Category Archives: christian

Suffering for righteousness

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There are a few questions that have been on my mind for quite some time. Why is it that my life became more difficult when I decided to pursue righteousness and live for Christ? Why does it seem like life is easier for my non-believing friends? The concept of suffering for righteousness is difficult, but one we can overcome by grace. Desiring the life we had before salvation is a deceptive mind-set with no substance- we belonged to the enemy.  Now belonging to Jesus and salvation being our portion, spiritual attacks increase upon the children of God. Self-pity only makes one feel worse and discipleship never meant our earthly lives would become easier for accepting Jesus into our lives.

An example of this is John the Baptist. Born to obedient parents (Luke 1:6 Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly), his birth was predestined and foretold by his father having an encounter with an angel:

Luke 1:13-17 But the angel said to him: Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.  He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Moreover, he was the cousin of Jesus and was already a blessing before he was even born (Luke 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit). When the angel delivered the message concerning John the Baptist to Zechariah, he did not say that he would suffer for righteousness but spoke about the blessing he would be to God’s people.

As John the Baptist pursued his God ordained purpose, he did not eat the fanciest food, nor was he dressed in royal robes (Mark 1:4-6 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey). He lived a humble life, and far for what the earthly standards would portray as ‘being blessed’.

Whilst doing the work of God, people would speak maliciously of him, yet he was blameless (Luke 7:33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon). One would wonder why a blessed man of God and a cousin of Jesus would undergo persecution. Moreover, the innocent man was brutally murdered, simply for speaking the truth:

(Luke 14:3-12 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet. On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist. “The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus).

Whenever the trials of this world overwhelm you and it seems you are the only one encountering suffering, remember John the Baptist. His character, calling and ministry. His suffering was beyond his life, and through him, God has made the way for all of us. Even for you, He will use your suffering to become a testimony and to save generations from perishing- it is beyond what we can see!

Jesus encourages us on suffering by stating the following:

Matthew 11:7-11 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.  This is the one about whom it is written: I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you. Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

We thank God that He has chosen us to partake in His suffering and that of John the Baptist, for we are indeed blessed.

I want to encourage you today to take courage, you are not alone. Within the body of Christ, we all encounter struggles differently. There are people in the bible who experienced worse struggles than we have faced and yet God was pleased with them. It was the way He had preordained their lives to be and as disciples of Christ we will suffer for righteousness. No matter what arrow the enemy tries to throw your way, you shall overcome, the goodness of the Lord shall remain over your life and salvation shall remain your portion in Jesus name.

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Forgiveness after betrayal

Think back at a time in your life when you were betrayed. How did you feel? What type of emotions did you have towards the person who betrayed you? Did you love and embrace them? Did you forgive them? Are you still holding on to the pain in your heart? Recently, I found myself replaying these questions over and over again. I could just not grasp why someone so close to me would betray me- After everything I have done for her”. And even after repetitively declaring that “I had forgiven her”, the anger and bitterness did not fade. In fact, I felt justified to not forgive her or ever speak to her again.

The Lord then convicted me, and reminded me of His own betrayal. The people He loved, prayed for, and walked with  turned their backs on Him, and yet He was blameless. Peter was chosen by Jesus to walk with Him and be a disciple. He knew Jesus personally and witnessed Him proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing sickness and diseases (read the book of Matthew). Jesus even healed Peter’s mother in law (Matthew 8:14-15 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.  He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him).

Jesus declared a blessing over Peter’s life (Matthew 16:17-19 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”).

And Peter was privileged enough to witness supernatural encounters 

(Matthew 17:1-8 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him! ”When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.  But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus).

And after all this, Peter still denied Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man! Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly).

In addition to this, His other disciple Judas betrayed Him  (read the book of Matthew) and yet Jesus still referred to Him as His friend (Matthew 26:47-50 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.”  Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come? ”Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him).

How many of us would love, embrace and forgive someone after encountering all this pain and hardship and still call them our friend? My prayer for us today is that God gives us the grace to be more Christ-like and have a more forgiving heart. Let our eyes be fixed on Him and not humans, who will let us down- as HE never will.

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Forgiveness after betrayal- prayer

Dear heavenly Father,

I thank You for this time and for allowing me to come into Your presence. I thank You for my life and that of my loved ones. Thank You that though I am a sinner, You still chose to love me. I repent of all the sins that I have committed, knowing and unknowingly. I pray that You will have mercy upon me. Father, there are many emotions I am feeling concerning the betrayal of (state the person’s name). My prayer is that You will help me to forgive him/her. Forgiveness does not come naturally, and I pray that You will give me the grace to forgive (Matthew 18:21-22). I pray that You will heal me from this experience and help me to let go. Teach me to fix my eyes on You and not on man. Help me to put my trust in You, knowing that You will not disappoint me. Help me to acknowledge that (state the person’s name) is human and not perfect. Thank You for allowing me to go through experience. I believe something good will come out of this. I pray for (state the person’s name) that You will forgive him/her and have mercy upon his/her life. I speak Your blessings over (state the person’s name) life and that You will meet his/her needs. I pray that I will embrace (state the person’s name) and see him/her the way You do. I come against any lie of the enemy, any spirit of unforgiveness, bitterness and anger in the name of Jesus. I pray that I will only declare blessings over (state the person’s name) and not curses. In Jesus name, AMEN.

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Fifth time lucky

Seventeen, an age most teenagers in the UK anticipate turning one day. It is the year one becomes eligible to apply for a provisional driving licence. Less than a decade ago, this was me. I had fantasized about the way my driving test would go; moreover I envisioned my first car. Never did I anticipate that it would have taken much longer for this vision to materialize.  

I was the first one out of my group of friends to start driving lessons, and ended up being the last to obtain my full driving licence (Matthew 20:16 “In the same way, the last will be first, and the first will be last, because many are called, but few are chosen”). As much as I prayed, believed, fasted and anointed myself with oil, I just kept failing. I didn’t understand how someone who was trying to do things “God’s way” could not pass a simple driving test. It was disheartening and embarrassing. At one point, I started to doubt where God was: “God, if You are there, surely You will help me pass my driving test”. I quoted scriptures but it just wasn’t working.I stopped believing in myself and my faith was low.  

The Lord kept sending messengers and dreams my way encouraging me that I would pass my driving test. I questioned God and wondered whether He could see my current situation, the self-doubt, shame and the money I was investing into this “thing”. I would pray for people and they would pass their driving test, yet I kept failing. I just didn’t understand why God would allow such a thing to happen. Many people continued to ask me whether I had passed yet or how many times I had failed. I would usually change the subject – I felt humiliated and disheartened.

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I gave up on “trying” to pass my driving test and surrendered it to God. I said to Him “In Your timing you will allow me to obtain my licence”. That was two years ago. A few months ago, my friend Gladys encouraged me to take up driving again. She continued to motivate me to take a leap of faith and that this time around I would pass. Then three months ago, my prayer partner said God had shown him that I needed a car for ministry purposes and that the time had come to take the test. All the previous emotions started to come back to me: fear of failure, shame, discouragement, financial loss. But I knew I had to face my fears, and surely if this time round God had sent His messengers, He would not allow me to fail (Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”).

With the little faith I had, I took the driving test. After the test, the examiner gave me my practical driving test pass certificate. In disbelief, I asked him whether he was sure I had passed. He responded “Oh ye of little faith”. At that moment I knew that God was with me all along (Matthew 17:20 “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you”).

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We all have things in our hearts we deeply desire and we are wondering where God is. I want to encourage you today, that regardless of how your current situation looks, Jesus is still on the throne and has not forgotten about you! If God has promised you that something will happen, there is nothing satan can do – it has to come to pass (Habakkuk 2:3 “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry”).

I have learnt in life that we cannot compete with God, He knows what is best for us even when we cannot comprehend why particular things happen to us. Only God knows why He allowed me to take this long to obtain my licence. Perhaps He foresaw a car accident? Only He knows (Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”).

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One thing I know is that He always wants the best for His children (Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”). This experience has taught me to fully surrender to God, be patient and not be ashamed of my scars. You never know who you will inspire with your testimony. A Christian sister asked me today “How could you openly tell people you have failed your driving test 5 times, that’s embarrassing!”. I would rather be honest and give all the glory to God than pretend I failed once or twice. 

Let us thank God for the things He does for us. It may not be at the time we wish things to occur but it will still happen.

Fifth time lucky – prayer 

Dear heavenly Father,  

I thank You so much for this time Lord. I thank You that although at times I may feel forgotten, You never forget about me. I thank You for my life and for the fresh grace and mercy You pour upon my life daily (Lamentations 3:22-23 “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning). Father, today I bring before you (state your heart’s desire). Lord You know how much I desire to see this come to pass. I have tried everything humanly possible to make things happen, but things have failed. People have laughed at me, in fact I feel humiliated. I pray Lord that in Your perfect timing this thing will manifest. Give me the grace to be patient and await Your perfect timing. Help me to be at rest and for Your peace to dwell in my heart (Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”). Help me not to envy others but know that You are in control of this situation. I thank You in advance that this will happen, all for Your glory. In Jesus name I pray AMEN

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Blessed are the broken hearted

In this life journey, we have all had our hearts broken at some point in our lives. The emotional feeling when you think your world is coming to an end accompanied with an endless atrocious pain. The aching heart which manifests as if it’s about to physically erupt- consolation is unable heal the broken heart. One will wonder, where is God and why has He allowed such a thing to happen to me? Or perhaps it is all entirely my fault? What could I have done to avoid this situation?

Two months ago, I found myself asking God these questions. A close friend of mine had sadly passed away from adrenal cortical carcinoma. We all know that death is inevitable, yet when it occurs the shock is unexpected and unbearable- irony (Genesis 3:19 “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return”). I remember 6 months ago when I found out about her illness. I went before the Lord and prayed and had a captivating vision. I saw a white room, glowing with light and a white coffin in the middle. I started contemplating whether I had really seen this or whether this was my imagination. But deep in my heart I knew this was confirmation that it was her time to be with the Lord. Dazzled with emotions, I continued praying for her and believed God for her healing (Psalm 77:14” You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples”). Whenever I spoke to her, she was weak but joyful, anticipating on when we would see each other again. We planned all the activities we would do, and reminisced on old memories. Up until the very end, she was positive, knowing that the Lord would heal her from this unpleasant condition. I had planned to see her, and although she was 4000 miles away, I knew I would get there in time to spend time with her and physically pray with her. My deepest heart desire for her was that God would use her as a vessel to show His healing power, and to bring more people to the Lord- for it to be evident that the miracles that occurred during the days of the apostles are still very much a alive. 6 days before my departure, she passed away. I was devastated and even now at times when I remember her it brings tears to my eyes- Gone too soon! I was disappointed and sorrowful, with many unanswered questions. “God, If in Your word it says that “..by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5),why did you not heal her and let her live?”. 

Sometimes our prayers are not answered in the way in which we want them to be answered (Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD”). However, God has a way of manifesting His mighty power in all situations. My friends’ medical condition made headlines throughout the nation and disseminated to communities within the diaspora, as well as on social media. Worldwide people were praying for her healing.  People sympathized with her and donated financial funds towards her medical treatment. The day before her death, a car wash fundraising campaign was launched in which over £20,000 was raised to aid her treatment. Her departure touched the lives of many.

I have come to understand that although we plan things in our life, God already knows our beginning and ending (Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega-the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come-the Almighty One”). It is His desire for us to join Him after we have completed our purpose on earth and live in eternal joy (John 14:4 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going”).

When a loved one leaves us, whether it is in a relationship or to be with the Lord, it leaves a hole in our heart that only the Lord is able to fulfill. Its very easy to praise and thank God when we get what we want and when we are joyful; but what about in disheartening, sorrowful, disappointing times? (“1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”). My prayer for you today is that regardless of the kind of heartbreak you are going through, God still loves you and has an amazing plan for you. The fact that you are still alive shows that you still have an impact to make on this earth and have a bright future ahead. It is always hard to say goodbye to a loved one and there are many unanswered questions. But there is always something to be thankful for- always!

In the loving memory of RN, miss you loads xxx

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       Blessed are the broken-hearted- prayer

Dear Lord,

I thank You for today and for the amazing plans You have for me. I thank You because the joy of the Lord is upon my lips and I am blessed and highly favoured. Father, I come before You because of (state situation). Lord, my heart is heavy and I am in pain: spiritually, physically and emotionally. Father, You see all that I have gone through and know You are with me, I am not alone. I pray that during this time you will be my source of strength (Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”). I pray that you will help me to understand that everything I go through in life has a beautiful ending. I may not understand it now but pray that You will heal me and help me to forget about this experience. Help me to forgive all those who have hurt and disappointed me.  I pray that You will bring the right people in my life that will encourage, uplift, love and bring joy to my life. Anyone that is not meant to be in my life, I cut them off in the name of Jesus. Restore me O Lord, renew my strength and help me to continue to run the race of faith. I pray that You will carry any burden I may be carrying (Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”). Help me to put all my trust in You and remember that man will disappoint me but You never will. I thank you for I believe my prayer has been answered. AMEN.

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Prayer of healing (bereavement)

I thank You for this time, I thank You for today, I thank You for the wonderful plans that You have for my life. I thank You for waking me up today, for allowing me to see another day. I do not take this for granted (Psalm 127:2 “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat- for he grants sleep to those he loves”). Father, although my heart is heavy right now, I know it is pleasing to You to praise and thank You even in our lowest moments. My prayer for today is that you will heal me from the pain I am encountering because of the death of my loved one (Matthew 5:4  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”). It is difficult to know that I will not see this person again and that they are gone forever. Whenever I think about them, it brings such sorrow and sadness and words cannot explain how I feel. I pray that during this time You will comfort me and be my strength (Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze”). May you strengthen my family and that of (state the persons name). May I acknowledge that this was Your perfect will and that nothing happens without You allowing it. I thank you for allowing (state the persons name) to fulfill their earthly purpose and for being a blessing to my life. Help me to hold on to the precious moments I had with (state the persons name) and pray that they have joined You in eternity, a place without pain, sadness and sorrow. Help me to move on forward with my life and fulfill the purpose you have for me on earth. AMEN   

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