Grace & The Folly of Comparison

Human logic is somewhat incompatible with grace. Sayings like “You get what you pay for” and “Earn your keep” make sense from the perspective of rational thinking but in those times when you get more than what you pay for or earn more than your keep, human logic tends not to be pleased. More often than not, this tends to be in the context of comparison.

In the parable of the vineyard workers (Matthew 20:1-16), a landowner hired people to work for him at different times of the day. The first batch of workers resumed at 6a.m, the second at 9am and subsequent batches at noon, 3pm and 5pm. When the time came to pay wages, the landowner started with the last workers, paying them a day’s wages (the same as those who had been working since 6am). Now you can imagine that the earliest workers were not pleased with this at all and they did not hesitate to make this clear.

What struck me about this passage was the fact that the 6am workers had agreed with the landowner on the wages they would be paid. They were satisfied with it until they compared it with the wages of the 5pm workers. I reiterate, in the context of human logic and rational thinking, the 6am workers had a valid point, especially where fairness and equity are concerned. However, the Kingdom of God is not one of fairness alone but one of grace as well. If God was just interested in fairness, we would all be deserving of death. That is why grace is such a beautiful thing.

Now I’m quite sure the 6am workers would not have had an issue with the situation if they had been 5pm workers. But imagine if they could have been satisfied with their own portion and maybe even happy for the 5pm workers. The 6am workers didn’t know where the 5pm workers were coming from; perhaps one’s child was sick and needed tending to the whole day, maybe another was helping a friend in dire need. The reason is irrelevant; what matters is that the landowner (God in this parable) saw it fit to give the 5pm workers that wage. In the context of Kingdom thinking, that should make the situation okay for everyone.

Many times, we compare ourselves with other people thinking we deserve better. Sometimes we are correct as far as rationality is concerned. But we become ungrateful when we see them getting more than what we think they deserve, especially when it’s the same as our portion. I think this means that we don’t have the right perspective. When we do our work as unto the Lord and live according to our God-given purpose, the need for comparison lessens and we may even be free to celebrate the grace of God in the lives of others.

Understand that this message is as much for me as it is for you.

Love,

GD.

Thought of the day

I was reading Matthew 3 today and was struck anew by words that I had seen and read many times:

In those days, John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him’”. – Matthew 3:1-3

The chapter goes to describe John in a manner that could only have been perceived as weird at the time. But what hit home for me was the certainty with which the author confirmed that John was the fulfillment of a prophecy. I was about to go on reading but I felt a check in my spirit to pause on this and reflect.

John the Baptist knew who he was and what he was called to do. Yes, he probably came across crazy to the people that knew (of) him. But that did not matter to him. I believe he knew the weight of what was required of him. He must have understood the import of his calling, the fulfillment of God’s word to his ancestors, was to take place through him. There must have been times when he was discouraged, lonely and close to quitting (to settle for an ordinary life) but that was not his calling.

Many of us are living lives that are incompatible with who God has called us to be and the assignments we have been tasked to complete. Society preaches conformity, safety (staying in your comfort zone) and political correctness but we have been called to be light in a depraved world. Light cannot shine in its fullness and be appreciated for the illumination it brings if it does not first acknowledge that there is darkness. Imagine if John tried to conform. He would never have called out the Pharisees or let the people know that there was sin in them to repent from.

What prophecies are hanging over you? How long have you kept God waiting to use you? What shall be said of you by generations to come?

 

 

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.