TIME TO STOP HIDING! – Three Keys to Release

London September 2017

We are to be SEEN. We are to be REAL. We are to be RELEVANT. These are three keys to release.

SEEN

It is with great sadness that I see people hiding who they are and believing that is being humble. Sadness, because I have been there and thank God I found out that it is a prison – of our own making – that prevents others from receiving the testimony of Freedom that is in us, that Christ died to reveal. Their wings are clipped.

London September 2017-1

Spread your wings, be seen and change the world around you.

We are made to be a multi-dimensional, brightly coloured, tapestry that – though at times threads can be wayward in their uniqueness and need encouraging skills in the leadership to bring them back into the ‘whole’ – allows our strengths and talents to be woven into one another to make something beautiful.

Throwing bleach all over the tapestry and ironing it flat might well mean that there is uniformity of dimension and colour. Yet it has drained the tapestry of its unique life.

This key, ‘SEEN’, is a culture where each individual may be seen and valued. They are a part of the tapestry and however difficult it might be to deal with the blossoming gifts and talents that emerge when they are put on display, our call as equippers is to help them to be released from a sense that they need to hide and avoid causing trouble. There are many of us who were raised in homes that prevented discussion, free opinion or expression, and where others may have been jealous of what they saw in us. Like Joseph, some may not have known how to deal with what has been given them. Create a culture where all can learn from their mistakes and failure is ok.

Like Jesus, encourage the ‘Peters’ to walk on the water. ‘Peters’ – get out of the boat and start walking!

REAL

False humility is prevalent and like a yeast that affects the dough of the Church. It was incredibly freeing for me when I first encountered people who genuinely spoke good things about who I am, and about who they were, and believed them. They were people who also believe God is good all the time, and able to do what He promises. They expected me, too, to tell them who I am, to express confidence in myself and in my gifts, in the good things about me. These are cultures where working together with others who have varied gifts is normal. There is no competition, nor is there hierarchy. There is good leadership that encourages. Living in an atmosphere where we are all hiding our light and thinking that is humility is gradual death, and it breeds jealousy and confusion. We begin to lose sight of who we really are.

London September 2017-2

The pavement of life is strewn with the old leaves that covered the identity of those who changed history. (photo: London September 2017).

Humility is a recognition of who we are with, and without, God. It is a deep self-awareness that knows and understands both our strengths and our weaknesses. Humility keeps silent when it needs to, it speaks when necessary – look at Jesus in two examples during his trials. He was fully aware of Himself and His call, and He remains so. Obviously though we cannot be perfect like Him, we are told to follow His example.

In Mark 14.60-62, Jesus is before the high priest, who asks Jesus: ‘Are you not going to answer?’ Jesus remained silent and gave no answer to the false witnesses. Next, the high priest asks Him directly: ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus answers confidently: ‘I am’. In Mark 15.2-5, Pilate asks Jesus directly: ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ to which Jesus replies confidently, ‘Yes, it is as you say’. The chief priests began accusing Him. Pilate asks Him, ‘Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.’ But Jesus made no reply.

Peter makes a huge mistake when he denies Jesus three times. Yet when given the opportunity to turn and learn from his mistake, he takes it. Judas did not. Judas couldn’t stand being known for having made such a mistake and he chose death rather than admitting it. Hiddenness and performance culture, along with false humility breeds things in the dark that emerge to crush us. But Jesus is bigger than all that!

Be real. Don’t be afraid to admit when you ‘get it wrong’. Then go and be outspoken about who you are and whose you are.

RELEVANT

God made each of us to fit our ‘time’ well. For each of us, the call in Esther 4:14 is true, whatever age in which we live: ‘And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’ (NIVUK). It is obvious to me that this comes with the possibility of disagreement or rejection by others. However the results of Esther’s obedience saved a whole people group, and that of Jesus saved us. As we are each in ‘royal position’ as God’s sons and daughters, and we are those to whom Jesus was speaking when He said we need to lose our life to gain it, and our light is to be set on a hill not hidden under a bowl, it’s time to recognise the time and be relevant! That means, being fully ourselves and fulfilling, speaking out and teaching what God has called us to be and do.

Let’s set our hearts to discovering the truth about ourselves and about the God who is our Father.

In my book, The Posture Principle, I speak about our positioning to receive all that is good from God. I seek to answer the question, ‘Can these bones live’ – and equip us with keys and principles to help us on that journey to living our calling.

You can purchase this book on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com, in both book and kindle format; also at my own website: http://www.nantenterprises.com/grace-creativity where you can use PayPal. Zaccmedia, my publisher, also sells the book and it can be found at our local Christian bookshop in Marlborough, UK: The Mustard Seed.

On 17th April I am giving a talk in The Mustard Seed, Marlborough, UK, on this subject, as a part of my author’s evening.

 

FIVE REASONS TO JUMP

In my own life I have experienced a key truth that set me free: removing ourselves from toxic environments and relationships brings healing, clarity of vision, and rapid growth.

Each of you will have your own context that may spring to mind as I share five reasons to take action. Some of you may be in what seem to be very complicated situations – Jesus always holds the key to these.

This doesn’t mean dishonour. We can honour somebody without being mixed up with them. We can honour them for the things that are good in their lives – but for our own sake and the sake of following Jesus’ commands and His Kingdom, we need to let them go.

People may say they are immune to it, they can cope. The pressure may come out in persistent illness, chronic fatigue or headaches. The test is when we walk out and we begin to think clearly, anxiety leaves, and we realise what is true and what is not true about God and ourselves.

Action in the right context, with the right person, at the right time, kindly and firmly by the leading of the Holy Spirit is best. Support is crucial.

IT’S BIBLICAL

Jesus warned His disciples, ‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.’ (Mark 8: 15) What did He mean? The context was that of a miracle that just happened, and the disciples forgetting to bring bread. Jesus encourages them to keep their spiritual eyes clear of the religious spirit and the political spirit, or they would not ‘see’ a miracle if it was right before their eyes. The religious spirit (‘Pharisee’) brings legalism, law, rules, regulations, fear of failure (forgetting bread!), punishment and performance. The political spirit (‘Herod’) brings divisions, denominationalism (note I have not said denominations which are different to the attitude), factions, gossip, undermining. Both lack real relationship. The tiniest ‘yeast’ of these spirits, if allowed to remain around us and influencing us, can raise many ‘loaves’ of acid bread.

In terms of personal relationships, this could be expressed in many ways, including gradual wearing down of our faith through their lack of belief in miracles and healing, or their criticism and condemnation of us, and through our allowing their opinions of us to have the authority in our lives. Remember I am dealing here with those we choose to have a relationship with and stick around, or take advice from.

The ‘yeast of the Pharisees and Herod’ blinds the eyes of our heart. The eyes of our heart are what the Holy Spirit uses. They are precious to Him, so guard them keenly but kindly.

WE ARE CALLED TO BRING THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

Jesus explains to the disciples in Mark 8:15-21, following His interaction with the Pharisees who came to test Him by asking Him for a sign from heaven, what happens when they are tainted by the ‘yeast of the Pharisees and Herod’. Their hearts become hardened further and they cannot see. This means their understanding of any miracles He did would be limited. It meant their understanding of heaven was limited. He was encouraging them to open up their spiritual eyes and ears so that they could bring heaven to earth. They needed the ability to hear what Father was saying and watch what He was doing, like Jesus did.

Mark 8:23,26 show clearly how Jesus removed the man who needed healing from the village first, and then told him once he was healed, ‘Don’t go into the village’. Bethsaida, this particular village, is also mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 11:22, for having been a place where many miracles happened, yet where they could not see them for what they were. An atmosphere of unbelief can kill faith. We have a responsibility and commission to bring the Kingdom everywhere. We can do that – yet, we are to be wise in the close relationships and environments we choose. Choose those that encourage our faith.

TOXIC=POISONOUS

When we persist in remaining, we become ill, unhappy, burdened; we become dazed, confused, and we cannot become the person God created us to be. We lose sight of our own identity, which is long, slow, death.

Jesus told the Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really my disciples. THEN you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ (John 8:31,32). We can easily recognise when we are holding to teaching that does not come from Jesus, as it does not set us free. In fact it restricts us. The longer we remain in it, however, the harder that is to spot.

Another verse in which He talks about His teaching and way of life, and how it should make us feel, is in Matthew 11:25-30. His way is light, it is gentle and humble, restful, yet powerful, and it is freedom – whether we find ourselves in hard places or not.

SEEK HIS KINGDOM FIRST

We are called to worship God above all else and to put His Kingdom first. This means that if we are pacifying those around us and we are receiving the authority of their opinions in our lives before His, then we are putting them first.

This is not kindness nor love. Kindness and love are not exercised through pacifying people. They are expressed through speaking truth in love, kindly. They are expressed through good and wholesome, interactive relationships where we give and take, and allow one another to be who we are created to be. Seek relationships where you can speak honestly and at the same time receive criticism well, because you know it is toward your healing and development. This takes practice!

BOUNDARIES: FOR OUR GROWTH NOT OUR RESTRICTION

Our growing up in God requires our ability to say ‘No’. If those around us, or those we are connected to in what we falsely call a relationship, are not building us up, loving us genuinely without strings, in fact they are doing quite the opposite: requiring our submission, our obedience, or subtly undermining who we are in Christ, then it is time to set a boundary that puts them as far away as possible. We need to say ‘No thank you’ when they offer us their advice or friendship. We need to kindly lay a line down that is a ‘no cross zone’ to family members who do this to us.

By doing so, we are loving them as we love ourselves – one of the ten commandments. We are graciously offering them an opportunity to realise what they are doing. Many do not recognise their behavior before it is too late (even we can fall into that trap – keep tabs on ourselves through right relationships!). This gives them a chance to change, and seek help if they need to.

It is important to stick to our decision, unless there is clear and confirmed expression of real repentance and desire to seek our good  – no strings attached.

This journey needs support from others who have done the same, experienced mentors or relationships with those in the family of Christ who understand.

God give you courage along your journey,

Martina Davis, 13 March 2018.

 

Can These Bones Live?

The question I seek to ask in these blog posts and in my book is, what is most precious? Do we believe it is possible to obtain that in our lifetime? In essence, is abundant life a reality? Can I come alive to that which is most precious? And, how do I come alive?

Jesus says in John 10.10, ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ The devil, the thief, may well have come and taken from you physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and removed all your willpower to take them back. Yet Jesus, when you have given Him your life, fills you with His promised Holy Spirit who gives you the power, the will, to receive and to do all that He promises and commands. Tap into His power, not your own.

MORE Painting October 2017-1

What are the waves that have hit you and shaken the bones in your body or your life, or that have threatened to overwhelm you? Over the past four weeks we have faced the partial and sudden loss of field of vision in my right eye, and the process of uncovering the causes, with all the attendant fears. It has been a case of choosing what thoughts we think, how we believe, and to have faith in a good Father. We found out last night, Shrove Tuesday, that so much of what was predicted has not come to pass and that the results are much more favourable than we were first told. Over the 3.5 weeks of hospital visits and waiting, a group of 27 friends were pushing these boulders out of the way alongside us.

I and my husband have chosen to live life to the full and not to be concerned about what might happen in the future. We know our God as a good Father. We still believe also for full and complete healing.

To some blind men, Jesus said after he had taken them aside privately: ‘Do you believe that I am able do this?’ (Matt 9:28NIVUK italics mine). They did not hesitate to say: ‘Yes, Lord.’ What is our answer? Today, on Ash Wednesday at the start of Lent, I want to challenge us to into a quiet place with Him to answer His question. What is it that stops you from overcoming the habits that hinder you, the thoughts that surround you, or the ill-health that plagues you? Do you have an inner core belief that it is possible to access the most precious Kingdom of God where there is abundant life in the here and now, available to you – whatever your surrounding circumstances?

Today we have an opportunity for fresh thinking. Rather than fixing our minds, bodies and spirits on what we need to stop for Lent, let’s open them to the freedom that Christ promises us, to allow the Truth to set us free! Jesus told us that if we ‘hold to His teaching’, we are His disciples – and as we do so, we will come to know the Truth, which will set us free. Knowing the Truth sets us free in body, mind and spirit. (See John 8:31,32 NIVUK).

MORE Painting October 2017

In my book The Posture Principle, I describe how to position ourselves to receive from Him and develop this relationship where we are brought into the Truth He promises will set us free. I speak from my own experiences, disciplines and practice, and though I have given basics for a  three week study, there are deeper and more prolonged pathways that take time. We can take that leap of faith and free-fall into the Father’s arms in Jesus. At that point, He takes us on a journey with Him and we discover that, yes, these ‘bones’ – ourselves – can be revived.

©Martina Davis : all text, paintings and photography, and quotes from The Posture Principle (published December 2017) are mine. The Posture Principle is available on http://www.amazon.com, http://www.amazon.co.uk, and http://www.nantenterprises.com/grace-creativity . It is also available on Kindle.

I will be speaking at The Mustard Seed bookshop in Marlborough, UK on 17th April 2018.

 

 

What’s Your Backbone?

We have been told that we are living in a world to which we do not belong, as citizens of the heavenly Kingdom. As a result, we will experience resistance, misunderstanding, and difficulties (see John 15:19). Jesus promised that He would always be with us, but He did not promise an easy life. We are called to be light in the darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5). We need to know what we treasure most. More importantly, we need to understand how to carry that, long-term.

When the storms of life hit, and we are buffeted, what is it that holds us upright? What are the vertebrae in our backbone formed out of? What are the beliefs and the disciplines that we have strengthened, exercised, stretched, before the storm raged? This question will tell you whether you will stand firm. Do we believe that God is good? At all times? Do we know that sickness and disaster are not from Him, but from the one who kills, steals and destroys who is His enemy, the devil? Do we know who is first in our lives? Do we regularly take moments to ask the Holy Spirit to check our focus?

At times, building these principles, these habits and these practices into our lives seems pointless, insignificant and boring. Sometimes we may buckle under and neglect them. It is a training programme for running the race well. In my book, The Posture Principle, I speak of the 12 individual vertebrae in the thoracic spine. I also write about the curve in our spine, the ‘lordosis’, which I equate to intimacy and relationship with our Father God. This curve is what keeps all else in place.

We will have times placed before us that will build the strength of these, and times when their strength is tested and we can celebrate those. There will also be many times we fall, or fail. It depends how we face those times, whether we are ‘those who learn from our mistakes’ (Mark Iles).

Father is gracious and good. He will, if we are listening, prompt us to keep on, keep up and hold up. He knows us, He knows our hearts. He loves us as His children and He loves it when our eyes are upon Him, and He loves us when they are not. It is our choice. We have the Holy Spirit within us, who can do all things through us and for us, that we cannot do alone. We never go into legalism when we are dependent upon Him. Our focus comes out of love not rules.

When troubles come and scour our life-beach, Father is there. He stands guard and will not let His child fall. We can help this, by using the principles and practices He teaches, to build our lives on the Rock.

Pembrokeshire January 2018-3

The upside-down Kingdom of God isn’t based on performance, rules and religion. It is brought to earth by sons and daughters. God our Father – ‘Abba’, as Jesus called Him – expects us to be ‘shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves’ – for He is sending us out ‘like sheep among wolves’. Yet He needs us to be childlike to become mature; extravagant yet self-controlled; letting go to take hold; stopping to move forward; risking to love; resting to work; powerful in extravagance; weak in being strong.

STRENGTHEN YOUR BACKBONE. Know who your God is. Believe who you are, who He says you are. Spend time. It is worth it. Then, you will rise high above the storm, safe in Father’s arms, safe with Jesus. You will win, as a warrior of intimacy. This is what we are called to.

©Martina Davis : all text and photography, which also includes quotes from The Posture Principle, published December 2017, available on http://www.amazon.com, http://www.amazon.co.uk, and http://www.nantenterprises.com/grace-creativity .

This is written during a particularly challenging life-test for me, which only increases my conviction that time spent before is time spent well. The intimacy and closeness of Father never fails, it is wonderful to get to know Him even deeper. Do comment about yours and what I have written here.  I will be speaking at The Mustard Seed bookshop in Marlborough, UK on 17th April 2018.

‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.’ Jesus in Matthew 7:24.

Pembrokeshire January 2018-2

 

Esther 4:14

We are called to position ourselves to understand fully who we are, in order to take our stand in times such as these. All of us have a role on this earth, and our Father God is so eager to help us into it.

In my book published this December, called The Posture Principle, I share twelve principles to help you, using five keys I have learned in my own life. These are spread over a period of three weeks, during which you go deep into God, listen, and build intimacy with Him. We are called, first and foremost, into a close and loving relationship with our Father God. Without that, we accomplish nothing. That is our starting place for the whole of life.

I also keep us aware that God usually calls the broken, the weak, and those who have had no voice. Esther was one who had no voice. She was promoted to the king’s court, as Queen. Her voice delivered a whole nation. Read about it in the Book of Esther in the Bible! In Esther 4:14, she was given a choice. Her choice meant life or death for her and for her whole nation.

We have no less a calling, for our King and Kingdom. So come, learn, meditate on truths, and find out principles to practice that lead you into all truth (John 8.31,32). This short starter post is a taster for what is to come….

You can purchase the book itself to help you on the journey, via Paypal, by going to:

https://www.nantenterprises.com/grace-creativity

I may post more often than monthly. I love to write and I love to help.

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Esther 4:14 ‘For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?’ NIV