Someone Else’s Prescription

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Whose prescription?

I recently had the privilege of hosting a webinar for a group of working mums. It was my first webinar sitting on the other side and I enjoyed it very much. During the chat I was asked to name 3 traits that women require to be successful mumpreneurs. I think there are a number of required traits, but I don’t think all traits are required by everyone. I believe that because we are unique individuals all created in the image of God, there is no one size fits all solution or single requirement that works for all. Therefore, one useful trait to cultivate is the ability to be introspective. That way you find out what is needed in your life. You find out your strengths, weaknesses and all.

Warren Buffet has a charity that receives proceeds from an interesting source annually. Every year, an auction goes up for lunch with Mr Buffett. Last year the winning bid was $1m. This year? $2.2m. The winner gets to choose 7 friends to go out to dinner with warren and can ask him any question they like. If you had $2.2m, would you spend it on dinner with Mr Buffet?

This morning I read one of my favourite blogs and the discussion on the auction win was in full swing. The question was asked, which ‘great’ will you like to have dinner with and what questions will you ask them? As usual the comments piqued my interest more than the question itself. People listed everyone from Napoleon Hill who died gazillion years ago to bill gates and dead presidents. One guy listed 5 men, another caught my attention, “Warren Buffet. I will tell him to look at my life and tell me what I can change to become successful. I will ask about his daily routines, I will ask what his single key is. I will ask…” And the list of asks continued.

I felt a bit melancholy as I pictured and perceived the desperation in his voice. I know that before the age of the dispensation of the Holy Spirit,  men and women, kings and queens even came from afar to hear Solomon’s wisdom. I do also like to speak to and learn from successful and particularly wise people, but nothing beats getting a download directly from God. God ‘s advice and wisdom is customised to your personality and your particular need. There is no one size fits all solution.

Mr Buffet’s routine might not fit my lifestyle because I am wired completely differently from him. The only reason I should walk on Buffet road is if I want to arrive at Buffet’s goal. But I don’t. He no doubt has worthy goals and I admire and respect him a great deal but those are still his goals. Mine are not even closely related to his, which is why I will not be asking anyone to dispense their prescription to me. Pharmacies always warn, don’t take medicines prescribed for someone else. The other point is that wisdom and success are not the same thing.

By all means we should seek wisdom, we should ask questions we must learn and increase our knowledge. We should seek advice and not be so egotistical we think we know it all. I have a business mentor whom I admire and respect, I am glad for his input into my life. I also have trusted friends I run to for advice when needed. But we should also be careful not to leave our path to walk on someone else’s, no matter how great they are.

I’d like to know your thoughts; How can we seek wisdom from people we admire without abandoning our own path and walking on theirs?

 

In the dark clouds

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It’s funny how we sometimes think that the presence of a trial means the absence of God. God is present in the darkness. He has simply used your dark clouds and challenges to veil His approach, to hide His presence. But He is there.

He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dark rain clouds. Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him and rained down hail and burning coals. (‭Psalms‬ ‭18‬:‭11-12‬ NLT)

Thou Shalt Not Clutter

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A Cluttered Mind

If my 2014 spring had a theme, it was ‘Thou shalt not live with clutter.’

I write for a small number of blogs and magazines, both Christian and non-Christian. This past spring it was all about clutter- physical and mind clutter. It was therefore not surprising when the Lord told me to address the issue of clutter in my life, maybe He was thinking somewhere along the lines of do as I do, not as I say!

I would like to share some of the lessons on clutter I learned, I have found that mental clutter is very similar to the physical variety and, therefore, has similar effects. Isn’t it interesting how no matter how much you hate cleaning, a clean and tidy space fills you with a certain amount of peace? You feel a cross between rested and exhausted once you’re done.

Clutter stops you hearing God because too many voices are competing to be heard. Have you ever watched one of those T.V programmes where the experts come in to declutter  deliver? Even the adverts tire me out! Imagine how hard it must be to find a missing piece of jewellery in that dump? God’s voice is still and small, not brash and loud. There are many loud and ugly items competing for that precious ring to be found and  there’s almost no hope. In the same way, with too much going on in your head, you will struggle to hear the voice of God.

Clutter stops you obeying God as too many words and pieces of advice confuse and lead you to forget what He told you. It goes without saying that if you can’t hear God, you can’t obey him. This type of clutter can be found in seeking advice on a single topic from multiple sources. Reading too many newsletters on 10 ways to lose weight et al. Stuffing your mind with non-essentials, Do you Keep up with The Kardashians?

Clutter stops you from growing vertically as the excess weighs you down.

The more you pile on, the heavier the weight is- I’m sure Newton has a law tucked somewhere that confirms this if you don’t believe me. My son went camping this morning. Over the weekend, he started out packing a light suitcase. By the time he was done adding his favourite pairs of shoes to it, it had become heavy. It slowed down his stride as we hurried to school. Too much information in your head will slow you down. Too much stuff on your mind will weigh you down- which is why we find it difficult to surge ahead when we’re discouraged. The enemy adds more to what’s going on in your mind. ‘What ifs‘ start to invade and before long you are weighed down with a myriad of possible scenarios that may never even play out.

Space in your mind allows you to ruminate and chew properly on ideas so that they are digested and can come to fruition.

Imagine an overstuffed food blender? It will be near impossible to get all the food blended to a smooth pulp. One sign of an overstuffed mind is feeling oversaturated with great ideas for moving forward, but being unable to execute any of them. Space in your mind allows you to ruminate, chew on and digest information so that it becomes achieve able.

Signs of clutter

  • Restlessness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Indecisiveness
  • Feelings of inertia
  • Sluggishness
  • Feeling distant from God
Cutting down clutter:
  • Reduce the amount of stuff- voices, information, noise, items, activity in your life. Claim back your time and don’t feel you have to plug every second with activity. Unsubscribe from newsletters that are useless to you.
  • Make time for stillness- unplug yourself.
  • Carve out time to practice what you’ve learned.
  • Create time for the important people in your life.
  • Get out of your own way. You might be taking up space. Stop being so self-absorbed, sensitive, and self-centred. Remember you were put on earth to reflect God’s glory, and to point people towards Christ. It’s not all about you.
  • You don’t have to attend every Church function.
  • You don’t have to read every Christian book. While it’s good to read, allow the Holy Spirit to be your main teacher.
  • Don’t rely entirely on the divine revelation God gives others, cultivate your own relationship with God so He can reveal secret things to you too. We all have different paths to walk on.
  • Stop procrastinating. Procrastination is simply taking what’s at the forefront of your mind and tossing it onto the growing pile at the back of your mind.

 

I hope this blessed you!

Have you dealt with clutter in your life?

This Thing Called Love

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For years I divided my life into before and after. Before I met Christ and after I met Christ.

I used to be part of a church that outreached a lot; they preached fire and brimstone, hell and death, sin and sickness on the streets as a way of reaching out to the unchurched. Recently the Lord started to show me how He loves. There is no before and after with the Lord. He loves sinners as they are now and He still loves us after we give our lives to Him. Even though my old church did use the word ‘Love’ in some of the outreaches, like ‘Jesus died for your sins  because he loves you’, a lot of emphasis was placed on judgment, sin and death. Jesus told us to preach the good news and not the bad news. The bad news is that sin destroys. The good news is that love saves from that destruction and God is love.

My friend recently shared with me how God has been leading her to pray for complete strangers. Mostly those who don’t know the Lord. In most cases it hasn’t been to pray for them to get saved either. In one situation she felt led to pray with a distressed young lady on the train. She had been crying because she needed a job and was in a bad place emotionally and financially. Helen prayed with her to get a job and the next day she got a call to start work. If that isn’t the love of God I don’t know what is.

I had been under the impression that God’s only way of getting people into the kingdom was for them first to say the sinners prayer, and then He became open to receiving  other prayers. But when you think about it Jesus healed the sick first, then asked them to repent and sin no more.

We are the light of the world. We are meant to lead sinners to Christ, not bully them and make them feel worthless.

John 3:18  says anyone who doesn’t believe has already been judged. So our help and expertise is not needed.
Moreover His love transcends judgment. Mercy triumphs over judgment.  This means that mercy is more potent, has a more powerful effect than judgement. The world needs and cries out for love; people are not drawn to condemnation- they get enough of that daily. People need love.

This has led me to understand that God loved me, ordered my steps and protected me before I met Him. He did not start to do that after I became born again.  It was His love that kept me protected from the moment I was conceived in my mother’s womb. His love kept me from dying, His love led me to where I am today. I recently heard a Christian song that said ”I hate who I was then.‘ I struggle to come to terms with the lyrics of that song because even God did not hate who we were then, we are not different just because we now walk with God, we are still sinners but we are saved by His grace.

With God there is no before and after, He loved you then, He loves you now. For God so loved The world. The world, the entire world.

Have a truly blessed day!!!

 

 

The Spirit is Willing But The Flesh is Stronger

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What if the ‘trial’ is a sweet one?

I recently got delivered from a situation that I can only describe as a reverse-trial. And by that I don’t mean the opposite of a trial, or a blessing.. This was a reverse trial because it was not good for me, it was potentially destructive yet I wasn’t exactly fighting to get out of it. It wasn’t the usual fear, discouragement, sickness or lack, still it was a battle that I needed to win without a desire to fight it. I have always read scriptures like, you delivered me from evil, or you set my feet on solid ground as pertaining to deliverance from painful, unpleasant situations. What do you do if the situation is not unpleasant but it can lead to destruction? What if the scripture the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak feels more like the reverse- the spirit is willing but the flesh is stronger?
The flesh has its own strong desires that can overwhelm anything your spirit wants. It is strong and roots for gluttony, lust, laziness. The flesh enjoys these things and much as you want to get out of it, you are enjoying it so its even harder. Compare that to battling against fear, poverty, sickness etc. These things both our spirit and our flesh hate them and we can’t wait to be rid of it. How then do you deal with pleasurable trials?I learned some hard lessons during my trial.
1) Never underestimate the power of the mind, or the strength of the flesh.During a trial your mind and your flesh are going in an opposite direction to your spirit. The scripture says the flesh is at war with the spirit and wants the opposite of what the spirit wants. You are in an actual warfare and you need to pray and fight. You need to respect what your spirit wants as the truth and choose to go with it instead, even that takes an effort.

Gal 5:17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

2)Get off your high horse.

Christians need to get off their high horses by not being quick to judge others. The scripture Galatians 5;7 talks about the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit. Verse 21 Ends with those who practice such will not enter the kingdom of God. So what we do is immediately label any of the preceding acts as pertaining to ‘those in the world’. It doesn’t apply to us since we are not lustful, gluttons or lazy. The truth is that is a deceptive thought because that scripture was written in a letter to the church- you. Not to the world. It does apply to us. If Christians did not engage in such behaviour we wouldn’t have been warned against it. So next time you read that verse don’t skip down to the fruit of the spirit section.

Ecc 7:20 Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins.

1 John 1:8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

3)Your spirit is one with God.

This means you are not fighting on your own. God wants what’s best for you so he does not stand afar pointing an accusing finger at you. Ps 139 :8 Even though I make my bed in hell, you are there. No matter where our flesh leads us to, our father pursues us with his love. He goes with us, helping us, telling us to be strong. During that season I came across scriptures to do with what I was going through; devotionals were delivered to my inbox and sometimes even in conversation I was instructed or reminded of God’s presence in the situation. Only God saw the true picture yet not once did I feel He had left or condemned me.

Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? vs 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there…vs 11:I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night– vs 12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.

4) Create the right environment.

Is your battle with drugs or alcohol? Yes Christians have these battles too. Then create a safe environment for yourself by staying away from direct contact or triggers. If depression or loneliness triggers a return to a bad habit, recognise it and the minute you see it coming from afar, fight the depression and not the alcohol. Don’t allow yourself to fall and then attempt to start fighting from a fallen state.
Fill your mind with scripture, the word of God is life and would reignite the power and passion to fight along with the Lord. Play some praise and worship songs to lead you into God’s presence, for sin cannot stay where the presence of God is.

Prov 22:3 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

5) Ask for help!
If this trial is bigger than you can handle, enlist the help of a trusted friend. These days you can even engage with good Christians virtually via blogs and forums if you have no one you can confide in.
Prov 27:10 10 Don’t leave your friends or your parents’ friends and run home to your family when things get rough; Better a nearby friend than a distant family. (The Message)

6) Use wisdom

Finally, never, ever underestimate the power of the flesh, in the same way never, ever underestimate the power of God’s love.

Gen 4:7 You will be accepted if you respond in the right way. But if you refuse to respond correctly, then watch out! Sin is waiting to attack and destroy you, and you must subdue it.

Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to have all of you, to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers

Our trials always have a purpose and ultimately God is glorified through it. Jesus told Peter he would go through a time of testing or temptation, and even turn away (briefly) from God. But when he was done and had repented and turned back to God, he was to strengthen his brothers, perhaps because of the renewed strength that comes with repentance and also maybe by sharing his experiences.

If you’re going through a time of testing, and your flesh appears to be gaining ground, know that it is God’s will for you to come out victorious, and He is on your side.

I feel the need to share this song…

 

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

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Have you been Stumbling? Does it sometimes feel like when you take two steps forward, you take three steps back? Or perhaps after many twists and turns your hopes are dashed as you reach yet another dead end and you’re back at square one?

Apparently you need wisdom:

Proverbs 4:11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths.
12 When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble.

I have a book by Valorie Burton called What’s Holding You Back?
It’s a good question to ask yourself (and a good book to read)
A lot of what holds us back- you will notice- are not physical ropes but mental and spiritual chains. Some are within our control, some are not. If you are willing, the light of God’s word will search for those chains and dismantle them, for Jesus came to set the captives free.

Prayer
Father I pray for the person reading this, that you will open their heart to receive the wisdom that you so freely give; and with your wisdom and the light of your word, their path will be made straight and they will achieve the dreams you have placed inside them, in Jesus name. I thank you that we are free indeed because The Son has set us free. Amen.

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Another Lie Exposed!

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The Lord recently exposed another lie of the devil to me. In many ways it appears this lie is still being revealed or unfolded but I feel the need to share what I’ve got so far.

I want you to think about a time that you have prayed desperately for something. Perhaps you don’t need to think too far back, you might even be in that state of prayer right now. How did you pray?

Here’s how I do it.

I muster up all the faith I can. I prepare myself to implore the Lord, beg him, twist his arm if possible. I cry. I shout sometimes. I fast. I might get a few trusted friends to join me in prayer. Those conversations will begin with ”Sis, I really need God to move on this one’‘ ‘really’and ‘move’ are enunciated slowly and deliberately and may be accompanied with hand gestures suggesting desperation. I will continue; ‘‘I have been ‘believing God’ for this for a while, and it’s not looking good. I really need God to hear me this time

The Lord showed me how the devil preps us for our prayers to be unanswered even before we begin to pray. He successfully gets our minds into a mode where we feel we have to really ‘beseech’ God. As though the default answer from the Lord will be ‘No my child’, or silence.

Recently I prayed with a friend for a situation in her life. Before praying I had faith and confidence that no begging would be required, because I was praying for something God also wanted for her. A bit like praying for a dying Christian to make it to heaven. You already know they would. As we prayed, I believed I wasn’t actually doing the praying, I was merely agreeing with the Lord on what He had already wanted or established. Put it this way, if God was praying, my prayers were the amens to God’s prayer.

The devil sets up smokescreens or illusions in our minds. The battle occurs in the mind, he uses tricks or wiles on our minds. He would have us believe that prayer is trying to pry out a blessing from the tight-fisted hand of a reluctant God.

God is willing, able and loving. He does not see you and say ‘oh no not you again!” He wants to grant you your request and says He will not hold back any good thing from us.

Remember the man with leprosy in the book of Matthew? He approached Jesus and said : ‘Lord if you are willing, heal me…and Jesus replied; ‘I am willing’ and the man was healed Matt 8:2-3.

How about when we come to God to pray for something He has already promised, we come to him to agree, and not to beg? He is willing. Of course it is different when you want to pray for something not necessarily promised to you by God.

Please understand that I have nothing against crying out to the Lord in desperation, David did that.

But we must also agree that if the battle happens in our minds it follows that we need to work on it- renew it- by bathing it with the word of God daily. Hourly even.

I thought of a definition of faithfulness. Here’s what I came up with.

Faithfulness is God fulfilling the promise you never knew he made to you. He does not take advantage of your ignorance but does what he says he would.

I hope this blessed you, more to come!

Have an awesome day!

Can’t love Jesus? Try this

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The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

John 1:14,  The Message

A while back I was forced to pray; ‘Teach me how to love you Jesus‘.

For reasons I can’t explain I felt like I loved God but didn’t particularly love Jesus- not that I hated Him but it was easier for me to love God the father as my creator, and the one who made the skies and the elements- which I could see. Jesus the son, I associated with hating sin and perhaps never felt comfortable with the fact that He had to pay for my sins through His own suffering and death. Why would anyone do that and not be angry when I fall right back into sin? I clean up after my boys’ mess and get mad when they go right back and mess things up again- and don’t clean up after themselves. Especially since they have been reminded several times that I am in actual fact mum, and not servant.

So I couldn’t quite fathom people who declared undying love to Jesus, or would write songs citing Jesus as the ‘lover of their soul’, still I joined them in their heavenly chorus but it wasn’t from my heart. One day I admitted to the Lord that I had this difficulty and prayed; ”Teach me how to love you Lord’‘. I forgot about that prayer and had no idea that years later my thirst for the word of God had anything to do with it. I began writing this blog because I started to receive hidden meaning and explanation behind the scriptures. Sometimes I would read one verse and a wealth of revelation would literally pour forth from that single verse. Before long I started to hide in His word during trials and I was safe and sound. Put it this way, I was in love with the word, and it was first-hand love. Not revelations from a preacher or a book, but straight from God and I couldn’t seem to get enough of it·

A couple of weeks ago I was reminded of this scripture; ‘and the word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us’ John 1:14. I have been meditating on it and today, I realised- I love Jesus!! Jesus is the word of God (which I unequivocally love) in the form of flesh! If you love God’s word, you love Jesus, He is the word!

God answered my prayer; He taught me how to love Him by teaching me to love His word. Struggling to truly love God? Start to read the word. Read it as though you believe every word in it is true, even though your circumstances tell you the opposite and before long, that living word would give life to your mind and spirit, and would release love for our saviour in your heart.

Hope this blessed you!

John 1:14: So the word became human, and made his home among us.

Distressed? That’s just the beginning

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Someone sent me a text to read 2 Sam 22 this morning and verse 19 jumped out at me:
He will coover You with His wings

They attacked me when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. 2 Sam 22:19.

We are more vulnerable to attack and pain when we are in a state of distress or unhappiness. The enemy knows that our resistance and strength is reduced while in that state. So while you may think the issue causing the distress is an attack, the reality is that it is just the precursor. Ever gone through a season where it appears it’s just one challenging situation after another? It most likely began with you being offended, or distressed about something else. That made you vulnerable and then the attacks followed.

It would appear that joy is the antidote to this vulnerability. You cannot be joyful and distressed at the same time. Joy is perhaps one of the pinions, or feathers of the Lord’s wings that cover us. Ps 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadows of the almighty. The secret place is the presence of God, and in His presence there is fullness of joy. Ps 91: 4 says He will deliver you from the fowler and from the deadly pestilence, He will cover you with His feathers (pinions).

It is futile to try to avoid being attacked, Jesus said in this life you will face many trials. A soldier expects to be attacked in battle that is why he wears protective armour, thank God we have our own God-fortified armour!

A two-pronged approach can be utilised:

1) Stay in God’s presence.

Under the shadows of God’s wings is a safe and warm place to be. Your view of the outside world may be obstructed while you’re there and there is the temptation to keep running out to see how big your threat has grown. Resist it. You are safe, God is taking care of the threat, stay in God’s presence, that is where you’re meant to be.

2) Guard your heart against anyone or situation that would steal your joy, the joy of the Lord is indeed what covers and strengthens us. This means taking an active role in deciding what you allow into your mind, who you spend time with and curbing bad habits that seem harmless. When you are shielded with the joy of the Lord the attacks will come but the arrows won’t pierce.

Do let me know if this blessed you by leaving a comment!

Image: © Wikipedia