Who do you think you are?

imageYesterday morning at church we celebrated with families as their beautiful babies were dedicated. It was a delight to hear the words the children’s pastors, Dave and Abi, prayed and proclaimed over each child regarding their unique design and destiny.

Many of us can remember words spoken over us as children. Unfortunately we remember them because they were more destructive than constructive. Words that knocked us back rather than called us on. “You’ll never amount to anything”. “Why can’t you be more like your brother?”. “Don’t be stupid”. “You’re a disaster”.

Words that maybe were uttered only once by one person, yet echo in our head and hearts all the time and act as a filter for anything spoken to us by anyone else.

Why do these negative words dominate our thoughts and block out the encouragement and affirmation spoken over us?

We may hear the accusation, intimidation and condemnation spoken by the enemy but we can choose whether we want to listen or not. He is a liar (John 8:44) and a deceiver (Rev 12:9). We can block out the words of the father of lies (John 8:44) by exchanging those lies for the words of our Heavenly Father who is the Father of TRUTH (John 14:6). We need to allow the truth of who He says we are to penetrate our souls and to echo loudly in our heads and hearts.

More than that, we need to speak out His wordsto silence the enemy and the avenger” (Psalm 8:2).

So what is His truth for me?

I am precious (Isaiah 43:4)
I am beloved (Colossians 3:12)
I am chosen (Ephesians 1:4)
I am known (Psalm 139:1)
I am treasured (Deuteronomy 7:6)
I am His delight (Psalm 147:11)
I am adopted (Ephesians 1:5)
I am God’s child (Romans 8:15)
I am God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

I love the reactions of kids when I give out stickers in my Spanish class to tell them “fantástico” and “excelente”. Today the Father wants to stick the truth of who you really are on your heart.

The Father of Truth doesn’t just give out new stickers but He also removes all the old labels the enemy had allowed others to stick on you.

So the next time the enemy whispers “who do you think you are?” in your ear, remind him exactly who you are and whose you are!!!

Brimming over

imageDo you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God.Hebrews 12:28 MSG

I went to bed last night deeply grateful for a great day with my lovely family: coffee at the beach, a movie by the fire and good times round the table…so simple but so special.

I maybe didn’t wake up quite so grateful this morning. It was my turn to drive Zoe to the train station at 7am 😦 So I was very thankful a free morning meant I could slip in between the covers again after my taxi run.

In between dozes and day dreams, I realised my spirit was much more awake than the rest of me and was ‘brimming with worship’, singing 3 different songs in my head and heart.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord

(Bryan and Katie Torwalt)

Your blood speaks a better word
Than all the empty claims I’ve heard upon this earth
Speaks righteousness for me
And stands in my defence
Jesus it’s Your blood

Your cross testifies in grace
Tells of the Father’s heart to make a way for us
Now boldly we approach
Not by earthly confidence
It’s only by your blood

(Matt Redman)

God I look to You
I won’t be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You
You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom, you know just what to do.

(Jenn Johnson)

As I lay there, the words of the songs on my heart shaped into prayers on my lips.

Holy Spirit – I thank you for your presence in my life. I pray my heart and my home, my community and my nation, my work and my rest would be flooded, filled and overwhelmed by the power of your presence. This is what my heart longs for … more of you.

Jesus – I thank you that no matter what my emotions or circumstances try to tell me, your blood always speaks a better word over my life. You are my righteousness and my defence so I don’t have to struggle for these in my own strength. I thank you that your blood made a way for me to draw near to the Father not with hesitation but with confidence. “We can now – without hesitation – walk right up to God in the Holy Place”. Hebrews 10:19-20 MSG

Father – I thank you that my help comes from you (Ps121:1). Thank you that I can look to you at all times and in all circumstances. Thank you that as I fix my eyes on you, I can see with your vision and your wisdom. More and more, I want to see what you’re seeing and think what you’re thinking and say what you’re saying.

As my heart was brimming over with songs of what the Godhead pours into my life, and the fruit of my lips was overflowing with thanks for all the Father, Spirit and Son do for me.

“… let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15 NKJV)

What song is the prayer of your heart at the moment?

BEING BRAVE

imageWOW!! What an AMAZING weekend we have just had at Illuminate 2014:BE BRAVE. A joy to be there with 900 other women and an immense privilege to serve as a volunteer.

As the room filled with 900 voices singing “You make me brave” there was such a strong sense not only of His presence but of His purposes and plans for each one of us.

This was echoed in the real life stories shared by each beautiful speaker of what it means to them to BE BRAVE:
– to be obedient and vulnerable
– to be completely surrendered to and totally dependent on God
– to step out of our comfort zone and into all that He has for you
– to press in to know more of who God is, who we are and whose we are and what we carry
– to take one step after the other
– to make these choices on a daily basis.

Joyce Meyer says we are brave when we choose to “just do it afraid” and this was certainly the case for many of the women speaking on Saturday. It was a huge step out of their comfort zone to speak to a group of women never mind 900!!

Yet as each one of them dared to share their hearts, God unlocked something in the heart of every woman in the room and throughout the conference woman after woman said a resounding YES to God’s invitation to BE BRAVE.

YES to taking the first steps in their journey to step away from the past, to step beyond the things that hindered them, to step out of their comfort zone, to step forward into new territory, to step into all that God has for their lives.

Story after story proved that taking a brave step doesn’t just unlock something in your own heart, it “unlocks stuff for others too”.

Taking these steps looks different on different days for each one of us but for me, every Monday being brave means choosing to write this blog! This is my 41st blog post and if I waited till I felt totally confident or till I had the perfect piece, I would still be waiting rather than writing!

I know stories lead to more stories so I write my stories just in case they could make a difference for someone else. If what I write brings help, healing or hope to just one life then it’s worth every word (and every wobble!!). It unlocks something in me and I want to “unlock stuff for others too”.

What does it look like to you to BE BRAVE?

During the conference hundreds of women wrote their BE BRAVE first step onto a post it note and when we stuck them on the wall, they spelt the words “I WILL”!!!

What will your be brave decision be today? What will you say “I WILL” to?

We can promise I WILL because the Champion of Heaven, the Lover of our soul, the King of Kings has also promised us “I WILL”.

“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

What will your BE BRAVE choice be today? It won’t just make a difference in your life but in the lives of others too.

Now nothing is holding me back from You,
Redeemer of my soul
Now nothing can hold me back from You
,
Your love will never let me go.
(Bryan and Katie Torwalt)

A lifetime of choices

imageI’m so excited about the Illuminate:Be Brave women’s conference at Causeway Coast Vineyard this weekend and I love what Heidi Scrimgeour wrote on the Real Women blog: “Being brave is a choice we make, not just once but again and again, and it rarely gets any easier to choose. It’s a risk, a leap of faith, and sometimes even a shot in the dark.”

Life is full of choices. Our society is driven by consumer choice. A visit to any supermarket will tell you we are spoilt for choice.

But we can be spoilt by our choices too. Week in, week out, day by day, hourly, every moment our choices can save or squander our lives. They can belittle or build up our lives and the lives of others.

So much choice. Good choices, bad choices, poor choices, hard choices, healthy choices, wrong choices, the right choice …

Some choices we get to make, others feel forced on us. Circumstances may try to dictate our choices but only we control our choices. We might not control what goes on around us but we can control what goes on inside us. We can’t control other people’s actions but we can control our reactions.

I didn’t choose chronic fatigue but I do get to choose how I deal with it. Week in, week out, day by day, hourly, every single moment. My natural default setting would be to choose worry, frustration, anger, discouragement – funny how these wrong choices come much more naturally than the right choices.

But I can choose to change that default setting by making new choices, better choices. Week in, week out, day by day, hourly, every single moment.

Today’s BIOY reading reminds me I don’t have to do this alone.

“Jesus is unique. The Great High Priest is both ‘the Son of God’ (Hebrews 4:14) and fully human. He is able to sympathise with our weaknesses and he ‘has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin’ (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus had all the same feelings you have. There were times when he felt like doing the wrong thing, but always chose to do the right thing.” BIOY

So I choose His peace, His rest, His joy, His strength, His hope. Week in, week out, day by day, hourly, every single moment.

Heidi also writes “You can’t just act bravely once and then tick a box and claim lifetime membership of the bravery club.” So we can’t just make the right choice once and claim lifetime membership of the right choices club. It’s week in, week out, day by day, hourly, every single moment.

A lifetime of choices.

Let’s choose life.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 NLT)

Our choices are the keys to our lives. They can open doors that would be better remaining firmly shut. Or they can lock the doors in our lives we have left open for far too long.

What choices are key for you today?

You CAN make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.”