Archive | October 2010

Winning…One Battle At A Time


“In weakness or trial or pain, there is a faith proved of more worth than gold so refine me Lord through the flames”   ~ The Desert Song, Hillsong

It never ceases to amaze me how easily swayed I am. How much I take things to heart and how easily discouraged I am. I can go to bed with all sorts of great plans in my mind that just never materialise when I wake up the following day. When I speak to my friends, they’re always supportive and always tell me not to be so hard on myself and to be patient and kind with myself. I often question the reasons behind these ‘daily failures’. As much as I question I think it has a lot to do with my disobedience and not doing what I have been instructed to do.

Two scriptures pop into my mind when I reflect on this issue. First comes Psalm 37:5 – Commit your way to the Lord, trust Him and He will act. This is followed closely by thoughts of Proverbs 3:5 – Trust the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. Over the past few months I have been working on trusting God and I got some encouragement from Joyce Meyer’s “Battlefield of the Mind” when she discusses in one of her chapters that we do not win battles all at once, God moves us forward through the battlefield one small battle at a time. So I can say through God’s grace I trust him a lot more than I did before I started my intimate walk with him. And wow has He shown me what happens when I trust Him over the past few weeks.

As a short aside, in ‘Send me to the nations’ I talked very briefly about how I had reached a stumbling block in my emigration process. This was one I could not just let be and hope it works itself out. I was faced with having to raise the equivalent of three months’ salary in guess how long? Three months! If there’s one thing I have learnt is that the world does not stop while I have problems. In that time one of my very close friends was going through a very stressful time financially. While I was contemplating how I could help her I remembered one of the sermons our pastor, Pastor Llewellyn Roberts, had preached about a few weeks ago. He preached about the spiritual blessings that flow from sowing into God’s kingdom. I remember him saying, “If we are to receive the wealth from His kingdom we need to be prepared to give to other members of the kingdom. We cannot make grand gestures to strangers when those closest to us are suffering and we stand by and watch.” So with the message of this sermon renewed in my heart and my own pain that came from seeing her struggle sorely fresh on my mind, I decided to give her some money out of what little savings I had. I was humbled by the completely unexpected results!

The following morning, I met with her and she told me that she had told her mom about what I had done for her. Her mom offered to donate her December bonus to help pay for a substantial portion of my relocation expenses. I was so shocked and moved by her generosity, had it not been for the fact that we were in public, I would have cried. That evening I received a call from someone in the office that I am relocating to. They were phoning to tell me that they would be personally paying for my plane tickets, my visa and would try help with whatever other initial costs I needed help with. And just like that, my financial crisis was over. Just like that, the Lord showed me that I could fully trust him and gave me my personal testimony on Matthew 6:33. Now I can also testify that God knows my needs and will give me what I need and more if I seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness. He gave me thirty-fold what I had originally given!

Now back to the first half of Psalm 37:5, the half that I still struggle with. Although on a whole I have learnt to commit my life to the Lord and I try as hard as I can to continuously assess my progress and to try bring myself back in line with His purpose where I feel I’ve deviated off the path, I still struggle to commit each individual day to Him. One of the lessons I’ve taken from reading Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” is that we are a living sacrifice and the problem with a living sacrifice is that it crawls off the altar and you need to drag it back and rededicate it again. Here’s where I think the source of my ‘daily failures’ lies; I do not pray in the morning! My mornings consist of me tossing and turning for an hour after my alarm goes off, rushing to leave at least thirty minutes late. Yep, I have given up the quest to leave home on time. Although I talk to God throughout the time from when I get up to when I eventually reach work, I do not explicitly pray and drag myself back to the altar and offer myself as a sacrifice afresh.

This brings me to the second half of Proverbs 3:5, far too often I lean on my own understanding. When faced with challenges, painful situations and roadblocks in my life, I automatically revert to my own understanding even though I am well aware how flawed my understanding is. All ant hills are mountains in my understanding! All opposition to my dreams are a personal attack on my character! Most importantly…all problems last for all eternity! It’s not hard to see then why I am so easily discouraged and why I am so sensitive to the actions of others.

Sadly this makes me realise that I am very far from being in the same league David, Moses, and Job to name but a few. I would also like to be known as, ‘God’s faithful servant’. To be faithful I need to be trusting all the time and not sometimes. To be faithful I need to have my feet firmly planted in the Word and not to be swayed by any circumstance. To be faithful I need to above all else be obedient! There is great benefit in being faithful. It is written in Proverbs 28:20, “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished”

Interestingly, I learnt in ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ that half obedience and delayed obedience are tantamount to disobedience. Ever thought that’s what you are doing when you obey some scriptures and not others? That you are being disobedient when you receive instruction from God to stop doing something and you say you will do so someday? The ruler of heaven and earth will not be mocked!

So I have crawled back to the altar and I have confessed my shortcomings before the Lord. Interestingly I feel lighter than I did when I started writing. I feel the kind of joy that only comes from being in His presence. I have moved one step forward on God’s chess board. Through His grace I have one less ‘daily failure’ today and for now that’s enough.

I pray that God will help you with your ‘daily failures’ and will grant you the strength to also overcome them, one battle and one win at a time.

Who Am I Fooling


“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”                     – Colossians 3: 23 -25(KJV)

Sometimes I wonder why I ever get out of bed and actually go through the trouble of getting ready for work. Is it really worth it to pitch up everyday and do no more than an hour or two of constructive work? I’m not proud of my behaviour because it goes against everything that the Bible instructs me to do. So day in, day out I act in defiance not just to my earthly masters but ultimately to the Lord of hosts! Does my defiance not bother me? Yes it does! Have my remorse made me stop? Not yet!

I seem to be bound in my defiance. I have allowed my mind to be enslaved in my thinking and in my behaviour by telling myself day in day out that I am justified. I dare anyone to try tell me that I am not justified. With complete arrogance I stand ready to say anyone who dares question me, “Put in my situation would you really act differently?” I make myself feel better everyday and make excuses for myself and my favourite one being, “I’m a baby Christian, God doesn’t expect me to be perfect all day every day. I falter and that’s ok.” Yes true God doesn’t expect me to be perfect but I think in all fairness He does expect me to at least try and to constantly work at it and to have him in mind at all times.

Whenever I think of Matthew 7:20 tears well up in my eyes because I think to myself, “How are my actions showing fruit of what I believe in? What am I teaching people, both Christians and non-Christians alike, about the God I serve? Are my actions those of God’s servant or am I now serving another master?” These are painful questions for me to even ask because I desire, with a huge part of me, to be a light for His kingdom. I do not want to be the ‘unprofitable servant’ in the ‘Parable of the Talents’ because his fate is Matthew 25: 30 is quite clear, “cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” I DO NOT WANT THAT TO BE ME!!!!

So I ask again, who am I fooling because I am certainly not fooling God! Like Psalm 139:2 says, “He knows my downsitting and He knows my thoughts afar of.” I can’t help but wonder if I can be as brave as David and ask God like he did verse 23 to, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Can I handle being reprimanded? Here again is where I say I am a baby Christian. I have a set way in responding to being reprimanded by God. I sulk! Like a  four-year old, I sulk! I refuse to pray, I refuse to talk to God and I sulk! Quite a few times I can feel God looking at me and laughing and saying, “Go ahead my child, but my answer is still no! I have had so many, “Yes but Father…” arguments with God. Needless to say they never end with God caving in for which I am truly grateful. I love the Lord, with all my heart and I am dearly grateful that I know He is with me eve when I do not want him to see what I get up to but He sees ALL OF IT!

So back to my original question, who am I fooling? When will I lose myself from the resentment and bitterness that binds me? When will I return to be God’s, “good and faithful servant”? Please pray for me because I think this is a battle that I am not going to win on my own.

Someday I will


The hardest part of any pain is actually being in the depth of it and not feeling like it will ever get better. I have spent over 30 hours of this weekend sleeping just so I don’t have to think of you. I don’t hate you, really I don’t…I’m just not as over you as I would like to be.

They say God never wastes a hurt, that all your pain is preparing you for your purpose in life. Someday, one day I will come to appreciate this but that day is just not today. Today I just want to cry when I think of you. Today I just want to know why you’ve left my world without so much as a goodbye. Today I would like to know why God thinks it’s fair for me to go through such heartbreak twice in two years. First the one I’d loved for six years walks out on our relationship because he was “tired and just doesn’t want to be in the relationship anymore.” Now you here you are, gone…without a trace.

Was I wrong to love you in the first place? Is this my punishment for turning a friendship into a romantic relationship? Somehow I feel that I was disobedient. Somehow I feel that God had not wanted me to be with you at that point in time. If this is the case then why then did it feel so right? Why then is every moment I’ve spent with you etched in my heart and painted vividly with yellows, oranges, pinks and some bright blues? Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a season and time for every matter under the sun.” Was it just never the time for us? Ironic though how you were the one that once quoted this scripture to me. Why did you not add, “oh honey, this scripture applies to us too.”

I have so many questions I want to ask you. Not least of all being, why did you turn what was a beautiful friendship into a relationship knowing that you would not take care of me like you did as my friend? Was it just greed on your part? Was it that you just couldn’t bear the thought of someone else loving me? You knew the kind of pain that I had recently gone through and you said it yourself that you had never wanted to hurt me. Why did you then?

I will not be melodramatic and say that  I will never love another the way I have loved you because that would probably be a lie. I will not tear a page from a story book and say I have never loved another as much as I love you because guess what? I have loved so many others and I continue to love others each and every day. I guess that’s the beauty of a human heart, even when it feels like it is so weary that it will just never function the same again, it just surprises you because it just keeps pumping blood and supplying life to your whole body and as much as you are an unwilling participant, you find yourself doing exactly what you swore you’d never do again….loving another.

While for me the other is by no means another man, I love so many things even as I profess deep heartache. I love my friends, I love my siblings, I love the God who created me. I love Him because like Psalm 139:16 says, ” Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book all my days were recorded, even those which were purposed before they had come into being.” How wonderful is that knowledge that even before I had left my mother’s womb, the Lord knew the kind of pain that I would be in on this very day…25 years 8 months after my birth. Should He have stopped it? The immature Christian in me, shouts YES before I can even finish typing the question. Let me be real for one moment, I got myself into this situation! I was the one seeking a relationship, I am hurting today because of the very choices I made.

I cannot go a single day thinking of you. As cruel as it may sound I wish I had never met you. Though yes that would deprive me of the life’s lesson’s I was supposed to have learnt through my encounter with you, still in my defiance I say, “I wish I had never met you!” Let’s reverse time to that fateful Saturday morning when I was sitting in a lecture and I turned around and there you were walking into the back of the room wearing your rugby jersey and blue jeans. Then we would have no need to erase all the encounters that followed, all of which I could recall on request. If there was any justice in this world, I would be able to erase the day you officially stepped into my life as my boyfriend. Blot it out of existence! I think that is the only way I could feel like my heart could resume its normal pace.

After all’s been said and done, I love you. I don’t understand why but I just do. I wish I could say I didn’t but then what would be the point in lying? Because of this overwhelming pain I feel I am incapable of reaching any point where I feel happy. I take my antidepressants like I’m supposed to and even that doesn’t help keep me out of this pit of despair that I am in. Sure I smile on que when I am around people. Yes I crack jokes. On a good day you might just find me actually putting in a good couple of hours of work. But does that change the fact that sometimes it hurts so bad I feel physical pain in my chest? Does it change the fact that every time my phone makes a sound I still wish it was you? No it doesn’t! As pathetic as it is…I love you and I won’t stop loving you today but someday I will!

Send Me To The Nations


It’s so easy to sing&pray, “send me to the nations, lead me along Your path Lord, let Your will be done” up until God does send us and we either don’t like the path, the time or the circumstances we’re sent under. Should the song not go somewhere along the lines of, “Here I am Lord, send me to the nations, I’ll go for you provided you’re willing to wait for me while I do what I want to do. Oh yes Lord I’ll go to the north and south for You just give me all the cash and resources I need. If it’s not too much to ask can I also please choose where You send me? While I’m still choosing, can I choose what Your purpose for my life is?” Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it but all too often that’s what we think and don’t want to utter it.
 
A few months ago I was presented with an opportunity to emigrate but still stay with the company I work for. I wasn’t keen because I had other plans. Nonetheless I prayed hard about it and finally left it it in God’s hands. I said, “God, if this is Your will for my life then I have no doubt that if this is Your will for my life then You will make it happen.” So in faith I put forward my application. Within a few weeks I received an email asking me to do my 1st video conference interview. As nervous as I was I apparently impressed the person who was interviewing me because they told me right there and then that I’d qualified for a 2nd interview with someone higher up. I thought,”Wow! God is at work here. So many people in this country more experienced than I am and they want me?”Second interview went off without a glitch and before long email came thru offering me the position. And that was the end of the happiness!!! Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong! There wr problems with my passport, problems with my current bosses, then my new employers couldn’t issue me a visa the list just goes on. All these problems ended in a 3month delay which naturally I didn’t budget for. I carried on making preparations, I cancelled my medical aid, I moved out of my flat, I basically put a hold to my present life.

True to form, what happens within 10days of my medical aid lapsing? I get sick! What’s the worst of it is my employment contract has finally arrived after over 2months of waiting and one word sums up my response…DISAPPOINTED!!! Firstly I’l be getting paid less than what I’d be paid if I stayed. Secondly I’m expected to pay my own relocation costs and claim them from my new employer the month after I arrive. That wouldn’t be a problem if I came from a rich a family or if said relocation costs weren’t exactly 3months salary. True to God’s humor, there’s 3months left before I’m due to leave. So I guess if I don’t touch my salary for the next 3months, I sleep@the office,use no toiletries except the free soap in the ladies bathroom, drink the free coffee I shud be fine! So shud I have acted in disobedience? Do I pull out now that the odds are stacked up against me? Do I really want to be sent to do His work under these circumstances. Though I’l be honest, I’m not sure right now but my answer is leaning towards…YES!