Finding strength in the Joy of the Lord!

It was Sunday morning and from the comfort of my bed, I looked outside and observed ‘What a beautiful day it is!”. There was absolutely no need for me to hustle that morning, it was a day for taking it slow, to refresh my soul and to receive inspiration from God’s word.

I decided to look-up verses on “the joy of the Lord” and this exercise did wonders for me.

My hope in God’s promises were renewed, I felt energised and excited to continue pursuing His plan for my life, I became filled with great expectations. Even my countenance changed from gloomy, to bright.

What really happened? Were those verses magical? Well, they are embedded in truth, power and hope, so I guess they are more than magical, they are majestic, like the Author himself.

Phillipians 4:4 was the first verse I read:

Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say rejoice – KJV

Rejoice in the Lord always; I say it again. Rejoice! – NIV

Oh, this little verse lifted my spirit and reminded me that despite my circumstances and how much I really don’t feel like focusing on God’s joy, I need to try anyhow, because it always works. It reminded me that my joy is not a product of my possessions or my achievements but knowing that God loves me, has a plan for me and I can trust him. It is understanding that pleasing God first keeps me joyful.

Another verse that lifted my spirit was Psalm 5:11 -KJV “But let those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

Here is the NIV : “But let all who take refuge in you be glad, let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you”

We cannot ignore that there is a condition for experiencing God’s joy. We must make that choice to love His name, to find contentment and pleasure in His character, in His mission and in what He has written in the Bible for our benefit.

I am convinced that if some people could only experience the joy of the Lord, they would not give up on their marriage, they would not consider suicide, the would not abuse others and the list goes on and on.

There are so many verses that talk about the joy of the Lord, I am just getting started.

I inspire you to pursue the Joy of the Lord.

Embracing the Imperfect Me!

Featured picture by google images

I saw this post on Jonathan Mc Reynold’s Instagram page a few weeks ago and it stirred me to write, it says  

“Shame made me feel like I had to be perfect.  But man, I am just soooo not.  Physical flaws, sins, personality flaws, bad choices, etc. but I’m slowly shedding the need to be perfect.  The “imperfect me” must be valuable because that’s the only “me” that God ever made, ever used and ever blessed.  All I can do is all I can do. 

What I have just read for you is a sticking point for many people.  We are always worrying about our flaws, our past failures, our weaknesses, when will we behave ourselves.   When will we behave as if we know better, because in most cases, I think we know better. 

We know that man is imperfect.   Only God is perfect.   Yet, we criticise others when we become aware of their flaws and we do the same thing to ourselves.    Hey, it is not fruitful, it would not help you in any way. 

When I read Jonathan’s post, I immediately typed a response and it says;  You spoke for all of us my friend, you are not alone in this “imperfect me” journey.  What matters is that you have already touched our lives for the sake of Christ and you did it because you allowed God to use you.  In my view that is when it becomes perfect” 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be perfect?  Just try to imagine it.   There will be no need for growth, no need for overcoming, no need for learning valuable lessons, no need to depend on God, no need for anyone, as a matter of fact.   I guess our knowledge would be limitless, absolutely no gaps. 

Life is great when we come to terms with its sweet liberating truth.    We are all imperfect, on a journey of self-discovery, growth and transformation.  We all need a perfect God to guide us to the correct destination.  He guides us by being present, vocal and ready to support if we would let Him.   He desires to use the imperfect men and women that we are.    Living life in the presence of a Perfect God is all we need to make it!  

Keeping it real!

Sometimes we feel tired, swamped and simply worked-out. We all have those days, those weeks, those moments.

Achieving, winning and growing can be exciting and we can easily get lost in the “air of success”.

Achieving requires exerting our energy, sacrificing our personal time and hobbies. And yet, it is important to remember to keep it real. Keeping it real speaks of acknowledging that it is still necessary to take care of this beautiful gift, our body, keeping it real speaks of taking timeout to connect with your family and to read and meditate on content that would broaden your perspective.

Keeping it real allows you to remember your simple past, moral foundation and values that has brought you success. Keeping it real reminds you that you are existing in a wonderful body, an amazing world of resources and yet understand that man is not in control of everything. God is the one in control and He can easily overrule our plans.

Keeping it real allows you to see what’s happening around you, it keeps you connected with current affairs, it allows you to be sensitive to the needs of others and it allows you to constantly evaluate where you are at.

Prayer: Dear God please help me to remember that my success is all because I have found a way to keep it real, I have found a way to constantly reflect on my current status and the fact that it is much more beneficial to allow you to guide my every move. I am grateful for my experiences with you, it has certainly kept me grounded, watchful and hopeful. I understand that I must always lift you up above all else and you would take care of my daily needs. Understanding your plan for my life and pursuing it daily amidst endless distractions is certainly a walk of discipline and endurance…but I really love keeping it real.

Are you living a life of pretense, trying to be who you are not, compromising on values and standards that have brought you success? Keeping it real, helps you to realise the things that really matters in this life; Family, positively impacting the lives of your colleagues at work and making a difference in your home, school, church and community, growing and becoming a better you and gaining a clearer understanding of who God is and why He considered your existence. You and I are just men, totally dependent on God’s grace. We better keep it real!!

I love to associate with “real people” who love keeping it real! 🙂

Should you be praying or Acting in Faith?

Time passes by very quickly, the birthdays, the graduations; oh how time flies. We all have the same amount of time at our disposal. However, some of us waste it terribly and regrettably so. Time wasted cannot be regained. I believe you have heard this saying before.

I wish to remind us to “Act”. Sometimes we have no reason to wait, to sit and to do nothing. All that is necessary now, is to take action. Remember we are given gifts and resources and it is not for us to be selfish with it but to impact the world positively. For the believer, it is for building the Church of God, the Kingdom of God.

It is wearying to see us labour in prayer, doubting God, looking for a sign from heaven, when all we need to do is take that first step, second step or that next step in faith, understanding that you are alive now and can only act while you are alive. Someone’s life is going to be better because of your willingness and discipline to ACT.

Work against your doubts, act against your fear, move against the ungodly tide, take responsibility for that gift you have been given and ACT.

Go speak to Dad and let him know you have forgiven him, go speak to your boss and share your interest in the new position, stop procrastinating on sharing Christ with that co-worker, stop putting off your quiet time with God and His Word, start that book, start working on that business idea, start working on that ministry……just ACT. Act now, before there is no more time left.

PURSUE PURPOSE!

Scanning the Psalms – Part III

As I read Psalm chapter three, focusing on verse six, I began to empathize with the Psalmist, David. Friends, the children of God have been going through “hell” from the very beginning. David’s daughter was raped by her brother, his own blood (Absalom) came up against him to try to take over the kingdom and his enemies were real men and women with swords. I wish to add that David committed some sins against God that often makes me wonder, how a man of God’s own heart can stoop so low. However, that’s another topic! Today, I am just considering that David went through a lot. Just as you and I do, we all experience rough times.

I mentioned earlier that I read the entire chapter, but my focus was verse six. It says – “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me.”
This was my take-away from this verse. In my mind, if David, who had men with swords seeking for his life could say this, I can. If David, who had to flee his own Kingdom for his safety, because his own men were turning against him, I can. If David, as a youth, was attacked by a trusted adult who wanted to kill him as a result of jealousy, I can. If David, could grieve God’s heart so deeply and still rise up to enjoy his protection, I can.

David demonstrated a faith in God that was unshakable, unmovable and worthwhile.

He said “I laid me down and slept”. This speaks of peace of mind and confidence that everything will be ok, even as he sleeps. Then he says ” I awaked; for the Lord sustained me”. As a result of his confidence and trust in God, he awoke as he expected, feeling satisfied having slept in God’s promises. He immediately acknowledges that it was God who kept him through the night.
I love this commentary by Albert Barnes, it says;
“For the Lord sustained me – He kept me from danger; he preserved me from death. And it is as true now as it was then, that God is the supporter of life when men sleep. He guards us; he causes the action of the heart to be continued as it propels the blood through our frame; he secures the gentle heaving of the lungs, both when we slumber and when we wake.”

For each of us our circumstances are different or challenges vary. But, we can all identify with the need to comfortably sleep at nights knowing that God will keep us safe. I acknowledge that some of you reading this article have not enjoyed such rest because you may be living in fear, guilt, bitterness and regrets or maybe your experiences have lead you to hate God. Once you learn to let these emotions go, your faith in God and His ability to give you true and complete rest would grow.

Featured picture: Grenada Craft Centre – Located just out of Kirani James Boulevard into Port Highway, St. George’s, Grenada.

Scanning the Psalms – Part II

Psalm one is really a simple comparison between the man seeking to walk uprightly and the man who wants nothing to do with God.

Let’s look at the differences:

The Upright

Finds pleasure in reading and studying God’s word.

Bears good, wholesome and healthy fruit.

Anything good he does is likely to be successful.

He is firmly planted and his roots run deep.

When being judged, God will be pleased with him.

The Ungodly

Has no interest in the Word of God; does not respect it.

He may seem to prosper but does not enjoy good success. He “prospers” at the expense of others.

His life of disrespect towards God is marred with pain and regret.

He is like a chaff easily blown away by the wind.

If he does not repent, when being judged God will sadly condemn him.

Now, even in preparing this comparison when I got to number five, I felt a bit uncomfortable.   No one likes to speak of judgement and condemnation.   But then what do you do if the Word of God speaks of it?  Compromise?    It is better to say it as it is, well at least if you want to be called put God first.   It does not mean that you are “speaking the hate language”, it is simply that you hold God’s word above anything else. 

The Word of God contains lots of positives, many passages speaks of his protection, his love, his forgiveness and his grace and it is much easier to accept.   But we must understand that the God of Love is also holy and cannot tolerate sin.  His grace extends to all, but we must expect that if we continuously reject his Grace, there will be consequences.  You see his Grace is that space he gives us to repent and submit to his ways.  Remember though, that it’s our choice to submit to his authority or not to submit, but choosing the latter comes with serious negative consequences.

MY PRAYER:   I pray that anyone who is living a life against God’s principles and guidance would realize that they are travelling a dangerous road and sense his overwhelming love drawing them to his side. I pray they would desire to taste of His everlasting water and abundant life.  I pray that they would truly drink from the well that never runs dry.  IN JESUS NAME, AMEN!

Wish I can speak about God’s love and grace only, but I can’t!  Psalm Chapter one is the Reason!

Featured Picture taken by InspireMe – The Lagoon – Kirani Boulevard, St. George’s. Great place to chill!