I declare that you are a child of the Highest King, you belong in the Father’s House. You are royal nobility, precious in the Father’s eyes. You are loved beyond measure, worthy of the Father’s love.

You are valuable and valued. You are important. You have something unique and God gifted to bring to this world.

I declare God’s plans and purposes for your life to be fulfilled in overflowing abundance. I declare God’s promises over you. His blessing and anointing poured out, a double portion.

I declare that you are protected under the shadow of His wings. May the Holy Spirit lead you and guide you. May His angels surround you. May no enemy gain territory over you. May the Lord intervene, working behind the scenes to bring goodness out of every season.

May God know when you rise and when you fall. May He watch over you and keep you safe. May He draw near to you even on days when you do not feel His presence, may you know He is always present.

I declare that you will be strong and courageous. You will not fear or be afraid. You will not be consumed with worry or anxiety. You will carry peace and truth with you wherever you go. I declare endurance over you. You will persevere through hard times. You will not give up, you will not give in.

I declare fruitfulness and favour over you, that you will be successful in whatever you put your hand to, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

I pray that you would be generous and kind. I pray that you would choose your words wisely and be careful how you use your tongue. That you would speak life to all you meet.

I pray your heart would be soft toward God. That you would have a discerning spirit enabling you to know what is right and what is wrong. May you fall in love with God’s Word, allowing it to be written on your heart.

I pray that you would know God. Deeply. For yourself. I pray that you would have your own revelation of His unconditional, undying, no strings attached, reckless love.

Judah, I declare that His praise will ever be on your lips and that you would have the heart of a Lion; brave and strong.

Rocky, I declare that you are immoveable, unshakeable, steadfast and sure and that you would build your life on the solid Rock that is Christ Jesus.

Ever felt pressed? Like you are being pushed, prodded and pulled in every direction. Ever felt under pressure? Like everyone and everything is drawing and draining from you. Like the whole world wants something from you?

I have to admit mothering, teaching, working and wife-ing during this lockdown has had its moments. Moments of pressing. Moments where I think, “If one more person, asks me for one more thing, I might just scream!” Just me? Ok.

At the end of each day I sit down and try to reflect on the day. I guess that I am very much aware that we are in unprecedented times. This is a season that will be what these generations, living through it, are defined by. Our great grandchildren and our great, great grandchildren are going to read about it in history books. I am all too aware that I don’t want to see this time come and go without really tapping into the treasure that God wants to uncover for us.

This time is a gift.

I don’t believe that God necessarily orchestrates these seasons but I 100% believe that He brings His agenda to them.

I have often wondered if God is giving us this opportunity of disconnecting, that we might reconnect with the important things. With Him.

For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. 1 Peter 1:18-19 (CSB)

I wonder if God is utilising this season as part of His redemptive plan for each one of us. Could it be that He will use it to draw us nearer, highlight our need for redemption, and restore us to all He intended us to be.

The Bible speaks a lot about three particular things; grain, new wine and fresh oil. Each one representing a blessing from God of some kind. A strengthening of heart, the joy of life, an anointing poured out. Each one of these items also points toward a pressing or a crushing of some kind in order to obtain that blessing. Perhaps too, these items are a picture of Christ’s crushing in order to bring to us his greatest blessing – the gift of redemption.

But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.
Isaiah 53:5 (NLT)

The thing about pressing is that it isn’t easy. It’s not comfortable. It requires pushing through barriers and pain. It will demand an element of discipline and commitment from you.

But the thing about the grain, the wine and the oil is that the gold only comes because they are pressed.

I wonder if God is calling each of us to press in in this season of pressing. Press in to all He is drawing us to. Press in to His leading and learning. Press in to His voice and His whisper. Press in to His word and His ways. Press in through worship and song. Press in even in the pressing, that the result might be grain, new wine and fresh oil.

HOW DO I PRESS IN?

START EACH DAY BY SETTING YOUR DIRECTION.

I don’t know how many of you would agree with me when I say that every good birthday party growing up had questionable games – I mean, Pin The Tail On The Donkey???? You put a blindfold on a 5 year old, spin them around so they become disoriented and then put a sharp object in their hand and let them go for it?????  Really though, after the child is spun around – the adult sets their direction. They point them toward the donkey.  Unless we set their direction they aren’t going to make it anywhere near the target.

Unless you set your direction, you are always going to be walking away from where you intended to be.

If you want to take steps toward where God intends you to be – you need to set your direction.

Set your direction toward God every day. It doesn’t need to be huge or long.

HERE’S A TIP:

Make the first 15 minutes of your day about God. Don’t roll over, pick up your phone and start scrolling. Instead, roll over, pick up the Word and start reading.

Here is one idea:

Your first 15 minutes of every day could look like this:

5 MINS IN THE WORD

5 MINS of PRAYER

5 MINS of WORSHIP

Make your first appointment of the day an appointment with God. Set a time and a place and make sure you are there!

BE AWAKE TO GOD IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY. DEVELOP AN AWARENESS OF HIS MOVEMENTS.

I believe all too often we don’t feel like God is near. Not because He isn’t but because He is but we haven’t noticed. We walk about our day oblivious to how He is speaking and moving. The greatest way we can press in to Him is to simply invite Him into every detail.

Develop a habit of speaking to Him throughout your day. Pray before you go into a meeting, before you send that email, before you pick up your phone, before you begin homeschooling your children.

Whenever we are out for a drive I kind of zone out. I am not very good at keeping myself aware of what is going on around me. It drives Steve crazy! He is totally different to me. He is always on the lookout for what interesting thing might be happening along our path. He is constantly saying, “LOOK, aw you missed it, oh my goodness, did you see that, no you missed it”.

I have, time and time again, missed what could have been special or significant moments because I have not been aware of anything outside of my immediate surroundings.

We need to ask God for an awareness of the moments in our day that could become special and significant. Ask for an awareness of His movements so you don’t miss what God might be trying to do in you.

INVITE THE SUPERNATURAL TO YOUR NATURAL.

I believe that any life change at the core of our being only comes through the work of the Holy Spirit in us. He is our comforter, our guide and our intercessor. It is the Holy Spirit that brings revelation and opens our eyes to God at work.

The truth of it is we need more than just what comes naturally if we are going to get through this season with gold. We need the supernatural. We need Holy Spirit power.

If you speak in tongues can I encourage you to, every day, speak in your heavenly language. Tongues bypasses our brain, speaks spirit to spirit and it edifies our spirit. If you want to grow the things of the spirit in you, you need to exercise the gift of tongues.

Pressing in is about doing all that you can to draw near to God. It means trading natural, earthly things, for supernatural, heavenly things. It means going more regularly into that ‘secret place’ and letting refinement take place.

It means digging wells, new wells, deeper wells. That we might discover wells of living water, mines full of gold, fields overflowing with grain, vineyards bursting with new wine and groves brimming with fresh oil.

Now, stay at home and live like you believe it.

I can’t think of a better time than now to seek after the peace of God. I sit writing this post at my dining table surrounded by my two children who are now doing school work from home as we begin day one of a four-week lockdown due to Covid-19. A position I never would have imagined being in.

I am a person of faith and I believe in a God who through His presence, brings peace in any circumstance. But even for me, this season has brought with it anxiety and worry. I have popped out to The Warehouse a couple of times over the last few days to buy a few supplies to keep the kids entertained and I must admit, the masks, gloves, store restrictions, and people dodging had me wanting to run home, douse myself in hand sanitiser and never leave the house again!!!

My youngest son will sometimes come into our room saying that he’s afraid because he heard a noise, saw a shadow or had a bad dream. As parents we go in and we adjust all the things to make a more comfortable and peaceful environment for our little one don’t we? We open the door, or close the door. We put a night-light on. We show them inside the cupboard, out the window, under the bed – to let them know there are no monsters there. We show them and remind them of where Mummy and Daddy are just in case they need us. And if you are my husband, you show them the baseball bat that we have under the bed!!!

Can you remember being afraid of monsters under the bed? Convinced that something was under there? Remember how that conviction changed the way you got into your bed? You would switch off your light and then run and leap as far from the bed as you could so you were at no risk of being caught as you climbed in. And while you lie in bed, you don’t dare let a limb dangle free – because of course you might be grabbed at an opportune moment.

As kids, we would adjust how we did things in order to accommodate the monsters under the bed and in the closet.

I think we have never grown out of this habit as adults. I think that too often we adjust our living to accommodate our fears. We are panic buying food, stockpiling toilet paper, isolating ourselves beyond just physical isolation.

What we need is not an accommodation of fear but an invitation of peace.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:6-9  (NLT)

1. PEACE IS AN ANCHOR.

Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. Matthew 8:23-24 (NLT)

There are going to be seasons in your life when a suddenly will come – it’s going to hit you out of no where, it’s going to feel like a storm. It wont be what you ordered and it certainly isn’t what you prayed for, but it’s coming all the same.

But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Matthew 8: 24 – 25 (NLT)

It’s a frustrating moment when you know you have the creator of the earth and seas on your side, and yet it seems like he’s sleeping through your storm. Like, does he even care? Does he even notice?

 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” Matthew 8: 26 – 27 (NLT)

I think we could all be honest today and say that as wives, we often complain about our husbands don’t we? (Or maybe I’m the only imperfect wife?) We want the big gestures, the flowers, the chocolates, the poetry. We are so fixated on those things that we fail to see all of the little ways that he actually shows he cares – helping with the kids, doing the dishes, hanging the washing, taking the kids out to give you five minutes of alone time.

Often when we are in a storm, what we want from Jesus is the big gesture. We want the grand response. We want the over-the-top miracle, the immediate answer. We want another ‘suddenly to match the sudden storm that came our way. But more often what he actually gives us is peace in the storm.

His peace acts as our anchor that stops drift. Peace is the anchor that keeps us grounded.

Let me explain it this way: God has set you on a path. Jesus and the disciples were on the boat and they were going somewhere. God has you going somewhere. Storms will come, and a storm has the capacity and tendency to throw you off course and prevent you from getting to where God sent you out toward in the first place. But the peace of Christ turns up like an anchor. It is that peace that will keep you steadfast and immovable. It will ground you and prevent you from drifting from the plans God has for you.

On the other side of that storm was a town who needed Jesus. When they got to the other side two demon possessed men were healed and they went on to tell everyone about it.

On the other side of your storm is a God-ordained purpose and calling – let the peace of God ground you so you don’t miss it!

2. PEACE IS A COMPASS.

I have a terrible sense of direction. You know how there are some people who can follow their nose? Well my nose is broke! So, I don’t care what anyone says, I thank Jesus every day for GPS and Google Maps! Because for a person who struggles to get to where they know they need to be, anything that directs them is going to provide an enormous amount of peace.

When it comes to setting direction in our lives and moving toward the path God has for us, peace is one of the most common ways that God speaks to us.

Peace guides us, directs us, and so often confirms God’s purposes for us.

I can think of so many occasions in my life when I experienced the peace of God when it came to decision making. In situations when it should have felt big, overwhelming and out of my league. In times when I should have felt fearful, worried and anxious. I didn’t have any of those feelings, I simply had peace and because I had peace I knew I had made the right decision.

So often the answer to your question, “Should I?” or “Shouldn’t I?” is found in the absence or presence of peace.

3. PEACE IS A REFUGE.

I think you may have read about my husband, Steve, walking the 100km Oxfam walk before. Well, along the way there were refuge stations. Planned pit stops. At every stop they had a support crew, who knew them, had food and supplies for them. They had a seat for them, clean socks for them, new shoes for them, warm, dry clothes for them.

These stops became invaluable along the way, because there were moments on this 100km walk where they were walking in the pitch black, there were moments when they were walking in the dead of the night. There were moments when they were walking through forest, trudging through water and up mountains. It was gruelling and painful and anything but peaceful.

In moments like that when they were hungry, thirsty, tired and in pain, the thought of someone who cared about them waiting at a stop with a seat and food and new socks was what literally kept them going. Their peace was in the knowledge that there was a refuge for them just around the next corner.

So often, when we are in a storm in life, our tendency is to give up rather then head for the refuge. And the peace that God has for you is a place of refuge. In his peace you can stop and take a breath. You can sit and wait a while. It is in his peace where you can feel shade from the sun, shelter from the wind and water in the dry land.

When my oldest son Judah was one year old he was rushed into the Intensive Care Unit of Starship Children’s Hospital with a condition that was very rare. It was an abnormality in his bowel that presented itself with a large and sudden bleed. He lost a lot of blood and had to undergo an emergency blood transfusion and surgery to remove the abnormality. He recovered quickly and completely but I have to admit, it was a week I will never forget.

So many people said to me then (and now), “Wow, that must have been terrifying?” I can remember having to think about my answer because the obvious answer should have been “yes it was, it was petrifying”, but that wasn’t my experience – because even in the terrifying, all I felt was peace.

I don’t know what is happening in your world right now, and I don’t know what the obvious emotional response “should” be, whether it’s fear, worry, pain, grief, panic, anxiety, confusion, disappointment, I don’t know – but can I remind you that God has got a peace for you that surpasses all human understanding. In other words, when the world is telling you that you should worry, you can instead have peace. When the world is telling you you should be afraid, you can instead have peace. When the world is telling you you should panic and be fearful…instead God has a peace that will anchor you, guide you and be a refuge for you.

My prayer for you during this season is that you would experience an overwhelming sense of peace.

Now, stay at home – but live like you believe it!