Restoring Broken Walls

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

Recently I was invited as one of the speakers at the launch of Amazing Grace Ministries under the theme: Restoring Broken Walls.

In the book of Nehemiah, Jesus is the Restorer of the broken walls of our shattered lives.

Sometimes in life just like the children of Israel in the book of Nehemiah, we find ourselves at a place where the walls of our lives are broken down.

Sometimes we do not even know how the walls around us came tumbling down. Maybe just like the children of Israel the enemy broke down our walls. Sometimes our walls were broken down by our own iniquities, our own mistakes or poor choices we made.

When our walls are broken down, we are left exposed, ashamed and feeling guilty. It is always good to remember that the mercy of God is greater than our mistakes. God is able to rebuilt new walls, shaped with His truth and His grace as the foundation.

Restoration according to the dictionary is “to return back to its original state.”

According to the bible restoration is “to recover more than you lost.”

Job in the bible lost everything – his children, wealth, afflicted with agonizing disease and abandoned by everyone he loved. But God restored Job’s life. Job 42 v 12 says “Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.” Job recovered more than he lost. God in the book of Zachariah promised that He will restore to us double for our troubles. Now this is the kind of restoration I desire, after everything I went through in life, I don’t want the dictionary kind of restoration, I don’t want to go back to the way things were, I want more than I have lost, the God kind of restoration.

I’ve been intrigued by Joel 2 v 25 for quite sometime now. I am amazed at how God Almighty promised that He will restore the lost time. “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust.”

Lost years are the wasted years. Years of total desolution.

Years you invested in a project that never worked out.

Years you invested in a relationship with someone who did not have the capacity to love you.

Years you spent afflicted with agonizing disease

Years where you have worked very hard and reap very little if not nothing.

Years where what is generally normal for other people, was a miracle for you to have.

Years of missing out on great opportunities.

Years of great disappointment, regrets and shame.

Years where you felt beaten, broken and hopeless.

Remember, nothing with God is ever wasted. There is restoration for everything that you have lost. Our God is a God who restores. The truth of the matter is that even in those “wasted years” God was busy doing something in our life that we judt could not see through our disappointment.

Whether we have done things that are our own fault, or whether it is the enemy who has stolen from us, God is still the Restorer

Restoration is one step beyond redemption, it is when God shows us that we actually lost nothing in the process. God can restore the years you have lost. There is nothing so great and sweet as the taste of restoration. The second journey in God’s will for our lives is greater than the original. He tends to save the best for last. Do not allow the bitter taste of regrets and shame to weigh you down, hand them over to God, bearing in mind that with God “Nothing is lost.”

Signed: #RestoredMe

The Mystery Of Grace

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

Grace is a difficult, if not impossible, concept to understand. It is God’s unmerited favor. It is undeserved on the part of the recipient. Grace is the kindness from God that we do not deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a gift from God. God’s grace is the love that keeps giving, regardless of our past. It is more than the second chance.

I lived in Zimbabwe for 5 years, that’s where I met an army of women who pray with boldness and grace. There was a day when we were going to have prayer at my place. I told a friend that I have invited a ‘certain lady’ for our prayer meeting. She was not impressed at all with me for inviting this “other woman’ and her response was “how can you invite her, don’t you know she broke up another woman’s marriage?” Seeing her disappointment, I feigned ignorance, like I did not really know what she was talking about. Of course I had heard that story before. The story seemed to have taken over her identity, like the woman caught in adultery whose name we do not know but know her story.

Maybe the fact that I did not know the woman whose marriage she supposedly destroyed, made me to be less judgemental towards her. But, I found myself wondering, what exactly is the penalty for this offense that she has commited? Was she going to be excluded from fellowshipping with other believers because she sinned differently from the rest of us. What if she had repented and forgiven. This is where we struggle with the injustice of grace. How can she be forgiven while the other woman is probably still bleeding, it is not fair. God is not fair. God is grace. He graces us with what we do not deserve. His forgiveness and love.

We love the grace of God, when we are the recipients but we sometimes struggle when the same grace is extended to others, those whom we deem undeserving. Now we are offended by it. ‘Why should they get away with it?’ We ask. Yes, she might have been forgiven but even forgiven sin has its own consequences, ask King David.

We are all beneficiaries of His Grace. John 3 v 16 (ASV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should have eternal life.” Sometimes the “whosoever” is someone who has wronged you. And that sometimes is difficult to understand and accept.

I came across this quote from an unknown source “Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of shame.”

The Grace of God just like romantic love is best understood through experience and not by way of explanation. You have to experience it to understand it. I am a product of God’s Grace. His love for me has never been based on my behavior, good or bad. Its always been based on His nature. I strongly identify with the lyrics of the song by John Newton ‘Amazing Grace’. Our lives experiences might not be the same. But every time I sing it, (although out of tune) its words strongly resonates with my own life.

We all need the grace of God we are nothing without it. Rick Warren says that in the garden of God’s Grace even a broken tree can bear fruits.

Signed: #RestoredMe

Letting Go

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

There are clothes lying doormat in my closet, ever hopeful that some day I will wear them. What they do not know is that they do not fit me anymore. I don’t even have to try them on to prove anything, I know just by looking at them.

So why am I holding on to these small items that are just wasting valuable space in my closet? Because I convince myself that someday I will loose enough weight and fit into them again. After all bodies change all the time. If I can gain weight, I can loose weight, so I keep telling myself. But we know that even with weight, it is easy to hold onto it than it is to let go of it.

I have told myself that if I hold on to these clothes I will be motivated  to loose weight, but if I let go of them I will  be admitting defeat, more like giving up, giving up on my dream (of loosing weight) and the memories (sentimental value I have to these clothes.)

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. Ecclesiastes 3 v MSG talks about “a time to hold on and another to let go.” Whilst it is easy to hold on to things, letting go is a hard thing to do.

The book of Ruth is my favorite in the bible. The three women learnt a lot from each other during their time together, but there came a time when they had to go their separate ways. While I have learned a lot from the lives of Naomi and Ruth, I believe there is also something to learn from the life of Orpah. We do not talk much about Orpah, in a way we perceive her as a “bad girl” who abandoned her mother-in-law. I have heard a lot of teaching about how Orpah abandoned her destiny by changing her mind about following Naomi. Maybe Orpah was smart enough to realize that some people no matter how good they may be, come into our lives for a season. This is what I think, even if Orpah had followed Naomi to Bethlehem, between her and Ruth, one of them was going to marry Boaz, one of them was going to give birth to Obed and one of them was going to be in the lineage of Jesus Christ. The other one was going to end up feeling hurt, disappointed, rejected and bitter. This is what happens when we try to extend relationships that were meant for a season into a lifetime.

“People always come into your life for a reason, a season and a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.” Unknown. Letting go is a hard thing to do. Whether it is letting go of clothes that do not fit, or letting go of people, anger, guilt or pain. Sometimes people have a hard time letting go of their pain, because pain is all they have known. They are used to walking through one pain and trial after another that they are afraid to be happy. Pain has become their comfort zone. Happiness and peace are frightening territories for them. They choose to hold on to their pain because they believe holding on makes them strong, without realising that greater strength is actually in letting go.

Sometimes we hold on to things because we are afraid of loosing them, but the reality is that you cannot loose things you let go of, you can only loose the things you hold on to.

There are people who come into our lives just to teach us something. A teacher is there in your life for a season, to teach you a lesson. Take a lesson with and leave the teacher behind.

I came across this beautiful quote that captured something so profound about relationships.“In life, you will realise there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, and some will love you, and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who bring out the best in you. Those are the rare and amazing people who remind you why it’s worth it.” Unknown

Signed #RestoredMe

 

 

 

The Journey

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

When my son Jonathan was about three years, we took a long drive to Cape Town, 12 hours to be precise. The plan was to leave Joburg at 6am in order to arrive at 6pm. It was raining when we left home that morning, but not even the rain could dampen the excitement of the journey. By 9am we were already in another province, the Free State, we stopped for breakfast. It was a clear beautiful morning in Bloemfontein, the weather added to the excitement. Then proceeded to the Northern Cape. We passed the area of this province that was very dry, semi-desert, windy and very hot. By that time the excitement has worn off. It has gotten quiet in the car, you could tell everybody was tired. But it was when we were one and half hour to our final destination when my son made a passionate plea “can we please go back home.” We had been on the road for almost ten and half hour, and we were closer to our destination, than we were to our home.

It became very clear to me at that moment that when he got into the car that morning, he had one thing in his mind “arriving at his destination.” He was not interested in the journey. I believe that was the case with the children of Israel when they left Egypt, they had their destination in mind.

They left Egypt with great excitement. They left behind a life of slavery, hard labour and abuse. But their excitement did not last. About a month after being delivered from Egypt, they began to feel differently about their circumstances. And they wanted to go back to Egypt. “Who shall give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” Numbers 11 v 5-6.

It seems unbelievable that they wanted to go back to a deplorable life of slavery. They knew very well that if they went back to Egypt, they would once again be enslaved, but at least for them, that was familiar and predictable compared to the unknown they were facing in the desert. As human beings we have the fear of unknown. The Israelites were caught between the promise and the things they know. Familiar things are never easy to discard.

Many times when we find ourselves in places of great discomfort, we are tempted to want to return to the past, by reminiscing about what used to be or holding on to sentimental attachments. Longing for the past is an illusion, the future holds more promise than anything that used to be. The journey from slavery to freedom was undoubtedly filled with trials and tribulations, and yet by overcoming adversity they became stronger and more matured and eventually, more assured that leaving Egypt was in fact the right thing to do. God is interested not only in our final destination but also in the journey because on that journey He does a work in our lives that has eternal value.

Life is a journey. It is a journey through the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. God uses the journey to teach us faith, to refine our character, and to equip us for our calling. It is in the journey of life that we find God. On slippery roads, roads with pitfall and roadblocks, we discover His Grace and in the dead-end of our journey we find God’s Redemption.

When the journey gets harder and you are tempted to ‘go back home’ remember the word of God by the Prophet Isaiah “do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing.” Isaiah 43 v 18-19. After all, the journey with God is always ahead. It is once you have arrived at your destination that you can say indeed ‘difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations.’

Signed: #RestoredMe

When Purpose Calls

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

Moses was born in Egypt at a time when the Egyptian authorities were trying to downsize the population of Hebrews. Jewish baby boys born at that time were condemned to die. In Exodus 2 we see Moses’s mother attempting to save her son by hiding him in a basket by the river’s bank.

When Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe at the riverside, she noticed the ark among the reeds and asked her maid to get it, and inside was the baby crying. She knew the baby was one of the Hebrew children but she had compassion on him. She adopted him and gave him the name Moses.

Moses grew up in the palace as a son to Pharaoh’s daughter. Though Moses was raise in Pharaoh’s palace, he identify with the suffering of his own people. The same chapter tells us of how Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, he looked left and right and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian, hid him in the sand and saved his fellow Hebrew brother. The next day he tried to intervene in a fight between two Hebrews. One responded by saying “do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” His secret was out. They say three can keep a secret, if only two of them are dead. “When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian.” Exodus 2 v 15. Moses lived in Midian, taking care of his father-in-law’s sheep.

If ever someone was called out of their comfort zone, it was Moses. He left the beauty of the palace to live a life as a humble mountain shepherd. That’s what happens when purpose calls.

We see many detours in the life of Moses. Rescued from the river by Pharaoh’s daughter, raised by a Hebrew mother, given a place of honor in Pharaoh’s place and then, tending the flocks of his father-in-law. At this point it looked like his life was off track. How did this boy who grew up in the palace ended up taking care of the sheep? Things were clearly not going as expected. But it was in this season, when his life seemed off track that he had an encounter with God. God does not meet with us in our comfort zone.

At a time when Ruth’s life seemed to be off track, she met Boaz. Ruth was busy doing what she had to do for her and Naomi to survive, gleaning after reapers (poor people were allowed to follow the reapers in the field and glean the fallen spears of grain). Ruth found herself isolated in the field. But her isolation became a platform, she was more noticeable to Boaz on her own than she would’ve been in the crowd.

It was at the desert while tending the flock that Moses had an encounter with God in a burning bush. It was during this encounter that God sent Moses back to Egypt. What is it with God sending people back to the place they ran away from? Remember Hagar, whilst she was on the run, isolated in the wilderness, she had an encounter with the Angel of God, who instructed her to “return” to the very place she ran away from. Both Hagar and Moses had to submit to the process, for the promise to manifest.

Moses’s life might have had many detours, but God used all that to prepare him for the fulfillment of his purpose. Who would have thought that the man who was once tending after the flocks will later in Exodus 33 v 11, be referred to as “the one God spoke to face to face as a man speaks to his friend.” Deuteronomy 34 v 10 says about the very same man “ But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” When you get discouraged about many detours and interruptions in your own life, when you find yourself tending after the sheep, just to survive, be encouraged as you study the life of Moses and his journey of faith, knowing that God can use even your difficulties and failures as He does His work in and through you.

Signed: RestoredMe

My Scars

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

“My scars tell a story. They are a reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed. They are markings of where the structure of my character was welded.” Steve Maraboli.

Today I want to reflect on some of my scars. I have several scars in my body, and there is a story behind each one, a story of hurt, of pain of suffering and yes, a story of healing. These are four of my scars in chronological order.

My first scar is on the right side of my neck. I got this scar when I was a few months old. I don’t recall anything about this scar except what I am told.My second scar is on my left thigh. This scar is evidence of childhood rebellion. I was burnt by boiling water as a little girl at my grandparents’ place. I have been warned several times to stay away from the coal stove, and would not listen, so I got burned and had to experience first hand the excruciating pain of a burn wound.

My third scar is on my ankle, right between my lower leg and my foot. I got run over by a donkey cart, the ones that use to sell coal. I had followed my sister to the football game. After the game as we were walking home with some of her friends, that’s when the accident happened. We saw the donkey coming, everybody run away and being the chubby kid that I was I could not run as fast as others, so I found myself under the donkey cart. Its four wheels ran over my body, and the donkey putting its foot on my ankle.

Forth scar is on the middle figure on my right hand. It was my first year at vasity, I went to the bathroom to take a bath. I noticed the bathroom window was badly crack. As I was bathing, I realized there was so much steam in the bathroom, I reached out to open the window, as I was opening the window, it broke. Before I knew it my figure was bleeding profusely. The cut was pretty deep. I had to be taken to the hospital.

In the hospital they cleaned my wound, remove pieces of broken bottles from inside my flesh, stitched it and cover it. I watched closely as my wound healed before my eyes, with the pain getting better with each passing day. Indeed God made a human body amazingly resilient. When the healing was complete, a scar appeared.

These are my external scars, they were once painful, open wounds, but today, they hold nothing but beautiful memories. My scars serve as a reminder of the pain I had endured, but they are also a beautiful reminder of what I have survived.

In life we bear not only external scars but internal scars as well. I have scars in my soul and I have scars in my heart, evidence of the wounds that once raged with pain, and a soul that was once heavily bruised. When your soul has been heavily bruised you begin to feel like an outsider in my own life. Internal scars are harder to identify because they are no visible bruises, but the damage is there, buried deep down beneath the skin and the physical extremities.

Unlike external scars, internal scars affect us on a deeper level, and because we hide them, they take much longer to heal. I have learned never to be ashamed of the scars life left me because God has a purpose for my scars. Some of my scars are visible, some are invisible, some caused by others, some self-inflicted. But I have learned to embrace them all, because when I look at them today, I see the lesson they have taught me, the values they represent, the love they recall and the wisdom they bestowed. While my scars show where I have been, they do not dictate where I am going.

My scars are proof that God heals. He is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord my Healer, He turns bitter experiences and make them sweet. If He had allowed it to happen, He has some greater purpose behind it. When Jesus rose from the dead, He had scars in His hands as a testament of what He had conquered.

Today I look at myself in the mirror and I love what I see, I love the woman I have become and the scars that brought me to this place. My scars represent all those things that were meant to hurt me or destroy me, but instead, made me stronger. They tell a story and the ending of that story says “I survived.”

Signed #RestoredMe

 

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

Unqualified

Dear #PrisonersOfHope

I enjoy listening to Naye Lupondwana’s programme “ Facts of Faith”, on SAfm every Sunday morning on my way to church. It is a platform that allows listeners the benefit of hearing what faith communities have to say about the issues of the day. I just can’t recall what topic was being discussed, on that particular Sunday, but I remember a gentleman calling with a question that was irrelevant to what was being discussed. His question was “why did God use Moses, knowing very well that Moses was a murderer?” Naye politely told him that he was not going to entertain that question since it was not in line with what was being discussed. I remember laughing out loud upon hearing that question, not because the question was irrelevant but because the caller sounded so annoyed as he was asking the question. His question might have been irrelevant on that day, but it got me thinking…….

Yes it is true, Moses was a murderer, Moses had speech problems, Moses was insecure, as if that were not enough, the guy also had a short fuse. Moses also did not feel qualified to do what God had called him to do. In Exodus 3 v 11 Moses asked God “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ In Exodus 4 v 13 Moses pleaded with God, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” In the eyes of man, and in his own eyes, Moses was unqualified to be used by God. Despite his worst, God was still determined to use Moses to accomplish His purpose.

1 Corinthians 1 v 27-28 says, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify things that are, so that no one will boast before Him.”

I am always fascinated by the kind of people God used in the bible and the people He continue to use today to share Hope to the hopeless world. I found this interesting and I thought I should share with you. These are some of the characters God used:

Elijah – suicidal

Joseph – abused and an “ex-con”

Moses – murder, short temper and speech problem

Gideon – low self esteem

Samson – a womanizer with dreadlocks

Mirriam – a gossiper

Rahab – a prostitute

The Samaritan woman – a divorcee

Noah – a drunkard

Jacob – a cheater

David – a murderer and adulterer

Jonah – ran away from God

Naomi – a bitter widow

Ruth – a foreigner

Martha – worried about everything

Mary Magdelene – possessed by seven demons

Zacchaeus – was short and loved money

Paul – a mass-murderer who persecuted Christians before he became one.

Maybe you can identify with some of these unqualified people, and you are wondering if God can ever use you. God is greater than our guilt, shame, imperfections and all the things that tells us we are not worthy of His love. Don’t wait until you feel qualified to do what God is calling you to do.  God qualifies the unqualified. 2 Corinthians 3 v 5 says, “It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.” NLT.

“Next time you feel unqualified to be used by God remember this, He tends to recruit from the pit, not from the pedestal.” Jon Acuff.

Signed: #RestoredMe