Shake up your life | In the waiting

July 26th, 2019.

Dear Friend,

Goodness! If you asked me how I would react to someone being late, I would tell you I’m learning to be patient. I don’t handle it well but I’m learning. I’m sure y’all can attest to that.

Or maybe not.

Scripture says :

but the fruits of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience(long suffering), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

– Galatians 5:22

It’s in the waiting that you find yourself. In the midst of pain that you learn to raise you chin high and your chest out front not portraying pride but portraying strength. And not a strength of your own but that of God.

In my previous post Bored again Christian I mentioned that one wouldn’t be so bored if they engaged in church activities. Maybe teaching the Sunday school kids, Shepherding the youths and many others. It’s in the waiting that you find your assigned ministry. It’s in the waiting that you learn to pray. It’s in the waiting that you learn to worship. And no, worship isn’t just a song. Ask David what worship is. It’s amazing how God calls him the man after my heart. David knew worship was an essential part when in the presence of the king.

Would you look at that I was drifting.

Even during traffic? Yes, even during traffic. That’s one of the perfect times to speak to God. You don’t always have to be in church to speak to Him. Even as you walk,that’s perfect timing. It gives you the opportunity to listen to him more. You could turn on the radio and listen to the songs. The commute will give you a good opportunity to think about how the music affects you. Your thoughts, your attitude and your faith. It’s in the waiting that you learn to converse with God. Not just as a father but as a friend.

Instead of complaining we could look for ways to fill our lives with a positive outlook for our circumstances.

Now, you don’t have to be in traffic to learn the benefits of patience. God has a way of fusing in blessing, lessons and many more of his amazing gifts in the most beautiful yet mysterious places. In people, in the work place, in an article and most importantly in his word. The Gospel.

You can read Romans 8:18 as well as Colossians 1:11 and see what they say about patience. This will help you hold onto God’s promises and trust him through the process. Could it be that patience, hope and mercy have something in common?

Remember the story of Solomon? One of my favorite men. 1 Kings 3 or 2 chronicles 1:7. He did amazing things. Was one of if not the richest man in scripture, He had an amazing military and one of the greatest economies, was one of the sons of David. (There was something about David). Built God’s temple and the man with the largest number of wives. Something we still judge him for. He had his shortcomings but God still loved him just like he loves us. Even sent his son for us, what a step!

Here we see how Solomon asked for wisdom instead of wealth. I’m certain God was proud. We too can ask for patience from God through prayer and he is able to grant what we ask for.

Have you heard that song

what a friend we have in Jesus?

…. Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

It should be our theme song every time it gets harder to wait and our burdens overshadow our view of who God truly is.
James 1:17,”Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

In the waiting.

Fear | Perverted Faith

2 Timothy 1:7 and 1 Samuel 17:1-58

Are you scared of that interview? Maybe you won’t be the very best? Or perhaps it’s that exam. It is the one set to ‘determine’ your future.

Even worse you’re scared to walk up to your boss and ask for a raise not because you think you’re qualified but because you really are.

Imagine if David was as terrified as you are to defeat Goliath. He like you and I would not be able to attain the throne prepared for him, the riches and blessings as well as every good and perfect gift from the father.

He chose to stand his ground. He understood that the chastening and discipline in secret ” the killing of the bear and lion in the wild after they came after his sheep” would one day be shown to everyone and he was not going to give fear the chance to make him feel small.

He understood from which lineage he came from and he understood covenant. He understood that greater is he that was in him than he that was in the world .

Oh Covenant!

He understood that he was not given the spirit of fear but of power “to conquer all giants and mountains” and of love and of a sound mind. That he was capable of facing the battle and coming out victorious. You’ll notice that he was given an armor at verse 38 Saul’s armor to be specific. I don’t know but there is just something about being in the presence of a king that makes you look like, smell like and walk like royalty. Wearing that armor should have been exiting but it wasn’t as exciting as being in the presence of the true king.

And so He denied it with all due respect because he needed something he was familiar with. A slingshot maybe? When he fought the lion and the bear he didn’t use Saul’s armor, he used the hand of God. God defended him and he was not about to go without him and give credit to Saul’s armor after the battle. He depended on what he knew and who he knew.

Yes! This is the same David, the one we knew to have played the harp, the shepherd boy and the man after God’s Heart.

Remember all those battles you won, all those times you came out victorious? Yes, I do too. It was never easy but you walked out in faith believing that God was going to deliver the battle into your hands the same way he did David.

If you wanted you would have done it alone and succeeded, but you didn’t because you understood that if you obtained anything outside of God’s will, you would have to stay outside of his will to keep it. Trust me if your battles were given to me or anyone else we would not be able to survive what you did. Something to do with grace. Correct me if am wrong. I’m quite certain you have a David within you.

Fear makes God seem small in our eyes. Fear is chaotic, it has us thinking we are not good enough, hinders the work of God in our lives and makes us stagnant. Satan knows the moment we get rid of the fear, we are unstoppable. What if we took a different approach towards fear? What if we looked at it as a way of enhancing our faith? Faith without works is dead.

Fear paralyzes action:

I’m quite certain God has a lot in store for us.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. ” James 1:17

But sometimes we ourselves are a stumbling block to all these blessing. We are too afraid to face the world even when he says I am with you.

I’ve given you the power. 2 Timothy 1:7

Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; Nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear Isaiah 59:1

Ask and you shall be given.

You can ask him to take away all the fear and you should be willing to cooperate and trust that he will be with you through every step.

Move toward the fear; we could call this the fear paradox.

Deal with it directly:

When we read the story of David we find that he went to the battlefront, stood there called Goliath “uncircumcised” meaning no covenant with God and still stood unshaken with no fear whatsoever. And no, he didn’t sugarcoat. He called it what it was.

No, one could not see a sweat of fear escape his pores. I mean this was a man-Goliath who’s height was six cubits and a span. He should have taken off. Probably run off and hide behind a nearby bush but he didn’t. He understood that killing this giant came with a reward. Did I say reward? I meant rewards.

We need to own it. The same way we do when we are wrong and need to apologize, same applies with this. Call it what it is. Don’t run from the truth. Truth is I am scared, we are scare and what are we going to do about this? We’ll face this fear. We’ll move toward it at least not on our own. We’ll declare we are not afraid anymore and so shall it be.

Fear is just perverted faith.

Bored Again Christian |

Luke 15:7a

“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one child (italics my own words) who repents..”

“Gather the instruments! He’s here.”

“Is the garment ready?”

“Yes, it is. We had it made according to your liking, used the exact measurements brought before us and the colours you decided on.”

“Perfect! Bring forth the garment and the oil.

“Right away, Father.”

He ran off like a scalded haint. Before you knew it he was back with the oil and garment in his hands.

“Here you are Father.”

“I understand you’re excited but try not to scare him off. I mentioned to you that they (my children) are not the same. They might look alike but they all have different stories as we have seen.

“Yes, father”

Luke replied with a smile that run across his face from ear to ear. So excited he couldn’t hold it in.

“Act natural Friends.. It’s about ti..m..”

Before he could even finish they all sprang out running faster than a hot knife through butter.

You could hear him laugh in the background because he mentioned it a number of times but they were too excited to listen. They celebrated like this every time a child came home. It wasn’t childish or rebellious, it was Pure and righteous. Pure love, genuine excitement and a joy only the father understood.

Maybe you don’t remember the first time you gave your life to Christ but I’m sure the above illustration gives a clear picture of what heaven seemed like. My imagination isn’t as amazing but let’s just say I tried.

Like a new born babe you craved for his righteousness and his word and his presence. It was as though your eyes were open for the first time. You called him, spoke to him every morning and he mattered the most. It was like looking at a clear window. No stains, no cracks just a clear window.

But along the way you/I got bored. The window was too clear it became boring. If it wasn’t Pastor Walk-in preaching about love or faith or unmerited favor. Grace. Then it was Ma’am Corner flake leading hymns. Same old hymns. It felt like you heard it all. Why go to church? Why gather with other saints? I’ll hear the same things.

What if I told you, you are wrong. What if I told you I’ve been bored before and I felt the same. Brace yourself you’re just getting started.

Trust me it will feel like that if you’re not willing to see things through God’s eyes. It will be the same if you’re not will to put on the adult cap and act responsible. It’s going to be hard I know. But he says “my grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. Even when I get bored? Yes, even when you get bored. You’ll feel bored along the way but it’s up to you to find joy and entertainment in everything you do for the glory of God. He is still excited about you.

Did Pastor Walk-in say that too? Yes? Perfect! Then I’ll say it again because it’s true.

He is still madly in love with you. It’s a relationship and he wants you to pursue him the same way he does(you). Just in case you ever get bored or are bored with your relationship with God like it happened to me, try this:

– Spend time with God and his creation Romans 1:20

Honestly, just being in the presence of God is amazing enough not to get you bored. It’s overwhelming. There is a way your body responds to his presence and just that in it self shows how mysterious yet know to man he is. Sometimes we become too familiar with God we think we know him and the moment these thoughts begin to play on our minds, we limit his power. Because each day we encounter him, he reveals a different side of himself.

Just looking at his creation should have you thinking. How does a seed germinate? How is it that I forgot to pray today but I still have my spleen? Grace. How is it that I breathe everyday of my life and I’ve lived for more that 12 years but there has never been an oxygen crisis. There are so many things to be amazed at, all of which a human mind cannot fathom. Our God is great.

– Look for miracles God performs everyday

It’s amazing how excited my younger sister gets the moment I manage to open a bottle she failed to get open. I can say I’m a little strong. Jokes.

Her reaction is always “Woo! How did you do that?” For her it’s a miracle. Anything I do outside my power is a miracle for her. And while I’m not a miracle worker, God is. If we could just look at things differently we too would be amazed. Maybe the reason we get bored sometimes is because we don’t see God’s miracles. But should we relay on miracles to know that God is great?

Everything you see is a miracle. Look at things that way. To carry a baby in one’s womb for nine months is a miracle. To be able to speak is a miracle in it’s own sense. To be able to wake up that’s an amazing miracle. They surround us even the most trivial things. We just need to open our eyes.

– Invest in meaningful relationships

Each and every human being is different. Each and every child/sheep has a different story. Your relationships will also contribute to how you see God. Whether or not you get bored, your relationships are a priority. If you visit a believer’s gathering you’ll realise that they are all are blessed with different gifts. You’ll notice how they each see God differently. You’ll notice how they all use their gifts to worship God, teach and help one another.

It helps strengthen them. It helps one know God as a healer because not only will they talk about him as a healer but you’ll see it in the way they walk, in the way they speak and how fit this one is.

Attend a camp meeting or so you’ll find people from all walks of life and I don’t know what’s more amazing than hearing someone talk about where God found them and how far he has brought them while seeing a twinkle in their eyes.

Ebenezer: Thus far the Lord has brought us.

Take some time off the internet or anything in relation to entertainment. It will not help you when you decide to read scriptures because you’ll be fully prepared. Visit some friends. A braai will do. You could talk about the new books in the store. Or you could talk about Paul’s epistles. I like Peter and Paul. Buy a friend a Bible. Join the choir and sing as the cherubim do “Holy Holy is the Lord God almighty.”

You’ll realise that God is far more amazing than we see him to be. He is glorified in every gift found in man.

Ephesians 4:7

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore he says:
When he ascended on high, He led the captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.”

You’ll might just discover your gift in the process. You’ll realise that there is nothing boring about your relationship with Christ because there are so many things to be done. Get out there :

Someone has to lead the Bible study.

Someone has to pastor the youths.

Someone has to lead worship.

Someone has to teach the Sunday school kids.

Someone has to visit the orphanage.

Someone has to nurse the old aged. Go for it.

Someone has to clean the church(building).

Someone has to bake those cupcakes for that fundraising concert.

Someone has to evangelise.

Someone has to make those outfits for Children’s Sunday.

And that someone is you. God values everything you do for the glory of his name.

“Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might.” Ecclesiastes 9:10

You’re in a relationship with God and the world will try to stain the way you view God, you will get bored, Satan will try to remind you of who you were and Sin will come creeping in but It takes maturity, self-control, grace and all the other fruits of the spirit to stand firm and put on that garment of praise.

Boring: Having nothing to do

Stored up tears |

I do not own the picture above. I downloaded it from the internet.

Do you know what it feels like to have a prolonged situation eating up your flesh?

Yes! it is nothing in line with peace. It’s frustrating, it’s painful. Ever felt the pain of bottled up emotions? I’m talking about those that humans can’t take care of, even if they could, you would still be empty for some reason.

I’m talking about those emotions that have you lie awake in the night as you try to get some sleep but your mind seems to be wide awake. I’m talking about those emotions that have you spending so much time in your head and has your tears rolling down your cheeks every time they find an escape.

Let’s be honest it’s really hard to stand up and quote the scripture Romans 8:28 when that job application was rejected, when you lost that loved one,when you were not qualified enough, when you are “not” good enough. Waiting gets hard, patience gets thin and trusting gets even harder. It’s never been easy trusting the lover of your soul. It’s even harder when you have done everything right.

He says he stores up our tears. I can imagine them in a fragile yet beautifully molded vase. Carefully placed on a shelf, not for display but as a reminder. Remember he is the potter,hence whatever he molds is beautiful. His imagination and creativity is far beyond human understanding. Yes, they are stored up. Carefully keeping count of every single drop. Do you know that song:

Have thine own way Lord, Have thine own way thou art the Potter I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will..

Pain is part of the molding.

For all the tears you shed, when the world came hash on you, he will compensate, for all the times it pained you so much but you kept trusting and holding onto him, he will reward you. Not in secret but before the world. It needs to see that through your sorrow, the Savior never forgot, that in the midst of your tears he collected each and every drop and promised to restore all the years that the cankerworms and caterpillars have eaten. How lovely to have someone collect your tears. It may seem like a small and insignificant gesture but I honestly feel it’s pure love.

It’s what a father who wills that his children be happy does. He cares, he mourns as we mourn, laughs as we laugh. He is the one who gives us the joy of our salvation. This time, it won’t just be you, your pillow and the night, it will be you, your sorrows wiped off, your years restored and the Savior. It will be before the world. Now I know you’ve heard this and are still hearing it. You have given tithe, lived right, you have fasted like you should, you have shared his word and nothing seems to change. Remind him like Hezekiah did. 2 Kings 20:1-11. He says his word never returns to him void. Quote his words back to him.

Tell him all the cares of your heart he is interested. He says “come, let us reason together.”

When I look at: He stores up our tears, I see restoration and remembrance from the father. I see a divine father stretching out his hand to intervene in his children’s lives. Remember every detail of your life matters to him, what pains you, pains him. He is the God with an angel arm:

I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God angel armies is always by my side. The one who reigns forever, he is a friend of mine, the God of angel armies is always by my side. – Chris Tomlin

Remembrance

Human beings may have forgotten all your good deeds but God never does. When he remembers you, I imagine him saying:

I’ve seen your pain, I’ve seen your sorrow and don’t think it didn’t hurt me one bit.. It sure does. I know you probably despise my ‘discipline’ now but you need to grow. I know you felt alone but know that I never let you out of my sight. I was with you in the storm even when it didn’t seem like it. When you couldn’t explain yourself or utter a word, I understood your tears (I still do).

For each and every tear you dropped, you will receive twice as much. Remember Job? I did the same for him. Just when the world thought he was finished I came through. And I’m doing the same for you.

I will do exceedingly, abundantly above all you can ever think or imagine. I am still the God of Abraham. I’m still the I am that I am. Or have you forgotten that I formed the foundations of the earth? Even that I am the one who was patient enough to put hair on a mosquito and dress the Lilies. Never will I forget you.

When God remembers you it’s mind blowing. The whole world sees. It changes you so much you can see it too. Same applies to spending time with God in his presence. I’m reminded of the radiant face of Moses. Exodus 34:29-35. His face shined so much it pierced the Israelites’ eyes. He took on God’s character. He shone like he did. He spoke like He spoke. He lead like God lead. When God remembers you, you shine like does. You smile like he does, you listen like he does. It’s like spending time with a friend and taking on their mannerisms. Remember Rachel? She was remembered too. And so will you.

when God remembers you, every sorrow is wiped off and just when darkness thought it had you, he embraces you and reassures you he still has your back. So brace yourself! You just got started.

– Restoration

When God restores, he makes sure everything is taken care of. Your bills, school fees, all the years you spent moving from one place to another in search of fulfilment, he restores like nothing ever happened. But he keeps the story with you because it’s part of you and it makes you beautiful. God doesn’t operate under earthly time. He is not confined to that. Unlike us, we age, because time on earth works on our bodies but God operates under Kairos time. Heavenly time. That should be Hebrew. So the moment divinity intervenes in your situation, be sure to receive miracles. Notice how I didn’t say a miracle?

Trust the process I know it has been a long and rough ride but all that is about to end. For his promises still stand and he can never go against his word.

I’ll restore into you all the years that the caterpillars, locust and the cankerworms have eaten…. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God who has dealt wondrously with you: and my people will not (never) be put to shame. Joel 2:25-27

You just got started!

Wayward Son

Have you seen wayward pines? Yes, perfect! No, I’m not about to start talking about wayward pines.

I’m not asking for all of it. I just want the cars, the profit from the ranch and the beach house.”

I thought we spoke about this. it’s not safe for you out there.”

But father, you said I could have 1/3 of the property whilst James takes the rest. And we all agreed.”

Let you go out there on the basis of us agreeing? I let you go just last month and I’m not looking forward to losing you again.”

You don’t love me, Father. You said I would have my share when I was old enough. I’m old enough. Will you go against your word? I can take care of myself.”

Veeery…well, Ken. I gave you my word and you shall have what you ask. Ask James to come here, I need him here as well.”

Does it ring a bell? Maybe… Maybe not…. Yes! It’s the parable of the prodigal son. The wayward son. You could go on and read the whole chapter.

Whilst reading I realised that we all fall short. Just like this son, we’ve all fallen short but how often do we realize that heaven celebrates our return? A coat of many colours like that of Joseph’s has been woven for you. (I love woven jerseys). The angels celebrate as they await your arrival. Yes, you’re burdened with sin and filled with filth but who cares? The father still embraces you.

Notice how the son acknowledges that he has sinned before heaven and his father? That’s a good start.

_

“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn away from their sins, then I’ll hear from heaven and heal their land.

This scripture may seem irrelevant at the moment but let me break it down. At least I’ll try.

I am the one who needs to call upon his name. I’m the one who needs to humble myself (accept that I am wrong, seek repentance and ask for the father’s forgiveness) not my neighbor, not my sister but me. I am the one who needs to turn away from my wicked ways. I’m the one whose sins need to be forgiven. I’m the one whose land needs to be healed.

The moment we accept this we realize we need a Savior. The moment we accept this we realize that God is anxiously waiting for us and that his willing to pursue us. 2 Chronicles 7:14 goes on and it just doesn’t end there. I’m sure it will bless you. A father hopefully waiting for his son’s return.

I’m sure it was painful to see his son leave. But he gives freedom of choice. If he took that away it wouldn’t be love, like taking wet out of water or hot out of fire. He gives us our inheritance, knows that we’ll misuse it but he still trusts that will learn and go back to him. He doesn’t begrudge what we have done. He embraces us with compassion.

The father,who is the Heavenly Father turns to the older son (who could be the Pharisees or fellow Christians) Fellow Christians? Yes! Most times we are the ones constantly reminding God of the sins of others and telling him we have lived right before him so he should judge those backslidden brothers.

Look at verse 9.

We may fail to notice, but some of us might be living as slaves of God, not as children. As his children, our motivation is to serve him because we love him. We don’t seek rewards or gifts but we seek him. We can sometimes be so grounded in religion and rules forgetting what the greatest treasure is. That you’re forgiven. That you’re chosen That we are sons. Do you also notice from the parable that after the son returns, his father doesn’t treat him like a slave as he recited in his speech earlier. Instead there is a celebration. A fattened calf is slaughtered and a party is held in celebration of his return. The father will not treat a son like a slave. The son is still a son. Wayward or not. We have been adopted to Sonship.

Our priority is his lordship and our relationship with him as a Father. His love for all of us is not dependent on how perfect we can be neither is it dependent on our thoughts but on our willingness to return to him with a shattered heart and a contrite spirit.

The Father’s joy described in the parable reflects divine love, the boundless mercy of God and God’s refusal to limit the measure of his unconditional grace.

Unmerited favor | Grace

Grace is the opposite of karma. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.

I’m not sure where and in what context you have seen the word Grace but I’m not talking about that grace.

Perhaps you’ve seen it in:

“Karen, can you give grace?” Or “she graced the streets every Saturday evening with a dog besides her.”

I’m not sure that makes sense, but not that kind of grace. I’m talking about God’s grace.

The opposite of Karma. Which is all about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Grace is free unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the Salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Honestly, we don’t deserve it but we receive it everyday, every moment and every minute. Every time we hurt his heart through sinning, he still provides us with grace because that’s what a good father does (I have Chris Tomlin’s Good good Father playing in my head).

Grace looks at us when we are in sin and says:

I want you. I know you won’t understand it just yet but I’m madly in love with you. I overlook your sins and trust that every time I mention to you that I’ll make you as white as snow though your sins are as red as Scarlet, I mean it. Trust me when I say that my grace is sufficient for you. And that even in the midst of sin, it is present. I love you so much I anxiously wait to give you another day to try and try and make sure you’re the best of yourself. Grace. And don’t think you’re on your own, I’m right by your side.

I feel grace and love are intertwined to some degree.

Does that mean Grace gives us the permission to live in a sloppy way because where sin abounded, Grace abounded much more? Certainly not! Paul rebukes us in Romans 6.

How could it be that we who are dead to sin live longer in it? Or perhaps you do not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

He reminds us that we were buried with him through baptism, that just as Christ was raised from the dead… even so we also should walk in the newness of life. It is immature for us to rephrase the above text so as to meet our own selfish desires. When we are dead to sin, we are dead. If we are to continue in sin, we bring shame to God’s name. We make it seem like he delights in our sin. We need to understand that he hates the sin, but loves the sinner and he refuses to leave you like that. Sin should not be embraced because “where sin abounded, grace abounded the more. “

Grace enables us, teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust. It enables us to live soberly and righteously keeping in mind that it is not by our righteousness, but that we are made righteous through Christ. (Titus 2:11-14) Grace also Chastens. Yes, you heard it right. For as earthly fathers chasten and discipline their children, so does God. (Hebrews 12:6-11) (Proverbs 3:11-12) That we maybe partakers of his holiness.

Grace goes way beyond the things written above. God never runs out of grace, he is willing and able to give to each and everyone one of us. He values us and never should we think his grace will ran out. Ever. Heaven knows no such words.