More intention, less obligation

A new year, a new decade, a new beginning. A clean canvas to fill. 358 days to paint within. What colours and word are you going to choose for the painting of this next chapter? What will you make space for within the framework of this year?

Beginnings hold potential; potential to transition you into a new trajectory in life; potential for blooming. It often takes boldness to begin, for beginnings can feel both bare and brutal, big and beautiful, blurry and bright all at the same time.

Whether your beginning to this new year feel beautiful, blurry, or brutal (or something completely else), I pray you're awake to your heart's desire.

One of my desires for the new year, and even decade, is to live more out of intention than obligation.

An obligation is defined as a duty, a debt (of gratitude for a service or favour) and being bound morally and legally to someone or something. Obligation is not all bad. The bible speaks about how we are obligated to:

  • Take care of our families (1 Tim 5:4 AMP talks about it both being a religious duty and a natural obligation).
  • Speak in a manner that reflects our fear of God and profound respect for His precepts (James 3:10 AMP).
  • Walk and conduct ourselves just as Jesus walked and conducted Himself if we claim Him as God and Saviour (1 John 2:6 AMP - moral obligation).
  • Follow the Spirit's promptings instead of the flesh's demands (Romans 8:12 AMP).
  • Walk in His ways, His statutes, His commandments, His precepts, and His testimonies (1 Kings 2:3 AMP).
  • Righteousness (Romans 6:20 TPT).

Obligations keep us accountable to the ones we love; to our God and our families.

Where obligation gets unhealthy is when the vision for our own life is altered and others' agenda instead get to dictate our days. It affects our fruit and our freedom. Focus and effectiveness is rarely evident in our lives when we are dragged in different directions due to the pursuit of pleasing others:

"But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing!" Romans 13:11 MSG (my emphasis).

It's so easy to live unintentionally with no aim and just do what's demanded of us each day - to go about our errands, stay long for that birthday party because you feel obligated to, keep meeting up with a friend because you always have done it and so on. It's beautiful wanting to delight others. But when these above examples are done to earn approval or acceptance, you wear yourself out. God cares about the motive for our actions, though they look good on the outside:

"Though they fast, I will not hear their cry; and though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them [because they are done as obligations, and not as acts of loving obedience]" (my emphasis).

God doesn't wants dreadful, dutiful, dulled actions with no heart in it. He wants our loving obedience to the assignment He is waiting for us to steward. He wants our hearts, our all, surrendered before Him. He wants us focused and awake, not sidetracked by others' agendas, demands and expectations of you:

"Since we are approaching the end of all things, be intentional, purposeful, and self-controlled so that you can be given to prayer" 1 Peter 4:7 TPT (my emphasis).

He has an assignment for you this season which takes prioritisation. He wants to partner with you to give your dreams legs.

If you're up for that shift in life, I believe 2020 can be the year where you’ll live more out of intention and less out of obligation. Jesus' death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, canceling your old obligations once and for all (Heb 9,16 MSG). Therefore you can resist and refuse those who try to tie oppressive burdens of religious obligations on your back (Matthew 23:4 TPT).

Instead, by your beautiful intentions you can continue to do what brings pleasure to him (1 John 3,22 TPT). You can finish what you started last year without intentions growing stale. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can't (2 Corinthians 8:10 MSG).

As you're intentional with your time, treasure and talent this year, you'll make space for new births. It will move you out of being stuck in transition and into the trajectory for your life.

You've got what it takes to finish it up, so get to it. Your heart's been in the right place all along.

Whether you intentionally begun this new year or you have stumbled into it, the matter of fact is that it has begun! And though what you have intended to build into this year seem insignificant, know that the Lord delights in small beginnings and asks us not to despise them.  

Remember the promise that “[...]Though your beginning was insignificant, yet your end will greatly increase Job 8:7 AMP (my emphasis).

More intention, less obligation in Jesus' name.

Walk in His liberty.

All the best,

Sandra Hultén.

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Picture: Sophie Vestergård (instagram-handle: @sophvest).

Retreat to advance

Have you ever felt stressed with the thought of Christmas approaching?

I think most of us have! I know I need heart and soul-prep for me to step into the lead-up to Christmas with a healthy mindset amidst the busy. I need small spaces for my soul to breathe. I need to retreat in order to advance. The definition of advance is to move forward in a purposeful way. That's what I want; purpose in my every step.

The challenge to tackle is, Christmas has been the time of year with most ministry activity and outpouring the last five years for me. For three years, it looked like December night shifts and Christmas dinners for women working in the sex industry. The last couple of years, it has been through leading our social justice department of church, Citycare, and setting the Christmas table for vulnerable people in our backyard.

Through trial and error, I've experienced how it can be a season not overwhelmed with the schedule, but overwhelmed with Jesus!

If you have the same experience of Christmas being an intense season of outpouring for others, this might help you:

Firstly, devote yourself

Have you settled in your heart that you are devoted to this season of your life? Have you counted the cost and the pain and discomfort that comes with sacrificing your own comfort momentarily so that others can be comforted?

As my pastor Thomas Hansen so wisely says, it is easy to find excuses for why it's not worth it. For me, a few obvious excuses not to make it a season about others would be that it's exam season, it's "hygge" season, I just want to focus on my own family etc. However, that's not how I want to live my life, 'cause there would then always be an excuse to find.

Therefore, it's important to settle your personal why before stepping into a new season of intentional, increased outpouring, whatever that looks like for you. What's your personal revelation of your why? Count the cost.

Each one on our Citycare team has their personal why. Our collective why this year is our belief that we are paving the way for generations to come to be part of a healthy church that have a natural overflow of love and care for others in our cities. Our collective belief is that our 'yes' will shape church history and set an example of church that's about rising up and daring to care for our backyard.

That kind of faith and vision is something worth devoting ourselves to.

Jesus modelled ultimate devotion when he went on the cross for the vision of being in unhindered relationship with YOU. He suffered great momentary pain on the cross, and  volunteered to do it! Mind-blowing. Therefore, I know I want to follow His example and volunteer myself and sign up for helping others this Christmas despite the excuses that are easy to find. I can give up my comfort momentarily to comfort others this Christmas ❤

Secondly, put on the armour of light

Be prepared spiritually and practically for the warfare that comes with advancing and going forward. Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and put on the armour of light! (Romans 13:12 NIV)

What weekly routines are you planning to make the Christmas season good? Is it a weekly one hour walk, daily journaling, a morning smoothie, getting your sleep in, remembering a Sabbath day? What does your prep look like? 

Part of being prepared spiritually is protecting unity if you're part of a team you're serving with.

We recently gathered together as a Citycare key team, knowing that unity is key to what we're trying to accomplish at this time of year, and any time of year really. God commands a blessing where there is unity, and we need His blessing. Knowing we've been put together for such a time as this to serve the lost, hurting and broken and put the love of God on display through our kindness in action, we also know ahead of time the enemy will try to come against our common pursuit. When we are aware of his schemes, we can navigate through the small foxes that tries to spoil our bond of peace. We can do what's in our power to not give the enemy a foothold by quickly clearing out misunderstanding and offenses amongst the team, and we can fiercely protect unity by praying over one another.

Thirdly, keep on running
 "Isn’t it obvious that all runners on the racetrack keep on running to win, but only one receives the victor’s prize? Yet each one of you must run the race to be victorious" 1 Corinthians 9:24 TPT.
We are committed as a team to not stop halfway through Christmas and then think our race is won. We will refuse to celebrate before the victory is secured and our task is done. We want to keep pressing and knocking down the opposition and obstacles until we are out of the racetrack.
No races last forever. No battles do either. Just see history. Even the world wars had a beginning and an end. Your battle season will end too. Just don't celebrate your win before the battle is over 'cause that will get the enemy an upper hand. Don't be fooled thinking you getting one knock-down means the battle is finished. That was just a win on the way. Stay in it 'till you get the prize... and obviously our Christian sanctification is for a lifetime, not only for a Christmas season. Here I am using the scripture and illustration to drive home the point that there is hope in the midst of an intense season, and that other seasons will come around as they always do, if we stay in step with the Spirit.

My prayer our own team & yours is that we will not entertain what compromises our choice to:

"Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing our labour is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV.

My prayer is that we all think about: "What can I personally do to contribute to a sense of unity where I'm planted?"

My prayer is that we will endeavour to see the individual through the eyes of Jesus, and knowing our sacrifice, when done in obedience, and placed in the hands of Jesus, will be worth it:

We will not grow weary in doing good 'cause in due time, we will reap a harvest if we don't faint (Galatians 6:9 NIV).

Let's be these prudent people Passion translation describes:

"A prudent person with insight foresees danger coming and prepares himself for it. But the senseless rush blindly forward and suffer the consequences.

 Laying your life down in tender surrender before the Lord will bring life, prosperity, and honor as your reward" Proverbs 22:3-5 TPT.

In the commentary to these verses, it says wise people solve problems before they happen. Let that be our endeavour. There are beautiful promises attached to and unlocked with our surrender to what lies before us in the steps ordered by the Lord - life, prosperity and honour as our reward.

Your labour is not in vain, dear one. Be encouraged! Jesus paved the way for you and I. Let's pave it forward with Him this Christmas.

Let's devote ourselves, put on the armour of light & let's keep on running 'till we get that victor's prize. When we retreat, we can prepare to advance rightly with purpose in every step.

His steadfast grace will keep us firm and fixed.


Dance to the tune of His revelation 💃🏼

Have you ever found your life going into autopilot? You wake up in the morning, eat the same breakfast as usual, go to the same workplace, meet up with the same friends? Rhythms and routines are great in life and necessary to put down roots and be established.

However, sometimes stuff we have done for a long time just don't serve our life anymore. It's like life begs more from us... This could be our soul yearning for a new level of devotion to keep us well fed in the Word of God even though our current devotion has been working fine for us until now. It could be a fine-tuning needed in areas of diet, exercise, friendships, family investment, job situations and on and on it goes. The scenarios are countless really.

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It's like when walking barefoot has served our lives perfectly in the Summer days but if we keep walking barefoot as the weather changes, our feet will turn blue and cold. A change in the season calls for a change in how we carry ourselves. To not hurt ourselves, get sick and slow ourselves down, we need to put on some shoes. The same applies to our spiritual and emotional prosperity. What worked in a previous season won’t necessarily work in a new one.

I find adjusting is key to staying flexible, fresh and fired up for what God has for our lives in the current season.

Definitions of the word 'adjust' is to alter or to move (something) slightly in order to achieve the desired fit, appearance, or result, to regulate, fine-tune and to calibrate. Our life needs all of this on-going. ⬆️
How do we adjust accordingly when a fine-tuning is needed in an area of life to continue dancing to the tune of His revelation?

1 - We listen to the Holy Spirit 

Why is this necessary?

Since God is the one who changes times and seasons, who He removes kings and establishes kings, (Daniel 2:21) we want to be people who are constantly tuned into the gospel message and who dance to the tune of His revelation, like King David did. (Psalm 119:70 MSG) When He changes the season, we want to change with Him. We are kept safe as we listen to Him, readily recognize what he wants from us, and quickly respond to it.

We are not the only one who pays attention to the seasons in order to stay aligned with our purpose. Certain birds do the same as they migrate to warmer, foreign skies during winter, and for them it is a matter of life and death.  We may not apply the same life-and death urgency to our season shifts as birds but we can sure learn from then. Their example can definitely propel us forward in adjusting accordingly to successfully walk in our new season and assignment.

How do we continue to dance to the tune of His revelation? 

2 - We change wineskins 

"And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved" Matthew 9:17 MSG.

I was sent this verse by a friend right before major transitions in my life; stepping into marriage and a new ministry. The old ways of doing things wouldn't work in the new God had for me. I needed a new mindset, a new resilience, and a new level of devotion to Jesus to sustain the growth and blessing He was adding to my life.

The ability to adjust and adapt is something we can totally do! Why? Because we have a High Priest who is modeling this by being perfectly adapted to our needs (Hebrews 7:26 AMP).  Let's in response align and go with Him into the adjustment that's required to receive the new He has for us. Let's test all things carefully so we can recognise what is good, and hold firmly to it.

How do we continue to dance to the tune of His revelation? 

3 - We do what we can, not what we can’t.

In transition, not all things are in our own control. How people perceive our change, or the doors that open for us are examples of that. It's not up to us. But what we can do is regulate our heart, and as we regulate our heart, our hand will follow!

Even if your situation does not consist of a major transition, our hearts need regular heart-checks to stay diligent and not grow weary with what you have already been given to steward. This is necessary to keep dancing in tune to His revelation and will keep the assignment and commitment to it fresh.

"So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go do it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands2 Corinthians 8:10 MSG.

To dance to the tune of His revelation, we need to know our season. Once the commitment is clear, we can do what we can, and leave what we can't up to God.

We can do what the musicians did when they were singing in the book of Nehemiah as the wall in Jerusalem was dedicated, and praise was sung to God. It says that "the musicians were under the king's orders, which regulated their daily activity." (Nehemiah 11:23 MSG)

Let's in the same way let our daily activity be regulated by our King's marching orders! Let our hearts be aligned with Him and are hands will automatically follow. We are most safe living in His will, in His way, for His glory.

Let's adjust by listening to the Holy Spirit, by changing wineskins and by doing what we can, not what we can't as we regulate our heart and hand to dance to the tune of His revelation.



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Foundations or stepping stones?

"How are you feeling 'project human' with the thought of a demon whispering you in the ear that everything is temporal, and nothing is supposed to be repeated?"

This is one of the confronting lines of a book called "Projektmennesket" (project human) of Anders Fogh Jensen I'm currently studying for my Masters in Diaconia. The author describes our current society as a project society all about saying yes to as much as possible. It's about constantly optimising one's chances for getting a new project, whether work-related or in our free time. This new normal in society demands endless initiative from each individual to pursue the next project in order to not land in a place of unemployment or boredom. The spirit of project society is 'next' and 'new' while repetition is the enemy. Instead, there is a constant search for openings when what is often needed is boundaries.

When rarely no one is resisting this pace, life becomes about keeping up on the threadmill of the thrill of a new exciting project. Overbookings become a way of life. Because there is no collective opposition to the race and pace, there are instead individual breakdowns manifesting as stress, depression and burnout. When project society does not think in foundations but in stepping stones, it has a price.

Whether you agree totally in this author's description of today's society or not, I bet you can recognise some of the dynamics...

Do you feel caught up in all this madness sometimes? Ready for some more rest, rhythms and repetitions instead of constantly chasing the next stepping stone for the life you are building? I am with you. 🙋

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To build for a lasting impact, foundations are key. What's your foundation? Jesus talks about foundations' significance this way:

"Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakeable foundation. When the rains fell and the flood came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.

But everyone who hears my teaching and does not apply it to his life can be compared to a foolish man who built his house on sand. When it rained and rained and the flood came, with wind and waves beating upon his house, it collapsed and was swept away." Matt. 8,24 TPT.

This is the cure for anxiety, to apply His transformative words to our lives in order to have a strong, firm and unshakeable foundation in Him.

Another illustration on foundations is the act of filling up a see-through vase. The vase is a picture of our life. First, the vase is filled up with sand which symbolises hobbies, cleaning, phone calls, emails, sport etc. It's all the stuff that needs to get done for our daily lives to be sorted. After filling the vase up with sand, stones are laid on top to symbolise substantials like bible, prayer, community, worship and church. It will quickly be evident it can't all be stuffed in the vase. It's cramped, over the top and overwhelming. But if the order is changed and the foundational stones are laid in the bottom first, all the sand, symbolising less important things, seems to find its place, even with the complete same amount of ingredients. This is the mystery of life. The upside down kingdom. The way of Jesus.

Have you ever experienced that what you start with really matters? What's most important to you?

I pray it will be our reality that as we continuously above all constantly chase after the realm of God's kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him, all these less important things will be given to us abundantly. Matt. 6,33 TPT.


Let's not only adapt to society's frantic search for stepping stones but let's be more intentional about the invisible: roots, foundations and our inner heart from where life flows.

Let's build wisely together on the rock that is higher than us, remaining in Him so that what we build last into eternity.

Bless you,


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When life treats you tight

Have you ever been in a tight spot?

Have you experienced a tight financial situation or have you felt tight on friends? Have your to-do lists and deadlines been so tight that it feels like they are teasing you and about to squeeze the life out of you? Well, no matter what kind of 'tight' you are experiencing, our tolerance sure gets tested when the treadmill of life seem to treat us terrible or tight trials arrive.


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All this tightness we can experience can threaten our trust in Jesus or totally trash our trust. Thanksgiving becomes tight. The thrill of being alive becomes tight when we have a hard time imagining the transformation that's truly possible for our situation. The tenacity we once had turns tiring.

Synonyms to the word 'tight' are words like unyielding, solid, compact, compressed, stretched, strained and stressed. Life can definitely feel that way.

It did for me in the Summer of 2017. My sense of overwhelm was enormous with the responsibility of leading a newly started department of church, building a new marriage, intense health issues arising, having to move apartments and on top of that finishing a four year education, and not having the vision of what awaited me afterwards. In all of this, I felt God pruning and taking away stuff in my life; it was an excavation of my life. God was tilting the soil of my heart which exposed all sorts of ugly stuff in my character. I felt a spiritual battle going on for my future and I felt like I had no energy to fight it. The tightness was tough. And for me, I was dancing around the edge of burnout.

So what do we do when life throws that at us? What's the good news in all of this?

The word 'tight' has synonyms like to fix, fasten, and be closed firmly; hard to move, undo, or open. I believe that's the exact kind of TIGHT that GOD is holding you with!  He is holding tight to you in this hour - his firm hands are strong and not letting go of you. It may look like you're surrounded, but you're surrounded by Him!

"If anyone stands in your way, if anyone tries to get you out of the way, Know this: Your God-honored life is tightly bound in the bundle of God-protected life; But the lives of your enemies will be hurled aside as a stone is thrown from a sling." (1 Sam 25,29 MSG)

Remember He is fighting the battle for you. Even when the path you know God has for you seems rough, don't doubt that He is holding you tight to Himself, even when the trials seem to hold you tighter. Call out to Jesus, and let this be your testimony, like it was David's:

"When I call, give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room." (Psalm 4,1 MSG)

What kind of room do you need in your life? Room to have fun, to rest, to create, to unload some burdens, just to breathe? Ask Him for that and see Him do the divine exchange He is so famous for doing; giving us His rest for our heaviness, His joy for our mourning and His comfort for our angst.

God brought me out of a tight place that Summer and into a revelation and sense that He was holding me even tighter to me than what was coming against me, and it gave me room to experience joy and rest again.

Side note is, I do still feel overwhelmed every day! There is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But what I am learning is to be more overwhelmed by Jesus than whatever task is at hand, the art of bending without breaking and to rejoice in getting to live a big life and embrace the crazy that comes with it.

Can I encourage you, when you feel like life is tight, keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions through those circumstances, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. (1 Cor 16:13-14 MSG.) Let the lines of purpose in our lives never grow slack, tightly tied as they are to our future in heaven, kept taut by hope. (Col. 1,3.5 MSG)

This prayer from King David I've made own, and you can do that as well <3

"With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad. I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right. Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight! just the way you promised.

Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to. Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds; they tried to sell me a bill of goods, but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel. Let those who fear you turn to me for evidence of your wise guidance. And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high." (Psalm 119,73-80 MSG)

Hold tight to Jesus. He is holding tight to you!



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"Head and not the tail" pt. 2 - Head towards your promised land 👉🏻

(For pt. 1 in the "Head and not the tail"-series, click here.)

Have you ever been in a frustrating situation, dreaming yourself away to another reality? Most likely you've already experienced this in 2018.

That was me a couple of days ago. Let me set the scene for you. I was waiting on delayed public transport and in that extra hour spent on the station, I saw a bus driver being kicked and screamed at and then having to continue his work teary eyed. A gang of guys were also making waiting passengers feel unsafe with their angry behaviour. Minus degrees did not help the situation either. Topping the situation off with being a woman on an empty station late at night made it plain uncomfortable.

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As I was freezing and going in circles in a seven eleven-shop to keep warm, I looked to heaven and desperately wanted it to come down in the midst of my frustrating circumstance. It was like heaven bent over and whispered back: "Freeze frame this moment for it will not always be like this. 🖼 To be the head and not the tail is the desire I have for my people."

The bible speak about it like this:

"The Lord will give you great prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open for you His good treasure house, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow.

 The Lord will make you the head (leader) and not the tail (follower); and you will be above only, and you will not be beneath, if you listen and pay attention to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today, to observe them carefully. Deut. 28,11-14 AMP.

The purpose of Deuteronomy was to provide guidelines for the new covenant community - the generation of Israel entering the promised land - to enable them to live obediently before God and to carry out His intentions for them. In the same way, we will be prepared for the promised land God has for us as we obediently follow his guidelines above. If this is not fully your reality yet, don't despair:

Do not get weary in the waiting

There is a season for everything, and a process until a promise is prepared to prosper in your life. Perspective, knowing that what we are sowing now is not in vain, is crucial. If you are hustling several jobs, paying off debt and just getting on with what you know is right for building the right foundation, good on you. God does not despise small beginnings. He delights to see the work begin, and so should we. He delights in seeing you put healthy habits in place over hurried hustling. Gain a healthy irresistable desire for His promises to become part of your life. And then hold the tension. Because where you are now is significant for that future to become present tense. Praise Him in the middle. Build your vision from the ground up. Steward all that's in your hand the best you know how to, and then watch what God will do.

Freeze frame this moment

How does your life look if you took a freeze frame now? What beautiful lessons would leak from the photo that would be of service to your future not to forget? As God is elevating us in life, we must never forget where His rescuing grace brought us from. There are gifts inside of you that has not been fully manifested as of yet. When these gifts are brought forth, you will be the head and not the tail. Don't forget how tail-living is for when you are brought out of that, you will have to go back to that mental snapshot and remember and have compassion for those still trapped in that mindset. Your testimony will be a bridge others can walk on over to the other side. As they cross the bridge by loyalty to their current assignment, they will see the promise come about and enjoy the process because they will start living in a "head mindset" long before it is a reality in their circumstances.

There will be an end to this.

Your current reality does not have to be your final destination. God has so more for you. This does not mean we won't be facing hardships anymore in our lives as we are entering our promised land. Far from that actually. We are promised by Jesus we will have trouble. But as we obediently put one foot in front of the other, walking closely with Jesus, and apply wisdom, understanding and wise counsel to the journey, our lives will prosper and in due time, we will reap a harvest. Tail-living is not where we settle when God's intention is to make us 'the head.' What your eyes have seen this far is only the beginning. Where do you need to believe, "there will be an end to this?" Is it to believe you can become an owner, not only a renter? Is it believing for a time where your passion becomes your fulltime job instead of having to make ends meet with working several jobs? The scenaries are countless, and rarely even about money. Whatever it is, listen to hope, and remember, true success is being obedient right where you are.

All my love,

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"Head and not the tail" series - Established in His ways

(Part 1 of 3)

Have you ever seen a building site like on this pic? It is often messy, grey and with time it will even be invisible as a house is built on top.  There is a sense of vision but it often takes creativity to imagine how the envisioned future building will look like. It can be easy to underestimate the foundation because of its colour and basicness. This underestimation happens both in the natural and spiritual. However, building the right foundation is essential to be established well in life!

Deuteronomy 28 is a great place to let our year be framed by. It's full of faith and desire from the heart of God for us to be the head and not the tail in life! As we dig in, I believe the depths and reality of this chapter will unfold before our eyes in 2018.

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This first chunk talks about being established. Let's dig in.

The context we are entering is that Deutoronomy is the last installment of Moses’ original writings to Israel. The events in Deutoronomy occurred over a relatively short period of time as Israel prepared to enter Canaan in 1406 BC. The book was likely written right around that time, a message from Moses to the generation of Israelites that would enter the promised land. The book is providing guidelines for the new covenant community, enabling them to live obediently to God’s intentions for them. (She Reads Truth info)

“The Lord will establish you as a people holy [and set apart] to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk [that is, live your life each and every day] in His ways. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you.” (Deut. 28,9-11 AMP)

Here are beautiful promises I believe are for you and I today, and here are also calls to obedience that are the keys that will unlock these exact promises over our life.

The bible all over actually talks about being established, so we know that it is important to our King. It talks about it in the context of establishing God's covenant, His rule and His people. The bible talk about establishing a core of disciples, establishing a firm foundation of roots, and about how salvation and power are established for all mankind.

The bible is also really clear that God's love and trusting in Him is the perfect foundation to build over lives on. (Psalm 89,1-4 MSG and Prov. 22,17-21 MSG)

Also, it tells us that the basic foundational truths are already in place. These are turning our backs on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment.

God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it! (Heb.6,3 MSG)

Your turn:

  • What could it look like for you to be established this year? Then expect God to surprise you over and above!
  • What are the “if’s” in the verses in Deut. 28 that will unlock the promises in your life?
  • How can you pursue this call to obedience today, and long-term?
  • What are those promises, and how do you believe your life would change if you saw this happen in your life to a greater extent?
  • Where do you need to start building on the rock instead of sinking sand? (Matt. 8,24)
  • Are there any places you are called to rebuild a firm foundation? (A relationship, habit, thought pattern, job situation etc.)

I pray over you for the desire and grace to live in Jesus’ ways. I pray that 2018 will be a year where people will sense there is something special about you that make them know you are royal and set apart, a daughter of the King that they shouldn’t mess with as the last verse in Deut. 28,11 talks about! I pray you will see an establishment deeper into community with the people of God this year in your life! I believe foundations will be set in your life so that you can start building this year.

Receive His steadfast grace for you today.

Let's be established in Him,


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A garden of celebration

Okay, so life is really good right now. I am blessed beyond measure and overwhelmed by God’s goodness and care for me. He has truly led me to a steady, nourishing place relationally, spiritually and emotionally.

It can scare me as well though that life is SO good. Because what now? Does it mean that God has moved on and is busy with only His children that are really struggling hard? That I am forgotten? Left to myself?

A half year ago, the ministry I am a part of, was challenging and growing me. It was a stretch to lead a volunteer team and pray and lead devotionals for prostitutes at night.

Now the same tasks and responsibilities do not demand as much energy from me anymore. Things have just become easy. I am still grateful to serve there and God is still moving. But I am sometimes bored because what stretched me before, has become a comfort zone now.

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There is definitely a danger in being comfortable and content. The danger of just going through the motions and not involving God in what I am doing. Guilt and condemnation can easily creep in because are you not you supposed to always be out of your comfort zone? And is it not supposed to always feel new and exciting when you do something as meaningful as reaching out to the prostitutes in your city?

In my restlessness and longing for more, JESUS met me afresh with His comforting peace. He reassured me about where I am in life right now and told me to just keep abiding in Him. To keep pressing in and keep on keeping on. He is not far from me even though I am in a comfortable spot right now.

He revealed to me how He is like a Gardener going through His garden, that is my life. He enjoys looking upon what He has sown there, how it has grown into flowers, and how He Himself has made dry spots into a well-watered garden. Like a Gardener watches over his garden in each season, God's gaze is ever towards me. I am the garden He rests in and tends by pruning, cultivating and producing fruit. He fills the garden up with Himself. He births and shapes ideas and visions in this garden of my heart. He Himself provides the Living Water and He is the Light. He does it all. My part of the labor is to yield and receive until I overflow.

So instead of doubting if I am in a healthy, growing place in my life, I sense the Lord's invitation to CELEBRATE! He is smiling at the flowers He has made blossom in my life.

I know, in His perfect timing, He will call me out of this comfortable place I am in and begin birthing and watering the new seeds that are already forming on the inside of me. Calling me to take new territory for the Kingdom. To risk, dream and create afresh.

“The land you are entering to take up ownership isn’t like Egypt, the land you left, where you had to plant your own seed and water it yourselves as in a vegetable garden.

But the land you are about to cross the river and take for your own is a land of mountains and valleys; it drinks water that rains from the sky. It’s a land that God, your God, personally tends—he’s the gardener—he alone keeps his eye on it all year long.” (Deutoronomy 11:10-12 MSG)

Beautiful promises here. We are not left to ourselves. This journey of life consists of both mountains and valleys. And Gardener God keeps his eye on it ALL YEAR LONG. In each season.

If you are also in an easy, comfortable season with the urge on the inside for more; God sees you too. He does not operate from a measure mindset so that He only sees the one struggling more than you. He sees both the downcast and the joyful. He sees YOU.

I pray we will invite God to design the garden of our hearts. I pray we will let God celebrate what is already flourishing in our lives. And I pray we will trust His commitment to see the seeds planted in our gardens grow up and be all it was meant to be.

Let us abide. Let us press in. We are not forgotten. God prunes us even in good times so that we may bear more fruit.

“In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” (James 1,19 MSG)

Enjoy your season! His gaze is on you.


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Yay for my Shepherd

I love the analogy of Jesus as our good Shepherd who is leading us, His sheep.

In dark valley seasons of our lives, we need a Shepherd who has gone before us - a Shepherd who floods our path with light & drives out the darkness.

I experienced one of those dark valley seasons this Summer when I went through a tough time of grief & disappointment.

The funny thing is, though, that it also became a season of deep joy because God restored the joy of my salvation in that time too!

When the Shepherd walks with us in those valley seasons, even valleys lights up because Jesus does not know anything else than being awesome - being light - being goodness personified.

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When I began to raise my eyes off the circumstances and up up up to Him during that tough season, this was what I wrote:

His eyes are like blazing fire. He is magnificent and I am proud to call Him my friend. He is my Helper, through it all.

The journey with Him is also a journey of suffering but with His comforting Spirit I gladly rejoice in the midst of it.

I know that suffering produces endurance, endurance, character, and character HOPE. I need hope desperately because hope deferred makes the heart sick.

I hope in Jesus. There is no other name.

When we let Him, these times of deep pain can become a time where we grow in our salvation. Gems of wisdom & insight can be found in the valley - treasures that will make the words of our lips a blessing despite the circumstances we face.

What we are most conscious of WILL be released.

So if we become more conscious of Jesus and those pearls of wisdom He gives us through the season, we will leak Jesus in the valleys too.

We can surely bear good fruit in every season when we know where to find comfort, & on whom to gaze upon.

It’s our choice. Do we dwell on darkness or do we actively pursue to lift our eyes to the beautiful faithfulness of Jesus in every season?

“…but I (God) will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness." (Psalm 89:33 ESV)

“ALL THE PATHS of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” (Psalm 25:10 ESV)

Let our dark valley seasons become testimonies about God’s faithfulness. Let those seasons release what overshadows us – Christ.

I’m so glad disappointments are not permanent. In deep pain it is a comfort to know that there is only 24 hours in a day.

Time on this earth is truly short & it is a theme that is confirmed again & again in Scripture - here is one of them:

“Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” (Psalm 144,4 ESV)

I think this theme of life being short is repeated because we often need to be reminded about exactly that! Life is short. That’s a comforting fact in the midst of pain.

Pain gives us a longing after heaven. An eternity in the presence of God where there will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more tears, no more pain. What a promise!

The gospel of Mark speaks greatly into the place of suffering in the life of a believer. Mark is writing to an audience, the early Christian church, who was facing enormous persecution. Jesus is their example who gives them great hope to keep persevering through it all.

Mark assured the original hearers that suffering is part of following Christ. I like Mark’s honesty ‘cause even though it sounds discouraging, it IS encouraging at the same time.

Suffering is part of God’s plan for the final victory for the kingdom of God. Through suffering Christlikeness can be formed in us that cannot be formed on the mountaintops.

“Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8,18 ESV)

The disciples could be partakers in the victory if they kept following Jesus. It speaks about this hope of glory in Mark 13,24 ESV:

“But in those days after that tribulation…they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.”

Jesus was constantly preparing his disciples for the sufferings they had to face & for His own suffering unto death too.

The suffering was not without meaning. God used the suffering for the purpose of redeeming His beloved people from captivity to sin & reverse it with freedom in Him - life to the fullest.

Jesus is still in the business of doing just that with the pain we go through!

Jesus’ times of suffering was not wasted. Even His death was not wasted. Death could not hold Him.

Surely He can redeem & resurrect our darkness too.

“If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you." (Psalm 139,11-12 ESV)

Darkness is not dark to God. Fantastic!

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.

For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples, BUT THE LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you.” (Isaiah 60,1-2 ESV)

You might feel the darkness in your own soul or your circumstance or simply feel the world’s darkness around you. But God will rise upon you.

This too shall pass! For Him darkness and light are alike.

What we taste and see of God on this earth is just a shadow of what is to come!! We can be in expectancy in our darkest seasons. Yay!

Jesus is madly in love with you. He is inviting you to welcome Him, the Shepherd, into your darkness so He can lead you through it with His light. He’s got you.

I pray you will release your pain at the cross. It’s open 24/7.


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