You reap what you sow.

In Mark 4:26-29 Jesus tells the disciples that the Kingdom grows by faith. A farmer sows seeds into the ground and then goes off to tend to other things. This farmer has faith that the seeds will germinate and grow to be what they should be. When he comes to check on the field he finds a crop has started to grow. What he planted sprouted, and developed, into mature plants. The farmer was not surprised because he expected growth. He did not find a different crop to what he had planted. A farmer grows what he plants and when it is ready for harvest he brings it into his store.

What do you sow? How do you sow? Where do you sow? The answers to these questions will define what you harvest. There is a parable of the farmer that sows seed and it falls onto different ground, that same seed is sown with the same potential to grow into the same plant that will bear fruit. The difference is where the roots were grounded, what soil the seed landed on. We so often focus on the seed in this parable, but you have to ask yourself, what is the soil of my heart like? Can a seed grow in the faith found in your heart? Or will the lack of faith hinder it from finding a place to root? Is your heart hard and stubborn, or broken and soften? Seeds take root quickly in soft, humble soil that is positioned in the Son.

Your thoughts are seeds. If you speak negative thoughts, and entertain negative ideas, you are likely to yield a negative crop. Speaking words of truth and hope yield a positive crop that can feed many. This is not mind over matter, new age talk, this is the truth. We have a mind that is very powerful and what your mind believes fuels your actions, thoughts, and your beliefs. If you have faith, then you act faithfully. We speak failure before we even fail, we put ourselves down before we even try to get up. What do you feed your mind? What are you allowing your mind to think about, ponder on, or believe? Do you listen to the lies of satan or allow ungodly advise to make your decisions? John 14:23 should be ringing in your ears right now! Your mind feeds your heart and actions, this means you need to GUARD your mind and the best way to do that is to meditate on the Word of the Lord, to GUARD His Word, to put on the armour of God, to believe in John 14:23 and claim it as truth so that you will live it.

Ezekiel 3:1-6 is a powerful piece of scripture. God commands Ezekiel to EAT the scroll that God gives him (His Word) so that it is within Ezekiel. We need to eat the Word of God, the Bread of Life. When you eat something it is chewed over, then digested and becomes part of the blood, it feeds the body and nourishes the mind. When we take the Word and eat it, it becomes part of our being, part of whom we are and brings about an intimacy with YHWH. We will come to understand the plan and purpose that God has for our lives. (Mark 4:25). When we were young our parents and teacher would always tell us not to play with our food – don’t muck around with the Word of God. When you feed your body wholesome food, we are healthy. When you eat lots of unwholesome food you are uncomfortable, sluggish and not in the best shape. The same applies to feeding your mind with things that are good, wholesome and true.

Ephesians 3: 17, “And I pray that Jesus Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvellous love.”

Galatians 6:9 “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t be discouraged and give up for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.”

Hungry and thirsty

John 7:37: Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.

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I woke up this morning with a hunger in my stomach, an indication that the food consumed the previous evening had digested and feed my whole body. My thoughts turned to what it means to be hungry and thirsty for Jesus. Perhaps the blog of Ezekiel consuming the Word of YHWH is still fresh in my spirit. Jesus often related to being thirsty and hungry.

Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied

John 4:13-14: Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

John 7:37: Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.

Revelation 22:17: The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. (Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/God-Quenching-Our-Thirst)

These verses clearly indicate that we should have a hunger and thirst for our Saviour, a desire to be filled with His word, His Spirit, and to be quenched with His love. However, there is an implication that we need to approach Him, sit at His table, to be renewed and strengthened. We are to be spiritually nourished to complete the work that He has planned for us. A healthy breakfast consists of good portion of the Word, a serving of praise and worship, and a good dollop of prayer to equip you for the day. Don’t forget to enjoy some fellowship and snack on moments of wonder at His majesty throughout the day.

If you spend the day on the couch with the Word, you may become spiritual obese. God intended His people to spread the Word, to shine His light, not to hide it in the lounge. We are not to hoard the blessings, and keep revelations to ourselves. Yeshua commanded His disciples to , “Go therefore into the nations and make disciples.” He did not say, “You sit in your comfy chair and keep the love that I have revealed to you all to yourself.” His command is to action love, to serve others and thereby to proclaim His love. To shout His love from the rooftops, and bring esteem to the Father – these are not passive actions. I encourage you to listen to the song Rooftops by Jesus Culture (https://youtu.be/4-gLdIO5G-Q)

You are called, you have been chosen, and set-apart, to be ambassadors for Yeshua. As His bride, we need to ensure we have a healthy diet, that will fill our spirit with His goodness. It is what you put into your mouth that will determine the shape and health of your body (physical). Similarly, what comes out of our mouth, shows what our heart is full off. Matthew 15: 18-20, “18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Yeshua made this comment as some Pharisees had noted that the disciples had not washed their hands before eating. Yeshua made a very simple statement that is a word of caution, that what is in our spirit (heart) comes out of our mouth.

We feed our spirit with images, sounds, and desires. The eyes are the windows of the soul, what view do your eyes allow your mind to see? What reading material do you consume? Matthew 6: 22 -23, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” As a child my mother would always tell me to eat my carrots so that my eyes would be healthy. But these verses are not telling you to eat veggies, rather that you need to consume the very Word of YHWH, that you need to be filled with the Spirit of YHWH so that you are full of light. If you are full of light then you will provide light to others, not from a couch though. There are many verses in the Bible that refer to the eye of YHWH, as being His Spirit, which is where I draw the connection about your eye sight being spiritual sight.

Another opening in our head, are our ears. Matthew 13: 15, “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.” Ears are very important and what we listen to feeds our spirit. I would actually like to focus on: who do you listen to? There are so many different voices that demand your attention. It is so important to make sure that you are not listening to lies, to doubt that devalues your standing with YHWH. Do you hear your Father, and His love songs to you? Guard you mind and watch carefully whose voice guides your dreams and thoughts. Don’t entertain negative self-talk, or put yourself down. One word that we all use to often is JUST. I am just a teacher, I am just a Mum, just a Dad… NO!! Don’t minimise who you are with this word. There is the philosophical saying: You are what you think you are. I would argue that I am who the Father says I am. The Father does NOT create junk, you are wonderfully and fearfully created for His purpose. He did not create us to become polluted by false beliefs. Keep your mind healthy, feed on the Word, train your ears to hear His voice. If you are not sure how to hear, then I encourage you to go to Him and ask! Read John 17, the most beautiful love letter to those that believe Yeshua is Lord and Saviour. When you read the Word, you need to chew it over, digest it and make it part of your being. Pray in spirit and Truth, break bread, and anoint your head. Know that you are set-apart for Him.

Be spiritually fed so that you will be hungry after a day of spending that energy on Kingdom building. Sit down and refuel so that you are energised, and ready to go out in His strength. Yeshua invites those that are thirsty to come and drink, being thirsty means you have been exercising. Take not the invitation is to come to Him and drink from the Living Water. It is not poured into your mouth, you need to be position yourself and drink.

There is an old Sunday School song that comes to mind: Watch your eyes, what your eyes what you see. The next verse is watch your ears, watch your ears what they hear. The chorus: There’s a Father up above looking down in tender love. However, His Spirit is within you.

Father, may Your Spirit open up our eyes, and ears, that we might hear Your voice and see Your love. Fill us with Your Spirit so that our inner-being radiates You to the world around us. Send us out Lord filled with spiritual anointing for the glory of Your Kingdom. Let us be hungry for Your Word and energised to shine in this broken world. Feed us, we are Your flock and we desire Your presence and love. Amen.

Anything is possible with belief

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Read: Mark 9: 14-29

Verse 22: “But if at all possible, for You, have compassion on us and help us. Do something if You can.” Verse 23: “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Yeshua asked. “Anything is possible IF a person believes.” Verse 24: The father replied instantly, “I do believe, but help me not to doubt.”

Mark 10: 27: And looking at them intently Jesus said, “Humanly speaking it is impossible. But not with God. EVERYTHING is possible with YHWH.”

How often do we pray for answers or help with events in life? We say with our mouths that we believe that Elohim gives all things and can do all things, but what do our hearts believe? This question is not if it is possible for God to do something, but do we really believe what we believe.

Let’s pause for a minute and ponder the awesomeness of our Creator Father. Stop and listen to nature, watch a storm forming, and consider all the reactions and actions taking place at that moment in time. There is life within life. Take a plant for example, there are thousands of cells each with its own function. The cells form walls that give the plant its shape. Birds have their own songs, pitches, and tones, with which they communicate. Insects do little things that are integral to the bigger cycle of life. All of this life has life within it and we are all made up of thousands of cells required to maintain life. This came to be by the Word of God, He spoke, and it was. How can we think that anything is impossible for our Father?

God loves us and He holds us in His hand. In Isaiah 49:16 we read that our name is inscribed upon the Lord’s hand. YHWH created you flesh and spirit. Not only are we alive as humans (physically), but we are spiritually alive in Christ Jesus our Saviour. That is something to get excited about. How full of life are you though? Are you living as one with an extra portion? Being alive in a world that is full of life is energizing.

In Mark 9 we read of a father that brings his son to the disciples for healing. They try to heal him but are unsuccessful, Yeshua was not present. There is a little gem right here, when you pray for healing Yeshua must be present – healing is for HIS glory and esteem. Yeshua tells the disciples that this healing (casting out of demons), can only be done by prayer and fasting (v: 28-29). This father is desperate and maybe after witnessing the disciples praying and laying hands on his son, he may have had doubt that there was ever a cure for his boy. He approaches Yeshua and asks Him if He could possibly heal the boy. Yeshua puts the responsibility back on the boy’s father. Yeshua tells him that it is possible, but that belief is needed – that is the responsibility. Yeshua knows that He can cure this boy, He is able to do all things (with God ALL things are possible). It comes back to us – if YOU are able to believe. The man’s reply is priceless, “I do believe, help me not to doubt.”

This father was desperate, he was in a hopeless situation. He heard about the Messiah and this gave him hope. He knew through word-of-mouth that Yeshua had healed and cured others, the father was filled with hope. This hope was dashed by the disciples’ inability to heal; however, he did not give up and he approached Yeshua personally. The boy’s father asked for compassion and then healing. In doing this he was recognised Yeshua’s ability, despite his own inability. He desperately wanted to believe that his son could be healed, he showed humility in asking that Yeshua would strengthen him so that he would not doubt. The man was afraid that he would not have enough belief. This is so precious, and I know an area I fall short in. Yeshua himself told the disciples (and us) that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed we can move mountains. How many times have you given up because you think that you don’t have enough belief? I have a very dear friend and she always tells me that, ‘It is done, you just have to walk into it in belief.’

What a victorious way of living! If you had witnessed the miracle of this young boy would it change the way you believe? Would it change the way you think about the ability of the Father, and your own belief in the Father’s love for you? If you had been in the crowd would your jaw drop and would you exclaim, “Unbelievable!” Here is a truth for you, you were in the crowd. The Word of God is living, and you read it, so in reality you were there, you experienced it. How does this make you feel? Maybe there is a little gem in the way we proclaim something that is miraculous as unbelievable. Think about that. Whenever something good, or supernatural, happens many people will give the believable a negative – unbelievable. Have we man-washed ourselves into thinking that the believable is too good to believe? I speak a second language and even in that language believable has a negative.

Still not sure about possibilities? Take a walk outside and feel the breeze or wind – nobody knows where it comes from or where it goes. Watch the sea and wonder about the beauty that lies beneath the ocean – why is it there? Because YHWH is almighty, and majesty, and He created it. Look at a tree with each leaf full of cells that produce oxygen as a by-product for us to breathe . Everything that lives has breathe, and that breathe was breathed by YHWH!! How can you not become excited about impossibilities? Do you believe? Do you desire to be in a place where you see the unbelievable? Then go to the feet of the King of Kings, clamber into the arms of the Father. YHWH desires to do good for His children, He wants to bless those who seek His will.

In Luke 22: 42, we read that Yeshua prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Yeshua, Son of YHWH Most High, understood that nothing was impossible for Father. Yeshua teaches us that when we seek the will of the Father there is peace, mercy and grace. The next verse is encouragement, and reassurance that even when faced by a trials, YHWY gives us strength to face it. Luke 22:43, “Now an angel from Heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.” Yeshua was NOT removed from the hour, because there was a glorious end! But He was strengthened so that He could face the cross, defeat death, and be found glorious, and worthy to open the scroll (Revelations 5:4-7).

Father God, how awesome is Your creation, nature cries of Your majesty and witnesses of Your authority, and many possibilities. I would ask that my faith and belief in You would not hinder the plans that You have already put in place for me. Oh, Father that You would help me not to doubt, but to seek Your will, and no matter what to trust in Your will. Please strengthen my belief, help my unbelief when it seems impossible, remind me that belief as small as a mustard seed is all I needed. Amen.

Which lens do you use?

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I have recently completed a doctoral thesis, and part of the process is selecting a theoretical framework that underpins the research. This may sound daunting, it was at first, but you choose an existing theory and use this theory as a lens through which you view your research, data analysis and test your findings theoretically. It is like choosing a pair of sunglasses, or reading glasses, to observe things with more clarity. I used Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory of Human Development, a mouthful indeed! It took a while for me to get my head around the theory, but once I understood it and assimilated it I become passionate about it, and could apply it to daily occurrences – I know, a Bronfenbrenner nerd! I began thinking what theory I used when I looked at others?

Our minds are amazing organs! As a primary teacher I would refer to the brain as a filing cabinet. This filing system is a collection of experiences, and perspectives, that are gained over a lifespan. These experiences are shaped culture, traditions, family background, schooling and people in your life. When you experience something new your mind goes to the cabinet and locates an existing experience, which often guides your perspective on the event or experience.

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 were 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 filing cabinet of passed experiences decide our reaction? Let us rather allow the Comforter and Councillor that Yeshua promised in John 16:7-11 guide our reaction.

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

What fragrance do you leave?

Let me be a sweet fragrance to those around me, let my fragrance bring honour to Yeshua.

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I awoke this morning with the word fragrance on my mind. In the Bible, fragrance is mentioned reference to oils and anointing. In Exodus 30, YHWH instructs the priests to mix a sacred oil 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 this implies 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 to my benefit? Do I groan, and moan, about my life… 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 marriage to the king Esther spent twelve months preparing herself. She bathed in myrrh for six months, and then spent another six months using fragrant spices and oils. This was not synthetic perfume, but essential oils that would have seeped into her pores, leaving a scent when she entered, and exited, a room. People would know she had been there because her fragrance would linger. I started to wonder, what fragrance I left behind, if any? When I enter a room do I cause people to choke because I give off a toxic fragrance, full of criticism, negativity? Or do I 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 that is reminiscent of love, patience, honouring my Yeshua.

I came across a website, that gave a good background into the use of perfume and fragrance in Biblical times. It reminded me that essential oils were expensive, and used to mask odours, during gatherings. (http://www.kubik.org/health/perfumes.htm). The article discussed the development of fragrances and how synthetic additions to perfume brings down the cost, and allows fragrances to hold their aroma longer.

Some of us use perfume, or aftershave, to make ourselves smell good. We cover our natural smell with synthetic fragrance. How do synthetic, man-made doctrines, and followings, cover the Truth? Do they strip the true essential oils and fragrances off our worship, faith and prayer? In addition, how many times do I leave a synthetic fragrance when I leave a room? A fragrance that I want others to see? This thought extends to my spiritual life, am I doing worship because it is what I should be doing, or is it out of a deep desire to be in His presence?? 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, and reflecting on them was a good exercise. The Set Apart Spirit convicted me of a few untruths, and synthetic beliefs that I am dealing with.

I have a very dear friend and she has shared her knowledge of 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 love. When she leaves a room she leaves a sense of peace, fellowship, and love for her Bridegroom. She encourages, and upholds, those around her in prayer. Her fragrance is not from essential oils, it is a spiritual fragrance. Being in her company is always so special because she oozes a love for Yeshua that is tangible. This might be a bit warm and fuzzy for the boys, and maybe this 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 down.

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 Yeshua. 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 on us 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 that set us apart – then surely we should have a Heavenly, Christ-like fragrance. A fragrance of a bride preparing for her Bridegroom’s return.

YHWH, I thank You that You look upon my 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. I ask that my prayers esteem Your name and be a sweet smelling fragrance to You. 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

Eat, digest, and move

Ezekiel 3:3, “And He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your stomach with the scroll I am giving you.‘ And I ate it and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.”

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Read Ezekiel 3: Moving for YHWH

To be filled with the Set-Apart Spirit you need to be emptied of yourself. You need to be naked before Father God, humble and contrite. When the Spirit of the Lord entered Ezekiel, he had been facedown in awe and fear (Ez. 2:2). Being facedown in awe of our lovingly-committed Father is such a glorious place to be, and can be considered as a glimpse of Heaven where we will experience an eternity of facedown time. Ezekiel recognised the might, power, and majesty of YHWH. He had a very REAL relationship with God and was sold out for Him, and was aware that his purpose was to serve God, no matter what. However, to achieve his purpose, he needed to get up and face the world. The Set-Apart Spirit put Ezekiel on his feet, with the intention to prepare Ezekiel to move forward and step out.

To go somewhere you need energy. In Ez. 3 we read how YHWH fed Ezekiel with a Word, His Word. Ezekiel takes in the Word of God, consumed it making it part of his being. Once we consume something it is digested in the stomach and enters the bloodstream to feed, and energize, the rest of the body. Although this scroll was full of woe, it was sweet to Ezekiel, a reminder that being obedient to YHWH is sweet (John 14:23). Taking daily bread is essential to our walk with YHWH. It is an integral part of a relationship with Father. When you really read the Scriptures, and pray about them, and pray them, you feed your soul by making the Word part of your being, part of whom you are. I have a very dear friend who she lives this every day, the Word is her energy. The Word of God is alive and gives life to those who read it.

To spend time in the Word, you need to making time, put the desire to be fed before the distractions of the world. It requires that we set our self apart, that we go into a quiet place and be still. Ezekiel not only consumed the Word of God, he was given specific words from God, do you ask for a specific Word, or do you search the index and read something that suits your desire or circumstances or soothes your conscience? Are you reading the Word to tick a box, to do the right thing (man-washed) or are you reading out of a desire to hear from God, to receive from Him, living Bread and quenching Water? This kind of food is soul food and it is given so that you may hear, speak and learn. In Ezekiel 3:2 we read that Ezekiel opened his mouth and ate THE scroll, implying that this word was specific, meant for him. Ezekiel 3:3, “And He said to me, ‘Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your stomach with the scroll I am giving you.‘ And I ate it and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.”

It is interesting that Ezekiel told to feed his stomach and to fill his stomach, implying that this word answered his hunger/desire and was satisfying in fulfilment. To feed would imply chewing, sucking, absorbing, enjoying, munching, extracting nutrition, and tasting. To fill means to complete, fulfil, pack in, expand, satisfy, consume, grow, take more in. The words ‘feed’ and ‘fill’ indicate that the scroll was to be digested, chewed, meditated on, prayed over. There was a completeness about YHWH’s serving that filled, this means it was to take place, and to be taken in as a whole. These verses signify that we should really take care when we feed from the Word of God.

Taking your daily bread is not a ‘drive-through’ experience, a quick fix. No, it is setting time aside – enough time to sit at His feet, the table is set, and the meal is served. We are invited to chat and talk, enjoying the company of the Saviour. Reading the Word is a sweet experience, not to be rushed or done out of duty. Remember that Father sees the heart, He does not have tick sheets to measure your worth, He loves you. Read a verse or two, chew them over, and digest them, so that they become part of your life. Let His Word give you life, meditate upon the Word of God, share it, mull it over. Don’t read and run off only to forget what you read.

Eating takeaways (fast food) is not good for you. You can’t live off packaged verses, they do have a place but are condiments to compliment your meal with the Lord. It is imperative for your spiritual health that you dine with the Father, taking time to break bread, and soak in His anointing. Let Him feed you – NOT man. Let Him show you His purpose for your life, He has a unique plan for you, and fast food on the run is not part of it.

Ezekiel 3:10, “And He said to me, ‘Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to YOU and hear with YOUR ears.’” Once food has been eaten and reaches the stomach, it is digested. The food is broken down and the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. The blood flows through the heart and into the body. Once the nutrients are in the blood it is almost impossible to extract them. So we are to receive the Word of God into our heart. It does not stay in the stomach, it satisfies our soul, and energizes so that we can move in His will. The heart basically feeds the mind… Ezekiel was told to receive the Word in his heart, to feed the body, and mind, so that he could go forth and fulfil the purpose God had for him.

The purpose of feeding on Scripture is to share it. To share the Word of God with others we need to know what the Word says about living. Some of us may be teachers, pastors, or evangelists. The best teachers are those who are knowledgeable and a firm understanding of their teaching practises and philosophy. To speak without Biblical knowledge or without the anointing of the Set-Apart-Spirit of Truth is folly and often comes from a need for self-gratification or pride. God tells Ezekiel to feed, fill, and receive, what He gives to him. Ezekiel is told to listen with HIS ears to what God tells him. Not listen to hearsay, what he felt, or assumed; no it was specifically to listen to what YHWH told him. To speak the Word of God in vain is blasphemy, and when spoken for self-gratification it is very dangerous, to the speaker and receiver of that word. Be wary of people who approach you with “I feel that …” or “I sense that God MIGHT…” When YHWH speaks there will be NO doubt, He is sovereign and will reveal to you what needs to be revealed. Always pray about prophesy you are given, ask someone that you trust to pray with you. I say these things in no disrespect, but out of love.

After Ezekiel had eaten, and filled his stomach, he was lifted and moved in the Spirit. He did not go out of his own accord or on a whim, he was filled with the Spirit and had been prepared by the Word of YHWH. All too often we move on our own, or impulsively on a whim. When you immerse yourself in the Word of God, as Ezekiel did, the move will be real and strong. Ezekiel writes in verse 14, ‘and I went out in bitterness in the heart of my spirit.’ God had forewarned Ezekiel of hard-heartedness and stubborn spirits, so Ezekiel would not be looking forward to what he had to do, it was not something that he naturally would have undertaken. However, Ezekiel was fed and ready to step out. I know from experience that sometimes YHWH asks that us to step out of our comfort zone, and this may feel scary but it is in these moments that you need to lay down yourself, be fed by YHWH, and let the Set-Apart-Spirit of Truth move you.

Ezekiel laid his anxieties, desires and self down, he did what he was asked to do. He loved Father so much that he wanted to fulfil the purpose YHWH had for his life. He trusted YHWH explicitly, he was confident in who he was in the Father’s Hand. Ezekiel had experienced the glory of YHWH, he had spent time facedown in the very presence of God. He fed on the Word of God, walked into his calling regardless of what it required. There were no ‘drive-through’ diets in his life, he sat in His presence, eating His word, listening to His Word, being fulfilled and satisfied, and was moved by the Spirit. What a prophet!

Oh Father, I desire to be fed by You, to come into Your presence, sit at Your table, and eat Your Word. Fill me and feed my spirit so that there is more of You in my life, and less of me. Provide me with energy to do Your will, to share with others, to bring glory to Your Name.

Posture

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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.” There is a section on having a posture of prayer, and worship, that is instrumental in deepening our love for Him. However, Suret states that this requires approaching Him from brokenness of self. This made me sit up straight, no pun intended. It caused me to examine what my spiritual posture looked like. I referred to a dictionary and discovered that the word posture originates from the Latin, ‘positura’ meaning  positioned and ‘posit’ meaning placed. The word refers to 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 again) and to walk 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 my 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. During lessons, our encouraging, yet strict teacher, would remind us to check our posture. I recall some girls desired to be a dancer, and their posture and poise became a way of being, driven by their inner desires and discipline. This made me ponder my walk, my worship, my prayer life, my faith, and how I positioned and placed myself within the world.

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 are a means 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 in and 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 if it is not in line with the Word. 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. 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. We should dance 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

Branching out

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

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Ezekiel 15 and John 15

Ezekiel brought a prophesy against the nation of Israel for being dead in their relationship with God. The nation was not bearing fruit because they were not worshipping YHWH, they had stopped producing spiritual fruit. Ezekiel’s prophesy was at a time when false prophets tickled the ears of the nation. Tickling ears refers to saying things that did not offend. False prophesy is when you pronounce things that you were not given to say by Elohim. This was indicative of a lack of fear for YHWH. Instead, these false prophets were filled with a great deal of self-importance, which lead to idolatry by men and women.

In the prophesy Israel is compared to a fruitless vine, the branches are deemed useless as they do not bear fruit, the wood can’t be fashioned into tools or implements and is also useless. The branches are not even thought of as fire wood as they burn too quickly, therefore they are discarded and burnt as waste. In John 15: 1-8, Yeshua talks of branches that are useless being piled up and burnt. Yeshua tells us that YHWH will cut off dead and useless branches and throw them into the fire, Ezekiel prophesied the same, he even said that those that escaped the fire would be burnt for sure. This was a dismal prophesy for the nation.

Let us for a moment consider what the nation had done that caused the branches to die. In Ezekiel 3:7 we read that the people had become hard-hearted and stubborn. They had stopped listening to YHWH, stopped obeying Him and therefore no longer followed Him. A song comes to mind, “I’m doing it my way”. The nation had taken to following their own gods, listening to ear tickling prophesy – things that they wanted to hear because it suited them. They had built alters and shrines to worship idols. In Ezekiel 7: 10 we pick up on words such as wickedness, violence, pride. Ezekiel 7:14 – ‘no one listens’. Ezekiel 7:19-20 – mentions of wealth being used to create idols. Yeshua did warn that man can’t serve two masters, it is either mammon or YHWH. There are further references made in Ezekiel 12: 2 & 24 to rebelliousness and listening to prophets that told of false visions and made false predictions. Ezekiel 13:2 & 17 refers to false prophets bringing words of their own, not from YHWH and deceiving the nation. There is mention of women as false prophets with their magic charms.

Even when Ezekiel physically demonstrated the impact of these ways on the nation, they still did not turn from their ways. The prophecy that Ezekiel brought was not an ear tickler and the hearts of the nation were hard. We may very well stand back and judge this nation, but that is dangerous to do because if we examine our own life we may find some of these attitudes, and actions, in our own hearts. I may be harbouring stubbornness, not wanting to let something go, or not wanting to forgive and forget. Holding on to the past and allowing it to fester, and eat, away at the sap in my branch. This is likely to make me unbearable to be around and I am definitely not bearing fruit of the Spirit. There may be a sense of self-importance, and pride, in what we have achieved giving no recognition to YHWH for the provision of the opportunities and talents. I did it my way, it is my way or the highway? This is a spirit of stubbornness and rebellion.

We don’t drive past houses and see big shrines in the garden depicting the family idols, but there are idols in our lives. They could be jobs, family, cars, possessions….the list goes on. An idol is anything that you devote more time to than YHWH. It keeps you from prioritising Him, from serving and obeying His call. Should we not have possessions and take care of them? Is our family not our responsibility? Yes, and the Father gives us many things, but when you loose focus, when these things become your reason for living, and stop you from spending undistracted time with Him, then it is time to check where our priorities lie. Chasing a dream can become an obsession and quickly turn into an idol, where you devote all your time in trying to make it happen. Instead let YHWH guide you, and show you what His dream is for you. When you achieve something, and know that you did not do it alone, praising Him will guard your heart and mind against pride and self-importance.

In John 15, Yeshua tells us how to be branches that bear fruit. This passage is the Good News, it is not a prophecy of doom, but an encouragement to living a fruitful and blessed life. Yeshua is the vine, He is the root of our lives. Yeshua refers to YHWH as the gardener that tends the branches on the vine by pruning them. Some branches are pruned back so that they will grow strong and produce more fruit, others are cut off from the vine because they are useless and dead, as in Ezekiel 15. We have a passion fruit vine that I regularly prune and retrain so that the vine produces a good crop. Retraining the branches allows me to direct the branches in the direction I wish them to grow in. This is how the Father prunes us, He chops off the bits that are getting a bit wild, and He puts branches that are straying off on their own back on the right track. The branches that remain on the vine feed off the sap of the vine, we that are in the vine are fed by the Word of God, and guided by the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth. This is life-giving and the fruit we produce is found in Galatians 5:22 – love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Yeshua tells us that people will know we belong to Him by the fruit that we bear. Remember in Ezekiel 15, the nation no longer bore fruit because the branches were dead.

Yeshua urges us to remain in Him, to obey Him, and to produce fruit that will last. In John 15:16 there is a promise that if we act in, and out, of the knowledge that we have been chosen and appointed by Yeshua, the Father will give you whatever you ask in Yeshua’s name. If you are joined to the vine you will love others, serve the Lord, and want the best for those around you. You will want to honour, esteem, and bring glory to the Lamb above all. You will acknowledge His goodness and mercy, and know that the plans of the Father are to give you an expectancy and future, that they are good. When you pray from this foundational knowledge, your prayers will not be self-seeking or full of pride, they are prayers for others, prayers in love, and in line, with the will of the Father for the glorification of the Son.

There is no room for idolatry because we know that all we have comes from Him. All we have and are is because of Him. We boast in Christ alone. Remaining in Him means living with Him, praying, and reading the Word, walking like a child in wonderment, and awe, at all He has planned and set apart for us, in the now and in the Everlasting. It is not always rosy and plain sailing but we have the hope, and assurance, that He, YHWH, is omnipresent, omnipotent and loving-committed to those He calls friends and children.

Oh Father, search my heart and reveal to me those areas that I am stubborn about. Remove the hard-heartedness in my spirit, and break down the shrines I have built around me that hinder me from being all I can be for You. Please do not severe me from the Vine, but prune and retrain me, filling me with Your Set-Apart-Spirit of Truth that I may bear fruit and bring glory to the Son.

Amen

Butterflies and life

Roxy the butterfly resting on some roses.

I was walking on the beach as the tide was going out. The water was warm and I remember thinking how gentle it was, yet how dangerous this same water could be. It was then that ‘Roxy’ caught my eye. Lying in the sand, right where the waves were washing the shore, was a beautiful butterfly. It lay covered with sand, perfect in every other way. I bent down to pick it up. I recall thinking how sad it was that this little butterfly had been caught flying too close to the water. I cupped my hands to protect the butterfly from the wind. As I continued my walk I started to think of how YHWH cups us in His hands. How we were all covered in sin, and often compromise and dance with the world. I reflected on His amazing grace, and how we have life within us because of what Yeshua did for us. I became aware of a slight movement in my hand. Excitedly I peeped through my clasped fingers to see little legs moving… life within us. God does not want one single person to perish, instead He offers us life through His Son. If I have been given life, then I have life to give through Him. I was very excited at the prospect of what was going on inside my hand, but more so within my spirit.

I approached a tap and very gently rinsed off the sand from Roxy’s wings. The fresh water did wonders…. come all you who are thirsty and drink from the Living Waters. I took her home and gently placed her on some roses on the dining room table. I mixed a bit of honey and water and proceeded to drip this on a rose petal. To my amazement the little proboscis unfolded and the butterfly started to drink. I began to think of how we need to drink in the Word, “Your Word is like honey on my lips..” “Drink all you who are thirsty..” Honey is a miracle liquid known for healing properties, and we have access to the body of Christ that was broken for healing in spirit, mind, and body.

I watched and checked on Roxy, periodically offering my honey/water mixture. I was amazed to see her stretch her wings. She started to move around the roses, resting delicately on them. The Word of God brings healing to those that believe, and are washed in the Living Waters. I was reminded in my inner-most being of the grace and mercy of God, His love for us that knows no bounds, an unconditional love. This tiny creature was witnessing to me, and the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth was revealing the character and grace of the Father.

It came to the end of our stay near the beach, and I carefully wrapped the roses and placed them in a container, strapping them with Roxy into the back seat of my car. Our Father God does the same, He protects us and if we allow Him to, He places us where we are safe…He takes us to places where He knows we will be in His presence, and where we will be secure. Roxy could have flown off those roses, but she seemed happy to stay, almost dependent on me. Because of her dependence I was able to protect her from the birds, ants and heat. How many times do we not stray from the protection of the Father, our choice to be independent and not to depend on Him. Yeshua faced death, and He asked His Father if the cup could pass Him by, but He said, “Thy will, not Mine.” If Yeshua Messiah seeks the will of the Father, then we should too.

Once at home I showed Roxy to my granddaughter and daughters. They were taken aback with the beauty of this once sand covered, dying butterfly, and it made me wonder how many times I share the beauty of Yeshua. How quick was I to show and tell of my rescue, but how often do I not share my own rescue with other because I may feel uncomfortable. I was a Roxy, my rescue by Yeshua was life changing and I cherish Him, love Him and serve Him. Yet, I typically keep His beauty that is beyond human understanding from others.

I returned home from running an errand and could not find Roxy. I started searching for her, and was overjoyed when I found her on the other side of the room. She seemed weak and when I offered her honey/water she immediately started to drink. This reminded me that we often think we can do things on our own, flying off on our own will. This may land us in difficult, or dangerous, situations (spiritually, mentally or physically), but the Father wants us to remain with Him. However, if we take off, He will pick you up and offer you His grace and forgiveness. You must accept it though, and “drink it” to revive you and give you life.

Roxy lived for five days, she eventually died, as all things do. But this rescued butterfly gave me life. I gave her life by offering her protection, honey and water. I should be more generous with my ‘honey and water’ and offer it to those that seem weighed down, are lying lifeless on the sands of life, have flown off and are lost. Sometimes these people are not way out there, they are right next to us, in our homes and friendship circles. They are the fabric of our lives, friends, family and neighbours. Sometimes it is the simple things in life that bear witness to Who we serve, Who we are filled with, and Who loves us unconditionally. Father is always watching, has freely made available to us ‘honey and water’. He protect us, and desires us to stay in His presence.

Father, I ask that just as this beautiful butterfly entered my life and witnessed to me, that I would share Your grace and love with those around me. Empower me with Your Spirit to taste and see that You are good, that I might share Your beauty for Your honour and Your glory. Amen

The Son always shines.

May He cause His face to shine upon you, and bless you and your family.

Photo I took on the Sunshine Coast, Australia.

I have been considering the seasons and weather forecasts of late. Weather patterns signal seasons, yet the weather forecasts do not always get it right, regardless of the season. I am not a meteorologist, but when I see clouds I am able to decide whether to hang out the washing. 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, BUT…behind the clouds, regardless of the colour, there is a blue sky, and the sun is shining.

Across the globe many people are facing very difficult times. Our family has been through some traumatic events over the past three years, but not once did I doubt that YHWH had a sovereign plan. I am constantly reminding myself that His will is perfect, and I hold onto this truth. We are not out of the woods yet, but His peace surpasses our human understanding, as we rest knowing that He has the situation in His hands. A dear friend of ours always says, “God’s got this.” 

Rain is necessary for growth, and you can’t have rain without grey clouds that block our view of the blue sky and sunshine. They don’t block the sunshine out, if they did we would be in pitch black darkness, these clouds filter the light. My hubby is quick to remind me that if we had sunshine everyday, we would live in a desert where nothing could grow. Psalm 65 reminds us that rain is necessary and brings 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 is a good reminder not to focus on the weather when making plans, but to focus on the plan despite the weather. Do storms in life determine our spiritual walk? Or, do we allow our spiritual walk to determine how we approach storms? When the clouds appear, and the torrential rains come, do we hide and cower? Or do we remember that beyond the storm, the sky is blue, and the Son is shining in all His glory? I am not articulating this very well, the chorus from Annie, springs to mind… The sun will come out tomorrow. What I am trying to communicate is that whatever the circumstances, YHWH is 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 storms appear on the horizon remember this. Try not to run around in panic, and stress. Instead, seek protection under His wings, and in His presence.  The sky is always blue, and the sun always shines. You might not feel the warmth of the sun, but there is light.

Graham Cooke reminds us that we should not allow our circumstances to determine when we call on YHWH. I think too often we call on Him to intervene on our behalf in the storm. However, we should continually call, and wait upon Him, continually seek His will and desire. Asking for His intervention (guidance) on the warm, blue sky days, and overcast days. If we are continually seeking His will, and continually enriched by His visitation, and watering (Ps 65:9), then we will be able to rejoice on rainy days, and during stormy times, because we experience His power at work. We can stand in awe, and fear, at His majesty and loving-commitment to those He has chosen (Psalm 65:4). That is you by the way.

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. He desires us to seek Him with ALL our hearts, come rain or shine. Take a minute and read Psalm 65, and discover hidden treasures (promises) regarding the abundance of His provision.

Father YHWH, I thank you that you never leave us. Your majesty, and glory, are always there, even when we can’t feel it, or see Your plan. Help us to know that your plans are for the good of those who seek You. That when we seek You, You shall be found. And when we cry out to You, our prayers will be heard. May Your favour be upon those reading this, and may You turn Your face toward them, and bless them, and give them peace. Let Your way be known on earth, Your deliverance among all nations. I pray that people will see Your goodness, even in the storm, and sing Your praises. That You would increase our praise and worship, and that we would fear You, and honour You. (Psalm 67)

Amen