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Get some sleep

 

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling really stressed with some of the things I am going through. There are times when I have to fight the thought that I am not alone. And that God is on the scene working on my behalf. I don’t know about you, but that can be tough. It can be tough when you look at your circumstance and realize that time is running out and there is no change to your situation.

In those times…times when I am stressed, or anxious…, my peace gets disturbed and I become exhausted.

But this morning the Lord ministered to me with this scripture.

indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Psalm 121:4

I think for me, it is a reminder that I have done my part. And I need to trust God with the rest. God never asked us to stay awake at night worrying, or to be continually anxious about life. He would never do that because He is always awake, watching over us, our families, and continually working on our circumstances. He never sleeps nor slumbers. That word ‘slumber’ means that He doesn’t take our situations lightly. He is not carefree about it. And because He is working on our situations,..guarding our lives, He wants us to be assured that we can rest.

It is only when we enter into His Rest that we can sleep peacefully. We have to first trust Him to be the God who cares, who is looking out for us, and then we can truly enter into a place where we have a calm assurance that He is fixing things.

Whereever you are, whatever you are worried about, be encouraged that God is watching over your life continually. Even if it seems as though He is asleep in your situation, be reminded that He never sleeps nor slumbers.
With that in mind, you can trust that it’s only a matter of time before things will change for the good.

So rest. Again I say, Rest. Be at peace. And tonight instead of staying up worrying about how this bill will be paid, when your healing will come, when the right job will come along, if you’re ever going to find the right person to spend your life with…Just entrust these cares to your Guard. And get some sleep.

 

There is a purpose for everything that happens

I was listening to one of Charles Stanley’s messages over the weekend. About 15 minutes into the message, he said something that really stuck with me.

“Nothing that you go through is purposeless…”

This statement was perhaps what I needed to hear and perhaps the reason God allowed me to zoom into that specific part of the message.

As I thought about what the last year has been like…Or even the last decade, it’s easy for me to say “God why did I have to go through that?” or “Why am I going through this?”

With God’s grace, I’ve come to see every event that has happened to date as an event that has purpose.

I’m not saying God made it happen. But rather that, despite my poor decision making or whatever it was, God’s grace was set up so that I could learn something from every experience I had.

You see, purpose builds character. And since nothing that we go through is without purpose…I have to believe that every event in my life is meant to build character.

Someone once said that if all you’ve overcome is a common cold… then you’ve got a lot to learn. But when you’ve had to fight cancer, when you have had to deal with a spouse walking out on you, when you’ve had to deal with thoughts of depression and suicide, when you’ve watched your wealth deplete to zero… These are opportunities for character building.

Not everyone takes advantage of these opportunities. In fact, it’s so easy to complain when we go through experiences that can cripple us. But God wants us to always look at these experiences and say “Father what is it that you want me to get from this?”

Sometimes we go through so much in life, that it gets overwhelming. But we must trust that God is preparing us for something great. He is preparing us for a great testimony.

If we can see life through the lens of ‘purposefulness’, there is a chance that we can see what God is trying to do in us.

He is never trying to cripple us. But rather, He is building character in us for the glorious future that He has in store for us.

 

Don’t quit. God is rooting for you.

The last couple of weeks, I had to battle one of the worst bouts of pain I have ever experienced. And I am not exaggerating. It was a pain that was physical, and continuous, lasting about 10 days. On a threshold of 1 to 10, it felt like a 15! 

During this time, I cried, I screamed, I kneeled, I shook my hands in the air profusely. I spent my nights walking on my bed rather than sleeping. And when I did sleep, it was for about 15 mins before a bout of pain would hit me again. I had to miss days of work, church and living. 

I kept thinking to myself, God how much longer, maybe it’s best if I just gave up. What I was fighting for….was it worth it??

I was grateful to have a few friends who were there to comfort me and pray for me. But I am the type of person, that nothing really kicks in until I hear it for myself. And at the back of my head, I heard “Don’t quit!”

I swear, if any human being had said that to me, I would have punched them in the face! Because I felt like they weren’t understanding how great the pain was. But that voice came from within me. And so there was no one to punch if I didn’t like it. I had to believe it.

I remember a song that my mom taught me when I was in my teens…

He didn’t bring you this far to leave you
He didn’t teach you to swim so you could drown
He didn’t put His home in you to move away
He didn’t pick you up, to let you down. No No. 
He didn’t pick you up to let you down. 

(Apparently it’s an actual song. I thought my mom made it up. Here’s the original. 

Mom’s version was better though. 

 

As I rehearsed this song over and over in my head (with the pain still very present and tears running down my face constantly), I saw a picture of a pregnant woman in the delivery room with a glowing man standing next to her. The result was obvious- a baby. But the present circumstance was that she was in the worse pain she ever imagined. Still in the midst of the pain, this Glowing man was there holding her hand, saying “I’m here for you Babe! You can do it! You can get through this!” 

I envisioned that same Glowing man was there rooting for me as I was feeling this pain.

And yes, I did pray for supernatural healing. And perhaps it did happen already in the spirit realm. But now He was present in the natural realm fighting the pain with me until my healing was fully manifested naturally. 

We are all going to go through painful events one time or the other. And sometimes we even pray “God make the pain go away!”. It’s not that He doesn’t answer. But we should know that He is such a present help in the time of need, that He leaves His throne to come right by our side holding our hands and encouraging us not to quit.

Even in the midst of pain… God is there rooting for you until the pain goes away and until you have complete victory. Don’t quit. 

When it seems too much to bear…

A couple of days ago, my car decided to ‘conk’ out as my Guyanese fellows would say. That is, it went dead while driving at an extremely busy intersection. I found myself going into ‘damsel in distress’ mode. Not to mention, I was wearing a rather Springy maxi dress and heels as I was on my way to church. I did the drill of putting on my emergency lights and having all the other rush hour traffic pass by. I didn’t know what the problem was, and yes, I was very unprepared for this event.  It’s interesting though, because no one seemed interested enough or concerned enough to get out of their cars to help me.

Alas, two good Samaritans pulled over (one Barbadian and one Canadian) and helped me. Chivalry (or humanity for that matter) is not as dead as I thought. I found it interesting. One man had just gone to the store to buy one of those towing strap things…. (i don’t speak car). He had no idea why he bought it. He drove a pretty good vehicle. But alas, he had found a reason to use it- towing my car off the road.The other guy had a tool box with enough tools to perform car surgery.

Between the two of them, they began to work on my car. I couldn’t help but notice that although one man was black and the other white, they worked together as a team trying to figure out what was wrong with my car…Alas..distress had conquered discrimination.

After about 45 mins, they couldn’t find the problem. Smurfie (my car) was just dead. They apologized for not being able to help and I thanked them for what they did and blessed them. They called the towing company for me and I sat there waiting for the guy to come.

As I waiting for an additional hour, I couldn’t help but think: Lord why is this happening to me? Health expenses, Bills, Responsibilities all on a part time salary…Now this? When will it end.?..

After towing Smurfie to my mechanic, I went home and just sat there…in silent frustration. Not sure whether to cry, or yell at God, or just through a tantrum. Didn’t do any of that. I just ate. Yes I am that girl who eats in crisis.

After finding out what was wrong with Smurfie (the timing belt and some other words I can’t remember-  total cost of $700) I was at a very low point. I asked God to show me the good in all of this? God reminded me of a few things:

I (God) stopped that traffic light so that your car did not die in moving traffic and caused an accident I (God) had that man buy a towing strap this week even though he didn’t need it. I (God) sent that Myers towing guy back from Alberta so that he could run this particular shift and help you. I (God) will also provide to get this car fixed. My grace is sufficient for you.

I wish I could say, that I was immediately comforted and sprung to my feet in a bounce. But I didn’t. I felt alone. I felt frustrated and I felt overwhelmed. But in all that, I took solace in what the Holy Spirit said (I knew it was the Holy Spirit because the right word -towing strap- only came to me after he said it. Before that, I didn’t know a towing strap thingy existed).

I took solace in the fact that I could have died that day if the traffic was moving. And that my car could broken down in a place where there was no one to help..But God’s keeping grace…

I also took solace in the fact that there are a lot of good things happening in my life: an amazing man, an extension on my contract, my ministry…The devil is not at all pleased. But God has promised victory.

I said all of that to say this: When unfortunate life experiences happen, don’t let them throw you. When it seems too much to bear. pay attention to the grace of God and how that same grace will keep you going. Also, in the midst of everything, keep on praising. Even if it’s just a whisper like Hanna, keep a song of gratitude in your heart and on your lips. He will come through. In the mean time remember what He said:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”- 2 Cor 12:9

A piece of God’s Peace

Real peace, offers contentment for where you are. It sees the value of where God is taking you, rather than focus on the negatives of where you’ve been. Real peace, does not complain. Real peace is patient even if it doesn’t know the outcome, because ‘it’ knows that God knows the outcome. It just rests in God knowing that He’s got it under control.

Oh, if only we would tap into just a small piece…of God’s Peace in our lives…what a difference it would make in our lives.

Psalm 107:8-9 ESV
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Come back to your First Love

I had this overwhelming desire to go back to the cross this morning during my devotion.

As I began to meditate on Calvary (not what is depicted on TV, but what truly took place on the cross), I couldn’t help but wonder : how does a believer  become lukewarm in Christ. Lukewarm for me means ‘unexcited’, ‘not wanting to be or do anything for God’, not even having the desire to commune with God. It’s a love gone cold.

I have asked myself this question several times. Mainly in the times when I feel like I am slipping. But also in the times when I see others around me lose their faith, or become complacent in their relationship with God. I think that often times people feel that God has disappointed them in some way or the other. Or people have disappointed them and God pays for it. When such thoughts come to mind, as they do in any relationship, we slowly shut down. The passion wanes. And we begin to float in lukewarm waters. We have no desire to seek Him or chase after Him.

As I am meditating on this, I think of a hymn that says:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

I think that core reason that we sometimes become disconnected from God, is because we lose sight of the Cross.

I’ve heard about the cross several times. But there are times like this morning in my devotion,  that I truly am moved by it. When I am done, I can’t help but fall in love with God and the work of the Cross all over again.

The cross- Therein we see God taking on human form, and allowing Himself to be beaten to a pulp, ridiculed, scorned and killed…for nothing.

I don’t know about you, but if I were God—God who is able to speak a single word and cause mountains to tremble… I would have said two words and let all my haters fall to the ground.

But He didn’t do that. Instead, he endured. Think about it. He didn’t have to endure any of the things they put Him through. But He did. He did it for me.  And for you. Why?

He did it so that we would know what real love looked like. He did it so we would know that He loved us so…

This is love. Real love perseveres. This is the love that God gives.

If we were to continually think about that, I think it would be hard to slip away. Hard to let Him go. Hard to fall out of love. Hard to become distracted.

This kind of love is binding. It is compelling. It is constraining. It’s the type of love that makes you want to do more and more for God rather than let Him go. But it starts with how you see the cross.

So today, if you are in a very low place of hurt, pain, disappointment; if you are in a very lukewarm place in your Christian walk; if you are in a place where you just don’t ‘feel’ God.. Go back to the Cross. Go back to your first love.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1John 4:19).

Whose report will you believe?

I was listening to my Accuradio this morning and heard a song about “Whose report will you believe”. It could not have come at a more appropriate time.

Yesterday, I spent a good 6 hours in the ER and I couldn’t help but reflect on the year I have had. I had been in and out of the ER and doctors’ offices more than I would like for my age. I know that someone somewhere is going through worse than I am, but as I watched each doctor last night, come in with a stack of papers with my history  I couldn’t help but feel…tired, weary… fed up.

You know those two imaginary people that sit on your shoulder? Well while sitting in the waiting room, I heard the one in black and red say, why don’t you just give up? The one in white wasn’t saying much.

I began to pray. “God what do you want me to do? Why is this happening? How much longer”. But there was no answer to those questions either.

I have no doubt that God heals. Cuz I’ve seen him do it. But when the doctor comes in with a history as long as my arm and with only one solution to make the pain go away, it makes your spiritual self pause for a bit.

Hearing the song this morning was a reminder, that you can’t trust in man’s report of you. You can’t place all of your trust in what they say about you. There is a report that God has written for your life and how it is to be lived. All the things that you are meant to have and what you are not going to have. You can’t trust the report of anyone else but God. It doesn’t matter how much history the natural world has on you. They might have facts. But the truth…the true report is the plan that God has written for your life. They may be able to piece together certain observations and come up with a history. But God has the blueprint. So the real history is HIS-STORY about you.

This is what I am trying to hold on to- His Report.

His report says I am healed.

His report says I am free.

His report say victory.

What a Friend!

There used to be a song that we sung in church…A hymn really.

        What a friend we have in Jesus, 
	all our sins and griefs to bear! 
	What a privilege to carry 
	everything to God in prayer! 
	O what peace we often forfeit,
	O what needless pain we bear, 
	all because we do not carry 
	everything to God in prayer.

There is more to this hymn. But it has been echoing in my spirit over the last few days.

A couple days ago, I was brainstorming helpful tips with my team members about how to overcome when you are overwhelmed. We had well and created a decent list of solutions, but one had evaded us.- Prayer.

It is such a simple truth, but one that we can so easily forget… – That we have a friend in Jesus. That He is there to bear all of our sins and grief.

We have the awesome privilege, like the Prodigal son to come before the Throne of Grace, as often as we need to take everything to God in Prayer.
The rest of the hymn is even more ironic. Especially when I think of all the times that I think I have to go it alone, or that I think that there’s no one there to help. `What needless pain we bear’ when we try to go it alone.

I can imagine God right now, watching some of us carrying our heavy weights, carrying our problems, carrying our issues, addictions, pain… by ourselves, when He is right there beside us to help us….and is waiting for us to just come to Him for help.

What a Friend!

 

Get your ‘cute’ back!

I had the awesome privilege of spending an amazing Encounter weekend with my Sis. This weekend was incredible for me in so many ways. Many of you would remember my first testimony from my first Encounter where God gave me a totally heart transplant. My second encounter was not as great as I was not entirely focused. This time though, I was ready to kick devil butt. And he was in turn ready to keep me from receiving from God. I will try to elaborate more on what I received in this last encounter throughout the week, As God leads. But for now I just wanted to share a general message I heard.

Often we don’t realize the toll the world can have on us. On Friday when I got to the encounter, I noticed that many of the women who came were either frowning or angry. Or heavy laden. We don’t always realize that this is the toll of being in the world. I mean you can put on tons of makeup to cover up the stress on your face, but the fact remains that the experiences of this world can make us angry, bitter, cranky and just plain ol’ ugly!

Nobody likes ‘ugly’. And this is why it is always good to hide yourself in the presence of God for a while.

he that dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the almighty- psalm 91:1

The encounter weekends, enable you to do that. You see while the world can make you ugly…. Jesus can make you pretty again. And so if you can find time to just be in His presence, He will always refresh you, and keep the ‘ugly’ away.

My proof of this was seen at the encounter. On Friday night, about 90 women came into a room with all sorts of problems, looking weary and depressed … And on Sunday morning, they were all glowing. They got their ‘cute’ back.

So I now have a secret for how to get your cute back. Get into the presence of God. Don’t just do it once in a while. Do it everyday. I believe the results are better than any peel, any face lift, any hairdo.

…he restoreth my soul- a verse in psalm 23

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Enjoy the Journey

I remember listening to a message a long time ago by a minister about a young woman who was going through some tough times.

She lost her job which later led to her losing her house and her car. She soon found herself having to move into an apartment with a not so close friend in another city temporarily  While she was there, she met a young man who really hurt her. She was so hurt that she became an alcoholic and later had to seek counselling and join an AA group. At the AA group, she met another person who was a recovering alcoholic but who had found Christ. That person became her best friend and led her to the Lord. After going to the church with her friend for a while, she met a young man who was in the image of Christ and who respected her. Shortly after that, she learned that her mom passed away. She had never been close to her mom and the fact that she had passed away without ever really getting to know her, was devastating. But she didn’t have to go through it alone. Because she had two wonderful friends to pray her through it. One day she was sitting next to a bus stop waiting for the bus. She asked herself “how did I get here?”. She was referring to the fact that she had a car and now she had to take the bus. Just then a man sat beside her. They began to talk. His car had broken down unexpectedly and he had to take it to a mechanic. He was not even from her town. The law firm he worked for had sent him to the next town to find the daughter of a woman who passed away, but his car only made half the journey. It turns out that she was the woman he was looking for. Her mother, although they had not spoken for a long time, had left her a house and a car and a great inheritance.

You will never understand why you have to go through some things. Sometimes it seems like you’re in the wrong place. Sometimes it seems like you’ve made major mistakes. And perhaps you have. Perhaps you are. But every step of a righteous man or woman is ordered by God. Even in times of despair, God does things to keep you going. You may have lost things and people, but God will position people to comfort and encourage you. You may be going through financial struggles, but your steps are ordered and somewhere, someday you will sit beside someone who God has positioned to bless you. There is never a moment in your life that God is not ordering your steps. Be aware of the journey that you are in. It may have bumps and pot holes, but look out for the subtle blessings God is providing.

Remember:

All things work together for your good. It may not look good. But it is working together for your good.

Enjoy the journey.