The Morning…

“But I will sing of your strength,
    in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
    my refuge in times of trouble.

 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
    you, God, are my fortress,
    my God on whom I can rely.”
[Psalm 59:16-17]

 

The beautiful thing about the  M O R N I N G  is that it signifies a new beginning.
It symbolises another chance, and most importantly, it indicates victory.

That victory lies in the fact that yesterday’s struggles did not consume you.
You didn’t give up, you made it to a new day, and God, in His mercy, has kept you for a greater good to come.

Let’s pray with that this Wednesday morning…
Some of us have had a great week so far, and we’re so happy for the positives to continue.
Others may have had what we would deem as a terrible start to the week, and we can’t wait until it’s over.
But let’s remember that our making it to today, is by the grace of God and so we ought to express that gratitude, as well as ask Him to reveal His plan and purpose for this week, to us.

P R A Y E R:

Father,
We thank You for the grace You placed upon us to win yesterday’s battles, and triumph into today!
We ask that from today onwards, we will always realise and be grateful for the huge blessing that lies in seeing another morning.

You know what each of our weeks have looked like thus far, and we ask that You will allow Your perfect will to manifest in each of our lives in Jesus’ name.
We ask that You reveal Your purpose for this week to us. Show us how we can cause Your name to be glorified, and show us how we can walk in Your light and love, being a blessing and inspiration onto others.

For those of us who feel defeated by what Monday and Tuesday threw at us, give us peace and a strong assurance that greater is coming, and help us to be reminded that things always do work out well (Romans 8:28).

Once again we thank You for the privilege to see this new day, we thank You for always being a Reliable and Dependable God, and we ask that You will equip us to go forth and fulfil Your will in the rest of this week, month, year and beyond,
In Jesus’ Name.
A M E N.

 

Friend, take joy in the new hope that lies in every new morning, and be positive enough to mold your day into what you want it to be!

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

Getting Back to Me…

Sometimes we stray so far away from who we are and what we really stand for, but the grace of God brings us back.

Let’s talk about making the most of that.

You see, what many of us do, is that once we’ve fallen so far by the wayside, and gone so far off course, we feel ashamed to ever come back.
We must understand, however, that coming to the realisation that something isn’t right about the way we’re living, is only by the grace of God, therefore we mustn’t waste that privilege of being able to identify that something has gone wrong…
We mustn’t allow our fear of what people will say, to keep us somewhere that we no longer desire to be…

Of course, we may feel silly, ashamed, foolish, and many other emotions, because people probably advised us against many things that we ended up doing, but chose not to listen.

We finally realise that we’ve made a bad decision, or in some cases, a whole string of bad decisions, but a fear of their reaction to our return, holds us back from making the right turn to get back to who we were…

Getting back to me…

Getting back to the Christ in me…

This is something I feel believers should be more transparent and open about, because the truth is, everyone falls.

And no I’m not saying we should become more accepting of sin and doing wrong, but it’s simply about being more real about the fact that sometimes we may have off days/weeks/months or even years.
Sometimes things happen to us that cause us to fall away, people come into our lives that distract us, or even for no reason at all, we just lose focus, lack wisdom and choose to do things our own way.

It’s kind of like that prodigal son story found in Luke 15:11-32.

Once you’ve read this story, you’ll see that we have three important characters;

The Lost Son – living life his own way, indulging in worldly pleasures, making bad decisions.

The Obedient but Annoyed Brother – living for Christ diligently, listens to instructions, therefore doesn’t understand why there should be a fuss about someone who has only gone and done everything they shouldn’t be doing.

The Compassionate, Forgiving Father – a loving, constant, faithful, amazing God, who understands our human flaws, and is happy when we return to our senses, and return home.

Today I want to talk to us about the fact that at different points in our lives, we may actually find ourselves being able to relate to both sons…

Of course, we desire not to fall and sin and lose our way once we’ve accepted Christ, but sometimes, it happens.
So let’s talk about being The Lost Son…

The magnitude of how lost we are, or how lost we become, can vary between each person. So when I speak about being lost here, I’m talking about when we find ourselves out of character and living in a way that just doesn’t identify with what we truly believe in, or what we know we should be doing for Christ. Therefore this could be the smallest thing or the biggest, but it’s just anything we’ve been doing over and over again that isn’t pleasing in God’s sight; anything that is ruining our witness to the gospel.

My message for you today is, don’t be afraid to go home – to Get back to the real you, and get back to the Christ in you.
Understand that your mistakes do not define who you are, and just like the son in the story, God sees your remorse (Luke 15:18-19) and will welcome you with open arms (Luke 15:20).
Do not be ashamed to admit your faults. Don’t allow pride and shame to keep you in sin, but rather be open about your weaknesses with your brothers and sisters in the body of Christ and allow the mercy of God to turn your heart around and right your wrongs.
Embrace Getting Back to You, and you’ll be surprised who you inspire to do the same.

Now many of us may find ourselves in the position of The Obedient but Annoyed Brother, many times in our lives.
We just don’t understand how/why someone will choose to do all the things they’ve done. And therefore we get irritated and feel like they should know better.

My message for you each time you’re in this position will be the same, and that is, don’t judge and don’t push them away.
We have to show compassion just as our Father does, and even if we are going to advise them on their wrongs in order to help them not to fall again, let us ensure that we do this love.
Our work begins not only when our brother/sister finally realises their wrong, but actually, it starts from when we first see them venturing off (Galatians 6:1-2).
Let us be a constant voice that encourages them to come back, and let us ensure they know that they have someone to speak to if ever they need to.
When they’re back home, we ought to let the found soul feel warm, and let them know that we accept the new and true them, which is who they are in Christ. Therefore let’s refrain from making references to when, and what they did whilst lost, as a constant reminder of this may just push them back there.
As heaven rejoices over them, let us rejoice too (Luke 15:7Luke 15:32).

I’ll finish by saying this; Getting Back to Me embraces the fact that who we are in Christ, is our true self.
Therefore I want to encourage us not to be ashamed of letting people know that we were once lost.
Allowing people to be open about their weaknesses, rather than hiding them and suffering in silence, means that they can receive the support, help and accountability that will actually enable them to overcome the various things they struggle with.
Therefore as the body of Christ, let us create an environment that enables people to discuss their flaws (with remorse and a desire to change), and let us provide the opportunity and support for them to grow into their True Christ-like self.

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

#GettingBackToMe
#GettingBackToTheChristInMe
#MoreThan100PeoplePraying

 

 

Forgiveness; No Buts

Note: You can skip the dramatics and scroll down to where it says ‘Due to envy…’ (read Genesis 37 first for context), however if you like a bit of fun whilst you read, start from the top! 🙂

Joseph was a man spoken of in the old testament.
He’s the son of a guy named Jacob a.k.a. Israel, and he had 11 brothers…

Sounds pretty normal so far, right?
Yeah, so let’s read from the scriptures (pardon my dramatic thoughts when you see them in brackets);

“Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.”
[Genesis 37:3-4]

(I don’t know about you, but I’m sensing this favouritism is going to cause some problems…)

Let’s read a bit more;

“One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.”
[Genesis 37:5]

(Oh dear! It’s about to go down…)

““Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.”
[Genesis 37:6-8]

(Snap! Joseph you really should’ve kept that dream to yourself mate…)

“When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!””
[Genesis 37:18-20]

(I knew it!! I told you something bad was going to happen…)

“But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.”
[Genesis 37:21-22]

(Oh phew! Thank God for Reuben…)

“So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.

Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.”
[Genesis 37:23-28]

(Nooo Wayyy!)

Okay, Let’s stop there.

Oh My Goodness!!!
Who else wishes this was made into a movie?! Extremely interesting, right?

Anyway, drama aside, let’s get a message out of this…

Due to envy, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery!
How absolutely crazy?!

But little did he know, that these same brothers would need his help, and he would be in a mighty position to help…

Through the next few chapters in the book of Genesis (which I definitely encourage you to read in your own time), we see Joseph face some trials, but also he faces triumphs, as he becomes Governor in Genesis 41:39-41.
As we continue reading, we see that in fact his brothers end up needing his help, and whilst they don’t recognise him, Joseph definitely recognises them, but still helps them!
The question I want to bring out from this story is;

How far does your Forgiveness go?

Some of us say we can forgive, but never forget. We can forgive, but it will never be the same. We can forgive, but we’ll never help them out again. We’ll never do anything for them again. We could never look at them the same. We could never have love for them again…
The list of the things we say about forgiveness when someone has wronged us, is endless.

Today, I want us to look at Joseph, and I want us to learn from him…

What Joseph’s brothers did, was terrible (in fact, that’s an understatement, but I just can’t think of a better word to describe the atrocity).
However let’s take a moment to think about it properly;
If there was no sale, there would have been no rescue in the future…

After all the years that had gone by, Joseph must have come to the realisation of the fact that he was simply being used by God.
He would have seen and understood the purpose for the pain in the past, which had now enabled a greater glory of grace, for good, in the present.

Joseph was endowed with wisdom to understand that the perfect will of God had allowed him to endure the ugly act of his brothers so many years beforehand, in order to bring great blessing and survival to his family in the future; Genesis 45:6-11.

There isn’t a sense of bitterness or wickedness in Joseph at all.
He doesn’t finally see an opportunity to get his own back and punish his brothers, but rather, he sees and accepts that there was a reason for that past season.

Pray today for this spirit of true, pure forgiveness.
We want to be able to forgive in a way that makes us forget the pain, that makes us release all bitterness, and makes us to realise God’s plan through it all.

For some of us, the ‘brothers of Joseph’ in our lives are going to reappear one day, in need,
I’m asking, that just as Joseph cared more about God’s will, than the pain he endured;
We, when this time should come, (though very very very difficult) will do the same…
We will still help them, despite…..

May God give us wisdom, strength and growth, to know that it won’t be a time to ‘finally’ laugh or mock them, but in fact it will be a time to help them when they need it most!
And through this, they will truly see the power of the Love of God.

Father, we pray for the ability to forgive deeply and truly, and we pray for a heart that will always let Love win, completely,
in Jesus’ Mighty Name.
Amen.

*I encourage you to take the time to read Genesis 37 fully, and also read the chapters that follow (up to chapter 45 at least), in order to get a full picture of this aspect of the story of Joseph.*

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

I Forgive You…

You’ve been hurt.
Like, really hurt by someone, and to be honest, you’re struggling to get past it…

Today I want us to look at the importance of Forgiveness.

So first, let’s talk real talk…

When we’ve been hurt, naturally we don’t want to talk to that person, we don’t want to help them, and to be honest, sometimes it can go as far as us not wanting anything to do with them.
It’s the instinct of our flesh to hold a grudge, resent them, and possibly even seek a way to inflict pain on them, just so ‘they know how it feels’.

Most times, the memory of the scene or the words that caused the hurt, replays over and over in our minds, again and again, and for many of us it becomes something that occupies so much space in not just our minds, but our entire lives.
For others, actually we can do quite well ‘moving on’ and getting on with life without them in it, but failure to truly release that person and deal with our negative emotions towards them means that we still carry the hurt around with us and it only takes a mention of their name, or an unexpected encounter with them face to face, for all those emotions to come rushing back from wherever they were hiding.

Bitterness. Anger. Pain. Disappointment.
When we dwell on these emotions (and more) for so long, we find that we become consumed by them.
We become a different person; a negative person; a pessimistic person; someone who lacks trust in others because ‘all they’re going to do is just hurt us again like the previous person did!’

Shall we B R E A T H E…
Just for a second…

And remember one of the most cliché but important Truths of life;

God is Good.

And if God is good, it means His intentions for you are good, and nowhere in His plan did He write for you to be stuck in a rut, unable to forgive Jason because of what he did to you either last week, or 5 years ago.

God has enabled you to forgive others, and He holds your practise of forgiveness with great importance.

We ought to realise a few things about forgiveness:

  1. Forgiveness of others is a requirement for us to be able to receive forgiveness from God.
    As people who try not to, but still sin daily, the last thing we would ever want is for God to withdraw His forgiveness from us! But Jesus tells us plain and clear that if we fail to forgive our brothers and sisters truly from our hearts, we ourselves, will not receive forgiveness from God! (Matthew 18:21-35)
    Also read Matthew 6:12 and Mark 11:25.
  2. Forgiveness allows us to show a piece of Jesus to the person who wronged us.
    In many verses (you can check out Ephesians 4:31-32, Colossians 3:13)  we see that it says, ‘As the Lord forgave you…’
    When we forgive others, we actually show them a love that God, through Jesus Christ, showed us.
    We show them a love that says ‘I love you despite your wrongs’, and as humans, we need that love daily, because we sin and fall daily. The bible even tells us to make allowance for one another’s faults in the Colossians verse above.
    No, this doesn’t give them a pass to hurt us over and over again just because they know we’ll forgive them over and over again as Jesus instructs in Matthew 18, but actually, this love and this mercy we are able to show them could actually help them to also heal from any possible guilt that could be consuming them.
    The strength it takes to forgive, is definitely one that comes from God, so not only can your forgiveness encourage the individual to practise the same towards others in the future, but it can also point them to God to draw strength from Him too for whatever reason.
  3. Forgiveness liberates you.
    You don’t have to worry about how harsh you have to be to prove your anger, you don’t have to concentrate on making sure this person knows you don’t like them, you don’t have the bitterness eating away at you bit by bit, and you don’t have that strain on your heart from holding the grudge. Yes friend, Forgiveness provides spiritual, mental and physical freedom.
    When you forgive, you free yourself and you allow yourself to receive such a massive part of your own healing, because you have let go of the hurt, and left it unto God, who will deal with it perfectly, as well as continue to heal every one of your wounds.
  4. Forgiveness is an instruction.
    We see it spoken of so much in the bible, that it is clear that we have to learn to forgive, and do so genuinely.

So with that said, go before and ask Him to strengthen your ability to forgive.

Ask Him to give you a heart that can let go of wrongs, let go of sour memories of hurt, and let go of all bitterness, so that you can heal and move forward.

Your right to be upset should never be questioned, nor belittled, however let us always hold on to the fact that God wants us to walk amicably with one another, and therefore we ought to forgive each grievance, ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice’, and never get tired of forgiving.

Though sometimes painful itself, Forgiveness definitely is a beautiful thing.

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

March, Be Good to Me…

The 1st of March 2017.

Welcome to the third month of 2017 (ALREADY!!!).

Each time we reach a new month, we seem to look back at the distance we’ve travelled since the beginning of the year.

The first day of the month is always a good opportunity to stop, look back and evaluate what has happened in our lives, in the year so far.

Some of you may look back with joy and a sense of pride, because you’ve achieved both the expected and even unexpected.
Others may feel contrasting emotions; disappointment and hurt, because things haven’t gone according to how you would have liked.

To the people that fall into the latter category, can you guess what I’m going to say next?

Yep! I’m going to tell you,

It’s okay…

Now understand me, I don’t say this to make you falsely feel better about yourself, or feel like you can settle for less, or drop the standards you have created for yourself.
I don’t say this in order to validate any excuses you made in place of some of the achievements that you ought to have obtained, and neither do I say this to make you feel like it’s fine to not reach your goals and just drop them halfway, but I say this to remind you of the beautiful…

Grace and MERCY

…of the Most High God.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

[Hebrews 4:16]

I need you to remember this verse when the world tells you it’s too late or you’ve gone too far – remember that you can always still approach the throne, and remember that He who sits on that throne, is rich in mercy…

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
[Ephesians 2:4-5]

Now I know we all love Grace so much – the unmerited favour of the Most High God, but today I want us to explore MERCY a bit more – what is it and what does the bible say about it?

Mercy; (according to the Oxford dictionary)

  1. Compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm
  2. An event to be grateful for, because it prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering.

 

Now the bible, having read the the two verses above, encourages us to approach God and ask for mercy (compassion or forgiveness) when we are in need, and it gives us the confidence to do this, because we’re told He is rich, overflowing, saturated in mercy.

The bible also tells us that;

The Lord is merciful and loving,
    slow to become angry and full of constant love.
[Psalm 103:8]

So what does this mean for us?

Well firstly it doesn’t mean that we should go around intentionally messing things up, or not trying our best, in the hope that God will have compassion on our careless behaviour, because though He is slow to anger, He also is not a fool (Galatians 6:7) and will not be mocked.

Thankfully, what it does mean, is that a God who is ‘constant in love‘, is telling you that He won’t withdraw His compassion from you just because you make a mistake/wrong decision.
This means therefore that we shouldn’t think it’s over just because it didn’t work the first time.
It means we shouldn’t write ourselves off and beat ourselves up about things we may have done wrong, or failed to do.

It means, yes, we got things wrong/made mistakes/misjudged situations, but there are steps we can take to ensure growth and improvement from the circumstance –
1) Being remorseful where appropriate,
2) Learning the lesson in that season,
3) Praying for the Spirit of God to completely overtake our fleshly desires which cause us to fall (Galatians 5:13-26).

The Mercy of God is here for each and everyone of us, giving us the ability to start afresh and get it right with the wisdom of God and be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
The Mercy of God is what reduces what seems like a massive error to you, to absolutely nothing, because He trusts you to take this new chance, and do it with His will in mind, and therefore do it better.

 

I’m praying for a March of Mercy for us all…

Let us say these few lines of prayer together:

Wherever I have gone wrong, Father help me to put things right.

Whenever I have given up, Father help me to get back on track, and keep pushing.

Whatever good I have unknowingly let go of, Father allow me to meet with it again and grab hold of it and make proper use of it this time.

However I have fallen out of Your will, and/or done things that aren’t of Christ, Father empower me to get back up, put on Your armor and walk the walk I ought to walk with Christ Jesus.

March, be Good to me…
in Jesus’ Mighty Name,
Amen.

(Also have a read of Micah 7:18 and Psalm 51:1-2, and use them in a prayer for Mercy).

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