Wait, Your Vision will Come Through

I have been busy working on a vision I conceived over six years ago. It is fascinating watching it slowly come together. There are few verses stuck up in our office that have 100_2447 been a source of encouragement to me over the years, when my vision seemed stuck dream mode, instead of evolving into reality. Two of the verses are:

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6

Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes. 1 Samuel 12:16

Under the verses I had typed, : ‘We must hold to the vision in spite of adversity’. I had originally stuck up the verses as a source of encouragement to my husband, when he was becoming very discouraged about a major project grinding to a halt. I truly believe that if God has allowed us to begin something, that His will for us, then come hell or high water, He will allow us to finish it in His strength.

The Bible reveals much about visions and dreams. They may come way before your circumstances give any hint of them ever coming through. As a matter of fact, you may experience even more trying circumstances after your grand dreams, that will tempt you to question if you were just having grand delusions. Joseph is a prime example. He had 2 dreams which seemed to indicate that one day he would be a leader and even his family members would bow down to him. Soon after he went through slavery and imprisonment, unjustly. It took many challenging years before his dreams manifested. It is too easy to jump from the beginning of the story to the end without considering that this great Bible icon was human just like the rest of us. Could you imagine yourself going through what he did, with the faith to believe that your dreams will come to pass?

As I write another verse has been knocking at my mind.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Habakkuk 2:3

If your vision seems slow in coming, hold tight, wait, it’s on its way. Truth be told, waiting is not always an easy thing to do. In this day and age where so many people are craving overnight success, it is good to remember that delayed triumph does not mean denial. It simply allows a period of time for your preparation or that of others around you. There are much benefits to be derived from our faith being tried, although it may not feel good during your time of waiting.

Here are some things that have helped me survive waiting periods.

  • Pray about everything. Pray about your vision, pray about your frustration, pray about your preparation. Then keep listening for God’s direction.
  • If there are resources you can start gathering, take the time to do so. It may be purchasing one piece of equipment at a time. It may be finding out more about what you are interested in achieving, but do what you can.
  • Check your attitude. Proverbs 13:12 rightly tells us that “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” It can be frustrating when you are hoping to achieve something and keep missing it. Grumbling and complaining will be your greatest enemies. They certainly won’t make God move any faster and as a matter of fact, the ‘Wilderness to Promise land’ story of the Israelites is a fair warning of the ability of such vices to keep you going around and around in circles. When you feel frustrated, talk directly to God about it. If you are going to seek encouragement from someone else, make sure that person wouldn’t encourage you to sit around having a griping and groaning pity party.
  • Count the cost. “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’ Luke 14:28-30 (MSG). Time and money are not the only things needed to accomplish certain dreams. If you are aspiring to be a leader are you willing to accept the people clamouring for your attention, invading your privacy or not being able to attend certain functions?  What if God ask you to leave your comfort zone, give up something you cherish, even risking having the people you care about misunderstand you, rejecting you or slandering you? Think about how much and what you are willing to give up to fulfil your vision. Don’t be caught off guard when your vision starts being fulfilled.

If you have a vision, hold on to it. Do not let the enemy steal it from you. Do not allow yourself to give up before it is fulfilled. Remember God loves you and takes pleasure in helping you succeed.

Be blessed!

Heavenly Father, I love you. Thank you that we can rely on you to bring our dreams and visions to pass. Lord help those who are even now going through a time of difficulty and are wondering if they would ever see their dreams manifest. Strengthen them by the power of your Holy Spirit and complete the good work that you have begun in them. I also pray for those who have gone through the storm Sandy and have lost many things they worked hard to achieve, in your mercy encourage and strengthen them and bring them out better than before. In Jesus name. Amen

Blessings and Prosperity

So many people are wanting to know an easy way to achieve Blessings and Prosperity. I dare say there is no easy way, but there are certainly guaranteed ways to achieve blessings and prosperity, if you are willing to do what the scripture outlines.

boat cropww Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours Psalms 128:1-2 (NIV)

I will hasten to say that being blessed and prosperous does not mean that you are totally excluded from the trials and testing of life. However, with these two attributes operating in your life and the right mindset, you will certainly be enjoying a rich, full life and overcome any of life obstacles. Some may dare think that they can face anything if they just get blessed with money, but although Ecclesiastes 10:19 asserts that “money answers all things”, I doubt that you can fully enjoy wealth without good health, good relationships or peace of mind. When I refer to blessings I think of the Biblical Blessings that began with the spoken blessings from God Himself. His words were spoken to invoke wholeness, increase, dominion, fruitfulness, protection and multiplication in every area of life.

The Bible has much to say about blessings and how to achieve them. In psalms 128 we are reminded that the fear of the Lord and obedience to Him, are doorways to blessings and prosperity. Those are choices you make in your actions and how you live before God. Too many are wanting to live life by their own rules and blame God when things go wrong. Unfortunately, refusing to obey God’s word and direction, yet wanting to attain the blessed life, has resulted in many being lured into sinful and destructive practices, because the deceiver, Satan, targeted their greed and lust, and offered a ‘sweet and easy’ alternative which had no lasting value.

Jesus showed us clearly in Matthew 5:1-12 that blessings are not only the glitter and glamour of wealth and the living good life. He showed us that there are deeper blessings that comes from an inner attitude, the focus of your heart and even being mistreated for the sake of Christ.

Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Now these verses have been used in so many different ways to prove man varied points of view. For example, verse 3 has been used for years to get people to assume that a poverty mentality is a good thing. There is much written in the Bible to refute that point of view, but today I simply want us to look at cause and effect.

Simply put, when it comes to blessings you can expect to reap what you sow. What you sow in your faithfulness to God, what you sow in your attitude towards the things of life, for example, your family, other relationships and your job, and what you sow in your attitude in times of persecution or times of plenty, will determine your harvest of blessings. Like Joseph and David in the Bible, these blessings may not come through the way you expect them, nor through the people you assumed would be willing to bless you. They will come from God, in His way, through His source and in His time. He is the only source of lasting blessings, and peace in the ebbs and flow of life.

I personally believe that one of the keys to being blessed is faithfulness to God even in the midst of troubling situations. Also remaining obedient to Him even when ridiculed and ostracised and blessing those who curse you, or do evil to you, just as Jesus said to do in Matthew 5:54, Paul in Romans 12:14-16 and Peter further urged in 1 Peter 3:9. They were not trying to tell us to be door mats to other people’s evil behaviour, but pointing us to the right attitude we should have before God. Leaving all vengeance to Him and not treating those who hurt us, like they have treated us. For me, when I’m mistreated, I make an extra effort to pray blessings for the ones who hurt me. Blessings such as asking God to allow them to see their own ways and repent. Asking that He provides for them whatever may be missing in their lives. Praying for their salvation, if I know they are not saved and so on. It does not take the pain away immediately, nor does it mean that I need to make them my close friends, but it redirects me to the true source of my healing, strength and deliverance. Note that I said, ‘I make an extra effort.’ This is because it is not an easy thing to do when you are hurting, but I’ve gotten 1 Peter 3:9 drummed into me enough to believe that it is something I must do, in obedience to God. Even if I have to do it through clenched teeth and begging God for His help to forgive and bless them. I also know that there is a special promise attached to obeying that verse…

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

If you obey, you have the promise of inheriting a blessing. I believe that God always makes good on His promises.

There is so much more written in the Word about blessings and prosperity. However, today let us simply ask ourselves if we have been pursuing them God’s way. Are you living in obedience to God’s Word? How is your attitude, even when you are wronged? Would the harvest of what you are sowing in your day-to-day life, be welcomed?  Are you blessing those who make themselves your enemies? Are you willingly blessing others around you and speaking blessings over yourself? In summary, are you willing to follow God’s direction to blessings and prosperity? The choice is yours.

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way be known upon the earth, thy saving health among all nations. Psalm 67:1-2

Be blessed!

 

Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding us in your Word, that you take pleasure in the prosperity of your servants. Lord I believe you have given us power and strength by the Holy Spirit to obey you and follow your directions. Helps Lord to be faithful in honouring and living for you, as we want your true and lasting blessings. Lord, like the Psalmist we ask you to be merciful to us and bless us and cause your face to shine upon us. We thank you for answered prayers. In Jesus name. Amen.

Changing your Words, Changes your Life

Your words have power. They have a significantly greater effect on your life than the words others may have spoken over you. Yes, the words of others can affect, hurt deep my words and even hinder or delay your dreams, but you have the power to overcome them. You can refuse to allow yourself to accept the degrading, discouraging or negative words others throw at you and do not let it grow inside of you so much, that it comes out of your mouth.

… For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men would have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless words they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:34-37 (NIV)

The verses above are just a short part of a speech Jesus was making to the Pharisees, but the value and lessons that can be gleaned from it are much more than I can address in this post.

Three points for us to consider are:

  • What’s in your heart will eventually come out of your mouth. Some thoughts seem to push their way into your mind and place themselves on replay. You do not have to speak everything you think, but if you are not mindful of your thoughts, they will set up shop in that deeper place referred to as  your heart and call in their friends for a party. Then they will start popping out of your mouth in time. To guard your mouth, you have to guard your heart. To guard your heart, you have to guard your mind.

 

  • Good things will come out of those storing up good in their heart and bad things will come out of those storing up bad. If your flour has in weevils when you bought it, it’s going to breed more in storage and they will eventually crawl out and affect other grains. How do I know? I’m sure you’ve guessed. If we are not mindful of our thoughts they get stored in our heart and good our bad they will eventually seep out and show who we really are. It is also important that you be careful of those around you, who habitually pour out the bad stuff they have been storing up inside of them. If they are infecting you with their negative ways, more than you are affecting them with positive, put some distance between you and them while you pray for them and allow God to change and strengthen you. If getting away from such persons is not possible, you will have to be even more mindful of your ways and prayerfully seek God for the help you need, to keep you from adopting their ways. The company you keep do rub off on you. It may be so subtle and the change may be very slow until something negative pops out of your mouth and you realise you are becoming just like them.

 

  • One day you will have to give answer to God about the careless words you have spoken and “I didn’t intend to say that” wouldn’t be a valid excuse. It most likely came out of your mouth because it was already nursed up and full-grown in your heart. Your own words will scream guilty or not guilty. Now is the time of preparation for eternity. What are your words testifying about you? Only you can change them.

Solution: Ask God to help you and be ready to do what it takes to see change. Be mindful of what thoughts are in your mind, for they will get stored in your heart and will eventually make their way out of your mouth and show who you really are inside. Check up on yourself. Is there anything in your heart that needs to be swept out before it starts seeping out of your mouth? One of my favourite verses that has indeed helped me accept the power I have to change my thinking is …

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 (KJV)

When I first came upon that verse, I was determined to learn it and do it. I have had to repeat that verse many times as a way to remind and assure myself that I have the power to control what goes on in my mind. It came to the point where I actually imagined myself kicking out certain thoughts. Like every thing else it takes time, practice and effort to see change. For some of you, change may come quickly, but I’m still a work in progress, just grateful for how far God has brought me. I can truly confess that the effort of being mindful of my thoughts and guarding my heart has already reaped much blessings in my life. I won’t tell you that every problem disappeared, but my life in general has been much more rewarding, fruitful and I can actually say less stressful (thank You Jesus!). How you choose to think about a matter can welcome more stress than the real issue itself. It can also affect your attitude and push away people away from you. People are generally attracted to positive words and attitudes.

‘Think about what you are thinking about,’ a quote from Joyce Meyer that holds a simple but powerful truth. Take the time today to resolve to change your life for the better, by being mindful of your thoughts, guarding your heart and choosing your words wisely.

A good resource to help you is Change Your Words, Change Your Life: Understanding the Power of Every Word You Speak

Be blessed!

Heavenly Father, how grateful I am for the words of Jesus, that reminds us of how our word will affect us on the day of judgement. Help us to become aware of any evil or negative thing hidden in us, that needs to be swept out. Lord like the Psalmist we declare, “set a watch over my mouth and keep the door of my lips.” We ask you for the desire and resolve to do our part by taking captive, every thought that goes against the knowledge of Christ and to guard our hearts. Thank You for answering our prayer. In Jesus name.

Valuable resources:

Thanks for the Smile

A smile can be like a refreshing spring of water to a weary soul. I was reminded of this while in a divinely orchestrated, a.k.a, happenstance, phone conversation this morning. csmile The call really wasn’t directly for me, but we ended up having quite a productive conversation. It ended with me feeling very much sharpened, and encouraged. During the conversation the individual mentioned some of the ways she was going about ministering and I was quick to add that her big, bright smile is also one of her ministry tools.

When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. Job 29:24

That individual is closely related to one of my good friends who also has a big, bright smile. She smiles so easily that if I didn’t know her personally, I would assume she could never be angered. There is something about a smile that makes others feel welcomed. It is considered one of the tools of attraction. Granted, I must add that I’m referring to a genuine smile. The kind that is not set to deceive or coerce, but one freely given from one person to the next, that conveys the message, “glad to see you.”

Confession, I’ve had to learn how to smile. I was so serious in my youth that my face could remain blank even when I heard something quite funny. You wouldn’t believe that if you met me today. I’ve learnt that the value of a smile is in sharing it, so I aim to share my smile as much as I can. It is always amusing to see the disarming response when I smile at someone, who had to approach me for the first time, but had seen my usual focused look from a distance (I’m working on that also). It is still amazing how a smile can brighten a down cast person. I truly appreciate it when I’m down and I receive one.

A smile costs nothing, but richly blesses those who receive it and is always ready and waiting for you to give it. You too will get much benefit from choosing to smile even when things are not going your way. It has been reported to be a mood enhancer. It naturally lifts the face and makes you appear younger. It is also contagious and will bring you blessings in return.

Have you smiled at someone today? Have you been delighted by the smile from someone today? You will be surprised to know the impact your smile may have had on someone. It’s a simple way touch someone and lift them when they are down. In this day when people are afraid to smile on the streets, beaten down by life or have adopted the ‘constant steering at the smart phone’ face, your smile will make you stand out in the crowd. So go out and bless someone today with your smile and if they don’t smile back, whisper a prayer for them. Their burden in life must be very great. Don’t let yourself be deterred by sullen looks or those who have become suspicious of every smile. Just smile.

May God bless and keep you and may His smile be towards you today.

Heavenly Father, how great and wonderful You are. Lord I ask you today to give us the courage to be willing to smile at someone who needs it. For those who feels too burdened to smile, Lord be their help and strength. Lift up the light of Your countenance upon them and give them joy. Thank You for your love and  for answered prayers. In Jesus name. Amen

We Still Trust You Lord, Though we Don’t Understand

100_1234 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15 (NIV)

Last week I had a terrible case of writer’s block. I could not even complete the posts that I’ve already started. I perceived that it was related to the news of another untimely death. A young woman I have always admired as a consistent achiever. I thought of her sister and the fact that this was the second sibling she has lost this year. Offering words of sympathy just seemed so miniscule.  Over the past few months I’ve had to admit “I just don’t know what to say,” once too many times, as I grieved for friends and family facing painful and troubling circumstances and finally it triggered the writer’s block.

…I was too troubled to speak. Psalm 77:4 (b) NIV

Thanks to a conversation with another friend, who has also suffered the loss of a loved one this year, I was reminded that it’s better to express your sympathies imperfectly than wait for the ‘right’ words to say. No one can read your feelings unless you make an effort to somehow let them know that you do care.

As I sat in church on Sunday, listening to a sermon on death, my thoughts once again went back on that family and a poem started running through my mind. I captured it before it ran back out again. (Sorry Pastor, I confess I was not taking notes). So I’ll post it below for all who have lost loved ones and friends. Whether they were young or old, death reminds us of the brevity of life. It leaves a void that not even time can fill, but with God’s help we can move forward, thankful for the time we did have with our loved ones.

If you have you have lost a loved one I will encourage you to:

  • Give yourself time to go through the process of grieving.
  • Acknowledge what you are feeling and speak to someone. It’s a time of vulnerability so ask God to lead you to the right person to speak to. If you don’t want to express yourself to someone else, express yourself to God. Let the tears flow and remember that even Jesus wept. Do not be afraid to ask God, “why?” Remember that Jesus, who knew He would rise again, in a moment of grief, pain and agony cried out to God asking “Why has thou forsaken me?” God understands our human expressions, He is already fully aware of what we feel inside and only He can reach us in our inner most being where it hurts the most. Never forget that Jesus went through every human temptation and suffered so that He could provide what we need when we cry out to Him.
  • If others are depending on you to be the strong one, don’t be ashamed to allow yourself to be weak at times and let God be your strength. He is willing and able.
  • Be ready to overlook the blunders of those who may say the wrong things, in their attempt to help you.
  • Prepare for the lows. Even after you think you have gotten over, there may be times when the grief returns just as fully as in the beginning, it’s normal. However, if you find you can not get over it speak to your Pastor or a counsellor or someone you can trust with your feelings.

Now to the poem:

Early Sunset

Who can understand the Master’s plan,
And why He gave you such a short span.
Gone too soon. Life’s solemn tune.
Blazing sun gives way, to the dimmer moon.

You came, you lived, you loved, you grieved,
In the fabric of many lives you were weaved.
Unforgettable smile, lasted but for a while.
Left us pondering our last mile.
 
Assignment complete, no need to repeat.
Earth can’t compare with heaven’s golden street.
So we’ll let you fly, soar high above the sky.
Hard to release you, but on God’s strength we’ll rely.
 

As always and in everything, may God bless and keep you. May He give you comfort, strength and healing in your time of need.

Heavenly Father, some things are just so hard to understand, but we trust You Lord. We know You are touched with the feelings of our infirmity and acquainted with our grief. Have mercy on us all and especially touch and comfort the hearts of those who have lost loved ones and have mercy and send healing to those who are sick. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus name.