I realised something this week: the way I read my Bible & hear God’s voice has completely changed over the last few years.

I noticed it as I was reading 1 Peter & came across this verse: ‘Be holy as I am holy’. Now, the way I used to read this & hear God’s voice in it, was a command. God commanding me to live a holy life because He is a holy God. But I don’t read it like that anymore.

This week as I read those words, I was aware that I was hearing a tone of promise not command. I was hearing life-giving, fully transforming words where Jesus was declaring over me ‘Be holy’ much like he would declare healing over someone – ‘Be whole’ – not a command to them to make it happen, but a declaration of life over them – ‘This is what I’m saying you can be & now are’. Why? Because He is holy. His DNA is holy & that very DNA is in me. I get to be holy not because I try to be but because He has put His DNA in me & therefore I will be holy. I hope this makes sense to you – a promise, not a command.

I realise too that I now read words that I used to see as rebuke – words like ‘Go & sin no more’ – as promise not rebuke. Again, Jesus releasing life-giving transforming words over the hearer. Because He says it, power is released to accomplish it and therefore it’s a promise not rebuke.

What enables us to access the power of the promise is how we hear the words. If we hear Jesus’ words as command or rebuke that’s all the power we will encounter. But if we recognise in His words transforming power (which is His intention) and take hold of his words as such, explosive miraculous life will lay hold of us.

I wonder, what is Jesus saying to you today? If it’s ‘Stop sinning’, it’s not a rebuke but a word of empowerment – releasing over you the power needed to stop sinning. If it’s ‘Lay hold of me’, it’s not a command but a promise – he is to be found by you. If it’s ‘Run faster’ (ooh such a goody!!), it’s not a rebuke or command but a word of supernatural acceleration.

Hear his intended tone & you will reap his intended purpose: life and life in all its fullness.

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It’s been a while since i wrote anything on this blog. Life’s been busy. I’ve been easily distracted. But here we go, let me catch you up on something my heart’s been pondering over –

A little while ago i was reading from 1 John and stumbled upon some words that have got lodged into me. Words that provoke me with their simultaneous simplicity yet impossibility. Words that make me want to live differently and fill me with hope because i know i was created to live differently – everything God has put in me is enough to see these impossible words come to reality.

‘And this is His [the Father’s] commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another’ – 1 John 3:23 (ESV)

Now at first glance you may be wondering why these words have stopped me in my tracks and are filling my thoughts – they’re so basic. But i think that’s why they’ve got me. In reading these words i started thinking about what my every day moments would look like if i actually did both of the things i’m commanded to. What would my internal life look like and what would my interactions with the world outside me look like if my moments were motivated by living out these two things?

What does it look like for me to really BELIEVE Jesus in my everyday moments? For me to put my full weight of belief on Him? To believe what He says about Himself – that He’s good – really good – not just a little bit good but so lavishly good that He takes my breath away; that He’s strong enough for all my weakness and in fact most glorified if i press into Him in the moments where i come face to face with my greatest inadequacies; that He’s kind and loving and gracious and full of laughter and the only one i need with me in a storm. And what does it look like for me to really believe Jesus about what He says about me? – that i’m wonderfully made; that i can live truly free – free from fear, free from enslavement to man’s thinking and expectations and ‘wisdom’; that i’m powerful because His power is at work in me; that there’s God’s very DNA coursing with life in me prepared to take impossibilities and make them possible.

And what would my world look like if i learnt to really love others? Not just those i like. Not just those i find convenient. But really lived in a place of loving the people i meet every day, every moment? Love may look different in each different moment depending on the person before me and the needs of their heart. But i wonder, could i really be the sort of person who truly LOVES people, all the time?

And herein lies the reason for me finding these words stuck in my heart and echoing in my brain. The sheer impossibility of being a woman who lives her life according to these simple words staggers me. A woman who would believe Him and love others with all her heart. Now that seems a simple but tall order.

But the more i think about what God has promised for those of us who have put trust in Him, the more i realise that i don’t have to pray to become this person, but i get to embrace myself as this person because that is the reality of God giving me His nature. His nature at work in me is overflowing with belief. His nature at work in me is the very essence of love. And so my prayers have become less striving – ‘Oh God, turn me into a believing, loving person’ to ‘Oh God, help me embrace my real identity, because my new nature from You is a fully believing and loving person’. Subtle difference in words but massive difference in the fruit. I’m now staggered not only by the impossibility of the command, but more so by the graciousness of a good, good Father who has created in me the very nature able to live out that impossibility.

I want to encourage you today – won’t you join me in entering the adventure of living this simple, impossible life? A life where really all our moments boil down to us believing Him and loving others? Let’s make it our day’s mission to be more of who we have been made to be – fully believing, fully loving. And so the simple impossible life will ever so steadily become our reality.

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‘By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me’

Just a little thought today, because i can’t get these words out of my head this morning. Wonderful, strength-giving words from Psalm 42. Words that pour courage deep into me because i know whether in the day or night, whether in the brightest moments or darkest valleys, i am surrounded. Surrounded by His love, surrounded by His song.

I love the thought that in the night time God’s song is with me. His lullaby fills the atmosphere around me and chases away the hopelessness of the dark. There are songs that He reserves only for the night. Songs that bring peace in the midst of storms. Songs that bring comfort in heartache and strength for battle. Songs that ultimately speak of an unimaginably good Papa who’s got you in His hands.

As you read this – whether the sun is shining brightly over you, or even the moon is hidden on the darkest night – know this: He has committed Himself to loving you persistently and tenderly. There is not a moment where He hasn’t chosen to surround you and cover you. You are never alone and you’re never outnumbered. He’s got you.

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I love the way God delights to use the least likely to reveal His glory. I can imagine Him in Heaven smiling to himself and choosing people for tasks that are much too big for them – knowing His grace is sufficient and His power will be most magnificently demonstrated in their weakness. It gives me hope and courage to step into all that God has invited me into – He’s got this, He’s just been kind enough to invite me along for the ride. I’m not the good choice, but I’m the grace choice – and that’s fine by me!

Beyond encouragement for myself, it provokes me to keep my eyes and ears open for unlikely sources of God’s glory in those I meet. If I’m an unlikely means of His goodness to others, surely others will be that to me? I wonder how often I have missed a means of God’s grace to me because I have rejected the packaging in which it’s come? I wonder how many unlikely vessels I’ve brushed aside because they don’t fit my ideas and expectations?

Here’s some food for thought: If you only stop for what meets your approval, you may be in danger of missing that which has true supernatural substance.

In the book ‘Beautiful One’, Anne Stock talks about the disguised nature of the Old Testament Tabernacle. The tabernacle was filled with all sorts of incredible earthly treasures and housed the very presence of God. But God in His wisdom commanded that its outer covering would be goats and rams skins (see Exodus 26). Any casual observer would see nothing special from the outside – just a large, brown tent. But oh if they only got close enough to really see, they would discover the treasure hidden within. A humble covering housed unimaginable beauty. I suspect God often takes pleasure in choosing unlikely coverings for spectacular content.

I want to be a woman who’s seeing with supernatural eyes. A woman who isn’t swayed by external packaging – neither unduly impressed, nor unfairly dismissive – but has trained her supernatural senses well to pick up on the slightest hint of glory wherever it may lie.

And I want to challenge you today: keep your supernatural eyes open. Who knows what treasure you may find?

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It seems to me, that some christians have a problem with the concept of greatness.  Not so much a problem with God being great, but more so difficulty with the idea that God made humankind to be great.  A belief that to think ‘too highly’ of ourselves, to really believe that God has put anything great at all in us, is walking on dangerous ground and should be avoided at all costs.  Better to think less of yourself than to risk falling into pride.

But i’m not too sure of this logic and this is why –

When i examine scripture, i see that every time someone thought of themselves in ways that were less than accurate, in ways that made less of who God had made them to be, there were disastrous consequences.  I think of Eve in the garden of Eden right at the beginning of time.  The serpent came and offered her the ability to become like God.  The ironic thing of course, is that Eve already was like Him.  She’d been made in God’s image.  She already had what the devil was dangling in front of her.  And yet, because she did not see herself accurately, because she thought of herself as less than what God had made her to be, she traded everything for the promise of something she already had.

All throughout the Bible this scenario repeats itself in different ways.  The first generation of Israelites out of slavery in Egypt show the same problem.  They looked at the promised land, loved what they saw of the land itself but became intimidated by the people of the land for they saw giants around them and saw themselves as grasshoppers.  They thought less of who God had made them to be – His own people, empowered to take the land.  They saw grasshoppers where God declared them to be victorious warriors and in their unbelief they traded what would have been incredible steps into their destiny for years of wandering in the desert and loss of all that was promised.  The difference between them and the subsequent generation was nothing other than an understanding of who they were and who their God was.  One generation thought less of themselves and perished, the next generation took God at His word about what He’d spoken over them and became conquerers.

Interestingly even with Jesus, the devil tried to bring doubt in His mind about who He was.  In the desert where the devil tempted Jesus, the temptations were centred both around the character of the Father and around the real identity of Jesus. ‘If you are the Son of God…’ the devil said.  If Jesus had begun to think less of Himself in that moment, everything would have been lost.  But wonderfully, He saw His Father and Himself completely accurately.  He would not be drawn to think less of either of them.  And so the enemy was defeated.

I believe the enemy is bringing the same old questions and doubts to the people of God now, just as he has been doing right from the beginning.  He understands that if he can make us believe less of ourselves than is true, then he’s got a good chance of stopping us in our tracks and robbing us of our God-given destiny.  He doesn’t mind clothing all of this in the idea of ‘humility’ – twisting the word to mean something it doesn’t so christians wholeheartedly take hold of thinking less of themselves with the misguided notion that they are becoming more godly in the process.

The truth is, thinking less of yourself than is accurate is dangerous and foolish.  God has put greatness in us.  He’s made us in His image and adopted us as His children and given us the privilege of being heirs of His Kingdom.  He has made us brand new creations with godly natures aglow with supernatural DNA.  To deny any of this is to enter into the enemy’s trap.

Someone once defined humility not as thinking less of yourself but to think of yourself less.  I like that.  I don’t want to fall into the enemy’s trap to think less of myself – God has put greatness in me and i’m so grateful for it!  But to think of myself less and to fix my eyes on Him and all those He loves.  Ah, now that’s humility i want to lay hold of.  Let me encourage you – be honest about how great God has made you to be, and then put your focus on the God who gives you greatness in the first place.  It will make you someone full of courage and faith – knowing He’s put everything needed in you for your destiny, and knowing He who began a good work in you is faithful to see it to completion.

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At the beginning of this year i feel older. Not older in a tired way, but older in a deeper, fuller way. Older in the sense that this last year was full of rich experiences – some wonderful and fantastic, some ok, and some down right miserable. But what made them all rich is that in every one of those experiences, the faithfulness of God shone through. Whether in the highest mountain peak or the lowest, darkest valley, He cannot help but be Himself – good, loving, faithful, true and oh-so-breathtakingly-kind. And so i sit typing at my computer with a smile on my face, seeing His fingerprints all over 2014 and looking forward to another year where i’ll get to glimpse even more of who He is, both in the good and in the bad times.

Yesterday i read an invitation to ‘feed on faithfulness’ (Psalm 37). I like that. I’ll be taking it as my theme for this year – whatever the circumstance, i’ll be digging deep into the treasure chest of His faithfulness and feeding off of it for fullness of life. I plan on making His faithfulness my home, secure in this wonderful truth, that there’s more than enough of His goodness for all of us.

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I think i may be too hard on myself. In my attempts to live a ‘supernatural lifestyle’ (whatever that looks like), i often beat myself up if i don’t get something right first time round or assume that i must have made a mistake if whatever i’ve stepped out to do doesn’t come off as i had hoped or planned. I remember going out onto the streets of London a few years ago with my wonderful friend Toni and praying for the sick (or anybody we could find who would let us pray for them!) and wondering what i was doing wrong as we didn’t seem to be seeing any miracles happening as we prayed. I remember walking away disappointed as time and again we weren’t seeing any ‘success’, wondering if i was really built for supernatural life after all. Maybe the promise of the miraculous was meant for ‘special’ christians who were more anointed than i was? More recently though, i’ve started wondering if my only mistake at that time was to underestimate the beauty and the nature of process. When a child learns to walk or talk no one with any sense is assuming that they’ll be able to do it successfully on the first attempt. In fact, no one with any sense assumes that they’ll be able to do it successfully on the hundredth attempt either! It takes countless attempts for a child to step out until eventually their stumbles look more like walking rather than falling, and their words become intelligible instead of baby babble. But if you look at their parents during this process, they never once punish the child for falling instead of taking a successful step, or for mispronouncing a word for the hundredth time even though dad has taken great pains to sound the word out correctly for the child to follow. As we see stumbles and hear nonsensical sounds from the child, no one comes to the conclusion that the child wasn’t actually created to walk or talk. That somehow those are gifts reserved for ‘special’ or ‘super’ children – which as evidenced by their failed attempts, our children do not possess. In the natural, we understand the beauty and nature of process well. Why then, do we not apply this same principle to our attempts at stepping out in supernatural life? Why do we set up such impossibly high standards for ourselves as if our heavenly Papa is growing impatient with us as He watches us stumble, wondering if we’ll ever get it right. He has grace for the process, and so must we. Every time we fall instead of walk, our heavenly Papa is there to pick us up, dust us off and say, ‘That’s ok, we’ll try again tomorrow, you’ll get it eventually – i made you to!’ No amount of stumbling and failure is proof that we were not made for the miraculous or that signs and wonders are reserved for someone other than us. Each and every one of us carries DNA aglow with supernatural life, which means we were created with the miraculous in mind. If you’re someone like me, who still often finds herself stumbling – resembling more a fall than a walk in the supernatural, take heart. Your heavenly Papa is right there with you with a big smile on His face – attracted much more to your faith than your performance – and is saying, ‘That’s ok my love. We’ll try again tomorrow’.

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This morning I had the best coffee ever. I’m serious. My amazing friend Sarah suggested we meet at 7am at our local Costa coffee shop so that we could have an hour of catching up time before she caught a flight to the States and before i got on with work for the day. I thought the early start (i love my sleep!) was a big sacrifice but oh. my. goodness. was it worth it. We talked about everything from our marriages to out-patiencing the devil (more on that another time!) and from our extended families to the Kingdom of God breaking out in our everyday lives so that we’re no longer just trying to get through the day but we’re allowing God to use our normality to be the doorway for His outrageous goodness to transform our realities. Pretty awesome stuff for 7am. It occurred to me that slowly but surely Jesus is helping me renew my mind so that i really believe Him. Not believe the theoretical possibility of His life in me, but really believing Him for all that is true of heaven and His presence to make its home in me and to radiate from me to others. I’m realising more and more that i can put my full weight on Him. My full weight. Not holding onto something incase He should give way, but sitting on His truth like i’m sitting on the chair i’m in right now – not even the tiniest concern that it’s going to give way. I know it’s sturdy. I know it’s secure. And so i’m completely at rest in it. Psalm 9:10 says that those who know His name trust in Him. I’m loving the adventure of getting to know His trustworthy name all the more and so slowly relinquishing my hold on my ‘plan b’s’. Lots of food for thought… and all this from just a morning coffee with a friend – think i may do that again!

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