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.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Team: Confirmation (6)

I went to Ruach City Church to see Bishop TD Jakes preach, his ministry has blessed me many times before, reaching across borders and through laptop and TV screens. I sometimes joke that he is my granddad (in wisdom) so why not see him in person a second time? I had no clue what he would be preaching on, I also had no idea that Pastor Penny Francis would be preaching beforehand and that her sermon on “There’s a Greater Revelation” would give me much needed answers. His message was entitled ‘When Opportunity Knocks’ based on John 12:20-32. To summarise and paraphrase “There’s a knock at the door, the Greeks have come to see Jesus and Jesus starts talking about wheat. It seems like He is out of touch with His surroundings but He is teaching that there is a difference between being buried and being planted! Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it produces much grain. You cannot open the door to the Greeks before the cross. In order to open this door I have to go through a process. Are you stuck? You’ve gone as far as you can go in the form that you’re in”.

Before Bishop broke down the scripture he eased us in by casually telling us about his conversation with God. God told him “I Am an agriculturalist”, this wasn’t necessarily part of ‘Christian terminology’ so T.D Jakes asked how, God took him to John 15:5 “I AM THE VINE”. Of all the things he could talk about and all the scriptures he could use, he picks this text! My jaw dropped, this was confirmation of what I posted earlier that morning (see: The Unfruitful Tree). My last two blog posts are based on two key scriptures, those being John 15:1-8 and Matthew 21:18-19. In his introduction Bishop did say that although he was preaching a word it would also be a prophetic word for someone. “The only things you lost are the things that you don’t need. Don’t wait for them to come back, let them go. God let what was ON you go because He was only interested in preserving what was IN you. You have more on the inside than your life reflects on the outside”.

This is only a small portion of what was insightful timely teaching, there were so many other things he said that spoke directly to me. Initially I thought that I just happened to be there, I soon realised that I needed to be there. This prophetic word confirmed my prophetic declaration. He prophesied “You’re gonna have more fruit than you ever had in your life, expect an unexpected harvest”, and I agree, Amen!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Unfruitful Tree (Part 2)

Good Fruit
Don’t look down on little things and don’t despise the day of small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10). The problem is not that little was produced but that nothing was produced. God will honour what you give no matter how small (Mark 12:41-44).  It’s not a number game, when Jesus said you will know them by their fruit, he wasn’t talking about amounts or sizes but whether the fruit is good or bad. Luke 6:43-45 For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Are all your fish rotten and smelly? When you inspect the fruit is it nasty and mean? Don’t be deceived, God is not mocked. He who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life (Galatians 6:7-9), Galatians 5:22-23 The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Fruit of Obedience
God never commands us to do something without empowering us to do so. This is why the fig tree was cursed, because it was disobedient, in that it didn’t fulfil its purpose. To obey is to be blessed, to disobey is to be cursed (Deuteronomy 28). Remember balance, struggle is a part of life and God takes what was meant for evil and uses it for good (Romans 8:28), regardless there’s no need to make things harder for yourself. God does everything according to His purpose, for instance Joseph’s process served a purpose (Genesis 50:20) don’t struggle because you’re stubborn. Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God these are the sons of God". To be stubborn is to be stiff necked. Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you”. Some people are happy to stay in one place, others are compelled to follow God. He moves. At the command of the Lord Israel would journey and at the command of the Lord they would camp (Numbers 9:15-23). Hebrews 3:15 Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.

A Fresh Start
He does new things. Do not remember the old. Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” We flock to the familiar, the old seems reliable because it worked before, and what God is speaking now seems impossible. Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37), in your dry place He can bring forth streams and where you can’t see the way He can direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6). You're fixated on recovering the old thing when God wants to do a new thing! He's not bringing in the new for the sake of it. You're trying to build ON man's tradition (the way it’s always been done) but the foundation isn't right. Tear it down! 1 Corinthians 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. The fire will reveal it (1 Corinthians 3:13) ever consider that the relationship didn't survive the fire because it wasn't meant to. Straw!! Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), and you're upset because it didn't work out with HAY??

God’s plan for us is to be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 1:28) may everything that is robbing you of your harvest be cut off. I declare that we will call forth the things that are meant to live, leaving that which is without depth, direction and is dead behind. I pray that in your calling, character and connections you will bear much good fruit. We will not hold onto the old but we will be open to new divinely inspired ways of doing things. Through your obedience your nets will be drawn in with a multitude. No man can curse what God has blessed, whoever blesses you will be blessed and everyone joined to you will be blessed from your overflow. 

The Unfruitful Tree (Part 1)

Burning Branches
Not every day revive, sometimes just let it die *pause* yes I mean that. Sometimes unfruitful things must be burned (John 15:1-8). This is coming from someone who promotes hope. I have said "leave room for hope" and I stand by that, for you cannot have faith without hope (Hebrews 11:1). Bear in mind that although I am positive #GoTeamGo I am not delusional LOL!! The same God who asked "Can these dry bones live?" and answered His own question with a declaration "Surely breath shall enter into you” (Ezekiel 37) is the same God who caused the fig tree to wither and die (Matthew 21:18-19). Jesus said "The Son can do nothing by Himself, He can only do what He sees the Father doing (John 5:19). A branch cannot bear fruit of itself, it needs to abide in the vine. Unless it's rooted in God it will fail. Many are the plans in a man's heart, you could have the greatest intentions, but the Lord's purpose will prevail (Proverbs 19:21). Are you trying to restore what God has put to rest? Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, watchmen stay awake in vain" Unless God is breathing into it, it's dead.

Seedtime & Harvest
How can God curse one thing and bless another? Is He the God of contradiction? No He is the God of wisdom and wisdom involves balance. This is how the world works, we will always have seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer and day and night (Genesis 8:22). If life is on one extreme end of the scale it’s only for a moment. You need to shout for some things but you need to rebuke others. Different circumstances require different responses, you don’t wear a winter coat in the summer. There are times when you will call the dead thing to life and other times when you will leave it be. Inquire of the Lord’s timing. David inquired of the Lord BEFORE he pursued (1 Samuel 30:8). Don't waste your time and never judge something before it’s time. If God had told him “no” what would be the point of trying to chase it? If God had told David to wait for the right season he would have to exercise self-control to not run after it before time and strength of heart to not lose faith in the promise. Could it be that the only thing disappointing you is impatience? What time is it? There is a time and season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

Yielding Crops
You may have a good word but how much longer can you continue to sow into bad soil? Whatever falls on good ground yields a crop (Matthew 13:8). Sometimes the only thing disappointing you is expectation. Don't kill your faith, just re-think what type of soil you're putting your seed of faith in? Is it a dead thing? Is it that thing/person/situation or God? You’re trying to find depth in stony places. It's not always a write off, it's not always you cursing the metaphorical fig tree. By refusing to force something that is not there for you, you are not saying it should die. You can ignore wisdom and keep throwing your net out where you are, or you can turn and cast it on the right side (John 21:3-6). In the parable of the talents the servant was rebuked because though he had been given talent he produced nothing with it (Matthew 25:14-30). The servant said “I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground”. Don’t sit on what God has given you because of fear. Don’t stay in unfruitful relationships because of fear either. You don’t need perfection, it might not seem like much but five loaves and two fish fed the multitude (Mark 6:30-44). By killing what is unfruitful in your life, you free yourself from the distraction and focus on what will work.