What can a whipper snipper teach you?

Before preceding it is perhaps a good idea to define whipper snipper. In Australia a whipper snipper is an edge cutter, or a weed eater. It is a gardening tool that trims the edges of your lawn and can be driven by electricity or petrol

It was going to be another muggy day so I decided to get stuck into the garden first off. What I intended to be a quick gardening chore turned into a two and a half hour session. At one stage I was feeling so frustrated that I would gladly have sold our home to the first buyer. Strange how I never considered calling a gardening franchise, but rather would sell our home because the whipper snipper was not playing nice. Talk about tossing the baby out with the bathwater.

The core of the problem that morning was that the whipper snippers were playing up, I give an inanimate object too much credit but go along with me here. We have a his and her whipper snipper situation at our house. His is a big powerful petrol brand appliance, mine is a simple off the shelf electric model. Both need twine and this was one of the problems, I had run out of twine for my model. I approached the macho model and gently coxed it into starting, which was much to my amazement! It purred along until it spluttered and died a short while later… no fuel. The twine also needed replenishing, this I was able to solve. However, after refuelling it I could not get it to start again.

I glanced over at the electric model sitting patiently in the corner, twineless. I remembered that somewhere in the cupboard was a reel of really thin twine that was inferior to the one I normally purchased. This twine snapped often, became tangled and in my mind was not up to the job. The thought of having to get changed and do a forty minute round trip to the store to purchase some twine was just too much effort. Typing this I realise my attitude was inferior too! I dug around and found the reel of twine, refilled the cartridge with little expectation of finishing the lawns and connected my whipper snipper to the electricity source. My expectations were not high and I was sure that this twine would cause me frustration and not do the job properly. BUT, it was all I had and it would have to do. However, this thin “inferior” twine surpassed my expectations. It cut the edges beautifully leaving a very satisfying sharp edge. It didn’t tangle or snap as I had expected. It snapped off as I became overconfident and ventured into some overgrown area that needed a slashing machine.

While I was trimming the edges of the lawn I was reminded of Gideon who was instructed to lead troops into battle. His tribe was the least, the weakest and it could be said that they were inferior to other tribes. Yet he got the job done because his faith and belief in YHWH was not inferior. This analogy might be a little far snipped (sorry) but the twine made me think about my thoughts regarding His calling. YHWH knows what our purpose is, what we are called to do. You see there are different grades of twine and each grade is suited to a specific task. YHWH is the gardener and He uses the gifts and talents within each individual to do the work. He purposefully chooses the twine for the job.

Sometimes twine becomes tangled or snaps off when it hits a snag, but that is only a small part of the whole twine. The gardener patiently stops, unwinds, rewinds and rethreads the twine so that it can complete the job. Much like our Father who is lovingly-committed to those who choose to serve Him. He will turn things to good for those who seek His will. He is ever so patient with me as I continually tangle and snap off. This analogy does not relate to our whole purpose in life, but there is a little gem and reminder here. Others may make you feel inferior, you may even recon yourself inferior for the calling on your life. But, I would encourage you to put yourself in His hands, to let Him use you to fulfil His will. YHWH is the Gardner and His expectations are for good, to bring Him esteem. Don’t compare yourself to others. Doing the lawn requires more than the twine, it requires lawnmowers of which there are MANY varieties. Lawns need weeding, feeding, and aerating. The twine in the whipper snipper is really a very small part of a much bigger process and picture.

Put yourself in the VERY capable hands of YHWH, your Father. Let His Spirit guide and use you in meeting the expectations He has for you. Submit your inferiorities to Him and let Him make you strong. Be the best you for His glory! (Romans 8:28)

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