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.

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.

Guard His ways and delight in Him

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4

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I would like to encourage you to read Samuel 22:20-23. In these verses we read that YHWH brings out, delivers, delights in, rewards and repays. These are the actions of a Father towards His children according to their righteousness, the cleanness of your hands, and the way you guard the way of the Father. It is clear that Abba Father desires to give us much more, more than we can comprehend.

In today’s society we are driven to succeed and to “please” others, and increasingly to please ourselves. However, these verses remind us that as children of the Most High we are called to delight in His love and seek His will. John 14:23 is one of my favourite verses as it holds an amazing promise. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me. My Father will love you and We will make Our home with you.” Wow, the Father, Son and Spirit will MAKE a home with me! A home is a place of belonging, protection, love and rest. I love this promise and it helps me to seek His will, to proclaim my love daily and to delight in having a home with YHWH. The requisite to this delightful prospect is to love Him, obey Him and seek right-ruling, being pure in worship and faith. To delight Yeshua you need to serve Him with an undivided heart and pure motives. God delights in those that guard His ways and Word. Those who love His Son and allow the Set-Apart Spirit of Truth to dwell in them. More of Him and less of me. God delights in the humble of heart, those who are totally dependent on His providence and do all things through the strength of  Yeshua for the glory of YHWH.

To guard His way and Word, we must understand the Way. Guarding something implies that what you are protecting, keeping safe and close to you is of value. To guard something means that you are willing to sacrifice something to keep it safe. You can’t guard something that you don’t know about or know where it is. You are not likely to guard something that has no value to you. Bodyguards are specially trained to defend persons of importance and are equipped with skills used to protect their charge, but most importantly they are willing to die for this person. Are you trained in knowing the Word, will you willingly sacrifice yourself for His Word and way? Do you guard the Word from dust by rubbing a finger over it now and again, is it hidden somewhere safe? The safest spot to hide the Word of God is in your heart, keeping it there and feeding upon it. Checking and measuring your thoughts with the Living Word is a good way of keeping your feet on the Way.

Staying with the analogy of guards, we need to be equipped to guard. Paul talks of putting on the armour of God – of ensuring that you are protected and understand who you are and how to use your equipment. Being equipped to guard the Word and will of YHWH means you need to understand who you are in Yeshua, that you are His redeemed and beloved, His Kallah (bride). You need need to be dressed in garments of praise and worship, be filled with His Spirit, ask and seek for wisdom, understanding, knowledge, Truth, power and might and clothe yourself in the fear of YHWH Most High. This fear is not the knee knocking fear, rather it is an awe, respect and wonderment for the Father as creator and author of life. Delight in your Father’s love.

To delight in something implies that you light up, you beam and that your mood and body is enlightened. There is a sense of rejoicing, a sense of joy and contentment. Father enjoys it when you delight in His creation, the beauty, variation and complexity of living things, the power of the ocean and weather. When is the last time that you really delighted in the beauty of the crashing waves, the sound of a storm, marvelled at the colours of a bird and their ability to soar in the sky. We are quick to moan about the cold wind that whips up sand, the rain that wets washing or cancels a picnic – these are moments of awesome creation. I love scuba diving or snorkelling. The storm can be whipping up the sea, yet beneath the very same waters in a world of colour and tranquillity. We serve a God that is alive and we need to take our noses out of books, eyes off screens, ears away from music and noise and see His awesomeness – delight in what He has created.

Take delight in knowing that each new day is interwoven with opportunities to serve Him, to learn more about Him, to grow in love and fear at His loving-commitment to you. Delight in the love letters that you receive during the day, the little moments that are close to your heart, a smile from a stranger or a sunset that reminds you of how loved you are by the Creator. Ask YHWH to reveal to you a glimpse of His love for you, look to the cross and delight in your Saviour. Guard these moments, put His Word deep into your heart, guard that which has value and does not rust or get lost.

Father, You are so amazing and I love You. The words tumbling from my lips cannot express my delight, see my heart. Spirit of YHWH, help me fear YHWH, grow my knowledge and understanding of His Word deep in my heart, so that I may guard His Word. Guide me daily in Your Ways and equip me I pray to do Your will and seek right-ruling. I desire to delight in Your Word and purpose for my life for the glory and delight of Your Son. Amen