The Opposite

“It’s all a little bit surreal.” We have all heard this or said this, since we found ourselves indefinitely quarantined. Life as we know it, is very, very different. However, it’s not just life as we used to know it, it is also life as we expected.

Last night our smelly bull mastiff woke me up at 1am to open the door to the living room for her (she has recently developed a preference for sleeping on one of our chairs). As I stumbled from my bedroom in a daze, I heard the Spirit whisper: “Make Womb.” Well, this knocked me right out of my slumber.

On the 13th of March, I wrote about this as I shared what God was showing me about how we create an environment to grow the impossible. Just like Mary received a Word from the angel and conceived the Saviour, the Word became flesh as she nurtured and protected it.

The days leading up to it, I really felt God speaking to me about this being a season of breakthrough and new beginnings, but a week after I wrote “Make Womb,” we found ourselves in isolation, because my daughter was coughing in school. A few days after that, the whole country was in lock down.

This did not feel like breakthrough. This felt like the end, rather than the beginning, but I just carried on with what God has assigned me with; writing my book, keeping up my blog, working on the vision He gave me at the start of the year.

As I got ready for the day, the Lord reminded me of so many prophetic words that seemed to move in the opposite direction; Joseph was told he would be a ruler and ended up in prison. David was chosen as king, but spent years running from a mad one, in the opposite direction of the kingdom he was supposed to rule.

This morning, as I ushered my dog into the living room, I realised that all these amazing words that the Lord has put on my heart are all true. This surreal experience that we’re going through right now, is not the end. It’s the beginning. This is the breakthrough. The Lord said to me this morning, if you think this is surreal, wait until you see what I have prepared to come!

God is moving upon the Earth right now in ways we don’t understand yet. I believe we are going to see something truly surreal in the days to come, but not in the negative way that we might imagine while we walk through this pandemic. Something truly spectacular and amazing is about to unfold, so we have to make room. Or, “Make Womb.”

How do we make a womb to birth the impossible?

The Lord showed me five practical things that we can do to make a womb that will conceive and birth the impossible. It is found in Proverbs 4:20-27 NLT:

Pay attention and listen:

20 My child, pay attention to what I say.
    Listen carefully to my words.

Keep the Word before you:

21 Don’t lose sight of them.
    Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
    and healing to their whole body.

Guard your heart from unbelief, fear and worry:

23 Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.

Watch what you’re saying and speak life on purpose:

24 Avoid all perverse talk;
    stay away from corrupt speech.

Hold on to the vision that God gave you:

25 Look straight ahead,
    and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
    stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
    keep your feet from following evil.

These five things are so simple, and will make such an incredible difference as we make room to conceive and give birth to what God wants to do in the earth.

Please don’t come into agreement with worry and fear, when it feels that things are moving in the opposite direction than what God has spoken over your life.

Jesus told His friends that He was the Messiah sent to save them from oppression; then He was crucified. Things must have felt pretty surreal for them. Seeing Him put in the tomb must have convinced them that everything they believed for was over. But… three days later they learned that what they thought was the end, was only the beginning. The beginning of something much better than they could ever hope for, dream or imagine.

So take heart, dear friend. You may feel like you’re in a tomb, but this is your time for a new beginning.

The best is yet to come!

HeartPrint:

Today, I hear the Father say: “Faithful Child. Do not abandon the dream that I wrote on your heart. Don’t be distracted by the circumstances around you, but embrace them. Push against them as you strengthen your faith in me. With me, it is impossible to fail. Keep running your race, I am right beside you. Empowering you. Cheering for you. All the way!” ❤

Simple Truth

“Tell the repo man,
And the stars above,
That you’re the one I love,
You are the one I love,
The one I love”
David Gray

Songwriters: Craig Mcclune / David GrayThe One I Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management

These were the words I woke up to this morning. David Gray is one of my favourite artists, but I haven’t listened to his music in ages. I know that when an unexpected tune drops in my spirit, I need to pay attention. I looked up the lyrics of the song and not being sure what a ‘repo man’ was, I did a little digging on Google.

Google says, a repo man is “a person employed to repossess goods for which a purchaser has defaulted on payment.” Aah, it’s short for repossess! I started listening to the song as I got ready for the day and I could feel the presence of God in my room. As I listened, I had a vision of dancing with Jesus on the deck of that bay hotel that David Gray was singing about.

There are times when I take life way too seriously. I think this probably stems from my upbringing as a first-born child of a pastor. My sense of responsibility and obligation seems to be over developed. Since responding to the call to write and publish my book, I have been working really hard and throwing myself completely into this project. Sometimes I lose sight of the joy of just dancing with Jesus.

With all the hours that I have poured into my book, I have also been feeling a sense of guilt that I am not doing enough of my other Christian duties. I am not praying enough, or reading the Bible enough, or fasting (at all) or serving others enough. But what is enough? Can we ever do enough? Even Jesus said, that there will always be something more to do, but being with Him is the most important (John 12:8).

In John 12 we read how Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with her most expensive perfume. Judas called her out for wasting expensive perfume that could have fed many poor, hungry people, but Jesus put him right. Yes, we need to be doing our duties as good Christians, but not at the cost of being with our Beloved. Our duty and service should flow from being with Him.

Like Judas sniped at Mary, the repo man had been knocking on my door, demanding that I was behind in my religious payments; but my Beloved reminded me to tell that repo man: I am the one He loves. The payment has been made, I owe him nothing. I have permission to take my precious time and delight in presence of the One I love.

Dear friend, can I remind you, the repo man, and the even stars above that you are the One He loves. He does not require you to work your fingers to the bone in order to prove that you are good enough. It is from sitting at His feet, anointing Him with our praise and affection, that we become who He has created us to be.

I needed this reminder today (again). I needed to dance with Jesus.

Make some time to sit at His feet. Let Him tell you how much He loves you. It has removed all the guilt and condemnation from my heart this morning and I am going about my day, doing all my hard work, with a joyful song in my heart. With this simple truth:

I am the One He loves.

“Suddenly, he transported me into his house of wine—
he looked upon me with his unrelenting love divine.”
Song of Solomon 2:4 TPT

HeartPrint:

Today, I hear my beautiful Beloved say: “Lovely One. You have permission to enjoy me, just like I enjoy your company. You have permission to worship me in your unique, creative way. There is no standard to reach, I am your standard. Let your works flow from a heart that is connected with mine. Take my hand and we’ll dance upon the high places of challenge and responsibility. You have permission to be you.” ❤

Your Unique Value

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks over here; and I’m not entirely blaming the corona virus. I am in the process writing and publishing my first book and since joining a mentoring programme in November, it has been one steep learning curve. One that hasn’t lost momentum, even in face of this pandemic.

Last week we started the Marketing module and it has has rocked my boat a little bit. Coming to terms with the amount of work that goes into writing, publishing and marketing a book has been sobering to say the least. I thought I would just type out my story, stick it in a cover and let amazon worry about the rest. But I am discovering that there is so much more to it.

One of the exercises we were given to do, was to consider our unique value proposition. Almost like writing a menu of what we are bringing to the table. I printed my worksheet for this exercise and set it next to my laptop as I continued working on my e-book today. Not particularly feeling enthusiastic about jumping into an exercise that would require me to dig deep into past and present states, but knowing that it is an important exercise to do in order to connect with the right audience.

Then, something happened as I wrote a devotional piece in my e-book today. The words “unique value” were highlighted to me as the Holy Spirit reminded me of an incident that happened when I was in my teens, during a missions trip.

One of the older boys walked up to me and asked if he could have a word with me in private. He said that he wanted to apologise to me. He said that I was so shy and quiet, He didn’t know how God could possibly use someone like me.

I was so well versed in the language of the Liar, that I didn’t receive the part where he explained that God corrected him. I didn’t hear his apology or that God told him that my quiet spirit is beautiful and useful to Him. Before I knew it, I started to believe that I had nothing to offer. That I wasn’t useful or valuable in God’s Kingdom.

One of the destructive forces that drove me into desperate situations, was my need to be useful. My heart longed to know that it added value to someone’s life and because of that need, I ended up in rather compromising situations. Think: being chased by drug dealers, whilst driving the opposite way down a one-way street in the city centre of Johannesburg; risking my life for a friend who was struggling with a drug addiction. Yes, folks, the pastor’s daughter. Ha!

I know this may be a bit of a dramatic example and I don’t want to miss the subtle ways that this lie can play out, because it isn’t always as dramatic as that. It could be saying yes to good requests for help, when you know you already have too much on your plate. It could mean turning down God’s call, because you’re so busy doing things for others in order to feed your heart’s craving for purpose and meaning.

The last few years have challenged me beyond my boundaries of comfort and human understanding. I have had to let go of a well established, growing ministry position in a church I loved. I have had to step back from another opportunity to serve in a new church and risk being misunderstood. Behind these challenges, I was dealing with a heart wanting to cling to the things that gave it meaning, purpose and value: good works.

In the process of letting go of the good works, I learned a very valuable lesson. One that I have to revise every so often and it it this: my unique value is not based on what I bring to the table, but Who I am seated next to. My unique value does not come from what I do, or even from the message I carry. It comes from who the Father says I am.

Dear friend, do you know that your unique value is not based on what you do but who you are? Do you know just how valuable you are to your Father, simply because you exist?

Why don’t you ask Him to show you your unique value?

2 Corinthians 5:17 says that we are a new creation. Do you know what that word “new” implies? The Strong-Lite concordance (G2537) ascribes two different meanings to that little word: firstly, it implies something that is fresh, unused or unworn and secondly, it is something that is unheard of, uncommon, unprecedented. Something that has never been seen before!

My friend, you truly are unique and special. You are one of a kind. There is no one like you in this entire universe! Your unique value is not found in the works you do, but in who the Father says you are.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

HeartPrint:

Today, I hear the Father say: “Faithful Child. Do you know how much I value you? I delight in you simply because you are mine!Every step you take in obedience, bring me great joy and delight. As you exchange your plans for mine, I will open the doors of your destiny. There are great wonders waiting for you. Trust me, and see my plans for you unfold. Plans to prosper you. To give you a beautiful future. An unshakeable hope.” ❤

Good Enough

Growing up in church, as a first-born daughter of a pastor, I felt that pressure to be the perfect example of purity and holiness. Tormented by constant shame and condemnation, I was the first to repent at every church service; from the age of six! I giggle when I wonder about how this might have looked to the members of the congregation, when they saw the pastor’s child first in line for prayer at the altar every Sunday. Maybe they thought I got pocket money for breaking the ice. Ha!

Condemnation had been the most familiar companion for most of my life. Striving for accolades and attention will make you good at many things, but the one thing I really excelled at was feeling bad about myself. If medals were handed out for that, I would have needed a separate trophy room in the house.

The strange thing is that I grew up in a household where grace abounded. My father has a heart for lost sheep and he exudes the love and grace of God. There was no pressure on me to perform and I received a healthy amount of attention and affirmation. However, the enemy’s first assault on my heart left a wound so deep, that it made me believe that I would never be acceptable to God. I would never be good enough.

(You can read a little bit more about my story here.)

As a result I tried very had to please God, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t seem to hit the mark. The harder I tried, the worse I seemed to become. As a result I became more entangled in the mess I tried to fix; hopelessness started to settle in.

Looking back, I wonder why I tried so hard to make myself acceptable to Him, when Jesus already took care of it (2 Corinthians 5:21). The truth was that I was good enough because of what Jesus did for me. I didn’t need to work at being accepted.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior].”
Romans 8:1 AMP

When we are constantly working to be good enough we tire ourselves out. We drain every ounce of energy we have in an effort to reach a standard that is humanly impossible to attain. This is a great strategy of an enemy who wants to keep your heart tangled up in lies.

The one who controls the heart, controls the (wo)man. Therefore, there is work to be done, but it is not the kind of work that I had been doing all my life. It is not working to be good enough, it is working to stay untangled. It requires an ability to identify the lies fired at your heart and remove it.

For me, this meant that I had to pay attention to the thoughts of condemnation that entered my mind and take them captive. I had to replace each of those thoughts with this truth: “The Father loves me. He is fully pleased with me. There is no condemnation towards me!” Using my faith, I had to release those words by speaking them out loud and I had to continue doing this, until I started to believe it.

 My dear friend, the Father did not intend for us to live tangled up by the lies of the enemy. Your heart is precious, not only because Jesus died for you but because it is the very place from where all the issues of your life flow. Your heart is your power-source. It can generate life or death. That is why you have to be fiercely protective over it. Don’t yield it to the enemy any longer. Don’t share your power with him. Fight to get your heart back. It is possible, and it doesn’t require an extravagant miracle. You only need to make a simple shift.

When thoughts of condemnation come, be prepared to release your faith:

“The Father loves me.”
(1 John 3:1)

“He is fully pleased with me.”
(Ephesians 1:5)

“There is no condemnation towards me.”
(Romans 8:1)

“I am good enough.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21)

There are still moments when I catch myself trying to be good enough. Especially when I start looking around me and see mums doing a better job at raising their children; or authors that are more skilled and speakers that are more eloquent. It’s easy to start to entertain thoughts of inadequacy when we are so busy trying to be good enough, that we are not paying attention to our thought life. So I have to intentionally and continually remind myself of this truth: I am good enough.

My friend, I pray that you will have a moment to pay attention to your heart. Are there any lies trying to entangle it? Thoughts of comparison? Thoughts of condemnation? May you have the courage to take those thoughts captive and remove each lie from your heart. Allow the Father to speak these words of truth over you:

“Beloved, you are good enough.”

HeartPrint:

Today, I hear the Father’s gentle voice: “My Redeemed. I see no fault in you. Your heart is good. To me, you are not just good enough, you are perfect. Nothing will change my heart towards you. You are constantly on my mind. The thoughts I have about you are thoughts of Peace and Love. Rest in my Love. Embrace my grace and draw near. I am here. Always.” ❤

Humble

Since joining the Unlocking your book mentorship programme in November, I have been learning so much. For one, I have started this daily, devotional blog. This would be my first step to becoming a published author.

Then I learned to create some social media accounts to get my message out there, in the big, wide world. I started posting two to three times daily. Posting little snippets from my blog, or a few thoughts that God has put on my heart for the day. Now I am even doing live posts, something that I wouldn’t even considered a few months ago.

The learning curve has been a steep one, but I have followed the little steps shown to me by the incredible mentors of this programme. There have been some obstacles to overcome, but the greatest challenge for me, was pushing that publish button for the first time. It felt like my heart was about to jump out of my throat.

For years I have carried this message of the love of the Father in my heart. I have always believed that the encounter that I had with Him was significant. It changed everything in my life for the better, and that’s why I feel compelled to share it with the world. But, if I’m honest, there are days when I question why God would choose me to deliver the message.

One of the keys that the Holy Spirit gave me when I started my journey into a lifestyle of freedom was humility. At first glance, you may never have guessed that I had a really big battle with pride. Neither did I! I thought I was the most humble person on the planet, because I thought so little of myself.

I remember a discussion with my High School Maths teacher after class one day. She tried her very best to convince me that I was better than I thought I was. I stubbornly refused to believe her and when she finally gave up trying to convince me and sending me home, she said: “You know Meliza, not accepting that you are unique and special and worth investing in, is just another form of pride!”

I left her classroom with my head hanging down in shame. This was the opposite response she was hoping for, but my heart would just not allow me to believe that there was anything in me worthy of love and attention. Surely thinking that I am unique and special would be prideful. Wasn’t I being humble by considering myself worthless?

I have come a long way from that day in that classroom and it has required me to make an intentional shift in how I think about myself. One of the things questions the Holy Spirit asked me was this: Are you willing to let go of what you think you know and who you think you are, to embrace what the Father says about you?

There are many different takes on the concept of humility. I do not recommend that we have to go around boasting about ourselves with puffed up egos, but we also don’t have to crawl around life like insignificant, little worms. Humility is not making yourself less significant, it is embracing the significance what you were created to function in; understanding who you are and what you have been called to do on this earth. All this is for one reason only: to glorify God.

Wearing shame and self-loathing like a badge is prideful. You are saying that you know better than God, and you are making an idol of your struggle. Living in shame, condemnation and oppression does not bring Him any glory, so we need to let it go. Recently, I have noticed that there are still hesitations; little doubts that are hiding in my heart.

It is time to get rid of any form of pride that will give access to the enemy. My heart is precious and powerful. It is the greatest treasure and the greatest weapon I have to guard, because whatever spills out of it will effect everything around me.

Are you willing to let go of what you think you know about yourself?

It’s time to embrace who you are and step into everything that God has dreamed about, even before you were born.

Today, I pray for us all to have the courage to be humble enough to believe the truth; to believe every Word the Father declares over us. As we do this, I know that His glory will be seen in us. Love that will draw all men unto Him.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time…”
1 Peter 5:6 NKJV

HeartPrint:

Today, I hear the Father say: “Beautiful Child. I have poured so much care and attention into your unique design. In holiness, purity and wisdom I fashioned you and predestined you to be mine. Every part of you were created and assembled to fulfill purpose and destiny. You are a spectacular work. One that I am so proud of. So fond of. A favourite. One that I love.” ❤

Eyes on the King

A few days ago, I sensed the Lord leading me to look at the story of Samson. As I was getting ready for the day, I had a picture in my spirit of Samson captured and put in prison; pushing that mill to grind the grain. Eyes gouged out by his enemy, the Hero appointed by God to subdue Israel’s rivals, now reduced to slave labor for those Philistines.

The story is found in Judges 16 and in verse 22 it says that his hair started growing back as he was stuck in prison, grinding the grain. As I pictured him chained in that dark dungeon, unable to see the physical world around him, I imagine that he must have started thinking about his original call. I wondered if he considered where he first abandoned the vision of God for His life?

From birth he was set apart to be used by the Lord, now here he finds himself struck with blindness. Wasn’t it his wandering eyes that caught the sights of Delilah that made him forget about his real purpose, in the first place?

What was interesting to me, as I paged through the book of Judges this afternoon, is a common phrase that seems to appear in many of the chapters; in those days Israel did not have a king, everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

My heart felt arrested by this phrase. Since being in lock-down, not really understanding the impact that this pandemic will have on the world has felt like a season of uncertainty. A season that certainly has an element of blindness or darkness. A season of not knowing what is going to happen next. I really sensed that God was leading me to this question: Are you going to abandon the vision? Will you be faithful with the call that I have set you apart for?

During this time that Samson lived, Israel had entered the Promise Land that God had given them, but they were having a little trouble occupying the land. There was no king to lead them. But we have a King. When we keep our eyes on Him, we will occupy the land He has purchased for us with His own life. This is an impossible task if we are only focused on doing what is right in our own eyes.

Today, I am challenged to re-engage with the call of God on my life. I will not abandon the vision that the Lord has given me, because I am following after Him. I will go after it with all of my heart, knowing that I am walking in the path that He has prepared for me. With my eyes fixed on Him, I will occupy the Land that He died to give me.

Judges 16:30 says that Samson killed more people when he was blind than he did in his entire life. Now that may seem a little gloomy, and though I am not prophesying gloom and doom ahead, there is something that really struck me about this verse, and it is this: when we die to our own sights, and surrender it to our King, we will accomplish more in a short space of time, than in a life time of going our own way.

I believe that there are amazing things waiting for us post corona-virus-isolation. This time of blindness, or seeming darkness, is a gift; a holy moment to come away from our business and look for the eyes of the King. It’s time to go back to the original call. What have you asked me to do, Lord and how have I missed it? How have I added to or diverted from the plans you have written on my heart?

It’s time to fix our eyes on the King. Jesus modeled this way of life for us:

“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.  For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.”
John 5:19-20 ESV

Can I encourage you to not get sidetracked by current events? Ask the Lord where you need to invest your time and attention. Honor the call He placed on your life and follow Him as He leads you forward in perfect peace.

Greater things are yet to come!

HeartPrint:

Today I hear the Father say: “My Brave One. Glorious days await as you align your plans with the dream in my heart for you. Pay no attention to days of uncertainty, but find me in the secret place. Ask me, and I will show you great and mighty things that are yet to come. What do you have to fear, when I am your protector and the fiercest defender of your life? Don’t abandon the vision I have written on your heart. Now is the time to walk in your true purpose. Believe, Beloved.” ❤

Spirit and Truth

“Chaos is the perfect atmosphere for creation.” – Lisa Renee Zakoski

There was nothing but chaos and deep, deep darkness.

The Spirit was hovering over the waters.

And God said: “Let there be light.”

Two powerful forces, proceeding from the very heart of God, creating the physical world that you now see: Spirit and Truth.

The Father, Son and Spirit present at the very beginning of creation. The Creator spoke the Word (Jesus) as the Spirit hovered over the darkness. Light appeared. Darkness was confined to its boundaries.

Heaven and Earth. Hills and valleys. Fish in the water, birds in the sky. Every living creature in existence. All created with intricate design and in specific order. Everything in perfect balance. Interacting in unforced rhythm and harmony. Perfect peace.

The Father beckoned the Son and the Spirit: “Let’s make man in our image.” Created to have dominion over every living thing, mankind emerged from the dust of the Earth. Formed in Truth. Filled with the Spirit-breath of the Creator himself. Destined to reign and occupy the land, in communion with the Creator.

Enter sin. “Did God really say?” The Word himself, now in question. Doubt was introduced. Mankind was not created for this. They were created to trust. Doubt and Fear entered their land, and took their crowns. Shame and Condemnation taunted them. They tried to cover up their mistake. But the Father was there, all the time. His Spirit-breath was in them.

He wanted to restore his beautiful children. He had a plan:

He sent his Word.

The Word would enter their world. A covenant offering that would redeem them out of the rule of evil and restore the years that were stolen. Jesus wore a crown of thorns, and mankind received their royal crowns back. With him, they died on the cross and were raised up to be seated at the right hand of the Father. Positioned to rule and reign, once again.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
John 1:1-5 NKJV

He sent his Spirit.

Then the Spirit came, to empower them. To hover over every darkness that tries to occupy their land. And as they speak with the authority of the Word, they push back the enemy, and drive him out of their land. There is no legal right that allows Doubt, Fear, Condemnation or Shame to live in the land anymore.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Romans 8:11 NKJV

He is sending you!

Where there is darkness and chaos, the Spirit of God is hovering over it, waiting for the Word to meet it. You have the Spirit of the Living God residing in you. You have the Word of God, dwelling in you richly. You have been given the authority over all the power of the enemy. He has no legal right to your land. It is time to rise up in Spirit and Truth. This is your worship.

When we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, trust that the Father’s heart is to see you take more ground, not lose the ground you have. He has given you all things you need for life and godliness. You have everything you need to overcome the chaos: Spirit and Truth! As an image-bearer of the Most High, it’s time to push back against the darkness and declare:

“Let there be light!”

“From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.”
Jesus (written in John 4:23-24 TPT)

HeartPrint:

Today, I hear the thundering voice of the Creator say: “Child of Wonder! There is more for you in this unfamiliar season. There is new territory to take. Do not shrink back, but rise up in the authority that I have bestowed upon you in Spirit and Truth. My Spirit is hovering over the darkness, my Word is in you. Now speak! Release my Words of Life, Light and Love. I am counting on you. Beloved.”