When Life Get’s Rough, Remember_____ (Part 1)

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One of my loving sisters sent me the above picture and for some reason it got me thinking about friends. I have to consciously remind myself that even though I deeply miss a departed friend, I must be thankful for the remaining ones – for I could have less.

While pondering on that I realized that despite the excitement that accompanies the new year, not everyone started it with shouts of joy and anticipation for great things to come. Some people have had a very rough start and I would like to extend some kind of encouragement in the following letter:

Dear friend,

It’s a blessing for me write to you. I’m aware that the road you’re traveling is not an easy one. Sometimes it feels as though you’re probably going the wrong way – again. Secretly, you hope that this will quickly be over and you’ll find yourself to your eventual pathway to contentment and success.

Beloved, in your darkest moments, every disappointment is only a necessary step toward your triumph. Every unearthing of what is off beam directs you toward discovering the balance. Whenever you discover what is not right, you gain a mental discernment of what is right. Be encouraged because each of your arduous trial today wears out some tempting type of future mistake, and each adversity will only conceal itself for a limited time. This rough trail has an end!

I want to share with you some few things to remember as you journey through your rough spots. Here they are:

1. Your picture of “what should be”: “What is” is in conflict with “what should be” in your life, causing you discomfort. there is a suffering that is associated with our resistance to how things are. when God wasn’t pleased with the way things were on earth, He sent His only Son to suffer so that “what is” could be changed to “what should be” (See John 3:16). While you may not be able to control everything that occurs to you; you can control your response to these occurrences. In your response lies your power.

2. Your current location is a needed step: Consider that where you are at the moment is precisely where you need to be to discover and appreciate where you want to go tomorrow. So please don’t avoid experiencing some vital principles because you have developed a belief, based on your ideals, that it is not where you should be or desire to be. (See Exodus 13:17-18).

3. Your opportunity to reevaluate things: Most of us are not always good with understanding that not getting what we want can be a blessing. Sometimes we need a nudge (more like a shove) in the spirit and this push causes us to re-examine things. Having another look at things may lead to new open doors or important details/information you would’ve otherwise overlooked. (See Ephesians 1:18)

4. Your hope for change: Whether or not we think about change, life guarantees that it will happen – we can’t avoid it. Although God Himself never changes, He does change us. His plan for your life is to give you hope, a future, and prosperity. Trusting God and allowing Him to change and grow us into becoming more Christ-like (in our responses and actions), then we are assured that all things will change. Regardless of how bad your situation is right now, it will change! (See Romans 8:28)

5. Your specifics for your forward-movement intentions: Since you have an image of “what should be”, work on easing your frustration by replacing the image with something real. Take specific steps. (See James 2:17)

6. Your freedom, your responsibility: The only situations we can effect positive change towards are the ones we take responsibility for. Whenever we blame others for what we’re experiencing, we deny responsibility, consequently denying freedom. (See Romans 14:12)

7. Your anger, your venom: One of my beloved Pastors (Dayo Olutayo) taught me an interesting principle that I adopted (after a long struggle) – “Before they offended me, I forgave them”. Yes, even if they never actually come to ask for your forgiveness. You’re not doing it for them, but for you. If you don’t, anger will defile you – and others around you. (See Hebrews 12:15)

I have to go now but think on those few points, my friend.

Until next time,
Dee

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*Dee Kyalo is the author of Crushing Invisible Barriers . Check out the book’s cool reviews and ‘like’ us on Facebook!

Things I Want to Teach My Kids About Christmas

This post is a kind of continuation from Christmas is Coming, which is a backdrop of how I remember Christmas at my loving Papa Ed’s house.

Now many years later, I have a family of my own in an entirely different continent from where I grew up, consequently, my husband and I are defining our own Christmas tradition.

No Christ, no Christmas: To begin with, despite living in a country where the meaning of Christmas has been diluted, we want them to know that in our house, Christmas is about Jesus Christ. Without Him, there would be no celebration. Everything else is built upon that foundation.

Christ, the greatest gift to us: When my daughter was 9, I asked her how she would feel if we exchanged gifts in her absence on her birthday – this horrified her. Then I explained that is exactly what it meant when we failed to acknowledge Jesus as Lord on that day. She got it. While we share gifts and stuff, our children need to understand that we are celebrating God’s greatest gift to us – Jesus Christ. I’d like them to understand that this impossible account – the virgin birth did not just deliver a child, but the Messiah – Savior of the world!

Christ was born into a family unit: Our children need to understand that romantic relationships focused on doing God’s will, and following His unique purpose for family for the individuals involved paves way for His blessings in their lives. Christmas gives us a glimpse into just how very seriously God takes family. Not forgetting that He created the first family (Adam and Eve), we now see that even when God sent Jesus to the world, He had the Savior born into the family of Mary and Joseph.

Salvation, God’s plan all along: While we may never fully grasp how it had all come about – a young girl becoming the Savior’s mother, at least we can help our children understand that since the beginning of time God has had a plan for mankind – to have a relationship with us. Since He always involves humans in His plans, we have to be actively and positively engaged – that’s our part. If we obey, like Mary in Luke 2:19, treasuring up all these things, pondering them in our heart, then we shall reap the full benefits of His blessings.

The Son of God has always been present: I must have been over 18 when I first discovered that Jesus Christ has always been. Somehow, I had missed the lesson or we just were never taught. Whatever the case, I’m teaching my children that Christ’s life did not begin on Christmas. Although in deed His earthly/human life commenced in Mary’s womb, the Son of God is eternal – He “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8), “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is “the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created … And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17).

I will share more next time (probably before Christmas). But before then, are there things you would like your kids to know about Christmas? Please share.

Christmas is Coming

Some people love to sketch, others enjoy painting, others like me, find immense pleasure in writing… (I wonder who else thinks that writing is addictive). Anyway, I just completed yet another writing project, so I’m sitting at my desk wondering what else I should put on paper (or in this case, screen). Suddenly, the word “Christmas” pops into my thoughts.

What are your fondest Christmas celebration memories as a child? I grew up in a city where people celebrated Christmas one of the following ways:

1.Traveling to the village for the yearly family reunion – the last time my parents planned for such a trip must have been in the late 70s. Obviously, I was too young to have any memorable recollections.
2. Going out of town for “nyama choma” (that’s Swahili for barbecue) – Dad would rather hold his own barbecues in his own style.
3. Throwing house parties – this was Dad’s area of expertise (not just at Christmas, but at Easter as well as other public holidays!) and he would invite literally anyone who was available – reminds me of Luke 14:23.
4. Working – Mom was an ICU Nurse, as a result, sometimes Christmas found her at her patients’ bedside. On the other hand, Dad – a government official, never ever worked on any holiday.

Preparing for Christmas

So the days preceding Christmas at Papa Ed’s (our house), I recall my sisters compiling the shopping list – usually on December 20th to evade the long supermarket queues that would inevitably form later. Then, before my brothers were old enough, we girls would literally go out to get a live tree – I don’t remember any Christmas where a live tree was not present in our living room. And then of course with a lot of help from Mom’s favorite cookbook (the one she received from her home economics’ high school class in the 60’s) we planned special menus from Christmas Eve through January 4th.

Our family-made custom (especially after most of us became born-again) was to stay up late and share some wonderful stories about the real meaning of Christmas. Prior to that, it was all about food and company.

Christmas Day

Attending church on the day of Christmas was a non-negotiable in our family. Following receiving the spiritual nourishment from the place of worship, we would promptly proceed back home to wait for our guests.

Even though music (especially the melodious danceable Congolese beat) was a common feature at Papa Ed’s, it just seemed to sound better at Christmas, in view of the fact that we were surrounded by company.

Basically, there were no gifts to wrap or unwrap, save for the numerous festive cards we exchanged.

That, in a nutshell, is how I recall the Christmas season as a young girl. How do you remember your Christmas as a kid?

In my next post, I’ll share Things I Want To Teach My Children About Christmas.

Toxic Doubles

Can you tell them apart?

Can you tell them apart?

It’s always interesting to see celebrity look-alikes. Sometimes their faces are look-alikes, other times their voices and even names are sound-alikes. While in some instances the similarities could be flattering for either party, or both, in other instances…not so much. But what can one do? Nature settled it that way.

Doubles or look-alikes are copies – basically counterfeit. To produce a counterfeit $100 bill, you must have your details as close to the real deal as possible. Only the careful observer should be able to spot the sham. On the other hand, even though molded meticulously, with all the fine points taken into consideration, a look-alike cannot be the original.

When the children of Israel set off in Exodus 12:37-42, a mixed multitude went with them. It is highly possible that this crowd consisted of Egyptians and/or other people – not just the Israelites. Conceivably, some left Egypt seeing as it had been wasted by plagues and also possibly some left because they were curious about the Israelites and wanted to be associated with them one way or another. All the same, among the Israelites, there were always those who were not really Israelites.

Virginia Creeper

Virginia Creeper

Imagine that you have a field in which you have planted the Virginia Creeper, Blackberry bushes or Fragrant sumac (not to be confused with poison sumac), unless you have a sharp eye for detail, you’ll never notice when the Poison Ivy shows up among your plants. The Poison Ivy bears an awful striking resemblance to all the above mentioned vegetation. Only after experiencing the rash will you tell that there is a toxic double in your territory.

Mixed Multitude Behavior

Just like there was a mixed multitude among the Israelites, today, the church has a mixed multitude. Why do non-believers feel justified in saying that the church has hypocrites? They see a mixed multitude

Blackberry

Blackberry

behavior. Believers, we are known by what we exhibit (Matthew 7:16). Lack of consistency in our Christianity and total dependence on God, cheapens us to mixed multitude behavior.

Poison Ivy may grow together with the Virginia Creeper, but sooner or later the toxic effects will begin to show. Although believers may associate with non-believers to some extent, but if the believers aren’t careful, some of the unbelieving traits will rub off on them. How is that even possible? Light and

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

darkness cannot mix (2 Corinthians 6:14) – if they do, then one has been absorbed by the other; usually darkness overcomes the light. In this world, it is easier to pull one down than it is to pull one up. A believer standing up on a platform can be easily pulled down from the level where they are at. Why so? Believers can be tempted, but non-believers are not tempted.

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! – Numbers 11:4 NIV

Why couldn’t the Israelites tell the rabble to stop their lusting? Instead, they (God’s people) started to dance to the same tune! They were tempted, and succumbed. This craving became contagious and infected God’s people! The mixed multitude had seemingly become ‘one of them’, talked like them, dressed like them… but in reality they were toxic look-alikes! It is only after God sent the meat that they had been lusting after, in the form of a plague of quails – and many died, that the Israelites realized, “Oh my! Darkness has lured us!”

As a Christian, you have a responsibility to learn how to identify toxic Christian doubles. It is not always obvious to the ‘naked eye’, as some people may appear harmless, blending in with the rest of the Christians, but only after one has backslid and the damage has been done, like in Numbers 11, that you discover just how toxic they were.

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*Dee Kyalo is the author of Crushing Invisible Barriers. Check out the book’s cool reviews and ‘like’ us on Facebook!

When You’re Under Spiritual Attack (Part 2)

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Dear Beloved of God, if you’re under a spiritual attack, would you quickly know it and deal with it effectively?

Although every Believer struggles at different times with spiritual attacks, not every Believer recognizes them always as from the devil. Some may blame their situation, family, friends, church, boss, neighbor and at times even God, for their plight. Did you know that the devil is the enemy of your soul and a master deceiver who prompts problems and vanishes before anyone recognizes his influence?

Know this: God wants us to be ready for any spiritual attack that comes our way. He wants us to be equipped in the strength of His power to stand against the enemy’s plans and beat him in those particular battles in our life.

The following message is a continuation of When You’re Under Spiritual Attack Part 1.

Recognizing Spiritual Attacks

4. Struggling with spiritual appetite

Do you sometimes experience loss of appetite for spiritual things, like reading the Bible or listening to sermons? Whenever you lose your spiritual enthusiasm, that’s really when you need it most. Plunge yourself into the Word – nothing nourishes better than the Word. When you immerse yourself in it, you’re assured of forgiveness for your past sins, in addition to being guaranteed of victory now as well as in the future. God’s Word contains the power to bring change to your mind, heart and mood. How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103). Eat His Word, for it will be your joy and heart’s delight (Jeremiah 15:16).

5. Struggling with inclusion preferring seclusion

When I was going through a spiritual attack, my husband ministered to me saying, “When a lion attacks a herd of buffaloes, at first he’s just on the prowl, but as the chase ensues, the one animal that separates itself from the group becomes meat.” (See 1 Peter 5:8) Usually, such that isolate themselves are, at that moment, weak, injured and in pain.

If you discover that you have no desire to be among other Believers and you want to disconnect, recognize that this is a spiritual attack. Don’t forsake gathering with other Christians (Hebrews 10:25). Also, get back to the sheepfold, in the presence of the Great Shepherd, He will protect you.

6. Struggling with kingdom service

Once upon a time you were excited about involving yourself in the activities of your church. You used to volunteer for service, but now you do stuff out of obligation rather than joy. You lost your momentum along the way and are simply going through the motions. If you’re honest, you’ll tell “these people to leave you alone instead of bothering you with requests for serving”. Honoring God with your lips while your heart is far from Him (Matthew 15:8) puts a major dent in your spiritual service. Believer, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 7:3) Foreign gods and Ashtaroth are things that are taking you away from doing good in the kingdom, and the hand of the Philistines is the spiritual attacks.

7. Struggling with sleep due to interruptions or nightmares

Enough rest and a good night’s sleep are essential if we are to remain active in our spiritual (and physical) life. However, the enemy can cause disturbances with scary dreams or even nothing in particular – you just find yourself awake and you’re not sure why.

After a somewhat sleepless night, the following morning I had planned to sleep in, but was unable to. So after tossing and turning I decided to text my husband who was at work:
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What’s interesting is that I had not seen it for what it was – a spiritual attack! This lack of sleep had interfered with my prayer routine. I was tired, yet awake and unproductive. Nevertheless, that question in the text, struck me moments later and after embracing the following verses, I was able to sleep well. “I will lay down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me” (Psalm 3:5) and “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

8. Struggling with previously overcome temptations

Ignoring all the above seven signs is likely to usher you to this step – you don’t want to reach here. Being unproductive in your spiritual life is dangerous. Past enticements can come back more ferociously and you’ll have no ammo to resist. When you’re where you should be i.e. submitted to God, only then will you be able to resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Brethren, when you’re under attack, holding fast onto Jesus will open your eyes to the way of escape that God has provided for you, as 1 Corinthians 10:19 states.

Conclusion

Spiritual attacks can hook themselves onto setbacks, losses, disappointments or even major victories in our lives. If you’ve lost momentum, you’re struggling in your spiritual life, and no longer find any thrill in faith matters, it is time unclog your spiritual arteries that would otherwise cause a spiritual cardiac arrest and let the cleansing blood of Jesus flow through! Respond to spiritual attacks with the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), building yourself up in your most Holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20). In so doing, you’ll keep crushing invisible barriers until you stand victorious.

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*Dee Kyalo is the author of Crushing Invisible Barriers. Check out the book’s cool reviews and ‘like’ us on Facebook!

When You’re Under Spiritual Attack (Part 1)

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Are spiritual attacks real or imaginary? I’ll answer that with a question: Is air actual or make-believe? There are things we may never touch, but the effects of the same are undeniable. I have experienced spiritual attacks and while I don’t look forward to any more, it’s not certain they won’t happen again, but should I face this another time then I’m better equipped at identifying and overcoming.

A Christian’s life is one of battles. When you become a follower of Christ, you essentially enlist in the Lord’s Army. You don’t go out looking for war, instead it just finds you. Although this happens, you can expect victory all the time.

Recently, my sister sent me a message on spiritual attacks – she was not aware that I had experienced this for a while. What is funny is that the same morning I received her text, God had just pulled me out of what I’ll call “a major despondency phase” that had been going on for a long time.

One part of the attacks I faced began after the burial of my dearest friend – a young mother who died of breast cancer in April of 2014. On several occasions she would appear to me singing or saying things – incidentally, not evil things, but the normal stuff about her life and family. (Here, I just want to tell you that if you ever see the dead appear to you, as a Christian, your responsibility is to rebuke that demon, which has taken on a familiar form.) After this, I began noticing a change in my spiritual demeanor.

The scary thing about what I was going through was that at this point in my life as a Believer, I was expected to deal with it. The longer you have been walking with the Lord, the better you’re expected to handle and overcome attacks – right? After all ‘if God brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it’ and ‘God cannot give you more than you can handle’. (By the way, have you ever tried those clichés on someone going through major stuff? Yeah, they don’t work!)

While spiritual attacks are intended by the enemy to weaken and destroy, on the contrary, these same attacks are used by God to fortify the spiritual lives of those who keep looking up to Him. They become spiritually fit and seasoned for battle. It should therefore be no surprise that such are those who triumph over the enemy, increased tempo and intensity of spiritual attacks notwithstanding.

Recognizing Spiritual Attacks

Attacks in your spiritual life can occur when you experience a traumatic event or a major victory in your life i.e. at your weakest moment or when you least expect it. Spiritual attacks do not mean that God does not care for or that He has forsaken you; He is merely revealing the enemy and trying to catch your attention.

We shouldn’t be so naive as to expect the attacks to always be very conspicuous. Sometimes they are so faint, or have been happening for an extended period of time, that the person is oblivious that they’re even attacks.

Anyway, how do you know that you’re under a spiritual attack?

1. Struggling with overwhelming feelings of helplessness or discouragement

Feelings of hopelessness, feelings of despair, feelings of despondency, feelings of depression… When you rely on feelings, you’re bound to be tossed hither and tither. Feelings cannot be trusted – and especially when they are in opposition to the Word of God. If His Word says, “we are more than conquerors through him” (Romans 8:37) then we are, regardless of feelings.

2. Struggling with worries, doubts, and fears daily

Feelings will almost always give birth to worries doubts and fears. It’s important to know the state of your heart and mind – what’s your focal point in those attacks? An everyday fear, worry, or doubt needs regular treatment of God’s word such as 2 Timothy 1:7, Philippians 4:4-8, and Matthew 21:21 for meditation and memorization.

3. Struggling with regular prayer

When fervency and regularity in prayer is lacking where it was present before, that can be a sign that you’re under attack. the enemy would love to hinder you from praying with power and consistency so that his evil work of stealing, killing and destroying can continue. We must never forget that our effectual fervent prayers will always avail much (James 5:16) – even when we don’t ‘feel’ it.

This message continues here

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*Dee Kyalo is the author of Crushing Invisible Barriers. Check out the book’s cool reviews and ‘like’ us on Facebook!

Salvation: God’s Plan All Along

salvationpic
Salvation is really a gift that we must really be grateful for. Salvation is not a dutiful rite of passage, nor is it just an attractive theological expression given to make people feel at peace. A while back, in my ministry training, I took a class on Old Testament Survey, and was filled with wonder and admiration as we examined the historical writings. All those stories of God’s dealings with Israel in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ gave me a better grasp of salvation.

When you read the Old Testament in detail, you will be able to trace the progressive unfolding of God’s revelation in the history of salvation leading up to Jesus. Having this understanding, I can tell you for sure, that salvation in Christ does not only address the present deliverance over the reigning power of sin or the carnal nature’s power in our lives. Salvation has its commencement in eternity of history, according to God’s predetermined plan, and extends into the eternal future. When we understand those 3 biblical stages of truth about salvation, we can rest in the Lord and His grace while concurrently moving forward in spiritual growth.

Incidentally, some people worry that some of their past sins may not have been forgiven, and still more are nervous that if they got saved, they might backslide.

Listen: When you ask Jesus to save you, He comes in and takes care of business. He forgives all sin and saves completely.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. – Hebrews 7:25

salvationpic1By His Spirit, God sustains those that are His. He knows that none of us is able to keep his precepts without help – we see this repeatedly in the Old Testament, and that is why in the New Covenant, we have the Holy Spirit to keep us in the way of salvation.

He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:8

While we must recognize that salvation doesn’t come with a trouble-free tag, we have the guarantee of victory. We may have similar problems with those who don’t know Christ, but we are assured of help. Regardless of your situation, this is what the Lord is saying to you that are His beloved:

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

With the salvation of Jesus Christ, we are able to live in a chaotic world. Salvation delivers peace, even in the midst of great turmoil. When we experience brokenness instead of wholeness, salvation provides restoration. This absolute unmerited pardon of one’s sin is found in nothing else than the blood of Jesus Christ.

How can I be saved?

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Dee Kyalo is the author of Looking Up and Crushing Invisible Barriers . Check out the book’s cool reviews and ‘like’ us on Facebook!

Stuck and Lost (but hopeful)

Pits are not permanent places

Pits are not permanent places

Joseph found himself in an unbelievable situation. Due to no fault of his own, he was thrown in a pit by his brothers, and as if to celebrate their evil deed, then they sat down to eat a meal! Genesis 37:23-25

Anyway, this one man was thrown into a pit by several of his loved ones – that was bad enough, but looking at his life, you know that he realized something liberating – pits are not permanent places. Talking about pits, another thing that people experience is this – one person throwing several of his loved ones in a pit. Oft times it occurs where you’re so trusting and least expect any problem.

Most individuals who succeed in throwing a group into the pit usually possess some charisma and you’d hardly suspect that they’re up to any mischief. They’re usually very smart and loved by almost everyone who knows them. And when they do something drastic, their beloved are left stuck, lost and in disbelief.

A family discovers that their husband and father has been living a secret life. According to his son, this man was a “perfect father” and his wife described her husband as “a good man, a great father. He would never hurt anyone.” Yet here is one tale of a church-going, scout-leading, family man who fell so low and become a serial killer, murdering ten people in Sedgwick County (in and around Wichita, Kansas), between 1974 and 1991.

His wife had been envied by women at her church for the way her husband doted on her, helping with her coat and always opening the car door. The possibility that her husband of 34 years might be BTK has left her “in quite a lot of shock,” said someone who had been a friend of hers since elementary school. (From Time Magazine, March 14, 2005, by Jeff Chu)

Whether it’s the discovery of spousal infidelity or some other kind of perfidy by a loved one, stories of lies, deception and deceit are not new in our day. When you’re thrown into a pit by someone else’s sin, yes, you will feel let down, and even ask God, why has all this happened to us?!

Beloved of God, you will not stay in that pit indefinitely. Every trouble has an expiry date. Have faith in God and keep looking up. You can, like Joseph, choose to forgive.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.Genesis 50:19-21

In this modern example, we see a husband’s forgiveness toward his wife who returns home pregnant with another man’s baby, after years of being a prostitute on the streets.

When you're thrown into a pit by someone else's sin, yes, you will feel let down...keep looking up. When you do, you will definitely see the light and receive new hope.

When you’re thrown into a pit by someone else’s sin, yes, you will feel let down…keep looking up. When you do, you will definitely see the light and receive new hope.


Do you have a loved one that has run down the family business or depleted your resources, maybe trying to feed their drug or sex addiction? Although it might not be easy, forgiveness is the only sure start to getting out of the pit they’ve thrown you in. Forgiving them means that you have not given up hope. It means that you’re positioning yourself to not miss God’s grace. It means that you have refused to be defiled by bitterness.

15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.Hebrews 12:15

Sometimes the enemy decides to use one person to embarrass, kill, steal from and destroy a family. As believers, we have to recognize this. We must identify who the enemy is and refuse to give him a foothold. Forgiving the person through which trouble has come is denying the enemy a grip.

Finally, I want to leave you with this wonderful word of encouragement from Romans 8:28,

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Shalom!

BAM! Door Slammed!

slamming-doorHave you ever had a door slammed in your face? BAM! And as you stare in disbelief, you’re thinking… “No, that did not just happen!” But then you realize yes it did and you’re astounded. How do you react? Do you get angry or resentful?

I read the story of a woman who happened to come home from church later than usual one winter night. This infuriated her husband and he stated: “I am master of this house, and I am not going to have you coming home at so late an hour as this!” He forced her out the back door, then closed and locked it.

Out in the cold? How dare he?! I know, that’s what I thought too.

Sometimes doors are slammed, others are closed while still yet others are shut right before us. Probably you were up for a promotion at your place of work. In fact, maybe you were the interim person in that position (assuming all the duties of course) and they had even promised it to you. It was just a matter of time and it would become official. Then to your dismay, a new hire was brought in – and you were required to train them! BAM! Door slammed! Maybe you were engaged. The wedding had been planned and invitations sent out. Everything was set, then your fiancée changed their mind! BAM! Door Slammed! This can be very irritating – and especially if you have no doubt that you’ve done the needful in that particular situation.

We go through different door-slamming, door-shutting, and door-closing experiences. You probably have dreamed of open doors only to experience them slam, shut, close and even locked before you – one after the other. I don’t know what your experience is but I’d like to encourage you today.
Now, this woman who had been forced out on that winter night was a woman of faith. She had quietly responded to her husband’s infuriating action thus: “I know that you are my husband, but Christ is my Master.” She put her faith where it was supposed to be – in Christ. Then she walked around the house and when she came to the front she discovered that her husband had forgotten to lock the front door! So she simply came in through the main entrance, laughing.

Might it be that you’re standing at the wrong door? Did you happen to knock at the back door?

Very upset businesmman knocking off a door trying to collect a debt.

If you’re at the wrong door, you will not get the desired results

Maybe you were supposed to come through the front door, rejoicing. The Bible says, “…Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7b, Luke 11:9b). Just make sure it is the right door – and you’re wearing the right attitude. Hard as it may be just rejoice in the Lord (Philippians 4:4) We are told to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). With faith in God and the right attitude, before you know it, another door will be open.

What makes this lady’s story more interesting is that when the husband finally saw what he had done, he caught her laughter and realized how silly he had been. Together they laughed about the matter, but to him it was also a revelation of how cold he had grown in the things of God. Shortly afterward, he spent ten days praying and fasting in repentance, and God gloriously restored him. The couple was Smith and Polly Wigglesworth. [1]

In life, when a door shuts on us it’s easy to panic and give up or we might sit there looking at the closed door for longer than it is necessary that we fail to see the opened one. Had Polly sat there in the cold staring at the shut back door she would have probably frozen to death that severe winter of 1884. Has a door been shut before you? Take a walk around the building you might discover something.

Sometimes when a door is slammed against you it could be because God is protecting you from a situation or He is setting you up for a blessing that you’ve never imagined or He is positioning you as a destiny helper to someone you don’t even know yet.

closed-doorsThink about Joseph for a moment. His story which can be found in Genesis 37-50 should help us see things a little differently. Joseph’s sold-into-slavery-shut-door experience was God’s way of preserving a nation. When famine struck, the only place Israel could get food was from Egypt; and the only person to help them out was Joseph! Suppose he had tried returning to Israel – a whole nation would have perished. When Potiphar’s wife accused him of rape, that was his palace-to-prison-slammed-door experience and this, God used to promote him. What’s your slammed door story? Forcing it open might be detrimental to your well being. Rejoice and again I say rejoice because God is up to something!

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Endnotes:
[1] http://www.godsgenerals.com/person_s_wigglesworth.htm

Why Has All This Happened To Us?

break altar

Here’s a question you may have asked yourself before:

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”

Some problems come with such a severity that one finds themselves asking such a question.

A while back, my family was facing a difficulty and one of my sisters had reached a point of despair. She was crying. “Have we been saved only to be shamed?” She asked. We needed relief fast but things only seemed to be getting worse rapidly.

I thought to myself: Behind every Google Map, there is a much more complex map that is the key to our queries but hidden from our view. It’s as if there is an invisible barrier between what we can see and what we can’t. This took me back to the book of Judges. It was a terrible time for the Israelites and the situation kept getting worse. So here was Gideon beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites, who whenever they came around, stole everything they could carry, and destroyed everything else. People lived in fear; they didn’t know what would happen next but they were sure it would be bad – yet they couldn’t see the real issue. There was the ‘Google Map’ but what was really behind this difficulty?

Behind the Trouble

The answer to that question is spelled out clearly in Judges 2:10-12 The people forgot and forsook God. Wait, there’s more… in His anger against Israel the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their surrounding enemies, whom they could no longer withstand… They were in terrible distress. Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these plunderers. Yet they would not listen to their judges but whored after other gods and bowed down to them. (Judges 2:14-17)

Saint of God, perhaps you know from personal experience how it feels to have the forces of wickedness unleashed against you. You develop ‘survival tactics’ because you just want make it through another day. In Judges chapter 6, Gideon was doing exactly that. He was beating wheat in a winepress because if he did it in the right place the raiders would find him and take it all. He was just trying to survive. When the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said that God was with him – Gideon just couldn’t believe it. Things were so bad that he couldn’t see God anywhere.

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” – Judges 6:13

God’s answer to Gideon’s complaint of how the enemy was wrecking their lives was simple; “…pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is besides it and build an altar to the Lord your God…” (Judges 6:25-26)

Still peering behind the ‘Google Map’, what this means is that sometimes trouble pursues and overtakes us because of strange and ungodly altars in our lives. Some altars maybe our own doing while others may have been erected by our parents as in the case of Gideon.

Tearing Down Your Father’s Altars

It suddenly dawned on me that when there is sin in the camp, unfortunately, everyone is affected – the saved and unsaved alike. It is the responsibility of those who love God, those who take Him seriously to ensure that God’s will prevails. Remember, in Joshua chapter 7, when Achan took some of the devoted things (from the fallen Jericho), the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel. Verse 1 says that the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things. They went to war and were defeated by their enemy. It was only after they had destroyed those things that they overcame their enemies. Going against God weakens a people and they become an easy target for the enemy.

When we begin to take God seriously He assures us of peace with Him, but we have work to do. Our first task is not to take on the external foe, but to deal with the enemy within.

Break free from ungodly altars

Break free from ungodly altars

Gideon had to deal with anti-God evils right in his own home and family. His family had an altar to Baal, a pagan god of prosperity, and a pole for Asherah, a goddess of sex. Whoa! Isn’t it amazing how blind we can be to our own sins? How can we stand with lifted arms and tears in our eyes asking God why such bad things are happening to us, when right in our own homes the worship of God is mixed with idol worship and sexual perversion?! Until we have dealt with such wickedness in our own households, the enemy will continue to have a field day in our lives.

Things were going terribly wrong in our family, sin seemed rampant and God seemed several million miles away. People were desperate, emotions were running high and then like a scene from the book of Judges, God spoke, revealing the key to our queries. Like Gideon, we had take tear down our father’s altars and then build the proper kind of altar to the Lord. We couldn’t expect power from God to defeat enemies on the outside if we didn’t face the enemy within.

When you see sinful or demonic or ungodly things happening repeatedly in your life or family, it is more than likely that there’s an altar to the enemy present. You know what things plague you and if you’re tired of them, stop hiding in the winepress – come out and deal with them! Take time to break free from past patterns and practices of your family and community in order to be in tune with God. Break free from bowing down to idols (anything that has taken the place of God in your life)! Break free from spirits other than the Holy Spirit of God! If you’re afraid to be seen by unsaved friends and family members breaking those ungodly altars, then like Gideon, do so during the night. After all the Bible says that a man sowed his wheat and while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away (Matthew 13:25); but this time, you will be awake and ready when he comes. You will do well to arrest him in his tracks! He will not have a chance to sow discord in your life anymore!

We know that after Gideon obeyed God, in Judges chapter 7, God used him to bring victory to Israel – defeating the very Midianites that had earlier impoverished Israel. You may be the person that God wants to use to bring deliverance to your household. The enemy might have unleashed terror on your family but be encouraged in the Lord; keep looking up, for He has not abandoned you. The trouble you see today has an expiry date and no enemy is more powerful than the almighty God. God has not saved you to shame you for anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame (Romans 10:11). Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld.

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Crushing invisible barriers and proclaiming liberty in Christ to the nations!