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Saturday, June 4, 2016

EVERYDAY THANKFUL

 I’m trying not to cry! Really, I am!

But perhaps I should first confess that I already wept my eyes out this morning. What I am trying to do now is to stem the tide of tears. I’m not sure it’s working cos my tears seem to have taken on a life of their own, so let me ask your pardon in advance for any typos, or if at times I appear to ramble. I’m trying to focus sis. I really am! It’s just that every new message that comes in on my phone or via various social media platforms set me off again.

I’m not sad though sis, no! Not by any means whatsoever! Indeed, I can’t stem the tears because I can’t stop marveling at God’s faithfulness in my life. I can’t help but wonder afresh why He loves me this much. I can’t help but look at my sins, my countless failings and falling's, and wonder why my Father has chosen to love me this much and to manifest this love in the ways that He does.

Sis, today is the 4th of June 2016. If you have followed me long enough on this blog, you will know that today holds a double-barreled blessing for me. Today, my first son turns 20! Such an amazing young man! I was thinking earlier today about how beautiful and peaceful he looked when he was first placed in my arms. I was thinking about the incredible joy that burst forth when he opened his eyes and looked at me for the very first time…. How he held my finger and squeezed it ever so softly as if to say ‘I’m here mama. I love you'. I was thinking about how he looked almost into my soul it seemed, as I breastfed him in those early months, like I was his entire world. I was thinking about his younger years… always a ready smile, so easy going, friendly to everyone, kind and caring even then, always a joy to my soul.

I’ve been thinking how his smile has never failed in all these years…. how his ‘I love you Mamz’ still makes my heart melt. I call him ‘My Bodyguard’ because we are so in tune with each other’s feelings that it is almost scary sometimes; because He always makes sure to walk behind or beside me to make sure I’m okay. His traditional name means ‘The peace of God’ and I can tell you that he has been such a peaceful young man. He has been such an example to his younger ones.., so respectful, responsible, and such a blessing to all who know him. Ah sis, I could go on but I won’t. Suffice it to say that as I’ve been thinking about the fine young man God has helped him become, and as I’ve reflected on the first 20 years of his life, I’ve cried deep heartfelt tears of gratitude to God.

Today also, my first ever company marks 22 years of operations. This is a company that God Himself birthed… that God Himself has upheld all these years. In reflecting on the past 22 years, I couldn’t help but think how lost we would have been were it not for the grace of God, for His leading, for His direction, for His creating opportunities for us. I think of all the great people He has resourced us with as staff or business partners over the years. Simply amazing!

Sis, I’ve been thinking of how many times God decided to qualify us even where men tried to insist we were unqualified. I can’t help but recall how He has distinguished our businesses in their industry… of awards and recognition's received, made all the more precious because they were completely unsolicited.  I’ve been thinking about how He positioned us as giants even at those times when we were literally like grasshoppers in our own eyes. I’ve been thinking of corporate battles He fought for us Himself. He has kept us through the strangest of internal and external storms, some of which we didn’t even recognize had the potential to derail us until they had blown over. And sis, I can’t help but think about the current storms in our industry and how in His own way, He is covering us. We are in our very own ‘darkness in Egypt but light in Goshen’ experience and this can only be because of the mercies of God. How can I not be grateful, sis? And why should I even try to stem these tears?

Please praise the Lord with me, sis. Please do! Just take a couple of minutes and bless Him with me. He is no respecter of persons so as my testimonies are, so (and indeed greater) shall yours be, in Jesus name, amen.

I have been away for a while so beyond the two big things I am celebrating today there are the many testimonies in between. But let me assure you too that there have been the many challenges too, sis. Oh boy! Have I been assailed from various quarters in recent weeks, or what? I won’t go into details. The world does not need another epistle to the Corinthians and neither do you I’m sure. Rather, I want to share a couple of things with you and land my message today with an invitation to you to join me on the podium on which I have elected to stand….the podium of ‘EVERYDAY THANKFUL’.

I know I have said before on this blog that we need to come to the point where we are thankful for the problems we have and the challenges we face, sis. Does that sound strange? Think about it sis. Embrace your challenges and be thankful for them. I heard Bishop David Grier say recently that you can’t run away from Goliath and yet slay him. So apt! And you know, the only way to appreciate principle is to turn your mind a bit to the problems and challenges you DON”T HAVE! If you do this often enough, you will understand where I am coming from.

Truth is and will always be that no matter what we contend with in our individual lives, there are countless others who are contending with so much more. Some struggle with the same kinds of challenges we have, but they have other complications in addition. Some other people have challenges which don’t look like ours in any way, but if we were asked to swap our lives with theirs our answers would be a resounding No!  I was speaking with my younger sister a few days back and we were reflecting on a development in our extended family concerning someone I have been of help to time and again over the past twenty years, but who always came back to hurt me and put to question my good intentions. We were reviewing the rather expensive interventions I have chosen to carry time and again on their behalf, and trying to understand then why I always ended up at the receiving end of their bad behavior. Go figure! Anyway, I ended the conversation by saying that I have refused to allow the ingratitude of others steal from the essence of who God has called me to be as a helper and encourager, but wow is it sometimes so painful, sis.

It didn’t take long for us to find ourselves discussing other challenges that we all are struggling with in our individual lives, ending with a prayer as always for God to meet each of us at our points of need. As I signed off, I reminded my sister of this very same thing… that in so far as we have quite an interesting array of challenges we all deal with, we had best be grateful for the problems we don’t have. Her response was, ‘Amen to that, sis’. God is always in the mix, sis. All He needs is for us to adopt the right perspectives so that when we open our eyes, we really ‘see’.

There is a reason why we have Ephesians 5:20, Thessalonians 5:18, Philippians 4:6 among other Scriptures on thankfulness, sis. God foreknew that a part of our earthly life would involve ‘going through’. And He understood (because He knows all things) that our ‘going throughs’ wouldn’t always be a good experience. For Him to have then asked us to give thanks always means that there is a fundamental principle and power behind a heart that is everyday thankful. Thankfulness is worship, sis! It is! Thankfulness is an open acknowledgement that the God we serve is bigger than any trial we many face. Thankfulness is an expression of our confidence in God. It is us saying, ‘I’m dealing with this but God, I know You are in control and You are more than able to bring me out victoriously once again’.
Thankfulness is me looking at all the challenges in my industry now and how it is affecting my business, yet thanking God for how else it has not affected us. Thankfulness is me looking at some of the internal issues we are contending with as a business, yet seeing the hand of God in each situation. I had to let go of a staff recently for instance. That is never an easy thing to do. Yet, somehow I knew I needed to take a tough stand and stick with the decision despite appeals from others to give the staff a couple more months to improve. I had prayed and had peace about this decision though, and I thanked God in advance for the strength to carry through. I thanked Him for the gap He would help us fill. I thanked Him for restoring any losses that may occur out of me taking this action, and then I did what I needed to do. A few days later, I found out the staff had been trying to defraud the company, and I thanked God again for His perfect timing even and for coming through for me even when I didn’t know my business was under an internal attack.
Thankfulness is me looking at the ingratitude of the family member I spoke about earlier, yet recognizing that I’ve been graced to have had enough to give at every point in time. Even in those seasons where my giving was made very sacrificially, everyday thankfulness means that I was and always am grateful that I God positioned me as the giver and not as the one standing at the receiving end. Thankfulness means I also then see how in those times when I gave my all to bless another, I actually never lacked. God was repaying me in greater measure through a peaceful loving home, a successful business, health in my family, etc. Sis, thankfulness is recognizing that you didn’t have a great day… but you are alive and well enough to even analyze whether a day went well or not. The dead are dead… there is no analysis after the fact. At least not on this side of eternity!
Everyday thankfulness is you understanding that you can read your bible because you have eyes, or because you can afford glasses and the services of your optician/optometrist. Everyday thankfulness is understanding that you can read your Bible because you can sit down, because you have a roof over your head, because you have hands to flip the pages, because you can afford the cup of coffee you like to read as you meditate on the word….. because your mind works! Everyday thankfulness is you recognizing that you can sing praise and worship songs because your ears work, your mind works, your mouth works, your voice works, etc. Simply put sis, everyday thankfulness is you recognizing that you go through… because you ARE!
Everyday thankfulness is recognizing that you have failed once again, but you at least have the opportunity to receive mercy again, and to try once again. Thankfulness is acknowledging that there is still breath in you, that God is not done with you yet. I could go on but I know you get my drift, sis. I speak often about our coming to the place of living a life of fulfillment. Not a life of perfection no…. a life that is fruitful and day by day fulfilled; a life that we know matters to God and to those in our corner of the earth. Can I suggest to you that learning to be everyday thankful in the big things as well as the little things (or learning to be thankful when it looks as if there is no ‘thing’ be it big or small) is what God considers to be our greatest act of worship. Worship is not about singing songs. It’s not about reading your Bible. It’s not about how often you are in church. No! Worship is everyday thankfulness to your Maker and your Source.  
Sis, everyday thankfulness is a lifestyle that you will CHOOSE to adopt and which you will daily CONTEND to maintain, for certainly other things will contend for your peace on a regular basis.
As I sit here thinking about the many blessings in my life all over again, I realize that I am blessed because I AM! …storms, problems, challenges and all. It is because I AM that I have the privilege to go through them. And I AM because of the greater One that has brought me into existence, and Who has assured me that no matter how hard it seems, He has actually not allowed any trial in my life that He has also not resourced me to be able to carry and overcome. And the best part sis, is that I have a hope and assurance that even after I cease to BE on this earth, I will go home to my Father and enjoy everyday thankfulness in the place of eternal worship in His glorious presence. That alone is more than enough to cry out for joy daily, don’t you think sis?
Think about your life, sis. What are your current struggles? Please make peace with the reality of the fact that you will yet have more struggles on this earth, some even more intense than you face right now. But can you make up your mind to adopt a thankful heart daily? Can you covenant afresh with your heavenly Father that you will set your eyes on Him, and on the problems He will not allow come your way? Can you remind Him that you trust Him? Can you remind yourself that you need to trust Him always, in all things, and through all things? Do you get my drift, sis? Did I ramble on too much? I hope not. All said and done, here is where I want to end this: Sis, can you ask the Holy Spirit to help you be everyday thankful NO MATTER WHAT? I assure you that He will help you sis. As surely as He is helping me!

Be blessed sis… for you surely are!


1 comment:

  1. I repent of all the times I complained and blamed God and just wasn't grateful. Truly, in all things give thanks. He always knows and does the best thing, even when as humans we think otherwise.

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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.