Saturday, October 25, 2014

Illustrate - Animal Kingdom

Lessons #Art taught me 1) Try something new. 2) Don't be afraid to make mistakes. 3) Be patient.

more to come....

How To Grow OLD

In these times many people are fearful, we are living with increased knowledge, easy access to information and 24 hour news. War, death, murder and disease have been here since the 'beginning' of time (bar early Genesis) and yet our news systems thrive on sensationalism even prophesying into our futures. BUT WHEN I think on what my grandparents survived…

As a young woman, both my grandmas in particular inspire me, one thing I really admired in both of them was their resilience. The pain they endured never robbed them of their strength, generosity or faith. They remained God-fearing and grateful. Some of them through no fault of their own, had a rough start in life, they could have easily been bitter towards the world but they didn’t feel sorry for themselves, they didn’t take it personally and when fitting they knew how to laugh at themselves. I believe this is why they all look younger than their age. Stress has negative effects on the body, bad attitudes 'age' you. A broken spirit DRIES the bones (Proverbs 17:22) a loving spirit beautifies you inside and out. 1. Count your blessings, not your burdens. You would think having more ‘stuff’ would satisfy us, but if we’re not careful consumer society can make us greedy. They thanked God for the simple things, the basics - food on the table, clothes on their back and money in their pocket to provide for their families, and the intangibles love, joy, peace. In all things learn to be content (Philippians 4:11-13).

I am half Nigerian and half Jamaican. My Nan (on the Caribbean side, God bless her soul as she rests in peace) NOBADY could trouble her! When circumstances fought against her she fought back. In her battle against cancer, she held on until the Lord took her home. The word of God was her comfort. 2. When you are challenged, don’t seek convenience, seek God. She didn’t need to find the easy way out. It’s wise to ask for help, but there are some seasons in life when no other help can be found but help from the Lord (Psalm 121:1-2). The old hymns they used to sing were more than just lyric and melody, it was the truth they lived by. Develop a relationship with Him, when you do you’ll find the greatest weapon is your worship, for the battle is not yours but the Lords (2 Chronicles 20:15-22). “So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, Till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, And exchange it some day for a crown”.

On the African side, my Nan is so independent and adventurous, nobody can tell her to stay at home and sit still. She is 86 years old and is still embarking on new projects. Ambition is not just for your youth. 3. Don’t ever stop dreaming. We were discussing some of her plans. She writes me letters, we talk on the phone, and when I visit we get on well. Our lifestyles are so different but that doesn’t have to be a barrier. There’s no denying that there is a gap, not just in age but in culture. She's teaching me Yoruba (native tongue). I am half Nigerian and half Jamaican but I am also Black British, to an extent I am removed from my roots, I have to go back and visit my roots and she is the bridge. Remove not the ancient landmark which your fathers have set up (Proverbs 22:28). Learn from them. Remember them. They don't want your pity, they want your respect, they have LIVED through what so many of us fear, let that be an encouragement that there is life after pain. You can always dream again. 

Recently I have been thinking about generations. Some of my grandparents have lived to see their first great grandchild, my nephew. His beaming innocent face has sparked in all of us memories of our first days. Mum reminisced, “You got into a fight on the first day of nursery, someone pushed you and so you whacked him. (LOL) It just goes to show although you were quiet, you didn’t take any nonsense”. Umm although I don’t go round whacking people *chuckles* that it true to this day, Nowadays I rebuke less, I just remove… myself *looks around* Let’s just say I know where I get my fight from. 4. Pave the way for the next generation. When God blessed Abraham, He had generations in mind (Genesis 18:17-19). Someone is counting on you, even if that someone isn’t born. This explains why I have the audacity to write on “How to Grow Old”, because I learn from those before me. There’s no point of me going around the same mountain you circled. Teach me! If I can learn from someone else I will and I will never forget whose shoulders I stand on. People never progress when they expect their descendants to struggle like they did. When we honour them for fighting the battles we never had to, they won’t resent us for reaping the benefits. When you have passed on the baton and retired from your previous activities you can still remain active by coaching the children. Train them up in the way they should go, and when they are old they shall not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

This whole train of thought was inspired by my granddad (Caribbean side) who turned 79 yesterday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDDAD!! "With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” (Psalm 91:16). None of my grandparents let age dictate their limits or boundaries. Nowadays we’re bombarded with tips on how to stop ageing but according to Proverbs 16:31 the silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.

We know, there is a greater promise beyond this life (Hebrews 11:13-16) but whilst living this life don't curse it, BLESS IT, for we were taught to pray "Your will be done your kingdom come on EARTH as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). We don't fear death for he has conquered the grave (1 Corinthians 15:50-58), verse 51 says "We will not all die, but we will all be transformed!" Elijah was taken up (2 Kings 2:11) and so was Enoch (Genesis 5:24), as extraordinary as this is, I don't envy what isn't my destiny. If I’m here it’s because God wants me here. I will not lose heart because I believe I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13). Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth (Proverbs 11:31). Though Enoch walked with Him, though Moses spoke with Him face to face (Exodus 33:11), I know even when I can't feel Him that nothing can separate me from the love of God, not tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35).

David said "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psalm 37:25). 5. Don’t worry about tomorrow. For tomorrow will worry about its own things (Matthew 6:25-34). Don’t fear the future, God will keep you in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). I pray Caleb's promise over all of us that we will be able to say "The Lord has kept me my strength was then, so now is my strength" (Joshua 14:6-12). You WILL finish strong in Jesus name, your eyes will not dim and your natural vigour will not diminish (Deuteronomy 34:7). Some believers get stuck in an Ecclesiastes mentality, “Vanity, vanity it’s all vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:-11), it is true that our lives are but a breath (James 4:14) and that’s exactly why I plan to make the most of it. Put this into perspective, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2 Peter 3:8). How we live in this short life determines how we live in the next – eternity. What is 90 years of living compared to eternal living? This too shall pass, take that as an encouragement, your season will change. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away (Matthew 24:35).

If not for His grace, where would I be? I plan to LIVE my life… and take my own advice in growing old gracefully J

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Good and Perfect.

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

It is possible to have a GOOD GIFT but be a BAD STEWARD. We weren't given trees but seeds and the seed isn't magically sown, neither does it magically grow.

Many of us make the mistake of comparing our gifts to others, not knowing that firstly we all have different measures (Romans 12:6). Don't suffer because you busybody in other people's matters (1 Peter 4:15). Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before (1 Thessalonians 4:11).

Secondly it's up to us to manage them. Don't curse the child, discipline them. A child is a gift from God (Psalm 127:3-5) but you must TRAIN them up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). A talent is a gift from God but you must practice using it to reap a return on your investment (Matthew 25:14-30).

Don't curse your passion, it causes you to produce. Prepare yourself to handle all that comes with purposeful living. Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28).  

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Keep Me Through

God won't always keep you from but He will always keep you through!   

1) Joseph's brothers conspired to kill him because they despised his dreams >> Reuben delivered him out of their hands and convinced them to cast him into a pit (Genesis 37:18-22) >> They meant it for evil but God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20) >> Joseph went from the pit and eventually ended up in the palace, the dream/prophecy was fulfilled. 

2) Shadrach, Meshach and Abed'nego in the fiery furnace >> the 3 were not hurt (Daniel 3:19-25) >> A fourth man was seen walking in the midst of the fire with them, the son of God! >> When King Nebuchadnezzar saw that not a hair on their head was singed, the king who previously ordered the men to bow to him, ended up bowing to their God, (Daniel 3:26-30). The 3 men were promoted!

3) Daniel in the den >> the lion's mouths were shut and no injury was found on him (Daniel 6:23) >> The governors plot to accuse him to King Darius failed because Daniel was found innocent before the King of Kings and he believed in his God (Daniel 6:22) >> King Darius was in awe of the God who delivered him and so Daniel prospered in his reign (Daniel 6:24-28).

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you, when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.

It may seem like time to panic but do not fear, this is not unto death. In the end you will be able to say "It was good that I was afflicted" (Psalm 119:71) and "No, I don't look like what I've been through". 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

You Are Not Alone

Until you meet misery personified you might not see how playing victim and inviting people to never ending pity parties, is a way of evading responsibility and accountability. Until you've been drained by emotional leeches you may see boundaries as walls that keep people out as opposed to wisdom that guards the heart (Proverbs 4:23). Some complaints are honest cries for help, a way of seeking attention and support. Others are simply a way of venting and expressing frustration but notice how some are nothing less than a tool of manipulation. Some sob stories are true stories of struggle and strength but others are staged, exaggerated and milked to gain votes. People who ignore the patterns in their own behaviour and blame other people for making them a product of pain, must not be aware that we've all been hurt, will be hurt and will probably hurt other people. Nobody's life is perfect but we manage. That's life, it's not all there is to it but it's a part of it. Nobody said we deserved it, "He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). "You are not alone" is not just a comforting truth, it's a wake up call, shaking us out of self centred sleep. That which has been is what will be, and that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Remember that the temptations you face are common to man; but God is faithful... (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Why I Love Jesus

I don’t know where to start, I want to make it concise but how can you make it any simpler than it already is, I love Him because He’s good (Psalm 136:1), I love Him because He first loved me (1 John 4:19), I love Him because He was wounded for my transgressions and bruised for my iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). My righteousness is like a filthy rag (Isaiah 64:6) and even my wisdom is foolishness (1 Corinthians 3:19). When I measure myself up to the law, my best doesn’t even cut it but He gives me grace (Lamentations 3:22-24)….

Because of who He is…

I love Him for who He is. When Moses asked what God’s name was He replied “I AM WHO I AM”, tell them “I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:13-15). What does that mean, Jesus said “I AM the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). I AM! I AM the bread of life (John 6:35); I AM the light of the world (John 8:12); I AM the true vine (John 15:1); I AM the way, the truth, the life (John 14:6); I AM the door (John 10:9); I AM the resurrection (John 11:25); I AM the good shepherd (John 10:11). He is the beginning and the end, the first and last (Revelation 22:13). For I AM the Lord and I change not (Malachi 3:6), He’s the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). God is consistent and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:37-39). Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for a friend (John 15:13), He calls us friend. The questions is “Why do you love Jesus?” but my question is…. How can I not? Many look at promises unfulfilled and consider Him unfaithful, but even when I don’t understand His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and everything around me is contrary, I can press on…

Because He gives me joy…

Yes Jesus is the way but the way is narrow (Matthew 7:14). God doesn’t promise us a pain free life, in this world you will have many troubles, but this He guarantees “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). So no I’m not saying love Jesus and you’ll never cry again but I can say that God will wipe away every tear and former things will pass away (Revelation 21:4). People say “Oh you’re always so happy”, umm nobody is ALWAYS happy, but even when I’m not, the JOY of the Lord is my STRENGTH (Nehemiah 8:10). The kingdom IS righteousness, peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). This type of ‘happy’ blows my mind, in the same way you forgive things you thought you couldn’t, and you survive what you thought you’d die in, is the same way joy is your strength when sadness should become your weakness. Joy is kinda hard to explain but when you have it you know it, because it doesn’t make ‘natural sense’, just like hope and faith (Romans 15:13). Somehow He gave me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). I don’t know why I’m smiling either ahahaha, no wait I do…

Because I’m grateful…

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise (Psalm 100:1-5). I can serve Him with gladness and go before His presence with singing because He gives me reason to. Every day I wake up is an experience of God’s goodness and because of the tests I have endured I have a testimony. When Jesus healed the ten lepers only one came back to thank Him (Luke 17:11-19), Jesus wondered about the other nine. He won’t have to wonder about me, I’m grateful and for that I glorify God. Does God need my praise? Angels surround his throne crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Isaiah 6:1-3). David asked “What is man that You are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4), yet He came to His own and His own did not receive Him (John 1:11). That’s heart breaking (Numbers 14:11) the least I could do is love Him back. The first and greatest commandment is: You shall LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37). He’s my Saviour, my Teacher and my inspiration. I’m creative because I take after my Creator. I AM fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

Because I’m His…

He created me and all my quirks, I know I’m not an accident that occurred or a random thing that appeared, I didn’t even evolve, I am made by design. In Him I found my confidence, this was all done on purpose *winks*. He knows me like no other (Psalm 139:1-4) I can’t hide and I find no need to, for His love covers all my sins (Proverbs 10:12). I have to perfect myself to present myself to people, but God draws me near and does all the perfecting, though my sins are as scarlet He makes them white as snow. Whilst the world has a list of requirements of all the things you need to be - to fit in, to be accepted to be loved, He takes me as I AM, and beautifies my spirit. I don’t need to upgrade to keep up, He already did it (2 Corinthians 5:17), a man can only be born of his mother once, but in God he can be born again (John 3:1-8). He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). With Him there is no competition, there’s nothing I can do to be loved any more or any less. I can just be, because of that He’s my peace (Isaiah 9:6) and that’s why I love Him. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Song of the Day - Lamar Campbell...

When you sing it as though you wrote it :) I know obviously people worship together as a congregation and they are 'led' by worship leaders, but I think worship is VERY personal. Like no one will understand like you do (relationship as opposed to religion/ritual). It's a love song from one to another, not to impress anyone else, to express your heart and your gratitude, and if you happen to have amazing vocals and music whilst doing that lol praise di Lord for that too hehehe.

It grieves my heart to see the pride, pretence and competition. You don't need to 'outsing', 'outpray', outdo the next. I know some preachers act like whoever shouts the loudest is getting the blessing but *silence*... that's another convo. All you do is sincerely give of yourself, if what you have is off key and off beat it doesn't matter to God. God does not see as man sees. Man looks at appearance. God looks at the heart - 1 Samuel 16:7 - Seeking a man after His own heart - 1 Samuel 13:14. It matters to US when you sing badly into the mic looool cos some of us have sensitive ears but that's another convo.