TRYING SITUATIONS, ENEMIES & HARDSHIPS? YOU GOTTA LOVE THEM ALL!

 

What a command it is that we are to love our enemies. The people that put us down, ridicule us, sabotage our hopes, dreams and plans to accelerate in life – love ‘those’ people? That sounds like a very tall order in the first instance, yet it is exactly what Jesus told us to do

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Why Though?

If there’s one thing we know, that Jesus never said anything without very good reason and for our own good. And when I say our own good, I don’t mean in a happy-go-lucky way, I mean good in the terms of what God calls good – our own effectiveness, growth and productivity in the purposes for which He created us. Remember, God created us with intention, planning and purpose and for us to grow into fulfilment of all those things, we often need ‘catalysts‘ to help stimulate that growth.

Consider your enemies (those people that are diametrically opposed to you growing into that productive, effective and purposeful person that you were created by God to be) as the said catalysts that God places in our life path to grow us into the image that He predestined for us. You see if we are very honest, most of us want an easy life and through life we can become slightly apathetic in engaging in anything that causes us challenges, particularly very personal growth because let’s face it, life is challenging enough on an everyday basis without finding milestones within to overcome.

However that is exactly the roadmap to our lives. For us to attain, achieve and be productive in the very plans and purposes that God created and called us to fulfill, it means travelling the course of our everyday lives and dealing with the character, mindset and lifestyle shortcomings that we have, in order to prepare and propel us to our next level in God. And nothing quite so refines us and gets us into shape as our enemies if we approach the situation correctly.

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Why Are Enemies Good For Us?

Nothing so greatly reveals your inner potential than your enemies, and God strategically places our enemies in our path to teach us and grow us into what we are destined to become. God clearly revealed this in the Bible time and time again. Let’s consider the account of David’s face off with Goliath.

David -v- Goliath – The Face Off – So David had been walking in  a good and close relationship with God from his youth. One day seemingly out of the blue, the Prophet Samuel comes to Jesse’s house (David’s father) with news that he has come to anoint the next King of Israel.  Well that must have been exciting because in those days it was no small feat to be King of Israel. Whether you were reverent of God or living as a heathen, everyone knew that the King of Israel was an elect position of the One True Living God.

 

The Process

Now the usual family dynamics were in full play in Jesse’s household upon Samuel’s arrival. David was regarded amongst in family (especially his siblings) as the least in the family. David was not the one that the family regarded as the most physically attractive (for that was Eliab) the first one who was considered by Samuel. Yet God quickly offered Samuel valuable insight regarding the decision-making process – that whilst mankind looks/values/esteems people’s appearance, God looks at the condition (cleanliness/holiness/sanctity) of a person’s heart (1 Samuel 16:7). And so it continued with Jesse making all the ‘most likely’ candidates come before Samuel, but the Lord had chosen none of them. It got to the point where Samuel had to ask “Are these all your sons?” and then of course that prompted Jesse to declare the one whom nobody in the family thought would be ‘the one’, cue David. They fetched for David who was doing the hard manual labour reserved for the very least of the clan out in the fields. And upon his presentation to Samuel… yes you guess it, the Lord said “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” . I can only imagine the ghastly look of bewilderment in everyone else’s eyes as the least was promoted to the greatest by the Lord’s divine will and providence.

So back to the enemy bit – firstly in the eyes of David’s siblings, David was by far the least liked and a good read around the book of 1 Samuel illustrates this. However David needed them for his growth and building up his resilience in life for what God had planned for him later on down the road of his destiny. All their belittling of David taught him to lean upon and trust in the Lord as his strength, stronghold and champion. He grew resilient and therefore dealing with his big brothers’ difficulties had inadvertently set him up for building up his relationship with God even stronger. And just to put it into context – anyone with older siblings knows that even the thought of confronting or going against an older sibling is frightening, let alone living with the constant cognisance that they think so little of you. So David’s family set-up and crafted him to have a mindset that depended upon God as his strength and peace and thus he developed a strong and intimate relationship with God.

Can you imagine though what it must have felt like for David after the Prophet Samuel left? His brothers’ attitudes was probably not any more affirming toward him than before he was anointed, and to top it all off there was no strategy or plan given to him about when this whole kingship thing would get off the ground. For David it was back to the fields and minding the sheep. What faith and assured knowing of God it must have taken for him to go back and work in the field after being anointed in the midst of those heightened family dynamics. But David was faithful and continued on about his father’s business until the Lord called him about His business.

 

Revelation

By the time that the whole Goliath situation presented himself, David’s relationship with God was so on-point that he recognised that as a divine assignment especially for him. He promptly stepped forward (not cockily mind you but in the name and to the glory of God) and dealt Goliath one almighty blow that took him down with a single stone. And that precipitated the circumstances that brought David into perfect alignment into God’s plan for his kingship. He stayed and served King Saul whom God knew would disobey Him, and would be the catalyst to replacing David as King instead of Saul.

 

Perception Is Everything

This is a short summary of very big and significant accounts of events in David’s life to illustrate that how what we perceive people and events in chapters of our lives which we label as ‘horrible’, ‘worst’, ‘enemy’ are actually divinely placed there by God to help us grow into the great destiny that He has prepared for us. I can guarantee you that nobody in Jesse’s house thought that David would be the one anointed as King.

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Change The Way You See (Perceive) Things

The next time you have a challenging person in your life, or presented with a challenging situation just be assured that this has been divinely allowed by God to draw you closer tofuture Him and take you to the next level in Him. Don’t fight the situation. Be resilient and draw on godly character and God’s strength to see you through to finish well and get the crown of your destiny. God’s plans for you are good. Trust Him.

 

Stay blessed.

 

 

FTGFF (Fighting The Good Fight of Faith)

In this day of acronyms (where there’s literally one for everything) I decided to embark on this one for the title feature. So as you’ve guessed it, the theme is about faith and fighting. It sounds like a very nice encouraging ‘good-Christian’ type of thing to say to someone who confides that they are going through a tough time and a trial, that they should ‘fight the good fight of faith’.

 

Break It Down To Me….

But what does that really mean in real life situations to ‘fight the good fight of faith’? I mean seriously when all hell is breaking loose around you, you want to have power that you can use to restore peace to your heart and mind, particularly when you can’t even control the situation you’re dealing with. At times like this what we need is not just pleasant sounding scriptures to regurgitate in the hope that something will change. No. What we need is to have a full revelation of what those scriptures mean for our lives. So that when the enemy comes in like a flood trying to plague us with thoughts of fear and anxiety, what we need is the Word within us to rise up by the unction of the Holy Spirit and crush those taunting thoughts to restore peace, love and a sound mind.

What i’m really saying is that for the Word to have power within us and for us to use it effectively in trying situations, we need a revelation of the scriptures.

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Promises, People, Purpose

Promises – We see repeatedly through the scriptures that God promised to fulfil His Word to His people. Yet just as us today, we have to remember that the people living in biblical times were humanity just like us living in a world amongst people who lived in ignorance oblivion and irreverence to God. Therefore in order for God to manifest His power and fulfil His Word and promises, God had to find a certain type of person to work with as a vessel through whom He could do these things.

People – That is the certain type of person whom we strive to be if we really want to see the power of God in our lives. It is a person that believes the promises of God, and the faithfulness of God to fulfil His Word regardless of whatever we see around us. It means that whatever the world is doing, we can stand confidently on the Word that God has given us and trusting that He will fulfil it in His time.

This type of commitment is not for the faint hearted. No not at all, because the battle is in mind. When you see the world doing things their way and getting on by doing big things, and you’re still seemingly plodding on making minor moves in your faithfulness to God, can you continue? When you’re living in a world of ‘Go-Getters’ who are getting ‘it all’ and your faithfulness to God means that you have to exercise self-control and submission, can you continue to be faithful? At the risk of looking extremely different to the point of a fool in the world’s eyes, can you still be faithful? That is the type of person that God is looking for. Someone who will be loyal to Him regardless of what the world is doing.

Purpose – Despite what whatever dogma the world is permeating, I can categorically tell you that the Word of God is clear that we are not here on this earth to gather up wealth, satisfy all our fleshly cravings and then die. God made each of us for a purpose.

God wants to establish His Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven through us the church – the people and Body of Christ. But just like the Children of Israel, each of us being the Church and the Body of Christ has to be different to the world and set apart for God’s purposes and holiness. Just as Jesus Christ was the embodiment of the Word and the Holy Spirit power of God, so too do we have to separate ourselves into submission to God’s Word so that the Word can manifest through our lives and display the full power of God for His Glory.eyes

When the pressure to conform to the world is mounting, and the desire to fit in and do as the world is doing is becoming insurmountable, remember this: The Kingdom of God is eternal, and the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. We are Kingdom People and we are here for Kingdom Business.

 

 

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The Price of Kingdom Business…

Being about Kingdom Business means so many things. It means:

  • Being different – not conforming to building your life according to the patterns of the world, but changing your mindset to live life according to God’s Word, will and purpose.
  • Looking foolish – Noah looked foolish when building the arc, but he lived and the world passed away. David looked foolish going into battle with stones against a giant whom nobody dared face, yet David went in the name and power of God and defeated Goliath.
  • Waiting – yes, this is the absolute killer. If we can conquer this we have pretty much nailed it. The wait is super hard. Sarah (Abraham’s wife) couldn’t wait and gave her Maidservant  Hagar to Abraham to have a son (and what thorn in her side that decision was). Waiting means submitting to God’s wisdom and not trying to do it our own way. Most times when God gives a prophetic word it will seem like utter nonsense and we can quite easily tear down with our mouths what God is trying to establish in our lives. Remember Zachariah? He wanted proof that God would do what He said He would do, and his unbelief was at risk of damaging the path for John The Baptist to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. Zachariah couldn’t fathom in his own wisdom how the Word of God could be fulfilled in his dire and near impossible situation in the natural. God muted him.

 Your wait is tied into the great destiny that lies ahead of you. Even Jesus Christ was tempted in the wait. In Matthew 4 Jesus was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted of the enemy. Jesus was fasting for 40-days and 40-nights in order to prepared and full of power for His Galilean Ministry and perform all the great wonders and miracles we read about in the Bible today. Yet of course the enemy didn’t want Jesus Christ to fulfill His destiny. So what did the enemy do? Tempted Jesus with a counterfeit situation promising Him all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would worship him. Yet Jesus knew the Word and defeated the enemy with the Word. destiny

In our own wilderness seasons that we have been led into by the Spirit of God, we will face many challenges to our faithfulness to God, a few of which I have outlined above. Be careful not to make decisions out of desperation, out of your own wisdom or settling for a counterfeit at the cost of your soul or destiny (or both). Remember God is trying to establish His church, His will and His purpose through each of our lives. Don’t derail your destiny by submitting to the cravings of your humanity and trying to fit into the world’s way of doing life. Be bold, be different and be faithful to God through it all.

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Stay blessed and encouraged.

 

A ‘Beautiful’ Place

I was recently reading Acts 3 and was struck by how much peace we could gain in our lives if we purposed our minds to find the principles in scripture to help us with our own life situations. The account in particular that I was reading was when Peter healed a man who had been lame from birth.

 

Same Old Same Old

This man had a condition that impaired his quality of life from the beginning, and it was this condition that prevented him from being like everyone else. Whilst people all around him were going about their everyday lives, enjoying the highs and the lows of independent living (which they probably took for granted), the lame man was daily reminded of his imperfections as he was put at the temple gate to beg in order to sustain a living. Yet his sustenance was dependent upon other people’s empathy with him, because he couldn’t fend for himself.

Can you imagine how many hours, days, months, years this man sat in a place called Beautiful and lamented and probably fantasised about something beautiful happening to him. In that mindset, what do you suppose is the best that he could have hoped for? That one day he might find favour in someone’s eyes and be given a windfall, or perhaps a great opportunity that would alleviate him of the humiliation of sitting and begging in a so-called ‘Beautiful’ place.

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And Then Suddenly….

Then one apparently ordinary day, he is sitting in his customary spot at the temple gate waiting as usual for someone to relinquish some change to him. However, this particular day it is Peter that walks on by, and this happens:

Peter says: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”  Taking him by the right hand, he helped the lame man up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.  He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.  When all the people saw him walking and praising God,  they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

 

What About Me?

Sometimes in life we find ourselves in situations where we think that compared to everyone around us we are crippled by circumstance. Maybe all our friends have high-flying jobs and despite our best efforts we haven’t established a career yet. Perhaps the great majority of our friends and family have now married and settled down with kids and we still haven’t even met the one! Or it could quite simply be that we think everyone else has an amazing and fantastic life, and we look at our own with great despair. Whatever it is, we can find ourselves in circles of greatness that look like a Beautiful Place but actually whist we’re there we feel lame and out of place.

This is not particularly difficult to imagine in this day and age where social media platforms make it very easy for people to manipulate an image of a lifestyle which doesn’t accord with reality. There are these amazing looking women with beautiful faces, figures and seemingly a lifestyle that most could only dream of. Yet the images uploaded have been photoshopped, filtered, cropped and God knows where the materials things came from (were they earned through good and noble graft, or is a Sugar Daddy responsible for that, or some soul selling?).

If we are not careful, we can quite easily fall into the trap of believing that our lives have fallen short because everyone else around us seems to be ‘living the life’ when in fact every single person has challenges in life. We even see in the Bible that the great New Testament Paul who was extremely passionate about God had his own thorn in his side that he begged God to remove, but He didn’t. The point is this; be very careful about being amongst and around Beautiful Places and comparing yourself and your journey with what you see. And definitely don’t define yourself by your circumstances. No season lasts forever.

 

Every Situation Has A Purpose

Our God is an intentional God, I mean even Travis Greene sang about it! God took great care and intention when creating the universe and heavens with great thought and specification. Even down to our own bodies having a plethora of organs, cells and chromosomes that are ordered to work together in a particular way for a purpose. Therefore be very assured that nothing that comes or happens to you in life is by accident. The Bible is literally filled with situations where God shows up with absoluteintentinal divine timing in the most amazing situations that ONLY GOD could do. The benefit for us is that with a flick of a few pages and discerning study we can understand the divine purpose and perspective why certain situations happened, even though at the time the biblical characters were going through what they would call a real crisis! (Think 2 Chronicles 20:1-30). Just as in the Bible, God allows and orders certain situations in our lives to teach us things about life, draw us into closer relationship with Him and even sharpen our character. Therefore it is a deceptive thought that would cause us to believe that our lives are different or an exception to God’s intentional rule. God is the same yesterday, today and forevermore and changes not. (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6)

 

The Lame Man – I think we can all empathise very easily with the lame man sitting daily in a place watching the world go by with all its independence and splendor, whilst he sat probably on a dirt road by the gate begging. Over the years he might have sat there with all the time in the world to think some long hard thoughts. To observe people’s behaviour. To learn lessons vicariously. But most importantly no matter how far his thoughts travelled, he had a cognisance of God because every day he sat at the Temple Gate and watched people going backward and forward taking their goods and firstfruits to honour God in the temple. This must have resonated with him. God was active in their lives, and their honouring Him was proof. When would be his turn? When would he get blessed with abundance?84acb5ec8fdeea673c7872d9c3a9329c--have-faith-faith-in-god

Our Story – Just like the lame man, we can often look around and see people getting blessed and going back and forth with blessings, yet our lives are seemingly stagnant. Every period of seeming stagnation has a purpose. For us to learn lasting lessons of God’s principles and to grow closer to Him, so that by the time that the windows of heaven open over us, we do not be consumed with having the blessing, but are consumed with love, gratitude and honour to God for His faithfulness. It also teaches us another principle – what we think we want may not necessarily be what we need, and God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. The lame man might have wanted to live in and amongst abundant blessings so that he would not have to beg again, but God’s plan was to give him a fully functioning body.

In our wilderness seasons and those seasons of feeling a bit lame, might we do better by reflecting what God would have us focus on and learn the lessons that God is trying to teach us in the season, rather than focussing on what we don’t have. If we focus on what other’s have, all we do is magnify what appears to be our shortcomings. However if we focus on God, we will learn the purpose for the seasons that we are in, and position ourNothing-happens-in-life-by-accident hearts, minds and thoughts to be reverentially ready for the abundant and miracle working power of God in our lives. No eye has seen, no ear has heard neither has it entered the heart of man what God has in store for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Just like Paul’s thorn, the lameness in our lives are there to strengthen us in our  dependence on God and draw us into closer relationship with Him. As we do this, we can perceive by His Spirit the abundance of what He wants to do in and through our lives for His Glory, as a witness to the world that He is God. And when we dance and praise God with thanksgiving, people will be amazed and in awe of how God turned our situations around, just like they did when they watched the lame man walking, jumping and praising God.

So as hard as it may be, learn to be content in your situation whatever the lameness it. Our God is a Mighty God and His arm is not too short to save you from whatever trial, adversity or situation you are in (Isaiah 59:1).

Stay blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

Life Without God

 

 

Life Without God

What an absolute oxymoron. As a firm believer in God and in also in the Bible, it is my  solid belief that it is impossible for there to be life without God.

In this secular world we are constantly bombarded with secularist and humanist ideology which seeks to undermine the very essence, presence and truth that God is the Source of all life, and without Him nothing that exists now could exist. ‘THAT’ ideology would have you believe that we all morphed from a random Big Bang event and came to be humans over time. I’m definitely not embarking on a mission here to castigate anyone who has different beliefs to mine (as I believe that we have all been given the divine gift of choice). We can choose to accept God and His Word (Bible) or we can choose to reject it. The only thing we cannot choose, is to escape the consequences of our choices.

 

IS GOD LIFE?

Well the short answer from a biblical perspective is a resounding yes. God is indeed life and in fact, it is the very breath of God that gives us all life. Whether people agree with it or not (and by all means it is their choice to make) – it still does not change the fact that it is the breath of God that is the Source of all life. Contrary to what some would have you believe, God is not some narcissistic being that sits there waiting for us to make a mistake so that He can punish us. Quite the contrary. God is merciful and loving and passionately wants all humanity to live by the principles upon which He founded this Earth and universe – principles of love, peace, working in tandem with kindness, patience, forgiveness, humility and endearment toward each other.

 

New Thought & New Ideology: There Is No God

However over the period of time mankind has become increasingly self-righteous by trusting in the paucity of his own wisdom. This, combined with the deceptive proclivities of the heart has led to the heart of man being filled to the point of overflowing with iniquity. As a result, mankind has actually sought to re-write history according to his own evolved thought and wisdom and has been gradually seeking to erase the truth and permeate the world with his own ideals. These are ideals that promote fleshly, selfish and prejudicial perspectives of life driven by greed, power and wealth.

 

Subtle Tactics

Imagine if over time, all you kept seeing was one image of alleged ‘truth’ and one story being fed to you as the commonly and only acceptable belief of society. Eventually over time (particularly if you were not permitted to challenge that cultural belief) you would subconsciously begin to believe and buy into the dogma. This would certainly shape your perception of life and the world.

This is the subtle and sophisticated nature of what is known as the deception of the enemy and is the subtle tactics through which the cultural norms of society are manipulated so that eventually people really do believe that there is no God and that the Bible is just a collection of fictitious events.

 

Just imagine how utterly ridiculous it would be if in 500-600 years from now future generations read one of our modern day biographies and decided that it was all fictitious because they could not conceive of life in that way, and consequently decided to rewrite history. Yet this is the very thing that is happening in this day and age. And the more fashionable it becomes to be atheist, humanist and any other type of ‘ist‘ (especially when these ‘new thought ideals’ are pumped through every media platform available), soon being a Believer in God will be a small minority of the world’s population.

The first thing that the serpent in the Garden of Eden used to attack mankind’s relationship with God was false information/lies. The same technique has been used for centuries. A manipulation of the truth and outright lies have been fed to the world to make people believe that there is no God, and that people should only believe what they see and understand as real.

 

Evidence of God Everywhere

What I find incredibly surprising is that in life there is evidence of God absolutely everywhere, and we need not look any further than our own lives. Mankind literally lives and breathes by virtue of the breath of God. When breath is withdrawn, so is life. Every living thing requires the breath of God to live on this earth. When God takes His breath from our physical bodies, our physical bodies die but our spirit-man (which is eternal) continues to live on.  Whether it lives on in the presence of God or not is the real distinction between life and death.

Death is simply the state of being outside of the presence of God. In this earth we have a physical manifestation of life which is obvious because we have arms and legs which we can see. However there is a vast array of  spiritual life which co-exists with the physical world which pretty much remains invisible to our naked eye.

Yet even with our physical existence on earth, we still have the presence of God both within and around us because the breath of God is what gives us life. Once that breath of God is withdrawn because our number is up, our true essence, our spirit man is fully expressive and receptive to the Spirit of God because our physical flesh existence is no longer creating that barrier. However our spiritual future is predicated on the spiritual decisions that we make today. If we make spiritual decisions that are ignorant of God and repulsive of Him, then when we transition to the other side, that is exactly what will happen – it will be a spiritual existence outside of the holy presence of God and that is what is known as DEATH… and death is ugly. It is the exact opposite of God who is LOVE. Death is destructive and full of sorrow.

Life Without God??

So back to the original question: ‘Can there be life without God?’. In my view the answer is a clear ‘NO’ for all the reasons stated above. However, the more concise description of what people would tend to believe is this: that you can live without reverence of God, and in total ignorance of His presence.

In this physical realm many people do just that. They go about life without a single thought for God unless a grave emergency falls into their laps. Ultimately however, we all pass away and when our true essence (our souls and spirit) move into the spiritual realm, the place where we will end up will completely depend upon the choices we have made with our minds, hearts and souls in this physical realm. Those choices will determine our spiritual home.

If our choices in this physical plane have been to live outside of God’s reverence and ignorant and dismissive of His existence, then eternity will be spent outside of His presence and that is what is known as DEATH. Life is the presence of God. Death is the absence of the purposeful, productive and holy presence of God.

Let’s purpose to make good choices whilst we are here on earth that are reverentially obedient and submissive to God’s Word, because the worst words we could ever hear are ”depart from me, I never knew you”.

Stay blessed.

 

Choices & Decisions…

There are two things we are given in life: Time and Choice.

Generally speaking, by a certain age we get to choose the direction of our lives and how we choose to spend our moments. Admittedly, we are not always conscious and deliberate about the choices that we make on an every day basis, and sometimes we are completely unaware of the profound consequences of the choices we make.

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So What’s In A Choice?

A choice is a freewill decision that is rooted in a conviction (of something that we believe to be right), or something that we desire.  Therefore, our choices reflect the essence of the thoughts in our hearts. Whatever we willingly choose to do is a complete reflection of the condition of how we truly think in our hearts. This is why many people care less for the futile words spoken by others and instead watch more closely their actions, for ultimately a person will only act in accordance with what they think. Yes it’s true that people can plod along and acquiesce with certain actions to feign their true intentions, but this can only go on for so long. The passions of the heart cannot be suppressed forever and whatever someone is thinking in their heart will ultimately be expressed in their actions – and that action is an expression of their choice and how that person thinks and feels.

Making Good Choices

This is a life-long lesson. The older I get, the deeper the seat of humility I take because I recognise that I am but a student in this life long lesson. When I made a commitment toaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa5 live whole-heartedly an uncompromised life for Christ, it came at a cost. That cost was to forsake my own limited wisdom in favour of making every life decision in the context of what God’s Word says is the right thing to do, and submitting to that. If we believe that God’s Word is true and good, then making decisions in alignment with His Word should be our aim in life. This is definitely not always easy. It requires faith and courage to step away from what society regards as ‘normal’ in order to honour God’s Word. But it also requires wisdom to know how to translate our actions in a loving way to the world around us.

Our Choices Is The Sum Total of Our Lives

We have often heard the terms (especially on food and lifestyle TV programmes) that we are what we eat. What we choose to eat and put inside of our bodies is what we outwardly express in our health and appearance. The same applies to our lives. If we put God’s Word in our hearts and we live by it with conviction out of a genuine love for God (and not a rigid religious mindset) then our outward expression should be a set of decisions in alignment with God’s love and God’s Word. It sounds so simple, but reality can be far different.

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In this life, we have to contend the desires of our flesh. This means we have to contend feelings of lust, envy, jealousy, greed, laziness, anger and pride to name but a few. Trying to live righteously by the Word of God when we are battling such feelings can be a trial in itself.

Example:

Woman A loves God deeply and passionately but the events of her life have left her feeling somewhat insecure. As a result she constantly compares herself to those in her work/social circle, and these comparisons leave her with feelings of jealousy when she wants something that someone else has. If Woman A doesn’t deal her insecurities she will forever be battling feelings of jealousy and envy, which is the fastest way to kill relationships, because you cannot have a lasting, joyful and loving relationship with people whom you are secretly competing against. Such powerful emotions cannot be suppressed and will come out. Eventually Woman A will get to the point of wondering why she has been unable to sustain any meaningful long-term friendships and this ‘insecurity issue’ is likely to be one of the root causes.

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Our Choices Affect Our Lives and The Lives of Those Around Us

As we can see from the example above, Woman A’s choice not to deal with her insecurities has had a profound effect on her social (and probably other) relationships.aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa8 This issue in particular rarely only affects a person’s social life, but also can seriously affect a person’s mental wellbeing as persistent overwhelming feelings of loneliness can cause depression to set in. One choice by Woman A in deciding not to confront and deal with one issue of insecurity has led to a succession of other issues in her life that has ruined so many relationships.

On a day-to-day level it can seem no big deal to devise coping strategies to avert dealing with what we recognise to be ‘issues’ in our lives. Often times we devise these coping strategies so that we don’t have to come face-to-face with issues that make us have to face and deal with our vulnerabilities and shortcomings … AND God forbid that our mask slips so the world sees that we haven’t got it ‘all together’. Again.. it’s a choice.

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Friends, Family, Church: ACCOUNTABILITY

I am a firm believer that we cannot live without community. We all need community and no man is an island especially in this walk of faith. We need a circle and people whom we respect to be noble Believers so that we can have a line of accountability. It’s for our own good. None of us want to die with an unfulfilled destiny. We all want God to be pleased with us. Therefore part of this journey is about having people around us that can help encourage and empower us to be our BEST SELVES. People that we can be vulnerable with, who won’t judge us but will lovingly and sensitively help us deal with our issues and build us up into the people that God created us to be. That is what accountability is all about. It’s a part of travelling and navigating through this life with a support network that is for you to help you make good decisions with the two things you are given in this life – time and choice.

Stay blessed.

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The Big 3 Essentials: A DIY Spiritual Checklist…

I don’t know about you but I love a checklist! I think checklists are a great utensil to measure progress in a quick manner, especially in this fast-paced society. These days with a few clicks or ticks we can pretty much assess or access most things we need to know. So here I am with my very own ‘The Big 3 Essentials: A DIY Spiritual Checklist’

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SO WHAT’S THE CHECKLIST ALL ABOUT?

The checklist includes the essential characteristics that we must strive to have embedded in our being in order to be in good alignment with the Word and thus God’s Kingdom. There are certain qualities that we must possess (even if we haven’t perfected them, we should at least be striving for better) if we want to be in alignment with: God, His Kingdom and the great destiny that He has prepared for each of us. There is a whole host of qualities that we should possess, but I have identified what I consider to be the Essentials…. And to be honest I think this is more than enough to give us a good kick up the derriere for a quick Spiritual Health Check. I should warn you right here and now that this will leave you wanting to do better….

THE CHECKLIST

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa checkbox Living With A God-Perspective This one is supremely important as everything else basically emanates from this one. We are urged to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things (everything we need as we live in this physical realm) shall be given to us Matthew 6:33. This means that our focus and perspective through which we define and decide all of life’s issues is based on God’s Word – I hasten to add NOT the norms and customs of society (which are ever changing) but based on the Word of God.

After spending regular focussed time in the Word, it becomes extremely clear that God’s principles are completely opposite to the world’s way of doing things. This is the reason that we are urged to renew our mind and become transformed from what we have been conditioned to do by the world and be transformed into the Spiritual Being that God created us to be whilst living this human experience. Romans 12:2

The more time we spend reading and studying God’s Word, the more we understand the principles that He created for life. Usually, by the time we have made the decision to live full-on and completely for God, we have usually racked up a fair bit of worldliness in our character… we think how the world thinks, we strive and have ambition how the world does and we value what the world values. So to make the transformation and transition into the level of holiness that God requires takes consistent practice and a changed way of thinking. I truly believe that this is what Jesus meant when He said that unless you change and turn from your sins and become like little children (seeking guidance with a genuine intention to use it as a basis for living) then you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven Matthew 18:3

Essentially, if we genuinely want to live our lives as pleasing to God, then we need to consistently check that we are viewing life through His perspective (through the perspective of His Word). To live life with a lukewarm relationship and spirituality with God (where we only want to do obey certain bits of God’s Word because it suits us but not other parts) then just be reminded of what God says about lukewarm people:

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So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Revelation 3:16-19

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa checkboxHeart of Humility – Humility (being low-key and modest about the achievements in your life) is a very important quality in the sight of God. Humility acknowledges that you are what you are by the grace of God. The opposite of humility is pride (which I will not delve into as I did an entire post about pride last month (type ‘pride’ into the search area). Suffice to say that pride is deep satisfaction with oneself, one’s possessions, one’s close associates and basically anything that one can boast about as part of their life. It is the opposite of humility. Humility stands with a reverent consciousness of God through life and recognises that nothing gets through life without going through God first. Humility recognises that if Jesus Christ, the King of Kings came and served and made Himself of no reputation, then we must also do the same. Philippians 2:7.

At the heart of humility are a few core qualities: secure (because you know that you’re in alignment with God and all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28); servitude (because you do everything as unto God as King and Lord of your life, and you recognise that true promotion comes from the Lord – Colossians 3:23-24); contentment (because you know that God is a good and faithful God and He honours His Word, and you know that  in due season your diligent faithful reverence of Him will be rewarded with His blessing. Blessing is not your motivation for reverence, but it is God’s reward to you for your obedience and faithfulness to Him. Contentment comes because you trust God’s omniscience and His plans for your life – as long as you are honouring His Word consistently).

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aaaaaaaaaaaaaa checkbox Sensitivity To The Holy Spirit (Especially Conviction of Sin) The Holy Spirit is a special gift given to us by God and is our Guide to living on the path of righteousness in this life. A good indicator as to how spiritually fit we are is how sensitive we are to the Holy Spirit. If we are living our lives God-consciously and in reverence of Him, we should be experiencing those red flag moments when we are about to do something we ought not to be doing, say something we ought not to say or think something that is not a godly thought. As long as we are sensitive to the unction of the Holy Spirit we have our Spiritual GPS working, and we ought to be working in obedience to our Spiritual GPS. If however you get to the point where you are not feeling bad about living in contradiction to God’s Word, it’s a big sign that you may not be walking in alignment with God’s Word, not hearing from the Holy Spirit… and the absolute worst case scenario: your conscience has been seared. This is usually a massive red flag because you have to be walking in deliberate disobedience to God without remorse or repentance. No judgment, but this really is not a good place to be, and I would urge anyone at this stage to seek to repair their relationship with God ASAP as a matter of urgent priority. Nobody wants to be caught in this state.

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HOW DID YOU DO?

None of us are perfect so if you haven’t got big resounding ticks all the way through, it’s not a problem so long as you are striving in your heart to be better. The positive way of looking at it is thank God that we have a quick gauge to show us our areas for improvement.

This is not to judge anyone but to empower and encourage us to strive to be better and do better, so that the glory of God can shine through our lives, the Holy Spirit can move through our lives and be a great light in this terribly dark world to win some souls for God’s Kingdom.

Be encouraged, stay in the Word and may God bless you as you strive to consistently put Him first and honour His Word first in your life.

 

 

PRIDE….

Pride is something that no godly person will ever want to admit to having – EVER! But it’s very important to understand what pride is and regularly guard our heart against it  (and all the other wickedness too!). So what is pride?……

 

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Sounds pretty innocent right? I mean who wouldn’t feel good about something great happening to them or those connected to them? Well, pride is little more than a feel-good-emotion. Pride is deep pleasure…. from ‘one’s own achievements’.

So let’s break this Pride thing down a little bit. Pride has two focal points:

  1. It’s emotion in the extreme, e.g. ‘deep pleasure’
  2. It is a very self-obsessed emotion e.g. to do with me, connected to me.

 

WHAT DOES GOD SAY?

If we are trying to live righteously before God, then that’s the first thing we need to ask “What does God say” – His Word is our benchmark. So if we want to know if something is right or wrong we need to examine His Word to find out what God says about it. Well, let’s just cut right to the chase, pride is heinous – I mean really really bad. Why? In simple terms it makes ‘ME’ more important in my life than God. He is no longer Lord – I am Lord, my thoughts are Lord, my emotions are Lord and in charge of everything. Here are just a few small examples:

  • I want my way – How about “thy will be done?”
  • I made it happen – How about reverent respect for the grace and favour of God?
  • It’s all about me – How about the fact that God says that whomsoever wants to be great must be a servant, which means it’s all about someone else.

 

Pride is one of those things that makes an idol of self (mind, will and emotions). It’s more than just thinking about oneself in a balanced way “I would like this but what would God want, let me submit to what God wants”. The hallmark of pride is extreme emotion to do with the self – extreme self obsession – “I want this…. no buts”. There is no consideration for virtuous purpose, no serious empathy or consideration for anyone else and no genuine celebration for anyone else without comparative lamentation of self…  Me, me, me is numéro uno!

The Main Example of Pride in The Bible

There is one person in the Bible that is the father of pride and that is Satan himself. He wasn’t content to be the Worship Leader in Heaven. He was in a good position, but that wasn’t enough for him. Instead of enjoying the blessed position that he was bestowed with, he became preoccupied with what God had, and Satan began comparing himself to God and becoming covetous and wanting what God had. Satan said in his heart:

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Isaiah 14:13-14

You said in your heart,
    “I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
    above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
    on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.”

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What Pride Does To A Person

  1. Distorts godly perspective. Godly perspective keeps God in prime position as Lord in our lives. However, when someone is suffering from pride God is no longer in prime position and they become preoccupied with thoughts about themselves, usually in comparison to someone else. One big telltale sign of becoming caught up in pride is continuous comparison. If pride is not dealt with it can even affect how a person is able to discern the will of God for their lives because they are overly concerned with competing against another person rather than succeeding in the life path which God has prepared for them.
  2. Destroys a person’s peace. A person with pride can no longer enjoy contentment with what and where God has blessed them, because their focus has turned from Him to themselves in comparison to another. What was once a blessing has now lost its appeal because someone else seemingly has better.
  3. No-one is perfect, and from time to time we all have the opportunity to feel a little down when our lives feel a little off-kilter. However pride goes one step further. Pride takes hold when a person’s thoughts become routinely out of alignment with godly perspective. When this happens covetousness is born. The inordinate desire to have, do or be the same as someone else. This stage is a warning sign because when the thoughts in a person’s heart are this deep it can lead to ungodly actions like adultery, theft, lies, greed and a whole host of ungodly behaviours.
  4. Destroys relationships. People with pride tend to have difficulty maintaining genuine and fruitful relationships with people whom they perceive to be better than them. There will undoubtedly be a spirit of competitiveness that rises up in the prideful person and sooner or later the unchecked pride will destroy that relationship. Nobody wants to be in relationship with someone who cannot be balanced enough to enjoy the good times, and when there becomes a running theme of selfish ambition in a relationship, it’s just a matter of time before the problem is confronted or the relationship is over.

 

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It Starts In The Heart

We know the scripture that says ”guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life” Proverbs 4:23. Pride is no different. One isolated thought can be excused through repentance. But when the thoughts in your heart are persistently out of godly alignment and focussed on the wrong things it’s time to pray what David prayed:

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None of us are perfect and we all need to check our hearts on a regular basis to ensure that we are correctly aligned with God in our hearts and minds so that we can continue to be used as vessels of honour for His service and glory (not our own). So in complete love and in all humility I say let us all check our hearts (myself included) and let’s pray that we remain in alignment with God’s will for our lives so that He can be glorified and win some for His Kingdom.

Stay blessed.

 

 

When Your Faith Is Being Tried

Walking in a committed relationship with God is not for the faint-hearted. Seriously. It’s one thing to say “yes I love the Lord” and have a very Christianesque behaviour (yes I really did just make that word up ‘Christianesque’) whilst you go on living life on your own terms… but really living in submission to God is a commitment that takes FAITH….and after all this is exactly what God requires of us so that we can live the fullness and greatness of the destiny that He has prepared for us.

What Does It Mean To Believe In God?

It means to believe that He exists, that He is real and that He will do exactly what His Word (the Bible) says that He will do. If we believe these things then we have crossed the first hurdle. However, simply believing is not enough. We have to evidence our belief with corresponding action. Think of it like this – if someone that you know and trust said to you that they slipped two £50 notes into your jacket pocket so that you can treat yourself, youaaaaaaaaaaaaa1 would soon find yourself delightfully dipping your hand into the said jacket pocket to take hold of the money. In a very oversimplified way, this is how God operates. When we take time to get to know and develop a relationship with Him through reading His Word (the Bible) we begin to understand His character, principles and what matters to Him. The Word (particularly the Old Testament) is full of examples where God spoke and honoured His Word in a way that only He can. Reading these accounts of how God operates is an amazing way to really develop your relationship with Him and understand the life principles that He has established. The more we read His Word the more we become sensitive enough to hear His voice when He speaks to us.

So How Does God Speak?

God speaks to us through His Word in the bible (the Logos Word of God), and He also speaks to us giving us revelatory Words just for us and our lives, known as Rhema Words. In fact, God can speak to us in many more ways such as dreams and even through a Word of prophecy. Although there are many ways that God can speak to us, it is important that we take the time to proactively cultivate our relationship with Him and not rely on dreams or prophetic Words. The way we do this is spending time studying God’s Word and paying attention to our lives, being conscious.

So what do we do when God gives us a Rhema Word for our lives? Much like the jacket example above, the way we access the ‘reward’ is by taking active steps of faith in our everyday lives in accordance to God’s Rhema and Logos Words. Our faith is demonstrated when we take outward steps of obedience believing in the integrity of God’s Word, and hat it will lead us to the reward  and destiny that He has prepared for us. Sounds simple right? Well like I said before, I have oversimplified it for the sake of clarity.

The Challenge

Whilst the concept of faith is relatively simple, the practical steps of walking in faith is somewhat challenging. This is because we have an enemy who is intent on deceiving us into believing that what God said is not true. It’s the exact same trickery that the enemy used in the Garden of Eden with Eve – “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” Genesis 3:1 Eve knew very well that God told her not to eat aaaaaaaaaaaaa1from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but the enemy who appeared to her as a serpent twisted the Word of God and caused Eve to doubt what she’d heard and the credibility of God. And because Eve believed the enemy’s word over God’s Word it set in motion the fall of mankind. The same opportunity and test happens to each of us in our lives. We all have access to God’s Word. We can choose to take it or leave it. For those of us who can hear God when He speaks to us, we have the choice to believe the Word that God has spoken to us and hide it in our hearts, or let the trials of life cause us to let the Word go and fall away from us. Will we choose to believe God’s Word, or will we choose to trust and believe what our eyes can see.

The Trial

If we ever understood how precious and powerful God’s Word is, we would treasure it far above diamonds. If someone gave you a 100 carat diamond you would hide it in a very secure place to avoid someone stealing it. When God gives us a Word, particularly a Rhema Word, it is oftentimes a Word of revelation about what God has prepared for us at some future point in time in our destiny. Our job is to put that Word in a secure place. Time and time again in the Bible God shows us that our heart is that secure place:

  • Where your heart is that is where your treasure is – Matthew 6:21
  • I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you – Psalm 119:11
  • Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it – Proverbs 4:23
  • The seed that yields a crop of a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown is the person who hides the Word of God in their heart – Matthew 13:3-23

 

If we hide God’s Word in our hearts and guard it so that nothing that that undermines our faith can enter our hearts (and I truly mean nothing) then our faith will be strengthened and we will be able to live life and endure our walk with patience until God fulfills His Word. The trouble is that whilst we are in that process of guarding our hearts and waiting in belief for the fulfilment of God’s Word, the enemy comes along and has a field day by trying our faith with all sorts of temptations.

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The Attacks, Temptations and Trials

The enemy will offer similar things to God’s promise to tempt us to abandon God’s Word. If you’re a single woman believing God for a husband, trust me when I say that the enemy will dangle a ‘Mr-Right-Now’ in front of you. He’ll have a good job, good manners, look extremely fine, but he won’t be saved. And in desperation you’ll start compromising with God’s Word and say foolish things like “God has brought him along so I can help him get saved and we can get married”.  You’ll stop waiting, abort your faith  and settle for something that God didn’t intend. Whatever God has promised you, the enemy will almost always try and tempt you with a counterfeit of it during the waiting period for no other reason than to get you to give up your faith in God and  forgo your blessing. That counterfeit will look so good but there will always be signs that it’s not from God, because counterfeits will always require you to compromise with the Word of God. ALWAYS.

Don’t talk yourself into settling for a counterfeit. Don’t fool yourself, the enemy is not trying to ‘bless you’ – his whole m.o. is to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ John 10:10.  Steal your peace, kill your destiny and destroy your blessing. Jesus gives us great insight into this in Luke 22. Satan wants make us fall apart and sift us like wheat. This is why he is relentless in a trial. But Jesus told Simon that He prayed for him that his faith would not fail during the trial. Our faith is on trial people! We cannot compromise with our faith. What you compromise to gain you will lose. You will lose that counterfeit because counterfeits don’t last. You will forsake your blessing, and just like the children of Israel you will take a long walk around that proverbial mountain until you learn to submit to God and trust Him with your life. That long walk will be hard. It won’t be that pleasant long walk that Jill Scott sings about. No, it will have you crying and weeping and wishing that you listened to God in the first place and didn’t compromise with His Word. Save yourself some heartache – Hide God’s Word in your heart and don’t give up! God WILL most certainly come through for you to fulfill His Word, but in His time, not yours. Trust Him.

God may have given you a particular prophetic Word about something in the future. Wait patiently in faith and bury God’s Word deep in your heart because the season of trial will come. As time starts ticking and time passes by, you may look around and become despondent that nothing in your life resembles that Word at all.  If you spend your time looking at your circumstances you will most certainly become discouraged, depressed and ultimately your faith will fail… why? Because what is promised and received by faith comes from the realm of eternity, and not this current physical realm in which we dwell, therefore you won’t see it in this realm, you have to see it by faith.  We cannot look to our circumstances to validate God’s Word. ‘Walk By Faith!’ – 2 Corinthians 5:7  Walking by faith means that we literally use the light of God’s Word to direct our path and determine our everyday steps. But if we walk by sight we take steps according to the situations we see around us and how they make us feel.

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GET READY!!!

The one thing that I would tell anyone who receives a rhema Word from God, especially if it is one that makes you want to jump with joy and break out in a funky dance… “Get ready and hold on!” I strongly believe that the reason why God gives us these Words is to give us hope in the midst of the trial that is about to come upon us, because the trial will most certainly come. The entire purpose of the trial is manifold, and here are few of the reasons why we face trials of our faith:

  1. To strengthen our faith. Like a muscle, faith is only strengthened when it is worked. So God allows trials to come our way so that we can exercise our trust and faith in Him.
  2. To enable us to get closer to God and see another side of Him. Trials have a way of revealing different sides of God to us. If we never go through trials where we are quite literally without what we need, we would have a very limited understanding of God as Jehovah Jireh – God my provider. If we never go through trials where we are literally in the midst of chaos and confusion and learn to rely on God and His Word to restore peace to our minds, then we would have a limited understanding of God as Jehovah Shalom, God my peace. There are many different names of God and many different facets to His being. I believe that whatever trials we face, they serve to draw us into a closer relationship with God so that we can get to know Him in a way that we never had before.aaaaaaaaaaaaa1
  3. Trials help to refine our character so that we mirror the virtues and qualities of God. We are meant to be Ambassadors of Christ and as such we are meant to be representatives of God and Christ in the Earth. When people see us and encounter experiences with us, they should have greater insight into the goodness of God. We are meant to be  gleaming Marketing Agents for God that make people want to know the God that we serve. To get to that place where we mirror the goodness of God takes refinement of our character. This world brings out the absolute worst in us. To be the gleaming ambassadors that we are meant to be we need more humility, grace, patience, empathy, gentleness and goodness. These are the virtues and qualities of God that resonate with the people of the world that will let them know that there is something different about us, and we acquire those qualities by going through trials of our faith. Trials have a way of breaking us down into a posture of humility, and recognising that we actually don’t know everything and we don’t have everything under control. Trials have a unique way of showing us that God is God!

One Last Thought….

The last thought I want to leave you with during this post is one of encouragement. Wherever you are today and whatever you may or may not be going through just remember that

(i). God is good and has good plans for you.

(ii). God is faithful and will perform His Word in your life.

(iii). The trial will not last forever.

Weeping may endure for a night BUT JOY comes in the morning. One of the biggest enemies of our faith is our lack of patience, especially in this day and age. We are in the world of ‘instants’ and we have become accustomed to getting things on a whim. However the Kingdom of God doesn’t work like that. Whenever we are facing a trial, we have to remember that there is purpose in it to bring us closer to God, and that it will be for a time (probably longer than we would have hoped).

Once you are clear in your mind of these things as you enter a trial, you will be equipped with the right perspective and focus to properly stand your ground in a strong poise in the day of temptation.

REMEMBER:

  • The trial will only be for a time (but probably longer than you’d like)
  • It has a very good purpose
  • We are to fix our minds on the Word of God
  •  We are to submit to God’s Word knowing that it is full of wisdom and will perfectly align us in God’s will, despite the stormy trial.aaaaaaaaaaaaa1Stay blessed.

 

 

IT’S A NEW SEASON!

Yaaay, It’s finally spring! The days are getting longer and the sun is shining a little brighter! Thank God! I don’t know about anyone else but I definitely felt the fullness of winter this year. The nights got dark so quickly and the cold weather had me in a perpetual state of daydreaming about laying in the sun on a sandy white beach with turquoise water some place in the Caribbean! Yes, thank God that winter is over. And with a great gust of wind in my lungs and a GREAT BIG step of faith I’ll even say this “Thank God the spiritual winter season is over!!!!” Yep, there I said it. This is my declaration of faith and also my affirmation of what I perceive in my spirt.

Winter Is OVER!

For me, winter is that season that represents trial. It’s cold, dark and uncomfortable and all you really want is for it to be over. In some regards I would have been glad for my spiritual winter to have lasted the actual duration of the season in this natural world (simply because nobody likes to endure trials). The season of this trial seemed to have lasted a looooong time and came in full force equipped with hurricanes and all. BUT just like night doesn’t last always, neither do trials. The seasons HAVE to change. Not because I say, but because God said so – “As long as the Earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22

In fact (and this is the God’s honest truth) this morning as I sat on my bed enjoying the daylight streaming through the window, I felt in the spirit that the seasons had changed and in fact I actually said it to myself “The seasons have changed”. At the time I wasn’t even aware that the actual season had changed. So when my colleague mentioned it at work a big smile spread across my face. The seasons have in fact changed.

The Good From The Season

When I think of seasons of trial I think of the Godfather of Trial – Job. Job endured way more than most of us could handle and still remained faithful to God and did not sin. When Job’s trial was over, there was a particular hallmark over his life – RESTORATION! Everything that Job lost in the course of the trial of his faithfulness to God was restored, and not just restored, but also doubled! Now I’m not for one moment trying to suggest that I’m any kind of Job (for his trials make mine look like minute stuff) but I can honestly say that my faith has been stretched and worked in this season like never ever before. There have been some losses, big changes and some tears… but amidst all that, the greatest thing that has out of it all is that my relationship with God is much more stronger, deeper and intimate than ever before.

There are so many prisms and ways of knowing God and in this season I came to know Him in many ways I couldn’t have previously imagined. There are many names of God and you only really get to know Him intimately as one of these names when you experience Him in a way that only that particular name could reveal Him to be:

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I’m quite sure that when Job emerged from his season of trial he came to know God as the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God. A simple look at the conversational exchange between Job and God in Job 38 and the chapters that follow was enough for Job to humbly retreat and say “...surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.Job 42:3

Whenever we exit a trial having learned the lessons that God intended, we come out in a poise of humility and a heart that has utter reverence of the Almightiness and Faithfulness of God. Without a doubt these are some of the things I have learned about God. And of myself? I have truly learned that whatever, and I mean WHATEVER God says is for my good. Having spent many a years as a hard-headed stubborn woman that always had to be in control, faith was not something I was willing to explore if it didn’t make sense to me. Well the season of winter changed all that. When God speaks a Word of faith and you have to walk it out, you soon discover how to break down your altar of self-pride and humbly take a seat of learning at His feet. At that I’ve been doing for many a days. I have learned to take a good introspective look at myself (yes I am big on introspection) – the good, the bad and the ugly and seek God and answers within His Word to help me become a better person to mirror what He created me to be. Sometimes it was uncomfortable and I just wanted to run and hide when I saw things I didn’t like (bit like Adam and Eve with the fig leaves) but sooner or later you realise that God sees all and the only person you’re hurting by remaining unchanged is yourself and the ones you love. So change is exactly what I’ve had to do in this season in more ways than one and by God I feel totally all the more better for it. If it’s any source of encouragement I can say that although the winter season is not nice whilst you’re there in the dark and cold, believe me when the seasons change you will be SO MUCH BETTER FOR IT.

What Now?

Now, in this new season which we have entered we get the opportunity to put into practice all those wonderful lessons that we learned  in our winter season of trial, and also operate in love as we deal with life’s every trying situations. Oh and did I forget to mention something critical? Being faithful to God in the season of trial is fantastically rewarded by God’s blessings for obedience – you’ll want to flip the pages of your bible back from Job all the way to Deuteronomy 28 to refresh your mind about the great things this season has in store! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa1

I have good reason to be excited. My core network of spiritual sisters with whom I have been praying incessantly (in the general sense) are starting to see things manifest in accordance with the Rhema Words God had spoken some time ago. It is such a beautiful thing to see the Hand of God move and the fulfillment of His Word coming to pass… Perhaps one day testimonies will be shared about these awesome things!

So yes I say again with barely contained excitement – “It’s a new season!!” (with the sounds of Martha Munizzi’s song of the same name playing repetitively in my head). Walk in confidence and strong in faith that God will faithfully fulfill His Word in your life too – In HIS time.

Stay blessed.

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Valuing Friendships

Friendship is absolutely one of the most beautiful things in life. At different ages and stages of our lives, friendships mean different things. In my teens, friendships were a core part of my identity. They gave me a sense of belonging, and definitely a sense of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaunderstanding at a stage where parents seem to come from another planet and just don’t ‘get’ you. In my 20’s friendships were reflective of my life’s perspective and ambition. We all had one common goal – to go to university, qualify and get money! In my 30’s I’ve now come to realise that my friendships have become pretty much a mirror of myself – my beliefs, aspirations and they totally reflect my personality. As I’ve grown older, I’ve noticed that my friendship circle has downsized and even changed somewhat, although most of the people in that circle I’ve been friends with for a very long time.

 

WHAT’S IN A FRIENDSHIP?

A friend in the true sense of the word is someone who is loyal through all of life’s tests, changes and challenges. When I say loyal, I don’t mean we have to speak every day, or even every month. But it’s that kind of loyalty where you can be authentically yourself, flaws and all and grow through life together. Whether we see each other every week or only pick up the phone month to month, true friendships celebrate the good times, have your back in the tough times and give you strength in the vulnerable times. Basically true friendships withstand the tests of time.

When you think about friendships in these real terms, you realise it takes a certain type of person to be a real friend:

FUN – Someone whom you enjoy being around. You can have fun and be silly together without feeling self-conscious.aaaaa-sweet

STIMULATING – A good friend helps you to grow by stimulating your mind and offering reasonably different perspectives of viewing life. Someone that exposes you to things that you haven’t experienced before in an exciting way and teaches you about the diversity of life.

EMPATHIC – A true friend ‘gets you’. They understand how you think and can empathise and support you through difficult situations. They may not necessarily agree with all you say, but they certainly respect you enough to try and understand your perspective.

 

HONEST & RESPECTFUL- Friendships that last are the ones where people can be honest with each other. There’s a mutual respect and value for each other, so much so that a true friend doesn’t want to see their friend operating at anything less than their best. So in a respectful way (and different friends understand respect in different ways) there’s an expectation to receive an honest opinion – Even if it hurts. I know for a fact that if I try and put on an item of clothes that looks unflattering, my best friend is going to tell me in no uncertain terms that the look is not working for me! We have known each other long enough that we don’t have to beat about the bush to say the truth, but have known each aaa-fierceother long enough to know each other’s sensitivities. We’ve got to the point where we can say whatever as long as we are respectful of each other’s sensitivities and handle them appropriately.

 

UNSELFISH – Friendships that last are ones where there’s reciprocal give and take. If one person is always giving and investing in the friendship, and the other is always the receiver, eventually one person is going to feel like the relationship is a bad investment and will move on. Friendships that last involve people who have understood  and respect the value of each other’s giving in all manners, whether it be time, help, conversation, money whatever. True friends value these investments and look for ways to reciprocate that love and appreciation in ways that the other  friend will value it.

 

PATIENT – As we go through life we inevitably go through blips where we make some crazy decisions. More often than not for most women this will likely involve at least one choice of boyfriend (particularly at a younger age!).  A true friend will be honest with you about the fact that you’ve lost your mind, and will patiently encourage you back round to seeing sense. Patience is something that is pretty much a deal breaker in friendships. If you don’t value a person’s presence in your life enough, when they act crazy you’re going to get to stepping. But if you see value in the person beyond their present actions and know they have the capacity to get through this, a true friend will patiently encourage their friend with wisdom into getting back on the right path. aaaaaaaa-lost

 

LOYAL – A true friend is loyal. To be fair, their loyalty is most likely proven in their patience through the tests of the friendship, and it is this amongst all the other virtuous qualities above that makes all our true friendships so dear and valuable.

 

SAFE PLACE – I think this one can take years to cultivate. In a true friendship you’ve got to be able to feel safe being vulnerable. That is to say, you can show your true friends your weaknesses, flaws, issues that you’re dealing with and feel secure that they won’t unfairly judge and criticize you, and that they will be mindful with their comments to say things to encourage you and build you up to be a better and stronger person. When you get to the point that you can discuss ‘matters of the heart’ with a friend and they exhibit the qualities listed above, that’s a true friend. Treasure them.

aaaaa-friend-grow

 

FRIENDSHIP REFLECTIONS

As I’ve got older, I have realised that the people I have formed true friendships with mirror either all that I am, or all that I want to become. It’s so true that saying tell me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are’. Agree or disagree, the fact is that our friends mirror exactly who we are at our core. We form connectivity with those who reflect our own mindset and being (actual or aspired). At a young age I didn’t really understand why my parents were so protective about whom I formed friendships with, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate their reasoning. The people whom you give access to your life, the ones whose opinions and values you give weight to  are the ones who will influence how you navigate and shape your life.  This is why mean girls form Mean Girls Crews, they all think alike and have the same general objectives.

With this said, I think it’s always important to reflect and examine our lives and those in our lives. Do our friends mirror how we want our lives and character to be? Are we surrounding ourselves with highly dysfunctional people, or highly materialistic people? Are our friends ambitious? Virtuous? Do they operate in ways that we admire? Do they aaaa-meaningfulhave good habits? These are essential questions, because what we see now in  our friends is a predictor of what you’re exposed to becoming in the future, and if the core character of someone doesn’t mirror what you want to become in the future it’s time to think about what within you formed the attraction and connection for a friendship in the first place, and whether you want that thing to exist and coexist within your life going forward.

 

THANKFUL – TRULY THANKFUL

I am very grateful to be able to say that I have been blessed with some amazing friends. I don’t have a huge circle of people that I would call friends; I have a lot of people that I know, some associates, but only a few true friends. These ones are super special to me. I value and respect them and their opinions highly and there’s very little that I wouldn’t do for them (within reason!). It’s true what they say, there’s some things that money can’t buy.. good friends, true friends are one of them.

Stay blessed.