The path

A path is typically prebuilt with a beginning and an end. It is built with a purpose, leading to a destination. In Jeremiah 29:11 we read that YHWH has a plan for our lives, we were created in love for a purpose. Do you realise this? Be encouraged as you read this to know that you are loved beyond measure and that Yeshua Messiah is waiting to walk with you on your life journey.

The path near our home is concrete and it runs alongside the dunes. The native Paperbark trees spread a canopy across the path shading pedestrians from the sun, wind, and rain. Within this canopy there is abundant bird life and they share their song with those who pass beneath. I love this pathway and it is my escape. I have also spent many hours walking and praying along this path and have received many messages during these hours. It has to be one of my special places. This path is not exclusively used by me, there are many people on the path at any given time of day. There are joggers, runners that pass you like steam trains, walkers, couples and families that amble along, cyclists, dog walkers and pram pushers. Each individual is dressed for their specific occasion in line with the purpose of using the path. The attire, pace, and level of effort indicating the commitment to the activity. Some focus on pace, others chat away on their phones drowning out the sounds of birds, and the pace of others is determined by companions. Everyone moves along the same path at different paces with different objectives. These persons have different beginnings and destinations, but they all move along the path in the same direction. You have no idea who they are, what they had for breakfast or what is going on in their lives, the only common factor is that we share this path.

At intervals there are gates that are used to access the path and beach. There is a continual joining and departing of people. People on this path walk with purpose and are not distracted by these gates, unless it is the gate that they need to take to get to their destination. This made me consider my walk with Yeshua. When I walk in His will do I walk with purpose, focus, and understanding? Do I really know where I am going? Am I appropriately dressed in garments that show my love for Him? Where is my focus, or am I distracted by gates and the walk of those around me?

When I walk I use a Smartwatch so that I can gauge my heart rate, distance, and speed. This allows me to adjust my pace and reach my fitness goals. However, I wonder how often I monitor my heart, pace, and spiritual fitness when walking in His will. I have set a notification to vibrate when I am not putting in enough effort. My lack of effort during a walk may be because I become distracted, feel a little lazy and don’t really want to exert myself. This vibration is enough to refocus my attention. How often do you really pay attention to the nudge of His Set-Apart Spirit of Truth? The Set-Apart Spirit was sent by the Father to remind us of the teachings of Yeshua; to convict us of sin, righteousness and judgement; and to guide, council, and prepare us for the return of Yeshua. Do you pay attention to the prompting of the Spirit? Do you adjust your focus and pace in keeping with revelations and your walk?

I use to think that I went for my walk on this path, then it dawned on me that I walk with a Companion. I need to adjust my pace and direction so that I keep up with Him. Perhaps this is why I enjoy walking on this path so much. I am walking with Him, sheltered by His canopy of love, grace, and mercy. Surrounded by His amazing creation. For the eyes of YHWH are on the way of man, and He sees all his steps. (Job 34:21) May your walk today be regulated by the Spirit of YHWH, may you feel His canopy above, behind, and before you as you step one step before the other.

The restoration

Psalm 107

There are four types of people redeemed within this Psalm and I took great comfort in the knowledge that no matter where I might be in my journey YHWH’s loving-commitment to me is great. Our Father is waiting to restore and save us.

The persons referred to in the Psalm come from all walks of life and it is evident that the strife they find themselves in is of their own doing. There choices have led to adversary, distress, hopelessness and homelessness (being out of relationship with Him). Regardless of their situation they come to a point where they recognise that they need help, that they can’t do things their own way. This is when they reach out to YHWH.

The first group of people referred to in this Psalm have lost their way, they are without a home (church, fellowship). They are hungry and thirsty and cognisant that they need YHWH. There are so many people like this today, people who have perhaps wandered from the Truth, those who may have been hurt by people in Church and walked away. These people are often very close to us and might even be living in the same home. Often those who may have taken offence and wandered around from church to church, they are lost and without a home. Then there are believers who sit next to us in services who have disengaged, fallen asleep and fallen out of relationship with YHWH. These people often know the answer, but have lost the Way. However, when they realise that they need help and cry out to their Father He responds out of loving-commitment. YHWH delivers them, guides them, shows them where to live, He satisfies and fills their needs (verse 9).

Then there are people who are bound and held captive by sin. These are often those who have drifted away, or do not recognise that they need YHWH. They may tried alternative beliefs, be indifferent to the Word and follow false prophets, thereby rejecting the Word and YHWH. YET, the Father does not give up on them, He humbles them and causes them to cry out to Him (verse 13). Then He brings them into the light and breaks their bondage and captivity setting them free in Yeshua. This shows the intense love of the Father and encourages me to never give up praying for those who are in bondage. We serve an amazingly good YHWH and His grace and mercy is immeasurable.

The third group of people are those whose sin has lead them into affliction, they may be addicted to something and this has drawn them away from seeking the Truth, and contradicts the Truth. In verse 18 the Psalmist described these people as being near death – both spiritual and physical. It is important to not think of near death experiences within the spiritual realm as being something very dark or extreme. I have shared my testimony before in one of the blogs, but am going to reiterate it here as it is relevant. I was a healthy, fit and ambitious teacher at a Christian school. I was on top of the world, BUT I was dying spiritually. I was so focussed on my career, body and life in general that I was addicted to me. I attended church, home groups and taught Bible at school, but these things were not done in relationship, they were to keep up appearances so to say. I was not involved in dark and extreme things but I was not focused on the Light. I had not rebelled against the Word, I had become addicted to myself – in short. However, the loving-commitment of our Father is unending and when you cry out to Him and admit that you need His love His Word – the Truth restores. Yeshua Messiah is the healer and He brings wholeness and freedom from addictions no matter what they may be. Yeshua delivers us from destructive habits that can be categorised as addictions. AMEN!

The fourth group are sailors (verse 23). These sailors work and experience the power and might of YHWH, yet these experiences do not prevent their being from melting with evil. I related this to those who may become oblivious and familiar with His Word. For example, Breaking Bread brings us into the very presence of the Father, yet I have been in churches where this has become a ritual, habit or just something they practice. There is so much power in breaking Bread and remembering Yeshua and His love. In finding a church home how they held communion become a criteria for us. There appears to be a lack of fear for YHWH. People having private conversations during worship is another example, we gather together as His bride to worship Him, to exalt His Name – not to have a discussion. I feel that there is a complacency that has crept into the church. Perhaps some Christians take things for granted, they are staggering around and off balance spiritually because of familiarity, a lack of fear and even a lack of respect for His Church. In verse 27 the warning is that these attitudes swallow up wisdom and I would add that familiarity might also have the same result. Yet, once again when these people recognise their waywardness and repent YHWH rescues them. He leads these people to safety and calms the storm around them. I believe the storm is not a visible storm but rather a spiritual storm as they ‘drift’ away but still seem to be ‘onboard’.

There is a pattern within the Psalm that reveals that our Father desires a relationship with each of us. No matter how far away you are, no matter how lost you are, or how addicted you are HE LOVES you and is waiting for you to recognise that you are loved. In verse 1,8,15,21,31 we are told to give thanks for His loving-commitment and wonders. There is no condemnation, YHWH does not condemn, He convicts and restores. This Psalm encourages me to check where I am, to reflect on my relationship with Him and to never stop praying for those around me. I know all to well that addiction to self is as dangerous, if not more, than other addictions. There is a song by For King and Country, and the chorus has the words, “if the world is listening then I will say You are my obsession”. Let’s become addicted to Yeshua, let’s ask Him to teach us to fear again, to NEVER stop praying and crying out for those around us who may be bound, lost, addicted and familiar. May this encourage you to cry out to Him, to know that you are so so loved by the King. Than you were created to fulfil a purpose, to be in relationship with your loving Father. Amen.

Crawl, walk, run

It is with pride that we wait and watch our young crawl. Crawling is the first stage of walking and an essential stage where humans learn to coordinate hands, feet, legs, and arms. Crawling soon gives way to a ‘monkey’ walk, many children will raise themselves off their knees and walk on their hands and feet – bottoms raised in the air. The child is slowly gaining confidence in exploring the world around them, and with great joy they shuffle around. Then with baited breathe parents celebrate the moment when this little human takes a step of independence, letting go of all support and they walk. Soon walking becomes a voluntary process that eventuates in running, skipping, hopping, and dancing.

It can be an easy analogy to our spiritual life in that we are rendered incapable before we meet Yeshua, we are so tied up in our bondage and sin that we can’t move freely. When we start our relationship with YHWH we crawl, Paul refers to the eating stages of infants and relates this to our maturity. Hebrews 5: 13-14: “For everyone partaking of milk is inexperienced in the Word of Righteousness, for he is a babe. (14) But solid food is for the mature whose senses have been trained by practice to discern both good and evil.”  We all need to crawl before we can walk, we need to dig deep into the Word to align our spiritual being with that of the Almighty so we are set-apart from the world. It is during this time that we focus on becoming strong and in being coordinated with His will and direction. From crawling we start to walk, never alone but guided in the strength of the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth, holding the hand of our beloved Yeshua. When we can walk in confidence and certainty, we seek His right-ruling, His Word and Spirit guide our feet and we set our sight on the incorruptible crown.

I want to focus on the parent in the picture. When a baby starts to crawl the parent takes great care in ensuring that things are safe for the little one. Items are lifted up higher as they are not suitable for that youngster yet. There may be areas in the house that the baby can’t get into yet as the skills for navigating this area have not been developed. Once baby starts walking the parent hands are never far from the child, hovering in place to catch and comfort should the child fall. Hands that are there to pick up and restore confidence, encourage, and motivate to continue strengthening legs and balance. YHWH does not slumber nor sleep, He watches us and sees every small detail, He is waiting for us to grab on to Him and to seek His guidance as we walk. He will never let you be somewhere where you can’t manage the walk,  it may feel like you are not ready but you need to learn how to deal with one step so you can climb the stairs ahead. If a child that has learnt to walk decides to wander off and hide, he/she has that choice and freedom through the independence that walking brings. However if a child calls out to a parent for help, they are found quickly. Yeshua told us the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin to let us know that if we call out He will come and find us where we are.

However, you can’t set off running without direction, YHWH has a plan for your life – a plan that has been set-apart for you by the Almighty, Most High. In Jeremiah 29:11 we read, “For I know the plans I am planning for you,’ declares YHWH, ‘plans of peace and not of evil to give you a future and an expectancy”. Another scripture written by Paul in Ephesians 2: 10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua unto good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should WALK in them.” These verses speak not only of a Father that is there to guide His children, but of a Lovingly-Committed Elohim that prepares the walk/run for His beloved sons and daughters. This walk has obstacles and difficult bits, but when we trust in His strength and not try to do these bits on our own, there is victory and growth. Remember that Paul stated that he needed to be severe with his body, making it his slave. Yeshua stated that He is the WAY, Truth and Life. Messiah Yeshua died so that you and I could walk and run in freedom, without bondage. So that we could run the race of life bringing Him the glory, so to gain the incorruptible crown. The cliché is, ‘no pain, no gain’.

When we see those around us that forget how to walk in grace, forget how to walk with the Lord or have wandered off and hidden themselves and are unsure of how to call out, we need to be the hands that gently and lovingly guide them back. We need to get alongside them and help them regain their balance – without judgmentally knocking them off their feet. Being aware that the Master has a plan for their lives and we need to carry these brothers and sisters to the Feet of Yeshua and place them there. One of my favourite miracles is when the four friends carried their lame friend and lowered him through the roof to the feet of Yeshua. Yeshua looked up and saw their faith, that is inspiring. NEVER underestimate your faith when you bring people to the Feet of Messiah Yeshua. Yeshua healed many lame people, there are spiritually lame people all around us that need healing. You can’t run from the arms of the Saviour – we are running, walking or crawling to get into His arms. Help those around you join in the race.

YHWH, help me to walk in Your way, help me to love the path of righteousness and to remain on the way that you have planned for me. If I stray off the road, pull me back. I pray that You would set brothers and sisters around me that would not ignore my stumbling but gently convict me by shining the Light of Your Son on my path. May you use me to gently and lovingly bring those that are spiritually lame to the Feet of Yeshua where there is healing and peace. Amen

Be in the now

I AM, therefore you are.

Photo by Jordan Benton on Pexels.com

Reading Psalm 98

YHWH desires a new song, a freshness in our worship that comes from the renewing of our minds. He provides a new day, a fresh start and we need to walk forward. I often find myself going around in circles, making decisions based on past experiences and I think that in doing this I miss new blessings. Recently, I have learnt that you can’t change the past, no matter how often you replay it in your mind. There has to be a focus switch on what YHWH desires of us for the present, the NOW. The past has gone, it is over. When YHWH spoke to Moses, He said, I AM (Exodus 4:14). This teaches us that we serve a Living God, a Father that walks with us NOW – He IS. Lot’s family were warned not to look back. Not to linger in the past, but to move forward into the blessings and the plan that had been set-aside for them. We serve a Father that knows the big picture, everything has already been prepared. He IS, and never changes. YHWH is holy and righteous, the King of all things seen and unseen.

A price has been paid for your salvation and redemption. You have been chosen and set-apart by the blood that Yeshua shed, you are redeemed. Sometimes we get stuck in the past and dwell on what was, or what we did. BUT, we need to accept that salvation is done. You now have access to the Father, Yeshua said that He IS the way, the truth and the life. We can enter into worship and come into His presence, and sit at His feet. There is no need to bring an animal to sacrifice for the atonement of sin, IT IS DONE.

If you have experienced a miracle in your life, a healing or a mountain that was moved it is a victory. Victory in our lives should change us and strengthen us, making us strong funnels for His esteem and purpose. We are equipped to move forward in Him, through Christ we can do ALL things. We need a new perspective. If you drive and keep looking in the rear view mirror you are going to get yourself and others in a heap of trouble. We focus on the road ahead and use our review mirrors to check only. We can use our past experiences and victories to remind us of His mercy and love for us, but not to fixate on them and never look ahead. We need to be seeking what it IS that God has in store for us, what we need to step into that has already been done.

Ask the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth to give us a new perspective, a now perspective. Nature is God’s creation and it speaks to us of His creative nature. If you water a dying tree it will grow new shoots, it brings about new life. After a little pruning and feeding it can even bear fruit. We are the same, we need to show new growth, we need to allow the Spirit to prune us and we need to feed from the Word and drink from the Streams of Living Water. Then we will produce fruit of the Spirit. We can’t harp on what were, what we have achieved. We live in the NOW and if we proclaim that we are filled with Yeshua (John 14:23) then we can’t live in the past because HE IS.

We need to become relevant and fruitful, we are redeemed and forgiven. Don’t hold on to what you have done in the past – don’t let satan lie to you and call you unworthy because of what you did. Jesus IS alive and it IS done – walk in faith. Let things go, move on. Release old grudges – you may still be holding onto. It is most likely that the other person or persons have forgotten about the incident. MOVE ON, if you find it difficult remember what Jesus did so that you can walk with Him and be with Him. Thankfully He does not hold grudges!!!

I AM reigns in you, not I was. You ARE His chosen one, not a has-been. I recall one morning as I worshipped Him, I clearly heard within my spirit, “I AM, therefore you are.” Present tense, now – His chosen ARE loved, ARE forgiven, ARE created for a purpose. We are called to serve, to worship and love. BUT my favourite is you ARE loved by a very present Father – therefore you are. I would encourage you to renew your mind daily, seek Him, know He loves you and is lovingly-committed to you. You ARE His child, the bride of Yeshua Messiah. Walk in victory, walk in His will and step forward into all He has for you. Be a funnel in His hands, obedient and serving Him with an undivided heart. Look to the future where our hope IS in Him.

YHWH IS, this very minute He IS and we need to in His present presence. You have a choice to say “I am here Father, at Your feet, in Your presence.” Where are you really? What are you dwelling on? What is hindering you from moving forward? Nature brings glory to YHWH every day. New seeds are germinating and sprouting, bringing new life as the rain nourishes and the sun shines. Are you growing more and more in love with Abba Father? Do you depend more and more on Him as you lay yourself aside? God is now. Don’t sit around waiting for something that may never happen? Don’t worry about what has happened, or hold onto grudges and unforgiveness (yourself and others)? Be in the now.

A sticky situation

This morning I wanted to mix an oil and went to open the bottle of Myrrh that I had ordered. The lid was stuck tight and I could not get it open. I tried various types of pliers that I sourced from my hubby’s toolbox. I tried prying it open with a knife, tried these grippy opening clothes that always help. Each attempt left me feeling frustrated. The essential oil is too precious to discard and was an essential part of the oil I was mixing. BUT no matter how hard I tried I could not get the bottle top off. Out of desperation I boiled the kettle and used heat to try and loosen the plastic cap. I was not expecting this to work at all. Too my surprise it did work and I was able to unscrew the lid. It was then that I discovered why the lid was so difficult to open. There appeared to be a residue of Myrrh that had become sticky and formed a gluey substance that sealed the lid shut.

The irony is that this ingredient was for an oil called Brokenness which relates to tearing your heart, being open and broken before YHWH, so to receive healing, restoration, and cleansing. The sticky residue was hidden from sight and it was only after multiple attempts, using multiple methods that I was able to see the problem. The cap was stuck and was stopping my access to this precious oil, an integral ingredient to a bigger oil. This spoke to my spirit and I began to wonder if I had hidden stickiness that was stopping me from accessing blessings, oil, and anointing. I wondered if there was a residue in my life that I was ignoring that might keep me from being a fragrance.

Once the bottle was opened I was able to smell the Myrrh, the scent is heavenly. It took a while for me to clean off the residue, and I had to pry off the drippy part as it was blocked. While cleaning the bottle I had to take great care not to spill this precious oil. I replaced the cap and was able to use the oil as intended. Needless to say my devotion was one of brokenness. The blood of the Lamb cleans away all sticky residue, He provides you with a new life that enables you to be open and pour forth His oil and fragrance. May this encourage you today to ask the Spirit of Truth to reveal any sticky residues that may be inhibiting YHWH from using you to be a fragrance to others, or from pouring out His love to those around you.

Anything is possible with belief

Photographer unknown

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.

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

Tear your heart

Tear your heart, not your clothes.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

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.

This powerful word presents two instructions in restoring a relationship with YHWH Most High. The first is to turn to YHWH with ALL your heart. All encompasses everything, nothing is excluded, or hidden – it is everything. This indicates that we need to make sure that come to Him with an undivided heart, an uncluttered and unobstructed attitude (the prefix un- means not to be). To turn to YHWH implies that you are focused on Him, facing Him, and presenting yourself before the Father. This implies that you need to be in a place where you strip off preconceived thoughts, removed from the world, and be in the presence of Holy presence of YHWH. Bringing yourself before Him in fasting and weeping, demonstrating repentance, humbly acknowledging your dependency on His love, mercy and grace.

Verse 13 instructs us to “tear your heart, not your clothing“. To make sense of this instruction it is necessary to consider the Jewish religious custom of ripping clothing as an external demonstration of great sorrow, repentance or shame. However, the sincerity behind this custom was only known to the person shredding their clothes, in other words this custom may have been done out of a religious expectation, rather than sincere repentance. However, YHWH does not look upon the outer of man, but He considers the heart of man. 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.” And is a great reminder to check the motives for our actions that may not match our heart.

This also reminds us that repentance needs to be a matter of the heart. Ask the Spirit of YHWH to convict you of old hurts, and sin, that hinder a living, loving relationship with YHWH, and others. The neglected issues that you considered dealt with, but are harboured still (forgive but not forget). YHWH calls for true repentance, not words mumbled because they were expected – a tearing our clothing. YHWH wants us to worship Him in spirit and truth, not by following customs and traditions that are physical demonstrations. In verse 13 a third dimension is added – ‘And tear your heart..’ reminding us to come into His presence where we bare all. We need to rid ourselves of the ‘ME’, and preconceived ideas of what we should do to worship. We need to be in a place of complete honesty, complete brokenness, removed from doing what others do, or expect us to do. There is a song ‘Losing my religion’ by Lauren Daigle that I would encourage you to listen to. Lauren sings about stopping the “masquerade”, and really seeking Him. (https://youtu.be/Uw6_g0aTwt4)

Tear your heart before YHWH. Go into a quiet place, be in His presence, draw near to Him with weeping and break open your heart – let every part of your heart be open before Elohim. Hidden sin are chinks in your armour that 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 stops your walk, but nurtures disbelief of how He values you. This brings doubt regarding the love and promises that are yours, a child of a lovingly-committed Father. The way to rid your heart of these things is to tear your heart before YHWH.

Once you have a broken heart, then Father is able to heal and restore 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.” This verse describes YHWH Most High as a loving, forgiving Father, who desires a spiritual, intimate, raw, and one-on-one relationship with you. He desires to bless you. In Joel 2: 19 we are promised a reward: “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. 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.”

Coming to Him, tearing your heart before Him in spirit and truth, unlocks and unblocks a relationship. This restored relationship allows a new anointing in the Spirit, a deeper understanding and relationship of the Father’s love. Maybe you have been feeling spiritually numb, and your prayers seem to be like bouncy balls that hit the ceiling and then the floor. Perhaps you are discouraged and although you have been doing “religious” things, you feel spiritually disconnected to Him. I want to encourage you this morning to go to a private place, and take three steps:
Step 1: Come before Elohim with a raw, open heart.
Step 2: Tear your heart before Him – the real you in spirit and truth. Nobody else is watching or listening, just a loving Father. Do this in obedience and out of love, and a dependency on Him. Don’t make it a reaction to a message or sermon. Strip off all teachings by man, and approach the Father as you – no masquerades.
Step 3: Turn back to YHWH, receive new grain (Understanding of His Word), New wine and oil (anointing of the Holy Spirit, 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 to all who seek Him, who tear their heart.

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