A plea to Scotland

imageDear Scotland,

I’m not Scottish (although my Nans would be quick to say that I do have Scottish heritage) neither would I call myself English (only for the Football and Rugby), because I have always proudly called myself British. I am not going to pretend to understand all the politics or economics of the current debate for Scottish independence. When the referendum was first announced my immediate thoughts went to what would our flag look like without The Saltire. To be honest, I didn’t really even take it seriously. I still even struggle to explain the difference between Great Britain and the United Kingdom. However over recent months, weeks and days my heart has been stirring to say a few things about our Union.

1. Family.

We love you, Scotland. We love who you are. We love what you bring to the family table. Yes in the past and probably still now the English have unfairly played the big brother role, but all little brothers grow up. Siblings fight. Siblings are different. They behave differently. But they are still family. Even when they grow up and have families of their own, they are still one, and still have one family name.

2. Humility.

To be honest, I want to apologise to you for all the patronising comments telling you that you need us. That Scotland can’t survive without the Union. The truth be told, I believe the opposite. We are the ones who need you. We want you Scotland. Without you we will be incomplete. You carry a uniqueness that is amazing. And we want it!

3. Unity.

I don’t like the independent spirit. I love freedom. I love independence. But I truly despise the independent spirit. It is something that I believe has infiltrated our culture. We don’t like relying on one another. We like doing things ourselves. Humans don’t really like being vulnerable. But relationship, true relationships command vulnerability.

The world has many problems. I believe standing together, working together, tackling issues together has to be the way forward.

I love our name: United Kingdom. We are united. Unity is in our name. It’s part of our DNA. It was never going to be easy. But it has to be better than going into it alone.

I mean no disrespect to anyone. And at the end of the day, Scotland, you have a right to choose. And if, as latest polls suggest, you go Yes to independence, I pray blessing over you. May you prosper as a nation. May the voices of doom be proved wrong.

Things do have to change. Our Union, if it continues, will never be the same again after 18 September 2014. But just because a family has problems doesn’t mean we quit on each other. Siblings don’t divorce one another. We stick with one another through the good, the bad and the ugly.

Come on Scotland, stay with us!

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Your destiny is in your family

Yesterday I listened to this podcast from Kris Vallotton. It was amazing and spoke to my heart so deeply. My husband and I have just moved from Portugal back to our home nation of England. God clearly and pretty obviously told us to come home. And within a few months of Him speaking, we are now back in England. 

We are hugely blessed. My husband has an amazing job which enables us to live anywhere. We could live anywhere. But we wanted to find our family. Above it all, we wanted to find a place where we know we will walk into our destiny because we have found our family. A family where we can love and be loved, and be a covenant people.

Ruth refused to leave Naomi. She refused to pursue her destiny above that of relationship. But in choosing relationship over all else, she walks into her destiny, marries Boaz, and their child becomes the grandfather of King David, and ancestor to Jesus. What a destiny.

God has lead us to an amazing church family. It was our only consideration in our move. Family. True family bares real fruit. Intimacy with God and with one another.

I encourage you to listen to this talk from Kris and be blessed and encouraged by it. 

Renewed Mind

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I have heard countless sermons on the renewing of the mind. I know Romans 12:2 inside out. But over recent weeks I have come to realise once again, how key and fundamental the renewed mind is. 

As one of my heroes of the faith says, ‘The mind is either at war with God or it is being renewed. There is no middle ground.’ Bill Johnson is 100% correct.  Mind renewal is an active thing. I know I must keep continuing to do this. To pursue for a renewed mind. 

My earthly perspective does not matter. Our Father’s perspective does. His is real. As Bill says, ‘What is the will of God? On earth as it is in heaven. If it doesn’t exist there, it’s not supposed to exist here. If it does exist there, it’s supposed to exist here.’

Today a close friend and I sat in the peaceful Botanical Gardens in Porto, talking, praying and encouraging one another to pursue this renewed mind. It encourages faith and releases the impossible into being. 

I encourage you today to fill your mind with Kingdom reality. It changes everything. 

Garfo Torto – Vila do Conde

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My husband, my in-laws and I stumbled across this restaurant in Vila do Conde back in June, and I cannot believe it has taken me so long to write a review about this place. We went there for the lunch menu and what can I say? It was amazing! The choice of menu was great and of good value. You can opt for sushi or something more typical to the region, and both options were to a brilliant standard.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our meal, and recommend for visitors to Porto to take a day trip to Vila do Conde. It is a pretty town with nice beaches, and with a trip to Garfo Torto, it would make a lovely day out! 4.5/5 for me!

http://www.garfotorto.pt/contactos.php

Av. Marquês Sá da Bandeira,
4480-916 Vila do Conde

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Introducing… Will Johnson and friends

Will Johnson is my cousin. He’s about to get married to Miriam Reid.

My husband’s friend, Jon Caws, is a quality drummer.

All three of them have joined forces and written a fantastic congregational worship song.

It’s so good, it’s been entered into a song competition, and must surely win!

Vote!

willandmim

What does love look like?

LOVE

 

Today I was challenged to question what love looks like for me. I have already written about how God has stirred my heart for the unloved in our city. And to be honest, I was feeling pretty good about what my husband and I were beginning to do.  We’re beginning to build relationships with people we would normally never mix with – talking, praying, serving and blessing them. Last week, two amazing women of God in my church and I decided to spend our Thursday mornings in the city centre – just looking to see what God wanted to do. We met some wonderful people. We prayed for healing and wholeness. Fed a lovely old lady who often has to resort to begging. It was good. One of the guys came to our Sunday meeting – very drunk, but we were able to love him, and pray with him. 

Today, we returned to the same area of the city. We had lots of conversations, gave out home-made cupcakes, other food and drink and prayed with various people.  It was a great time sharing the love of our God. But it was the last woman we spoke with that challenged me most. She was drunk, sitting on the ground at the Rotunda da Boa Vista. She was very dirty. Didn’t speak coherently. Her face was covered in a purple colour – to be honest we weren’t sure what that was. Anyway, we talked with her, gave her some food and prayed with her. She then wanted to hug and kiss us all. To be honest, I didn’t want to. But I had Heidi Baker’s words in my head…’love looks like something’.  This was getting in the dirt in my city. We allowed her to hug and kiss us. She was smiling, despite her situation, I believe we reflected the love of God to her. Who knows the last time someone had stopped and given her a hug. 

I was undone. My heart ached. I had tears running down my cheeks. This is what love looks like. It looks like hugging a dirty, drunk, homeless person. It looks like giving out food. It looks like giving your time to people. It looks like standing in the cold listening to people. It is messy. It is uncomfortable. But it is real. It is love. 

I have to have more of God’s love and grace. Daddy God would you increase my capacity to love the loveless. They need to know their Father. They need to meet their creator. Their best friend. Their lover. Their comfort. Their joy. Their healer.

My prayer for me, for my husband, for my friends, for my church, for the church is that we would LOVE. Abundantly. Overwhelming. Passionately. In Jesus name. 

May Jesus’ name be lifted high as we press on and go….

This was written by my beautiful mozambican sister.Check out her blog http://hannahrinnay.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/584/She is able to put into words what lays on my heart.

That moment in time, in the summer of 2011. Though it was nearly 3 months, it feels like a moment in time.

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It was a divine appointment of destiny. Young 20 and 30-something world-changers, history-writers, earth-shakers were gathered by the hand of God, from every corner of the earth. Little flames from all over the globe were stirred up, then thrown together, and what resulted was a gigantic explosion of FIRE that only fed itself as it grew and grew into an all consuming and blazing flame of destiny that would sweep away anything in its’ way.

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This fire was then released all over the earth as we were all launched out to every corner of the earth. Some to be doctors, lawyers, models, stay-at-home moms, musicians, businessmen and businesswomen, dancers, writers, painters, creaters, dreamers.

It was a summer of dreaming. Dreaming God’s dreams with Him. Seeing with new eyes. Being taken up to a level where our entire perspective was shifted.

Never before in my life have the words “For such a time as this” been more real.

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The LORD of hosts gathered His children from across the globe, to get us together, blazing with His holy love and passion, to release us into His purpose and plan for us as an army of forerunners showcasing the beauty and glory of God.

And what place did He choose to be the setting for this? A giant, kingly mansion? A huge, ritzy convention center? A grand hotel?

No, He chose the dirt.

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He chose to place us all right beside the poor and broken in Mozambique, Africa.
The tools He used to shape us and form us for our lifetime of kingdom work? Dirt, poverty, brokenness.

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He gathered us to tell us “You’re the ones.” He gathered us to give us His vision for our lives, that we were the ones, the chosen children of the King to carry His message to the world, to rescue the dying, to find the lost, to carry the broken, to gather the harvest. He gathered us there in the dirt to tell us that the harvest is ripe, and we are the laborers.

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DESTINY oozed forth with every word of life from the Lord, through preachers, through worship, and through the lips of our fellow comrades in this army on the rise.

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Tonight I can’t stop thinking about that summer. I can’t believe God chose ME to be part of it. I can’t believe that I was hand-picked by the King of Kings to step into a story so much bigger and greater than mine, and that I get to live in this story every day.

It’s not fantasy, it’s reality. This is real. I am called to change the world, shake the globe, write history, and see heaven invade earth. It’s my destiny to see the Lord in all His glory. It’s my destiny to walk hand-in-hand with Him as He brings His kingdom down to earth. It’s my destiny to be a pioneer, pressing on into uncharted territory, blazing a trail of glory, passion and fire. It’s my destiny to be a pilgrim and a stranger in the earth, because I belong to another world.

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I am blood-bought, and heaven is my home. It’s my destiny to see God’s kingdom come, and His will be done, on earth just like it is in heaven. I am ransomed, redeemed, called and now I go. I run the race that has been set before me, and when I fall, I don’t give up. I let Him pick me up and then I keep running.

That one summer. It changed my life. It changed my heart. I will never be the same. We were all changed. Together, as a whole. It bound us together as sons and daughters of the Most High. It bound us with bonds that will never be broken.

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That one summer was all it took to awaken me to REALITY: That I am royalty. That I was made for greatness. That I have a high calling. And that I must answer it.

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