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
I had big trust issues growing up. You would think this made me guarded, secretive, defensive. No. Instead I made myself vulnerable to everyone. I decided the best way to protect myself from disappointment, was to have no expectations of anyone. I recall my explanation to a friend – since I couldn’t bring myself to trust anyone, I would make sure anything I disclosed to even my closest friends, I could disclose to a stranger, and I often did. I had no filter, I shared almost everything with anyone who had ears, and to no surprise I was taken advantage of.
A few days before the wedding, I spoke with a colleague at work. He had been receiving updates about the ‘big day’ during our lunch breaks, for the past few months. (He’s been married for 6 years!) He asked me “are you ready to make yourself vulnerable?”
Make myself vulnerable? His question sent thumps running to my heart straight away. I didn’t like the sound of that. Being vulnerable would mean allowing my flaws and faults to be exposed to the one person whose opinion matters most to me! I’ve just mastered the whole ‘guarding’ myself thing, and now I’m being asked to let down my guard? What, that can’t be right!
The beautiful thing is that like God with mankind; when we allow our imperfections to the surface, we can finally experience the fullness of love the other party is prepared to show us, flaws and all. This is also the first step to tackling those flaws.
Even just some days before our wedding day and God was still pointing out a major flaw to me, through my colleague. The scripture in 1 Corinthians 13 makes more sense now. I understood the being “patient” and not being “proud” part, however there are some things that love does in Corinthians that I didn’t understand.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.
In other words, love is vulnerable, has no secrets, is trusting, unguarded. Only then can 2 really become 1. Remember that God will invest so much in a person, with every possibility of that person rejecting His assignment and His love. Remember Eden, God crafted a perfect display of His complete love for mankind, and despite His caution, Adam and Eve still betrayed His trust. Or what about Jesus going to the cross, God made His only Son completely vulnerable and at the mercy of men set out to kill Him, why because He loves us.
You’ll never be more vulnerable to any human being than your spouse. If you’re not ready to be vulnerable with your future husband or wife, then you need to ask yourself what kind of marriage you want now or in the future. Not one based on fear, pride, lacking trust and divided – two individuals “doing life” together. I believe God has something more beautiful, sincere and more intimate in mind for marriage. It is the merging of two journeys, the binding together of two lives, the establishment of a single union before God and man. That’s why it’s so important for it to be the right person.
Marriage may not be a bed of roses, but with the right man, and the right woman you can cultivate you own unique garden that works for the two of you.
So, are you ready to make yourself vulnerable? Start first with Christ, it’s working for me…
Peace & Love
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.
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
BEING SINGLE IS BEING RICH
Often times, our spiritual growth changes in pace and direction.
For instance, discovering a new spiritual gift within a short space of time or developing an enduring faith in God, over a life time.Yes the spirit is a mystery…beyond human understanding. But by the grace of GOD , HE reveals to us, what we need to know, when we need to know it.
I remember a time in my walk with Christ, when I found it difficult to pray. I would prepare myself in the morning, and soon after my prayer began, my mind would trail off, at times I would fall asleep or say things without really meaning it…
‘When I got saved’ (every Christian uses that line right…) the idea of a godly man appealed to me. I looked forward to being completely spiritually dependent on my future husband. So long as he could pray, he could speak in tongues, so long as his faith was strong, and he always said and did the “right” thing – then our relationship – our courtship, engagement and our marriage would be heaven on earth! As my passion for God developed, I came to a point in my life when I wanted, so desperately to be in a relationship (for mostly all the wrong reasons). Being in a relationship would heal my broken past, make me more God-fearing, and give me the spiritual fervour I saw and admired in my leaders at church and my Pastor – oh and I would be in a relationship – so that would be the icing on the cake.
What I’m learning now, which never occurred to me then, is that:
My future husband will almost definitely need me as much as I need him, emotionally and also spiritually. Our relationship could not be me at one end constantly taking from him spiritually, with him at the other end, carrying the responsibility for both of our spiritual journeys, and being drained out in the process. Just imagine two empty barrels at the end of the day.
Iron sharpens iron… There is a reason why iron sharpens iron. Because both parties are bringing something into the mix, which refines and helps replenish the other – by the grace of God bestowed upon them. Thus sustaining and encouraging them both in their walk with God and their journey together in pursuing righteousness.
So, I tried to make prayer the first thing I did when I woke up, but I found falling asleep came all too easy. So I tried praying after freshening up, which proved to be more successful. Over time I developed a kind of structure, and prayer points for every day of the week, which I followed loosely. I stuck to reading a chapter from the bible every morning, so that I could gain a greater understanding of the word of God – in order to communicate better with God in my prayer time. After all, you can’t speak a language you don’t understand. And before long, I started to enjoy praying – prayer points came to me more fluidly, and my structure became easier and easier to remember and follow.
I’m learning that relationships are physical yes, but they are also spiritual. In a God-fearing relationship, what you see isn’t all that you get – And isn’t that our bonus?! Like a well wrapped present, our real prize lies within. When God says two have become one, we can’t just take it literally, in the physical sense. But what we are being made to know is that before God we are now seen as one – even in spirit. So my husband’s spiritual state should be as important to me, as my own spiritual state.
For a relationship to thrive, the commitment of time, affection, and attention is very important, but so is our spiritual commitment and accountability to our spouse. Now that I am able to pray, when the season of marriage arrives in my life, I’ll be able to pray for my husband and our kids and family members and friends… the list is endless and I’m looking forward to it. Because I have developed the discipline and practice now. I can be that Super-Prayer-Warrior-Wife I’ve always wanted to be.
This is just one example. We may appear physical, but we are all on a spiritual journey. A journey God intended for constant growth and prosperity. So where do you feel you could improve spiritually? What spiritual gifts or fruits do you desire in your future wife or husband? Now turn that list towards yourself, do you have any of those gifts?
Being single is being given the opportunity to prepare, learn and grow.
So we can enjoy the benefits and rewards before marriage and during marriage.
May God grant us the grace to grow in spirit and to go from glory to glory for HIS glory. And when our season for marriage arrives, we will be anchored in CHRIST, and our marriages and our faith will stand in Jesus name amen.
Stay tuned for the next post on being Single and Rich!
Peace and Love