Soapy encouragement

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After having a cup of coffee and a time of fellowship with a friend we said goodbye. She reached into her handbag and fished out a bar of soap, apologising that it was not wrapped, she whispered, “I am not sure why I have to give this to you, but I know there is a reason.” This friend often gave me prophetic or encouraging gifts. I gracefully accepted the naked bar of soap and wondered what the reason for the gift was. I may have sniffed myself to check that the gift was not a personal hygiene gift.

At home I placed the soap on my shelf and would glance at it in passing over the next few weeks. There on the shelf sat this rectangular piece of soap, omitting a soft sandalwood fragrance. It was cream with little streaks of brown. Just soap. Just there. Just being. It was only when I needed to replace soap in the shower that I picked up the gift. Using the soap I became aware that it was hard to use, the edges were sharp, it was not easy to hold. The fragrance was clean and fresh, and it did what soap does. However, as I used the soap the edges softened, the little brown streaks deepened to reveal rich orangery-golden layers previously hidden from view. The fragrance also became stronger and it became much easier to hold and use.

I realised that the reason for the gift was to remind me that gifts given to us by YHWY need to be used. It is when we use our gifts that we see the beauty, smell the fragrance and realise the power, like those unseen layers of soap. If the soap had remained on the shelf, it would still be a rectangular bar of soap with faint brown lines, hard edges and a faint fragrance. However, in using the soap with water it softened and was refreshing, fragrant and cleansing. I began to think about availing myself in the hands of the Master. How the waters that He takes me through might be hot but reveal His beauty within me. I pondered how He had softened and removed my sharp edges. I considered how His Spirit revealed a fragrance, and I remembered that the blood of Yeshua cleansed me.

My friend had no idea why she was to give me a bar of naked soap. But her obedience unlocked such a blessing. This served as a reminder that it is imperative to listen carefully when asked to do things for brothers and sisters in Christ. After all we are His funnels and while we may not understand the purpose of His command, it is not about us but about bringing Him glory through obedience. He will always reveal the purpose of a gift to the receiver, renewing minds and bringing spiritual growth. Ephesians 4:23 -24 reminds us: “to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I hope that this soapy story encourages you to discover who you are in Him, to step out in faith and obedience, even if it means handing someone a bar of soap. May He bless you and keep you, and cause His face to shine upon you.

The Toy Basket

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Walking passed my granddaughter’s toy basket I smiled as I pictured the delight on her face as she unpacked the contents of the basket. I could hear her giggles and instantaneously missed her presence. As a grandparent, and parent, I always take and took time to find toys for each child, considering their interests and age, objects that excite, ignite interest and/or inspire imagination. Each toy or gift is carefully selected – weighing their value, contribution to development and joy they will bring. I purposely and lovingly hand-picked each toy to bring a sense of enjoyment. This basket was not only filled with toys/gifts, but it was a token of love, nurture and hope.

The toy basket made me reflect on being a child of the Most High YHWH. Our Father, knows what we need before we ask for it, He knows our every thought before we have thought it and He hopes we will make right choices. He lovingly chose talents, gifts and blessings and placed them in our ‘basket’ in the hope that we would know His love, be inspired, ignited and equipped to fulfil His purpose. Sometimes gifts are not toys, for instance I made a dress for my granddaughter and she swirled around the shops, swishing the skirt as she walked, announcing to passing strangers that her Nanna had made her dress. She showed her delight in what had been created for her by sharing her joy. What are you doing with your lovingly created gift from the Spirit of YHWH? Are you hiding it in a safe place or are you sharing your joy bringing esteem to the Giver of the gift? My heart warmed at my granddaughter’s antics, it made me want to rush home and make more dresses – not for accolade from strangers, but because she showed such appreciation and joy at what I had given her.

In 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11 Paul writes concerning the gifts given to us by the Spirit of YHWH. In this passage Paul highlights that these gifts are specific to each of us, that they are given in accordance to the will of the Father. In verse 11, Paul writes that the gifts are given to all as the Spirit of YHWH decides, given in love. When I made that dress or put together the toy basket it was an action of love, I hoped that my granddaughter would wear the dress, use the toys, and treasure these items – specifically given to her. The gifts we receive from the Spirit of YHWH are bestowed upon each individual, and YHWH hopes that you will use what He has gifted you, that you will value His gift and that you will share the joy of His gift, and in doing so bring Him glory.

Let us reflect: is there a gift that we have not used, or that we are hiding? For my granddaughter to play with her toy basket , she has to be at my house. Perhaps we have not discovered our gift because we have not been in the Father’s presence for a while. Sometimes I will buy something new and pop it in the box as a surprise, I do this because I love to spoil her, love to see the delight on her little face. Abba Father enjoys spoiling His children, He loves to hear the praises of His chosen ones. Be aware that we serve a God that loves generosity, loves a joyful heart and a thankful heart. YHWH paid the ultimate price in enabling us to have life, and life abundantly through His Son. When was the last time you sat in  the presence of Abba Father? Have you used the gifts that He so lovingly gave to you? He is hoping that you will use the gifts and desires to hear your voice, see your smile and know your heart.

Matthew 25:14-30 narrates the parable of the talents. In summary servants are given talents [gifts] by the master, these are the master’s talents. Each servant was specifically given a set amount of talents and in the absence of the master two of the three servants did something with their talents, and were rewarded for using them. However, one servant hid his talent out of fear that he would anger the master if he lost the talent. I am often like this servant, I am scared that I may “misuse” the talent and tend to hide it. BUT, gifts we receive are specific to us and given in love by YHWH who never gives His children things that they can’t deal with. He always empowers us through His Spirit AND it is not about me, but it is about Him in me. I think that it is time I stepped up and start to swirl and twirl in His gifts, proclaiming to strangers the love of the Father, sharing my joy in His gifts and love. Join me in discovering your specific gifts, in sharing these gifts and His love in joy to others around you.

Father, You have given us so  much. You have made a way for us to gain eternal life through Your Son. You bless us beyond our needs, we only need to step outside of our worldly lives to see the beauty of Your creation. You have a plan for our lives, a plan to prosper us and to give us life expectancy. You, Father are our provider, we are Your children and if we as parents know how to provide for our children, how much more do You know how to provided for us. Forgive us for not always seeking Your Kingdom first. Spirit of Truth guide us in using the gifts You have specifically given to us, and guide us in using them for the esteem and glory of our Father. Amen