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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fear Not!


‘You don’t listen to the news?’ The look on his face was somewhat incredulous. Regarding the television set being installed in my office my guest had remarked that it would help me keep abreast of news from around the world. I had laughed and replied that I rarely ever  listen to the news. The television was more to ensure I had fresh Word being poured into me as I worked during the day. Indeed, my television at home is near permanently tuned to either Daystar or TBN.  Every once in a really long while, I tune in to some news channel or the other to listen in for a few minutes, and unfailingly in those few minutes, my heart is sure to sink from the onslaught of gory headlines. I do flip through the papers more regularly, with ‘flip’ being the operating word, lol.

About five years ago, I made a deliberate decision to distance myself from the steady flow of the enemies ‘testimonials’ (in my view) that spill forth in a steady stream all day long on our news channels. I mean, why is good news no news, I ask? In years past, I used to be glued to news channels but had found myself inadvertently walking in literal fear of just about everything. When you listen to a constant stream of violence - killings, rapes, bombings, abductions, pedophilia, etc it begins to seep into your psyche slowly and surely, and rather unconsciously fear begins to intensify its grip on your heart. You begin to lose trust in the goodness of people, and without being conscious of it; your thinking becomes skewed around negativity. Perhaps this is not so for everyone, but it had become so much so for me until I made a conscious pact with myself not to allow it any more.

Sis, the world I live in does not look anything like what is projected in the news. Does yours? My world is full of love and laughter. Its full of family and friends. With all our shortcomings and idiosyncrasies yes, my world is full of good people who just want to make a difference. It is full of the grace of God and clear manifestations of His love for His children. My world is not free of problems, certainly not! Neither is my world unmindful of security challenges and the reality of pure wickedness being manifested on the earth. But my world is in God’s hands; its in the assurance of His protection; in the conviction that regardless of what may come my way, His plans for me are good and He will have His way in my life. I recognize this and I have chosen to walk in it. I pray you do too. The Lord said we should decree a thing and it shall be established. I have decreed that His goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. This is my daily mantra and the Lord is confirming His Word and faithfulness in my world.

The Word of God tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. This reads to me also that as a man thinks his world should be, so is it. My life is at peace because I know how the story ends and I choose to focus on this. I know that it will appear for a season as if the enemy is gaining ground. But I know God ordained it so, and that God already has the victory. We will all die one day, this is fact of life. I know also that none of us has any idea the ‘how’ of our dying. People will die in their youth, some in their old age; people will die in their sleep, others out of sickness or disease. People will die in accidents, some will unfortunately commit suicide, and yet others will be murdered. Morbid thoughts, yes; but these are the realities of our fleshly houses – one way or the other, death will come. Our spirits however live forever and this is my constant reminder to myself and to you sis. Shake off the fear and embrace the glory that awaits you as a bonafide child of the living God, in covenant relationship with Him, with the Holy Spirit, and with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not by any means advocating not watching the news. No sis, that’s not my message for today. My message is that in the middle of the many disheartening and discouraging reports that you hear, see and maybe get to experience day in and day out; don’t lose focus! Don’t let fear overtake you. Don’t lose your confidence in the One Who is greater than every evil in the land. God admonishes us to be more afraid of spiritual death that will lead to an eternal separation from Him, than we are of the death of our fleshly houses. I say all the time that while I certainly do not want to go to hell, with its fiery furnaces and worms that eat you and yet you never die; what petrifies me to the core is the thought of not being in the presence of the Lord. To miss out on sharing in His majesty, His glory, His love, His joy, and the fullness of being in His presence, would be the single greatest ever tragedy – eternally so. If you need to fear anything at all sis, please fear this and in that fear, lets you and I walk even more closely with the Lord, shall we? Let us surrender our all to Him and trust Him to walk us into His everlasting arms.

Fear not! God speaks this simple phrase 365 times in the Bible - that’s one ‘Fear not’ per day of our human calendar year. Does this not tell you how omnipotent God is? Ever before the calendar was invented, He knew man would design it around 365 days, and He made provision of one ‘Fear not’ for you and I for each day. Thank You Father! Why is this do you think sis? Simply put, the enemy is described as a roaring lion; he is roaming the earth to and fro looking for whom to devour. The enemy is not going to allow you stay in a place of fearlessness that easily, sis. The enemy understands very clearly that in the place of peace, in the place of utter trust in God, he is powerless over you. Every day therefore, he is looking for new ways to get you to question God’s supremacy in your life, to question God’s ability to prevent and/or see you through difficulties and pains that he can foment in your life. You need to affirm the “Fear not’ mandate from God each and every day of your life sis. This is the only way you can keep the right focus for victory over the devil.

Last night as we sat around the dinner table, my daughter mentioned that they had a lock-down drill in school. Each of the children began to share their experiences regarding the drill. They had been advised by the school management that regular lock-down drills would now be added to the fire drills they would usually have. We discussed how sad it was that lock-down drills were now a standard part of school life for children in the US, UK and several countries around the world, and sadder still for us that schools in  our country are now forced to begin to prepare for the possibilities of shootings or other attacks. Slowly and surely, the children began to speak about some horrific incident or the other that they had heard about. First it was about school shootings overseas, and then their conversations filtered down to incidents around us. Some child was kidnapped from school and killed; some pair of twins died in a bizarre accident as they left school; someone else drowned on a school trip; some mother was shot to death trying to defend her children from an armed robbery attack. It just went on and on, one dreary tale after the other. 

The Holy Spirit spoke to me and showed me that there was a spirit of terror contending for the hearts of each of us at the table, adults and children alike, and He was not about to allow us into that place of bondage. In the middle of my niece’s sentence, I said ‘Let us pray”. I allowed the Holy Spirit lead me in prayer against fear, terror and dread. As I prayed, the Lord spoke peace into each and every one of us. He assured us of His mercy and protection, reminding us that He is always more than able, that He is our protector, our shield and buckler. He reminded us of His Word in Psalm 91 that only with our ears shall we hear of evil, but it shall not come near us. The Lord poured Scripture after Scripture from my lips as we prayed, and when we finally said ‘Amen’ the atmosphere around the table had clearly changed. The foreboding lifted and the calm in our spirits was so palpable, we could almost feel the Lord’s assuring arms around us all.

This is what I leave you with today, sis. Is there fear ruling in any area of your life? Are you afraid of death? Are you afraid for your children? Are you afraid for your marriage? Is there any form of terror in your heart? In any area of your life that fear is holding you bound, get on your knees and lift it up to the Lord. Ask the Lord to wash you in His peace, sis. You cannot fight fear in your own strength. It is a demon spirit and a stronghold on assignment to steal your eternal destiny. Search the Scriptures and soak yourself in God’s many assurances concerning His children. Declare openly to the enemy that no matter what he brings your way, your eternal salvation is assured in Jesus Christ. Remind him that even if he kills your body, he has no power over your spirit. Your life is hid in Christ Jesus sis. Walk in that assurance, sis!


Daily declare, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not fear. What can man do to me? Though the storms may rage, my God is more than able to deliver me. Whatever else life brings my way I will stand in victory on the last day by the power of the God Who is all powerful and Who is in me. Lord I give you my every fear today. In your strength, for I have none of my own, I declare that fear shall not have dominion over me. I will walk in peace today Lord, for You are my peace. Lord, I choose to keep my eyes on You and on the glory that awaits me in the end when you welcome me into heaven. I stand in confidence today Lord, that it is well with me; that indeed Your goodness and mercy do follow me; and so shall it be all the days of my life. Thank You father for Your peace and for Your victory, in Jesus mighty name, Amen’.

Fear not sis, The Lord will help you, as assuredly as He is helping me.

Be blessed sis…. For you surely are!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Continue in Him


Happy New Year! Coming a little late? I agree! January 2013 is pretty much well on its way isn’t it?  Beyond the crescendo of the festivities from the eve and into the New Year, we are for the most part, back to business as usual. I don’t know about you sis but for me, business as usual has really been business unusual as I have found myself dealing with an unprecedented activity level, somewhat rather frenzied for the first month of a New Year. My husband and I shared a memory a couple of days back, about how there was a time when between November and February, it was a struggle to find business to engage in. We would usually have to shut down our company by the second week in December and stay closed till second week in January because there simply wasn’t anything to do. Right now, it’s a struggle to find time to just ‘be’. There is always that one new project, new responsibility or new opportunity to see the company through.  I am not complaining though; assuredly not! Ah, yes! There is surely a blessing due to God for the busyness of our days, for the privilege of our assignments and purpose; and for His enablement and empowerment to help us carry through.  

Busy or not, I don’t doubt the commonality which you and I have shared coming in from the end of 2012 and into this period. Year ends and beginnings always come with reflections and deep introspection. It’s a risky time at that; a time when wittingly or otherwise, our psychological, emotional and spiritual frames could set the tone for the rest of the year ahead. In this introspective space and if we are not careful, we could become consumed with what we didn’t achieve or receive in the course of the prior year; becoming clouded by targets we set and failed to meet; and sometimes making rather frantic decisions or taking harried actions that really have no intrinsic value in the scheme of things. This is also a time when our prayers carry the utmost air of desperation, lol. Have you noticed how that during this season there are more prayers reminding God that He is the God of ‘by this time tomorrow’; the ‘God of purpose’; the “God who calls things that be not as though they were’; etc?  

Sis, as we move forward into 2013 lets remind ourselves that God is all of these and more, every single day and all the year through. Have you noticed how in this same reflection mode, and if we are not looking through the right frame, we could very easily lose sight of the very many laudable things that we did achieve – as unplanned and unintentional as they might have been? Time and again we are careless enough to lose sight of the immeasurable blessings, grace and favor that we experienced during the year, and which are of infinitely more value to ourselves and to those around us, probably because they were not dressed as the blessings we otherwise expected. Hmmm!

As my 2012 wound to a close, I truly needed the break the holidays afforded me. No doubt you did too. However, rather than lose myself in another frenzy of outings and social events, I chose to turn down the dial in those few days ….disconnecting physically and mentally, and in a very determined way. The level of stress I had allowed in prior to this was not acceptable, and I knew the choice was up to me to deal with this as I moved into 2013. In this frame, I demanded a quiet within me and demanded a purposefulness to my reflections. I thought about my early commitment to be intentional in every area of my life in 2012. I tried to assess how much I had lived by this commitment as the days had rolled into weeks and months. My score was far from perfect; at least, not in the things I resolved to intentionally see through to the end. So no, among other things, I didn’t complete any one of the books I was writing last year; I didn’t lose the 15kg I intended to; and no, I didn’t get to start my doctorate, yada yada yada.

But here is the thing sis…..I’m not beating myself over the head. Nope! Strangely enough….. or perhaps not so much so, I have come into 2013 at incredible peace with myself, within myself, with my life, and more importantly, with my Lord. This is what I want to share with you in this New Year. Yes sis, somewhere inside of me I found the strength to focus intentionally on the other things I started; not the oh-so-lofty resolutions I made originally; but the things which I hadn’t planned on but which once started, I saw through to the end by the empowerment, grace and mercies of God. I refuse to be sidetracked by what should otherwise have been great disappointments regarding my failed intentions/resolutions. I rather choose very deliberately to see my life through the lens of He Who is in me and this is my encouragement to you.

We serve a God for Whom even the greatest of all our resolutions is but the easiest of things for Him to do. We serve a God Who is not limited to the 12month cycles of our human calendar year. He is way bigger than that! He is eternity past present and future! He is time itself! You can choose today to see yourself and your life through the lens of He Who is in charge of your times and seasons; He Who called you forth for His express purpose, and Who will surely bring it to pass in your life. Sis, God’s ability to ‘do’ for you and I is not constrained by time. Our 12months are less than a speck in the frame of eternity. It strikes me that when God speaks and sets timing to the performance of His Word, it never fails. As I reflect on my testimonies in 2012, I can recall clearly an instance where God spoke to me and said to me in one case ’21 days’ and He did just that. I also remember where He simply assured me that He would come through for me in due time, and a five-month objective came through in just five weeks. But I also recall clearly things I have trusted Him for within some period, and which He didn’t bring to pass till well after, at His own time - the best part being that even I could clearly see that it still through came at the right time. Can you relate?

Sis, I believe that in 2013 the question for you and I will be whether we are listening out for and hearing clearly from God, or whether we are forging ahead in our own strength, hoping against hope that God will work according to our own promptings. My prayer for you and I in this year is that we will seek Him more; listen more; and be guided more than anything else by the voice of the Holy Spirit that is within us. There is overwhelming peace in this place, sis.  Don’t lose hope about those things you had set your heart to but didn’t see come to pass in 2012. Continue to believe! Continue to trust! Hope against all hope and you will see God manifest His perfect purpose for you at His perfect time. His word tells us that the plans of man’s heart are many, but it is the purpose of the Lord that shall stand. His purpose is not determined by our timing. We must believe that He knows the end from the beginning, and the end is good for those of us who know, believe and trust in Him; for those of us who will yield totally to be led of Him. 

Continue in Him sis! Seek clarity about His purpose, and continue in the place of trust and faith in His ability to bring His purpose for your life to pass in due season. Trust me when I say that His season is more glorious than your intended season could ever have been. Have a wonderful 2013 sis! I can’t wait to share the testimonies that will abound as you go forward in His peace.

Be blessed….. for you surely are!   

About Me

Entrepreneur, Mentor, Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend. A firm believer in God. Walking in faith everyday that by His grace, I will achieve harmony in all areas of my life, and make measurable impact in the lives of other women of the world

WORD FOR THE WEEK

LUKE 1:

34“-How can this be, Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God

JEREMIAH 2:

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. 7 But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

1st CORINTHIANS 1:

25 [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27 [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,

Colossians 1:

28 Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).

29 For this I labor [[z]unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.