Feeling guilty that you sinned?

Forgiven pic

Repentance was not always one of my favorite things to do. I remember associating it with guilt and not so enjoyable moments in God’s presence. Whenever I would hear that we need to pray and repent, those were not the prayer meetings I used to run to but I would go anyway and hope that the prayer session would be short. I wonder if there is someone else who feels that way or has ever felt that way.

I have had to repent of some things this week. Not that there are weeks I am perfect and don’t sin but this week in particular revealed some things that I really should not be doing and I don’t think the Lord was pleased with. It wasn’t even things that are quite obvious as sin to others. It was things like realizing I am not speaking in love and I am being critical. The thing I have come to learn about criticizing others is that no matter how much I justify it, it is still wrong. Whenever I am being critical I can always tell deep down that it is what I’m doing even if I try to coat it with that I’m just being honest or whatever else.

There are some things I do that leave me wondering why I did that and how can I still be doing that now.  After having walked with the Lord for so many years I should know better and actually do know better but somehow I find myself in some situations and find myself thinking, “After all these years of walking with You Lord, am I really still struggling with this?”

I read a scripture that changed my perspective on repenting. Perhaps the reason I never used to like praying and repenting is because it made me feel like I had done so much wrong and sinned so much. After moments of repentance come times of refreshing! Every time I take to God the things I’m struggling with and sin in my life, I always get so refreshed and filled with joy and empowered to do better. So if you repent and feel burdened recognize that it is not because of the sin you repented of but because of the enemy who still wants you to remain in condemnation. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. It is not that there is no condemnation for those who do not sin. If you are in Christ, you are not condemned no matter what.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (Acts 3:19 NIV)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1 NIV)

David knew this. He repented of his sin in psalm 51. In psalm 32 he talks about the guilt that comes with not repenting. When he did not repent and kept his sin a secret (which it really never is a secret before God), his bones wasted away. Bring it to God, whatever it is, just take it God. You will be forgiven and refreshed.

God bless you

 

Enjoying Today in the Face of Unfulfilled Dreams

Gift Image

What do you do when the present circumstances of your life do not look anything like the dreams God has put in your heart? You thought that by now you would have done certain things that the Lord put in your heart but it actually looks like things are moving in the opposite direction of what you have been hoping and praying for and working towards. But the dream in your heart has still not died. Sure there are times when you doubted and the flame of the dream waned but deep down in your heart you know what God told you and you are sure about the word He gave you.

I took a mental inventory this week; of all the dreams God has put in my heart and the goals I want to accomplish. Truth be told, some of the dreams God has put in my heart are not my present reality. Yet every day I wake up not having given up on the promises of God to me. As I do my best (God help me to do my best every day) and my part and wait on God’s timing, I have to make sure that I do not neglect living in my purpose daily. Each new day is a day that the Lord has made for me to rejoice in. Failing to enjoy today because I am focused on tomorrow is not right.

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24 NLT)

There are times in life when we wonder if we are still on the right track and whether God really spoke or did we make it all up. The truth is that the word of God always fulfills the purpose of God. Right now it may feel like the present circumstances will never change and you should probably give up on the promises of God. However, you should not give up on the dreams and promises of God. In God’s time the dreams will become a reality and you will actually think you are dreaming because it will be better than you imagined.

When the LORD brought back his exiles to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! (Psalm 126:1 NLT)

To avoid feeling discouraged make sure that you live in the present on purpose. When you have a dream or a goal to fulfill, you might forget that as you pursue your goals and God-given dreams you must live out your purpose in the present. Enjoy today, every day. Do what you need to do today for your dream to become a reality tomorrow. Do not be so focused on tomorrow that you fail to enjoy the blessing that is in today. God daily loads us with benefits.  There is a blessing from God to enjoy every day and I refuse to be so focused on tomorrow that I miss the daily benefits of God.

When Joseph was in prison it certainly did not look anything like the dream God had given him. God showed him how he was going to be a ruler but here he was a prisoner. The God-given dream eventually came to pass. When Joseph was in prison he did not neglect using his God-given gift of dream interpretation. His continued use of his gift in daily life was a stepping stone to seeing his dreams become a reality.

Whatever your goals and dreams are, I pray that they are God-given. The best place to be is in the will of God.

God Bless You!

God Loves the Authentic You

Be the Authentic You

That I can be myself and real with God is one of the best things ever. God loves the real me not the version of me I might sometimes pretend to be. God loves me.

There is a time I had started to worship God and pray and I realized I was trying to be holier in my singing for whatever reason. It is actually funny just thinking about it. Then I realized that God wants me to be myself. That is why He created each person different from the next one. When I am honest with God and myself, flaws and all, there is such a beautiful breakthrough and fellowship that comes from that as God rejoices in the person He created me to be and changes the parts of me that are still not like Him as He works on my character.

The other day I found myself thinking about how I cannot impress God. He is pleased with me because I am in Christ but impressing Him by pretending to be someone or something I am not just won’t work. He knows me; He created me and formed my innermost being. I cannot impress Him by pretending to be someone I’m not or by trying to do things a certain way to get His attention. He loved me before I ever did anything right. Praying a certain way that feels more religious won’t work if I stop being myself in God’s presence and try to pray or behave like someone else. I do not need to pretend to be better than I actually am in God’s presence.

At that time Abijah son of Jeroboam became ill, and Jeroboam said to his wife, “Go, disguise yourself, so you won’t be recognized as the wife of Jeroboam. Then go to Shiloh. Ahijah the prophet is there—the one who told me I would be king over this people. Take ten loaves of bread with you, some cakes and a jar of honey, and go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” So Jeroboam’s wife did what he said and went to Ahijah’s house in Shiloh.

Now Ahijah could not see; his sight was gone because of his age. But the Lord had told Ahijah, “Jeroboam’s wife is coming to ask you about her son, for he is ill, and you are to give her such and such an answer. When she arrives, she will pretend to be someone else.”

So when Ahijah heard the sound of her footsteps at the door, he said, “Come in, wife of Jeroboam. Why this pretense?

1st Kings 14:1-6 NIV (emphasis mine)

In this passage, Jeroboam sent his wife to Ahijah the prophet to ask the Lord what would happen to his son who was ill. He asked his wife to disguise herself so that the prophet Ahijah would not recognize her. Probably because of the sin of Jeroboam because He knew that God was displeased. So his wife went to see the prophet pretending to be someone else. God revealed to Ahijah that Jeroboam’s wife would come and she would pretend to be somebody else.

Sometimes we come to God and pretend to be something that we are not and cover up our sin disguising ourselves. But God knows us and He loves us. He longs to fellowship with the real us that He created. Whatever it is, don’t cover it up; He knows you and loves you. He wants to fellowship with the authentic you and to help you along this journey of life.

Be real with God and watch your relationship with Him grow deeper.

God Bless You!

 

Remaining in God’s Will

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One of the quickest and surest ways to get out of God’s will is to be influenced by everything that is going on around you and forget what God put in your heart to do.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2 NLT – emphasis mine)

People around us will always have advice and opinions about what we should or should not do. Most of the times they mean well but I keep reminding myself that God gave me the vision and He spoke to me concerning His purpose for me. God might use someone to confirm God’s leading to you but you are the main person God will talk to about His plan and purpose for you.

The world has set standards and how things should be done. But I have learnt that if I want what is best for me I have to ask God and not do what the world says I should or makes out to be the best way to do something. I have also learnt that just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean that it will work for me. Instead of doing what that person did I need to ask God how I should do what I believe He wants me to do.

So my God gave me the idea to call together all the nobles and leaders of the city, along with the ordinary citizens, for registration. I had found the genealogical record of those who had first returned to Judah…(Nehemiah 7:5 NLT – emphasis mine)

Like Nehemiah, let what you pursue in life be God’s idea not the world’s idea. It is God who gave you the idea. Let Him show you how to implement it.

God bless you!

 

 

One of the ways to know that you are in God’s will.

The path of the righteous

Proverbs 4:18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day (NIV).

One of the ways to know that you are on the path that is God’s will for you is that it keeps getting brighter and brighter with each step you take. At first, things might seem blurry and vague but as you continue to take steps of faith on the path set before you and in obedience to God, it gets brighter and brighter. The secret is to keep taking steps of faith. If you keep taking steps of faith and the path keeps getting darker and darker, and you are not getting clarity then you need to seek God for direction.

As the path keeps getting brighter and brighter, you see better with clarity. This means that you also get to see obstacles more clearly and this does not mean that you are on the wrong path; with a door of opportunity comes opposition. The key is not in all the monsters and obstacles you see around you, the key is in whether it gets brighter or darker. You should not be fumbling in the dark.

The path that is God’s will keep getting brighter in terms of clarity and peace despite all the obstacles that you encounter. Brighter and brighter does not necessarily mean easier and easier.

God bless you!

When God closes a door in your life.

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When God closes a door in your life, trust Him.

The Lord has been dealing with me on the issue of trusting Him lately. It is easy to say that we trust God but do we really?

Trusting God requires that we surrender to His will and way. Even when we think our plan is better than His, because His ways are better and higher than ours.

When God opens a door nobody can shut it and when He shuts a door nobody can open it. We love to focus on God opening doors, so do I. Even when we force doors open and decide not to listen to God, we still insist that God opened the door. While it is true that nobody can open a door that God has closed, we often try to insist on our own way. We tell God, by our actions, that we do not care that He does not want us to go a certain way or do something. We find ways to make it look like what we want is what God wants too.

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open. Revelation 3:7 nlt

When God closes a door, it is for your own good; for your protection and because He has something way better for you. When God closed the door of the ark, it was to save Noah and His family. Stop trying to break down doors that God shut. Stop begging God to open a door that He has shut.

A male and female of each kind entered, just as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD closed the door behind them . Genesis 7:16 nlt

That said, when God opens a door for you, stop hesitating, run through the door and embrace all that God has for you. There is a difference between a door God has closed and opposition because the enemy does not want you to walk in the fullness of all that God has for you. Resistance does not mean God has closed the door. In fact, lack of resistance might mean the enemy has no problem with you doing whatever it is that you are doing.

There is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me. 1st Corinthians 16:9 – nlt

Trust God. He knows best.

When did I complicate my relationship with Jesus?

Simple

During the Christmas season last month (year), I saw someone singing happy birthday to Jesus on the internet. This really got me thinking and asking myself at what point I stopped simply loving Jesus and just genuinely having fun with Him. I remembered a Christmas, about twelve years ago, that I baked a cake for Jesus on Christmas day and wrote “Happy Birthday Jesus” on it.

 
But somehow as I became an adult, grew older and got responsibilities with bills to pay, I thought that I was also an “adult” in God’s eyes. But the truth is that I will always be His child and I should never lose that sense of wonder and amazement and simple relationship with Him. That even as I get new responsibilities every day, God carries me through life and wants to take care of me.

2nd Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (KJV)

It is not just responsibilities and the fast pace of life that can make us forget how to simply receive God’s love and just hang out with Jesus. Christian practices can also become a burden if we are not careful. Thinking that you have to pray a certain way and for a certain length of time, or that you have to do things a specific way each time can wear you down. I want to spend time with Jesus but what about the day my quiet time with Jesus is not for as long as I think it should be? Setting down hard and fast rules on how to do spiritual things ends up complicating our relationship with the Lord.

 
So I decided to go back to the simple yet profound love between my Savior and I. The peace and joy of talking to Jesus, accepting the love of God and being led by the Holy Spirit instead of following man made rules is amazing.

 
Keep it simple. The Lord will guide you and teach you everything you need to know and do. Enjoy your relationship with Jesus. Go for a walk with Him, dance with Him…enjoy.

 
God bless you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W36wYU-Py8c

 

 

 

Trusting God

Plans

As I thought about 2016 and all the things I want to do, should do, need to do…I wondered if they were God’s plan for me in 2016. One thing I have realized is that God’s plans for me are way better than my wildest dreams. I do not want to be God’s child yet live my life pursuing my own plans. God is my Creator, my Father and my Life. I am living for His glory.

Deuteronomy 30:20 (NIV)

and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In the book of Isaiah, God said that although the Israelites were His children, they were following their own plans. Instead of writing a list of things to accomplish in 2016, why not give God a blank paper to write what He wants you to accomplish in 2016? After all, He wrote down all the days of my life before a single one came to be.

Isaiah 30:1-2 (NIV)

Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.

It boils down to a trust issue. Do I trust God enough to yield my desires to Him? Because as long as I think my own plans are better, I will have a hard time surrendering to God’s will for me and will keep pursuing what I think is best for me but really isn’t. There is no happier place to be than at the centre of God’s will and that is where I want to be. Whatever the Lord tells me is His will for me in 2016, may that be what I pursue with all I have.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

Happy New Year!!

Stop trying to change God’s mind

Blog post pic_stop trying to change God's mind

1st Samuel 8:1- 22 (NIV)

Remember that prayer that God answered and you were so happy? Maybe you aren’t as happy with the answer now as you were back then or maybe you are still happy about it. Whatever the case, is it what you wanted or is it what God wanted for you? We go to God many times and insist on our own way instead of finding out what is best for us from God. We can only see in the short term but God sees our future and knows what is best for us.

Most times I think I know what I want and need. I think I know what will make me happy. The truth is that God knows best. He created me. He planned my life before I started living it. For me, not trusting God’s best for me shows me that I don’t really trust God as much as I say I do concerning whatever situation I am in at the time. Because if I really trusted Him I would take time to ask Him what is best for me instead of telling Him and asking for what I think is best. I would stop begging Him to get Him to change His mind about what I need. God’s plan for me is way better than my wildest dreams.

The Israelites wanted a king. They wanted to be like the other nations around them. Instead of trusting God to lead them, they wanted to be led by a king. After all, everyone else was. So many times we do things because other people are doing it too. But is it what we are meant to do?

So the Israelites went to God and asked or a king. God gave them Saul. Looks like an answered prayer, right? Well, yes it was an answered prayer but the king would not treat them as well as God did. The king was not God’s best for them. I am learning to ask God what is best for me before I start asking Him for something when He has a much better plan for me. My prayer is that God aligns my desires with His will.

1st Samuel 8:4- 7 (NIV)

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

 

1st Samuel 8:19- 22 (NIV)

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

 

God Bless You!

God is speaking to you not your neighbor

Bible and praying hands

I know you love to claim those beautiful promises in the Bible as do most of us. But what about those verses that convict and correct you of your sin? Sometimes we read the Bible and can see how correction applies to everybody else but us. Thou shall not covet…and immediately two people who are guilty of coveting come to your mind but you are not one of them! You forget that you are the one reading the Bible and therefore you are the one the Lord is speaking to at that very moment. Accept correction as well as you accept the promises and the blessings.

 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

2nd Timothy 3:16 (NIV)

 Every time you read the Bible, the Lord is speaking to you because you are reading His Word. If something seems to be highlighted to you or for a period of time you find that you are reading on a certain topic/issue, ask the Lord what He is drawing your attention to. Last week I found that during my bible study time I would read on pride. The first time I read about it I just thought to myself how pride comes before a fall and is a sin and how proud the characters I was reading about were. The second time I read about pride I realized that the message might actually be for me and maybe I was the character in question.

The good thing about the Lord’s correction is that it is in love and we can trust God to correct us and discipline us. God’s discipline is not punishment. So I asked the Lord to show me areas in my life that I am proud and I repented for being proud. Pride is very subtle. It can tiptoe into your life without you noticing it. I then asked the Lord to keep me from pride in future because maybe God was speaking to me about something that will happen in future which could be a week from now or whenever.

When Jesus told His disciples that they would all fall away and abandon Him, Peter (and the rest of the disciples too) made it clear that he would not deny Jesus no matter what happened. In other words, Peter heard the word of the Lord but it applied to everybody else but him. Instead of praying about it and praying for confidence to stand by Jesus no matter what, he disregarded the word of the Lord and was so sure that it applied to all the other disciples. The rest of the disciples would deny Jesus but Peter would not even though Jesus was clear that all the disciples would deny Him.

31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

“‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

Matthew 26:31 – 35 (NIV)

When you read the Bible and your devotion that day is on gossip. Do not think about all your friends who gossip all the time but you don’t. That you are reading the Bible at that time means the Lord is speaking to you about it. Instead ask the Lord to show you any area in which you need correction and pray for strength not to fall into temptation. God knows everything and maybe the reason you are reading about it now and it seems so inapplicable to you is because the devil has a trial set up to come against you in a few days in the very area you are reading about and thinking that is not your weakness at all.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

1st Corinthians 10:12(NIV)

God Bless You!