Prayer works

One of the amazing things about praying is the peace it brings. Many times we pray for a certain outcome, a particular need, a change, a victory and even while you are praying the situation may worsen but you keep praying because you believe and then God gives you the peace to sail through in the roughest of times.

I am sure sometimes you feel like you’ve prayed but nothing is moving, God is not listening. Well, from my experience and the experience of others and based on what the word of God says, God is not limited that he cannot hear us. He loves us and value communing with us. Be assured that he will be working on your behalf. It may take a while, you may not receive the answer or answers you are expecting or he may choose to meet your need in ways you never thought of. What he requires of us is that we continue to place our cares on him and trust Him to take care of them completely the way he thinks best. His peace would sustain you.

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you. He shall never permit the righteous to be moved”.

Keep walking in Integrity

Integrity speaks of the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles or moral uprightness. From birth we begin to learn, we begin to form our perception of right and wrong. As we grow our character takes shape heavily influenced by our early education, our environment and our personal experiences. We soon realize that “trust” is essential if we ought to be successful in life. Sooner or later we understand that our reputation is worth protecting and that if we are not seen as someone of integrity or someone who can be trusted, life becomes complicated.

I have found that there is a particular challenge for us when we fall short of biblical standards to get back up and re-establish our steps and our position. Our integrity is priceless and it cannot be easily restored. It means therefore that in pursuing God’s purpose for our lives, we ought to do everything possible, in his might, to walk uprightly. Failure to do so would cost immensely.

It is true that God’s grace is always available and sufficient to cover our sins. It is true that all God desires is a repentative heart and a desire to do right. It is also true that he does not remember our sins, reminding us about our failures over and over. Sadly, however, when we slip up, the devil seeks to capitalize on first time mistakes or what we may call the “little mistakes”.

At work, things were going missing from the refrigerator for a while, even you became a victim at some point. Today you compromised on your standard never to touch anything that does not belong to you. You noticed a bottle of cocoa cola and for the first time took a chance. You took it and drank it but not before another employee walks in, the owner of the cocoa cola, who obviously caught you red-handed. Guess what? You are tarnished, everyone now believes that you were the one stealing from the staff all along. You apologize and you try to convince them otherwise, but you are stuck with that tag. Sad but true. That coco cola was not worth it.

The comfort is if you are truly sorry, God will forgive you and he does not devalue you as human beings would. He still sees you as his child and is ready and waiting to stir those gifts within you for his glory. Many people would look at others and devalue them because they became aware of something wrong that they did. It happens intentionally and unintentionally. If we ought to restore our spiritual health and even grow deeper, we must see ourselves the way God sees us, not the way man sees us.

Man’s vision is often blurred, guided by emotions, perceptions that are not necessarily true, exaggerated circumstances, bitterness and much more. God’s gift of his Son to free us from the bondage of sin and provide us with an abundant life says it all. He loves us and desires to commune with us and speak through us. So while we remind ourselves of the importance of walking in integrity, remember that if you were to fall short of God’s standards, you need not to give up but to confess, accept God’s forgiveness and continue building a life of integrity. There are many great men and women who lived on to please God after falling because it was always their desire and goal in life to do so. Their set backs were not allowed to deter them from God’s purpose but instead made them stronger.

I encourage you to keep your eyes on the perfect one, he would inspire you to keep walking in righteousness.

“2020” is Here! How do I Face it? (Part II)

In John Chapter 16, Jesus is speaking to his followers and he is preparing them for the following; his ascension into heaven, the arrival of “The Comforter” which is the Holy Spirit, and to come with difficult times that they would face in the future. It is very fitting therefore to end with verse 33. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Imagine Jesus told his disciples, that they will be killed by persons who think they are doing a good thing? Then He continues to speak stating “And these things will they do unto you because they have not known the Father nor me”.
Wait a minute, Lord, just one minute! Are you saying that in addition to all the trouble in this world, I can be persecuted for believing that you are indeed the Son of God? Trust me, Jesus, I really need you to show me how to live knowing that persecution can come my way. God is always wiling and ready to do just that, to show us how.
Permit me to flip back to John Chapter 15. I find this chapter to be a practical section that truly provides advice on how we can live a joy-sustained life. So, here are a few tips from John 15.
⦁ Regularly read and listen to the Word of God with the intention to receive guidance, lessons or warnings that can be applied to your life.
⦁ Prayerfully seek help from the Holy Spirit to implement the changes you need to make. Keep striving towards that change, no matter how long it takes.
⦁ Stay with Christ by sticking to what he shows you in his word as “right”, walk away from what he shows you in his word to be “wrong”. Seek to do good to every man or woman you meet; love every one.
⦁ As you grow in Christ, share your experiences with others. Share verses that have helped you to overcome or become more like Christ – bear fruit.
I wish to note that I have never seen a verse in the bible where we are told that everything will be easy, or a walk-over, free from challenges or difficult times, never. Sometimes, these challenges come from every direction and it feels like there is no breathing space. Our mental health becomes a cause for concern as our mind and our body continuously battles the bad relationships, the criminal activities around us, the enemies within and without, death and sickness. It is no easy fix and yet before Christ returned to heaven he left such comforting words for those who would believe. Even more comforting that these words are the fact that He, Jesus (God in human flesh) is believable, in other words, He is for real. He cannot lie. Placing “2020” into His hands would make all the sense in this world.

“2020” is Here! How do I Face It? (Part I)

What should I do when “2019” was a huge failure for me? Why should I bother to pursue righteousness after failing God so many times? Why should I expect anything great when despite my honest efforts, I have been defrauded? Morals are depleting, those who profess to be Christians have made it more difficult for me to believe. So many have dreamt and hoped and have not lived to see it through. Why bother? What’s the use? Is it still really possible to live joyfully in “2020”?
Thoughts like these only creates pressure on our minds, our soul and spirit. They breathe anxiety, bitterness and pain. They lead us astray, down the road to sadness where we tend to give up. If you are asking similar questions today, my answer is, God is still God and has not changed, He is still omnipotent, omniscience and omnipresent. Still loving, faithful and caring. His promises are for real; they are here to stay. Because of who He is we can still anticipate a bright future. A bright future means that your dreams can still come through, it means that even during the storms you can have peace. This is so because God has promised to take care of those who would trust in him and his promises are sure because of His Character. He himself is truth. He cannot lie.
Let’s discuss this some more. Do you know that this place we call home, this Planet is poluted? It is filled with toxins, dangerous substances everywhere. Many of our foods are contaminated, our water is not always pure, everywhere we go, we can find thousands of germs on varous surfaces, the bus or train we travel on, the railings we use as we climb the steps, the cash we handle every day and the ATM’s, the items at the grocery store that we handle and place in our shopping baskets, and so much more. Even so, the spiritual condition of the people who live on this earth leaves so much to be desired. We are corrupt and bent on doing the wrong, we reject God and his standards. Our environment is contaminated and so are our hearts. Because of this reality, living today can be difficult. In order to survive and do well, we must believe in someone who is greater. we must believe in his Promises.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” This great verse is taken from John 16:33. Here is another sweet verse “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Taken from Psalm 46:1. There is so much more where those two verses were found. Here is another, Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe.”
Now, we can take each of these verses and dissect them by trying to grasp the meaning of their context and the meaning of every word and we will do so in subsequent articles. This topic is too deep for one posting, so stay with me.
Let me say however, that if you were to take just 5 minutes to read and meditate on the verses mentioned above, your spirit will be lifted. It requires more to live in a joy-sustained condition, but meditating on God’s word is a great start.
More to come……..

Work towards improving your skill or nurturing that gift.

There are two types of writers, the “Pantser” and the “Outliner”. I think I may be predominantly a “Pantser”. These are popular work-styles of Writers. Pantsers write as a process of discovery. I love the sound of the word “Pantser”; it injects excitement and great anticipation for the writer whose story is unfolding before his/her eyes. There is so much to learn, so many great writers have traversed these paths and as a result have shared many useful tips and lessons with us.

Jerry B. Jenkins is one of those writers. Learning from Jerry is great. You can check out his videos on YouTube. I love the fact that he has so much to share and is so liberal in doing so. While I am not very familiar with his work, his videos, articles and blogs inspire me to work harder towards improving my writing.

Isn’t this how we pursue purpose? By chasing our dreams, by nurturing our gifts and abilities and taking action by faith? We stir our appetite for excellence by training our minds to focus on activities that can build our art, our skill and our knowledge base, in the area or areas of interest.

Whatever you are seeking to achieve, give yourself that opportunity to make it happen. Maybe you are seeking to become a better cook or baker, or you may be dreaming of producing a movie some day. There are so many directions one can take, so much to explore. I sincerely hope that if you have procrastinated and doubted all your life that you would quickly shake it off and begin to walk briskly towards your next project.

It was never a plan of mine to be a Writer but, it is certainly one now. It happened when God chose to refresh my spirit during a dark. lonely time in my life, by stirring me to write. It was therapeutic and I was able to breathe hope into the lives of others.

My journey has only just begun and I expect by God’s grace that it would grow more and more exciting everyday. I am so thankful that God would desire to use me and I’m extremely excited about the writing projects to come, those already envisioned and those to be discovered.

Many of you share similar experiences and I am confident that someone reading this article will be inspired to “go for it”. There is something you need to master, go do what is necessary to master it and see your dream come through,

When God wants to enlarge you, he needs you to take action – move out or let go!

Featured pic compliments google images.

Genesis is a great book. I love the lessons that can be gleaned from Abram and his son, Isaac. In chapter 13, we see how Abram invited Lot to move into his own space, his own land as there was strife between Abram’s workmen and Lots workmen. Verse 9 says, (Abram speaking) “Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself I pray thee, from me; if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.”

Lot opened his eyes and he saw well watered flat lands and settled there. Interestingly, verse 14 says “And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward and westward, for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed forever.

In Chapter 26, Abram has died and Isaac is now the man of the moment. He settles in a place called Gerar, land of the Philistines. God speaks to him and says “I will be with thee and will bless thee, for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries….”. As Isaac lived there, his wealth increased and the Philistines envied him. There were wells that his father dug and the Philistines filled them up with earth. Eventually, Abimelech, the King of Gerar tells him to get out. So he peacefully relocates to the valley of Gerar. Even then, he dug two more wells and the men of Gerar made confusion over the wells saying “the water is ours”. Isaac moves out from them again and goes elsewhere and digs another well, finally finding peace.

God had a plan to execute through Abram and later through his son, Isaac. To execute this plan, he needed them to be alone at certain times, he needed them to have their own space, he needed them to be able to function without obvious distractions. As he guides them to take action, we see their approach as one of peace, ready to let go of their weights and do what is required, even though it meant giving up an investment. Maybe God wants you to let go some of the people in your life, maybe you need to offer them the greener pastures, maybe you need to be a peacemaker and say “you can have it”; it is only material possession anyhow. For others, maybe you are the one to physically move out so that God could show you what he has in store for you. As we take action, remember to do so in a peaceful and gentle spirit. Once we understand that God is speaking to us through a particular circumstance to move out or let go, and you believe you can trust him with your future, there will be peace.

Letting go can be hard, giving up precious possession could be heartbreaking, but sometimes we need to in order to gain greater.

Practical help for controlling your thoughts by Stanley Charles, InTouch Ministries

(Featured picture -google images).

Many times when I listen to a sermon, or read something really inspirational, I immediately think of sharing it with someone. Today is one of those days and I have chosen to share some insights from Pastor Stanley Charles of InTouch Ministries. Hope you find it useful!

Let me start with one of his quotes: “Unseen thoughts produce visible consequences in your life.”

We just cannot escape the reality of our thoughts. Hence the reason it is so important to master our thoughts and control them always. Once we are alive we would think, but we are not to be held captive to our thoughts. We can save ourselves from doing and saying things that we would regret, if only we can learn to control our thoughts.

Here are six questions, given by Pastor Charles, that we can ask ourselves, to help us practice healthy thinking. Remember, our mind is a control tower.

1. Where will these thoughts lead me?

2. Will these thoughts get me where I want to go?

3. Are these thoughts scripturally acceptable?

4. Will these thoughts build me up or tear me down?

5. Could I share these thoughts with someone else?

6. Where did these thoughts originate?

I find these questions solid and very useful for helping anyone build healthy thinking habits. If you think of yourself as a failure, you would find all sorts of excuses to keep you from rising after falling.

If you think of others as individuals who are of less value than you, then it would be easy for you to hurt others, whether with your words or your actions. If you think that God’s word is not true, you would live your life with no consideration of consequences or the impact of your decisions on others.

Don’t be fooled. Your mind is indeed your control tower.

Practice asking the questions above and see yourself soar in your thoughts and in your life.

Your greatness can come from your failures

At the time we are experiencing them, the world does not deal kindly with failures, weaknesses and moments of personal struggles; those times when we feel like we have lost our way, we have lost our shine and our spirit is broken. But when we persevere and rise from the ashes, then everyone wants to hear our story; we often forget that these struggles often birth greatness. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, is the greatest example of someone who has persevere through His struggle. He never sinned but his struggle was real. He refused to give up on the promises of His father, even after being tempted to do so. As a result, He eventually gained the victory over the musically talented, but destructive, Lucifer, who was now working against his dream to see all men experience true freedom. Many men have passed on, leaving a legacy of getting back up after failure and persevering to the finishing line. Some were able to rise after several failures. They learnt that their failure was only a catalyst, a lesson, and embraced it not with shame and regret, but gratefulness. They understood what it meant to give thanks for everything, even for their failures, for it was during these times that their lives were deeply shaken to the core and after much pain and personal sacrifice, they were able to present fruits of gold and silver.

I suggest you get excited about getting up after you have fallen and look over yonder to the distance, whether you see it or not, there is a ray of hope beckoning you to keep pressing forward towards the finishing line. God sent his Son to give you and I hope, hope after Adam and Eve sinned, hope that would take us out of fear and bondage, hope that would pull us away from our poor self image and help us to understand that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, for a purpose. As a we embrace this hope, we would unlock our true potential and shine, so that our heavenly father can be glorified. It is a hope that can only be found in Jesus and it enables us to have the correct perspective about our failures and our weaknesses, and about our future. It is a hope that gives us the strength to see our dreams become reality.

Because you are different does not mean you need to give in.

There are many people struggling with the desire to become intimately involved with the same sex. Finally, many of them give in, thinking that this is who they are meant to be and they need to be free by “coming out of their closet”. This mentality is supported by lots of people in society today and it is really difficult for someone to resist when those “same-sex” urges are experienced.

I believe the stories of those who finally gave in, are glamorised, while the stories of those who don’t are often suppressed and not shared.

The reality is however, it boils down to a choice, to respect and believe that God’s standards are different from society’s standards or to reject those standards for society’s standards. Some choose to respect and honour God’s way and so they choose to resist the urge and the temptation to be with another of their kind. Today, there are beautiful stories of such successes.

Don’t be overwhelmed with the fashion to give in, there is another option. Ask yourself “What would Jesus Do?”. Ask him that question directly and sincerely tune in for his answer. You would be amazed of the power of his words and the overwhelming love he has for you. Consider that the one who created you may have a different plan for your life, even with your “differences”. Consider!

Someone is encouraged to pursue their dreams because of you

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No one likes to be around hypocrites and that is a given. But often we look at others, forgetting to look in the Mirror. When we say one thing and our behaviour depicts something else, it creates confusion in the minds of others. It is always better to let people see you rather than hear you; unfortunately or fortunately, what they see is evidence of who you really are.
I know of many persons who have been discouraged from doing good because they have been disappointed by someone they once looked up to.
Students look up to teachers and are often baffled by their conduct. It causes them to re-evaluate the values they were taught, to question whether or not there are folks who really believe these values and live by them. Some Parents create deep rifts between themselves and their children, because they choose to discipline their children for certain acts they themselves are guilty of committing. Some spouses treat their wives or husbands badly, while they pretend to be angels on the outside, seeking to fool others into believing that all is well.
It happens at church as well, church leaders forget that it is ok to admit to weaknesses and failures and instead, attempt to live hiding behind a mask, one that forces them to pretend to be who they are not. Usually, it is only a matter of time that the high expectations of others are shattered.
Bosses pretend to listen, to care and to be fair, while deep down they are not sincerely interested in your well-being. You are not valued beyond what you can do.
These are all realities that exists in your world and in my world. Many of us have been disappointed by someone in our lifetime or have disappointed someone in their lifetime.
Let us remember that there is always someone looking up to us, observing us, respecting and valuing our advice and guidance. It therefore means that our actions and behaviours can either hinder someone from pursuing their purpose, or propel them to move full speed ahead.
I do believe we should not blame anyone for the situations and conditions we find ourselves in, but if we are to be honest, some of our greatest blows come from people who disappointed us in life.
Remember, someone is watching the way you live and is being encouraged to pursue their dreams, to persevere through a difficult period in their life, or to change.
This should cause us to think a lot deeper, before we act.