Service in the Pit

The last thing I’m thinking of doing when I’m in a place I DO NOT want to be, is get comfortable or acquainted with anything or anyone related to that place.

I’m here
But only passing by
I’m not building a nest
I’m not making friends
I’m not making any permanent moves
And the rant goes on… 

But just as you ramble on about how fast you want the hardship to pass, I must share an important message with you: 

God has a bigger purpose for you in that pain –
So just be quiet and listen. Be attentive and obey. 

Let us take a look at the story of Joseph in the bible; when he was thrown into prison, he served his way through. Without a doubt, there may have been days when he was fed up, irritated, and down, but he did not allow this to stop him from moving when he was called to. Today I encourage you to allow God to direct you in every single season of your life, as this enables His full glory to manifest in ways unimaginable. 

While there’s a bigger back story to Joseph, let us skip to Genesis 39, as that’s our focus for today. Here we’re told about when Joseph is thrown into prison based on false accusations. (Genesis 39:19-20). 

Some of us have found ourselves in positions where we feel cheated, treated unjustly, and completely undeserving of the misfortune that has come upon us. But what we must hold on to, is that even though we are in a place that we really do not believe is for us, God is still right there in that pit with us. The very next verse we read gives us proof of this as it says ‘But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him His faithful love.’ (Genesis 39:21).
You must remember this at all times as a key fact – that no pit or prison or negative circumstance will ever be big enough to separate you from the perfect, reckless love of God. (
Romans 8:31-39, song – Reckless Love). 

As we read on in this story, we’re enlightened that not only does God’s love saturate Joseph, but God also covers him with His perfect favour, thus causing him to find favour in the eyes of man; 

And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. Before long, the warden put Joseph in charge of all the other prisoners and over everything that happened in the prison. The warden had no more worries, because Joseph took care of everything. The Lord was with him and caused everything he did to succeed.’ (Genesis 39:21-23)

Let this story speak to you – God’s favour upon you will make a way in every wilderness of your life (Isaiah 43:19). What I mean by this is that even when you, and everyone around you least expects it, God will still create avenues to show forth that He is holding you up INTENTIONALLY, with a master plan at work (Jeremiah 29:11), despite the muddiness of your situation.

Now, having outlined the unwavering faithfulness of God our Father, I want us to look at the part of this topic encompassing the key word in the title;  S E R V I C E

You see, what Joseph did not do, is reject the opportunity to be in charge of all the other prisoners. He did not allow anger or bitterness of his circumstance to hinder the various ways God was still showing His grace upon him in his situation.
In fact, when we go further in this story, there came a time when Joseph’s gift was required and he willingly put it to good use.
(Paraphrased, so please read Genesis 40 fully in your own time) Pharaoh became angry with two of his officials and threw them into jail. They each had dreams which Joseph had the gift to interpret and so he did, and everything happened just as he had interpreted. 

The lesson I am drawing out here is that we must be attentive to opportunity and keep a gracious heart even when we are in that undesired place. Most definitely this is easier written/read/said than done, however at least if we keep it as a mindful prayer point, Christ will indeed enable us to adopt this positive outlook.
If God can uphold His faithfulness to us wherever we are in life, then we too should be determined to uphold our diligence of serving and honouring God and showing forth His love to our neighbours, even if things in our lives are a little sour. Regardless of what our circumstance looks like, the world around us still has great need of what God has planted inside of us. Therefore it is not good enough for us to think we can just hang up our duties for God’s kingdom because we’re angry or dissatisfied with our present situation. As children who were created to fulfil a purpose on this earth, we must never allow our hurt or pain to stop us from doing God’s work.

Why is this important?
Well apart from the fact that it demonstrates a wholehearted desire to please and worship God at all times, it’s also because you just never know which part of your actions, service and obedience to God’s instructions will pave a way in time to come.
Just as the bible tells us that our gifts will make room for us (Proverbs 18:16), so it did in the case of Joseph. And so it could be for you too!
When the time was right in accordance with God’s will, the chief cup-bearer remembered Joseph’s service when Pharaoh required an interpretation of his own dream. (Please read Genesis 41 fully for this section of the story). 

You must realise the magnitude of the effect of Joseph’s simple action to serve in jail, as one that is HUGE! His ability to be patient in affliction (Romans 12:12) and to willingly serve in a time of trial, rather than throw a strop and despise God’s work, is what elevated him to the highest position he would ever reach in his lifetime (which he could then use to save an entire generation of people). (Genesis 41:41-44).

Today I’m encouraging you to please stay faithful to the work God has called you to, regardless of the ‘mess’ you are in.
I completely understand that initially you may not want to; you may feel disappointed, abandoned, let down and even neglected by God for permitting the hardship to take place. However, take example from Joseph and just see this pit as an important part of your journey to the highest position in your life. Ask Christ Jesus to soften your heart, keep you gracious and make you able to maintain a positive attitude, thus enabling you to operate in love towards everyone you encounter. 

Whilst the pit is indeed not your destination, there is still an important reason for it in your life, so change your perspective of how you view it!
By no means am I asking you to get comfortable and build a home there, however I am reminding you to shake off any negative emotions that may hinder you from fulfilling your purpose in that season. A diligently served season of strife, will surely pave forward the way of victory in time to come – remember every single detail of your life has been carefully orchestrated by an All-knowing God, who makes no mistakes (
Romans 8:28).
So put to death all the doubt and negative emotions of the flesh, and be alive in your spirit-man/woman – yielding to the direction of the Holy Spirit every step of the way to surely get you to that promised greater future.  

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

“But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:5)

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing

Praising in the Pit…

“Focus on remaining so gracious that when the time comes for your testimony, people’s recollection of how you maintained your faith and good character despite going through such a difficult season, will encourage them even more about what it is to truly trust in God.”

Smiling when things are falling apart around you, is possibly one of the most difficult things to do.
It’s hard to laugh, have fun, or even see the good in anything, because your circumstance is saying otherwise.

Today I want to encourage you to  P R A I S E  in the Pit.
And if you cannot think of any reason why it may be worth it, simply consider the fact that you have life, God still loves you perfectly, and His word says He will always be with you – that is more than enough to give Him praise for. (Romans 8:38-39, Deuteronomy 31:6)

In addition to that praise, here are three other key things to do:

1. Continue to do and be G O O D

Don’t allow your situation to make you bitter.
Natural emotions that we may experience when things are tough include;

  • Sadness
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Feeling fed up
  • Being irritable
  • Self-pity
  • Loneliness

and many others.

When we feel like this, it’s often difficult to be our usual selves, and in fact it is quite easy to fall into the trap of allowing our emotions to dictate and change who we are, negatively.
One of the most important things I want to tell us is that we must not allow our emotions to rule us. Yes, things aren’t great, but that is no excuse to compromise your character and forget who God has called you to be – which is someone who exudes L O V E at all times. (1 Corinthians 13).
Focus on remaining so gracious that when the time comes for your testimony, people’s recollection of how you maintained your faith and good character despite going through such a difficult season, will encourage them even more about what it is to truly trust in God.

When you find yourself getting into ‘a way’, remember that God’s word tells us a lot about His plans for us. (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28).
Therefore, knowing God has a greater purpose, plan and will for you, means you cannot allow your energy to match your present situation. Instead, you have to ensure your energy is in line with the greater place God is taking you to! For that reason you need to draw out the praise that is on the inside of you and show God that you are dedicated to praising Him in spite of what is going on in your life. Show Him that your love for Him goes beyond your circumstance and that you truly love Him for who He is, not what He does.

 

2. Don’t obsess over ‘why’

Common perspectives many of us may have adopted throughout life, is that there is a reason for everything and that there is always a lesson to learn from every season you find yourself in. While I agree with both these concepts, we must be careful not to distract ourselves with trying too hard to make them fit into our lives in the most practical or perfect way.

Here’s what I mean by this…
Sometimes God does share ‘why’ He’s taking us through things, other times, He doesn’t.
The point is, if we get so utterly consumed with finding out ‘W H Y’ something is happening to us, or we get fixated on gaining an idealistic lesson out of it, we run the risk of losing focus on how God has truly called us to serve in that season, as well as engaging with God’s actual purpose or lesson for us.
For some of us, our focus on finding out ‘why’ could actually wrongly dissuade us from praising. This is because we subconsciously tell ourselves that we need a reason and purpose for the pain before we can praise in that pit, when actually the word of God encourages us to praise and give thanks in ALL things – good or bad. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Focusing on getting a so-called reason or lesson that we deem tangible enough to us, also falsely implies that depending on the answer we get, God could possibly be unworthy of our praise – and this is so far from the truth.
The bible tells us that He is worthy of all praise, honour and glory forever. (1 Timothy 1:17).

 

3. Surrender it all to God

This is the most important bit.
Stop trying to create the ideal outcomes in your mind, and stop trying to help God sort things out your way – just give it to Him and rest in Him.

The bible not only teaches us that we are made for God’s pleasure and to bring glory to His Name (Isaiah 43:7, Isaiah 43:21), but it also very clearly enlightens us that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Therefore some things may not make sense to us. Some things won’t add up according to how our human minds may try to work them out, and so chasing a reason, or trying to create an artificial lesson that we assume God is trying to teach us, will only leave us exhausted and disappointed.
What we should do instead in these situations, is truly and wholeheartedly seek God and ask Him to enable us to live out His very purpose for us in that situation.
We must learn the art of absolutely surrendering our will and way to God, realising that He is Sovereign and thus actively deciding to allow Him to have His way. This may not be easy – but it’s always worth it.

Worth it;
– because the earlier we surrender, the sooner we have peace.
– because walking with God is so much better than working against Him.
– and because ultimately, we should always desire for God’s perfect will to manifest, as opposed to anything else, as He really does know best!

 

Now get to know God’s Promises

It’s all well and good me encouraging you to trust God and rest in His promises etc., but you need to know His word for yourself, because that is what you have to hold on to.

So here’s a start for verses to use to remind yourself of how well God will carry you through it all, and that there surely is a greater glory awaiting you at the end:

Something crucial to remember in the midst of your pain and unrest, is that regardless of how sour things may seem, God has not, and will not EVER remove His covering over you. This means no scheme of the enemy could ever prevail over you, nor lead you to destruction, rather, just like He did with Joseph, God will turn it all around and use it for His glory and your victory. (Genesis 37:18-28, Genesis 39:21).

The story of Joseph (found in Genesis 37 onward) provides a good example of someone who praised and served his purpose diligently whilst in his pit. In fact his very service to others whilst in jail, is what then delivered him in time to come – but that’s a word for another day.

Admirable examples of other Praisers in their Pits and people who remained faithful to God in the face of adversity are;

Daniel – with friends in the fiery furnace – Daniel 3, in the lion’s den Daniel 6

Paul and SilasActs 16:16-40

JobJob 1, Job 1:20-22, Job 2:10, Job 42:10-17

In each story, as each character served their season of pain/trials with diligence and grace, we see the final outcome was completely worth the strife, especially when it caused others to give their lives to God.
So today I encourage you to keep Praising and keep your heart Faithful to God.
Praise your way into the sweeter season, because you serve a God that would never leave your current situation as your final destination.

Set it in your heart that NOTHING will steal the praise from your lips and the worship of your heart,
Because at the end of the day
God will still be God –
The Sovereign God, who knows best,
So why not Praise Him anyway?!

 

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing

Song suggestion: Praise Him in advance by Marvin Sapp

*Practical tip: (suggested by a friend and I think is a great idea) Create a playlist of Ten upbeat praise songs! Get into your praise zone with these daily and be reminded of God’s goodness.

Get Personal

Just you. And Your Father, God.
Make it personal – intensify your relationship with Him and really, really get to know Him, all for yourself.

Over time, many of us have taken power away from ourselves and have falsely filled our minds with a belief that we are powerless without our spiritual leaders.
We’ve developed a huge dependence on them, and what they can do, and what they say – that actually many of us cannot even say that we truly know God or His word for ourselves. We only know God through the pastor’s eyes. We only know that scripture how the reverend taught it. But what happens when they aren’t available?

Today I’m encouraging you to seek to truly know God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for yourself – not through a third party, not based on what any other man or woman has said, but for  Y O U R S E L F.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is not to despise the power and wisdom of God that flows through His true, anointed shepherds on this earth, however the point of this message is to emphasise that you must desire your own relationship with your Maker, so you too can be in tune with the very power that lies in you through Christ Jesus!

Think about it;
(And there are many examples possible, but here are the first ones that come to mind).

Daniel knew God for himself.
This was a man so confident of God that when others were defiling themselves, he stood firm to wait on his God to provide. (Daniel 1). When faced with adversity and even at the point of possible death in the fire, he and his friends knew their Father in heaven as the One who saves, and had faith that He would intervene right on time! (Daniel 3).

Job – a man we speak about so often.
He knew God for himself . He was a man who refused to drop God, even when his circumstances really and truly looked like God had dropped him. Job had a resting place, and it was in the power, peace and knowledge of God. This caused him to keep the faith even when his world was crumbling. (Please do study the book of Job in your own time).

Now tell me, what have you got stored up within you, that you rely on when trials come? Do you trust in your ability to speak and for God to hear you and answer? Or have you belittled He that lives within you?
Do you actually know the vast amount of promises planted purposefully in the word of God, ready for your use in every single situation you will ever face? Or do you only know the few random verses that other people have paraphrased to you?

At a time where we don’t have as much physical access to our beloved leaders in church, it is really important for us to wake up our souls and realise for ourselves who God truly is, and what the words He has spoken over us, are.
Get acquainted with the wonderful promises He has so intentionally written in His word, just for you.
Understand the power of Christ that lives within you and know that you can speak and activate that power over situations that require a turn around. (1 John 4:4).
Really take charge of your relationship with Jesus, and cultivate your Spirit man! (Romans 8:12-17, Galatians 5:25)

After all, these religious leaders that we have come to depend on, are still human just as we are.
Yes, they have a special calling over their lives, but the truth is we all do! But it all comes down to choice and decisions, as to what we make of it.
The bible tells us that to each one of us a gift has been given (1 Peter 4:10-11, 1 Corinthians 12:7), thus, you must make the decision to cultivate and maximise your gift in order to empower yourself and also serve those around you. Dedicate quality time to maturing your spirit, meditating on the word of God, and developing in His wisdom. God honestly loves us to draw near to Him, so make the decision today to press in and go deeper – He’ll never reject you. (John 6:35-37).

When it’s all said and done – the grace of your pastor, or the anointing of your bishop or even your parents or spouse will not help you reach the kingdom of God. Your salvation is completely individual and the bible instructs us to work it out with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). So what better time to study God and His word, than now?

Father Lord,
Today there isn’t too much to say.
But to know You more, that’s all we ask for.
To know You deeply, intentionally and intimately, to a point where we understand that we can call out, and You will hear and answer, just like You did for Elijah (1 Kings 17:22) – that’s what we ask for.
Help us to dedicate the time and heart to get to that place in our relationship with You, where our spirit is just so in tune with Yours and Your will,
in Jesus’ Mighty Name.
Amen.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing

“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
Philippians 3:9-10

 

Idols?

What or who are they in your life?

A lot of us within the body of Christ have the false belief that because we don’t look up to graven images and we don’t physically bow down to shrines or symbolic statues or figures, that we aren’t idolators…

But we’re so wrong.

Take a look at the list below and let’s rank these things – and I want you to be very very honest with yourself.

In your life, where is God’s true position amongst the following things/people?
(And please let this be a genuine assessment of where He really comes in the mix of things and not where you’d like Him to be in an ideal world…)

  • Job/Career
  • Business
  • Spouse
  • Partner (boyfriend or girlfriend)
  • Child/children
  • Education
  • Home care and chores
  • Socialising
  • Food
  • Bills
  • Fitness
  • Any other activities and people we fill our days with

Where is He?
Lower than you expected?

You see, every single thing/person that you allow to take a greater weight, value or importance in your life than your pursuit of God and His will and His word –
is an I D O L.

And please bear in mind that this is not always done consciously…
You mean no harm or insult to God when you do it, but to name a few:

  • You look at your phone and check that social media news feed ten times more than you even think of meditating and conversing with Your Maker.
  • Your tithe and offering is often short because you had other things to pay for.
  • You just want to quickly do the washing up first, then you’ll pray.
  • You just need to cook for the family first, then you’ll read the Word.

Very easily, He’s fallen a couple or even a good number of places in the ranking…
But we didn’t mean for it to be so.

Now don’t get me wrong, a very select number of things in our lives are actually ‘that important’ and in fact God does not undermine their importance either. However the problem of idolatry arises when we prioritise these things above God, and often it becomes a repeated habit.

What many of us have done is just about ‘fit God in’ and made Him work around everything else that we have going on, rather than the other way round. This is not only in terms of spending time with God, but it is also applicable in terms of what we do with our finances and other resources in which He has given us clear instructions about how to use them to serve Him.
We have put things so far above God and made Him last on our list. We rush and are eager and take so much more pleasure in engaging ourselves with all the things of the world; but we forget that we ought to be working out our salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12-13).

Sound like idol worshipping yet?

One of our favourite luxuries being children of God, I’m sure is G R A C E.
But that very gift that God has given us freely, is what many of us are abusing and it’s the reason why we’ve become so lax in our service and worship to the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

We seem to have forgotten that God comes first!
(Matthew 6:33, Matthew 22:37-40).

How about we flip it, and start to do it right.

-Prayer and worship should be intentionally scheduled into your daily routine, not just as and when you remember.

-Your tithes should be the first thing intentionally set aside from your 100% on payday, not just scraped together after you’ve dealt with everything else.
I understand this can be sensitive for some who are struggling, but I really encourage you to activate your faith in doing this, and then watch for the fruits of your obedience – the Lord Himself says ‘Test Me…’ – God will never fail you! (Please see related scripture here: Proverbs 3:9-10, Leviticus 27:30-34, Malachi 3:8-12).

-Church services – to fellowship with others, and render a service before God, take precedence over work and social events etc.

Again, that’s only to name a few – we all know the things we need to adjust in our lives, so let’s not neglect what needs to be changed.

I must say though – I get it… A lot of the time when we’ve put God on the back burner, our main justification is because it’s in order to do stuff ‘we HAVE to do’ – it’s when we’re tending our flock – so God understands, right?
I’ll put my hands up and say I’ve done it too – mainly with my education – surely God doesn’t want me to fail, right?

But let us remember the word in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that says there is a time for everything, thus we must create order, structure and discipline in our lives and ensure that drawing nearer to God is at the top of our plans.
Retrain your mind to know and understand that God who gave you all these things will surely help you take great care of it all, but not at the expense of your worship and relationship with Him.

Father,
Today we call our hearts back to You in Jesus’ Name. We ask for Your perfect forgiveness to cleanse us and renew us for every single way we’ve made things and people in our lives god above You.
We ask that You enable us to consecrate our lives back unto You and revere and honour You as we ought to.
We don’t want Your wrath O God, we want Your smile and we want to make You happy, therefore help us get our worship and service right in order to please You. And help our hearts to truly chase and long after You in Jesus’ Mighty Name

Restore us unto You Father, let us be close to You,
in Jesus’ Mighty Name we pray.
Amen.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing.

 

2019; For Such A Time As This…

2019

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!

Thanking God for His grace to see this year, and looking forward the special things yet to unfold…

Here’s our first post for 2019

God gave me this word in late November 2018, and I was instructed to save it for the special 2019 word.
So I have amazing news for you…

2019 is the year where a lot of things will make sense!

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position
for such a time as this
[Esther 4:14 NIV]

God has declared that in 2019, Purpose, Meaning, and Reasons will unravel in your life in many ways than one!

I’ll walk you through the story of Esther to explain what I’m talking about…

So for a bit of context, a quick summary of the book of Esther goes thus;
Esther is a Jewish orphan under the care of her Jewish uncle, and they’re residing in a foreign land. At a time, the existing queen displeases the king, so he dethrones her, searches for a new one, and Esther is given this royal title – she becomes the new Queen. At some point, due to a particular action by her uncle, a decree goes out to kill all Jews living in all the areas ruled by that king. Esther’s uncle pleads that she should do something about it and speak to the king. Esther seems initially reluctant to do so because of protocol, but with some persuasive and wise words from her uncle, she agrees to do so in spite of possible consequences. So, she goes ahead and does speak to the king, finds favour with him, he listens, flips the script and the Jews triumph over their enemies!
(Please note this is verrrry very brief, and you’ll truly benefit from reading the story yourself, in the book of Esther).

Now let’s break it down a little to make more sense of it…

The root of the problem

In Esther 3, we learn that Mordecai (Esther’s uncle) refuses to comply with some orders that instructed people to honour a man named Haman who the king appointed a very high role (Esther 3:2).
This refusal then meant Haman was angry and went to the king to ask for the destruction of not only Mordecai, but all of the people of his kind (Esther 3:5-6); which meant all Jews residing in that kingdom (Context about how they got there can be found in Esther 2:5-6).

So in Esther 3:8-9 – the decree and suggestion for the Jews to be killed is made by Haman to the king. In verse 10-11, the king agrees. So now we have the Jews in trouble!

Important note here: The seriousness of the decree…
The bible tells us in verse 10 that the king gives Haman his signet ring – the significance of giving Haman the ring is that when a decree/instruction is written out, and sealed by the king’s ring, then nothing can reverse it. So it meant the Jews were really in for it! 

When we reflect upon how solidly sealed the decree was, and then look at the fact that Esther’s influence had the ability to overturn it, it ought to inspire us to Walk in our Purpose in 2019, in our various communities.
The world literally needs us! To be the hand of deliverance, to be the light of the world and to use the greatness within us to effect positive change around us! (Matthew 5:14-16). But let me not get ahead of myself with this word, let’s take it step by step.
So next we look at…

Mordecai’s Plea

Mordecai is in great distress about the fact that he and his people are going to be killed (Esther 4:1-2). When Esther catches sight of her uncle’s grief, she sends for someone to find out why he was in such a bad way (Esther 4:5).
Aware of Esther’s position, Mordecai takes the opportunity to plead that she does something to change the king’s mind. Esther, however, initially replies explaining that a person is only permitted to see the king and speak to him when they’re called upon, and she hadn’t been called upon for a while (Esther 4:8-11).

When they return to Mordecai with Esther’s response, he replies with the famous line that God pointed out to me, and thus inspired this whole word;
Mordecai replies;

“Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
[Esther 4:13-14 NKJV]

I want us to rest here a sec…

You see, God is an Intentional God, which means, there is a reason for every single thing that takes place in our lives.
Mordecai displayed knowledge of this, and had to remind Esther that there was a bigger picture ahead of her…

Now reflect upon your life, and think of all the ways God has favoured you, all the talents God has gifted you with, and all the very different circumstances that God has allowed you to be in, whether good or bad.
Awaiting you in 2019, are many moments where a bigger purpose for all those things you’ve just brought to mind, will manifest, not just for you and your immediate community, but also for the wider world around you!

A time will come when you need to use your gift of dance, singing, photography, banking etc.
A time will come when your testimony/story of a painful past will need to be shared.
A time will come when the influence you have through the position of power you were given so randomly, will need to be used to help others up!

God has many ‘For Such A Time As This’ moments lined up for you in 2019, and my responsibility right now, is to tell you how NOT to miss them!

Let’s head back to Esther.
She gets inspired by her uncle’s reply and decides that she’ll be Bold and do what she has to do to save her people! (Esther 4:16)
But things could have gone differently, and here are a few key things we have to be mindful of to ensure that we do not miss our ‘For Such A Time As This’ moments!

  • Fear – Esther was initially afraid to break the rules.
    Sometimes we’re scared of the consequences of going against the grain. But God is calling us to speak out, stand out and trust Him to come through for us.
    God calls us out at specific times, to be an example of His wonders. Daniel did this (Daniel 1 and 2), and so did his three friends, and because of their unwavering faith in their God, and their refusal to conform or be intimidated by man, even the king who initially sought to condemn them, ended up worshipping the God they serve (Daniel 3).

    Do not be afraid (2 Timothy 1:7) of how big the situation is. God needs you to be bold in what He has called you to do (Joshua 1:9), because He knows the outcome will be great, and He knows you ARE capable.

  • Excuses – now I doubt that this was done with malicious intent, but Esther’s initial response is kinda an excuse.
    Just like Esther, it’s not that we don’t care about the purpose ahead of us, but when we first see how BIG the assignment is, we back track and start coming up with reasons (which can seem very plausible) for why we can’t do it.

    How many of us are good at doing this? We find every possible reason why it’s not the right time. We find every possible alternative way around fulfilling our responsibility and the truth is, if we allow our flesh to run us out of our purpose, we will live with that guilt for the rest of our life.

    Aside from that, we must take pride in being chosen to be used by God!
    Listen, God has a plethora of vessels He can use! If we dilly dally with doing what we’re meant to, we run the risk of being replaced (Luke 19:40) (and this is a scary reality!) Thus, Mordecai tells Esther, ‘Surely someone else will help deliver us if you do not…’
    We have to understand that it is a privilege to be selected to do God’s work. You have to realise that God has planned your life in a way up until that present moment, that specifically qualifies YOU to rise up and take charge ‘for such a time as this’. Friend you need to take that opportunity with pride and joy, and fulfil the precious will of God.

  • Lack of understanding of the grace she carried/Disbelief in the importance of her position
    How many of us underestimate the gifts we have?
    A lot of the time, we simply do not know good we are, or how important we are, or even how cherished we are within our communities. Though she was the wife of a king, Esther did not realise the power of her position, nor did she understand how highly she was esteemed in the king’s mind, but the bible tells us as soon as the king saw her, he was pleased! (Esther 5:2)

    I guess you can admire her humility; however, as Christians we need to ensure our humility is accurate, balanced, and used in the correct way. If the bible tells you that YOU are a chosen generation, a ROYAL priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), then trust me, YOU ARE.
    There is a type of greatness within you that compares to NOTHING known to man.
    God needs you to believe more in the He that is in you (1 John 4:4), and thus step out in situations to birth the purpose He has set to manifest through you ‘for such a time as this’.

  • Lack of selflessness – As any human would, Esther’s initial instinct reaction displays an inability to think past her own life (again we can see fear here). We all do this! And the truth is that it’s very natural to feel this way. However Esther quickly saw past herself (Esther 4:16), and put God’s work and her purpose ahead of her instead.  Like Esther, we need to realise that our lives are not just for us. In fact the bible teaches us that we are made for God’s pleasure (Revelation 4:11).
    1 Peter 4:10 tells us to use our gifts to serve others. 1 Corinthians 12:7 tells us that ‘the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all’ – thus these verses remind us that whatever glory we have in our lives, ought to be used for the good of not just ourselves, but rather, for others.
    Always remind yourself: ‘there is an ‘ALL’, that this is for’.

So Purpose fulfilled…

If we skip along to Esther 7:3, we read that she makes her request for mercy to be upon the Jews, and in Esther 8:5-7, the decree is made and signed, thus the Jews are delivered.
So what we’re seeing is that Esther fulfilled her purpose and rose up at such a time as when she was truly needed.

We too, in Jesus’ name, will be like Esther, and we will fulfil every purpose that God has set for us to achieve.
But quickly before we end, let us touch on this…
The reality is that when the ‘for such a time as this’ moment comes, it will be unsettling, it will not be convenient, and it will require faith!

Therefore, we need to depend on God FULLY when we step forward to carry out His work.
And as Esther did, we need to:

  • Pray and fast – for His favour and direction to execute His will correctly.
  • Apply wisdom – to deal with the situation in the most appropriate way, to optimise the outcome.

In addition to this we should:

  • Seek God’s direction
  • Walk with God daily – to constantly get a refreshing and top up of anointing from God, and be in-line with Him.
  • Continue to cultivate our gifts – let us ensure our talents and gifts are fine-tuned and at their optimum so that whenever God’s need for them comes, we can use it in the best way.
  • Ask God to make us sensitive to His voice so we will not miss when He is instructing us to move.

God is calling for boldness, obedience and reflectiveness in 2019. He needs us to be attentive to His voice with our every experience, and thus allow His intentionality in our lives to show through!
2019 is your year to unravel the magnitude and the optimum of certain gifts and talents God has given you! As well as the year for you to share your testimonies and stories with those who will benefit from hearing it.

I pray, that we will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, I pray we will cultivate our gifts to ensure they are always at the best level, and I pray that we will not shun the opportunity to actually see God’s hand in our lives ‘all make sense’.

2019, let us have great confidence in our sauce and source 😀

Happy New Year Friends!

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you

 

#ForSuchATimeAsThis
#2019
#NewYear
#WalkInYourPurpose

Words for Them

So for today, it’s a lovely quick bite of the word of God, regarding the words we speak!

It’s something God gave me, which has a short story with it, so I’ll share…

On Sunday, I had a casual chat with one of my pastors, where he asked the usual; “How’re you, how’s the fam, and particularly how’s your brother?” (who’s at university in a different city).

My response was also, the usual, “Everything’s fine, everyone’s fine, and yeah, brother is all good wherever he is too!”

Then pastor added with a smile, “That boy, he’s someone I don’t worry about, I know he’s a survivor…”

Knowing the nature and character of my brother (easy-going and just gets on with things), I chuckled and agreed.

On Monday – literally the day after this casual conversation, I was at home, and suddenly I had a few panicky/worried thoughts as I remembered that my brother had something important coming up that he had to do. But within moments of these negative thoughts creeping in, the words ‘He’s a Survivor’ also marched right into my mind and drove out every element of fear/anxiety/unease.

In that moment, God gave me this key message for you all;

You never know when the words you have spoken/a conversation you have had with someone ‘in passing’, will be the very thing that carries them through a hard time!

As cliché as it sounds, the simple recollection of the conversation I had with pastor, along with the power and truth in the statement that he made, gave me such a perfect peace over my thoughts, and confidence that there was NOTHING at all to be worried about!

We all, as children of God, also have the grace to do the same for people around us. That random conversation you had the other day, where you simply just spoke as the words came to your mind, may in future stand as the very words the other person holds onto during a time of hardship, trials, or maybe just a little nervousness!

We have to appreciate the intentionality of the Holy Spirit – The Comforter, in such moments as these, because it is He who brings the necessary memories to the forefront of our minds, thus restoring peace in our hearts when we find ourselves in moments of distress, nervousness or dire need. We need to acknowledge that moments like these are divinely orchestrated by a God who is All-knowing, and pays close attention to the very intricate details of our lives. No, these things are not ‘just a coincidence’.

Therefore I pray;

That we will desire to walk more and more in line with the will of God and call for His Holy Spirit to overtake our hearts and minds so that even when we’re not really thinking about what we’re saying, our words will still be the kind that build up, give life, and deliver people from their various situations.

I pray that in every moment of our lives, we will remember that we are vessels of God, and in assuming that role, we will stay connected with the Holy Spirit and ask that He speaks through us at all times – literally, ALL times.

Let us Speak with Purpose.

 

Scripture to read: Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 18:21.

*Also have a read of this previous post Gracious Words; Speak Life! 

 

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing.

God Bless you

 

The Journey Back

I don’t know about you, but if you’ve ever gone through a time when you felt distant from God, or that your spiritual life just simply wasn’t where you knew it could be/ought to be, then you’ll understand that it’s not really a nice feeling/season to experience.

Today I pray that the honesty in this post will inspire you to no longer be content with wandering away from God, and instead pick up your bible again, and have a spiritually nourishing meal with the King!

It’s been a weird few months in terms of spirituality for me, and for the longest time, I told myself I didn’t know why. I walked around content with not knowing why things felt different, and I embraced a false perception that grace would bring me back on track.
Don’t get me wrong, grace has the power to do so many things, but in this case, God showed me that intentionality (coupled with the grace to realise it) was what I needed.

I’ll walk you through what happened today…

I was adamant that I would post today. I was adamant that I would get back on track with the work of God – this work of God, this ministry, my baby that He gave me… Therefore I typed and started this post in a few different ways, but I still kept feeling the same block that had stopped me from posting in so long.
I’d pause a moment, then start typing again. I wasn’t entirely sure of the topic, but I knew it would be natural to discuss the season that I’m just coming out of.
However, it still wasn’t flowing right.
So stop. And start again.

Prior to today, I had attempted to post about three times before, on random days, but the flow just wasn’t there, because something just wasn’t right.
The difference today however, was that I wasn’t taking no for an answer.
This time, I was serious, and I believe God saw that, felt that, and thus released His voice onto me.

What I intended to do with this post, was to not seem as irresponsible with my spiritual life, as I personally feel I have been in the past few months.
So I wanted to let you know that, yes, I’ve experienced a weird block/silence/poor connection with God, but I wanted to make it seem like it was God-ordained… But that would have been a lie.
Like I said, I restarted this post a few times, and in the takes that didn’t make it, what I tried to do was scheme, and think of ways to make this whole quiet season sound as artistic as possible, as scripturally-inclined as possible, and basically pull the wool over your eyes so you didn’t know the raw simple truth about it…

Which is this:
In the past few months, I haven’t prayed enough/properly (according to what I believe God deserves from me).
I haven’t spent enough time just sitting and chatting with God.
I’ve been too lazy to dedicate quality time to learn more about God’s word, through reading my bible or listening to sermons.

Instead, I’ve spent most of the hours of my day on social media, or better still, playing this one particular game on my phone (that even my family have noticed is becoming ridiculous)!
I’ve allowed myself to become less bothered about truly wanting to desire God more, and have become content in believing the lie that ‘it’ll come back when the time is right’.

So simply put, I wanted to dress up the words in this post in a way that wouldn’t blatantly call my own self out as the one to blame for how my walk with God has been these past few months…

Thus, I still tried to write the cover-up, but of course, I still had a block.

But then I cried…

Because it really hurt to not be able to easily do what I enjoyed so much.
Yes, literally, cried out to God like a baby, tears ‘n’ all, and told Him that I refuse to have this ‘block’.
Told Him that I refuse to ever be lost for words when it comes to sharing His word.
Told Him that I refuse to ever see the day when the gift of writing and the flow of His speech to me whilst writing, ceases.

And in my cry I heard Him say
“Be real”.

He reminded me that the name of this ministry is and remains ‘Untainted Word’, and so even if the word is difficult to swallow (for readers), or difficult to write (for myself and future writers on the team), it must still always be His pure word, as He inspires it.
A poetic lie would have only kept me hostage in the same block that for so long I had tried to make ‘part of God’s plan’, when really it was as a result of my own actions and decisions.

God made me realise that a lack of transparency in this word would fail to serve the purpose that He intended for today’s post.
In me trying to protect a ‘perfect’ image of what a ministry leader/worship leader’s relationship with God should be like, I would have deprived many of you, as well as myself, of the opportunity to learn that our strive for perfection and excellence with God, does not need to be perfect!

Today God required me to call myself out on my mistakes (as you see above) and be frank with myself.
And if you’re reading this feeling like you’ve been experiencing an oddness in your spiritual life, then God is asking you to do the same too!
Search yourself…
Please note, He’s not asking you to beat yourself up, or fill yourself with guilt, but all He requires is that you search yourself, and be real enough to identify that thing/those things that you have (knowingly/unknowingly) used to block Him out.

Once we’ve found the things that steal away our attention away from the cross, then we can begin to put them before God and ask Him to enable us to no longer make these things idols in our lives.
Once identified, we can ask God for the will and desire to proactively choose Him, over these things, every time that choice needs to be made.
Once we can be real enough to own up that it’s actually some of the things or people we have come to love most, that are distracting us from pressing in deeper with God, then we’ll be able to ask Him to remove them, and replace them with the right desire to honour, serve, and please Him wholeheartedly.

The bottom line is, we need to stop and search for the issue from within. 
The longer we walk around thinking that a time like this ‘is meant to be’, or ‘sent from God’, then the more open we leave ourselves to gradually be more and more consumed with the things of the world, rather than pursuing the things of God’s heart!

I know it seems harsh to point at ourselves and say ‘You’re the problem!’
But we’ve got to remember that we serve a flawless God, therefore when we find ourselves so deep in the wilderness, and so far in a season of silence, we must be courageous to be intentional about finding our way back to Him.
God would never opt to have time away from us, therefore it is our responsibility to search out the ways in which we have pushed ourselves away from Him.

In all things, remember that God is love, and even in the ‘block’ – His love and grace will still be active over you, as long as you can believe it and receive it.

Congrats on finding your way back, and cheers to sticking with Him from here on out.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

 

 

 

Breathe… Pray… Act!

How often do you feel so overwhelmed with all your tasks and responsibilities that it paralyses you?

Whilst I hope the answer is ‘not too often’, I know that when this feeling does come over us, it can be extremely demoralising and detrimental to our productivity.

Let’s get rid of that horrible feeling!

Step 1: Take a deep breath, and release the stress… 

Step 2: Join me in this prayer I have for you…

Father,
We thank You for a brand new day and the ability to love and breathe and do everything we are doing.
We thank You for all our roles of influence and all our positions of privilege that we could have only assumed by Your grace and love and mercy over us.
On this very day, we remember that every single thing You have done in our lives has been intentional, and therefore regarding the situation that we’re worried about at this present moment, we release it unto You in Jesus’ Mighty Name.

We no longer worry about it, because Your word tells us that our worrying does nothing! (Matthew 6:25-34)
Rather we give it unto You and thank You for the fact that You will equip us to master it in Jesus’ Mighty Name.
We take away every feeling of incompetence, being substandard, being unable, useless, unqualified, running out of time, panic, and anything else causing us to make our responsibilities into a mountain before us!
We lay all these negatives at the feet of Jesus and ask that You will remind us that Your grace is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and that we are enabled to conquer and succeed through Jesus Christ.
Father now that we have empowered our minds, and are mentally back on track, we pray for the proactive attitude that will allow us to execute the success You have preordained for us!
Help us to get up from our beds/seats/places of warmth and comfort, where we’re lounging about, and let us get busy and put our hands to great work!
Help us to work efficiently and effectively in Jesus’ Mighty Name.
All in all God, we thank You for the privilege and power of prayer, which means we can come before You and seek peace and comfort in the midst of what was terrorising us a few moments ago.
We pray for a permanent peace of mind, which will enable us to think, work, and act with clarity, and we also ask for a permanent peace and level-headedness to always trust that someway, somehow, You’ve got it all in control, and so through You, we can and we will do it!
All this we pray,
in Jesus’ Mighty Name.
Amen!
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”
Step 3: Get Active and make necessary moves! 
You can Do It!
Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

Striking a Balance…

…To ensure Contentment, but not Complacency. 

During a group prayer this week, a prayer point was raised which said; “Father help us to be content with who we are and where we are, but not to be complacent. Enable us to still work hard to get to where we are meant get to”.

Instantly I knew this was the word for you guys this week.

How on earth do we get that balance right between being happy in our present state, but being driven enough to push to get to the next level?

The simplest answer is through the grace, direction and wisdom of God, but let’s get into it a bit more than that.

Let’s look at what the bible tells us about contentment…

Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
[1 Timothy 6:6-10]

Now I understand that this passage may bother some of us.
Because we’ll look at it and think, ‘hold up – am I only meant to desire food and drink, and be happy with just getting by with the bear minimum in life’.
But allow me to explain that God is not telling us not to strive for greatness here.
He is not telling us that being hard working and ambitious is wrong. Neither is He telling us that we should not work towards goals and aims and achieve the best! (In fact His word says otherwise! – Proverbs 12:24, Proverbs 14:23)

The message of God through this passage is in fact that we must not become so consumed with amassing wealth, money, riches and all sorts of earthly pleasures, that we lose sight of where we are going for eternity.
What we read about here are the dangers that lie in the wrongful desire of getting more. And by wrong – I mean a desire for more that stems from selfishness, greed and even jealousy of what we’ve seen on others.
Verse 9 and 10 of this passage help to depict the fact that when we long for more, we expose ourselves to temptation which so easily can lead to a downward spiral of dabbling in sinful activities just to get what we want, by any means possible – thus, walking out of God’s will for us.

So question, by nature, and through Adam and Eve’s slip up, I guess we always seem to want more right? How can we protect ourselves from the negatives of this, and from the risk of being tempted?

This is where our chit chats (prayers) with God come in handy.
First pray for the fear of the Lord – Proverbs 19:23 – which will help commit our actions to Him, and enable us to do the right things.
Remember Proverbs 4:23 says to guard our hearts, because it determine our actions – this verse also crucial in this area of our lives.
In daily prayer, we ought to ask God to purify our hearts and keep it aligned with His will, as an upright heart will surely have an impact on the intention of our desires.

You see, a guarded heart will want more, not so they can show it all off and make a parade of how great they are, but so that they are enabled to do God’s work better, and are able to serve others better.
A guarded heart will pursue greatness not because of what the world will say, and how the world will speak of them but instead because of how the world will speak of the God who created them! They know that they are a representation of Christ on earth, therefore their spirit must be excellent and their presence must be one which inspires and encourages others to want to know Jesus. And causes others speak highly of the Jesus that lives within them.

So let’s get some things straight: 

Godly contentment is not equivalent to settling for less.

Godly contentment is not synonymous with poverty.

Godly contentment does not encourage laziness.

Rather;

Godly contentment is standing firmly in the Father, with your attitude towards His work and ministry being unchanged and unshaken regardless of whether you have only a penny in your pocket, or a million pounds in your bank account.

Godly contentment is obedience to God’s will, and refusing to go against your morals, good ways or Holy Spirit convictions in order to fulfil your own selfish ambitions.

Godly contentment is Hebrews 13:5-6 – knowing that God IS EVERYTHING to us, and for us – He is all we need, therefore we need not worry about trying to make a better tomorrow for ourselves (Matthew 6:25-34), as this is in His hands already!

So to the main question – how do we ensure our being content, does not easily slip into being complacent?

Well firstly what is complacency?

(Cambridge dictionary definition): feeling so satisfied with your own abilities or situation that you feel you do not need to try harder. 

(Oxford dictionary definition): Showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.

The first important thing to understand about complacency, is that immediately, it exudes an inappropriate focus on self.
It contains an attitude of I, I, I, and as a child of God, this is flawed.
We are to acknowledge Him in all ours ways (Proverbs 3:6), therefore making us and God a team. At no point should we ever feel like anything we are doing is by our own knowledge, strength or power, because the bible makes it clear that we are enabled by the grace of God. (2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 4:13)

Whilst contentment displays an attitude that rests in God, complacency displays an attitude of detachment and independence from God.
The definitions above clearly show that complacency also encompasses an element of pride – the belief that we’re all that and more.
But look at this, the bible teaches us in Galatians 6:3, that if we think this way, we’re actually deceiving ourselves!
In context of our topic, an attitude of being self-sufficient and attributing everything to our own ability, and not thinking we need to get any better, actually presents us with the danger of falling; the bible teaches us that pride precedes a nasty fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

Therefore we must take care… Not only in our earthly goals and endeavours, but even more importantly in our walk with Christ.
Never should we feel like ‘We have arrived’, and have reached the pinnacle of our lives, instead we should embrace the fact that with God, there is always so much more potential and opportunity for elevation awaiting us, if only we will yield to His will and allow Him to take us higher.
Again we ought to use our daily conversations with God to ask for a heart that is humble, obedient and teachable – one that yes, is happy with whatever God presents us with, but is also willing to achieve more through and with the power God.

The last point I’ll touch on, is that complacency displays an inability to reflect and want to do better. The Oxford definition describes it as an uncritical state of mind. For some of us, whilst this may not necessarily come from a place of pride, it definitely comes from an place of laziness and nonchalance. This too is undesirable before God, as it displays a lack of forward thinking and drive!
We have all been gifted with talents that we ought to use to decorate this earth with. If we have the wrong attitude towards life – like the servant who buried his one talent rather than investing it, then God will take what He has given us, and give it to someone who will put it to greater use! (Matthew 25:14-30)
Thus, whilst contentment comes through reflection and appreciation of God’s hand in our lives, complacency comes from an inaccurate assessment of where we are, and underestimates where God can take us to.
Being happy with the present does not mean to not plan for a better future, and in fact the bible warns us against laziness and its fruits. (Proverbs 20:4, Proverbs 6:9-11)

Therefore, Today I pray with us, 
That we will be able to see the greater heights that we’re heading towards, but still be very present in the moment we are living in.
May we learn to embrace each season we are in, whilst also being attentive to God when He instructs us to take the next steps.
May we rid ourselves of all pride and pompousness that falsely believes we are more than we are, and rather appreciate that all things come from God, are for the glory of God, and thus we should always aim for more glory to come to His name.
May we learn to strike the perfect balance between between godly contentment and not being complacent, in order to progress, improve and grow in the many ways God desires for us to.
In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

 

Please Read…

Important Message:

Through an overnight dream, the Lord showed me something amazing but important for us to note at all times…

I had a dream which involved a few people being somewhere and even though they had NO intention to steal, the fact that they were rushing meant that they made a bad decision, which then resulted in them being interrogated by the police.

But the one person who chose not to join them in making the mistake, was left alone to go freely.

Please be mindful,

In your good intention to do things, you have to be very careful in whatever you actually do

To avoid any police embarrassment or trouble.

In decision-making we have to be very conscious and careful

Please do not join anyone in doing anything that is not right.

Do not do anything that your Spirit feels unsettled or uncomfortable with.

Listen to the Spirit of God in you, always ask for the wisdom and Direction of God, and obey His instruction to resist doing what the other people are persuading you to do, no matter how simple/insignificant they make it seem.

Please pray that you will not be wrongly influenced, you will not be at the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing

Pray that God will always single you out and give you victory over every trap the enemy has set

in Jesus’ Mighty Name

Amen 🙏🏾

Be led by the Holy Spirit, have a blessed week

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing

God Bless you

#Dreams

#SpiritLed

#MoreThan100PeoplePraying