All posts by Franciska Merrick

Unrestrained

Read with me, “Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!”  2 Corinthians 6:11-13

God is a good Father. Life is good. But sometimes circumstances overwhelm us, and we find ourselves doubting and full of questions. Tyrannical demands on our time, increased demand on our performance, lack of finances, conflict within relationships, sinking businesses, and many other daily circumstances can lead to self-doubt, and God doubt, causing us to question His existence and consequently our own purpose. How often have you felt incarcerated by the unrealistic demands others have put on you to be or do something specific? Undue pressure can cause unwanted stress, resulting in an overburdened heart unable to cope. When we fail to do what we are called to, the result is usually a heart heavy burdened.

In much the same way, religious thinking has placed many undue burdens on people, causing a mass exodus of churchgoers. Holy living has been conflated by rigid religious beliefs. Religious thinking says don’t do this, look less like that, don’t say this, don’t eat, don’t drink, don’t think, be less, do more, but only more of what you’re told.  Holiness does not equal a demand for more work or effort on your part. On the contrary, living life in Christ affords us peace and rest. I have often heard people say that Christian living is restrictive. Religion is, for sure. But being alive in Christ is freeing.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Galatians 5:1-2  Paul understood that when we work to deserve our freedom, we make Christ of no value. When working and slaving away becomes the epitome of our faith, we live a life of restrictions and paint God as tyrannical master. He is anything but. He is a Father inviting you today to do life alongside Him, free to live. Much of what we don’t do, or do, is a result of our world view. If we view fleshly indulgences as a way of living free, we fail to realize that those actions do have consequences. Sin has an impact on our lives; consequences will impact our quality of life. But a life in Christ is expansive if you will allow your heart to be free regardless of what your flesh demands. Free to do as you please is indeed not freedom, but slavery to sin. This is a narrow minded way of living. If you live only for gaining material things, and enjoying things that make your flesh comfortable, you live small. There is a way of living that translates into eternity, casting relevance to generations to come. Legacies are formed in the faith you display at Jesus’ feet.  Many are the lies we tell ourselves in the name of self-preservation.  Let go of your need for significance, and live significantly.

Do not place you heart under undue pressure by demanding of yourself to be perfect, or to do as much of the opposite as you can to prove you are free. Place your trust in the finished work of Christ, and be free to live. You do not need to abstain to the point of dying; you just need to know Christ and love on Him. There is an organic freedom cultivated when we spend time with Him, this is where the incessant need to performs usually dies. Sitting at His feet is usually where your need for recognition fades and every effort you have taken to work well seem irrelevant in the great scope of His acceptance. Your answer, just as Mary did, is to sit with Him, regardless of the hustle around you. Do not conflate holiness with business. Let the life you are given be a vast field of righteous opportunity to love on Him, dedicating your moments to His feet, serving Him with a heart that lets stand that which can wait another moment. Because He is worthy, and life is worth living.

Jesus

Read with me, “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

May we just make it about Him, today? Can we just marinate in this knowing right now that He is? He is a rewarder. He is a brother, a friend, a constant. Remember what He has done. We should not be looking to what could have happened, but keep our perspective on what has happened. He provided. Already. He has provided life and opportunity. He is good. He is faithful. He is tenderhearted and merciful. He has provided for your questions, for your needs, your doubts and your fears. When the questions arise and you find your heart asking what if, just sit with Him, and know Him.

Though we have been commanded to not fear, even in our scares He says He wil never leave us. Having fear and doubt doesn’t drive Him away. Even though you might feel afraid, He isn’t scared. You are not more holy when you have gone 208 days without incident of fear as opposed  to fearing in the moment. But lean into the truth of His heart for you, and rest in His dependability to act on your behalf.

He remains innocent of hate and prejudice, unable to deny His own heart of love. He is for you. He is here, now. Trust that He has you in the palm of His hand today.

Think on what He has already done for you;   was there a time you prayed and trusted and saw the fruition of that? Remember His goodness. Call to mind His faithfulness. Just let Jesus be Himself today. Ascribe to Him glory and honor. Honor Him by trusting that He is who He says He is, honor Him by believing He will do what He said He will do, and take Him at His word.

He says, I have planned hope for you, a future, I love you, I have called you, you are mine, fear not, stand and watch the enemy fall, I am willing and able to come to your aid. Rely, trust, rest, hope.

This is who He is – dependable.

Interrupted

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

We have to become flexible enough to be bent. We need to make peace with the idea that our plans might be changed. Often times we have the best laid plans. We think up highly strategic plots, we design elaborate yet efficient blueprints for our success – be it in work, ministry, life, family, finances, marriage.  But ultimately, it is in obedience that fulfilment is found. Our purpose must not override His commands, our plans must flow with His agenda’s. May the meditations of our hearts be pleasing to Him at all times. May He find me pondering on good and peaceful approaches to furthering the Kingdom as opposed to embellishing my own reputation.  There is a vital growth that happens when we yield our wills and align ourselves with His work. We can be sincere and misguided at the same time. Your sincere desire to expand the kingdom can, and often is, at odds with His methods.

Often I can find myself contemplating how something will turn out, thinking about what I can do to effectively steer the outcome in my favour. I have in the past suffered loss and heartache due to negligence. Not thinking something through properly usually leads to undesirable outcomes. Hurried and sloppy work never yields quality results. These are commonly understood life facts. But what happens when our well laid plans get interrupted? Do you get frustrated when you are unable to execute a plan your way? Is anger a default for you when your comfort is threatened. Imagine you prepared well to guarantee an experience that was non threatening, having a certain degree of security garnered by the knowledge of preparation, only to have the whole process made unnecessary by a change of plans. We generally tend to lean towards frustration when our plans don’ t work out. Often times when people don’t do what we ask we can also immediately assign rejection and inferiority to the lack of reciprocation on their part. And consequently, we can also then assume God rejects us and finds us inferior when our plans get interrupted.

Have you experienced during your children’s younger years they would constantly walk in front of you, hang onto your legs, play all over the floor and hinder your tasks? How often have you been annoyed by the need to reroute your path.   Look at what Jesus did when this happened to Him. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” And he went with him.

Much of Jesus’ time on earth was not His own. He was constantly interrupted. Through the gospels we read that Jesus was on His way somewhere when He was met with someone in need, it follows with “He then went…” He didn’t mind being interrupted. He went, and did.

Being interrupted is uncomfortable. It is highly challenging to feel secure when our set direction changes. We find security in knowing. This is where it becomes imperative to remember that life is about WHO you know. Rest in the knowledge of His goodness.

There will be no “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on your life. Be ready for Him to disrupt your day with His plans. Say, “I will go.”  Prepare your heart with willingness, yield to His direction, lean into His voice.  It might look vastly different to what you planned, the greatest fear instilled from the idea that there will be no notoriety for your efforts, for the amazing culmination of your well thought-out plan. If your flesh is feeling challenged, and unimportant, unseen and unrecognised, un-affirmed and insignificant, good! Trust that He works things out in the end. Let the desire of your heart be for Him to have His reward

Trust

Read with me, Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!’’ Psalm 27:14

When hope seems diminished and questions arise, I want to remind you that He is able, and willing, to listen to it all. I often think we as God believing Christians have stigmatised asking questions, lumping it together with any and every form of unbelief.  Though I admire the sincere attempt at blind trust, I do feel like our most heartfelt attempts at innocence often times are merely testimonies to our absolute ignorance. He has never commanded us to not ask questions. He has instructed us to not fear. But He is not angered at questions, look at Mary in the Bible, and Sarah, and John, David.

He never asked us to manufacture our security, or to pretend. He wants us to love and trust. Did you know you can trust someone while still being doubtful of the outcome of a situation? In Mathew 28:16-17 we see, after the crucifixion, there were disciples that still doubted Him. These were the very men He chose, He walked with, He taught, and these were the ones, doubters included, He chose to entrust the gospel to, sending them out into the world. He trusted the doubters with His legacy and message in the very next verses. Ouch. We disqualify ourselves so easily, ascribing a character trait to the Godhead He doesn’t possess, such as dictatorial perfectionism. We automatically count ourselves out, assuming that is exactly His response to our challenges. He chooses what is foolish and doubtful and seemingly inadequate, and He uses them. He uses the ones who doubt, but still worship. He sends those who doubt, but listened to His words anyway. He deploys those who doubt, yet they serve with trusting Hearts. He never shuns the doubters, and neither should we.

Do not discount yourself from the call and purposes of God when in doubt. Do not ascribe to Him a tendency to dismiss you when in fact His arms are open wide. Your doubt does not disqualify you access from His heart and presence. He says come to me all who are weary and burdened, He says let us reason together, He says I have loved you with an everlasting love, I draw you with loving kindness, fear not, you are My beloved and I am yours. There is no separation because of doubt, there might be relational distance created in your heart, as you assume your just reward is a degree of separation you have to work hard at to diminish. No, His heart is easily found. His love is accessible and overflowing.

When we put our trust in Jesus, our hands are freed from the fetters of fear binding us to our circumstances, our arms gain a degree of movement again. As our intentional trust increases, we see an enlargement of perspective and influence take shape in our lives. The freer you are the greater degree of living you will experience.  We bind ourselves to our circumstances by fear. Let it go. Trust in the One who holds your heart. Though circumstances can be daunting, choose to show up and love on Him. Serve, worship, seek answers, ask all the questions, because in searching you will find Him, in asking you will receive. He is not afraid of our doubts; He longs to still them with tenderness and care. He is the Father of hope, how will He not be a good father and offer you hope in times of distress.

People

Read with me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Isaiah 46:10


Growing up in a charismatic environment, much emphasis was placed on healing.  I had the privilege of witnessing amazing physical miracles and was surrounded by people who were not afraid of praying for one another. The go-to in my childhood was prayer, as it is still today.  My children know whenever they feel ill we first pray before we seek help. Sadly, in the midst of such prayerful community, very little emphasis was ever placed on emotional wellbeing. It was commonly believed and preached that as a Christian you were automatically turned into a well-functioning person by faith in Christ alone. I do, I really do believe in prayer for healing – soul, mind, and body- but I have a hard time reconciling the instant and entitled nature of the demand on His hand. He loves you, and in the secret chambers of your being, He longs to know you intimately. Healing comes from faith, yes, but it also comes from trust. More often than not, the emotional turmoil we experience is caused by a sense of hurt due to unfulfilled demands and unanswered prayers. Imagine telling someone suffering from insecurity and chaotic thought patterns “you only need to have more faith in God,” but essentially their suffering comes from a perceived uncharitable act from God’s actual doing. Do you see the problem with stock phrases such as have more faith, just believe, have you prayed about it. Think for a moment that maybe, just maybe, this person does have faith, the expression of which differs from yours. The issue is not only one of identity, a lack of perceiving God’s love and the value on their lives, but also equating that value with answered prayers and Him fulfilling our wills. We feel better when things go our way. Suffering has never equated a lack of faith in God. Jesus suffered; He was tortured, tempted, hounded, ridiculed, He wept! Jesus got angry. Jesus had arguments. He isolated Himself. These are all actions that today would be labelled faithless, chaotic, fleshly, and my favourite of all unChristlike.

More often than not I have found that people throw phrases at me like “just have more faith” when they themselves have no answer for suffering, but our personal convictions dictate we need to help and correct for the sake of love. Yet, all it does is make me feel unloved, unheard and unseen. All the beautifully thought out inspirational quotes and phrases you sling at people carry such truth and worth, so also does the person. It is important when dealing with people suffering from hardships mentally and emotionally that we represent God well. This might mean you don’t have a verbal answer at the ready. Maybe cry? It could mean you get to say nothing as you hold their hand and listen. Flip a table? Maybe you get to do the hard work of journeying with that person for months without ever speaking your mind. Resist to the point of sweating blood? We have to represent His heart, and that requires us to ask Him what He is feeling and saying about the person and situation. Understand, He is still the answer. He, in Himself is enough to eradicate all forms of suffering and abuse, trauma and hurt, pain and neglect. But we need to give Him, His Heart, not our stock phrases and opinions. We need to be OK with not always having a verbal retort. The essence of this approach is to cultivate relationship, build community, and enlarge His Kingdom by loving the people in it.



It has been quite the journey- discovering parts of His heart for myself; realizing He cares about my mind. My body, my soul, and my Spirit – He emphasizes all of it. He cares about my thought patterns. He is there, in the waiting, while we don’t know. He is there, with open arms. Seeking Him, finding Him while alone in my room, not solely uninspired by Sunday morning pulpit theology, has brought freedom and empowerment to live. (NO, I have nothing against Sunday morning church services.)   Even though He is involved and invested in our lives, interested in the details of our being and doing, He sees beyond where we’ve been and where we are, witnessing our future – our hope, our future.  He cares for our wellbeing, all of it. He loves your mind. He loves your personality. I want to remind us, He is not a narcissist. He is not in the business of uniformity, scheming to have you sound and look like a perfect version of a Christian. He actually loves YOU. The whole of you, all of you, yes even the chaotic parts. Sometimes I think He giggles at our incessant need for order and straight lines. Have a look outside. Look at what He created. In nature, order and organic life takes on a little different shape. Curves (yay! for the ladies), bumps, knobs, spikes, swerving lines, insignificant borders, depth, chaos, wild, even wilderness is common. Although He doesn’t breed it, He thrives in chaos, because He can. He is capable of handling hard times; He is capable of coping with difficult personalities.

If there are people in your life that you feel will benefit from a ‘klap,’ don’t. Consider the possibility of allowing others to live, even chaotically, because chaos can be found in His design. Allow His method of loving others to guide you in your approach to people who don’t look and sound like you. Hold a hand, give a hug, love.

His Grace Is Sufficient

Read with me, “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:10

(Actually just read all of Romans 5 and 10, or for bonus points read Romans in its entirety. 😉

Grace, by faith brings salvation. Yet, it is clear our way of speaking has a direct impact on our perception of salvation. When we believe, grace enables us and we are saved. It is a done deal, a completed work, finished on the Cross. There is no deficit, the transaction has been completed – you are saved by Grace. It is imperative that we understand the work of the Cross is a completed work, not lacking, not wanting. But it is also important we understand that the work of the Cross is transactional. In other words, I carry some responsibility in the process of seeing the full benefits take effect in my life. It is important to understand that this amazing transaction encourages your co-laboring with Jesus to live a full and free life. How is this done? Let’s take a look at Romans 10 again, it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Why is this important? Because faith comes by hearing. What you say, you hear. If I am constantly reminding myself that I am a failure, or that Jesus is not for me, soon enough I believe this and start living a life testifying of my faith. I remind myself I am saved, anointed, appointed, called, chosen, set-apart, capable, able, empowered, loved, treasured, cherished, valued, purposed, etc. When we speak, our narrative needs to reflect the sound ideas of love and truth. When in conversation, our words regarding ourselves need to reflect the value He has for us. Let no unwholesome talk come from your lips. Let your speech give grace to those who listen, including yourself. Let there be an active agreement with Him, a voluntary participation with the Truth.

Verse 8 is astounding to me,

 – But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”[ that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim.

This is the word of faith that we proclaim, the Word, the truth. Not your opinion (yes, you are important), not your perceptions (yes, they are valid), not your interpretations (yes, you are allowed to have them), and not your circumstances (they do not define you), but His truth. What do you believe? If I were to sit in front of you right now and ask you who you are, would you reply like this?

“ I am a sinner,” “ I am poor,” “I am weak,” “I am a failure.”

What we speak matters. What we speak has an impact on our quality of life.  Let this same mind be in you that was also in Christ. You have received His grace, and it is enough. Speak as if you believe Him. Put your name in here and say,” His grace is enough for __________.”

I don’t know about you, but I have often found myself experiencing feelings that indicate how insufficient my efforts are.  I look at my life and I can honestly testify to mistakes and sin. He gently reminds me, where sin abounds, grace much more abounds. I am reminded that salvation asks no questions, it urges you only to believe. Justification comes by believing. We know we cannot work for it, we have to believe for it. Faith in Him works. Realize this today, it doesn’t take one you to unravel your destiny, it doesn’t take one action to lose your purpose – it took one Man- one act -to bring life, restoration, justification, eternal life to all men.

Expectantly Look for Him

Read with me, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2

This past Thursday my daughter had a seizure. One minute she was fine, the next she wasn’t. She is only 10. I still can’t wrap my head around it. My healthy daughter. My god-fearing, praying daughter. I remember thinking this shouldn’t be allowed to happen to us. Come on! MY daughter. My DAUGHTER. A seizure. In the face of stark reality I thought “Now what?” She’s too young, I’m too scared, we’re not prepared, and I don’t know where to go. She asked me to pray for her. I witnessed abject fear and uncertainty in her request. This was the physical reality in that moment.


As I prayed words were lacking, but all I could think to pray was “Jesus, help me keep You in my sight.” Because I know if I lower my crosshairs from His face, I am lost. From past experiences I understand that hopelessness tends to fester in the muck that is unbelief. Losing focus means losing the race. When you find yourself struggling it is helpful to remember to keep your eyes on Him, the author of your faith. Fixed, and focused. Fear was present, but so was an unwavering expectation of His goodness. We have to confront the lie that we are on our own, and purposefully expect Him to do good things. Say it with me, “I expect good things to happen today.” And He did good, she recovered miraculously quickly. The palsy left, the slur went away, and the incoherence cleared up speedily. His touch always brings relief.

When I feel faced by challenging circumstances, I like to ask myself what exactly  is being challenged? Is it my faith, or might it be my perspective? Might I be struggling because I have lost sight of what I believe about Him in the face of opposing reality? Challenging times are perfect opportunities to lean into His voice, seek out His heart, and learn His intentions for you, though these are ironically the very moments we choose to withdraw. We deter our own hearts from faith, lower the scope, limiting our sights to what is in front of us.  The moment we withdraw in fear or doubt, shame assaults us and we found ourselves bound by a burden we can barely shoulder. There goes our faith, our hope, our joy, our trust, and our discernment.

His ways are good, His intentions innocent, His purposes righteous, His heart pure, His integrity intact, His hand gentle, His gaze loving and His actions redemptive. Read that again. He is in the redemption business. For freedom we were set free. We are not meant for bondage. Dependence is forged in the furnace of desperation, not necessarily in bondage. When desperate, learn to depend on Him with expectation. Dependence involves freedom, bondage does not. You are not a slave to your circumstances, but free to seek Him in those circumstances. God did not, NOT place you under duress for a specific outcome unknown to you. You are neither His pawn, nor the irrelevant participator in a mystical fight between spirits. You have been made with care. Such immense planning went into your design, that scientists are still today experiencing the wonderful privilege of discovery of your extravagance and beauty. You are phenomenal. Created with intent, thought out, planned, dreamt up, innervated with energy, alive.

Not one bad moment, one less than stellar day, one accusation, one defeat, one misunderstanding, one unpaid bill, or half another person’s opinion can separate you from His good intentions. He is not easily swayed, never once has He been dissuaded from His intentional pursuit of your heart. He is after you. He is for you. He is good.


Lift your eyes, weary one. Raise your face to the Son. Behold the One who holds your tomorrow. Lock eyes with the One who loves you. Pray. Seek. Know. His heart is not hidden from you. He makes all things new, today. Believe He is a rewarded of them that seek. Be encouraged to live again. I need you to see, He is good. I need you to remember all His good benefits. Take courage as your heart hopes in the One who is trustworthy.

Testify

Read with me, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:39

I want to remind us today of the importance God has placed on the way and what we say. Throughout Proverbs much emphasis is laid on the significance of words, having words likened to honeycomb, thrusts of a sword, healing,   a snare, deep waters, a fountain of wisdom. What we say can bring life or death, freedom or bondage, hope or despondency. Our words are powerful, our mouths are tools for good or bad, our tongues equipped to steer our paths. All through other passages we see God putting emphasis on the words,  we read that He places importance on Isaiah’s mouth by transaction with the Holy Spirit, by words God creates, John realised that the with Jesus’ words came life, in Acts we read of Moses being referred to a man of power in word and actions. With our words we demonstrate our intent. With our words we show whether we have partnered with the Holy Spirit or with flesh. When we speak our truth instead of His, our lives will bear the fruit. We have the power to wield a sword of destruction, or to build and create. We have been given the right to choose how we speak, but we have to understand that what we speak will create and live on in our lives as well as the lives of others.

In Luke 8 Jesus Himself commands the man who had been delivered to go into the entire city and tell of what he had experienced. Jesus demonstrated how and equipped His followers to speak because He understood that by hearing comes faith. He had an appreciation for the idea that the talk about what He was doing and saying created curiosity and stirred the people to seek Him out. It still works like that today! Testifying instigates positive evangelism in our lives. When we don’t know how to tell people of the Jesus of the Bible, a good idea is to tell them of the Jesus of today. Your Jesus is still active and alive. Testimony is an act of admittance of His goodness. Speak of what He has done for you. If you see something, say something. The word testimony translates into “witness.” I see something, I say it, and the act yields belief and ignites hopes in others. Testifying about His goodness makes God relatable. When we see what He has done for others and speak of what He has done for us, we are reminded that He is in fact a good and present God, loving, merciful and kind. Testimony of His goodness in our current lives eradicates the hopelessness we experience in the absence of immediate answers.

The beautiful thing about testimony is that it glorifies God. It generates an awareness of His constant goodness throughout time, and takes the focus off of the struggle. It shifts focus to what He is busy with, and allows our thoughts to be set on His heart again. When this happens, we cultivate thankfulness. With thankfulness comes breakthrough.  So today, if you are unhappy, despondent, down, hopeless, I challenge you to listen to some testimonies of His goodness and allow your heart to be stirred to hope once again. Write down some things He has done for you that you can be grateful for. Gather your spouse, family, colleagues, staff or friends, and speak of what He has done for you. Celebrate His goodness today. Thank Him for those things. Engage His heart. This is how you remind your own heart that He is still the God of the mountains and the valleys, He is for you, and He loves you. Testify of His love. Go tell one person of what He has done for you.

Be Still and Know

Read with me, You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’” Psalm 46:10a

Many of us are facing a season of continual toil. The state of the economy has introduced an increased demand on performance, work and efficiency. For many, circumstances have demanded a persistent pressing through and increased effort. When we experience this increase in load and volume, there is often a perceived spike in shame and guilt. Be it due to inability to spend as much time as you want on other important things or due to fewer resources to maintain certain ministry and life projects we are used to participating in, increase of effort in one area inadvertently demands redirected attention which potentially leads to guilt and feelings of inadequacy. For many, having to work more and smarter means they have less energy to expend on charity, missions, ministry and even family. If this rings true for you, I would like to encourage you to hope, today.

God, is still God. The one who made you, He who created you for good works, has not yet changed His mind about you. You are still called unto Him and His kingdom. I want to emphasize that life is dynamic, so is love, as is your relationship with Him. This allows much room for change in circumstances, while His goodness is constant. I want to remind you that circumstances do not change His covenant with you. If you love Him and profess Him as Lord,  then I want to remind you that circumstantial changes have no effect on His love for you. You are still called, you are still known, you are still loved. As you are known, allow your heart to know Him. How do you know someone? You get acquainted with their heart, their agendas, their intentions, their habits, their voice, and their purpose.

Today, get still before Him. Quiet your heart and listen as He speaks, get to know His voice, and reacquaint yourself with His affections for you. In the secret place, in the quiet room of your heart, turn your affections toward Him. Let Him remind you of the covenant you made. Remember, He loves you. Put your hand on your heart, and love on Him. Just sit and be still. As you quiet the noise in your head, seek Him with all your heart, not allowing for distractions for a few minutes. Seek Him out, see Him stand out among the worries crowding your heart, hear His distinct tone carry a love song to you across the noise of opinions, feel the peace of His love transcend the fear that would drown you in unbelief, and know Him as your Saviour.

From here, ask Him again what is on His heart for you. Ask Him what to say yes to, and what to let go. You are not called to all the things all the time. Understand the seasons by studying the word and seeking His heart for you right now. More often than not you will come to find that you are called to those in front of you right now. He is such a resourceful God, He will see to it that those around you are met and encountered by someone on their journey, trust Him to fill the gaps you are witnessing, the areas you can’t fill. He is faithful to His own. And most importantly, just be. When we are stressed and exhausting ourselves with effort to do more, we tend to become very ineffectual witnesses of His heart and character. Worry, fretting, working, toiling – these do not witness well, and convey a message not of a love relationship but of a tumultuous dictatorship. This is not the message we want to convey to those we are ministering to. His heart is kind, slow to anger, rich in love, compassionate, patient, and longsuffering. Our lives should mirror this. Just be loved. Just be held. Let go of all the ten million little things you calling your name. Yield to the One. You already know His voice, follow it.

Do Not Fear

Read with me, “This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.” Haggai 2:5

It is ultimately significant that God would include a state of fearless living in His covenant with us. Imagine you are recently delivered from bondage, and God in understanding reminds you – through lasting covenant – to not be afraid. He knew then, and He knows still the need of reminding “do not be afraid.”  It is imperative we remind ourselves that we are held inside a covenant of fearless love. When faced with challenges, we are able to draw from a reserve of nondepletable love that sustains. Psalm 23 reminds us that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death to fear no evil, because you are protected and comforted. In the face of evil and adversity we press on to what lies ahead, and do not allow fear to steal ground from us –  Philippians 3:12-14  Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. We will always move towards what we focus on, that is why it is important to always have His love and sacrifice before our eyes. Sometimes we need to take the focus off the challenge and turn our eyes toward the One who already won. When we approach Him, we are more than allowed to ask Him for guidance and assistance. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7. Again, do not be afraid, but ask! Pray and ask, and thank Him for who He is and all He has done for you.

It helps to find a verse that speaks to your fear and quote it as you pray, allow your faith to be stirred as you hear and speak the truth of His heart about you and your situation. Today, as you face various situations that might evoke fearfulness, say out loud, “I am in the hollow of His hand, He is for me, I will not fear, I am more than an overcomer, His love and mercy protects and upholds me.” Trust in His word, it is effective and active. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:3-4 His word is an effective tool against fear and depression, because it doesn’t return void. When we read, quote and stand on the word it bears fruit in the form of hope restored, deliverance from fear, overcoming the enemy, victory in our minds, and expectation of good outcomes.

Fear is the language of the enemy. Fear is the tool he uses to manipulate us, steal our time with worry and procrastination, cause us to miss out on good things by not showing up, and believe the lies of insufficiency, inferiority, and mediocrity. The truth? DO NOT FEAR. You are made in the image of the Most High, clothed in righteousness, set apart, appointed for good works, called and empowered sufficiently to face whatever comes your way. Nothing thrown your way is too big for Him. Know today that you are loved and accepted. Let this truth stir you to boldness and action. Believe and rejoice in the truth of His word, you have been redeemed from the curse of sin and death, you have the favor. Go and do, show up and live beautiful life in the light of the Son.

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Lamentations 3:57

You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”