The Gospel, the UK & Inequality

Is that a strange title? Maybe. I wanted to add two other words but titles should never be too long – if I had added those words, they would have been ‘lighthouse’ and ‘storehouse’. Let me explain.

Towards the end of last year, I had two dreams that I feel were prophetic in nature. Both had to do with the UK. In the first dream, which I share here I saw a man walking down a high street in the UK. He was middle class, fifty something and minding his own business. In the dream, I saw myself shout at him “DON’T STOP PREACHING THE GOSPEL! DON’T STOP PREACHING THE GOSPEL!” The man stopped walking and just started street preaching from where he stood on the high street.

At this point, the dream shifted. I saw a huge department store (a UK high street shop that shall remain nameless….) but there were people literally buzzing around the shop. It was a ‘hive’ of activity, but in the dream it was emphasised in terms of busyness and the best way I can describe it is ‘consumerism in hyperdrive’. People were buying food and clothes and everything they wanted, I had a sense that there was pride and prestige in being able to shop at this particular shop. It represented middle class prosperity and worldly affluence. The people buzzing around the shop had all their material needs met, they were tech savy consumers, comfortable, middle class.

The dream shifted again, and I saw another scene – a very, very different scene. In fact, it was a shocking and stark contrast. I saw children living in the ruins. Gangs of young children, ducking under broken walls and living in damp squalid conditions. They were ragged, unloved and homeless and this was the UK – not India or a worn torn corner of the middle east. These children had been abandoned, both by their families and by the system. They had grouped together into gangs, just to survive.

As I meditated on this dream, I felt the Lord bring instruction to my heart. I felt that this is a picture of the future of our country. So back to the title – is it so strange? Is it strange when compared to the words of Isaiah 60.1-3 – Arise shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Darkness covers the earth. Deep darkness the peoples. You see, light and darkness exist simultaneously in this world. Isaiah saw a day when the earth would be covered in darkness but he speaks to the church to arise and shine for their light has come. This light is the Gospel of the Kingdom, and this is the only answer for the growing inequality in our culture. Don’t stop preaching the gospel!

But there’s more. We have to mobilise and prepare. The church must take up the mantle to preach good news to the poor but also to become a lighthouse and a storehouse. A lighthouse that shines the message of salvation to all people. And a storehouse of provision that literally clothes the poor and feeds the hungry. The days ahead may be dark, but that’s when the light shines brightest.

Prophetic dream: “Go, go, go!”…

Several nights ago I had a prophetic dream that I think linked to a couple of events earlier in the day…We live close to a small village and I had to carry out some errands. So I dutifully walked down to the post office and to cut a long story short, I was served buy a young guy who was casually sporting a pentagram t-shirt, coupled with an upside down silver cross around his neck. Now, it wouldn’t take a genius to figure out this young guy was seriously into ‘the dark side’ but the thing is, he was courteous, polite and came across as a very kind type of person. I felt a deep sense of compassion for this young man, I felt the Father’s heart and I wanted to bless him. I didn’t know what to say so I just said “thanks, bless you” and as I left the shop I asked God to visit him and draw near to him.

Later that night, as I was about to fall asleep, I was asking the Holy Spirit to show me something, I was praying ‘Lord, show me the church, I want to see what you see’. Shortly after this I fell asleep and went into a very vivid dream.

In the dream, I was in a parked car, looking over at a junction with traffic lights outside a shop. Across from the street there was a young man, probably in his twenties, looking at the shop front – the traffic lights were extremely large and clearly red. The shop front had a large figure head on the window, it was a dark silhouette of a mans head. Somehow, in the dream I recognised that the figure head represented pure paganism, witchcraft and the occult. It was an image of unadulterated satanism. The young man was standing opposite the shop with his hand on his chest and he was crying out to God “Lord, when can I go, when can I go into them and share the gospel?” I could see this man was genuine, earnest and although he was young, there was a level of maturity about him. He knew the Lord was saying no, the Lord was saying its not time – and this was symbolised by the large red traffic light.

Suddenly, I was aware of the word of the Lord entering my spirit. I sensed the weight of the Lord’s decree and I shouted at the young man, at the top of my voice: “hear the word of the Lord as spoken through the prophets: ‘go, go go!’ ” The traffic light changed from red to green and immediately the young mans face lit up and he looked towards heaven and thanked God. I knew he was going into the shop and he would fulfil the Lord’s assignment on his life.

The dream then shifted and I was standing on the street corner. Across the street, a famous evangelist started waving at me and ran over to me and practically jumped into my lap and started hugging me. He was beaming with joy and light and just embracing me and praising God all at the same time. Then the young man came over and just wrapped his arms around us both and the three of us stood embracing each other and thanking God in a state of pure joy. At this point, the dream ended.

So what does all this mean? I think I have a few insights to offer, I feel like others will have insights into this – but my thoughts are these.

  1. God is releasing permission for evangelists to go into areas that for years they’ve only been praying about. Specifically, this ‘permission’ and assignment relates to reaching those who are steeped in darkness. I mean that kind of overt satanism/paganism and full on occultism that isn’t at all hidden. I’m talking about psychic fares, satanic carnivals and occult events – this is the harvest field and God is saying ‘go’.
  2. God is releasing this permission through prophetic voices. However, there’s more to this, and my own heart is invested in this area…What I mean is this – God is focusing the ‘seers sights’ on the harvest field. The prophetic ministry has to expand its view from the ‘house’ to the ‘harvest field’. It’s right that we’re focused on the house, apostolic and prophetic voices will always be focused on foundations, fathering and family but, I believe the Lord is asking us to stretch the boundaries of our heart and engage with his agenda to reach ‘all nations’. He’s calling us, as prophetic voices, to the harvest field. He’s also calling us to call out to the evangelists.
  3. This is important, we can perhaps understand the Ephesians 2:20 mandate for prophets to co-labour with apostles. I believe now is a time for prophets and evangelists to work together – in a level of love and appreciation that few of us have entered into. There’s a ‘marriage’ of ministries and the prophets hearts are going to be turned towards to evangelists and vice versa. If we’re honest, I think we’d acknowledge that prophetic and evangelistic people haven’t always understood each other. There’s been a ‘gift tension’ and sometimes diversity has led to indifference. This is changing and the Lord is calling us into a deeper level of love and unity – for the sake of the harvest.
  4. I think there is a ‘young evangelist’ movement emerging in the earth. This movement is young but not immature – it knows to ‘do what it see’s the Father doing’ and waits for Gods timing and permission. However, there is also an older evangelistic ministry blessing the earth. When the sons and fathers come together and different ministries embrace each other for the sake of the harvest – there will be a release of immense love and joy across the body.

To all my evangelistic friends, if you get to read this, I truly want to honour you, recognise you and value you. We need you, we need you to equip us and encourage us and, in all humility and grace, if there’s any way we can shout out to you and release God’s decree over you, it’s simply this ‘Go, Go, Go!!!”

UK General Election, Anti-Christ Spirit, Corbyn and Rees-Mogg.

That’s a very long title but it does sum up the message from I dream I received in November 2018 (click me for a link to youtube). I had the dream after seeking the Lord in prayer and fasting for three days. On the third night the Lord took me into a prophetic encounter in which I was observing a massive political rally. The event felt very much like a manifesto campaign during a General Election and there was an enormous, expansive crowd, going off into the distance.

In the dream I saw Jeremy Corbyn (who at the time was the leader of the Labour Party) on stage, but my perspective in the dream was then pulled back, like a camera lens moving to get a wide angle. I could see different sections of the crowd and they were highlighted to me, as if to represent various groups within society. There were the students, who made up a huge proportion of the crowd. But in the front row, were high church officials and leaders of various religious groups. Muslim clerics were clearly represented there and leaders of the Anglican and other denominational religious institutions, were standing side by side, in a clear display of so called unity.

Corbyn then began to address the crowd and I could clearly hear his speech, which was in fact a manifesto. He ‘promised’ that if his party were elected, his subsequent Government would audit the Church and hold them to account for everything they taught. He told the crowd that a team of auditors would monitor the teaching of the Church and that if a Church claimed to have exclusive truth, they could face both penalties and prosecution from the Government. Corbyn pledged, that if his party won office, they would monitor the pulpits and that the Church would be accountable to the State in terms of what it taught.

As Corbyn continued to speak along these lines, I could see a row of ‘religious leaders’ of all faiths, nod in agreement and make supportive gestures towards Corbyn and each other. My view of the event then pulled back again and I could sense the Anti-Christ Spirit hovering over Corbyn, as if waiting to be released into the nation, through what he was trying to make ‘legal’ in the earth. I couldn’t see this Spirit but in the dream I could clearly discern it’s presence, it was poised and ready to infiltrate the nation and it was coming through political means.

I became so furious that I stormed out of the rally and headed for a shopping precinct. I was aware that someone broke away from the crowd and started to follow me. I knew they wanted to speak to me but I was so furious I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. The man following me had a bright countenance and I knew he was friendly and wanted to talk (I’m going to refer to this messenger as an Angel because I’m pretty sure that’s who he was). He eventually caught up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. In the dream, I span around and blurted out “look I don’t really want to talk right now”, and then continued to say to the Angel “if that man gets into power we have lost the nation”. The Angel looked at me said, “you are right, but don’t worry, Rees-Mogg”. Immediately the dream ended and I woke up.

As I awoke, I remember my emotions were a mixture of concern, anger and hope. I wrote the dream down but then began to research Rees-Mogg. I soon found out that Jacob Rees Mogg set something up within the Conservative Party called ‘Cornerstone’ which is a voice within the Party for Faith, Family and the Nation. I’ve watched his career since then and I’ve heard him speak openly about religious liberty. His stance on pro-life, in the case of abortions, is also clear. Rees-Mogg upholds Christian values within Government and my firm conviction, because of that dream, is that heaven has released grace over the UK political situation, largely because Rees-Mogg is a righteous man in Government.

Let me be clear about what I’m not saying, I’m not saying Rees-Mogg will or should become Prime Minister, I’m not saying he’s perfect and I’m not saying he won’t fall from grace. Who knows. What I am saying, is that after a time of seeking the Lord, the Holy Spirit took me into an encounter to show me a glimpse of what we would be facing a few months later. A General Election and a potential Labour Government, led by Corbyn, who would have led this country into a deeper level of darkness than we may ever know.

Let us be vigilant, during these times of Corona Virus and potential increasing Government intervention, to pray for all those in power and positions of authority.

I urge you that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

1 Timothy 2:1-2

The Chronicles of Esther #2

Esther – a word for the season.

Seasons come and seasons go but in the Lord’s timing there’s always a purpose to the season. Right now, as the summer of 2019 drifts into Autumn, there’s a particular focus on the book of Esther. This is an Esther season and with that comes an emphasis upon preparation and promotion, destiny and victory, risk and justice; all aspects of the story of Esther. I’m carrying the book of Esther in my spirit and I don’t want to miss the word in the season because one of the characteristics of seasons is that they carry ‘words’. Proverbs puts it this way, ‘a word spoken in due season: how good it is’ (Prov 15:23 KJV). Many of us are familiar with this verse but have we ever really thought about the implications of a word for the season? It means words can be spoken out of season but there is a right word for the right season and when its spoken, the Bible says it’s good! 

I’m convinced that the book of Esther is a word in season – this is an Esther season for the Body of Christ so we should take the time to delve into the riches of this book – the entire book is about the Kingdom of God. In this story the Holy Spirit is using a broad brush to paint a picture of the church, redemption, destiny, sacrifice and bravery. These are all qualities of the Kingdom and I believe at this time, we would do well to take the book of Esther seriously and ask the Lord what are the implications for us as believers in this season? 

So let’s begin at the beginning. I could take a lot of time going over the descriptions of the Empire of King Xerxes that we’re presented with at the start of Chapter 1. However, there are some specific things I want to highlight which means other details may get sacrificed. Perhaps it’s enough to say that the introduction to Esther should put us in mind of God the Father, who reigns over a vast, unending Kingdom. I believe this to be the case, even though Xerxes is in fact, a heathen king, reigning over a demonic Empire. Nonetheless, he had a role to play in securing the deliverance of God’s people and the Lord enabled grace to work through this man for the sake of a greater purpose. Xerxes name means ‘warrior’ or ‘hero among rulers’ – in this way he represents aspects of Christ the King. Jesus himself is a warrior, he conquered death, the greatest enemy of all but our King doesn’t just hold victory for himself, instead he imparts his victory into his followers; ‘in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us’ (Rom 8:27). Jesus is a warrior King but this King empowers others to be more than conquerors. Xerxes was also a ‘hero among rulers’, when the Apostle of love, John, sees the risen Jesus, he sees a name written upon a vesture on his thigh which reads ‘KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS’ (Rev 19:16). Jesus’ throne is established over all the thrones of the world, over all of time and creation – he truly is the hero among rulers. So there are some parallels for us to observe here. 

As I said, there are perhaps lots more details that would be right to draw out from the opening passage but I feel constrained to highlight some specific themes. These themes intertwine a little but could be categorised as:

  • The time of wine
  • The seven spirits of God
  • The counterfeit bride

These are all major themes but it’s in these themes that the real ‘word for the season’ rests. 

The time of wine

Esther 1:7 tells us that ‘wine was served in goblets of gold, each one different from the other, and the royal wine was abundant, in keeping with the kings liberality’. Wine takes on its own significance throughout the scriptures but there’s a specific correlation between wine and the bridegroom and it’s at the ‘time of wine’ that we begin to be introduced to the bridal theme within Esther. I believe there is now an emergence of the bridal theme and it’s coming at the time of wine. You see – wine also represents revival, specifically ‘new wine’. The prophet Joel, in the same chapter that relates to Pentecost, talks about the restoration that will come to Israel as a result of their repentance. Joel 2:24 says ‘the threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil’. This speaks to us of the time of harvest, when the threshing floor is full of grain and the vats overflow with new wine and oil. This is a clear prophetic picture of an end time harvest and an ingathering of grain; a time when new wine and oil are being poured out. Just to really drive this point home, we know wine speaks of revival for other reasons but specifically tied to Joel 2 is the most profound outpouring of the Spirit we have ever witnessed – Pentecost itself. That would be a whole article on it’s own but I want to point out what the crowds said of those in the upper room (Acts 2:13), they didn’t just say they’ve had too much wine, they said they’ve been drinking ‘new wine’ or the ‘sweet wine’. The world doesn’t really know what it’s talking about but sometimes, God will use a secular prophet just to show he’s still the boss! Even in their ridicule of the 120, the crowd were confirming God’s plan and timing, as prophesied by Joel, that the spirit would be poured out on all flesh and it would be like ‘new wine’. 

Jesus too, the ultimate carrier of new wine, enters his earthly ministry at the time of wine. At the wedding feast of Canna he performed his first miracle, which is all about the wine. It’s also about the wedding, Jesus is Lord of the wedding and the wine. The wedding and the wine also appear in the book of Ruth. She’s told to go down to the threshing floor, a place where women weren’t supposed to go, at midnight and specifically at a time when Boaz is satisfied with food and wine. Here’s the point of all this, the  Bride will emerge at the time of wine. At the end of the age, at the midnight hour, I believe the new wine will be poured out in abundance, but its wedding wine and at the same time we’ll see the emergence of the true Bride of Christ. As the Bride gets ready, God will release the wine of the Kingdom as a foretaste of the wine to come at the wedding feast of the Lamb. The new wine of revival will fill the earth and it will overflow from the church, at the same time, we’re going to see an emergence of the Bride as she goes through her preparations. There will be an increasing prophetic call for righteousness, holiness and the fear of the Lord. All of this will find expression in messages of purity and a restoration of the truth of purity in marriage and holy courtship amongst Christians. God will send the purging fire of revival, the fires of refinement and purification to the church and this will begin to remove stains and wrinkles, spots and blemishes from the  Bride of Christ. We’re going to see sin confronted and exposed and the new wine will cause the church to make herself ready for the Groom. Jesus will marry a bride that can be equally yoked to him, he’s not coming for a harlot bride, a zombie bride or an apathetic bride. He’s coming for a powerful, beautiful, passionate bride without spot or blemish. This means a cleansing is coming to the house of the Lord. It means God, in his love and mercy, will send fires of purification to the body of Christ, we’re going to see repentance from within the church (2 Chron 7:14), at a scale that to some, will seem shocking . But this is the wine, this is the new wine we require. We will see this taught throughout the nations and the western Church will awaken to love, at the time of love and she’s making herself ready. Now is the time of the new wine. 

The Chronicles of Esther #1

Setting the scene…

The book of Esther is a many sided diamond and light reflects off of it in so many different directions that it’s going to take a lot of digging to really see the true treasure; and we won’t be able to see all of it because it is a characteristic of God the Father to keep things hidden. In this way, the search continues and we as his children get to play heavenly ‘hide and seek’ with the wonderful word of God. With that being said, there’s still plenty to run after in our quest to plumb the depths of Esther. 

However, just a brief word on my perspective and the lens with which I use to look at this book. For me, it’s always been a ‘bridegroom book’ and what I mean by that is simply this, the central theme is the preparation of a bride for the King. This can also be said, to a great extent, about the books of Ruth and Song of Solomon and I think Esther, as a book, belongs with those neighbouring texts. We have a strand of three wisdom books that all have the bride and bridegroom as central themes. But of course it’s also true to say, the bridal theme does not stand in isolation. In all three of the books mentioned, bridal preparation, love and intimacy are themes within themes and in the preparation of the bride there are huge and significant themes running parallel. Take Ruth for instance, it’s true to say that through this book, the Holy Spirit is surely revealing the theme of preparing the bride; Ruth becomes a type of the church and Boaz a type of Christ. We can’t, however, ignore the fact that the book of Ruth is also about redemption and restoration amongst many other things. Boaz is the bridegroom redeemer and Ruth, through the love and wisdom of Boaz, experiences restoration. The church, like Ruth, has been purchased and redeemed but the church is redeemed by the blood of Jesus. The church, through the love and wisdom of Jesus, is also being restored but she is being restored into truth and foundation stones are being reexamined, in some cases re-laid and re-set. 

My point is this: the bridegroom revelation, that of Jesus Christ as our bridegroom King is central to these three books and we’re here to delve deeper into the book of Esther. But let’s also look at this issue of multi layered themes from another perspective. Let’s look at it from today’s perspective because the same thing is happening. The bridegroom theme is emerging in the church, slowly at times and often hidden away from the mainstream but it’s there. It whispers to us in quiet corners and sometimes, to me at least, it seems to emerge from the background just to let us know it’s there. I am thoroughly convinced that this message may be spoken in hushed tones in quiet corners in the current season but it will soon take centre stage, the bride herself and the necessary accompanying revelation of the bridegroom king is going to become fundamentally important in the culture, values and teaching of the church in the coming season. But, just like in the book of Esther, Ruth and Song of Solomon, in the world today there are other issues. Esther and her people the Jews faced extinction, so deliverance becomes another major theme of the book. We too, face persecution and are being politically marginalised as a result of the spirit of the age we’re living in. But at the same time, the bridegroom revelation is emerging. The bride in the Song of Songs was abused by the watchmen and there has been a failing and falling short in the church to treat the bride with proper care and protection. But she also enters into intimacy and becomes united with her bridegroom lover. So we shouldn’t be surprised that the theme of the bride of Christ is emerging during a time of crisis in the world and the church. There are many horses running together but it is our joy and privilege to take some time to simply gaze into the word and take a closer look at this enigmatic book of Esther and try to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church in this season.

Intimacy or Authority?

After reading the passage in 2 Kings 4 (8-36) I’ve been thinking a lot about the issue of intimacy (click here for video). We talk about intimacy with God now, it’s become acceptable to use this language in church and there’s an understanding that Song of Songs and the books of Ruth and also Esther are dealing with the Bridegroom paradigm. Perhaps a better way of putting that is – for the most part, in the churches I’ve grown up in, there’s an understanding that Jesus is the Bridegroom and we as the church are the ‘bride of Christ’.  But this passage in 2 Kings brings all of this into focus and presents a real challenge. As I was reading this, the Holy Spirit spoke so clearly to my heart that I feel this is an important message for all of us in this season and as we press into the next.

What is the next season and where are we now? I think this passage might answer that question. Without covering all of the background, the passage has to do with the Shunamite woman’s son. The Shunamite woman built a room for Elisha and almost as recompense, Elisha asked what she wanted and eventually he prophesied to her about having a son. Within the year, she’d had a son but this son died suddenly. The Shunamite woman laid the boys corpse on Elisha’s guest bed and left her house to go to Elisha.

It’s in the exchange and the way that Elisha deals with the Shunamite woman that I believe revelation is hidden. Elisha has two different reactions to the situation, the first is symptomatic of where the church has been. His first reaction is to use authority and by saying this I’m not suggesting there isn’t authority in the church – there is – but it’s not necessarily to be exercised in the way Elisha tried to. Elisha tells his servant to take his staff and run on ahead. So the servant, whose name is Gehazi, takes Elisha’s staff and runs on to the Shunamite woman’s house. Now we need to catch this, Elisha deals with the woman’s problem by sending an emblem of his authority. He sends Gehazi and his staff, a delegation or a representation of his anointing and of his office and authority. The text is so starkly clear about the results of this – it say’s Gehazi laid the staff on the boy’s face and ‘nothing happened’. Operating out of cold authority and of lifeless symbolism and representation will always lead to ‘nothing happening’. Maybe Elisha’s heart was in the right place but maybe it wasn’t – maybe he thought ‘well I can just send my staff – I’m that annointed that I don’t even have to get up and go – I’ll just issue a decree and send my authority’. But nothing happened. The passage also explains that the mother pleaded with Elisha and that he ‘got up and followed her’. There was some reluctance in Elisha and what was called for in this situation was to walk with a grieving woman and actually visit her home. Sending ‘the staff’ simply wouldn’t cut it. But what would – what was the answer?

Elisha arrives at the house and finds the boy just as the mother explained, he’s lifeless and lying dead on the couch. So the prophet goes into the room, alone, staring at a lifeless corpse. He’s looking at the thing he prophesied into existence and it’s dead, the boy has died. How many of us have been in that situation – the promise that once was seems to be dead? However, we know this isn’t the end of the story but Elisha has to enter into a new mode to see breakthrough. So he stretches himself out on top of the boy, face to face, hand to hand and breathes on him. As he stretched himself out, the boy’s body grows warm – but still no life. So Elisha paces up and down for a while and then goes back a second time. He stretches out again and this time – the boy comes back to life. It seems to me that intimacy broke the spirit of death when authority didn’t. What does that mean? I think it means that the church that wants to walk in resurrection power has to walk in real intimacy with God. A spirit of authoritarianism didn’t bring life to the boy – my title, my office, my ministry, my authority – is not the way the Father works. Resurrection life comes only through a heart pursuing intimacy.

Where are we now? I wonder if we’re in between the first and second ‘stretching’. In fact, I wonder if the church right now is pacing up and down, just before the resurrection life manifests. We know, I think, that it’s not about authority, we understand, I hope, that we have to walk in intimacy. Maybe, like that boy, we’re getting warmer, we’ve tasted of something and entered into some level of intimacy but the real breakthrough is waiting for us in that second season. It’s waiting for those who may pace up and down for a while, but will press into deeper intimacy and see the reality of resurrection power in the body. Intimacy is the key to walking in the supernatural and its an invitation from the Bridegroom King as we enter the next season. A heart of intimacy will always birth the miraculous and this, by the grace of God, is where we’re heading.

The hedge of safety.

I felt to share this dream (click me for video) at the beginning of 2019 because its a word of encouragement and comfort as we go into the New Year together. In the dream I was outside looking at two fields. The Lord stood at a fence looking over at his sheep, he was dressed like a farmer, wearing a green wax jacket and outdoor clothes. I stood beside the Lord and I could see the ‘sheep of his pasture’ but the sheep also had faces. I recognised the sheep as being friends from the Peninsula. The sheep were completely safe, simply grazing in the field and the Lord was watching over them. I had the sense that the sheep knew the Lord was there and they were closely connected to him and totally protected by him.

In a second field, there was a wild goat-like creature or a ram. It was furious, it seemed like steam was practically coming out of its head – it was full of rage and anger. It ran around the field and tried to get to the sheep. It was desperate to get to the sheep to destroy them but there was simply no exit point. The Lord had also fenced in the enemy and this goat was absolutely furious about this. However, he had one tactic that, in the dream, I could see had the potential to be effective – not to destroy the sheep but certainly to distract them. I saw this goat begin to shout lies and send words of deceit and anxiety, words of division and accusation against the Lord and against the other sheep. His words were able to travel over the hedge of protection and enter the atmosphere of the other sheep. The sheep could have listened to him but, in this scenario they were paying absolutely no attention to his words. They completely ignored him because the good shepherd, the Lord, had their complete attention.

I think Job 1:10 sheds some light on this – the enemy accuses God of protecting Job and says ‘have you not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has on every side?’ In Christ, our lives are hidden in God and he’s fenced us in with a hedge of protection. As we keep our gaze on him in 2019 I believe we’ll experience Kingdom advancement and a ‘safe place’ as we trust in the shepherd of our souls.