Grace Today Magazine – House of Grace Church (October 2011)
“1I AM [Jeremiah] the man who has seen affliction… 21But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: 22It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. 23They are new every morning; great and abundant is your stability and faithfulness. 24The Lord is my portion or share says my living being (my inner self); therefore will I hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.” (Lamentations 3:1a; 21-24 Amplified)
Sometimes in life we go through situations and circumstances that we do not understand neither can we really explain what is happening in our lives. At these times in life, all we can do is murmur, complain about the pain that we are going through even when we have done what we ought to have done to make sure that everything is going the way we would love to see things. But we ought to understand that there are some things that we will never understand. All we can do is align ourselves with God and allow him to do what He wills with our lives.
Paul Reminds us and tells us that “… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NIV) At times it beats my knowledge and understanding of how God deals with us and the situations that He allows us to go through; yet, whenever we ask questions of why things are happening the way they are; His answer is always “my Grace is sufficient for you..” (2 Corinthians 12:9) and for someone in pain; this is something hard to take in.
We have examples of people who have been through hard times and they came out strong! from them, I learn a few lessons that I want to share with you! Take a look at Job and Joseph. Both were beloved people but they find themselves in circumstances and situations that they can’t explain. but from them, I take home these important lessons. During times of trials and afflictions:
- Your FAITH is tried, Tested and BUILT: When we are down in the valley, you will agree with me that you have very few friends. Nobody wants to be associated with you at that time. Joseph couldn’t understand why his own brethren would sell him off to slavery. I believe Job couldn’t take it anymore when his dear wife told him to curse God and die… (Job 2:9). But look at both of them.. through these trying moments, they hold onto God and at the end they come out victorious.
- You are being PREPARED for your next level: If I was Joseph; I wouldn’t have imagined that the dreams I had would have come to pass. But we see after getting from Potiphar’s house to the prison, his next place was the palace. There are things that God needs to see in you before He can release you to your next level… and the best way to is for you to go through what you are going through now. Be patient and learn the lesson NOW!! else you will repeat till you learn.
- In the end you get a DOUBLE PORTION: When God was through with Joseph, he was elevated to be the second in Command in Egypt and above all he had control of all the store house of Egypt. Job was restored and he was blessed with double of what he had in the beginning. (Job 42:11)
- You Know the FAITHFULNESS of the Lord: There is no one else who can give a TESTIMONY of anything if he/she hasn’t been at the place of TESTING. You can only know God well if you have been to that place where you have nowhere or no one else to turn to. Do not rely on people or things that can fail you… Trust in God and in Him alone.
You may not understand everything that’s going on in your life right now, but I encourage you to keep your head held high. Know that God is working in your life. Keep being faithful. Keep doing the right thing, knowing that in the end God is going to turn things around in your favor. If God is for you, who can be against you? No one. Greater is the One who is in you than anyone who can be against you. No matter what’s going on around you today, you can put your shoulders back and put a smile on your face because God is working things together for your good because He loves you!
PS! This is an article I contributed to the Grace Today Magazine of House of Grace Church (www.houseofgrace.or.ke). Visit the church and get your free copy of the October Magazine.
Fight until you kill them all!
15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines,… 18 In the course of time, there was another battle with the Philistines, at Gob. 20And there was again war at Gath… 2 Samuel 21:15, 18, 20
I will not forget the night of November 12th 2010. It’s one of the nights that I had a stop and look at my life. A day that saw a turn around and the revival of dead passion and enthusiasm to pursue my dreams in life. It is a day that the Lord reminded me that I do not have to give up on my dreams half way… I need to fight to the end. To read more of that devotion… Click Here. God used Joshua tremendously and he defeated many kings in his life; conquered so much life for the Israelites but he relaxed before he could conquer the whole land and the Lord spoke to him in Joshua 13:1 and said to him “You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land remains to be possessed…” This was a wake up call to Joshua but he was too old and advanced in years and could do very little over the same and he died when he had not accomplished what god had called him to do.
Did you know that most of us are like Joshua? We fight on and on and we win many battles in this life and we reach a point and think that we have finished all the battles in life and we relax. The minute we relax, we busk and down our tools and thus we give the enemy time to reconcile himself and plan an ambush on us. And by the time we realize that the enemy is on the loose, we are late and we can do nothing to defend ourselves. It is because of this reason that Joshua didn’t fight and conquer that we find David fighting with the philistines.
One thing I want you to realize as a Christian is that there are battles that you are supposed to fight to the end and win. The minute you do not fight the battles to completion, know that you are leaving your descendants and the generations that will come after you trouble and battles to fight. In David’s time as a king, the bible records that he fought and killed all the giants in the land of philistine. If you read in detail the passage above, you will realize that his men fought and killed the four brothers of Goliath. And because of that, the nation of Israel enjoyed peace in David’s time as a king. This leads me to the question… What are you leaving behind for your descendants and the generations to come after you?
The bible tells us that a good man leaves inheritance for his Children (Proverbs 13:22). It wouldn’t be ideal if we start something but not bring it to an end and leave it half way! You need to realize that each and every generation has got its own struggles to deal with and the moment you carry something over, it becomes an added burden to those who take it up upon them to finish up the task. As a believer and even in our lives, we need to finish up what we start. Do not overburden others with your struggles.
I know that battles never end… you may go to sleep before you can even conquer on of your enemies. It is by the grace of God that we fight these battles and win. David realized this and in 2 Samuel 22:18 he says this “… He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.” There are times that the enemy is too strong for us and can easily overpower us… but as David learnt; the secret is not to run away or fret, the secret is to trust in the Lord who “trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. “You have delivered me from the attacks of the peoples; you have preserved me as the head of nations.” (2 Samuel 22:35, 40, 44) He knew it is the Lord who preserves us and enables us to win. No matter how skillful you are; how knowledgeable or tactful you are… it is just by God’s grace!
David was one man who didn’t want to relax just like Joshua did! He knew that his enemies were still up and alive… and thus he was always ready for battle and in this chapter, we see that four times, the philistines rose in war against Israel but David and his men were ready to fight. You don’t know when the enemy will strike thus you need to be alert and aware and moreover, ready to fight him back. The bible tells us that “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9. Peter was warning the believers against relaxing. He used a word that a Military term Be ALERT! This means that you need to be always on your guard.. watching against the enemy lest he gets you unaware.
Since you never know when your enemies will rise up against you, I learn a few lessons from David as well as the advise that James is giving us. I want to share with you 4 points that will help you fight on and defeat your enemies till you finish them.
- Don’t wait for your enemy to attack, go and fight him in his Camp. – The bible tells us that David and his men went down to where the enemies were and they fought them. (2 Samuel 21:18b) When David was fighting Goliath in 1 Samuel 17:48b the bible tells us again that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. For many of us, it is usually the other way round. We hear rumors that the enemy wants to attack us but we just stay put and wait for the enemy to strike and that’s the time that we dash to pick up our weapons. It will be too late for you to compose yourself, strategize and then counter the attack. Be like David… go for your enemy, do not allow him to come for you. Run, attack and fight your enemy before he fights you.
- Be ALERT and of SOBER mind: - Peter warns us vehemently as believers that we need to be alert. The word alert has got two meanings: a) being watchful and prompt to meet danger or emergency b) being quick to perceive and act. Both meanings are applicable to us. We need to be watchful and ready to meet any danger or attack that comes our way. Secondly, our Antennas should be very clear to receive any signal, perceive in and act accordingly. The bible tells us that we need not to be ignorant of the plans devices of the devil lest he takes advantage of us. (2 Corinthians 2:11). The devil wont give you a notice and tell you that I will be attacking you on a certain day… no! he just strike anytime. You need to be ready and alert. Paul tells the Ephesians 6:11 “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand…” You cant stand and be ready to fight back, attack or act if you are not armored. Your Spiritual antennas need to be alert! You need to be well connected to the Holy Spirit who alerts us whenever we have any looming danger. Paul Says in Galatians 2:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” This is the only way that we will be aware of anything attacking us.
- We must Resist/Fight and Stand in the Faith. – Many of us yes.. we fight but along the way, we compromise. We resist and when we reach a certain point, we get weary and we sign treaties with the enemy. We need to be vigilant and fight standing firm and not relenting. Joshua when he was fighting the Amorites (Joshua 10:12-13) and it was getting late, the sun was setting Joshua prayed and commanded the sun to stand still till he finished fighting. He didn’t want to relent and carry forward the battle the following day. The problem we have is that many of us love procrastinating things. The moment you start pushing things that you should do today, you will find that tomorrow has got more things to do more than you thought and you will keep on procrastinating what you need to deal with to the next day and will never get done.
The battles that we face each are everyday are diverse. Talk of integrity issues in our lives, some habits that we struggle with in our lives, others are things that we want to do and we find ourselves doing the opposite of what we want to do just like Paul was saying that what he wanted to do is not what he found himself doing… (Romans 7:15-20). You need to realize that your Spiritual man is in conflict with the canal man; and that is why you will always find yourself in battles that you can’t understand… but as Paul tells us in Galatians 5:17-18 “For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do. But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.”
Song of Songs 2:15 “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” There are small foxes that ruin our vineyard (our spiritual lives and even physical lives) and unless we get hold of them and deal with them, they will keep on popping up and destroying our vineyards before we can harvest anything. Always remember that the enemy will not tell you when he will pop up. The small foxes will not let you know wen they are popping out of their hideouts to come and vandalize your efforts! It is up to you to make sure that you deal with them once and for all or else, you will keep on fighting till the end.
There is only one way to this… You Either Conquer or be Conquered! Choose what you want. Click here to read more of this devotion: Conquer or be Conquered.
"Don’t think that just because you live in the king’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else; but you and your family will be wiped out. Who knows? Maybe you were made queen for just such a time as this." (Esther 4:14 MSG)
Five years ago, I lost my grandpa and I was really down and traumatized because I had never been at that point in life where I had lost a loved one and a grand father for that matter. I had been involved in situations where my friends lost their loved ones and I stood with them. At that time, I couldn’t really tell the pain they were in till the minute I received a call that changed my life. I had enjoyed the privilege of having all my four grandparents alive but now… one of them is gone. Little did I know that two years down the line, I would lose two more in a span of one year. In the long run, you learn to live and handle such situations and circumstances as they come.
What do I mean with all this? There are some things that happen in our lives and we are not really prepared or we are inadequately prepared to handle them. Some come as a shock in our lives; some build us and others really break us down. It is true that we will never be prepared well enough for all the occurrences in our lives but one thing that we ought to learn is to take and learn the lessons that we ought to learn and take… else, I will assure you that the lessons will be repeated again and again and again till we learn.
There is always a reason why God takes us through some things and circumstances in life.
- He wants us to learn some things in life and also time for us to deal with some issues in our lives.
- For us to gain the experience, know how it feels to be in such a place so that when someone else is in such a place, we are able to stand with them, encourage them, pray and give them guidance as well.
The Lord raises up people for different reasons. The Bible records stories of times and seasons Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jonah and Esther are a few of those that God raised up, his bidding to do. How about Stephen, James, John, Peter and Paul… we cannot mention all of them and finish the whole list but all of them, God did call them to do his work on earth. Daniel was born and lived to record much about prayer and the workings of the Lord. He wrote that in the last days knowledge would increase. After he finished chapter 12, God let him rest in peace. In our present generation; God still raises up people like you and me to do his work in such a time like this to point others to Jesus so they won’t miss heaven.
Esther finds herself to be the queen of Persia at a time when Haman who was the right hand man of the king wanted to finish the whole race and the people of Israel! And Mordecai her uncle unveiled the plot and pleaded with Esther to intervene and speak with the King and let him know of the plan Haman had. In chapter 4 of the book of Esther, we see Mordecai telling Esther not to keep quiet because God had placed her at that position as a queen for a time like then so that God would use her to bring deliverance to the children of Israel.
Like Esther, we find ourselves in such positions where we are expected to be of help and assistance, encouragement and offer guidance to some people but many of us dread such moments and rather than doing what we can do, we bail off and leave the people we are meant to help at the mercies of no one. Who will help them out if not you? Who will comfort them if not you? Who will stand in the gap and pray for them if not you? Who will nurse that sick person if its not you? There is a reason why God saved you and didn’t allow you to die and go to heaven… simply because He knew there is work for you to do in this world for such a time like this.
For the longest time I couldn’t understand why I had to put up living with unwelcoming people some who were close and dear to me till God brought my way people who had no place to abode for a night and I had to live with them for a while. I am someone who can’t put up with some nuisance but God had taught me patience while I was living in someone’s house and thus I was able to put up with them too. You may be undergoing a certain situation that you can’t tell but there is a lesson and a purpose for it.
Remember that as the salvation of the nation of Israel was dependent on Esther at that time, so is someone who is dependent on you! You may ask why me and not someone else? You may say that you got more to do for yourself. Before you can cater for someone else! At times, it calls for us to stop being selfish and look around us and see who needs us more than we need ourselves! You can be sure that there is always someone there and if you can be careful to open your eyes, you will be able to see one.
In your workplace, God has placed you there for such a time like this. There are some things that are not happening just because you are there and there are others that are happening because you are there as well, It is of very paramount importance you know the purpose and reason why you are where you are now and not somewhere else. If you know that, you will be able to fulfill God’s purpose for your time there. The bible tells us that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by God (Psalms 37:23) and so, to be where you are and do what you are doing now, it is the Lord who has purposed you to be there today! You need to know that you have spiritual authority and your presence holds so much and you may not know.
The bible tells us that As long as Jacob was in Laban’s house, he prospered. When Joseph was at Potiphar’s house, the bible says that “His master didn’t bother himself with what was entrusted to him” Genesis 39:8. The minute you understand yourself and know what you carry with and within you, you will not just live a fulfilled life but you will be careful to know what is God’s assignment for you whenever you are and fulfill it before your time elapses. When the time was over for the children of Israel to stay at the mountain, God spoke to his servant Moses and told him… “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance…” (Deuteronomy 1:6-7). Don’t dwell where you are for long! Move with God and the times and allow god to lead you! This is a simple prayer that David prayed in Psalms 25:4-5 and said “Show me how you work, God; School me in your ways. Take me by the hand; Lead me down the path of truth”
Why are you where you are and doing what you are doing? What is God up to through you? Maybe you are there "for such a time as this". A hurting person that you have the key to know how to touch. Maybe there is someone who has come to admire and listen to you that needs to hear what you need to say about God. Maybe it is time to watch for and realize that this moment is "such a time" for you to make a difference, bring a change and make an Impact where you are!