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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Disappoint me Lord


‘Mum, there’s something I would like to speak with you and dad about’. Those were the words of my first son as he asked if we could please connect with him via Skype video call. I knew it was serious enough from his tone of voice, and as we waited on the appointed time for the Skype call, I sent a silent prayer of thanks to God for the fact that whatever it was had come up while we were in transit to visit with him; and more than this, I thanked God for the relationship He has helped us build with our children such that they see their dad and I as their confidants, their primary champions, their safe spaces. Not an easy feat for many parents with teenage children, but the Lord is our source and there is nothing He cannot do as long as we open our mouths to speak the things we believe for in our lives and in the lives of our children, including the relationships and future we desire to have with and for them.

As we spoke later that evening, he shared his extreme disappointment regarding the fact that he had not been selected as a Prefect at school. He had desired this from the moment he entered the school, and he had worked as hard as he could to meet the set criteria to be made a school Prefect. Indeed, he did make and maintain the criteria.....but, life happened! Based on the experiences of the past two years, the school committee revised the criteria for selection of Prefects, and he lost out on a one-point technicality. How unfair! What a blow! He shared his hurt and frustrations, telling us steps he had taken to speak with the various authorities in the School selection committee to know why the last minute changes had been put in place. He wasn’t sure he could understand that every member of the committee told him he was their top choice, save for this one technicality which he now didn’t meet. No, it just did not make that kind of sense to him.

As is our way, we said to him that we needed to speak with the head of the school committee to understand their angle. Hurt as our son was, there are always two sides to every situation and we needed to be clear on both sides before we could form opinions or take action if required - especially also since he was not the only candidate affected. As the principal explained to us the rationale behind the additions to the selection criteria, it became clear that the focus of the school was what was in the best interest of the students in the first place. They had taken a longer-term view based on past experiences and we had to agree that their position made sense, disappointed though our son (and ourselves) might be.

He joined us last night for a weekend visit and we then had time to sit down and share perspectives on the issue. As we explained the position the school had adopted, we had said to him that if the Lord had it planned for him to make Prefect, then no machinations of man – no matter how last minute, would have stood in the way of the purpose of God for his life. We serve a God Who has said clearly that nothing is too hard for Him. We also then began to share with him some disappointments that we had had in our own lives and business, which over time had turned out to be major blessings in disguise. Example after the other poured out from both his father and I, as the Holy Spirit brought to our remembrance even those experiences that we hadn’t thought about in years. We assured him that the One Who says He holds our lives in the palm of His hands; the One Whose says His plans for us are of good and not of evil; the One Who causes us to prosper; He is the same One Who will order his steps into a life of purpose and destiny.

We reminded him of something we have spoken severally to our children – the fact that life happens! There is an unpredictability element that not one of us is in control of. When life happens though, as children of the Living God, the only way to respond is to look to our source and trust that God has something better ahead. We spoke extensively and by the end of the evening, our son had clearly come back to a place of peace, to the glory of God. All through the night though, I found myself thinking over those things in my life which had played out at the time as disappointments, but which today I can clearly thank God for. I realized sis, that the things I would have wished I could go back and change, are those things which I strove to do in my own strength and which when they played themselves out, eventually added no real value to my life. But those things which the Lord did not allow to be? Those things that I yielded to the will of God even though they disappointed, hurt and confused me? Sis, those are the things that I now see clearly that the Lord held back from me because He knew the end from the beginning and knew the end was not good. He knew with a certainty, the better plans that He had ahead of me and kept those things away from me. Thank You Jesus!  

By the grace of God, you and I still have many more years to live out here on the earth. If we are to live out the life of abundance that the Lord has planned for us; if indeed our latter days are to continue to be greater than our former; then sis, you and I need to cry unto God and ask Him to continue to disappoint us in those things that He knows for certain will lead us into regret. Yes sis, we need to plead with God not to ever leave us to our own devices regardless of how painful this exercise might be in the short term. We need God to disappoint those of our intentions and aspirations that have neither earthly nor eternal value. He is a God who disappoints the devices of the crafty such that their hands cannot perform their enterprise, is He not? Well sis, truth is that sometimes our own devices and machinations add up to a craftiness towards ourselves…if we only but knew it then. At those times sis, we surely need God to disappoint our efforts. We need God to order our steps aright sis. If He is to do this, then you and I need to be ready for any breaking, shaking, or moving around that God needs to do to ensure we are always fully in His will.

Sis, you and I have to have the constant conviction that the Lord is good, and all He does is good for us. If we do, then we will be constantly in a place of expectation when things don’t go the way we had planned. If we do, then beyond out initial disappointments, we will quickly move into a place of ‘Halleluyah!’ and praise for the better things which we are convinced the Lord will bring our way. In this place of expectation, God sees our total trust and reliance on Him, and lovingly smiles down and opens the windows of heaven wider still over us. In the end, we will surely look back and say ‘Thank You Lord for the blessing of that disappointment’. 


Regardless of how life plays out sis, you and I will make it in the end. The greater One is working all things out for our good. I believe this with all that is in me. I have seen this play out time and again in my life. So shall it be in your life sis. At the end of every disappointment, the Lord will ensure that your latter is so much greater than your past. So shall it be, in Jesus name.

Be blessed sis….. for you surely are!

  


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Courage through the fire

The one the Lord loves is the one He chastises. We are all so familiar with this piece of Scripture, but truthfully when we are on the threshing floor it is sometimes pretty hard to see the love of God in our situations.  I had found myself in a threshing floor situation over the past couple of weeks. The Lord just would not let me be about something in my life that He was clearly not pleased with. It seemed a small enough thing. It really did! It was small enough and had taken root so many years ago that I had become largely neutral to it in the first place. It was just the way things were and had been for over thirty years. I couldn’t then quite figure why it suddenly permeated my consciousness with such intensity. I would wake up several times a night with this one thing weighing so heavily on my mind. Situations around me played up and around this issue. God was clearly speaking and His message was loud and clear - ‘Deal with this NOW!’

The Holy Spirit spoke through my conscience, reminding me that a falsehood, no matter how much time had elapsed, was still a falsehood. Or lets be more specific…a lie is a lie! That’s more like it. Let’s call it as it is, sis. You see I had inherited a lie in my life as a child, and had gotten so used to it over the years that it had become part of my ‘reality’. God reminded me that I was now more than old enough to deal with it and set things straight. He reminded me that He had been more than merciful in not having taken my life before this time, but that with each passing day that I allowed it to be, I was playing closer still to fire. ‘Wow, Lord!’ I thought ‘On this little thing?’ His answer was a resounding YES. He reminded me that His Word says that liars will have their place in the lake of fire, and that as long as I was not willing to deny this inherited falsehood, I was staring hell in the face. I tell you what sis, that was a pretty scary night! I tried to imagine how terrible it would be to end up in hell for the sake of this ‘little’ thing. You see sis, in the eyes of God, there is no small lie or big lie, no white lie or black lie. For the Lord to Himself play up on something in my life that He knew I had become immune to such that I didn’t see the stumbling block it was in my life, no one needed to tell me that I needed to make restitution. The urgency with which the Lord also laid this on my heart was not something I could ignore. To be honest sis, I began to wonder at some point if perhaps my death was near and the Lord in His infinite mercy was trying to be sure nothing was standing in the way of me being with Him in the end. Morbid thinking you say? Perhaps! But this was as real and as intense an experience for me as I have ever had. Obedience was not in question, regardless of how painful the process might be. Obedience was a must!

I went down on my knees and asked the Lord to forgive me. Regardless of the fact that I didn’t create this challenge, regardless of it having been foisted on me as a child by others who thought they had my best interests at heart; I had to be honest enough to myself to agree with God that I have been old enough for more than enough years to have dealt with this issue decades ago. I had to be honest with myself enough to admit that I had put myself into a ‘willful captive’ situation for too many years without even realizing it. Yes, sis. I was and am so grateful to God that I am still alive and able to retrace all this. As I prayed, I asked Him to give me courage for there was and clearly still will be some level of embarrassment and ridicule that will go along with my making this restitution. Thankfully, I know, because I know God, that there will also be a lot of love and understanding and support that will come first from God Himself, and then from others around me who will admit (even if to themselves) that they have no moral right to judge me because they know that we are all works-in-progress, trying to overcome the world and live daily more and more in conformity to our Father’s image. There are those who - based on having a firsthand experience in my restitution process, hearing my testimony or by reading this blog, will themselves be ministered to enough to begin to shine the light on those silent dark areas in their own lives, finding similar courage to allow the Holy Spirit do a purifying work in them also.

The enemy tried to deter me. He tried to convince me of the difficulty of some of the things I needed to change through this process, trying to play them up as impossible situations. He tried to bring pride into it: what would people think? People? What would 'they' think??? Ah, but he got it wrong there, sis. I don't care what people think. I care only what my Lord and Father thinks! So, I refused to back down. I made the choice to lay aside this one weight. I went into in prayer and asked God to help me, and He did. I was led to a Scripture in 1st Peter 4 v 14 where the Lord said categorically that it is better to face the abuse and ridicule of man than to displease and openly disobey God. I chose and still choose to look up, sis. I chose once again to set my eyes on the hill. I chose to keep heaven in view because my deepest desire is to one day be there with my Lord. I chose to stay focused on the fact that my Lord has loved me enough to chastise me. I chose and have yielded fully to His refining process. I know that in the end I will come out of the fire purer than before. I serve the Potter, and He does not through away clay. Rather He remolds it into something more beautiful. If the Lord can willingly and lovingly forgive great failings in our lives and I know this to be truth, how could the enemy think he could convince me that the Lord wouldn’t come through for me in this one little thing?

I prayed and continue to pray:  Lord, purify me! Lord, purge everything in me that does not glorify you! Lord, show me those quiet foxes in my life, those ones I have even become totally at peace with. Show me those things budding or which have taken root in my life, but which You didn’t plant. Root them up completely Lord, in Jesus name! Lord, I choose to keep my eyes on You! Lord, I choose to live for You alone. Father, please give me the courage to deal with everything in my life that is unprofitable to life and godliness, anything that will keep me from making heaven. Lord, as I go through Your refining fire, help me to remember that it is because You are evolving me into a more glorious me. Regardless of how intense the flames may look Lord, give me strength to go through. Lord, as you chastise me, help me to remember that it is out of Your unfailingly love for me. Father, I yield everything in my life that does not glorify You. I lay them at Your feet oh Lord. Wash me! Cleanse me! Create a new heart and a new spirit within me, Lord. I repent of this one thing...this thing that was so small in my eyes, but which You have loved me enough to prune me of. Lord. I receive Your forgiveness, grace and mercy, Lord. I’m grateful Father. Thank You Father. I love You Lord. Blessed be Your holy name, Lord. In Jesus mighty name I pray, Amen.

Sis, this post is not meant for you to sit back and begin to ask 'I wonder what she did?'. please dont get it wrong, dont let the enemy distract you from the message to you today. this is call that you please pray and ask God to show you anything in your life that needs to go through the Refiner’s fire. Don’t be so focused on those ‘big sins’ in your life that you miss seeing those little ones that could so easily hold you back from eternity with the Father. I'm so looking forward to heaven sis, and I believe you are too. Please look deep within and see if there is anything you have gotten to be at ease with over time, but which you know of a truth does not glorify God. Don’t worry about what men will think or say sis, for we are all at best fallible. Only God is perfect. We are on a journey to reflect that perfection, but along the way there is purging, there is pruning, there is refining. What are those areas of your own life that need to pass through the fire, sis? The Holy Spirit will reveal them to you as you ask. Know this for certain, God will help us as we call unto Him. So call on to Him sis. He is helping me through this. And He will surely help you.


Be blessed sis….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.