Tag Archive | Fresh Start

Defeated Foe


“He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross…You have died with Christ, and He has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world.” ~ Colossians 2: 14 – 15,20

There comes a time in a every believer’s life where they stop for a minute, realise they have been taken for a joyride and then unleash their full fury on the enemy for trying to blind side them with meaningless lies. For me that time is today, right now! I am mad because he almost got away with it. I almost let him get away with it. I almost let him get away with my joy, my hope for the future and God’s promises for my life.

I am not writing to glorify his works in my life but rather how God has unveiled them to me and how the Lord has made me victorious just by uncovering them because as I recently read in Leighann McCoy’s “Spiritual Warfare for Women”, you cannot be deceived by someone if you know you are being deceived! In the times that I have been cheated on, what has hurt more than feeling like I was inadequate next to the woman with whom my boyfriend had cheated, was feeling duped. It was feeling stupid enough to have fallen for the lies and therefore to have wasted precious time on someone who did not even deserve it. In the same way, I am angry with myself for having listened to all the accusations, lies and torments that have been brought up against me. The energy I exerted being upset was time that should have been used furthering my Father’s kingdom and bringing glory to His name. Why was I targeted for the enemy’s attack? Why did I walk straight into the enemy’s trap? The answers are simple! I was, I am and will forever be a target because I have renounced sin, the ways of the world and have chosen to follow Christ. I walked straight into the lies simply because I took my eyes off the cross!

I was close to tears this afternoon as I listened to all the charges that were being brought up against me. This year and particularly this month I had made so many plans, I had so much I wanted to accomplish and I was finally making preparations to start rebuilding my life and walking in boldness into the next phase of my spiritual walk. I listened as I was reminded how I had fallen short in the tasks assigned to me, how I was inferior to my peers at work, how my bosses and clients probably thought I was an idiot. I listened as every goal I had made this month was called out and with excruciating emphasis, I was reminded that I had not achieved a single one. Secret fears were brought to the surface, sore points were jabbed at, basically in a space of one short afternoon I was reminded of all my shortcomings that made me unworthy of God’s grace. The devil was basically saying to me, “you have sunk so low, have messed up so much you might as well curl up and die!”

Minutes short of the torrential downpour that was threatening to erupt and flood my face, I heard a still quiet voice say to me, “I threw those sins into the sea of forgetfulness a long time ago. Does the Word not say that My mercies are anew every morning?” As I quickly realised that I had been duped not just this afternoon but for weeks now, that’s when the fury set in. Here’s what I realised this afternoon: satan is a sore loser!

Looking back on the past few weeks, the victories I can recall are fewer than the accusations brought against me. I ask for the Lord’s forgiveness in this because I know that there victories I am not even acknowledging on my list. I praise God though for each and every one of them. I have satan and his minions all worked up, roaming to and fro trying to confuse, stress and overwhelm me over a few decisions and over few victories, some that I did not even stop to think about and realise that they were victories.

When charges were being brought up against me, no spirit ever mentioned that I was being persecuted because for the first time in my life my primary goal is to live my life in obedience to the Word. I performed one of the biggest spring cleaning exercises on my life that I have done to date earlier this year. I let go of friends I knew were not helping me grow in my walk with God, I gave up social habits that provided only momentary entertainment with no spiritual fulfilment and I decided to give my life completely and unreservedly to Christ. I have basically reached a point in my relationship with God where there is no turning back! Praise God because a few months on I am still living in obedience and have not gone back to any of the things I renounced at the beginning of the year.

It is funny how many mercies and victories we discount as being small and yet we can accumulate shortcomings and shortfalls. Two weeks ago I slammed a car door on my thumb with such force that all who were watching were shocked when I did not cry or even scream in pain. I couldn’t help but stop typing, look at my thumb, flex it a little and smile because there is absolutely nothing wrong and there has never been anything wrong with it since the time the door was opened in order to release it. There was never any pain, swelling or even redness. Sadly, that miracle is all but forgotten. About a month ago I prayed a prayer that I did not understand at the time, that I nearly did not pray because I was exhausted and sleepy but I prayed nonetheless and then fell asleep. Less than ten minutes later when my brother woke me up to tell me how he had just escaped an attempted mugging at gunpoint, I realised it was that very prayer that saved his life. Without me even knowing it, the Holy Spirit moved me to intercede for him and pray for his safety. Sadly, that miracle too is all but forgotten! If only I could forget all my failures that easily!

How much more joyful I would be if I would turn away from the pain, frustration and shame of not having a car and focus on the fact that not once have I ever been stranded anywhere without any means of getting home. My heart would be filled with more gratitude if I would shift the focus away from the pangs of longing that I feel every time I am reminded that I am still alone, I am without what I desire most for my life, and focus on the work I can accomplish in and for the kingdom of God as 1 Corinthians 7:34 advises. If only I would divert my attention away from what I don’t have, what I have not accomplished and what I am missing then I would realise the truth that all these are simply momentary afflictions and like Romans 8:18 says, “what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.” Sadly I, like many believers listen to the lie that our troubles are unique only to us, that we are suffering because God does not love us or care for us and that the pain we are in will surely kill us.

I could write for days on all the things the devil has tried and succeeded in stealing from me. I could tell of all the lies that he has told, the pain he has put me through. Nothing that I write will change this one solid truth: HE WAS AND REMAINS DEFEATED! Why does he bother putting up such a huge fight? Because he is a sore loser! I would be fighting a mindless battle if I even tried to defeat him because I need only look at the Word to remember that he was defeated a long time ago! He was kicked out of heaven so fast, he fell like lightning(Luke 10:18) and was disarmed and shamed publicly by the Son’s victory on the cross(Colossians 2:15).

Tonight I rest in the confident knowledge that God “cancelled the record of all the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” So today he gave it his best shot, he even had me fooled for a moment but because of what Jesus so lovingly and selflessly did for me on the cross, I am victorious. Tomorrow I will wake up ready to fight the good fight because I know I didn’t exhaust God’s mercy fighting today’s battles but that instead it begins afresh every morning(Lamentations 3:23).

Unpaid Dues


Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~ 2 Corinthians 4: 16 – 18

For the past few weeks I have been struggling to write, I have worked on two posts and abandoned them halfway because they just didn’t feel right or I just didn’t know what to say anymore. I have spent more time reflecting on my life these past two months than I have possibly in my entire life and it all boils down to me asking God, “Have I not paid my dues yet? I thought Edinburgh was about me getting a well deserved fresh start, one that is debt free?” For weeks I have gone back and forth with differing versions of these questions and I have not found a satisfactory answer. Well, until now that is.

I came to Edinburgh eager to learn, eager to gain valuable experience that would catapult my career when I eventually returned home. My stay here was supposed to be about building my relationship with God, serving Him and furthering His kingdom. Edinburgh was supposed to be the city where I finally found my happiness, where I was settled in my career, love life and finances. I didn’t care that I was forgoing a third of the salary I was worth at home. I didn’t care that I was giving up the title that I had earned after paying my dues through my five years of university, three years of training and two qualifying board exams to my name. I’d paid my dues and was ready for the next level. I’d worked hard to get to that point in my life and went through so much, had my decisions questioned by friends, colleagues and sadly family. Scotland was supposed to be the answer to my prayers, I was on the verge of my breakthrough. Life was about to get a whole lot better, easier and happier. So I thought.

It’s been three months, seven days and nine hours since I left the comfort of South African soil. It will be a month and ten days till I set foot on that soil again. I wonder though, do I have the strength and heart to get back on a plane and leave my home and come back here? Can I move on from the three months and particularly the last two? Will I able to see past the pain, the frustration, the self-doubt and the heartbreak that I have felt in the past two months? To be honest the answer to that question, which I ask myself more than twenty times in any given day, is probably not. Undoubtedly this  could be the answer to the question why I haven’t booked my flights home. Put simply, I still do not know with unwavering certainty whether I am buying a return or a one way ticket.

So what’s changed while I have been here? What is driving me away from the beauty of Edinburgh, with its picture-perfect old buildings, cobblestone streets, breathtaking views of the castle and city’s travel connectivity to Europe? It isn’t the strangeness of celebrating my birthday in the dead of winter when twenty-five of my past birthdays were in the glorious summer sun. It isn’t the bitter cold that had me wearing thermals, at least three layers of clothes, a scarf, thermal gloves and ear-muffs when I first arrived because in about a month that had been stripped down to just three layers when outside and two for indoors. It hasn’t been the loneliness and pain of being away from my family and my closest friends because firstly, I lived 1300km away from my family for five years and secondly thanks to BBM, Facebook, Skype and other technology, I speak to my at least two of my closest family members and friends every single day.  What has broken my spirit is this feeling that I am not supposed to be going through what I’m going through because I have already paid my dues.

Plans I made, expectations I had and visions of my life here, couldn’t be further from what I am experiencing now.  My heart really cannot understand why God, in all His mercy and love, would demand that I continue to pay a debt that I think I settled a long time ago. Surely after two major heart breaks and investing eight years in relationships that left me in devastation, I had earned more than the deafening silence that I come home to and the anguish of loneliness and longing for a companion? Surely with a total of eight years of training I had earned the right to not be made to feel like I don’t know what I am doing and not to be treated in a manner reminiscent of my second year of articles? It would certainly bother me less if I’d been put back a year, but two? Really? Does being part of one of approximately 26 000 professionals in South Africa with my title really buy me the ridiculous hours, the numerous nights crying out of sheer frustration of what I still needed to get through? Seeing as how hard I work for my money, how hard I worked in school and university so that I can get the scholarship to see me through university so that I can study and pass and become the professional I am today, do I now owe a debt to everyone else around me? Is it not enough that I am still paying off my debts incurred when I was still earning barely enough to get by? When will God look at me and say that I have paid my dues, I have endured enough it is time to lighten the load? I do not even ask that it be removed completely. I just ask for it to be a little lighter.

Today as I was entered my flat, it finally hit me….you can never say you have fully paid your dues and have earned the right to not go through a particular problem. Suffering in whatever way or form is part of the human experience and I don’t think it will end while we are on this earth. I am always in awe when I think of what Jesus was going through the last few hours before the crucifixion. What greater pain can there be than knowing you are about to die, a very painful and humiliating death? I cannot even start to comprehend what it must have taken for Him to finally say in Matthew 26:38, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death…” What I find completely humbling and very admirable is that minutes later in Matthew 26:39 He says to God, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” In as much as Jesus had the authority and ability to not go through the crucifixion and to be raised to heaven to be with His Father, He submitted Himself to His Father’s will and endured through and paid the ultimate debt for all of us.

I often have to remind myself that the Bible is not a multiple choice book, where you can pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe and more importantly what to obey and what not to obey.  Therefore I need to obey 2 Corinthians 4:17 and realise that not only are my problems light and momentary but they are doing the very important job of “achieving eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” I have often said in my posts that I would love to be like the two servants in the Parable of Talents in Matthew 25: 14-28 who pleased their master and used what they had been entrusted with wisely. To one day go home and have God say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness” would be the ultimate eternal glory.

I now realise that I am very far from paying my dues and that I need to submit to God’s will as painful, hard and confusing as it might be at times. I never made the decision to come here alone. I consulted heavily with God and in my heart, when I wade past the confusion and frustration I still know that I am where He wants me to be. For that reason, though my vision may be blurred by tears and my heart riddled with many confusing emotions, I am going to focus my gaze on Him and being His good and faithful servant. That is a debt that is due, not to Him but to myself and will remain unpaid till the day I appear before Him to give an account of my life.