Sunday, March 22, 2015

Failure Is Wisdom Gained (PART 2)

Good Intentions

Nobody said you didn't have good intentions, even the Apostle Paul spoke openly of his struggle to do what is right: 

Romans 7:15-21 "I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong."

Nobody said you didn't have a plan. You tried, you were intentional with your decisions and careful with your steps but it still ended in failure. Though spectators may judge you, telling you what you should have done, could have done and if they were you what they 'would have' done, remember God sees all. Man looks at the appearance but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Eliab thought he knew David's intentions but he was wrong (1 Samuel 17:28-29). They think they know but they have no idea. To man it looks as though you are unworthy, but God will cover your shame. 

Redefining Success

Some of the things we are cursing God has been blessing - for instance: Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek... Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled... Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake etc etc (Matthew 5:1-12) this tells me that even those hard things are producing a greater work within us and God's greatest concern is our inner man - be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven! In that season of longing and suffering, (yes 'season', because seasons change - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) though physically you feel as though you are perishing let your mind be renewed (Romans 12:2). Sometimes we are strengthened by the things we thought would break us and some of us have been led astray by the things we thought would make us. To each his own measure. Christ, though He was a Son, learnt obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:8) and as joint heirs those who suffer with Christ will be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17). 

I pray that we grow in understanding and sensitivity, be gently reminded that we are not exempt from suffering and that doesn't make us wrong. When you see someone else 'going through it' think before you cast a stone (John 8:7). Good success doesn't necessarily/just make you look good, it reflects God's goodness. Maybe your failure is a set up for a come up that the works of God might be revealed (John 9:3). His glory will be seen upon you (Isaiah 60:1:3). Reflect upon your definition of success. When we change our definition we can adjust our expectations. Some people are only depressed because they are a failure by someone else's definition. Aspiring to live up to their expectations will make you miserable. Success to me is overcoming obstacles. Success is never giving up even when I have every reason to. Success is seeing the fruit of my hands (Proverbs 31:31). Success is fulfilling my purpose. Success is being able to bless someone else. Success is learning to love when the love of many around me grows cold (Matthew 24:12). Success is enduring with joy intact. Success is making God smile (Hebrews 11:6). Success is beating the odds. Success for me is getting the 'last laugh' even if it means I have to cry now. Those who sow in tears will reap in joy (Psalm 126:5-6). God has made me laugh and all who hear will laugh with me (Genesis 21:6). He will turn your mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11).  

Decreeing The Outcome

I also pray that you find success in this life, that you prosper in all things and be in good health (3 John 1:2). Every good and perfect gift is from the Father (James 1:17), if our earthly fathers can give good gifts then how much more our heavenly Father? Ask and you shall receive (Matthew 7:7-12) have faith and put that into action (James 2:14-26). My success is not measured by someone else's story but by how far I have come from where I started. Your success cannot be measured by my accomplishments but by how far YOU have come from where you started. The fact that you made it here is something. 'How Far' doesn't relate to social mobility or status but personal growth. Refrain from comparing yourself and measuring your definition of success against others. Resist the temptation to chase after material gain to keep up with others. What does it profit to gain the whole world but lose YOUR soul? (Matthew 16:26). God is a rewarder and a restorer, He will compensate. He will heal the broken hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, comfort all who mourn and give you the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:1-3). He can give you back what you lost and more. God says "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten..." (Joel 2:25). 

I declare that failure is not your identity. I rebuke any form of shame and every tie that would try to hold you back is broken in Jesus name. Press on towards the goal, leave former things behind and reach forward in faith to those things which are ahead (Philippians 3:12-14). Stop replaying the pain of rejection, make yourself ready and available for what belongs to you. May your failures humble you, may they teach you, train you and give you a testimony. You will grow in times of testing and bounce back from every disappointment.  For when the desire comes it is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12). Your low places will give you the roots to sustain you in high places and the wisdom gained will exalt you to your place of success. Amen. 1 Samuel 2:7-8 The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. “For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them.

Failure Is Wisdom Gained (PART 1)

Fear of Failure 




I know it's not straight forward but God said "I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron" (Isaiah 45:2). In other words, where there is no way He will make a way. Every obstacle fear poses as a threat God exposes as a distraction. A way has always been prepared. There are great things lined up for you, don't let fear rob you. Cut ties with fear. It comes under the guise of a friend but it's really a thief. At first it sounds similar to 'Stay safe' but fear is really saying 'Stop and stay there' it will paralyse you. We have to set our minds to persevere because fear and failure can be a deadly combination. Fear is the imagination - false evidence appearing real but failure is the reality - a experience of defeat, coming to nothing or missing the mark. God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). When our environment is full of discouragement we fix our eyes on things unseen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).


Comfort zones are 'safe' but you limit your growth when you remain there. New doors come with an element of risk but also opportunity to reach your full potential. You don't need anyone's help to stay on the same level, you can do that by yourself. Release the doubters from your mental space."You can't do that" maybe they have a point but you never know until you try and in your willingness to work you will find your strengths. Maybe I can't do it on my own but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). It's not just fear that causes us to list our limitations, it is our reality! The repentant sinner was not imagining his situation, it was very real so much so that he would not raise his eyes to heaven but only beat his chest saying "God be merciful to me" (Luke 18-9-14). Unlike the self-righteous who act like they have no flaws, through his failures he gained true wisdom - the realisation that it is not by his might or strength but by God's Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). Not one of us is above failure, but we don't need to fear it either. If God is bigger than your fear so should your faith be. 



Rising and Falling 


Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honour. You weren't humiliated you were humbled and with humility comes honour. Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man may fall seven times, and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity. Failure isn't necessarily saying "Don't try again" rather it is advising you "Next time... and then you will succeed". You will rise again! Even failures help you grow, they show you what you need to work on. Failure says: REVISE, next time listen, stress is futile, you were on the right track but timing is everything, they're haters LEF them. That's right, anything can motivate you if you let it. 

Lessons from failure: I'm not saying you can't float, I'm just pointing out that there's holes in your boat (I really didn't want this to rhyme). When you keep going back to that place of failure without getting anything from it, you are wasting time you don't have. Life is short. Make your failures work for you, wisdom is the reward. Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to the wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. I'm moving forward. People who repeatedly cry over their mistakes rather than learning from them will continually go round in circles. "I'm sure I've been here before". Don't be deceived, not everyone calls it bondage some call it 'comfort'. They're going back because it's familiar and 'safe'. And those of us walking with them will say "You do know you're going back where we just came from?". 




Where is God in this?
God doesn't wish for us to fail but falling to some extent is inevitable, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Get up gracefully and value all of your lessons. All things work to the good of those who love God according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Is it in God's purpose for me to be successful? Well, first tell me what is your definition of success? God spoke to Joshua about good success that would make his way prosperous (Joshua 1:8). How could Joshua obtain this? By meditating in the Book of the Law day and night (Matthew 4:4). My people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6) but not just any worldly knowledge, we destroy ourselves when we reject the law of God. Success can mean many things but not all success is good success. Yet you can be poor, unknown with no ambition, that doesn't make you anymore holy than someone who has many possessions. It's not what you have, it's what has you. 

The Psalm says "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:11). At times, it may feel like God's word is difficult to digest as it often reveals our failures. What then? Are we better than they? Not at all (Romans 3:9-20). Change your perception and in time you will change your posture. What man observes himself in a mirror goes away and forgets what kind of man he was (James 1:23-24). The law exposed our shortcomings but only so that we could see ourselves and our need for a saviour. Jesus fulfilled the law with His sacrifice (Matthew 5:17, Galatians 3:19-25). Through God's grace and our faith in Him we are no longer bound by our failures. It is not by the law or by works but faith that we are made righteous. The promise is granted through faith not through the law (Romans 4:13-16). You can stop beating yourself up now. No one is good but One, that is God (Luke 18:19). Go boldly to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). He loves you deeply and love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). He loves you beyond your failures. 


Saturday, March 21, 2015

AWOL

I'm sending my apologies to my blog visitors and faithful readers, it has been a while since I last posted but I'm still here... AWOL - absent. without. leave. 

I have been tweeting a lot of word, truth and my thoughts but I haven't found the time to publish posts, the spare time I do find I have spent creating, mainly painting. I'm sure I have mentioned before that 'balance' is one of my favourite words, yet in certain seasons of life a particular commitment may become dominant. I sometimes think I must seem so inconsistent, but it is also important for us to know when to be quiet, whether that is to reconsider, rest or refill. That being said, this is relatively consistent of me; of my main passions throughout my life - arts & crafts, poetry, dance, singing/song-writing - there have been seasons where I assumed that one was dead when it was only sleeping. 

Sometimes we are merely preparing and training ourselves in one area before we go on to work on the next, even if you can do 'everything' you can't do everything at once. If you can do 'everything' you certainly cannot do it all alone. In many ways all of 'these things' come naturally to me, but I have wondered why I struggle to pick one, and then I conclude that I don't want to and I don't have to. I will continue to use what I have in my hand. Everything starts with a seed, when you water it faithfully what seemed so small and insignificant can grow to be bigger than you. Matthew 25:29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 

When I reflect on 'Jo The Dreamer' and realise that we've been going strong since 2010, I'm pleasantly surprised, for years I kept so much to myself but in realising my purpose my openness is expanding.  I'm consciously getting back into the habit of sharing and slapping myself on the wrist whenever I'm tempted to hoard. I have a lot to say and I will probably make up for it by bombarding your eyes and ears with words, and as long as those words have meaning I hope I won't have to apologise for that too :) 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

For All Hearts

Remember, the Pharisees exalted their 'intellect' and that pride caused them to hypocritically hold people to the letter of the law and not the Spirit (Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:4-6). They chose the oldness of the letter over the newness of the Spirit, though it is the letter that kills and the Spirit who gives life. They thought knowledge of the law elevated them above the rest, but head knowledge is not the same as heart. 
Outwardly they looked righteous but inwardly were full of extortion and self-indulgence (Matthew 23). They did all their works to be seen by men and bound others with heavy burdens that they themselves would not move a finger to lift. See to it that no one takes you captive and cheats you through philosophy and empty deceit according to the tradition of men and not according to Christ (Colossians 2:8).If they had humbled themselves and showed compassion they would not have been judged so harshly. If they had used wisdom and not just an appearance of wisdom then they would realise that the plank in their eye was far greater than the speck in their brother's (Matthew 7:1-5). Even when Jesus sees the oak tree in our pupils (loool) He loves us. Jesus was always moved with COMPASSION (Mark 1:41, Matthew 14:14, Luke 7:13, John 11:35). The Pharisees however had none, they watched Christ HEAL a man on the Sabbath and all they could think of was law to the letter. They had hardened hearts (Mark 3:1-6).
This is a call to check your heart (2 Corinthians 13:5). Don't get carried away with lofty thoughts, we cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5). True knowledge of God is not to know OF Him but to know Him, to know His Character (I AM____) and His heart, to have a relationship and not mere religion. Not to find yourself in a position where you have done all these works in His name and He says to you "Depart from Me, I never knew you" (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus said they honour me with their lips but their hearts are far away (Matthew 15:8-9). Is it all in vain? The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, but God searches it and tests the mind (Jeremiah 17:9-10). He said "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
In a culture where vulnerability is seen as weakness we celebrate cold hearts by perceiving detachment as strength. We have become densentisized. Something has to move you, enough of tears that only fall in manipulation and selfish protest, if you only feel for yourself your heart is hardened. The funny thing is even a hard heart still feels. You are human, you cannot escape it. Even God came down in human form (Philippians 2:5-11) so why do we curse it? He took on the likeness of men because He loves the WORLD (John 3:16-17). He didn't come here to stand on the sidelines and condemn it but to walk among us and save it! Your Kingdom come Your will be done on EARTH as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Trying to disconnect from humanity will only cause you to feel bitterness, hatred, anger and apathy. The Pharisees didn't see Jesus as God or a man, they simply perceived Him to be a threat to their kingdom. A hard heart rationalises wickedness, it was alright to kill Him because it made 'sense' (John 11:45-53) to eliminate the competition. Yet these were the same men who condemned others for far less? Legalism doesn't change your heart's condition.
You are human and you have been blessed with emotion. Closing yourself off and shutting people out doesn't make you exempt, it just suppresses what will always exist. If you're going to feel something regardless, you may as well TRAIN your heart and soul to be MOVED by the RIGHT things. Don't raise your finger to burden others, lift your hand because compassion moved you to share the load. Don't cry because it didn't go your way, weep because someone lost their way and rejoice because God kept you. There is nothing wrong with emotion, there is nothing weak about being moved. You don't have to follow your emotions, manage them and they will follow you. Balance in all things, while you're thinking it through don't forget to check how you feel. X

Illustrative: Passion Never Stops










Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mary Mother of Jesus

Do not be afraid, for you have found favour with God (Luke 1:30).

I wonder, did Mary ever feel unworthy? 

UNWORTHY
  • ·    A feeling of unworthiness - Not being acceptable, undeserving of position, unqualified for attention, unsuitable for the role, simply not good enough for the job.
  • ·    Humility - Being down to earth and grounded, lacking pride and vanity, modest and meek, mindful of others, only lowering yourself to put love over ego and others before self.
  • ·   False humility - Self-defeatist and in some ways self-absorbed as it is preoccupied with feelings of inferiority. False humility cannot receive, it cannot accept a compliment, it cannot be comforted by encouragement and it dismisses prophecies of good. False humility thinks shining is offensive, promotion is a temptation and that blessings are to be feared.

God says “Well done my good and faithful servant” for the works you have done (Matthew 25:23), and He calls you “Highly favoured one” for no reason at all, other than the fact that He chose you (Luke 1:28). You can earn a reward but you can’t earn favour. Favour is goodwill and generosity, it is down to the kindness of the giver, not necessarily the goodness of the favoured. Favour is an act of love and approval. Love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4); He waited for you to show you His favour. Patiently with loving kindness He has drawn you (Jeremiah 31:3). Hebrews 11:6 tells us that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” and He is, but He has and He will choose those who weren’t even looking for Him. After all isn’t that how you came into the kingdom? “I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me” (Isaiah 45:4).


Those we would deem unacceptable He called, those the Jews would have marked unclean based on law and traditions, those that men of great stature would think to be small and insignificant, He chose. What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor (Psalm 8:4-5). Like the disciple that Jesus loved (John 21:20), people may look for fault in you, “What about this man?” but what is it to them? (John 21:21-22). Only Jesus is perfect, you are beloved because He chose to love you. Even if it is through nothing but love and grace towards you, on some level you become deserving, you become worthy, and when you learn that you are worthy of love you grow in self-confidence.

CONFIDENT

Confidence is not the same as pride. Confidence is balanced. Pride is blind and will cause you to stumble (Proverbs 16:18). Confidence can say: I have flaws but I’m still beautiful, I make mistakes but I’m still skilled, I have room to grow but I’m still gifted. Confidence can honestly confess it's wrong (Romans 7:21) “Oh wretched man that I am” (Romans 7:24) and it meets with humility to express gratitude when it's sins are covered (Luke 7:47). Confidence can beat it's chest in repentance (Luke 18:9-14) but won’t ever walk away without receiving mercy. For, humility does not stop us from boldly going to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Humility did not stop Moses from asking “Please, show me Your glory” (Exodus 33:18).

God resists the proud, gives grace to the humble (James 4:6) and tells us not to cast away our confidence (Hebrews 10:35). Confident in this very thing that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). He will perfect that which concerns us, His mercy endures forever, and He will not forsake the work of His hands (Psalm 138:8). So though I am weak, I am strong (Joel 3:10) for “His grace is sufficient for me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). A Gentile woman showed her faith by persevering in the face of rejection. Jesus told her “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs”, and she said “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table” (Matthew 15:27). Even I can receive. Jesus answered and said to her “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you, as you desire”, and her daughter was healed from that very hour. There are some things you will only get when you confidently pursue them, and other things will seemingly drop in your lap, but it’s the same grace.

GIFTED

Luke 1:26-28 "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’”. The angel told Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God, Son of the Highest, whose kingdom will have no end. When she asked how this could be, the angel told Mary that she would be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and conceive supernaturally. With God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37). 

A gift is a gift because it was given freely (Matthew 10:8) you didn't buy it, but you gladly received it. You don’t need to wonder ‘Why?’ and you don’t need to worry ‘How?’  If she can say yes then so can we. We’re not birthing Jesus, how 'minuscule' is our destiny in comparison (if you compare). On the 29/08/14 I had thoughts on Mary the mother of Jesus in line with the concept of worthiness, I discussed this with a friend who was visiting me. On the 31/08/14 I read an Elijah List post (prophetic website) and the writer was sharing the baby dreams she had been having. She confirmed the train of thought I was on, and shared the lesson of the first dream: She had to be like Mary “who gave her will over to the Lord”. She didn’t speak on worthiness, instead she mentioned trouble.

TROUBLED

"The promise is going to turn your life upside down, and you want to pretend it isn’t real". "There’s nothing you can do about it", you can only hide a pregnancy for so long. Just accept the call. In this life we will have many troubles (John 16:33), but I want to walk through those troubled times a blessed person (Deuteronomy 28:1-2). Mary was troubled for a little while but soon after she arose and acted on the word of knowledge by setting out to visit Elizabeth (Luke 1:36-45). She was troubled but obedient. The gift that was a joy to her and the world, also brought her great sorrow for the sacrifice that came with it. God’s grace is always sufficient. Because of the Lord’s great mercies we are not consumed, for His compassions fail not (Lamentations 3:22).

Mary did not despise the prophecy (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21), the fact that she was a virgin, could possibly lose Joseph her fiancĂ©, and be falsely accused of promiscuity aside, she just accepted the call. There is only one mother of Jesus, and there will never be another. What a massive privilege, she was carrying the greatest gift to mankind. Did she earn it? How could she? When you can’t accept the grace of being chosen, gifts can be weights and burdens too. When you fear more than you believe, big dreams can be intimidating and great hope can seem foolish. When it sounds too good to be true, faith becomes a fairy-tale and manifestation a myth. And if it were true, what makes you worthy?

False humility will get you nowhere. Never think yourself unworthy of healing. Jesus asked “Do you want to be made well?”(John 5:6). When He saw that the sick man had already  been in that condition a long time, He knew there was a chance that his broken place had become his comfort zone. Would he remain self-defeating and self-pitying or would he get up? Jesus is the lifter of your head (Psalm 3:3) and there is a time when He will simply tell you to pick up your mat and walk (John 5:8). From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11:12); you will never get it cowering in the corner. “But Lord, how can I? I am the least of my house” (Judges 6:15), surely He will be with you. With God nothing is impossible, a virgin gave birth to our saviour, Mary the mother of Immanuel, which is translated “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).





Sunday, December 21, 2014

You'll Be On Time


24/03/2014 DREAM

I was sent to London by an important employer. A colleague and I had important business to begin and both of us were keen to get there as early as possible. We were told last minute, so getting to the location on time would be a matter of organisation skills. On the morning of the day, I left out and everything imaginable went wrong, I even got distracted looking for food to buy because I was worn out from the stress of experiencing delay after delay. Buses at a standstill and trains I had to wait on. Then suddenly I was taken back to the day before, as if someone had pressed rewind. This was my chance to go ahead. I heard the words: "I sent you ahead so that you'd be on time."

_________________________________________________________________________

I had this dream earlier this year but here towards the end of 2014, I feel like sharing it. Maybe because the end of the year and the beginning of another is often a time of reflection. You might not be where you want to be yet but you'll get there and you'll get there on time.

Esther 4:14 "....Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”