Tag Archive | #NoExcuses #40Reflections #NewBeginning #NewNation #Ngicabanga #LivingEpistles

The Journey to Perfection…


On the soul’s journey to perfection, there are so many things that go on. We go through different stages and grow at different rates. One of the greatest struggles we go through is temptation. There is so much so say about temptation and its different stages. There are people bring clarity about the most complex topics in simple ways…you know those people right? One of mine is Samuel Phillips, the son of my father and my brother.

The first stage is the animal stage where we are content to live in the gratification of our senses, totally unaware to the knowledge of sin or our divine inheritance. We are also altogether unaware of the spiritual possibilities within us.

IMG_20171114_182217-EFFECTS.jpgThe second stage is the dual stage where the mind is awakened to the reality of its animal and divine tendencies and continually oscillates between the two. It is a state of continual fighting, falling and rising, sinning and repenting because we still love our lives yet we aspire to a life of purity and excellence; the spiritual state. In reality we are continually mortified by this inability to choose and the divine life within us makes this stage fraught with pain, anguish and suffering.

The third stage is knowledge. In this stage, man rises above sin and temptation and enters into peace. Temptation is now a passing phase because he has new understanding and he uses this understanding to measure his level of growth. When man fully understands the source, nature, and meaning of temptation, he is able to conquer it. Temptation is simply a pointer to what a man has not conquered and nothing more. It shows where his animal desires beat his soul. For every man is tempted by the desires of his heart and these desires show the direction of that heart.

The greatest place of congregation is the dual stage where people judge themselves and others against a never ending list of do’s and don’ts. The net result is struggling to keep our feet on the ground as well as how to get up when we fall down. You know those times when you do something you don’t want to and beat yourself over and over again until there is nothing but guilt left? So many of us are stuck here judging and being judged and taking pride in pointing out people who we believe aren’t living right.

IMG_20171127_183428.jpgIt is so easy to look down one’s nose at others and talk about all the things we are seeing that could be ‘wrong’ with them. I was there a while back, so confident in myself until the day I did something so ‘big’ that it didn’t leave my mind for years. Today, that sounds so foolish to me because I know there is no ‘big or small’ sin or temptation. Temptation is temptation! Sin is sin! Wah! Just imagine being super confident in your ability to live right then you hit a bump so big that you fall apart and the real you is exposed.

Coming face to face with our mortality and fallibility is important because we understand that our walk with God is not a result of our goodness. It helps us understand that we will face temptation but have a choice to move closer to God or remain in the same place. Remember, “Temptation is simply a pointer to that which a man has not conquered and nothing more.”

 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13

Am I living the way I do because I want to keep people happy or do I live by the word I have heard from God Himself through His word and confirmed by His servants.

He Tested ME


IMG_20171118_180845.jpgNo man can be tested outside of what he has learnt, and no one can be tempted outside of his own fleshy desires. That you are tested shows you are ripe for promotion and that you are tempted shows you are growing and maturing. For example, a prostitute cannot be tempted with sex, neither can a drunk be tempted with alcohol. It is just a natural state of such base existence so temptation can’t come into it. Therefore, this means that whatever you are tempted by is what you are growing out of. So are you tempted, don’t kill yourself over it. Just take a look at your heart and see clearly the beauty of the seed of Christ in you that shows you are growing.

Do all to pass the test of the things you’ve learnt and do all to rise above your desires, for in doing these two, you rise into conformity to Christ.

Samuel Phillips

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I came across this post recently and it resonated very deeply. A few days later, I was chatting with a group young people on the subject. Talk about advance provision of notes. This God!

In our discussions, it became apparent that we all have things we struggle with in our hearts and minds, that others neither see nor know about. This is because the real us, is hidden behind whatever ‘masks’ we wear. Those hidden places are the spots God is dealing with in us and we know what we should be working towards; what God has told us about who we are and where we are going.

However the conversations with the young people brought to light how being less than we know we should be really affects us. Many of them were feeling low because they were totally stuck in struggles they needed ways out of and they wanted to be much further along in their life journey. This situation left them feeling like failures because they hadn’t conquered everything in life.

Why would they feel like they have failed yet they were making progress? Why would this load be so heavy? In their opinion, all the older believers they knew weren’t struggling with anything. There was an outer presentation of ‘perfection’ and ‘having arrived’ that the older believers had which put pressure on the younger ones to achieve. The net result was they were hiding their struggles to look good yet they were distressed within.

A certain conversation with my father came to mind and the lessons I had recently learnt from him.

Not one to keep facades, I set out to burst that bubble with a series of questions.

  • How many times have older people hidden fear behind smiles?IMG_20171118_181827.jpg
  • How often have parents hidden their fear behind strict rules, regulations, anger or threats?
  • How many times have we kept our phones with secret locks and always on our person because of things on them?
  • How many times have we failed to share how we made our wealth because we did a deal many years ago that got us the right footing but we paid someone something?
  • How many times have we changed our story because the truth wasn’t how we wanted to be known?

I didn’t have real answers to these questions but they created points of comparison to their own behaviour and that of others around them. You should have seen their eyes when they realised that we all struggle with different things. We could almost touch the relief and a load was lifted from their backs.

It also led me to track people in scripture who sinned but God extended grace. Think of David, who seemed like a perpetual sinner but God had mercy on him every time because his heart was in the right place. However, at the end of the day, David committed to walk with God always and he was called a friend of God. Ananias and Sapphire lied but twice they were given the opportunity to redeem themselves by telling the truth but they were more concerned about looking good so they lied and as a result died.

I have found courage in my brother’s words, “whatever you are tempted by is what you are growing out of.”

This means that the place God is focusing on to help me grown in and become all He sees me as is the place testing starts. Testing is the stepping stone to my next reality and revelation. It is the area He needs dealt with out of the way so that I may walk in the fullness of how He sees me.

He will not let me remain lost forever rather He will press and prod until I become all He sees me as. He will not give up on me the same way He didn’t allow Hosea to give up on Gomer. However, His eternal desire for me to reach fullness doesn’t give me the license to live in wanton sinfulness otherwise He will hand me over to my fleshly desires and raise another to be and do all that is established for me.

I choose to say; Not on my watch Lord! Not on my watch!

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13 NKJV

 

Meeting the Proof of Grace


In 1999, I was in university and at a bad place that year because choices I had made to save my life and future but the fall out was so major I left the circles I used to run with…the ‘Christian’ circles. Most people were certain that I did the wrong thing but thank God life has proven that I was right. However, this was all part of God’s plan. The people who stood by me were seemingly usual people and this made most of the Christians in my circle think I had walked away from the faith. To be honest, I almost did…but grace…

grace 2During this time, I met a guy; tall, goofy and totally off the charts. He could laugh at anything and make fun of anything but my God, he could drink. In fact, if you could drink more than him you were an off the charts drunk. It was different to knew someone so real as all my life these were the people I avoided because, ‘bad company corrupts good morals,’ and I wanted to remain ‘pure.’ He was a good friend and I needed to laugh and be happy in life so he became one of the guys I hang with.

I never know how he got into our college and how he lasted as long as he did. I didn’t even realise how far he was behind me as he was in so many of our outings when I was in fourth year I assumed he was a third year student. He was one of those people you just love to be around because they are real, are unashamed of their baggage or their weaknesses, and are totally content to be their real selves. The carefree and joyful way he lived his life was a direct contrast to how I lived mine yet Christ had come to give me freedom.

Fast forward to 2015; I walk into fellowship and there is a familiar guy standing by the tree but I don’t know from where. I go by two more times and it is comical. He says hi and identifies himself and I screamed (*hides*). Just imagine the sedate me, jumping around and screaming. Was this for real? I kept looking at him and looking away just to make sure I hadn’t lost my mind.

Over the months, he shared a story of God’s grace and intervention. He drank, his mother prayed, he drank and got in trouble, she prayed harder and he drank again. His friends panicked and he drank more, he lost work and he drank more, he flourished at work he drank, he woke up in strange places he still went back and drank. His mother prayed harder and he drank more. It was as if he had a death wish as big as his mother’s desire to see her son come to salvation.

IMG_20170908_150336.jpgOne day, tired and desperate his mother asked God what was wrong with her son. The response was mind blowing. This was the fight of his life and destiny! The fight for his destiny you ask? Yes! There was something about this man. What was so important about this life that darkness would do everything in its power to stop it? Who is this man and what is he capable of once connected to God? Despite days when she wanted to give up, his mother now knew that had to keep on praying for her son as his life depended on it and she shared this info with him hoping that the knowledge would help him want change in his life.

The short version is that after several near misses including cooling time in a police cell, God got a lasting hold of him and his life changed. Oh the change was on different scales. Some areas were instant but other weren’t. Some changes were lasting while others were full of battle and falling. Some were instant others were hard fought for.

timothy rebornThere were many challenges but it was clear that once God had a hold on him, He didn’t let go and once Reborn understood this he kept fighting to stand on the promises of God. He held on for dear life even as many times he fell flat on his face in the effort. This paid off and he remains a refreshing personality who listens intently, laughs easily, speaks from the heart and cares deeply. At the same time, he’s diametrically different in the ways that matter because the foundation, direction, driving force and purpose of his life have changed. Oh he is such a joy to watch. He is Timothy Reborn formally known as Stima.

timothy rebornHe is far from perfect but the very fact that he is in process is exciting. He is walking with God daily, sharing life with others, giving strength to others, defending those he is assigned to and opening opportunities for others to meet God and see what a full transformation looks like. His life is a reminder of several things:

  • God has a plan for each of us and it will not be thwarted no matter what.
  • God is determined that the plan with work and He will use us for He will.
  • No one is a write off where God is concerned He will move to ensure our salvation
  • Grace…oh grace…unmerited favour is real
  • No one is too far gone for God to reach
  • The plans of God can never be thwarted by darkness

I have better understanding that we are all here for a reason and the aggregate of our life experiences are to bring us to the place that we can produce a true expression of who God created us to be. We must not give up just because there are big challenges in and around our lives, rather we must determine to hold onto to the word of God over our lives. Let us hold on because there is proof of grace all around and in us.

Never give up on the grace of God…He is present for all around us.

Goliath Must Die


IMG_20170910_082514.jpgOften the story of David and Goliath ends when the giant is dead. That’s Goliath’s end but David’s beginning of more responsibility, more challenges and opportunity to grow into the man God Himself defined as a man after His own heart.

I can no longer just ask God to deal with the giants I face. I must ask Him to prepare me for the growth that’s coming because trouble is training and battles are blessings. After all, sonship requires responsibility!!!

#RedefineMe #KingsVision

By Tibaga Talitwala Gacheru

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The end of Goliath was the beginning of more for David…Wow!

I had never really thought about it that way. We read the story and skip on to the victories never once thinking deeply about some things. (Dear Lord, I really need to see as you see.) In this season when we are talking about change coming and taking our position to be of an influence it is so easy to focus on the change and be unprepared for the responsibility that comes with that change. It is easier to desire the victory and ask for God to speed up the ‘trouble’ and ‘battle’ yet that is the heart of the preparation ground for the next level.

One scenario I can imagine of David in the fields is looking after the sheep and loving the freedom it gives him to be away from his older brothers. This was time out from being sent all over the place and peace of mind from being alone. In time I see him wondering about the future and where he would end up. In time he would think of his brothers who were able to go and fight for the nation because he was there to take care of the sheep.

I can imagine him unsure if his father would allow him to get out of the fields one day and if he did when would that happen. How would it happen? Would a servant be appointed to replace him? If a servant was appointed would he take as good care of the sheep as he (David) did? Would the servant be content? So many questions…no answers

IMG_20170910_082431.jpgThe second scenario that comes to mind is; was he antsy about being in the background? Did he have a sense in that he was created for more than taking care of sheep? Was he bored of being out in the fields alone with animals? Did he want so desperately that he was actively looking for people to take over?

I guess we will never know.

The thing I see more clearly is that God had a plan and was at work in David. He knew the skills David would need for the next phase. He knew the grace, patience and resilience he needed. God knew that the main thing that could keep David grounded was a deep relationship with Him so He created an opportunity for David to do just that. He honed David’s love for Him and the gift of song as a place of deep communion and strength. He taught him love and compassion, honesty and dedication as well as precision skills. He honed skills in the desert, built his faith, and built depth of relationship with God.

David wasn’t lost out there rather; he was in a protected place and on a divine path. In the fields he learnt to deal with creatures larger than him so that Goliath wouldn’t be a challenge rather Goliath’s words would trigger his memory of God. He learnt obedience to authority. He knew what he could wear to be agile and what weapons he could use with ease. He discovered his reason for living…to honour God. he met and loved God, who gave him insight and success.

In short, David discovered all the skills he needed for his next level of assignment and laid a solid foundation for leadership in the hidden place.

  • What does God know about my path that he has allowed me to take a certain path?
  • What skills did I need that could only be birthed in the times of seclusion and on hard paths?
  • What level of faith and trust had to become an unshakable part of me so that the giants ahead would not shift me?
  • Have I cooperated or contended with God about the process? Am I cooperating or contending now?

Dear father, help me! Prepare me for the next leg of this journey. I have sought you for many things but not as deeply as I should for preparation for the next level. I choose today to connect and align with you that I may bring glory to your name. After all, it is all about, for and with you that I live my life. Amen.

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Seek First…


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But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:33 NKJV

I used to think this verse meant being diligent to the programs of church and other opportunities to serve. It was about me walking with God in the things He had called me to and just doing stuff to attain the comforts of life so that people would see that I serve God and He doesn’t fail. In reality though, my life plateaued and even declined over time.

I have come to understand in the last few weeks that there are deeper dimensions of things and those suppositions were untrue.

To seek is to aspire to attain, obtain or achieve something or someone.

To seek first is to look for the desired thing before others or with utmost devotion above all else.

To seek first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness would then mean that finding Him becomes my greatest pursuit. It would be a driving desire to find God and walk in His ways. To let go of my limiting opinions and limited vision and connect to His greater vision. To connect to the reason He created me and live out on that path.

Talk about clarity taking over. I had wanted to be like a certain sister and have influence over certain things like a certain brother to no avail. The reality is that there are gates God created me to watch and lives He established me to influence and as long as these weren’t done there was a gap in the plan. There are places He set out for me and things only I could see and interpret right.

There are places that I easily entered incognito to bring Him in because I was invisible unlike others around me. The things I was created for were waiting for me to rock up and bring them to life. So years spent seeking God for the things that were not aligned to His plan for me were lost years in a sense.

To seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness starts when I really sit at His feet and ask Him to show me who I am in Him; When I stop to find out who He created me to be from before the foundations of the earth; When I listen keenly without filters who I want to be; When I understand His heart for the world around me and how I fit in; When He unearths my core and makes me aware of Him at the centre of me; When He lays me bare before and deals with all of me and I am unashamed.

To seek first the kingdom is to remain in Him even when I have begun to understand the calling upon my life and remain connected to Him regardless of the circumstances because I understand that the PROCESS is what makes me. It is to remain faithful to the process regardless of how hard it seems; To remain even when I can see ways out and options because I know the process if the route; To fully trust the process to produce in me the right version on Him.

To seek first the kingdom is to live ONLY by instruction and nothing else. It is to wait for a clear instruction to move, how to move, when to move, where to move to even when it seems slow to those around me. It is to stop when He says, go when He says and do only as little or as much as He says. It is to give up the right to advance knowledge and appreciate every word that comes from His mind. It is to understand that everything I know in advance or later on it is the right way.

To seek first the Kingdom is all about realigning with God and then all these things will be added… The added things come because the whole of me is aligned to Him. I have come to the place He can trust me with important things, wealth, position, authority and influence and it will not change me or taint His work in me.

What are you seeking today? How do you need to course correct today? Join me as we walk.