THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Mind of Its Own


There are things in life that we are good at times and therefore take for granted especially when we have done them for a long time. This is especially true if it is things that we do well, naturally and with little or no thought. What do you think would happen if one day you set out to do the thing you have always done well and it doesn’t work? Take a moment to think about.

Recently, that very thing happened to me and I was devastated. Growing up in our home there were things we had to learn to do to enable us to survive. We had to do well in school, be good at all we did and be able to take care of the home which included cooking, cleaning and any other task at hand. I had a great interest in the kitchen and so I was encouraged me to begin to do these things. I was in the kitchen cooking on a stool from when I was six years old and by the age of eleven, I could bake. From that point on my mother and sister were relived of baking duties and I thrived in that department. Over the years I gained experience and for those who have tasted my cakes can attest they are nice.

Over time, I have played with and adapted recipes time and again to suit the situation, style or size I needed. However, for the first time in over twenty years of baking things changed. An acquaintance asked if I could bake a milk cake. A what? Ok, let me be honest, I had never heard of a milk cake or if I had, I had dismissed the whole notion. My initial response was to laugh and then forget the discussion. However, I was prompted again after a few days so I googled it and sure enough there are hundreds if not thousands of milk cake recipes with varying complexities. After a long search, I selected a recipe and tried it. Voila…it was easy as brushing my teeth…one try and it was all good, even better than good. It was my new favourite cake. I sent a taste piece out and it was approved and the order placed.

Remember I am confident about my skills so I simply mixed another batch of the cake and put it in the oven and waited for it to cook. Lo and Behold, when I pulled it out of the oven it was cooked but had sunk in the centre. What? How did this happen? Absolutely confident that I could remedy the situation, I mixed another batch and put it to cook. Once again the same thing happened…it cooked through but sunk. This time, I almost fell. My lil man saw my face and actually came to give me a hug to make me feel better. How could this be happening to me? I was sure I had followed the recipe to the letter and I was a seasoned baker! Over the next three days I re-tried the recipe again and the same thing happened and now I really had to stop and think.

As I worked through the process I asked a series of questions to find out what was missing:

  • Were the quantities right?
  • Was the process right?
  • Was the temperature right?
  • Where did I go wrong?

After some thinking and questioning, I finally found the answer. The problem was in the process. Let me explain. I had inexplicably used the milk and butter mix when it was too hot, didn’t cream the eggs and sugar enough and the oven was too hot. Simple things yes, but they totally changed the final outcome. The cake was cooked through and very tasty but it was not as appealing as it should have been. Once I revised the process and adjusted for the errors it worked out well. Then I realised what was wrong.

This made me think about my life and walk with God. There are daily challenges in life and my response to the instructions received from God determines my success in life. So I have to ask several questions:

  • I Am I walking as I should be?
  • Am I listening for direction and following exactly?
  • Am I in the place I need to be when I need to?
  • Are there subtle changes I have made in the process that are affecting the outcome of my life?

As you read this, can you relate to me on this issue? I am sure someone can. What do you need to assess and reconnect to that will change the course of your life?

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THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Wisdom


2 Chronicles 1:7-12

7 That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

8 Solomon answered God, “You have shown great kindness to David my father and have made me king in his place. 9 Now, LORD God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

11 God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honour, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honour, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

 

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Imagine with me that God would visit you one night and say to you the very same thing he said to Solomon….what would your true answer be? For many of us we would think of all the things we have desired and that are important to making us feel good. However, look at Solomon, he asked for what would help him take care of the task set before him…to lead the children of God. He was less concerned about his personal matter because I guess he understood that when he stepped into his role and did what was expected of him the rest would come. I hear the words of Matt 6:33…seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.”

 

Did he know that? Owing to the fact that he was the son of david I believe he knew keenly the place of God and how he would take care of the other things. I know that from sitting with his father and hearing the things God had done in his father’s lifetime there was hope and certainty in walking with God. It was a daunting task to lead the children of Israel. So he acknowledged that he did not have what it took to run this nation right so he sought divine intervention. We are told that he established himself firmly over the kingdom for the Lord his God was with him and made him exceedingly great.

 

So here is Solomon, freshly anointed, installed and established as the king and he does several very profound things:

  1. He assessed his situation – he took careful stock of what he had to handle on a day to day basis: a people numerous as the sand on the sea and they were the great people of God close to his heart with a great many matters to be resolved.
  2. He accepted his reality – he could not do it on his own even if he tried or wanted to. There would be cases to judge and justice to dispense and in his own strength he would not be impartial. He needed someone bigger than him to provide balance
  3. He respected the people – called them a great people of God. He knew without a doubt that these people where different from the other nations around and had to be handled differently. This was higher than him and intervention was needed to be able to be the kind of leader they needed.
  4. He asked for wisdom and knowledge –he tapped into the one person who knew these people and could provide the perfect solution. He was unashamed to seek assistance and support from someone higher than himself

This is such a profound request… 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

 

Where are you? What have you been called to do? Have you counted the cost and found it higher than you could do on your own? Remember that God is the one who establishes us and provides what we need to be the kind of people we need to be. God has called us to be of service to him and to be change makers in the nations. He provides all we need in the right proportions. Remember Daniel? Daniel 1:17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” God provided all that they needed. He protected Daniel when he was thrown into the lion’s den and when others reported him and wanted him dead. He was his shield and protector.

 

Remember that in the walk we are set on there will be things that will appear too big to overcome and to challenge. These are the moments that God desires for us to look back into His eyes and understand that He will make a path for us achieve His purpose. We must be like Daniel and Solomon who regularly and diligently sought God and His will and obeyed Him no matter what. And even when they had instances of failure like Solomon when he married so many women, God remembered His covenant with David and spared Solomon loss.

 

His covenant to us and will come through for us when we keep close to him and follow in His ways. We must live in obedience and commitment to Him and His word. He will provide the wisdom on how to tackle the situation and make ways where there seem to be no way. However, for all this to happen we must have connected with His plan and purpose for our lives and be committed to it regardless of how it looks to those around us. We must know His will for us and ensure we are steadfast to it.

 

He will provide the strength, wisdom and ability to achieve so just connect with Him in obedience and be consistent and He will do the rest. Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.

 

THE CHRISTIAN WALK

Impact as Designed


When I least expected it my view was changed. Last Friday a colleague and I went venue searching and we ended up in a venue in one of the local forests. The thing I really was left with was the need to conserve the environment. We met the GM there and he is looking to better the place and it was amazing. He had an interesting thought process.

 

First he believes in empowering the local people to do the work and then train them to improve productivity. Second, he doesn’t think anyone should sit in one place and get comfortable at their job. One should look for comfort in their lives as well as look for opportunities to improve themselves and move on. The intention here is to make room for others at the lower rungs in life. Isn’t that amazing?

 

Isn’t that a new thought? Isn’t that the way to build an organisation? Create a place that can bring people in and improve them then let them out and on their way? Concentrate on improving lives and the ability to make impact. We all want to get people and keep them and there is a place for that in the top levels for purposes of consistency however, how many of us ever create systems that can work without us and still be as efficient to the client as if we were there? Systems that will enable us to be effective and have the kind of impact God intend us to have.

 

The local reality is different. Usually as a business owner, I am the centre of my business and as long as I am alive, well and able to work it will flourish. What happens to the design of leaving a legacy and inheritance for my children? Prov 13:22 is very clear, “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children and his children’s children but a sinners wealth is stored up for the righteous.”  I will concentrate on the first part; “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children and his children’s children…” anything else is for another day. It is God’s intention that I leave a legacy for the next two generations but how can I do that if I am not even able to take care of the current generation?

 

That thought takes me back to my thoughts on work. I am building a firm with a mandate to create great impact and wealth. You see, there is so much that needs to be done in the expansion of the kingdom yet there isn’t enough money. Think of how many people are still hungry, how many missionaries are ineffective because they do not have the right funding, there are people without bibles, clothes, homes, education….there is so much need and there are not enough resources to go around. How about the lack of schools and the need to train more teachers? There is so much to do out there and I cannot sit here and be complacent.

 

I must rise up and do what God is telling me to do whether or not you agree with me. I must get to the place where His instructions are more important to me than my personal opinions. I must connect to His voice and understand that the plans He has for all of us are good and not for evil to give us a future and a hope. I cannot but follow my destiny and work to walk in His ways and make the kind of impact I need to make.

 

Recently a man of God said that many of us are not being exposed to our destiny and to people of higher impact because we are not ready and able to withstand the onslaught of challenges that come with that kind of exposure. So, if I am destined to be so great and create such greatness for the glory of God then why have been so low financially for so long? Why have I struggled? What lessons do I still have to learn? What is it that I am not yet ready for? One thing I know is that I am filled with a deep desire to just get to know God and understand Him and His purpose for my life. I am beginning to understand what Christ meant when He said, “Seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you.” Matt 6:33. Wow…the answer is in being in the place He desires me to be and in the line with His will all the while listening to His directions and walking in obedience.

 

Ok, so what does it take to be where we need to be in life? Obedience! When God says move we move. When HE says stay we stay. When He says wait we wait. I know that I am in the midst of something great and the only way I can latch on to it is to obey. I know I have written a lot about obedience in the last few months but it is a message that is refusing to let go of my heart and each time I put a hand to the keyboard it jumps out at me. This is the key I see for the way things will unfold to the honour and glory of the God the Father. I don’t know about you but at this time when all is said and done I want to be so sure of my calling, destiny and impact on this earth that it is worth aligning to the plans and focus of God.

 

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

PURPOSE


The last time I wrote I was talking about obedience and the impact it has. The more interesting one was the realisation that there is so much more that enhances obedience. Think of it this way, there has to be something that makes the demand for obedience worth the pursuit and allows you the time to keep everything on track. This is PURPOSE.

I am not talking about purpose in the usual sense it is used meaning the reason we are alive and the work we are called to do on this side of heaven. I am talking about purpose in the sense of taking a pre-determined position and sticking with it. This is even more interesting when we look at the place is stands out more in scripture.

We all know the story of Daniel and often we overlook the profound truths that lie in plain sight but we never truly see them. We all know the story…Nebuchadnezzar captured the nation of Israel and took them into captivity. He gave orders to have the young men of good looks and royal bearing be brought to him to be trained and fed well in preparation for his service. In the group was four Jewish young men namely Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. With Daniel in the lead they requested to be spared the goodies of the king’s table and given vegetables and water. This was because they had PURPOSED not to defile themselves with wine and food offered to other gods. They were tested and found to be superior in all ways to those who partook of the goodies. AMAZING……

There are many things to learn but I will only highlight the ones I found most profound.

They PURPOSED not to defile themselves. This was not a half-hearted easy decision to make. In the event they did not look better than the other young men the move could cost them and the head of the eunuch’s their lives. Yet despite all this they decided to do something different and nothing could dissuade them from the same. I said NOTHING could change their minds from the decision. They settled it in their hearts that this was a risk worth taking regardless of the consequences.

They REQUESTED to be excused. Even after deciding in their hearts they informed someone outside the circle who was unlikely to understand their stand. The head of the eunuch’s did not know better than to obey the orders of his mater. This coupled with the fact that there were such delicacies he could not wrap his mind around the fact that these young men did not want the goodies. The four men politely made their stand abundantly clear and were ready to stand up for what they believed.

The FOUND FAVOUR in the eyes of man. The head eunuch listened to them and considered his options. There was no natural reason for him to listen to the strange request from these four kids but he did and contemplated it and discussed scenarios with them…UNBELIEVABLE.

They were TESTED. The eunuch agreed to try this mad diet and see if they would actually survive and be what they believed they could be. Ten days…shorter than a diet to begin to take concrete effect and they had it all down and ready. They were more handsome, brighter, fatter and generally in better shape. They passed with distinctions and were then allowed to stay on their preferred diet.

They found FAVOUR with God. God honoured their faithfulness with knowledge, skill, wisdom, understanding and the gift of interpretation. He raised them to a place of prominence that would have been impossible to attain if they did not defer and focus on God and his will.

This got me thinking…if it was me in that scenario what would I do? I am wondering because God is working on me and pushing me to do things for him that I at times find ridiculous and not the way I want it to go. Then I am reminded of different things like:

It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith

Without faith it is impossible to please God

I cannot achieve great things for God if I am not willing to do radical things and hold onto His word over me and my life. Purpose in this sense then is brought to pass when we have a clear vision on what we are called to be and achieve in this life and make the rest of our days meaningful. What is it that I must purpose to do that I may never be cast out of the presence of Jehovah? The task or act we are called to will vary from person to person depending on our destiny. Each of us has a task to accomplish and so we must buckle down and figure out the best way forward.

In this season of my life…I have purposed to follow Jehovah with all that is in me despite the surrounding situation and the slow pace that things may unfold. I have learned that disobedience is born of an over-active self that will eventually lead me down the wrong path. I wonder what your need to purpose in your to do that your destiny may be released upon you. I have purposed to:

Have a consistent time with my father and king on a daily basis regardless on the circumstance.

Die to self daily moment by moment that I may hear the voice of the Lord clearly

What do you need to do to make the changes in your life… Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Stand firm and do not waiver even when everyone is changing course. I am reminded of the words of a song by Cece Winans…alabaster box. She says “…you weren’t there the night that Jesus found me; you did not feel what I felt when he wrapped his arm around me…you don’t know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box.”

I believe that when we focus totally on God and his will for us, the world will stop and take notice and make room for us.

What do you need to purpose to do with his call on your life?

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

OBEDIENCE:


These last few weeks I have been working through the whole lesson of obedience. There are things in my life that I have needed to do but have not had the guts to do yet despite the fact that I know there are far-reaching effects of not doing them. I know you know what I am talking about when I say that often it is harder to do the things we know we should do. Even Paul said “The things I want to do, I do not but those I do not want to do, I do.”

You see, for as long as I know what I need to do and do not do it I live in disobedience to my Lord. However, being as human as I am and working with what I have, leaves me often sorely incompetent to achieve the desired goal and fearful to no end. I struggle with doing things that will alienate me from people more because I don’t want to carry the weight of a broken or bruised relationship. How ironic, because doing nothing hurts me and leaves me unable to be the kind of person I need to be. Catch 22 huh?

As I have thought through things I have realised that the greatest motivator not to do anything is FEAR. When we need to put in a resignation letter fear of the next step makes us sit on it. When we need to leave a relationship that is not working fear of rejection and/or loneliness keeps us in it. When we need to start a business fear of failure keeps us in employment. When we need to take the next step in our walk with Jehovah and it is a strange one fear of the loss of control makes us do nothing.

I had to overcome the fear of following Jehovah recently by doing his bidding unconditionally. The thing I could not explain is that I was petrified. The strangest thing was the desperate fear that letting go would make me fall flat on my face. Ok, I know God loves me and wants the best for me but at this point I could not bring myself to do what I needed to do. After a lot of soul-searching I realised that I had lost my faith and trust in God’s ability to sort me out and was depending on myself for solutions. So I asked myself, when did I lose this ability to trust? What happened to me and where did it happen?

I believe it all started I begun working with my hands and I learnt to provide for my needs. Isn’t it ironic that I say I was providing yet I wasn’t the one providing but it was Jehovah and I had just lost perspective? In the scheme of things opportunities opened up and after a while I lost the conscious remembrance that it is He who creates options then I find and fill. The loss of faith and trust begun with a subtle move from the extraordinary to the ordinary of just being able to put food on the table and make ends meet. In all honesty these provisions did not make up for the loss of a light and airy heart yet it never occurred to me that I had shifted my focus hence the stagnation. I had forgotten the freedom found in being in the centre of the will of Jehovah.

So, what did I do? I got to a place where my life wasn’t working as it needed to and I could only nothing on my own any more. In view of this I spent time sitting back and chilling learning to slow down and listen to the world around me. I found stillness in the quiet place and after I had sat still for a couple of days I begun to hear the birds chirping, the crickets creaking, the children laughing in school and many other things. It is strange…no surreal; to be in a place all by myself and be so at peace and in tune with nature…I must admit I am still developing that part. In the middle of this I turned back to Jehovah and asked him to speak to me and show me the way. His answer was strange ever so strange. He said, “You are standing in the way of your own destiny…you know what I have been asking you to do. Do it and then come back.” Only a father can say that to a child and it was the reality for me.

What I needed to do was hard and heartrending but seeing that I had no other way out I did what he had asked me to do and it was amazing. I can say that everyday from then a new step has been revealed and I am back to a place I cannot remember being for a while now. I love this place and realise that my destiny and peace in my life is pegged on my ability to listen and obey. I cannot say it is easy to follow everyday but the benefits and peace that comes with it makes I worth it. I love Jehovah and will do all I can to stay close to him

Just today I was reminded that the only way to be all I am called to be I must make obedience a lifestyle. So often we talk about the lifestyle of worship and never of obedience. My life has changed and I am free.

Obedience has set me free…how about you?