing organs and I would often refer to them as our filing cabinets when teaching primary school students how to draw inferences from a text reference. This filing system is called a schema and is a collection of experiences and perspectives that gained over a lifespan. These are influenced by your culture, traditions, family background, schooling and influences in your life. When you experience something new your mind goes to the schema and locates an existing experience and this often guides your perspective on the event or experience. Much like using an existing theory to guide your observations during research.

This brought me to the realisation that I need to dig deeper into the Word and ask YHWH to give me wisdom, knowledge and understanding so that I may use this to guide my observations. Very often my knee jerk reaction is misplaced defence, guided by prior experiences and motivated by defensive reactions. If however I look at a situation through a Biblical lens then the reaction will be different. Strange how we can feel guilty about something, like not phoning someone when you had intended to do so, you got caught up and unable to make the call. You send a text message instead and receive a rather blunt answer…what is your knee jerk reaction? I allow my mind to become flooded with guilty thoughts and think the person is angry at me…how silly. If I was to view this through a different lens then I may consider that the person is also busy, did not have time to send me a soft and fuzzy text – after all did time not bulldoze my day? The knee jerk reaction should be to whisper a small love prayer for this person and arrange to catch up. This is a simple example, but how often do we let our schema decide our reaction and not the Comforter and Councillor that Yeshua promised in John 16:7-11.

There is a beautiful song, “Open the eyes of my heart”. If YHWH opens the eyes of our heart then we will have dove eyes (Song of Song 1:15). Doves are gentle birds and the dove that descended upon Yeshua when He was baptised by John was representative of the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth. So we need to pray that we will have dove eyes, eyes that are focused by the Spirit of Truth, that we look through the lens of love and Him who died for us, that we are guided by the Word of Truth, our theoretical framework for life, and not our human schema.

I pray that today you will see the beauty of His creation, see how He loves you and I pray that the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth will guide your vision and reactions. Amen

 

Not someone else’s shoes rather someone else’s perspective.

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I picked up the iPad and decided to read what I had blogged a few years ago. As I re-read some of the blogs my heart began to ache, I was overwhelmed with the desire to return to this time of my life where I walked so intimately with Him. I read the blog reminding us that YHWH IS now and He said “I am” not “I was”. As I read on I came to the blog titled, “You want me to do what??” and this resonated with me.

That overwhelming feeling I experienced when I read through the blogs was from the perspective of feeling guilty that I was not writing in my journal. I am currently writing a thesis and while I still spend intimate time at His feet, journal writing has somewhat been put on hold (until now).  I had to take off the guilty glasses (an analogy) and look at where I was then (recovering from cancer) and where I am now. I need to see things from a different perspective.  I have a friend, she is my sister in Christ and I love her dearly. She has gifts that make my head spin. She dreams and has visions that she is able to sketch and she sees things from such a different perspective. I often pray asking for visions and dreams too. The answer to my prayers was not what I expected. I write, I see things and write, I hear and write. The journey I am on with my studies involves writing…lots of writing.  I was discussing this desire to see visions with YHWH and my answer was a question, “Do you have visions in words or pictures? Which perspective do you understand better?” The answer is not hard for me…words. So I suppose this is it, what is your perspective? How do you see others, through which lens? You can see others and their situations from the lens of the world and this generally is from a condemnation or judgemental perspective. How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself through the lens of the world too making you discontent, critical or proud? When we see things through the lens of Yeshua, we have love, patience, kindness, forgiveness, the list goes on.

What has this to do with perspective? Well, there is a saying that you can only understand someone else’s experience if you walk a mile in their shoes. I don’t think that we can understand what someone else is going through, and I am not sure that we are supposed to understand either. It is a very one dimensional view to consider another human being’s experiences by standing in their shoes. Shoes are on the feet and very far from the heart. I would argue that to truly understand what someone else is going through we need to have their perspective, that is, understand their emotions, where they are with YHWH, comprehend their state of mind and then maybe we could start to experience what they are experiencing.

From a young child I have had a sight impairment which means that I have 20% vision in one of my eyes. When you have something like this you learn to judge distance with one eye, you learn from others that there is a third dimension that you have not seen because you have no depth perception. For you to close one eye and assume you understand what I see will never replicate my perception. I have adapted and have learnt how and where to position myself. I look at things and often wonder what it looks like for someone else. The point is, that instead of trying to view things from the perspective of others, should we not view all things from the perspective of YHWH? This includes ourselves! We are His creation, He desires to have a relationship, an intimate relationship with His children. What does He see when He looks at you? This can be switched around, how do you see Him? What relationship have you with the Father? Is is one of wonderment and awe?

When you are interested in something, you are able to spot things others may not see. I could see a Rainbow Honey Eater in a tree that others couldn’t. This is not because they were blind, but I am into birds and always on the look out for them. Are you into Yeshua? Do you see the glory of YHWH around you? What perspective do you have when you look at the world?  I love animals and hate cruelty. Animals can be cruel as I have experienced with “my” one-eyed Magpie, Buddy, that I have fallen in love with. She comes around now and again, always under the protective cloak of dusk and I feed her raw mince. She reminds me that we serve a loving Father that cares for the broken-hearted and weak. Others may see Buddy, and shoo her away thinking she is a pesky Magpie, but she is gentle and generous, she has never chased another bird away from her bowl. It is all about perspective, how you look and what you see. Maybe I love her because we share a one-eyed vision of life 🙂

The truth is that YHWH’s ways are not our ways. He is sovereign and above all else. In faith you walk in obedience to Him knowing that He has plan for your life, a plan for good and not for evil (Jeremiah 29:11). Yeshua in obedience to the Father, paid a price that we can never truly comprehend. In paying this price we are able to approach YHWH. YHWH works all things for the good of those that love Him. In Christ we are strong – the opposite of this would be in myself I am weak. This knowledge is faith and the perspective from which we approach life, seeking His will, knowing His loving-commitment and that above all Father is good. It is that simple, not a complicated perspective at all.

 

John Bevere delivered a sermon called “Trembling at His Word”. Do we know to tremble in the presence of the King? YHWH is omnipotent so that would mean that you continually tremble. John Bevere explains this so well, it is the fear of the Lord. One of the seven Spirits before the throne of YHWH is the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. This fear is not from the perspective of a naughty child trembling as he/she approaches the wrath of an angry parent. No, it is from the perspective is from a redeemed child of the Most High Elohim. One of awe, respect, love and obedience in righteousness. A fear of not being in His will, a fear of not being in His presence, at His feet.

YHWH, I ask forgiveness for not consistently trembling at Your Word, for not always seeing myself as Your daughter. I ask that as Yeshua healed the eyes of the blind, You would heal my eyes. Give me eyes that see the truth, that see Your glory and wonderment.  I ask that You would open my eyes to Your Word, that You would fill me with Your Spirit so that my perspective is Your will. Amen

The Table

While running on my treadmill this morning I popped a Louie Giglio sermon from the series, “Label Maker” into the DVD. It is the second time I had watched/listened to his sermon on the label, “Heir”. I do not wish to write a review on the sermon as this is not what the blog is intended for.

What hit me in the heart was the reference Louie made to adoption. I often have thought of adoption as a reciprocal exchange. I give you a home, love and care and you love me because I have done these things. Before I proceed I  must clarify that I have never adopted, nor am I adopted as a human, so my perceptions are not rooted in deep understanding of what it entails or means to be adopted or to adopt. It is not my intent to speak from any experience, I have none. However, I know that we are spiritually adopted into the Kingdom of the Most High. Paul writes in Ephesians 1: 5, “..having previously ordained us to adoption as sons through Yeshua Messiah to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His desire,”

My perception of being adopted into the Kingdom was that I am saved, grateful and eternally thankful to YHWH for adopting me. I knew that the price of adoption was the Blood of Yeshua. Yeshua said, “For I am the way, the truth and the life. Nobody comes to the Father but through Me.”

We know all of this, but what struck my heart this morning was the table. Louie remarked on how people come to the adoption table and lay all they have on the table, their love, commitment, hopes, emotions and costs (finances). These people are willing to give all of this with no guarantee of reciprocation from the chosen one. It was this very thought, that YHWH before the beginning of the world adopted me, and you. He put it all down on the table/alter. He, Abba, made a loving-commitment, placed hope, emotions and an eternal price at the alter. The alter is the cross. This might not be a light bulb moment for anybody, but I realised that at the Table, the Love and the Hope of a Father was laid down for me, and you. Hope that I would reciprocate His unfailing love through obedience (John 14:23) and to fulfil His awesome plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11-14) and accepting His love as unconditional, eternal and insurmountable.

When last did you, just you…come to the Table and break bread and remember what Yeshua did for you? Thank Abba Father for adopting you, bringing you into safety and protection. Ask the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth to reveal the love YHWH holds for you.

Nothing more…just wanted to share this.

Tear your heart

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Joel 2: 12-13

“Yet even now,” declares YHWH, “turn to me with ALL your heart and with fasting and weeping and with mourning.”

“And TEAR your heart, NOT your clothing, and turn back to YHWH your Elohim. For He shows favour and is compassionate, patient and of great loving-commitment and He shall relent concerning the evil.”

There are two instructions that will be deliberated on:

1. Turn to YHWH with ALL your heart.

Let us contemplate the word ALL. All encompasses everything, not excluding part of or hiding something. If we take this a step further we can say we need to make sure our heart is undivided, unobstructed and uncomplicated. The prefix un- meaning not to be. To present all of your heart requires of you to be in a place where it is just yourself in the presence of YHWH – in His presence, at His feet.

To turn to YHWH implies that you are focused on Him, facing Him and presenting yourself before Father. You bring yourself before Him in fasting and weeping, which signifies repenting and recognition of sin. Your dependency on the forgiveness, mercy and grace of Elohim.

2. Tear your heart, not your clothing.

It was a Jewish custom to rip clothing as ah external demonstration of great sorrow, repentance or shame. However, the depth of the repentance, sorrow or shame was not known to man. YHWH does not look upon the outer of man, but He considers the heart to be of great importance. In 1 Samuel 16:7 we read, “But YHWH said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him, for not as man sees, for man looks at the eyes, but YHWH looks at the heart.”

This very statement engenders an urgency surrounding the internalising of repentance, making repentance a matter of the heart and conducted yourself and Elohim. It calls for an earnestness in true repentance. Tearing our clothing does not suffice and YHWH requires more than apologies and shedding tears. In verse 12, reference is made to coming with weeping and fasting, yet in verse 13 a third dimension is added – ‘And tear your heart..’ To come into His presence and truly repent, to break open hearts internally for eternity. To break down walls of pride, “I got this, I will work through this- not such a big deal.” Too often a sermon hits the mark and a prayer is mumbled, then we move on and hide the sin in our heart. Or we mumble our “I forgive you” but hide the wound deep in our heart. Then we are surprised when we become embittered, angry or depressed.

Tear your heart before YHWH. Break it open – let ALL of it be open before Elohim. Repent, dig out the hurt, wounds and sin, these things are not conducive to a healthy relationship with YHWH or others. The neglected issues that you considered dealt with, but were harbouring for a day of revenge (forgive but not forget) hinder a true relationship with YHWH. Hidden sin that comes to mind as guilty reminders are chinks in your armour and allows the lies of the enemy to stunt spiritual growth. The voice that whispers, “You’re not good enough, you use to do…” not only hampers your walk but will harbour disbelief and doubt in the love and promises that are yours as a child of a lovingly-committed God. The way to rid your heart of these things is to bring ALL of your heart and tear it before YHWH.

Once you have a broken heart, then Father is able to heal it. Redemption follows in verse 13, “…and turn back to YHWH your Elohim, for He shows favour and is compassionate, patient and of great loving-commitment and He shall relent (forgive) concerning the evil.”

Joel 2: 19 “And let YHWH answer and say to His people, “See I am sending you the grain and the new wine and the oil, and you shall be satisfied by the. And no longer do I make you a reproach among the nations.”

Joel 2: 28 “And after this it shall be that I pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men dream dreams, your young men see visions.”

If you have been feeling spiritually numb, that your prayers are bouncy balls and you are finding yourself discouraged, take three steps this morning.
Step 1: Come before Elohim with ALL your heart.
Step 2: Tear your heart, not your clothing – it is between the real you and YHWH – internal not external. An inner action out of love and dependency on Him. Not a reaction to a message or sermon.
Step 3: Turn back to your walk, your race and receive grain (Word), New wine (Yeshua, new life) and oil (anointing, sustenance for the race). Verse 28 refers to the pouring out of His Spirit on flesh. This is generously given, not dropped out or dribbled out but poured out.

Be encouraged, be alive and know that when you repent you are forgiven, cleansed and healed so that you can fulfil the plan He has for you, a plan of good and not evil, to give you expectancy and hope. A life that when aligned with His will brings glory to the Father through the Son.

Walking like a child.

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We walk every day, it is a way of moving from one area to another. Some find it hard to walk, others forget how to walk and run everywhere. There are some of us that unfortunately can’t walk and we rely on the walking of others to assist us. Walking, once learnt, is something that we do without thinking about it. We get up and head in a direction with purpose and walking is part of meeting a goal.

The purpose of our walk will determine the pace and speed, the urgency of our mission will govern the effort we apply to the walk. When we are late we rush and to make it on time, if we have minutes to spare we may amble and stop along the way. Even people that walk to keep fit vary their pace to ensure that they keep their heart rate up in the zone. Because we don’t think about walking I suspect we take a lot for granted and it has taken walking with my two year old granddaughter to make me realise how important walking is, not only physically but spiritually.

We all know that we are walking with our Lord Yeshua, that the Word of YHWH is a light to our path. But I question how we see this walk and how we relate physical walking with that of our spiritual walk. When we start off we are wobbly and unsteady on our feet, all young Christians wobbly a little until they find the foundational truth of faith and relationship with Yeshua. As a child we toddle along and then discover that if we move our feet faster we can run. Parents stand by our side and shudder at our lack of perception to space and depth – much like our Heavenly Father has done on numerous occassions when we have galloped off at our own speed without regard to His caution. We reach an age when we can move more independently, we still may walk off things or into things as we may be distracted and blinded – sound familiar to our spiritual walk as well?

Then the day arrives and you are a parent, you watch with much pride and anxiety as your precious child learns to master the skill of walking and negotiate life. Your walking turns into running as you run after them for a few years – as parents our prayer life picks up speed, I believe, when we have kids we do a lot more knee-time than me-time. It is not long and you walk them down the aisle allowing you to return to a walk again.

Grandchildren arrive and this time you learn to walk in a new way. There is a new depth and perspective to walking. By now you are more mature, you may think differently about things, ponder a little longer (that is if you can remember what you are pondering about). When grandchildren come along they teach you lessons you had forgotten about, they make you look at things you took for granted. Because we are not running after them trying to teach them everything – parents do that – it frees us up to learn with them and from them. Paul talks about being mature and not needing milk to feed from, I have been thinking about this and think that this is when I matured and realised I am mature – not perfect and not arrived, but maturing like good cheese.

My precious granddaughter has new eyes, she sees things for the first time, she is awed by what she discovers and gets excited by little things. Walks with her can’t be rushed because then we would miss the flowers, bugs, ants and seedpods. No, we need to linger and investigate while collecting information in wonderment at the creation around us. She stops at a lavender bush and asks, “Nanna Birdie, what is this one?” I take a leaf and rub it between my fingers and the scent of lavender fills the air. She becomes excited and filled with wonderment, she sniffs the leaf and declares, “That is awesome! I want some.” Right there, she wants some of what I have shown her. Do you get excited about things in your walk with Yeshua and ask for some? The sad thing is that for years I have walked passed that bush and not stopped to smell a leaf, not been blessed by the scent contained within the leaf – something I took for granted. How many blessings, gifts and promises do we pass in our reading of the Word, do we pass when we shrug off encouragement?

My precious one hears the sound of a bird, she will stop and look up. A feather in the grass is investigated, a butterfly followed with fascination and awe at the beauty and flight. She flaps her arms and will sing her own song about flying in the sky like a ‘butterby’. Where is your imagination? Do we hear and actually stop to listen or do we rush off? She has made me realise that taking a walk is an adventure, a discovery. It is a time to observe and listen, a time of wonderment and awe at the creation around her. She will often look up at me, touch my hands and say, “Nanna, fly like butterby with me.” She wants to dance with me, sing with me and I don’t care what the world thinks, I flap my arms and sing with her twirling and laughing while we are on our walk. Another truth about walking – our Father is a lovingly-committed Father and He gave His all for us. He loves us to dance and sing with Him, don’t box YHWH into a God of rules and regulations. Utimately He desires us to enjoy His creation, enjoy life and live exalting Him.

I am not suggesting we should stop every time we see a flower, but rather that we should check our spiritual walk. Is your walk with Elohim one that is rushed, more like a timed march to the sound of a worldly drum? Is it prattle time when we rush off lists of demands and not stop to listen or heed to His answers? Do we see the beauty of what He has prepared for us or is that lost in the hurry of the day?

We need to stoop (bow down) to discover treasures in the Word, we need to ask YHWH, “Father, what is this one?” We need to walk and become excited when we realise or discover something by exclaiming, “Wow, that is awesome, can I have some?” We need to become excited in our innermost being by the realisation that He loves more than words can tell. It is important that we find that undistracted, quiet place to amble with Him, to learn to stop and listen. To ask Him to dance with you, be a butterfly.

YHWH walked in the garden with Adam, this was a time of sharing and relationship building. Adam would have spoken to YHWH about the creation, asked what is this one? Walking with Yeshua implies just that, with – together not alone. When my granddaughter tugs at my hand and tells me she wants to go for a walk she will say, “Come Nanna, let’s go for a walk please. Come Nanna.” Sometimes she will even try and put on my shoes for me. She waits at the door and does not go off on her own, she will take my hand and walk with me. If she does wander ahead she stops and looks back to make sure I am there. When she feels unsafe or threatened she knows that I am there, that I will protect her at all costs – she is mine and I love her unconditionally. She doesn’t scream or panic, she runs up to me with her arms out stretched and tells me she needs a ‘cuggle’. When she is tired she will ask to be carried. This is the third and biggest lesson I have learnt about walking with my Father.

This darling little girl knows that I love her, she does not question my love she does not doubt my love, she just knows it! Oh that I would have the same faith in YHWH!!!!! Why don’t I consider the Father’s love in this way? Yeshua said that we should have the faith of a child and for years I have battled to understand what this may mean. For me the penny has dropped. It is accepting that unconditional love, it is knowing that we are precious to Him, that Yeshua has died for us. It is knowing that we are the chosen bride of Christ and the set-apart people. We need to walk like a child, in awe and wonderment at what has been planned for us, trusting without question that our Father will never leave us, will dance with us and share His knowledge with us when we ask for ‘some’.

I know that as my granddaughter grows up our walks will change and conversations will be different, but that is the process of maturing. I will never be too old to dance with her though, never too old to smell flowers together and never too old to love her. Besides I have a baby grandson that is going to want to discover the lavender bush – how exciting!!

YHWH, I thank you Father for grandchildren and ask that You will dance with me, that You will make my heart like a childs again so that I can be full of wonderment at the plans You have for me. That I may have a fresh realisation of how deep Your unconditional love is for me.heart

 

Gliding in His Love

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I was on a walk when I saw a Kite gliding on the thermals above the beach. It was a beautiful sight,it just hung in the air as if suspended by an invisible cord, no flapping or urgency – just hanging and letting the air current take it. I was excited at the picture and stood still so that I could admire the beauty of this magnificent bird. As began thanking Father for the blessing of sight and the blessing of being in that place at that moment, I felt a witnessing in my spirit of something much deeper.

This bird was being lifted and moved by the air beneath its wings, it was allowing the current to move it. There was not flapping, no fighting the movement, it was just hanging and allowing the stream to carry it higher and lower. I started to realise that this bird was not focussing on the air around it, but on prey below. I chuckle to myself and thought of how I flap and rush without focussing on my prayer. The bird was trusting in the air, it is designed to glide, designed to sense the currents and to trust them. I started thinking of my own faith. I was designed to serve, designed to worship and designed to walk in faith, be filled by the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth to give me direction. I was making connections between the Kite’s ability to hang and glide on the unseen air without fussing, to trust the air to keep it up and even when the current dropped it never flapped, just raised its tail feathers a little to catch more updraft – unbelievable. When I feel I am dropping I flap and scurry and panic… Was this a reflection on my trust? Who do I trust more – myself or the plan of a lovingly-committed Father?

I have blogged about love letters before, well here is a big one! My spirit was starting to get so excited, I realised that I needed to be like this magnificent bird. Undoubting faith in the Father’s hand holding us and guiding us. A renewing of mind and spirit so that there is a sensative to the gentle nudge of the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth. The knowledge of the Word that speaks of love and the voice of our beloved Yeshua as He calls and leads us on the narrow path. No flapping, focussing on our ‘pray’ and being lifted on wings of Eagles.

I was so excited I thought that I may forget all that my spirit was experiencing at that given moment. I whispered a prayer and asked YHWH to help me remember this feeling of utter awe. I looked down to find a round, red stone and picked it up excitedly. I started to study the stone and could make out the faint outline of an eagle. This is when the tears of sheer joy and amazement came. I suddenly realised that no matter where I was, no matter what I had done or not done – YHWH is almighty. YHWH is lovingly-committed to His chosen ones and speaks to us through His creation. When we are not flapping, but trusting in His love, His guidance and His plan for our lives we can glide and soar in the knowledge of His grace and mercy.

This is not a long blog, but one that I feel can’t be kept to myself. Remember that YHWH has a plan for each of us, no matter where we are, no matter what we have done…the Father stands and waits for us to come home. He has so much in store for us, He wants us to soar and glide in His Spirit.

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait on Elohim will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” We still need to walk, we will experience down drafts, but we will be in the presence of our Almighty Father, He will cover us in the shadow of His wings, His Spirit will lift us up and place our feet upon the solid rock.

 

 

Run, run…

untitled (3)    How many times have we heard the word, ‘run’? It has become the catch phrase for movies…”Run Forrest, run!” and Forrest Gump ran straight across America. He had no reason, he just did what he was told, run. There are children’s stories that involve a great deal of running, my favourite has to be “Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread man.” Poor fella, if he had kept on running and not rested upon the snout of a fox, he may very well still be running.

As a teacher I am forever telling students to stop running or they may hurt themselves. We make a run for it when it starts raining or we need to take a gap. Someone may make the coffee run for morning tea. Running is part of what we do. Sometimes we run around like a lost chicken, we run away, run to, run from, run into, run under and over or are run over. Running is not unfamiliar to any of us. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Paul writes the following.

(24)Do you not know that those who run in a race indeed all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to obtain it. (25) And everyone who competes controls himself in every way. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible crown. (26) Therefore I run accordingly, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight not as one who beats the air. (27) But I treat my body severely and make it my slave, lest having proclaimed to others, I myself might be rejected.

I am not going to proclaim that I am a great athlete, by no means, but I do enjoy running. I recall as a little girl accompanying my dear Uncle Harvey to his races. He would sit in the car and eat a few bars of chocolate, down some water and be pumped. In my mind at that time I began to think that if you wanted to eat a lot of chocolate all you had to do was run…impressionable years. Uncle Harvey would run for hours, he would run up a mountain pass in Cape Town called Ou Kaapse Weg (Old Cape Way) just for fun. He would be up and out before our dreams had ended. I can never recall him moaning about pain or cramps and the only memory I have of him injuring himself was when he ran into a speed bump in the dark – it was a massive mound of dirt across the road and he came off second best. He made me think that running was not hard on the body. I now know better.

When you run you need gear, good running shoes that support your feet. Running shoes are essentials when running and bad shoes can cause you hours of pain and bring you grief. Then there are clothes, comfy clothing that does not restrict your movement, some runners use clothing that supports the muscles, compression clothing. I always have a giggle when I see ‘fashion runners’ they are dressed to the nines in the latest active wear and smell as if they have just walked out of perfume shop but there is no intent to run the race, they are merely parading. I am of the opinion that when you really run not even a good outfit can make you look good, it becomes sweaty and smelly and generally runners are red-faced sticky beings that nobody wants to be too close to – depending on distance and intensity of the run.

The best bit of gear I bought was a sports watch that keeps track of my steps (cadence), distance, speed and heartrate. This watch tracks me using GPS and keeps record of each run. The feature that makes this watch an essential running companion is it monitors my heart beat. You see we can all run, but if you start getting into running you soon discover it is a science all on its own. The best way to get fit is to monitor your heart rate and to stay within a zone. This got me thinking about my walk with Yeshua.

Paul tells us to run the race so to win it. He goes on to say that we need to control ourselves in every way to gain the incorruptible crown and to run with a certainty. I started to think about the way I run, the things I do and then equated that to my spiritua life. When you set out for a run, you have an idea, a goal, of where you want to run to, personally if I am going to run a 12km then I can visualise the turning point, the road and the paths that I will take. I have to get my head straight and make sure I am ready to run that distance. You don’t get up and decide that 12km sounds like a cool number and off you go. If you are a marathon runner then 12km is a warm up distance before you get into the real run – each of us runs to achieve a goal (runs to win). We are all at different stages in life, different stages of maturity in our walk with YHWH. What I am trying to communicate it is that you start a run with certainty, you have a goal in mind and you set out to achieve that goal (distance). I am of the opinion that too many of us doubt the power of the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth working through us. We are not certain about the power of our standing as sons and daughters of the Living Most High, we doubt ourselves and doubt our ability in Christ Jesus and because we are uncertain we don’t run.  Jesus said to His disciples (to us) in John 14:12-13, “The truth is, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask anything in My Name, and I will do it because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father.”

When you start running it is not easy, you find even a kilometer an effort. But if you strap on a heart rate monitor it is easier. You work out where your heart rate should be and for six weeks you keep your heart rate within a zone. Soon you are going further and faster and your heart beats within that zone – you are becoming fitter. To become fit you do need to persevere and push your body through cramps and soreness, but it is all part of making your body able to run the race. This is the control that Paul speaks of. It is hard when your legs are jelly and you just want to stop, but what a feeling of elation when you manage to push through, even if it means you walk a while, but you keep on moving towards your goal. I spoke to someone in training for an ironman and he told me that when he trains he sometimes runs past two lamp posts then walks until the next one, sometimes we just need to catch our breath.

One morning I got up and decided to do a 15km run. I knew where I was running to and had my gear. I knew where my turn-around point was so 7.5km out I still felt great and decided to run on a bit. At 9km I became enthusiastic and thought that just 1km would give me 20km. I had never thought that this distance was possible, but now it seemed in my sight. I made the 10km turning point and was feeling very proud, after all I had run 10km many times. The punishment lay ahead though, 10km home. I had water stops on the way back and knew that every step was a step closer to home. I had no mobile phone with me, besides hubby had gone cycling so there was not rescue. I just had to dig deep and as Paul writes, “treat my body severely and make it my slave.” I run along cliffs in the beautiful Sunshine Coast of Australia, so the scenery distracted me from the pain. Then at 19.5km I hit the wall. I was running behind a couple walking their dog, the getnleman kept on stepping aside to make room for me to pass, but I just could not pass. Eventually they stopped and as I shuffled past them I managed to utter, ” I have no energy left”. The next 500m were agonising. I had to talk to myself, out loud, to keep going. I could feel the cramps and felt very light-headed. Then the house loomed ahead and I knew I was going to make it home. After a shower, some muscle rub and a few litres of water I began to feel better. You see I had not prepared myself for that distance. I had not hydrated my body the day before, had not eaten enough and although I was not stiff or sore from the run, had not prepared my feet and ended up losing a toenail and another one badly bruised.

Running is not only about the gear and moving our legs, keeping your heart rate in a zone, but it is more importantly abut feeding yourself so you have the energy to go the distance. It is about stocking up with healthy foods, drinking lots of water and having snacks with you that will sustain your energy levels and support you on the run. Jesus told us that we can’t live on bread alone, we need to eat from the Living Word, drink from the Streams of Life. We can’t run the race without sustaining our spirit with His Word, withouth being Spirit filled. In Ephesians 6 we read about putting on the amour of Elohim so that we can stand against wickedness and have power to run and recieve an uncorruptible crown. So when you think of running a spiritual race, gird your waist with Truth, put on a breast plate of righteousness, for shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. Take up the shield of belief so that you have power to quench all the burning arrows of the wicked one, take up the helmet of deliveranceand the sword of the Spirit, which is the Words of Elohim. This is the ‘gear’ that is given to us as children of the Most High, we just need to put it on. It is not fashioned by the world, it may not be cool, but it is what will help you run a race, a race that leads Home where your uncorruptible crown awaits you. Some Christians wear armour that has been remodelled to make it seem more fashionable, but they are parading. I have many times worn this and I fall short daily, but the Loving-commitment of YHWH and His amazing grace sets me on the right path again, once I recognised and repent.

There is also something speacial about having a heart rae monitor. I believe we should all be close enough to YHWH to hear His Heart, to know His Heart and that He should smile when He hears our heartbeat for His cause and Loving-committment to us. We need to be intune to the Father’s Heart, we can only do this by being close to His heart. You wear a heart rate moinitor on your chest, this way you get an accurate reading. To be  close the YHWH’s heart we need to spend time in His prescence, we need to listen, to feel and to be alert.

Make my steps fall in line with Your way and will. May my heart beat in Your zone, to Your beat. As I run this race may I fill my  spirit with Your Truth, drink from steams of living water. May I run the race and make it Home to receive my uncorruptible crown. Amen