So… I’ve been feeling sorry for myself lately.
During my primary school years – around age 9 or 10, one of the most anticipated events at the end of the school day was the ice cream man. As my mind shifted from the joy of not being the last one to be let out of the classroom (everything was a competition when I was younger lol), I could hear the chugging ice cream van parked on the other side of the leafy school fence. Most of the time I would have already spent my pocket money for that day on sweets, which I bought whilst making my way to school in the morning – golf ball chewing gums, jaw breaker fire balls, strawberry pencils – the list was endless. On those days I had no choice but to reluctantly walk past the ice cream van, envying the reception kids, who were not old enough to appreciate the flake vanilla ice cream they were allowing to melt all over the sleeves of their school uniform.
Other days I resisted the morning sweet binge in order to buy my double cone, three scoop ice cream with nuts, sprinkles and strawberry sauce on top. I had a very sweet tooth growing up. But on most days, I had done the former and therefore missed out on ice cream after school, so I felt sorry for myself. It’s not fair, if only I was like the kids whose parents picked them up from school, surely I would also enjoy this privilege. The truth is I needed to practice self discipline, sometimes it’s better we don’t get everything we want, when we want – everyday could not be “ice cream man day” because that would be bad for my health and I would also probably take it for granted – it took me a while to learn this.
Some 16 years later, as I analyse my current place in life, I still find myself grumbling “it’s not fair”. Perhaps there are aspects of your life that cause you to do the same. Why isn’t my reality like so and so’s? Why can’t everything be perfect all the time? It got to the point where I started to question God: why did You allow things to be this way? I was throwing the biggest pity party. Then I started thinking about Job and how unfair his whole experience was. Here was a guy who was so “faithful” to God, even offering sacrifices for the potential sins of his children and yet God still allowed the devil to take everything away from him! Surely he didn’t deserve that,
why would our loving, good God do such a thing?
The Holy Spirit led me to the book of Job and directed me to read the last 5 chapters and they completely shut down my pity party. If you are feeling discontent or frustrated with where you are in life or a particular ongoing situation like Job, I would encourage you to read just these five chapters – Job 38 to 42.
The truth is our understanding of “morality”, “justice”, “good” is so warped by our sinful nature that we can never ever rightly question God. Yes you can take your questions to God like I did, but accusing God’s nature and character because you’re uncomfortable with where you are in life right now, only shows how wavering and fickle our faith in Him really is.
My mind went to sessions of praise and worship were I had heartily bellowed the song lyrics of the band Housefires’ “good good Father”. I thought to myself, am I not the same person that passionately sang these words to this same God? Why was I struggling to grasp His goodness now? The truth is God is constantly molding and shaping our faith, so that it is steady, firm and sure.
And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].
Our faith in God should not be based solely on how comfortable He has made us, or the fact that we prayed and got what we prayed for, or the latest “good thing” that has happened in our lives. God is calling us to a faith that is based on our reverence and understanding of who He is first and foremost.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
It isn’t logical, it isn’t transactional, it’s supernatural – it requires the inner work of the Holy Spirit to sustain this kind of faith, but it is possible to believe God simply because He is God – even when you’re in the storm. You’ve heard of child like faith – it’s very simple – young children believe even before they’ve seen the evidence. So things might be really challenging and discouraging for you at the moment, be encouraged things will get better. My prayer is that the Lord will enable us to wait upon Him, our hope will not be disappointed!
I Peter 5:10
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
May God enable us to be steadfast in our faith and confidence in Him, so that even in the valleys, the fiery furnace, the oppositions our hope will be firmly planted in Him until He comes to our aid in Jesus name amen.
Peace & Love ❤
When “crusades” are held in parts of Africa, in Asia – ministers share the hope of the Gospel, and they witness about salvation through Christ Jesus. They travel equipped with the simple and needful message of the Gospel. But in parts of the West, sometimes unfortunately it’s gimics, fancy words and complacency.
Two weeks ago I was watching a live feed on good ol’ social media, from the Reinhard Bonnke farewell crusade in Nigeria. With the little I know about the evangelist and founder of Christ For All Nations (CfaN), his ministry over the last five decades appears to be driven by a desire to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations of the world, especially Africa.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
After half a century Bonnke’s “farewell” crusade felt nothing like a send off, or an ocassion soley orchestrated to honour the evangelist. As I watched the live feed, it looked and sounded like another opportunity to declare the hope of Christ to millions of souls. In fact the minister continuing Bonnke’s work at CfaN – Daniel Kolenda was the one speaking, and he delivered a simple yet powerful message:
It captured the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people in the crowd. Confirming that the hope of salvation through Christ is enough.
But I have to ask, over in the West, do we think we’ve “graduated” from the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Do we expect the Gospel to conform to our “modern” “advanced” “developed” concerns and ideals? At times the West is presented as a big brother to the rest of the world, a precendence setter when it comes to many issues. However the truth is, no matter what impressive intellect, material wealth and earthly possessions a nation amasses, we are all in need of the divine, transforming hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I’m not referring to all churches in the West of course. I live in the UK so I can’t speak for the rest of Europe or the US. There are still churches in the UK that are driven by the truth of the Gospel and The Great Commission. The senior Pastor of my church makes a point of teaching on the foundational core truth of the Gospel every year. He returns back to basics – salvation, repentance, faith, the Kingdom of God. I’m sure there are other ministers and Christians who do the same in their congregations and families. Nonetheless, though I pass by several Church buildings, event flyers and billboards, day after day – I can’t help but notice the Church blending-in all too well in this generation.
Have we become too “comfortable”for the Gospel? Are we bored of the Gospel? There are those risking their lives to hear and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet some of us are not willing to risk even our reputation before strangers. At times I wonder why the zeal, the passion, the works, the miracles seem greater in other parts of the world. The world is full of tags and labels weighing the influence and power of nation against nation. Whilst pushing into the background spiritual matters.
If we start to teach the foundational truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ within our churches and families. If we take personal responsibility for equiping ourselves with The Good News, it will stir up our faith and convictions and give us the courage to declare this same truth inside and outside the comfort of church. If the enemy can be so bold to step inside the four walls of a church and attack a congregation, why are we politely keeping the Gospel to ourselves, and considerately keeping the church doors closed? For fear we might make too much noise and make others uncomfortable? Let them hear!
Ask yourself – what can I do?
I pray that God Almighty will give us such life transforming, mind blowing, soul liberating revelations of who He is and why Jesus Christ was manifested to the world. That we will be like the disciples of old: we will not be able to “behave” ourselves, sitting nicely, keeping quiet. We will forego our socialised comforts, and go out into the world and preach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every sphere – communities, cities, schools, families and nations in Jesus name amen.
Peace and Love ❤
A raucous scene, a battlefield, contention on every side. Bodies throw against one another. Who but who will surrender? Who will stand?
And there in the midst of it all, one stands, a solace surrounding him. In the chaos, the quiet abides with him. Soon they notice, the tranquil site on the battlefield.
He holds a sword, but this will not stop them from tempting him.
I have often imagine myself, in a complete suit of armour, walking slowly along the seashore, the sea air clean and clear, in the shadow of my Father. His peace quietens me, but still I hold in my hand the sword ready to fight.
Simply holding a sword on a battlefield will not fend off opposition, it certainly won’t win the war. And like this man, sword in hand, we cannot simply have the Gospel and persevere. At all times we must use the Gospel, put it to use as shield, armour and weapon.
It is the good fight of faith.
1 corinthians 15:1 – 3
Even in trials and tribulations, may God continue to renew in our hearts, the Good News of the Gospel and a revelation of Himself, that we may continue to stand and persevere in Jesus name amen.
Peace & Love
‘And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.’ Luke 24:53 (KJV)
‘Stop crying: don’t let your eyes fill with tears. You will be rewarded for your work!’ Amen Jeremiah 31:16 (NCV)
Whilst listening to Premier Radio, I fell asleep after a predominantly lazy day in doors. I woke up to a sermon about truly being a child of God, delivered through Pastor Brian Broderson, the sermon really increased my understanding of Christianity as a lifestyle and not simply another religion, I was fortunate enough to have been a listener. The sermon that followed was perhaps what I needed in that very moment, as I had taken a day off from university to regain my strength and optimism because of the challenging days I’d been facing.
‘Consistency is the key to break through’ – Creflo Dollar
When I was listening to Creflo Dollar, deliver a sermon about prosperity, I realised that Christianity in a sense, is a life of trying, yes you are incapable of being perfect by your own efforts, but you can be perfected through Christ’s saving grace. So long as we try, I mean really try, how can we fail in Christ Jesus? I’ve heard the saying so many times, failure is not an option or you only fail when you stop trying, and I never understood what that truly meant until this particular evening. God loves a trier, its so easy to say actually, I think I’ll settle with my failure thank you very much and wallow in self-pity for the rest of my life. But finding the motivation to continue, to rise and rise again, reaching a new height every time; that takes courage, that takes humility and it takes God’s grace falling upon the spirit and giving us the strength to continue.
Every time I was challenged in whatever I was trying to do, I’d say to myself, that’s it Dami, God doesn’t want you to succeed here, move on. But then I came to the realisation that if you are able to give up so easily, you didn’t really want or need that thing, and if God gave it to you with ease, you may have misused it or taken it for granted. Take for example Will Smith’s character in the film, The Pursuit Of Happyness, how short would the film have been if he’d given up after his wife had stopped believing in his aspirations? Or perhaps if he’d given up after hearing no once out of the several times, when he went to give proposals. It doesn’t surprise me that the Novel by Chris Garden, should be a bestseller, because we somehow think that there is some secret to being successful, however I think its a combination of God’s grace + trying = success = happiness. Equating financial success to achieving happiness is another debate entirely, however reaching one’s goals can cause happiness, even if it only lasts a while. There is however one success that guarantee’s happiness, and that is submitting to Christ, loving God.
It is important to note that there are several triers in the bible, from Jesus all the way to his disciples, to Moses, to David, and the list goes on. Jesus tried to save the church, by presenting himself as the living word, and every time he was doubted, he would try and try again to give glory to God. He tried with such determination that he faced crucifixion for our sake, that we would one day have the opportunity to try, to overcome sin, to overcome the wickedness and weakness of our flesh, to be forgiven when we fall, so we can continue to try. Moses continued to fight for Israel’s freedom with the God given strength he possessed, and if he had given up, I hate to imagine what could have been – but I doubt God would have given him such responsibility if he didn’t have the courage to try. David continued to try to do God’s will, despite being pursued by Saul, he submitted to God’s will in his life, he trusted God, and fought battles until he was victorious through God’s blessing and made king of Israel. Whilst reading Luke 24, I came to understand, by God’s grace, that even the disciples were not always obedient and strong in faith, however following the resurrection of Christ, they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God – Luke 24:53. Emphasis being on the word continually, not once in a while, not until they sinned and then they gave up, but continually (KJV), all the time (NCV).
We are surrounded by inspiration to try, in the form of numerous biblical accounts, successful business establishments, careers, strong families, the abolition of slavery and racism, the overcoming of persecution, personal fears, once again the list continues. So when you feel like giving up, then you should pray to God for strength, to continue to try, with the hope of victory to come – Jeremiah 31:16. Amen.
Remember, consistency is the key to break through…