Daddy’s girl :-)

imageIt’s 24 years, 5 months and 19 days since I first became a mum to Leigh-Ann. There’s been many a first along the way … first tooth, word, steps, first day at playschool through to Uni and first job. This weekend saw another first for me as mother of the bride to be at her hen party!!

I’ve loved my lovely Leigh-Ann from day one!! I loved her long before she could say she loved me. The love I have felt for both my beautiful daughters has spoken to me over and over of my heavenly Father’s unconditional love for me.

The saying goes ‘there’s nothing I could do to make Him love me more or make Him love me less’.

Two years ago when chronic fatigue meant all I could ‘do’ was lie in bed to rest and sleep, I learnt even more how I am His much loved child. I am His precious daughter. ‘I am’ comes from the verb to BE not the verb to DO. I don’t have to DO anything to gain or earn His love.

I just have to BE His BE-loved. I am His BE-loved. I am the BE-loved of the great I AM.

My Abba Father loves me not because of what I do but because of what Jesus did for me almost 2000 years ago. All I have to do is rest in that love and be my Daddy’s girl 🙂

What marvellous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. (1 John 3:1 MSG)

… immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! (Ephesians 2:4-5 MSG)

… You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. (Psalms 86:15 NLT). The Message reminds us He is immense in love.

His faithful love endures forever (Ps 136 NLT). The Message simply says His love never quits.

His love is immense, marvellous, incredible, unfailing, faithful, forever and nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39 NLT)

This endless love never runs out and our loving Father wants to fill us full of His love so we never run dry, we simply run over, overflow and spill His immense love onto others so they too might know more of His Father heart for them.

His mercies are new every day and today, as Abba reminds each of us of the truth and power of His great love, may we not just remember but also receive this love fully. Father may we be refreshed, renewed, restored by your marvellous love and redistribute it to others by leaking Your love wherever we go.

“You can love others because you are outrageously loved yourself. His love is never less than 100%. God loves you as He loves Jesus. You are in Him; He is in you. Therefore you are the Beloved.” (Graham Cooke)

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” (Augustine)

 

Plan B – it’s not all over!!

imageIt’s 3 weeks since my younger daughter, Zoe, arrived back from a study year at Shenandoah University in Winchester, USA. I’m so grateful for the way God blessed Zoe with amazing friends and adventures and His favour was on her.

One memorable occasion was when she was looking forward to visiting her friend from home who was studying 3 hours away in Philadelphia. Sounds simple but public transport can be complicated. First Zoe had to arrange a lift to Washington DC, just over an hour away, then catch a bus from DC to Philly and finally a train to Arcadia, her friend’s university. A friend had offered her a lift to DC but took ill at the last minute. Zoe wasn’t sure she would even make it to DC let alone Philly, so that put her plans for seeing her friend in jeopardy.

We spoke on FaceTime and my prayer was if plan A doesn’t work out it, it can mean plan B is B for better!

As she walked to her next class, a college professor stopped her to ask how she was. She explained her predicament and it just so happened he was heading to a conference north of Philly that afternoon and offered her a lift to Arcadia. So instead of having to find a lift to get a bus to catch a train, Zoe was chauffeured from door to door!

It was then I realised maybe plan B is not just B for better, but B for BEST!!

Maybe plan A hasn’t worked out for you either and you’ve felt like plan A stands for A complete write off; A total failure; A bitter disappointment 😦

I’m sure this is how Simon Peter is feeling after his denial of Jesus (John 18:25-27) when he decides to go back to his plan A of being a fisherman (John 21:3). But yet again he experiences failure and disappointment when he catches nothing. A failure as a fisherman and a disappointment as a disciple!

BUT … (B is for But too!) after His resurrection, Jesus appears to seven of the disciples who’ve been fishing and reveals plan B of letting their nets down on the “right” side …

“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realise that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. (John 21:3-7 NIV).

But this is not the only Plan B – Jesus uses this breakfast on the beach to lead Peter through a conversation that would remove the clouds of His denial (John 21:15-17).

Maybe you’ve felt like a failure or you’ve experienced disappointment. Plan A hasn’t worked the way you had planned and it’s dashed your dreams. BUT … it’s time to dream again, to open your heart again, to step out and risk again, to refuse to give up, to trust He has a better and best plan B for you if you will “throw your net on the right side of the boat” and allow Him to remove the clouds of the past.

Last week I felt Jesus whisper “it’s not all over” and I hear Him speaking that over you too.

His BEST is yet to come.

 

Gratitude pulls His future into our present

image“Forgive our impatience” … A dear friend was just telling me how touched she had been by this prayer at an Anglican service last Sunday. It touched me too. I’ve struggled with impatience this week but the Psalms show that David did too.

“O lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O lord my God!” (Psalms 13:1-3 NLT)

I’ve been asking questions too. In fact I’ve been tempted to tell God what He should be doing! Like I know better than the Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, the Almighty God!!!!

Joyce Meyer writes “There are times when God leaves huge question marks as tools in our lives to stretch our faith. It is difficult for human beings to give up reasoning and simply trust God, but once the process is accomplished, the mind enters into a place of rest.” (Battlefield of the Mind)

I’ve had to choose between entering that rest or deciding to resist by wanting answers to my questions NOW! That reminds me of Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.

He is good and I trust Him. God, you are always good and we can always trust you.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)

IN all circumstances, not for all circumstances. We’re not thanking Him for the sickness or struggle, the heartache or hardship, but in spite of it. We’re not denying what we’re experiencing but we are grateful for His promises.

“The righteous person faces many troubles, but The Lord comes to the rescue each time.” (Psalm 34:19 NLT)

The preceding verses read
“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” (Psalms 34:17-18 NLT)

We can rest in His rescue. We can enter a place of rest in the present because we can always trust that “The Lord comes to the rescue each time“.

After his barrage of questions, David concludes Psalm 13 in a place of rest.
“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the lord because he is good to me.” (Psalms 13:5, 6 NLT)

Gratitude pulls His future into our present. His faithfulness and promises are keys for the doorway to gratitude.

Thank you Lord … You are my Father and I am Your beloved; nothing can separate me from Your love; You care for me; my hope is found in You; You are my strength and shield; Your mercies are new every morning; all I need for life is found in You; You make a way where there is no way; nothing is impossible for You; You are my spacious place; in You the hard pathways overflow with abundance and the desert places blossom with joy; You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; my cup overflows and I lack nothing!!

Which key verses open your door to gratitude? Please share them as they may unlock the door for someone else and help close the door to fear, anxiety, hopelessness …

 

 

 

 

 

My Baker’s Dozen from Encounter More – love No 13!!

imageSo grateful for an amazing weekend at our Encounter More 2014 conference #EM14CCV. As part of the registration team, I got to meet folk who had travelled from Sweden, Germany, Holland, France, New Zealand, USA and Belize, Central America as well as from all over Ireland, England, Scotland and even on a yacht from the Isle of Man!!

The conference also marks the end of year for Encounter students but I love that the name Encounter More is a reminder that this adventure is never over and invites us to continue the journey of pursuing His presence and releasing His Kingdom.

The dictionary defines MORE as
– an additional or greater quantity, amount, or number
– to a greater extent or degree
– in addition; further; longer; again

As a friend prayed over me this morning, it speaks of a transition into multiplication and greater fruitfulness! MORE Lord!!

I’m packing away my volunteer t-shirt but I’m unpacking the words God wrote on my heart over the weekend – reminders and invitations to step into His MORE, to linger in His presence with no agenda other than to encounter more and more of Him.

1 “It’s in BEING that we get to behold His goodness and glory not in DOING.” JA

2 “We need to ‘waste time’ in the presence of Jesus.” JA

3 “Worship is a weapon.” TH

4 “Find a way to meet me out of the meeting.” TH

5 “I am called to live in the ever increasing overflow of an encounter with Him.” JA

6 “Does He have more for me? Yes He does!!!!” DS

7 “Learn to steward the small.” AS

8 “Even in the small, God is still advancing His kingdom.” RH

9 “The Kingdom coming anywhere is the Kingdom coming everywhere!!” DS

10 “What ‘good’ things do I need to let go of so I can be totally open handed to receive the MORE God has for me?” DS

11 “God invites us to live a life governed by His favour. The very same favour that was on Jesus is on you!” JA

12 “Moses saw the back of God, but we get to see Him face to face. We don’t just see where He was, we see where He IS!!!” JA

13 “Shalom wholeness and rootedness comes from true humility of knowing who we are in Christ and true dependency of coming into agreement with who God is.” DS

Obviously so much more was said and shared over the three days but I pray that these highlights for me also help you to encounter Him MORE too!

PS if you were at the conference too, I would love to hear your highlights 🙂 If not, which of these spoke to you most?

[AS=Alan Scott; DS=Danielle Strickland; JA=Julian Adams; RH=Rachel Hughes; TH=Tim Hughes]