Same God

As I type this, I’m listening to this.

I have had so many moments of doubt. They are countless… So many times, I smiled and acted like I believed that God would show Himself strong but at the back of my mind I ask myself, will He? Or will I be embarrased? I’d smile nod and say Amen but deep inside it’s a warzone. At the back of my mind I know He can and He will but when I look at the situation, I don’t know how it would possibly work.

My moments of doubt have decrease as I remind myself of my God and a few of the known things that He has done:

Same God who created the universe by His word

Same God who gave a child to a 90 year old woman

Same God who provided Abraham’s ram when he was about to sacrifice his only son

Same God who turned Joseph, a prisoner into a governor

Same God who appeared as a burning bush that wouldn’t be consumed

Same God who parted the Red Sea

Same God who rises the dead

Same God who heals the sick

Same God who turned water into wine

Same God who walked on water

Same God who fed 5,000 with two loaves and five fish

Same God who kept Jonah alive in the belly of a whale

Same God who saved Saul, a persecutor of Christians into one of the greatest teachers on our relationship with Christ

Same God who gave His only son as a pure sacrifice for my filth

Same God, has never changed…remains the same. Regardless of my situation, He remains healer, provider, protector, way maker, miracle worker, father. That same powerful God loves me, He loves you. So however big you think your situation is, remember, we have a faithful God. He NEVER changes, He is consistent, Not like shifting shadows

He is the same God.

 

 

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Joy

_Joy however, is not dependent on the temporary but on the eternal. It is the response of our soul when it encounters God._ (1)

Let Go.

A week ago, as my friend and I strolled home after Bible Study, we talked about where we were spiritually. I admitted that I was in a stagnant place and was frustrated about where I was. In a state of being out of work for a while, not feeling like praying, my projects stalling, money being scarce, having a cyst… I told her, ‘Yes, I know that God is good… Yes, I know that He is always with me… I know that He is my provider… He is my protector and I know all the words of encouragement but I’m feeling disillusioned and alone’. She understood. She didn’t tell me to, ‘pray about it or try to read the Bible’. She told me that as I spoke all that was ringing in her head was, ‘Let Go’. She told me that I needed to be okay with things not being okay because God is in control.

A few days later, I stumbled upon this short story that I wrote last year. Such a lovely surprise it was. Most importantly, it was a reminder, a reminder that in Christ I have everything I need. Enjoy.

Her feet were hurting. She should have accepted to have a guide walk with her through the forest. But she needed space. Space to think. Space to feel. Space to let go. She had been quite low for a while now. She had no time to feel overwhelmed with what was going on around her. In between school, her demanding and underpaying sales job, her ailing grandmother, her philandering boyfriend…or was he? Her financial troubles… she had become a shell of who she really was. She was a walking zombie. She had forgotten what it felt like to be at peace, to have joy, to be genuinely happy. She had forgotten the sound of her own laughter, the sound of an excited heartbeat. She had forgotten the last time she had smiled. She was barely existing. Her feet were hurting even more. She wanted to stop and sit down. She thought about going back the way she had come but she couldn’t. She was lost. She stopped a while. She was lost in everything. Lost in life. Lost in this forest. And suddenly all the emotion she had bottled up for the last few months came up. She couldn’t control it. Tears started streaming down her face. She thought that tears were weakness. So she fought to stop them. She continued walking, ignoring the pain in her feet. More tears. She told herself to stop the childishness. More tears. She couldn’t control them. She sat against a tree, hugged her knees and sobbed. She only stopped when she began feeling lighter. At that moment she decided to let go and let God handle her issues. She stood up and started walking resolvedly, still not knowing where she was going and suddenly walked into a clearing of the forest. She stopped and took a deep breath. She lifted her head letting the rays of sunshine caress her face.  A smile slowly spread across her tear-stained face. She thought of how random God is. How He knew the sweetest little things that would make her smile. How He knew exactly when to come through for her. And how He knew the best way of coming through for her. She needed this clearing. She needed a reminder that even in the darkest nights, dawn will come.

Revelation 1:17: “Then He placed His right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”

 

Easter

What does Christ’s death and resurrection mean to you? As you celebrate Easter, what value does this holiday have to you?

I’ve been reading a fictional novel by Edmund Jonah titled Yeshua. It follows the life of Christ and part of His ministry. It made me think of Jesus as a person. As a human being… As one who could have possibly said no to all the pain and suffering that He had to go through for other people’s sins.

First, he left his heavenly majestic home to be born in a manger. He wasn’t from a very well of family and if what I understand about Nazareth is correct, it was probably a low income family. His father was a capenter, not much is said about what Mary did.

Secondly, he was not good looking. I know beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder but as Isaiah 53:2 says, ‘...He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him‘.

Thirdly, he had odd disciples. Not even one teacher of the law was amongst the 12. It was people we wouldn’t normally associate with. Fishermen, A tax collector… He generally associated with people who we’d frown upon. Remember, the lady who poured perfume on his feet and wiped it off with her hair… she was formerly a prostitute.

He did not curse a single person who wronged him… Yet he had so much power… He had the power to free himself but He didn’t. He was all about humility… Remember what he said about giving… don’t  show off… what he said about praying… it’s not a ‘how loud can you get’ competition… it’s between you and the Father.

During this season, as we watched a clip of the movie, ‘The Passion of Christ’ by Mel Gibson, a comment was made that the movie, especially the whipping part may have been exaggerated because that is too much for one person to bear. I feel that it probably doesn’t get close to what he bore for us:

4Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

7He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

8By oppressiona and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?

Isaiah 53

When I think about the cross… I think of the crown of thorns, I think of the lashings, I think of the jeers, I think of the nails tearing through skin, flesh and bone, I think of being hung on a cross, his body sagging but the nails holding him up, I think of such amazing love. When I think of the lengths that Christ went took to fulfill his purpose, I wonder whether I’m I ready and willing to go to do whatever to fulfill God’s will in my life… and especially if it involves people I don’t think are deserving…

 

 

The Wilderness

Today, during a catch up session with my friend Po, she mentioned ‘the wilderness’… That sometimes we have to go through some sort of ‘wilderness’. I had to stop her and remind her about an incident that happened a few years ago.

I went to visit her and was very emotional…very emotional… their was alot going on in my life then. I had just made a faith decision to go back to school…I barely had money to get me through the semester, my mother was unwell and had to travel abroad for treatment… I was constantly worried, I had been a bridesmaid in two or more weddings that year, my friends had ‘found love’ and were getting married…there was no hope for me in that area and there was some sort of pressure to find ‘someone’… I was constantly second guessing myself and wondering whether I really was hearing from God or was on my own…

What’s funny is that life for me, only got harder, but I was/am coping better. Some things improved while others got worse but, I’m mostly at peace. When I really think about it, I learnt how to lay my burden’s at Christ’s feet. I learnt how to trust in God…that’s a common phrase that is easier said than done. However, this is a decision that I,m learning to make daily. A perfect example of how I’ve found peace in the most unideal situations is in my current situation. I had to move back home because, I couldn’t afford living on my own anymore. I had run out of money and was quickly running out of hope. I’ve not had a job in a while but had faith that something would come up…nothing did.

Two weeks ago, I took time off to pray at a secluded location and found peace in moving back home. And I’ve been at peace since… which to me was weird because I thought that I’d have sleepless nights feeling embarrassed that I am one of ‘those’ single 30 year old who cannot stand on their own two feet. I was worried of what people would say or think… I was worried that this was my destiny…that things would never change but I remember what His word says in Philippians 4: 6 & 7:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. So daily when I get reminders of a million reasons why I should worry, I lay it at His feet.

There’s something about being in the wilderness that changes you. It strengthens you and builds your character. Look at Paul’s statement in Romans 5: 3-5  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. It has also taught me to look upwards and to avoid relying on my own understanding Proverbs 3:5 & 6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

Time

Recently while decluttering my mum’s house, I came across some of my old stuff. A birthday card from my 8th birthday, a short composition about myself when I was 10, a magazine featuring my classmates that my friend and I wrote when we were 11, many success cards from family and friends for a major primary school exam.

My acceptance letter into High School, notes and little cards we passed to each other while in class. Letters from my family and friends in other High schools… I spent a lot of time taking photos and sending them to friends that I’m still in touch with. So many were hilarious… One of the funny ones to me said, ‘You must be stupid to think that the Sahara Desert was once an ocean’… This was after a Geography class where I had suggested the same… Then after notes, little encouragement ‘pass it on’ cards, were more success cards for a major High School exam that would determine whether or not you’d go to University.

I found little ‘chats’ that some of my friends and I would have during lectures, Letters to God (these were so many…and they started in High School when I’d beg that God miraculously clears my acne to when I’d pray for grace in my relationships). Then congratulation cards and my treasured journals/prayer books.

This activity was dusty fun… As I read some of the notes I picked up a few lessons about time:

i. Value the people you have around you, they won’t always be there. My high school deskmate passed on, so have a few other people who had signed cards or who I remember from those phases of life… Others have moved away and we lost touch… I was reminded to treat people like I only had that particular day with them… Do not take people for granted.

ii. Worry is so silly! It’s natural but silly! I looked at the different things I worried about when I was in primary school, high school and university and I now wonder how I would worry about such ‘petty’ things. I’m sure that there are things I worry about now such as finding a job, a spouse and my thesis that I’ll look back at in a few years and smile. In short, trust God! Proverbs 3: 5 & 6.

iii. As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:1- There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. There are different seasons in life, good and bad…I’m learning to enjoy whatever season I’m in. Even when I don’t like it… And I have to remind myself that, ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time‘- Ecclesiastes 3:11.

iv. Nothing is permanent… Just that…Nothing is permanent. Today you’re rich, tomorrow you’re poor…Today you’re poor, tomorrow you’re rich. Today you’re healthy, tomorrow disease. Today disease and so sure of death, tomorrow health… You catch my drift…

What lessons have you learnt about time, over time?