A soapy story of encouragement

tilley soap

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.





Of late I have been reading a book written by a South African lady, Suret Morkel called “The anointing of the Royal Priest and Bride”. She writes a  section on having a posture of prayer and worship, a deepening of our love for Him that comes from our brokenness of self. This section made me sit up straight, no pun intended. It caused me to examine what my spiritual posture looks like to others. I referred to a dictionary and discovered that the word posture originates from the Latin, ‘positura’ meaning  positioned and ‘posit’ meaning placed. The word is defined as the way one holds their body when standing or sitting, or it may be used to indicate an approach or attitude.

As a young girl I recall my parents prompting me to sit up straight (have just straightened my back) and to walk up tall. I did a year or two of ballet to help me improve my posture. However, I have to constantly remind myself not to slouch, to pull in the core and push back my shoulders. How many of you reading this have just done that? I recall the ballet dancers at school as being so graceful and tall, always moving with so much poise. This was instilled by an encouraging, yet strict teacher and their desire to be a dancer, their posture and poise was not only corrected when they heard the instructor, but became a way of being. This made me ponder my walk, my worship, my prayer life, my faith, positioning and placement.

Mirrors are essential to ballet dancers, they line the walls of dance studios. This is not so that the dancers can continually adjust their hair or admire their tiny waists, but serve as ways of reflecting on posture, poise and position. The Word is our spiritual mirror and we need to sit, stand or lie in the Word daily, asking the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth to prod us so that we pull in our core, straighten up our posture and position ourselves in the presence of our King.


James 1: 21 tells us to “put away all filthiness and overflow of evil, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your life.” This is straightening yourself up, pulling in that core and standing tall on the Word.

James 1:21-22 is the wall of mirrors, it tells us that we are to become doers of the Word, not merely be readers or hearers. We need to action the Word, examine our posture and position and do something to correct it. The warning is that if we read/hear the Word and remain inactive we are deceiving ourselves by thinking that we have a good posture, position. In verse 26 James writes that if we think we are religious but don’t control our tongue we are deceiving ourselves and our religion is worthless.

James 1: 23-25 goes on, and I quote (italics added):  “Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror (reflection, reflecting), for he looks at himself and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like. (Neglecting to change posture, poise or position). But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah.”

This scripture encapsulates the essence of being full of GRACE and moving in GRACE. We need to make sure that what we read/hear is assimilated into our daily walk. Just like the dancers make posture part of their daily movement, we need to ensure that we make worship and prayer our daily posture. No matter what the circumstances, no matter if in times of rejoicing or difficulty our posture should reflect that we know YHWH, walk in faith that He has all things in His hand, He is Majesty and Creator, He is Father and lovingly-committed to His chosen ones. The world is watching the bride of Christ, what do they see? A bride that has lost her joy? A slouching, hunched over bride that drags her feet through the good and challenging times? OR a bride that has a graceful posture in all circumstances because we stand on the firm foundation of His love, His blood and our core is the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth. We walk tall in love, we dance and worship the King for we know that He is unchanging, true, faithful and that above all we are His. The sky is always blue and the sun always shines.

Habakkuk 3:18-19

“Yet I exult in YHWH, I rejoice in the Elohim of my deliverance.

YHWH the Master is my strength. And He makes my feet like those of a deer, and makes me walk on my high places. To the chief singer with my stringed instruments.”

What a beautiful image, feet like a deer to enable us to nimbly move on the rocks, to jump and leap up the mountain side. In Afrikaans the words are so beautiful, “Hy maak my voete soos die van ‘n reebok.”

YHWH, it is my prayer that your Set-Apart Spirit of Truth would fill me and prod me to walk tall in worship and prayer no matter what. That as Your child I would be found in a posture of worship and prayer, positioned at Your feet. Not merely a reader/hearer of Your Word, but a doer. Make my feet nimble and gracious like those of a mountain deer so that I will jump and leap for joy in the meadows and up the challenging rocky bits of life. See my heart, know my love for You as I pray and worship You alone.  Amen



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.


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


Navigating your walk


Recently I have been led to study Psalm 119. I have read it before in passing through Psalms. That may sound rather shallow, and the intent is such. It is the longest Psalm in the Scriptures and to read it in one sitting does not enlighten your inner being. Taking it bit by bit and praying it gives it depth and reveals the jewels hidden within the verses.

This morning I was sitting in the presence of Abba Father reading Psalm 119. I normally ignore any electronic devices when they ping or ring during this time, however this vibrating ring had an urgency to it and I answered to find a frustrated and lost husband on the other end. He was driving to an appointment in a loan car (our car needed a service) and the navigation system was not doing what it was designed to do. He had driven in the right direction, but not taken the turn he needed to and was off course. After jumping onto Google Maps and locating his position by finding street names he was giving me, I was able guide him, even though at times he doubted I knew where he was. After staying on the phone and providing directions he was on his way and soon recognised landmarks and the building that he needed to be at. This incident made me think about how we navigate our spiritual walk. I started to ponder what devices I trust to guide me on my walk. I wondered how often I miss a turn or even a stop and end up in what seems the right direction but so far from the intended destination?

I am very good at asking for directions when I think I may be lost, but do I ask for enough guidance in my spiritual life? The feeling of being lost only happens when you are lost, when you have no idea of where you are or should be going. This made me wonder, how many of us may be lost. I am not referring to salvation but to walking in the plan that YHWH has for us. Jeremiah 29: 11 is well quoted, if you read the preceding verses there is a warning about not being deceived but seeking Him (verses 12-14). In verse 14 we are told that He shall be found and we shall be brought back. These verses require not only faith in knowing that you know where He places your feet, but to listen closely and intimately to the voice of the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth as He guides you and reveals to you the plan of the Most High. To sit daily in His presence, not surrounded by devices, man written blogs (like this) and life, but to find that quiet chair in the garden, to put aside the things of the day and to just sit and listen, worship in spirit and in truth. Revive your inner being by gathering the anointing oil so freely available from the Father’s hand. Getting your direction and bearing so that you can walk where He leads you or come back into step with Him. A year ago I wrote about our journey with Him.

When you are travelling somewhere these days satellite assisted devices guide you. The old street directories and big fold out maps are no longer referred to as points of reference and I think that mankind has lost a skill. It has however saved many arguments in the car about which way round the directory should be held. To be guided you need to know where you are going, you need to have a destination and then you need to follow the directions. Directions are of no use to the traveller if they are not followed, studied and walked. I remember when I was first diagnosed with cancer, a very dear friend told me that I had to walk in healing. To say the least this was not what I wanted to hear, I did not understand it at first but it soon became clear. The plan that is set for us is a personal one, we walk together but on different paths with the same destination and for the glory of YHWH. We need to put one foot before the other in faith and step out, just like Peter did. Our future has been written by the Creator of the all things, He is lovingly committed to us and His Son, Yeshua, paid the ultimate price so we may approach the Father. You can’t step out on your own, you don’t have to. Jeremiah 29:12 says that we will call on Him, come and pray to Him and He shall listen. In verse 13 we are encouraged to seek Him with all our hearts and that He shall be found.

Psalm 119 refers to walking and being in step with YHWH and His word:

Verse 1: Aleph Blessed are the perfect in the way, who walk in the Torah of YHWH.

Verse 3: Yes, they shall do no unrighteousness; They shall walk in His ways.

Verse 9: How would a young man cleanse his path? To guard it according to Your word?

Verse 25: My being has been clinging to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.

Verse 32: I run the way of Your commands, for You enlarge my heart.

Verse 35: Make me walk in the path of Your commands, for I have delighted in it.

Verse 59: I have thought upon my ways, and turned my feet to Your witnesses.

Verse 60: I have hurried, and did not delay to guard Your commands.

Verse 67: Before I was afflicted I myself was going astray, but now I have guarded Your word.

Verse 105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Verse 133: Establish my footsteps by Your word, let no wickedness have rule over me.

I would encourage you to take a little time today to check where you are, to sit before your lovingly-committed Father and check in. Be revived with the outpouring of His Spirit and may He make His face to shine upon His servants and teach them His law (Verse 135).



Tear your heart


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.

So in love with him.

So many times I have read the recount by Luke of Mary and Martha. Luke 10:38 – 42 is where you find this recount.

38 As Jesus and His disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to what He taught.

The recount goes on to tell us that Martha was slightly disgruntled with this young girl, Mary, and asked Jesus to send her into the kitchen to assist. Then the beautiful words from Jesus,

41 But Jesus said to Martha, “Martha you are fussing over all these details. 42 There is really only one thing that you should be concerned with and Mary has discovered that and I will not deny her this.

I started pondering this small word, AT. It is a word that suggests positioning with intent of something in a specific spot. It is a specific place, a focus. I then started pondering why Mary was at His feet. In the Scripture we are introduced to Martha as a woman that ran a house, this would imply that she was older than Mary. Mary was younger and in love with Jesus. She was like a young teenager that was infatuated with this most amazing man, Jesus the Messiah. She was seated at His feet as He reclined at the table because she wanted to be close to Him, she wanted to be ready to jump up and serve Him. What she had discovered was being in love with Jesus.

Martha loved Jesus too, she was not in love though. She was preparing for Him, she was serving Him out of love, but she had not discovered the in-love. She was fussing and in doing so she was caring and serving, she wanted everything to be perfect for Him. Jesus does not reprimand her, He tells her that Mary is in the right place – spiritually and in her heart. Mary is in-love and desires to position herself at the feet of the one she loves.

After a little reading I discovered that not much is known about Mary, yet she is mentioned again in John 11:28-32. Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary had passed away and they were in mourning. We know that Jesus was very fond of Lazarus and spent a good deal of time with him. A distraught Martha goes out to meet Jesus as He approaches their village. Martha returns to the house and informs Mary that Jesus is on His way. In verse 29 we read, “So Mary immediately went to Him.” and in verse 32, “When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell down at His feet..” This is the second time that we read of her positioning herself in a humble position, being close to Him.

Mary positions herself at His feet once more time in John 12:3 when she took a jar of nard oil and anointed the feet of Jesus. This was a prophetic act as it was in preparation for His burial. Once again she is found at the feet of Jesus, this time anointing Him and drying His feet with her hair. She is close to Him, but in humility.

In Ruth 3 we read about Naomi telling Ruth to lie at the feet of Boaz. It was customary for servants to lie at the feet of their master and Naomi advised Ruth to do this to demonstrate her submission and willingness to serve. So for Mary to place herself at His feet, she was demonstrating her willingness to serve, she was humbling herself before the King and she was doing so in-love.

Where do we position ourselves? Are we fussing with things that we consider important to prove that we love Him? Or are we humble, ready to serve, listening to His words and in-love, so much so that we desire to be as close as we can to Him.

Take time out of your busyness and put aside the fussing. Just place yourself at His feet, humbly sitting there, listen to Him and feel His grace, mercy and love wash over you. Discover what Mary discovered – be in-love with Jesus.DSCN0185


Assumptions can be deadly

It is strange how we see things that are not usual or normal and without thinking make assumptions about what these things should be and based on that we execute actions to place them within what we consider normal parameters or usual surroundings/circumstances.

Today I was walking along a stretch of beach when I spotted a snake on the shoreline. Living in Australia one becomes accustom to always looking out for snakes, but seeing one on the shoreline at 8:15am on a winter morning is NOT usual, it is pretty unusual, and a little out of the norm to say the least. As I came closer I could see really big paw prints in the sand and the assumption was made that this snake must have been dragged or carried from the dune area by a big dog and then this dog must have been playing with it. The snake’s tail seemed mangled and flat with a puncture wound. The snake was very docile, hardly moving at all but it did ripple a muscle and I was aware that there was still life within the animal. So my human assumptions worked overtime and I spotted a gentleman with a mobile phone, I had left mine at home. I gave him the name of the wild life rescue organisation and he called, they gave him the number of a snake catcher and he called them. Someone was on their way and I proclaimed myself guardian of this snake. I assumed it was a python as it did not match any other colouring I had seen at the zoo, so assumption was that it was not venomous, was completely out of its environment and needed my guardianship.

I located a long stick, rather it was a branch, and proceeded to gently lift the docile snake so that I could carry it to safety. The last thing I wanted was for a wave to catch it and take it back to the sea. I gingerly placed it on the verge of the dune and patiently awaited the man who would take the snake into his capable care. I waited and waited….I could wait no longer as I had an appointment to attend so I ensured that the snake was hidden from curious eyes and possible dogs, marked the spot with the branch and went to my appointment. On the way home decided that I best check on the snake. To my surprise it was still there, moving a little more but still docile. I assumed that the injury to its tail was the cause of the distress. I had my phone this time and called the organisation, they called the snake man again. This time the snake man called me and then called another catcher. The third person asked me to text a picture of this so-called python so that he knew what he was dealing with. I did this, at last my python was going to be saved.

A young man approached me and was going to let his dog off the leash when I warned him of the injured snake. He turned out to be a snake catcher in his previous job as an ecologist (you do meet interesting people on the beach). As we were chatting the third snake catcher called me and told me I was dealing with a highly venomous sea snake and that under no circumstances was I to touch it! What, my python had turned into a sea snake and was now stranded up on the dune because I did not want it to be washed out to sea?? I had assumed it needed rescuing and assumed it needed to be hidden on the dune a good 20 metres from the waterline! The young man was fantastic, he offered with the consent of the snake catcher, to try to return this poor snake to the ocean where it should have been all along! With great caution and care he professionally picked up the distraught snake and took it to the water. The snake took a good 15 minutes to revive in the environment it was usually found in. I watched on in admiration and fear as the young man picked up the snake yet a second time and waded into the water (knee deep) to try and release the snake again. This time the snake swam through the breakers and is now relating to the other snakes how this stupid lady came along and picked it up and dragged it to the dunes hiding it in bushes….

You see, the flat tail is actually the fin, it is the rudder with which the snake steers itself in the water. The puncture marks were from a dog, but the snake must have become beached after chasing fish into the shallows. My assumptions were dangerous for not only my personal safety, but for the life of the snake and then the life of this very valiant young man who managed to return the sea snake back to the normal environment, the sea. I realised that I assume to easily when I hear or see something that is not normal, or unusual. I assume from my own thoughts and experiences. I am now pondering how often I hear the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth and make assumptions of what I hear, see or experience with a human mind. I think the lesson here is not to assume but to question, to seek. Yeshua tells us that if we seek we shall find. If we ask in His name the Father will answer. The Set-Apart Spirit of Truth will reveal to us and guide us, yet do we assume we understand without going to the Word, without asking for confirmation and checking our understanding? We do not merely live in a physical world, but also in a spiritual world and I fear that I assume from a physical point of reference too often thereby missing the spiritual normal or usual – make sense?

When we assume from our own understanding we can cause damage, not only to ourselves but to others around us. We can take something that is spiritually normal and turn it upside down because we don’t take time to pray it through, to seek wisdom and discernment. These are fruits of the Spirit and available to all that the Son has chosen, whom the Father has given to the Son. This lesson did not cause any harm but if this docile snake had not been so docile a lot of assuming may have led to a different scenario.

Father, I pray that You would open my ears, eyes, heart and mind that I may hear You, that You may renew my mind so that I will not assume to understand, but truly understand. In the name of Yeshua Your Son