Tag Archives: friendship

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

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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