She ignored me in the church foyer…

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Hi friends!

How’s your summer?

We’ve enjoyed summer weeks of lovely family and friends staying with us from far-flung places such as UK, Cyprus, Seattle and Vancouver…the pic above was taken during a short break we enjoyed at Harrison Hot Springs.

I promised a few ‘wow’ thoughts – here’s another.

Phil preached a challenging sermon on offence a few weeks ago; combine that with John Bevere’s book and boom!

Isn’t it so easy to be offended? From a crime against us to ‘she ignored me in the church foyer.’

I am challenged to acknowledge how offence can affect EVERYTHING.

Offence is the thief of abounding love, of freedom, of joy.

Offence takes a hold of me and drains life from me.

Offence makes me self-centered.

It becomes my filter with which I view the world.

And soon enough – offence goes deep and takes root, and the root has a name.

Bitterness.

That toxic root becomes an acidic tree.

Oh and bitterness, not only affects me, but those around me.

If we let that bitter tree grow. We live life with a critical heart. We’re moody. Hypersensitive…

Fixating – because bitterness flourishes in the soil of justification. And as we replay the movie of scripted speeches and justified revenge – it becomes a blockbuster of bitterness.

And while we love to blame the one who has offended us – the only one who can take the purposes of God’s plan from me is ME, the only one who can take the purposes of God’s plan from you is YOU.

Bitterness travels in a pack, so not only our emotions – but also health can be affected too. Scientists have even concluded that bitterness, if left unchecked affects our hormones and immunity.

Offence and bitterness suffocate the life out of us – swallowing up the spacious places God has promised.

UNTIL we hear the Holy Spirit – the Counselor whisper – hand it over, hand them over.

But..but…

Forgiveness is the answer – it sets US free. We have been forgiven much.

Hand it over, Hand them over… To Him and see the promised LIFE released in you.

I wonder if you recognize some of those roots and fruits – I know I do.

Lord, give me courage to be honest. I give you permission to shine a light on who I am offended with, reveal unforgiveness or bitterness. Show me where roots of bitterness have taken hold, affecting me and those around me. Bring me into the promised spacious place as I release my offence and those offending me. AMEN.

You are loved,

Michelle xo

“Do not be afraid to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal any unforgiveness or bitterness. The longer you hide it, the stronger it will become and the harder your heart will grow. Stay tenderhearted. How? Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. —EPHESIANS 4:31-32”

 

Sorry for being your biggest critic

 

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Friends,

Last week I mentioned ‘wow’ moments I had read or listened to. Here’s another…

 I read this quote by Abi Stumvoll

‘Stop criticizing your God-given temple (your body) repent (say sorry/change your mind) to every body part that you’ve spoken death to. Because when you speak life to yourself, you will bloom into it’

 Abi carries a great message of freedom after a life of self-hatred and insecurity – here’s a short summary for you with a few of my musings thrown in.

Many of us are our war with ourselves. We have an accuser who tells us everything we are not allowing a lie to wrap itself around the core of who we are. A violence against the truth. When we criticize ourselves we are criticize our Creator. The bible tells us when a kingdom is divided against itself it cannot stand. When the war is on against our body it prevents us from living in fullness of our true self. God is calling us to wholeness and reconciliation with ourselves – our mind, body and emotions.

Abi challenges us to say sorry to our bodies for the ridiculously high expectations.

Sorry for expecting perfection

Sorry for being your biggest critic

Crazy? No crazier than saying the constant horrible things about ourselves things day in day out. Isn’t it true that most of what we say and do to ourselves we would never do to another person?

What happens when you love something? You invite love back.

This will take intention and commitment – but let us not starve ourselves of love.

Let us unite with our God created selves and begin the habit of love.

Let us start speaking some love over ourselves, breaking a lifetime of loathing.

Let us agree with truth even if it doesn’t make sense – speaking truth out loud – there is power of life and death in the tongue. You might not ‘feel’ anything but the truth promises to set you free.

My prayer for you today is that you will allow God’s love to reach you as you embrace this truth. That you will go where you think love can’t. That you will hear what He likes about you. That you know what He loves when He sees you.

Declare:

I choose to love what you love. I give myself permission to shine. To be alive and vibrant with the life of Christ. I will not align with lies and the accuser. I will know the truth and the truth will set me free. Amen.

Bless you!

Love, Michelle xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.

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Friends,

Thanks for opening up my musings today.

A happy summer to you – look out for the Collins Clan news later this week.

For my next few posts I will be highlighting some wow truths (to me anyway!) that I have heard/read/experienced these past few months. I hope they will bless you and maybe even create some wow moments for you too.

Phil preached a great sermon on worry and stress from Philippians 4 last week. You can listen to it here!

‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.’

I had been meditating on this for several days when in the dark hours worry invaded my thoughts with force – taking me by the neck and rubbing my face in every possible dread filled scenario. Of course we know that the enemy, the accuser speaks one language. LIES. He comes to accuse and tell us everything we are not, and every scenario that will not happen.

In the midst of the onslaught I was reminded of the time I was with a loved one through a dreadful panic attack. During the out of control state I knew I needed to find eye contact so I held my loved ones face in my hands and began to speak life and truth and looked deep into those eyes that began catch the light.

In Philippians 4, the Greek word for worry that Paul refers to is an image of Romans killing – when they would take four ropes and four horses and pull the body in every direction.

Worry does this. It pulls us in every direction.Tearing us apart.

Philippians 4 offers us truths for displacing worry.

Adoration: Worship always beats worry. We are promised that the Lord is near.

Earnest prayer: He loves ours passionate, persistent prayers.

Thanksgiving: How can we not be a thankful people who have found healing and freedom?

So back to my dark hours. Jesus took my face in His hands and loosened the grip around my neck.

‘Look at me’ he He whispered. And as I gazed into the eyes of fire – words of truth and trust began to flow, because that’s what all of this is about TRUST. He reminded me of promises and reassured once more.

And peace descended.

….and I know when that moment comes again, when I’m caught off guard when trust is crowded out and I find myself face down again. I’ll find my face in His hands and hear Him whisper.

‘Look at me beloved’

Have a great week,

You are loved,

Michelle xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you hear the Cheers?

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Enderby Cliffs 

 

A few years ago I went to a trusted counselor/prayer person with one of ‘those’ secrets. I was expecting quite the dramatic time of tears and vomiting, but no, a lights on and truth telling changed everything.

Here’s what she shared:

As one woven by our Creator, we are designed with roots of character that define us. What often happens is that darkness – choices – life’s events can take this God given root and twist it.

Here are some examples of twisted roots.

  • You protect those around you with your silence over challenging behavior. Could this be your God given root of integrity is gnarled.
  • You are bolshy and arrogant – has your root of boldness been twisted?
  • You fear confrontation and allow compromise. Has your root of being a peacemaker wandered?
  • You have a tendency to bully. But God’s plan for you was inner-strength.
  • God has created you with a sensitive spirit. A characteristic easily distorted as you become bothered about a person’s thoughts and opinions. Often becoming the fear of man.
  • You are created in His image. Circumstances have forced an opposite opinion of your character and your body image.

The God-given roots of your created character need the truth of God’s word and LOVE spoken over them.

Lord, for some of us, this is a lifetime of habits

We choose to partner with truth today,

Give us grace for ourselves and help us to stop being our own accuser.

Show us your truth; show us how to unravel lies.

Untwist warped roots into your created image.

Reveal in us our signature self – the person you dreamed up before the foundation of the world.

You promise LIFE ABUNDANTLY

Let us tune into the cheers of heaven today.

Amen.

 

You are loved,

Michelle xo

But blessed is the one who trusts in Me alone;

the Eternal will be his confidence.

He is like a tree planted by water,

sending out its roots beside the stream.

It does not fear the heat or even drought.

Its leaves stay green and its fruit is dependable, no matter what it faces.

Jeremiah 17:8

 

Joining in today with….

Midday Baby Midday

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My Lent ‘fast from indifference‘ continues. Thank you for your brave messages and comments from my last post ‘Porn kills Love’ read (here) It is my most read and shared post.

Are you like me and see repetitive patterns of numbers? I see ‘33’ every. single. day and have done for 6 years. Alongside seeing it in time, it’s in my phone number… student ID… bank…you name it. Then there’s 1010.

Talking about numbers and times – I’m thinking 12. Or midday.

Last September Bobbie Houston urged friends on social media to join her to pray. She had read a New York Times article that had drawn attention to a ‘Theology of Rape’ being perpetrated by ISIS against innocent girls and the reality that the situation in these war torn regions of the Middle East was intensifying. The prayer initiative resonated and broadened to encompass the challenge of praying for misplaced people. The prayer hashtag #middayBABYmidday grew to include prayer for all people, the world, crisis, disaster, Middle East and refugees.

And now, at midday everyday all over the world there are waves of prayer ascending.

I see reminders as I scroll among the sunsets and the selfies #middayBABYmidday.

I see stories and lives changed as movements with feet on the ground rescue and change lives for good. A21 is an excellent example of a movement who believe human trafficking is modern day slavery. They state human trafficking fuels the growth of organized crime, undermining health, safety, security, and the basic needs of humanity. It is the fastest growing crime in the world. A21 educate potential victims, bring awareness to community groups, rescue victims and restore survivors.

 I was at my lovely hair stylists today. She’ll be giving birth to her first babe very soon – so we were excited to talk all things babies. We chatted about vintage cribs and sleepless nights and the gift of body pillows.

We then talked about pregnant women fleeing for their lives and how it is a reality for many and because we are worshippers and Jesus girls our hearts cannot help respond with groans for those fleeing who are heavily pregnant – those who don’t own pillows.

As we chatted I looked at the clock (just after) midday. And so it begins.

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From today my alarm is set.

I remembered reading a recent story of a Syrian mother who fled her home at 37 weeks pregnant, gave birth in Greece, and traveled immediately to the Macedonian/Serbian border. The story showed her with her 3-day-old baby who was getting treated for a skin rash by Samaritan’s Purse workers. Bobbie Houston writes ‘I can’t even imagine having to endure the last days of pregnancy and the early days of my baby’s life like this, let alone the unknowns ahead. Don’t know how to pray for? Find a story that resonates with you and START THERE’

Let us pray ‘Your kingdom come’ to this broken world.

I know, I know, we’ve got enough to think about, we all get caught up in our day, our lives, our stuff and often easily forget. But they are our family; I read ‘there is no such thing as other people’s children’.

Ready to set your alarm? Bobbie helps us with this prayer guide:

  • Pray for people who can literally give their time, strength and energy on the frontlines.
  • Pray for their safety and families
  • Pray that organizations on the ground will find the financial and human support they need.
  • Pray for the refugees and victims who are so desperately seeking a new life and home.
  • Pray that their hearts will not fail
  • Pray they will find strength to endure
  • Pray that their hope will not be disappointed
  • Pray they will discover that the world is still a magnificent place, that people are kind and compassionate, and that with enough encouragement and help, a way forward is possible.
  • Pray that refugees will miraculously overcome their trauma and move on
  • Pray that they can quickly assimilate into new culture and language
  • Pray for Governments and local communities to have the wisdom to know how to welcome and accommodate these displaced souls into healthy community.
  • Pray the church will rise to her calling and stature in this crisis.
  • Pray for those who are still under fire, attack and threat.
  • Pray many find Jesus in the midst of this exodus and crisis.

“…. and how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he is listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked is as good as ours” 1 John 5:14 Message

Today is shine a light on slavery day with the End it movement, read more here. ‘End it’ is a coalition of leading organizations in the world in the fight for freedom.

Today voices are raised.

Don’t forget to set your alarm,

Love, Michelle xo

We all remember that Miracle

 

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My Dad lay, in the deepest of sleeps, his breath rattling loose around his fragile frame. He was leaving us. Departing this momentary world. Many of those around his bed had been allowed their moment and I waited anxiously for mine. Even with ten of us around his bedside My Heavenly Father graced me my space. As I looked up to an empty room tangible peace invaded my being.

Just my Dad and me.

I looked down, one hand held a wooden prayer cross and I wrapped his other around mine.

I wanted to hold his hand as he was ushered in.

That smooth, familiar hand.

That had steered the truck to support our family.

That had betrayed…defended.

That held back screaming fans at the town hall.

That gave out aid in Croatia.

The hand that had surrendered to God.

 The miracle of his surrender made the redemption of God all the more glorious. We all remember that miracle – when God broke into the chaos, pouring rivers of living water and drowning dysfunction. Wherever the river flowed, transformation happened.

I said all I had to say; my throat squeezed tight, words finally filling my voiceless pain. He heard me, his frail, cancer eaten physical body slowly departing, but he heard me. Tears rolled down his cheeks and mine. Salt heals you know.

‘Well done Dad. Well done’

As a family we waited a few more minutes, holding every second dear, then we all gathered closer and held hands, tight.

Sounds never heard before, emotions never experienced. Then…the most glorious February sunlight shone through the hospice window, a new light.

Remembering you today Dad and so thankful to our Savior,

Love, Shell x

I pray for those of you in the unending shadows of death’s darkness, that you will not be overcome by fear.

I pray you will be reassured that He is with you in those dark moments and that He is near with protection and guidance.

I pray you will know His comfort. His presence. His peace. You are loved. Amen.

 

Porn Kills Love

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My thirteen-year-old daughter and I were chatting last night. She asked me if I knew that the same part of the brain that can be addicted to cocaine is the same part of the brain addicted to pornography. She then went onto tell me a few more facts about porn.

‘Where are you getting these facts Bella’?

‘Oh youth group, Joel did a talk on it’

I APPLAUD a youth group that addresses and educates our young people on the facts and effects of pornography.

I LOVE when I hear of our young people (male AND female) find a safe place and admit they have a problem – finding a place of support, accountability and grace with our youth staff and volunteers.

As many of my readers here are not in our youth group I thought I would share some facts that you might not be aware of.

As you know from my post yesterday I am committed to ‘fasting from indifference’ for Lent.

Indifference: lack of interest, concern, or sympathy.

Indifference is also inconsequentiality. Pornography is far from inconsequential.

Read on…

90 percent of all porn comes from the Internet, Tech blog Gizmodo puts the number of porn sites at 24.6 million, which is roughly 12 percent of total web sites. The University of Montreal study reports that boys start searching for pornography by age 10.

A University of New Hampshire survey of kids ages 10-17 found that 42% said they had viewed online porn in the past 12 months, and 66% of those said that they didn’t go searching for it in the first place. We are living in a digital age where the most hardcore porn imaginable is available for streaming 24/7/365 on a device that fits into our pocket. So even if parents have the most advanced filters in place, today’s teens will still have no problem accessing it if they want to.

How parents address this issue with their kids is based entirely on their parenting style. Parents should be teaching their children one important and fundamental lesson: porn is not sex. Pornography is a hollow counterfeit that resembles an outward appearance of sex but is the furthest thing from real intimate relationships.Nothing will diminish its presence in our technological world, but with an open dialogue and a scientifically backed perspective, parents of the Playboy generation can help their kids of the PornHub generation navigate the online minefield they walk through daily.

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PORN CHANGES THE BRAIN

Just like drugs and other addictive substances, porn floods the brain with chemicals, like dopamine. Over time, the brain gets overwhelmed by the constant overload of chemicals and starts to build up a dependency to pornography. As a result, the porn they were looking at in the beginning doesn’t seem as exciting, and many porn users go hunting for more porn or more hardcore porn to get the same rush. Eventually, the chemical release from regular healthy activities aren’t strong enough to register. This leaves the user feeling down or uneasy whenever they go for a while without watching porn.

PORN ADDICTION GETS WORSE & WORSE

The brain releases chemicals when it sees something shocking or surprising. That’s why frequent porn users often find themselves looking for more hardcore material. Also, because they’ve built up such a high tolerance to the porn they’ve been watching, many have to combine sexual arousal with the feelings of aggression.

PORN IS ADDICTIVE, LIKE A DRUG

Inside the human brain, there’s something called the “reward pathway.” Its job is to reward you when you do something that feels good by releasing pleasure chemicals. The problem is, the reward pathway can be hijacked. The way that substances like cocaine and meth make users feel high is by forcing the reward pathway to release high levels of chemicals, porn does the exact same thing. The surge of chemicals pulsing through the brain creates new brain pathways that will lead the porn user back to the behavior that triggers the chemical release. The more the user watches porn, the deeper those pathways are wired into the brain.

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PORN KILLS LOVE

In real life, real love requires a real person. Research has found that after men are exposed to pornography, they rate themselves as less in love with their partner than men who didn’t see any porn. On top of that, another study found that after being exposed to pornographic images, people were more critical of their partner’s appearance, sexual curiosity, sexual performance, and displays of affection.

PORN IS INSEPARABLY LINKED TO PROSTITUTION & SEX TRAFFICKING

Men who look at porn have been shown to be more likely to go to prostitutes, often looking for a chance to live out what they’ve seen in porn. In one survey of former prostitutes, 80% said that customers had shown them images of porn to illustrate what they wanted to do. Porn is also linked to the global issue of sex trafficking. Porn is commonly made of victims of sex trafficking and put online or sold to distributors. These sex slaves are drugged, beaten, and forced into doing porn. For porn users at home, there is no way to know the dark origins of the porn they’re watching. Clicking porn is directly supporting the demand for sex trafficking.

10 PORN INDUSTRY STATS THAT NEED TO CHANGE:

★(1) Porn sites receive more regular traffic than Netflix, Amazon, & Twitter combined. (HuffPost)

★(2) 35% of all internet downloads are porn-related. (WebRoot)

★(3) 34% of internet users have been exposed to unwanted porn via ads, pop-ups, etc. (WebRoot)

★(4) Porn increased marital infidelity by 300%. (WebRoot)

★(5) 30% of all data transferred across the internet is porn-related. (HuffPost)

★(6) The most common female role in porn is women in their 20’s portraying teenagers. (Jon Millward. In 2013, Millward conducted the largest personal research study on the Porn Industry in the U.S. He interviewed 10,000 porn stars about various aspects of the business.)

★(7) Child porn is one of the fastest growing online businesses. (IWF)

★(8) 624,000 child porn traders have been discovered online in the U.S. (Innocent Justice)

★(9) Approximately 55% of teen girls living on the streets have engaged in prostitution. (Enough.org)

★(10) Child porn is a $3 billion industry. (TopTenReviews)

I hope this helps and offers a way to meaningful conversation with your children, teens, young adults, and others…be that person to bring up the conversation and help.

Let us take these facts and wrap them in the light – believing the promise that He came to give us abundant LIFE. I fully believe in the freedom that Christ offers to us ALL. No line crossed is too far. There is way back. I have seen many on this road find a place of healing and wholeness, of minds renewed, marriages restored and importantly a place of self-forgiveness.

Thanks for reading,

Love, Michelle

ALL facts and information were taken from fightthenewdrug.org an invaluable place for resources, blogs, honest stories and support.

Further posts:

An honest guest post on ‘a blog about marriage’

http://www.athingcalledloveblog.com/blog/5-ways-to-support-your-marriage-while-overcoming-a-pornography-addiction/overcoming-a-pornography-addiction/

Posts from young guys who are honest about their addiction

http://moralrevolution.com/8-things-i-would-tell-someone-who-is-struggling-with-porn/

http://moralrevolution.com/pornography-and-addiction/

 

Guard your Heart.

 

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We returned from our fab UK trip to spring in Kelowna, we all hit the ground running while overcoming jet-lag. Not the easiest week but hoping that next week feels a little more normal… whatever that is!

We celebrated 25 years of Willow Park Church today. What a treat to welcome the Pastor who carried the vision to bring the church to Rutland. Pastor Herb, now 90, stood and shared with us from the very spot where he had once stood on dirt and declared a place of worship. Looking forward to celebrating at Pursuit tonight as 20 young people are baptized. God is good.

I am musing over the verse. ‘Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life.’ Proverbs 4:23

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When it comes to the Bible, we must be careful to not let familiarity cause complacency. ‘Guard your heart’ is one of those verses we all know and can easily slot into the category of romance and relationships, I believe it is much more than that.

It might help to understand what the heart represents in this verse. In the Old Testament the ‘heart’ is used hundreds of times, more than 200 times it deals with the thoughts, emotions, the wellsprings of life, those things that motivate and mold us. It is the core of us, our connecting part – our orientation to God and others. The home of dreams, desires and passions.  Words we speak flow out of our hearts. The choices we make flow out of our hearts.  In salvation, Christ takes our dead heart of stone and gives us a new heart of flesh. Guarding our hearts in this context means paying careful attention to our thoughts, our emotions, our desires, and our choices.  It is about the wisdom of living according to God’s standards.  King Solomon says it the wellspring of life, the source of everything. Our hearts overflow. We all know what can happen to plugged springs – where the flow has stopped. Water becomes toxic. Life is threatened. If your heart is unhealthy – it has an impact on everything else.

Could this be about being vulnerable to one another, but ultimately abandoning our hearts to Jesus?

I took responsibility for my own heart for too long which resulted in ensuring it was locked – therefore not broken. Self-protection ensuring I won’t get hurt, keeping people at arms length, not allowing a heart level relationship. Until I realized the more I guarded it, the more it isolated me.

It is simply not God’s will for us to be isolated, walled off, and invulnerable.

Guarding my heart is not about sparing me pain, but tending to the health of my soul.

We can often feel that vulnerability is what hurts our heart – could it be that by keeping our heart open and pure and being honest to ourselves, others and God that we set the ultimate guard in place? When we are vulnerable we are guarding through honesty, protecting ourselves with the garment of truth.

Ah yes…Truth.

I thank God that Jesus didn’t guard his heart, but poured it out. Let’s live our lives outward, as painful as it often is.

‘To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.’

CS Lewis, The Four Loves.

Thanks for reading,

Love, Michelle xo

 

 

 

 

Pleasant Places.

IMG_5132I’ve been thinking about boundaries…

I wasn’t much for boundaries as a teen, it wasn’t that I pushed them, I just didn’t have any… and when my own teens remind me ‘you turned out ok without boundaries’ I remind them ‘I’m only ok because I met Jesus at 17 and he introduced me to a life of freedom within the boundaries of His love’.

I’ve been reflecting on Psalm 16:6 ‘My boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places’.

But what is the pleasant place… Is it a dream?

The dream of pleasant places leads us to a life of peace and an imagined contentment and all that is green. You know the green I mean?  The shade of green that social media invokes and the beautiful green of the grass on the other side.

The dream of pleasant places where it was and how it used to be. Before separation happened through broken relationships, through offence, through misunderstanding or how things were before we were all dispersed to the far ends of the earth.

The dream of pleasant places where we wish our home, our lot was different, our thoughts being continually distracted with more, bigger, richer, new and…and….I wish it was different.

Then there are the pleasant places that David describes in Psalm 16, the golden psalm – the psalm to live by.

Let’s think about David. He often finds himself in the pits – literally – he sinks deeper, unable to be rescued or even rescue himself. David the fugitive, running from Saul, hiding in caves, finds himself in much difficulty and loneliness.

We can identify with his darkness, depths, and pits. With being chased, sickness pinning us to our bed, thoughts digging our own dark cave. In reading that David’s ‘lines have fallen to him in pleasant places’ we realize that it’s not because David has found himself a nice acreage, abounding in health with all the toys he needs.

When the people of Israel entered the promised land they were given land to their tribe – each family were given their lot and the lines were drawn. Boundary stones were put in place and everyone knew the piece that God had given them. While David wasn’t in this physical place… he spoke the words. He knew the God of love within the boundaries he had been given. David knew and trusted God, reminding himself of the many promises God had spoken over the years. As much as a physical place, let’s view the pleasant places as a heart residence. The place of safety and protection, a place to share the burden, to hear the whisper of God, the place of holding and declaring promise.

I love what Frederick Buechner writes  ‘for Jesus, peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle, but the presence of love.’

Have you accepted His love? I know the minute I step out of the boundary of God’s love, those characteristics of the pleasant place are robbed, it’s a wild place outside that boundary.

The pleasant place of the heart also speaks of contentment.

‘I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.’ Philippians 4:12

As we wake each day and declare the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, we can do so in faith, in the knowledge of the love of God. Working within the lines that have fallen to us. Trusting he will meet us there.                                This place is not limiting. This is all about freedom, because it is where God has called you to be, to hear his whisper and the revelation of God’s purpose and plan for your life.

I was chatting with Momma Sue today who is learning new contentment.                                                                                As life throws difficulty and limits her activity. Where boundaries feel claustrophobic and far from pleasant.

She is forced to sit, to stop and say ‘Lord, what do you want to speak to me today?’

Then she reads this….

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Amazing what happens when you ask.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

I will leave this musing with this final thought… Let’s not forget to be thankful.

From the caves, the pits, the sickbed… from the mountain tops and wide open places. There’s always much to be thankful for. Let thankfulness become a habit. Reflect intentionally on the things God has given you within your boundaries.

And…wait…. AS I WRITE these words.

I receive a text from a loved one needing breakthrough, needing healing, needing peace, she writes

thankfulness may actually provide the long awaited key I will use to unlock major difficulties in your life. Giving thanks to Me can open doors that transcend your understanding – Jesus’.

Love and Prayers,

Michelle xoxo

Psalm 16.

Keep me safe, my God,
 for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord;


apart from you I have no good thing.’

I say of the holy people who are in the land,


‘They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.’

Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.


I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods


or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;


you make my lot secure.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;


surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;


even at night my heart instructs me.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.


With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;


my body also will rest secure,

because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,


nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

You make known to me the path of life;


you will fill me with joy in your presence,


with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby steps to Dreams.

Day 7. 

yeeharrrr

My husband noted that he had driven my car 3 times this week and each time 100.7 was playing. No, not Heart FM. But Country 100.7.

Then, last night I found myself enjoying the CMA Awards! What’s happening to me eh?

Country has progressed from songs entitled ‘Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life’ and ‘Her teeth were stained but her heart was pure’ OK one more ‘How can I miss  you if you wont go away?

Last night I was a little won over as Foo Fighter Dave Grohl joined Zac Brown Band for their new song, Day for the Dead.

So what’s todays thought y’all?

My friend and I had a great exchange of dreaming together via iMessage last week.

*‘Lets open a craft shop, with a gallery, a little comfy sofa area where people can relax and read books, drink good coffee, a counseling/prayer room. Oh and also a small room where we can put donated clothes to give away. Everyone who walks in believes they are a work of art… or they believe it by the time they leave’

*‘Ah wouldn’t that be just great, a craft space too for people to come in and create their own works of art. We can have frames round the mirrors so they are really a work of art. Sounds like bliss, gorgeous coffee, lots of info, place where families can come…what a dream….’

*‘We should call the clothing room ‘wear love’.

*‘The clothing room should absolutely be called wear love….we can help dress people, we can have jewellery donated too’.

*’I can bake cakes for the cafe as well’

*‘Dreamy dreams’

We were dreaming, imagining, visualizing something that might possibly happen one day. Being on the same continent might help, until then, we take small steps to fulfill the dream. We begin to live it out where we are. Daily steps to a bigger dream.

Some of us need to backtrack though, and give ourselves permission to dream in the first place. You have to dream before your dreams can come true. Jon Acuff wrote ‘the best map in the world doesn’t matter if we don’t know where we are’.

Don’t let the lies of ‘you’re not qualified’ keep you from a place of dreaming. Have you noticed we don’t have a positive internal voice?

Our dog Sunny was on the alert during the night and Josiah woke this morning and said ‘the dogs barking sank into my dreams’  What a line! There are the negative external voices, those who say you’ll never do it, those who sink into your dreams.

‘The critics have made them impotent’ writes Hemingway, but the only way they will make you weak and effective is if you listen to them.

So, what does this mean for you, my diverse group of readers?

Jon Acuff wrote a book called Start telling us to Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters. Jon formed an online dreamers community around this book and the results were amazing. Thousands of us joined the experiment and received simple, step by step, instructions daily for 24 days on our set goal.

The success of the experiment was in the community of cheer leaders, pray-ers and encouragers all accountable to one another.

And you…

*Are you a carer? Your dream is to find some space for your own wellbeing. Today find out a realistic respite that you can access. This dream is reachable.

*A widower. You dream of travelling but feel it’s too late. It’s not. Today, go to the travel agent and pick up some brochures.

*A new Mom. You dream of feeling normal again. Today, put a date night in the planner. ‘What do you mean night, I’m in bed by 7’ Ok – lunch, breakfast – time for you.

*A ministry leader who dreams of setting up a homeless shelter. Today, write out your plan.

*You feel depressed. You dream of getting out of the house again one day, to go shopping even. Today, try and get out of bed, leave your room, play some music.

*You are facing the dragon of drugs. You dream of being clean and living a different life. Today, find one person who is clean, kind…one who prays. One person is all you need today. That one person will know other clean, kind, praying people who will love you. This is not an experiment, this draws you to destiny and brings you into a new community.

Be courageous, today is your day.

A promise for you:

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  2Timothy 1:7

See you tomorrow,

Love, Michelle xoxo

NaBloPoMo November 2013