TURN AROUND, TURN EYES ON HIM

A few nights ago the Lord gave me an interesting dream. In it I was driving in a car with some friends to go and look at some exotic creatures in the sea. While we were busy looking at them I noticed that the tide had changed direction and the water was beginning to swirl around the car. I could see that in a few moments if we didn’t turn around, the car would either be flooded or we would be swept out to sea.

We turned the car around and started to drive away from the shoreline, but suddenly water started swelling and swirling from the sides too- it was as if we were about to be completely consumed by the ocean waves. We all began to shout and declare in faith, ‘Thank you Lord, you always make a way!’

As we did so, a tar path opened up a little stretch in front of us. The waves threatened to cover it, but we kept declaring God’s goodness in faith, thanking and praising Him. Every time we made a declaration, and drove forward in faith, a bit more of the path was revealed and we were able to drive on it, through the waves, in safety.

Over the last 2 weeks, God has been unpacking this dream for me. These are just a few of the highlights of what He has revealed…

• The exotic creatures in the sea represent the things of the world (people) that are holding our attention. Many people are so focused on these attractions that they have not noticed the tide has changed. God is saying that many will keep their affections on the things of the world and as a result, will be “swept away”, but those who keep their gaze (and affections) set on Him will be aware of the ‘signs of the times’ and move with His Spirit’s flow. It’s TIME TO LET GO – of the past, of unforgiveness, of materialism and status, fear and anything else holding us away from Him.

• Turning the car around in the opposite direction symbolises this year of “TURNAROUND”. God has repeated this word to me since January in so many different ways. I see Him completing flipping situations on their head or undoing circumstances that seem like dead ends.. In this season, I see restoration of relationships, health and finances amongst other things – for HIS PEOPLE (those whose eyes and hearts are set on Him and Him alone).

• Do not lose heart. Do not lose faith. Have patience and trust it to come to pass. In the dream, in spite of how things looked in the natural (swirling water about to consume us from every angle), we TRUSTED God would make a way and SPOKE it out in FAITH. Even though He only revealed a small part of the road at a time, at no stage did we feel He would abandon us to the ocean. We also didn’t get impatient and give up on following the road.

• Lastly, I hear Him say, ‘NEW PATH’. He is making all things NEW. For many, the path you are on this year may not look anything like what you were expecting, but trust Him. He is faithful.

 ‘Look. The time is coming when I will turn everything around for my people…” Jeremiah 30:3

LOST!

Recently my husband and I went away together on a MUCH needed flying trip. We were part of a group of five airplanes, meeting up with a larger crowd at our final destination which was a pan in the Kalahari right near the Namibian border.

It was an incredible adventure during which I experienced numerous “extremes”: extreme distance (over 2000km), extreme heat, and extreme wind of 45knots – so rough we had to ground the planes! We also experienced extreme cold that woke us up to frosted windshields on our last morning.

To spice things up a little more, my husband and I got LOST! How on earth does one get lost with a panel full of flight instruments you may ask? Well, very easy apparently!

We had simply developed a case of “Target Fixation”. Basically this means that one focuses on a specific target ahead, and in spite of any information you may have at your disposal, all of it gets ignored in favour of heading towards your point of focus.

In our case, we were initially a mere 4.5km to the left of our true destination. Had we just looked to the right we would have seen the correct pan and even the other planes landing on it. As it was, we ended up more than 30km away!

After flying around for some time over the absolutely barren desert terrain that is typical of the Kalahari, we weighed up the best options available. My husband made the decision to land the plane on a large pan so that we could refuel with the petrol we had on board, and try to make contact with anyone from our group. The last thing we wanted to do was to fly around until we ran out of fuel – or bit each other’s heads off – as that would not have been a happy ending to our little adventure!

In a nutshell, we landed safely, made contact with our team and refuelled. Thanks to modern technology we were even able to send a pin of our location. In no time at all, we were back in the air with a new set of instructions and directions.

While up in the air, we heard that the head event organiser was flying out to “guide us home”. And he did. We were reunited with everyone at the correct pan and able to enjoy the weekend exactly as intended…only with a whole lot more teasing from fellow fly mates.

Upon reflection of our little adventure, God highlighted three points for me.

Lesson 1: Sometimes we can get too fixated on our OWN plans and expectations for our lives. Often, we also develop a case of “target fixation” that we completely miss hearing God and seeing what He has planned for us! God may use circumstances to get us to stop, ground ourselves, refocus and reposition ourselves for HIS plans and purposes.

Lesson 2: In life we need to stay humble. Pride could have prevented us from reaching out and admitting we needed help. God places people in our lives for various reasons and when a helping hand is offered, we need to stay humble and not be too hasty to reject the assistance. We have no idea of the opportunities it may open ahead of us – whether it’s to bless or be blessed.

Lesson 3: Just as the Head Organiser flew to come find us and lead us home, so is God faithful to come and find us when we are lost. In His Word He promises to “leave 99 to come and find us”. (“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? Matt 18:12)

So, if you ever find yourself hurtling in a direction that you know is not right for you, slow down, perhaps even stop, listen to your True Compass and let Him guide you back into His arms and back Home.

Click here to listen to a beautiful song by Jeremy Camp titled: Your Way Yaweh https://youtu.be/KbBc6ad3W2A.

In it he sings:God of hope, God of peace, You will never leave us,  God who loves, God who keeps, You will always lead us home…”

HEALTHY GUT

These days, with the wealth of “wellness information” at our disposal, I’m sure it’s nothing new to most of you that a healthy gut plays a major role in our overall health and wellbeing. Many autoimmune diseases are a result of compromised intestinal health, also referred to as “LEAKY GUT”.

In my own journey of healing from Hashimoto’s Disease, I have learnt about, and implemented, a variety of protocols into my daily habits – which I often share with my clients.

Aside from all the diet changes, probiotics, supplements and natural products one can take to begin healing your gut, an easy, yet effective change one can make, is to daily drink CAYENNE PEPPER TEA.

Though it may seem counterintuitive, Cayenne pepper is a great remedy for healing leaky gut.

I have a recipe for a tea that I try to drink twice a day – first thing in the morning and then at night – but one can also drink it about 30 minutes before each meal.

For those who are not sure of the recipe in the image provided, the ingredients are:
– A quarter teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper, Tumeric and Cinnamon each, in boiling water.
– A few slices of fresh Lemon or Ginger
– 1 teaspoon of Honey

Cinnamon & Cayenne Tea Recipe

I often replace the LEMON with APPLE CIDER VINEGAR which in itself has endless benefits too. If you do this, you may want to start with a teaspoon and build up to around two tablespoons – not everyone can handle the taste!!

The Honey is optional, but I do find that it makes everything palatable and enjoyable!

Please understand that this in itself may not completely heal your gut, but is a worthwhile step to take in the healing process. Give it a try and see how you feel. Most clients are surprised by how much they actually like it!

BOUNDARIES

CATCH YOUR THOUGHTS

3 Points to show that SCIENCE AND SCRIPTURE agree on the importance of our THOUGHTS:

1. “When you make a conscious decision to focus and direct your attention CORRECTLY, you CHANGE PHYSICAL MATTER – your brain and your body change in a HEALTHY way. Purposely catching your thoughts can control the brains sensory processing, the brain’s rewiring, the neurotransmitters, the genentic expression and the cellular activity in a positive or negative direction. You choose.” DR CAROLINE LEAF

2. “Science now is able to demonstrate that we are “wired for love”, and fear (which incorporates anything toxic), is therefore NOT our NORM. This means our natural fashioned-after-God inclination is one of optimism and good, healthy thinking. God designed humans to observe our own thoughts, catch those that are bad and get rid of them. The importance of capturing those thoughts cannot be underestimated because research show that the vast majority of mental and physical illness comes from our thought life rather than environment and genes. An undisciplined mind is filled with a continuous stream of worries, fear, and distorted perceptions that trigger degenerative processes in the mind and body.” DR CAROLINE LEAF

3. “The condition that your mind should be in, is described in this scripture: ‘…whatever is TRUE, whatever is NOBLE, whatever is RIGHT, whatever is PURE, whatever is LOVELY, whatever is ADMIRABLE—if anything is EXCELLENT or PRAISEWORTHY—think about SUCH things. Phil 4:8. You have the mind of Christ. Begin to use it: if He wouldn’t think it then you shouldn’t think it either. It is this continual watching over your thoughts that you begin to take EVERY thought captive unto the obedience of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is quick to remind you if your mind is beginning to take you in the wrong direction, then the decision becomes yours. Will you flow in the mind of the flesh or in the mind of the spirit? One leads to death the other life. The choice is yours.” JOYCE MEYER

FEAR & ANXIETY

Psychologically:

We all experience fear and anxiety at some time in our lives, and it is important to keep in mind that both fear and anxiety are reactions to various stimuli in our environments – signals to us that something needs attention – neither is a disease or illness. However, left unchecked, they can lead to illness and disease. There is a universal biochemical response (increased heart rate and adrenaline, “butterflies” in the stomach etc) and a highly personalised response (based on our personal perceptions and beliefs).

Physically:

Fear and anxiety are mainly stored in the stomach and intestines, and as a result can lead to a host of stomach or digestive issues, while anxiety can also be stored primarily in the chest area linking to breathing difficulties (e.g. asthma) and various heart conditions. Interestingly, in Luke 21v26, it says that in the end days “men’s hearts will fail them for fear”. The more fear is suppressed, the more the physical reactions will manifest and lead to toxicity in the body.

Spiritually

If you are regularly experiencing anxiety, worry, withdrawal, a need to control or battling with drugs and alcohol, it is possible that your issues stem from the major “door” of Fear which has been opened in your life. Through various steps Holy Spirit will bring revelation and understanding and through forgiveness and repentance, Jesus brings healing. These are specific steps that I would work through with a client.

 4 Practical Tips for Easing Symptoms:

  • Acknowledge, Embrace and Address the anxiety in order to weaken the memory (we would do this in more detail in a counsel session) 
  • Reflexology & Acupressure are proven to help with improving relaxation, sleep, asthma, and easing depression, grief and pain. 
  • The Homeopathic Remedy Aconite (which I use regularly for my children) and the Essential Oils Lavender, Ylang Ylang or Frankincence are beneficial for calming and grounding. (I have a combination of these and other oils in my personal blend “Nervs No Mor”) 
  • Taking a combination of Vit B1, 3, 6 and Magnesium reduces lactic acid in your body. Studies show that a high accumulation of lactic acid in the body can increase anxiety and cause panic attacks.

DAY 7: SHAMA

Today’s word from the Lord is ‘SHAMA’. Shama means to listen and obey.

When God first told me to set aside 7 days to do this blog, He started by reminding me of the dreams I mention in my post titled “Snakes in Boots”. (http://sparklingforest.co.za/snakes-in-boots/)

In those dreams, He warned me of the coming storms of life, but also encouraged me that if I LISTENED and OBEYED His still small voice, I would be kept safe during those times.

He then showed me how Covid-19 was just one of those storms to which He had been alluding. There will be more. He challenged me to set aside 7 days purposely to listen to what He was saying, and then to share it publically on this blog in order to encourage others. It was NOT intended to be a “devotional” with any specific structure or theme, and it was NOT planned. I had no idea what He would do or say. The result has been these 7 articles.

As I have mediated tonight and waited on Him to speak to me, amazingly, I see a message thread forming, through these 7 articles. It’s not a new message in any way, but one He clearly wants us to hear again!

Let’s do a quick overview of what He has been saying:

Get Hungry: We need to empty ourselves of all that keeps us ‘full’ and ‘satisfied’ without Jesus. We need to let go of so many worldly pleasures that are keeping us from experiencing and enjoying the fullness of intimacy with Jesus. Turn down the ‘noise’ of life and really lean in to hear His voice.

Shine your Light : Jesus is in us and so we need to walk in faith, not fear, activating the authority we have already been given, in all areas of our lives. We need to be that ‘city upon the hill’ so that people can see Jesus’ light in us.

Wash Hands and Heart: God longs to purify and sanctify us as we apply His blood daily through humility and repentance. Pride must fall as we daily follow the conviction of Holy Spirit and repent. This is not about being saved. This is about becoming a pure Bride for Christ.

Come away with Me: Gods hand is stretched out to us. The invitation is there to follow Him into the Desert/Wilderness. It may not be easy, but He is faithful to be with us. As He ‘speaks tenderly’ to us, He brings healing and restoration to the dry and broken places in our hearts. Are you willing to be led by Him?

Nothing is too hard for Me: This is a reminder for those who think that God couldn’t possibly forgive or heal them. Also, a reminder that during this time of Covid-19, no prayer is too big for God to answer.

Pomegranates or Apples?:  A challenge to really trust in God’s goodness, even when, in the natural, it doesn’t seem evident. Learning to trust His voice and our spiritual senses is vital for these times. We need to refresh our spiritual senses and be led by them – not our circumstances or fleshly ‘feelings’.

Shama:  Shama means to Listen and Obey. First and foremost God desires OUR HEART. He wants our heart to be purified and undefiled, so that everything we do and are flows out of a heart of Love. If we ‘obey’ without Love, then it is religion. But when we obey out of a place of pure love, there is a freedom and intimacy like no other. Out of intimacy comes blessing and God blesses us to be a blessing to others.

God says,”Will you walk with Me, listening to My voice and doing as I ask of you or will you compromise and live a life where you walk with Me as it pleases you, when it pleases you? Come away with Me on this journey so that I can prepare you, so that I can make you ready where I find oil in your lamp when the bridegroom returns” 

Reading for today is Psalm 91.

You can also read “Crumbs or Cake?” about the Groom and His Bride.  http://sparklingforest.co.za/crumbs-or-cake/

A personal note:

If you enjoyed these articles, you can find more similar ones under the category, “FAITH” on my blog. God often speaks to me through visions and dreams and now and then, I like to share something. Please feel free to leave comments that will be an encouragement to others.

DAY 6: POMEGRANATES OR APPLES?

Today I was reminded of a vision I had during worship one day:

In the vision I saw an angel standing in the front of the church holding a large fruit in his hands. In my spirit in knew that he was holding a pomegranate, but to my natural eyes it looked like a big green apple! I was slightly confused – was I seeing an apple or was I seeing a pomegranate? What I was seeing in the spirit did not coincide with what I seemed to be seeing in the “natural”.

I asked the Lord to clarify it for me. As I waited for His answer, I noticed that some people were looking at the fruit in the angel’s hands and were shaking their heads in disappointment and disbelief. They were holding themselves back from reaching out and grabbing the fruit, because it was not what they were hoping for and because it didn’t look how they thought it should look. In other words, I knew they wanted the pomegranate, but they could only see the apple. They remained standing where they were, immobilised by doubt, suspicion and even fear.

The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:14

In the vision, I stepped forward and took a big bite out of the apple. When I did that, pomegranate seeds spilt out! Only then, I heard the Lord say that He was offering gifts before us, but we were not reaching out and grabbing what He was putting before us because we were only seeing them from one perspective. We weren’t fully trusting in Him and in His Goodness to provide what we truly needed. He was longing for us to step forward in faith and thanksgiving for what He was offering us and in doing so we would unlock the potential for so much more. Our trust in Him, and gratitude, unlocks His blessing.

I also realised that He was emphasising the importance of focusing on the spiritual rather than the natural and that what we see with our physical eyes is not always the reality in the spiritual realm.

We need to ask Him to open our spiritual eyes to see the TRUTH of a situation, so that, even when we think He has not heard our hearts’ desires, we can know and trust that He still has the absolute best for us.

We can Trust, Taste and See that He is Good. He has so much more for than we can even imagine or begin to expect.

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him”. Psalm 34:8. KJV

Prayer: Thank you, Father that we can always trust in your goodness to us. Open our spiritual eyes to discern the things that come from you Holy Spirit. Embolden us with courage and faith to grab hold of all that you are placing before us. Teach us to step forward even when we cannot understand what we are seeing in the natural. We want to discover and receive all that you have for us. Amen.

 Holy Spirit, are there any other areas in my life where I need to be ‘seeing with my spiritual eyes’ instead of my natural?  

Day 5: NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR ME

Today, I heard God say, “Nothing is too hard for Me“. He led me to share this excerpt from ‘the 30 Day Praise Challenge’ by Becky Harling:

‘I am never shocked, surprised, or caught off guard. I know there are moments in your life when circumstances feel impossible, when you cannot see any solutions to the challenges you are facing. Trust Me in the midst of your difficult moments. Seize them as opportunities to praise Me for My sovereign power.

As you thank Me in advance for the solutions I hold, I will enlarge your heart to hold greater faith. At first, focusing on My sovereignty may feel scary, but as you grow more comfortable in your times of praise it will become a source of strength and comfort. Recognise how small you are in comparison to Me. This is a form of worship. As you bow before Me, your ability to trust Me will grow. Watch and see what I will do. Nothing is too difficult for me Me. Did you catch that? Nothing, absolutely nothing, is too difficult for me.’

DAY 4: COME AWAY WITH ME

Today I have the Norah Jones song, “Come Away with Me” in my head. I can’t think when last I heard that song, but God often uses it to speak to me!

Today He says:

Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.  She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’ Hosea 2:6-7.

Therefore, behold, I will allure her and lead her to the wilderness, and speak to her tenderly. 15There I will give back her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor into a gateway of hope. There she will respond as she did in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.” Hosea 2:14-16

The Lord is jealous for our attention and time. He is relentless in His pursuit of us. During this time of “Social Distancing/Isolation”, some people will welcome the escape, while many will really feel like they are in a Wilderness. Regardless of your view of this time, God is calling you away with Him into a place of deeper intimacy.

Even though we may be ‘walled in’ and even though he may be ‘alluring us’ – it is still an invitation to come away with Him. We have the choice to say yes or no. The encouragement is that He is there with you in the Wilderness, speaking tenderly to you, not leaving you to fend for yourself!

How will you respond? Will you be willing to step into the Wilderness with him to see what He has to reveal to you? What will you sacrifice for a deeper relationship with Him today?