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.

At His feet

Mary sat at the feet of Yeshua, listening to what He taught.

Luke 10: 39

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I have read the recount of Mary and Martha numerous times in Luke 10:38 – 42. There is a buzz in town as Yeshua Messiah has arrived. Martha sets her house in order and starts preparing to entertain the Messiah. Mary, well she finds a spot at the feet of Yeshua, she hangs off every word He speaks, she is close to him. Luke 10: 38 As Jesus and His disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to what He taught. However, this displeases Martha, who is upset that her sister is not helping with the meal preparation. She is so disgruntled that she asks Yeshua to send Mary into the kitchen to assist. Verse 41 But Jesus said to Martha, “Martha you are fussing over all these details. 42 There is really only one thing that you should be concerned with and Mary has discovered that and I will not deny her this.

It is likely that Martha and Mary had been preparing for this meal from well before Yeshua arrived, and it may be that Mary considered the preparations to be sufficient. Another explanation may be that Martha was so efficient that Mary decided that she would only be in the way. So she positions herself with intent in a specific spot, signalled by the word “AT”. This delineates a specific place, there is a focused decision as to where she sits: at His feet. In the Scripture we are introduced to Martha, the sister who kept the house, this would imply that she was older than Mary. Mary was younger and in love with Yeshua. She was seated at His feet as He reclined at the table because she wanted to be close to Him, she wanted to be ready to jump up and serve Him. What she had discovered was being in love with Yeshua Messiah.

Martha loved Yeshua too, but she was preparing for Him, she was serving Him out of love, but she had not discovered being in-love. She was fussing about detail, showing that she cared, she wanted everything to be perfect for Him. Yeshua does not reprimand Martha, rather He tells her that Mary is in the right place spiritually. Mary is in-love, she recognises the importance of being close, of not fussing and having everything perfect. Mary chooses and desires to position herself at the feet of the one she loves.

After a little reading I discovered that not much is known about Mary, yet she is mentioned again in John 11:28-32. Lazarus, brother of Martha and Mary had passed away and they were in mourning. We know that Jesus was very fond of Lazarus and spent a good deal of time with him. A distraught Martha goes out to meet Jesus as He approaches their village. Martha returns to the house and informs Mary that Jesus is on His way. In verse 29 we read, “So Mary immediately went to Him.” and in verse 32, “When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell down at His feet..” This is the second time that we read of her positioning herself in a humble position, being close to Him. Mary positions herself at His feet once more time in John 12:3 when she took a jar of nard oil and anointed the feet of Jesus. This was a prophetic act as it was in preparation for His burial. Once again she is found at the feet of Jesus, this time anointing Him and drying His feet with her hair. She is close to Him, but in humility.

In Ruth 3 we read about Naomi telling Ruth to lie at the feet of Boaz. It was customary for servants to lie at the feet of their master and Naomi advised Ruth to do this to demonstrate her submission and willingness to serve. So for Mary to place herself at His feet, she was demonstrating her willingness to serve, she was humbling herself before the King and she was doing so in-love. Where do we position ourselves? Are we fussing with things that we consider important to prove that we love Him? Or are we humble, ready to serve, listening to His words and in-love, so much so that we desire to be as close as we can to Him.

Take time out of your busyness and put aside the fussing. Just place yourself at His feet, humbly sit there so that you can listen to Him and feel His grace, mercy, and love wash over you. Discover what Mary discovered – be in-love with Jesus.

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

You want me to do what?



Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

Revelation 16:4

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2 Kings 5 narrates the events of Naaman and Elisha. Naaman was a great commander, the right-hand man to the king. However, Naaman is struck with leprosy, and the king sent a letter and gifts to Elisha. Elisha, the prophet was renowned as a miracle worker. Naaman was a man of wealth, he was short of nothing – except faith. Elisha, he had a double anointing from YHWH, and walked in obedience and faith.

Aram was a neighbour to Israel, and the Arameans had raided Israel. When the king of Israel received this letter, he thought that is may be an ambush. He considered the consequences if Naaman was not healed, and if that would lead to more raids. Naaman wanted to be healed, and realised that this disease would be the end of the king’s favour as and his ex-communication from society. He had everything to lose, he was so desperate that he listened to a servant girl. How amazing is our King? He places people in our lives to show us the way! Naaman sets off, with high expectations of meeting this man of God.

Naaman was a man accustomed to fanfare and respect. However, the leprosy is an outer illness, and there is an inner healing needed deep within Naaman. Elisha does not come to meet Naaman, instead, he sends a messenger to meet him. The message is simple, “Go and wash yourself in the Jordan River, and wash seven times.” Naaman was full of pride, very aware of his position and standing, his wealth – in short full of self-importance. This is evident in his reaction to the message.

We are left questioning how much Naaman needs healing, how deeply does he want to be well again? He fussed and became offended by the fact that Elisha did not even appear before him – he was Naaman, the kings right-hand man. He had expected that this man of God would approach him, and wave his hand over Naaman. But instead a message is sent that he is to wash in a murky river? You want me to do what???? It would appear that his pride was greater than his desire to be healed. YHWH is able to heal us with a wave of a hand, but there has to be some effort from your side. Think of the healings that Yeshua preformed, in all of them there was faith needed by the sick person – washing eyes in the pool, picking up a mat, coming out of the tomb. These all required effort and faith. Naaman already believed that God worked through Elisha, and that He could heal. His faith was there, it was just that he didn’t expect that he would have to do something ‘beneath’ his standing to receive the healing.

You see, what Naaman had to do to receive his healing was to get out of his clothes, he had to remove his rank and wealth. Naaman had to expose his leprosy to those around him, he would be making himself vulnerable. Naaman had to lay who he was in the Aramean kingdom on the muddy banks of the Jordan, he had to immerse himself in the water, not just stand on the side and splash. This meant he had to deal with his pride issue, he had to humble himself before YHWH, he had to take up his cross and sacrifice his position and standing before the King of Kings. He had to tear his heart.

There is a truth here about revealing who we really are. Sometimes we hide behind our Sunday best, and masquerades dictated by the world. We often become unwillingly distracted by our ‘dressings’, position and importance. Before you know it we have grown an attitude of pride – if this has offended you, then take a closer look at your heart. I am not pointing fingers, I have to daily strip off pride!

Naaman was not impressed with ‘lowering’ himself, physically and spiritually, into the river. He considered the Jordan River not good enough for him, as there were better rivers at home – he still did not get it. Sorry for the pun, but Naaman’s healing skin-deep. The true healing was in the secret place, his heart. His pride was blocking his physical healing, until he was willing to lay his pride aside he would not receive the healing, and he stood to loose everything if he didn’t humble himself. Naaman had a choice to make, he could strip off or get back on his mule and go back home.

Enter the voice of reason, a brave officer from the ranks. Another person positioned for a time such as this by YHWH, to reason with this stubborn and proud commander. How often do we ignore the voice of reason? Often pride dictates that we have to be able to point out that we are who we because we used our own strength/brainpower/expertise or wisdom. Perhaps washing in a muddy river was too simple for Naaman? The officer’s reasoning made Naaman realise his desire to be healed was greater than getting into the water. He had travelled so far. He must have been so itchy and sore, the dust and travelling would not have made this journey easy for him. To make that journey back home without dipping into the water seemed ridiculous. In verse  14 we read, “So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times as the man of God had instructed. And his flesh became as healthy as a young child’s, and he was healed.” There is a double healing here!!! His flesh is healed and his inner is healed. AMEN. Naaman submitted, he obeyed YHWH, and he was made whole. He was healed not because of his authority, strength or standing – Naaman was healed by the power of an Awesome God. He realised this and committed to serving God above all.

Naaman was buzzing and so excited that he wanted to pay Elisha. He put a price on his healing of 340 kg of pure silver, 68 kg of pure gold and 10 sets of clothes. Naaman is so grateful, but he needs to learn another lesson from Elisha. Elisha refuses the gifts, he redirects the glory and esteem to YHWH. Elisha shows humility and acknowledges the strength of God, he does not claim any esteem or glory for himself. In the end Naaman returns to Aram with a sod of soil to remind him of the miracle in his life, and of his commitment to YHWH.

I have a personal testimony of healing similar to that of Naaman. I feel though that I must say upfront that as individuals we experience traumatic events in our lives differently. I have prayed for family members who have not received healing, I have had close Christian friends pass away. So the views expressed are personal, they are my journey, and my beliefs may differ from yours regarding healing.

In 2011 I was diagnosed with Grade 4, invasive cancer of the bladder and statistically given five year if the bladder was not removed. The urologist wanted to remove my bladder and create a pseudo bladder using part of my colon. This would mean that I did not have an outer bag, but an inner one that still needed to be emptied with a catheter. After prayer I received a promise that no part of my body would be removed, but that I was going to have to walk through the valley of treatment. However, I was promised that this would be a time of blessing, and the journey would take me into a deeper place with Him. My husband and I met with the urologist and told him that we would not be opting for bladder removal. He strongly advised me to reconsider, but as a step of faith, I held fast to the promise and opted for treatment, chemo and radiation. I maintain that I had spiritual cancer, and that the physical cancer was a stop sign for me to stop and take a good look at my heart. I had become so wrapped up in me and my own world. I was in a middle management position at a prestigious Christian school, was completing a Master of Education, and doing well. I was running and fit, spending hours training my body. I had all the trappings of Sunday best, smiles and bling. Yet, this list did not include spiritual wellbeing, where was God in my life? I needed to be woken up. I needed to go to the river, strip myself of myself, and dip myself in humility and obedience. I needed to tear my heart and not my clothes. I will be forever grateful that YHWH put that stop sign in my life, so glad He took me on a journey through a valley with Him. Many people have asked me a question. “If you say that you are healed, how come you are faced with treatment?” The answer is never simple, but my personal experience is that, like Naaman, sometimes we have to heal the inner to heal the outer. I love the Healer of my soul, all the glory and honour to Him. May you come before the Stream of Living Water and immerse yourself, stripping off all, and humbly and eagerly dip into the everlasting waters. Amen

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