And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…. Genesis 1:27, 31

The scary thing about relationships is that they are messy. Other people’s processes are not always easy to understand. Relationships are notoriously hard to navigate. During particularly daunting relational conflict it is common for thoughts of self-preservation to make an appearance. I want to encourage you today, if you are facing difficult relationships, if the waters around you are troubled and it is difficult to see clearly, He has already given the power and love you need for victory.

When we live for ourselves we tend to, by definition, live selfishly. Our conversations and thoughts revolve around ourselves. I often witness this phenomenon in relationships as conflict is introduced. How often I listen just to be ready with a reply, hardly to understand. More often than not, during conflict, while the other person speaks I hear more of what my own opinion informs me that what the person is actually saying. Have you ever watched a movie with subtitles? I get so distracted following along with them I miss the actual visual imagery on screen. This is what happens in my mind when I follow a conversation reading only my own opinion in the moment. I lose sight of the other person and what they are saying. This results in counter arguments that are usually very ineffective, and one-sided. The argument that results are then aimed at defending me, distance is created to protect myself, and silence is inevitably doled out to ascertain my standing in a relationship after myriad verbal punishments are served.

We fail to honor the other person, because we have lost sight of them in the chaos. It is imperative to remember that what God made is good, and those we are in conflict with are also made in His image. I love that when Jesus was standing in front of the high priest and Pilate and they brought His personhood into question, He did not answer them. I think there is much wisdom in staying silent when our character and who we are comes into question. Essentially conflict resolution is NOT loud redefining moment for us; it is a wonderful moment to lessen the distance between two people. The point of conflict should always be connection – how I can understand you better, love you better, treat you better, be better, more like Jesus. We cannot avoid conflict, but we can handle it with the wisdom of God. The only way to handle conflict well is to love well. For this we need His love and Spirit.

“So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-18

What if I told you that part of every believer’s calling is reconciliation? Whether prophet, evangelist, mom, teacher, scientist. If you are a believer and you don’t know your calling, you are called to reconcile people to Him. We do this by reminding people who He is, not who they are. We remind them what He has done, not what they have done.  I cannot lead you to Christ by pointing out all your mistakes. I can only lead you to Christ by leading you to Christ. I can only reconcile you to Him by showing Him to you. During conflict, this is where love plays its part. If we are disagreeing, it is my God given duty to see Christ in you, and remind you of who He is, and who that makes you. Imagine being in an argument and telling the person everything they do well, everything they do that reminds you of Jesus, details that call to mind the amazing calling on their life. Let God have the last word.

I can honestly testify that the goodness of God changed my perspective of not only me but how I viewed the people around me. He has come and blown on the dry husk of my heart, breathing life into me, reviving me in His love. I have come to realize that He has placed immense value on those He loves, and that He has called His children to love each other the same way. That value cannot fluctuate because His love and nature is constant. I believe the highest calling is to love people the way God loves us. When we are confronted with difficult situations and rocky relationships, we often turn to verbal and emotional means to rectify the situation. If you win by manipulation, you will have to maintain with manipulation. I want to stress that it is only the goodness of God that can lead people to repentance, and only His love that allows for change to happen. Without operating in this love and from a good heart we will never see our relationships healed. And it is in operating from this mindset that we discover the purpose God has for our lives; to be good, and to do only good, consistently.

“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

Pray with me, “Thank you Father for Your unfailing love and patience. Let Your goodness witness to my heart and encourage me to freely and wholly love every person I encounter. I want to see them as You see, loved and lovely. Help me lay down my weapons, and to use my words not to destroy, but to point out the good. Help me to recognize and acknowledge the value You have placed on the people around me, especially those I don’t always agree with. May my focus ever be on the identity they have in God and on the fact that the price for their lives are also paid in full.”

hope in him


For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.” Romans 8:24-26a

Hope is commonly defined as the strong desire to see something happen, anticipation of a promise coming true, a wish, actually. But for us as BELIEVERS, hope is not wishful thinking; hope is a confident expectation of the fulfilment of God’s promises, which finds merit in His faithfulness. We hope because He is trustworthy. I love the way Paul plainly and logically paints a picture of hope, he says “you do not hope for something you can see or already have,” because we only hope for what we don’t see. We hope as people who know that He will fulfil His promises, we hope as people who believe, we hope as those who can trust the One who promised.

Hope is the other side of the coin of promise. We hope, and we wait. There is a tension between what we don’t see, and what we hope for, and often times this tension can be misinterpreted as fear, anxiety, or doubt which inadvertently leads us to shame. But these are the very feelings and thoughts that necessitate hope.  We, as Christians, tend to lean towards being sensitive to any form of emotion that resembled fear or unrest, and when we experience these feelings we are quick to determine ourselves faithless. But we need to understand that there are times when we are faced with the lack of manifestation which will require a deliberate act of looking the situation in the eye and acknowledging that we need hope for the future. It is helpful to remember that being in a reality of unfulfilled promise and lack consequently demands hope. Acknowledging the dire situation is the action that can catalyse the hope we need. Look it in the eye, and speak hope to it. This process builds character and endurance, which leads to hope.  Romans 5:4  and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame…

Because He is the God of hope, anticipate today to be a good day. Expect Him to come through for you. We hope, we expect, we anticipate with excitement. Act what you believe. Let your heart rest in this, He is willing and able. His arm is strong, and not too short to help. He will fulfill all He has promised. Hebrews 10:23 urges us to not let go of the confession of our hope. What are you saying about that situation? Are you calling God faithful? Are you hopeful that HE will come through for you? If you are struggling with this, one way to stir hope in our hearts is to speak and act according to His word, regardless of your feelings, because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Speak His truth so that your ears can hear and your heart can have faith and remain in hope.

When we allow our hearts to hope on Him, we come alive with purpose. Hope gives new life to our dreams, our prayers, our focus becomes sure and our direction set.  Allow His truth to navigate your heart towards hopeful words and actions. Allow hope to make the waiting easy. Wait on Him, for the thing you don’t yet see. Be patient for the fulfilling of promise. What He promised still stands. His promises are YES and AMEN, HE doesn’t change based on our inability to comprehend His heart, HE is still good, He is still for you. He doesn’t change. Allow your eyes to take in all the awe of His majesty, and let wonder arise in your heart again. Let Him be your default. Let Him be your first love. Not the stuff, not the breakthrough, not the answer, but the person. His love for us is great.

 “Say to those with fearful hearts,“Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” Isaiah 35:4-5

Pray with me, “Thank you Father for every promise you have spoken over my life. I trust You. I trust Your heart and Your intentions toward me.  I ask that you will revive hope in my heart, for hope to arise and guide my thoughts and actions. I know that You are good. Today I choose to speak according to Your Word, “I am not afraid.”

Vision that speaks

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.   Deuteronomy 31:6

 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1

Has someone said “No” to you lately? How did it make you feel? We have all experienced rejection in life. We have all had “I’m not good enough “ tears run down our faces, while we wreck our brains to make sense of the whys. In a moment, all it takes to derail me is one discouraging word from someone else, their view of me, their perception and vision of my life.  One word ushers in all the doubts available on the market in brightly wrapped packaging. As I rip into these untruths and peruse their value, I eagerly unpack all the reasons that I am not enough. Oh, how often I find myself wondering where I could have done more and have been more, to accomplish more. But more often than not, if I am honest, I can confirm this to be my striving to gain notoriety with people, to be accepted, seen, invited, and included. So often I wish others could see my calling, acknowledge my worth, confirming that I have a purpose. In these moments I am convinced that if people give me a ‘yes,’ it is confirmation of my worth and calling, arguing that God’s word needs the agreement of others to make it true and valid. IF you can relate to this, I want to remind you today, dear friend, the word of God over your life needs only your agreement. It carries the authority of heaven, and your life has been bought at a most invaluable price. No man can add or take away from this.

Often times, I have interpreted rejection as a hallmark of God’s disapproval; I confound man’s disapproval with God’s, thinking if they said no, it was because He said no. If the common response to me in a scenario, or something I am attempting, is negative, I often interpret it as God’s ‘NO.’ This is problematic in various ways. Firstly, this ascribes God’s intentions towards the situation without actually consulting Him, and also assumes that His answer is generally reflected in people’s behavior. This is not necessarily so.  I am not saying that God’s answers to us is never NO, I am saying that we need to be careful to not interpret people’s opinions as God’s divine word to us. Imagine Jesus in the wilderness. He had just been baptized by John, the Holy Spirit descended on Him, and the Father had audibly confirmed Jesus’ identity in front of witnesses. God had spoken over Him a purpose, a truth, placed a marker on Him, and solidified His calling. Yet, it is right after this momentous happening that the enemy comes. What is significant is that the devil comes to challenge Jesus’ identity. The very thing God had made Him to be and then confirmed with a spoken word. Pay attention to the significance here, the timing and sequence. Jesus had a word from the Father. Jesus’ sonship had been affirmed, His identity confirmed, His calling aligned with the purpose of the Father, and the Father’s approval had marked Him as chosen. This is true for you when God speaks over you. The word God has given you as affirmation, making your calling sure, affirming you as His child, approving of you for ministry, confirming that you belong to Him. And it is these very words that come under severe attack, become scrutinized into minute detail, and be inquisitively questioned by the enemy. He attacks your identity, by questioning what God has spoken. People questioning your worth, your identity, your calling is not a sure sign that you are on the wrong track. Believe what He has said over you. One of the greatest forms of worship is coming into agreement with Him. Allow your heart to hear His words to you, today. Bind it around your chest, carry it close, treasure it, and believe it, because He is trustworthy.

This week I want to challenge you to be brave, to stand on His word. If you have a specific word God has given you, whether personally or through someone else, please take this week to intentionally stand on it and pray it back to God. I want to challenge you to set out time this week to think on His word, set out time to meditate on it, to pray over it, to take courage to believe God for it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie! Wait for it!

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie. Though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not tarry. Habakuk 2:3

Align with fire

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  2 Corinthians 6:16

I believe the actions we take directly impact the workings and effects of the spiritual, and vice versa. I have witness many times how atmospheres shift when a specific person walk into a room, how conversations take new directions when one finds oneself in new territory, and how impactful our words are to accomplishing our goals. I believe we have the power to make or break most situations in our lives; I stand by the belief that we are not mere victims of sin and death, but that we have been given the power to effectively live as overcomers. For this reason I become frustrated when my seemingly simple hardships turn into these big, unyielding, disobedient mountains. I mean, these mountains need to read themselves some Scripture, they’ve got to move.  I am talking about those times you find yourself angered at simple things, being bored by prayer and worship, God seems a million miles away, old habits peek their heads out and you find yourself intimidated by life in general. You feel alone.  The road seems daunting and deserted. For me personally, these mountains are more often than not represented by the things I feel I have overcome, resurfacing without warning, for instance, impatience or doubt. Finding myself in a struggle once again with these thoughts, I am always also at the same time experiencing loneliness. When I find myself in a personal frame of mind that is unpleasant, more often than not the cause can be traced to a moment I came into an agreement with a particularly unchristlike idea- the idea that I have to go at it alone. This idea crept in that I need to accomplish victory in my own efforts. Loneliness walks alongside self pity, and with self-pity comes inactivity. I can then usually pinpoint a day, moment, where I thought and then believed I am ____________, ( failing, not enough, not going to succeed, unworthy, unloved, rejected, unapproved, overlooked, add whatever you want.) I want to draw you attention to the story of the Israelites as they travelled through the desert.  The presence of God manifested as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as they walked. There are two significant elements here relevant to my point. First, they had obeyed Him and left Egypt(slavery) resulting in the manifest presence of God walking with them as a direct result of taking action and obedience, and secondly they aligned themselves with the presence of God by walking where and how He guided. Our decisions have an impact on whether we see and feel the presence of God or not. We can walk in our own strength, but we can only have freedom when we align ourselves with His leading. The result of His leading is always the fulfillment of promise. Your destination with God is always destiny.   When there is agreement, there is power. Nothing can legally happen if there isn’t agreement between two parties. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? It is easy to determine that I have been walking alone when I am not operating effectively or living powerfully. When I feel God is far, could it be that the pillar of fire inside me burns for another direction, moving opposed to where I am going, beckoning me towards great promise and destiny? Can it be that I am trying so hard to find a path, proving my strength and knowledge?  God has given us authority and power, but we do need to come into agreement with His will in order to be effective.  God will have no unity with idols, no alignment with ideas that promote self.  In Genesis 11 we see the people of the earth conspiring to build themselves a city and a tower. They wanted to build a fortress to protect themselves, out of fear of being scattered about the earth, standing alone. Fearing the desert journey will result in self effort, being afraid of the notoriety that comes from walking alone, will result in building an empire with a self-preservation mindset. Their entire mission was based on fear; this idea gave birth to a mission of gaining ground and establishing self. They said to each other, “let us make a name for ourselves.”  God recognized that they were one nation, undivided. They spoke one language. They had psyched each other up so much, there was such conformity to the norm of elevating self that God proclaimed anything they put their minds to would be possible for them. And He chose to confound their wisdom, He chose to confuse them, He chose disunity of a nation above the elevation of flesh. He alone should have the glory in earth. Confusion runs rampant when self is at the helm of a journey.

The presence of God walks in us, guiding as He wills. Our victory is found in the going.  Two walk together when there is agreement. When we say, “You are my God,” His presence becomes a fire burning with purpose and direction. His presence in us becomes the compass that directs our lives. Whenever we respond to this fire, our hearts consequently burn within us to do His will, and our souls become refreshed with hope. If you are feeling far from God, I want to ask you to think of the last time your heart burned with purpose? What was He saying then? Where was He leading? Bring to remembrance the agreement you made to follow Him. Realign your heart with His. Walk where you feel Him, go where you hear Him, journey where you see Him. His presence is fire, it lights the way.

Pray with me, “Thank you Father for your presence in my life. Thank you for walking with me.  I respond to your presence today, I align my will with Yours. I want to go where You are going, do what You are doing, say what You are saying. Use me according to your will. I choose to walk with you. ”