Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

Category: Church

The Divine Exchange

 

Isaiah 61:3 ~ To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

Life is a continuous exchange of one thing for another. For example,

– We are paid a salary from our place of employment for our time and skill set.

– We breath in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.

– Plants breath in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen.

– We go shopping and buy goods and pay the supplier using money as an exchange.

The list continues. Isaiah 61:3 says that God gives beauty for ashes. Jesus came to give freedom to those who are captives, captives in whatever negative state we find ourselves. He also came to give sight to those who are blind whether spiritually or physically. This is the divine exchange. Jesus came to give you an abundant and fulfilled life in exchange for your hurts. When you ask him into your situation he will give you wisdom and understanding to walk though it and he will also lift the sting of the situation. He takes pain and brings healing, He takes sadness and bring joy and he takes shame and brings acceptance.

Please do not misunderstand me our circumstances may not change instantly or in a day, weeks or months, but with the exchange comes a new perspective and all that we face on a daily basis. Life is not perfect and no human being is perfect but we can live each day with a heart of love, appreciation and thanksgiving. The divine exchange gives you a new pair of glasses on life and this enables you to see things more clearly.

Take a moment and think about the things in your life that you would like God to give you new insight on, be honest and just speak to him from your heart with no pretence.

My prayer for you ~ Lord Jesus I pray for the person reading this prayer. Give them beauty and healing in the areas of their life that is hurting. Pour on them your oil of joy and reveal yourself to them in a meaning way, personal to their present need. in Jesus name, Amen.

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Dahna Fearon

Finding Me Now 

The last three years have been life changing for me; I made the decision to obey God’s call to go on a journey that I could never have imagined would bring me to where I am right now. I am sure for those of you who are reading this right now, you have been through transition. You see transition is the psychological shift from one paradigm to the next. The physical manifestation of this is change- I liken my experience to that of the eagle. Around the age of thirty years old, the eagle starts to get tired, their wings become worn out, and its beak and talons become old. So in this place of frustration and being worn out, the eagle has to make a decision, it can either continue this way and die or go to the top of the mountain and experience the painful process of metamorphosis- where it rips out its talons and wait for it to grow back then it rips out the feathers from its wings and wait for it to grow back, then they beat their beak against the rock until it falls off and waits for it to grow back. After this process, the Eagle then gets a further forty years of life added to its existing life.

I see so many similarities in my own life like the eagle- because I got to a point where nothing was no longer working for me- the money stopped working, I was unemployed, I could barely keep up with my bills; and whilst all of this was happening, I was a minister preaching and teaching Sunday School. No one could tell the pain I was in because I hid behind my makeup and sophisticated outfits, you would have never known that I could barely afford to keep the electric or the gas on or the fact that I was suffering with depression, I would literally be in my house for days without opening up the curtains but by Sunday I would be back on the front row smiling as if nothing was wrong but deep down inside I was screaming “Help”.

But something happened in the midst of this hardship, purpose and destiny woke me up, it was the tragic death of my uncle in Florida that started this life changing journey. It was when I went for my uncle’s funeral in February to March 2014, where God filled me and ignited me with the passion to move to London. I did not know how I was going to make it but less than one year later; I took the leap of faith with one suitcase, my laptop, my handbag and £9 to my name. It was in this season that I surrendered to God and became vulnerable- I slept on my friend’s sofa for seven months, all I had was a dream, no money, no job, but I held on to the reason why I had to move- the purpose behind moving from my place of obscurity to my place of purpose and destiny. Brene Brown says that it is at the place of vulnerability where you experience innovation, creativity and change- it was in those seven months where I experienced a new burst of creativity, I started getting new ideas and I could see the change .I discovered my passion for writing. It was in those seven months where the book, I had started in Nottingham is now completed and will be published at some point this year. I started to master my craft. Just over one year later, I am seeing doors open. I am no longer the little girl who once looked in the mirror and would say daily “I hate you”. I am no longer that weak, timid little girl who allowed people to abuse or walk all over her. In this journey of my metamorphosis, I realised that God had to allow these things to happen in order for me to un-become everything that I was so that I could become everything who God had created me to be. It is only now that I can say I am Finding Me Now.

  
Dahna Fearon is the founder of the movement Release Me. After graduating with a Law with Psychology degree, she had a sense of a deeper purpose for her life. After one year of consistently being rejected by law firms, she decided to take rejection as direction and instead took a purpose driven journey with the Lord to discover herself. She encountered a long period of unemployment and it was at this point where she began to search within herself and started tapping into a creativity that was unknown to her.

It is during this time of extreme hardship and great loss where the project RELEASE ME was given to her by God whilst she was attending a work related training course. RELEASE ME was launched in October 2015. The aim of Release Me is to educate, empower and establish young men and women to walk in their purpose and destiny; she does this through her Release Me seminars and workshops, social media and through her blogs.

She is a passionate believer in the Lord and is excited about her relationship with the Lord and living her life on purpose. Dahna has accepted the mandate and mission to empower others to walk in their God given purpose and embrace their identity in Christ the way she did. Her life’s purpose is to educate, empower and establish individuals through speaking, writing and singing.

Dealing with Depression

Deut 31:8.   Deut 32:10   Psalms 40:1~3

Depression is one of the subjects that the church sweeps and keeps under the carpet. Many Christians sit in church’s under an evil cloud of depression and because they may not here the subject preached in their local church they feel that it is something they can never share or ask for the help they need. They feel ashamed. The enemy wants to keep you in the realm of darkness so he can continue to tourment you. Please remember you are not alone.

I have experienced depression a few times through the course of my life.  Thank God I reached out for help with Christian  Councelling. Depression can be complex and vary from person to person and symptoms can persist from several weeks to months or even years in some cases.  People can be affected by so badly that it interferes with there work, social and family life.

Some of the physiological symptoms can include:

1. Continuous low mood and sadness.

2. Feeling hopeless and helpless

3. low self esteem

4. feeling tearful

5. No motivation or interest in things you once loved.

6. Finding it difficult to make decisions 

7. Not enjoying life.

8. Anxious or worried

9. Thoughts of suicide or self harm.

Some of the physical symptoms can include:

1. Moving or speaking slower than usual.

2. A change in appetite. You are eating more or less than normal.

3. Unexplained aches and pains

4. Lack of energy/sex drive

5. Disturbed sleep patterns

6. Avoid contact with family or friends.

Here are four practical tips that I have used and continue to use in dealing with depression and I pray that you will find them helpful. But please remember that if you need to get counselling then please take that step and never allow pride to hinder you from asking for help.

Tip1. Form positive new habits, breaking the old ones and distorted thinking patterns. Rewire your mind. I constantly listen to messages and speakers that challenge my thinking and I also listen to worship because it removes the emphasis from me and puts it on God.

Tip2. I love walking and so I walk 2 miles, five days a week as a way to just clear my mind, I also love water aerobics so I do this weekly along with a sauna, steam and jacuzzi treatments. I loveeeee this!😄

Tip3. I try not to spend to much time alone, so I make the effort to have positive interactions daily. I have also developed my hobbies of reading, blogging, visiting museums and travelling.  

Tip4. I also take the time to memorise scripture so I can meditate on them throughout the day.

There are some great christian counselling services available and I would encourage you to seek out their assistance. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly and above all you may ask or think. He wants you to prosper in every area of your life and it is not his desire for you to be unhappy with the life he gave you. He wants you to have abundant life, a full life, a happy life and a rich life and by His grace dear heart you will. 

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Zenice Harasymchuk

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Image courtesy of Zenice Harasymchuk

One in three women are victims of domestic violence worldwide. That is too many women in my opinion. Hi, my name is Zenice and I am a 48 year old survivor, mother and disciple of Jesus Christ. My life has not been easy, it has been a series of one type of abuse after another but about eight years ago I began a journey with Jesus that has transformed my life.

Transparency and vulnerability in the church is important to me. Many churches don’t talk about domestic violence. My question to those churches is why? It’s a topic that many would like to sweep under the rug as though it were not a huge and growing problem. Think about this: there are upwards of 20 people per minute who are suffering from physical violence by an intimate partner, and that is just in the United States! That is just one type of abuse! So in the last hour, 1200 people were physically abused by their intimate partner. That’s too many.

There are so many types of abuse: child abuse, physical, emotional, mental, financial and sexual abuse, elder abuse, human trafficking and bullying. This is out of control. The church is silent on most of these things although human trafficking is growing in awareness. I cannot sit in my church any longer and be silent. I know that God has called me to help those who are broken and abused. My role is to walk alongside and point them to Jesus who is the Healer. My passions are Jesus, prayer, revival, awakening and helping women. How do these things come together? By being the church to this lost and dying world. Being a voice to bring awareness to the Body of Christ to no longer turn a blind eye to those who are being abused in their midst.

I have a dream of seeing women who have survived abusive situations to rise up and share their stories and come alongside the women who are in abusive relationships now or trying to get out. I believe that Jesus heals us from all of the effects that abuse can leave as long lasting scars on our lives whether it be depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, anxiety or isolation and fear. Jesus alone is our healer. On January 11, 2009 Jesus healed me and the healing was instantaneous but I had to learn how to walk out my healing. I had to learn how to live a life that didn’t include pain, fear, depression and suicidal thoughts. This journey has taken me seven years but today I am an on fire disciple of Jesus dedicated to seeing women set free from bondage to the effects of abuse.

I am at the beginning stages of starting a ministry in my region that is what I believe to be different than what is available now. My desire is to begin with a support group that will really be more than a support group. I’ve been in support groups before and I only see that people talk about their issues and nothing changes. I believe the missing element is Jesus. I believe there needs to be prayer and worship along with education and support. I pray that this will not just be for my region but that others will take this to their regions as well. One in three women worldwide are victims of domestic violence. How many will the church reach? Let’s get started now.

The link below shares Zenice’s social media and contact information.

http://en.gravatar.com/losing4christ

Would Jesus prefer hooped earrings or studs?

I was reading my Joyce Meyer bible devotional the other morning and she was talking about how use to be judgemental about how people use to dress to go to church. Then the Holy Spirit began to challenge her about the way she use to dress to minister, she was actually considering wether she should wear denim. Joyce could not make up her mind so her son said to her “Do you think God is worried about polyester or denim?”

It reminded me of an incident I witnessed once when I went to church and a young woman was wearing hooped earrings and she asked to remove the earrings. “Do you think Jesus prefers hoop earrings or studs? Skirts or trousers?”

I know some of you may be thinking that the type of trousers or skirts or whatever should not be worn because it maybe to tight or to short. I totally understand that when standing to minister that our apparel should not be distracting to the word preached. I totally understand that, but my concern is focus on the outer garment and not the garments of our heart.

I have also seen people dressed with the “appropriate” church attire and their attitude is questionable and Inhave seen people come to church in attire not considered acceptable by the church but their attitude is reflective of love, joy and peace.

Many of the lessons I have learnt  or from people who would be rejected by the church because of their clothing. Our rejection does not mean Jesus’ rejection. he died for them, he had his hands paired for them and Jesus is forever mindful of them.

So what do you think Jesus would prefer hooped earrings or studs?

Domestic Violence and the Church Workshop

  
On Saturday 21st November 2015  I attended a workshop to discuss domestic violence and the church. It was a very thought provoking day organised by Marcia Dixon and the Pentecostal Credit Union.

We had speakers from the church, agencies and survivors. They all shared from their unique perspectives. After the meeting we agreed that these types of workshops need to happen on a regular basis so we can formulate strategies for the faith community.

I was really encouraged by the fact that domestic violence is coming out of the closet and into the light. Most churches are made up of women and an issue that affects them affects the church they attend and ultimately the vision of the church. What would happen if women stopped going to church for a month? Think about it for a moment. They are the corner stone of the church volunteer workforce and programmes.

Let’s start a conversation in our churches which will lead to the healing of hurting families. Sweeping these issues under the carpet only makes it worse and in the long run hurt the church and its spiritual endeavours. Lets prayerfully make our churches a safe house  for hurting families by raising awareness through posters, messages, awareness days and advocacy.

It is time to break the silence.

Serving in your local church

The local Church can be a very hectic place if you serve or volunteer  and for some  it can be like taking on another job. There are so many things to do behind the scene, so when Sunday comes around, it looks flawless.

There is a pressure to do things for God, you are not serving man but you are serving God. I heard that so many times but no one spoke about balance. balancing home, work and church life. many who serve in church have imbalance in there serving and the important areas of their personal life suffers because of the ” vision”.

Please note I am not knocking volunteering in your church because I still volunteer and I think it is important to give back but what I am talking about is getting the balance right and not neglecting your family or yourself.

I know a few people where the pressures became overwhelming and it affected their families and themselves.

Work life balance or church life balance is very very important. God created this world for us to enjoy, see and experience. God is not going to abandon you if you need to rest or take sabbatical. He created and blessed rest  (Gen 2:2-3).

Jesus also rested from his ministry and encouraged his disciplines to do the same (Mark 6:30-32). Many Christians will take the lead on many things Jesus taught but rest appears not to be one of them.

I want to challenge you today to REST and enjoy your life and do not feel guilty for doing so. Develop the art of saying no without feeling guilty.

Here are a few tips that you can use to REST and ENJOY. There are others but these are only suggestions, if you have other things that you would like to do to relax then do that.

1. Visit the theatre and see a play or ballet.

2. Start to pursue your dream, research it.

3. Take a trip to a spa

4. Go on holiday to a place that you have always wanted to visit.

5. Visit museums.

6. Take up a hobby.

7. Read books on topics that you are interested in.

8. Keep in touch with family and friends.

9. See a movie that you have been meaning to see.

Jesus came so that you can have life and have it more abundantly. This is not only spiritual but we are to enjoy this physical world also. There is so much beauty in it. When you are relaxed and recharged then you are better able to serve your local church with a spirit of excellence and excitement.

 

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