Sunday, 25 October 2015

A Prayer

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Importance of Listening to God

An important part of walking with God is learning to listen and obey his words. If I am being truly honest, sometimes this is often easier said than done. In everyone's journey with God there comes a time when you have to make the decision to listen and submit to God's plans for our lives.  The scripture tells us about one such case. In Numbers 22: Verses 1-35 we see that Balaam had to listen to the voice of God. Now this scripture is a very powerful one and there are many lessons that we can learn from it. The lesson I want to share from this scripture is the lesson of submission. 

I am going to briefly explain context of the scripture: 

The Israelites were journeying to the promise land. As they moved through the desert they killed and displaced a number of other nations and their leaders-the Canaanites and the Amorites- by God's commands (Numbers 22). The Moabite and the Midianite leaders heard about what had happened to the Canaanites and the Amorites and they became worried that the same thing would happen to them. So, they sent for Balaam to pronounce a curse on the Israelites, so that the Israelites could not overthrow them (Numbers 22: 1-7). 

Now that we have looked at the context, let us look at what God said. The scripture tells us that when Balaam prayed the Lord told him not to go with the Canaanite and the Amorite representatives. 

Numbers 22: 12-  "But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”"
At this point,  Balaam listened to God and he sent  the Canaanite and the Amorite representatives away. However, again the Moabite and the Midianite leaders sent more emissaries to persuade Balaam.  Once again God told Balaam to listen and follow his instructions.

Numbers 22: 20- "That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”"

However, Balaam did not follow God's instructions. Needless to say, God was angry. God

sent His angel to block Balaam's path. However, Balaam was blind. He was not following the instructions he had been given; he was not relying on God.  In his spiritual blindness Balaam becomes angry and started to lash out at his donkey. It is important to note that the donkey was able to see what Balaam could not see. This shows us how far Balaam had gone from God.

If we stop and think, we would realize that we often become angry and frustrated when we do not listen to God's voice. It is important to note that often when we start our journey with God we listen and follow God's instructions just as Balaam did. However, as time passes we start to do our own thing and think we are following God's instructions when we are not.

 Another important point is God's voice often tries to prevent us from doing something that
will harm us whether it be physically or spiritually. Can you imagine if Balaam had gone and curse the Israelites, what would have happened to him? After all, the scripture tells us that the Israelites were blessed (Numbers 22: 12). So, instead of cursing the Israelites; Balaam would have cursed himself. We see that in the fact that the angel of God was prepared to kill Balaam if he had continued on his journey (Numbers 22: 32-33).

Some of the lessons we can take from this scripture are:

  • God's voice will never steers us wrong
  • If we do not follow God's voice we will become angry and frustrated
  • We cannot follow or hear God's voice if we are spiritually blind
  • If we do not listen to God's instructions and follows His voice we will be cursed
  • Those who do not follow God's voice will surely died

Friday, 9 October 2015

What is a Spiritual Desert?

Often we hear about the beauty, the joy, the peace, and love we experience on our spiritual journey with Christ. Sometimes, far too rarely do we honestly share and pour out about the other side of this journey, the desert.

What is a desert you might ask?  I found that this definition best describes the term:

"A desert is a barren area of land where little precipitation occurs and consequently living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The lack of vegetation exposes the unprotected surface of the ground to the processes of denudation."

The definition above explains what a desert is literally. Now, let us explore what a desert is spiritually.  A spiritual desert just like a literal desert is when our lives have become barren and desolate. This type of desert comes with a number of challenges. It comes with physical, spiritual, financial and emotional deficits, so the conditions in our lives are hostile. During this season, often nothing in our lives seems to bear.  It is also during the desert we often feel like we are disconnected from God. Most times, thoughts of giving up, turning back and leaving the presences of God plagues us.

In Matthew chapter 4: verse 1, we read: "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil."

The scripture shows us that it was the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into his desert. So, the question is why would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the desert? Simple, the desert is an essential part of our journey with God. The desert is what makes us stand firm in our commitment with God. If we are able to go through this desert; we then come out of the other side transformed.

I speak on this topic because I recently went through a brutal desert. I was spirituality, physically, mentally and emotionally wrecked. I was at my breaking point. No one could help me. No one understood what I was going through. No one's advice could work for me. I had to hit rock bottom. This is what I want you to understand, when you are in your desert you are alone just like how Jesus was alone. You will be tempted just like how Jesus was tempted and just like Jesus you will have to use the Word to get you through.

After hitting rock bottom I was faced with a decision, giving up or relying on God. Everything told me to give up. Everything in my life made it seem like giving up was the best option. Just like how the devil made it seem to Jesus that all his problems would be finish if he ate bread (Matt. 4: 3-4 ) or prove that God was with him (Matt. 4: 5-6 ). The question I had to ask myself was what am I giving up and going back to?

If you give up on Christ will your life be better?

Is it worth it to walk away from God?

Why are you giving up on God when he did not give up on you?

These were all questions I had to answer. I was tired. I was broken. I felt alone. I was trapped by my feelings and there was no where to turn, no one to turn to.  I had to stand and make a decision. Often, it is in standing and making a decision to surrender to God that the rain falls and our desert becomes an oasis. The scripture shows us that it is when Jesus decided to stand in his decision to serve God that we see that  the devil could not withstand and the devil had to flee (Matthew 4: 10-11).

So my friend, here are a few things I want to remain with you:

  • You must go through a desert
  • Your desert will be rigorous and overwhelming
  • You must make a decision to rely on God
  • Your desert will end when you have learnt the lessons that the Holy Spirit wants to teach you. 
  • Your desert will one day turn into an oasis
  • Your desert is designed to break you by building you

Monday, 10 August 2015

A Season of Drought

Julie had been through this before or she thought she had. However, nothing could prepare her for this season of drought. Her life was like she was walking through the Sahara desert.  It was like she was in a wilderness like no other. Time seemed to stand still on her life and her problems. Nothing moved. This drought was like those videos that you watch with a halo of rain following the person at every step and every turn. Here drought followed her like that halo of rain. It was persistent, stubborn and unrelenting. Not even the Word seemed to give her comfort. To be honest, she could not even read the Word. Nothing made sense. Life seemed to drag on from one bleak event to another.

How did Job overcome his season of drought? This is a question that I had to ask has I type these words. He had lost his children, his wealth, his health, etc. Job was in despair; at one point Job even wanted to die. However, Job trust in God. He never renounced his faith. The drought was not to kill him. The bible says that Satan wanted to see what Job would do (in no so many words). Satan meant for the drought to destroy the man. However, God allows us to go through a season of drought so that He can separate us from the things that block us from Him. A season of drought draws us closer to God.  In fact, if we are smart and spiritually wise, a season of drought in a perfect time for reflection. Job humbled himself before God. In doing do, God restored all. However, if in this season we take up a position of entitlement, God will not be able to fully restore us.

Julie woke up one day and made a decision. It was like she flipped a switch in her mind. She shifted her perspective. It was time to learn in the season of drought. It was time to grow. So, every minute, every hour, and every day Julie made the conscious decision to change her perspective. She read the Word even if she did not feel like it, she prayed, she seeked the Holy Spirit and she worked with the little she had. She never complained; nor did she not bicker.  She made the most of every situation. Pretty soon Julie did not even realize that she had gone through a drought.

''Your perspective on life affects how you live your life'' 
Friday, 24 July 2015

Worry Ends When Faith Begins

Tonight I had to remind myself that it makes no sense to worry and stress over a situation I had no control over. There I was doing it again. I was working the problem in my mind. I was trying to come up with a number of scenarios that I could use to fix the problem. I felt confident that if I had a plan it would all work out; so, faithfully I worked on my plans. However, every scenario I ran in my mind did not work. The problem was still there. I then realized that there was nothing I could do. It was out of my control. I panicked. The mini control freak in me sank deeper into a pit of despair as I allowed the problem to wash over me.

I smile now as I type these lines because at the moment of despair it hit me that worry ends when faith begins. I realized that I was not using the greatest power I had, my faith. Yes, I was using my intelligence in trying to reason my way into a solution to my problem. Weird has it might sound; intelligence often does not conquer problems in the life of a Christian. Most times it leads to more problems because in using intelligence you are not allowing God to lead. In fact, it is like you are showing God that you do not need Him.

 So my friend, I just wanted to encourage you to use your faith to overcome your situation. Worry does not help. It just stops you from drawing closer to our ultimate problem solver (God). 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.                                    Romans 15:13 

I wanted to share this picture because I placed one like it in my car to remind me to use my faith.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

When God Speaks

As we walk with God, we should endeavour to have an encounter with God everyday; so I wanted to share an encounter I had with God today. When I started my walk with God I did not understand what it meant to be faithful to him. To be honest before then, God was an idea that I believed in; however, I did not know Him. I also did not try to understand Him. This began to change once I made the decision to walk in God's will; I tried to understand exactly what walking in His will meant.

One thing I understood and believe is that it was important to me that I showed my love and faithfulness to God. One way I did this was by tithing. At church, I was taught the importance of tithing from a Biblical perspective. I also began to understand the importance of tithing from a personal perspective; I also saw how tithing began to change my life. For me, tithing is an important part of my relationship with God. So, every month before I did anything else I would take my tithe and set it aside.

Back to today, as I went to the machine to withdraw from my monthly salary, the thought came to me to just withdraw only what I needed to conduct business for today. This is totally out of character for me but I decided to just withdraw not my tithes, but instead the money I needed to conduct my business transaction. Quickly, I punched in the amount (not giving my tithe a second thought). Nothing came out of the machine. There was nothing to withdraw. At that moment, I did not register what happened. I just left the machine and decided to take a walk. Yes, it was odd, but at that time I was not making any connection.  
After fifteen minutes, I joined the line for the machine once again. I had a nagging feeling. As I stepped into the machine, I prayed Lord I am going to put in the amount that will withdraw my tithes. I finished the praying by saying I am sorry. I placed the card into the machine punched in the amount that I withdrew every month (this amount was more than the previous amount I had entered) and there it was the sweet sound of cash being dispensed from the machine. In that moment, I was truly thankful that I had not broken my unfaithfulness with God. I also realized that God was speaking to me in the only way i would be able to hear him.

So, today I chose to think that God stopped me from committing a mistake that I would have lived to regret. So my friends, when God speaks, just listen.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

When You Leave Him Behind

After my prayers this morning I was reminded about this story. Let me say that I am nobody. I do not see myself as someone who is a spiritual leader or anyone significant. I am just here to share my journey. Whenever, I feel like I am not doing what God requires I remember this scripture below:

Luke 2:43-45 New International Version (NIV)
43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.

 In my head, I always see Mary and Joseph starting their journey with Jesus (or so they thought). I also see them probably being happy and anxious to arrive at their destination. I also imagine the shock they must of had when they realized that Jesus was not with them. I can imagine the panic, worry and how they probably blamed themselves because they should have ensure that he was safely with then on their journey.

This scripture is a scripture that is very dear and important to me. It reminds me that daily that I must always be careful not to leave Jesus behind on my journey. It reminds me that I must always check and search to see if Jesus is with me; because, just like Mary and Joseph it is quite easy to leave Jesus behind without realizing it. When I speak about leaving Jesus behind, I speak about not praying, not seeking, not consulting God when making major life decisions, not doing God's well but your own. These are some of the ways we as Christians leave Jesus behind.

In this situation, leaving Jesus behind is a problem. It is, but what do you do when you discover that you have left him behind. Do you continue on your journey or do you turn back like Mary and Joseph? The problem is not making the mistake. The problem is what do you do when you have discovered you have made the mistake.

So everyday, let us check to see if Jesus is on the journey with us.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

From a Place of Truth

I woke up this morning, after a long night, feeling cranky. Yes, I said it!! It is okay to wake up feeling crappy. But, it is not okay to go through the day with the same spirit. So, I went to God and I spoke with sincerity, read my bible and released my day into his hands. Following this, i meditate on what to share today. I had no idea what to write and I prayed for direction from the Holy Spirit. It might sound cliche but that is exactly what i did.  In doing so, I thought about my journey so far with God.

I keep talking about my walk with God as a journey because I am learning that my life will not just change overnight. Sometimes we forget that things do not just change in us or in our lives just because we are in the presence of God. Those roots from our past that caused pain; that affected our lives in a negative way are not completely washed way when we get baptized.

Therefore, It takes a journey of learning, of trusting, of being renewed, of praying, of overcoming, of seeking just to get to a few of the steps that God wants to take us. This journey is therefore a life long journey of change, growth and development.

My walk with God started two years ago. When I just started I expected everything in my life to go at Fast Food speed. I thought because I was filled with the Holy Spirit; I was transformed and that was it. I operated like that and pretty soon everyone expected so much from me. Through their expectations I started to push even more to mold myself into who they wanted me to be and who I wanted to be but in all of that I lost sight of who God wanted me to be.

Even as i type these words, God is revealing things that I did not consciously see or thought about.

So what I am saying is that, it is okay to have bad days on your journey. Don't feel guilty about it. Don't judge yourself because of it. Just don't let those bad days become your permanent reality. Always fill God in, always allow God to be your ground, always take it to him first. He will transform that day into a renewed spirit and mind.  

 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discourage”. -Deuteronomy 31: 8

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

When We are Angry with God

I remember shouting at God with what I thought was righteous anger. "God you Promised!!" I yelled, "You promised!! This is not what you promised!!."

I was upset. I was hurt. It seemed that God had broken his promise. He had let me down like all the other people in my life. 

"Why?" I asked.

 I knew He is prefect. I knew He does not made mistakes. My brain knew that. My intelligence knew that. However, my emotions would have none of it. My emotions wanted to wage war. My emotions wanted to give God the silent treatment. So I did. I did not talk to Him. I filled my time with everything else expect for Him. I wanted to punish Him for letting me down. I wanted God to feel like how I did, sad and brokenhearted. 

Clearly, this course of action made no sense. But my emotions assured me it did. My emotions laid the plans and carried out the actions.

This is why as Christians, we live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). I am only just realizing to what extent this verse means. Our emotions react to sight; so we see, we react and we believe. That is how we are programmed to function. But, as children of Christ our communion with God teaches us that sight is relative. Sight does not explain things of the spirit. If we use sight when it comes to our relationship with God, we will find that we will become bitter and give up on God.

Faith is what gives us that assurance. Our assurance comes from God. A pastor said once, faith is the power of God inside us. We cannot touch it, we cann0t see it but it is one of the most powerful tools we have. Without it we will lose our way.

So, I was not using my faith above. I allowed my emotions to rule my communion with God. How many times do you make that mistake?

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

At the Edge of Giving Up

There was no light. His mind was made up. Enough was enough. David told himself that this was it. He was tired of this Godly walk. He was tired of fighting to save his soul because of a comic battle between God and the Devil. He told himself that this had nothing to do with him. But in his soul, he was afraid of losing his salvation. He wanted grace. He wanted to be in the bosom of God. The thought of eternal damnation did not sit right in his spirit. How could he walk out on the Holy Spirit? How could he give up on God; when God did not give up on him.

David sighed.  In truth, he knew there was no point in turning back. What was he going back to? However, the thought of living up to perfection was too much. Everyone's expectations was just too much. What did God expect? He expected too much. David was at the edge of giving up. But what David did not know was; that God was right there with him.

The truth is that God does not place any expectations on us. He does not place any demands. He knows that once His spirit is in us we will automatically be His witness. We are the ones who place expectations, barriers and impossible tasks on ourselves and others. Sometimes,  we expect to be and do more than Jesus. In doing so, we don't allow God to mold us, we don't allow ourselves to be clays that are made of fire. We try to mold ourselves by being prefect; by creating a persona in us of who we think God wants us to be; instead of letting God create us. 

David's story  reminds us that it is easy to give up on our beliefs and on God. We will give up if we try to do it all by ourselves. I have learnt that faith is a journey. No two journeys  are alike. What might be easy for your brother and sister in faith might take you years to conquer. That does not mean that their is something wrong with you. It just means that based on who you are God is preparing you differently. 

I have also learnt that there is no such thing as human perfection in Christ. God is prefect because He is not human . He loves us because we are human. 

Thank you for sharing.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Picking Up the Pieces

  Standing in the middle of an empty room that once was my everything. This room held my life. Everything that was near and dear to me once covered the walls; these things once created a beautiful maze of love and faith. Now, it was empty. Everything that was once dear to me was gone. I did not realize that slowly and surely my life was changing. My vision was shifting. My life was moving, not into truth but into darkness and dead. Once the reality of the situation hit. The room was suddenly transformed into its true image. A place of wilderness and despair. It was a void of nothingness. It was a picture of my soul.

The story above reminds us that as people of God we cannot take anything for granted. Salvation is a journey that is daily taken when we have an encounter with God. These encounters with the Holy Spirit comes through communion. If there is no communion our souls will be the empty room mentioned above.

Today, I want to share a journey that the Lord has been speaking to me about. Today I started a new journey of 100 days of prayer with God.  

It makes no sense right? 

It goes without saying that we should pray every day. 

This is different. This is 100 days of purposeful prayer and meditation. It is about focusing on an area of my life in Christ and working on building, overcoming, developing and being grounded in Christ. For me, this journey is about deepening my relationship with my God. 

  I could quote a scripture right now to re-enforce my point but  I am not going to. The truth is this journey is about being obedient to the word of God. I know that by being obedient I will see that God does nothing by chance. I will learn to draw closer to God and to be stronger in God. I know this will not be easy. I know their will be days I will be sick, days I will not want to pray, days I will be tired. In those days I pray that God will water my soul and renew a right spirit in me. 

So, today I got up and I started my journey with a fast for purification and I prayed. Not a righteous prayer. I prayed and poured out my thought, my feelings and I asked for God's renewal.

The scripture I meditated on this morning is Psalms 1 and the highlighted portion is what spoke to my soul.

    Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
    or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
2   but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
3   That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
    and whose leaf does not wither
    whatever they do prospers.
4   Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Thank You for sharing my journey. 

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