12 Oct

The Boundary Lines Have Been Drawn 

Yesterday, an incident happened at work which rendered me unable to concentrate all day. As I lay down to sleep, the Holy Spirit told me to read Psalm 91. It was the exact reminder that I needed and I was overwhelmed with the joy of God’s love for me, that He stepped into the boundaries of my humanity just to remind me He is with me and no evil shall befall me.

When I awoke this morning, doubts started to play in my mind. A recollection of the previous day’s events resulted in questions about how I would deal with things should it turn ugly; about that time I read the scripture below.

You clothed the earth with floods of water, water that covered even the mountains. At your command, the water fled; at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away. Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed. Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth.

Psalms 104:6‭-‬9 NLT

http://bible.com/116/psa.104.6-9.NLT

I saw a picture of boundary lines drawn all around each of us, God’s children. Those lines mark the perimeter of God’s purpose and plans for our lives. Anything outside of the lines cannot step in, the way the sea cannot overstep its own boundaries and cover the earth. The lies of the enemy cannot overstep the boundaries of God’s truth in you- but you have to know that truth. 

Sickness has a limit, it cannot cross over your lines, so does poverty and fear- but we have to stand in the knowledge of that truth. 

The power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us, that power enables us to live within the boundary lines God has drawn around our lives. Nothing has the power to overstep those lines- unless we permit it. If you feel a negative situation encroaching into your sphere, stand and rebuke it in the name of Jesus.

Living within the purpose God created us for is living within the lines He has drawn around our lives- whatever shape or size that may be.

Have a blessed day!

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23 Nov

Trying Temperaments 

In boarding house I probably met every species of girl God created. Even though we were young, there were personalities of every kind. There were the happy go lucky ones, the malice keepers, the ones who didn’t care, the class clowns, the miserable ones, the anxious ones, the people pleasers- every temperament was represented. 
I remember some difficult to please characters, no matter what you did they had something to complain about. I also had a good friend in my clique who had a habit of saying ‘ignore her, this one cannot be pleased.’ Or, ‘I don’t care what she thinks, I do what I please.’ Often we left such people out when we had exciting plans for fear that they would spoil things for us.

Of course as an adult I now know some of them were dealing with difficult situations at home and of course we are all just made differently.  
This scripture tells us we must be considerate to all- not just the happy go lucky ones, but the super sensitive ones too. Granted, it is speaking specifically about eating meat, worshiping on certain days and the likes but we can apply it to other lifestyle choices too.
Do you have a miserable, anxious or difficult to please person in your circle? Don’t toss them aside and be satisfied with pleasing only yourself. Christ didn’t live to please Himself even though much of the personalities around Him were challenging ones. 
We who are of a particular personality must be considerate and tolerant if those who are of a different temperament. That’s how we build people up in the Lord, it’s how we let our light shine so others can see the way to Christ.
“We who are strong must be considerate of those who are sensitive about things like this. We must not just please ourselves. We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. For even Christ didn’t live to please himself. As the Scriptures say, “The insults of those who insult you, O God, have fallen on me.””

‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/rom.15.1-3.nlt

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23 Aug

The Race

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The outcome of my race is dependent on my effort alone, not the effort of others.

A professional sprinter does not run forward while looking back. The outcome of their race has everything to do with the effort they are putting into it, and not what the competitor is doing.

When Oprah started the Oprah Winfrey show decades ago, her staff  often times  shared  with her in a panic about what the other talk show hosts were doing and how they needed to switch gears too. She eventually told them to stop looking at others and focus wholly on their own show. And it worked.

Looking back depletes energy which should be devoted to your work. Seeing how close the competition is, or how unique and different they are may cause you to question the value of your work or life, it may discourage you and/or fill you with questions. Questions about whether or not you are doing things properly. You may then abandon your plan, or alter it to look ‘right’. My takeaway? My race is dependent on my effort alone, not the effort of others.

A word on Relative Success:

Using someone else’s progress as a benchmark for yours. Humans are competitive in nature and if you grew up in a culture where high achievement in education is celebrated and failure mocked, you may have a tendency to carry on trying to be the top of the class. There’s a difference between trying to rise to the top, and trying to be at the top of the class. In a classroom of mediocre, failing students there will be one in the lead, granted in a different setting they’ll be at the bottom but still, being at the top of the class isn’t necessary a success indicator. It may mean you are the least mediocre. A bit like the proverb, ‘in the village of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.’

The scripture says pay attention to your own work, not to the work of everyone else in class. The top student in the failing class may never know just how behind he really is academically because his standard is so low. In the same way, you may never know just how successful you could become if your standard is the guy next to you. When you pay attention to your own work, you’ll receive instruction and guidance from The Teacher, the counsellor, the one who guides you into all truth.  God’s standard becomes your standard. In addition your energy and time will be focused on your goal, not the goal of others.

When you think about it, you should really be confident enough in your own plans without checking back to make sure the competitor approves of it. There is a time to look and see their strategy, but that’s in the planning phase, not the running phase.
One final thing to look out for is competing with non-competitors. We can sometimes get into duel mode with innocent bystanders who are simply doing their thing. Just because they’re in close proximity to you does not mean they’re in a race with you.

I encourage you to be mindful to take your eyes off others and focus on your own work,  your own life goals.

Have an awesome week!

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08 Oct

Spreading Joy or Gloom?

Prov-15-15

Have you come across people who seem to have one long history of trouble? Each time you see them, they have one complaint or moan to share.

We used to live next to a Mr Hunt years back. Each time J and I wanted to go out we’d scan the entrance to make sure the coast was clear before hurriedly leaving home. After a few months of living as neighbours, we were at long last brought up to speed with every wrong that had ever been done to him. We were able to recite by heart the events that led up to his wife receiving bad marital advice from  her hairdresser, Gifty. We knew he shouldn’t have been stuck ‘in this country’ afterall hadn’t he built a home in Jamaica and shipped all his stuff there? Wasn’t it nature’s fault that a flood destroyed most of the items and wasn’t it his brother-in-law who now assumed ownership of the house that he built with his own sweat?

It wasn’t that we didn’t want to be a listening ear to Mr Hunt, or that we shied away from encouraging him, but the reason we couldn’t simply waltz out of our home like normal people was because it was mentally draining to listen to such negativity. Contrast that to meeting a joy-filled person. Not the pretentious one who pretends the sun never sets, and certainly not the self-absorbed one who can’t stop dragging you into the marinade of their own accomplishments. I’m talking about the one whose words warm your spirit. The woman who encourages your efforts on motherhood. The neighbour that compliments your appearance, when you don’t feel beautiful. The colleague at work that openly admires your work ethics, or sticks up for you when you’re being torn down verbally. People like that seem to have a knack for seeing their challenges as opportunities, and then rejoicing over those opportunities. They don’t moan when it rains, they are thankful for rain makes the crop grow. Consequently, they seem to be in such a constant state of happiness, that they are always giving some away.

Even better is when we are the one that blesses and warms the spirit of another. The truth is that to be that person we need to have a joy-filled heart. That way, our words are seasoned with salt, and the hearer is blessed each time. Quite simply, we need to dwell in God’s presence where there is an abundance of joy. You can’t give what you don’t have, it is near impossible to stir up and inspire someone when you’re empty and drained.

How about we start this week with a commitment to stay joy-filled so we can have something to give when we meet someone who needs it? What about seeing it as our responsibility? I pray we would be a blessing to all who cross our path, that their lives will be better because they met us.

Have an awesome day!

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06 Dec

Another Lie Exposed!

The Lord recently exposed another lie of the devil to me. In many ways it appears this lie is still being revealed or unfolded but I feel the need to share what I’ve got so far.

I want you to think about a time that you have prayed desperately for something. Perhaps you don’t need to think too far back, you might even be in that state of prayer right now. How did you pray?

Here’s how I do it.

I muster up all the faith I can. I prepare myself to implore the Lord, beg him, twist his arm if possible. I cry. I shout sometimes. I fast. I might get a few trusted friends to join me in prayer. Those conversations will begin with ”Sis, I really need God to move on this one’‘ ‘really’and ‘move’ are enunciated slowly and deliberately and may be accompanied with hand gestures suggesting desperation. I will continue; ‘‘I have been ‘believing God’ for this for a while, and it’s not looking good. I really need God to hear me this time

The Lord showed me how the devil preps us for our prayers to be unanswered even before we begin to pray. He successfully gets our minds into a mode where we feel we have to really ‘beseech’ God. As though the default answer from the Lord will be ‘No my child’, or silence.

Recently I prayed with a friend for a situation in her life. Before praying I had faith and confidence that no begging would be required, because I was praying for something God also wanted for her. A bit like praying for a dying Christian to make it to heaven. You already know they would. As we prayed, I believed I wasn’t actually doing the praying, I was merely agreeing with the Lord on what He had already wanted or established. Put it this way, if God was praying, my prayers were the amens to God’s prayer.

The devil sets up smokescreens or illusions in our minds. The battle occurs in the mind, he uses tricks or wiles on our minds. He would have us believe that prayer is trying to pry out a blessing from the tight-fisted hand of a reluctant God.

God is willing, able and loving. He does not see you and say ‘oh no not you again!” He wants to grant you your request and says He will not hold back any good thing from us.

Remember the man with leprosy in the book of Matthew? He approached Jesus and said : ‘Lord if you are willing, heal me…and Jesus replied; ‘I am willing’ and the man was healed Matt 8:2-3.

How about when we come to God to pray for something He has already promised, we come to him to agree, and not to beg? He is willing. Of course it is different when you want to pray for something not necessarily promised to you by God.

Please understand that I have nothing against crying out to the Lord in desperation, David did that.

But we must also agree that if the battle happens in our minds it follows that we need to work on it- renew it- by bathing it with the word of God daily. Hourly even.

I thought of a definition of faithfulness. Here’s what I came up with.

Faithfulness is God fulfilling the promise you never knew he made to you. He does not take advantage of your ignorance but does what he says he would.

I hope this blessed you, more to come!

Have an awesome day!

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19 Aug

Can’t love Jesus? Try this

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

John 1:14,  The Message

A while back I was forced to pray; ‘Teach me how to love you Jesus‘.

For reasons I can’t explain I felt like I loved God but didn’t particularly love Jesus- not that I hated Him but it was easier for me to love God the father as my creator, and the one who made the skies and the elements- which I could see. Jesus the son, I associated with hating sin and perhaps never felt comfortable with the fact that He had to pay for my sins through His own suffering and death. Why would anyone do that and not be angry when I fall right back into sin? I clean up after my boys’ mess and get mad when they go right back and mess things up again- and don’t clean up after themselves. Especially since they have been reminded several times that I am in actual fact mum, and not servant.

So I couldn’t quite fathom people who declared undying love to Jesus, or would write songs citing Jesus as the ‘lover of their soul’, still I joined them in their heavenly chorus but it wasn’t from my heart. One day I admitted to the Lord that I had this difficulty and prayed; ”Teach me how to love you Lord’‘. I forgot about that prayer and had no idea that years later my thirst for the word of God had anything to do with it. I began writing this blog because I started to receive hidden meaning and explanation behind the scriptures. Sometimes I would read one verse and a wealth of revelation would literally pour forth from that single verse. Before long I started to hide in His word during trials and I was safe and sound. Put it this way, I was in love with the word, and it was first-hand love. Not revelations from a preacher or a book, but straight from God and I couldn’t seem to get enough of it·

A couple of weeks ago I was reminded of this scripture; ‘and the word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us’ John 1:14. I have been meditating on it and today, I realised- I love Jesus!! Jesus is the word of God (which I unequivocally love) in the form of flesh! If you love God’s word, you love Jesus, He is the word!

God answered my prayer; He taught me how to love Him by teaching me to love His word. Struggling to truly love God? Start to read the word. Read it as though you believe every word in it is true, even though your circumstances tell you the opposite and before long, that living word would give life to your mind and spirit, and would release love for our saviour in your heart.

Hope this blessed you!

John 1:14: So the word became human, and made his home among us.

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13 Jul

Distressed? That’s just the beginning

Someone sent me a text to read 2 Sam 22 this morning and verse 19 jumped out at me:
He will coover You with His wings

They attacked me when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. 2 Sam 22:19.

We are more vulnerable to attack and pain when we are in a state of distress or unhappiness. The enemy knows that our resistance and strength is reduced while in that state. So while you may think the issue causing the distress is an attack, the reality is that it is just the precursor. Ever gone through a season where it appears it’s just one challenging situation after another? It most likely began with you being offended, or distressed about something else. That made you vulnerable and then the attacks followed.

It would appear that joy is the antidote to this vulnerability. You cannot be joyful and distressed at the same time. Joy is perhaps one of the pinions, or feathers of the Lord’s wings that cover us. Ps 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadows of the almighty. The secret place is the presence of God, and in His presence there is fullness of joy. Ps 91: 4 says He will deliver you from the fowler and from the deadly pestilence, He will cover you with His feathers (pinions).

It is futile to try to avoid being attacked, Jesus said in this life you will face many trials. A soldier expects to be attacked in battle that is why he wears protective armour, thank God we have our own God-fortified armour!

A two-pronged approach can be utilised:

1) Stay in God’s presence.

Under the shadows of God’s wings is a safe and warm place to be. Your view of the outside world may be obstructed while you’re there and there is the temptation to keep running out to see how big your threat has grown. Resist it. You are safe, God is taking care of the threat, stay in God’s presence, that is where you’re meant to be.

2) Guard your heart against anyone or situation that would steal your joy, the joy of the Lord is indeed what covers and strengthens us. This means taking an active role in deciding what you allow into your mind, who you spend time with and curbing bad habits that seem harmless. When you are shielded with the joy of the Lord the attacks will come but the arrows won’t pierce.

Do let me know if this blessed you by leaving a comment!

Image: © Wikipedia

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31 Jan

Is God Good? Really?

There are some phrases Christians use that have become clichés. Sometimes it is an actual scripture that no longer holds the meaning it should. God is good. It is well. We walk by faith. Have faith– are just some of the examples.

The time had come in my life when I hit a brick wall, I had to ask God if His word was really true. I spent many a night praying as I begged for a breakthrough in my circumstance. I had reached the proverbial brick wall and had absolutely no way out. I asked people to pray for me, many of the pastors who prayed gave me a good word that God had “done it“. I don’t know if you have ever been given a bad word,  “No, you shall remain in poverty all your life- look at the starving people in Asia and Africa” or “No you will not be healed, you shall remain sick forever” or “your husband shall continue cheating on you, it isn’t God’s will to bless your marriage- after-all you are not the only one with problems“. Seriously though, nothing positive happened after the prayers  so in desperation I turned to God.

Isn’t it funny how as Christians it is possible to be in church regularly, be involved in ministry yet have our backs turned to God? We pray daily, read the bible and can quote scriptures in 3 to 5 different translations, yet we don’t have a close enough relationship to turn to our loving father. I am not denouncing being prayed for, by all means have someone pray for you. but I believe you can only truly meet the Lord when you come yourself. There is no mediator between God and man except the Lord Jesus. 1 Tim 2:5

In those quiet times I learned the meaning of the scripture, we walk by faith and not by sight. I came to understand that just because my circumstances hadn’t visually changed did not mean that God had not answered. And that God’s answer may not be my desired answer. I learned that walking by faith meant not walking by what you could see. I learned that sight, in actual fact was a representation of your physical senses. You don’t make decisions or come to conclusions based on what you can see, feel or hear. You make decisions based on faith in the word of God. Did God say none shall be barren in the land?  Then you start by believing you are productive because God has said so. Your body might tell you otherwise, but that’s sight right? You don’t come to the conclusion based on what your body tells you. I also understood that if the word of God says it, then it is true. So it helps to find a scripture that addresses the particular issue and ‘make it yours’.

I don’t believe God visits evil on His children. But I do believe He makes all things work together for the good of them that love Him. Rom 8:28.  This means even the challenges, he makes good out of it. The pain, He makes good. The good may not be the opposite of what you are going through, e.g riches for poverty, but it may well be that you draw nearer to Him to drink from His well. It may be learning and experiencing the goodness of God on such a supernatural level that it supersedes whatever earthly distress you are going through. It could even be that God is pruning and/or preparing you for His service, I don’t know, but I know that IT IS GOOD!

God is good. I don’t need my circumstance to define that for me. Where I am today is only temporary and unpleasant as it is, it is the painful part of the crafting of my life to form a beautiful picture… My Journal entry, May 2010

I pray that the Lord meets you at the point of your need and perfects all that concerns you. And if you have been handpicked for a trial, His grace will be sufficient for you, it is indeed well.

Thank you for reading!

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