He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Sometimes our determination to appear strong and resilient, slows down our deliverance.
I’m not encouraging victimhood, but transparency before God. Some of us have even made “faith” a barrier between us and God.
“I’m “believing” God”
“He will do it in His time”
– which at times, are not expressions of true faith in God, but simply caveats for inaction, prideful complacency and ignorance posing as faith. Preventing us from being real before the one who knows the fabric of our souls.
So what does all this have to do with getting naked? In the garden of eden, when God created Adam and Eve, He made them naked, and they seem to be unfazed by this. But after they sinned and their eyes were “open” , they hid from God, in their most vulnerable state. They didn’t consider that God was accustomed to their nakedness, but instead they hid from Him.
Adam and Eve’s nakedness wasn’t the issue, their naked, exposed physical form wasn’t what separated them from God. But their reluctance to be naked, vulnerable, transparent, before God – that separated them from Him.
Ask, where in my life am I trying to present the “best” version of myself to You (God), when You can see every crack, fracture, bulge and brokenness?
My weaknesses, my weariness cannot separate me from God, but my false pretences can.
David was the second king of Israel, chosen by God and yet he made numerous mistakes. He impregnated another man’s wife, committed murder, sending Uriah to his death on the battlefield. He was greatly bereaved, losing a child days after birth, and he suffered ongoing conflict within his own immediate family. But flaws and all, David was always quick to appear naked before God. Whether in his praise or repentance.
In 2 Samuel 6:14 -23 we see this demonstrated. David’s response to the comments made by his wife Michal, further emphasises this point:
20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”
21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord.
22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
2 Samuel 6:20 – 22 (NIV)
I like the term undignified – ask, how undignified is my praise, my worship, my surrenderance, my prayer before God? Many of us have become too good at “keeping it together”, that we cannot be broken before God – so He cannot heal us.
If you are familiar with the story of Hannah from 1 Samuel – you’ll recall how her petitions for a child made her appear unhinged in the house of God. To the extent that the priest Eli asked her, isn’t it too early for you to be drunk?
Imagine if it was this day and age, how many of us have the desperation of Hannah within us, and yet we are making “pretty” prayers before God and man. Jesus clearly says in Luke 4:16 -21 He came to set the captives free.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
In Luke 5:31 He rightly said that those who are “whole” do not need a physician, but they who are sick. The truth is that none of us are whole, but only some of us are willing to acknowledge this before God, so only some of us experience the fullness of His grace.
Make up your mind today, and every day here on, to be completely naked before God and He will be your covering. He will clothe you with His grace. He will shelter you from the elements of this life – if you acknowledge your vulnerability. As Paul said “When I am weak, the I am strong”.
Teach us how Lord in Jesus name.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9 – 10
Roses may be red and violets blue but Love is… NOT poetry
My Dad’s wedding gift to us was a simple assignment. Read 1 Corinthians 13. Of course we were both already familiar with this passage, and studied it together during our courtship.
I remember us attempting this whlist in the first days of our newlywed high – with the best intentions, it seemed like the easiest task. Piece. Of. Cake.
But, I can safely say three years later – actually being married takes the words of 1 Cor 13 from “nice ” to NECESSARY!
When I heard this scripture at weddings it sounded “nice”, I would day dream about having this love one day. But now within a marriage I’m learning…
Love is not poetry, though it can be inspiring, beautiful and poetic
Love isn’t a fuzzy feeling
Love usually isn’t getting ‘your way’ by any means
Love doesn’t do the bear minimum
Love goes above and beyond
Love isn’t fleeting and thrill seeking
Love isn’t always social media friendly or retweetable, or likeable
Love has no filter and no hiding place
Love doesn’t play games
Love doesn’t have a plan B
You can’t “fall out of love” because you didn’t “fall” in to it
Love is a choice
Love is usually not the popular choice, but the best choice.
God is Love
God is Love, and if you truly believe this as a Christian it will transform your approach to loving your spouse, a sibling, colleague or stranger.
As I encourage you to (re)visit 1 Corinthians 13 today, I ask – can YOU love like this?
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
I Corinthians 13:1-8 NKJV
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 ❤
From the moment we are born, we are nurtured and shaped into an overly competitive and selfcentred, “survival of the fittest” mentality – if not by our immediate families, then the societies we grow up in. We are told that weakness is not an option and second place is not good enough. We develop personal agendas to be “the leader” and “the best” in every context of life – to be “top dog”. I say nurtured and shaped because when God created man, His plan was not to throw us in a spherical cage and watch us tear each other apart like a dog fight. If you’re a sibling or the last born in your family like me, as you grow up you will discover the bittersweetness of sibling rivalry; the amount of times I’ve been compared to my sister and vice versa. What about extended families, relatives and even amidst so-called “friends”? Behind closed doors this cousin is being compared with that cousin, this aunty with that aunty, and the success of that family or friend is being weighed against the other.
It was never His plan in Eden to pit us against each other. Contrary to what we are taught within society and even our education system, “survival of the fittest” isn’t innate to man, God did not place it in us from the beginning as is often suggested today. Sin is responsible for this attitude and approach to life. Cain murdered his own brother, simply because God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected his. I can’t imagine what possessed Cain to decide his brother needed to go. God rejecting Cain’s offering had nothing to do with Abel’s offering, it was never a competition! But Cain saw otherwise. Other examples of this competitive attitude include Jacob and Esau, Saul and David, even the Apostle Paul and Apollos who early Christians tried to compare against each other:
For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
We are created to succeed. If you look at God’s command and unction to Adam and Eve before the fall, and Noah after the fall – it doesn’t change.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
The splendor on earth is already ours, the earth was created for us all to cohabit, survive and thrive. We can all be fruitful and mutliply, and replenish the earth. But what a “survival of the fittest”, competitive attitude teaches us is that some how there isn’t enough oxygen or provision for us all, so secretly we are threatened by our counterparts’ success and insecurity festers in our hearts. This frame of mind leads to envy. At times not so secretly, we compete unnecessary with others in our work place, family, industry and even ministry; anyone doing “better” than us or simply doing well is a threat.
There’s a Gospel singer that I admire so much, her music always ministers to me! For the longest time I’ve been waiting for her to release new music – it’s been years -and I used to think, Gospel music really needs her input! So you can imagine, I was beyond excited when I saw an Instagram post of her announcing the upcoming release of her brand new album. After it sunk in that I would have amazing new worship music on my playlist, I thought about another female Gospel artist already doing very well – and within me I created a competition between the two of them.
Even in the Church, and by Church I mean the body of Christ we have believed the enemies lie “survival of the fittest”. Well of course there can’t be two gifted and anointed female Gospel worship leaders releasing edifiying music and impacting lives at the same time because…? There is no because. God convicted me in the middle of my thoughts. If you struggle with envy and I know I do at times, then what God showed me will definitely bless you.
He took my mind back to this scripture Matthew 9:36-38
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Christ is The Messiah and even He saw the need for more labourers! The truth is if your goal is to fulfil your God-given purpose and destiny then that means being a witness for Christ irrespective of your sphere and winning souls for the Kingdom of God – fulling The Great Commission. So then our prayer should be for more God-fearing anointed ministers, prophets, preachers, worship leaders, actors, film makers, business men and women etc. to join in the work. When someone comes on the scene that is like you in your work place and people perhaps make the comparison, don’t be threatened by them, they can’t “take your place”, instead praise God and encourage that individual so that God might use them also as He is using you. Because in truth, the harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few.
My prayer is that God in His mercy would work on our hearts and undo the poisonous mindset we may have developed, so that instead of competing with one another, we will encourage one another in doing the will of God and fulfilling His divine purpose for our lives, to the glory of God Almighty in Jesus name amen.
Peace and 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 ❤
What makes you so different?
1 Peter 2:9
What makes you a Christian? According to the helpful results of a very quick Google search and I quote: “…in 2010 Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth.” That’s a lot of numbers. This is more a thought than a challenge, do you think our world reflects that there are 2 billion Christians – nearly 1 in every 3 people – on the face of the earth?
I remember having a conversation with a friend, about faith. I was trying to explain the difference between conveniently carrying the label of being a “Christian” and striving to live as a born again Christian. I was very impressed by my well learned “christianese” answers to her questions, but then she was also well versed on these answers too. When I was satisfied that I had repeated everything I had heard others describe the Christian walk as, she asked me “what does it mean to be born again”. I paused for a second, the conversation doesn’t usually go like this – people usually go away and think over the first set of responses. But I guess like Nicodemus when speaking to Jesus about the same subject, many of us have tried “religion” and it has failed us. No sound bites came to mind, so I would have to depend on the Holy Spirit and my own personal experience.
“Being born again means that Christ has become your source, for everything”
What followed was silence from my friend, and also silence from me, as I realised, I couldn’t put it any simpler than that. I felt challenged by the words that escaped my mouth. Undoubtedly becoming born again is both a spiritual and personal process and experience. But this transformation should also be visible in our physical lives. Being born again we no longer survive on our own competence or capabilities – our own plans, judgments and agenda. We become a blank canvas, we release every tension in our will (that tug n pull of ‘self’ that exists within all of us), so we can be shaped, moulded and transformed into His divine will and purpose. We become dependant children of God.
Sadly there is obvious contention between what God desires for us and what the world tells us to desire. Adam and Eve lived an abundant life in Eden, heaven on earth – and yet the one thing they were told was off limits overshadowed everything God had freely given them. From the beginning man has desired autonomy, but God has always called us to dependency.
Genesis 3:5 KJV
In the same way that we want our spouses, family and friends to choose to love us, not by obligation. God wanted us to choose Him, and still wants us to choose Him. As a Christian what is your greatest concern, discovering and accomplishing God’s will and plan for your life, or fulfilling your greatest desires and ambitions and thanking God when you do? Is God the reason or the enabler? I’ll say it again, is God your “reason” or your “enabler”?
As a child of God He should be both, but sometimes I realise He’s not the reason really, but a means to an end – the end being my gratification, my satisfaction. You may be on the right track in terms of your goals, but if you want them more than you want to please God then you’re still on the wrong track. The truth is that when you fulfil your desires and reach your finish line, you’ll find something else to desire and that haunting feeling of discontent will return – in truth it never left. Because like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, who believed eating from the tree of knowledge would satisfy their curious hunger;
our pursuit for human satisfaction will always lead to the greatest level of discontentment.
So what am I really saying? I’m asking us to reflect over the months of this year or the last few years – has it been “my agenda” or “God’s”? It’s sort of like when you attend a party with someone, or enter a busy environment like a market place and you have someone following behind you. Until you look back and realise they took a detour somewhere along the journey. I think it’s very easy to do, even as a born again Christian.
Finding our way back
What makes you so different? What makes us different to everyone else appearing to run the same race of life? For some of us, our dreams and aspirations don’t seem all that different to those who are not Christians. That isn’t a bad thing – but who is the source of your vision? Who is sustaining your vision? Who is sustaining you? Remember my very simple explanation to a friend …Christ has become your source, for everything.
John 6:35 KJV
It can only be through Him, by Him and because of Him. I pray that God will give us the grace to return to His will, forego our temporal “goals”, fading ambitions and vain motivations – for His ever-lasting prize of life eternal in Jesus name.
Peace and Love
I spent most of my teenage years in rebellion. Against what, I’m not really sure. I still recall being pushed out of the pews by my cousin, I must have been around 10 years old. In good will, she encouraged me to answer the church altar call. But sadly that is all I remember from that memory, I don’t recall any on-going conversations to help me understand the significance of publicly accepting Christ as my Lord and Saviour. These conversations may have happened, and I did feel like I was doing something very special at the time, but to my recollection, no consistent counsel followed. But I will never forget being shooed out of the row where we sat. Still amuses me even today, I am so grateful that though she saw a child – she cared enough to desire my salvation.
So as I was saying, my teenage rebellion persisted, my path grew darker and darker, I was being “young n free” and gaining several knocks and bruises in the process. Everything that made me, me – soul spirit body where all being damaged simultaneously, by a single yet constant rebellion. By the time I was fourteen or fifteen years old, my mum had enough and soon I was living with my cousins. I still had my “freedom” but now it was under “attack” by very frequent fellowships at their home with other young Christians, attending church every Sunday and something that changed my life forever.
One evening one of my cousins, ordered me to go up to the room to read my bible. I wanted to stay in the living room in front of the TV, but I was cultured enough to know that you don’t argue with someone older than you, even if it is just a few years. I remember how my heart sunk, I was definitely being punished, or so I thought. What injustice, what wickedness, what a cruel act to send me away. But it was the one of the best things that has ever happened to me . It was difficult at first, I’m sure I caught many Zzzz’s but over time I started to scribble on my King James Bible, a gift from my mum (I still have it today – see above). After a while it became a routine, and I developed my own relationship with the Word. (Thank you Cuzzy). During this time I did some of the most scandalous things in my teens, however, something amazing happened, I started to hear God’s voice!
We all hear God differently, for me it’s like your conscience, your inner thoughts, constantly speaking to you – except you are not influencing them, you are not the source of what you hear. The inner voice of the Holy Spirit. I would spend another seven years or so, going from bad to worse. But because I started to hear God’s voice, I was praying my way through those years, I kept talking to God. Asking Him to take over. The more I lost control, falling into drama after drama, the more I became convinced that I needed to relinquish control to God; as deep as I was in sin, He heard me and He did take control.
So if you want to hear God’s voice, I would encourage you to start with studying His Word. It may sound too ordinary, too easy – what no vision, no dramatic supernatural encounter? Nope. I started hearing God after studying His Word. Like I have said in previous posts:
you can’t understand someone no matter how loud, clearly or slowly they are speaking, if you don’t take the time first to learn their language.
You can start with reading a chapter in the Bible a day, meditating on specific passages, or memorising a verse of scripture a week. God’s Word is life, it will literally transform everyone who comes in contact with it, who has a willingness and desire to change.
For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
May God grant us the grace to study and remain in His Word, so that we can be transformed to the image of His Son, hear from Him and be led to His perfect will for our lives in Jesus name amen.
Peace and Love