20/20 Vision – A clear way forward this New Year of 2020

I realised this new decade was to be opened by 2020 – the only year where 20/20 vision would be an appropriate play on words! When it comes to setting New Year goals, there is a tendency to reflect on what went wrong the last year, and what changes you want to make so it doesn’t happen again.

If a change was that easy, you would have done it last year when the grip of problems started to tighten. But changing isn’t easy to initiate, so I thank God for the opportunity each year to get some priorities back where they belong.

NB Point to self … God actually tells us “His mercies are new every morning”, so why do we waste all the other 364 mornings (or 365 as this year allows) and not do something about change every morning?

I actually started this post 6 years ago, so that gives you an idea of how change can be difficult to embark upon (or maybe I just got busy). In reality, however, I have made huge changes in that time, but it is something we need to work on continually.

  1. What area of your life seems lost or hopeless? Ask God for the strength to resist giving way to discouragement.
  2. How does God’s promise to “repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” give you hope?
  3. How does the thought that what you are enduring bring you comfort, when you know it is “but for a moment” in light of eternity?Joel 2:25, 27

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you . . . Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.”

Well, it is now September 1st 2020, and I never did finish the post – and WHAT CHANGE we have been through since then! This is more pertinent than ever, so I am now posting it, with a little extra comment…

Every morning … be grateful you are here to enjoy another day! Focus on what you can do to make a difference to your circumstances, and don’t dwell on what you can’t change. Be kind and add a smile to someone’s day (a little hard behind a mask, our compulsory added fashion item at present). You can always show your smile with a kind gesture!

Snooze and SOZO go hand in hand!


I had a wonderful day today at SOZO ministry training in Silverdale, with an amazing English emergency doctor, now working for Bethel Ministries in Australia. Kate Jutsum showed us how simple it can be to help pray for people to be released from the fear and bondage that can sap the strength out of their lives. By encouraging them to speak with Father God, they find a new way to have a relationship with the one who cares for us more than all others. They can be ‘Sozo’-ed – saved, healed and delivered, to enjoy the full presence of God in their lives.

Some take home one-liners I will remember:

  • The Coathanger of Mystery: We can’t afford our experiences to water down the truth of who God is!
  • We have to believe through the circumstances and believe God can do it!
  • We can get ‘slimed’ by coming under an atmosphere in a place and that can stay with us, e.g. in Islamic nations we can get ‘slimed’ by the atmosphere of martyrdom.
  • God can turn negatives around so profoundly that you might be tempted to think He put the stumbling block in front of you in the first place – He didn’t!
  • The enemy can sow a lie into the ruts of our wounds!

And what does Snooze have to do with SOZO? Well, adjust the letters and you will get “en sozo”. I spent alot of time in prayer today – well that was my excuse. In fact, I had such a busy week, I snoozed off a couple of times listening today!!! Not because it wasn’t interesting, but because candles can only burn at two ends for a short while before they burn out. I was burned out after late nights working, and busy days with school visits this week at my new job at Kelly Tarlton’s.

So, if you want some transformation in your life – find out more about the SOZO transformational training.

Restoration and Prophecy

HydrangeasProphet Kris Valloton prophesied the restoration of marriages over those who had a broken heart. He followed with a message about what happens when God has given you a prophetic word and the brook dries up!

1 Kings 17: 1 – 7

You may be doing exactly what God has called you to do, but for some reason time has passed and what you expected to happen just doesn’t and you feel like God has left you hanging with regards to His prophecy. Kris explained that some prophecies have an expiration date. It can be our own fault they ran out. You may have been disobedient to God’s intention! You might say you’ll keep standing on your prophetic claim until hell freezes over. Well, Hell has frozen over, so you might as well do something about it.

In Exodus 32 Moses hears from God that He is so angry with his people that He is ready to destroy them. Moses reminds God of the promise He had made to Israel and God relents. He tells us that sometimes we receive words from God like an obedient slave rather than a close friend. Often times He is testing our heart rather than determining our destiny. A friend of God is someone who interacts with Him, not just one who obeys. Moses tells God that unless He goes with them into the promised land, they did not want to go. They felt compelled to be in relationship with Him which also showed their influence with Him. What is the purpose of all this, God?

In 1 Kings 17: 8, God tells Elijah to go down to Zarephath in Sidon, to a widow who was to provide for him. When Elijah arrives, the widow is about to eat her last meal with her son and prepare to die, because they have so little. Elijah says to her in faith, just bake me a loaf of bread first. He told her God promises that her jar will not run out, and it doesn’t. Kris reminds us that when all around looks hopeless, and yet you have had multiple confirmations for what you are doing, stop feeling sorry for yourself and start prophesying into your own situation.

Kris also warns however, that there is a spirit of entitlement brooding over the body of Christ. We are sons and daughters of the king – the Bible tells us so! He makes it clear that we don’t become a king until we have been a good slave. He put it this way – some people are so busy working all their way down from the top! Sometimes our head gets too big to wear the crown designed for us.

In 2 Kings 4: 1 – 7, when there was a famine in the land, Elisha helped a poor widow. She thought all she had was a small jar of oil, but Elisha used this and her faith to multiply what she had and she was able to earn enough to repay her husband’s creditors.* So many times we compare what we have or don’t have to meet our needs with the size of the need. This shouldn’t be the case in God’s kingdom. With Him, all things are possible. Jesus fed 5000 with just a small lunchbox.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 9 we are reminded that God’s grace is all we need, and that our weakness can combine with God’s strength to accomplish all. We are not just our strengths – we are also our weaknesses. But, God has divinely designed us to be flawed in areas so we have to depend on Him or others around us to function properly. If we have weaknesses, when we divinely accomplish something, we certainly know God has had to be there for it to happen. We are to give to others, and our standard of measure will return to us in the same standard. Give abundantly and reap abundantly. The measure itself is not of amount, but of sacrifice. God expects equal sacrifice, not equal giving.

Hebrews 11 reminds us that it is faith that pleases God. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. If we stop hoping, our heart can get sick. In verse 13, the heroes of faith all died before their promises had been received. Hope feels; Faith sees; Lover never fails. There is no such thing as blind faith! To do the impossible you have to see the invisible.


Halfway House

pink ribbon girlNo! I am not in rehab, if that’s what you were thinking. But I have shifted and I am halfway back home to my house on the Shore! Actually just waiting for the last flatmate to shift out and then I’ll be back with my precious grandson as we all prepare for the arrival of his baby sister later in September. He will be such a good big brother. He already looks after himself and his mummy like a good young man should.

It only seems like yesterday when I had two youngsters packing their own lunch boxes into their bags in the morning and getting their shoes ready at the front door. They also had to eat their breakfast, clean their teeth and put their pjs under their pillows, from three onwards! Those were their daily chores, and they got a little surprise each week they managed to do them. Made things much easier for a quick getaway to work in the mornings.

Tyrell started basketball training again tonight. All of 5 years old, playing on the Breakers’ own court. So proud of him when he took the shot at goal that would either earn them all a drinks break, if he got it in, or five pushups for everyone if he didn’t. He did a few bounces and then shot the ball way above his head and straight through the hoop! He’s been practising shooting the hoop since he could just walk and I bent a wire coat hanger into a ring for him and mounted it on the retaining wall outside. Four years and about ten different height hoops later, and he can shoot with the best! He is not even daunted by the full size hoop at the local park – giving it a go with great gusto – and nearly sinking it much to everyone’s amazement! He is still a little shorty like his Mum, but he is reaching the heights of his Dad!

For many parents with a gifted child, they can be erroneously given the name “pushy” when they make opportunities for their children to excel in their given field. Just as we have given Tyrell the opportunity to excel in his sports, and encouraged him to do his reading homework every night, parents of the gifted mathematician, or acrobat, or social justice promoter are keen to give their children opportunities to excel at what they love to do, too. They want to expose them to all things so as not to prematurely cut off their potential. But as the title of a recent thesis I read on gifted education said,

“If you talk, you are just talking. If I talk, is that bragging?”

So sad, and yet, so true in many unfortunate cases. Parents of gifted children too often have to enjoy the pleasures with their children quietly, so as not to seem like they are bragging. Yes, we have all heard those that speak far too much about what their kids can do – and that is why this situation exists. But, deep down, we are just cutting off their flower heads, (poppies are often used here), the most beautiful aspect of the flower. But, in doing so, we kill the stem and support of these kids – both that of their parents and their self-esteem. These people end up living to limbo – another sort of halfway house – where they are not so sure they have a permanent place where they can be happy for their kids or not.

In the Bible, Jesus wouldn’t let the little children be stopped from coming to Him. He embraced them all with open arms. Advocates in gifted education are ever hopeful that our children will be embraced with open arms – and their parents, too.

He made beauty from ashes

I am living in a cold house this winter. Noticeably colder than where I have lived before, even discounting my recent tropical escapade to Samoa. One thing I have come to enjoy is the fire at nights. And, more than the warmth as I stoke it up before I go to bed, I love to see the glow of hot embers still there in the morning. It is so much easier to fan it again into flames if there are still hot embers.

Since my weekend with Helen Calder I have had the words of a song stuck in my mind. Oh-h-h the frustration when this happens with a song you don’t particularly like! But in my case, the words of this song are incredible.

He made beauty from ashes, turned sorrow into dancing,

Only You, Jesus son of God.

When I get up on a cold morning and see cold, dead, grey ashes in the fireplace, I know there will be a much greater effort needed to get the fire started, than when there is even just a small glowing ember. Those ashes don’t look very beautiful to me … from a visual perspective or a functional perspective.

But God can make beauty from ashes! Miraculously. He can make lives that are full of pain and remorse wiped clean and we can be forgiven in an instant. We only need to declare that we believe in Him and want to walk with Him. He says it in the Bible, and I believe it as He has outworked it in my life.

Even when I had only the faintest glimmer of hope that life could get better; even when I could only just distinguish a small glow in the furthest ember, God has helped me fan that hope into faith and showered me with blessings as a result. It doesn’t mean my life is now immune from hardship. But, then I don’t expect it to be. But, what it does mean is I have restored the reason for my hope and an assurance that I am loved and cared for at all times, no matter what my circumstances.

Helen Calder helped me to see the tower walls that needed to be broken down, and this little Rapunzel is ready to fire again! So watch this space … I don’t know where my now ‘uncovered’ enthusiasm will take me, but I know where it won’t take me. And that is probably the best thing of all!

When the battle is at your door

Technophobic grandmaHelen Calder finished the conference with another message involving a man who fell short, and allowed a woman to overcome on the day of battle. Men do have responsibilities in life … serious, important responsibilities … but when a man falls short of these, God is quite willing to use a woman to stand in his place. Deborah, the prophetess from Judges 4 gave Barack a word from God, to take 10,000 men and conquer Sisera the oppressor. He would not go unless Deborah went with them. She did, but told him the honour of the battle would instead be given to a woman.

Long story short, the woman to whom Deborah was referring, Jael, went against her husband, and while the wicked Sisera slept, Jael stabbed him dead with a tent-peg, and showed him to Barack when he finally caught up with them. The battle honour was certainly due to this Bedouin housewife. In Old Testament times, her role was that of an enforcer of the Law. But, today, in New Testament times, we must be enforcers of Grace.

In a crisis, when a miracle is needed, we are not supposed to just go with the status quo, we must be dispensers of grace. Helen taught 5 truths to remember when the battle comes to your door:

  1. With God in your life you are powerful. Even one woman, Jael, with God, was the majority and overcame the battle. We may look like we are nothing of value to others, but with God on our side we become mighty victors.
  2. You are significant. It is not about our position, our personality, our part, or about the others around us. Jael was not a thermometer that rose and fell as she went up and down. She was a thermostat – she set the temperature. She wasn’t going to entertain this evil oppressor even though her husband wanted to.
  3. You have everything at hand you need to succeed. And if the battle seems to be overwhelming, you only need to call out to God and praise Him. He will be with you.
  4. Your place is significant. You don’t need to be anywhere else. God has put you in the exact places He wants you to be, to fulfil His desires.
  5. You have options. Are we going to flee at the first sign of difficulty? Or will we be the grace enforcers God wants us to be? We get to choose. Impact others’ lives with the message of good news, or say it’s too hard and leave it for someone else?

Women who find themselves ‘by themselves’ don’t have to fear that they will not cope with life’s tragedies alone. We have a kind and loving Father in Heaven who is ready and willing to stand beside us and support us through the trial. He has placed in us from conception, the seed of significance that no-one can take from us. Choose to rise up today, and claim your rightful place, not in the worldview of ‘feminism’ but in God’s view of equality and joint heirship with His son.

Rapunzel’s Story

Beautiful young woman looking in the mirrorWe know the story and the line … “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your golden hair.” The handsome prince climbs up – I used to cringe at the thought of his weight pulling on her hair! But do you remember why she was in the tower in the first place?

She was there because she had been tricked into believing it was not safe for her outside the tower. She was a self-imposed hostage. Have you ever put yourself in a safe place where you dare not venture out from, lest you get hurt? Have you kept your distance from people because you were scared of intimacy in relationships? Have you not put yourself forward for a promotion because you couldn’t bear the shame if you missed out?

It is not a good place to be, with a “mark down” label. Other people seem to love it at sale time, when they get the benefit from someone else’s “mark down”. But if you are the owner, you definitely feel the pinch each time you sell an item under cost!

So, how is it that some people can bounce back from hard knocks in life, while others feel permanently scarred from them? The simple answer comes in the knowledge of knowing who you are, and knowing how valuable you are. Your value is not at the whim of the market place. Your value is tied up in your whole being; you were valued as an heir right from birth.

Helen Calder spoke more wisdom this morning at Harbourside’s “Free To Live” Women’s Conference. Speaking from Judges 1:12, when Caleb offered his daughter Aksah to the man who could capture a named enemy, his younger brother took up the challenge, and Aksah was given over to him like a chattel. But later, when she asked her husband to ask more from his brother, Caleb, he hesitated. But God does not want us to be affected by others around us who may hesitate in their spiritual walk. Caleb himself asked Aksah what she wanted, and it was given to her – in a double portion. She stepped out of the limiting mindset of the tower, and was able to get the springs to water her inheritance.

Can we look at limiting factors in our lives today, and step out of the limiting mindset we have, to gain a fresh perspective?

I know for myself, I had been held in a limiting mindset for too long, and Helen’s message this morning encouraged me that my decision to break free was a wise call, and in God’s will for my life. Be blessed and walk free, like Aksah.

NB Helen also explained that ‘Aksah’ meant shackles and bondage. A woman with this name could have taken on the attitude of a victim, but instead, she took on the true attitude of an heir.


Forgive them and move on

In life we can come up against people who hurt us. Maybe unintentionally, by not realising the depth to which they drag us down with them to places we don’t want to go. When life throws you a curved ball you may have to pick yourself up and move on. One thing to make sure of is to not hold bitterness in your heart about the situation. It will only cause you grief.

Be on the lookout for good things that come your way. Be expectant. Don’t pine for what you once had but allow your spirit to be refreshed and made beautiful again. At the point just before forgiveness you are at a crossroads. Don’t let your anger stop you from taking the road to freedom. Remember what road you were once headed on and again head towards your destination.

You might feel like you are just picking up the leftovers for a while but you will be positioning yourself for a blessing. Just put one step in front of the other and keep moving.

These words of wisdom were shared at a women’s conference tonight at Harbourside Church. Thank you for relating the story of Ruth to us so eloquently Helen Calder. When Ruth chose obedience, not because it appealed to her, but because God wanted her to, she was blessed. God said to her, “Rise up daughter. Receive the fresh anointing for the new day.” What an encouragement for me, especially as I had decided some time back this was the best choice for me to move forward.

The Meaning of Change

purple-haze.jpgI was writing to an aunty today who had recently moved into a retirement village. It was thrust on her through mobility problems, so quite a shock after having lived in the same family home for the last 37 years. More of a shock perhaps, too, for the family who had to prepare the house for sale and minimise their mother’s belongings for her imminent shift.

As I spoke of change, in the time sense, I realised it had a lot to do with change in the monetary ‘cents’ (couldn’t help the pun!!!) When you receive change from the storekeeper you get back what is left from your money after your purchase. Change in the literal sense can also be viewed as what is left the same, after you have removed certain familiarities you once had. Continue reading “The Meaning of Change”

Mother’s Day 2013

Yes – we love our Mothers here in New Zealand. Out come the chocolates…the brunches…the special dinners…the flowers! Well, for some of us, anyway. I have to say I was very blessed with my family taking me to lunch – even if I did have to pay for my son, who yet again, had lost his EftPos card!

Yeah … Right!!! So the Tui commercial says!

Mothers have had the grace given to them to birth and nurture and bring forth into the world. What an awesome privilege. And it is not only our biological mothers I am referring to here. There are many wonderful women who have not had the pleasure of giving birth to their own children, but who, in many other ways, have helped in the raising of young people. Do we really, I mean, Really! appreciate our mothers? Continue reading “Mother’s Day 2013”