How Bad Do You Want It?

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13 v 12. Hope is expectation of something desired. If the thing you desire is not obtained in the time expected, your heart and soul are grieved and pained by the delay. But when the desire thing finally arrives, it is a tree of life. Your heart and soul are revived and encouraged.

The first part of this Proverb, has to do with waiting. Waiting for something to happen. I don’t know anyone who likes waiting, and yet our lives are largely about waiting. It can be day to day waiting like waiting for a telephone call to be returned, or waiting for something as serious as waiting to get married or waiting to have children. It is difficult to maintain your hope during the discouraging times of waiting.

Can you imagine, waiting to get married. All your childhood friends are married with children. You have served as a bridesmaid so many times but never a bride. Another year passed and you are still waiting. Your cousins a decade younger than you are now on their second or third child. Every time you attend family weddings, you hear comments like “don’t worry, you are the next one down the aisle.” This is the kind of waiting that can make the heartsick.

It is difficult to remain excited when you have experienced disappointment after disappointment. A woman who has experience 4 or 5 miscarriages, will be less excited with her next pregnancy. She’d rather lower her expectations than set herself up for disappointment.

Hope can be a pleasant thought, if you are confident of your desires being fulfilled on time. But it can also be a painful reminder, if you are disappointed with delays or difficulties in obtaining your desires.

The second part of the proverb says “but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” When you have been waiting for something for so long, and it finally comes true, Proverbs 13 v 12 says it is like a tree of life. The tree of life represents never-ending joy and happiness. God cause things to happen at exactly the right time. You and I have to make up our minds that we will not give up until we see our desires fulfilled.

Hannah wanted Samuel so bad that; she was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord, that the priest Eli, thought she was drunk. 1 Samuel 1 v 9 – 14. My question to you is, How Bad Do You Want It? Because death to a dream can cause death to the life you were meant to live.

What is it that used to wake you up in the middle of the night with excitement, but now you can barely get out of bed when you think of it? The thought of it makes you sick. What are the promises of God for your life that you have buried in resentment because of what you perceive as failure or disappointment. Sometimes we mistaken hope deferred for hope denied, and put an expiry date on our dreams.

Even when it looks impossible, when all the odds are against you and it seems permanent, the Creator of the Universe, the Most High God can bring it to pass.

Dare to believe again!

Signed: #RestoredMe

The Enemy Within

 

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

Years ago I worked in the military. Upon joining the military, it turned out I will have to undergo military training. Not quiet what I expected! Part of the training, included combat training. Combat is when two armed forces are fighting, like in warfare. During that training, not only did I learn how to disassemble and assemble the weapons, clean and load the weapons but I was also trained on how to use those weapons. I am trained on how to use the 9mm pistol and R5 rifle to be precise. These are called ranged weapons. You use these weapons when your enemy is at a distance.

We were also trained in what is called “hand to hand combat”, this is a technique used in close-quarters combat. For those unexpected situations that your enemy will just emerge at a close range. You tackle them using your hands, striking any soft spot you can find, in order to hurt, cripple or kill the enemy.

But we were never effectively trained on how to deal with the enemy that might arise within us. That is why it is very common in the military to find a great General turning the very same weapon he is suppose to use on the enemy, on himself. Because he could not silence the voice of the enemy within.

We all have this enemy.It creeps into our lives at the weirdest moments, at a time we do not expect it. This enemy knows no class, race or creed. It invades the mind of people who live in mansions and those who live in shacks. It has no respect for kings who live in palaces. We all know king David in the bible. This is the man whom God called “a man after My own heart.” David was a warrior. Prior to killing Goliath, David had ‘hand to hand combat’ with the lion and the bear. He won the fight and killed both the lion and the bear. We all know how David killed a giant Philistine called Goliath with a stone (a distant weapon).

David was very good at fighting outside battles, but struggle with inside battles. He had conquered many of Israel’s enemies, but could not conquer seeing Bathsheba bathing. We all know how this encounter nearly led to the fall of one of the greatest kings of Israel , had it not been of his repentant heart.

The enemy that is more capable of causing real harm is not the one out there, but the one within us. This enemy manifest itself in different ways; insecurity, pride, shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, you name it. When you allow fear, insecurity, shame or even guilt to occupy the throne of your life, then they become your master, and rule over your life and steal your joy and peace.

For a very long time I thought the enemy I was fighting was in my circumstances, I was wrong because the real giant was within me. I spent so much time focused on the enemy without, without realising that these are things or circumstances I have no control over. You can’t control being broke, you can’t control people walking away from you, you can’t control frenemies talking about you, you can’t control being disappointed or rejected, but you can silence the voices that magnify the outside circumstances.

I wasted my efforts wrestling with other people, trying to change their minds about me, until I realise that it does not matter what they think about me. Their opinion of me is not of interest to God. It is not what they say about me that matters, it is what I say about myself that threatens my destiny.You will never be deafeated by what they say about you, you will always be deafeated by what you say about yourself. Charles Spurgeon says “Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.” Surely the devil is our enemy, but not the greatest enemy of mankind, man is his own biggest enemy.

When we allow this enemy to speak lies through our situation, he pickpockets our purpose, cripple our courage, dismantle our dreams and blind us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love. This is the enemy that cause people to make permanent decisions over a temporary seatback. Forgetting that no season of life is permanent.

It is not easy to detect this enemy from outside. Some of the people who appear to be very confident on the outside are battling great giants in the inside. That is why we must not admire other people’s live based on what we see on the outside because we don’t know the size of the enemy inside of them.

We have more to fear from within than we have from outside. Here is a thought provoking statement, ‘the greatest burden we have to bear in this life is self, self is the most difficult thing we have to manage.’

Whilst the military training armed me to fight battles using physical weapons of warfare, I soon realise that ‘this, enemy needed a different kind of weapon, the Sword. Yes, the Sword of the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 10 v 4 – 5 tells us that we must know the Word of God well enough to be able to compare what is in our mind with what is in the mind of God; any thought that attempts to exalt itself above the Word of God we are to cast down and bring into captivity to Jesus Christ.

Signed: #RestoredMe

Be Content

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the church of Philippi shares the secret to being content: “I have learned to be content no matter what happens to me. I know what it’s like not to have what I need. I also know what it’s like to have more that I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more than enough or not enough. I can do everything by the power of Christ who gives me strength.” Phillippians 4 v 11-13. Oxford dictionary defines contentment as “the state of being mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are.” Contentment is being satisfied with what you have and with who you are, right now.

It is rare to find someone who is truly content with his or her situation. Being satisfied with things as they are does not mean we stop trying to improve our situation, it simply means we are at peace in “this season.” Let’s face it, even if we choose not to be content with things as they are, it won’t change anything, because we don’t have the power to change anything on our own.

Being content is a choice that we have to make. It is the state of mind. It is not the fulfillment of what we want but the realization of how much we already have. The enemy will always makes other people’s lives look better than yours, that somehow you are missing out on something.

It is amazing how we worship the idea of getting what we do not have. We are forever desiring for things we don’t have. Always looking for the next big thing. Thinking, if only I can have that, I will be satisfied. If only I can get married, then I will be happy and everything will be fine. Forgetting that the ending of one problem is the beginning of the other. When you end the problems of being single, you enter into problems of being married. The reality is, there will never be a time in our lives where we are problem-free. I hate to be the one to break this to you but once you overcome your current struggle, know that there is another one waiting for you. To be content is knowing that if we have Jesus we have enough.

The Apostle Paul has suffered many things: betrayal, being whipped, beaten with rods, bitten by a poisonous snake, imprisoned and shipwrecked. And yet he tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances.” Contentment starts with the attitude of gratitude. Being grateful for what you already have while believing God for what you still desire. There is always something to be grateful for. The enemy might not take away what you have, he just devalues it in your eyes until you don’t appreciate it anymore, that way he continue to keep you in the cage of discontentment.

To be content is not denying your feeling about desiring what you do not have, but rather it shows a freedom from being controlled by those feelings. No matter how bad your situation is right now, there is someone out there whose situation is far worse that yours. We are all familiar with Helen Keller’s quote “ I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” I suppose this experience changed her perspective of her own situation.

Being content is not pretending things are ok when they are not, but it is displaying the peace that comes from knowing that God is bigger than any problems and that He is working them all out for our good.

Signed: #RestoredMe