Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Learning to Let Go When God Lets Go

I usually wear suits to church on Sundays. Some two months back, the weather became very hot. I went out of my way to look for dresses, specifically for Sundays. Being the princess of cheap, I got myself some very lovely cheap and cheerful dresses. A little vanity now and again doesn’t hurt anybody so, may I say that I know that I look gorgeous in those dresses and as such I like wearing them.

Last Sunday, I was planning on wearing one of my pretty dresses but at the end of the day, I had to wear a suit because, once again, the weather has changed…it was very cold.

Life is in seasons. Every season has a start time and an end time. Every season comes with its own peculiarities and demands (some good and some bad). Every season requires some level of adjustment on our part. No matter how much you like or dislike a particular season, you must recognize when the season is over.

There are times when we like something so much that we want to hold on for ever.
There are times when we like a place so much that we want stay there for ever.
Other times, we love someone so deeply that we don’t want to move on even after it is over.

As humans, we have the tendency to cling to things we love even when it is to our own detriment. A lot of us (including yours sincerely) run around with dead things in our hands or in our hearts. Others place the dead things in a tomb but never cover the tomb. Some place it in a tomb, cover it, but never walk away from the site.

Until you put it in a tomb, cover the tomb and walk away, consider it unburied. All dead things have a common denominator…they grow septic within days and then begin to smell.

You have heard of dead weight, I guess. Things are heavier and more difficult to carry around when they are dead.

Is it possible that you are moving around with some dead weights in your hands/heart? Is it possible you are praying for or mourning over what God is over and done with? I know exactly how difficult walking away could be but you must receive strength from God and move on.

Whatever your “dead thing” is… loved one, job, relationship, marriage etc, bury it and give yourself the chance for a fresh start.

Why hold on when God already let go? Let me show you something in the book of
Isaiah, precisely Isaiah 43:18-19. It reads:

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth: Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”

I don’t know about you but I sure can do with some new things. If your hands/heart are occupied by dead wieghts, where is the room for for God to put the new thing? Think about it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Request Turns to Gratitude

I believe the first fruit principles so I know that my first salary for the year does not belong to me but to the house of God. I took my first fruit to church yesterday. Normally while praying over our offering, we are encouraged to tie it to a need.

When I was about to lift up my first fruit and pray, I had a litany of needs to tie it to. When I looked at the cheque, I forgot my needs. Something melted in my heart. I received a miracle. That miracle was illumination.

As I looked at the cheque, I was overwhelmed by gratitude. The amount on the cheque was not much but, compared to how far God has brought me, it is indeed much. I cast my mind ten years back and it dawned on me that my current one month salary was practically the same amount as my annual income 10 years ago. Things sure might be slow but I am definitely not walking backwards.

Before you get washed away by sorrow over where God has not taken you to, take a moment and contemplate on where He brought you from. Before you whine about what He has not done for you, remember all He has done for you.

If like me, you sometimes get carried away by the fleeting challenges of life, to the point of forgetting how far God has brought you, remember that the things you take for granted are actually someone else’s prayer points.

Slow down, take a deep breath, brace yourself, take stock and drink in God’s goodness.

Why do you think you survived the storms, earthquakes and fire you’ve been through? It is because God was in the fire, earthquake and storm.

He did not mean for the storm to sweep you away.
The earthquake did not come to displace you.
The fire did not come to destroy you.
They were meant to refine you.

Isaiah 43:2: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee

What a promise!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

When God Loves Me Enough to Say "No"

Some years back, I was in a relationship with a guy I considered cute.
It was not exactly a smooth relationship but we were in love. We were going to get married, ride into sunset and live happily ever after.

That did not happen because; we broke up shortly after he asked me to marry him. I actually called off the relationship because of some trust issues. Even though I was the one who called off the relationship, I was hurting so much I thought I would die.

I lost appetite, joy, sleep and of course a lot of weight (not that I weigh much). I prayed to God to heal my broken heart. I prayed for the heart to forgive him. I prayed for the strength to move on. I prayed to God to bless me with someone who is right for me.

It took time but God healed me and I had the strength to move on.

A while ago, I ran into the guy (ex-boyfriend), I almost did not recognize him because he has changed a lot physically but not for better. There were tell-tale signs that all was not well on the home-front.

I began to ask myself why on God’s green earth I felt bad about the break-up. I could not believe that my prayer point once upon a time was for God to heal our relationship.

When we had issues, I prayed fervently to God to heal and mend our relationship. Instead of the situation getting better, it got worse. I wept because I thought God did not answer my prayers but the truth is that He did. His answer was “NO”!

God always answers all prayers, the answer could be:

Not yet or

The only time we tend to acknowledge God’s answer is when He says “Yes”. It is a difficult pill to swallow but there are lots of times when His answer to your prayers will be “No”, “Not yet” or “Never”! In those times, will you still believe and trust that God loves you and He loves you enough to say “No”?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thank God for the Bad times

You must be joking, Uju! Thank God for the bad times indeed.

If you like conspiracy theory, you will believe that there is a high-power conspiracy in all the wicked places to oppress me to the point of loosing hope and loosing sight of God. The battles raging all around me do not make an iota of sense. Believe me when I tell you that they have been on for too long.

I must have slept for just about an hour last night. My soul was in so much turmoil that sleep eluded me completely. I tried willing my self to sleep, I counted the sheep, I prayed for sleep but it just wouldn’t come.

Before you start calling me faithless, note that I’ve been praying all day. Staying in prayers when God’s radar appears to have lost contact with your ship is nothing but pure faith.

Sometime this morning (not during my prayer session), I started thanking God for the bad times. Don’t ask me why because, I don’t know why.

I thanked God for:
the challenges at work
the challenges in my love life
the challenges in my family etc.

He is not God only in good times but God in bad times as well. I might be disturbed to the point where I can’t pay attention but God is not. I am clueless about what He is up to but He is not. As senseless as everything appears at the moment, God knows what He is doing, He knows the purpose of what He is doing and He has the power to turn things around and He will turn things around.

Even if the issues of life push you to the point of loosing your joy and hope, never loose your hold on God. If you can’t reach His hand, grab the hem of His garment. It is sturdy enough for the stability you need to rise again.

And Romans 8:35 says:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness or peril, or sword?

Monday, January 19, 2009

God, How About Digging Around Me?

A certain Man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruits on it and found none.

Then He said to the keeper of His vine yard, “look, for three years, I have come seeking fruits on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?

But He answered and said to him, “sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it (Luke 13:6-8)

Growing up, I had tons of dreams and aspirations. Going by the graph I plotted for my life, by now, I should be a Senior Manager in a blue chip company, I should be married with two kids, my husband and I should be living in a home that belongs to us, and I should have a master’s degree from a good university in the U.K.

As we “speak” I am not married, I do not have kids, I live in a rented mini-flat and I don’t have a master’s degree YET. Mark the word YET because, it means I am work-in-progress. It means that I am not an abandoned project because God is the project manager. Things might appear to have gone out of control but God has not lost control of the affairs of my life.

I know that there is someone out there, who might be in the same boat as me. Your challenges might be in different areas but, they are still challenges. Your life might feel like a one-way ticket to no destination. The tunnel might have been so dark and endless with no flicker of light in view. You might have kicked and scratched so much that you’ve dislocated your joints and lost your nails. You have sown, watered and nurtured but have not seen any fruits YET.

I have this to say to you “hold on and wait it out”. There is nothing you are going through that is not common to man. As humongous as your challenges are, God still calls it a “light affliction” so, how about you step back, stay in prayers, continue praying and trust God one more time. He is the vine dresser. Let Him dig around you, water you and fertilize you.

You can’t quit now
Step up to the plate
Hope again
Believe again
Dream again
And you will see the Phoenix of a new dawn rise from the ashes of your delays, disappointments and pain.

Remember, the end of the matter is better than the beginning. Things might be messed up in the middle right about now but, because God is the Omega (The End), He will give your story a happy ending.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Strength Just for Today

I woke up this morning without any desire to get out of bed. It felt like I had nothing to wake up to. The sense of emptiness I felt was suffocating. I had more questions than answers. I questioned life and I questioned the Giver of life.

Who am I? What is my life about? Is this all there is to me and to life? When and how is light going to appear at the end of this tunnel? How do I get out of this thread-mill i.e. running and spending energy but still on the same spot? How come the things I make happen for others don't seem to happen for me.

True confession...I am an irrigation dam in other words; I have Jeremiah’s anointing i.e. I cry very easily. As I was asking God questions, I soaked myself in tears (don’t raise your eyebrows at me, if Jesus wept, who am I to play super woman?). I cried long and hard but not like someone without hope. Even though I could not stop the tears, I know a God who wipes away tears.

The last time I checked, I still had a pulse and a heart-beat so; it means God is not done with me yet. I reminded Him of His promises (not that He forgot...He is God, after all). I put on David's cap and I spoke audibly to my heart. These were some of the things I said to it:

Though it tarries, I shall wait for it.
God can never lie.
My just reward is in His hands.
In the fullness of time, He will make all things beautiful.
He will do exceedingly, abundantly far above all I could ask, think or imagine.
He will cause the lines to fall for me in pleasant places.
Surely, His goodness and mercy shall follow me.

Like me, if you are facing any road-blocks, especially the type that don’t make sense, be assured that GOD IS ABLE. He has not given up on you so why give up on Him?

Remember, He promised to show you the way of escape from your trials and to provide you illumination to guide your steps.

Permit me to remind you that you are blessed beyond measures and you are on God's mind. Whatever the forces are, they are not strong enough to separate you from the love of God.