BIBLICAL INSPIRATION

Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbour for his good for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually]. Rom 15:2 (Amplified Bible)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Reflections 6: Lifted up by storms

Hi Christoggers!
...and this too shall pass!

It's time once again for 'REFLECTIONS', where I share the lessons I have learnt in my christian walk with you. The previous REFLECTION post was in three parts and they can be found here: Part 1Part 2 and Part 3

I was going through a period of 'peace in troubled times' and was so happy about it that I wanted to share it in my post. "Oh no, you won't! No way!" This was what I felt the devil was saying because peace suddenly took to flight and a spirit of heaviness came for an uninvited visit! I felt it in a matter of minutes and somehow, knew what it was. I could not pray out loud, I could not sing and just felt like a zombie - completely lifeless. "Put on YOUR garment of praise", said the Holy Spirit. I knew what to do but felt so numb and weighed down."Put on YOUR garment of praise!". Slowly, starting with a hum, I began to sing. The heaviness lifted off a little. As if to ensure that I did not make progress, situations in my life went topsy-turvy! It was one thing after another; I felt so drained of life, spiritually and physically exhausted. 

I sat down and made a list of all the projects I was doing and wrote down why I was doing them. Then, I went to the Lord in prayer, going through my list and reminding him that I was doing what HE told me to do. As I prayed, I saw myself standing in front of a sea and as I turned my head to look back, I could hear 'Pharaoh's army'. I suddenly began to declare: "I have left Egypt. I will not go back. Only a dog returns to it's vomit. I am a child of the Living God and he will complete what he began in me..." 

The lesson: you WILL go through storms BUT God is always present, whether you feel him or not. If you can still praise God in the storm, the stormy winds will lift you higher in God, the rains will cleanse and purify you and the lightning will set your heart on fire for more of God. How do I know this? I came out of this trial with a greater hunger for God and through this, another album of songs was birthed =)). 

Next week, I will share with you some things to note, while 'WAITING AT YOUR RED SEA'. Till then, keep on walking in Christ!

Yorz-in-Christ,
Funmi 'Lahyorz' Akinmade




Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Re-post: A different perspective

Hi Christoggers!
Where's your destination?

This week, I would like to share the story of a man who we are quite familiar with - his name is Joseph. He had a vision from God which he did not quite understand. By this, I mean he had dreams about God's plan for his life but he had no revelation as to how these were to be realised in his life. The part of his story that I would like to narrate is found in the book of Genesis, chapters 37, 39, 40 & 41. Do not panic - I have no intention of regurgitating the chapters of the book here ;)).

We all love a story with a happy end and Joseph's falls into this category. I am however curious as to how he coped with all that happened to him. The question I asked myself was, "How would Joseph have handled each situation, had he known about God's end plan?" One could assume that he would have been better prepared to deal with it, had he known what the end result was going to be. I mean, he was to become the second most powerful person in Egypt - what more could one ask for? The Israelites on the other hand knew about God's end plan for them. They knew that the land God was taking them to was a better land with greater prospects than where they were. It however did not stop them complaining about anything and everything that did not please them! Do you think it would have made a difference to the attitudes of the Israelites had they been pre-warned about all the 'hardship' they were to encounter on their way to the promised land? If your answer is 'yes', then why, after God demonstrated his power over and over again, did they keep complaining? Joseph had no clue about what he had to go through nor where he was going to, but yet, he did not complain about his ordeals. I think the reason or at least one of the reasons Joseph handled his trials better, was because he had a different perspective. We know he coped better through his ordeals because the bible tells us that even when Potiphar's wife 'invited him to sleep with her' (Gen 39:7), he refused because 'it would be a great sin against God' (Gen 39:9). He still honoured God as a servant in Potiphar's house! As a result of his obedience, God gave him favour. He prospered in all that he did - whatever and wherever that was. His circumstances did not change who he was in God nor who God was to him. He did not take on worldly attributes because things were not going his way. He did not misuse the opportunities presented to him but carefully used them to better himself in a godly manner. What exactly prevented Joseph from caving in under pressure and dishonouring God in spite of everything he went through? Come with me on a fictional journey as I delve into and narrate Joseph's thoughts on the matter:

In Genesis 37, a young man named Joseph tells his brothers and father about his dreams. They were quite displeased with him; how could one so young, insinuate that they, his older (and better) brothers, were someday going to be his subjects. On his father's instructions, Joseph visited his brothers as they pastured their father's flock. In an attempt to do away with Joseph, his brothers threw him into a pit. They called it a pit but to Joseph, it was a 'shade from the burning sun'! He was then sold to some traders travelling to Egypt but to Joseph, this was a 'caravan-lift' to Egypt. In Genesis 39, Joseph is sold as a slave to Potiphar, a captain of the palace guard but to Joseph, this was his 'enrollment in the school of management studies'. He was later thrown into the king's prison as a result of Potiphar's wife's false accusations but to Joseph, it was his 'entrance ticket into the king's palace'. How else could he have got into the palace? Whether he got in through the front door, back door or the prison door, really did not matter. All that was important, was that he was in the palace! His new address confirmed this:

                      Joseph, son of Jacob
                      The King's Prison
                      The Palace
  
In the prison, he was put in charge of all the prisoners and prison affairs. However to Joseph, this was his study semester in 'people management'. He later had to serve Pharaoh's jailed officials but to Joseph, this was a 'job promotion'. He interpreted dreams in the prison but this was in effect, 'his calling card'. The rest, as they say, is history. All his 'ordeals' were actually training programmes he needed to function successfully in the call of God on his life. By having a different perspective, Joseph was able to focus and make  the best of bad situations. He used these circumstances to his advantage. Travelling to Egypt by caravan was better than trying to escape on foot! Working in Potiphar's house was better than trying to survive on the streets as a beggar. Being in charge of Potiphar's business was good training for him and did him far more good, than complaints about overwork could have done! The responsibility for the prisoners prepared him for dealing with tough situations. By using his gift of dream interpretation, he was a blessing to others. Not only did this give him direct access to the king but also brought him to the place of his God-ordained destiny

We know that we will face many troubles here on earth - Jesus already told us this. However, if we take another look at the problems or circumstances we find ourselves in, we may be able to weather the storms better if we change our perspective. A cup of water seen as half-empty leaves a different impression than one that is considered half-full. Yes, it is true that we have to deal with many difficulties in life. However, we decide whether we ride the storm or the storm rides us. We want to come through our trials with a victory-march, still able to stand tall rather than a victory-crawl, looking worn out from the battle. The saying, "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me",(Phil 4:13), is not only about achievements in positive circumstances but also for endurance in trials and tests. Change your outlook and you can change the outcome! May God produce in us, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing unto him, Amen (Heb 13:21). Till next week, keep on walking in Christ.

Yorz-in-Christ,
Funmi 'Lahyorz' Akinmade


Image courtesy of sattva/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Sinful constipation

Hi Christoggers!
Are you bogged down by sin?

The title of this week's post is not so enticing, is it? This was what I blurted out as I read Psalm 32. I got to verse 3 and heard 'SINFUL CONSTIPATION'. You are probably wondering how constipation can be sinful. I would like to share with you, 5 points from SIN to VICTORY, (a phrase which I found better as a title but the Lord was not having it!).

  • PHYSICAL UNREST: Verse 3 states, 'When I kept silence [before I confessed], my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. Sin is a burden of oppression. Sin can lead to deterioration of one's health - a wasting away. The Holy Spirit cannot abide where there is unconfessed sin and this leaves one with an emptiness as well as a sense of being like a lost sheep without a shepherd.
  • SPIRITUAL UNREST: Verse 4 states that 'For day and night Your hand [of displeasure] was heavy upon me; my moisture was turned into the drought of summer.' This is actually supposed to bring us down on our knees to confess. Without the Word, we do dry up and the joy of God's presence is lost. God in his goodness shows us where we have gone wrong, so that we may return to the shadow of his wings of protection.
  • CONFESSION Verse 5 - I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord [continually unfolding the past till all is told]—then You [instantly] forgave me the guilt and iniquity of my sin. Owning up to sin AND confessing brings deliverance, not only from physical and spiritual unrest but also, from satanic stronghold. We have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and have no business trading there!
  • UNCONFESSED SIN: If we choose NOT to confess, Satan goes to work. He will either bring us into a camp of JUSTIFICATION or CONDEMNATION. In the JUSTIFICATION camp, he'll convince us that the sin was 'no big deal' - no 'real' wrong and we end up being deceived with a suspended burden of sin. We think we are free though in reality, still bound by sin. In the CONDEMNATION camp, he'll feed us with lies of being too guilty to be forgiven by God. Forgetting grace and accepting this lie makes us a prey to be lured into Satan's stronghold.
  • VICTORY: The key to freedom from sin is confession; it breaks the shackles of guilt. This key is however NOT in God's hands but ours. Please note that there is a time - a season, to confess. 'For this [forgiveness] let everyone who is godly pray—pray to You in a time when You may be found...' (verse 6). God wants us free - free from destruction by sinful constipation!
And when the trials come, the Lord will surround us with songs and shouts of deliverance - a remembrance of his promises, to give us the victory. Till next week, keep on walking in christ!

Yorz-in-Christ,
Funmi 'Lahyorz' Akinmade

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net