SHUT OFF THE NOISE, TUNE INTO ME

For the last few years the Lord has been stressing the importance of ‘sanctifying our senses’. We can think we are living a holy life, but often it is only when we invite the conviction of Holy Spirit, that we are made aware of areas of compromise.

I feel prompted to share a personal story from a few years ago.

For my birthday, my husband had chosen to buy me a DVD series that I had been eager to watch. I had read the book that the series was based on and was curious to see how the story would be portrayed. I didn’t have any concerns about the series being inappropriate.

The first episode was seemingly fine, but in the second episode, there were two scenes that were quite disturbing.

That night I had a vivid dream of a DVD rack with loads of fat toads and frogs squished in between the DVDs. In the morning, the Spirit confirmed the meaning of the dream for me – that the frogs symbolised unclean spirits linked to the series I had watched. I knew right away, that I had the choice to get rid of the series and not give the enemy legal ground into my home and my life, or ignore the warning and continue to watch.

Obviously, I chose to get rid of the series.

Since then, I have been a lot more vigilant about what I watch, read or listen to.

Often, the attractions of the world that lure us away from Him or keep us otherwise occupied are a lot more subtle than we think. Even spending time on things that are “good” – Christian You Tube videos or teachings – can be a distraction from spending intimate time with the Lord. For a few weeks now, God has been warning me that many believers think they know Him, but don’t really KNOW Him. 

Recently, I heard this:

“Shut off the noise.

Tune in to Me.

My sheep SHOULD know My Voice, but many don’t, for they are too distracted.

Too much noise.

Busy with things I’ve not called them to do.

Focused on things I’ve not asked them to focus on.

Talking about things I’ve not told them to talk about.

Little attention is being given to Me- My thoughts, My heart, My will, My needs.

Tune into Me – My Holy Spirit airwaves.

Shhhhh…..

What you are you watching?

What are you reading?

What are you listening to?

What is filling your time?

Do you really KNOW ME- my Heart’s cry? My sheep hear my voice and I KNOW them, and they FOLLOW Me”

SET APART

During a time of worship last week, I saw the six stone water jars that Jesus used to perform his first miracle of turning the water into wine (John 2).

Holy Spirit gave me a beautiful revelation about this scene.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose to use the water jars for his miracle when he could have just as easily used the empty wine jars that were already there? Aside from the fact that the water jars were very large, they were also CLEAN. Being made of stone, they were not porous and would not hold any infectious disease. These jars did not hold drinking water, but water used for the cleansing and purification rites of the Jews.

“Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification” John 2:6.

Holy Spirit revealed to me that the water jars were SET APART by the Lord God for the purpose of this miracle. It was no ‘accident’ the water jars just happened to be there. A PURE vessel was needed for this first miracle, the public manifestation of his glory. The wine that Jesus poured out was like no other wine that had ever been tasted before and therefore could not be poured into a vessel that was tainted with old wine and not completely pure.

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:11

In the same way, when God’s glory covers the earth in the end days (Joel 2:28) the pouring out of the “new wine” (Holy Spirit) cannot be poured into vessels that are not pure and clean. Just as the wine at the wedding was like no other that had been tasted before, so will the ‘wine’ (glory of the Lord) in the end days be like NO other that anyone has ever experienced on the earth before.

It is an interesting link between the stone jars when Christ first manifested his glory – and a remnant of Christ’s vessels, needing to be pure, holy and clean to be able to receive the new wine of his glory.

In the same way that the water jars were ‘set apart’ so are we being set apart for the purpose of preparing ourselves to be the pure and spotless Bride for Christ.

Some may feel that they have been in a season of fire or wilderness, and are feeling disillusioned, maybe even resentful, but the Lord is saying, “Stop fighting it. My Fire is what refines and purifies and burns away the chaff- everything that hinders you from my purposes. I am purifying you and yes, for a while it may hurt, but it is all part of my plan for you, not to harm you. You’ve asked me for a lot, but you cannot contain what I am pouring out unless you go through my cleansing fire. Allow me to burn away the chaff in your life.”

Being set apart is not easy. Often it requires some kind of sacrifice or letting go.

I am personally emerging from a long wilderness season and as frustrating as it has been at times, I am SO GRATEFUL for it! The Lord has humbled me and refined me, but He has also nurtured and strengthened me in that time.

The journey of becoming a pure and holy vessel for Him is a one of daily obedience, repentance and intimacy with Him.

I want to be a ready vessel when his glory is poured out across the earth– how about you?

What does “Living Well, Living Whole” mean to me?

A personal perspective of Wellness By Sparkling Forest

When I think of “Living Whole”, I think of the verse in 3 John 1.2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” or as another version goes, “Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually”.

Over the years, I have come to understand that being truly healthy means so much more than just being fit and thin or “in good shape”.

True health, as Jesus desires, is for us to be well and prosperous in ALL areas of our lives.

How often have you met someone who looks fantastic on the outside, but has a terrible attitude or a low sense of self-worth? Perhaps you know of someone who appears very spiritual, but is constantly sick or tired and just generally miserable? Many people spend a lot of time and money on looking attractive or youthful, but pay very little attention to their souls.

I believe “well and prosperous” means many different things; being free of pain or DIS-ease whether it be emotionally, spiritually or physically. It means having a deeper appreciation and love for oneself and others, healed relationships and a deeper awareness and understanding of how one is wired. It is living a life characterised by Joy, Gratitude, Peace…and so much more!

After being diagnosed with the autoimmune Hashimoto’s Disease, my quest for true and complete physical healing has led me on a journey of deeper awareness of the interconnectedness of body, soul and spirit. It is a journey I am still on, but during which, I have learnt so much.

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”. (https://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.  https://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.