Meditations of a discipleship coach
As a saint our attitude towards the difficult things we encounter in life should not be that we might avoid them, but rather that these difficulties might preserve the self that God created [Chambers, 1935]. Not the rebel that seeks her own way, or the peacock that seeks to strut, nor the fear that seeks to hide. Instead, we should seek to embrace the gracious, beautiful, powerful woman that He created for this time and season. Like Christ we must seek to find ourselves in the difficulty.
Difficulties do not always have the positive outcome that we seek. Some difficulties lead us to reject our path and in so doing we and our lives are made smaller. King Saul fits into this category [ 1 Samuel 15]. The smallness comes from wanting always to be happy, or always wanting to be able to smile, be popular, or have a nice life. But the reality is that life is not just about happiness and smiling, most importantly life is about living in accordance with Gods will. That means that it can also be about sadness, lack, grief and want. Having happiness without sadness is like having a head without a tail. The coin is made up of both sides, and a life without sadness can be shallow and out of touch with reality.
A person who has no understanding or relationship to the negative aspects of life cannot truly relate to another person’s sadness or grief. It was necessary for Christ to encounter the full range of the human experience, to pass through and come out the other end, to be able to say that He was touched with the feelings of our infirmities [Hebrews 4:15]. So, with me also. You and I have been touched by suffering, either you and I lose ourselves in the suffering, and in so doing we lose our way, or through our suffering we find ourselves. Success is not the place where you receive yourself, in success you can lose your head [Chambers,1935]. In the fires of sorrow great men and women of God like Job, Jacob, Joseph, David, Hannah, Ruth, Naomi, Paul, Simon-Peter, and Christ have passed through to glory. All went through the fires of sorrow, received themselves and became nourishment for others. There is a true saying which states that hurting people hurt people, however that is not the only truth. It is also true that those who have been hurt are better able to demonstrate compassion, offer encouragement and instil hope [2 Corinthians 1:4]. Those that have been through the fire can point others to the pathway and offer insights and solutions to problems. Whilst not wanting to glory in being in the fire, but to recognise that the fire can burn off the bonds that have so far held us bound. The fire can purify the heart and cleanse the soul. It is through the fire that every man and woman’s deeds must be tested [1 Corinthians 3:12-15]. It is through the fire that the glass is shaped and the dross from the precious metals are swept away [Proverbs 17:3]. It is through the fire that we become better women, better able to reflect the glory of God [1 Peter 1:7].
There is a sentence in my ‘Brown Girl Live’ poem which says, ‘the cocoon that they hoped would suffocate you, is the place for you to be renewed’. Here in lies a fundamental truth, the cocoon and the fire can be your place of death or your place of transformation.
The question is: What will it be for you?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Far too often we seek our comfort and our ease over our growth and our development. We shun sadness and sorrow and pursue happiness at the expense of true joy and holiness. Give us a vision for the deeper work you want to do in our lives. Help us to pursue our sanctification with earnestness recognising that the saints of old were made holy not in comfort and ease but in sacrifice.
In Christ Name
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY
There are crossroads, turning points or what some would call sliding doors moments in all of our lives. Moments when we make one decision which puts us on the trajectory or pathway to where we are today. For me there have been several significant points in my life: like choosing to take back my cheating violent partner who would later become my cheating violent husband; choosing to take voluntary redundancy so I would leave an established career in IT management to pursue the Christian woman’s ministry work I was so passionate about; and choosing to go back to university to pursue my PhD. None however have compared to the moment, or should I say moments, because like marriage it is an ongoing commitment to relationship, the moments I said yes to Christ to be my Lord and Saviour, Counsellor, Friend and King. Today as we approach 3 o clock in the afternoon let us pause and remember that this is the ninth hour that Matthew 27:46-50 speaks of. It is the ultimate crossroad, turning point and sliding doors moment in the history of mankind. It is the moment that Christ our Lord, Redeemer, Saviour, and King made the choice to die in your and my place. It is that moment that He made it possible for you to become God’s son or daughter. It is that choice that means that your eternity in heaven can be assured.
We stand every year for a minute of silence for soldiers who fought in the European wars of the last century. At 3 o clock this afternoon why don’t you stand in silence to acknowledge the much greater sacrifice of Christ our King. I think that it is time to put down those chocolate eggs and let’s start a new movement where we stand silently at 3 for Christ the King.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Sometimes we can get so caught up in everything that is going on around us that even on this Good Friday we forget to pause and acknowledge the greatness of Your sacrifice. Today we humbly come before you and stand silently in your presence to say thank you and that we love you and adore you. Jesus you are our Christ our Redeemer, and we offer this prayer of acknowledgement in and for Your glory and Your name.
A prophetic word about the changing season
I am known by you, I am not a stranger. Prepare yourself to hear My word, prepare your heart for truth. In a little while it will be over, the waiting will be no more. Your life has been a battle, a preparation for what is ahead. Know that you have been noticed, know that you have been seen. Don't loose hope or think its time to throw in the towel. The time is now the battle is hot, but I Myself will uphold your arm in this battle.
Though you are weary and at times it seems that there is nothing left to redeem. I bring dead things and give them life, I pour water in the desert lands. You are that flower that sprouts even when everything seems barren. You are the well that I want to use to refresh many. Be filled and refreshed by my spirit, I am getting ready to use you for that purpose that you were created for.
Behold that new thing that I promised is upon you, the season of the former and latter rain. Prepare to be refreshed, prepare to be fed. Then you will be ready to be poured out for many. For your appointed season to birth is upon you. Expect the labour pains, expect to loose some thing's that you thought were connecting you to Me to be cut free. You must die to the former life and see that as you enter this new season that this new birth is even greater than the former. You are about to leave that dark place that you were hidden in, your place of growth, your place of development. Those voices that you heard will begin to make sense, they spoke to you, now you will begin to see and connect voices to people. People connected to your new season. As you are birthed into this new beginning you too will birth, great things.
The darkness of your current situation will give way to the light of the new. Don't be a breech birth trust me, I will be at your birth and grow you up, for the next phase in your life. Let me cradle you, challenge you, grow in wisdom and stature in favour with Me and man. You are born for such a time as this, this is your season.
The light is coming get ready.
From Adversity to Destiny
Some time ago I watched the channel 4 show “My beautiful Friends” which celebrated amazing people struggling to come to terms with their disfigurement. Katie Piper who was disfigured after having acid thrown into her face the champion of the show, epitomises so much of what our tag line represents. She like so many others is not allowing her circumstances to determine who they are or what they can accomplish. Pain, adversity and even disfigurement do not have to destroy a person’s life, but rather it can inspire and motivate you and others to rise against and above it. Paul was a disciple who suffered much in his journey but he chose not to lose heart through it, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 he says, 'Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.'
Katie Piper's disfigurement and her bravery in facing it head on has caused me to reflect on my own disability and the shame I carried for nearly four years after a number of eye operations went wrong. The scarring on my face though minute in comparison to Katie’s, kept me hidden under dark glasses from Dec 2002 when I had the most recent batch of eye surgery’s to replace an implant in my eye; until 2006 when God set me free from the shame. Reflecting on my own journey I discovered that I could relate to the childhood teasing that some of the participants spoke about. The taunting's had resulted in me being excluded from school on a number of occasions for responding to the taunts with my fist. I could also relate to the difficulties some of the people involved with the programme experienced, just stepping through the door. For me facing the public without dark glasses expecting them to remark on my appearance or at least stare, was at times a huge hurdle I had to jump. Once I escaped the prison in my mind, I found a greater level of freedom in many other areas of my life, through leaving the dark glasses at home.
At the heart of all this pain is that of acceptance and belonging, what was true for me in the playground of yesteryear is true today. We all just wanted to be loved and accepted and have a desire to belong. The great news about this is that Jesus died that we might all be part of His family, in Romans 8:14 it says that if we allow God’s Spirit to guide our life we are sons. It was for this reason to restore us to God that Jesus became a man, that we might know God as Father. Not like our earthly father but, like the father we always needed.
God desires that you accept yourself as you really are, warts and all; others as they really are, and Him as He really is. It is from this place of total acceptance that deep and meaningful relationships can be birthed. Living in the shadow of others opinions and expectations of who or what we should be is soul destroying. Like Katie we all have a purpose, and our greatness is buried somewhere inside of that, sometimes the first step in finding that purpose is accepting that person in the mirror.
We are told that to become part of God’s family we just need to confess Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who is God in the flesh, turn away from doing our own thing and follow Him, His life and His ways. When we do that we gain everything that is eternally good for us and are free from the eternal consequences of sin.
Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
God Accepts You
If you are struggling with self acceptance and would like to get to know God who came that you might know His love and acceptance why not contact a local church who can help to introduce you to the Father who loves you or say this prayer below:
Dear Father God,
I recognise that I need Jesus to save me, I accept that I have lived opposed to your ways which are best for me and that makes me a sinner. I turn away from my old life and turn to you. I accept Jesus as the one who made this possible for me and invite Him to be my saviour. I accept that when Jesus died on the cross He took everything I ever did wrong and paid the full price for my wrong doings. I accept your invitation to become Your Child and invite you to be my Father, please send your Holy Spirit to guide me into a deeper relationship with you.
In Jesus’ Name I pray
If you just said this prayer from your heart Welcome to God’s family. Please find a Christian church that can further help you with your growth.
Who am i - Identity In Christ
If you are a Christian struggling with acceptance of yourself see the list below from Freedom In Christ Ministries; for personalised version of these scriptures and so much more see http://www.personalpromisebible.com/bibles/free-samples.html
• I am loved 1John 3:3
• I am accepted Ephesians 1:6
• I am a child of God John 1:12
• I am Jesus' friend John 15:14
• I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with Him Romans 8:17
• I am united with God and one spirit with Him 1Corinthians 6:17
• I am a temple of God. His spirit and his life live in me 1 Corinthians 6:19
• I am a member of Christ's body. 1 Corinthians 12:27
• I am a Saint Ephesians 1:1
• I am redeemed and forgiven Colossians 1:14
• I am complete in Jesus Christ Colossians 2:10
• I am free from condemnation Romans 8:1
• I am a new creation because I am in Christ 2Corinthians 5:17
• I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved Colossians 3:12
• I am established, anointed, and sealed by God 2Corinthians 1:21
• I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind 2Timothy 1:7
• I am God's co-worker 2Corinthians 6:1
• I am seated in heavenly places with Christ Eph 2:6
• I have direct access to God Ephesians 2:18
• I am chosen to bear fruit John 15:16
• I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house 1 Peter 2:5
• I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by which I share His nature 2 Peter 1:4
• I can always know the presence of God because He never leaves me Hebrews 13:5
• God works in me to help me do the things He wants me to do Philippians 2:13
• I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need James 1:5
Valley of despair or valley of grace
The valley is not a comfortable place, neither is it a place that most of us desire to be but, please don’t be despondent. After all even in that place, Gods goodness can be found to be following me and you every day, and when this life is all over we are promised that we will be with Him forever. Wow how awesome is that?
For all those who have felt that they are in the valley of despair, I believe this is a word from God to you
For far too long you have been longing to come up again to the mountain. To get that bird’s eye view to understand My perspective and while it is important I need you to know you are right where you need to be right now. Although you call it the 'valley of despair', I call it the 'valley of grace'. It is that place where life and growth occur. My Spirit rolls down the sides of the mountain pouring life into every piece of land it connects with. In the valley you develop deep roots, in the valley lush green vegetation abounds all around you. In the valley creatures that I have given you responsibility for live. On mountain tops although the view maybe spectacular, it is not a place for you to live. Rocks and boulders inhabit that space. The air is thin and difficult to breathe; it is not a place of rich soil or vegetation. I am your rock to stand on and I will be with you, I will pour out My Spirit upon you even in the midst of your enemies. They will know that you are Mine and that My purpose is to prosper you at all times. So let My water flow down to you and keep you full to overflowing even unto this season ends. Let us pray...
Dear Heavenly Father,
I know you are touched with the infirmities of your children and that in your love you see their pain. I pray that as we release these situations into your hands that we will come into a new revelation of the outpouring of your grace. Help us all to live and move and have our being rooted in Your truth and love.
In Jesus’ Amen
Precious one - You have been set apart as holy
Precious one why do you doubt My love for you. Why do you wonder so much about your future and not realise that I have gone ahead of you. Even as I said I love Jacob and hate Esau so I am able to decide what I created for honour and what I created as a common thing. You are a vessel of honour but that means you must be treated as such by yourself and those you come into contact with. Do not use yourself as if you are common. You have been set apart as holy.
Remember that as you interact with others. You speak for Me, you represent Me. Don't look to your own wisdom but trust in Me to know right from wrong, up from down left from right. Listen for My voice, discern what I am in and what I am not in. Flee from those things that separate you from Me or cause Me to be small in your sight. Know that you are to "walk in the Spirit" in that way the flesh won't be fed but will be starved. An appetite not fed will die. Look to the Hills from where I come with your help. Rise up early like Jesus before you and give Me your day, that is the only way to survive, to live the set apart life. Don't lean on your own understanding but trust my judgement I am never wrong. Just search my word, ask Paul, John, David, Moses or Abraham.
I AMnever wrong. Trust Me and it will go well with you. Trust Me
As I sat this morning eating a bowl of freshly prepared fruit salad, I had a flashback to many years ago when a dear sweet friend of mine worked for a grocery store. At the end of his working day, he would often buy some of my favourite fruit so he could hand prepare a large container of fruit salad; and make a home delivery. This meant that I could indulge myself for a few days. These special treats lasted for an entire summer, what was interesting, though was that he seemed to take as much pleasure in preparing the fruit salad bowls for me as I did in eating them. Whilst most of the time I spent with this person I remember with carefree fondness; it was a time of great challenge and difficulty. You see I was in a very stressed-out season of my life, office politics of strategic change meant that the department I was managing was merged with another, this merger had the effect of attempting to squeeze me from a Manager into a Team Leader. If that wasn’t enough, I was juggling six hours of travelling time each day; dropping two small children to childcare both of which were at least thirty minutes in opposite directions from each other and my home. If this wasn’t enough, it meant that even though I was leaving home at 07:00 in the morning with the children to get to the first childcare facility at 07:30, I was not actually getting into work until 10:00 each day. This meant that I could not leave until 18:00 and would have to do the return journey and collection before getting home and preparing food. What a treadmill.
In those days my large mortgage, single parenting, childcare fees, managing a child with epilepsy and office politics were my enemies - but through it all, I was reminded that God has promised to prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. In a small way I could see how God used this special friend of mine to do so. His loving attention of selecting, preparing, and travelling across London to deliver fruit became a token of God's love to me. Yes, as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, He (God) walked with me, sometimes it was in the smile of a stranger, or in a deed of a family member, other times it was a word in season, but often it was in cubes of apple, slices of banana and chunks of pineapple. Through the overflow that I experienced from this special anointing, I came to know that I could have peace, because God had not abandoned me.
So wherever you are on your journey today remember God wants to love and comfort you, like it was for me, this valley you are in now is a passing place, for you too - this too will past. Whether your pain is relational, financial, physical, spiritual or a whole host of other things, don’t give up the Good Shepherd is with you. He has promised that even when you walk through the darkest valley, He is close beside you; do not be afraid, for He will use His rod and staff to protect and comfort you.
Let us pray...
Dear Heavenly Father
Sometimes life seems like an endless valley and pain a constant companion. However, in your word you have promised to be the good shepherd to lead and comfort me through these seasons. Help us not to lose sight of your promises especially that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present circumstances nor the future troubles, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me and us from your constant love that is
In Christ Jesus our Lord,
Beloved that's what you are because I love you. You were hand picked for Me by My Father. He loved you intensely even before you were born such that He fashioned you in love. He knew the path you would have to walk to be prepared for Me. He knew the assaults that My enemy would attack you with. He gave you enough grace and character to enable you to come through, that way you would be ready when I came for you.
Father loved you before you even were, and although you couldn't see us, you were never left alone. From the day of your conception I stationed powerful angels to guard you and we rejoiced when you were safely delivered on the earth. We waited patiently for your growth and development. We waited until that moment you were old enough to make a choice for yourself. When you invited Me to be yours the whole of heaven had a party where we danced and began preparing for the moment you would join Me.
We all watch over you with such joy and with wonder employing our love and power on your behalf. You are bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, created and fashioned a new creation in Me. How I long for you to spend much time with Me, preparing you to meet each day, longing that you would desire My presence as I desire yours.
I waited for you again this morning with love gifts of peace and faith the very things I knew you would need today but you didn't come. So please My love don't forget Me nor break My heart by choosing those things that will never satisfy you nor heal your wounds. The battle is fierce and My enemy knows that you are My beloved. He knows that to hurt Me at you arrows must flow. So please My beloved, My precious and My darling come let Me fill you daily with My eternal love.
Lesson's learned for the road ahead.
The last year has been shockingly horrible on one hand, and absolutely amazing on the other. God had been His usual Wonderful Self in the ministry room, and dreadful things have been occurring concerning my children. Relationships that I thought were mending have dissipated into nothingness again! Whilst others that I had drawn a line under God is putting back together. There seems to be a real randomness occurring, whilst at the same time familiar patterns are arising. Stress and strain, love and joy, doors opening and others being completely shut as if in the grave, but above it all God had been His usual Faithful Self.
Really I have to echo with the great wise man, that there is truly a time for everything under the sun, sometimes those times overlap, sometimes they collide and at other times they appear separate, but always God is His usual Amazing Self working all things together for my good, the children’s good, and my loved ones good. We cannot see the end from the beginning, neither can we always even see clearly the step that’s just ahead, but through it all, I am able to gather stories that I will use when I engage others, stories of my sorrows, stories of my pain, stories of my joy and stories of course of God’s usual Awesome Self. So new truths learned about myself, new truth’s learned about those near and far, new truths learned about how, all this stuff will be integrated, and most of all lesson’s learned for the road ahead.
Let us pray ...
Thank you so much that when things are difficult you never fail. In the midst of life’s turmoil’s and disappointments you are that rock that we can depend on. Help us to keep our eyes off those that hurt us and keep our focus on your unfailing love, knowing that You have promised to work all things together for our good.
In Jesus’ Name Amen.
Fear of failure? A prophetic word
A prophetic word for the fearful
Fear of failure will lead to your demise if you don’t take stock of the larger picture. I have made you for a purpose and a destiny, I have made you to accomplish much, if you don’t trust in My voice or My direction you will continually halt between two positions you will continually halt between two decisions.
Don’t look to the left or the right but lookup. Stay focussed on that which is set before you the risen Lord seated far above every principality and power. The ascended Christ who has already defeated failure and holds it bound in the prison of victory. What you hear are his (failures) screams and shouts for attention, whenever you fear what he might do, you deny what I have already done. I have overcome the world and because I AM in you, you too share in this victory.
Beloved trust in My love not the uncertainty concerning tomorrow. You are not in this battle or this war alone. I AM your King I have set aside everything that is needed on the earth for your victory. Be as Abraham, even as he was laying his future (in Isaac) on the altar, he trusted Me knowing that if I say something it must come to pass. Keep your eyes fixed on Me, therefore. I AM theAuthor and Finisher of your faith.