Take A Seat

Netflix has nothing on the Old Testament! It is full of mystery, tragedy, romance, action and adventure. Whatever your genre, you will find it in the pages from Genesis to Malachi. I didn’t always love it so much. I was convinced that it made for hard, laborious reading, until a fear years ago when I convinced myself that I “ought to” read the Bible from cover to cover at least once in my life.

Now, I am hooked.

Recently, I have been hanging out with king David as he winds down from over 40 years of either hiding away or running towards his enemies. He made some enormous mistakes, but let’s not kid ourselves, he was one of (if not) the best kings that ever ruled over Judah and Israel.

Then I got to a boring bit. From 1 Chronicles 22 to 28 it drones on, while we get to read David’s handover notes as he prepares to leave his office as king. Pages full of instruction ranging from military divisions to gatekeepers, musicians, priests and building instructions for the temple. My eyes started feeling heavy as I tried to focus and take it all in. Then I read something that felt like the ice-bucket-challenge from way back:

“All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.” And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord. Here are the divisions of the priests and the Levites for all the service of the house of God; and every willing craftsman will be with you for all manner of workmanship, for every kind of service; also the leaders and all the people will be completely at your command.”
1 Chronicles 28:19-21 NKJV

What I saw in that passage, was the picture of an incredible, awesome father. One who had done everything in his power to prepare the way for his son to step into his purpose and destiny.

Solomon did not have have to do any of the hard work. Not only was the materials available (stored up from many battles fought by king David and his men), but even the human resources were prepared and committed to do what was needed to get the job done.

David’s dream had always been to build a dwelling place for God, but he was a man of war (1 Chronicles 22:8). God did not want His temple to be built by hands that shed blood. He was looking for someone who could govern with peace. God loved Solomon (who never fought a battle in his entire life) and chose him to be the one to build His temple. Solomon simply took his seat as king, and from that position he fulfilled the plans of God.

This passage found a landing place in my heart, because I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling tired of fighting battles. What if we have been engaged in the wrong activity? What if we are not supposed to be fighters, but are called to be builders? We have, after all, like Solomon, inherited a kingdom of Peace. What if, our job is not to go to war, but to build a temple: a dwelling place for our God.

Think about it… Jesus has already won every battle for us through His death and resurrection. He said it Himself: “It is finished.” He won the battle for our righteousness, our health, our provision, our deliverance, our peace. Our Father has done all the work, now we get to take our seat as ones who govern and rule in peace.

I feel like the season of fighting for our inheritance is over. It’s time to take a seat.

“For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 2:6 NLT

Make this your declaration:
I am seated with Christ in heavenly places. I am called to rule and reign in this life, by the righteousness and grace that was given to me by my Father.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us an abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness. You have raised us from the dead and seated us in heavenly realms, in Jesus. Help us to live from our heavenly seats. Give us the wisdom to take hold of every resource you have prepared for us, so that we can build a dwelling place for you. May we be a resting place for you. I ask in Jesus Name, Amen.

Heartprint:
Today, I hear the Father say: “Child of Peace. The one I love dearly. The one I have chosen to govern with peace. Step off the battlefield, for I have already won the war. It is time to take your seat. You did not inherit a struggle. I did not offer you chaos. Your inheritance is peace, victory and order. Put away your battle plans and see, I have given you a blueprint. Build a dwelling place. For where I AM, you will never have to fight for anything. Ever.” ❤

Face To Face

Have you experienced the frustration of trying to untangle a ball of string that seems to become more tangled the harder you try? That would be the perfect metaphor for my life. I would read about peace, joy and freedom in the Word of God, but the harder I tried to achieve those things, the more tangled I became in my struggle. I was truly stuck.

My heart was crying out for freedom, but no amount of striving could get me to that point. All the things I tried to get free seemed to be working for everyone else, but me. The truth, however, is that I was never able to untangle myself in the first place. I needed help. And there was only one Person who could help me.

It was as I saw the face of my Heavenly Father that the walls of my stronghold started to crumble. When I saw the face of King Frederick in the movie, Tangled, I also saw the face of my Father. A Father who celebrated his daughter, even though she was stuck in a stronghold. A Father who was grieved about the condition of my tangled heart.

Becoming untangled is not an instant fix. That moment in the movie theatre was only the starting point of a process of looking into the Face of the Father and discovering the depth of love and freedom I have in Him. Looking into His face is how we become untangled.

Use your eyes.

In Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul prays that the church will receiving the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the intimate knowledge of God. That the eyes of their heart will be enlightened. This is how they will know who they are and what they have inherited as saints in Christ.

Our eyes need to be filled with light. Matthew 6:22 says that if our eye is full of light our whole body will be filled with light. Psalm 119:105 says that the Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

In John 1 we read that Jesus, Himself is the Word made flesh and the Light of the world. If we want to see with our spiritual eyes we need to spend some time in the Light. We need to lock our eyes onto His.

Use your ears.

John 8:47 says that if we are from God, we can hear His voice. In John 10, Jesus says that his sheep can hear His voice and they do not follow the voice of the stranger. Hearing the voice of the Father, what He says about us, and how He feels about us is such a valuable gift and privilege. Not only does He give us direction for our lives, but His words transform us.

God spoke all of creation into existence. When He speaks, every atom has to obey. When we hear His Word spoken over us, it transforms us. How would you not want to hear the voice of your Father every day?

Use your mouth.

Your greatest weapon is under your nose. With the mouth you confess unto salvation (Romans 10:10). That does not just apply to becoming ‘saved’ or ‘born again’. As one who is created in the image of the Creator, when you speak you release the power to bring salvation into the world around you.

When you align your words with the Father’s Word (particularly His words about YOU), you are releasing *salvation (*you might want to look up the definition in English and Hebrew to see what is included in that potent word) into the world around you.

Luke 1:37 says that no Word from God will ever be without power or impossible of fulfilment. Isaiah 55:11 says that God’s Word will never return void, it always accomplish the very thing that it was sent for.

So let’s spend some time with our Father. Face to face. With eyes full of light and ears that hear His voice. Let us declare and release His Words of Salvation into our own lives and the world around us.

Light for your path:

Lovers of God have been given eyes to see
with spiritual discernment
and ears to hear from God.
Proverbs 20:12 TPT

Make this your declaration:

“I love you Father! Thank you for the gift of spiritual discernment. Thank you for eyes to see you and for ears that hear your voice.”

Heart Print:

Today I hear the Father say: “Glorious One. I love spending time with you. Allow the light of my love to fill your heart. My love will activate and energise your faith. My love is a powerful force that is alive and working in you. Allow it to grow stronger and stronger each day. It is that love that will transform you and the world you live in. You are my Beloved. Be Loved.” ❤

Activate your faith

“My faith just doesn’t seem to be working.”

Have you ever thought that? Have you ever wondered where you are missing it as you watch people slay their giants left, right and centre, but your giant is still breathing down your neck? And it’s not like you’re not trying. You are praying and declaring and standing and believing, but it just doesn’t seem to work.

About ten years ago, I found myself in that place. Tired of constantly fighting, but unable to get my giant to move just one inch to the side. If I did manage to get him to move a little, it was only temporary. He would soon be back in position tormenting me.

I would read Psalm 103, where David lists all the benefits of being on God’s side. I would read it and think, alright, I am forgiven, but where is my healing? Where is my deliverance? Where is my provision? Why am I not feeling like my youth is being renewed?

Is there something wrong with ME?

On the verge of giving up on the good fight of faith (that honestly, wasn’t feeling that good) I went to the cinema one rainy afternoon in 2010 and as I watched the movie Tangled, everything started to click into place. I started realising that I had been occupied with the wrong story. There was a bigger reality at play. A spiritual battle, that I was ill equipped for and even though I had done all the right things, my actions were rendered powerless, because my faith wasn’t activated.

Galatians 5:6 in the Amplified Classic Edition says that our faith is activated, energized and it works through love. I have discovered that this is more than me just doing things out of a motivation of love, but actually requires me to be filled with the love of God, Himself.

My faith wasn’t working, because I didn’t have a revelation of the One who was backing up my faith-actions. Things changed dramatically for me when I saw the face of my Father in the animated face of King Frederic. I saw love. I saw compassion. I saw grief. I saw a God whose heart was moved. A God who wasn’t indifferent or distant. A God who loved me deeply. It activated my faith.

David wasn’t intimidated by the giant in front of him, because he knew whose shadow he was standing under. He had an intimate friendship with the creator of the universe, and so can we. Sometimes we need to put down our sling and stone and go and sit in the shadow of the Almighty. That is where we are safe and secure. No giant will dare to be seen under that shadow.

When we are filled with love, we are filled with power. That is why we have to make sure that we are standing under the proper shadow. When we are constantly dwelling on the giant, we are standing under the wrong shadow. When we are dwelling on the faithfulness of God, on His promises, on the testimonies of His awesome power, but most of all, on His love for us, we are empowered to believe from the heart and not just the mind. When we hear His voice as He speaks over us, as He delights and sings over us, we can rise up and say: “What could ever separate me from the love of God?!”

All things become possible, because the power in us will be released and our giant will fall. It is after all, through His power in us, that He does exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we can hope for, dream or imagine.
(Ephesians 3:20)

So, beautiful friend, put down your sling and stone. Go and sit under the shadow of the Almighty and let Him show you how much He loves you. For He really, really does love you, with a love that is not like any love you have ever experienced on this earth.

Make this your declaration:

God loves me. His love is activating and energising my faith. He is doing far above what I can dream or imagine, according to His power that is at work in me.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your faithfulness and your heart towards us. You do not delight in our sufferings but are grieved by our heartaches. You also want to see our giants fall.

Help us to draw near to you and hear the words that you are speaking over our hearts. Activate our faith with your love. May we become people who are deeply rooted and securely grounded in your love, so that nothing can shake us. May we become bodies that are flooded with your love. Full of faith and power that moves mountains.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Heart Print:

Today, I hear the Father saying: “Valiant One. My Faithful One. Do not be intimidated by the giant in front of you. I am so much greater and I am with you. In my presence you are untouchable. Stay. Abide. Listen, as I speak my words of grace, love and power over you. Fear has to go. Doubt will flee. Darkness cannot overpower the light. Remain in me, in my Word and in my presence. You are always welcome and dearly loved.” ❤

** For more heart prints, you are welcome ro download a copy of my e-book for free: http://www.melizafarndell.com

No Trouble

Are you trying your very best to lay low and avoid trouble? Have you put that dream God gave you on the backburner, waiting for every little detail to line up perfectly before you dare to step out in faith? What if it’s time to shake off fear and run full throttle into your destiny! Trouble, ot not.

On Saturday, I walked into the lounge with a bite to eat. My husband and I had been decluttering our kitchen and sat down for a break, watching a bit of telly while we had our refreshments. We watched the Three Musketeers (2011 version, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, screenplay by Alex Litvak and Andrew Davies, based in the novel written by Alexandre Dumas).

The young D’artagnan (played by Logan Lerman) was heading towards Paris to join the Musketeers. His father (played by Dexter Fletcher) had prepared him for this moment, training and equipping him to become part of this elite group of guardians of the Kingdom of France. As D’artagnan saddled up his horse, his mum (played by Jenny Perry) nervously telling him to stay at the back of the battle lines, he says: “Don’t worry Mum and Dad, I’ll try and keep out of trouble.”

His father’s response was unexpected. “No D’artagnan! Don’t stay away from trouble, get INTO trouble! Live. Love. Enjoy your life to the full!” I am paraphrasing, but it wasn’t the kind of advice you would expect from your average parent. This dad’s words pulled on my heart a little. I knew that God was speaking to me through this scene.

Am I trying to avoid trouble? Keeping the peace for a quiet life? But what if hiding from trouble means that I miss out on the life that I am destined for? As a child of Almighty God, is it even realistic to fear trouble at all? Let’s think about it…

God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge!
You’re a proven help in time of trouble—
more than enough and always available whenever I need you
.
Psalm 46:1 The Passion Translation.

God is a safe place.

In God, we have the freedom to explore. The freedom to make mistakes without the fear of being judged or reprimanded. Repentance is a simple change of mind and direction without any shame or humiliation. That is the way our Father loves us. We do not have to be perfect or get it all one hundred percent right, all of the time.

God is a powerful place.

We are never alone. Our powerful God is with us always. He never leaves us or forsake us. Where He is, there is victory, peace, freedom and life. There is hope that doesn’t disappoint. When we walk in the power of His presence, what can come against us? No trouble can touch us or leave a permanent mark. We’re not expected to function within our own capacity. We get to steward His power and truth! Isn’t that awesome?

He is a proven help.

We’re not expected to have blind faith in a God who might or might not come through for us. He has proven His faithfulness countless times over. There are many eyewitness accounts in the Word that we can take to the bank. We also need to remind ourselves of the times when He came through for us in the impossible chapters of our own stories.

He is more than enough.

Could we ever exhaust the resources and power that we have access to as children of the Most High God? Never! There is no limit to His power that is at work in us. It will always exceed our wildest expectations and most daring dreams. So why not dream a little bigger?

He is always available.

Right now. Right here. You don’t need a special appointment. You can run into His throne room with fearless confidence and cheerful courage, knowing that God wants to partner with your hopes and desires. He wants to see you walk in every blessing that He made available to you through the precious blood of His Son. What is keeping you?

D’artagnan bumped into trouble. He picked a fight with the most evil of enemies, but it also led him towards his fellow Musketeers. It lead him to heart-pounding adventure, to passion, to love and into his destiny.

What I loved most was seeing how the Musketeers were favoured by the King. Even when they got into trouble, they walked out blessed, dressed and empowered. They knew their place as the King’s elite guardians. Do you know your place in your Father’s Kingdom?

Make this your declaration:

God is my safe place. He is my powerful place. He is more than enough for me and He is always there for me when I need Him. My problems are no trouble to Him.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

You are our King of Glory. The Most High God. We praise You, for you are righteous and you bring justice into every area of our lives.

You are our safe and powerful place. You are more than enough in everything we undertake. We will not fear any trouble, for you are always with us. Equipping us and empowering us with everything we need to be victorious.

Pour out your grace and favour over us as we come before your throne today. Give us bold, brave dreams so we can bring your Kingdom to Earth.

Let your will be done!

In Jesus Name

Amen.

Heart Print:

Today, I hear the Father say: “Glorious Child. Your faith makes my heart smile. The bigger you dream, the greater the joy swells in my heart. For nothing is impossible for me and I delight in your expectation of my goodness. Your assurance of my faithfulness blesses my heart. Of my love for you, there is no end. For you are my treasure. My beautiful one. The one that I adore.” ❤

**For a free copy of my e-book, Heart Prints go to http://www.melizafarndell.com/ebook

Empowering Love

It is unusually quiet in the house this week. After six months of being swamped with activities, ranging from writing and publishing my book to homeschooling my children, it feels a bit surreal when all I can hear is the humming of the washing machine in the background. All is calm.

Perhaps this is why I can’t help thinking about the chaos of the last few months. All of the sudden the opportunity has arisen to stand back and take a long hard look at the state of my own heart… and I have spotted a couple of knots.

It’s wonderful to get to this part of the publishing race, but it is also terrifying. As I wrote my book about freedom, testifying to the wonderful work of the love of God in my life, I have also wrestled with that voice that keeps trying to invalidate my story: “You write about being untangled, but look at the state of you! There is so much more work to be done.”

The truth is that being untangled is not an instant, one-time only event. It is a process that involves intricate work by skilled hands. You cannot untangle yourself. You need the gentle expertise and the empowering love of the Father.

We often go through life without taking the time to consider the effects of circumstances and situations on our hearts. Words of others can often leave us a little tied and twisted, but we brush it off and move on. There is also the voice of the enemy, that never hesitates to confirm the worst beliefs we have about ourselves. We get tangled. It is a natural part of life.

But the Father wants us to be free and He loves to straighten us out in the most gentle way. He will carefully untangle us from every lie, struggle or burden that we have been trapped in.

This has been a recent reality in my life as deep rooted lies started making an appearance as soon as I have stepped out in sharing my message.

I am often tempted to untangle myself; strapping on my faith-armour, binding and loosing, fighting the good fight! There is nothing wrong with this, but as I quiet my heart before the Lord, I am learning that this is not the time to “faith-it”. First, I need to allow the tender love of the Father to remove the knots. I need Love to empower Faith in me.

One of my favourite verses is found in the book of Zephaniah. What I love about this book (although it is a very sad situation for God’s chosen people), is that with the warning of their imminent destruction and captivity, God declares not only His plan for redemption and restoration, but also His love for His people.

Think about it: BEFORE we find ourselves tangled up in disaster, disappointment or destruction, God already stands ready with rescue plan. Wherever you find yourself today, God is already signing his victory song of love over you. You cannot lose if you allow His love to untangle you.

The Lord your God is in your midst;
he is a warrior who can deliver.
He takes great delight in you;
he renews you by his love;
he shouts for joy over you.

Zephaniah 3:17 NET

There are so many powerful revelations packed into this one verse:

  • The Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Most High God, is with you. Right now, where you are. Sitting down or standing up. In your house, at work, in your car as you’re reading this. He is with you.
  • He is fighting for you. Especially when you’re felling weak, weary and overwhelmed. He never stops.
  • You make Him happy. Not because of what you do, but because of who you are: His Beloved.
  • His love infuses you with the strength you need to keep standing and keep moving forward.
  • He is not quiet about how He feels about you. He shouts about it! It’s a victory shout! It’s a sound that shakes Heaven and Earth declaring that you belong to Him.

How awesome is our Father? How incredibly deep is His love for us? We can trust Him to untangle us from every lie, every struggle, every burden that is holding us back or slowing us down.

Make this your declaration today:

“The love of God is working in me, releasing me from every lie that is trying to trip me up or hold me back.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

We surrender our hearts to you today. Untangle us from every lie, struggle or burden that we are trying to manage on our own.

Flood our hearts with your empowering love. May we experience your presence and your comfort.

Help us to let go of every knot.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Heart Print:

Today, I hear the Father sing: “My Love… My love for you is like a raging fire! I am never quiet in my love for you. I continually declare my thoughts of you. Thoughts of peace. Thoughts of love. Thoughts of power. Let my Words of love take root in you, until you become my burning one. For my love for you NEVER ends. Ever.” ❤

Mountains

When you choose to walk on the path God sets before you, it is not unusual to come across the occasional mountain. Whether we are raising families, running businesses or writing books, there will be times when what you are called to do, will feel so much bigger than what you are able to achieve or overcome.

It is amazing to see the dream that God put in my heart nearly a decade ago, finally take shape. The closer I am getting to the finishing line, the more I am in awe of the goodness and faithfulness of God in this race He called me to run. But there are times when I feel absolutely overwhelmed by the challenges in front of me.

Writing my book cost me. It placed a demand on my time, my relationships and resources. It challenged my personal insecurities and pushed me way out of my comfort zone. There were days when finishing this book seemed like an impossible mountain to scale.

It was at a time when I was feeling completely overwhelmed that the Lord reminded me of another mountain experience. I was fourteen years old and in high school. Every South African high school pupil is subjected to a week of ‘veldskool’: an obligatory, residential programme where vital life skills are taught. I didn’t mind gaining some solid survival, leadership and team building skills. I just would have preferred if it wasn’t in the middle of nowhere, roughing it out on a mountain!

I do not come from a family of campers. We are accustomed to hotel rooms, where a hot bath and a hair dryer is never far away. I dreaded this week of ‘veldskool’. So there I found myself in the African bushveld, with a heavey backpack on my back and a huge mountain before me. We started to climb.

As the day progressed, everything started to hurt. With every step I took that backpack became heavier and heavier. I wasn’t as fit as the other kids. I was lagging behind and my team was penalised for it. When a friend tried to carry my backpack, the teacher ridiculed me in front of everyone. Not only because I wasn’t carrying my own burden, but I was holding the entire team back. It was so embarrassing.

By the time we reached the campsite, I was hurting inside and out. I had barely enough energy to set up my shelter and get settled for the night. But something happened as I took my seat at the campfire. As warmth of the fire started to soothe my weary body, I took a deep breath and looked up at the African sky above me. It took my breath away!

Scattered all over the heavens were billions of stars. It was spectacular. I felt overwhelmed once again. But this time, I was overwhelmed by the incredible beauty of creation and the awesome God who spoke those stars into being. It wrecked me in a glorious way. It changed me so much that I wanted to climb another mountain. Even if it meant experiencing pain or discomfort.

As the Lord reminded me of that mountain, I realised that my experience in ‘veldskool’ was not that different to the mountains I face in life. It was as I ascended the mountain of authoring my book ‘Untangled’, that I faced the same questions that I did on that mountain in South Africa:

  • Do I have what it takes to make it all the way to the finishing point?
  • Will I keep moving forward, even when I feel like I’m lagging behind?
  • Am I willing to carry the responsibility of my assignment, regardless of how heavy it feels at times?

The good news is that we also have a Teacher on our mountain, but He is not shaming us for how we climb. He gives us grace for our pace. He encourages, strengthens us, affirms us, trains us and establishes us in our true identity and purpose; one step at a time. And we even get to help carry each other’s backpacks from time to time! How awesome is that?

My Teacher showed me that I can look at the mountain in front of me as an opportunity to encounter my Creator. The One who created me for a specific purpose. He reminded me that it was on the Mount of Transfiguration that the Father established and affirmed His Son:

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Mark 9:7 NIV

What if you looked at your mountain today as an opportunity to encounter the God who loves you and who called you according to His purpose?

What if you used that feeling of being overwhelmed by the mountain to position yourself to be overwhelmed by God? He wants to overwhelm you with His love and grace:

Yes, God is more than ready to overwhelm you with every form of grace, so that you will have more than enough of everything —every moment and in every way. He will make you overflow with abundance in every good thing you do.
2 Corinthians 9:8 TPT

Take some time today to remember that God knows exactly where you are and He has seen every sacrifice you have made as you followed His lead. He is waiting for you to take your overwhelmed heart and place it in His hands, so that He can overwhelm you with His goodness.

Make this your declaration today:

God is more than ready to overwhelm me with every form of grace. I overflow with abundance in every good thing I do.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you that we do not have to scale our mountains on our own. You are always with us, teaching us and helping us as we walk out the plans you have for us. Make us sensitive to your voice and remind us that when we feel overwhelmed, we have a wonderful opportunity to encounter you. To experience your grace and goodness.

In your presence we are established and affirmed. You are so awesome Lord. We love you. And it is such a privilege to run this race with you!

Amen.

Heart Print:

Today, I hear the Father say: “Wonderful One. You make my heart swell with pride as you bravely scale the mountain before you. There is no obstacle that we cannot conquer together. Not only have I put everything you need within you, but I am also with you, showing you where you need to place each footstep. I have gone before you and I know the way. Simply follow me. We’ve got this!” ❤

The God of Peace

On what was the most unusually, gloriously warm Saturday, we were invited around to a barbeque (or like us South Africans like to call it, a braai) at friends of ours. These friends are quite special to us. We have all learned to adapt from our African cultures (they’re from Zimbabwe) as we started our families here in the United Kingdom. We are like family, which is why I can share this without fear of getting into trouble. Ha!

As the weather offered us such a beautiful gift, we didn’t skip a beat to organise a get together involving fire and meat. As my husband and I sat in their garden, enjoying the beautiful weather and company, we couldn’t help feeling a little bit envious of their immaculately manicured garden. As our hosts disappeared into the house for a minute, my husband leaned over to me and jokingly said: “I don’t like these people! Their garden is too perfect.”

As my friend reappeared with refreshments, she asked us why we were whispering and we sheepishly confessed: “We don’t like the fact that your garden is so perfect!” We all had a good laugh as we talked about how their beautiful garden is exposing our lack of skill and interest in gardening. My friend’s husband pointed out that we had every tool in the shed you could possibly want or need. This is accurate, my husband loves to collect the tools, we just do not use them. I say “we” because I do not intend on throwing him under the bus. Ha!

As we returned from our visit, I couldn’t help but mull over the great analogy that this conversation offered. You see, our hearts are also like gardens; and we have every tool in the Word that we could possibly want or need to keep our hearts in immaculate condition. Free from the weeds of cares and worry. Free from roots of bitterness or rejection. Free from thorny bushes of fear and doubt. But we have to use our tools and do some gardening.

We all want to have and experience a life of peace. True peace. Lasting peace. Peace that stays even when life gets overwhelming or trouble comes out of left field. It’s easier to deal with those things, when your garden is tidy. It’s much more difficult when you have to cut through all the overgrown foliage to find your peace again.

Peace is not some external force, it is grown and cultivated:
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:9 NLT

Paul’s wisdom is profound as much as it is uncomfortable to hear. If he could write this book (Philippians), a recipe book for peace and joy, whilst being imprisoned, then it should be at least worth a read. Better yet, when we apply and practice the things he teaches in it: gratitude, thankfulness, paying attention to what we think about and so much more excellent heart-gardening advice.

Perhaps it is time to get those tools out of the shed. Time to uproot some weeds and plant some seeds. Add some nutrients to the soil and water what we have planted. Hmm… this has certainly made me think about so much more than the messy state of our garden.

What will I find when I start working in the garden of my heart?

Make this your declaration today:

I choose to uproot every care and worry in my heart. I trust in the God of Peace, who lives in me.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the tools you have provided for us in your Word. Holy Spirit, remind us to put into practice what we have learned. Identify every weed or root that has no place in the garden of our hearts. Give us the wisdom we need to keep our hearts in immaculate condition.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Heart Print:

Today, I hear the Father say: “Beautiful Child. I have created you to be my dwelling place. As you allow me to settle in your heart, my peace will fill your whole being. I love to be with you, because my heart delights in you. Stop striving, let go of your cares and allow me to create in you, a resting place of peace and joy. I am more than able to give you beautiful rest.” ❤

A Punctuation Paradigm

It was the French poet Charles Baudelaire who first said that the devil’s greatest trick is to make you believe that he doesn’t exist. This statement proved to be true in my life. For many years, I lived with a voice in my head that wasn’t my own. The only thing is, I didn’t realise that it belonged to an enemy.

‘Experience’ teaches us all sorts of things about ourselves, that may appear valid but aren’t really true. However, you have to look really close before you can see the subtle threads of deceit that is woven in with truth.

The enemy doesn’t necessarily disagree with what God says about us; he just changes the punctuation. I have noticed that it is possible to walk around for days with a question mark on my heart where there should have been an exclamation mark.

“Did God really say…
I am chosen?
I am forgiven?
I am healed?
I am free?
I am…?”

That is why we need to check our hearts for question marks every day; and when we find them, we have to bend them back into the punctuation marks that God intended for us. It’s time to stop allowing the enemy to write question marks over who God says we are and what He has called us to do.

“A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy. But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect—life in its fullness until you overflow!”
John 10:10 TPT

The agenda of the enemy is clear and in stark contrast with God’s heart for us. This is not groundbreaking revelation; but have you even wondered why he is after your heart?

In his book, ‘Waking the Dead’, John Eldredge writes: “The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.” Just because the enemy has changed the punctuation on your heart doesn’t mean he isn’t shaking in his boots. Those question marks do not change who you are one iota, they only keep you in the dark.

You see, it’s not the enemy who needs to be convinced about who you are and what you carry. It’s YOU. (Me too!)

Dear friend, you need to change those question marks back into exclamation marks. You have every right to do so. There is no need to second-guess how the Father feels about you. He has made it pretty clear. He gave everything for you. In His eyes you are…

Chosen!
Forgiven!
Healed!
Free!
LOVED!

No question about it.

Make this your declaration today:

“I am completely loved by God and He is fully pleased with me. I am a force to be reckoned with, because His Spirit lives in me. God gives me everything I need in abundance, more than I can expect.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

We thank you for the truth that you have spoken over our hearts. Help us, Holy Spirit to identify and eliminate the question marks that want to keep us wondering who we truly are.

We choose to believe who you say we are and we say yes to what you have called us to do.

In Jesus Name

Amen

Heart Print:

Today I hear the Father say: “Powerful Child. Do not question the value or the potency of the content because the jar is fragile. What you carry is of great significance and importance in my Kingdom. Every yes you offer to me in worship, causes great impact with a ripple effect that you may not even perceive. There is no act too small to make a difference. Pennies count when you give them with all your heart. Every act is noted. Nothing unseen. And I have blessed them all.” ❤

Tap to play

This morning, as I sipped my coffee in bed (thank you, husband), I was scrolling down the newsfeed on my favourite social media app. Over the years I have noticed such an interesting phenomenon, one which I have dipped into every now and again as curiosity got the better of me.

There seems to be an increase in people playing this one particular game that tells them who they are based on their favourite movie character, their profile pictures, the colors they choose and many other themes. People want to know what animal they are most like or what Disney princess embodies their personality.

Why is this app so popular? I believe there is a hunger in every human heart to find out who they really are. Some kind of stirring that we all feel to some degree, hinting to the fact that there is more to us than what we have uncovered. It’s great to be able to discover our significance at the tap of a screen, but the truth is that we will need to venture a little further into realms of the unseen, if we want to discover who we truly are.

“I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 139:14 AMP

There is only one place we can go to find our true identity; into the arms of the One who created us. The One who knitted us together in our mother’s womb, according to His design and purpose for our life. Think about it… everything you need to fulfill His plan for your life, has been wired into your very being.

As I studied this verse this morning, looking at the rich meaning of each word in it’s original language and context, I realised that I have very little understanding of who I really am. How do I know this? Because I have forgotten to marvel at the workmanship. I have been satisfied by the “tap to play” button on the screen of my smartphone rather than tapping on the heart of the One who made me. The One who wants me to discover my true identity and the glorious purpose for which He designed me.

Let’s not forget to marvel at the masterpieces we are, but let us behold the One who will show us exactly who we are. As we look deeper into the mirror of the Word, we will find ourselves in the resounding truth that we have been fearfully and wonderfully created, in the image of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We will discover that we have been positioned in this time and in this place, for a specific purpose. May we tap into the heart of the Fathers, so that we can play the part that we were created for.

Make this your declaration today:

“God, I praise you for I am truly a masterpiece. You have done a marvelous work in me and I will live to bring glory to you.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father,

Thank you that we don’t have to rely on the world to show us or tell us who we are. Help us to focus on your Words of truth. Show us your glory Lord, until we can see ourselves the way you see us. Until we believe that we are who You say we are: Strong. Free. Overcoming. Bold. Loved.

In Jesus Name!

Amen

Heart Print:

Today I hear the Father say: “Precious One. Do not forget that I rejoice over you with singing. Do not forget that you are my delight. You are not a burden to bear. You are one that brings great joy to my heart. When the battle is raging, you need to guard your heart with this: I will never stop rejoicing over you. My victorious banner over you is Love. It is finished.” ❤

Two Kings

Once upon a time, there were two kings. Both were chosen by God to rule and reign over His people. Both were anointed to do so. One fell away from God and the other one (though imperfectly) fulfilled his assignment and remained in right standing with God.

I’m sure you by now you know who I am talking about; the first and second kings of Israel, Saul and David. When you study the lives of these two kings, you find that they had some things in common. God must have seen great potential in both of them, after all, He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7) and he chose Saul first.

They both had significant callings. You can read about Saul’s experience in 1 Samuel 9 and David’s experience in 1 Samuel 16. They were both anointed for their assignment by the prophet Samuel. What was it that made the difference in the way they finished their race?

I’m sure you can find many differences in their relationship with God and in the way they ruled the kingdom. But there is one thing I would like to draw attention to and it might surprise you. It certainly amazed me when I saw it.

In 1 Samuel 10, after a bizarre string of events (involving donkeys and prophets), Saul returns to his homeland to wait for the arrival of Samuel to appoint him as king and announce it to the people. But when Samuel arrived, Saul was nowhere to be found. The funny thing is, you can hide from everyone, but you can’t hide from God. Verse 22:

So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?”
And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.”
(NLT)

Fast forward a few chapters and we find the young boy David, who has been anointed as future king, but is still working in the field herding his father’s sheep. In 1 Samuel 17 we read that his father sent him to battle with food for his brothers. As David arrives at the camp, the army is going out to battle. What happens next, propels David into an eternal moment, that would forever mark his life. Verse 22:

Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers.” (NASB)

One king hides behind the baggage, the other one drops his baggage and runs towards the battlefield. As I looked at these verses, I felt a nudge by the Holy Spirit to look at this one thing that separated these two kings: the way they handled their baggage.

Being made alive in Christ has put us in a very significant assignment. Romans 5:17 says that we are now appointed to rule and reign with Christ, in THIS life. We have been chosen to fulfill an assignment that was prepared for us, even before we were born (Ephesians 2:10) and we are anointed (1 John 2:27). The question is, what do we do with your baggage?

Will we continue to hide behind it, afraid to be seen? Afraid to take the place that God has prepared for us? Or do we drop those heavy loads and run towards the battlefield? That assignment that will mark us for eternity?

Today, I am really challenged by this. There are some heavy stuff I have been carrying for far too long and it has become tempting to hide behind those issues that seem to disqualify me for my assignment. Being seen invites criticism. Taking up the position that God has prepared for you will cost you your comfort. But the prize is only won by those who finish their race.

And He is worth the discomfort.

King David can testify to this.

I pray that we will have the courage to let go. Let go of every sin that so easily entangles us. Let go of all the baggage that is slowing us down. May we all be blessed today, with patient endurance and find the joy set before us: the One who called us by name and gave us the authority to rule and reign with Him.

Amen.

HearPrint:

Today, I hear the Father say: “Fiery One! Keep burning for me. Let my love rise up within you with every step you take towards the battlefield. I have called you to be victorious. Do not look back. The race is not to the swift. The battle is not to the strong. It is not by might or power, but by my Spirit. So keep moving forward, my darling. You were fashioned for freedom.” ❤

Those who trust

Do you trust God?

How would you answer this question? For many years I genuinely thought I did, but one day as I prepared to deliver a Leadership course on cultivating trust with the members of your team, I realised that what I thought was trust, was only really respect. It wasn’t trust at all.

As I paged through The Leadership Handbook (by Peter Scholtes) I came across a diagram that explained that in order to build trust with the members of your team, you needed to demonstrate both competency and care; team members need to know that their leader is both capable to deliver results, whilst at the same time caring about their individual welfare.

If a team leader scored high on caring but low on competency, team members would feel a great deal of affection towards them, but they wouldn’t necessarily trust that leader. Leaders who score high on competency but low on caring are often highly respected, but not actually trusted.

As I studied that leadership model, the Holy Spirit arrested me. In His gentle way, He pointed out to me that I believed that God was competent, but I didn’t quite believe that He cared. I knew He could do the impossible, I just wasn’t sure that He wanted to do it for me. I didn’t believe that He truly cared.

Galatians 5:6 in the Amplified Classic says that our faith is activated, energised and working through love. It is the revelation of the love of God that adds the power to our words and actions. It was the caring element, that I was missing. And it affected my faith… not in a good way.

According to the Google dictionary, trust (as a verb) is defined as “believing in the reliability, truth or ability of something or someone…” other words that are linked to trust is “faith”, “confidence” and “hope”. We cannot have faith in God without trust. Trust comes when we believe that God is both able and willing to do the impossible for us and through us; because He can AND because He wants to; because He loves us!

I want to be one of those who truly trusts in the Lord:

  • They are like mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever (Psalm 125:1 NIV)
  • They will never be disgraced (Romans 10:11 NLT)
  • They find new strength (Isaiah 40:31 NLT)
  • They lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10 NLT)
  • They always produce fruit, even when times are tough (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Dear friend, do you believe that God wants to do the impossible for you? Maybe you need healing, deliverance, provision or restoration today. Can I encourage you to do a heart-check? It’s easy to believe that God is able to do the impossible, it’s a little more tricky to be confident that He has your total wellbeing in mind. That He loves you and that He is not just able to save, but so willing.

I pray that during this coming week, you will encounter His heart for you. And that you will have a fresh revelation of His marvelous love. May you have a powerful experience of His loving kindness and tender mercies. May you hear His words of love pour into your soul, like a rushing wave. May it activate and energise your faith. May you see that mountain melt like wax in the presence of the Lord. May His mighty love burn brightly in you.

In Jesus Name.

Amen.

HeartPrint:

Today, I hear the Father say: “Unshakable One. Stand your ground. Don’t look to the left or the right. Don’t be intimidated by the winds that would try to uproot you. You are ingrafted in me. My Spirit-life runs through your veins. Nothing can separate you from my love. You, my love, are deeply loved.” ❤

Fresh focus

When I tuck my children into bed at night, I often encourage them to imagine what heaven is like. One evening, I asked my daughter to tell me what she pictured. When I asked her about what she thinks God the Father is like, she hesitated. She said: “Mum, I watched this video on YouTube where these kids made a cartoon character about God, and it wasn’t very nice. Now, when I go to sleep and I imagine God, I can’t get that image out of my head.”

Resisting the urge to say “I told you not to watch that stuff!”, I felt the Holy Spirit gently nudging me to give her a new image. I told her how, when she was a little baby, I really had a hard time with my mind and my emotions. I shared with her, how I grew up hearing that God loved me, but not really believing that I was deserving of that love.

Then one day, I went to the cinema to watch a Disney movie called, Tangled. I saw a King who was deeply moved for his daughter. You see, only a short while after she was born, a wicked old lady took her from the Kingdom and locked her in a tower, but her father never gave up celebrating her. Every year on her birthday, he sent out lanterns. Those lanterns would one day, lead her back home.

“When I think about the Father,” I told my (then) 9-year-old daughter, “I think about that king in Tangled. I see the tear rolling down his cheek before he lights that first lantern on Rapunzel’s birthday. I see the love in His eyes, when his lost daughter returns. Maybe you could use that image, Zoë?”

“Wow, Mum!” she said, “you got all that from a movie?”

Yes! God speaks through movies. He speaks to us all the time, if we just open our hearts to receive what He has for us. If we would just turn our attention to His voice, we will hear Him tell us how much we are treasured and loved.

We all need a new image of the Father. There is always more of His heart to discover. It feels a little strange that it took a trip to the cinema to correct my image of the Father. It took a fairy tale to bring His heart into focus, but that image needs to be refreshed every day.

The enemy loves to add a little filter to distort what we see, just enough to get us to question the Father’s heart towards us. “Did God really say?” is the oldest trick in the book. “He’s keeping you from all the good stuff…” is another filter that he likes to use.

A heart that questions the love of the Father is a tangled heart. A tangled heart is unable to function in the way that it was created to function. There is a reason why the enemy wants to skew your vision of the Father. There is a reason why he wants to keep your heart tangled.

Your heart is significant.

That is why you have to guard it above all (Proverbs 4:23). Guard your heart by keeping the image of your Father into focus. Do not allow circumstances to lay a filter over your picture of His heart for you. Do not entertain the lies that are writing question marks over His love for you.

He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”
Romans 8:32 AMP

Dear friend, the Father gave up His greatest Treasure, to win back your heart. He did it because He loves you and because your heart was worth the sacrifice. Your heart is significant and priceless. He is not withholding anything from you; in Jesus, He has provided everything you could ever need. Healing. Deliverance. Freedom. Provision. Restoration.

It’s time to get a fresh image of the Father. To focus on His perfect, limitless love for you.

It’s time to get your heart untangled.

HeartPrint:

Today, I hear the Father say: “Glorious Child. I am patiently waiting for you to adjust your vision. The more of my heart you see, the sharper the view of your world will be. There are no limitations when your eyes are fixed on me. When you follow where I lead. Do not lose sight of my heart. Stay close as you keep in step with each beat. You are my joy and my greatest delight. My pearl of great price.” ❤