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Where Love Abounds

From my heart to these pages

Keep dreamin’ …

Those dreams…The ones you think can never happen…It’s too late…they’re too big…maybe even unrealistic…

They’re the dreams to keep pursuing. 
They’re not wrong…it’s never too late…and no matter how big they are, they’re not out of reach. 

Last year a very big dream of mine “came true”… It happened after I’d looooooooong given up wondering whether it could ever happen, I had no hope left in that area, it seemed impossible. In fact truth be known, pain had helped me build a wall around my heart that stopped me dreaming almost altogether…
It just takes one glimpse of hope to knock that wall down…
Now… Now I’m dreaming bigger…and not just dreaming…but believing.
We’re created to dream, with our minds and imaginations focused on things that are good, we can soar high into the realm of impossible possibilities! In that place anything can happen…and will happen! 
Dream big dreams and then run…run after them! Don’t let them go…
Hold tight to hope and keep believing! 

 

2016…I’m coming for you…

  
I’m not one for making resolutions…mainly because I know my inconsistent lifestyle consistently breaks them!

This year I entered 2016 with a silent resolve in my heart…purpose…intentionality…consistency… Just three of the words I’m holding on to every day.

Dreams…hopes…desires…we all have them…even if we don’t acknowledge them or lock them away in a mode of denial, because it’s too painful to think about what could be that might never be. I’ve done it for so long, thought about the “one day” and the “if only”, and then allowed the constant busyness of day to day life to consume me and distract me.

This year I’m living with intentionality. No longer waiting for the “one day” dreams to magically occur and fall in my lap…instead purposefully making decisions to see things happen. I’m expectant…I’m believing…I’m ready! 

2015 – you’ve shaped me for more, and I’m going after it with everything in me! 

  

Give me…

   
 
This has always been my prayer…

Give me your eyes to see as you do
To see the beauty in any who pass me by 
To see the work of your hand in all creation
To see the goodness in all when only evil appears
To see with love all your children you desperately want home
To see the pain in their hearts from years of abuse
To see the hungry and hurting, to hold their pain
To see the world as you do, through your eyes of love

 

Give me your love, to fill my heart
To stand strong in my image as your precious girl
To share with the billions whose pain is so deep
To comfort the lost when they can’t see the way
To be gentle and kind to all that I meet
To pray for the ones I never will see
To carry your burden for this dying world
To pour out your love with no selfish desire

 

Give me your ears to hear your Word
To take it inside, engraved on my heart
To feed me and strengthen me ready to go
To share with those blinded to the truth
To hear the cry of the broken and see them restored
To hear the words you whisper for the hearts of others
To know the truth you speak to impart to all
To listen far more than I ever will speak

 

Give me your hands ready for work
To minister touch where abandonment rules
To lay hands on the sick and see them healed
To hold the unloveable like never before
To build your kingdom, whatever the cost
To lift to you when all strength is gone
To take the hands of the fearful and lead them forward
To never let go of all that you give

 

Give me your feet ready to walk 
To go where you call and never look back
To turn from all evil and and follow your steps
To climb any mountain or tread any valley
To run the race without giving up
To step out for those who can’t do it alone
To shake off the dust and always keep moving
To take your name to all the earth

 

Give me your all, hold nothing back
I’ll go all the way, whatever the cost 
Take all of me, and use me God
This life is all yours, it’s the only way

Break my heart for what breaks Yours…

  
The situation with all the migrants often goes way over my head as I find it difficult to follow all the politics of the different crisies in various countries – I turn the news on, or go to a news website and see horror after horror, trauma after trauma – and I confess that I often turn it off, overwhelmed at the level of pain and destruction at occurs while I feel so helpless to respond from my safe and comfortable life…

When the picture of 3 year old Alyan took over every screen this week I admit my first response was to avoid this story at all costs – it was too much – I did this for a couple of days until I could avoid it no longer. I stopped and allowed my heart to be moved…broken…disturbed…angry… I let the cry rise up within. Me for this little boys life and his brother and mother who also died in their desperate plight to escape the terror of war – 3 precious lives lost – just 3 of many who no doubt go unmentioned, unnamed. But it’s 3 too many. 

Innocent people caught up in terror or war – victims simply because of the country they were born in to.

It’s easy to turn aside, casting responsibility on to those in other nations, leaving decisions to those leading…maybe we’re quick to have an opinion or to cast a sweeping statement….or to simply deny the problem because it has no direct impact on our day to day life.

I wonder how many times I’ve sung the words “break my heart for what breaks yours”, or prayed “I’ll do anything…go anywhere…” And then sat back and waited for a clear sign on what to do…

The truth is…it’s my choice…I have to be proactive in my response, in my actions…there’s always something that can be done.

I want my eyes to see the plight of the people…I want my heart to break for them…to be stirred to action. I may not be able to “go”…but there’s plenty I can do…starting with being a voice…before people and before God.

Whatever you do…do something… 

Refugee crisis : an urgent call to action from Home for Good on Vimeo.

  

No limit…

  
When I saw this posted earlier in the week, it near enough jumped off the page and slapped me round the face…twice! 

Our fight isn’t against flesh and blood…all our daily challenges and struggles are not to become the focus of the battle…our fight is against powers and principalities ~ how … through prayer…

I often say that prayer is the most powerful weapon we have…but I wonder if the weight of that statement has really hit home. 

It’s no wonder the enemy wants to make prayer one of the first things we stop doing…and it’s so easily done. We live in a world of constant distraction…continual ‘entertainment’ …social media…phones, TV and other technology that grabs our attention…

If we can be distracted and our focus directed away from God it’s like we’ve put down our weapons and stopped the fight…and yet we still want to win the war! 

It’s so easy to see evening after evening slip away, zoning out to mindless programmes…when in another country (and maybe even on our own doorstep) the horror of girls being kidnapped or trafficked and raped in the name of religion and many other atrocities are taking place… We sit comfortably in our own bubble because it doesn’t affect us… But it does…and it should…

When I read the account of the Yazidi girls my heart broke…the whole ISIS situation is beyond my comprehension having never personally experienced such horror…and I want it to move me, I want it to stir my heart to action… I may be thousands of miles away, unable to practically do anything…but I believe in the power of prayer. I believe when I pray that heaven hears and responds. 

These atrocities, and many others, are not simply down to human error…this is evil raging it’s war on the earth…and we must intervene in the spirit. We can stand in the gap…we can intercede…we can see victory become a reality in these times…

The Lord is looking for those that will stand in the gap and intercede…will you?

  

It starts in the mind…

  

This has to be one of my all time favourite quotes…probably because it’s an area I’m constantly trying to grow in!

Whatever I’m going through, whatever I’m facing…whatever is thrown at me, I’m reminded that my response and reaction begins in my mind. A lot of who we are as people is shaped on the inside of us. The bible says ‘as a man thinks in his heart, so is he’ (Proverbs 23:7)…and ‘out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks’ (Luke 6:45). Whatever is in us, will come out! 

I choose to see it like this, the mind is like a garden, and what you plant is what you get out! Every experience, word spoken over us and even our own thoughts are like seeds. They get planted in the garden of our mind. Often trying to render us powerless, to get us to believe we can have no control over how we think and feel.

In those moments we choose what we dwell on…effectively choosing what we water and give life to. Things can only grow and thrive when they are fed and watered! 

You might say ‘ what about the things that other people do and say to me’…

You can choose what you dwell on…you can choose what to feed…you can choose what to starve.

A starved seed won’t grow…A well watered one will!

Every time you give attention and come into agreement with a thought, you water it, you give life to it, you encourage it to grow…you determine what will be ‘grown’ in your mind. What you allow to be planted and fed, is what you will get out. You can’t plant stinging nettles and expect tulips to grow! 

 It takes choice and it takes effort, a conscious decision, to take control of what we allow ourselves to believe and come into agreement with. We must ‘capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ!’ (2 Corinthians 10:5) … Listen to the GOOD things, focus on the right thoughts, surround yourself with people who build you up and speak truth, get the truth of God word and speak it over yourself!

This verse from Philippians 4:8 seems good to end on:

 

 

Please Sir, can I have some more…?

oliver

This famous quote, taken from Oliver, has been stirring in my heart tonight leading me on a journey into God’s heart.

Oliver, an orphaned boy who’s been taken into a local workhouse, approached the master one night with fear and trembling to dare to ask for more. In the face of adversity he sought to find more to fill that hungry tummy. Met with disapproval he found himself rejected again and sold into the hands of those who also have no care for his precious life.

I wonder how often our approach to God is similar to that of Oliver. We approach the throne of grace in fear and trembling, hesitantly asking God for more…more grace, more love, more mercy, more provision, more more more…quickly retreating away before He can answer. Or maybe we come with our heads held low, afraid to look into His eyes – afraid of what He might see, convinced that we’ll be met with disapproval.

How thankful I am that when we approach the throne of God to ask for more that we aren’t rebuked, turned away or met with a fear inducing gaze. 

We have a great and loving Father who longs for us to boldly approach Him, to seek Him out in order to receive more. Not because He has deliberately withheld from us, but more often because we have not had the capacity to receive all that He longs to lavish upon us.

“For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favour and [future] glory (honour, splendour, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”Psalm 84:11

NO good things will He withhold – what an assurance! I used to think that to walk uprightly meant to walk perfectly, following all the rules, without making mistake. This kind of thinking brings an attachment to fear, living under the constraints of condemnation from never reaching the mark, meaning that God could never lavish his good things upon my life. What a lie of the enemy.

The Hebrew meaning of the word “upright” refers to a wholeness, a completion. It says this word describes our entire relationship with God. 

When we walk in a full, whole and healthy relationship with our Father there will be nothing within us that is odious (offensive) to Him. In that place of WHOLENESS God is able to release to us the fullness of all He desires to lavish upon us. Our heart is positioned to receive, we know our place as sons and daughters to boldly come. 

An orphan spirit is another hindrance to our coming boldly before our Father to receive from Him. Years of rejection, yielding to doubt and insecurity, build a wall that obstructs our view of God. The lies shout louder than truth, telling us we could never access that place in His heart, never receive as true children do. Children who know their place within their family unit have no fear in making demands from their parents – they boldly ask for more, and they will ask until they receive! In the same way we can boldly approach Daddy God, with full expectancy that He will meet us with open arms.

Align your heart with His, open your arms wide and come boldly and confidently before His throne. Let your hearts be enlarged to the things of God, be expectant for more.

Diamond’s in the dirt…

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Diamond ~ derived from a Greek word meaning proper, unalterable, unbreakable.

A diamond is formed through intense pressure and high temperature, hidden in the depths of the earth. It’s rise to the surface comes through deep volcanic eruptions. The diamond is one of the hardest known natural materials on a scale of mineral hardness, where hardness is defined as resistance to scratching.  The more flawless and pure the diamond, the harder it is defined on the scale, and it cannot be scratched by any other material.

Let’s linger on the parallel between the formation of a diamond and the shaping of our hearts and character. The depth to our hearts and strength within us is formed from the deep, intense places we walk through in our journey. To walk through the valley, the deep dark place, sometimes feeling that we’ve stepped upon hell itself, is where we are shaped. When the fire rages round our soul, what’s in us rises to the surface. We find a strength within that carries us through. The day comes when we can turn around and see the path we’ve walked, and know that we are no longer the same. The dirt has been removed, impurities burnt away, and a resistance developed. Not a hardening of the heart, but the very opposite. As the heart softens, there’s a firm foundation developed in us that can only grow stronger. Our surface becomes untouchable by circumstances of life. No longer scratched by the elements that once threatened to destroy. 

Diamond’s don’t magically appear sparkling bright, they’ve journeyed from the core of the earth to the surface, often encased in a rock formation that must be cracked and broken to reveal it’s hidden treasure. Discovered only by those who are sent to rummage in the dirt with an eye trained to search for the stones, skilled to crush and break open the rock case. We ourselves are a product of this journey. There’s no instant transformation, but a daily walk of dwelling in grace and love.

To the unskilled eye, wading through the sludge would be pointless, only able to judge from the outside the precious casing for such a gem could never be identified. Many would pass by unnoticed, untouched. 

I’ve begun to read accounts of precious people from years gone by, saints, mystics, prophets…phenomenal people who’s hearts burned only with a passion for God, to know Him more. They didn’t fit the mould of traditional religious doctrine of their day, preferring the pursuit of communion with God and to love each person they met…whatever the cost.  These are people who had become so formed in their Creators image, that they stopped at nothing to get close to Him and to bring His love to others. They knew the cost and paid the price, ploughing forward through the darkest times, being the light in the valley. Judged by religious and political leaders, many of these incredible souls found themselves in torturous circumstances, their natural life ending in horrendous ways. All because people were so blinded and unable to stop and see their pure hearts.

I’m struck by how easy it is to get caught up in our own culture/society’s expectations and way of doing things that we no longer see the heart. How many times do we walk right past a treasure, hidden deep in a case of fear, hurt, shame, guilt…when we carry the tool of love that can break through that shell and release life. 

Man looks on the outside…God looks on the heart. My prayer is that we would cry out for purity, to see with eyes that look past the natural, refusing to be bound by religion, but having hearts fuelled with a holy passion for Jesus. Equipped to walk through life being formed and shaped, knowing strength…and freely giving this to declare liberty to captives. As we reflect on our own journey and walk with the Lord, let’s become more like the diamond…unbreakable…unalterable. 

May we be willing to step out, walk through the sludge and search out treasure, with eyes wide open, able to distinguish the diamond in the dirt, ready to reach down and lift it out. Equipped to love, love, love and see love formed in them.

Sit tight, fear not…

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Ok…before everyone shoots me down…I know Seagulls are not the most liked birds…

Over the past couple of weeks, out of my office window I’ve sat and watched as a couple of Seagulls have diligently worked at gathering all the components needed to make their nests. Then they spent hour after hour working hard to form this dwelling place.

They knew it was time. It amazed me. I had a fresh revelation of the awesomeness of God and how immense creation is. Birds, animals…they know when it is time to bring forth young, and they prepare themselves. How birds knows to build a nest, lay eggs and then sit faithfully on the eggs until they hatch is incredible.

I was looking forward to seeing baby seagulls appear. In one sweeping moment it was all over. Men appeared on the roof, clearing out the gutters, removing nests from the roof. As the approached the nests outside my window I watched as the seagulls fled from the nest in fear, for the men must have appeared as giants in the eyes of the gulls, leaving them exposed and vulnerable. Those nests and its contents were immediately removed and destroyed.

I wonder how often we behave similarly. In our hearts a dream is birthed, we might labour in prayer to bring it forth, even make practical steps to see it become a reality. We nurture it, give it space to grow, but hold it close in our hearts to keep it protected.

What happens when a giant appears…maybe in the form of fear? Or the voice that says it’s impossible? Does that giant obscure our view of the One who offered the dream to us in the first place? Maybe it parades itself around so dominantly that we abandon hope and flee, leaving behind all that’s forming and coming to life. Yet on its own it cannot stand. A dream cannot become a reality without the dreamer bringing about action. In our fleeing it will not survive.

We are made to sit tight and steady in our heavenly Father. We are called to nurture and feed those God inspired dreams. We may have to sit in the presence of our enemies…but one thing is for sure, we will never be alone and they shall not win. When a giant tries to approach, don’t flee, don’t abandon hope and cast it all aside. Sit up tall, hold on to hope.

The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy…but I (Jesus) have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

The greatness of God is bigger than the giant.

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