Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

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Only God Knows!

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Jeremiah 29:11 ~ For I know the thoughts that I think towards you , saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

This is one of my favourite verses because it speaks of God’s thoughts towards me. The way He thinks about me is different to how everyone else thinks of me.

People will always have their opinion about how you look, what you do, what you say, your background, your work etc but ultimately it is what God thinks about you that counts.  His thoughts are beautiful towards you and his aim is to give you hope and build your faith in the situations you face in life.

Think it not strange dear one regarding the trials ( 1 Peter 1:7) you are currently going through because they form part of your journey of life. God is not shocked or surprised and he has promised to walk on the waters with you. Just take his hand in prayer, praise and meditation of His word.

© Jenny Allen & Heart of Refuge  2011 – 2016. Unauthorised use and /or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and owner is strictly prohibite

God’s Grace is Tailored Made For You

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image from pixabay.com

My mother learnt to sew in her mid teens during the early 1950’s in Jamaica. Mummy can sew. She can take a piece of fabric and turn it in anything. She is a master seamstress.

My mother can take an outfit that is made for a size 14 and tailor it so  someone who is a size 10 can wear it. She made all of our clothes growing up, its her therapy.  When she needed quiet time or to relax she would retreat with her patterns, thread, fabric and sewing machine.

Thinking about her made me think of God’s grace. It is tailor made for you and it is tailor made for me. A perfect fit for my heart!

Let’s take a look at a couple of verses that talk of God’s grace:

Hebrews 4:16 ~ Did you know that grace has a throne, a place where you can go and receive? You can go there and find help in the time of need.

Ephesians 2:6-8 ~ God’s grace has exceeding riches and it is His gift to me.

God’s grace is rich and it is a gift for you to receive and wear. It’s a beautiful garment. I dare you to try it on because it will be a perfect fit!

© Jenny Allen & Heart of Refuge  2011 – 2016. Unauthorised use and /or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and owner is strictly prohibited

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Lorraine Spence

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Image from Lorraine Spence

I have often heard it said “I am not called to prayer” well I would like to challenge that comment as I don’t know where that comes from or what would make any believer even believe such a ridiculous theory. Well if there is one thing we are ALL called to is PRAY so hopefully by the time you have finished reading this you will realise that we are ALL, including you called to pray.  Real prayer is a 2-way activity, which consist of speaking and listening, not the type where you come to God with your list of I wants, Matthew 6:33 tells us to ‘see you first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added’. Real prayer is, praying the heart & the will of God, Matthew 6:10 ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done’ Luke 22:42 ‘nevertheless not my will but Thine will be done’.

There are approximately 650 prayers in the bible and the actual word pray is mentioned over 300 times (KJV), that’s right, that alone should let you know how important prayer is to every believer and your relationship with the Father. Prayer or praying should be the most natural action every ‘born again’ believer should participate in regardless of their position or title, whether you serve in ministry or not, whether it’s congregational, group or alone, whether it’s in church or out of church – prayer is key.

Did you know that babies say their first words roughly at about 6 months and string together their firs 6 or so words by about 18 months? So I’ll just about give you the first 6 months to find your feet and adjust to the change, but after that you should definitely be speaking to the Father on a daily basis. There is absolutely no excuse not to develop a consistent prayer life as it is an integral part of your development and relationship with God. Imagine for a moment that you have a child which never cries, speaks or interacts with you in any way, what would you do? I know for a fact you would not just sit here and accept it, no you’d probably rush to the doctor’s surgery or to the baby clinic looking for answers, not only that what, what would you say to family and friends? Surely not “my child is not required to react or communicate with me”. This wouldn’t prevent you from loving your child and neither does it prevent God from loving you, but you would long for the interaction, as does God.

The dictionary describes prayer as ‘a solemn request for her or an expression of thanks’ well that is pretty sad because prayer is so much more. Prayer is how we interact with God, how we communicate, how we build our relationship and see Him as our father. Without interaction through prayer a real meaningful relationship cannot be properly cultivated or developed. The bible tells us in Luke 18:1 men ought always to pray, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to ‘pray without ceasing, James 5:26 tells us the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much, in Matthew 6:9 – 23 Jesus instructs the disciples how to pray and again in Luke 11:1 the disciples even though having spent a lot of time with Jesus, were asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. So having read this do you still believe that you are not called to pray?

 

Lorraine’s Bio

Born 2nd of 4 children of Jamaican parentage, I grew up in an area
what was considered quite suburban. I grew up going to the local
Baptist church with my siblings where we were taught all the bible
stories and basic prayer.  I wasn’t taught anything about the gift of
Salvation nor my need for it. I remember about a year or so before I
gave my life to the Lord having a ‘strange’ desire to go to church & I
didn’t know why, nor did I know my life was about to change – forever.

I gave my life to the Lord aged 28, on my 2nd visit to a local
Pentecostal church & have not looked back since. It was at Alpha &
Omega Christian Fellowship where I discovered prayer & naturally
gravitated towards it. I used to listen to the Pastor & the older
church members pray and with all my heart wanted to be able to pray
like them. so I started to attend prayer meetings & arrive at church
extra early, the same time as the ‘Prayer Warriors’ (yeah that’s what
they were called) so I could join in the prayer. I was recommended a
book called The Joy of Prayer by Larry Lea, after reading this book I
was well & truly hooked. My desire is to see all nations come back to God through the power of prayer & intercession.

I currently serve as team leader of an Intercessory prayer team. I
love to train people & help them develop their  God given gifts but
more so help ‘believers’ understand that their natural should be
‘supernatural’ & this is possible through understanding the Word of
God & relationship with God through the Holy Spirit via prayer.

 

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.

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

A time to speak out by Windsor Queensborough  

This book is an important read for every person in church leadership.  Windsor Queensborough does an excellent job in discussing the issue of domestic violence and the church. He uses the stories of Tamar and Joseph in the bible to speak out about this issue that the church has kept under the carpet for to long.

This book can be purchased on Amazon. Your church needs this book!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inhale Exhale

I woke up one night and as I was reading my bible the thought came to me inhale exhale inhale exhale.

We sit in church for so many years and we inhale so many messages, attend conferences, christian television etc. inhale inhale inhale! We have become fat on the word! When do we exhale? Exhale with encouraging someone, exhale in prayer for others, exhale in giving, etc. When was the last time you exhaled? 

We have a treasure in earthen vessels that need to be shared. We need to give Jesus away. We are his point of contact with the world. He touches others by using our hands, voice, smile, money and anything else we have. He needs us to exhale.

Can you imagine if all we did was inhale oxygen, we would die in a very short space of time. Exhaling always follows inhaling. It a process, it’s a divine bodly function. We can only hold our breath for a few seconds.

Take a moment to consider when was the last time you exhaled? If you can’t remember start exhaling today!

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.

Jenny Allen’s Voice ~ Domestic Violence in The Church (Part 2)

This video shares the story of a couple who searched for help from their local church. The husband is in church leadership. Please take the time to watch.

Jenny Allen’s Voice ~ Domestic Violence in The Church (Part 1)

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In this post and the next post  I will be sharing about domestic violence in the church. I have decided to post a video as it offers much more information. Please watch.

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