The secret place

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The secret place is the time and place you have set aside to be with the Lord. In the sermon on the mount in Matthew chapter 6 Jesus teaches us how to pray. He says…

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace’. Matthew 6:6 (The Message Translation)

This is the essence of the secret place.  It is a quiet, secluded place where you will not be distracted but where you just simply come before the Lord and you give Him your full attention. The Lord longs to spend quiet time alone with each of us where He can build a relationship with us. He is our loving Father and He wants to be connected with us in a father-son or father-daughter type relationship.

We begin to build an intimate relationship with the Lord. Where we are so close to the Lord that we know the sound of His voice and we know what His heart beats for. Our prayer life flows out from that intimate place in God.

In the secret place you will receive a greater revelation of God and His love. You begin to understand His true nature, which is that He is loving, kind, merciful, compassionate, powerful and the list goes on. Not only do you receive a greater revelation of who God is but you also get a greater revelation of who you are in Him. We discover that we are, loved, redeemed, set free and called a child of God.

When I withdraw to be with the Lord I shut myself away in my lounge room. I close the door, lower the lights and put on some worship music. I begin to shift my focus onto God. I enter into His presence with thanksgiving and worship. Here is where my cares, frustrations and disappointments begin to melt away and I just focus on His nature – His unending love, His goodness, His faithfulness.

After I have had a time of worshipping the Lord then I just be still, I put all other thoughts aside and just focus on hearing the voice of the Lord. I bring the thing that is on my heart before God, or the thing that I am struggling with and I ask Him questions, I don’t tell Him what I want Him to do but I listen for what He wants. I ask Him what is happening here, what is it you want to do, what does your plan look like and what do you want me to do?

I listen for the voice of the Lord speaking. He will begin to minister to me and I begin to write out what He is saying to me. He always comes with exactly what I need to hear and with exactly what I need to do. He comes with such mercy and compassion; His words bring healing to my heart and soul.

And then I need to respond to what the Lord is saying to me.

 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. Matthew 6: 14-15 (MSG)

If He has brought conviction then I seek His forgiveness, if He gives me a prophetic word then I deliver them, if He gives me words to pray then I begin to intercede. I carry out the plan He has given me. His thoughts and His ways are higher than mine.

The more time you spend in the secret place the more clearly you hear the voice of the Lord. You will know His voice and then you can carry that into every aspect of your day. I am very busy and do not have time every day to steal away time in the secret place but the Lord is always speaking and He even meets me between the washer and the dryer. I know the sound of His voice so it does not matter what I am doing I can hear Him calling to me.

It has not always been this way for me; it has come from a deep desire to intimately know my Father God and a deep desire to be connected with Him always. There is more to this life of being a Christian and the more comes from that intimate connection with God. The more time I spend in the secret place with the Lord the more our relationship deepens, the more clearly I hear Him and the more I am entrusted with His presence.

So I encourage you to spend time in the secret place, set aside time and space to be with the Lord building an intimation connection with Him. Don’t come with an agenda but rest in His presence and listen for His voice.

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God is not worried

though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken. Nor my covenant of peace be removed says the Lord who has compassion on you

Worry is an awful feeling. To feel anxious or troubled over something can leave you feeling unwell, you loose sleep at night because you can not turn your mind off. Worry can make you go places in your mind that you just shouldn’t go to. You begin going over ‘what if’ scenarios that cause you more stress and those ‘what if’ scenarios haven’t even happened yet. All this to say that worry is not good for us and it is not in our design to think and behave this way.

When I look up worry in the bible it is often attached to the words do not…

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Matthew 6:35

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

There are chapters in the bible that are titled do not worry and do not be afraid but yet we still do. When worry was mentioned in the bible it never came from what God was feeling, He does not get worried. He is the king of peace, and peace and worry just do not go together.

You see God is in charge of everything and He is not worried. There is no contest between the enemy and God, because God will always win. With Him in charge the place is safe and we can relax into the freedom that comes to us when God is in charge. Our covenant with God puts us in a safe place.

Instead of reacting and praying for our situations out of fear, worry or anxiety, we should ask God what He is doing through the situation and then pray according to His response. We must align ourself with His plan and His heart.

Instead of reacting to what the enemy is doing we must instead react to what the Father is doing. Jesus is the perfect example of this, He lived in response to the Father. When we respond to something it is either from fear or love. Jesus did everything from love and we must strive to do the same.

When we remember that we are safe in and with God our trust and love will begin to grow. Our confidence will begin to rise and we will start to walk how God fully intended us to walk. We will begin to operate in our spiritual gifts that He has given us and we will start to change the world with the kingdom of heaven that we carry.

Do you feel safe and that God has got this? Or are you living with worry and anxiety over the things that you are facing? Align your thoughts with Gods thoughts for you and the situation you are facing and trust that He is for youAsk the Lord to lead you and to uphold you so that you will have the inner strength you need for those scary places you may find yourself in.

Praying always

He is higher than the mountains that I faceHis love never fails and never gives up on me

In life there are always storms. There are always mountains to climb, valleys to walk through, giants to slay and obstacles to dodge. We will find ourselves crying out to the Lord in prayer asking for help, wisdom, direction and for our storm to cease.

The time to pray is before our storm hits. Jesus prayed this way. In Luke chapter 5 verse 16 it says that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. It says that he often withdrew, which means he was doing it all the time, everyday, He lived a lifestyle of prayer.  

We are not just in a relationship with God where we just call on Him whenever we need Him to rescue us or to provide for us, but it is a relationship where we can talk daily with Him.

I once had a friend say to me that she has a friend in her life, lets call her Mary,  and my friend only ever really hears from Mary when Mary is after my friends particular skill set. Mary never calls her to spend time with her, she only ever calls her when she needs advice. Sometimes we do the same with God.

Or if you have children, think about your relationship with them. You don’t just want to see your children when they require food and water from you, or just a cuddle when they have hurt themselves. You want affection from them just because they love you and want to be with you, not because they want something. You want to see them and talk with them and enjoy their company and not just when they are hungry.

A thriving relationship is where there is constant and healthy communication. The times that we spend with one another is two way, there is talking and listening. We share on a deep and intimate level with one another and we are together through the good times and the bad times.

Our relationship with God needs to be the same. We need to withdraw and spend time with God often. We talk with Him, but more importantly we listen. How can He help us if we do not stop long enough to actually listen to what He is saying.

In my time of journeying through life with the Lord I find that He is always speaking and always teaching me new things. I am always learning more about His nature and His ways, I am learning more about myself and my true identity and the way that He has made me. These are all things that I need to learn from when the storms hit. I learn these things when I withdraw and spend time with HIm. When I spend time with God, He is imparting the things to me that I will need to ride out my storms, conquer my mountains and to take down the giants that I face. Then I find that my prayers are no longer ones of crying out for help.

So I encourage you to withdraw often and spend time with the Lord. Develop a lifestyle of prayer, where you listen first and speak second. Let the Lord build up your identity, let Him impart to you His great wisdom so that that you will be ready for no matter what may come in life.

 

Change : just begin

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Sometimes making a change can feel overwhelming. In your heart you know that you want things to be different, you can hear God calling you out to walk upon the water and your dreams are beckoning you but you just do not know where to start. Fear and anxiety are holding you captive and so you remain just where you are.

Don’t make change too complicated, just begin.

It is easier said than done, but try not to feel so overwhelmed with the whole picture of your vision or dream and just begin. Take baby steps, a small start is better than no start at all. We will never move beyond where we are until we take that first step.

The best place to start on the road to change is with prayer. Bring your hopes and dreams before the Lord so that He may breath on them and bring life to them. Spend time listening for His voice and for His direction, He will tell you just where to begin. The more time you spend in His presence the clearer you will begin to hear and understand Him.

Ask God to give you the blueprints for your change. Ask Him to open doors for you or to close doors for you. Ask for courage and boldness and His everlasting peace as you begin on your journey of change. God is our biggest fan and is always cheering us on. He wants to see us succeed and not to fail, so listen for His voice.

Sometimes God does not give us the whole picture. He just lights up one stepping stone at a time. All we need to do is to step onto the first stone and then He will light up the next one when the time is right. Taking that first step can be very nerve racking but you must take that first step, just begin.

He is my safe place

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Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62 verse 6-8

When I read the Bible, it is like God is whispering to me and saying that this is what is possible, this is what I have for you too.  When I read the Psalms, they become my song too.

My soul finds rest in the Lord.

My hope is in Him.

He is my rock.

He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

He is my refuge.

I trust in Him in all times and pour out my heart to Him.

He is my safe place.

We need to think bigger. The word of God is alive, it is not just a collection of stories for us to read and enjoy but they are written for us to encounter and become a part of.

Just like the writer of Psalm 62, God is our safe place also. The story is written and shared so that we can hear what is possible with the Lord. It reveals to us that He is a good and loving God and that He longs to take us in and give us shelter from the storms of life.

Read and become a part of this story. Let it’s words become your prayer.

Lord, I long to find rest for my soul in You. I place all my hope in You. You are my rock and my fortress, I will never be shaken. I trust in You in all times and I pour out my heart to You. Thank you that You are my refuge and my safe place.

Then you need to own these words. Believe in them, stand firm on them and hide them away in your heart so that they become a part of who you are. They no longer become words on a page written a long time ago in our history but they become relevant and real to you in the here and now.