Tag Archives: Faith

Love is Transformational

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one

1 John 4:7-11

Love may translate into a feeling but it so much more than that. It is a daily choice to get closer to God and then live out our lives as he instructs.

Love is from God

Love is instruction

Love is a Covenant

Love is a supply line

Love is a source of strength

Love is an antidote or cure for fear

Love is a measure for our walk

Love triumphs over darkness

Love is a place of rest

Love is not earned

Love is accepted

Love is intentional

Love satisfies

Do you understand who you are?

You are the beloved of God, the apple of His eye, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden, a chosen one, a king, a priest. You are loved by God and that is enough.

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Faithfulness and Communication.

In a previous piece, The Essence of Faithfulness, Ruth’s life taught us that we all receive a gift that we must work on faithfully and bear fruit to attain our calling and assignment on earth. Faithfulness is foundational because it attracts the resources needed for the assigned task, weaves in the connections needed to live and thrive, and provides stability to our walk. 

We are created for community life thus we thrive through faithfulness to the call and consistent communication. Communication is the impartation or exchange of information through a medium, which can be written, spoken, or in any other form. Effective communication is designed around the needs of the recipients and listeners so that they can truly connect to and interpret what the speaker is saying. 

For this conversation, we will explore three levels of essential communication.

God: I used to see God as the guy sitting up there waiting to hit me on the head for everything I did that he did not like. I have since learned that he isn’t like that at all. He is the creator of the universe, Father, and lover of all. He is our source, strong tower, shield, and defence. He loves us and is always speaking words of life to us with the hope that we will listen and then guide us. His words do not return to him void but accomplish all He determined they would (Isaiah 55:11).

He does not withhold from us but provides ways to connect to us. I searched high and low for the perfect way to connect with God. In the search, I found there are several ways to reach him. We connect to God through prayer, the Scripture, the spoken word from his servants, His promises (the ones He has given you as part of your journey), and His blueprint. When God gives us a word, he supports it with a plan and people to bring it to work, His Blueprint. Our conversations with God are a response to his love.

Self: We are all created in God’s image and likeness: his beloved. However, do we understand what that means? Do we see ourselves as worthy of his love and love ourselves fully? Do we accept ourselves as we are? How do we speak to ourselves? 

I am reminded of Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” This reality is foundational for every person on earth. We all speak to ourselves based on how we perceive ourselves. We respond to the image in the mirror based on our inner truth. However, is it aligned with whom God says we are and are becoming? 

If we are negative to ourselves, we will speak negatively and out of line for our calling. To be faithful to God’s call on our lives means we must be true to how we deal without ourselves. Be faithful to the word of God for who you are and speak to yourself in the right tone; full of love.

Others: Scripture tells us to love others as we love ourselves (Matthew 12:31). This means that I cannot be faithful to a friendship with someone else if I am not faithful to my relationship with myself and God. My relationships will be unstable if we are not communicating well with others. How I engage with others is frequently premised on my personal self-awareness and self-confidence levels. 

Which of the three levels of communication do you find challenging? Are you in good stead in all of them or is there one that is a struggle? I have learned that I can only work on what I acknowledge. My previous poor self-communication had significantly affected how I spoke to myself and in turn, impacted how I expected people to deal with and treat me. I choose to work on communication in my journey to consistent faithfulness.

Shalom.

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Covered completely

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the [a]fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and [b]buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall [c]bear you up,
Lest you [d]dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will [e]set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With [f]long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Psalms 91 NKJV

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God has built need into life.

God has built need into life: for our supply is in Him ~ Rev Tom Otieno.

We are in some of the most challenging times we have ever seen in our generation. I saw my parents navigate hard times and always sort it out. However, we are now in the front seat.

I learned early not to ask for help and to make do with what I had. I heard that it is honourable to suffer through things and persevere. We get applauded as strong when we do not ask for help. In fact, the less we need support, the stronger we are thought to be. Eventually, we lose the ability to ask for help and the capacity to respond to requests. In time we create unhealthy independence and pride that is detrimental in the long run.

We are shamed, castigated, or bullied for failing to meet our needs or asking for help. We appear weak if we can not do something or meet society’s standards because asking for help more than once is frowned on. Seeing people shamed or bullied because of asking for help has led to fear that keeps us silent. So, we learn to hold back and find ways to cope in silence and struggle.

God is my source, supply chain and the holder of the access keys to all resources. God allocates how said resources get to me and works through men. When I do not or cannot ask for help, my supply or access to resources is restricted.

I must learn to ask God for direction on the season and supply, be patient to ask how I will access the provision and who is the supply line. For instance, if I need to talk to the head of a large corporation, I need to speak to the office to book the appointment. I would also need favour with the personal or executive assistant to get time in the schedule and finally show up ahead of time and engage well during the meeting.

I am not saying we depend on people and ask them all the time; no! The truth is, I must be conscious that God speaks a word and then works through people. I must listen carefully to what he is saying.

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I submit to you willingly

I submit to you willingly

Knowing I have never known this connection

I have never loved this deeply

I have never been this honest

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I submit to you willingly

Knowing this is my assignment

Knowing my healing is in this place

Knowing only God can secure my heart

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I submit to you willingly

Knowing I don’t need power here

I need the love of God

The love that flows through you

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I submit to you willingly

Knowing we are stronger together

I am whole, you are whole

We are whole

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I submit to you willingly

Knowing God has ordained this union

I know I am safe in this plan

Our lives will count as gain to the Kingdom

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I submit to you willingly

Submission or Stubbornness?

If you have read my blog for a while, you know conversations are the trigger I need to create the right words. To the new readers, welcome to partake in a tasty banquet of honest conversations. This space is about learning and revelation because none knows everything; we learn something new daily.

I have been talking about submission and will likely keep circling back here a lot over the next few months as I continue to learn about it. 

Today let us discuss submission to authority. Submission is a conscious choice to live in and under the leadership of another. It is about obedience and commitment, a deep trusting connection directly related to love and a decision.

Recently as I listened to a teaching, a new dimension of submission came to the fore. When God calls us to submit, let us must remember it is to all authority around us, including the spiritual covering us. Our spiritual leader is the person who guides us in our walk with God even though we do most of the work. 

An effective spiritual authority does not lord things over us or demand obedience. They know who they are, who God has sent to them and what each one needs. They are prayerful, faithful to and diligent in the Word. They only have a word for those actively seeking God and can discern the truth in each situation. They are not manipulative because they are confident in God’s power and ability to change people without their help.

A friend asked me how well I knew my spiritual authority

He shared how God had been speaking to him about respecting and submitting to authority and what he learnt shocked him. It was clear to him that we needed to change our dealings with our lead. We needed to connect, submit, honour and work with the appointed servant of God so that our lives work out well. We needed to consult God about the connections and preserve them as instructed.

Think of Elisha and Elijah. Elisha wasn’t the only prophet in the land, yet he was the one called to support Elijah. He quickly answered, connected to the calling to serve, left his home and everything he knew and followed Elijah. It was not an easy decision to follow diligently; Elisha was faithful. In the end, he received a double portion of the anointing. He appropriately extended the work of God and honoured Him with his life.

I have to admit I hadn’t asked God about my lead recently. I knew him but hadn’t even considered that I could be out of line or that I needed to go deeper. I had assumed that since I was serving, all was still well. Alas, it was not so. All was not well. You can imagine the questions that started running through my mind about my lead:

  • Who is this man in God?
  • What does he carry that I am assigned to support?
  • How must I support the work?
  • How often must I be available?
  • What about his anointing and ordination that my life extends or multiplies?
  • Have I honoured him as God would have me do?
  • Am I genuinely and willingly submitting?
  • Is my submission half-hearted?
  • Have I been faithful to the assignment God has given me?
  • Sadly, in most cases, I had been lacklustre and half-hearted.

I could console myself that though I was out of line, it was mostly ever so slightly. Yet out of line, no matter how little is out of line and I needed to recalibrate and realign. Contrary to my expectations, it was a journey that brought all my pride to the surface and then crumbled it one piece at a time. 

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The Transforming Power of Belief

As I thought about moving from unbelief to belief, I realised that my early life had shaped my perspectives when I learned how to interact with people and what to expect. The shift happened as people decided to go on with their lives and keep growing. It became clear that I could not count on most of them because they had things to do that made me unimportant in their scheme of things. 

I had always assumed that everyone wanted me to see myself grow and become better until I learned that I had to take care of myself and my growth. I was perplexed because this did not look or feel authentic to how I wanted to be loved and appreciated.  

My ability to believe stuttered because of what I had experienced.

It took a while to understand that I am the total of my thoughts. My convictions and beliefs show in my words because they are inner work. In my reflections, I remembered Joseph, Esther and others in scripture who went through hard times but did not leave the faith. I also thought of people who went through hard times in this life and walked away from the faith.

I understood the dangerous notion that if we walk with God our Father, life should be stress-free and struggle-free but is that true? No, it is not. Show me anyone who did great things for and with God without some hard times in their lives. I have looked around but cannot find a single person whose life spoke to the enormity and goodness of God without going through something difficult.

But guess what; God never leaves us alone, especially in trying seasons.

God always steps in for His people and gives us a way out. We see this when he rescued Israel from Egypt using Moses and his crew and sorted Abraham by making it possible to have a child in his old age. God strengthened Mordecai to support Esther so she could go before the king and sent four unshakable Hebrew boys into captivity together so they would stand and keep each other accountable. He sent Ananias to anoint Paul after the Damascus experience and sent Phillip to interpret scripture for the Ethiopian eunuch.

God never promised us a good and simple life. He promised to be with us and manage things as we lean on him. God declared that he would stand with us and walk the journey no matter what happens, how long, how far or who walks with us. He promised to provide a way out in times of trouble like he did when Paul and Silas were in prison when the people prayed.

Faith is the certainty that God is on the throne and in control.

Belief now means a few different things to me:

  • I will stand on the word of God because it is reliable. 
  • Nothing will change or shift my position or faith in God.
  • I will align with people who encourage me and hold me to account for the journey.
  • I will speak the words of life to my heart and over my life.
  • I will remind myself of His goodness every day.
  • I will write a memorial of how He has come through for me.
  • I will align myself with His purposes for my life.
  • I will surround myself with people with a deeper understanding of divine principles.
  • I will remember that God is aware the state of affairs and all is well. 
  • I will stand on the plan for my life as designed in heaven.

Shifting to belief has meant that I must re-wire my mind to our new state and position. 

Scripture has become my foundation and strength. It encourages me daily to remain truthful and on course despite the situation.

  • And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
  • In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33
  • Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Matthew 12:34,
  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrew 11:1).

Do not despair in your situation, God has a plan for your ultimate good. Shalom.

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A Subtle Shift

I wondered how the deal fell through

I wondered why the relationship was strained

I wondered who was walking with me

I wondered if anyone cared

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I wondered where food was coming from

I wondered if I would have water to drink

I wondered when the fruit would ripen

I wondered how I would live today

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I wondered when the darkness would end

I wondered when the cold would lift

I wondered when the sun would shine

I wondered if the moon would rise

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I wondered why the winds were so strong

I wondered why the dust was so much

I wondered why the plants were dying

I wondered if God could see the destruction

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I wondered if God was listening to me

I wondered if he would answer my prayers

I wondered if he would delivery my requests

I wondered if he was even there

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One question at a time

One step at a time

One disappointment at a time

 One fear at a time

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One sob story at a time

One jibe from people at a time

One hard choice at a time

One fear at a time

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Unbelief sneaked in

Shrouded in a dark cloak

Covered by the darkness around

Settling in before I realised

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Unbelief took root

Shifting every solid foundation

Cracking every pillar in life

Challenging every thought I had

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Ah Papa, help me

I cannot live like this anymore

Your word promises strength and grace

I need help to walk away.

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Ah Papa, help me

Break this weak foundation

Recast a new foundation

I need help to walk away.

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Ah Papa, help me

To shatter every misconception

And replace it with your wonderful truth

I need help to walk away.

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Ah Papa, help me

Rebuild the foundation for longevity

Strengthen my resolve to stay the course

I need help to walk away.

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Ah Papa, help me

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Conquering Unbelief

Recently in a conversation with God, he asked me, “Do you actually believe?”

What??? How could that be the question? There is a back story here. It was on the back of a question about a promise that seemed late. As a family, we received a clear word from God more than a decade ago, but we are yet to see its fullness. I was in a tizzy because I couldn’t understand why we were so stuck and were not arriving at our destination. So, imagine my surprise at God questioning my belief. 

Let me laugh at myself. Of course, God knows all and sees all so the gap in my beliefs is evident to him. The shock was that I had never seen it. I could not imagine that I could have such a gap. When did my faith get this low? What happened to me; how did it happen? What should I be looking at in my life? Like all divine encounters, all one needs is the desire to see, and He will open your eyes.

I saw it! Where? I confessed the promise but always had a niggling doubt in my mind or heart of its fulfilment. I spoke the promise but questioned the process and timeline. I confessed the word, but whenever trouble hits, I look for a way, a plan B an option.

Sadly, I honestly didn’t believe unequivocally. 

Belief is much stronger than anything I know. It is beyond decreeing and declaring the word. It goes deeper than stamping my foot in confidence as I talk to others. It is much more than anything I knew about myself and my life. It is about a depth I was unaware of and unwilling to admit until that end. 

Belief turned into something so much bigger than me. It showed up as trust, faith, and confidence that started deep within me. It is certainty in God even about things that seem impossible to me. The word that holds my attention is a certainty. Certainty is a firm conviction, meaning that no matter what happens, my mind will not change, and I will not doubt or wonder if things will happen as said. 

Belief is an undying commitment to a word so strongly that I will remain steadfast in the face of all things, including adversity, like the three Hebrew boys, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, aka Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Certainty is the only way out of unbelief.

How did I stop believing?

My life path had been treacherous for so long that the depth of my faith shifted. I had allowed the things that weren’t working or seemed delayed to destabilise my position. The shift had been so gradual that I did not see it happening. I did not see my faith waning, my heart moving or my mind changing. I didn’t perceive the pain was slowly chipping at the pillars of my faith until it was almost all gone. 

On the surface, I said I believed, and it appeared so, however on the inside, there were lots of doubts. I denied the questions and fear. I rejected the notion that I possibly had no foundation or base anymore. I couldn’t admit that I had moved out of my place of rest into a situation of works and machinations in the name of remaining true to the path to bring the will of God to pass. My words and inner actions were totally out of sync. 

The solution is that I return to the place of rest.

It became clear that unless I return to rest and trust God truly, nothing will work. Nothing is possible without a complete recalibration. I can now see why the questions I asked my mentors didn’t make sense to them or seemed shallow. I now understand how some comments I made got me strange looks from others. I acknowledge the sag in my shoulders is because I lost confidence in my walk but camouflaged it well.

The beauty is that God doesn’t leave us in unbelief. 

When we ask, He sends us help. I attest that assistance has shown up for me. I realised that He is a Father who never lets His children die. He is gracious enough to reach out or send us people to support. He will never leave a child who is calling Him stranded. He responds to a responsive and committed child.

The journey back to a strong belief is still going on and has taken several things:

  • Acknowledging what I had seen in myself. 
  • Repenting for getting distracted by the troubles of this world.
  • Creating a new pathway with Papa. 
  • Speaking the new path out loud so my whole being can hear. 
  • Repeating the new pathway to myself when I feel my faith is waning. 
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The Reality of JOY

A while back, I showed up to see a friend with a sad face. A long conversation ensued about where I was on the journey. We spoke until I could see what he meant by sadness should never take root and I should never get used to it. Funny how I hadn’t seen it before. 

How could I, a child of God, have so many sad days? How can the weight of sadness be so settled and not lifted? Did I miss something in my journey? Did all the people feeling down miss something too? How could such sadness take hold of the people and never seem to let go? Some days we smile to cover it, while on other days walk away and hide. How could such pain coexist with faith?

A lot of the sadness we carry is often from relationships. 

Life can be challenging because of how we interact with people and then how we expect them to deal with us. We hold onto those feelings and even project them onto others unrelated to that pain. It is possible to be so used to sadness that it becomes our cloak and identity. Other times, sadness is a tool in the hands of God to teach us to press into him and earn of him. It could be the place to create compassion for others. 

As I write, I see how I choose the cloak I live in; I am astounded. Everything works together in God for my good and His will. I must understand the importance of how I feel and turn it to Him. God is in control because nothing is impossible with Him. Everything happens according to his purposes and plans. 

It then struck me that JOY is critical to life, but a choice.

It is not the absence of sadness or a feeling but rather the reality of God as the driver of everything. Joy is understanding His purpose with this season and then walking with confidence. Joy is grounded in God and only understood through Him. Therefore, I must choose to connect to the Father and remain hidden under his wings. No matter how hard the things around me have been, I make a definite choice. I choose to listen; I choose to follow; I choose to become. 

I find strength in several scriptures that I will share here today:

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Ps 91:4

The joy of the Lord is my strength, Nehemiah 8:10

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 2 Cor 1:20

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov 18:10

…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises… 2 Peter 1:3-4

…Weeping may endure for a night, but [a]joy comes in the morning. Psalms 30:5b

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Prov 17:22

My journey in God is founded on and grounded in the realities of His word and His work. The promises of God will never fail. 

Shalom.

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