Perseverance

“As You prepare, I will persevere.”

As believers, our walk with The Lord will often have us receive promises of healing and restoration in the lives of our families and communities. I have realized that a promise from God inevitably ushers in a process that when embraced with a child-like trust, will see us changed from the inside out. Since ours is a purely relational journey, I feel that the biggest benefit of this is that God gives us the opportunity to allow Him to build relationship with Him through The Holy Spirit.

As unexpected situations arise, I believe He delights in seeing us run towards Him, and not away from. He waits patiently for us to be still in His Presence in order to hear what it is that He is thinking about the situation/circumstance that we find ourselves in. Sometimes, the revelations are astounding as The Holy Spirit begins to reveal what it is that The Father’s intended outcome for the situation is, thereby putting us in a position to depend on Him to help develop the patience, endurance and perseverance required in order for us to see His Word come to pass.

I made a mention of “child-like trust” in the beginning because when God goes to work, He puts us in seemingly impossible situations where perhaps the only bankable thing we can depend on is His Infallible Promise. He can change our situation in a heartbeat, but I think He is far more interested in changing us. The process of change requires trust in His Faithfulness, Goodness and Love. One of the most affirming verses we can turn to at such times is this,

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32, NIV)

If He has spoken, the outcome is guaranteed, and we can put the timing of it in His Hands. Our responsibility then becomes to seek Him in order that He may reveal what it is that He is preparing and cultivating on the inside of us which will make us more and more like Jesus – the very reason He gave up His Son in the first place.

The process of seeing the Promise come to pass will, of all things, require one thing of us: perseverance. The path towards the culmination of what we are contending for will perhaps be laced with times of difficulty and turbulence. How we navigate these rough waters is what will make all the difference because the best way to navigate them is in and through a relationship with Our Father. Assured of His Love, we can lean into His Bosom and ask Him to help us in our time of need: with the wisdom, tenacity, love and faith that we need to not just overcome, but be changed by it.

My recent walk with The Lord has embedded a verse in my heart,

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12, NIV)

Let us unpack this a bit. Yes, as surely as The Lord is asking us to persevere, He is also releasing a corresponding promise, that having stood the test, we will receive the crown of life. This personally took me back to the life of Our King, Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him endured The Cross. It made me think that if Jesus needed to tap into the joy of reward, then am I above my Master?

This revelation gave me the faith to believe in The Law of The Spirit in Christ Jesus. He is not a man that He should lie. He is Faithful to transform, prepare and when the time is right, deliver. If we sow, we will reap. If we surrender, we will receive. If we yield, we will transform. If we trust, He will never let us down.

Friends, I don’t know where this post has met you and what it is that The Lord has you believing Him for. But it is my hope and prayer that no matter what it is, we will be wise enough to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen; for as surely as we are persevering, He is preparing.

Selah.

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Salt and Light.

“I am Your Child before I am Your Church.”

The more I walk with The Lord, the more I realize how much He values relationship. He will allow situations and circumstances to manifest, and then invite us to listen to His Voice in order that we may discern what it is that His Spirit is doing in and through the manifested circumstances. I am slowly coming to a point where I recognize that the stronger my relationship with Him, the more I am in sync with Him which allows me to see, think and act the way He does in order to see His will manifest in through whatever it is that I may be experiencing. Perhaps, this is the reason we call our lives as believers a grand adventure with The Lord.

The way we were drawn into a relationship with Jesus is the way it is sustained. His Love is what won our hearts over, and it still is His Love which continues to. In a world rife with chaos and turmoil, we are often spurred to be the salt and light. After all, that is what Jesus has called us to be, and my journey reveals to me that the extent to which we allow ourselves to bask in His Light is the extent to which we can authentically be the light in our tiny part of the world. So, before I “do” anything, I am slowly learning the vital importance of “being” in His Presence. I love how The Bible makes this clear,

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, King James Bible)

This leads me to believe that God is more interested in our “being,” than our “doing,” for He understands that from the overflow of our fellowship will inevitably flow the desire, the resolve and the power to be the salt and light. This is where our striving ends, and our surrender to Him puts us in a place of being able to receive like a child, and as a child. This where we learn to receive His perfect love, unconditional acceptance and matchless grace. This is where we encounter Presence and allow it to transform us into a Child that knows how to host it. This is where our weakness meets His Strength. This is where our wounds begin to heal and our souls finds revival. This is where our hearts start to melt as His Love begins to well up from deep within. This is where authentic transformation in Christ begins.

My experience tells me that our journey is purely relational and transformational, the fruit of which is for the world to savor. We can give only to the extent we receive. It is therefore, important to realize that the foremost thing is to receive the love, the grace, the mercy, the forgiveness, the kindness and the goodness of God in fullness and abundance every single day of our lives. This not only keeps us tethered to His Presence, but takes us deeper and deeper into a relational walk with Him; from the abundance of which can freely flow the goodness that our world needs to see and receive.

As His Child, I first want to receive His Love first thing in the morning. I want to allow His Love to heal me, strengthen me, lead me, guide me and then, compel me. I want to let my “being” with Him define my “doing.” I want to yield more and more to the leading of His Spirit as opposed to what I may have thought is the best way to lead my day. I want Him to take centerstage in my life so that every move and every decision is assured of a favorable outcome. I want to first feel His Heart towards me, and then let that heart reach those that are near to me.

So, I told Him last night that I was first His Child, and then His Church. I want to be the lamp that He can put on a lampstand, but first I want to taste of His Love and Light that can be found only when hidden within His splendor shadow. I want to be the salt and light, but first I want to be salted and lit up from within. I want to be a world changer, but first I need my inside world changed. I want to be sheep among the wolves, but first I want to know what it is to be shepherded well. I want to be who He has called me to be, but first I want to encounter The One who has called me in the first place.

I guess what I’m trying to say is quite simple. In our walk with Christ, our foremost responsibility is to value our relationship over anything else. It is in the relationship that we forge that we get to know Him, and the more we know Him, the more we know ourselves and what it is that we are called to. As I write, the words of Jesus, after His Resurrection as He promised The Holy Spirit to His disciples, come to mind;

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49, NIV)

It is abundantly clear that the more we receive “power from on high,” the more we are empowered to be who He calls us to be: the salt and light of the world, His Children and then, His Church.

So be it.

Amen.

Vulnerability.

“You’ve seen me through it all, now You can have it all.”

I have been listening to Kim Walker Smith’s track, “Insatiable” lately. Needless to say, the lyrics are exquisite and eloquently capture the heartbeat of a believer’s journey. She speaks of how Jesus won’t stop till He has it all. She responds by declaring that He can have it all: heart and soul. Beautiful, right?

So what is it that inspires such bold confidence in being willing to be ever so vulnerable to God that we find ourselves wanting to give it all to Him, our hearts, minds and souls?

Clearly, it is an undeniable revelation of the unfathomable Love of our God who perseveres with us through our rebellion, gently breathes down our walls or simply chooses to break in with a radical encounter. Either way, He is too good to leave us the way we are, and hastens to redeem us. Every such experience only serves to take us deeper into the Love of God which is the number one thing that gives us the courage to be ourselves. One of my favorite Bible verses is as follows,

“Perfect Love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18, ESV)

I love to remind myself that Jesus is a gentleman. He will never force His way in, but patiently waits for us to invite Him in. His sole intention is to heal us, restore us, affirm us and assure us that there is nothing that we have done or can do which will diminish His Love towards us, simply because Love is who He is. My own experience testifies that I need His healing, redemptive touch every single day; and the more I walk with Him, the more joy and confidence I find in learning to depend on Him for everything. Finding Him in every situation and asking Him to reveal His Heart in and through it is perhaps what fuels my relational journey with The Lord.

It wasn’t always like that, but through the passage of time, I have grown by His Grace. When I first started seeking Him, I needed a lot of things, in the natural. But what truly won my heart over was when I began encountering Him as Someone who wants to meet my deepest needs, who longs to bring healing to my bones and pour strength into my soul, who wants to not just do life with me here, but life everlasting on the other side. Eternity beats in the heart of man, and Jesus met me there. Suffice to say, it changed everything.

It began to sink in. He who has promised me Eternal Life will certainly be true in all His intentions towards me. Increasing encounters with Him where He would soothe my restless soul with words of loving kindness began to forge a Love relationship with The Living God where I began to trust that “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42:3, NIV)

Therefore, in our relationship with Jesus, we can be vulnerable with our brokenness simply because God is faithful to honor our trust in Him. We can invite Him into even those areas of our life that in the natural, seem to have no hope. But as believers, we understand that Christ in us is the hope of glory. He is our confident expectation of seeing something favorable manifest even in the most difficult situations, not because of anything we have done, but simply because our placement in Christ guarantees that our starting point is victory. We can tap into this consciousness intentionally on a daily basis till it becomes our first and most natural response, a response that eventually paves the way to a favorable result.

Each time doubt or unbelief threatens to sabotage our faith, we can simply look back at the faithfulness of God in our lives who in His unfailing love, comes through every single time. Whether it is brokenness in our souls, in our families, in our communities; He is able to mend it all into wholeness in a way that points to His Highest Name. I believe that Jesus didn’t just start coming through for me when I met Him, He came through for me at The Cross of Calvary, a death sentence that mandated vulnerability to the utmost extreme. Yet for the joy set before Him, He took The Cross for my freedom, releasing me to walk in the fullness thereof as I navigate my journey with Him here on Earth, learning to shed the old in order to adorn the new and keep looking forward to see what else He might do.

So friends, let us remember Him this day today in a manner that revives our faith in who He is, which will give us the courage to come to Him just as we are in order that He may begin the glorious work of making us the way He is.

Selah.

Conversations with Christ.

“The strength of my journey is in how You talk me through it, and not just walk me through it.”

When God gives us a promise, more often than not, it embarks us upon a process and a walk with The Lord that when yielded to with a brave and trusting heart, possesses the potential to change us for the better, forevermore. In my experience thus far, the promise towards a circumstantial/relational resolution is only an invitation to allow God to do a deep work in us, which perhaps is not something we shout about instantly, but later, as The Word promises, is sure to yield a crown of life to those that love The Lord.

As I have received a promise for my life, I have recognized that as His Child, I can put the outcome in His Hands, while simultaneously seeking Him to give me the wisdom and discernment that I need to see how it is that He is using the process to change me from one degree of glory to another. God’s goal is simple: to make us Christlike. The situations and circumstances that come our way are only tools in His Hands to improve us and upgrade us, depending on our willingness to surrender to the process of allowing Him to forge the character of His Son on the inside of us.

It is His Love that finds us the way we are, but takes a hold of us gently yet firmly, with a devoted commitment to transform us from strength to strength. For me, it is in the process that I find my strength because I find Christ in it. It is in the candid conversations we have that I experience the beautiful divine exchange of my thoughts for His Truth. Where I want instant gratification, He knows what I need – transformation.

He knows that I need to replace fear with love, and anger with patience. He knows I need to learn to have rest and trust in the middle of the mystery. He knows I need to know Him as both, my best friend that sticks closer than a brother as well as The Lord of lords who is forever, invincible. It is His Lordship that guarantees the outcome, and it is His Friendship that keeps me close. Clearly, as Graham Cooke puts it,

“The One who knows us best, loves us best.”

As believers in Christ, it is a pure privilege to have an ongoing series of conversations with Him as we walk towards our reward and promise. Truth be told, Jesus Himself is our greatest reward. His constancy in companionship is an eternal treasure that nothing can stand against. Revelations of who He is and who we are becoming as a result of being in relationship with Him are what form the substratum of our journey with The Lord. His Love gives us the strength to persevere and His Grace empowers us in our weakness.

My own personal walk with Jesus has seen Him give loving assurances of His Promise each time I have felt daunted by doubt or unbelief. Every such assurance has never ceased to bring a smile to my face and light up my soul. He has his own ways to affirm us, the sanctity of which I feel we must cherish with all our heart. It is these tiny yet significant assurances that become arrows in our quiver as we continue to walk towards our promise, unabated.

Friends, conversations with Christ change us. They make us more and more sensitive to the still, small voice within. They begin to reveal the character of God to us. They keep us in sync with the leading of The Holy Spirit. They teach us to open our hearts to The Only One who knows how to take our vulnerability and lovingly translate it into strength. They begin to become the prime motivation behind our willingness to obey, for they are a response of love to Love. They slowly reveal to us the truth that the strength of our journey lies not in an intended outcome, rather in the process of communing with The One who is both, the author and the finisher of our faith.

Selah.

God speaks

Majesty👑

God’s splendor is a tale that is told;
his testament is written in the stars,

Space itself speaks his story every day
through the marvels of the heavens.
His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky,
showing his skill in creation’s craftsmanship.

Each day gushes out its message to the next,
night with night whispering its knowledge to all.

Without a sound, without a word, without a voice being heard,
Yet all the world can see its story.
Everywhere its gospel is clearly read so all may know.
(Psalm 19:1-4, The Passion Translation)
🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻