What Do You See?

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,

For the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that the captives will be freed.

He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time for the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of the Lord’s anger against their enemies.

Isaiah 61: 1-2 (NLT)

Over the past week, the Lord has opened my eyes to see as I never have before. And this has caused me to make moves that I never knew I could. To many, it might not seem like much but I know where I am coming from. There are things I have done this week that I wouldn’t have let myself even think of doing two months ago. But like the Word says in Isaiah 61, the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me. And I can’t help but share today and encourage someone to make that bold move.

We live in times that require immense faith to believe that things can be different for us. Everyone who is anyone is spreading tales of gloom and doom everywhere. The Naira is tanking, the nation is bogged down by corruption and life here is so difficult. Why should we even waste our time hoping that our story could be a good one? Because that’s what the Lord would have us do in this season.

About 2,000 years ago, the Angel of the Lord appeared to a priest called Zechariah. The guy was just minding his business, attending to his priestly duties in the sanctuary. Out of nowhere, the Angel came to him and told him not to be afraid. Zechariah is informed that his wife will have a son and finds it difficult to believe. So he asks the angel for proof. He is made dumb because he found of what he could not see.

I watched the movie “The Big Short” yesterday and was reminded that there are huge opportunities for us in the face hard times. Christian Bale’s character predicted the burst of the housing bubble two years before it happened (true story). He bet about $1.3Bn (in 2005) on the demise of the housing bubble. The people around him thought he was crazy. His business partner asked for his money back (wrong move) and while he waited for the bubble to collapse, his company was even losing money. I won’t spoil the movie for you if you haven’t seen it, but most of you know about the financial crisis of 2007/08. Just know that while many people lost a lot, others made stupendous gains.

Yes, times are hard and things seem difficult. But it is in these times that we are required to rise up in faith and dare to believe that things can be different for us. What has God laid on your heart to do? Is it time to start that business? Make that move at work? Stand up to that member of your family that has intimidated you for a long time? Finally ask that girl out on a date? Whatever it is, do not let the logic of the world determine what you will do. What has God told you concerning that matter? That is the TRUTH!! And that is what we are called to cling to.

Blessings,

Grace’s Daughter.

Hello…

It’s been a really long time since I put up a post and it’s not for lack of trying. I just wasn’t sure that I had anything to say anymore. That, and the fact that I was no longer certain that I knew how to write here as well as I felt I ought to. There were many moments when I thought that I had written my last post back in August. But that didn’t sit well with me and so I’m glad to be back here today.

2015 was a year of immense personal growth for me; I increased immensely in spiritual capacity and saw God show up for me in so many ways. I grew in my knowledge of God as One with an agenda to execute – He is looking for soldiers who are fit for battle and He took me through the fire and the water to refine and purify me. God remained with me every step of the way. I look back on who I was at the start of last year and I marvel at what God has done with me. The year was also one of celebration and thanksgiving – I got married to my best friend and found out that two of my closest friends were pregnant. God is indeed awesome and continues to use my life and those of the people around me to illustrate His glory.

My heart for this blog has always been to make it a journal of sorts – a place where I can reflect on where I’ve been and where I am, with the hope that it helps someone in a similar place on their journey. I pray that it serves to point all who read to the Lord Jesus, who loves us all more than we can ever imagine and whose plan is for us to find our purpose in Him.

Which brings me to my brief message for today. There are two major things that God wants me to do as I enter into 2016: Slow down and go deeper. I’ve come to realize that I’m always in such a hurry to do things, that I forget to enjoy the moment. And this pervades various facets of my life; from spending time studying the Bible to reading long documents and emails at work and even spending time with my family. I get overwhelmed by the long list of things to do and I rush through my life to live my life instead of actually savoring my life – Every. Single. Moment. of it.

Going deeper simply means getting to know Jesus more. God has shown me that I do well to give attention and priority to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in my mind and heart, but not so much God the Son. I’m not sure why this is, maybe I will find out soon enough. But one thing I know for sure is that they are each three distinct personalities, all in one and so they each deserve to have their special place in me.

So that’s part of where I am as I start the year. I am very curious to see what God has in store for 2016 and I remain excited for the growth and development that lies ahead. I pray that this year will be your best one yet and that God will show Himself to you in an undeniable way.

Happy New Year.

 

 

The Call

There is an informed joy in my heart as I write this Sunday morning. I feel a sense of validation where the difficulties of the past season are concerned, as I enter into a time of freshness, celebration and most importantly, consistent action. Over the past few years, I had become accustomed solely to God the loving, caring, empathetic Father who I thought did not want me suffer ‘too much’. But for most of this year, I have gained personal insight into God the Lion, God the Mighty Man of War who raises soldiers to take territory for Him.

As I look back, I see how entitled and weak I was and  I understand the purpose for the refiner’s fire of the past year. I was comfortable with my life; nice job (not too demanding at the time), nice family, nice boyfriend (who became my fiancé), etc. My life seemed great, but things started to change towards the end of 2014 and into 2015. God began to take me through an uncomfortable process of digging and pruning.

I have approval problems; I tend to seek endorsement from people, using their confirmation of my actions and decisions as my compass. I would think to myself that if these people approved of me, especially church folk, then I must be doing the right thing. But God is a jealous God, and in many ways, I had exalted other people’s opinions about me, above God’s opinion. I had made human approval my idol. God wanted to get that sorted out immediately, and He has taken me on a journey to address it. I can’t say that I am completely rid of that vice, but I can tell you that I am nowhere near where I used to be and I continue to journey towards that ultimate goal.

Another key lesson I have learned is the importance of internal government; if you cannot discipline yourself, then you cannot be a good soldier. I need to be able to wake up early to read my bible and pray; to get to work on time and deliver on tasks as and when due. The expectations of my job are significant. Fortunately, I have not been afforded the luxury of working in an environment that excuses mistakes and sub-par results from me; the consequences are often significant. I use the term ‘fortunately’ because it means that I have learned many things in a relatively short amount of time and I now have personal high standards.

It is no coincidence that there was a seeming convergence of hardship in my life. Make no mistake people, God is raising an army. He is training strong men and women from different walks of life to build His Kingdom here on earth. Romans 8:19 says that all creation is waiting eagerly for the future day when God will reveal who His children really are (NLT). This could not be more true with the on goings of the world today. There is an apt phrase that I’ve heard repeatedly over the past few months, “There’s no time to waste time”. I feel a sense of urgency in the air; it is time for us to act.

So go ahead in strength and get to work on those things that you know God has laid on our heart to do; apply for that job, start that new business, volunteer for that ministry, propose to that girl. There is no time to waste time; the Kingdom is looking for you and I. Let’s get moving.

Sample Bias

There’s one area of my life where God has blessed me abundantly and that is where people are concerned. I am surrounded by the most loving, supportive and insightful group of friends and family and they push and inspire me to be the person God has called me to be. The information I receive from them and the levels of revelation they encourage me to enter, have helped form the individual I am today.

It’s easy to assume that other people have been exposed to the same truths as I have and know what I know. That’s a mistake I am often guilty of making, but it’s a sample bias error which comes from being surrounded by like-minded people, and using that as a premise to assume that everyone else is the same way. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s very important to have men and women in your life who understand and share your hopes and dreams and see life through the Word. But if we are not careful, we can assume that everyone has been given the opportunity to know what we know and they just don’t want to act on it.

Before He left the earth, Jesus gave the Great Commission to His disciples. He told them to go into ALL the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). We live in a world that is dying to hear about the truth of God’s love and how He has a plan and purpose for our lives. But they don’t know. And how will they hear unless someone tells them? (Romans 10:14b). It’s easy for us to remain in our safe cocoon of like-minded counsel (and again, there’s nothing wrong with that) but we also need to reach out to the world. I tell you, there are so many people that are hungry for the truth, but they just don’t know where to find it or how to get it.

There are so many broken marriages today because no one explained what marriage was created for. They were not informed that salvation could not be found in a spouse and that two people are meant to enter a marriage, already complete in Christ.

So many women are looking for a man to save them (I once fell into that category) but they don’t know that no man can save you. In fact, that approach will most likely lead you to men who want to use you and throw you away.

A lot of men have been told that their manhood is defined by the number of digits on their bank accounts. And so you have a generation of men who will do anything for money. That’s because they don’t know who they under all that cash and cannot call themselves REAL men if they don’t have a certain amount of money and are unable to maintain a certain lifestyle.

All these people need to hear God’s truth. But how will they know if they are not told?

We are salt and light and our calling is to be carriers of God’s truth in a broken world. I thank God for my friends and family and for the wonderful people of the House of Freedom because they have exposed me to God’s truths and helped me develop in my relationship with God. Now it’s our responsibility (those of us who understand Kingdom) to go out into the world and introduce someone to the truth that is Jesus.

Because at the end of the day, He is THE truth. End of.

Have a wonderful week,

Grace’s Daughter.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone, my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song

This cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love what depths of peace, when fears are stilled, when strivings cease

My comforter, My All in All, Here in the love of Christ I stand

 

No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me.

From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny

No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand

Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

I have listened to these words so many times; on some occasions, I just sing along with a casual appreciation of the lyrics and the melody. There are other times however, where the words come alive. Almost like the writer knew exactly what I would need to hear in that moment of my life, as he penned those words.

It’s very easy for the demands of life to weigh us down. We often put ourselves under such immense pressure to measure up to a standard that God never asked us to live up to. I’m guilty of placing such ridiculous demands on my inherently incapable flesh. When I fail to deliver, I suffocate myself in waves of condemnation and despair. It’s easy for me to blame the world for placing such weighty burdens on me, but the truth is I oftentimes place them on myself.

Hoping in Christ means that I no longer have to rely on my human strength. It means that I have a covering that I can rest in whenever I get to the end of myself. When I am confronted with impossible situations, ones that I can never get through by myself, I can sit back and allow God show up. But I actually have to sit back and let God be God. I’m tired of subjecting myself to the torture of trying to figure my life out by myself. I’m tired of beating myself up and wallowing in guilt when I don’t measure up.

The truth is I never will because the standards are constantly evolving. The world is changing and is full of people with differing opinions. Trying to please them all is simply setting yourself up for distress and failure. But there is a calmness and a peace that comes from resting in the knowledge of the truth that God has you completely covered. When you know with every fiber of your being that your life is in God’s hands, you are unshakable. It doesn’t mean life stops being hard; it means you simply rise above.

I wrote the first and last verse of this song because they are a beautiful expression of encouragement. Life is tough and it doesn’t get much easier as we move through it. But as the challenges come (and they definitely will), we can be rest assured that we do not walk alone, Christ is indeed our hope and no matter what, nothing and no one can ever separate us from His love and the wonderful thoughts He has for us.

Encourage yourself in (and through) the Lord.

Monuments

And Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever…Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there to this day. – Joshua 4:5-7, 9.

I read this passage and couldn’t help but ask myself certain questions: What are the monuments to God that I have set up in my life? Do they serve as ample reminders of the presence of God in my life? What is my plan to ensure that the story of my walk with God doesn’t die with me? Do I teach? Preach? Write a book? These are somewhat heavy questions to ask one’s self, especially at 6a.m in the morning. On one hand, I have to constantly remind myself that my first obligation in life is to God and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. But, on the other hand, there are other things in my life that require my attention; my relationships, my job, my health, etc. And all these things are important. The dilemma I seem to constantly face is where and how to deploy my most valuable resource i.e. my time. In many instances, it’s God vs. everything else.

In the passage above, the Israelites were asked to erect monuments to God as a reminder to all people of what God had done for them. While sometimes the struggle is God vs. other aspects of my life, this story shows me that there are times when it’s God IN these aspects of my life. The Israelites had been roaming around the desert for 40 years and it was finally time for them to come into the Promised Land. I can only imagine what must have been going through their minds; they were approaching the climax of their lives. And that’s where God shows up for them and then asks them to put up a marker, so that those who come after them will be reminded of the magnitude of this Being we call Jehovah.

What am I trying to say today? Many times, we make our lives out to be God vs. xxx. But there are times when it’s God in xxx. Yes, we might be called to use our time to serve God by volunteering or writing a book. And this could take away from time that could be spent spending time with loved ones or getting on top of tasks that need to be completed. But there are also other times (and I daresay they are quite many), when God meets us in the midst of life and asks us to pause, listen and obey. The aim is often so that we may point others to Him.

Love,

Grace’s Daughter

Every Today

I’ve felt rather off kilter for the past couple of months, like I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop. There were things I used to do before with joy that had become chores to me. Writing on this blog was one of them and for a brief moment, I considered letting it go so I could focus on meeting the basic requirements of my seemingly demanding life.

This feeling also manifested itself in my relationship with God; waking up in the morning to spend time with Him seemed stressful and sleep beckoned even more. And so, I found myself going from doing the barest minimum to doing almost nothing. Even in those times when I managed to get my behind out of bed, I was just going through the motions. My heart was not in it anymore. What worried me the most was the fact that I could not see how to get out of this interesting funk. I know who I am when I am away from God and it’s not pretty but that knowledge was not enough to inspire me to get back on track.

Now there might be some of you out there going through the same thing and I wish I could offer you a novel solution. But sometimes, the right thing to do is the right thing to do. I needed to start praying and reading my bible again. That’s it, plain and simple. But even more, I had to stop depending on myself for the strength to do what needed doing.

I started a new routine this past week; when my alarm goes off in the morning, I pray to God for the grace to do my T-25 (I also haven’t been doing my best where my weight is concerned). I get up and work out and whenever I feel the need to stop and get back in bed, I pray for the grace to finish. And so far, I’ve finished. Then I whip out my bible and journal, read and write down my thoughts, jist with Jesus and get ready for the day.

There were days when I was filled with the euphoria of a job well done and there were other days when I felt like rubbish but I’m grateful to God for the grace to get through each day. Don’t get me wrong, there might be days when I quit but I can’t worry about that today.

That’s what this life is about; living day by day, looking to God for grace in all things and not worrying about how things will get done. Matthew 6:25-34 has taken on a fresh meaning for me. I realize now that I got caught up trying to figure out how to juggle all the different elements of my life in my own strength. I forgot that I absolutely do not have to do that and that I am helped of God.

If there’s anyone out there who is going through the same thing, please understand that you are not alone. Be honest with God and tell Him how you feel. You’re tired of your current situation or you don’t want to do something that you know He wants you to do. Vent and cry out to Him. And then ask Him for the grace to do what you ought to do and take it one step at a time. It will most likely be difficult and uncomfortable at first and you might want to quit. But if you keep looking to God for grace, you’ll look up one day and be amazed at the progress you made. Not to worry dear friend, God is still in the business of miracles; even the seemingly ordinary ones.

Love,

Grace’s Daughter.