Category Archives: encouragement

Growing up fatherless

ps-3Growing up fatherless has moulded me into the individual I am today. The pros and cons intertwined together have made me unique. It was not until I started attending primary school that I realized I didn’t have a father. To me it was normal and I was very content with my loving mother. My earliest memory of desiring a father was during the days leading up to father’s day. Each year, we made lovely gifts for our daddy’s during class time. Each year, I would give the creative item to my mummy and the children in my class did not understand why. They didn’t understand why my dad was not present, let alone that I had never met him. I remember one year, mum wrapping the father’s day gift and she promised me she would personally deliver it to my father on her trip to our motherland. As promised, she captured the memorable moment of the gentleman holding my gift, and two decades later, I still embrace the photographic image.

I did always wonder what it would have been like growing up with a father. How would he have impacted my life? Would life have been easier? Would he be the person I would run to if mum was not able to provide for a particular need? Why was is it that all my friends had both their parents growing up and I did not meet him until the age of 8?

As I became older, I was judged a lot for not having grown up with a father and was automatically labelled as having “daddy issues”. The concept of “daddy issues” lingers among women who did not grow up with their father. As much as the imbalance remains evident in individuals that did not grow up with both parents, this concept should not be used as an immediate judgement towards an individual. However, in instances whereby other things are used to replace the emptiness faced by an individual due to the imbalance, there is a cause of concern.     

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It was always a lifelong prayer for me to get to know my father and spend time with him. God was merciful and this came to pass (read blog post Rejected but not forgotten). The experience was by far the most heartbreaking and painful one I have encountered to date, but I still thank God for answering my prayer.

At times in our lives when we desire things that God never gave us. We wonder whether God made a mistake or whether He forgot about us. We repetitively ask Him  “Why” and it seems God is silence. God is a loving a merciful God who protects His children in ways that one cannot express. In hindsight, I thank God for not allowing me to grow up with my father. I would not have had the great childhood I had and would not have been moulded into the person I am today. God protected me from disappointment and heartache and I thank Him for that. I thought I had missed out but God was protecting me all along.

A word encouragement for all who grew up in similar circumstance as myself: it is well. As cliché as it may sound, God is the only father who will love you unconditionally and never let you down. He is always there to protect you and always has your best interest. Although at times we may not see it, He always wants the best for us. May God teach us to be content with Him.

Matthew 7:11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

Let us stand together in prayer and ask God to restore us. May He remove all the disappointment, pain, rejection and heal us. May He give us the grace to forgive our parents and to see them the way He sees them. Let us thank God for His hand of protection over us and for the way our life has turned out. Our lives may not have gone the way we had anticipated, but God is still in control. May we rise up above all stereotypes, they shall not define us nor be part of us in Jesus name.

Psalm 27:10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.

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Growing up fatherless- prayer

Dear heavenly Father,

I give You all praise and all the glory. I thank You for this time. Thank you for preserving and loving me unconditionally. Thank You for the gift of life, it is only by Your grace that I am still alive. Today, I bring the issue concerning my father to You. Lord, I have so many questions, and few answers. It was not easy not growing up fatherless. There were times when I felt rejected, unwanted and unworthy because he was not there. It was not easy and at times I still feel this way. I pray that You will take all these things away in the name of Jesus. I pray that You will replace them with the fruit of the spirit. I pray for Your divine healing, that You will fully heal me from all emotional pain. I pray that You will fill any emptiness I may be feeling. May You turn my mourning into joy. Help me to see the positive aspect in all this. I thank You for all that You have protected me from. Give me the grace to forgive my father for not being there. Help me to love Your son the way You do and to see him the way You see him. Help me to understand that only You can fully satisfy every need. In areas where I have been trying to fill the emptiness with other things, I pray that You will deliver me. Help me not to depend on others but to fully depend on You. I pray that growing up fatherless will only impact by life positively and no longer negatively. I pray that I will see You as my father and may You meet my every need. AMEN

Let go and let God

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Letting go and letting God, is a statement we have been hearing throughout our Christian walks. It sounds so easy, yet takes the grace to be able to fully accomplish. We say to ourselves that we have fully surrendered all to God. But have we really done so? Are there some things we partially surrender and are keeping to ourselves?

Time and time again we deceive ourselves and say we have gotten over something, yet the residues are still hidden within our hearts. We tell ourselves they are not there and cover it up. Other times we are not ready to deal with them and again pretentiously neglect them. Or, we accept that they are there and refuse to let go of them.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling troubled. I couldn’t pray, I couldn’t serve the way I would usually do and I had no peace. I tried everything to pin point what may possibly be making me feel this way. It was then that the Lord brought a friend of mine to my attention. As I envisioned this person, emotions of rage, pain, unforgiveness, bitterness and hatred came to my spirit. I remembered all the hurtful things this individual did to me, and the fact that they refused to apologize for it all. I had made up in my heart that I would “forgive” them but never “forget” what they did unless they had apologized.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

The Holy Spirit encouraged me to love her, and see her the way He sees her. So I started to pray for her. I prayed for God to change her, for her salvation and for God to remove the heart of stone etc. It was at this point that the Lord gave me a vision, and I was standing in front of a mirror. It was then that He revealed the bitterness, anger, hatred, unforgiveness, lack of compassion and mercy that was buried in my heart towards her. He then showed me my house and it was a total mess. He then told me: You cannot ask me to change someone when you have all this clutter within you. You have clean your own house before you clean another someone else’s.

Matthew 7:3-5 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

It was then that I realized I had not surrendered everything concerning this person to the Lord, and was still holding unto it deep within my heart. Not only so, but the seed of bitterness had taken over my personality. My compassion and mercy for people had been taken over by this seed without me realizing.

We spend so much time focusing on how we feel and on the faults of others. We spend little time examining ourselves and the flaws we have. We are consumed with emotions. We forget how compassionate and pure in heart Jesus was. That even when He was being crucified, He prayed a prayer of compassion.

Luke 23:34 Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

At times, we find it hard to forgive other people, but if God was to deal with us the same way, based on all the sins we have committed in our entire lifetime, we wouldn’t be worthy of receiving anything.

We are in a season where God is cleansing our hearts, our spirits, our households. The vision the Lord gave me was of a washing machine, and He said that He will use His Holy Spirit to cleanse and regenerate us, if only we are willing. My prayer for you today is that God will give you the grace to fully surrender all that is hidden in your hearts to Him and let go. He wants to restore you and make you whole again. I pray that You will get the courage to stand before that mirror and ask God to reveal all the things still hidden in our hearts that we still hold unto. Only He can heal you and make you whole again

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Let go and Let God – pointers

  • Make a list of all the things hidden that You have been unable to surrender to God.
  • Be honest with God about how you feel about situations you have been unable to surrender to Him.
  • Pray and ask God for the grace to surrender them to Him.
  • Pray for healing, deliverance and restoration with your heart, mind and spirit.
  • Imagine yourself standing before a mirror and ask God reveal all the hidden things within your heart that are not pleasing unto Him.
  • Pray and ask God to deliver you from these sins.
  • Use the word of God to speak positivity over these sins and replace them with positive words (e.g the fruit of the Spirit-Galatians 5:22-23).
  • Ask God to give you spiritual eyes to see His children the way He sees them.
  • Pray for God to give you a heart of compassion and mercy towards His children.
  • Ask God to give you a tongue that declares positivity over your life daily.

 


Let go and let God – youtube teaching

Fall from grace

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I fell from grace, yes me. Not only did I drastically fall, I fell flat on my face. Undeniably self-absorbed that I could never fall, the concept of grace became more evident to me. How can one know the Lord, fear Him, know the word of God and still fall? ‘Now that I have fallen, what do I do now? Do I suffer in silence and pretend I never sinned? Who can I confide in without being judged? Will God really forgive me?’

Not only was my fall an eye opener to the underlying sins I was still dealing with, it made me realize that God has given us His spiritual gifts by grace and not works. If it was by works, I would not be entitled to any. He does not bless us because of our ‘good deeds’. In addition to this, God remains merciful and although we fall short, He does not take the gifts away.

There was a question which I pondered upon, and the Holy Spirit gave me the scripture which elaborated upon it. It feels as if the things I am trying to avoid doing, are very irresistible. Why do I still desire them?

Romans 7:14-20 We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do. And if I do what I do not desire, I admit that the Law is good. In that case, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh; for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do. And if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

After falling, I went to the Lord and poured out. I told Him everything and cleared my heart. I had also accepted that if God was never going to forgive me it was okay, as I was not worthy of being forgiven. I was expecting the biggest punishment and was ready to never receive any more blessings from God. But instead, I felt warmth around me, a peace which was indescribable as well as a love that heals a wound instantly. I felt as if God was saying that He already knew I was going to fall, and that it will not change the way He sees me or the course of my life. He promised me that honour and favour would still be my portion, despite all I had done.

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The Holy Spirit then took me to the book of 2 Samuel 12:1-25 (do read in your spare time). The story narrates about the sinful deeds David committed by sleeping with another man’s wife, impregnating her and then killing her husband (Uriah). However, when the prophet Nathan metaphorically spoke to David about the sins he had committed, David not realizing it was about him. David wanted ‘the sinful man’ to pay for his deeds.

2 Samuel 12:5-6 So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!  And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.

This shows us that God’s ways are not like mans’ and the way He sees us is not the way we see ourselves. However, David had a repentant heart, and was willing to change.

2 Samuel 13:15 So David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.” Then Nathan departed to his house.

Moreover, despite David’s sins, God refers to Him as a man after God’s own heart- Acts 13:22.

Not only did God, bless him with another son, He was blessed with Solomon, a king and one of the wisest men to have ever lived.

2 Samuel 13:24-25 Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the Lord loved him, and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord.

In addition to this, Jesus was born into the lineage of David.

What a merciful God we serve indeed!

As long as you are still alive, we are bound to fall in one way or another and can only overcome sin by the grace of God. (Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one). Nevertheless, the key to victory is how you get up after falling (Proverbs 24:16..for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes)

If you are like me and you have fallen from grace, open Your heart to your Father and pour out. Tell Him exactly how you feel and act in genuine repentance. Ask Him to give You the grace to move forward and to live a righteous life. Ask God to deliver you from whatever sin you are dealing with, for Him to uproot the weeds- He is able. God is a merciful Father and loves you unconditionally, all He wants is for His child to return to Him and not to perish.

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Do have a look at our youtube teaching ‘falling during your Christian walk’ that goes along side this blog post

Judgement from man

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We are in a season where God is cleansing and delivering us from our impurities and things we do that are not pleasing to Him. One of the things that the Holy Spirit placed on my heart is the passing of judgement upon others. As much as it looks like a minor thing, it is a big issue within the body of Christ and we have all partaken in it one way or another. It may not be verbally, but God knows what is in our hearts. It is by grace that God has not publicly revealed to others all things hidden within our hearts. And yet when He does bring certain things to our attention, it is for our good. He then calls us to change, repent and pray. However, when man judges, it is far from this standard and is not pleasing unto God. How do we stop judging others? By prayer and the grace of God.

When we look at the book of Romans- chapter 2, God clearly illustrates His displease towards judging one another.

Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

This made me realize that the way we perceive ourselves and others is not the way God does. How would we feel if God judged us the same way as we judge others?

Romans 2:3-4 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

God makes it clear that we are no different from the person we are judging. One is not better than the other in His sight and is it important for us to live according to the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

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At times, it is so easy to identify a fault in someone else without examining our own hearts. May God have mercy upon us.

Matthew 7:4-5 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

God wants us to change and repent for our unrighteous ways, so that we will not perish on the day of judgement.

Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.

And He continues:

Romans 2:6-11

God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

May God help us to be true servants of Christ, and help one another with our spiritual walks, rather than judging one another and being hypocrites!

Romans 2:19-22

if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of little children, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—  you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal?  You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

My prayer today is that God will give us the grace to not judge one another but pray for each other. May He deliver us from judgement, condemnation, gossip, slander and all other impurities in our hearts. Let us go to the Lord with a genuine repentant heart, He shall indeed deliver us!

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Judgement from man-prayer

Dear heavenly Father,

I thank You for this time, and for the grace and mercy that You shower upon my life daily. Thank You for the gift of life and for loving me unconditionally. I pray that I will fulfill all You have set out for me to do today. Lord, I come before You with a repentant heart. I am guilty of judging Your children, openly and in my heart. I pray that You will forgive me and have mercy upon me, because I am also not perfect. I fall short of Your standards daily, and I am not in a position to judge anyone. I pray that You will cleanse, deliver and remove all impurities from my heart that are not pleasing unto You. Give me the grace not to judge Your children. I pray for the fruit of the spirit, which will enable me to live according to Your ways. Continue to reveal all the things I do that are not pleasing unto You, so that I can change, repent and pray about it. In Jesus name, AMEN.

Holiness from heaven

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How does one define celibacy? The world defines celibacy as the state of voluntary being unmarried, sexually abstinent, or both, usually for religious reasons. It is often in association with the role of a religious official or devotee. In addition to this, individual Christians have set their own rules of “do’s and do not’s” during the celibacy walk. But how does God see celibacy? What is true celibacy in God’s eyes?

I have found that in this day and age, Christians have really misused the concept of celibacy. For some, it is because of lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), others it is a way of acceptance and honour within the community. When I sought the Lord concerning this issue, He kept referring me back to holiness. What is holiness in the sight of God and how does it override celibacy? As a Christian who has fallen many times and had to get back up, I always wondered how other Christians did it. Am I the problem or are people not truthful with what they are dealing with? Why do we keep falling?

The Holy Spirit ministered to me and said it was because our hearts are not pure. We continually cut the grass, but do not uproot the plant. We claim we are living pure, holy, righteous lives yet our hearts are filthy. The Holy Spirit said it is not so much the sin, the sin is a product of what are hearts have been feeding on. Feeding on it is just as bad as acting upon it. And if you feed on it, it is just a matter of time before it brings about ungodly fruits (Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows).

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The Lord is calling us to holiness, holiness which is found in heaven. God would rather have us go one whole day in divine holiness, than years of celibacy with a filthy heart. It is not the duration; it is what you do during that time. The Holy Spirit continued and said that if you are:

  • Masturbating
  • Watching pornography
  • Dwelling on former lustful activities
  • Imagining future lustful activities
  • Looking at lustful images
  • Looking at an individual in a lustful manner

You are no different from someone who is involved in the act because you are uniting yourself with spirits of lust, sexual immorality, perversion, fornication and jezebel.

Also, people are not honest about the things they are struggling with. It could be because they do not want to be judged, or because they think they are only ones’ dealing with it. However, if we do not speak up about these things and stand together in prayer, how will we ever overcome?

In addition to this, if one does slip, do not stay in that situation, that is what the enemy wants. Do not be afraid of what others will say, they are also not righteous. Come to the Lord with a repentant heart and He will forgive you Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

God is very serious about His coming and for us to stand in holiness and righteousness in every aspect of our lives. I have repetitively had a dream of my wedding day. In each of the times, the wedding came unexpected, I was not prepared, ready or dressed. But the wedding services continued. This symbolized that I was not ready for the return of Jesus.

One has to ask themselves, that If Jesus was to come back today, would He find you ready?

Revelation 19:7-8

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people)

Let us stand together and genuinely repent to our Father for our filthy hearts. May He cleanse our hearts from the root, renew our minds and let us replace the empty holes in our hearts with the word of God. May God reveal all the things that are still hindering us from living a holy life. May He give us daily grace to keep walking and to overcome the temptations that come our way. May our hearts be pleasing in His sight. May He give us the grace that even when ungodly thoughts come our way, we will resist them. I pray that when Jesus returns, He will find us ready, prepared without any blemishes in the name of Jesus.


Holiness from heaven-prayer

Dear heavenly Father,

I thank You for this day, time and for allowing me to come into Your presence. It is by grace that You have preserved me for a time like this. Thank You for my life, my family and friends. I pray that You will continue to protect us and shield us from the plans of the enemy. Lord, I come before you as a sinner. I have sinned in ways man does not know. I pray Lord that You will have mercy upon me. Have mercy for all the times I have been ungodly and have fallen short of Your standard of holiness. I pray that You will cleanse my heart from the root, and uproot anything in my heart that is not pleasing unto You. (Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me)

I repent for all the hidden sins all the ungodly thoughts and the hypocrisy, have mercy upon me. Deliver me from sexual immorality, lust, perversion, fornication and Jezebel. Help me to be transparent with You when I am spiritually struggling. Assign angels to me to guide and strengthen me. I desire the holiness, purity and righteousness which is found in heaven. Help me not to conform to the ways of this world, but to strive to attain Your standard of holiness. I pray that You will prepare me and that You will find me ready when You return. In Jesus name, AMEN


Daily declarations

  • I am God’s watchman and my eyes shall be used for the work of God.
  • I am God’s mouthpiece and I shall declare what is pleasing unto the Lord.
  • My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and shall remain holy, as God is holy.
  • My heart is pure and rooted with things that please the Lord.
  • My mind is renewed in the ways of the Lord.
  • I will overcome every temptation that comes my way through Christ Jesus.
  • I shall walk by the ways of the spirit and not of the flesh.
  • My thoughts are the Lord’s thoughts; His ways are my ways.
  • There shall be no retrograding in my spiritual life

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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Compromising your faith

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The decision to walk in uncompromising faith is a daily battle we have to face. The temptations of this world seem endless. It feels so good and yet it is so wrong in God’s eyes- the struggles of the flesh. The inability to choose between God and man- the battle of the mind. Walking the narrow road alone or strolling on the broad road with a friend- which way to choose? A temporary fulfillment on earth or eternal glory in heaven- patience. Willing to remain unpopular and gain everlasting recognition- long suffering. Is it worth letting you desires die to please your creator? – obedience.

I recently found myself in a compromising situation and had to choose between man and God. The pressures of this world and my emotions got the best of me. Acting upon this, I considered compromising my faith for a temporary situation. Thoughts kept rushing through my mind “God will forgive me anyways, His grace is sufficient” “This is not as bad as it looks, God will somehow find a way of blessing me in this”. Those were all lies from the pit of hell.

However, deep down in my heart I had no peace about the matter and continued pondering over it. Overwhelmingly, I turned to friends for advice: some supported my decision, others did not. What do I do? By the grace of God, a friend of mine shared a dream that she had about me. She did not know I had been battling with this decision. However, in the dream she had, I had made the compromising decision and my life was a mess. I had turned away fully from God and was unhappy. There was a lot shame over my life and I was alone.

I had a dream a few days later, where the Lord said to me “I am pleased with you, however do not make the compromise because it will ruin all the plans I have for you”. I then woke up. The fear of the Lord gripped me and gave me the strength to walk away from the situation and trust God.

Matthew 5:30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

It was by grace that God spoke to my friend and myself in a dream. However, what if He had not warned me, where would I be now? Especially, if I had made the decision solely on my emotions, feelings and the pressures around me. Not compromising my faith resulted in shame, pain, disgrace and losing someone very dear to me. I am thankful for this, as it was all temporary and in the long run has given me honour.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

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Hebrews 10:26-27 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.


Compromising your faith- prayer

  • My prayer for us today is that God will forgive us for all the times we have compromised our faith one way or another. May God forgive us for when we have taken His grace for granted. Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
  • Let us repent for when we put our own desires before His and for the times we have been disobedient. May God forgive us for the times we have tried to please man and disappointed God. Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
  • May God give us the strength and grace to overcome the daily battles we face and not to give into the ways of this world. May He teach us to be selfless and let His ways be our ways. John 3:30 He must become greater; I must become less
  • May God forgive us for all the times we have been ashamed of doing His will and tried to blend into the ways of this world. Luke 12:8-9 I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God
  • May He continue to empower us as His children and remain courageous and bold to fight the good fight of faith. Luke 9:23-26 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

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Why me?

1453022739779Why me? A question I repetitively asked myself throughout 2015. Everything that could possibly go wrong occurred. All that I feared happening in my life manifested. Why me? My prayers were not being answered the way I expected them to. Moreover, God was silent. Why me? Pain, grief, disappointmentFather where are you. Perhaps this was punishment for my former sins or maybe I was born to live a life of hardship. Everyone around me was having breakthroughs and my journey was getting harder- Why me?

I then found encouragement in the book of Job. Job was a perfect, wealthy, upright man that feared the Lord (read Job 1). One day, God gave satan permission to intervene in Job’s life and cause affliction.

Job 1:6-12 “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.  But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger. ”Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

One would ask, why would God do or allow such a thing? Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

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The conversation between satan and the Lord was beginning of Job’s misfortunes and affliction. Job lost his cattle, his children, his honour all at once (read Job 1). What amazed me is despite this occurring, Job continued to worship God (Job 1:20-22   At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing).

However, this led to the Lord allowing satan to afflict Job for a second time.

Job 2:3-10 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”  “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life.  But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”  The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life. ”So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”  He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

However, this caused Job great pain and he repetitively cursed his existence on earth. Job 6:8-10 “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life! Then I would still have this consolation— my joy in unrelenting pain—that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.

What did Job do to deserve great pain and hardship? In addition to this, he faced shame and even his own wife and friends rejected him during his time of calamity.

Job 19:13-20 “He has alienated my family from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. My relatives have gone away; my closest friends have forgotten me. My guests and my female servants count me a foreigner; they look on me as on a stranger. I summon my servant, but he does not answer, though I beg him with my own mouth. My breath is offensive to my wife; I am loathsome to my own family. Even the little boys scorn me; when I appear, they ridicule me. All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.

Although Job wallowed in self-pity, he did not curse God and Job passed the test of obedience

Job 7:20-21 If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins? For I will soon lie down in the dust; you will search for me, but I will be no more.

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God  promises us that we will reap more than we have lost; all to the glory of His name.

Job 8:7 Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.

And indeed after God’s purpose was fulfilled in Job’s life, He blessed Job with even more than He had lost out on.

Job 42:11-13 Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold. And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.  He had also seven sons and three daughters.

When I made a list of the hardships I faced in 2015 and compared them to the affliction Job faced, it was incomparable. Let us ask God what lesson He is trying to teach us, what His plan and purpose is for the affliction, rather than complaining and dwelling in self-pity (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).

Like Job, God knew that you would be able to handle the affliction, to pass the test He has set before you. He has placed a hedge of protection over you. No matter what hurdle comes into the path of His servant, you will jump over it victoriously. The book of Job also shows how powerless satan is, and that God Himself has the final say over your life.

Why you? Because God loves you and wants to use your life as a great testimony to others. Why You? Because God has installed greatness into you that will do wonders in His kingdom. Why You? Because you are His entrusted vessel who cannot be broken, and can withstand the challenges life offers. Why You? Because God was confident enough that you would overcome any misfortune that come your way. Why You? Because no plan of the enemy can destroy you, it only makes you stronger!!!

 

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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Seasonal people

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The year 2015 has been a year of rearrangement, growth and isolation for me during my Christian walk; in particular, concerning the people in my life. The Lord has rearranged my friendship circle, brought individuals who have helped me spiritually grow, and kept me isolated to spend more time with Him.

The discontinuity within friendships is never an easy one to comprehend: in particular, when God mysteriously removes people from our lives. One wonders: “Why would God remove this person? We have been friends forever”. These friends are seasonal and have fulfilled the purpose God had for them in your life. When this disconnection occurs, one may feel a number of negative emotions. However, remember that God knows what He is doing and sees ahead of time (Isaiah 46:10 “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please”). In addition to this, rearrangements allow us to move unto the next stage in our lives without hindrances.

Not long ago, I went through one of the most difficult seasons I have ever witnessed in my life. I was being tested in every area of my life and unable to cope. It was as if God was playing hide and seek with me and the trials and tribulations of this world had really gotten to me. I had not guarded my heart and the deceits of this world had started to creep in. I had gotten to a place where I was so overwhelmed and asked God to take me home (thank God He doesn’t answer all our prayers). But I remembered what Jesus did when the trials of this world got to Him (Mark 14:36 “Abba, Father, he cried out, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine).

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So I cried unto the Lord and asked Him to give me the grace to keep walking. And out of the blue, people started calling me saying that God had placed it unto their hearts to pray for me. Others had visions and dreams of my pain. These individuals were not my usual friends or people I would usually turn to in tough times. In fact, those people actually turned their back on me during this season. The individuals God sent were seasonal people, who helped me overcome the battles and pass the test.

Recently, I was not feeling too well and spent the day at the hospital. Unable to walk properly and in excruciating pain, I decided to download the UBER app to take a taxi home. However, for some reason the app refused to fully download and kept freezing at 2%. I turned my phone on and off, sat in various positions to get reception (though I had full reception) and it refused to load. I decided to give up and cross the road and take a bus home. In the far distance, I saw a lady cross over the road and walk towards me. Upon arrival she said: “ Excuse me, the Lord has told me you are in pain and that I need to give you a lift home”. I was in so much shock “Could this really have been God?”. I decided to take the leap of faith and went along with her to her car. I sat next to her daughter who was about 7-8. I asked her what her name was and she said Vanessa Anne (my full name is Vanessa Annelies). At this moment it hit me that God was with me, in fact He never left!

I just want to encourage you today to keep pressing on and keep walking. Our Christian walk is packaged with many challenges, but God will always bring someone to pray for you or use them to show you that He is still with you. Thank God for the people He has brought, the people He has taken away and the seasonal people He is bringing to help you reach your destiny.

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Seasonal people – pointers

  • Do not be upset when people leave your life, they have fulfilled their purpose.
  • Allow God to rearrange your friendship circle, He knows what is best for you.
  • Do not look at people you have helped to stand there with you during difficult times. God will send His seasonal people to stand with You.
  • Periods of alone-time are good, it allows you to hear God’s voice more clearly and have an intimate relationship with God.
  • When times are tough, look unto God and not unto man (1 Samuel 30:6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God).
  • People will always disappoint you, but God never will (Psalm 118:8-9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes).
  • Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life).
  • Focus on God and all things will fall into place (Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things).
  • You are not forgotten and God has placed you unto the hearts of His servants to intercede for you (Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ).
  • Ask God what He is trying to teach You in this season and ask Him help you to pass the test.
  • Strive to please God and not man. All other things will fall into place (Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you).Phonto (1)