Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Jella Gem (12)

There will always be counterfeits and you will always have a choice. The easy way out or the uphill journey to excellence? Greatness can be uncomfortable, greatness requires passion, greatness can even be offensive to mediocrity, but how bad do you want it? It takes time to build something authentic, because it often goes down (roots) before it grows up (height). They say 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. It's not just impatience due to immaturity or anxiety due to fear that trips you up, it's also over eagerness due to excitement. You can be so happy to have something that you settle for anything. Don't let the wait make you desperate. Keep your standard. When it's time it will work, not because you wished for it, but because you sowed into it. Seedtime and harvest will not cease! (Genesis 8:22)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Thou Shall Not Covet (Part 2)

COMPETITION

It may have started out as a compliment but covetousness is not an expression of love. James 3:14-16 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self- seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. It is the work of the flesh, not the spirit (Galatians 5:16-26). How does wanting what belongs to someone else serve them? It only serves you, and it leads to theft and murder "Thou shall not steal", "Thou shall not kill". James 4:1-3 What leads to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fighting) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask. [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures. 


One may look at another and think "Why not me?" but the same could be said for people who lack what you have in abundance. When you see others who don't have, do you again say "Why not me?". No because this question is coming from a place of greed. To those who have, don't be tricked into feeling guilty, God gave it to you, don't apologise. Keep serving. Some are moved to 'serve' in serving their own agendas. No, you're not imagining it, Paul reveals that some preach Christ even from envy and strife (Philippians 1:15:18). Though they do it out of rivalry, to make themselves look better than their neighbour, Paul rejoices solely because Christ is preached. Don't be distracted by the competition they think you're participating in. This is not to exalt yourself, this is to let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven (Matthew 5:16)!!! You are the light of the world, a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. They do not light lamps to put them under a basket, but they light lamps to put them on lampstands, so that it gives light to all who are in the house (Matthew 5:14:15). Keep shining.

I guess there's a good reason why they warn 'Be careful what you wish for' because to whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48). As illustrated in the Parable of Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) we must give an account (Romans 14:12). We want that "Well done" :) :) #Yaaas God says I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:10). We ask Him to create a clean heart in us (Psalm 51:10), for the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Your feelings will lie to you, they will tell you that you need what he has, they will cause you to compete with her, they will tell you that what you have isn't good enough, this is all birthed out of insecurity. You are too precious to be insecure, you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). 

CURE

Some people's remedy for covetousness is to try to become what they are not to gain what is not theirs. You may be able to fool man, but you can't fool God, for man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Others pretend that no-one else who exists matters, to ignore, to overlook everyone else's gifts blessings, this is no solution, this is not love, this is pride. Romans 12:15 says Rejoice with those who rejoice, but you can't because you're angry at their blessings? Some people's remedy is to remind themselves of other people's struggles, not to develop gratitude, to learn humility or find compassion but to make themselves feel better. Your self worth should not be contingent on some else's lack of. You should not have to put down to get up, and when you are up never look down. It is true, nobody is perfect, no-one 'has it all' we all fall short, we all hurt, we all struggle so refrain from watching other people and making idols out of what you perceive they have. For if we've all sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23)... then none of us are 'worthy'. God I'm just grateful that you gave me something. I don't deserve it, but you graced me to handle it. Job said "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).  

"I came to this world with nothing, and I'll leave with nothing but love, everything else is just borrowed" (The Streets). The cure is LOVE. Lord I'm not putting my faith, my hope or my confidence in the things You have given me, but the love You have for me. For when things fade, when people walk away even when I grow old and pass away, your love is constant (Romans 8:35-39). The greatest commandment is you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and the second, is like it, you shall love your neighbour as yourself, on these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:36-40). Jesus said "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35). "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8) You can't love God who you cant see, if you can't love your brother who you can see (1 John 4:20-21). But how can you possibly love your neighbour as yourself, if you don't even love yourself? If you loved yourself would you try to become someone else? If you were content with what you were given would you covet? The commandments, including 'Thou shall not covet' are all summed up in '“You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law (Romans 13:8-10).




Thou Shall Not Covet (Part 1)

CONTENTMENT

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The quickest path to misery is covetousness, that want is never satisfied, because it's not the things it's the root of your desire. Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be CONTENT. I'm pretty sure nowadays more than ever we need more teaching on "Thou shall not covet" as opposed to "All the material things you will get" Because we have people out here looking at the neighbour trying to get all their things. It’s even worse you only want it because it's THEIRS. Key word: theirs. Exodus 20:17 You must not covet your neighbours’ house. You must not covet your neighbours’ wife nor his male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbour.”

Covetousness is rooted in jealousy, ungratefulness, self-centredness and a sense of entitlement, it leads to greed. Covetousness causes you to compete for things that were never yours. When you covet their FAVOUR you'll go broke trying to buy what they got for free. Be content and thank God for continually blessing you. We're all blessed, it's covetousness that will have you thinking God is being unfair. Focus on the measure you're graced to handle now. They may have gotten their 'things' in unholy ways, they may have many things and live unholy but when you're content you don't resent them. Psalm 37:1 Do not worry about the wicked, or envy those who do wrong. 

CAPACITY

Jamaicans say "Yuh too RED EYE" *chuckles* I’ve grown up hearing this saying, mostly when my belly was full and I still went up for more after seeing someone else’s plate of food. Key word: full. I like the way Bishop Noel Jones put it: “He gives according to each person’s ability (Matthew 25:15). According to your capacity to handle. God does not expect you to do more than you have the ability to do and He doesn’t expect you to do less. So why do we have envy? If one person can handle 5, one 2 and one 1, why is there envy? If I have a glass that’s full, why should it be envious of a sink that’s full, a tub that’s full, a lake that’s full, an ocean that’ full? If you’re full you’re full. The lake can’t hold the water that’s in the lake. You don’t have time to look at what God’s doing for someone else, you need to work on what He has given you to do for yourself. Too many people spend time looking outside of their gifts at how God is operating in other people’s lives. Peter asked ‘But what about this one?’ Jesus answered ‘What is that to you? You follow Me’”, (John 21:21-22). 

CHASE

Seek ye first the kingdom, your Heavenly Father knows what you need, chase after Him and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:32-33). One 'thing' we're encouraged to covet is to prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:39) because he who prophesies edifies the church (1 Corinthians 14:1-5). When you prophesy you give by building up, when you covet you tear down by trying to take what's not yours. In other words desire to bless others rather than be consumed with a desire to benefit yourself. Whilst the world pursues power and desires man made gifts, above all we pursue love, desiring spiritual gifts. Others may try and persuade you to cast longing eyes on someone else's elevation. Feeling forgotten may cause you to covet but God's got you! 1 Corinthians 2:9 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. You can appreciate without lusting over. So often we watch others in comparison, using it as a bar to measure our potential blessings but eye has not even seen what's uniquely yours. 

When your desire is purified you will delight yourself in the Lord and not things. He will GIVE you the DESIRES of your HEART (Psalm 37:4). If we only come to God because we want, want, want, gimme, gimme, gimme 'prosperity' without the rest of His word, we're not delighting in HIM. Promises are great but delight in Him also. Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Abraham was willing to sacrifice the very 'thing' he waited so long for (Genesis 22). Can you delight in God when you have to give it up? Can you trust Him, do good, dwell, wait and feed on His faithfulness when you're in lack? Can you be content when you're 'abased' not abounding? Yes you CAN. You can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). The wait exposes motive; what do you really want? When you're not getting your own way and hope is deferred can you still delight in God? That's the true test. When you have every 'right' to covet and complain, but Abraham confirmed his faith. Imagine, we want what's not ours when Abraham had to give up what was his.

CHRIST

The least we could do to honour God is be generous not covetous. Whenever you bless others you bless God (Matthew 25:31-46). "Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these you did it to Me" (Matthew 25:40). Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL these things shall be ADDED to you. The kingdom is not just made up of conspicuous ministries, it's definitely not a building, it's like the Body of Christ - people, it's in YOU (Luke 17:21). When you disregard and disrespect others, when you expect to reap without sowing, when you covet you're not operating in kingdom principles. A preacher made me laugh, in his sermon he mentioned praying and prophesying over someone, seeing great manifestations for him. This man had so many amazing testimonies to the point where the preacher said he wanted to lay hands on HIMSELF to claim the blessing.



This is Kingdom, when you can pour into others and as a result they end up with more 'things' than you but you don't covet, because we bless for a greater good, not for selfish gain. That 'blessed man' was so humble (not puffed up, he gave God glory) and managed his blessing (stewardship) in a way that impacted many. You may covet their things not knowing that they only have more things in order to become a greater SERVANT. It's an assignment and purpose. Matthew 20:25-28 ... “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Jella Gem (11)


Having a lack of confidence doesn't mean you're not qualified, but it does rob you of a level of ease in execution, enjoyment in the process and satisfaction with the end result. This could be down to perfectionism, struggling with unrealistic expectations of yourself and never quite being comfortable with receiving praise or credit. You believe in God, that's great, but sometimes you have to believe in yourself too. Philippians 4:13 "I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me " Not "He'll do all things and I'll sit here and watch". You can do it!!! Faith without works is dead (James 2:14). Be encouraged and empowered, you're not doing it alone.








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 alive...as 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).