Category: Peace Series

Thinking Church

dami_effectThis year I have heard at least two people speak of their battle with depression and one of the individuals even spoke of  feeling suicidal.

I have noticed recently, how precious and needful peace of mind is. I’m not talking about a challenge free life with no concerns, but I’m talking about a sound mind. We all think, we all possess a mind.

Though like the soul, our minds cannot be seen, and yet, our minds can determine the way we behave,  the way we perceive and understand, and our everyday decisions. Mental health is a subject seldom discussed in the Church and yet day after day Christians young and old alike are battling with their mental health, whilst sitting quietly in the pews, wearing a smile. People’s mental health can be affected differently, what one person finds difficult, is a passing thought to someone else. For some it is as subtle as low confidence and insecurity, for others it is the overwhelming voice of another, crippling every day thoughts of lies, accusations and taunts. But for all it is intended to hinder and to prevent us from living the life God planned and predestined for us.

Mental challenges can make us feel powerless, but God is powerful, out of control but God is in control, hopeless but CHRIST is our hope.

The prophet Elijah had just experienced an all time high, defeating the prophets of Baal (1 kings 18).  Putting their demi-god’s to shame, he was feeling #awesome. But when Jezebel threatened his life, giving him 24 hours to live, fear overwhelmed him and the Bible says he literally “ran for his life”. But Elijah wasn’t just afraid, he was weary and ready to give up.

But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord , take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”

What? The same prophet that witnessed God’s consuming fire come down from heaven? The same prophet who triumphed against Jezebel’s idolaters in 1 Kings 18:38 -39? Yes, no one is above experiencing discouragement and depression, Elijah even longed for death. At times I see the battle of our minds like the vision in Zechariah 3:1 – 2 and Joshua represents us. Constantly the enemy is opposing us,  constantly the angel of God is rebuking him on our behalf.

Elijah was overwhelmed, alone, hungry and deflated. Sometimes it isn’t our physical challenges, but the troubling of our minds that hold us back and discomfort us. As you will see, Elijah’s hunger was not at the root of his sorrow. In the same way a man can have everything he has ever desired in the physical and still fill deeply unfulfilled and burdened within. I am comforted whenever I read scripture that confirms to me that God is actively assigning His angels to lift me up.

Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”

“The journey is too great for you”, sometimes it feels this way. It grieves my heart when I hear that people are being afflicted mentally to the point of considering suicide. Whatever your challenge or trial, remember that what you are going through doesn’t define who you are. God made no mistakes when He created you.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvellous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

How can we overcome today? I think we can follow Elijah’s example.

1. It isn’t your fault. Often times we are alone in our troubled thoughts, which makes it easy to blame ourselves.  At times what we are going through seems unfair and undeserved. Contrary to what the enemy wants you to believe, coming up against these challenges doesn’t mean you’ve offended God, or that you are being punished.

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord  came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

2. Quiet time. Elijah went to a quiet place, often times we fear that the quiet will bring it’s own challenges, especially when it comes to the mind. But if you have a relationship with Christ or desire it, and seek His presence, then he will honour your invitation and meet you in that quiet place, where like Elijah we can be transparent before God. 

3. Prayer.

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord .” And behold, the Lord  passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord  was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord  was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord  was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

I cannot stress this enough. It is so important to keep up all communication with God and positive people around us, books, sermons, YouTube videos; do not allow the only voice you are hearing to be the enemy’s. God is always speaking, we must quieten our fears and our complaints enough to hear Him in every situation. We must bring our anxieties and internal protests before Him and surrender them at His feet, in order to gain His help. God is ready to help you if you will let Him.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Please remember it’s not your fault, things can and will get better, and speaking to someone trustworthy, God-fearing and accountable will help.

*disclaimer: Please note the content of this post doesn’t rule out seeking support from professionals*

Peace & Love ❤

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

image: v1ctor

image: v1ctor

It could be through a dream, conviction of the heart, a revelation.

When God speaks, something new is born – a vision, an assignment, a calling, an ambition. It changes the way we see all that is around us. Our priorities are often rearranged, we sing a new chorus in our hearts, and our minds are filled and fuelled by it.

God said” starts more and more of our conversations, especially the ones we have within ourselves; as we try to defend the promise God has entrusted to us.
What should we do when God said, and nothing has happened… yet?

God said to Abraham, “Get out of thy country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing

God said to Moses, “Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel out of Egypt.

The angel of the Lord said to Abraham and Sarah “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “shall I surely bare a child, since I am old?” Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”

It had been twenty-five years since the promise was first mentioned in the Bible; imagine how long Sarah had already been waiting before we hear of this promise. She had waited so long for this promise, that when she was told specific details of how long it would be, before she would have a child – her longing and her desire had overwhelmed her faith. Anticipation became anxiety, and waiting turned into worrying. Perhaps secretly within her, Sarah had loosen her grip and let go of the promise. Because having the type of faith that has no bearings by the world’s standards, the type of faith that exceeds mere “optimism” or “positivity”, may have been too difficult for her.

If you could utter words of encouragement to Sarah, in the midst of her waiting, knowing what you know about Isaac and Israel, what would you say?

I would tell her that the possibility of her not having a son was impossible. I would make her aware that a lineage specially chosen by God, was dependant on her having her son. I would assure her that God had plans, hundreds of years in the future, that rested upon her receiving her promise.

So, what has God said concerning you? What has been revealed to you? Is it in line with the character and nature of God? If God has confirmed it as His Word, then it must come to pass. Don’t let go of it, prepare yourself – it will come.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

May God pour out over us the grace to trust in Him and wait upon Him in Jesus name amen

Peace & Love

Sunday isn’t enough

image: flickr - Jason White

image: Jason White (flickr)

Even as a Christian, don’t make the mistake of believing that your acknowledgment of God is the end of the journey.

The journey has only just begun.

You are no longer the same, in fact you will spend the rest of your life being changed forever.
You are created with such intricacy, such specific detail – nothing in this world can ever fill the void – this world alone is insufficient for you.

There are things hidden within you that only God knows about.
There are joys and rays of peace you strive for, and God has kept them in a secret and lovely place.

There is no one person without a destiny in Christ; as wretched as you may think you are, or think the next person is. God carefully designed this unique vessel, this God-inspired creation, for His own joy of loving us and the incomparable, indescribable joy of being loved by the Father.

So I encourage you today, to return to that secret place, the place that God called Jacob back to, so many times. The place where God first met with you.

 

Don’t ever be too busy for God, He is your sustenance – without Him, you will run out of steam. Sunday isn’t enough, everyday you must desire to rekindle that special love between you and the Father – spending time with Him in your own special way.

And if you don’t know Him, He has been waiting to know you all of your life.

Wanting to know God, is enough to begin the journey.

Pray this prayer with me: Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner. And I ask for your forgiveness. I believe your son, Jesus, died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins. I repent of my sins. I invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow you as my Lord and Saviour. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I choose joy

i_choose_joy_mainFor the joy of the LORD is your strength
Nehemiah 8:10

“I choose Joy”

Joy
How easy is it to hold on to joy, when a wave of sadness floods your mind?

A misplaced item, the wrong choice of words, a scornful look, the playing out of injustice, a subtle descending of sadness – covering the heart. But the day is not spent.
See, the Son still shines, even in the thickest night, look up and see, the Son still shines.
His smile radiates over us. Beloved of Christ, hear the voice of the Living God, serenading your soul. His love for you, colours each day. Even in the silence, listen, for your inhale and exhale are only echoes of His profession of love to you.

If ever again you notice that wave beginning to descend, or you feel the heaviness of it covering your heart, remember that you are the apple of God’s eye. He sustains the universe for your benefit. In jealousy Satan endeavors to steal a joy he has lost forever. He recognises the strength of a joyful Spirit and the might of a heart filled with gladness. A heart better able to love, to trust, and to forbear. But have you noticed how difficult it is to love yourself, to love your neighbour, when you are sorrowful? I am learning that deep sadness is like a filtered lense. When you put it on, it takes the colour, the beauty away from everything, and since only we are seeing the things around us through this filter, it makes us feel alone.

So I challenge you today to take off the shades, lift the blanket, shake off the waves and choose joy, because

the joy of the Lord is your strength

We can, to a very great extent control even our own emotions; but then, besides, we can do more than that. It may be quite true, that you cannot help feeling sorrowful in the presence of sorrowful thoughts, and glad in the presence of thoughts that naturally kindle gladness. But I will tell you what you can do or refrain from doing-you can either go and stand in the light, or you can go and stand in the shadow. You can either fix your attention upon, and make the predominant subject of your religious contemplations, a truth which shall make you glad and strong, or a half-truth, which shall make you sorrowful, and therefore weak. Your meditations may either centre mainly upon your own selves, your faults and failings, and the like; or they may centre mainly upon God and His love, Christ and His grace, the Holy Spirit and His communion.
You may either fill your soul with joyful thoughts, or though a true Christian, a real, devout, God-accepted believer, you may be so misapprehending the nature of the Gospel, and your relation to it, its promises and precepts, its duties and predictions, as that the prevalent tinge and cast of your religion shall be solemn and almost gloomy, and not lighted up and irradiated with the felt sense of God’s presence-with the strong, healthy consciousness that you are a forgiven and justified man, and that you are going to be a glorified one.

-Alexander MacLaren

 

Today, you will be confronted with many choices, many opportunities to make decisions.
There is one decision that you can make, that will enable you to see, taste, hear and feel the goodness of God which already surrounds you. Choose Joy today.

Peace & Love

While I Wait

[Image: Martin Cathrae]

[Image: Martin Cathrae]

 

One thing I think a lot of Christians struggle with is waiting…

 

For some people working in faith, serving in faith, sowing in faith, even being persecuted and still having faith, is not as much of a challenge for them as waiting in faith.

We become uncomfortable, we pray and we don’t hear anything, we fast, we seek counsel, and that feeling of waiting grates on us. We read over the scriptures that are supposed to encourage us, but we use them to fuel our anxiety. If God said I should ask, and I have asked, and He promised I will receive – why am I not receiving?

But a persevering faith is precious and it will only reap reward from Heaven.

When I feel like doubting God, trying to find a compromise to what I am waiting on God for, I hear the Holy Spirit cheering me on, encouraging me. Telling me to keep on waiting, not to relent in waiting, to be hopeful in the character of the Almighty God and confident in His love for me. Don’t stop looking unto God for this, He will do it.

If we are able to persevere in trusting God, even when everything and everyone else is counting the seconds, minutes, hours, days, years. We show God that our faith in Him goes beyond us getting things from Him. Instead we put our faith in God because we believe He is the only Way worth pursuing, the only Truth worth knowing, and the only Life worth living.

 Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

 

God’s grace is sufficient for us.

Have a wonderful day.

Peace & Love

Single and Rich: Personal Growth

BEING SINGLE IS BEING RICH

personal_growth_wisdom_tea2_CoCreatr

 

Personal Growth – Wisdom

Richard met Grace one frosty winter morning. Grace was also frosty. The cold weather had clearly worn at her patience, and the wait for the bus to the train station made her all the more intolerant. But a small warmth gathered in the bottom of Richard’s stomach – in this bitter cold, he was beginning to break into a sweat. He felt he had to speak to the girl at the bus stop. Richard wasn’t the type to approach strangers, especially when there was no clear purpose or desired consequence for his endeavour. He was normally a very grounded and sensible person.

Everything about this was unlike Richard, and yet he had to speak to her. It was a most painful experience for Richard, when he made the effort to start a conversation with Grace that cold morning. There were definitely no fire works, not even a single spark in the 20 to 30 seconds the conversation survived, before the bus arrived and severed Richard’s effort. Yet still, the possibility of a friendship had been sown, a small seed impressioned in fertile soil. In the Spring of that year, as colour returned to the trees and the air outside became rich with hope and fertility – Grace made the effort to speak to the boy at the bus stop. Their story continues.

One day, Grace is sitting in the cafe opposite her work place, when she receives a phone call from Richard. He is fuming. When Grace asks what the issue is, Richard isn’t very clear, and becomes agitated by his own inability to explain himself. He raises his voice in frustration, and eventually manages to offend the one person he had hoped would encourage him.

What should Grace do?

Richard and Grace have been courting now for 11 months and Grace didn’t take offence lightly.  In a moment of anger she remembered how she had dismissed Richard when he first tried to approach her. Part of her felt insulted, that this same person, was now at liberty to speak to her in such a manner. But before she could press the send button to a highly heated rebuke, she had composed at the height of her offence, within herself she heard a voice, telling her to reconsider.

Calm down. Will this text message make things better for you? Will it make things better for Richard? Beyond your anger, you want the best for both of you, don’t you? Yes your pride is hurt, but can you sacrifice your pride for his peace – and yours?

 

In the bible Wisdom is referred to as a most precious jewel.

15 Skillful and Godly Wisdom is more precious than rubies; and nothing you can wish for is to be compared to her.

16 Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand are riches and honour.

17 Her ways are highways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold on her; and happy (blessed, fortunate, to be envied) is everyone who holds her fast.

Wisdom can mean the difference between a passing disagreement and ongoing strife. Wisdom can appease the brunt of a hurtful remark. And if there is to be any hope for two individuals pursuing a lifetime together, then wisdom must be ever exercised  and learned by these individuals. Mother and child, husband and wife, friends and even work colleagues. Wisdom can rarely be crafted by man, because man’s wisdom only buries offence, hides the truth, manipulates. Man’s wisdom is for his own gain – he is at the centre of his own wisdom. But Godly-wisdom bares the fruits of peace and fellowship, healing, progress, understanding, humility, submission, forgiveness and love. Godly wisdom is selfless.

Whilst we are single, we are in the prime season to learn selflessness. If you don’t make the effort to learn selflessness whilst you’re single, then you might take selfishness with you into marriage and other relationships. Having to learn selflessness, whilst confronting the joys and challenges presented in marriage, only makes it twice as hard. Let’s strive to apply wisdom at work – in our relationship with our friends. There are a few great teachers in life, one is our family. Who grate on us and yet still we love them. Who offended us the night before, and yet the following day we greet with a “good morning”. Let’s seek to practice Godly wisdom, when we see the signs of an argument brewing between siblings, or we want to offer correction, or receive correction.

It won’t happen overnight, but actively seeking God’s wisdom can help in preventing a lot of hurt feelings and bitterness, and avert disunity.

Because marriage is a constant journey of coming together –

two becoming one, not growing apart.

An hour or so later, after cooling off, Richard will call Grace back and apologise, and explain what happened. Grace will forgive him and encourage him. Later that evening, Grace may decide to tell Richard how the way he spoke to her made her feel, and Richard might take this correction on board. So that if ever again, Richard feels like he did on this particular occasion, he’ll be mindful of his behaviour towards the girl he loves. And their story will continue.

I pray God will continue to teach us how to journey in Him, and walk in His wisdom, that it might be well with us and our loved ones continually in Jesus name amen.

Stay tuned for the next post on being Single and Rich!

Peace & Love

Good Morning

 

Good Morning

On my way to work this morning, I took a moment to observe the sky, I allowed my eyes to take in every object before me, I enjoyed the peace within me, that quietness that comes with salvation, I acknowledged it. I admired the beauty of creation, surrounded by tall buildings and a construction site in my background, I was and am grateful to be alive.

I walked through the office door of my workplace and I took my time to really notice those who were already at work. I didn’t greet them all, but I wished them all a blessed day, as I desire for myself and within me I smiled. My reflection on God’s goodness this morning, did not permit me to murmur under my breath against people, to spend my time living in a bubble of fear and pride. I found, the more grateful I was, the more I could appreciate all that God had placed around me, the more I could see His fingers working everyday miracles in my life.

I bless the name of my heavenly Father, and I boast of His faithfulness, His goodness, even within me – my confidence is rooted in His sovereignty.

 

Psalm 92:1 + 2

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High.

To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.

 

And I won’t be afraid that this feeling might be short-lived, and what if tomorrow I don’t feel this way, or my morning isn’t so smooth? I put my trust in my Father, that He will remind me once again of the beauty of the life, He alone has granted me to enjoy.

 

With all sincerity, I say to you, have a blessed day

 

Peace & Love