I hope you are managing to maintain your determination and optimism.
So here’s my second post in this series. Is your relationship with God flourishing? Are you seeking to draw even closer to him this year? I do hope so!
Many of you will have heard the saying: It’s not what you know but who you know that matters. Well that saying is never more true than when you are a child of God. Make it your aim to become intimately acquainted with his nature, with his heart, with his Word, his will, plan and purpose for your life.
As you listen to the short video below, may it motivate you to seek God’s face like never before. May it spur you to keep going, to reign in your circumstances. And may the grace and power of God enable you to emerge at the other end of 2018 as a victorious overcomer. Amen!
How can you draw even closer to God this year?
Will you let him into those hidden areas of hurt in your life?
The journey to which I refer in the title of this post is the journey you will take from 1 January to 31 December 2018. What will that journey look like? Will it be filled with frustration or fuelled by faith? Will you emerge as a victorious overcomer? The choice is yours!
I don’t know about you but I love to receive words of encouragement and my Bible tells me that we should encourage one another while it is still “today”. So, because I want 2018 to be a year of immense satisfaction with regards to spiritual growth, personal development and significant achievements (both for myself and for you), I will be using the next few posts to send some encouraging vibes, or motivational messages your way, as you begin this journey.
Did you enjoy this post? Let me know your response in the comment box below. I’d love to hear from you.
And if you know anyone who would benefit from some inspirational encouragement, please don’t hesitate to share it with them, or with your social network.
CREDIT: the above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com
Do you journal? Have some record of what’s been going on in your life other than your memory? I hope you do. I keep several journals (writing, devotional and, more recently, personal development).
Looking back enables you to see patterns. From reading entries of previous years, I can see not only my successes but issues I’ve struggled with again and again. They show me which areas of my life, I have yet to achieve self-mastery.
Without the ability to look back, to see the evidence of my short-comings, these habitual failings could easily be overlooked, or remain unchallenged. Noticing meant I had a choice—do something about it, or make excuses and remain in a place of stagnancy.
2) Look forward
Where do you want to go in terms of your spiritual life, your relationship with God and others, your health, or career? When you decide to look ahead, you are creating a focus for your life. By deciding what results you would like to achieve this year and setting realistic goals, you are effectively creating a positive vision for your life.
So ask yourself some searching questions – what would you like to see? Who would you like to be? What do you want to do? Where are you falling short when it comes to God’s Word?
When I looked back through my journals and realised that I was spending year after year lamenting the fact that I wanted to be a writer yet not actively doing anything to make this a reality, I decided to use my constant failure in this area, to set out a vision that I could look forward to and use as a form of motivation.
In a nutshell, one of my visions is to become a skilful writer, to write with such beauty of thought and intensity of passion that my words will be like apples of gold, in settings of silver. I created a vision in my heart to become a writer of intrinsic quality and dynamic influence, so that my readers will be highly encouraged and perhaps even motivated afresh to take hold of God’s Word and allow themselves to become supernaturally transformed.
Now that you have your vision, decide what steps you need to take in order to move towards that vision. Decide how you are going to get there.
Having realised my dream of becoming a prolific and published writer was not going to happen by mere wishful thinking, I came up with a strategy for making this goal a reality.
I created two blogs, which forced me to write regularly. This enabled me to see myself as an authentic writer (since a writer writes!), plus fulfil a long-held desire for God to use my writing to teach and encourage others. Result!
Creflo Dollar says that every failure is a prayer failure! I’m inclined to agree with him.
I know from experience that if I’ve gone into an endeavour without seeking God’s wisdom, guidance and enabling power, either my efforts will fail, or else the full potential of what I’m trying to accomplish will not be realised.
When we look to God for supernatural assistance, we will obtain supernatural results.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 37:5 (NKJV)
5) Take Action
So you have your goal(s). You’ve devised a plan and you’ve committed your dream or desire into God’s hands. Now what?
Well, dear reader, don’t kid yourself that God’s going to go Kerpow! and suddenly you will have lost that weight, landed that new job, or levitated yourself from a position of obscurity to “overnight success”. Whatever you wish to achieve, you are going to have to work, work, work at it. You are going to have to apply yourself diligently.
When I decided I’d had enough of being a victim of the Enemy and of the people whom he used to undermine my self-esteem, I took action by renewing my mind through biblical meditation, studying God’s Word, writing out several affirmations and speaking these to and over myself regularly. I read relevant books, watched motivational videos and sought to apply whatever truths I learned, which aligned with my Christian principles.
Work out what you need to do in order to accomplish your dream and then, as the Nike advert demands, just do it!
6) Embrace Discipline
What is discipline?
It is training yourself to behave in a diligent and controlled way, in order to achieve a particular result.
Now, if you are like most people (myself included), discipline is where you fall down. The New Year arrives with its promise of new opportunities. You get excited. You set goals. You plan. You even start to take action. But then for some reason, you lose your enthusiasm and you lose momentum, or else, something happens to knock you off track.
There’s a saying that wisely observes: “to be forewarned is to be forearmed”. So let me forewarn you today—something or someone, somewhere down the road will cause you to lose hope, lose focus and perhaps ultimately lose your dream. Is there something you can do in advance to prepare yourself against this eventuality?
How about making a pre-commitment to not let weeks and weeks go by before you decide to get back on track with your goals or personal development plan? How about making a solid decision that come what may, you are not letting go of that dream?
How about making spiritual preparation in advance, by way of specific and persistent prayer and/or fasting, so that you have the inner strength and resolve required to soldier on regardless?
7) Seek help from the Holy Spirit
How successful could you be in life if you had your own personal-achievement coach, spiritual cheerleader and perpetual mentor?
If you are a born-again Christian, if you have declared Jesus as Lord of your life, then my dear reader, you have! The Bible refers to the Holy Spirit as our Helper. So don’t ignore this valuable and highly effective resource – ask for his help!
Ask him to help you set your goals in line with God’s will for your life. Ask him to remind you of your vows and commitments. Ask him to help you maintain discipline in your life. Ask him to empower you and show you how to achieve your heart’s desire.
Dear reader, dear aspiring woman of God, make 2018 a year in which you achieve, succeed and excel in the plans and purpose of God for your life.
May 2018 be a year where your spiritual growth and development enables you to experience the miraculous power of God at work in your life, to the extent that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask, think, desire and dream.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Hello dear reader,
Happy New Year!
May we chat?
What are your dreams for this year? Or have the disappointment and failures of past years, perhaps even decades, meant that your expectations are zilch?
Have troubles that never seem to be resolved robbed you of hope?
Are you tired of fighting, losing, hurting, believing yet not receiving?
Are you content to live a mediocre life, rather than appropriate the abundant life for which Christ suffered and died, in order for us to enjoy? And if you feel that life’s great and all’s well in your bubble, are you concerned, moved with compassion for those around you who are not so fortunate? Are you concerned enough to pray?
I have read blog posts and comments and had conversations where people seem to have lost hope, stopped trying, don’t care (or at least say they don’t). This makes me sad.
It makes me sad because you and I have such incredible potential. It makes me sad because God went to a lot of trouble to ensure no matter what life throws at us, we can win. It makes me sad because I see and hear about people in the secular world, who are tapping into biblical principles and winning in life, whilst many of us Christians are floundering in our faith, drowning in disappointment, wallowing in the mire of messed-up lives and missed opportunities. What’s wrong with this picture?
Dear reader, if you are a born-again Child of God, if you are a new creation in Christ, if you still have the breath of God filling your lungs, please don’t give up hope. Don’t throw in the towel with regards to succeeding in life on a deeply-satisfying, supernatural and purpose-driven level.
Believe God’s Word – it says we are more than conquerors! So conquer that apathy. Conquer that doubt. Conquer that discouragement. Be the man or woman that God has called you to be… that deep down in your heart you desire to be.
This is another year. Today is another day. So LIVE! Be a victor!
Now this is not a flippant question, politely asked yet not genuinely concerned about or expectant of an answer.
This is a genuine desire to come alongside you, to discover what your dreams or problems are, what your achievements or struggles have been. This is a question asked from a genuine desire to know you, to encourage you, to weep or rejoice with you, to be your friend.
…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother – Proverbs 18:24
And so I ask again, how are you?
As 2017 moves to a close, are you satisfied about where you are in life, in your relationship with God? Are you content?
I decided to look back in my writing journal to see where I was at around this time last year. I found an entry which I’d written on the last day of 2016. As a part of this post‘s message, I include an edited version of the journal extract below:
It’s been a while dear diary. It’s been a while. And what brings me back to this journal? Well, War Room. The movie. Wow! I watched it last night. And I also started reading the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer (a main character in War Room).
Am I glad that I purchased these items! Am I glad that God (or the Holy Spirit) prompted me to do so! Am I glad for the inspirational contribution to my life from the author and writers/producers of these works.
Wow! I feel challenged. Stirred up. I feel a new sense of determination to pray and intercede like never before. I feel challenged and able to take on the task that God gave me years ago, to pray for my family, for my loved ones… to intercede for those issues he lays upon my heart.
Mum did it faithfully for so many years. However, there came a time when she was not able to carry on because of the Alzheimer’s disease. How I wish I was as consistent and faithful in prayer as dear mum had been. Don’t get me wrong I pray. And if there are serious things happening, I’d most certainly tackle the situation with prayer. But I’ve not been as persistent as I believe I should and need to be.
But I want that to change. I want to be a doer of God’s Word, an executor of his will. I want to please him. I want to glorify him. I want to emulate Christ. Be a faithful follower. Disciple. He deserves that. He so, so, so, deserves it. Deserves my loyalty. My faithfulness. My 100 per cent commitment. My instant and total obedience.
After all he has done for me. After all he has done for the entire world. After all that he has made available to me, so that I can walk victoriously in life, so that I can use the power of attorney with which he has entrusted me, to help make the lives of my near and dear ones divinely protected, safe, secure.
He is worthy. So very worthy. And I have spent too much time wallowing in self-pity. Sulking because I didn’t get the life I desired and thought I deserved. What could be more precious, of higher quality than the Zoe life, the God-ordained destiny, the glorious future of a blood-bought child of God, who has been redeemed from the hand of the Enemy? Redeemed from the curse of the law? A life where I’ve been made an heir of God and joint-heir (i.e. equal heir) with Christ?
What could be better than knowing WHATEVER happens to me, God is able to cause all things to work together for my good? That has to mean for my utmost welfare, my personal development, and my eventual success—right?
So why, would I act as if there is no hope? Why would I live on a low spiritual plane—as if I’m in the same boat as those who do not know God, who do not revere God, who do not acknowledge or believe in him? Why?
The only reason is because of deception. Deception by the Enemy and even of myself. Because if you are a hearer of God’s Word and not a doer you are deceiving yourself! It says so quite plainly in the Bible! (See James 1:22)
And… because of immaturity. Yes! Despite being a woman with several decades clocked up, I’m still acting as if life owes me a gold-plated, everything-in-the-garden-rosy, pain-free and problem-free life—especially since I became a child of God and consider myself to be a prayer warrior!
But Jesus didn’t have life easy. Even God does not have things easy.
Don’t believe me?
What about that time when Satan tried to overthrow him in heaven? What about the two-thirds of angels that mounted an insurrection? And now that they’ve all been thrown out of heaven, what about the havoc they wreak on this earth, defiling hearts and motives, causing people (God’s created masterpieces), to blaspheme and blame him for demonic atrocities?
So if Christ did not have it easy, and if God doesn’t have it easy why on earth should I be any different?
I blame the children’s fairy tales. I blame Hollywood. Make-belief fantasies which make us feel that there’s an unadulterated and perpetual happy-ever-after that we deserve. And if we don’t have it, if we aren’t living it, then we feel cheated.
Get real Carol! Go LIVE the life that God has blessed you with when you gave your heart to Christ. Go LIVE the life he ordained for you to enjoy—the abundant, victorious life he has graciously and generously made provision for you to freely partake and enjoy.
Go LIVE that life with the realisation that an abundant, God-glorifying life does not guarantee you a problem-free, or pain-free future.
Does the above resonate with you in any way?
It’s amazing how quickly one can forget your vows and intentions.
It can also be discouraging to realise that once again another year has passed and those cherished dreams have not materialised, those troubling situations remain virtually unchanged.
So, where are you dear friend in terms of being a victorious overcomer?
Have you taken stock? Have you evaluated? Or have you given up?
Whilst writing the last sentence, a verse of scripture came to mind. It’s from Philippians 4:13 and says:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Perhaps this verse is a pertinent message from God for someone who is reading this post right now.
If so, then to God’s Word let me add the following encouragement:
You can do it!
You can move from a place of defeat, despair or disappointment to a position of personal strength and empowerment.
You can walk in life with your head held high and with God-confidence.
You can change your status from victim to victor!
I don’t have to know your circumstances. I don’t have to know what negative and overwhelming odds you’ve faced or what difficult situations are currently challenging you.
I don’t have to know the specifics of your life, yet whatever you may have experienced, I believe you can move forward into the New Year with faith, determination and purpose. In fact, I’m absolutely convinced that you can emerge a conqueror.
And what makes me so sure?
Because I know and believe God’s Word
Because I’ve experienced the integrity of God’s Word for myself
Because, before I released this post for publication, I’ve prayed for you.
Granted I don’t know who you are and of course I don’t know what you’ve been going through, or what lies ahead of you BUT I know a man who does. I know a God (a living, breathing, AWESOME God), who cares enough for you and me to number the hairs of our heads—not just count them but number them!
So stop and consider that for a moment. Can you imagine such incredible depth of detail regarding someone’s love for you? Do you know anyone who cares about you that much?
God loves you dear reader and the above detail mentioned is only ONE of many ways in which God has revealed his unconditional love, concern and commitment for you.
Now sometimes Satan, or circumstances, succeed in distracting us from acknowledging this fact. And sometimes Satan and/or situations rob us of our faith and seeks to displace our trust in God and stir up irrational fears.
Dear reader, dear precious woman of God, we’ve just celebrated the fact that God sent his only Son (Jesus Christ) into the world to make a difference in our lives. Are you utilising the strength of Christ, the power of prayer, the anointing of the Holy Spirit to enforce and enjoy that difference?
As we pass from this year into the next, I pray that you and I will go into it with the strength and confidence of Christ. I pray you and I will go into the New Year with a hope that acts as a stabilising anchor for our souls. I pray that you and I will pass over into the New Year with a peace that surpasses normal understanding.
Dear reader, my prayer is that God blesses us with true heart-felt and immeasurable joy. Furthermore, I pray that we will experience an unshakeable inner knowing that God is in control and is able to do exceedingly abundantly above our highest hopes, thoughts, desires and dreams.
Women of Warfare followers and visitors – have a great, God-glorifying New Year in 2018!
CREDIT: The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com
Pillows wet Today’s dusk to tomorrow’s dawn And all the suns in between Today, tomorrow, yesterday…all the same No season was safe The mental self-harm, profuse How could the world not see the scars…fresh blood Seeking validation The need to fill a God-sized heart hole Led her to all the wrong places, humans, things Just […]
I came across this beautiful, heartfelt poem, which immediately made me think of the prodigal daughters and lost lambs in God’s kingdom.
When I refer to lost lambs I am not necessarily speaking about those who have turned their back upon God, or walked away from their faith.
I am referring to those who may be attending church yet do not feel as if they are a part of the body of Christ because either they’ve been rejected by their brothers and sisters in Christ, or they’ve not made any meaningful relationships. I also refer to those who may have been hurt by leadership, felt misunderstood, or been wrongly accused.
And then there are those who have become disillusioned with their faith, or those who still maintain their confidence in Christ but wish to distance themselves from church life for personal reasons.
To all such lost lambs and segregated sheep, Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd and Overseer of your souls, is standing at the door of your hearts asking you to let him into those areas of hurt and doubt, confusion, even bitterness, so he can tend to your wounds, heal your hurts and make you whole.
Yes, his message to all such prodigal daughters is: Come Home!
I hope this blogger’s beautiful poem will encourage you to respond to Christ’s call and return to his sheepfold.
I wish you an exceedingly blessed day and weekend.
And to all those who may be hurting, crushed by circumstances, disappointed over dashed dreams, confused about their faith, I pray the love of God will be revealed afresh to you, the intercession of Christ will bring release and liberty and the comfort of His Holy Spirit will minister grace and hope for your future. Amen.
Friends, followers, forlorn ones – you are loved unconditionally! 💖
Today I saw a youtube video that called to mind Peter’s stark warning to all Christians. He said:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour
(1 Peter 5:8 KJV)
But praise God! We need not fear.
This is the video which inspired today’s post.
Granted our personal situation may not be as dramatic and heart-stopping as the baby bear’s but we would do well to take heed of Peter’s warning in the quote above.
Thank God that should we fail to be vigilant, should we feel our circumstances have us hopelessly cornered, when we have the presence of mind to cry out for help, or we seek to stand our ground against the Enemy, our Heavenly Father is quick to respond.
So remember dear Women of Warfare followers and readers, whether you are the target of relentless opposition, or whatever difficulties you may be facing – you are not a victim!
I have a confession: one that I’m really not proud of. But tonight at church, and really for the last couple weeks, I honestly have just felt…nothing. It’s like I’ve been spiritually numb. But tonight was different. I was actually getting angry. I was sitting in the pew, and just inexplicably fuming, being critical of […]
I wanted to share this post with you today as an illustration of my belief that every day we are presented with a choice – will we grapple with life as victims, or soar over our circumstances as victorious over-comers?
When life doesn’t run as perfectly as we’d like, it’s easy to blame God, or others, even ourselves. But when we do so, we garb ourselves with the debilitating cloak of victimhood.
Prayer, praise and pressing through that temptation to sulk, wilt, complain or despair, is hard work and excruciating to our flesh but it forges a path to victory, it silences the Enemy of our souls and it is glorifying to God!
My guess is that whatever has happened to you in the past, whatever injustice you have suffered, whatever unfortunate happening has occurred, if you have spent days, weeks, months, years, obsessing over that situation, it has not changed your circumstance by one iota!
Am I right?
So why do we do this?
Why do we repeat negative thought and behaviour patterns that have proven over time to be non-effective, even perhaps self-destructive?
May I encourage you dear reader? May I suggest something to you that might seem challenging?
Get over it! Move on!
Dear reader, I am not being harsh or unfeeling and I am not being unsympathetic. Believe me, I’m speaking firstly to myself and then to whoever happens to be reading this post, to whom my message may apply.
Quit cursing, nursing and rehearsing
I get it. You feel bereaved.
Someone’s words or actions have left you feeling angry, or bereft, even savaged. And you are hurting over that sense of loss.
Do you acknowledge what happened? Yes!
Do you allow it to be your focus, to the point that it immobilises you? No!
Stop nursing the hurt or outrage. Stop revisiting the scenario in your mind. Stop allowing it to haunt your waking moments, your get-into-bed routine. Stop examining in minute detail what was said or done, how it made you feel, how you wish you could make that person pay for what they did, or how their words, their actions, have left you feeling used and abused, or rendered you bottom-of-the-barrel in the estimation of others.
Are you not permitted to be open and transparent about how you feel? Yes!
Should you begin to manipulate the responses of others toward those who’ve hurt you? No!
Quit cursing, nursing and rehearsing:
Refrain from rueing the day you ever got involved with so-and-so. Stop wishing God will take vengeance—on your terms! Stop vowing to never speak to that person again, or deciding I will never, ever allow myself to be hurt in that way again.
And definitely, absolutely, stop talking about it in negative terms to other people. Stop filling the ears of friends and loved ones with “tales of the un-respected”. Stop inviting others to share your biased view point.
Stop being a victim!
A change is as good as a rest!
So what should we do if we consider ourselves to be a victim of someone’s malicious gossip, spite, or unwarranted attack?
In the natural realm, whenever we’ve sustained wounds, whenever we experience a debilitating or potentially harmful condition, we take appropriate action. We seek expert advice and assistance.
And, if we’ve applied corrective measures, if we’ve been operated upon, we require recuperation. We allow time for a full recovery.
Now during this period, how well do you think we’d recover, if we kept removing the bandages, or undid our stitches and began poking around in our wounds?
How do you think we’d be received, if we invited everyone we knew to look at our sores, or examine our scars, again and again?
Woman of God, what if you should find yourself in need of surgery, or some other form of medical intervention? Would you think or believe that you will never recover, regain strength, return to your normal self? Of course not!
You trust the surgeon. You believe the prescribed medication will do its job. You know if you adjust your lifestyle and obey the expert’s directions, you will eventually bounce back.
In fact, dear woman of God, if in the natural, you did sustain a sore or serious wound, would you not apply salve, or seek appropriate assistance in order to alleviate pain and encourage healing? Would you not consider it irresponsible to allow it to fester unattended?
So why not apply this same way of thinking when it comes to your emotional hurts and wounds?
Women of God – Apply that Spiritual Salve!
Biblical truth reveals:
…he (Jesus) was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed!
(Isaiah 53:5 The Living Bible)
So who is the expert when it comes to inner hurts?
Who can and has prescribed the correct spiritual remedy for your specific ailment?
Who can assist you in your recovery programme?
The Holy Spirit!
Do you believe this? Then may I encourage you dear reader to accept the opportunity for inner healing that Jesus’ blood has purchased for you? May I encourage you to take advantage of the wonderful and FREE spiritual resources that have been made available to us as children of God?
What are those resources?
The Word of God.
The person of the Holy Spirit.
Dear women of warfare, I am not only seeking to encourage you to increase your prayer life, pray fervently and effectively, I am also wanting to encourage those to whom it is appropriate, to adopt better behavioural patterns, so that we are not stumbling through life as walking wounded women (victims) but living as authentic, spiritual overcomers (victors).
I am seeking to inspire you to imitate Jesus, trust your Father-God and co-operate with the Holy Spirit.
As women of God, let’s rise up to the level of thinking and acting that enables us to experience abundant life—the life for which Christ so cruelly suffered, in order that we might freely enjoy.
Are you with me?
Then let’s start by making a personal pact with ourselves. Let’s quit mourning about what cannot be undone. Let’s stop obsessing over the whys and the wherefores… the he said this and she did that… the if only… blah blah blah.
After all, if it’s not changing the situation, if it’s only entrenching us in ungodly and self-harming paradigms, leading us into self-sabotaging re-actions—is it not foolish to continue engaging with such pernicious ways of thinking and behaving?
Women of Warfare followers and visitors – arise and shine! Let’s make a quality decision to allow the love and power of God to become our focus, so that his glory can be seen upon us and can be manifested both within and through our lives.
From now on, let’s make a decision to quit mourning and moaning about the past and move on.
Let those in agreement, say aye or Amen!
Do I enjoy playing the victim, or am I willing to change?
***** ***** *****
If you know anyone to whom this message may be timely, please don’t hesitate to share it. Have you found this post helpful? Let me know what aspects resonated with you, or what your response is to my message. Thank you for your time.
CREDIT: the above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com
Sunday’s Supplications invites you to not only read the posts but also participate in the prayers. Each week, I hope to introduce a new theme and prayer focus. You are welcome to print off and use each prayer provided, either verbatim or adapted for your particular circumstance. Even better, you can construct your own prayer and share with others by linking to this post. Please note, you do not have to be a blogger to participate.
22 March 2017 – United Kingdom: terrorist attack takes place near Palace of Westminster (van and stabbing).
22 May 2017 – United Kingdom: terrorist attack in Manchester, following a concert (suicide bomb).
3 June 2017 – United Kingdom: terrorist attack at London Bridge and Borough Street Market (van and stabbing).
14 June 2017 – United Kingdom: devastating fire at Grenfell Tower (irresponsible policies, greed and cost-cutting).
12 August 2017 – United States of America: clash at white supremacists’ rally in Charlottesville results in death of a protestor (vehicle)
14 August 2017 – Sierra Leone: capital city buried under mudslide leaving hundreds homeless and approx 300 dead (catastrophic flooding raises risk of cholera).
17 August 2017 – Barcelona: terrorist attack against tourists in famous boulevard, Las Ramblas (van)
17 August 2017 – Barcelona – further attack when pedestrians at a seaside resort in Cambrils were critically injured (car)
18 August 2017 – Finland: terrorist attacks upon women in the streets of Turku (stabbing).
What next? Where next? Who next?
A Reminder of God’s Word
Are you fearful? Concerned about your loved ones? Afraid to go to work, walk the streets, holiday abroad, enjoy your liberty?
I admit to having my fears and concerns.
Listen to what the Word of God says:
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
(Psalm 91:5-6 NKJV)
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
(2 Chronicles 16:9 NKJV)
He frustrates the devices of the crafty,
So that their hands cannot carry out their plans.
(Job 5:12 NKJV)
A call to prayer
Are you concerned about what the world is coming to? Outraged by the ever increasing atrocities? Grieved at the pointless loss of so many lives?
O my soul, my soul!
I am pained in my very heart!
My heart makes a noise in me;
I cannot hold my peace,
Because you have heard, O my soul,
The sound of the trumpet,
The alarm of war.
(Jeremiah 4:19 NJKV)
I doubt there are many readers who have not been affected in some way by the feeling of utter helplessness regarding current affairs, the pathetic plight of disaster victims and the overwhelming sense of darkness in our world.
But there is good news dear one! There is one who is not helpless. There is one who is not overwhelmed. There is one whom we can call upon for divine protection. There is one to whom we can appeal for mercy. There is one to whom we can turn for miraculous intervention.
But are we too complacent, too preoccupied with personal problems to even bother? Are we too intimidated by the Enemy to petition our God?
Dear reader, have you heard the alarm, God’s siren call to prayer? (See 2 Chronicles 7:14).
This Week’s Prayer Focus:
Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen and comfort those who have lost loved ones through tragic circumstances. Let’s pray for divine protection for ourselves and our loved ones. Let’s call on our Father-God for mercy and deliverance from the evil plans of men, from the diabolical schemes of Satan.
WARNING: Do not enter this particular battle without first applying the protection of the blood of Jesus and putting on your spiritual armour!
I want to thank you for your unfailing grace and mercy. I want to thank you for your Word that directs me not to fear or to be afraid, since you are with me and you are my God. O Lord God, when my heart feels overwhelmed lead me to your rock of peace, envelop me with your awesome presence.
I ask Father-God that you grant me and my loved ones divine protection in accordance with Psalm 91 and I ask that you extend that protection to the lives of those amongst my blog followers and readers. Deliver us from evil Father-God.
Heavenly Father, remember those who have lost family members and loved ones in recent tragedies. I ask that you strengthen them during their time of sorrow. Deliver them from overwhelming despair. Shield them from bitterness, or condemnation, even hatred. Let not the will of the Enemy prevail in their lives. Comfort their hearts as they grieve and may they experience a peace that surpasses natural understanding.
Merciful God, we lift up our nations to you. We ask that you forgive our collective sins, which have opened the door to the Enemy. We ask that you have mercy upon us as individuals and corporately as a people. We ask that you disappoint the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their evil enterprise. Summon your power O God and subjugate both our spiritual and mortal enemies.
Jehovah-Shalom, orchestrate peace and safety within our borders. We are persuaded that there is nothing too difficult for you, nothing impossible to you and we believe you have not only heard our petitions but you are also able to grant our requests.
We therefore ask in the matchless and mighty name of Jesus and thank you in anticipation of your goodness. Amen.
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which he pre-arranged and made ready for us to live].
There was a song I used to sing in Sunday school that went something like this:
I’ve got joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart,
Yes – I’ve got joy, joy, joy, joy
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart today.
As mentioned above, I used to sing it in Sunday school, yet if the truth be known, I really didn’t know what joy was. I suppose I thought it was just another word for happiness. I now know better.
I’ve since learned that joy is an ingredient of the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22). I therefore now understand that JOY in the biblical sense can only be experienced by those who are born-again (i.e. who have committed their lives into God’s hands and accepted Jesus as their saviour and invited him to be their Lord).
Even so, I still didn’t have a full grasp of what JOY is, or what it looked like, other than I believed it was a higher, deeper expression of happiness.
Well, I recently came across a wonderful and insightful definition of this quality.
Have you ever spoken to somebody and they didn’t answer you?
Have you ever made a request from someone but they did not respond?
How did it make you feel? Not blessed, I’m sure!
I know when I’ve been on the receiving end of such treatment, I don’t feel blessed. In fact such actions make me feel ignored, unimportant, even disrespected.
I recall a time when I submitted a piece of work to an editor, who wrote back expressing interest and indicating it would be published. I was over the moon. However, after this, I didn’t hear anything more. I waited. I wondered. I waited some more.
In the end, I contacted this editor to try and get an update. She didn’t respond. I waited a reasonable period and contacted her yet again. She still did not respond. I got the message but I felt upset and then angry.
In 1 Kings 18: 25-27 we read about the prophets of Baal, who called on their god from morning until noon but there was no answer.
As children of God, we enjoy the privilege of a loving relationship and can rest in the security of knowing that God hears us. We can be confident that he keeps his promises, yeah He honours his word.
Even should we feel that God has not granted our request, unlike the prophets of Baal, we can still be confident that he hasn’t abandoned us, that he is not unaware of our circumstances but has our best interests as a primary concern upon his heart.
In fact God’s word tells us that his thoughts towards us are innumerable.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand…
(Psalm 139:17-18 NKJV)
Whenever I read this, I am challenged. Do I feel similarly about my Father-God? Are most of my thoughts focused on Him?
Don’t let what you have gone through define you. But allow the lessons learned to teach, mold, and guide you to who you were meant to be! With Love, Dr. KL ❤ Author of “Everyday Isn’t Perfect”: http://amzn.com/B01GNLNQ28.
I’ve not written in my writing journal since 1stJuly.
I’ve not worked on my project since 30th June.
I’ve not been actively writing on my two blogs.
I’ve been lackadaisical for 15 days – possibly longer!
Even today, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Didn’t feel like pursuing my passion. Didn’t feel like writing.
At the back of my mind, I’ve known I should push past this feeling and just get on and do. I know when I put my mind to it that inertia flees and the interest returns. Even now as I write, I sense the spark of enthusiasm igniting. And, strange though it may sound, even my fingers feel exhilarated, as they move across the keyboard. I’m back – just like that!
So what kept me away?
At least that’s part of the story.
The other part is that the Enemy is at work. I know he is. I know he does not want me to succeed. He does not want me to fulfil my potential. He wants another of God’s protégés to go to their grave with their gifts and abilities, dreams and vision still sheathed, undeveloped, unexpressed and unused.
And yet, even though I’m aware of this, I give in to uncool feelings. I give in to my I-don’t-give-a-damn inertia of the moment and allow it to take me into extended periods of self-sanctioned slothfulness, or complacent inactivity. And whilst I’m doing this, I hear a little voice saying “I don’t care” and I listen to that voice and silently endorse its rebellious attitude.
But now, as I write, I realise that deep down I do care. I realise that voice was not me at all, or if it was me, then it was the voice of the old Carol, the non-productive Carol, the I-do-things-when-I-feel-like-Carol-and-right-now-I-don’t-feel-like!
I know when I behave this way that later I’ll be remorseful. Later I’ll beat myself up for all the time I’ve wantonly squandered, watching NCIS, or watching some other person who has fulfilled their dream, whether it’s purchasing a house in the country or abroad, or cooking their way to celebrity fame, or some writer whose script has been made into a film or TV programme. I know it but yet I give in to the voice and call of apathy.
And during this time, I surf. I stalk the sites of other writers and bloggers. Successful writers and bloggers. I read. I admire. And I feel jealous. I read. I admire. And I hope to one day experience similar success. One day!
But that day has not arrived yet.
I have no one to blame. No one to point the finger at, as the reason for my sudden stagnation. No one but me, myself and I!
I can’t even blame those who stir my anger, who orchestrate scenarios designed to humiliate, whose antics provoke me to sit and stew over the way I’m being treated, or grieve about my loss of self-esteem. I can’t blame those whose actions or words I’ve allowed to distract me from my goals and my determination and my vows of self-discipline; whose targeted tactics I’ve allowed to sap my motivation. I can’t even really say: “the devil made me do it!”
Because in reality I am more mature than that – aren’t I?
I know better than to give in to that listless, why-bother? mode – don’t I?
I know I should gird up the loins of my mind and let the negative thoughts go, let the offending persons go, whom the Enemy uses following key moments of achievement, sustained productivity, or exuberant success, to knock me off my man-made pedestal.
I know I should let them go from my thoughts, let them go from my desire for retribution, let them go from the un-Christ-like deliberations entertained within my heart. I know I should do so, and do so quickly, graciously, mercifully, the way God does for me, but to do so feels all wrong to my hurting heart, my wounded pride, my stomped-upon ego, my self-righteous sense of justice.
And that’s the issue.
The “me”. The “my”. The “myself”. The interminable preoccupation with “I”.
It’s an issue because God’s Word says:
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
(Galatians 2:20 NKJV)
Christ decided that I was worth the cost of giving up his reputation, his equality and standing with God, so that he could fulfil his Father’s will and die for me, so I may experience Zoe life (the God-type of life), so I may experience reconciliation with God, so I may experience the stupendous, supernatural benefits of salvation.
Without Christ’s death, none of this would have been possible. And without Christ choosing to lay down his life and humbly submit to his Father’s will, there would have been no glorious resurrection.
Christ was mocked. He was rejected, he was falsely accused, even betrayed. But he found a way to rise above his circumstances, and fulfil his calling. Despite the misunderstandings. Despite the mud-slinging. Despite the malicious intent of people around him. Despite the Machiavellian manoeuvres of his arch-enemy.
This same Christ lives in me. This same resurrection power is available to me.
And so I have a choice. I can listen to the Enemy’s lies and suggestions and give in to the fleshly dictates of my heart, or I can do what I need to do—add works to my faith, add obedience to my knowledge, add self-discipline to my intentions and, having done so, emerge from the plots of pernicious folk, from the schemes and snares of Satan, from the inadequacies of Carol, as a purpose-driven believer, as a triumphant dream-achiever, as a victorious overcomer.
I can choose to be a victor.
By God’s grace I can, and by God’s grace I will!
Today, I choose to silence that rebellious voice. I choose to lay down my fleshly inclinations. I choose to rise up and resume my place as a victorious overcomer.
Lord, I choose to decrease and allow you to increase in my life. Father-God, let not my selfish will be done but your perfect will. Kingdom of God come, be manifested in my circumstances. Will of God be done, in and through my life, today, tomorrow and always!
Nowadays, I believe that the most precious thing someone could offer me is their prayer. So today when I came across this beautiful, heartfelt prayer, I not only wanted to share it with you but pray it over you.
Whoever you are, wherever you may be, know that this is God’s heart for you and your loved ones.
Please take the time to thank Jacqueline, who penned these words.
Dear WoW readers,
When Jesus walked on this earth he said men ought always to pray. I know there are people who struggle with the concept of prayer, or find the practice of consistent prayer difficult.
The following is an excellent post I read recently, which I hope will encourage, inspire and motivate you.
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Prayer is a daily activity.
It is like breathing, it should always be “ON”.
When you stop breathing you die.
So it is in the spiritual, when you stop praying you die slowly.
2Sa 11:1 — 2Sa 11:3
And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem.
And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to…
Yesterday, I spent a wonderful afternoon with one of my sisters, who had spoiled and pampered me with a Virgin experience birthday gift.
We enjoyed a lovely champagne tea in the glamorous surroundings of a luxurious 5-star hotel and whilst we spent this precious “sister-time” together, she complimented me on how I looked and expressed appreciation for the way I’d taken care of our dear mother. As I thanked her, she made no bones about the fact that she felt I’d deserved her generous gift.
Whilst chatting, my dear sister revealed she had been reading my blogs. She was full of praise and admiration and her words were like music to my praise-starved soul. In fact some of the things she said were as if God himself were speaking to me and encouraging me.
My sister’s praise and compliments coincided with that of further positive and affirming comments received privately from someone whom I’ve come to view as a blogger friend (as opposed to a fellow-blogger).
These two experiences that came from least expected quarters, that came uninitiated, showed me how important it is to encourage one another.
The world revels in putting the boot in, pulling others down, operating out of envy. I’m sorry to say that the Body of Christ can be guilty of the same thing. Most of us are guilty of back-biting, criticising and judging others. And some are even guilty of belittling or snubbing fellow-believers. The Kingdom of God operates on another (higher) level. Are you occupying that higher ground? Are you an encourager?
The Word of God tells us that we are to encourage one another while it is still “today” (see Hebrews 3:13). And who amongst us does not desire appreciation… does not need encouragement?
May I challenge you dear reader? Find someone today and encourage them with your appreciation and sincere compliments (not false flattery!). Make it a habit to encourage others if not daily, then regularly. Your words just might motivate someone who sees themselves as a victim today, to shrug off their chains of captivity and stride forward as a victor tomorrow.
If you are a blogger, why not encourage another fellow-blogger? It’s nice to leave likes, but put yourself out—make the effort, make someone’s day and encourage them by leaving a meaningful comment. And don’t just visit your friends and favourite bloggers, Search out someone new, or check out one of your unknown followers.
Dear reader, whilst out trudging the highways of cyberspace sowing your seeds of love, have a blessed day!
***** ***** *****
Has this post inspired you? Has it motivated you to act? Share your response in the comment box below. I’d love to hear from you.
CREDIT: the above CC0 image comes courtesy of Alexandr Kurilchik at Pixabay.com
There have been many times when I’ve told you how I feel about you. I’ve told you during my private devotional times, during public praise and worship sessions at church meetings, during my day when my thoughts run across you.
I love, love, love you—with all my heart, mind and soul.
If I am honest, I don’t think I’m at the point where I can say that I love you more than life itself but I do desire, hope and trust that the measure and quality of my love for you will increase more and more, will deepen and widen as time goes by.
Because dear Father God, you deserve all the love in the world, all the love in the universe. You are worthy of all love and adoration and I want to love you the way you deserve—totally, utterly and without distraction.
May I tell you why I love you dear Father God?
I know you know anyway because you are omniscient (love that word!). But I want to tell you anyhow. I want to spell it out in black and white for all the world to see. I want the world to know what a great God you are, what a wonderful, merciful, loving, gracious and faithful father you are.
I want anyone who reads this, who does not have such a relationship with you, to be curious, to covet the same for themselves, to even call out to you, asking that you reveal yourself to them and become their loving spiritual father.
I want this because I know there can be no greater association that anyone could possibly have in their life. I want this because I know that I know, that I know, there can be no more beneficial, life-enhancing and wholesome relationship that anyone could hope to have. I want this because you offer your love, your salvation package, as a free gift to anyone who desires it. And this free, generous gift is an absolute treasure.
And so my dear Father God, on this day, Fathers’ Day, a day to appreciate human fathers, it is only fitting that I acknowledge you and celebrate you and tell you how much you mean to me.
Where do I start?
First, let me thank you for your foresight in devising your plan of salvation. Let me thank you for not leaving me in the clutches of the Enemy but sending your Son, your precious, holy, only-begotten Son, to come down to Earth and lay down his life for me, so that I can be reconciled to you, so that I can experience and enjoy abundant life, soul peace and supernatural blessings. Thank you Father God!
I want to thank you Father God, for your precious, extravagant, everlasting, unconditional love and the assurance that this quality of love which you have for me, means you will always love me no matter how much I might fail, or fall short of your standards.
Dear Father God, I’m grateful that your love never changes, never diminishes and will never, ever be withdrawn from me.
Father God, as the years have passed and I’ve experienced the conditional love and even the rejection of others around me, let me tell you that the awesome depth, irrevocable quality and sincerity of your stupendous love has been thrown into sharp and stark contrast, when compared to the fickle love, or hatred of others.
For your unchanging, unconditional love, I most heartily thank you Father God.
I want to thank you for the future you have planned and prepared for me. Like all loving parents, you have provided the resources for me to succeed in life – all I have to do is ask, all I have to do is trust! And, unlike human parents, your resources can never and will never run dry, will never lose their value, or effectiveness, or impact.
What a wonderful God you are! What a wonderful privilege you have given to me. What supreme confidence you have placed in me. Amazing love! An amazing father!
Father God, thank you, thank you, thank you for divinely protecting me over these years. Even when I look back over my life to before I acknowledged Christ as my personal Saviour, to before I’d invited him to become the Lord and Master of my life, you had your hand of divine protection over and upon me.
I am humbled. I am astounded. I am utterly grateful. Thank you Father God!
My dear, precious heavenly father, I could go on and on about your goodness, about your attributes, about your marvellous interventions within my life but I won’t weary my readers.
Suffice it to say that I choose to acknowledge and celebrate you on this special day. Suffice it to say that I desire to honour you dear Father God, not only with my lips but also with my lifestyle. Suffice it to say that I adore you Father God, with all my heart.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 KJV)
Are you familiar with the TV programme: Who wants to be a millionaire?
In order to reach the 1 million prize-money target, contestants have three life-lines they are able to use at any time – ask the audience, 50/50 (where 2 of the incorrect answers are removed), or phone a friend.
The friend has been pre-selected by the contestant and is usually chosen for their knowledge, for their capacity to help the individuals when they are stuck for an answer.
The friend, who is contacted live during the show, now has the burden of expectation on his or her shoulders—the expectation of the contestant who called; the expectation of the presenter who wants the drama of the situation to bring value-added appeal to the show; who naturally wants the friend to succeed, so contestants can proceed to the higher paying questions. Added to all this, is the expectation of the audience rooting for the contestant.
Sometimes that friend may come up trumps but at other times, the person selected turns out to be the wrong choice, for they are completely unable to assist!
Do you need help?
Are you in need of:
Courage, to face your day?
Deliverance from a sticky situation?
Enablement to obey God’s Word?
Guidance to know what to do?
Wisdom in order to make a decision?
Well, God is your friend – call on him!
Call him today. He will not let you down. The Bible is full of scriptures supporting this fact but here’s one for starters:
When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout-hearted. (Psalm 138:3 NIV)
In the day when I called, You answered me; and You strengthened me with strength (might and inflexibility to temptation) in my inner self. (Psalm 138:3 AB)
Now listen to what your Father-God has promised:
It shall come to pass
That before they call, I will
And while they are still speaking,
I will hear.
(Isaiah 65:24 NKJ)
Beloved child of God, victorious overcomer, dear women of warfare, may I counsel you today?
Make that call!
Who is your first port of call when you are in trouble or need advice?
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” Edmund Burke
My previous post, Don Your Armour, reminded us all of Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:10-18, where he encourages us to put on the whole armour of God.
God’s armour comprises not only the six elements of protective armoury and offensive weapons but also the requirement that we watch and persevere in prayer (see Ephesians 6:18).
Jesus himself, warned that we are to ‘watch and pray’ – Matthew 26:41.
So what should we be watchful about?
Watch our hearts and attitudes. Proverbs 4:23 tells us we are to guard our hearts because it is from this central area (our inner being), that the current of our lives flow.
Watch so that we do not enter into temptation—the temptation to be apathetic, complacent, slothful. The temptation to complain, or give up on our stance of faith. The temptation to walk in disobedience or pride. The temptation to belittle others, gossip or judge.
Watch over the spiritual climate of your nation. Pray for your leaders, for those who occupy roles of significant responsibility. Pray for the liberty of Christians to live lives that are conducive to the moral absolutes of our faith.
Watch over members of the body of Christ—those in your fellowship, those whom you interact with in your day-to-day life, those bearing the name of Jesus in your nation, not forgetting those who are suffering in far-off lands.
Watch over the current affairs issue that tugs at your heart (e.g. brutality of dictators, persecuted Christians, the heinous crimes of sexual predators and religious extremists).
Watch over our loved ones. Be diligent to ask for God’s protection over them as they go to school or work, as they travel to and fro, as they engage with individuals, who may or may not mean them harm.
Watch over the happenings in Israel. Pray for that nation’s peace. Pray for the members of Christ’s body in that land. Pray for peaceful co-existence between believers in fellowships comprising both Jews and Arabs.
Why watch and pray?
Because, as Edmund Burke is attributed as saying (see above quote), the only thing we need to do for evil to prevail, is to simply do nothing!
Are you feeling helpless, even hopeless, about the injustices, mounting depravity and evils of this world?
Call on Jesus. Petition Jehovah. Summon the Holy Spirit.
We serve a God who is able to intervene, able to transform, able to thwart the spirits of wickedness that are at work in this earth.
Do you believe? If so, are you adding works to your faith? Are you praying?
Jesus asked: ‘. . . when the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth’ (Luke 18:8).
Well, what is your response?
More to the point, where will Jesus find you? Fighting in the field of faith, or despairing in the dungeons of doubt?
Children of the Living God, spirit-filled believers, Women of Warfare, come – let us do our part. Let us watch and pray!
***** ****** ******
PICTURE CREDIT: the above CC0 Image comes courtesy of Jay Clarke at Pixabay.com
If you know your Bible and are familiar with teaching on prayer and intercession, then I’m sure you will have come across Paul’s direction to the body of Christ in Ephesians 6:10-18.
You will know that as members of the body of Christ, we are encouraged to put on the whole armour of God.
How do we do this?
Pretty much like everything else we have to do when it comes to the supernatural things of God’s kingdom. We do so by faith and through confession (speaking God’s Word).
How did you get saved? You spoke (confession), when you invited Christ into your life and asked him to become your Lord and Saviour.
You believed (faith) that he would hear you and respond.
Whether immediately, or eventually, you experienced the reality. You received an inward witness. You knew that you were saved. You knew that you were changed. You knew that by some marvellous and mystical act, the Spirit of Christ had taken up residence within you.
And in a similar way, that’s how you put on your spiritual armour.
Put it on daily. Put it on before you go out into the fray of daily living. Put it on before you enter the battlefield of prayer. Put it on through confession. Put it on in faith.
If you’d like help in doing this, here’s a prayer you may use.
Victorious overcomers, prayer warriors and prayer interns – have a blessed weekend!
Do you agree with this post? Let me know your response in the comment box below.
As you know this blog focuses on encouraging myself and others to walk as victorious overcomers. Its aim is to see women released from the shackles of any circumstances in their lives that seeks to keep them imprisoned as victims.
If you are anything like me, you can feel overwhelmed by the things we believe, or have been told that we should do or be. We should be the perfect wife, mother, lover, cook, whatever! We should be able to juggle impossible schedules. We should be this… We should do that… And the endless list continues.
Women of Warfare, if you’ve allowed yourself to become a victim of false guilt, other people’s demands, your own lofty goals, or frantic schedules, I hope the following post will encourage you.
Every amateur gardener experiences the frustration of planting their garden only to later find holes chomped into the leaves of their prize plants. It looks unsightly and it’s annoying!
There are many ways of getting rid of the pesky slugs and snails but the quickest and to my mind, the most effective, is to use slug repellents.
Many a time I’ve looked out of my bedroom window only to espy one of these creatures moving with focused determination towards a patio plant, to feast on its lush green leaves.
Quick as a flash I dive down the stairs, rush into the kitchen, grab the salt and make my way into the garden. It’s amazing how quickly these snails can move when the motivation of a nice succulent plant propels them!
Now, I know they’re God’s creatures but I didn’t invite them into my garden and if these creatures do decide to gate-crash, they should at least have the decency to see and not touch—certainly don’t have the temerity to chomp and chew. How dare you! My garden is not a free, eat-as-much-as-you-want salad bar!
So, you can understand why I have no compunction about pouring salt upon the cheeky blighters and watching them (with no small sense of satisfaction mixed with a tinge of disgust) turn into a yucky patch of slime. No compunction at all!
Why am I telling you this?
Because dear women of warfare, as victorious overcomers, we will often encounter situations in life that seek to chomp and chew its way into the succulent leaves of our spiritual growth. Satan, our Enemy, is the equivalent of these garden pests.
Any chance he gets, he will attack our minds, and try to destroy the fresh green foliage from all those positive Word-seeds sown into our hearts. He wants us to remain his victims.
So, don’t be passive. Don’t be complacent. Use your Satan-repellent. Use the Word of God!
Those of you who have read my posts for some time know that every now and again I share something from an excellent devotional resource that I use, the UCB Word for Today, written by Bob & Debby Gass.
I cannot recommend this highly enough. Even if you don’t get on with daily devotional books (for a long time I didn’t!), you can read it as a straight forward book, or dip into it from time to time (as I started out doing). Before you know it, I’m sure you’ll become a fan (as I have!).
The following is an extract from last month, which I feel led to share with you all.
*** *** ***
MIND-SETS ARE patterns whereby your mind automatically operates a certain way. That means you can set yourself up for misery by reacting to the same people and circumstances in the same way, and expecting different results.
Maybe you are saying:
‘After all these years I thought he’d change…’
‘No matter how hard I try, my family doesn’t appreciate me…’
‘How come I’m the only one who makes an effort to stay in touch?’
It’s easy to blame your problems on others.
‘Look what he’s doing.’
‘Look how long I’ve waited.’
‘Why doesn’t she call?’
We think the answer lies in getting the other person to do what we want, but that kind of thinking is self-defeating; it gives control to others.
Your happiness isn’t determined by other people, even though you’ve convinced yourself it is.
An experienced counsellor writes:
‘If you don’t like the same results… try pushing a different button. Look at your relationships. Is there a situation that’s going downhill despite your best efforts? Are you waiting for something to change, instead of doing something different? Stop pushing the same button, and ask God for clarity to see the situation honestly and to act with wisdom and responsibility.’
You’re not a victim of circumstances; you don’t have to stay stuck or keep going in circles.
Paul says, ‘Put off… your former conduct… and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.’
The word for you today is: you can change!
*** *** ***
WoW followers and visitors, I hope you find the above useful, even timely. If you enjoyed reading and know someone who could benefit from this post please do not hesitate to share it. And why not drop me a line and tell me what you thought about it in the comment box below? I’d really appreciate your response.
*Free postal copies of The UCB Word For Today (UK and Republic of Ireland only) are available from: FREEPOST RLTX-ABUL-GRAR, United Christian Broadcasters, Westport Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 4JF
Dear friends, followers and visitors I hope you all had a good Easter break.
I know from my own experiences of life, from my conversations with loved ones and from reports of world events that peace is a sorely-needed requirement in our lives.
Yet the peace we need is not the ‘peace’ of this world but the heart-and-soul peace that comes only from God. It is a peace that surpasses our natural understanding. It is a peace that protects us from being overwhelmed by anxieties, fears and worries.
However, we need to abide in that place of peace in order for it to remain effective. Failure to do so is like making travel or home insurance payments then worrying about the consequences of events that may or may not happen, acting as if you have no confidence in the provisions of the policy, or worse, acting as if there is no policy in place.
The following re-blogged post depicts what often happens when we pray for peace but fail to leave the matter in God’s capable hands. May I encourage us all this morning to share our concerns and anxieties with our Father-God, to thank him for HIS answers and resolutions and whilst waiting, to rest in his peace.
For every drop of trust, I hold a thousand worries
I have a thousand wants, a thousand needs
I bring to You
while making my own plans to get them done.
Thinking the peace comes from the thing received, achieved,
rather than You,
my flimsy patience begs me hasten,
encouraging my DIY plans to control my own fate.
But fate proves a heavy load
for my fragile hands, which now,
I see, hold a thousand worries once more.
So I come again, Lord,
making known my request.
You’re not just my backup plan;
You’re my peace.
It is any situation that calls for you to die to the dictates, desires and demands of your flesh… that requires you to take the route of suffering knowing that death to your flesh will enable you to minister God’s life-giving spirit to someone else.
The “flesh” represents not just your body but also your appetites, inclinations, impulses, negative and contrary responses.
Now the cross we are expected to carry, the path we are expected to tread will be unique to each one of us.
In my case, crucifying my flesh requires me to remain silent in the face of lies, false accusations, scorn and ridicule. It demands that I walk humbly through the gates of self-denial and submit to the punishing nails of humiliation as my name, reputation and self-esteem are nailed mercilessly to my cross. It also demands that I bear this cross of perpetual shame with the right attitude, knowing that my Father God knows my thoughts and sees my heart.
A bitter pill to swallow?
Now whilst studying the Bible, or listening to stirring sermons, God’s Word may at that time rejoice my heart. However, when later required to walk that word out, when faced with the reality of practicing God’s kingdom principles in the context of hatred, rejection or sabotage, the sweet experience of hearing that word or receiving that revelation, can become bitter.
Bitter because I’m now required to chew, swallow and digest an unpalatable portion. Bitter because God’s word is no longer a neat theoretical discourse filed away in my mind but a distressing practical experience to be suffered, to be endured.
I wonder how many of us choose instead to spit out the offending morsel. Love your enemies? Nope! Don’t fancy that! Rejoice during persecution? Sorry – no way! Turn the other cheek? You’re kidding me – right?
I wish I was but I’m not. I wish carrying my cross was as simple as fastening a piece of jewellery around my neck. But it’s not. Carrying one’s cross is not easy.
Yet carry it I must, since this is what Jesus did for me (and for you) from the time he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane to the time he was cruelly impaled upon that cross at Golgotha.
Whether you believe it or not, whether you care or not, the truth is Jesus willingly suffered so that we can be reconciled to God, so that we can be free from the clutches and influence of Satan and, so we can be delivered from spiritual death – the devastating penalty of SIN.
For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:19-21 NKJV).
So are you prepared to follow Jesus’ example? Are you willing to obey Christ’s command?
…If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24 NKJV)
And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:38)
The choice is yours whether you eat God’s manna of obedience, or consume the meat of self-indulgence.
As his disciples, Christ expects us to take up our cross daily and follow him. Have you picked up your cross, or are you avoiding and disobeying his command?
Without the cross there can be no crucifying of your flesh (please note I am speaking metaphorically here). Without crucifying of self, there can be no experience of Christ’s resurrection life and power, and therefore no partaking of his glory.
…we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17 NKJV)
Dear readers, be aware that between the stages of grace and glory lies a road of personal pain and self-sacrifice. Those who choose to skip this route will not be seen as overcomers in God’s eyes. Those who refuse to walk this narrow pathway will not earn the victor’s crown.
Spiritual warriors, prayer interns, brothers and sisters in Christ, your cross will be specific to the path and purpose God has ordained for you. Have you decided to emulate Jesus? Then pick up your cross!
Wishing all followers and visitors a happy Easter!
Do you struggle to love your significant other half, or someone close to you, whom you cherish?
Prayer is just that. It is a means of communicating with your Father God. The one who loved and continues to love you unconditionally. Every moment. Every day. Without exception! The one who has proved his love for you by sending his only Son, Jesus, to die for you.
Now, just as communication keeps your relationship going with your cherished loved ones, so communication keeps your relationship with God alive and meaningful. So treat prayer as a loving relationship between you and the Lord. And if you think of prayer along those lines then it should not seem quite so much of a struggle.
Brother Lawrence, author of The Practice of the Presence of God, aimed to make the love of God a priority in his life. He was known for maintaining a consistent level of communication with his Heavenly Father, throughout his day.
When you are in love with someone you want to spend as much time as possible with that person. You have a deep desire to know them and to know all about them. You are not shy or reluctant to express your feelings. You are thankful for their presence in your life, for the meaning they have brought to your life. And, if you are wise, if you cherish that relationship, you will express to them your heartfelt gratitude and appreciation. Not just once in a blue moon, but often.
Another feature of your love relationship is that you are not afraid to ask for what you desire, or feel you need. You ask. Whether you get it or not does not diminish your love for that person, or undermine your relationship with this individual.
As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. So apply the same principles to your relationship with God. Recognise that prayer is a two-way communication. A sharing of hearts. A revealing of hopes and dreams, of hurts and disappointments. A desire to please the other. A commitment. A shared intimacy.
Can you relate?
If so, then you can most certainly pray. You can pray faithfully and fervently, passionately and purposefully. Because prayer is a love relationship with the one who loves you more than you can ever fathom.
Let me ask you a question. Are you too busy to pray?
I read a post recently at JOYFull Inspirations, which brought to mind a book I’d read some time ago by Bill Hybels, TOO BUSY NOT to PRAY. Hybels is the senior pastor of a large church in Illinois, USA.
The following is an extract from this book:
Prayerless people cut themselves off from God’s prevailing power, and the frequent result is the familiar feeling of being overwhelmed, over-run, beaten down, pushed around, defeated. Surprising numbers of people are willing to settle for lives like that. Don’t be one of them. Nobody has to live like that. Prayer is the key to unlocking God’s prevailing power in your life.
Dear WoW follower or visitor, if you feel life’s too busy for you to regularly set time aside and pray, then I have a challenging question to put to you – Is God a priority in your life? Be honest and search your heart.
We make time for the things that matter to us. Relationships. Parenting. Work. Business. Blogging. Even serving in the church! So, all things considered, do you really have a bona fide excuse?
Let me remind you of Susanna Wesley, mother of 19 children. You may recall that in one of my posts last year (We Salute You!), I shared how:
The difficulties and busyness of Susanna’s life, meant that her only means of escape to the prayer closet was to throw her apron over her head, warning her large brood of children that whenever they observed her in this state, she was praying and therefore not to be disturbed. Given this wonderful example from a woman who bore 19 children, dare we say of ourselves, that we do not have enough time to pray?
And, to give you another modern-day example, the post at JOYFull inspirations which caught my attention, was written by Letticia, a busy mum with 6 children.
Dear readers, let me encourage you to draw closer to God, to spend time in His presence.
I wish you an abundantly blessed and victorious week.
The following is a beautiful post I came across today, which I’d like to share with you all.
If you (as Christ’s disciples did), feel your prayers lack oomph, or if you wish to increase your prayer prowess, do as this blogger did – ask!
God will certainly hear your prayer and grant your request. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you – that’s why he was sent – to come alongside believers and help. So ask! Ask today. Don’t delay!
💖 💖 💖
I have been asking Jesus to show me how to pray. I am often thinking that it’s in relation to how I pray for others, but there’s so much I need to learn. How to approach him, how to wait for him, what I need, what he needs to show me. This was where he […]
My concern related to a new occurrence of an age-old problem, which looked as if it would never, ever be resolved. I could see no way out. No way around, or over this problem.
And God didn’t seem to be doing anything about it! Despite my repeated requests. Despite my firm stand of faith.
Fear began to voice its opinion.
What’s the point of carrying on with this project? – they’ll only undermine you anyway! No one’s really interested in what you have to say, so why bother?
Then self-pity put in her 10 cents worth.
Opposition is too strong, too much. Face it – they’re winning! And you know they are determined you won’t succeed. Is it worth putting yourself through the agro (aggravation)?
Then unexpectedly, up came bubbling within my spirit a chorus I used to sing years ago. It went like this:
God is able, more than able
To accomplish what concerns me today
God is able, more than able
To handle anything that comes my way.
God is able, more than able
To do much more than I could ever dream
God is able, more than able
To make me what he wants me to be.
The Holy Spirit had stepped in with his calm, cool, soothing voice of comfort. Isn’t it beautiful when that happens?
Immediately, I felt encouraged. God is with me, so who can successfully stand (and permanently maintain that stance of opposition), against me? After all, as is so clearly shown in the Bible, to stand against the people of God, is to stand against the God of his people and since I am his child then a stand against me is a stand against Him. Anyone foolish enough to try and oppose God is bound to come a cropper—eventually!
And since God is confirming that he is with me, I can cast ALL my concerns on him. I can leave him to sort everything out. Deal with what needs to be dealt with. Thwart those who need to be thwarted. I just need to be patient and wait on his timing.
My times (my past, present and future days) are in God’s hands, under his control. He has not shut me up into a ‘no way out’ zone with the Enemy, or with those whom Satan uses to do his dirty work (Psalm 31:8).
Thank you Father God!
WoW followers and visitors, don’t be, or don’t remain a victim of negative circumstances. Don’t entertain those thoughts that are contrary to God’s Word and will for your life.
When the Enemy sows those thoughts of defeat and discouragement (and believe me he will), you have a choice:
agree with him OR
To successfully resist Satan and his tactics within and against your life, engage the help of your Comforter and Helper. Ask the Holy Spirit to lift up a standard against the flood of contrary thoughts sent to swamp your mind (Isaiah 59:19b). Ask him to help you gird your mind with the truth of God’s Word (and ask Him to give you some scriptures to memorise and stand upon during times of attack). Then when Satan throws those thought bombs, you’ll be prepared and you will not become a casualty.
(PS: I was not able to find out who wrote the above chorus)
Dear followers and visitors, have a blessed and victorious week.
Do you remember as a child how anxious you were to grow up?
Perhaps one of your parents, or a school teacher, used to measure your height against a wall at regular intervals and you took delight in the fact that you had grown taller since last month or last year.
Perhaps you watched one of your parents perform a task and you wanted to help because it made you feel “grown up”. Or perhaps when family and friends asked you your age, you added a half-year, or a three-quarters-of-a-year to your actual age because it made you sound older (I’m 6 and ¾ years old).
May I ask whether that same eagerness to grow, to mature, has transferred over to your spiritual life?
Are you as keen to imitate your heavenly father and Jesus, your older brother?
Do you take stock of your habitual actions and attitudes in light of God’s Word, to see whether they reflect those of a mature man or woman of God?
And if you do, are you satisfied with your conclusion?
There are several instances in the Bible where we are encouraged to grow and mature in our walk with the Lord.
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:1-2 NKJV).
…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect [i.e. mature] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
So, as a child of God have you considered asking the Holy Spirit what area of your personality, or walk with the Lord you need to focus on this year, in order to mature as a believer, in order to walk as a victorious overcomer?
Do you have an accountability partner whom you can trust and with whom you can pray?
As a prayer warrior, or a prayer intern, have you set goals?
It could be as small as praying 5mins each day for a lost soul (whether family member, or friend), or as involved as engaging in diligent intercession for a nation notorious for persecuting Christians.
If having considered the above questions you feel there is a distinct lack in your life with regards to spiritual growth and maturity, between the time you were first born-again into God’s kingdom and where you are now, are you willing to do something about it?
Let me challenge you dear child of God to make 2017 a year of tangible personal growth, a year of perceptible spiritual maturity.
All God requires is a willing heart and obedience. So make him a proud parent! After all, given his amazingly generous sacrifice of love and, after all he has done for me and for you, he surely deserves to be – don’t you think?
Now remember, God doesn’t expect us to achieve all this through our own efforts.
‘Not by might nor by power, [i.e. personal ability] but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6b NKJV)
So don’t hesitate to invite the Holy Spirit’s assistance—that’s why Jesus sent him to come alongside us in the first place!
And don’t forget to keep a record of your progress (perhaps through journaling), so you have some means of checking how much you’ve grown and so you have the evidence for which to give glory, thanks and praise to God.
Blogger friends and visitors, I wish you an abundantly blessed and victorious week and, I pray you will experience a discernible measure of growth in your spiritual life this year!
*** *** ***
What’s your response to this post? Please leave a comment in the box below and if you enjoyed reading, or felt challenged, don’t hesitate to show your appreciation by leaving a ‘like’. Thank you.
Lot chose to live in Sodom and Gomorrah but the inhabitants’ ungodly behaviour vexed his righteous soul. However, if it were not for Abraham’s appeal to God, Lot may well have been destroyed alongside those degenerate souls (see Genesis 18:16-33).
Fast forward to today’s world and I think many of you readers will agree that it has reached a similar state of lawlessness and depravity.
The Bible declares that “…the whole world lieth in darkness” or “under the sway of the wicked one”(1 John 5:19). Certainly, as Christians and prayer warriors, the reprehensible acts of so-called Church leaders who abuse their power and position, the various international crises, the troubling escalation of social ills, can seem utterly overwhelming and unresolvable.
But hallelujah! We serve a God who is able (and willing) to heal our lands and deliver the ungodly from the grip of the Enemy (2 Chronicles 7:14). He is merely looking for someone to step into the breach, to seek his assistance, to plead for his mercy, to make a demand upon his miraculous might.
So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezekiel 22:30 (NKJV).
Will you be that person? Will you allow God to transform your concerns into compassion? Will you don your spiritual armour today and pray?
Dear WoW! follower and visitor, your country needs you! Not as a critic. Not as a self-appointed judge. But as a committed soldier in Christ’s army, as a stalwart warrior. Please don’t hesitate to enrol and take your place on the battlefield. Your prayers can make a difference!
Carol, you are a sweet positive minded soul that I’ve been fortunate to connect with in this place. I would like to thank you for all your support, for your beautiful posts infused with wisdom and love. It’s been a pleasure relating with you. A Bit About Me My name is Carol and I am […]
For those of you who would like to have a personal insight into me the individual, the person behind the blogger, I hope you will visit Jacqueline’s site to read this interview.
If you have not already come across her name on your cyber-travels, I would be most surprised, as nearly everywhere I visit, her Gravatar image is already there amongst the likes, or the comments. As I’m always telling her, Jacqueline is one of the hardest working bloggers I know (as a visit to her site will soon reveal – there are sooo many posts!), and her desire to collaborate with and support other bloggers, is just cause for admiration.
Perhaps like me, each New Year you have an expectation that this year will be different. You look back at the past 12 months with disappointment because goals you set at the start have not been accomplished, hopes you had were not met and dreams you cherished were dashed. When this happens year after year, it is tempting to become cynical, or pessimistic, defeatist or even indifferent. Que sera, sera, you say to yourself (whatever will be, will be!) yet secretly you feel disappointed.
If the above scenario speaks to you where you are at, don’t become like Alexander Pope, who said:
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
And please don’t give up on your goals, or on making plans for the future. That is precisely what the Enemy wants! Someone has said that “a failure to plan is a plan for failure!” Goals are not just for the highly ambitious, or for the career-minded. If you want to enjoy success, as depicted in Psalm 1:3, if you want to walk as a victorious overcomer, then you need to plan to make these things happen. If God has thoughts and plans for your future, then why not you?
Set Some Goals – Devise a Plan
May I encourage you to hold onto God’s Word this year? May I encourage you to focus your plans around His promises?
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that our Father God has good, positive thoughts about us and pre-ordained plans. Depending on which version you read, He has plans to give us a future and hope (NKJ), or plans to give us an expected end (KJ). So what are your expectations for this year?
Do you expect more defeat, more disappointment, more reasons for discouragement and more experiences of failure?
If so, then you are listening to the wrong voice and you are entertaining the wrong thoughts. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Make no mistake about it – he hates you! His aim in your life is to steal your peace, kill your hopes and dreams, destroy your expectations of God’s blessing and supernatural manifestations in your life. He wants to steal, kill and destroy your faith, knowing full well that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Be Aware of Satan’s Tactics
And sometimes, because we are beaten down by life’s battles, because we have abandoned hope, because continuing to nurture our expectations in the midst of struggles, trials and temptations or because overcoming opposition feels too hard, we allow ourselves to become a prey of Satan’s manipulations.
We pay heed to his accusations:
against our Father (Has God said? Did He promise?)
against ourselves (You’ll never make it! What makes you think it will be different this time?)
and against others (They’ll let you down! Nobody cares about you! He/she can’t be trusted!).
And if we keep accepting his poisonous lies, if we keep focussing on the negative scenarios which he paints in our mind’s eye, then before we know it, instead of being dressed in the protective armour of God and standing our ground, we find ourselves clothed in the garments of depression and oppression. We begin to flounder in the marshy fields of fear, frustration and failure. We succumb to despair, or unbelief and become his victims.
Don’t let last year’s disappointments, or past hurts dictate this year’s outcome for your life.
Take a Leaf From God’s Book
God says we are to imitate him like dear children, so I’d like to encourage you this New Year to follow his example of faith, optimism and persistence. In Genesis, we read about God’s hopes and dreams at the very beginning. He plans to build a community of people who will dwell in a secure place of abundant provision and divine protection, who will live forever, loving and obeying him, enjoying close fellowship with him.
We read how God creates a beautiful paradise and places Adam and Eve within it. However, along came the Enemy in the shape of a serpent. We learn how Satan sowed contrary thoughts in the minds of God’s people and upset his plans. From all appearances, it seemed as if Satan had successfully sabotaged God’s dream.
But fast forward to the book of Revelation and we see that God’s original dream for his beloved creation, finally comes to fruition. In between these two books, we read of his disappointment with people, his hurt, his anger. We see again and again, the undermining of his plans for His chosen nation, Israel. However, he never loses hope. His expectation for the future, for the ultimate realisation of his plans, remains intact.
Hope Stabilises Your Emotions
According to the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary,hope is defined as follows:
1a desire for something, with some confidence or expectation of success.
2A person, thing or event that gives one good reason for hope.
3A reason for justifying the belief that the thing desired will still occur.
4Something desired or hoped for.
The Bible tells us that hope is an anchor for our soul (i.e. our mind, will and emotions). When the storms of life assail you, let down your anchor of hope. Anchor yourself to the truth, to the promises of God’s Word.
If God (who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent), experienced disappointment and delay to his plans, should we as lesser mortals expect any different?
Let your hope be in God and in His Word. God and his Word are one, inseparable. Do you believe this? If so, understand that God and his Word are unchangeable, unshakeable. So let expectations of His goodness, mercy and power abound in your hearts. Let godly expectations and hope reign over disillusionment.
God Has Pre-planned Your Future
Why not entrust your future into our Father God’s hands? Entrust this year as part of that bright future, into his safe keeping. Ask God to reveal to you his thoughts and plans for your life. Keep a record of your hopes and expectations. Review them regularly. Pray about and make preparation for them. Ask God for wisdom and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to do, how to do it and also to help you accomplish it.
When plans go awry, when things appear to be the very opposite of your hopes, dreams and expectations, remember God’s dream, as revealed in Genesis. Remember the Bible’s end from its beginning and encourage yourself in the Lord.
Don’t adopt Alexander Pope’s philosophy and mind-set. Instead:
I recently read a beautiful blog post that inspired me. I am reblogging it below. Although the post is Christmas-related, I feel its message is still pertinent and, what’s more I’d like to challenge followers and readers to take this concept in another direction and give a gift of prayer this year to your loved ones (or even to your enemies!).
My challenge is to all but particularly to those who do not pray regularly, who see prayer as a dry difficult exercise, or last-ditch resort when afflictions arise or catastrophe seems imminent.
The Bible is replete with examples of people, who motivated by love or concern for others, used their words to send our Father God precious parcels of prayers. People like Moses, Abraham and Paul the apostle. And those gifts of prayers averted judgment, saved lives, strengthened believers during their trials.
I love receiving gifts. I also enjoy the pleasure of giving gifts to others that are appreciated, particularly when that person least expects it. Most of all however, I love to know that someone is holding me up in prayer. To me, when someone sacrifices their time to send petitions to God on my behalf it is like a precious gift.
Is there a friend, a family member, a work colleague, neighbour, or fellow-believer whom you could bless with the gift of your words in prayer this week, this month, this year?
I am a natural encourager. I am also a teacher. It is not clear to me which came first. Am I a teacher because I am an encourager, or is it the other way around? Either way, I have found great pleasure in building others up and helping them to feel valued. I do this in several ways, but mainly I write notes. They started off as handwritten expressions of appreciation. Never underestimate the power of a good thank you note. From there I started writing little memos just to brighten someone’s day. When the internet was invented, my note writing grew to a whole new level. The speed with which my words traveled was amazing! Notes turned into letters at the point when my typing speed surpassed my handwritten scrawl, and while I still love a handwritten note, the ability to communicate instantly has made inspiration…
As the old year retires and a new one is born, we commit into the hands of our Creator the happenings of the past year and ask for direction and guidance in the new one. May He grant us His grace, His tranquillity and His wisdom!
A New Year has tiptoed in. Let’s go forward to meet it. Let’s welcome the 365 days it brings. Let’s live well with love in our hearts towards God and all people. Let’s walk through its corridors with praise songs on our lips.
No, dear brothers [and sisters], I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us. Philippians 3:13-14
Lord, as the New Year dawns today,
Help me to put my faults away.
Let me be big in little things;
Grant me the joy which friendship brings;
Keep me from selfishness and spite,
Let me be wise to what is right.
A Happy New Year! Grant that I
May cause no tear to any eye.
When this new year in time shall end,
Let it be said: “I’ve played the friend,
Have lived and loved and laboured here
And made of it a happy year.”
Edgar Guest (1881–1959), “Prayer for the New Year”
Thank you dear followers and readers for supporting me with your visits, comments and likes. It is truly appreciated.
May the Lord bless and keep you throughout 2017. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. And may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.
Yesterday, we looked at the matter of unbelief and how our limited understanding and experiences of life can get in the way of us exercising faith (which pleases God). I concluded Part 3 with the following question:
Do you believe that our Heavenly Father is a God who honours His Word? Do you believe in your heart (not your head) that He specialises in the impossible?
As we have seen in the case of Zachariah and in the case of Jesus’ proclaimed birth, although it may take years, decades, even centuries—that which God has spoken through his prophets, or declared in his Word, will surely come to pass.
Our Father God loves to upset the status quo. He does not conform to human expectations, or confine himself to the boundaries of natural laws. If your God-given purpose necessitates a miracle, then hey presto—your God will oblige!
Have you been praying and believing God for the impossible? Have you been waiting a long, long, time for God to honour a promise made to you years ago? If you have given up, or are assailed by constant doubts, I can relate. Why not try re-reading and meditating upon the truths of these two women’s stories. I trust they will not only encourage you but revitalise your flagging faith.
Women of Warfare, we need to watch that we don’t become complacent in our faith walk, plodding along with the God of miracles in our day-to-day life, yet not expecting the miraculous. Remember, we are not required to have Goliath-sized faith.
Jesus assures us that faith the size of a mustard seed will be sufficient. Unlike the seed of a mango or an avocado pear, the mustard seed is quite tiny. Now isn’t that encouraging?
Notwithstanding the above, if you do have problems with exercising your faith, with believing, take heart! God says he does all things according to the counsel of his own will. We have seen that even in the face of scepticism, God graciously answered Zachariah’s prayers and granted he and his wife a supernatural miracle.
Women of Warfare, please learn a lesson from Gabriel’s response to this priest’s unbelief. Don’t become sceptical and dismissive when it comes to God manifesting his power in your life. Like Mary, don’t hesitate to share your questions, concerns and misgivings with your Father God in prayer but then commit to allowing His Word, His will, his plan and his purpose for your life, to be fulfilled—within his timing!
Do you long to be a vehicle of God’s miraculous power? Do you want to be a victorious overcomer? Then be an incubator of God’s Word!
Both Elizabeth and Mary were ordinary women, in whom the power of God was released in a marvellous way. Our God is no respecter of persons. Are you prepared to be a vessel for his glory? Are you prepared to pray, to ask for your miracle then wait for and accept his timing?
As you celebrate Christmas this year, remember and rejoice because God found someone who believed His Word and submitted to His will. Remember, the birth of Jesus took place because of one young girl’s acceptance of God’s inconvenient timing.
Have an exceedingly blessed and happy Christmas everyone!
CREDITS: All the above graphics are CC0 Images courtesy of Pixabay.com
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
(Luke 2:13-14 NKJ)
In part two of this series, we saw that as believers betrothed to Christ, if our prayer lives are barren, the responsibility for this is entirely ours.
Moving on with Luke’s account of the nativity story, let’s now consider Elizabeth’s husband, Zachariah.
Solid Belief, or Spiritual Scepticism?
Gabriel appears to Elizabeth’s husband, whilst he is carrying out his priestly duties. We understand through Gabriel’s words that Zachariah had prayed to God about his wife’s barrenness. He is now being told “your prayer is heard”.
Do you think Zachariah’s request had somehow been misdirected… had been bouncing around the heavenly sphere and only reached God’s throne around the time of Gabriel’s visit?
Of course not! Zachariah’s words were heard from the very first time he uttered his prayer. Perhaps it was years, even decades after his prayer, before Gabriel’s appearance. It would seem Zachariah had completely given up on receiving his prayer request, had even perhaps forgotten his petition. Clearly though, God had not!
We can understand, maybe even relate to Zachariah’s response, as Gabriel tells him God is now intending to grant his request and that his wife will bear him a son. Zachariah is sceptical. Zachariah’s unbelief, based upon his sense-knowledge and experience of life, rules out the supernatural ability and intervention of God.
Compare Zachariah’s attitude with the Virgin Mary’s response when she learns that she’s about to conceive the long-awaited Messiah. Mary’s questioning of the angelic messenger sprang (understandably), from honest bewilderment and confusion. She is a virgin. She knows she hasn’t been intimate with a man. She’s aware that procreation requires sexual intimacy.
However, once Gabriel explained how the miracle would occur, her immediate response was humble submission. On the other hand, Zachariah’s questioning of Gabriel stemmed from unbelief. The priest’s response was not only an affront to the heavenly messenger but also tantamount to calling God a liar.
Perhaps you are wondering, why Zachariah’s questioning should be seen less favourably than Mary’s. What was the difference between the two questions asked regarding two equally impossible situations?
I believe the difference lies in the fact that Zachariah, aware his wife was barren, was in effect asking God for a miracle. Gabriel confirms that his prayer had not only been heard but is about to be granted. The difference between the two individuals is that Mary believed what she had been told. You will recall from our discussion in Part 1 of this series, that without faith, we cannot please God.
Now, either Zachariah thought Gabriel had lied, or else he felt the miracle he’d sought was now beyond even God’s supreme power. Since passage of time had placed Elizabeth outside the cycle of fertility (according to human perception), he felt a miracle was now out of the question. He believed God’s intervention had to occur within the natural realms of possibility. Zachariah expected God to answer his request within a certain time-frame.
I believe we can make this supposition because of Gabriel’s response to Zachariah’s challenge. He says:
…you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time (Luke 1:20 NKJ – emphasis mine).
Of Mary however, it is said:
Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfilment of those things which were told her from the Lord (Luke 1:45 NKJ)
Luke 1:37 further assures us that there is nothing impossible for the Lord. In other words, no word of God is incapable of fulfilment.
Do you believe that our Heavenly Father is a God who honours His Word? Do you believe in your heart (not your head) that He specialises in the impossible?
(To be continued/…)
CREDITS: All graphics within this post are CC0 Images courtesy of Pixabay.com
My previous post (Part 1) concluded with the following question:
Is your prayer life barren—i.e. not producing results?
The Bible tells us that it was Elizabeth who was barren, implying that the biological reason for the couple’s childlessness may have been her fault.
Let’s stop for a moment and apply both Mary’s and Elizabeth’s situation to ourselves.
We have been espoused to Christ. In 1 Corinthians 11:2 Pauls says:
…For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
Dear reader, if your prayer life is barren, i.e. dry, fruitless, ineffective—please know that the fault is not with Christ, your spiritual husband. Please know and accept that the fault lies with you alone.
We’ll move on now to take a look at the other woman in Luke’s nativity account.
Mary – an espoused virgin
Mary is a virgin, engaged to a man called Joseph, a descendant of the house of David. She is God’s chosen vessel to bring Jesus, the Messiah, into the world. Even though Mary is told about God’s plan for her life, she still has to accept what God proposes and submit to his Word in order for the miracle of Christ’s birth to happen.
Luke 1:38 tells us that she agrees. She says:
Behold the maid-servant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.
Now we’ve already learned that Mary is engaged. Her agreement to God’s will could potentially cost her relationship with her fiancé along with her plans for marriage. In fact, submission to God’s will was most likely going to cost Mary her reputation.
Again, let’s pause here, as I temporarily remove the spotlight from Mary, back to you dear reader. What price are you willing to pay for God’s plan and purpose to be fulfilled, for God’s will to be implemented in and through your life?
Are you willing to let go of personal dreams, to forgo your plans, to lose your reputation?
(To be continued/…)
All graphics within this post are CC0 Images courtesy of Pixabay.com