Trust God while waiting (Part II) – How to wait joyfully!

Waiting joyfully is not impossible but it can be tough at times especially when you have been waiting for a while. But there are practical things we can do to help us focus less on “the waiting”.

Seek to live in Gratitude. Living in gratitude helps us to place our mind on the things that are happening for us, the blessings we have received, the lessons we have learned and just the simple things we enjoy every day. We should make the effort not to complain and to ensure that we are emanating a spirit of appreciation that is evident in our interaction with others. We can strengthen our ability to live in gratitude by what we read, the company we keep, the music we listen to and by posting verses, quotes and various statements of affirmation on our bedroom walls, in our offices and even in our vehicles. In other words, saturate your environment with reminders and positive enforcements.

1 Thessalonians 5: 18 says “In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Think about this verse, we are commanded to always be thankful. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are expected to choose gratitude even when things are not going well. You are commanded to choose gratitude when you may have lost your job and you are desperately seeking new opportunities, when you have tried to succeed at your dreams and experienced failure or when you have lost a loved one.

It is a choice that we make daily! It begins with what we believe. If we believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God, we would be able to remain anchored, stable and confident even when we are waiting for answers from God. The joy of the Lord stays in our hearts when we choose to actively believe His promises.

Trust God while waiting (Part 1)

Many of us know what it is like to be on pause. Your foot is on the brake paddle and you have received no directions for moving forward. There are signs that something is happening behind the curtain, you can see a flicker of light every now and then, but it seems like it is taking forever. Despite the discomfort, you know deep within you that your God can be trusted. He has proven it before, not once, not twice, but many times. But no matter your history, it is still difficult to wait.

The good news is there are strategies we can learn that would help us to exercise patience in waiting through-out our lives. If you are able to wait and be joyful and content while doing so, you have accomplished something significant.

Look at your rear view mirror at a time when you planned a date with your girlfriend or a family member. You both agreed to meet at the coffee shop for 8:00 a.m. You arrived 8:55 a.m., it is now 9:20 a.m. and you are still waiting. You are waiting outside of the coffee shop which faces the east, so about that time the sun is hitting you head-on and it is blazing hot. You considered entering the small coffee shop, but it is crowded. On your shoulder is a bag which contains a number of books you are returning to your friend; the bag is quite heavy. In your left hand is your phone and in your right a cold bottle of water. Your hands are getting numb so you are switching both items between your left and right hand. In addition to that, the slippers you are wearing are uncomfortably tight.

You decide to call your friend or family to find out how much longer your wait may be. Your friend/family says to you “I will be there in five minutes”. You waited for an additional twenty minutes before they arrived. The most important aspect of this scenario is that you did not prepare to wait and this made it more difficult for you.

This scenaro allows us to reflect a bit on our behaviour while waiting on God to answer our prayers or to show us what’s next in our lives. We need to be more prepared to wait and we need to utilise our time well, while waiting and while making every effort not to complain or become grumpy. As we experience the waiting periods, we can choose to worship, to reach out to others, to build relationships, read a good book, get involved in “do it yourself projects”, get therapy, work on a healthier you and more, but we must never just sit and wait. It is in the joyful waiting that we grow, learn and are able to influence others positively when we least expect it. Joyful living even through difficult times helps us to cope during the times when we do not have answers or directions.

Let’s make that effort to wait joyfully and never let go of the promise that He (God) will never leave us.

(In part two we would talk more about practical ways to wait joyfully – Please feel free to share tips we can all practice while waiting).

My new year’s hope for you!

Happy New Year! It is by the grace of the one and only Almighty God that we have entered into 2021. I am so happy we both made it.

This is my hope for everyone!

I hope you and I remain or become discipline in setting goals and pursuing them. God created us to create, to dream and to build. Don’t let anything deter you. Nothing must stop you from achieving the goals that God has birthed in you.

I hope you and I mature to understand what true love is. It is not selfish, proud, impatient or unkind. Love is unconditional and allows us to uplift others, sharing when we have much or little. It directs us to put others’ first, to empathise, to listen, to patiently rebuke, lovingly pointing out the implications of poor quality decisions. Love does not divide but mends and unite. Keep this in mind as you relate with your family, friends and even enemies.

I hope you and I prosper financially. It is great to be independent to be able to handle your business on your own and in a timely manner. Be wise with your income, spend after thinking carefully about it. Develop a reserve or emergency fund, keep building your savings. Remember always that your finances are a blessing from God and never allow it to become an idol.

I hope our family relationships grow closer. May you seek to appreciate the family God has blessed you with, whether you see them as good or bad. May we demonstrate Christlikeness at home first before we seek to show it to others on the streets.

I hope you and I remain employed or find employment. Whether self-employment or otherwise. May we seek not to offer meagre service but rather our very best. Seek to do your best at work always even when you do not feel appreciated.

I hope you and I consistently seek to keep our mind and body healthy. Exercise is necessary for healthy experiences daily. Find a physical activity or programme that you are comfortable with but would bring you results. Never tolerate toxic thoughts about yourself or others.

Finally, I hope our pride does not hinder us from glorifying God with our lives. May we never be silent when there is a need to speak. May we never speak when there is a need to be silent. May we learn to recognise the voice of God by building intimacy with him. To be intimate with God, we must allow ourselves to find a quiet space where we can communicate with him without distractions. This begins with a relationship with God where we choose to believe what His word says about us:

that we are sinners in need of the gift of Salvation, and Jesus the Son of God died so this gift can be offered to us. We accept by simply repenting of our sins (turning away from lifestyles and behaviours that he does not approve of) and asking him to be Lord of our lives, committing ourselves to obey his teachings, seeking to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit daily.

I hope, and where there is life and a God who majors in doing the seemingly impossible, it is a worthwhile hope. Now let’s do our part to make our hopes reality, starting from this minute.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Pursue wholeness!

Have you ever experienced a newness that propels you to do all the things that you wanted to do for years? All of a sudden you find the motivation to move, to act and just like that you start living your dreams. This wave sometimes come after years of spiritual stagnation or being told you can’t, or telling yourself you can’t or a struggling illness or toxic relationship. When it comes, don’t ask why, embrace it.

Sometimes the wave of newness is short-lived, other times it brings sustainable change. What is important to remember is that when the newness is short-lived we should not become demotivated. Instead, keep persevering.

Maybe you are experiencing what I am experiencing now; a new wave has come over me and I love it. It is renewed confidence, renewed drive, renewed hope. It is the next level where my mind seems, more than ever, to embrace the seemingly impossible as possible. It is that time when negativity cannot stick, its got to go. It is that position where I look forward, more than ever, to wholesomeness in Christ, more than popularity and material possessions. It is that blessed space where the inner peace I feel abounds and I can’t find the words to adequately explain it. It even comes at a time when challenges are very present, but I don’t see the challenge as an obstacle, but rather as a golden opportunity to grow.

It is a sustained moment of gratitude that allows me to be content and remain joyful when everyone else is restless and discontented.

I urge you to pursue wholesomeness by accepting the flawed you and the existence of an Almighty God, who really thinks about you and wants you to enjoy unconditional love, joy, and peace, right here, right now, and even after you have ceased to exist on this Planet.

Doing what is right at the right time

Last night I visited the supermarket and found myself dodging the few who choose to make supermarkets their base for begging or requesting a dollar. I am usually annoyed by their bold approach and their eagerness to confront you. Personally, I feel the need to escape because 1. they never smell clean and I am super sensitive to unpleasant cents, 2. they convey such pity and sadness on their faces that it is hard to bear, and sometimes I do question their sincerity. 3. I don’t like the feeling of being stalked or harrassed and finally, 4. I don’t want to give my money to someone who would use it to buy alcohol or illegal drugs. It is much easier for me to buy someone a meal; something I have done before.

This struggle is experienced weekly. Some larger supermarkets are less tolerant of the “beggars” but you can still find them at the outskirts of the compound. It is not a pleasant sight but it is the reality of our lives. I find myself thinking about them quite a lot; what’s their story? Why are they begging? Who are they related to? What went wrong? Of course, in order to get the answers, research into their background will be necessary; this could take days.

I call them “beggars” because I can easily describe the group of persons I am writing about by using that name. I do know however, that they are not just “beggars”; they are human beings with a name; maybe, it’s Andy, David, Sarah, Shantel or Kennedy. Whatever their names, they were created by a loving God and he cares about their well being. Unfortunately, many times we are more concerned about them being a nuisance to society.

At the Supermarket last night, there was one I couldn’t dodge. I did my shopping and began walking towards my vehicle. I noticed him from the corner of my eye; he used clutches as a result of loosing one leg. I felt his eyes observing my every move, trying to read my facial expressions and body language, while hoping I would notice him. I did notice him but was careful not to make it obvious. I unlocked my vehicle and quickly secured myself inside. As I prepared to back up, I looked up and there he was in front of my vehicle signaling with his index finger for one (1) dollar.

I resisted and backed out of the drive way but I couldn’t leave. I felt that I couldn’t or shouldn’t ignore his plea. I quickly pulled back into another available parking lot and searched for a $5.00 bill, but to no avail. I only had $20’s and $50’s in my purse. I considered giving him twenty but I was unsure for many reasons. Next to me there was a little slot where I would drop change from time to time; after searching, I was able to give him about four dollars in coins. I was touched by how his face was immediately transformed with a huge smile; he looked like a little child receiving a toy he wished for. He closed his fist around the precious coins, said thank you, and quickly walked away. I must say that receiving such smiles and words of appreciation from the “begging” community is rare. Who knows, maybe if I knew his story, I would understand the happiness he felt. I left the supermarket feeling fulfilled and at peace.

I believe God spoke to me to reach out to that man. Understand though, that God does not have to speak to us before we share with someone. It is just something we should be doing as part of life. However, we must be wise and we need to be able to practice discernment. Sadly, many who beg, do not need money, but what they may need is deliverance from being addicted to alcohol or drugs, demon possession, generational curses, poverty and the list goes on. I suggest we ask God for wisdom daily so that we are always alert to these encounters and we never take the “beggar” for granted. We need to see “beggars” as human beings created by a God who loves them just the way He loves us. It is no easy thing to practice but we can all change and we can all grow to be more like Christ.

Colossians 3:12

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

Is my Vision God’s Vision for Me?

What’s my Vision? What’s my Mission? What am I expected to do every day when I discover I am given another day to breathe. Where does true fulfillment come from?

It seems like the older I get, the more I become obsessed with meaningful living. It seems as if I have only just started to live. I am amazed at how life tricks us into thinking we have gained so much, achieved so much, learned so much and yet on the flip side reminds us forcefully that we still have much to attain. I am but a babe in this vast universe of the unknown, the unanswered and the unchartered and it would be foolish to think that I can successfully make it on my own. I need others and most of all I need God.

I am an achiever, I am constantly tossing around ideas in my head, business ideas, projects, self-development ideas, outreach ideas, writing ideas; I am literally bombarded. It’s the life I live every day and I can easily become consumed with thoughts of strategies that would make the next dream a reality.

Earlier I said I need others and I need God. My desire is never to just do things for the fame and attention of earthly beings but rather to evoke a smile from the one who created me. My desire was never to be a writer but here I am. Years ago, I sat my English Literature Exam and was the only one to achieve a passing grade in my school. At that time English Literature was a new subject and I loved it. I remember we had an English Teacher who read aloud to us, the book she read was based in the “English” culture and she made the fictional words transform to a seemingly real life experience in the class room. I later went on to write plays and directed a few at my Church during my days as a Youth Leader. It was easy for me to do because I enjoyed it. It was not my mission or goal to become a writer, but God has somehow seen it fit to place me on this path. So you see “My Vision” is important but God’s Vision has a wider scope and is the most strategic anyone can get. I look back now and I do see great value in what God is doing. This plan of me becoming a Writer started way back.

I am now much smarter and I refuse to wrestle with the one who knows me best. There is nothing wrong in having a vision or a mission, God expects us to invest our time wisely but don’t ever make the mistake and think that you can be successful on your own, that you are intelligent enough on your own. The one who created you has a serious advantage, he knows the future. So whatever I have put together in my head about “My Vision” or “My Mission”, I know now that it has to be part of His plan for me. So as I plan I am listening for directions.

My true fulfillment comes from knowing that what I am giving my energy and time to is ordained and blessed by God. True fulfillment comes from knowing that I am complete in God. True fulfillment comes from accepting my weaknesses and submitting them to his enabling strength. True fulfillment comes from sharing my gift with others and seeing how it influences them to do the same. True fulfillment comes from stepping out of my comfortable space into unknown territory with only faith by my side? Ture fulfillment comes from sincere introspection of myself and acknowledgement of the changes that needs to be made. True fulfillment comes from sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning, not being too busy to spend time with God. In other words my vision is God’s vision for me. Sometimes we think we know what we are passionate about more than God, but we don’t. He would amaze us if we practice planning leaving enough room for adjustments as we give him the space he deserves. Remember, he knows us BEST!

Keep pushing! You are still breathing and there are still goals and dreams to be reached.

As a child, teen and young adult I had very little self-imposed inhibitions to following my dreams. But now that I am older and much wiser the battle to accomplish is much greater. It is greater when it is easier to access the resources needed. It is greater when information floods the internet, it is greater when I have tested and proven that God does make a way. One thing for sure I receive fresh inspiration daily and that keeps me hopeful. For me my dreams are all sizes and shapes. Sometimes they look like a mountain other times like an ant hill. It is hard to fight inactivity, procrastination and doubt, but it is possible. So as I redirect my thoughts everyday to think like a winner, I continue to reach for the attainable because the truth is, deep down, I do believe in a God and that he has no limitations. l do believe that I shall live to execute every one of his missions for me. I despise mediocrity, normal and efforts to fit into the expectations of others.

It is time to keep pushing!

Whatever the battle or setback you are experiencing, never allow yourself to believe that God is disinterested in you and no more concerned about your affairs. God’s existence is all about people. You may have been praying for a certain outcome, there is no reason to stop now. If you stop now, it means that you have prescribed the power of knowing the future to yourself. No human being has such power. Our duty is to press on! Push! Believe even when circumstances around you suggest otherwise.

Practice self-analysis often, in particular examining where you are in your journey to live a meaningful life, to positively influence others and to shine for God. If you do journal, this is a great time to ensure your journaling has substance and includes such analysis. If you do not, consider starting. Journaling is a very healthy way to finding yourself, assessing yourself and identifying your obstacles and the steps you need to take to move beyond these obstacles.

Expose yourself to materials (books, seminars, videos, podcasts) that would keep you aligned with your purpose. You can also spend time with people who would help you to do the same.

Make sure you are seeking to influence at least one person everyday, whether it is by an encouraging word, by the sharing of valuable knowledge or by just listening. Many times the simplest of initiatives can leave a lasting impression on the mind of others motivating them to keep pushing.

Whenever you are thinking of procrastinating or looking for excuses not to act, ask yourself honestly, if your future self would be happy that you did. If the answer is no, then you better get busy completing that task.

Finally, seek to align your thoughts with the thoughts of royalty. And by Royalty I mean, think “no limits”, think “it is better to try and fail that to fail to try”, think “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”. Picture yourself when your goal is achieved, see your success, use your imagination and look ahead to the place where your dream is realized. Keep that image in your head always, until you are physically there.

Keep pushing!

Covid-19 March 2020 to……. How do we stay healthy and hopeful?

Life has changed all over the world and life has changed in my homeland, Grenada. On March 25th a “Limited State of Emergency” was declared, to take effect the following day. It was our last day at our Physical Offices. The doors of Grenada were slammed shut and we had no choice but to resort to our homes. It didn’t matter if our homes were uncomfortable or not, we were commanded to stay indoors. There was a looming threat outside lurking, hovering, waiting to strike, that threat was Covid-19.

Before our Limited State of Emergency was declared, schools were closed securing the nation’s children, our future. Now, we were all heading home. Employers wrapped up their activities and the doors of all other functioning entities or organizations, including churches were closed. We were told to go home and stay home. We had no idea what shape or form this Pandemic would take. We were waiting and watching, some of us were praying and trusting God to keep us safe. We wanted to stay safe, we shunned the thought of a community spread dilemma.

First case, second case, third case, fourth case, fifth case, it happened. COVID-19 hit us subtly but confidently, hoping for lawlessness to prevail permitting a welcoming and fertile environment to thrive in. Our health officials and the Royal Grenada Police Force, stood their ground and fought like they should. They sought to be vigilant, to communicate effectively to the masses and to spread hope. During this period, we even had a national day of prayer and praise.

We stayed home from March 26th to May. Some businesses that were closed, opened their doors again in May, others in June. Fast-forward to today July 19th, we are no more on lock down, there is no curfew but limitations as it relates to our social lives continues as we are far from being out of the danger zone. We now have three new cases to try to figure out, where did they originate? How come they were missed? Questions and no answers yet. Because of the dread reality of Covid, we must be creative in our thinking and in our efforts to keep healthy, especially mentally. I wish to inspire all of us to believe that we can conquer this disease together with each family focusing on their household. The main reason for this article is to remind us that even through this crises, we can ensure our lives are tasteful and enjoyable even while applying caution. We can be bearers of hope. Let’s set out to do things that would provide a level of social and creative stimulation with our families that would pull us away from the social media (facebook, Instagram, twitter etc.) addictive dull-drum and the addictive binging of television shows or movies. We also need to keep ourselves away from slumber and from other unproductive practices. It is a serious caution to be heeded, as we need every fiber of our being to stay healthy. COVID-19 will have further devastating effects on our societies (Grenada and abroad) if we are not careful.

So now, I wish to inspire you as I inspire myself. Hear are some things I will be seeking to undertake or continue to undertake to keep myself and my family healthy and to keep our lives tasteful. Some of these activities I need to pursue right away as we do not know what tomorrow may bring. Please feel free to submit your ideas in our comments section.

1. Visit the dentist and get teeth cleaned or address any other work that needs to be done.

2. Visit the beach (not too frequently) remembering to practice physical distancing and all other protective measures.

3.Invite other parents to participate in a book swap, limiting the need to purchase books. This is particularly useful if you have school-aged children in your home. This provides reading as an option of things to do at home.

4.Clean your home, redecorate, redesign; give it a fresh look.

5.Visit a waterfall with a small group of persons (no more than 20).

6.Take full advantage of online seminars, bible studies and worship sessions.

7.Start a kitchen garden or spend time taking care of house plants.

8.Learn a new language online.

9.Get involved in creative projects eg: use your old toilet paper and tissue roles to create something you can use, design a piece of clothing and sew it.

10. Create meals together; clean and decorate your porch and verandah, spread a blanket on the floor on a moonlit evening and have dinner together.

11.Play church, each family member given a role to play, song-leader, scripture reader, singer, preacher :).

12. Do something different with your hair or for men your beard; there is a beard thing going on these days. Soak your feet or retreat to a quiet place with lighted scented candles after a lovely bath.

13.Excercise, make it fun!

14. Finally, pray more together.

That’s it for now. I have already started this list and I hope to try every activity over the next month. Let’s see how it goes.

Did I inspire you to be more creative with your time?

Talk, sing and dance about His goodness.

I was a believer for years before I learned about freedom in worship. I remember attending church and singing lots of hymns and choruses. The songs were generally in line with scripture and reminded me of the truths about God and His most prized creation, man. I was in love with clapping and singing and stepping to the rhythm. These moments were certainly uplifting for me and I am grateful.

Somewhere in my late twenties early thirties however, I experienced a different level of worship. A level of worship that allowed me to become more aware of my thoughts, and my actions towards God. A level of worship that allowed me to become more practical in my christian walk. I got free from traditional forms of worship and I got to understand that It was o.k. for me to express myself towards God. I was free to show tears, to kneel before God, to shout, to sing out and to dance. I no longer was concerned about who was watching and what they were thinking. For the first time I began to realise that it was not worldly to show emotions in worship towards God. It was great to learn and embrace that freedom.

As I was reading Exodus 15 this week, I couldn’t help but notice a few things about worship that made me smile and reflect on my journey.

  1. God delivered the children of Israel from the Egyptians by miraculously allowing them to walk through the Red Sea, later causing Pharaoh’s army to drown as they pursued them. As a result they sang a song unto the Lord and what I observed is that the words were very specific to what was experienced. They sang “He hath triumphed gloriously! The Lord is my strength and my song and he is become my salvation.” It reminds us to sing unto the Lord with our whole hearts being mindful to be meaningful and personal in our expressions. We must only sing about our experiences. Let our words be true and meaningful.
  2. There was a powerful testimony in their song. It says, “The depths have covered them and they sank to the bottom as a stone”. Those who are listening and watching need to hear the details of what God has done or is doing for you. Don’t hold it back, it shows off his power and his might and it allows them to relate to your story.
  3. I love how they exposed the plan of the enemy in their song by singing “The enemy said, I will pursue you, I will overtake you, I will divide and spoil…” It is important that we do not downplay the plan of the enemy. The consequences of taking the enemy for granted can be devastating. Accept it for what it is! He will pursue! He will seek to overtake you! He will seek to destroy your family, your future and your testimony.

Be free with your praise and your testimony, do not hold back from sharing about God’s goodness. Sing about it, talk about it, dance about it!

The Bible Stories and our Legacy

I started reading through the bible this year, trying to slowly soak it all in. The aim is not just to finish but gain greater understanding of the scripture, draw closer to God and experience the thrill of the word speaking to me and enlightening me. As I came to the last few chapters in Genesis, it felt as if I just completed watching a great movie. The Account of Jacob (Israel) and his family is amazing. The story of Joseph and his brothers even more amazing.

As I started book number two (2), Exodus, I felt sad. Jacob (Israel) has died, Joseph has died and all his brothers. Mind you, this happened many years ago but their stories became so alive in my heart that I felt as if I lost something. I am thinking to myself, their passing is such a loss to humanity, people like them should live forever.

Exodus chapter one has already secured my attention. As mentioned before, they all died, Jacob, Joseph and all his brothers. Now the verse that really caused me to halt was Exodus 1 verse 8. “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph”. What? Seriously? Half of your life is missing. The said chapter also tells us that he was a mean Pharaoh. He saw the Israelites as threats and afflicted them. He also sought to kill all the males among them. Things were no longer the same.

How does this apply to us today? I see it as very relevant. Joseph rose up and did what God commanded him to do. He truly lived for others growing to be an outstanding leader in his day and leaving a great legacy, one that we still read about today. However, Joseph died and despite all the good he did to give the Israelites a better quality life during the famine and to protect them, he could not protect them forever. The wicked Pharaoh took over and all hell broke loose for the Israelites. He didn’t even know about this great man Joseph.

Despite the fact that we would die and some people may not remember our legacy, don’t let that reality shock you into frozen mode. Joseph’s story of yesterday is serving to motivate, teach and inspire others today. Do not focus on those who belittle you or doubt your potential. Do not focus on what your family did to you, do not focus on the man or woman who had an opportunity to help you and bluntly refused. Focus on your mission, you task, your purpose and get it done. There will be those who would benefit as a result of your giving to others, and your willingness to share your gifts and abilities with the world.

Your greatness can be realized but like Joseph you must be willing to run from those traps that can corrupt your character, like Joseph, you must be bold and ready to face powerful men and ask for what you need, like Joseph you must be ready to forgive despite your pain. Joseph would always be remembered for excellence in leadership, his willingness to say no to the attractive and the powerful, his deep love for his brothers and his care for the welfare of his people.

What would you and I be remembered for? I remind you to pursue a meaningful life where “people” are your focus.