Wanting a Miracle

The stories around us of sick people, especially children, can really tug at our hearts. So many are sick, so many have been suffering for long periods. In most cases they have been praying for a miracle and God seems to be too far away to hear. I would often say to myself, Lord, you can do it, you are Almighty, show your power and your might. Please give them a miracle! I know those prayers are not being prayed by me only, many others are crying out on the behalf of others.

I am speaking of the miracle of healing of overcoming or winning over a terrible illness. Many never receive that miracle and they die, waiting to be resurrected to eternal separation from God or eternity with God. Because of this, we can easily become weary, doubtful, and hopeless becoming careless with our prayer life. We can easily let bitterness and rejection of God’s plan and Hs promises slip into our hearts. We can easily walk away from God’s protection thinking our efforts are no good.

I do get weary sometimes, tempted to ask the question “why” when I see someone suffer or even die. There is another side to all this though, the side where we ignore God’s wisdom in caring for our bodies. The side where we fail to educate ourselves about the food we eat and the aspects of our lifestyle that are not healthy for us. We fail to bring our bodies into subjection to God’s word. Instead, we make excuses all day long, never disciplining ourselves to experience change. Our bodies are then victims to our bad choices.

I wish to inspire us to think of another miracle, the miracle of salvation, that gives us the opportunity to overcome bad habits, addictions, pride, greed, depression, poor organisation and anxiety. It’s the miracle of freedom that empowers us to break the chains that oppress us, to be transformed, adopting new lifestyles and habits. It’s the miracle of victory! This miracle begins at the cross. If you are still struggling, tied up in all kinds of chains, it may be a good time to visit the cross. The miracle of salvation and forgiveness, is still available.

If you and I can show the World that we are empowered to change, to cease our bad habits and cultivate new ones, many would also receive the Miracle of Salvation.

I always value a Good Plan.

Planning is a valuable tool. Have you ever noticed when you are nearing the finishing line of a project, task or a job, obstacles or distractions often reveal themselves? But then because you have planned and have planned allowing room for the unexpected, the surprises, you are able to stay on course and achieve your goal.

Some people never learnt how to plan. They live moment by moment and are often “caught with their pants down”. In some instances they are afraid to plan because they are afraid to fail. Some are even afraid of success. They miss out on great opportunities, wallow in regret and continuously seek to try catching up with life. Are you like that? Could it be me?

Do you like planning or do you think no one has control of tomorrow and planning is simply a waste of time?

I am reminded of a true story I heard concerning a young woman who knew she was dying of cancer and proceeded to plan her funeral. Do you think she was a planning freak? Do you see such efforts as extreme?

I dare to admonish us all to embrace planning some more. I have seen serious consequences as a result of planning being neglected or insufficient. We can plan our meals to encourage ourselves to consistently eat healthy. We can plan our relaxation time to ensure we have a balance. We can plan to build new habits, start new projects, get chores done and the list goes on.

I have found that successful individuals plan and sometimes their planning can be really deep or complexed. In other words, the value planning so much that they are willing to invest significant time into the process. I have found that successful individuals not only plan but they execute a high percentage of their goals.

Let’s all work on becoming better planners and committed to executing all our Plans.

Don’t just allow things to happen. Plan and implement.

Building new Habits

Building new habits could be tough. But the good news is we can be tougher than our bad habits.

Our brain works well with patterns, sometimes it seems to work the same way like an Auto Pilot, taking us through familiar experiences and cycles without us realizing that we have been driven by what feels good and what we know, when our desire is really to do otherwise.

We often find ourselves in a position where we have to “catch ourselves”. We slap ourselves in the face and say, “Wake up, get your act together”. Bad habits are so sneaky, sweet and comfortable, that sometimes we go as far as justifying the need to indulge one more time, over and over again.

I don’t know what your bad habits are but I know they should no longer be nurtured. You may feel terrible knowing that you have been trying to kick that bad habit for years and yet you continue to struggle. Don’t give up! Don’t ever believe that you can’t. It may just mean that you need to try a new strategy. Bad habits only rob you from your true potential. Therefore they cannot and must not win.

Start building new healthy habits today and watch those bad habits gradually fade away into your past.

Here are a few tips to encourage you along your journey.

  1. List the habits you wish to discontinue.
  2. Submit them to God and ask him for the endurance to pull through.
  3. List the consequences you would most likely face if you continue to feed those bad habits.
  4. Identify new healthy habits you can develop to help you let go of the bad habits.
  5. Share your desire to start building these new habits with someone in your household and ask them to hold you accountable.
  6. Journal your progress, including all your challenges.
  7. Recognise and celebrate small milestones as a means of motivation to keep pushing. Remember to thank God for enabling you.
  8. Share your success with someone who needs to be encouraged to do the same.

To make it even more practical I would share a personal example.

I love exercising! I feel great when I exercise! I have identified one of my bad habits as being inconsistent with my exercising plan. I would always find a reason not to. It’s a cycle of stopping and starting again. The consequence is that my body would not experience any significant long-term benefit simply because the results I desire require consistency. To combat this bad habit of not exercising or not exercising sufficiently, I can create a schedule around my family/work responsibilities and ensure that there are no clashes hindering me from pursuing my exercising sessions.

Further, I can ask my immediate family to encourage me when they see me lapsing. I can then journal my journey, the highs and the lows, noting and celebrating the highs. For example, my aim is to exercise three times weekly. If I can do that for three weeks in a row, I would certainly feel that I have made progress.

The good thing is I have experienced some of the short-term benefits of exercising, and that keeps me yearning for more. I never give up, no matter how inconsistent I may be. But, I need to kick the inconsistency habit, once and for all.

On the flip side of this scenario is a positive one. Since starting my blog, I have been trying to maintain a regular schedule of posting twice weekly, Mondays and Thursdays. Recently, I was finally able to do it for about three weeks consistently. It felt really good to achieve such progress and even though I recently fell out of schedule I can now say that I have made significant strides towards building a new habit. It is now easy to step back into the groove.

Be encouraged, work your strategy and kick that bad habit by doing things differently.

Feel free to share your experience overcoming bad habits or building new ones.

Keep doing the right thing

It does not matter how many times you stopped and started again, it does not matter if you got discouraged a million times or made wrong choices in the past. What matters is that you stick to it, keep working towards the outcome you desire. Consistency will eventually work out in your favor.

Doing the right thing for you may mean showing up to work every day on time, even when you feel mistreated and sidelined. It may mean going the extra mile for someone who has gone out of their way to hinder your progress. Doing the right thing may also mean saying “no” or just being honest about how you feel, even though it would cost you a friendship. Doing the right thing may mean suppressing the urge for revenge and instead choosing to rise up and walk away.

When we can see that doing the right thing is connected to our purpose; our reason for being alive, we can see the bigger picture. we can see value in doing the things that we hate, the things that require us to first become humble, to put aside hurt and rejection and still see people or situations through the eyes of a perfect God.

For the believer, our reason for persevering is larger than ourselves and the limited perspective of the world. We persevere because we want to be obedient to God, we persevere because we are equipped to conquer, to overcome, to win and in doing so, we shine. Our purpose is to win others to Christ through our lives, the way we live, the way we live; the way we treat others. The world needs to see us persevere when it really matters.

Perseverance is a sign of strength and endurance. Keep doing the right thing! Others are watching and would admire your faith and desire to do the same.

Let’s pause a minute though. This is the real world and many times we do not do the right thing. There are times when we grow weary, we throw in the towel, we experience challenges and storms that rock us violently. There are times when all we experience are blocks, walls, closed doors, and naysayers. There are times when those we trust disappoint us big time. This is the real world!

Imagine being kind to someone and giving them $1,000.00 to help them get out of a ticklish situation and that same person turns around and robs you $5,000.00. Isn’t this justifiable reason to stop being kind and to become suspicious of others. Well, based on how we think as mortal men, it can be seen as enough. But, pleasing God takes preeminence over how we see the world.

Ephesians 4:32 says it nicely, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” The life-changing message here is that, we too have failed and need God’s forgiveness and as a result we should look at others with eyes of compassion, being ready to forgive. Think about it, the man who steals from you is in a sad state and needs a spiritual miracle.

Keep doing the right thing no matter what. To encourage yourself, think about school days how you persevered, think about the poverty you faced as a child and how your parents persevered. Think about that friend who was addicted to drugs and how they persevered. Think about the woman who was homeless and how she persevered. Think about the university student and how they persevered through sickness and failures. Think about the cancer patient and how they persevered. Think about minority groups and how they’ve persevered. Think about the pastor who was slandered and disrespected and how he persevered.

Then think about Jesus and His journey to the cross. He persevered through the worse pain and suffering, for you and for me. Is there anything to hard for us to do? Let’s keep doing the right thing no matter what. Do not compromise, do not fold under pressure and tough times. The blessings that will result in you doing the right thing will be indescribable and glorious.

Faith

In November 2021, I launched out in faith and started my own consultancy business. I felt a mix of emotions; I was scared and excited at the same time. As I got more and more involved in the early activities of setting up my business, I found myself pausing frequently to reflect and all I could see was Faith in action. I felt at peace, blessed, and was grateful for the opportunity to live life differently. There was no golden spoon given to me, no instruction package and no head-start advantage to enjoy. All I had was faith, family members, friends and associates who believed in me 100%. They said words like “You would do well”, “You can do it!”

There are many essential contributors to our success which includes education, experience and money, but Faith is the champion of them all. It is the energy that leads me to take each step in building my business. Faith is the catalyst that motivates me to get out of bed when I have the privilege of sleeping in a little longer. It is the spark that allows me to maintain my joy whenever I feel delayed by someone or something. It is the trampoline that launches me up and over my hurdles. Faith keeps me doing the work when there are no signs of fruit, it keeps my eyes on the target no matter how distant it may be.

How is your faith? Where is your faith? How anchored is your faith?

For me, my faith is rooted in God. I have found Him to be always available, always knowing and always powerful. His availability gives me access; I can speak to Him at anytime. He coaches me through His teachings and through his teachers. His infinite knowledge grants me the advantage of choosing wisely and making sound decisions. You see he would give me hints here and there of the dangers that lie ahead and how to prepare for them. He steers my thinking and influences my thoughts and very importantly grants me endless wisdom. Finally His power enables me to endure the toughest of challenges, to persevere and to ultimately win.

My encouragement to you is that you place your Faith in the someone who is capable of fulfilling His promises all the time. If you are about to step out into unknown paths, be sure to begin a relationship with God and let him be the source of your Faith. When your Faith is in God, you cannot go wrong because He is always right. With Him as your friend, you can guarantee to receive 100% support, 100% of the time.

He helps you to sort out every area of your life. He is fully qualified to coach and to guide you. It is easy to place our faith in our money, powerful friends, our years of experience and sound reputation, but we need to remember that while these things are great, they can change at anytime. On the other hand faith in a God who is unchangeable is a faith that can always stand.

Faith in God is a must if your success is going to be of everlasting value.

“I am the Light of the World” – I-Am Poster Series

John 8:12 says “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” This was the basis for my second poster in the “I-Am Poster Series”.

The sun which is one of the greater lights in the Universe is the highlight of this Poster. God created the sun on the fourth day, as the light to rule the day. Without the sun, man will be plunged into utter darkness. The sun speaks to sight, illumination, knowledge and hope. I cannot think of any other earthly light that does a better job of describing the “Light of the World”, Jesus.

The boat on the water reminds me of the need to place my faith in Jesus, just as the disciples needed to during the rough sees. You see light represents, clarity, comfort, purpose and hope. Light dispels the darkness, which can be described as evil, deception and fear.

When I look at this Poster, I feel encouraged to maintain my focus on The Light, to abide in The Light and to demonstrate The Light. It’s a golden, peaceful reminder of the HOPE Jesus offers to all who are seeking to find The Truth.

Living in appreciation of God’s Forgiveness

On January 10, 2021, I chose to read the “Our Daily Bread” devotional. The title read “Etch a Sketch Forgiveness”. The title caught my attention and as I read it came alive. The devotion is about a young boy who had a sketch toy which he was able to use to draw lines and shapes and to create various designs. The story explains how much the little boy loved the toy but what he loved the most is when he turned his etch (his sketch toy) upside down, shook it a little and turned it right side up. According to him, this is when the magic happened. A blank screen would appear offering him the opportunity to create a new design.

This beautiful story of this little boy was used in a powerful way to remind readers of God’s forgiveness. God’s forgiveness creates a clean canvas for us to start over. Wow! I love the illustration here. This is hope and a chance of a new life with Christ leading the way.

Psalm 103:12 was used as the key verse and it says:

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed His transgressions from us.”

As I continued to read, the writer asked, “How can you thank Him for separating your sins from you?” What a necessary question for me. What a wonderful prompt to help me reflect and regain focus. It is a deep personal question that everyone should seek to answer.

I can never repay God for what He has done for me. I can never compensate or seek to match His work on the cross. But I can live my life in a manner that shows that I am appreciative of His mercy, of the pain and suffering He endured for me. The humiliation and rejection He suffered, the loneliness, the persistent tempting of the Devil, the mockery of those who refused to believe that He truly was who He said He was; he endured it all for you and I.

Jesus Christ endured the unimaginable for us even when we did not care. It is imperative that we ask “How can I thank Him for separating my sins from me.” He paid our debt and today we can live debt free. Does our life reflect how deeply appreciative we are of His sacrifice, or does it reflect that we do not care about what transpired on the cross. Maybe to us, it is a boring historical story that has no bearing on our lives today.

As I think about the question and seek to identify the “how”, I urge you to do the same. Don’t let His pain be in vain.

Our Family Christmas Legacy

For me Christmas is about family; it has always been about family. This would be our Family’s first Christmas without Dad.

As a kid, Christmas was always a big thing for us. As a small family, we were always closely knitted; we did everything together when we were kids. Mom and Dad created great memories for us around Christmas and the Christ of Christmas.

For us, the preparation before Christmas was not major or seen as hectic. Somehow, it never felt like we were going overboard. Having a stay-at-home mom, who kept the house in order all year long and a Dad who was flexible with his time. as a Pastor, made a difference.

As children, we did help prepare however. When necessary, we would help Mom wash the walls, clean the windows and the kitchen cupboards, scrub the steps, change the curtains, table cloths and chair covers. We were inspired to keep our home and hearts clean as a sign of honor and adoration to the King of Kings, Jesus! Everything we did had meaning.

Additionally, we would often assist with sanding various pieces of the furniture that needed a fresh dose of varnish. Then Dad would always find a way to brighten up the walls with fresh paint. It may have been just one wall or just the doors, but it made a difference because he painted where it mattered.

With my Mom being an excellent home Manager and my Dad’s ability to do just about anything with his hands, Christmas day was usually well planned and well executed. It started with early morning worship at church. I remember heading to church for 5:00 a.m. when it was still dark. Oh how we loved the early morning worship. I clearly remembered how well attended these Christmas morning services were. Almost every Christmas service we were blessed to hear Dad’s golden voice singing one of his favourite Christmas carols as a special item.

After church we anticipated breakfast and later the sharing of gifts. Mom made breakfast really special pulling out the special apple plates with their matching t-cups and saucers. These utensils were reserved for special occasions. Every Christmas breakfast included a healthy serving of eggs and bacon or eggs and ham; the other items slightly varying from year to year.

The most exciting part of our day were the activities that followed immediately after breakfast. Prayer, reflection and the sharing of gifts. Suspense would fill the house as every year we would wonder what we will be getting for Christmas at times considering that they may not be any gifts at all. God was good to us, I really do not recall a year without gifts. We went to bed on Christmas Eve with great anticipation of seeing the gifts under the Christmas tree the next morning. Gifts were not placed under our tree days before Christmas but on the night before Christmas or very early Christmas morning before we go up.

Every year someone else got the opportunity to distribute the gifts. All effort was made to ensure every member of the family received at least one gift. No one was allowed to feel left out or unloved because of the gift they received. We always found a way to make them feel better. After all the focus was not the sharing of gifts, there was a bigger picture and if there was any slight indication of us losing focus, Mom and Dad and sometimes the elder siblings would remind us of the reason for the Season.

One of my fondest memories that still uplifts my spirit today is the Christmas stockings. I think it was either Christmas Eve or a few days before Christmas when Mom would hang Christmas stockings on our windows or at the foot of our beds. We have never seen her putting anything in the stockings, but every day and during the day we would observe the stockings getting heavier with candies. I believe we all assumed it was Mom but it could’ve been Dad, an angel or one of Santa’s elves. The idea of Mom or Dad doing it was more aligned with our beliefs however :). On Christmas Day we finally got a chance to empty our stockings and tried our best not to eat all the candies the same day.

Next in anticipation was the main Christmas Meal which was usually around early afternoon, between 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. There were some menu items that appeared every year or almost every year. Stew peas, a baked whole chicken and scalloped potatoes. In addition to these items there were a number of other items that completed the menu providing enough food for at least two servings on Christmas Day and one on Boxing Day. Mom hardly ever cooked on Boxing Day.

The rest of the day was spent playing games or watching movies together as well as enjoying our gifts while snacking on the assortment of cookies and cakes made available by mom and her helpers and the variety of local drinks like sorrel and ginger-beer and carbonated drinks which were made available only at Christmas time.

For us Christmas Day was always well spent. We managed to have a great balance of worship, the enjoyment of each others’ company and the blessings given to us by God.

Today, we are all grown and while we would always long for our childhood days, the reality is that those days are gone. Today, however, we can do what we can to continue to build upon the sound principles and practices that would instill sound spiritual and family values in our kids. We can give them the memories of good times.

As the Christmas Season approaches, may you make every effort to create sound memories that would serve to deepen your family bonds and draw you closer to God as a Unit.

Have a meaningful Christmas!

Memories

“We worship and adore you. Bowing down before you. Songs of praises singing, hallelujah’s ringing. Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen!”

Memories of worship sessions at church singing this song illuminated my morning as I laid on my bed around 6:00 a.m. with my bible open wondering what I should read. While trying to figure that out the memory of this beautiful worship song flood my mind and I was grateful for healthy memories.

Immediately, I took that thought deeper linking it to purpose and I wondered, do we treasure healthy memories enough to invest in them daily? If life is about service to others, do we have memories of times when we were of service to others and are we seeking to create new memories helping others and making a difference in their lives?

Maybe your bad memories are overpowering the good ones. If you are in such a position it is a great time to embrace it as a motivation to be proactive about building good ones. It starts with you. There are a million ideas already tried and another million waiting to be explored.

Be grateful for the sweet memories you have with you and never take new opportunities for creating even better memories for granted.

It’s the Christmas Season and usually around this time family, friends and even those who may see themselves as your enemies, are generally more accommodating of your kindness. Take advantage of this Season and build great memories.

Here are some ideas I love for creating healthy memories:

  • Find out from your household what they would like the Christmas Menu to be like and get everyone involved in its preparation (breakfast, lunch, desert and dinner).
  • Re-arrange your bed room, put on new sheets, put up new curtains and invite all your kids in. Choose a fun activity to enjoy together. The idea here is to make your bedroom feel new and fresh; make sure it smells nice too.
  • Provide support to a family or friend or maybe just an acquaintance by helping them with a project that means the world to them. E.g. Cooking for homeless individuals, hosting a Christmas Party for less fortunate kids, reading the bible for the elderly men and women who may be shut-in or confined to their beds or homes.
  • Plan a picnic; choose the location carefully. I believe the highlight of a memorable picnic is the location.
  • .Take family pictures with family members dressing alike.
  • Plan an end-of-year or new-year reunion of school friends. A virtual event is encouraged.
  • Invite some friends to the beach, cook your favorite dish and play cricket or some other sport that is popular in your country.
  • For spouses: Work-out together or go jogging/walking/swimming/hiking. Have fun getting physical together but ensure it is sufficiently challenging by setting a goal. This would require you to support and encourage each other to persevere and achieve something together.

Well friends, I’ve given you enough to consider! Go build those healthy memories! I am planning to do so myself this weekend, and the next, and more so for “2022”.

My Weekends are back!

I grew numb and insensitive to how beautiful life could be and the many facets it has to enjoy. Consumed by the the thought that if I put in the work this week-end, next week-end I will be better off. I believed the investment today would provide for a better life tomorrow. However, the reality of the “better-off” weekends began slowly drifting away from the horizon. Something needed to happen and quick. I needed to see land, I needed to be placed on fertile ground.

But God! Because of the intervention of God in my affairs, Today, I stand grateful! My Weekends are back!

As my bruised body mends, I begin to restructure and to reconnect with my body, mind and soul.

Having my weekends back means:

  • Sleeping in when it is necessary – Getting sufficient rest.
  • Feeling energetic on Saturdays and Sundays – The norm was to feel burnt out and depressed.
  • Being more conscious and aware of what is happening around me
  • Being available for my family and others.
  • Being able to pace my week-day activities to allow me to use weekends for mainly relaxation, house chores, hobbies, spiritual nourishment and quality family time.

In pursuing God and His purpose for our lives it is important for us to recognise that His ways are higher than man’s ways. We must therefore think differently; not the way society thinks. Our perspective must be within the context of faith, sonship and an all powerful God.

Many believe that being in demand by their employer every day of the week and at nights is something special and makes one important. What do you believe? We have sought to adjust to the crazy rat cycle of this life calling it “modern living” when all we are doing is working aimlessly on burn out, not having the energy or the time to invest in the relationships and activities that would bring us true fulfillment. We therefore sacrifice one for the other.

We settle for less engaging ourselves with jobs that do not allow us to manifest the gifts in us and rise to our fullest potential. We allow our employers to strip us of all our dignity and to drain us dry. We sadly settle for less, stomaching the pain and abuse while dishing out excuses upon excuses to our loved ones for our absence.

I don’t know what you need to take back but I encourage you to be daring enough to take that step.

God has blessed me with 24 hours each day and endless wisdom on its use. You are no different! It is all up to you to decide the kind of life we wish to pursue. We often loose the power to decide when that power is given to Man instead of God.

I pray that you would wake up before it is too late. Too late for your body to be restored, to late for your family relationships to be strengthened, to late to slow down and smell the roses of this life, to late to experience the life God desires to give you and too late to impact the lives of others.

Take control of your work-related decisions. Choose an employer who is truly concerned about you. Be careful not to place your Employer above God. Take your life back. Don’t settle for less, no matter how enticing the award. Your life cannot be replaced.