Retreat to Advance

Sometimes we need to RETREAT TO ADVANCE.Of course being proactive, pressing forward and taking territory for the Kingdom is important.But there are seasons when the best thing we can do is retreat - create space, rest, recharge our batteries, replenishing our energy and renewing our strength.

Many of God’s people aren’t fit for battle or effective in service because we’re so tired.  We’ve forgotten what it’s like to not be exhausted all the time. We’ve been running on empty for so long we don’t know what it’s like to be full, never mind overflowing.

Often the Kingdom advances, not through activity, but through attention to what matters most.  Time in the presence of Jesus is never wasted.  Soaking in the Spirit prepares us for Kingdom exploits. 

In the midst of much need, Jesus once told the disciples: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  He may well be saying the same to you today.  If you RETREAT you will ADVANCE.

Mark 6:30-32

“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Isaiah 40:30-31

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Psalm 62:5

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”

Psalm 116:7

“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”

Luke 10:38-42

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

There’s Been a Change of Plans

I feel the Lord saying, THERE’S BEEN A CHANGE OF PLANS.  You thought everything was mapped out and going in a certain direction but the Spirit is going to redirect some things in the coming days.It will look different than you expected and even feel uncomfortable - but the outcome will be better than you could have imagined.

Over the last number of months we have been building a new house. Constantly the plans have changed and our move has been delayed.  It has been incredibly frustrating, difficult and disorientating.  But when we saw the final result it was so much better than we ever thought it could be.  The waiting and change of plans now feel so worthwhile.

Where God is taking you is not going to all work out as you planned or predicted but when you see the end result you will be so thankful for the delays, detours and even difficulties.  The time wasn’t wasted, the pain wasn’t purposeless. Your attitude will become: THERE’S BEEN A CHANGE OF PLANS - AND I’M SO THANKFUL.

Job 17:11-12

“My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart [12] turn night into day; in the face of the darkness light is near.”

Proverbs 19:21

“Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

John 3:8

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Acts 16:6-10

“Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

The Shaking is Shaping You

As I was out walking today, I kept hearing the phrase: THAT WHICH IS SHAKING YOU IS ALSO SHAPING YOU.

The opposition and obstacles we would rather avoid are often God’s way of opening up our future assignments.  The friction we feel is actually freeing us from things we need to leave behind.  The tension is transforming us us for the forthcoming transition.

The Father sees where He needs you to be, and who He needs you to be, in a month, 6 months, a year from now, and He begins to work in advance to prepare you so that you’re ready when the door opens or the opportunity presents itself. 

We resist the enemy but we submit and surrender to the shaping of the Savior.  He has so much more for us, but sometimes we need to mature before we’re positioned to receive it.    Often He SHAKES us to SHAPE us, He MOULDS us before He MOVES us, He PRESSES us to PREPARE us.

Jeremiah 18:1-6

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

James 1:4

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Hebrews 12:8,11

“If you are not disciplined - and everyone undergoes discipline - then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Galatians 4:1-7

“What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba , Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”

You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide

As Elijah was in the lowest place in His life, full of fear, running from his calling, he isolated himself in the wilderness and sat under a bush, wanting to die.God came to him and supernaturally provided for his needs.Elijah was then recommissioned by Yahweh with a brand new assignment.

Today the Father wants you to know that even if you’re not in a good place - spiritually, emotionally or physically - He is going to meet you and provide for all your needs.  He knows where you are, even if no one else sees you. The Father is relentless in His pursuit of you.  He loves you and hasn’t finished with you yet.  Even if you’re not where you know you should be.  Or you’ve wandered away.  Or ran away. You aren’t hidden from Him.

You might have messed up or be struggling just to get through the day, you might feel so broken and wounded, you might be fearful and exhausted - but you haven’t forfeited your call or missed your destiny.  You’re never too far, too damaged, too broken.  God is bringing you supernatural provision for today and purpose for stepping into the future. 

1 Kings 19:2-16

“So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life...” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him...

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him....”Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet.

Psalm 139:7-8

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”

To find out more about my new book ‘The Tension of Transition’ and be part of the pre-launch journey, click on the link in my bio or go to:

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He is Your Protector

The Lord wants to remind you today that HE IS YOUR PROTECTOR.Where you feel vulnerable, anxious, under attack or betrayed - He is standing between you and all that is coming against you.He is deflecting the arrows, taking the blows, absorbing the shots, blocking the enemy’s advance.He is your shield, your defender, your refuge, your armor.He is covering you on every side and hiding you under in His vastness.

HE IS YOUR PROTECTOR.  So take courage, the Father has seen your struggle and understands your heart.  He knows you are battle weary and need to rest.  His angels are on assignment on your behalf.  Their swords are drawn, they’re positioned all around you like a troop of bodyguards.  Don’t be afraid.  The enemy will make much noise, intimidation is his greatest weapon - but you have nothing to fear.  You belong to Yahweh.  Let that sink in - YOU BELONG TO YAHWEH.  Walk today as if your dad is the King, because He is.  Nothing coming against you will deter you or harm you.  THE LORD IS YOUR PROTECTOR.

2 Kings 6:15-18

“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don't be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.”

Deuteronomy 23:14

“For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you.“

Joshua 24:17

“It was the Lord our God himself who... protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled.”

Psalm 32:7

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Psalm 41:2

“The Lord protects and preserves them - they are counted among the blessed in the land - he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.”

Psalm 91:4; 14

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart...

...”Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”

Proverbs 2:7-8

“He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.”

John 17:11; 15

“I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name...My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3

“The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

Psalm 3:3

“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”

Psalm 18:2

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Dive Deep

DIVE INTO THE DEEP! We’re on a family vacation right now. My 6 year old son loves the water and wants to spend every minute in the pool. As a parent, I want him to stay in the safety of the shallow end, but everything within him knows that the real fun and adventure is in the deep end. That being ‘out of his depth’ is where he will experience the greatest risk and reward.

Many of us start our faith journey by jumping into the deep end - we’re so passionate, full of faith, generous, joyful, enthusiastic about sharing Jesus. But over time we retreat back towards the shallow end. We may be hurt or disappointed, we become critical or cynical, we’ve ‘been there and done that’. So we pull back slowly, we take less risks, we become ‘careful’ and ‘practical’. And, before long, we find ourselves in a shallow, boring, passionless, safe version of what following Jesus was meant to be.

Today Jesus is calling us to DIVE INTO THE DEEP! He longs for you to be totally immersed in His presence, overwhelmed by His favor, engulfed in His power. DIVE INTO THE DEEP! Yes, it’s where there is the biggest risk. But it’s always where you’ll find the greatest reward!

Psalm 107:24

“They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep.”

Psalm 42:7

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.”

Luke 5:4-7

“When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”

Ezekiel 47:1-5

“The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in - a river that no one could cross.”

It’s Time to Get Up Again!

God speaks in simple and strange ways at times.All morning I’ve had the kids rhyme ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ going round my head.I couldn’t understand why until I thought about the words (printed below). I feel the Lord is saying that for many IT’S TIME TO GET UP AGAIN.You gave something your all only to be knocked down.Maybe a relationship, a job, a ministry, breaking a habit or addiction.You tried so hard, put everything into it, only for it to fail or fall apart.Now you just want to give up.‘What’s the point?’, you think.

God is saying, IT’S TIME TO GET UP AGAIN.  You are more resilient than you think. Start afresh.  Learn the lessons from what happened and get moving again.  You have Christ in you, power that can raise the dead!  You can arise again in His strength.  Roll away the stone.  Get out of the dark tomb.  Like Jesus, you’ll carry some wounds, but they will only serve to enhance your beauty and draw others to you and your mission.  IT’S TIME TO GET UP AGAIN!

Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the water spout,

Down came the rain and washed poor Incy out,

Out came the sunshine and dried up all the rain,

So Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the spout again!

1 Corinthians 6:14

“By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.”

Romans 8:11

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.”

Galatians 6:17

“From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.”

Fear and Faithfulness

These are days when we need a holy reverence and fear of the Lord above all else. If we don’t, we will be easily swayed by the opinions of others and influenced by the culture around us.The Bible says that “Fear of man will prove to be a snare...” (Prov 29:25).How often do we remain silent for fear of what others will think? Or water down what we believe to be true?

The Lord is looking for a people who will be fearlessly faithful to His Word while also showing loving humility towards others.  Jesus was full of grace and truth and so must we be also. Too often today we sacrifice truth on the altar of grace.  We are full of compassion which is good, but we lack Biblical convictions and so become ‘nice’ people rather than salt and light who impact our culture.  God is Holy.  His Word is Truth.  The time is short.  May we be a people who care more about pleasing God than pleasing others; who are willing to be unpopular for righteousness sake. Who love unconditionally but live uncompromisingly.

Proverbs 29:25

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

Galatians 1:10

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Deuteronomy 10:12-13

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”

Matthew 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Options Are Opening Up

Options are opening up. Many of you have felt like you were out of options or choices.That you were somewhat stuck or trapped in your current situation because there were no other possibilities open to you. I think the Lord is saying that options will be opening up. You will have permission to stay where you are if you choose - but there will also be a number of doors that you will be able to walk through.Some of them will be in places or positions that you could never have imagined yourself, but once the option is made available, something will just click inside you, and you will realise that this is the perfect place for you for this next season.Don’t rule anything out.Don’t narrow down your possibilities.You have skills, abilities and gifts within you that you don’t even realise.

Joshua 24:15

“....choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve....

Genesis 13:9

“Is not the whole land before you? Let's part company. If you go to the left, I'll go to the right; if you go to the right, I'll go to the left.”

Isaiah 30:21

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Ecclesiastes 10:2

“The heart of the wise inclines to the right...”

Revelation 3:8

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.”

1 Corinthians 16:9

“....a great door for effective work has opened to me...”

Silent But Not Absent

For many of us it feels that the Lord has been a little quiet and inactive in our lives recently. There haven’t been any significant encounters, prophetic words or major manifestations of His presence. In fact, if we are being honest, things have almost been a little too quiet! We want to hear from Him.

However I sense the Lord wants us to know that He has been actively working behind the scenes - gently moving, repositioning and shifting things for us to step into the good future He has planned for us.  Just because nothing obvious is happening doesn’t mean that he has forgotten about you or that His divine providence is not working on your behalf.  He is moving covertly, subtly, quietly, imperceptibly.  Remember and recall all that He has spoken over you in the past - it is still in His sovereign timeline and purpose. You may even have given up on some of it but He hasn’t.

This week be ready for reminders of the significant promises that He has spoken in times past that you have parked, postponed or presumed to be no longer relevant. 

John 5:17

“Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”

John 13:7

“Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Jeremiah 1:12

“The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”

Lamentations 2:17 NIV

“The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago.“

Proverbs 19:21

“Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.”

Joshua 21:45

“Not one of all the Lord's good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.”

Your Confidence is Coming Back

The enemy has been attacking God’s people in the area of their confidence. He has sought to diminish your security and weaken your sense of stability so that you begin to doubt yourself and the call of God on your life. Some of you have even begun to have second thoughts about the ministry/assignment that you know God has called you into.There has been feelings of discouragement, inferiority and inadequacy as the enemy has sought to battle for your mind and emotions.

The Lord wants to speak strength into you today. He wants to remind you that you are anointed and appointed for such a time as this.  Your imperfections and insecurity don’t disqualify you.  You carry spiritual authority.  You are chosen, you are prepared, you are empowered, you are highly favored.  Rise up, press forward, claim your inheritance.  Be emboldened - your confidence is coming back.

Hebrews 10:35

“Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.”

Psalm 71:5

“For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.”

2 Corinthians 3:4

“Such confidence we have through Christ before God.”

1 John 3:21

“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”

Isaiah 41:9

“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.”

Peace and Presence

I sense that the Lord wants to speak peace into our souls today. More than that, He wants to impart His perfect peace and banish anxiety.

Our world is turbulent, our hearts are troubled, our relationships are tense, and our bodies are tired.  We don’t need superficial solutions or human wisdom. We need the peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding to penetrate through the noise surrounding us and displace the disturbance within us. 

Peace comes from His presence.  It cannot be found anywhere else.  Peace with God, the peace of God, peace from God.

Come to Him. Drink deep, be satisfied, there is unending supply. Soak in His presence, let it saturate you so much that you spill His peace wherever you go.  Don’t rush away.  Don’t be distracted.  Stay.  Remain.  Wait.  Receive. 

He loves your presence and wants you to fully enjoy and experience His.  The peace of Christ rest upon you and fill you today.

John 14: 27

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Isaiah 26:3

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Isaiah 55:1-2

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

Romans 5:1

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...”

Philippians 4:6-7

“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.”

Colossians 3:15

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.“

Resist and Advance

In recent days the enemy has been attacking God's people with sickness, stress and sadness. There has been a constancy of weariness and pressure, unrelenting at times. Just as you feel a little bit better you seem to get knocked back again.

The attack is simply the enemy doing what he does stealing, killing and destroying, hle wants to steal your joy, kill your passion, destroy your confidence. Don't lie down and give into it, don't accept it any longer. Use your spiritual authority in Christ Resist the devil and he will have to flee from you. Plead the blood of Jesus, call on the angelic host of h4eaven, declare the Word of God over your life, do warfare through worship, take communion as regularly as you can, cancel every assignment of the enemy against you.

Stop being passive or defensive. Be aggressive in pushing back against the attack. Go on the offensive. Know that the cross and resurrection of Jesus have given you absolute victory, authority and domination over every weapon formed against you.Choose today to take back any ground that has been stolen and claim what is rightfully yours in Christ.

— 

1 Peter 5:8-9

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

James 4:7

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

2 Corinthians 10:4

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

Isaiah 54:17

“...no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.”

Those Who Stick With You

In the cave ofAdullam, where David hid from Saul, a reunion occurred. Somehow word got to his family and they decided to find him. They hadn't accompanied him to the palace of Saul, or joined him when he was the captain of Saul's army. But now that he was destitute, alone, and in a dark, hard place, they were compelled to meet with him. Even his oldest brother Eliab, who had so harshly criticized him in the past, came to him in the cave. This breakdown in David's life produced a breakthrough in his damaged relationships. Sometimes trouble is a unifying and healing force for relationships. When the level of hardship or pain we face becomes critical, old disagreements and misunderstandings become insignificant.

Hard situations also have a way of revealing who is really on our side. Many people will want to be at our side when we are winning, popular, and rich, but we should note carefully the people who stand by us when we're outnumbered and unpopular. These people become so precious to us, because their faithfulness has been proven by struggle. God can use struggle to heal our broken relationships if we are willing to put aside the past and yield to His will.

— 

1 Samuel 22:1

“David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there.”

Proverbs 17:17

”A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

Proverbs 27:10

“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative's house when disaster strikes you---better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.”

John 15:13

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.”

Rest in a Cave

When David was on the run from Saul, he ended up hiding in the caves of Adullam. His life had been turned upside down. His secure position was lost. It seemed like it was all over.

However, it was at Adullam that David would find refuge for a season in his life. Adullam was a place where he could recover, regroup, and sort through the emotional upheaval that he had been living through. This barren place became a retreat where God could heal his emotional wounds and prepare him for his future.

Even the strongest, bravest and most resilient need to take time out to recover from deep hurts, constant conflict and broken relationships. God,at times, will lead you to a place of safety even when you do not know where you are going or why you ve ended up there. He will direct you to a new refuge of rest and strength so that you have space to recover from the trauma and trials you've experienced.

Needing to rest and retreat doesn't mean you are a weak person; it is an indication that you are a strong person who has survived a tough fight.

— 

1 Samuel 22:1-2

“David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there. All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.”

Psalm 142:1-7

(A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.)

“I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.

I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble.

When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way.

In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me.

Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me.

I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.

Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.”

Convictions or Convenience?

Don't compromise your convictions for your convenience. Short-term opportunities may arise which will bring what looks like promotion and advancement. It may even appear like answered prayer. However it will also cause you to feel uncomfortable and uneasy. That is the Holy Spirit warning you. There will be a pressure to consent and conform. However, if you say yes, the longer term ramifications will be a lack of peace and a sense of feeling trapped. Refusing the opportunity now will bring a degree of discomfort and even misunderstanding.

However in the long run, you will see that you have done the right thing, and because you courageously stuck to your faith convictions, God will entrust you with greater things. Just think of Joseph, Daniel, Esther - they all refused to compromise their convictions for the sake of convenience and God honored their obedience and sacrifice with great promotion, position and authority.

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1 Samuel 2:30:

“the LORD declares: “Those who honor me I will honor, but those who despise me will be disdained.”

Daniel 6:13,16-17,19-28

“Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation might not be changed. At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. At the king's command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions' den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth: “May you prosper greatly! “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

Strategic Disruption

You may find there is some disruption to plans you had thought were set in stone.The timeline has changed, people have exited, or the project has been altered significantly. It’s frustrating and unsettling but you now have to readjust and recalibrate to the new reality.

Know that God is in the disruption and in 3 months you will look back and see that everything that happened has positioned you to be in a more strategic and influential place than you would have been if things had gone ahead as originally planned. 

The temporary inconvenience isn’t coincidence or happenstance - it’s God’s providence.  The course correction is divine direction and will lead to significant connections.  Watch for who the Lord brings into your life in the next few months.  Casual acquaintances have within them the seed for important alliances.

Philippians 1:12

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”

Philippians 1:19

“...for I know that...what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.”

Proverbs 19:21

“Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.”

James 4:13-15

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.”

Discern and Confirm

Jesus said that we should be shrewd as serpents but as innocent as doves. While most believers grasp what he meant by innocence, many of us struggle with shrewdness. However, these are days when we need to be increasingly discerning and ask difficult questions. Don't take everything at face value. Whatever side of the political spectrum you are on, there is a lot of fake news" out there. It's at a national level but also an interpersonal level. It feels like the spirit of deception is running rampant.

Probe and press for details so that there is complete clarity in communications and expectations. Be careful not to trust too quickly or easily. Those who have nothing to hide will be transparent and welcome such questions. Those who are deceiving will get defensive.

Don't be afraid of conflict. God's Kingdom clashes with darkness, deceit and divisiveness. Pray for the gift of discernment at this time so that you have the divine wisdom to make the choices that lead you into the destiny that God has prepared for you. Have a tough mind while maintaining a tender heart.

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Matthew 10:16

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Luke 16:8

“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.”

Psalm 119:125

“I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.”

Proverbs 10:13

“Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning....

Proverbs 15:14 “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.”

Proverbs 18:15 “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.”

Psalm 18:26 “...to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.”

The Pressure is Purposeful

Sometimes God will use pressure exerted on us to move us. Maybe we have gotten too settled and stagnant and we need to be uprooted to be replanted for future growth. Or perhaps we have become comfortable and complacent, unwilling to stretch or take new territory. We once had God-sized dreams and huge desires in our hearts but now we have settled for a life more ordinary. We have allowed ourselves to live well below our capacity. Or we have allowed fear or past failure to cause us to shrink and shrivel up inside.

The discomfort and pressure you're feeling at this time could well be a sign that it's time to move. You weren't willing to jump so God is pushing and pressing you out of your comfort zone. The pressure is not punishment - it's a sign that you're now prepared for a wider influence, greater responsibility or new opportunity. God has put so much more in you and until you are squeezed it will not come out.

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2 Corinthians 1:8-11

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Acts 8:1

“On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.”

Deuteronomy 33:20

“Blessed is he who enlarges Gad's domain!“

Isaiah 54:2-4

“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.”

Trust the Builder

We are moving into our new house in a week. We stopped by today to see it and, frankly, it looks like a total mess, far from complete. I can't imagine that it could be ready in 7 days. Yet the builder assures me that he has everything on schedule. He's done this many times before, he knows what he's up to. I just need to get prepared to move.

Often our lives are a bit the same. All we can see is the mess and how far short we fall right now from where we want to be. We can't imagine how we could ever get to the place or the calling that we know God has put in our hearts because all we can focus on is what is not there, rather than the work that has already been done so far.

The architect and builder of our lives knows what He's doing. The Father has been here before. He wants to tell you today that everything is right on schedule. It might not look like it, but trust Him. Your job right now is not to micromanage His role, but simply to prepare to move when He says it's ready.

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Joshua 1:2; 11

“Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them....

“Go through the camp and tell the people, 'Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you for your own.'”

Jeremiah 1:17

“Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.”

Ezekiel 38:7

“Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them.”

Hebrews 11:8-10

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country....For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”

John 14:1

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me.”