P2674 Yeast.

“Then He (Jesus) taught them another parable: “Heaven’s kingdom can be compared to yeast that a woman takes and blends into three measures of flour and then waits until all the dough rises.”” Matthew 13:33 TPT.

“Later, as Jesus and His disciples crossed over to the other side of Lake Galilee, the disciples realised they had forgotten to bring any loaves of bread. Jesus spoke up and said, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” Thinking Jesus was scolding them over not bringing bread, they began to discuss it among themselves. 

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “You have such little faith! Why are you arguing with one another about having no bread? Are you so slow to understand? Have you forgotten the miracle of feeding the five thousand families and how each of you ended up with a basket full of fragments? And how seven loaves of bread fed four thousand families with baskets left over? Don’t you understand? I’m not talking about bread, but I’m warning you to avoid the yeast of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” Then finally they realized He wasn’t talking about yeast found in bread, but the error of the teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:5-12 TPT.


Years and years ago, when I was in my late twenties, I decided to make my own bread. In those days bread making was not popular, nor was it an easy task! No bread making machines back then ... the baker was the bread making machine!!  Like most mothers of three young kids, I was looking to save money anyway I could, and so I had the brilliant idea that if I made my own bread it would be healthier and save money - all at the same time. Win, win!


Boy was that a growing edge! Back then dried yeast was not what it has since become … it had only just arrived on the market. So I spent a whole lot of time writing back and forth to the manufacturers and distributors, explaining my struggle with their recipes, because their product was not all that good or even greatly effective. 


Bread making occupied an extremely tiny niche back then, but I am convinced my perseverance in complaining about that yeast product, made all the difference … eventually! Thank the Lord. My poor kids daily ate all sorts of not wonderful bread - which they privately called “lead bread.” (The little darlings!) And they longed to return to the days of eating unhealthy white bread like everyone else! After a day of struggling to make said bread — one of my kids - I forget which one … it might even have been my ex … remarked that yesterday’s bread would have made a particularly great door-stop! I was not enchanted. 


Bread making involved a whole of of kneading and proving and it took absolutely ages. Eventually, I got better at making it … OR …maybe the manufacturer finally improved the product!! But I know how hard I worked to give that manufacturer feedback! I ground up Vitamin C to improve the rising, plus I purchased bread improvers and generally worked like a navvy … all to save a few pennies. Eventually I even graduated to making fancy bread like croissants and bagels. Meanwhile my mind was consumed with bread making for years. Over time I decided fresh yeast was best ... it worked a treat.


After reading these two scriptures the other day, I must confess that I totally understand why the disciples were side-tracked when Jesus began to talk about yeast. It’s easy to get side-tracked when you know a lot about the subject, especially if it is food! Food is so ordinary - you don’t expect spiritual illustrations about it. If I had been there when the Lord was talking about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees I would definitely have been a dumb bunny like they were, thinking totally irrelevant material thoughts about that subject, as well as utterly missing His point!


Human beings often look for immediate results, and gratification … but Jesus Christ spent His entire life glorifying God. He had spent His time on earth allowing the 'good yeast of God's Word' to infiltrate every corner of His Being. I think this is the essence of our faith, so I was motivated enough to ask myself: “Are my prayers about my own comfort - something immediate, like food!  Or am I looking to see what God will do for His kingdom with what is actually going on?” Unless the yeast of His word transforms me, I have nothing to offer others. Reflectively, I wonder  if the “yeast” In our daily lives could be the digested Word of God? As we add it into our days, it will permeate every single bit of our lives, causing us to become palatable to others.


Then it hit me — Jesus always saw God in ordinary things, those things we confront day by day. We need to see Him that way too! We must allow the yeast of His Word to rise within us so that other people can “taste and see that the Lord is good.” Bye for now, 🍞😊. 

P2673 Who or what has your heart?

When you pass through the deep, stormy sea, you can count on Me to be there with you. When you pass through raging rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through persecution like fiery flames, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you,” Isaiah 43:2 TPT.


The above verse is mentioned today to comfort to anyone who is in a very dark place. It promises us that God’s Presence is never absent despite our circumstances. The thing is, we must remember that this verse and others like it, are faith verses. Almighty God said it, and He means it, so we need to embrace it. However, in those hard times we may not feel a thing! We may dearly need to feel better, but our feelings have nothing whatsoever to do with His Grace in our lives! Even our disappointment could be seen as judgment against His ability to use everything to help us.


The lack of change can sometimes be the reason we are strongly tempted to think that He is not with us, because we have a great expectation that He will deliver us ... but sometimes things can even get even worse!!  So what happened? Is it sin in our lives? No! Sin went on the cross. Does God not care that we feel overwhelmed by our circumstances? Of course He does, but we must remind ourselves that He says "I will be with you" -- He does not say - you will FEEL Me with you! Yeah, I know, that seems to be splitting hairs, but let's remember that now we are in His kingdom, where He is King. We chose to come under His rule, and we will need to trust Him to do what He has promised.


"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" Numbers 23:19. In our society today, people are judged or exalted or rewarded because of their actions. As Christians we need to remember that Almighty God does not do things to meet mankind’s expectations. He does not answer to us. In other words, our societal attitudes don’t feature in His decision making processes. Whatever His answer, action, or lack of! ... the real point is - His ways are perfect. So, if there is no answer, or corresponding change of circumstances, then we need to remember that He is sovereign. We must always leave our heart with Him, that is the safest place for it.


No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it. So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.”  1 Corinthians 10:13-14. MSG.


Personally, I have discovered that I can set my pain and strife limits a bit too low - I can probably move and change much more than I think I can! I get side-tracked because I am not all that excited about stretching — old bones, etc. Everything creaks when I am stretched! In those moments, it is good to remember that this life is the only one I’m going to get, and it is about growth and change. That’s two more things older people don’t like much!! I have to remind myself over and over again, that the Lord is bigger than my circumstances, and if they remain the same, after I have prayed ... then He has a purpose I can’t see yet! Good place to pray: “Teach me Your ways, Lord, so I can walk with You.” Amen.


“Even when Your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for You already have! Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of Your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for You are near.” Psalms 23:4 TPT.


This verse from the 23rd Psalm is a great clue to the solution to my problem and it diagnoses the heart of what is really going on. Who or what has my heart? Does fear rule me when the going gets tough, or does He? We must always remember that “there is no fear in love,” as well as,  “what time I am afraid I will trust in Thee.” When I finally catch on to the fact that I am feeling afraid, it can take a while, but eventually I have an ‘AHA!’ moment. That's when I realise that I have let circumstances fill my vision, instead of WHO He is. Rookie mistake. I’m back thinking that He’s there to make my life better, I’ve totally forgotten I am here for His purposes.


After repenting, my next move is to ask the Lord, “Who can I bless?” ‘ That's because 'it is in giving that we receive!’  And in those difficult times, my receiver seems to have gone off-line. Sometimes doing that simple thing leads to a fresh revelation about Him. And sometimes it leads to a fresh revelation about me. I need both! I have found that taking my focus away from the difficulty, and caring for someone else, eventually gives me a chance to view things from another angle. As I bless others, I remember that my heart belongs to Him, I gave it to Him. 


He won't ever 'leave me or forsake me or give me up.' Switching focus clarifies what really matters. 👋

P2672 We either believe what the bible says

and act on it… 

... or we don’t!  And we are deceiving ourselves that agreeing with it is enough!


“God has transmitted His very substance into every Scripture, for it is God-breathed. It will empower you by its instruction and correction, giving you the strength to take the right direction and lead you deeper into the path of godliness. Then you will be God’s servant, fully mature and perfectly prepared to fulfil any assignment God gives you.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17.


We are told in the bible, to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. His book explains that living like that is our good acceptable and reasonable service.’ Every single time we yield our right to do things the way we think we should, over to Him, and obey what He says in the bible instead - we step into living this life, His Way. The way Jesus lived when He was on earth. THAT’S when we are 'truly presenting our bodies to Him.' At that moment, because of that choice -  we die.


Praying: ‘I present my body to You Lord, as a living sacrifice,’  first thing every morning, is not worth a hill of beans if I don’t follow that prayer up with reliance upon Him, during normal, ordinary days when other people annoy us! If we keep silent, or we choose to give the other person a soft answer, then we step into the resident power of the Word of God, simply because we are acting on it.


When we choose to obey, the bible stops being a book about lovely theories, and it becomes a part of our inner life - 'IT HAS SUBSTANCE. And that’s how we ‘taste and see that the Lord is good,for ourselves. The word of God will work within us, just as surely as it does to save us! Our spirit-man gets bigger and stronger and more devoted to Jesus. Plus the fruit of self-control … and other Graces …  grow. We cannot grow His fruit with our own will-power because to grow His fruit we need the power of His Grace. 


We have nothing in our own mortal bodies that can produce supernatural results - BUT - we always have the Holy Spirit, our Resident Helper, Who wants to show us the way to go. He talks to us when we read the bible. Even when our enemy targets us with distraction, hurt, or a desire for revenge, the bible teaches us to go beyond our own understanding and ask the Holy Spirit what He thinks about what is going on. He knows the Way through everything!


When I finally grasped that doing what the book says is a key, my spiritual life exploded in ways I never expected. But at the same time, I’m still the same old me. I can still use the power of choice to give a sharp retort when someone annoys me! If I struggle with someone else without praying and asking for His help - I know I will eventually react, and run out of patience. But if I follow Him through His processes, step by step, and I ask for a scripture to stand on, that's when I start to grow fruit. That fruit is incredibly powerful, it will feed others. Now, I am learning to abide in the Vine, doing what Jesus would do. 


A number of years ago, something happened that challenged me to the very core. It shook me. Rejection came at me from a family member in a very painful way, and I was at a loss to know how to deal with it. Eventually I simply had to choose to listen to the Holy Spirit, because I was going round and round spiritually, like one foot was nailed to the floor. When I chose to believe the bible enough to act on it, even though I was afraid - I found that being obedient opened my heart up to Him in unexpected ways. His book came alive… I already knew what was in there simply because of constant revision… but when I acted on it appropriately, as the Holy Spirit quietly coached me, I began to access the power we ALL have to overcome.


Just recently I was blessed to be able to comfort that same person in their time of extreme distress. I found I already had the comfort He had been continually giving me, when I interacted with them. Suddenly I had a supernatural storehouse to draw from, instead of trying to psyche and drag myself along, trying hard to do the right thing. Obedience had led me into the wondrous supply that Jesus Himself had, when He was dealing with mankind. It is a remarkable thing to choose to die to self, because 'laying your life down for your brother' is the greatest love. Jesus said so.


The crux of any matter, difficult or not, is this - we either believe what the bible says and act on it … or we don’t. 🙌


P2671 Hip-hip-hooray!

“Jesus said to ALL of His followers, “If you truly desire to be My disciple, you must disown your life completely, embrace My ‘cross’ as your own, and surrender to My ways. For if you choose self-sacrifice, giving up your lives for My glory, you will discover true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will lose what you try to keep.” Luke 9:23-24.


Like the Lord said — we are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price, paid for with a preciousness that we can never truly understand this side of heaven. When we finally see Jesus, the junk this world throws at us will melt away like snow in the bright sunshine of His great Love for us. Living that truth out, is this life’s greatest quest. Forget raising the dead, or healing the sick — the single most difficult thing any of us can undertake is to learn to let go of the every day niggles and distractions that keep me focussed on ME, Myself, and I! 


Lots of people love the idea of their sins being taken away. Me too! But learning to exercise self-control to the point that our lives are totally changed, is another ball-game. As we get tired, we can end up looking at other people, even people we love, who follow the Lord too, and wonder … "why can’t YOU change??" I hear things like that in my head all the time … together with stuff like - “Must you make my life so difficult? Isn’t it difficult enough?” That’s when I am in danger off falling of the cliff of ‘poor me’ and ‘aren’t YOU mean?’ I call those thoughts the cliffs of doom.


Self-pity is a terrible trap, because it often has its roots in actual hardship. And we all have hardships one way or another! I’ve found that if I entertain thoughts like those long enough I can go from ‘thank you Jesus,’ to complaining at Him! That phrase … ‘disown your life completely …’  kind of stomps all over self-pity and self-gratification. We can claim a dreadful past - most of us have evidence!  Things like, 'my parents never understood me!’ Well now, how could they? YOU’VE never been here before! There’s only one of you! Or we can hide behind … ‘I had a terrible childhood … ‘  Join the queue… one way or another our own personal selfishness has to be confronted with the reality of Christ. It’s undeniable that some things are hard. The point is … now you’ve been set free to be in charge of you, what will YOU do about all that? 


Here’s some good advice from Paul: “So now, beloved ones, stand firm, stable, and enduring. Live your lives with an unshakable confidence. We know that we prosper and excel in every season by serving the Lord, because we are assured that our union with the Lord makes our labor productive with fruit that endures.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 TPT. The thing is, when we try to fix things that are broken, all by ourselves, we can’t manage it, because eventually our own selfishness kicks in! However, sin was eliminated and annihilated by the death of Christ, so now we have plenty of room for HIS LOVE. Trust me, overcoming what the enemy has done in our lives is His only theme now. He already did the work for us.


Sadly there can be times that we think our POV is the only right one. Here’s a revelation!! Almighty God is capable of out-of-this-world incredibly complex thoughts. Maybe both people are right, maybe both are wrong - the one thing I can personally guarantee is this …

Father God is far more interested in restoration and reconciliation than we are! We can often credit Him with being on our side, when the truth is …He doesn’t take sides. Our best question is this, who is on the Lord’s side? Always remembering that His side is the only right one. Sadly, self-pity is like shooting yourself in the foot and then wondering why your foot hurts! Let’s not get dragged off down every side-street of ‘poor me,’ ‘terrible you,' ’nobody loves me,’ and ‘I try and I try but I can’t live any other way.'


Here’s my final sobering thought for today … either Jesus Christ was successful when He conquered sin and death — or we are all victims of a giant cosmic hoax! The same faith we use to believe we are saved, is the faith we use to walk away from the past and the person we used to be. We cannot believe that He saved us without believing He also delivered us. The same blood that saved us has also given us the power to overcome! Those  things go together. Now is the time to evict the squatters who are demanding that they remain hidden in our hearts, thoughts and lives. "And so say all of us … Hip-hip-HOORAY! Yay Jesus!’ 🥳 


P2670 It’s later than we all think.

Romans 13:11-14: “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.”


In these difficult times, we can get extremely busy, and then we forget WHO we belong to. We start acting and re-acting like the people around us. Sadly, their god is often their appetites and misery. Even our own ideas of down-time and entertainment can sometimes wander off into hedonism and violence. Like Paul said - that stuff is not for us. I exhort you to treat entertainment like food, and pray over everything. I believe the Lord Himself will show anyone what is good, or not good in their life, when we ask Him. My own policy is this - when in doubt, don’t!  I have a pretty fertile imagination and so I’ve learnt you can’t un-see or un-hear stuff once you’ve sat around absorbing it!


As for casting off the works of darkness, the things of the darkness aren’t always on TV or in some game ...we can easily be distracted by an argumentative spirit, or a bad temper, or a negative or critical attitude. The enemy’s deceptions are not obvious like sexual deviancy or a violent response to provocation! ‘It is the little foxes that spoil the vines…'  Likewise it is the things that we make allowance for, that drag us away from the Lord’s ways. We are exhorted to number our days, because they are few. Actively choose to learn to co-operate with the Holy Spirit, nobody else can do that for you.

 

The bible tells us clearly what to put off … let’s do that and leave our feelings and needs out of it! Currently practically every generation on this planet is held captive to how it feels at any given moment. Human beings are bigger than their feelings! Praise God, the bible doesn’t just tell us what to put OFF - it also tells us what to put ON. We put on the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords using our faith in His power within us…We do this one day, one interaction with Him, at a time. Basically Paul is saying: ‘Don’t make a space for anything that will entice you away from loving and serving Jesus. The things of this world will drag you under into despair and shame.’ Amen!


Our lives are geared into working hard, so we want to allow for relaxation. And if that pleasure is taken away, then we think the sky will fall, because we instinctively know that we need rest. We get our REST from Christ! Anything else is a poor substitute. Just because there are times when we are not good at achieving that aim, that does not mean we have permission to let loose, and ignore things. Pleasure itself is not bad, but exalting anything over our passion for Him, will result in the Lord ending up in second place. And eventually, if we are not careful, He slides right out of the picture. 


That’s one of the things I truly love about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They will not force Their Ways on us. We don’t have to do anything! We choose to do it, to remain close to Him, and daily learn more about our new life in Christ. There are times I wish preachers would talk more about falling in Love with Him, because I think the Body of Christ really needs this kind of exhortation. When we love someone we will do anything for them, and abstinence is not painful, because it is a joy to be close to them. Personally, I love to hang around with someone who knows Him much better than I do. I can learn from them how to hold Him up in such a way that my response is pure worship. The more we invest in His life in us, the more His life will flow out of us.   


Our contribution matters - even if it is unseen. Many, many people underestimate their contribution. A loving heart that wants the best for everyone around them, makes a far greater contribution than someone who is caught up in their own needs and wants. To live like Christ did, we must actively, daily, choose to die. Physically, the truth is, we are all dying anyway - we start to die the moment we are born! But if we cling to this life and withhold our loving contribution from others… our true self will die a lot faster!


James 4:14: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.” Let’s learn to respect the fact that we are visitors in this life. None of what we have been given belongs to us. As one very far-sighted person said: “You will never see a U-haul trailer filled with this world’s goods, attached to a hearse!” Only God knows how valuable each contribution is - and how much it affects the people around us. Instead of languishing away under how hard this life is - let’s learn to celebrate the fact that now we have the Author of life, living within us. That will involve our active participation. It is MUCH later than we all think.

Bye. 👋

Romans 14:8: For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s."

P2669 Stuff happens.

Sometimes I miss out on seeing what faith looks like. We can all quote this scripture and that, but when the chips are down and ghastly stuff is pouring all over us, it is easier to give in to despair, first. Scriptures are great for quoting and reading and understanding … but real comfort and victory comes from our actions and our decision to stand in the face of attack. But first we must recognise what is actually going on and grab onto Him.


Just recently we were awoken by some unfortunate news …my precious mum had fallen down - she IS nearly 97. Unfortunately, she broke both bones in her shin. Because of some old family circumstances, which are way beyond my ability to manage, I fell prey to despair. Now she’s older, someone who is not a Christian started making pronouncements, and this and that, and in the end, I started to think, 'bye bye Mum!' 


First of all, I want to start by saying God is so good to me, instead of panicking, I was actually calm inside. My emotions were demanding my attention, but my spirit man was fine. I knew it was the Lord, because I can quite easily flap-doodle. However, despite the very large clue of God’s peace-which-passes-all-understanding, — I started making burial plans in my head! Plus I forgot to pray - I simply accepted what the other person said. Of course when I finally came to my senses I prayed like mad and started praising Him for looking after Mum.

 

Nevertheless, when we finally got to the hospital after a whole lot of trauma finding parking etc. I expected to find my mother pale, in great pain, and at death’s door. And there she was sitting up on the bed like a cheerful white-haired budgie! She can’t see well, can’t hear hardly at all, and yet she was cracking jokes. At that moment, I was very grateful for everything the Lord has done to change our relationship ... which has not always been great. Nowadays, talking to my mother is often hilarious, as she’s not as on the ball as she used to be. 


Anyway, normally, she can barely move about, and you have to shout - even though she is wearing hearing aids. She merrily describes herself as being as deaf as a badger. Honestly talking to her is so funny and yet at the same time it can be so frustrating repeating yourself over and over again. However she bears it all with a smile and her own weird self-deprecating humour. At the same time, like a lot of old folks, she tells the same stories over and over again, and when we returned from our last bible trip she asked us 4 or 5 times in just one visit, if the trip was a good one.😂


When I was younger she was a tour de force! Striding through crowds … picking up other people’s children who got in her way and putting them to one side. As a teenager, whilst trying to be invisible, I trundled along behind and copped the angst from the child's parents who weren’t keen on their kid being man-handled! I was often mortified by her over-the-top exuberance. One of her favourite things was singing along loudly to elevator music. She sings quite well, so maybe she thought she was treating the other lift occupants - I dunno! Whether the lift was full or not, she'd sing away, and I would do my best to blend into the lift like wallpaper - madly hoping no-one knew I was with her.


Back to Saturday’s saga ... apparently, both of the bones in her lower leg were broken but they had lined up neatly like soldiers, so a severe operation was not necessary. Thank the Lord that nobody wanted to give somebody that age an anaesthetic! When we left her she was demanding for someone to please cover her shoulders, and why hadn’t anyone given her a cup of tea? Meanwhile, the prospect of surgery had cancelled all food, and she was on a drip. 


Saturday helped me realise, yet again, that stuff happens, and we don’t always react as well as we would like to. But God’s grace is so enormous, there are times when He picks us up and carries us. I know my Mum’s forever starts in heaven, but I sure would miss her down here! Absentminded or not, I have my own private miracle which I celebrate every single time I see her. Sadly, we have not always been friends, but the Lord worked with me to give me such an appreciation of who she is. 


Meanwhile, Mum hasn’t changed one bit, she’s just a tiny little bit more sentimental now. Today, I want to celebrate the fact that nothing ever goes the way you plan it, and people do do the darndest things! But in every circumstance, LOVE IS THE VERY BEST WAY TO MOVE FORWARD. The bible tells us to pursue it and I can highly recommend the Lord’s wisdom. Because of His Grace, I have yet another testimony that He can take negative attitudes and transform them into a real appreciation of someone else’s personhood. He did it for me. He taught me to keep choosing love over my past hurt feelings and He transformed ME, along the way. Bye.👋