Tag Archive | obedience

Molded By His Discipline


“Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.” ~ Deuteronomy 8: 2 – 5

I have never hidden the fact that I am naturally very disobedient. It is not that I am proud of this trait because I am not. I admit my short-coming and confess it out loud because I want to acknowledge that there is a need in my life, a part of me that I am trusting God to heal, to perfect and at His appointed time to make whole. I am trusting the Potter to take the lump of clay that I am, and mold me into something beautiful and unrecognisable even to myself. While I am not a finished product, I will admit how remarkable it is to witness my own transformation, even in the past two months alone. I am beginning to see a new me and this process is blessing me with a personal testimony on Ephesians 4: 22 – 24.

I have been on one of the greatest adventures of my life in the time I have been back home, perhaps even greater than the time I spent abroad. God has brought me such clarity about the things He wants for me, the person He wants me to grow into and the company I need to keep for those things to come into fruition. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean everything in my life makes sense all of a sudden and that I’m now living a doubt-free, carefree life because I’m not!

Like Kirk Franklin says in Blessing in the Storm, “some of you would never pray if you didn’t go through something.” Lord knows I probably would have stopped seeking Him if He’d given me all the answers I need all in one go. What’s been wonderful though is just feeling the bond between God and I growing with every “ok I hear you Lord but what do You want me to do with this knowledge” and with every “no I don’t understand why it must be so, please help me understand.”

I’ll admit that in my walk with God I have thrown a lot of tantrums along the way and sometimes plonked myself ceremoniously on the side of the road and refused to carry on until He caved into my demands. Temper tantrums, screaming sessions, spells of defiance, passive aggressive pouts name it and I’ve done it. What did I get from God as a result of these? Absolutely nothing! He has sat and ignored me, as any good parent would and refused to give into my terrorist ways. I do not think anyone likes discipline, I know I don’t but as Proverbs 3: 11 – 12 says: “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” God knew my heart and He knew I needed to be go through a period of rebuke for me to learn some truths, not only about Him but about myself as well. As painful as it was for me to learn this lesson, I now understand how a lot of what I went through, particularly in the past year, was God’s way of disciplining me.

I spent the most of 2011 living in a spiritual wilderness, somewhere I would not have gone voluntarily had I been told that’s what it would be. For months I stumbled around, convinced He had forsaken me until I eventually realised that I was the one that had turned my back on Him. My heart physically hurt every time I thought of Psalm 42:4 because I, like the psalmist, could “Remember as I pour out my soul, how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.” And boy was I mad! I felt so betrayed by God! How could He yank me out of my comfort zone and out of a place where I was so comfortable with His presence and protection only for Him to go dump me all the way across the globe? Why was I now being excluded from the protection of Psalm 91? And what of Romans 8: 38 – 39, why was I the only one that it did not apply to? What would become of the promise He made to me with Jeremiah 29:11? Was my destiny for Him to set the table before my enemies just so they can witness my demise? I praise God though because through all my moments of insanity, through my disobedience and through my period of shunning the Word, I still desired nothing more than to return to His presence. In my heart I still knew that if I just dragged myself back to the altar and lay myself there, He would pick me up battered and broken as I was and make me whole once more.

The road back to my rightful place at my Father’s side has been anything but easy but I am grateful for the journey I have travelled. I remember the peace and joy I felt the moment I walked into church. This was it…this was what I had been yearning for…I was finally home! First few services were an emotional time for me and all I could really do was cry which was a huge deal for me because I’m not much of a crier and especially not a public one. He has done great things in my life, revealed great plans to me and none of this would have been possible without first appreciating Deuteronomy 8:3. I had to be humbled enough to know that I couldn’t live on my own, I couldn’t survive without Him and without His Word.

We all know the story of Job and we pray that after God has put us through some form of suffering that He will not only restore what we had but that He will also bless us far more than before. Part of the reason I was mad at Him for taking me away from His presence was because before I had left He had blessed me with the a direct line of communication with Him through the Bible. I knew that if I asked Him a question or needed guidance on a particular matter, if I opened a Bible the scripture I first lay my eyes on would be His response to me. In my time in my spiritual desert I longed for this more than anything. I eventually gave up on reading the Bible because it seemed every scripture I flipped through was irrelevant. Looking back now I realise that I needed this so I could be blessed with greater spiritual blessings.

I needed time away so that I would be able to recognise His voice when He talks to me. He has shown me what He has destined for me and what a beautiful future this is. None of this would have been possible without Him killing off parts of the old me, breaking down all that was hindering me and showing me what the new me is going to be like and then leading me step by step towards that goal. I wear the scars of the fire and cast of His disclipline with pride because I know, not only am I divinely favoured and loved, but I am being transformed into a better creation.

Unworthy Entanglements


“I would do anything for you, I would go through all this pain, take a bullet straight to my brain. Yes I would die for you, but you won’t do the same!”  ~  Grenade by Bruno Mars

I fell in love with this song almost instantly. From the moment I heard the first verse I knew it was going to be one of my favourite songs. Quite like everything I have professed to love, in a matter of days I had worked myself up into a frenzy and my love had morphed into obsession. It became the subject of almost all my status updates on both Facebook and Blackberry messenger, it was playing on my mind all day everyday. I’ve come to realise that there’s a pattern in how I love…I’m an obsessive, compulsive lover!

Being single is, without any doubt, a sad and lonely time and it chips away at your self-esteem one piece at a time. As much as you know you have  friends and family that love you, you still feel like you’re undesirable and unloveable. This feeling is especially heightened when it seems like everywhere you go you’re bombarded  with couples including events and activities exclusively for them that are designed to specifically alienate you, the lone single person. It feels like a cruel, undue  reminder that you have scarcely had time to forget because the feeling of emptiness just never leaves you. Every time you are catching up with old friends and relatives you hear of all the people getting engaged, the upcoming weddings and the freshly announced pregnancies.  What deals the biggest blow however is undeniably the moment you find out your ex is now engaged!

No matter how much we protest and how many volunteer hours we spend to prove we are not, we ARE inherently selfish! I for one do not love my ex, do not want him back and I strongly believe I am better off without him but do I want him engaged? No! Especially not when I am single and I consider myself to be the more decent one of us both! What makes it so painful is you start thinking, “Well there must be something wrong with me if he spent six years with me and didn’t marry me and before I even have time to fetch my stuff from his place I hear he’s with someone else and less than two years later they’re engaged!” When the bitterness creeps in I just smile to myself and start singing, “I pity the fool who falls in love with you, oh shit she’s a gold digger, I just thought you should know…” and yes I go on to sing, “although there’s pain in my chest I still wish you the best” which I’d be lying if I said I meant it, I just sing it because I love the medley.

I have to wonder though, will I meet somebody or will I die of a broken heart, a non-scientifically proven yet still very real cause of death? Of late I have started thinking a very scary possibility; God will not bring me my life partner until I get over my addiction.

I am known as a person who loves others and showers those I love with immeasurable amounts of love. I used to think that this was a great quality to have but now I have come to realise it is also my Achilles heel. I have come to realise that the reason I love Grenade so much, is that it is about me. I have spent many, if not all, of my romantic entanglements catching grenades for people who would not do the same for me! As much as it is as a sad realisation, it is also a liberating one because it makes you realise that you deserve so much more than what you were getting and it’s ok to let go because you will not get anything worthwhile from that relationship anyway.

I might be wiser beyond my years in some areas of life, when it comes to relationships though, my growth is severely stunted. I do not think I will progress much until I learn to overcome all my weaknesses that feed into me being the way I am now. I always find it amazing how all my failures in life are always linked to me disobeying God. We all assign different names and different sources to that ever-present, still, small voice we converse with everyday. Pinocchio’s was Jiminy Cricket, who can forget the legendary, “And always let your conscience be your guide?” My small, still voice? Well that’s God of course. I am ashamed to say that He speaks and oftentimes I do not listen and I wonder why when I get hurt and have to crawl back to Him with shattered pieces of a violated heart.

I have had two serious relationships in the past eight years and in the interests of complete honesty, I was never meant to be in either one of them. I knew they were bad going in. I knew both guys were not ready to give me the relationship that I wanted and I still entered into relationships anyway. Not only that but I gave them both(not simultaneously of course), all that I had to offer and they became the very core of my life and that is my greatest sin.

First two commandments, notice how it’s two and not one and also how it is number one and two and not nine and ten, are about worshipping no one other than God. Exodus 20:4 commands us to “not make an idol of any kind…not bow down to them or worship them.” One of the dictionary meanings for the word “idol” is, “One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.”  Just like that, I have been repeatedly breaking two commandments in the way I conduct myself in romantic relationships.

I would be lying if I said I had stopped, though I do pray for the grace to stop. I do understand a bit more now that it is for my own protection that I remain single up until I can love someone in a constructive healthy way. It is time to accept God’s call to rehab and stay there till I am healed. Up until then I am ducking all grenades that I spot flying my way and I am certainly not about to go catching any for anyone who would not do the same.

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.