When There’s No Rescue In Sight…

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Some days (weeks, months, seasons, years) I feel hard-pressed. Like life has me between a mortar and pestle and is pounding me into fine dust. I know you can relate. You sweat and groan and weep and rage and cannot find relief. The intense pressure doesn’t stop. You plead for rescue, yet the vise of life’s challenges squeezes tighter and tighter until you think you might scream, and sometimes you do.

For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within” (2 Corinthians 7:5).

The New King James translation of this verse uses the painfully descriptive phrase “hard pressed” to describe Paul’s trials. “We were hard pressed on every side.” The origin of this phrase comes from the practice of squeezing a fruit or vegetable (grapes, olives) to extract its juice.

“Why doesn’t God rescue me?” you cry, and the question echoes back. “Why?”

I’d like to share some reasons why God sometimes chooses not to rescue us. 

  • We don’t believe He can.

God  works  in response to faithHebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please him. For God to answer our prayers, we must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him(Hebrews 11:6). Our lack of faith can be a huge hindrance, not because God can’t overrule our faithlessness, but because he won’t. He never forces faith on anyone. Thankfully, all it takes is the faith of a mustard seed to invite God to work in our lives. It’s not how much faith we have, but in whom our faith rests that matters.

  • We have sin in our lives.

We cannot willfully choose to disobey God and simultaneously expect him to bless us. As human parents, we withhold blessings from our children when they rebel against us. God often does the same. More important than health, wealth, and happiness is whether we have a right relationship with God. He’ll often use difficult circumstances to help us realize how much we need him.

  • We need to learn to trust Him. 

Our faith begins small and increases with every challenge. Like a muscle, our confidence in God’s power grows stronger the more we exercise it. Trials, heartbreaks, and circumstances beyond our control force us to turn to our all-powerful God. Every time we acknowledge our weakness and see Him act on our behalves, our faith grows. Before long, we have a long list of answered prayers that makes it easier and easier to trust Him.

  • He knows that a rescue wouldn’t be best.

So often we just want OUT of a difficult situation. We’re not interested in what’s best in the long term, we want relief now. I remember when my nephew went through circumcision. Every now and then an ointment is applied to ensure the healing of the wound. He’d be in such excruciating pain even for a little baby. I’m sure if you asked him during this painful time if he wanted no application of the ointment, he would have said, “YES!”

My mum knew, however, that while not applying any ointment would have ended his temporary suffering, it would have interfered with his long-term health. The same is true of many of our trials. The apostle Paul knew this when he wrote, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

  • There’s a lesson we need to learn or a character quality we need to develop through this situation. 

When I lost my dad, I learnt that God is my father. When I lost my job I learnt that God is my provider. When I cared for my niece and nephew in the absence of my mum and sister, I learned patience, kindness, and unselfishness. When I worked with difficult coworkers, I learned to see them through Jesus’ eyes, not my own. Instead of asking Why? when we encounter difficulty, what if we asked What?, as in, What can I learn from this situation?

  • God is building our faith story so we can one day share what we’ve learned with others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 reveals this purpose: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 

Because of the faith valleys I’ve walked, I can truly identify with and minister to those who have lost a loved one especially a parent, going through a hardship or brokenness, experienced unemployment, lack and rejection. Experiencing God’s faithfulness during these difficult times has enabled me to say with certainty to others, “God will help you.” It is well, this too shall pass

  • God is doing something amazing.
 You can’t see it right now, but He is working out his purpose in your situation. Nothing can thwart God’s good purposes for His children.
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
  • God is developing His mind and heart in you.
 When circumstances press us hard into God’s Word and force us to seek him for wisdom, faith, grace, and strength, he begins to conform us to His image. We can’t spend large amounts of time in His presence without starting to think, act, and love like He does. One can certainly link the behavioral traits you exhibit to that of your earthly parents. How much more your father in Heaven?“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son… (Romans 8:28-29).

God is teaching you that a close, personal, spiritual relationship with him is sweeter and more precious than a happy, healthy, trouble-free, physical life.

I experienced a trial years ago greater than anything I’d ever walked through before. With one phone call, I felt like everything precious to me had been stripped away. I awakened the next morning feeling like I had nothing left but God.

As I cried, and prayed, and cried some more, Jesus met me there. He wrapped his big tender arms of love around me and spoke words of hope into my troubled soul. He spoke words of truth into my reeling mind. He spoke words of love into my broken heart. And He spoke words of courage into my trampled faith.

My encounter with Him was so powerful and real that I will never again doubt His love, care, and purpose. “It was good for me to be afflicted,” King David wrote, “so that I might learn your ways,” and I agree. While I would never voluntarily choose to repeat those dark days, I know God used them to grow my love for Him in ways He never could have otherwise.

“… I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).

God is Still Powerful, Just, and Good

There are many reasons God chooses not to rescue us from our trials. I’ve listed a few here to get you thinking. What comforts me in the darkness of suffering is the knowledge that God is just, God is powerful, and God is good.

I can rest in this, you can, too.

Stay blessed, always!

“I DON’T OWN THE RIGHTS TO THE ATTACHED IMAGE”

 

He Leadeth me…

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When I can relate to a post I share; my heart is bare. Except for those things that are specifically commanded or forbidden, it is God’s will that we be free to exercise our own intelligent choice.

The shepherd will lead the sheep but he does not wish to decide which tuft of grass the sheep shall nibble each moment of the day. In almost everything touching our common life on earth God is pleased when we are pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our Maker’s praise without anxiety.

God’s choice for us may not be one but any one of a score of possible choices. The man or woman who is wholly and joyously surrendered to Christ cannot make a wrong choice. Any choice will be the right one. But what about those rare times when a great deal is at stake, we can discover no clear scriptural instruction and yet are forced to choose between two possible courses?

In such a situation we have God’s faithful promise to guide us aright. Here, for instance, are two passages from the Word of the Lord:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (James 1:5,6).

Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go (Isaiah 48:17).

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1 KJV

According to Strong’s Concordance the Hebrew word for “Refuge” is, ‘machaceh’ (H4268) which means, “Shelter from rain or storm”, it also means, “Shelter from danger”. God is your shelter. He is your safe place. God will guard you from danger seen and unseen. He is your Protector and He will keep you from the storms of life. 

Don’t let the wind and the waves distract you. Stay focused and let God’s Peace guide your heart. Let God’s Word lead your actions. Don’t be driven by your emotions.

Be lead by God’s Voice. Let God lead you through the storm. When the storms of life try to sink your ship, know that God is with you. He will not let you drown. He is your Refuge in times of trouble. He will keep you through the adversities of life. 

Take your problem to the Lord. Remind Him of these promises. Remember, God will not permit you to make a mistake, if you trust Him to lead the way.

Prayer:

Father, Lord Jesus, You are my refuge. You are my secret place. You are my Strength and comfort in the time of the storm. You are my Strong Tower. In You will I trust. Father, there is no weapon that is formed against me that will prosper — for You are with me and You are for me. 

Father I surrender myself to You. I cast my cares upon You for I know that you care for me. There is no storm that can defeat You. There is no weapon that can outrank You. There is no ploy or plot that can outmaneuver You. You are my Lord and I find safety and refuge in You. I will serve You alone.  

I dethrone every idol that I have exalted on the throne of my heart. No one can compete with You. No one compares to You. You are my Lord and I surrender to You forever. In Jesus Name. Amen. 

Stay blessed, Always!

“I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHT TO THE ATTACHED IMAGE”

“ANCHORED TO ETERNITY”

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I recently stood over my grandma’s grave; as she was being lowered; in my black flats and matching dress, as my gaze caught that of my mum’s. Wondering to myself; could the same thoughts be running through her mind?

I know what it’s like to face an empty seat at the dinner table or dial a familiar number just to hear that voicemail greeting one more time. I know what it’s like to not “get over” death, but to get through it — solely by the strength, comfort, and power of the Holy Spirit.

The truth is: We’re all dying—but no one wants to talk about it. We’d rather focus on the next big game, the current admission, new job opportunities, upcoming vacation, or urgent thing on our to-do list. And I get it. I do it too. I get lost in my own little bubble and caught up on the hamster wheel, forgetting that my one and only life is fleeting.

That’s depressing, you might say. To constantly think about dying.

On one hand, we are called to live wide awake to whatever is right in front of us. To our people, to our communities, to God’s whispers. We have been put here, at this exact time in history, for a divine purpose.

But on the other hand, part of really living is understanding the frailty of life. To really live, we must grasp only having a minuscule amount of time to breathe air into our lungs and wear this beating heart. To really live, we must realize that life is a blink—and dare not to waste it.

In Psalm 90:12 NIV, Moses said, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Another version says, “Teach us to recognize the brevity of life …”

But how can remembering that life is short give us wisdom? This eternal perspective nudges us to cling to what will last forever in a world that is fading away. It urges us to anchor ourselves to eternity, not circumstance, and maximize the days we’ve been given.

Life is not forever, but eternity is. 

God and people; people and God. The Creator of the universe desires to spend the rest of eternity with His treasured creations. That’s why we purposefuly invest in our relationship with our Savior. That’s why we intentionally shout the Good News of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen. That’s why we don’t simply focus on the here and now, but keep our eyes fixed on the Kingdom of God.

Reflective Questions

  1. At the end of your life, what will really matter? 

  2. Are you investing in things of eternal value?

  3. How can you shift your perspective from the things of this world to the things of God?

We can be anchored to eternity.

Stay Blessed, always!

I DON’T OWN THE RIGHT TO THE IMAGE ATTACHED TO THE POST. #JennJwell

STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR PATH

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“…let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” – (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Recently a friend wanted to know what informed my stance regarding a critical decision I made concerning ministry (career wise) — I answered him by saying God was ordering my steps since I had heard from God before taking that decision.

He smirked and remarked that I had so much potential and I was wasting them away in the name of destiny when I could be earning more if I took another alternative — Disobedience. For a moment I was discouraged, wondering whether I was on the right path. Am I doing the right thing. If I truly heard from God. But I strengthened myself in the Lord and decided to persist and walk in obedience.

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29)

This does not refer to man, but To God. It does not mean that God confers his favors on man without His exercising repentance, but that God does not repent, or change, in His purposes of bestowing His gifts on man. We have received diverse gifts by the grace of God.

However, in as much as people may be doing similar things as you, be it singing, preaching, writing, pastoring, schooling, marriage, parenting and in my case career and ministry wise. I realize that we are not on the same level. We all have different destinies, with different prescriptions as to how they are to come to fruition. Bishop Dag shared an experience about how a friend of his from his early days of ministry didn’t believe in evangelism especially the ones He did in the rural areas… Can you imagine what would have happened if he withdrew because of that? Countless souls have received the gift of salvation from his obedience and persistence.

Do not do things just because others are doing them — I personally don’t. When I relate with friends, church members who have my level of commitment and dedication, they sharpen me and I also sharpen them. Relating with people who do not care about the things of God as much as you do will make you wonder if you are normal. Avoid the distractions that come from people who have not heard from God the way you have, and who are not as committed as you are.

Learn also to avoid the distraction of unproductive arguments and quarrels.

“But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2 Timothy 2:23).

I hate arguments and rarely have time to debate an issue. I love the Scripture that says you cannot do anything against the truth (2 Corinthians 13:8). This means that arguments, shouting and proving your point do not affect the truth of the matter.

The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment (Proverbs 12:19).

The truth will outlive every lie! Keep walking the path that has been inextricably carved out for you — Destiny.

Our author has promised us a great ending.

READ: 1 Kings 13:15-24

Stay blessed!

“I don’t own the right to any of the images”

MOVE FORWARD WITH INTEGRITY

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Did I tell you I have integrity and excellence slated out as my resolution for this year? Well, I think I just did. Let’s see the definition of Integrity; the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles — honorable. Joseph is our sure reference.

The key to Joseph’s turnaround in life is something we can easily overlook, which is the fact that he continued to do what was right whenever he was being wronged.

Joseph was simply a man of integrity. His life is proof of the truth that — If you will trust God in the pit and in the prison, God will bring you into the palace. He will bless and favor you.

Have you been there before? How many times have you wanted to give back a “wrong for a wrong” response? I have been — okay confession — countless times.

“The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 14:14 KJV)

Continuously renew your mind to let go while God plays defense attorney on your behalf. And guess what we’ve been assured of peace. The one true peace that surpasses all human understanding. Jesus — Peace.

Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him. (Psalm 105:19 KJV)

These very words were spoken with reference to Joseph, during the period of his imprisonment. For the understanding of them I think we must observe that there is a contrast drawn between two ‘words,’ ‘his’ (i.e. Joseph’s) and God’s. If we lay firm hold of that clue, I think it will lead us into clear daylight.

Look what happened when Joseph chose to move forward with integrity,
God rewarded him.

40 Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou.

41 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.

42 And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck;

43 And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 41:40-43 KJV)

You may not be able to see it now, but the same God who did these things for Joseph will do them for you. He will restore the things taken from you.

May the gatekeeper of wisdom redeem your life from the pit and crown you with love and compassion. Amen

Win from the inside with integrity.

 

I don’t own the right to any of the images”

Submission — Simply Yielded

Ultimately, submission centers us directly in the will of God and gives us the opportunity to experience the best we could ever imagine.

Surrender. That’s the key. Orient yourself toward a posture of obedience—up front!—that’s how the door flings open for His voice to be heard and His will to be accomplished. The Lord says to those of His children who freely submit their wills to His:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psalm 32:8)

So hold it in your hands today. The key, I mean. Right now, in your mind’s eye, picture God’s guidance and directives to you as a large, ornate, silver key. It runs the full length of your palm, extending beyond your fingertips on one end and beyond your wrist on the other. It’s unlike any other key you’ve ever seen or used before—that’s how you know it must be able to unlock something you’ve never experienced before. It’s worth it. This key. It’s as unique as your own fingerprints. And it’s yours. It is God’s specific assignment and calling for you.

Now, right here, right now, make the commitment to use this key. I promise He will give you opportunity for it throughout this study and in the days beyond. Choose right now, before you do anything else, to receive this key and take seriously the privilege of using it.

I know it’ll require courage and tenacity. Yet even without full clarity as to what He may ask you to do or where He may instruct you to use it, either now or in the future, make the choice in advance to say “Yes, Lord,” sure that this key of obedience will unlock every good and perfect gift your Father intends for you. Think back to the things that are keeping you from surrendering to God in every aspect of your life. Offer each of them to Him.

Then, be brave enough to let God search you further. Ask Him to reveal any calloused places that may be blocking you from clearly hearing His voice. Yield to Him any area where you sense resistance and doubt.

You’re making a “key” decision here, crucial to being able to experience what walking confidently in His will is all about. 

Just thought I should share what I’m currently learning in this season, hope it blesses you.

Stay blessed!

“REBUKE THAT HURTS YET SO GOOD”

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Related imageOur walk with Christ is one full of “Choices” and honestly one of the great wonders of the Christian life is that we never have to end on a bad note. There’s always a choice to choose the right path. God always gives us something good to say. He gave us a Book filled with His own words of hope, even when we need to identify, expose, and lance sin with words of love and truth.

Okay… So when was the last time someone sat you down to tell you that you were wrong?

Rebuke doesn’t always feel nice, especially when it is not done right. Personally, these have been some of the most memorable and important conversations in my life, the conversations when someone I loved — father, mother, mentor, pastor, roommate, friend,— had the compassion and courage to tell me when I was out of line. However I felt in those difficult (and often painful) moments, I now treasure those memories (For instance I can now leave home well dressed and covered because my parents especially my mum during our adolescent age put us in check)  — the kind confrontations, the caring corrections, the loving rebukes.

We all need a steady diet of parental and friendly course correction, because our hearts — even our new hearts in Christ — are still susceptible to sin (Hebrews 3:13; Jeremiah 17:9). Do you value the hard conversations that keep you from making more mistakes, and guard you against slowly wandering away from Jesus?

We often under-appreciate rebuke — in our own lives, the departments we join in church even in our churches — obviously because we have such small understanding of what rebuke really is. If we are truly going to speak the hard truth in love — or appreciate when others say the hard thing to us — we need a bigger, fuller picture of what this kind of love looks like in relationships.

Reprove, Rebuke, Exhort — As the apostle Paul closes his second letter to his son in the faith, Timothy, he says, “Reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Meaning you can’t go rebuking that sister or brother with a harsh tone expecting a good outcome. Paul in his bid as Timothy’s mentor — He warns Timothy that people will turn away from faithful preaching, preferring instead to listen to messages that conform to their desires and make them feel good about themselves. They will gladly trade away truths for myths, as long as the myths make much of ‘me’ — and downplay their sin and need for help and change.

Do you love the people in your life enough to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort,” even when they don’t want to hear it? Reprove with Honesty. Why reprove, rebuke, and exhort? It may sound redundant and excessive at first, as if Paul was saying, “Rebuke, rebuke, by all means, rebuke!” The three words are related, but distinct, each highlighting a critical aspect of healthy, biblical correction.

The word Paul uses here for “reprove” appears several other times in his letters, and can mean simply to rebuke (Titus 1:13) or correct (Matthew 18:15). But in most or all of the uses, it means to reprove by exposing sin or fault. For instance, Paul writes, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). Or, “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear” (1 Timothy 5:20).

Similarly, the apostle John writes, “Everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:20). And then again, about the Holy Spirit, “When he comes, he will convict [or expose] the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). Timothy, be ready to call out sin, not just when it’s convenient, but when it’s needed, and even when it’s socially uncomfortable or costly to do so.

To care for each other well, we need to ask God for the courage and faith to tell the truth about sin, and expose it as such, even when doing so might offend someone we love.

When Jesus rebuked someone or something, he demanded, in effect, on God’s authority, that it cease and desist. Winds quieted. Demons exorcised. Fevers dismissed. And sin forsaken. Jesus says, “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3). Timothy, after you have exposed sin for what it is — deceitful, empty, fatal, evil — summon your brother to stop, on the basis of God’s word and authority. Open the Bible, point to or quote a particular text, and call for repentance. And if he repents, extend forgiveness from that same Book and with that same authority.

If we are going to rebuke well, we must ask God to show us in His word what sin is, and what it is not. And having seen sin in one another, we must consistently and boldly — and graciously — speak up and charge one another to change, to turn, to cease from sin.

 

Welcome to the month of February!

Stay blessed, Always!

PS: I don’t own the rights to any of the images