It’s A(nother) New Day

I dance to this song and sing along, meaning every word. It’s in my ‘New Year’ playlist, twenty songs -some secular- that all speak to my spiritual journey. I might do a post and share maybe the top 5 one day.

Back to Becka Shae’s remake of Shape of You. When I first heard the original I didn’t think much of it but played it through a couple of times because a man I liked had referenced it and I was tryna figure out if I was missing something (I wasn’t, his appreciation of the song was decidedly not a glimpse into his feelings for me). Nonetheless it was catchy and stuck in my head until I wrote this (while thinking, of course, about said man):

A few days later a link to Becka Shae’s remake showed up on my YouTube recommendations, and although I rarely listen to covers, the word ‘Christian’ in her title caught my eye. I listened, then Googled the lyrics you know, as one does. I loved it.

Today it’s especially poignant. Tomorrow’s my birthday and as always this is a time of reflection for me. I’ve been thinking for a while but yesterday I found myself asking, what’s the point of it all? What’s the point of prayer, of all those ‘spiritual disciplines’ if at the end of the day you’re still lonely, hungry for intimacy, unfulfilled, unsatisfied, longing for something you can’t quite name?

Today I continued with the reflections, heartsick and sad over the fact of my frailty when it comes to resisting sin. I had forgotten that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. As sometimes happens, a tune started up in my head and it was If Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You Were A Christian Song.

Elohim breathe on me.

Over and over that one phrase looped until I scrolled to my music player, lay down and listened to the entire song.

Elohim breathe in me.

Here’s where I went wrong:

I haven’t read my Bible in a long time. Oh, I look up verses here and there, but actually searching God’s word prayerfully or in study? It’s been a while. Giving praise? Not unless I’m singing along to my playlist, but does that really count? Really? In my case I think not, because I’m usually doing something else too: cooking, checking Facebook; it’s been a very long time since I actually set aside time of any length to just bask in God’s presence.

If I am not walking in victory, if instead of regaining my balance after stumbling I am trying to dust myself off after a fall, perhaps that is because like Peter I looked at my circumstances and took my eyes off the Lord. There is, really, no ‘if’ about it.

Elohim breathe through me.

And here’s what I’m planning to do about it:

I run back to the arms of the Father, so gladly and unashamedly accepting of the scandalous Grace that allows me to run back. I look up Words I have received in more prayerful times, and I thank God for how He pursues me even when I am distracted, disobedient and unfaithful.

Holy, holy, holy Elohim breathe on me.

As I enter my new year, I stand on the forgiveness of the Father, I bathe in His mercy, receive His gift of Grace and look to His promises. For what can separate me from the love of God? Can loneliness, or hunger, or fear or pain? Can laziness, or depression, or hardship, or insomnia?

Romans 8:38-39

I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Happy new year to me.

Advertisements

His Love Is Wild For Me

e5e989a04c9bdc18131757ba4fe72872

Unreserved, unrestrained, his love is wild for me. It isn’t shy, it’s unashamed – his love is proud to be seen with me. Uncontrolled, uncontained, his love is a fire burning bright for me. It’s not just a spark, it’s not just a flame, his love is a light and all the world will see.

His love’s not fractured, it’s not a troubled mind; it isn’t anxious, it’s not the restless kind; his love’s not passive, it’s never disengaged, it’s always present, it hangs on every word we say.

Love keeps its promises, it keeps its word, it honors what’s sacred ’cause its vows are good. His love’s not broken, it’s not insecure, his love’s not selfish, his love is pure. -adapted from Pieces, Amanda Cook

Only God can love like this. And only a man living for God can love a woman who is loved like this.

-Beauty’s Daughter

Write Down The Vision and Make It Plain

Towards the end of last year I spent a lot of time in prayer. I was alone on the night of the 31st, New Year’s Eve, and I spent the night praying (and sleeping, duh) for God’s intervention in different areas of my life. 2017 was shaping up to be a great year.

Halfway through the year I’ve learnt that self-preservation is my super power, and that prioritising self-care is the key to my emotional and mental well-being.

This past week has been particularly rough and I was sliding in the deep dark once more when I recalled a word that God gave me very early in the year.

What I have noticed is that God speaks to me through Bible verses; sometimes I have to Google to find said verses. As in, I’ll google phrases to see if they’re indeed from the Bible, and each and every time  they have been.

God speaks in a way  you can understand. Some people see pictures, others hear an audible voice (I’m told)…there are as many ways to hear from God as there are people on earth, but I firmly believe two things:

  1. God will always speak to you in a way that makes sense to  you 
  2. He will never contradict His Word.

This (below) is what God said to me back in January, a word I forgot until I was almost at breaking point. I went into my archives and retrieved it, and I am standing upon it. I am filled with the certainty of hoping in God, for He will not say it if He will not do it. Knowing that He will do it is comforting, and faith-building, because I  know that my God is faithful unto the last day. Amen.


He is making a way in the wilderness and watering the dry places….ngiyokwesabani na ngoba uMalusi wami nguNkulunkulu? What shall I fear when God Himself is a shield about me and my shepherd? 

Stand upon the promises of God, and when you have done all, stand.

Fighting the Good Fight of Faith

be-still
He is God, He does not need your help

Today, a quick piece on fighting the good fight of faith.

You cannot pray outside of God’s will and expect positive answers. No matter how hard you pray, if your prayer is not in line with God’s will it availeth nothing. In Jesus the answer to every question is Yes, therefore there can be no such thing as God answering a prayer with No. A ‘No’ from God (for lack of a better term) simply means ‘ask again and this time, ask according to my will.’

God needs nothing from us to do what He has said He will do. Prayer is not for God to move, prayer keeps us focused on Him to whom we pray. We don’t pray so that God gives us what we want, we pray to make sure that we are where God wants us. The moves of God – what we call ‘answer to prayer’-  are simply confirmation that we are in God’s will.

God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust as He pleases, and the sun shines on the wicked and the righteous alike. We cannot strong-arm or blackmail God into doing anything. And therein lies the rub: if all that is true, what then is faith and how do I exercise it? If faith is not me screwing my eyes closed and praying hard so that God hears me, then what is it?

So many times we hear and say to each other ‘trust God’ but my problem has always been – what does that mean? What does it look like? What does it mean in practical terms to trust God? What does it mean, really, to have faith? Well, I’ll tell you because thank God I finally get it:

Trusting God or having faith means resisting worry, fear, anxiety; it means resisting the urge to take matters into your own hands and do what you think needs to be done; it means leaving everything up to God. Trust me, it’s not as easy as it seems.

Faith is choosing to stand with God. Faith is believing what God has said to you whether through dreams, prophecies, visions or whatever way He speaks to you. Check out Hebrews 11 and see what the ancients were commended for: their faith. They didn’t all receive what they had been promised, but didn’t they all die in faith? Faith is not a magic panacea like ‘have faith and all your dreams come true’ – No. Faith is a state of being, an attitude of living. If you have faith you live as one who has the Almighty to fight all her battles. Think on that a minute, and consider what the life of one who is always in faith must look like. 

All around you the world is clamouring for your attention; someone is offering a slightly dubious solution to your problem; every day you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things you need to do to get your life to look the way you want it to look. Well, faith is resisting all those urges because you trust God. Faith is understanding that your fight is not to fix things, but to remain steadfast in God.

The Bible says in Proverbs:

the horse is made ready for the battle but the victory belongs to the Lord.
Proverbs 21:31

and in Exodus (one of my favourite verses and now I know why)

The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent.
Exodus 14:14

That, ladies and gentlemen, is FAITH.

Contrary to what some would have you believe, faith is not inexplicable and it is not difficult to understand. Well, in some ways it is (reference this entire post) but essentially faith is believing what God says and who He is. Now don’t get it twisted, faith is not what makes God real, faith is the only acceptable response to who you know God to be. If you have faith in God i.e. if you know who God is, then you expect God to do what He has said He will do, and you will therefore not be consumed by worry or fear or anything that is not noble or pure or beautiful or true. Anytime you start to worry you can go back to God’s promises to you and rekindle your passion, before worry, fear and anxiety set in. That, ladies and gentlemen, is FAITH.

Does this mean then that the believer is exempt from battles, fights, and struggles? By no means: we live in a fallen world and we have an enemy. The important thing is to know that though the enemy may attack, it is not your job to fight back. If you look at the armour of God in Ephesians 6: 10-18 you will notice that all the armour is defensive, except for the sword which is the Word of God. Understand that you do not have to fight, you only have to stand, and when you have done all, stand, speaking the Word of God over your circumstances.

stand
Stand, therefore

You stand still long enough to let God fight your battles.
You stand for stillness in your life that you might know that He is God.
You stand unwavering where God has placed you.
You stand in God’s will in all times and at all places.
You stand for the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living;
You stand with God’s hand upon your life.
You STAND, and when you have done all, YOU STAND.

You don’t hope God will come through for you, you expect Him to, because you have faith and you know that faith is knowing who God is and knowing that He will do what He has said He will do.

I am the Lord, and there is no other;
besides me there is no god.
I arm you, though you do not know me,
so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other
Isaiah 45:5-6

References:
Proverbs 21:31
Exodus 14:14
Nehemiah 4:14
Hebrews 11:1Ephesians 6:10-18
Isaiah 45:5-6
Deuteronomy 2:7
Romans 8:28
Romans 5:3-4
Psalm 18:47
2 Chronicles 20:12-17

Wait for it, though it tarry

I came across some old journals today and flipped through them, stopping here and there to read and marvel at how stupid I have been. I have written evidence of times when I prayed to God for something and then turned around and took matters into my own hands. The number of times I’ve gone ahead and acted instead of waiting on God -! I think you get the idea of how mortified I am by my past behaviour.

dear-past
I have no regrets, but lots of lessons to revise

Mortified is the wrong word. What I am is…strengthened; encouraged, because ngivela khatshana and my story is far from over.  Today I was reminded of where I have gone wrong in the past, and it was a timely reminder that I need to do what I have failed (spectacularly) to do in the past:

I need only be still and wait, for the Lord will fight for me.

I need only be still and remember that He is God.

I used to moan and mumble about how God never answers my prayers. I remember even saying that God obviously IS a respecter of a persons, because why else would I face the same battles? Reading through my old journals with the benefit of hindsight showed me that it’s not that God didn’t answer my prayers, it’s that I called myself ‘fixing things,’ often ending up in the very situation that I was praying to avoid, all because I was impatient (which really just means that I lacked the faith it would have taken to trust God to work things out for my good).

How can the body be healed if the body isn’t being truthful about what hurts?

In 2013 I was a single mother of one and I wrote in my journal that I would trust God with my love-life. In 2016 I am a single mother of two because instead of trusting God I decided to solve single myself. I won’t go into the details of my relationship history; suffice it to say ‘waiting on God’ when the hormones are raging is not the easiest struggle I’ve ever had. I would say -I’m giving it to God; I’m waiting on Him- only to find myself in an unsuitable relationship trying to strong-arm God into overlooking my wilful disobedience.

tumblr_inline_nj715p0G7c1tnq0z9.jpg
Do you believe, really believe, that He is a faithful God?

 

It took re-reading those journals to show me where I’ve been weak in the past (just in time, too), where I’m winning now (I have learnt some lessons), and how I can maintain momentum. It took reading my own words to see clearer than ever before how my desire for romantic love and companionship has been corrupted and used against me (damn you, sin-nature!) and to see how loneliness, boredom and lack of ambition are a deadly trio against living a godly life.

index.jpg
The dream, right? Wait for it, it will come.

I could tell you how many years/months/weeks it’s been since I had sex, but that is not the point. I’m not trying to win any medals for celibacy and that information will not help you, anyway. What will help you is to know that it does get easier, temptation does fall away, and more importantly, that although waiting on the Lord is difficult and almost impossible (almost, I said) in the beginning, it becomes sweeter the more time you put into that relationship.

By that, I mean waiting on God doesn’t mean doing your own thing in every other area of your life except the one in which you’re waiting for God’s move. It means seeking God in every moment and thanking Him in every circumstance. It means acknowledging that HE is the Creator and you the created, and living like you know that He knows best in EVERYTHING.

It means receiving the gift of discernment: you cannot build a relationship with one you do not know and whose voice you cannot pick out from the pandemonium of your life. Building your relationship with God does not just mean daily reading of Christian blogs and praying form prayers and making sure you’re in church every Sunday (although that’s not the worst thing). It means exactly what it says: building YOUR relationship with God. It means making time to hear God’s voice for yourself, by yourself, throughout the day. If you don’t know what that means, find out, because there is no way you will ever be able to wait on God if you can’t hear from him in a way that makes sense to you. If you can’t hear from Him, you might never experience the abundant, victorious life that God has for you; you might forever be on the outside looking in, wondering why God doesn’t seem to bless you the way He blesses everyone else.

It’s taken me almost a thousand words but all I really want to say is this:

You will find Him when you seek Him with all your heart  and your joy will be complete.

I know what you’re thinking: you’re thinking ‘but I haaaave…’

 Have you really? Or have you been following the forms and going through the motions?

Can you honestly say

I will wait for the vision though it tarry.
Yet I will wait
For I know that it will surely come
And will not be late?

Can you?

 

 

References:
Habakkuk 2:3
Exodus 14:14
Psalm 46:10
Jeremiah 29:13
John 16:24

 

 

The Blessing of the Lord is Perfect…

…it brings no sorrow with it.

1da5eeaca421f54b316e8e216fb61c03

That’s right. The blessing of the Lord is perfect, it brings no sorrow with it. What kind of God would He be if His blessings brought us pain?

God wants to bless us.
He has plans to bring us prosperity not lack, because lack is not a kingdom reality.What does not exist in heaven can, should and must be banished from earth because on earth, as it is in heaven.

True Kingdom Living
If you say you’re living in the kingdom, living for the kingdom, then you cannot live in a manner that is not of the kingdom.  Lack is not a reality in the kingdom because for God to be God all things must be infinite in Him. It is impossible for your needs to be unmet if you are in God; impossible for your desires to go unsatisfied, if you are in God. God is infinite therefore His supply is infinite.

What my life must look like
Lack is thus an impossibility in the kingdom of God and for me, for whom all things are possible in Christ. As a Daughter of the King it therefore follows that lack cannot be a reality in my life, thus lack and poverty, if they exist in my life, are merely a signpost towards my abundance.

Lack is God saying ‘you’re going the wrong way’
It doesn’t matter what you’ve been doing, for how long, who taught you to do it, why you’re justified to believe it – none of that matters. What matters is, are you living a Kingdom life?
Are you experiencing the peace of God in your life?
Are you joyous in the Lord?
Are you living the abundant life that Christ died to give you?

If not, why not?

Take heed, listen.
God is telling you that you’re going the wrong way. God is telling you that your blessings are being highjacked and you need to do something about it.
Look at your life: what are you compromising on?
Where are you blocking your own blessings?
What manner of thing is standing between you and the abundance that God has for you? 

Go, therefore, and ready yourself for your blessing.

If Christ is in you, and His name is Excellent, Excellence must be in you. Excellence must be your standard. Poverty, lack…these things are not excellent and therefore these things cannot be God’s plan for you.
If God is Jehovah Jireh, why are you living a small, mean life of lack? If He is The All then shouldn’t you be walking in abundance and prosperity, daily?

God wants your prosperity, your success
Jehovah Jireh has only good things for you, pressed down shaken together and running over. You have one job: ready yourself for the blessing of God. Do that which is within you to do to come closer to God. In short: remove sin from your life, accept Grace, and be ruthless about both.

Last words
Pay no attention to those who teach that God has no desire for you to be wealthy or that He is unconcerned about your success. Pay no attention to those who teach that poverty is holy in any way. Equally pay no attention to those who keep you bound in the lie that wealth must come with bad consequences such as ill health or loneliness or meanness of spirit. Stand on the truth that God’s blessing is perfect and brings no sorrow with it.

The blessing of God makes rich and He adds no sorrow with it.

Proverbs 10:22