Saturday, May 21, 2011

What lies behind

Thought for the day

There is nothing that I can do to change the past, but I can let it go to make room for a beautiful future.

Phil 3:13 ~ No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be but I am bring all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.


Lord, things don’t always work out the way I anticipate, and sometimes not the way I want it at all. It is hard when we do not understand. I am comforted by the fact that
you understand all things, and you are with me every step of the way, even in the mistakes that I make. Above all things you know the heart of every person and you still have a good plan if we would be willing to journey with you.

I don’t believe in coincidence, accidents or luck, but I do believe in a divine God who holds my future securely in His hand, just like He does me – a God who is very much concerned with every detail of my life because He loves me, and nothing can ever separate me from that, no matter how hard things may get.

In the middle of my trial you still tell me 365 times in your Word not to be afraid; not to be dismayed because You are God. I am chosen and called by name; I am yours and your Word stands forever! In rivers of difficult I will not drown and flames from fires of oppression will not consume me. When it is hard you are right there, upholding me with your victorious right hand.

When I cannot see what is up ahead I feel tempted to grab a hold of what used to be because it is familiar and comforting in a way. Help me instead to not spend my time trying to understand what is in the past or why something happened as it did. I don’t have control over it, neither can I change it. Help me to rather learn what it is that you want to teach me right now, right where I am.

I thank you for your faithfulness and your steadfast love and kindness. When I am weak, You are strong in me. Because you are my shepherd I have everything I need! Thank you for all you are, and all you do for me, Lord. Thank you that I can have hope because of You. You work all things together for my good.

In Jesus’ Name

Thursday, May 5, 2011

If you will humble yourself...

James 4:10
- AMP: Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant].
- NLT: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
- MESSAGE: ...Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.

I used to think about this verse mainly in context of a promotion in my workplace. I used to think that if I’m humble and I do the tasks that have been assigned to me to the best of my ability, as if unto the Lord, that God would make sure that I move up the corporate ladder, so to speak. I can’t remember a time that I have ever really thought of this in another context. So what to do if you are not in an employment situation? Does this verse then become irrelevant?

This verse has been on my heart a lot the past few weeks. I’ve been feeling very prompted about surrendering my will to God. Where I find myself is not where I want to be. I think it is safe to say that I’ve been fighting God a lot of the way. I’ve just been wanting out and maybe I’ve not been paying attention to what needs to be accomplished before God lets me out.

I’ve been thinking a lot about
what Maria (Jesus’ mother) said when the angel told her about her pregnancy. “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said.” (Luke 1:38) God gave her the greatest assignment ever. She was to carry the Son of God in her womb and give birth to him on earth so that God’s plan of salvation could eventually be executed. But it was not quite all rainbows and lollipops.

She was going to be a pregnant virgin – no one was going to believe her (“yeah, RIGHT! Pregnant AND a virgin...”) – her fiancé (the man that she loved) was not going to understand it and it was going to upset their relationship – the community could have stoned her for being pregnant outside of wedlock – she was going to have to deal with all of this coming her way and not feel condemned as they gossip behind their hand. In Maria’s world she wasn’t just saying yes to being pregnant, she was giving up her plan and saying, “Ok, Lord. Let’s do it your way.”

She humbled herself and surrendered her plan - she trusted the Lord.

I keep thinking that Holy Spirit is telling me the same thing, but I find myself not quite as brave and noble as Maria. What if God does something that I don’t like..? Anyone else ever felt that way? Yet, I know with my head that He is a good God, a loving Father and that He does nothing other than act out of love and kindness. I don’t even know what the plan is, but yet I want to feel in control. I don’t know where I’m going, but I want to drive...

I think one of the things I’m learning in this season is to let God have His way in my life. Sometimes humbling yourself means to forgive that person that you’ve been angry with for so long, or staying put when all you want to do is run away, or to do the simple things when you rather want to do the things that seem more important to you – the things that make you seem or feel more important.

Sometimes it means spending your money on something other than what you had originally planned because you feel prompted in your heart, or maybe not doing or buying something that you really had your heart set on. Sometimes it might be telling someone something that is hard for you to say – whether a compliment or a rebuke – but obeying Holy Spirit’s leading.

It doesn’t matter whether your obedience takes you to a geographical location or an emotional or spiritual one, but rather it is believing it enough that God loves you and always has your best interest at heart and being set free by that to follow where and how He leads you in obedience. Maybe I need a deeper revelation of His love for me.

When you do humble yourself and follow God’s way He says that He will lift you up. Maybe this means a promotion in a job. Maybe it means a job after not having one. Maybe it means a deeper relationship because of what was restored by your obedient act, or just greater emotional or spiritual freedom or wholeness. Maybe it means feeling joy again after carrying a burden for so long and finally letting it go. Maybe it means you finally learning the next step to move forward after having waited on the Lord for a long time, having had to grow in your faith that He would come through even if you didn’t know when or how.

Maybe sometimes the answer does not lie in knowing the next step, but in humbly submitting to God, seeing His face for what He wants to accomplish IN you during your season of surrender, so that He can lift you up in His time and His way, and so you may be ready for whatever He has prepared for you.

God knows details of our future that we don’t. One thing we can look forward to on the other side of our humbling ourselves is the encouraging promise of being lifted up – a promise of a God whose Word endures forever, a God who is not a man that He would lie and a God for whom no time is wasted time - a God who says that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Maybe God is waiting for me to humble myself rather than me waiting for Him to uplift me...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sing Me a love song

When I just sit down and think about songs that I used to sing when I was a child I can’t really think of any. But more recently I’ve been so blessed with songs sung by my three year old niece. Out of the mouths of babes... Even though I couldn’t think of them, I would recognize them when she was singing them, and I would remember.

On the days when I have been feeling very low and struggling to have faith to hold myself up and stay focused on God and His Word, she would be walking through the house singing children songs of faith, God’s love and His greatness – ever so innocently – just singing a song.

Maybe to her it was (is) just a song, but the lyrics are actually scriptural, so in effect she was (is) singing the Word and, without her knowing it, Holy Spirit has been ministering to me when I felt too low to hold on to the Truth myself, too discouraged or overwhelmed.

Most times those simple songs would then get stuck in my mind and would catch myself singing them unintentionally, but after a while I would feel encouraged. They would also remind me of other scriptures that say similar things and so I would start to rise up.

I can understand why Jesus said “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 and “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14

Sometimes it is just that simple.

As a worshiper I have learnt the value of worship songs that are based on the Word of God. Many mornings I have woken up with one in my heart and the lyrics would have a special meaning for me; as if God wanted to tell me something specific for the day.

Or, during times when I’ve felt low and I don’t know what to pray, those songs have been my prayers and my worship, lifting me up as I lift up the Name of the Lord. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people or He is enthroned by the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). It is impossible to lift up the Lord and not be uplifted yourself.

Also, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), whether you speak it or sing it... So sing your heart out!

I encourage anyone to get yourself some good worship music, based on the Word of God and anointed by Holy Spirit. Worship wins the war.

Let’s sing a new song unto the Lord!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

God's Word works!

Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory. Psalm 50:15 (NLT)

My sister’s house was burgled a few days ago for the second time since February this year. Having just returned from overseas I had some boxes in her garage which contained only the essential personal items that I had hand-picked from my home before I left a few months ago. In other words, those were the items that I valued most out of everything that I had spent fifteen years collecting to make my house a home.

Also, the particular box in question contained my music instrument and equipment. This was the most expensive item, but it also had much sentimental value. Plus, being a worshiper, music has a very special place in my life. For me it is like blood in my veins. I remember a time in my life when I did not own any instrument and it was as if a part of my soul had died. Therefore there is also a very special testimony to
how I ended up playing the guitar in the first place.

They stole this box of mine together with some other things of my sis. My heart was broken. This was very personal for me. No insurance could replace it. So after crying some, having some coffee and waking up a bit more, I asked my sister and her friend to pray with me in the garage. I stood on God’s Word:

Malachi 3:10-12 Bring all the tithes (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now by it, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer [insects and plagues] for your sakes and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground, neither shall your vine drop its fruit before the time in the field, says the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you happy and blessed, for you shall be a land of delight, says the Lord of hosts.

I have been faithful and now I was trusting God to (yet again) be faithful to His promise. He was!

Within half an hour after we prayed I found the box and most of my belongings in the bushes in the neighbour’s yard, including my guitar, and even though they had tossed it out of the carry case into the bushes my guitar did not have a scratch on it! Now I cried tears of joy and relief!

Most of what I have is a result of God’s blessing on my life to begin with, and now He had also rebuked the devourer for me! God was faithful to His Word when I called on it, and this blessed me in a very special way! Not only did it build my faith and encourage me, but those who heard that prayer and saw God come through were also showed something special about who God is and that His Word WORKS!!

Maybe for some it was just materialistic things, and things may not matter to God as much, but I do – His daughter, and I asked Him boldly because I know that He loves me and that which concerns me also concerns my Father. So – for me – not only did He answer a prayer or rebuke a devourer – He demonstrated to me again His love for me, even in the little things.

The little things matter to me, so I felt very loved in what God had done for me. I said to the Lord that if He chose to answer my prayer I would tell about it and give Him glory. That is why I am writing this post.

I see it as an opportunity that demonstrates that God’s Word is true and that if we use it, doing our part combined with faith, that we can see God’s promises manifest in our lives! In the midst of my current challenging circumstance I was encouraged again to apply more of God’s Word to different areas of my life and to see God bring new life to the dry bones of my circumstance.

Not only am I reminded that God’s Word stands forever (Isaiah 40:8), but I am also learning more now about having to speak the Word of God and how our world is created by our words. I heard a teaching by Pastor Theo Wolmarans recently titled Faith to climb your mountain in which he explains how God never told us to move our mountains. He told us to speak to it and have faith so that HE can move it. I’ve been trying to move mountains most of my life. Now I am learning to speak to it by faith.

I’m also reminded of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 ...Then He told me to SPEAK TO the (dry) bones and say: “O dry bones, listen to the words of GOD, for the Lord God says, See! I am going to make you live and breath again! I will replace the flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you shall live and know that I am the Lord.” So I spoke these words from God, just as He told me to; AND SUDDENLY... what was said started happening right before Ezekiel’s eyes. Why? Because So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11) and From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can oppose what I do. (Isaiah 43:13)

2 Timothy 3:16 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action)

What does God say in His Word that you need to speak to your circumstance today? I encourage you, together with myself today, to start paying more careful attention to what you say, and to start saying (and doing) what God says, so that you may see Him move the mountains that need moving in your life. If you feel that you don’t have enough faith then there is a way for you to change that too: Faith comes by hearing... hearing what?... hearing the Word of God. (Rom 10:17) So maybe you don’t feel too convinced to begin with, but start saying it anyway (not thinking it – saying) and you will find yourself believing it more and more, and the next thing that which you believe will become your new reality!