Soul Master

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I ask my SOUL... 

Why are you downcast? 

God LIVES in you...

God is within you...

 

 I encourage my SOUL...

You shouldn't be downcast...

God LIVES in you...

God is within YOU!

 

I SPEAK to my soul... 

DON'T be downcast!

God LIVES in you.

God is WITHIN you!

 

I TELL my soul... 

YOU WON'T be downcast!

GOD LIVES in YOU!

GOD is WITHIN YOU!

 

Robes And Rings At The Ready...

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Today is Christmas Day. The sweetest thing happened with God.  Oh wow.  I tasted a little of what the prodigal son experienced in Luke 15, when he came back home after squandering his inheritance and hanging with the pigs...and was met so beautifully by his merciful Father. Obviously I haven't been backsliding or squandering my stuff...but I had definitely drifted away from the beautiful presence of God over the last week. I'd been feeling so burnt out...ended up being quite lazy...sleeping too much...catching a cold....needing rest but knowing I needed to meet my book writing deadline...so to try and catch up on writing I hadn't been spending time in the secret place with Jesus. I would just pray in the morning and then crack on with writing.  At night, before sleep I'd be watching TV to zone out.  My mind felt a little disengaged from God.  I missed Him so much. When I opened my eyes this morning and remembered it was Christmas Day my heart sunk a little because I was like..."Dad I've been away all week in my heart and I'm scared that I won't be "present" with you in my heart the way you deserve today...on this super special day to celebrate your Son, it sucks that I just don't feel spiritual...I feel numb...and I don't know even know how to seek your face because my heart feels cold...and kind of zoned out...etc etc etc.

I got out of bed, brushed my teeth and then standing in the kitchen I started to pray. I began to apologise and to explain to Jesus that I knew I hadn't really given Him my time this week, the way that He deserves, even when I could have. I wanted to be honest and confess to Him my shortcomings.  I wanted to share with Him my desperation to see His face.  That I missed Him. As I began to pray I wondered if I would be able to press in and meet with Him. Would I be able to get beyond the outer court into the Holy of Holies?  Was there a chance that I would have the delight of even glimpsing His beautiful face.  Yet before I could even get beyond the first couple of sentences suddenly He came. He floored me instantly with His love. I began to weep.  I felt His embrace all around me.  I began to laugh out loud with fresh delight at His scandalous mercy. I cried and laughed at the same time, repeatedly telling Him how crazy His love was. I suddenly felt the way I am convinced the prodigal son must have felt.  Before his son could even vocalise the apology he must have been rehearsing his entire journey home, the father was already telling his servant to fetch his robe...get the signet ring...prepare the feast because my son has come home.

Thats exactly how I felt. We had a feast right there. It was so glorious. Please don't get me wrong, I am not unfamiliar with Gods mercy and scandalous grace and I have been a recipient of it millions of times. I can't even tell you of how many occasions just like today when I have wondered just how I will see Gods face after where I've just been...or what I've just said...or thought...or done, and instantly He has taken me into the most holy place of His presence.  I never can take that access for granted and every single time He opens His heart up to me in that way I am undone.  Yet what I love so much about today was that this morning -  Christmas Day - was totally meant to be all about about glorifying Him and lavishing Him with my affection and devotion in a fresh way to say thank you for Who He is and what He did. Yet rather than prep my heart for it over the last week I'd been so disengaged. Rather than pray before I went to sleep last night I'd watched TV to switch off. Heaven had every right to be a little aloof given I'd been a little distant over the last week. Heaven would have been totally qualified to make it a little bit difficult to press in considering how unspiritual I was feeling on such a special occasion, where in fact it should have been about sincerely appreciating that Jesus was the greatest gift ever. 

Yet He floored me with His scandalous love and once again, rather than the shoulda, woulda, coulda's, He simply made it about His incredible goodness.  Like totally. Not only did He totally mash me up afresh with His love, His mercy and Father's embrace but He flooded me with holy laughter...something I have been asking for and praying for.  I was literally overcome with holy giggles as I stood there in my kitchen in fits of laughter at the crazy, unfathomable love of our Father.  It went on for ages.  It felt so delicious.  I can't believe that only minutes earlier I had been wondering if I would even have the opportunity to glimpse His glory today...HAAAA...only to encounter the sweetest communion ever. Literally got swept off my sweep...had a robe placed around me...signet ring straight in my finger...partay partay partay before I could even say "Papa I'm sorry!!" Oh my gosh, I simply cannot get over what a beautiful, perfect, Father in heaven we have. I am SO SO SO in awe of His Son, His Spirit and His scandalous love.

Time and time again I have been knocked out by just how lavish our God is with His presence. He is not like man. When someone is aloof, distracted or disengaged from us, as humans we have the tendency to withhold our affection...guard our hearts, protect our space just in case we get rejected again right? Not God. No matter how unfaithful we are, He never ever withholds His presence or His love from us.  Instead, even when we are unfaithful...He is always there just like the Father in the parable...waiting to meet our gaze the moment we choose to look in the direction of His beauty once again...He runs towards us...arms wide open...rings and robes at the ready...having already prepared a feast in the presence of our enemies...ready to celebrate our prodigal hearts, however far...however close...returning home to Abba Father. Aaaah love. Sweet love.

Merry Christmas Jesus....Son of God...Darling of heaven. You my sweet love, are the greatest gift of all. x

The Confidence To Fly...

 

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I'm quite embarrassed to say, but on my way to Marbella I almost missed my flight. Yep. Craziness galore. See, I stupidly decided to get a coach to Gatwick rather than a train thinking I could chillax and totally catch up on all my admin on route to the airport. I'd done this coach to Gatwick before and it'd been a doddle and so I wasn't expecting any different. It would be totally fine!!! But alas I hadn't taken into consideration that my flight to Marbella was on a Friday afternoon, that it was raining cats and dogs...traffic was mayhem and my coach would end up leaving 45 minutes behind schedule!

At the beginning though, I wasn't even concerned. Bianca was gonna meet me at Gatwick and although I was gonna be an hour late I'd still be cool right??? It just meant we couldn't jam at the airport together, but we'd still get our flight and then all the joy and excitement of this amazing birthday treat of a holiday in sunny Marbella could begin!! YES!!!  Come 2.45pm though, anxiety began to kick in. I was definitely going to be more than an hour late. I prayed that we'd soon get on the M23 and I'd still be okay to go through boarding at 3.30. I assured Bianca I'd see her soon.

I started praying in tongues. Very quickly I began to feel Gods presence. The clock approached 3pm. I was more than twelve miles away from Gatwick and stuck in traffic. Boarding for our flight would begin in thirty minutes...and close in fifty. I spoke to Bianca again. She shared with me that security was a super loooooong process because of course everything was hand luggage only, liquids needed to be put in one clear bag...anything over 100ml had to go. Suddenly visions of my suitcase being literally filled with toiletries a tad bigger than 100ml, began to fill my mind. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. How could I have forgotten that hand luggage only flights, meant a liquid limitation. Oh nooooo!!  Epic Bobbi booboo! Eek!!! How would I now get all of them into a plastic bag the size of a freezer bag?? How much stuff would I need to throw away? What would I do without my toiletries in Marbella? How would I get any of my toiletries sorted before I entered security for this flight. Was I even going to make this flight? Still praying in the spirit, I started sorting through my make up case and separating my liquids.

Holy Gamoly. I looked at the clock.  Approaching 3.15pm. I continued praying in tongues. It was actually pretty impossible in the natural. I needed a miracle that's for sure. Yet I couldn't afford to think that I was going to miss my flight. I focused on Jesus. On the goodness of the Father. I magnified His kindness. His love. His power. His capabilities.  The coach suddenly began to move. The traffic cleared and the coach instantly picked up speed. I thanked God, feeling properly encouraged. I kept looking at the clock yet refused to focus on the natural. I'd been listening to sermons all week about magnifying God. What I give my attention to I magnify (thanks Pastor Steve Furtick!!). I praised God for the deposit of fresh faith that had been made in my soul ahead of this battle. God in His infinite wisdom knew I would require fresh ammunition to fight with, for this slight glitch in the matrix, because as I sat there in that coach everything in my flesh wanted to cry out "this is surely impossible!!" In fact at one point I did say that. Yet the Word that I had been feeding myself with that week was welling up within me. It rose up and exploded out of my soul. I rejected every voice that tried to instil fear in me. I resolved that I would not give attention to my seemingly impossible circumstances. Instead I would continue to totally magnify God. I would give Him all my attention. I would focus on His ability to get me to the airport with His supernatural intervention.

Still I found myself momentarily considering the ridiculousness of me missing this flight. I mean this was a birthday present for my 40th! My church fam was sending me on this holiday. Bianca my bestie was coming with me as her gift to me. SOOOOO much had been invested into this trip. There's simply no way God was going lavish me with such amazing love only for me to get this far and then me totally miss the blessing. He simply would not allow that, right???!! He was a good father. A good good GOOD Father. Simply too much had been poured into and sacrificed for this trip. There's no way our beautiful God would want this to be stolen after all that had been given into this. As I prayed in the spirit I could feel the Holy Spirit so strong. He was praying through me. I knew God was right here interceding for me. I prayed harder.

Definitely didn't care what I looked like doing my Shaba on the coach. On the contrary a Holy Ghost swag enveloped me. You're MOST welcome I thought to myself!! See I knew the truth of what was taking place. The people on the coach obviously had no idea of the power and breakthrough that speaking in tongues was releasing over the situation. Without God, all they could do was worry and make provision for the worst. Yet if it wasn't for God intervening all of us would miss the flight. I continued praying like crazy. I reminded God that I was believing Him for the sick to be healed and the dead to rise. Surely catching a flight was a minor miracle right Father???

As it hit 3.30pm and we were miraculously approaching Gatwick...knowing I had less than twenty minutes until boarding for my flight closed I could do nothing but pray like crazy whilst frantically running through to security like a nutter. I literally threw my suitcase on the floor, quickly unzipping it and I began pulling out all my toiletries. Bottles were flying all over the gaff as I tried to determine what to keep and what to get rid of. Fifteen minutes now left til the boarding closed. After far too long flaffing around like a moron I decided to just bin every single one of the toiletries that were remotely suspect and then I literally catapulted through to security. Flinging all my possessions onto the steel tables connected to the conveyor belts I tried to stay calm. I was actually shaking I think. Help meeeeee Jesus. Nine minutes til my gate closes. I endeavoured to call Bianca whilst filling the grey plastic trays with my pathetic remnant of toiletries, throwing my jacket off, pulling my electronics out and trying not to panic. But then a security officer reprimanded me for being in the phone and although I tried to explain why I needed to make this call I realised my words were jumbled. I gave up my attempt to call her and rushed through the scanners praying that no liquids were left in my case.

My heart was in my mouth. Hopefully security would have no reason to stop me or stop my case right?! Five minutes till my boarding gate closed. I quickly approached a woman officer as I waited for my stuff to appear and heart racing like crazy asked her what happens when you only have four minutes til boarding closes? Can you possibly call them and tell them I'm on my way??? I asked. She looked at me with sympathy but then shook her head. Sorry, no can do. She explained. Oh I see. I tried to stay calm.  She then kindly proceeded to advice me on a short cut to departures. Nodding profusely, heart still in my mouth I suddenly saw my stuff coming through the scanner seemingly without any problems. Thank you Jesus!! Three minutes til boarding closes. I thanked the woman, grabbed my bag and bits and literally ran to departures the way she had advised me. My phone rang. It was Bianca asking me where I am. About to dive in the lift I explained. I ran into it, waiting to go down to departures. Short of breath I frantically asked Bianca if I was going to miss the flight? To my amazement she said no!!! What??! Wow! Seriously? That was an incredible relief! Come quickly she said though - I'm at the boarding gate. Big sigh. Wow!!!! THANK YOUUUUUU Jesus!!! I can't actually believe it. I couldn't believe the gate hadn't even closed. Yet I absolutely could believe it because God is soooo good!! I was so thankful. So relieved. Yayeeee!! I hadn't missed boarding for my flight. I still had a few minutes.

Unable to contain my gratitude and joyful relief I got off the phone and turned to the passengers in the lift. It was jam packed and I addressed everyone excitedly!! Yay!! I'm not going to miss my flight I happily shouted!! Happy dance. They stared at me blankly! Clearly unmoved. You see I thought I was going to miss my flight but I'm not going to now, I added awkwardly. Followed by a feeble....Yay!! Errrr, still no expression. Not even a smile. Fine!! You clearly don't care I thought to myself. You probably don't even understand what I'm saying right? But it didn't didn't matter if they understood or not because I'm not going to miss my flight! Woohooo!!

Now I just needed to get out of this lift and run through to gate twenty three, right? Last hurdle. Bianca would be at the gate and we would be able to go through to boarding. The gate would close any minute now but its fine because Bianca had just gone through to the Boarding lounge and I was ALMOST there!! The lift doors opened and impatiently sliding forward with small geisha-esq steps, I tactfully tried to encourage the people infront of me to exit the lift quickly. Ushering people towards the lift doors I flapped my hand whispering kinda loudly "come on people let's move...move...move...move!!!" As soon as the lift cleared slightly I proceeded to grab my suitcase with the same hand that I had been encouraging my blank faced fellow lift passengers to move with...only to find there was no case there!!!

Hmmmmmnn. I looked behind me. Nothing. I came out of the lift. I went back in the lift. Where was my suitcase??? Once again I walked out of the lift. SERIOUSLY like where was my suitcase??? Like a pleb, I began to ask my fellow passengers where my suitcase was!!! Did one of you mistakingly take it? I asked with a slight shrill in my voice??? Nobody was listening to me. Quel surpris eh??? Like seriously people it was actually comical. Especially when it dawned on me that I couldn't actually recall wheeling anything from security to the lift. My hand hadn't been pulling anything for quite a while now. Oh how hilarious?! How stupid can I be???? Oh my golly gosh. Of all the dopey things I have found myself doing surely this one was epic!!   Because SUDDENLY I had a flashback of my suitcase STILL sitting in the grey tray on the conveyer belt.  I am totally telling the truth!! I found myself retracing my footsteps in my mind and realised that in my crazy frantic rushing I had grabbed my rucksack, passport and flung on my jacket but had NOT EVEN PICKED UP MY SUITCASE!!  DOHHHHHH!!! I mean who does that???! Seriously who in their right mind forgets their suitcase in security?

This was actually beyond crazy right?!!!! Was I EVER gonna make this flight. I mean what kind of darn warfare was this?! Or what kind of stupidity. All over again the fear tried to attack me. Imagine if I don't get this flight. Imagine IF AFTER ALL THIS I actually miss my flight because even though I was in the airport I forgot my suitcase in security. I mean just call me Mr Bean. I didn't know if I should just laugh or cry. Frantically I ran back into the lift. Up to the next floor. Literally screeched out of the lift doors. Retraced my steps. Ran right back through the NO ENTRY one way system that led back to security!! Couldn't even remember which aisle I had used. Ran back to the first one. Asked one of the security officers if I'd left my suitcase. He looked at me as if I was on drugs. No time to care. I ran further down. I kept going until I recognised the security aisle I had put my case through. Profusely thanking God that my suitcase would be found there. I very quickly saw it. Another security officer stood next to it clearly wanted to know which idiot still hadn't claimed it. Errr thanks officer that would be me. I approached him.  It's mine, I frantically explained, barely able to breath. Grabbing the trolley handle I thanked him as I pulled it away from him.

He looked at me like I was on crack. How can you forget your suitcase he asked. I tried to explain. I had FOUR  MINUTES!!! Seriously buddy...FOUR minutes til my...til my...I wasn't even making sense. Not bothering to explain anymore I said thank you again and began to run through security once more, into the lift, back down to departures. I ran back through the shortcut. I ran and I ran and I ran, thanking God that the gates would NOT close. Gate twenty three seemed like a mile away. Stopping wasn't an option though. I continued to run until I got there. My phone rang, it was Bianca. Eek. What would she say about the flight??? Miraculously though she told me boarding hadn't even opened yet. WHAAAAAAT???? Oh my golly gosh. How crazy??? Thank YOUUUUUU JESUS!

Finally, I approached gate twenty three and there was Bianca, sitting in the boarding lounge. She waved. My heart filled with gratitude. It was such a relief to see her. It was SURELY the grace and mercy of God, that the airline hadn't even opened the boarding gate yet despite the boarding pass stating gates should have closed over fifteen minutes ago. How can that even be? Oh the trauma!! Oh the relief. What we had gone through to get on this plane was crazy. Yet as I finally sat down next to her I felt the comfort of knowing all the drama had totally been worth it. Despite the fear, despite the temptation to magnify my circumstances...despite what seemed like an impossible situation, it had all been worth it because here we both were about to go on holiday to celebrate my birthday. The fight had totally been worth the opposition because what lay in the other side of the battle had surely been worth contending for!! We were going on holiday!!! Yaaaaaayyyyyyy!!!

Yet I had simply NOOOO idea just how VERY glorious and extravagant what God wanted to lavish me with, on the other side of this contention actually really was. Because to my incredible delight and wonder, as I began to tell Bianca about all the drama...about forgetting my suitcase etc etc...SUDDENLY I heard the voice of one of my closest friends. Followed by another of my besties!! And then in a whirlwind of delightful commotion and unfathomable surprise the next ten minutes consisted of me screaming with shock and delirious surprise as I discovered that this trip to Marbs wasn't just going to be me going with Bianca but Angie, Lucy and Ayanna...all my homegirls forevermore were also joining us!!! They had been there the whole time at the airport praying, interceding, pressing in and REFUSING to believe ALL their planning for the last three months, all their dreaming and scheming...all their delight in wanted to bless me and give me the best could be in vain.

Oh my GOSH!!! I simply had NOOOOO idea!! The odds had been stacked against me for sure yet I had had no idea of the vastness of the glory that actually lay on the other side of this delay to the flight. This seemingly impossible battle.  I'd desperately contended to make this flight, convinced that there was simply too much to lose for this trip not to happen - yet I had no idea of the true extent of what was at stake...of what along with some of my church family and Bianca, my closest friends had even been planning for me the whole time. That behind the scenes, driven by love and intense affection for me they were preparing the most lavish surprise for me and they had needed me to stay connected...stay filled with faith...stay prayerful and confident. They were fighting for me and there was no way after all that had been invested into this that letting it be stolen was an option.

You know what? I believe this is exactly what it's like in our fight for the kingdom...for the fullness of salvation...for all that the Father intended in His heart for us when He gave His very best...when He gave up His only begotten Son as a sacrifice so that we wouldn't perish...so that we would have the fullness of abundance and live the Zoe life. So that we would have YADA relationship with the Godhead and the fullness of what that brings...for the fulfilment of all that God promises...no matter the fears...the opposition...the doubts...the obstacles...the circumstance...NO MATTER WHAT...the price which has been paid is faaaaaaaaar too much to fathom...the investment that has been made on our behalf is faaaaar too costly for us to even think for one moment that God would NOT come through...that He would not fulfil His promises...that He would not give us His  VERY best...because He has already done that VERY thing and losing is NOT AN OPTION! US missing it is NOT ON GOD'S AGENDA!

We simply miss it because we don't recognise what God has already done. The price that has already been paid. The irreplaceable sacrifice that has already taken place. I mean if we really understood that...if we really grasped the reality of the price God has already paid in laying down His very Son we would partner with God with such audacious, faith filled confidence, knowing that He can, He will and He wants to see the very best take place in our lives. Anything less is simply not worth the sacrifice that took place.

He wants to release the miraculous...the supernatural...He wants us to trust Him for the impossible...He wants us to magnify Him above our circumstances...He wants to bless us...use us...radiate through us...He wants to show up...to see us partner with His beautiful Holy Spirit and push the boundaries and believe God for the impossible...to pray...to apply His principles...to wage a good war...to stand firm and believe that He is innately good...to truly recognise that losing out is simply not an option...for what has already been sacrificed...already been invested and poured out through the blood of Jesus  is far too precious not to contend for....and although Christ has already paid in full...although the victory has already been won...we must be unshakeably confident that on the other side of each battle are spoils that the Father is standing at the ready desiring for us to enjoy if only we believe that in His perfect love He will never withhold any good thing from us...not because we deserve it but because of His own names sake...for the sake of what His beautiful, perfect Son sacrificed in order for us to share the victory.

Nearly missing that flight was such a powerful lesson for me...choosing to contend for the supernatural...choosing to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and refusing to settle for anything less than the utmost goodness of God...being so confident of the investment that had been made and the price that had been paid compelled me to press in for the fulfilment, no matter how strong or impossible the opposition appeared.  I was incredibly thankful for the Word I had unknowingly fed myself on, days before my flight which I could hold on to and which equipped me to walk in the spirit and not respond in the flesh when the obstacle came. I was so thankful for the gift of praying in tongues and the nearness of the Holy Spirit. So so thankful for it all. What an amazing way to start this little holiday. Four days away in the sunshine secretly planned by my best friends and paid for by my church family to celebrate my 40th birthday. I mean what manner of love is THIS? Wow, totally undone by this incredibly love the Father has lavished upon us. But that I guess is for another blog.