I CAN SENSE IT – TRANSITION

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Have you ever had to question if you were on the right path? Is this really what God wants for me? I sit in church, at work — in a cab, public transport (trotro) and wonder if the person sitting next to me can sense it too. The search for truth — the hunger and thirst for truth, there were times that I could shove it aside. I can’t seem to escape the voice of change. It haunts me until sleep takes over, but the amusing part is, it is waiting for me the moment I open my eyes. I try to drown it with music. Crowding it with the thoughts of doubt and disbelief — I don’t have to face it. It is easier running away from it than confronting it right? I don’t feel ready, Do I even have what it takes?

Sometimes I wish I could go back to being a little girl all over again. I remember way back when my biggest problem was whether I wanted to wear an already made dress, flower socks or a hat coupled with a bag to Sunday school — then I took the first hit staining that innocence — by reaching for things I made myself believe I needed. It’s called Growing up right?

Truth is, I am still dealing with the consequences of wrong choices and bad decisions from the past — I don’t know if I can risk another wrong turn. So I sit on the steps of my destiny too afraid to climb further, too exposed to go back.  I want to be the light that gives people hope to believe there is God but also without them realizing I have all these fears and scars. What if I fail at this? Perhaps overcoming this fear will reveal God’s divine purpose for my life. His sole inspiration for creating me

My mind has succeeded in convincing me that I must know the outcome of everything even before taking the first step. It makes me feel like I can’t handle what comes next. 

God can I at least have a sneak peek at my future before I get there? The bigger picture? At least a promise so that trusting can be a lot more easier. I wonder why God didn’t make my mountain easier to climb. I wish that He would give me the strength I see in others. Maybe that’s because I may not be able to handle the weakness that comes along with their strength. He places me in situations where I have to prove to myself what He’s known all along: I’ve got what it takes. And His word assures me that “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”(Exodus 33:14) He makes me go through the uncomfortable, digging deep, stretched within, facing my fears so that when I finally taste the victory of overcoming I won’t forget the preparation it took to get there. So even though I am scared, I’ll trust anyway.

Ever heard of broken miracles? But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;” ( 1 Corinthians 1:27). For some of us loving God can’t be achieved until we are willing to be broken in diverse ways and through that brokenness He blesses us. We get to remind the world that God can break you to bless others. There is beauty in Brokenness — Vulnerability is useful.

He says “his grace is sufficient” and that’s not cliche because he gives us grace on credit in order for our faith to be increased (2 Corinthians 12:9). The trials and challenges stretch our faith to that point of “Surrender“. Giving it all up to Him because everyone who promised not to fail, did at a point, except Him. He doesn’t compel anyone to move, He will not force you to worship Him — no our faith has a choice, a choice of free will. Surrendering to His will.

Suddenly coming to that realization; God is only shaking off mindsets, relationships, and opportunities that I should  never have clung unto in the first place. Throwing away the excuses, doubts, belief systems and subscribing to GRACE. Push myself, through the process, set boundaries, to have unprecedented discipline, obeying His commandments. I learnt at church that there are rewards reserved for those who obey and follow the ways of the Lord and are able to make the tough decisions not to compromise their faith(they are called the overcomers Revelations 3:12). Hence I am taking the steps of Submission. Obedience and Service.

Prayer

Dear Lord,  I am not ignorant of what you’re doing with me and I really don’t want to mess this up. I don’t want to make misdirection, interpreting and giving meaning to everything with my canal mind and get this wrong. Help me to hear you so clearly I don’t mistake Your voice for the enticing pleasures that come to distract me. Help me to uncover dimensions of myself I never knew existed. Show me who I really am not who I’m comfortable being. Take me out of my comfort zone, I need a nudge in the right direction, lead me with Your voice and protect me with Your hand. I want to go deeper with you even if it means I have to cut some things loose. I know that I’ve been reluctant with confronting this moment for reasons I can’t fully express, but I’m finally saying, lead the way for I am ready to obey, ready to embrace this change and all that comes along with it.  

“NOW GROW IN LOVE”

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I was reading something on “True Love” from the Lamp devotional, my mind went back to something I learnt when I visited ICGC at the beginning of this year. The man of God (Rev. Eastwood Anaba) made a statement; “If you want to know how much you love God then look at how you love your fellow human beings”. So then the question is, Do we really love God? Judging from how we love and relate to people. Our whole existence should be centered on love — because God is LOVE.

We doubt the strength of God’s grace and mercy. Perhaps we are too quick in taking offense, playing the blame game and we also speak love too late. Maybe if we focus more on showing the love of God, then we can embody the beauty of being in His will. Maybe unbelievers don’t believe that God is so loving because so many of us aren’t. We don’t even love ourselves talk of loving others. The only problem is you have to truly believe that and I don’t think you can until you experience it. I think unconditional love is buried underneath our shame, pain, and fear (vulnerability). Someone hurts you and it becomes so difficult to continue loving them as if they did you no wrong. Forgiving them should be easy, right?

I believe this is where we need His divine direction, right?

God will definitely show us how to love an imperfect person perfectly, right?

I believe we all need the merciful exposing spotlight of the Holy Spirit to illumine our levels of love (God bringing us into the awareness of His Love). We have no higher priorities in life than loving God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, as well as loving our neighbor as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27). We must prioritize the pursuit of those two loves. And if we’re reading the great commandments carefully, the words “all” and “as” should drop us to our knees. They are there to make us desperate for God.

This kind of desperation — utter helplessness — is what drives us to prayer. People who pray are people who know that apart from Christ they can do nothing (John 15:5). They seek to abide in him because they desperately need him. Christians don’t always — in fact, shouldn’t always — feel the emotion of desperation when they pray. Saints who learn to rest most in God’s promises have learned most profoundly how utterly they depend on God for everything. And how faithful He truly is.

None of us prayerfully presses into loving God with our entire beings, or loving our neighbor as ourselves, until we see clearly our profound lack of such love — how much we need to be filled with the Spirit of Christ in order to love like Christ. We will likely keep comparing ourselves against the low-bar of one another, and often feeling like we’re doing relatively okay, until we invite the Spirit of Jesus to examine us. His questions always penetrate deeper. “Do you love others as I have loved you?” “Do unbelievers know you are my disciple by the way you love the Christians I have given you to love?”

Do we really want to know how he views our love levels? He invites us to ask him, and he promises to answer us if we want to know (Luke 11:10). His answer may be devastating. But that will produce the prayerful desperation that brings the growth through Godly grief as stated in (2 Corinthians 7:10).

Whatever It Takes, Lord

I believe Jesus is serious about his commandment, perhaps more than we may think (John 13:34). He did not command us to love one another relatively well. He commanded us to love one another divinely well — to love as he loved.

Honestly, it does not matter that this is impossible for fallen human beings, for we have a God for whom all things are possible (Mark 10:27). And since the Father promises to give his Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13), let us ask boldly (Hebrews 4:16) and persistently (Luke 11:5–8)

Prayer

“Whatever it takes, Lord, increase my capacity to love until I love you with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love my neighbor as I love myself”Finally I know must let go and leave behind old things and habits(past), new things I must learn to embrace, and the future (eternity) that I must prepare for. Give me the wisdom to know the difference and strength to forgive — open my arms to receive love and grow more in your love…Amen.

“WALKING TOWARDS PERFECTION”

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Somewhere last year I made a decision to take discipleship class in church and during one of the lessons on salvation, I came to an understanding that, continuous effort towards becoming like Christ is possible — in the sense that even though we are saved we must constantly, continuously, and consciously work at it.(Jesus Christ is the set target for perfection)

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.(2 Corinthians 5:12)

The scripture says we are a “new creature” so then relating our salvation to a newly born baby, for instance there are stages(process) of growth a baby goes through, from the stage of milking, teething, crawling, first steps, first word(not in any particular order). Therefore, becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic; it is a gradual, progressive development that will take the rest of your life. Referring to this process, Paul said;

“This will continue until we are. . . mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.” (Ephesians 4:13)

We often get confused over the relationship between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility in matters of salvation and sanctification. When we have to take responsibilities for our sins or actions, personally I created the impression in my mind that “God understands” so whenever I sinned I’ll make myself believe that He understood and it kept going on and on. But let’s look at this;

12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

Trembling, means to shake in fear or panic, the word tremor is derived from it. A quick scenario when I was in class 5 (a 10 year old by then) I lied to my dad concerning my fees because I wanted to help a friend who was an orphan, the means she used to pay her fees seemed uncomfortable to me — I went home crying that my fees had been stolen forgetting that they will call my dad to verify the cheque (that day I truly understood what it meant to tremble) seeing the anger and disappointment my dad had in his eyes — I had the whooping of my life(punishment). Now let’s relate this to God, Does this mean He feels the same way whenever I sin? Yes He might even feel worse.

This is to say that I should equally tremble at offending or going contrary to the things of God, because these are proper reactions to the awareness of one’s own spiritual weakness and the power of temptation. So now I get the picture that God seeks such an attitude from me, as His words in Isaiah 66:2 indicate that “To this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

Fear involves self-distrust, a sensitive conscience, and being on guard against temptation. It necessitates opposing pride, and being constantly aware of the deceitfulness of one’s heart, as well as of the subtlety and strength of one’s inner corruption. It seeks to avoid anything that would offend and dishonor God. We (believers) should have a serious dread of sin and yearning for what is right before God (Romans 7:14). 

To have such godly fear and trembling involves more than merely acknowledging one’s sinfulness and spiritual weakness. It is the solemn, reverential fear that springs from deep adoration and love. It acknowledges that every sin is an offense against Holy God not making excuses for them and produces a sincere desire not to offend and grieve Him, but to obey, honor, please, and glorify Him in all things. Those who fear the Lord willingly accept the Lord’s chastening, knowing that God “disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness” (Heb. 12:10).

This fear and trembling should urge us to pray earnestly for God’s help in avoiding sin, as the Lord taught; “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver [rescue] us from evil” (Matthew 6:13) That prayer again reflects the spiritual tension that exists between our duty(responsibility) and God’s power.(sovereignty)

Working out salvation pertains to personal conduct, to be faithful, obedient in daily living. Such obedience obviously involves active commitment and personal effort — a sustained effort to work out the ultimate completion of our salvation, which has been graciously granted to us by God through our faith in Jesus Christ. Sin in every form is to be renounced and replaced by righteous thinking. As we continuously obey our minds will be renewed. He assures us in Isaiah 41:10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; He’s with us through the process.

Christ is now our identity —and in Christ we do not lose our true essential selves; we become our true essential selves. In Christ we are born again and become a new person, which is why in the coming age he will give us a new name (Revelation 2:17). So much more could be said.

I believe I am a work in progress. My spiritual transformation in developing the character of Jesus might take forever, even then it won’t be completed here on earth. It will only be finished when we get to heaven or when Jesus returns — and the best you and I can do is consciously prepare for that moment, and as and when we grow weak or weary we fall back on him for strength.

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13) 

Hope of a Life Spent With You

Purity Is Possible

Stay Blessed!

 

I HAVE AN ADDICTION

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Help, I think I have an addiction. No. Scratch that, Can I be honest? I am an addict. Wait. Not what you’re thinking. No. I don’t do drugs, no, not alcohol, neither is it sex — my addiction is with this small but powerful device called a smartphone.  Just like this blog, my phone is an outlet to vent to the world. In bed, propped up by pillows, eyes on my phone screen and wondering, how did I even end up on this page (yes stalker traits). The comments, the fake love, the tweets, the likes on Instagram even seem to carry some value now. I pick up my phone for one thing, my hand is on default, my fingers automatically end up doing a thousand others.

I am overwhelmed by the pieces of me floating on social media. The phone buzzes, check out the issue, respond cleverly as usual, and then hover for a moment, contemplating my next move. Nothing comes to mind, so I open up a new app — Instagram, perhaps, Facebook or Twitter, or maybe scrolling through old pictures, laughing sadly at the good times gone by. Next thing I know my phone is hot, my hands are sore, my brain dizzy and disappointed, my posture bares a strong resemblance to an overacting third grader playing car race “Elinam” You’ve been outsmarted by your very own phone — again.

Addiction is usually defined as something that begins to control your life and starts interfering with your day-to-day activities, work, and relationships.  Whiles talking about addiction, we may often think of someone who wakes up to a glass of scotch instead of a cup of tea. However, with technology, signs of addiction are now found in the form of staring at a cell phone. Catching up with a friend, then she pulls out her cell phone to post a picture on Instagram or snapchat. The same thing occurs during family meals, devotion time and even in church.(I am a culprit)

We cannot allow anything to have excessive access to our lives without denying access to something else. I am usually up between the hours of 1am – 5am, mostly I pray during these times  — honestly the number of times I end up on my phone even before deciding to pray are countless. My mind says its prayer time my fingers say check that notification out. I don’t want to place anything above the love I have for God. The bible tells us that If we place any person or thing above the love of God, we worship that thing or person. This is called idolatry (as stated in Exodus 20:3-6).

God, please show us the functions(purpose) you’ve placed inside of us and give us the wisdom to not abuse that knowledge. I don’t want to be so overwhelmed with the options that I miss out on fulfilling my purpose. We place more weight on ourselves than God requires of us and then demand in prayer that He helps us balance it. Or worse, we let the response of people become more important than our purpose. We have to reply to the text message immediately or someone’s feelings will be hurt. The office can’t wait for the email. Before you know it you’re checking out a fashion page and you forget to check the email. 

It is pretty common to brush off such incidents as etiquette issues or bad manners. But, the reality may be far more complicated than it appears. The Bible tells us “there is a time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). The smartphone has become a constant companion (very handy) whiles we leave our bibles at home. We carry it throughout the day and keep it by our bedside at night. We allow ourselves to be interrupted with messages from social media, emails and texts.We must be careful — that we aren’t tapped into so many things that we forget what’s most important. May our purpose never get lost in the shuffle.

PS: I am not saying the smartphone or social media is bad. But personally, at this particular point in time, it is distracting my walk with God.(Focus)

Measures Taken (My Thoughts)

  • Praying to God to help me battle out this addiction through grace.   
  • Last month I started a 90 day plan to stay off certain platforms by deleting the apps (Instagram, snap chat, twitter) Lol I miss Instagram tho.
  • Challenging myself to only pick up my phone when necessary. Constantly reminding myself that though my phone has a lot of functions I am only picking it up at that time, for one purpose. 
  • To share the word of God through these social platforms as well. Even though they can be distracting they can also be helpful through what I share.
  • Implementing time limits and friends who serve as a check when I’m online. Set up a DND feature on my phone (do not disturb) that prevents me from picking calls after a certain time. Turn my phone off if I have to prevent having divided attention.

Prayer

Dear Jesus, I don’t want to place anything above the love I have for you,  help me deal with this addiction, help me to focus more on you and your word. Please help remind me of Your purpose for my life. I see so many opportunities for growth in front of me. I don’t want to do something that is outside of your will concerning my Life, or something that fails at edifying and maximizing the purpose You have for me. I have the faith to stand by Your word, but life brings luring opportunities, and we get spoilt for choices, when we see good down every avenue. Everyone talks about having faith to fight the bad things in our lives. Give me the audacity to turn away from any good opportunity that isn’t ultimately going to better me for You in Jesus Name… Amen.