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Walking into sunshine

I didn’t intend on blogging today, but my son was ill while at school, and so I took the rest of the day off of work to nurse him back to health. Kudos to single moms everywhere. Not everyone understands or appreciate what you do, but do it because God has blessed you with the incredible anointing to raise your little ones.

Anyhoo, I really wanted to write to  you about what I felt the Holy Spirit ministered to me yesterday. It’s not particularly on the topic of relationships, but I hope you can be encouraged by this.

Yesterday, while on my break, I took a drive to clear my head. From the time I got into the car, it started to rain. I mean it was a downpour. I needed to clear my head, so I went away. While driving, my phone rang. I thought I should let it go to voicemail given the conditions on the road, but it was a call that I had been expecting for a few weeks so I answered it (on speaker, of course). The woman that I was speaking with started the conversation by telling me how lovely the day was. I thought perhaps she was out of the city that we both lived in. And so I asked her, “where are you?” She said she was heading back to the office. Seeing that I was literally two blocks away from her office, I found this strange. So I asked her to clarify.

It turned out that she was exactly two blocks away from where I was driving. Actually she was on the same major street that I was driving on, but two intersections further up. Where she was walking, the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing and the grounds were as dry as can be. But where I was driving, which wasn’t too far off from where she was, the weather was not so pleasant. I could hardly see outside my window at one point, because it rained so hard.

I thought to myself…”huhm. This is interesting”. As I focussed to get a glimpse of what was ahead of me, I realized something. I saw what she was seeing. That in just a few more minutes, the rain would be behind me. If I kept driving a little longer, I would drive myself out of the rain patch I was in, and drive myself into a beautiful place. It was only 3 mins away. Where I was standing, it looked horrific, but there was sunshine ahead!

I want to encourage someone today, to go forward. Where you are standing… where you are at right now in life, may seem like a never-ending storm. But a few feet away, you could walk into sunshine. Dark clouds may be hovering over you. But ahead, God has sunny patches prepared for you, bright sunshine and so much more. Keep pressing forward to what lies ahead of you.

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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.

 

Keep the faith

I think faith is something that grows with each experience you have. In fact the more you go through trials, you will either be faced with the choice to increase your faith by trusting God or you will lose your faith by deciding to not trust in God.

In my opinion faith doesn’t come easy. It’s the most intangible thing on the planet and the key is that you have to hold on to it like a football until you ‘touchdown’. And when you do make a touchdown, you’ve got to keep fighting to hold on it before the enemy takes it away from you (By the way, I know nothing about football really. I just think that the guys are cute. So if my analogy doesn’t make sense, I’m sorry 🙂 ).

But the point is that faith is so important for having continuous ‘touchdown’ victories, that you have to be aggressive in attaining and keeping it. Faith determines your level of peace. It determines your joy, your hope and your willingness to love again after people have jaded your perception of love. We know that faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. But apart from this deep regurgitation of scripture, how else do we get and ‘keep’ our faith?

I think that one of the ways we can  do that is to surround ourselves with a team of people who are faith pursuing  warriors…People who are intent on going ‘up’ rather than stay in the Lodebar of fear that the enemy has them. People on a defense football team… have one thing in common. They are all going in the same direction chasing after the ‘ball’ (that’s my last analogy, I promise).

It’s not that I am a snob or that I am shy at making friends(although I am sure many think I am one of the two). But after years of ‘nonsense’, and allowing people into my life who pulled me down in so many ways, I have had to make a very conscious choice to watch the type of people I allow in my inner circle. When you’re in the fight to hold on to your faith, you have to watch those negative, fear filled so called believers around you. And man, do they come in all shapes and forms.

Recently, the Holy Spirit began speaking to me about something that I’ve been failing at for many years- choosing the people who come into my life. I remember lying in bed one night, and hearing Him say to my heart, “I’ve called you to love. But I didn’t call you to be stupid. Guard your heart. Let your heart be a sieve. Do not let anyone and anything into it. Filter in the people that are good for you. And anything that will destroy you, be prepared to dispel.”

Since then, it’s been a fight. Not a struggle. But I feel like I’m constantly in a war, fighting to keep my faith. I know that if I lose faith, I’ll lose everything- my joy, my peace, my hope. And so I’ve learned (and I continue to learn), to shield myself from people and things that would breed fear instead of faith and that would cause my faith level to dissipate.

There are times when I am speaking to people and I realize that (although they may have my best interest at heart), they can’t help but to spew questions and comments that do not line up with the word of God. Questions like “How are you going to do this alone?” Or “Oh dear, I had an aunt who had that and she died!”.

Such people cannot be on my team. They can be ‘there’….somewhere on the outskirts and I will pray for them. But if I am not careful to establish the boundaries of whom I let into my life, I will become a fearful and carnal person. I don’t want that. So I love them… from a distance…

What I want to be around are people who will say- “You’re not alone. God has you. He’s always had you. WE can do this.” or “You can beat this. I don’t know anyone who has, but I believe God can do it”.

Those are the people who will help me score a touchdown.

What is God saying to you about the people in your life?

Are they encouraging, supporting and building you up in a spirit of faith and power?
Or are they encouraging a spirit of fear in you.
Are they nurturing the fruits of the spirit in you? Or are they making you less of the Christian that God wants you to be?
Do they enhance your life by motivating or energizing you? Or do they trouble your spirit?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear…(2Tim1:7)

So let’s not align ourselves with that spirit.

Selah.

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.

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!

 

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.

Let us cross over to the other side.

Mark 4:35…On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”

39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”[a] 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

 

I really, really, want us to read that bit of scripture. It ministered to me so much last night and this morning and the Holy Spirit revealed three parts to me that were so encouraging. I can probably do 10 tidbits on this scripture but I want to share just three ‘tidbits’ over the next few days.

 

The first tidbit is based on the first part:

Mark 4:35…On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”

You would notice that it wasn’t until they decided to cross over to the other side that the problem began to surface.

Tidbit:

Whenever you are about to face a storm in your life, realize that it is only happening because you are about to cross over to the other side.

The other side is not supposed to be something deep and super spiritual. And I am not talking about going to heaven. It’s that side that God is going to bring your greater. It’s that side where, if you’ve been hurting…you are about to experience greater joy.

It’s that side where you will laugh again. Love again. Work again. Live again.

Right now you might be in a storm. It might be a loud storm. It might be a quiet, internal storm. Know that the storm you are facing is happening because you are sooner than later going to cross over to the other side.

 

When you pray…

Prayer means ‘to ask for something’.

When you pray, don’t just tell God about the problem, because if you do, you have not really asked for anything.

Instead, be specific about what it is you want God to do in your life. And then wait.

…but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Phil 4:6

When you pray, believe that God is able to provide an answer. That is, don’t pray and then walk away because you think God is suppose to answer you straight away. Instead, after you pray, Wait for an answer. If we wait and listen, often He will provide an answer. That answer might be “okay”, “not now”, “no”. Whatever it is we should know His voice and we should be okay with His answer.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.- Jeremiah 29:11

When you pray, believe that God is the Problem Solver. There is no going around this. The scripture says

For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.- Heb 11:6

So believe.