Category Archives: friendship

God given husband- testimonial

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Witnessing a testimony is an exceptional life changing experience. You encounter God doing the impossible, the miraculous and receiving unexplained victory. This testimony gave me hope, reminded me that God does indeed hear our prayers and that in His timing He perfects all.

I remember sitting on the tube to university one day when I had an odd conviction about my friend. I strongly had an urge to tell her she had to break off the relationship she was in, and that God wanted to bless her with a husband. How does one break this news to someone who is in a happy relationship? How do I really know this is God, or were these my own emotions? I decided to keep it to myself but the feeling kept coming back. After pondering on it for some days I decided to tell her. I said to myself, “God if this is you, you will not put me to shame”. She received the word better than I anticipated and she decided to seek God about it herself. I remember her being afraid of the unknown, leaving the man she loved for no “apart reason” and trusting that God would bring her better. As we went into prayer, I had a vision of a man who loved her, a man of God who had a pastoral calling. Again, I was hesitant to tell her but still did so in the end. For her that was confirmation to leave the life she was living, and solely trust God’s plan.

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I remember her telling me that she felt like it was a step back. How does one start all over again? She moved back to her parents’ home, but I encouraged her that God would not disappoint her. She decided to set up a fellowship at her parents’ house and it was powerful. We had bible studies, praise and worship, powerful prayer sessions and people came from all corners. She invited one of her high school friends to the weekly meeting, who happened to live down the road from her. He was a young man full of wisdom and on fire for Christ.

They started to spend more time together. A few months later, she invited him to come to our church, as we had a special service. During the praise and worship, the same urge came upon me as when I was on the tube. A voice was telling me to pray for them. I tried to ignore the voice but the burden was upon my heart. I decided to take a leap of faith. I walked over to them and told them that I felt led to pray for them. I remember saying in my heart: “Holy Spirit, please pray on my behalf because I don’t know what to say”. As the words started flowing from my month, I prayed for their marriage, their ministry and a boy child. After the prayer, the gentleman whispered to me: “Thank you very much, this is confirmation”. During the same service, the pastor called upon all who knew they had a pastoral calling to the front for a prayer, and he walked over.

Not long after that, he stated his intentions to marry my friend and a few months later they got married. When I see the spiritual growth within her personal life, and the joy she has with her husband I can only testify that it is God’s doing. Whenever I see pictures of their baby boy, I remember that God revealed Him to us, even before He was in His mother’s womb. Sometimes in life, one step backwards is two steps forward.
At the time, moving back to her parents’ house looked like a backward step, not knowing that her God given husband lived down the road from that home. Perhaps if she had not moved, this testimonial would not have taken place (obedience).

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Things I learnt for this testimonial:

1. God speaks to you
Many times we doubt ourselves and wonder whether it is His voice speaking to us. The word tells us that you know His voice- do not doubt!
John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me..”

2. Take a leap of faith
Try to walk into the unknown by trusting the word God has given you. He has good plans for you
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

3. Uncomfortable situations build up character
No situation last forever and there is always something to learn from it. Sometimes we have to go through uncomfortable situation to embed godly characteristics into us.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”

4. God will not put you to shame
When we put our trust in God, we have the confidence that all will work out for our good.
Psalm 9:10 “And those who know your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You”.

I want to encourage you today, that whatever your heart yearns and desires, God can give you more than that. God wants to perfect everything in your life. He will not start something that He will not finish and the outcome will be victory!

Not Christian enough

There have been many times during my Christian walk that I felt judged by other Christians, in particular women. In fact, most of the judgements I have faced during my life have come from other Christians. You would expect as Christians that we would be the first to love and embrace. However, expecting individuals to abide to ‘Christian standards’ at all times is something one should strive for and something one cannot always attain (Romans 3:23). Nonetheless, what do you define as Christian standards? Is it something you have grown up to know? Is it what you have read in the bible? Or is it what you believe is the right way of living?

Many times, other Christians made me believe that I was not Christian enough. Examples of these were that I was a non-church goer at one point (read Former church girl), I drink an alcoholic drink very occasionally and my best friend is a non-believer. The list is endless!

The biggest shock came when one of my closest friends whom I grew up with got married. We became saved around the same time and in fact she was one of my first Christian friends. In fact, we walked the ‘baby Christian’ journey together. However, when she got married, I didn’t hear from her again. I was informed that she no longer wanted to associate herself with me as I was ‘single’ and only wanted to associate with married Christian women in the church. I felt unworthy. I haven’t seen her till this day.

The second encounter was this year when my friend invited me to a women’s cell group. It was amazing, a great group of women and I was really blessed by the bible study. I had in fact decided within me that I was going to return the following week. However, during the praise and worship, the Lord gave me a vision for one of the girls which I later shared. She was also blessed and she said it was confirmation to what God had been telling her. The next day, one of the girls called me. She interrogated me about what she said was my ‘lack of knowledge’ of the bible.

She started questioning me about my ‘visions’ and informed me that I was ‘spiritually suffering’ for not attending church. She went on for an hour on the phone talking about how my Christian walk was meant to be and how I was doing it all wrong. How can one know all this after one fellowship meeting? I was left hurt and disappointed. I started questioning my position in Christ, my walk. I started to wish I never shared the prophetic vision God showed me because I knew that had caused the tension. I even started to doubt my gift. But, I knew I did the right thing to share and do what God told me.  I never went back.

These are just a few examples of the judgements I have encountered, and may God forgive me for all the times I have judged others. However, I have concluded that these women have their own insecurities and need our prayers.

One thing I have learnt during this Christian walk is that Christians are just normal human beings like the rest of us and not superhuman. They make mistakes and at times do act carnally. Therefore, we cannot expect too much or be surprised that a Christian ‘acted ungodly’. We all need as much prayer as we can get,

Let us stand together as sisters and love and embrace one another. We cannot walk this spiritual journey alone. Always remember who you are in Christ Jesus. Jesus died for you on the cross because of your sinful ways, but in His eyes, you were worth it!


Not Christian enough- pointers

  • Don’t try and justify your relationship with God or your Christian walk to anyone, God knows and sees all.
  • Ask God to give you the grace to love all mankind.
  • Ask God for grace not to judge other Christians. We can only see from the surface what one’s life is like. God will also judge you the same way judge others.
  • Don’t stop interacting with other Christians because previous bad experiences. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the right people.
  • Don’t expect too much from people even if they are Christians. A lot of Christians are still dealing with underlying issues.
  • Don’t allow anyone else to define who you are, know your identity in Christ Jesus.
  • Pray and bless those who persecute you (Romans 12:14). It is easier said than done, but by the grace of God it is possible.

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Silent lips

Silencing my lips is something I learnt to do in this season. Who to trust and who not to trust is the question. Who will tell and who can keep secrets? Trust issues. Who will rejoice with me and who will be envious- paranoia. However, is it paranoia or am I being realistic? After all, we are all humans (Psalm 146:3).

I recently received some good news. Not only was it good news- it was mind-blowing news. God had done the impossible and in fact the whole breakthrough was His divine intervention. Bursting with joy, I wanted to share this wonderful news of Gods’ goodness, and how this fantastic miracle was going change the course of my life. I looked at my phone book and as I looked at each name, I started pondering on which friend I could tell and which one I couldn’t. ‛If I tell her, she will tell the whole world’ etc and so I went on name by name. At first, I thought I was being paranoid and judgmental, but as I elaborate you will understand why these thoughts rushed through my mind.

It is common within the African culture to be ‛pre-warned‛ never to tell people about good news just in case they ‛bewitch you‛. I always thought that was an overstatement and exaggeration, but with time I have understood that not all will celebrate and be pleased for you.

I decided to tell one of my closest friends about my news. As I started to elaborate in joy about the breakthrough, her face changed from excitement to emotionless within seconds. There was no rejoice, let alone congratulations. There was silence. When she eventually spoke, she reminded me of other times when God came through for me, and stated that God ‘always’ seems to bless me. I was shocked because she knew the struggles I had gone through in life, but at that moment it became irrelevant. I tried to explain to her that there are many areas in my life where I am still waiting on a breakthrough and have been very stagnant. She didn’t take any of it in. Envy blocked her from seeing how blessed her life was. It was then that I realized that she had been desiring the same breakthrough in her life and it had not yet materialized for her.

It is very easy to envy someone when they receive a breakthrough. One may wish it was them at that moment. But one will never know the hardship, waiting, sacrifices, humiliation, disappointment and most importantly PRAYER that one had to go through to eventually receive the blessing. People just see the wonderful blessing. We can’t compare ourselves to others because we have not walked in their shoes and vice versa. However, God does not forget us and He knows our prayers and the things we desire. We all have something we desire so badly and need grace for patience. Nevertheless, He knows what is best for us and when is best. Had I received my blessing any earlier and in ease, I would not have given God as much glory as I can today. It was all His doing and no human effort would have enabled it to materialize. I also thank God that I had not received this blessing earlier because I would not have been as humble as I am today. May God give us the grace to wait on His perfect timing.

I was quite upset with my friend and I just didn’t understand her way of thinking. However, last night I had a dream whereby I was walking with the same friend. I ignored any form of conversation with her in the dream. We were going to the same destination; and I was meant to take the same exit as her. She took the exit but missed it and had to go a long way round to get to the same destination. The Holy Spirit then spoke to me that because of my unforgiveness towards her in my heart, I was bringing about delay in my life. I have been asking God for grace to forgive ever since. Unforgiveness is just not worth delay!

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Is silencing our lips the option? I don’t think so. We need to pray for discernment on who to share with and who not to as only God knows the depths of the hearts of man.

An example of this is in Isaiah 39 (please read), whereby Hezekiah shows the son of Babylon all his most treasured possessions.

Isaiah 39:2 Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses–the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil–his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.

The prophet Isaiah then prophesied that because of his ignorance he would lose all these possessions and brought a curse upon his household.

Isaiah 39:6 -7 The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your predecessors have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

May God continue to give us wisdom, knowledge and understanding and to give us more discernment in Jesus name

The blessed mourner

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Life has never been so overwhelming for me. I had encountered hardship and pain before, but this was one of a kind. There were days when I sat in silence and just did not know what to say anymore; I was puzzled and confused. How can so many hurtful things all happen at once, and why in this way?

The journey commenced in January 2015 when the Lord spoke to me and told me to urgently go to Uganda to pray for my grandmother. At first I doubted my hearing, especially since my grandmother was of a different faith. However, my prayer partner received the same revelation and said she would also accompany me on the journey.

So in April 2015, I went to Uganda. We asked my 87-year-old grandmother if she was receptive to us praying for her and she agreed. We laid our hands on her, prayed for her and her salvation. She was so grateful and asked when we would come back and pray for her. That was the last time I saw her. She passed away in December 2015.

Last time I saw my grandmother, April 2015
Last time I saw my grandmother, April 2015

             

I was shocked as I did not have an incline that she would pass, let alone that the significance of the prayer and that it would usher her into heaven. It really taught me that when God calls you to move and do something, you have to act instantly- no hesitation or doubt. I was really distraught by her death and as she passed away a few days before Christmas and my arrival in Uganda, it was a sombre mourning festive season.

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It was during this trip that I got my hearts desire to pray for John, a minister who spiritually guided me over the years (read blog post – Discerning the season). He was a man of God who I looked up to, who believed one-day God would use me and wanted to see its manifestation. He suddenly passed away in July 2016. It was very devastating and painful. For days, I would stay awake at night wondering if this was really happening. I just didn’t understand how someone who had just started such a huge ministry passed away so suddenly.

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Minister and close friend, John Baptist Mukajanga

During this time of mourning, is when I found out my cousin, brother and friend Hamim had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I don’t even know if the word “shocked” can sum up how I felt when I got the news. Is this really all happening at once? How can a fit, athletic, non-smoker, 29-year-old have lung cancer?

I found myself for the next few weeks going to the hospital almost daily to see him, to try and encourage him. The good thing is that he had a lot of friends around him and a big family support. I continued to ask God to heal him and for his salvation (as he was of another faith) but he became worse every day. Within weeks, he went from being a healthy athlete to being unable to talk and eat. It was heart breaking. It was during this time that I went on a prebooked holiday to Uganda. Days after arriving in Uganda is when he passed away. This was August 2016. I just couldn’t believe that another close person had passed away within the space of weeks.

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With my cousin, brother and friend Hamim

The pain became unbearable- I could feel the physical heart ache. This lead to panic attacks and depression. Depression is a silent killer which brought along old bad habits/sins, confusion and disconnecting me from the Lord. I stopped hearing and dreaming and was unable to pray. The spirit of fear had taken over and I was unable to sleep at night. I allowed the pain to consume me, and that was a mistake I made. However, at this time, I no longer knew how to deal with it or what to do anymore.

A week after my return from Uganda, my mum woke me up at 6 am. She initially asked me how I slept and if I was okay. I said yes. It was at that time that she informed me that my other grandmother had passed away. This was a lady I had seen the previous week before my return to London. She was fit, healthy and jolly and there was no sign that it would be the last time I would see her. At this moment, I felt like bad news had become the norm of my life. As I continued to suffer from anxiety, I went back to old habits and sins. I felt trapped in a box.

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Last time I saw my grandmother, August 2016

During this time, people would still send me their prayer requests and would ask me when I was next posting a post on Pearl Sisters. But I thought to myself, “How can I encourage some else when I need encouragement myself?”

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As much as people told me I was going to be “alright” and “get through it”, the times when I was alone in my bed  were when the real manifestation of emotions occurred. It was at this stage that I realised that only God was going to get me through and strengthen me.

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.

The Holy Spirit reminded me that this was for a season (read the blog post Discerning the season), and this season would pass. I started to discern the tricks the enemy was using to destroy me and my ministry, and knew I needed to stand firm. So I took a step back from ministry to focus on myself, my healing and deliverance.  I knew I needed to continue, to encourage someone that everything will be okay.

I want to encourage you today that regardless of what you are going through, you will get through it alive and in one piece. We all go through stages in life where it is so difficult, painful and sorrowful. But this is the time you need to hold unto God the most. He is the only one who can restore and repair and there is always a great lesson to be learnt. It is okay sometimes to take a step back and reflect, seek God for direction and focus on yourself. Take your time, there is no rush. God has seen every tear, pain, and sadness and it is His will for your to be joyful. Take courage.


In memory of Jajja Namutebi, Jajja Namazzi, JB and Hamim xxx


Reuniting the household

If one where to ask you to describe your family in five words, what would you come up with? How many of us would have positive things to say about our family members? Do we display a perfect image, and yet have underlying issues? Are we ready to deal with these issues, or are they better off buried away? Every family has issues- every one of them. With some, it is more evident than others and a lot of the time we would prefer to leave things the way they are, rather than dealing with them.

We are in a season where the Lord wants to restore our families. Not only does He want to restore, He wants to reunite our households. The family unit is very powerful, in particular when it operates in unity- hence why the enemy constantly tries to bring division. Just imagine your entire family sold out for Christ, praying and aligning to the will of God. You would collectively demolish the kingdom of darkness and contribute to building God’s kingdom.

God has given individuals as well as families a purpose that will add to His kingdom. However, most families are broken and that is not of God. He has seen the cries, pains, sorrows and disappointments within our families and He wants to knit us back together.

Joel 2:25-26 So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The crawling locust, The consuming locust, And the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame.

In this season, God wants to cleanse our hearts from the unforgiveness, selfishness, strive, bitterness, anger, jealousy, envy and all things that do not please Him. He’s clearing out our homes and rearranging it the way He ordained for it to be. God is tearing down the old foundation of our family and is building a new one.

Joshua 24:15 But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD

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The scripture the Holy Spirit gave me is If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand – Mark 3:25. We need one another! Even within His Kingdom, He calls us the body of Christ. He has purposefully made us unique with different spiritual gifts. When we all come together and operate according to His will, we become an empire of greatness. God wants the same for our families. We all have a unique identity, duty and have role to play in our families. The way He showed it to me is that our families can me compared to a puzzle. Without each puzzle piece being put together, the puzzle is incomplete. You may ask yourself why God has placed you in your family? Why did He give you the relatives you have? It may seem like they don’t have a role to play in our lives. In fact, sometimes we wonder whether God made a mistake. However, when He created you, He knew He would raise you up and use you to intercede for your family and save not only a generation but a nation! Sometimes we are so focused on our own needs that we forget to ask God what His purpose is in it. And although the road may have been rocky at times, it was not in vain. There is always something for us to learn and God will always bring something good out of it

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

In first vision I had, I saw God’s mighty hand capturing His children and bringing them back home. This included children who had driven far away from Him. He was drawing family members back to their households, like the prodigal son (read The return of the prodigal son) Hence why in this season it is crucial for us to keep praying for our lost relatives. There is no person who God cannot capture and rebuild in His goodness. In the second vision, I saw Jesus in our homes and He was weeping. As He shed tears, our homes were being cleansed. I then saw Him with a broom and He was sweeping our homes. He was removing all that He did not place in our homes and in our hearts. God is indeed with us and is doing a new thing.

Haggai 2:9 The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

I encourage you today to continue pray for your unsaved relatives and those who you find hard to forgive. It takes the grace of God. God loves them as much as He loves us and He as entrusted us to continue to pray for their salvation. May this year be known as the year where the Lord restored our families, reconciled us and did a new thing in our homes.


Reuniting the household- pointers

  • Come to the Lord with a genuine repentant heart. Ask Him to forgive you for your sins.
  • Pray that God will give you the grace to forgive all your relatives and for Him to heal and restore you.
  • Be honest with God about how you feel about particular relatives or incidents that have happened in your family.
  • Ask God reveal all the emotions/feelings we have towards one another and pray that He will remove them.
  • Restoration of headship. Invite Jesus into our home and pray that He will be the centre of your household.
  • Ask God to restore your home and for there to be divine order.
  • Make a list and ask God for all the things you want Him to do in your household.
  • Pray that the love of God, which is unconditional will manifest in your household.
  • Ask God to reveal all generational curses that may still be holding you back as a family, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you pray over these matters.
  • Cancel any negative word which was spoken by relatives and declare positivity over it.
  • Ask God what your families purpose is in the kingdom. Every single one of us has been given a spiritual gift and has a purpose.
  • Pray for the salvation of your lost relatives (see Salvation of a loved one)
  • Ask God on how you and your family can move forward together in unity.
  • Talk out your issues with family members. God wants to iron out our issues, resolve them, so we can move forward.

Let us stand together and pray in unity for the reconciliation and restoration by clicking on the video below:

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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

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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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!!!

 

Trust God-not man

Trust God and not man. Easier said than done. The convenience of confiding in an individual with five senses, rather than a Father who at times is silent-inevitable. Trust in the unseen has to mastered in order to avoid misunderstandings, disappointments and paintotal surrender.

We place unrealistic expectations on humans, in particular vessels of God and are ‘stunned’ when they do not meet our “godly standards”. “If only the pastor could touch me, that would be the end of my problems”. “Did you hear about the pastor who slept with a member of the congregation?”. We thank God for pouring His spirit upon man and for the gifting’s He has blessed us with (Acts 2:17). However, just like the rest of us, vessels of God fall short and also have struggles. In fact, they need more prayers than we do.

It is becoming more evident that ungodly relationships are being formed within the body of Christ. Secret sexual relationships occurring between anointed vessels of God and other parties. Am I stunned? Not at all. Who is to blame? We all have a part to play. At times, men and women of God are unable to express their secret struggles- suffering in silence. Others have yielded to the pretense of being the ‘perfect Christian’ without flaws. Some are using their spiritual position to entice others, in particularly if one has not undergone deliverance before pursuing ministry. Many Christians desire a spouse that complements the ‘person on the pulpit’ whilst others fantasize of a lustful relationship with God’s anointed vessel. Others have been deceived by the anointed vessel.

Furthermore, the anointed man/woman of God may be dealing with more issues than you have knowledge of; hence why we need to turn to God first and not man. If God was to reveal to us what each and every man and woman of God was struggling with, you will realize that you are better of seeking matters directly with God. Does that mean that we should not seek after anointed people of God? No, not at all. But our primary trust should be in Christ Jesus and He should be the one we run to first. God wants to be your Father, confidant, your everything and will never disappoint you (Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”).

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Recently, an anointed man of God who does not personally know me told me that: “God told him I was his wife”. I immediately discernment his impure motives and indeed was offended by the pursuing: “How dare he, he’s supposed to be a man of God”. However, the Lord reminded me that we are spiritual beings, and have to deal with things in the spiritual realm (Ephesians 6:12 “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places”). And like any other human being, he also has shortfalls (Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”). By the grace of God, I put my emotions aside and  prayed for this man of God to be delivered from the spirit of lust and perversion and to pursue the ministry God has given Him in a righteous manner (Matthew 18:33 “Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?”).

My prayer for us today is that God will teach us to fully surrender and trust Him and not man. May God be the one we go to when we are in need and may He guide and order our steps. Let us pray for the men and women of God in ministry that God will continue to protect them from the devourer. May we acknowledge that they are not supernatural but fellow humans and have flaws and make mistakes (Ecclesiastes 7:20 “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins”). May God help us not to judge people of God when their sins are exposed(Romans 14:12-13So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way”).May God give them the grace to confess their sins to the Lord and be overcomers.

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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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