Tag Archive | Hope

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).

Advertisements

Lessons from the desert Part 1


For at least the past week I have had a blog all written in my head but for some reason just could not bring myself to let my fingers meet the keyboard. It seems I have developed a fear of writing, some writers’ block. Before it consumes me whole and destroys any confidence I have left, I think it’s time to nip it in the bud so…..“Dear brain, in case you were starting to doubt this, I am in control and not you!”

In 35 days, God willing, I will be making my way back to my family and friends whom I miss dearly. Most importantly back to the me that I used to be. It sounds odd to say this because we all want to grow and develop, we never want to regress and yet here I am wanting nothing more than to be the old me. I can feel the heat on the side of my face from God’s stare as I type that but truth be told, I would rather go back to who I was this time last year and forget the past year ever happened. It would be easier. Less heartbreaking. Less painful.

Leaving home last year I was filled with childlike excitement at the prospect of a brand new adventure. I was about to embark on a journey I did not even dream possible right up until the day it was confirmed. I had hope in abundance and faith that this was meant to be. Like anyone granted the chance of a lifetime, I had high aspirations of all I would do and achieve and the kind of person I would return as in a few years time. Coming here, my goals and aspirations were clearly defined. I was here realise my life-long dream of travelling around Europe, I was here to advance my career, make new friends and maybe even meet the love of my life. Of bigger significance I was here to earn enough so I can clear off my debts and also help my family to get out of debt and finally start a comfortable, successful life. Above all else, I was to grow in my walk with God and learn more about the woman He wanted me to be. One by one each dream went to that dark desolate place where dreams go to die and just so I can look back and remember how it all went down, here they are:

1. Holidaying in Europe. I was going to see at the very least Paris, Venice, Rome, Milan and Madrid. Sad thing is I actually came very close to realising this dream. I had the trip booked, paid the deposit, had the two weeks leave that I would need booked and all I had to do was pay the balance. It broke my heart when I had to cancel because of competing financial demands and a part of me will remain sad that I never got a chance to do this.

2. Financial freedom. I was going to claw myself out of the pit of debt I’d been stuck in for the past few years. Well that dream quickly went out the window when I realised just how expensive it was to live in this country. Add to that having to send money home to help my family, now almost a year later I have sunk even deeper. Getting to a point where I wonder if this is what I was destined for? Will I have come out of it? In trying to do right by my family and to prove to my grandmother, aunt and mother that I’m not the selfish, self-centered brat that they seemed to think I was when I moved out from home to establish my independence, I was the one left stranded.

My dreams of financial freedom seem so far out of reach I doubt I will be reaching them anytime soon. I look at my peers and I’m filled with deep jealousy because I too want to be able to buy a car, buy a house and live comfortably and not have to worry how I’ll get through the month.

3. Career progression. Coming to UK was going to be a chance to jump start my career, I would come back having at least progressed one level. That dream was blown to smitherines pretty much in January! I do not know why things played out the way they did, all I know to this day it hurts more than I can even put into words. I came here confident in my abilities, I was certain I had the skills, the attitude, the strength and the stamina to make it here. All that confidence is now gone and I am left feeling exposed and vulnerable. So much so that I am scared of any job that comes after this.

I probably cried in my first three months here more than I’ve done in any given year in my life. By the time March came around, I was seriously considering resigning, packing up my things and returning home. Looking back I probably should have, I would have done far less damage to my emotional and mental stability!

It really hasn’t helped that I have struggled for nearly four months to find a job at home. Something that came as a complete shocker because so many people had so knowingly told me what a wonderful opportunity this was and that it would boost my CV and make me stand out from my peers. It hasn’t quite worked out that way for me and I can’t help but feel I jeopardised my career and set myself back.

I have come to accept that this year has set me back and I will now have to work that much harder(on myself) to ensure the effects are not permanent and I do not create self-fulfilling prophecies. How I will do this, I do not know!

4. Love. When I left Durban I was determined to leave the heartache and pain of past relationships and use this as my fresh start and hopefully meet someone new who would love me and teach me to love past the hurt and the pain. Sadly I guess tis was never in the cards for me. At first I thought I would leave it to fate and see what it brought my way and then when that strategy did not work decided it was time to “put myself out there”. I registered on a couple of internet dating sites, started going out more and nothing yielded any results. Months ago I started to resign myself to the fact that maybe I am just one of those people that were meant to die alone! Yet, that quiet romantic in me refuses to believe that God can ever be that cruel.

5. Friendship. I had often heard of all the wonderful, life-long friends people make when travelling or living abroad. As my time here winds down, I need to probably admit that I will not be telling such stories to anyone. Not for the lack of trying! I arrived open to meeting new people and expanding my friendship circle. Much to my dismay the only things that this venture has yielded are many tearful nights from sheer frustration and loneliness, months of feeling undesirable and just completely useless. It’s one thing not to be wanted by the opposite sex, but when women do not want your companionship it compounds you become convinced that there’s something wrong with you!

6. Realising God’s plan for my life. I still remember the day I wrote Send Me To The Nations. Everything that could have gone wrong with my move here, seemed to have already happened. Yet amidst all that I had the quite confidence and the peace that I was walking the path God had wanted me to walk. This year was the year my relationship with Him would grow exponentially. This was the year I’d be drawn closer to Him and we’d do wonderful things together. When I wrote Just God and I in January, I was starting to believe that maybe all the things that had started going wrong and all the longing I had in my heart was all to reinforce that He was merely drawing me closer. I was still on the right path. I don’t know when I wandered off that path but months it’s been feeling I have been stumbling through a wilderness where God refuses to show His face. I went through months not wanting to pray let alone open a Bible. I was lost, wondering around aimlessly and no matter how much and how long I cried for help, He just did not want to show Himself to me.

I probably could have dealt with each of the above “failures” if I had been hit with them individually. Together they have come very close to consuming me and burying me alive. I probably could have dealt with the first five if I had felt the presence of God, His companionship and His comforting embrace through it all. Through all of this it feels as if I’m the only person excluded from the protective cover of scriptures like Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7 and Psalm 37:5. No matter how much I try cast my burdens to Him it seems He has turned His face away and closed His ears to my cries and has left me stranded in the middle of a desert with nowhere to turn and noone to turn to.

For My Own Good


“…We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God knew His people in advance and He chose them to become like his Son.”  ~ Romans 8: 28 -29

This has been my home since my arrival on this earth. These have been my people, we have challenged each other, shared some difficult times and in the end celebrated together. I have known no other home except for this one. Yet, a warm smile crosses my face as I think of the path I will take when I pick up my suitcase, hug my family and friends goodbye and head off to start a whole new chapter in my life.  I am not afraid, I am not anxious because I know the Lord has prepared me well. He has been preparing me for this since before I could even speak and even more so in the past few months. He has really taught me who He is in my life and what He can accomplish within me if I just let him. Even though in my plan I was supposed to have left over a month ago, I now understand why things had to be the way they are.

 I can still remember the night I was in tears, hysterical and angry with the world and most of all God when I had discovered that my plan had crumbled.  I was so angry with Him and I remember how I had laid my case before Him and asked Him how he thought this was all fair. How was it fair that the one time I had decided to be completely obedient and step outside of my comfort zone and accept a job in a whole new country, giving up everything that had mattered to me, He then decided I should not leave? I thought it was completely cruel of Him to build up this longing in my heart and leave it completely unquenched. I felt like He had put on a huge production and invited all my enemies to come be witnesses to my downfall. Oh I was so angry with Him! When I was not shouting at Him, I was giving Him the silent treatment. I was convinced that nothing good was going to come out of this. Absolutely nothing! I was even more convinced that I would never last the extra three months that I was now supposed to sit with shattered dreams and hopes and in the midst of what I saw as a completely disintegrated world.

That night as I relayed the story to one of my close friends, she listened very patiently to the barely coherent banter that I spewed out in between the sobs. When I was finally quiet she began to lovingly explain to me that God probably kept me here because He was not done with me yet. There were still things I needed to learn, people I needed to learn from and there were lives that I needed to touch. At the time, as much as I was hearing her I don’t think I was listening at all. My mind was barricaded tighter than the barricades that protect presidents! One thing that I have learned about myself is that I cannot be comforted when I do not want to be. I am not afraid to say that I am the most stubborn person I know. I have however accepted that there is a very good reason that God made me that way. God is a strategist and I do not believe that He left anything to chance when He created me and planned out my life. He knew very well how He would teach me what I needed to learn given my stubborn nature and wow what an excellent teacher He is.

I have learned things in the past five weeks of my ‘detention’ that I doubt I would have otherwise learned or even if I ever did I doubt I would have learned them as fast. My head is filled with so many scriptures and as much as I often cannot recite them word for word or even quote their exact location, I know that they are there. I have realised however that for them to become truly engraved in my heart I need to have a personal circumstance or memory as a subtext. I unfortunately do not have blind faith, that is the ability to just believe simply because it is so. I learn by experiencing and not simply by hearing from someone else’s account and knowing this about me God had a very specific lesson plan for me, one that I know is far from over.

I am not a model child, in fact I am far from it. Far too many times I think I drive myself crazy trying to be. Nothing is however more comforting than discovering that despite your flaws, be it physical, spiritual or mental flaws, God knows and knew about them all long before they ever surfaced. It is so wonderful knowing that He loves you through it all and knows exactly how to work everything for your own good. I must admit that Romans 8:28 is one of my favourite scriptures in the Bible but it was not until I had to sit in detention that I truly grasped what it means. I feel like God has made me sit here for five weeks and write it out over and over again so that it truly sunk in. 

Romans 8:29 has a newfound space in my heart which overflows with warmth when I think of its message. He knew ME, God did not just vaguely know of me but out of the billions of people who walk this earth, He knew me personally. Not only does He know me, but He chose me. Quite frankly if I were choosing people to be on my team, sometimes I do not think I would choose myself. Knowing me and knowing everything He knows about me, He still chose me.  What I find so incredibly awesome is that He chose me for a very special purpose, I am to become like Christ and for me to start realising this purpose, I had to sit in detention, all nine weeks of it.

My friend’s words have turned out into a prophecy, one that I am watching play out bit my bit. Isaiah 64:8 describes God as being the potter, and we the clay that is formed by His hand. I now understand that five weeks ago I was still a lump of clay that could not be released into the world. He has lovingly molded me, even though I know I am not a finished product yet, I know that I have a better hope of succeeding in finding my purpose and living according to that purpose than I did a few weeks ago. I can finally see the light again. I can finally feel that all of this really was for my own good.  This has been my destiny. I was chosen by the potter, as much as I have kicked and screamed, His plan for my life has remained the same. He has molded me and refined my shape through flames. In as much as I hated those very flames and thought I would surely die from the pain, I have not and for that I feel truly grateful and blessed.