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.

 

Gift, Speak Forth

Let the gift that God has placed on the inside of you, speak for you and work for you to deliver you and bring forth your triumph over hardship.

Many of us will wait for ages, praying for God to change a situation that He has given us the very tools to change ourselves!

The back story of Joseph in the bible, is that he was sold into slavery by his brothers due to their jealousy towards him. Then in the midst of him serving in a foreign land he was falsely imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Sour circumstances…

However when the very time came for Joseph to arise… he most definitely did! When his time had come for him to shine forth and for the bondage of imprisonment to be broken away from his life – it was the very gift that God had placed on the inside of him that caused him to find favour in the eyes of man – and thus his head was lifted and his glory and gift SPOKE FORTH.

“Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the captain of the guard. And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interpreted according to his own dream. And it came to pass, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him.” Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh.” – Genesis‬ ‭41:12-14 NKJV‬‬

We then read that Pharaoh tells Joseph his dreams, and Joseph again uses his gift of interpretation to enlighten Pharaoh on what God was showing him.

Then in Genesis 41:37-41 – we read about Joseph’s rise to power.

“So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”” – Genesis 41:37-41 NKJV

Please do not miss the importance of this word…

Despite him being a foreigner, and even a prisoner, Joseph’s life saw glorious elevation, all because he did not allow his GIFT to sit and lie dormant within him!

Today I pray, that when the opportunity arises and the need and demand for your God-given gift arises – you will not be asleep or inattentive to a point that you won’t realise it. Rather, in Jesus’ Mighty Name, the Spirit of God in you will cause you to know that it is time to ACTIVATE your gift and it shall be onto your glory in Jesus’ Mighty Name.

Speak to God and ask Him;

‘In the midst of this chaos Father, please show me how I can be a solution to my community.’

Have a wonderful week.

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing

Foundation Scripture: Genesis chapters 40 & 41.

By Their Fruit…

…You will recognise them.

Attachment-1(1)
Before I say a word to you, let’s read these verses;
“By their fruit you will recognize them.
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

My question to you is, what will you birth this year?

And I’m not necessarily talking about new creations or ideas or businesses, but actually when the 31st December 2019 comes around, what will the summary of your character be for this year?
In the last post, we discussed how special this year will be.
We embraced the great news of 2019 being a year in which many things will unravel in our lives and bring forth purpose and meaning to our very existence.
We’re now in the second month of the year, (by God’s mercy and grace), and hopefully many of us are still working on the various plans and goals that we set for ourselves for this year.
I want you to think of those plans/ideas/resolutions, and ask yourself – how much of what I have planned involves God?
Reflect on your desires for this year and just check – is God at the forefront of all this, or have I left Him on the back burner?
Did I focus my plans around me, my pleasures and my will, or have I put God centre stage, for all eyes to be on Him, and for His glory to shine through?

 

When God planted Matthew 7:16 into my heart, He gave me a message for you and I, saying that in this year (and always) we ought to ensure that God shows through in absolutely everything that concerns us!

The King wants us to be intentional about showing Him forth.

So here are a few specific things this means:

(But this list isn’t exhaustive)

1. Our decisions must minister Christ.
That is, the things we actively choose to do by ourselves.
E.g. Abstain from sexual immorality, pay the correct public transport fare, obey laws of the land that others may commonly seek a loophole for, attend church more often, engage in more kingdom-directed activities (fellowships/bible studies/evangelism) (Galatians 5:13-26, Romans 13 particularly verse 6). The list goes on.
We need to take our spiritual walk seriously, align our will with the instructions we find in the word of God, and really cultivate habits and behaviours that will affirm our love for Christ, rather than do the opposite.
Going back to our plans for this year – I’m asking that we go to God and find out what He wants, find out how we can be used by Him for His name to be praised, find out what His agenda is for us in this year, and then ask how we fit into all that, rather than the other way round.
In being intentional about showing God forth in our lives, we need to actively set out to do, or equally, refrain from doing, certain things. These intentional and purposeful decisions will set us apart within our environments, and thus minister to the world that there is something different about us, and indeed it is Jesus!
Let us be mindful of our decisions; making sure that we’re choosing the options that will more and more display that we truly do have a heart for God, ultimately causing people to draw onto us to get to know this God!
2. Take up a voluntary task/charitable deed to benefit the less fortunate.
Matthew 25:31-40 – read it.
We’re 41 whole days into 2019 – how many of those days have been spent selflessly?
Often times, particularly at the beginning of the year, and especially if it wasn’t one of our ‘resolutions’, many of us get so stuck and fixed and focused on achieving these sparkly new goals, that we neglect the needs of the community around us.
We’re head strong, we’ve got the eye of the tiger and we really want to achieve all the ME goals that we’ve set, that we forget that we have a world of people around us that God has both directly and indirectly put under our care. This includes those we know personally and those we don’t.
Where do the homeless, poor, needy, and underpriviledged come in our plans for this year?
I’m asking that we go back to those plans and ask God where they fit in. Tell God that we WANT them in our plans, and that He should give us a mission to HELP those who are in need. Let it become a regular activity in our lives, by God’s grace.
This also includes those friends or family members that require our emotional, financial or just any kind of support too! Let us factor them in, take some time out to really be there for them and see how we can be a blessing in their lives, in accordance with God’s will.
3. Manage ill situations graciously.
Yep! I’m talking about our  R E A C T I O N S  here.

I’m talking about us never REacting, but rather always maintaining our Christ-like character irrespective of what is being thrown at us.

What fruit are we producing when we respond to unpleasant situations?

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When we find ourselves in that complex, conflicting issue at work, home or school – who are we in that moment when our emotions are flying REALLY really high?

It could also be in terms of personal trials, hardships, let downs.
We all face disappointing and displeasing scenarios in life – but my question here is in these moments – what and who do we look like?

As a representation of Christ, who is God, who is Love, and so therefore we are Love, I believe one of the key elements in our walk is maintaining our cool when things get shaken and stirred up. We have to remember to LOVE first.
God is calling for a consistency in us, which means that we keep our peace at all times!
It doesn’t make you foolish, weak or a loser to walk away from a situation if it means maintaining your attitude and not acting out.
In situations that test our emotions, be it heat of the moment type scenarios, or even longer-term difficult ones, we must remember that we are STILL children of the Most High God. We are still children of grace, who ought to speak with words seasoned with salt always (Colossians 4:5-6), build others up with our words always (Ephesians 4:29), and bring light into situations rather than darkness.

 

Now let’s round this up and makes sense of it all.
You may notice that in the verses we read at the beginning of this word, I put Matthew 7:21 on its own, even though it’s the immediate continuation of the preceding verses.
Well that’s because this verse is special.
It helps to put everything into context.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Often times, we speak of Jesus, but we aren’t really living out Jesus.
And essentially that’s what this word is all about – at the end of the day, will God be able to search your heart and find that you were intentional and proactive about really promoting the gospel and the things of God with your life? (Jeremiah 17:10 NLT)
When Jesus said ‘by their fruit, you will recognise them’, He was talking about distinguising the false prophets from the true believers of the gospel.
In the same light when God gave me this word and pointed me to this verse, He was asking; Are we really for Him wholeheartedly, ready to align our hearts with His will, and press in deeper, into His Spirit to get to know Him better? 
Or are we dipping our toes in and out of the water every now and then, and in fact masking mediocrity with colourful words and empty actions that sort of look Christ-like, but actually we lack a firm foundation and are easily moved by winds of the world?

Matthew 7:21 says ‘only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven’ will enter the kingdom of heaven – therefore we need to go to God, and:

  • Seek out what His will for us is, in EVERY area of our lives?
  • Ask that He enables us to live a life that truly and genuinely shows forth all of His glory and goodness, where the focus is on Him and not us!
  • And ask that He works on our hearts and perfects our hearts, so that all in all, everything concerning us will birth fruit that show we are children of God, and the light of the world.

 

I pray that your fruit will show forth great things about you, and will display your true desire to walk and work in the perfect will of God, in Jesus’ name. Amen

 

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

 

#ByTheirFruit
#HisTruthWithLove

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

Christmas 2018; A Gift

Christmas Day!!

It’s that amazing time of the year again, when we get to think about God’s perfect love for us. A love so deep that He decided to give us Himself in human form, for a greater purpose of redemption (John 3:16-17).
It’s fair to say that Jesus Christ was, and always will be the most perfect gift ever given to all of mankind.

This Christmas, God also wants me to let you know that YOU, as you have been fearfully, wonderfully and perfectly crafted (Psalm 139:14), you too are a great gift to the world around you!

God is calling us to identify with He that is within us, recognise the many talents, qualities and abilities that we possess, and birth forth our gifts, to edify, nourish and brighten the world around us.

So as I wish you a Sweet and Merry Christmas, I pray this for you also…

That you will allow Jesus’ birth to shine perfect light into your life and bring transformation in the areas that require His touch.

I pray that the gift of Christ, will have purpose and meaning in your life, and will activate every great thing that has been lying dormant in your life!

I pray that in the next few days, before we get into the New Year, you will seek God earnestly, to know and understand what greatness He has placed in you, so you can bring it forth for His glory and thus fulfil every assignment He has set ahead of you in 2019.

I pray that you will live to Be A Great Gift to the world!

May all the light, love and laughter of Jesus’ birth fill your heart and your home during this festive season, and beyond.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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

Love always

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

 

Encounter The King…

E N C O U N T E R

We’ll get straight into this word by reading a few passages from the bible…

“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought,
“If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.”
(Mark 5: 25-29)

An Encounter with the King who Heals.

 

“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.””
(Acts 9:3-6)

…For three days, Saul was blind and did not eat or drink anything, I encourage you to read the verses in between, but now we jump to verse 17 which continues;

“Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.
At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

(Acts 9:17-20)

An Encounter with the King who Redeems.

 

“Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”
They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”
“Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
(Daniel 3:21-25)

An Encounter with the King who Saves and Delivers
from the hand of the adversary.

Now you may be expecting me to delve into the power of what God did in these three stories, but in fact I’ve simply put them here for you to get a taste of what is to come in  your own life when you Encounter God.
In fact, what God gave me, for you, when He gave me this word ‘E N C O U N T E R’, is a divine prayer, and here it is for you, open your heart and receive it…

May you always have an Encounter;
(a divine, life-changing experience of God’s glory and might)
when you walk into the presence of God.

I pray that every time you seek God,
You will surely meet with He, who is the Most High.

What do I mean by an Encounter?

I mean that you will feel Him so closely as though He were right there touching your shoulder.
I mean that you will hear Him so clearly as though He was speaking right into your ear.
I mean that you will experience His love so richly that your heart can only burst forth with love and joy to all those around you.

Whenever you step into the presence of God, that is whenever you step forth and approach His throne of Grace, be it in your home in private, or in a public place, I pray you will feel Him all over you so intensely and so strongly.

I pray that whenever you knock on the door to experience the King, you surely will Encounter Him in all His grace, glory and wonder.
I pray no Encounter shall ever be duplicated, but rather each time there shall be
New surprises
New blessings
New words and
New revelations, given onto you.

Each and every single time you press into God,
Each and every single time you seek the face of God, I pray that He will reveal Himself to you and allow you to feel Him so mightily.
May your life continuously be transformed for good, every time you call upon the name of Jesus, so that means a Daily Refreshing of your anointing!
in Jesus’ Mighty Name.

Dear friend, I pray, that you will Encounter the King, deeply.
in Jesus’ Precious Name.
Amen

Now just one important instruction to go alongside this message – God is asking us to ask Him to purify our hearts.
He wants to cleanse the place He will dwell, therefore He is calling us, to call on Him in order for Him to help transform, renew and Purify our hearts.
Hearts ready to Encounter Him.

Please get into a mood of worship after reading this, have a listen to these two songs:
Holy Spirit by Bri Babineaux
Settle Here by William Murphy.

Give the Lord your time and your whole attention, and let Him move in your life, and of course, enjoy the Powerful experience awaiting you.

#EncounterTheKing

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

#HisTruthWith Love

*Context/Further reading for this message:
Matthew 9:1-33, Mark 5:21-34, Acts 9:1-31, Daniel 3