Monday 16th January 2017
Power Of Praise
“Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3
I’m sure when most people hear the word “praise” people think of shouting, jumping, dancing or even rolling on the floor. I want to take you a bit deeper into this word and what it means, with the hope that the true meaning of “praise” penetrates deep inside of you.
The word praise stems from the Hebrew word “Zamar” which means “to make music in praise of God,” while the word “Shabach” means “to shout, to address in a loud tone, to command, to triumph.” As we use our mouths or instruments to praise God not only are we celebrating God, thanking God but we are also in a sense blowing our trumpet in triumph and victory! I remember the verses from a song “I will dance on my disappointments” and “I will always sing your praise,” these actions show others and the devil especially, that whatever we’re going through – good or bad, we will sing our praises to our King. He will be enthroned on our praises. “O clap your hands, all peoples; shout (shabach) to God with the voice of joy (or triumph)” Psalm 47:1. As we sing our praises we are releasing ourselves from strongholds and breaking chains that try to detain us, growing stronger in the knowledge that we are triumphant and can conquer anything through Him.
So I encourage you today, to never let your praises run dry, as it is
not in the midst of your wilderness and pain that you will experience the refreshing peace, love and mercy of our heavenly Father.
Monday 23rd january 2017
An Eagle’s Eye
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16
Words often associated with eagles are “power, freedom and transcendence,” they are known to have very sharp eyesight, with their eyes having a million light-sensitive cells/ square mm of retina. This is 5x more that of humans 200,000! We humans only see a mere 3 basic colours, eagles can see 5 and these adaptations contribute to their excellent eyesight – no Specsavers for them! And this helps them to identify their prey easily from a very long distance, even the well-camouflaged ones!
I often wonder what if I could step out of my life and watch it from above or even better, fast forward to the end and see my life’s outcome – would I feel wiser? More in control afterwards? I’m unsure; I may just have a panic attack! Imagine, watching your life from above and everything/everyone in it, then returning to it as normal like nothing happened! However that is what God is doing with each of us, not only has He recorded every day of our lives in His book but He also fills each day of our life with Himself. He is not just distant and watching us from above but He is “…a present help in time of need,” Psalm 46:1. So no…we may not be like the eagle, able to fly high above our lives or others and dive in whenever we want to take action; however we must trust and believe that we have a loving Father above who holds our lives carefully in hands. God in a sense, is the eagle overlooking our lives, with no boundaries; He is free, powerful and transcendent. The children’s song is simple but still pertinent today “He’s got the whole world in His hands…He’s got you and me brother, in His hands…” Let this be your song this week and forever.
Monday 30th January 2017
Endurance and Encouragement
“…suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
Endurance a word often associated with a sports player, when they push boundaries and their pain, to achieve their prize. Encouragement – a generic term used for offering someone support, confidence and hope. These two words are so significant in our lives, probably the most powerful and penetrating words we’ll ever express. The Greek word for endurance is “hupo” (under) + “meno” (to remain), which means endurance under pressure, under testings and under trials. In one sentence, it is “…to not be swerved from your deliberate purpose,” as Pastor Glyn Barrett nicely put it.
In a world that is constantly resisting your progress, enslaving your mind and beating down your willpower – it is easy to give up but DON’T! I urge you today, endure and press on towards your goal. In doing this, you will see through the darkness, rays of light shining in and those are the people who will encourage you. In Greek, the word for encouragement is “paraklésis” which is described as a “holy urging,” when God uses someone else to directly motivate and inspire you to carry out His plan. In a sense, He is transferring His spirit to them to give to you. Whatever you may be struggling with, whether you’re training for a sports events, working towards a deadline or battling with a stubborn sickness – endure and my prayer is that you will receive a cloud of encouragement wherever you go, that will shield you from the enemy and sustain you. Let Romans 5:3-4 be your prayer for the week – “Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
Monday 6th February 2017
Forgiveness shows Fortitude
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 18:18
What does forgiveness mean to you? Does it mean a) saying “I forgive you” but then in your heart you still harbour negative emotions towards that person? Or is your forgiveness b) saying “I forgive you” and letting it be like an exhalation of breath, where you let go of the issue and remove it from your body completely? I would prefer option B personally.
In Greek, the word forgiveness is “aphesis” which translates as “release” or “dismissal”. Wow. This word encapsulates forgiveness in its entirety and really expresses what forgiveness is. When we forgive we not only release that person but ourselves, we unburden ourselves and exhale the issue from our system and choose reconciliation going forward. Reconciliation is a key part of our faith as Christians, as God reconciled us to Himself through Christ. Christ’s death on the cross was atonement for our sins; forgiveness was expressed in the purest and most powerful way!
When holding grudges, we inadvertently contaminate our heart with these destructive emotions and this can affect our blessings, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins,” Mark 11:25. More importantly, let us not forget what WE have been forgiven of, those who have committed no offence/no sin, let them cast the first stone. Through Christ, we are now seen as holy, blameless and above reproach – treat others as such. Christ died for all – forgave all.
Pride and arrogance are strong obstacles that affect forgiveness, knock it down before it becomes a problem. When we choose to forgive, we make a decision to release someone despite our feelings and pray that God will shepherd us through the healing process.
My prayer for us all is that we imitate Christ daily through our actions, leaving nothing out. Forgive today. Release today. 🙂
Monday 13th February 2017
“I” for integrity
“…But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.” Psalm 41:11-13
So what does integrity actually mean? Well…the Oxford dictionary defines it as “…the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.” Also it is the quality of being “pure” and “incorruptible”, which derives from the Greek word “adiaphthoria.” In the same way we as humans don’t start behaving as animals when we go to a farm, is the same we don’t have to copy others or change who we are to conform to our environment, if it goes against our integrity. As Romans 12:2 quite rightly says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” and so we must endeavour to stay true to who we are and set the culture for our lives, without allowing it to be corrupted by external factors. The life of Joseph is a good example of integrity; he was beaten, sold into slavery by his brothers and falsely accused of rape! The sad truth was that he refused to submit to the Pharaoh’s wife’s lustful desire for him and fled from her but his integrity meant he was falsely accused and thrown into prison, Genesis 39:1-22. Yet we all know that despite his sufferings, God vindicated him – Genesis 40:39! To preserve your integrity may make you an enemy of the world, people may mock or despise you for it however God sees your hearts and has your moments written in His book.
So my encouragement for you this week is hold tight onto your integrity. I also want to introduce the word “hagios,” which means to be “holy, set apart, like God and different to the world,” which should spur us on, as we become a holy temple once we accept Christ as our Lord and saviour. Regardless of whether the people or your settings change, one thing that should be firmly set is your integrity, as this will set the path you walk down in life. God will see the integrity behind your life decisions and will honour it in due time so do not think it is all in vain!
Monday 20th February 2017
I cannot but He can!
“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” Genesis: 40:16
We’ve all said it before “I can’t do this work” or “I can’t continue with this relationship/marriage” or worse “I can’t do life any more – I’m done.” These thoughts are real and can be overwhelming but what we must remember is that we don’t have to carry the burden alone or feel we have to deliver a result in our own strength. God is ready to step in and take over, we just have to surrender our issues/worries to Him, He says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…” Matthew 11:28-29. If we fight alone, we fight a losing battle but when we invite God into our circumstances He will ensure we are victorious.
As Christians and human beings in general, we need to be aware of our limitations; we need to know when we have come to the end of ourselves. If we fail to do this, our fuel will run out and we may run on empty trying to pour something out that isn’t there whereas God is almighty and his supply of wisdom and power is endless. As the bible nicely states “For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength,” and God’s spirit is living in us so we have access to this! However we must decrease so that God can increase, allowing God to use us a vessel for His glory because when God pours himself into us, there is
NOTHING we cannot do.
Monday 27th February 2017
Choosing to be content
“…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,” Philippians 4:12
“I’m so depressed today,”…”Urgh! It’s raining, that has totally ruined my day,” these are phrases I’m sure we’ve all said at least once in our life. Are they justified? Partially, there are circumstances that we can find ourselves in that can make us feel powerless and despondent and even steal a joy but my question is – should we allow it? Yes we may not have the grades we want, the job we want, be in our ideal relationship or have achieved that life goal however should we authorize these things to steal our joy from us? You see, joy is internal and really should not be influenced by external circumstances, just think of how much control you could re-gain if you chose to be content/happy/joyful in any and every situation. The devil could throw his worst curve-ball at you and you wouldn’t blink an eye.
The apostle Paul experienced a lot of hardship during his ministry, especially in his last 4 years. This included being beaten up, spending 2 years in prisons, experiencing a shipwreck, being imprisoned and eventually being executed yet Paul still found the voice to say “…I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” Philippians 1:18. You may argue “well what if I don’t feel like being happy” and to that I would answer by saying that being content is not a matter of “feeling like it” but a conscious decision you make with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Yes it will be a conflict between flesh and spirit but just know that you have been set free from the flesh and the fruit of the spirit is…wait for it…JOY!!!! It is yours, it never leaves so don’t allow your circumstances to quench it. Rev’d Christian Cheong nicely summarised contentment in his “living it right” series by saying “Your problems are not so important as how you are looking at those problems. The way you look at that problem is MUCH more important than the problem and your PERSPECTIVE makes the difference.”
So today ask yourself, do I need to change the lens of the glasses I use to view my life?
Monday 6th March 2017
Peace, Be Still
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Mark 4:39
Do you ever find yourself in situations where you are being tossed about, slammed down and almost drowned? Do you need God to say “Quiet! Be still!” to that situation? You see if we allow them, our situations can grow and overwhelm us as we feed them without fear, doubt and anxiety. A quote by Anon said “the hardest prison to escape is in your mind” and if your mind is not over the matter, it is very difficult to move past that situation. Let the peace of God fill your minds and shield it.
Be it financial issues, relationship difficulties, exam crisis or health – Our God is still King and reigns over every circumstance. The Word says that “…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. If we are receptive, God wants to fill us with His peace so that we overflow with it, so that it flushes out the spirit of fear and doubt which the devil placed in us.
You see the peace God gives us doesn’t mean the situation will vanish – like magic. No. However it means that despite the storm, God promises “…When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2. So even in the midst of a storm, you WILL hold your peace because you ARE a child of the Most High God.
Tuesday 14th March 2017
“…let your yes be [a truthful] yes, and your no be [a truthful] no, so that you may not fall under judgement.” James 5:12
I’m sure there have been moments when we have mistakenly said yes to someone knowing deep in our heart that we cannot fulfil our commitment or at least not to the extent it is expected. We are ALL guilty of doing this. This fault is not limited to a specific category of people. However it does make you think, how reliable is our word? Does our “yes” really mean yes and our “no” really mean no? Will people be filled with confidence or doubt when they see our names on a list? One may argue that – “life happens” and this is true to an extent but “life happens” cannot be the excuse we make for every failed commitment you’ve made, sometimes we have to step up and take responsibility.
An example of a woman who made a commitment and followed it through was Hannah. 1 Samuel 1 outlines how Hannah sincerely longed for a child and was in pain as this desire was unfulfilled. However 1 Samuel verse 11 says “And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.” And if you read on, you see that she actually did this! What an amazing sacrifice. A child she prayed for, she received but then returned to the Lord and the Lord gave her the fruit of the womb after that. Now your commitment may not be this big however “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones…” Luke 16:10; God may test you in this area – how will you respond?
Imagine if God was “flakey” with His Word, what would our life be like?! We are called to imitate our father in heaven. We could start with being more faithful over the promises/commitments we make to our fellow brothers and sisters.
Monday 20th March 2017
Know when to Pause
“On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.” Genesis 2:2
In such a fast-paced world, it is very easy to be consumed by the noise around you and lose yourself in it. We can live our lives drained and stripped of energy, in a sense living our lives with 50% battery however this could all change if we just took the time to pause. And rest. I understand that we must all work to complete set tasks but when we have completed that task let us discipline ourselves to withdraw from work and recover. In Genesis 1:31 it says “Then God looked over all he had made, and He saw that it was very good!” and in Genesis 2:2 it says “On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.” So after a job well done, reward yourself with some rest. One must know when to replenish themselves. We are not robots; this body needs food, water and rest to be sustained. To add to this, rest does not always literally mean going to sleep…but could mean going to a quiet space and reflecting, resting your eyes, giving yourself a head massage or praying. Anything that eases the pressure on your mind.
You see, research indicates that when children are given the time and skills necessary for reflecting, they often become more motivated, less anxious, perform better on tests, and plan more effectively for the future. If this can be seen in children, how much more adults! Furthermore, some people may be inclined to see having rest as idleness and an enemy of productivity! However researchers such as Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California suggest that constructive internal reflection is critical for learning from past experiences and appreciating their value for future choices, allowing us to understand and manage ourselves in the social world.
Today, let us appreciate the value of constructive rest in our lives and use it to enhance our productivity. Can I get an Amen?!
Monday 27th March 2017
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Philipians 6:34
So “Mindfulness” is the new buzzword in healthcare that has been implemented in issues related to mental health i.e. depression, infertility, cancer and many more. It involves paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – in order to improve your mental wellbeing. Some people call this awareness, it is believed mindfulness can aid in helping us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better.
As someone who is susceptible to worry but also glazing over issues/feeling, I think it is very important to really address those negative feelings/your troubles – call them by name and make them submit to power of the almighty God. Also to know our own limitations and that we don’t have control over everything – past or future however there is an element of control over the present. We need to try to focus on the HERE and NOW. Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre said that Mindfulness is “…about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.” As a forward-thinker, this is easier said than done however we MUST learn to fully embrace, understand and learn from the present and not let it pass us by. We are only on this earth for a finite time, let us not waste it worrying and allowing ourselves to be consumed by negative thoughts, feelings and this world but rather let’s CARPE DIEM our day. Seize every moment. Regain control and authority of your life, the devil may try to “…steal and kill and destroy.” John 10:10 but we need to guard our minds with the Word of God, our absolute truth. Regain power over your present moment today.
– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Tuesday 4th April 2017
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
The Latin word for April is ‘Aprilis’ which means – to open. I ask you, what doors/windows do YOU want God to open this month? Let me tell you this, the earnest prayers of a righteous man or woman are powerful. In James 5:17, 18 he talks about how Elijah “…prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” The same way God heard the prayers of Elijah, He will hear yours and open His floodgates to pour His stored up blessing into your life. However this month as you wait on God to open new opportunities – be expectant and confident “…that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” Psalm 27:13. We always think that our desires are new, when we forget that God knew us before we were conceived and had our entire life written out in His book. So if April is the month of “opening” then do you think you are in the right state to receive what God has in store? And if not, how could you prepare?
A few suggestions…1. Is God your first love? Let us NEVER love the gift more than the giver. 2. Ensure you’re consistently communing with the Holy Spirit for wisdom 3. Practice self-reflection and observe what parts of your life may need changing and what should be sustained 4. Be mindful of your company, as your social sphere can influence your decisions. In the meantime stay watchful for what God opens in your life.
Saturday 15th April 2017
Power in a Name?
“…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,” Philipians 2:10
Have you ever wondered why your parents chose your name? Or why it takes so long for parents to decide on a name for their child? Simple answer is names are important. One may not think so initially…but a name alone can revolutionise a mind-set, transform a heart or alter a destiny. Here are a few examples, in the bible Abram’s name was upgraded to Abraham – “father of many” while his wife’s name was changed from Sarai to Sarah meaning “Princess or Noble woman”. Another example to add to the list is Jacob, who demanded for a blessing and even wrestled with an angel, who then pronounced a blessing upon Jacob renaming him Isra-El which can mean “He who prevails with God” or “May God prevail,” depending on the context. Their names reflected a change in their nature or events in their life. People like Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, Rosa Parks, and Mahatma Gandi are ordinary names possessed by people who had an extraordinary life; power is in the person behind that name.
Most people don’t pay much attention to names unless it’s questioned or it becomes a barrier to what you want to pursue. For example, to have a non-western name could make you seem “exotic or foreign” hence raise alarms in a workplace OR could be celebrated and meet the “diversity” requirements. On the other hand, your name could raise alarms because it is a name that carries power and respect. One thing I can assure you is that whatever your name, the legacy you create for it will be determined by your words and actions. Create a new story for your name independent of family, riches or circumstances. Look at Jesus, He came to earth once and we are still declaring His name and singing His praises because he left a hole on earth that cannot be filled. What mark will you leave, with your name?
Saturday 22nd April 2017
Who do you say He is?
“Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” Exodus 3:13-14.
When people ask you – who is God? What do you say? When the enemy torments you by attacking your home, marriage, studies, finances or health – who do you say He is? In these moments, it is important for us have a name ready to give. We need to know the God that we serve on a personal level so when our foundation is shaken, we can firmly stay rooted in His Word and in His truth. The enemy will whisper lies and try to entice you with deceptive thoughts but one must have the Word of God written on the tablets of their hearts (Proverbs 7:3). We need to understand that the battles we face are not against flesh and blood but spiritual forces of evil and principalities (Ephesians 6:10-20), so I urge you to put on your spiritual armour and stand on His Word.
In case some of you may have forgotten or in doubt, let me remind you who He is: God is our Abba father (daddy), Jehovah Rapha (our healer), Jehovah Jireh (our provider), Alpha & Omega (Knows beginning and the End), Jehovah Shalom (God of Peace), Jehovah shammah (God is Here), El Shaddai (God Almighty- all sufficient), Jehovah Maccaddeshem (God who sanctifies) and MANY MORE! When we KNOW who He is, we can boldly tell people and circumstances about the God we serve. You see it is when our faith is tested that need to remember who God is, what He can do and what we can do through Him and Him alone. Let God’s Word infiltrate your life and bear fruit. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24
Saturday 6th May 2017
Where is your treasure?
“For where your treasure is, your heart is also…” Matthew 6:21
Now when you think of “treasure” you may think of pirates, family, jewellery, your significant other or even your pet dog! Regardless of what comes to mind, a “treasure” is something precious that you value and want to protect at ALL costs. My question is – where do your treasures lie? I was studying Matthew recently, and Jesus spoke about how we have a tendency to store up earthly riches and forget about the heavenly riches that await us after this life. This is a mistake many of us can make, even as Christians. We can be inclined to put all our hope, expectations and trust in the things of this world…forgetting that we are to “…fix our minds on things above” Colossians 3:2. You see, this is a tempting trap that the devil wants to lure us into, as it means that we waste away our concentration and resources on earth and forget our kingdom mission and purpose. I believe that is where the question “…is there more to this life than what we experience?” stems from. You see eternity is written on the heart of every human but cannot be realised or substituted by earthly means. As the bible says, Christ is “…the way, the truth and the life” John 14:6 and no-one can get to heaven unless through Him.
We were created by God, for God and He has set us aside for a heavenly purpose. So whilst we live our lives here on earth, never lose sight of the BIGGER picture and that is, “…thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” Matthew 6:10 and not the other way round.
Wednesday 17th May 2017
“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?” Romans 8:35
God knows I used to ask this question a lot of times! There would be days I’d come before God and be like “I blew it…I’m not worthy…you can’t still love me now,” and yet I would still see His love filter through my life like morning sunshine into a room of darkness. It was certainly humbling. However even with that knowledge, many things in my life would compete with God’s love such as love from family, friends or boys. Yet it was through personal experiences and some heart breaking disappointments that I learnt that nothing/no-one could replace my first love – God. Nothing can/will compare or complete me like His love. That is freely given to me. No ties.
As I grew up and matured more in my faith, I began to understand that if my life is built on the foundation of God’s love, then that allows me to fully and wholeheartedly love people around me. In this way I will be reflecting the love that I myself experience daily. You also (like me once) may think you have “run out of chances” or that you’re “unlovable” but I can tell you this, God’s love is transcendent and never fails. He is a God who is faithful even when we are not 2 timothy 2:13. And if you ever forget or someone challenges the credibility of God’s – remember the cross. God demonstrated the GREATEST love of all by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sake. So the word for you today is that you ARE loved and no-one/nothing can reverse/dilute/erase that truth EVER!
Monday 29th May 2017
His eye is on the sparrow
“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered” Matthew 10:30
In a world where your next breath is not guaranteed, it can be very easy to live in fear and bury your head in the sand however it is important to remember that Christ came that “…they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10. You see we live in times of light and darkness but as the offspring of God, we are children of light and so wherever there is light…darkness cannot dwell for too long. For this reason, even if terror comes we will not be shaken or moved because the eyes of the Lord are upon us. He promises to neither leave nor forsake us.
In life, we can choose to walk in fear or walk in the knowledge that our lives are in God’s hands. We may not be able to control the thoughts or actions of those around us but we have our faith and our faith says that our God “…goes before you and will be with you” so in this truth I will be confident. His eye is upon the sparrow, He watches over me. Always and Forever.
Tuesday 20th June 2017
I am NOT fatherless!
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling…” Psalm 68:5
So it was father’s day in the UK on Sunday 18th June, day to honour and celebrate our fathers. I too used the opportunity to appreciate my dad and shower him with prophetic blessings and compliments. I haven’t always had a great relationship with my dad but God has transformed our relationship for the better over the years, which I am truly thankful for…the years the locusts had eaten, God restored!
Now some people on a day like this may experience a conflict of emotions perhaps due to a damaged/dysfunctional relationship with their own father or growing up without any father figure present. These cases are unfortunate but not hopeless. As Psalm 68:5 says God is “a father to the fatherless…,” which is truly beautiful when you pause and think about it! As sometimes our earthly fathers can “fall short” and disappoint which is expected because they are human but we also need to remember that we have a never failing heavenly father! A father who says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…,” (Jeremiah 1:15), which just takes my breath away.
As we know God is our eternal father who will neither leave nor forsake us, yet He has appointed earthly fathers to lead, protect and provide for us. And yes…our relationships with our dads may not be outstanding but let us acknowledge their efforts and pray that the spirit of God may rest upon them, to make them the fathers they have been called to be! A father is but a man but with prayer and encouragement can be a God-filled man that creates waves in his household and community! Pray for fathers. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
Saturday 22nd July 2017
Do you SEE Him?
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” 2 Kings 6:17
So this is a scene where the servant of Elisha is doubtful of their success in battle with the Syrian army and Elisha asks God to open the eyes of his servant to see the work of God. To see His presence. And guess what? He saw! In our own lives, we can sometimes be like Elisha’s servant. A bit narrow-minded and just focusing on what we see yet we must remember that “…greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world” 1 John 4:4. Or like Rafiki from Lion King… “Look beyond what you SEE!”
We are going to go through battles in our lifetime; I think it is better to be open and honest about this than live in denial. Be it work, relationships, health or finances, there will be a time we will say “…I cannot do this alone.” And to that I give you this passage “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that me may see.” And the lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:16-17. You see, in his prayer Elisha was not asking God to open the physical eyes of the servant but rather the servant’s spiritual eye of faith, to witness the divine presence of God around them! This reaffirms that we are NEVER alone and God’s ubiquitous influence is inescapable, “…even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,” Psalm 23:4.
The battles we face occur to refine us and transform us from “…glory to glory into His image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. So never think that this Christian life is easy. A cakewalk…because it isn’t but at the same time never think you must face spiritual warfare alone, the spirit of the living God is at work in us! Trust and believe that God will protect and shield you through whatever season you are going through, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1. The battle is not ours but rather the battle is God’s – if we surrender it to Him and have faith that we WILL be victorious through Him.
Glory be to God for his faithfulness!
Saturday 12th August 2017
“To Know” and “Know of”
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you…” Matthew 7:23
Do you remember that time in high school when your friend would tell you the latest gossip of your school crush? And maybe that crush would “mention” your name? The next day you would end up saying “OMG me and X are bezzies, they know my name…next thing they will ask me out – just you wait!” A trivial example however in this scenario, you are “known of” but necessarily “known” intimately. There is a definitive difference.
The word to “know” is yada in Hebrew and “ginosko” in Greek and is a word to describe intimacy between two people or ourselves and God. To know God is not merely the intellectual knowledge of Him…quoting scriptures and doing religious deeds but having no revelation of who He is. Rather it is having an intimate and personal relationship with Him like the nearest and dearest relationship between two people. In fact even more – because He is our CREATOR! Intimacy is not just a physical deed but a connection between 2 hearts and minds and the fruit of this intimacy with God leads to love, reverence, obedience, honour, gratitude and deep affection. We start to see Him for who HE IS and that is our sovereign ruler, parent, friend, shepherd, saviour and Lawgiver. We as Christians will never experience these attributes unless we allow ourselves to draw near to God.
Our God will not force His way in but we must bend the knee and open up because He is saying “…Here I am! I stand at the door and knock,” Revelation 3:20. It is through knowing God that we are compelled to yield to His will with all our heart and strive to live a life that glorifies and honours His name. God doesn’t need us but He wants to commune with us – isn’t that just AWESOME!
Thursday 23rd August 2017
It is Finished
“He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:30
The Hebrew word for “finish” means “complete, never to be done again”. Wow. The sins of the world were removed ONCE AND FOR ALL. Let’s take some time to fully understand what that means for us shall we? When Jesus allowed himself to be crucified on the cross as atonement for our sins, He knew that He was the perfect sacrifice that once offered would sustain us for eternity.
No more do we have to sacrifice animal blood again and again and no more do we have to communicate with God through a priest, the veil has been torn and we have direct access to God and the fullness of His grace. Not only that but Jesus Christ “…who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Romans 8:34, Jesus is fighting our corner!
Sometimes in life we can feel like we’ve messed up so badly, that we have sinned beyond forgiveness and try to “work” our way back into God’s grace and mercy. Yet when Jesus died, He took on our past, current and future sins with Him and left us with limitless access to God’s love and grace. There is nothing more we can do, as everything that could be done HAS been done. Find rest and live confidently in what was done on the cross – it is yours to freely receive.
Friday 1st September 2017
It’s the God in Me
“You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Did you know that you possess the spirit of the living God in you? The King of Zion, the Lion of Judah…yeah, His spirit is at work inside of you. Do you feel powerful? Well you should! People in this world can make you feel so powerless, inferior and just plain non-existent but “greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world.” With God on your side, you can pursue anything that you put your mind to. If you are walking in the will of God, He will establish your footsteps and promises to “…give you every place where you set your foot,” Joshua 1:3.
In every area of your life: your faith, career, relationships, finances and so on, be FEARLESS, STRONG AND COURAGEOUS! Be confident of the living God inside of you and go out and CONQUER! When people see your success, acknowledge God and His work in you. Where our capabilities end, His capabilities start. Unleash the Lion of Judah inside of you today! Glory be to God in heaven.
Monday 20th November 2017
The Martyr in me
“I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Galations 2:20
So the typical definition of a martyr is “…a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs.” This was a tragic yet noble act in early history and there are many examples of martyrs in the bible. My question is….would you describe yourself as a martyr?
You see Matthew 16:25 says “For whoever wishes to save his life [in this world] will [eventually] lose it [through death], but whoever loses his life [in this world] for My sake will find it [that is, life with Me for all eternity].” Do you still hold onto your life, living for this world and its values only? The bible says we are “foreigners” and that we “are not of this world” indicating that our time here on this earth is temporary and fleeting. Our eternal kingdom in heaven where God dwells, is everlasting, transcendent and has many dwelling places for us.
Martyr in me is saying die to self. Let go of worldly values, take up your cross and follow Jesus. 100%. Go against what is normal in this world and introduce a new culture, a kingdom culture which involves submitting to and living according to Gods will habitually. The flesh may have its cravings but each day we must take up our cross and surrender our lives for the sake of the gospel and glorification of our father in heaven. After all he laid down His life for us first, let us follow.
Sunday 31st January 2017
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you,” 1 Corinthians 6:19
Heavenly hosts. What does that even mean?! Well heaven is where God dwells, where He is present and to be a host (in biology terms) is a plant or animal which allows another organism to live inside of it. So putting two and two together…by us being “heavenly hosts”, we are hosting the living presence of God inside of us through His spirit. Wow. Our body is His temple where He resides. Take time and allow that thought to marinate.
When you think more deeply about this, it can take your faith to a whole new level. Our bodies are sacred because God is holy and where He is present is holy too. What is holy must be treated with respect and caution. Is that how you treat your body? Interpreting this scripture in this way, makes us look out our bodies completely different. Things like sexual immorality, self-harm or addictions that cause harm to your body – God’s temple, become less and less appealing as this revelation becomes clearer.
I ask you, do you see your body as the temple of the Most High God? A place where His holy spirit dwells and is at work in you? And if not, then maybe you can start today. It may not happen over night but as you get a revelation of who God truly is in your life, you will ensure your body is fit for a King!
Sunday 7th January 2018
“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground…” Isaiah 44:3
Have you ever gone to church hungry? And I don’t mean the kind of hungry you get from skipping breakfast or having a fast metabolism either! I mean have a deep and ferocious hunger for the Word of God. So much so that you leave and you’re not fully satisfied. As a deer pants for the water brooks…so my soul pants for you” Psalm 42:1. As we grow in our intimacy with God, we start to have an increased appetite for His word. “…man cannot live on bread alone…” Matthew 4:4.
One thing we should know is that when we come to church hungry, we will be fed to the level of our appetite. Your experience/encounters in church will equate to the level of your desire and expectation. As we crave Him more, we enter new levels of intimacy of our relationship which will allow our faith to be stretched and strengthened. It’s easy to be comfortable with where we’re at, think we have learnt all we can. Believe we’ve received all the revelation we could get but there’s always more!
Whenever we step into church or our quiet space at home or wherever, we should come before God with a heart of expectation and sincere curiosity. Saying “I want more of you.” Today in your spiritual walk with God, choose not to be content with where you’re at. There are always new, undiscovered levels to be reached. “Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard and the mind has not perceived that which the Lord has prepared for those He loves” 1 Corinthians 2:9.
Saturday 13th January 2018
Be A balm NOT a Sword and Shield
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
So what do I mean by this title? Well a balm is “…a fragrant cream or liquid that is used to heal or sooth the skin, it medicates,” while a sword and shield are used in battle for attack and defence. How does this relate to humans?! Well do you ever find yourself condemning and judging fellow Christians or non-Christians (attack) or overlooking your own sin because surely it’s not as bad as your brother or sister in Christ! (Defence) you…Never!
As Christians who carry the nature of God through His spirit, we are encouraged to correct one another with love and kindness…showing grace and mercy as He has shown us (Luke 6:36). It’s amazing how healing compassion and kindness can be; can you imagine how Mary Magdalene was feeling when Jesus gave her a 2nd chance? Set himself apart from the crowd and looked beyond, into who she could be rather than who she currently was. Sin is in us all but we are no longer slaves to it; we have been set free. However for those who are still controlled by their sinful nature show them grace and introduce them to the love of God which restores and renews. What was weak, He will make strong, what was broken He will make whole again and what was unsalvageable, He will redeem.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to see people and their circumstances through your eyes. Let me show them compassion and mercy as you continue to show me. Work through me to be a light for them. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Monday 19th February 2018
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” Colossians 3:23
Passion. Well what is it? Urban dictionary says it is “…when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action,” nicely put I think! It sounds pretty important right? And that’s why it’ll be attacked.
You see if you think of an axe head, it is the sharpest, heaviest and most important part of the axe. Without it, the axe becomes ineffective and the person carrying the axe function-less. The same applies to your passion, it is the fuel and momentum behind whatever you do; be it your work, studies or ministry.
God has graced us all with individual passions that call us towards a particular path BUT be warned, your passion will be challenged. The enemy will use disappointment, hurt, slanderous words and lies to attack and destroy your passion. In times like this, rather than throwing in the towel and calling it a day…why don’t you go to the One who provided you with the passion? Ask God to renew it, relight that fire and burn brightly for Him! Ecclesiastes 9:10 says “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,” let us have this mentality and depend on God to renew and strengthen our passion. Like the axe head, allow your passion to drive you and make a way for you as you journey through life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for the passion you have graced me with. Forgive me if I have allowed it to be quenched by difficult circumstances. May your Word breathe new life into me and help reignite my zeal for what you have called me to do. Amen.
Monday 16th April 2018
He said, she said
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen,” Ephesians 4:29
So…this devotion is about gossip. An unwholesome act we may have all committed or entertained AT LEAST ONCE in our lives, whether we were saved when it happened or not. Gossip not only discredits our integrity as Christians but it diminishes the reputation of the person you’re talking about. So what can be done differently?
- If gossip threatens to slip from your mouth, pause and think – “…am I lifting someone up with my words or tearing them down?”
- What are my motives behind gossip – is it unforgiveness that has been unresolved?
- If you’re on the receiving end of gossip, do you entertain it for a few mins/hours or shut it down? And do you remind that person that gossip does nothing but destroy relationships?
- If you are a third party and you just overhear gossip, do you allow what is said influence your perspective of or interaction with the person spoken about?
By consistently asking ourselves these questions, we are holding ourselves and each other accountable, promoting the nature of God and propagating love and unity rather than sowing seeds of malice and destruction.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for your endless mercies towards us. Forgive for the times we have gossiped or entertained it. Through your spirit, help only wholesome talk to leave our mouth. Amen.
Monday 30th April 2018
Correction vs condemnation
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16
Following an interesting conversation with a friend about confronting issues I’m not happy with, the topic of condemnation and correction popped up. And the way she described it really challenged my way of thinking. So…correction vs. condemnation. What is the difference? The word of God can be used to shape our character and make us more effective vessels for His good works. As brothers and sisters in Christ we can help refine one another in good faith “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17 The heart with which someone does this is so important, you want to not only reveal that person’s flaws/error but help them to learn and grow from the correction.
Condemnation on the other hand has a tendency of pulling someone down with your words and being more destructive than constructive but we must remember that “There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1. We cannot be so “pious” and feel we have the right to condemn others as if we are perfect because we would all be lost BUT for the grace of God. Furthermore “…what you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words. “ Proverbs 18:21
It is important to know the difference between the two, as the outcomes from each one differs greatly. One can leave a person feeling a little bruised but encouraged while the other can leave a person feeling hopeless and isolated.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us the wisdom to know the difference between correction and condemnation. Let us rebuke and correct one another with love and kindness to support one another in running the race you have set before us. Amen.
Monday 14th May 2018
Elijah was a man like you and me
“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:4
Elijah was a human being, just like you. Just like me. In 1 King’s, we see how vulnerable and weak Elijah was to the point of wanting to die. He was a great man of God, zealous in his faith yet even he felt the weight of his responsibility. However the Angel of the Lord adviced him to eat, drink and rest as the journey ahead would be challenging. His calling was great and he needed strength to do it.
I’m going to share 4 key lessons I learnt from this chapter:-
- Never think because you are a Christian you cannot suffer with mental health issues.
- Never underestimate the number of people in leadership positions in church or members of the worship team who can fall prey to attack on their mental health.
- Our physical and mental health are intertwined with our spiritual health “…dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2
- God will always provide a way out. Support will be given to help you through your season but first we must cry out to our Abba Father as He holds the answer for us.
Your mental health matters. It shouldn’t be a taboo topic, it could affect anyone – never think you are being punished. The more we talk about mental health, the better we can understand it and also usher in the kingdom of heaven into our situations. No area is too damaged or beyond healing.
“… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3
Monday 28th May 2018
Bless the Lord O My Soul!
“Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me.” Psalm 103:2
Praise HIM through the storm. That’s what I remember saying to myself during my tests and trials. With family. With friends. With Myself. Let the Lord hear the fruit of my lips. When we are going through a difficult season, it is easy to buckle under the pressure and feel discouraged. Your situation looks hopeless, the desire to pray just fades and your spirit is weary…sometimes the people you would normally call upon for strength are busy or going through their own storm. You can feel alone. Now, this is what I need you all to remember, despite the challenges we face in our lives, let us NEVER forget God’s faithfulness from the past. It is through reflecting on our past breakthroughs that we can remember and be comforted that the victory is ours. And the battle is won through Him and not by us. Psalm 40:2 says “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” God will draw you out of your situation at the appointed time, but in the fire ask God what He can teach you, how He can mould you through this process and for His perfect peace to guard your heart and mind. We want Him to be glorified in our sufferings.
Even when I have no song. Even when my strength fails me. Even when it is hard to find the words. PRAISE HIM. He hears. He responds.
Monday 11th June 2018
“Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves.” Mark 11:13
I’m sure we’re all familiar with this passage, illustrating Jesus’ frustration with Israel as he had an unsatisfied spiritual hunger that was unmet due to their fruitless lives. Now I have entitled this devotion “counterfeit” which means “…made in exact imitation of something valuable with the intention to deceive or defraud.” This was a counterfeit tree essentially and my question to you, are you a counterfeit Christian? Do you have the appearance of fruitfulness but your heart is far away from God? Your motives are corrupt and the word of God isn’t active with you? I want to say that the time for change is now. A quote on my flatmate’s door is “live as though heaven is now” and I interpret it as bear fruit now, pour out your God given treasure now and usher in the kingdom of heaven. This is our appointed time to share the gospel, draw near to God and dedicate our lives to Him.
Another twist to this passage is God’s promises, we must be careful to wait on God’s appointed time for our promises rather than settle for a counterfeit. Practising patience and trust whilst knowing that the word God has spoken over our lives will not return to Him void but prosper in what it was sent to do Isaiah 55:11.
Prayer: Dear Lord, let us not just be leaves but rather help us to bear the fruit of your spirit. We want to be true Christians and not counterfeits. This we pray, Amen.
Monday 18th June 2018
When the burden is too great
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
Do you ever feel weighed down by life? Like you can’t go on another day without fear of collapsing? Well rest assured – you are NOT alone. Sometimes we feel this way because we keep our worries to ourselves and try to tackle every issue using our own wisdom and understanding. Often falling short. We must remember that God says “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Isaiah 55:9-9 and so He can take care of our problems much better than we can.
My friend, you don’t have to do this life alone. Our heavenly father is waiting for you to surrender and submit your situation into God’s hands. He can carry the weight better than us; no problem is too great for Him. And remember we are the BODY OF CHRIST! Draw strength from your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, it says “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ,” Galatians 6:2. Find a trusted friend who you can be real with and confide in them, seek prayer, seek accountability and support. It may be awkward at first but will feel like a breath of fresh air. God wants us to walk FREE and not be held captive by our emotions or circumstances. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” John 8:36 and so soak this in and let it be your reality today!