The Good Shepherd

The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.
I always have more than enough.
He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life.
He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure
and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness
so that I can bring honor to his name.
Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness,
fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
Your authority is my strength and my peace.
The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
You become my delicious feast
even when my enemies dare to fight.
You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;
you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.
So why would I fear the future?
For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.
Then afterward, when my life is through,
I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!

(Psalm 23, The Passion Translation)
🌿

The wait.

“Here’s what I’ve learned through it all:
Don’t give up; don’t be impatient;
be entwined as one with the Lord.
Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope.
Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!”

(Psalm 27:14, The Passion Translation)

How we wait is perhaps as important as what we are waiting upon The Lord for. For waiting upon The Lord is a phase that is purely transitional.

It’s a transit point between where we once were and where we are now headed. It requires a space within us that God cultivates because He is in the business of preparing us for what He has prepared for us. What appears to be a delay is in fact, only a vehicle to affirm us of the truth that as we wait, our answers are only accruing interest. And when He does intervene with a precision probably best described as surgical, we will know what the wait was really all about. We will see for ourselves that if we could turn back time, we wouldn’t want to. Because His timing is just that perfect.

His timing is perfect because His ways that are higher than ours?

Are perfect.

And enshrined within our willingness to wait in obedience to the ways of The Lord is the pristine sound of trust.

I often say that He is a Good Good Father. I say it because He is. And in His goodness, He wants His Children to be spiritually mature enough to trust the process of change and development that is the very purpose behind the wait.

For the wait is where He establishes His nature and character in our lives, which most naturally enables us to express our trust in His naure and character, in turn. Because the truth is that where He is taking us is a place that only a sound enough revelation of who HE is, will sustain us, grow us and prosper us.

One of the things that I have heard Graham Cooke say and have taken to heart is the revelation that as we walk hand-in-hand with The Lord, there is nothing that we will walk through together which will overwhelm us simply because HE is so much bigger. So it’s okay for us to be small because HE is so big.

He knows what lies ahead and goes ahead of us to prepare the way for the joy of a manifested promise. But what if He really is more interested in teaching and enabling us to even walk with joy towards a most joyful outcome?

A joy that stems from both, the simplicity and sanctity of believing.

Believing in the faithfulness of The One who promised and believing in His power to accomplish that which He promised.

“For no word from God will ever fail.”

(Luke 1:37, NIV)

Reason enough to wait. And wait well.

Wait well as He waits upon us too.

He too waits upon us as He patiently brings us to the point of believing. He works with unmatched patience with us to not only believe the infallibility of what He has spoken to us, but even train us to travel with the peace and joy of believing.

If that’s not perseverance, I don’t know what is.

As a people being transformed and conformed to His image, we too are graced to persevere. Persevere with Him as surely as He perseveres with us. For Love always perseveres, Scripture tells us. And as a response of love to Love, it is only natural to find ourselves saying,

“You’ll change the times and seasons, but as You do, grant me the grace to persevere with You.”

Selah.

In the middle.

Seasons of waiting find us caught in the middle. In the middle of promise released and promise realised. In the middle of the valley and the promised land. In the middle of process initiated and purpose fulfilled.

In the middle.

It’s a place that helps us understand that though the joy of an answered prayer is indisputably sacred, we cannot tether the joy of our very being to it. For our joy is found in our relational journey with Christ, above all else. It’s in the conversations we have along the way. It’s in the moments where we feel impatient and His Peace that transcends human understanding overtakes us. It’s in the times when He fills the space in between with resolute affirmations of His Love that win our heart and trust over to Him, every single time.

This post stems right out of my reading this evening that The Holy Spirit joyfully interrupted with His heartening revelation. As I share, I hope He speaks to you too;

“Fix your heart on the promises of God and you will be secure,
feasting on his faithfulness.
Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life,
and He will provide for you what you desire the most.” (Psalm 37, 3-4; The Passion Translation)

Having looked up the synonyms of “delight,” here are some that caught my attention:
Glee, contentment, joy and satisfaction.

The Psalmist here encourages us to find our delight, our joy, our contentment in God Himself, with the full assurance that He will provide all that we need in ways that perhaps as of now, we cannot even fathom. For the God we serve is not our caretaker, He is a Good Good Father, who in turn, delights in giving good good gifts to His Children. He doesn’t just meet our needs, He fills us to the overflow. He isn’t content with giving us bare minimum to simply make it through, He is The God of Breakthrough.

He is The One who goes ahead and makes ways for us that serve as an incontestable evidence of His Hand upon our lives. Like water breaking through a dam is His Power and Might at work on our behalf. The work He starts, He promises to bring to completion. For that is who HE is:

“The Alpha and Omega.”

My own story and journey in Christ has seen Him even saturate the space between the two. It’s this space where I have begun to learn that He will never leave me nor forsake me. It’s this space where I have begun to realise that I’m loved too deeply and too dearly to ever be let down. It’s this space where I am growing in my revelation knowledge of who My Father is and what it means for me, to be His Child.

It’s a space where when I determine to read from Psalm 37, He unexpectedly comes forth with yet another revelation from His Heart to mine, a stunning reminder that grounds me in the reality of my journey with Christ, a journey that is defined by Love and shall prayerfully remain anchored in the power thereof.

So friends, as the sun sets on yet another day, yet another grace gift from God, I hope that regardless of what The Lord has us waiting upon Him for, we will find our joy, our glee, our contentment, our satisfaction and our supreme delight in The Person before the present, The Giver before the gift and The Blessor before the blessing; with a declaration in sync with the heart of Heaven that remains etched out in our hearts,

“We joyfully expect You to come through, but our delight remains in You.”

🌻

3️⃣1️⃣st December, 2019 : the last day of the decade!

Dear 31st December,

You came sooner than expected. The days that led to you went by swifter than the wind. They were filled with all kinds of experiences, some felt like valleys and some like mountain tops. There were times where the unexpected intervened like a mighty rushing wind, and then there were times where the call to persevere felt stronger than the desire for breakthrough. The 364 days that have ushered you in have left us deeply humbled and profoundly grateful. All in all, you come with a bag of mixed emotions. You come with a sense of gratitude for all that was and a sense of wonder for all that will be. You come with a tinge of excitement and a gleeful expectancy of all that our Maker has in store for us. So we take a moment in time to pause and say, “thank you,” for being a catalyst to usher in a new era with new birthings and beginnings, for being a bridge that connects our history to our destiny and for being a game changing tool, for in you, we can now safely say a thankful “goodbye” to a time frame in our lives that has left us enriched, equipped and empowered in ways beyond articulation, and echo a joyful “hello there” to the new thing that God is doing in our midst, a new thing that comes with fresh faith, favour and focus.

Thank you for your arrival and we ask that you would seamlessly transition us now as we bid farewell!

Signing off with a confident expectation,

❄️☀️

Sealed with love 💌

Dear 2019,

Thank you for being exceeding and abundant. Thank you for being the year where Identity and Purpose were both forged and cultivated through Love. Thank you for teaching me that I am never forsaken but am always cherished and treasured by my Creator. Thank you for revealing pathways where it seemed like dead ends. Thank you for establishing that our access to the promised rivers of living water is unlimited. Thank you for helping me to be a tiny sprinkling of light wherever it was that you guided me. Thank you for prospering me through the pain and promising me a seven fold return. Thank you for being a vessel in the Hands of God to not only reveal who He really is, in Spirit and in Truth; but also who I am in Him; and shall continue to become. Thank you for being a monumental year in my growth and development, and letting it spill over to those around me. Thank you for serving me well and enabling me to serve you too. Thank you that now as you usher us into not only a brand new year but also a brand new era, we can do so with utmost gratitude in our hearts for you were a womb that God used to birth that which we have an eager expectation to see made manifest through the Eternal jewels of Sovereignty, Majesty and Supremacy in the year that is to come. Thank you 2019, for setting up the stage and setting us on fire. Thank you!

Signed with love,

❤️

How much?

“I don’t have to wonder when I can trust, because when I trust, I will be left in wonder.”

Our God calls us to see the invisible and believe the outrageous. His thoughts and ways are much higher than ours, and usually revealed in glimpses or entirety, through the promises He releases over our lives.

These promises are from Heaven to Earth, and therefore require us to, above all else,

Trust.

Trusting in the nature of God gives us the faith to believe in what He will do. My own experience tells me that each time doubt tries to creep in to infect the Perfect Word of God grounded in His loving kindness towards us, we need to be proactive in reminding ourselves of who Our God is.

True.

When we recall the faithfulness of God in our lives, we will be reminded that Our God is True. He is not a man that He should lie and is true to His Word. The process towards the realisation of what He has decreed is certainly going to see us navigate the tumultuous waters of unbelief, but fixing our gaze on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith is the perfect antidote. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is Eternal.

Our God is Sovereign, Majestic and Supreme. When He speaks, He creates a spiritual reality where we have the absolute privilege and delight of putting our hands in His, and letting Him teach us how to journey through.

Journey through with peace, joy, love and a confident assurance of seeing goodness and glory manifest not only when the outcome is released, but even through the process.

Because The One we are walking with is True, we never have to wonder about things like, “how” and “when,” when can simply rest in trust.

Trust moves the very heart of God. I believe it moves Him so much that He goes to war on our behalf. When we feel battle weary or worn out, it is He who picks it up from where we left off. And when He picks it up, we as His Children, find the courage to do so too.

More than the process or the promise, it is this journey that wins my heart over every single day. It is this journey that elevates me above the state of my circumstances and teaches me to view things differently, from a heavenly perspective and not an earthly one. It is this journey that gives me the room to explore the heart of The One who is infinite yet dwells within. It is this journey that shows me the strength of God made manifest in my weakness. It is this journey adorned with signs and wonders all around that tethers me to the affections of The One who has given me His Word in the first place.

Friends, it is this journey where Sovereignty honours simple, child like trust, a trust that is sure to leave us in wonder, astonishment and awe, not only because we see the realisation of what once seemed impossible, but we see beyond.

We see the heart of The One who is True and Trustworthy, thereby inspiring only one question,

How much do You love us?

👑❤️

As Advent continues …

“Just because we haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean He hasn’t.”

That is the very reason He tells us to believe. I recall The Holy Spirit whispering to me a couple of years back as I was struggling,

“The just shall walk by faith and not by sight,
For things make sense only in hindsight.”

Friends, when He gives us a promise, it’s a not just a personal Word from His Heart to ours but a precious gift. It’s a gift that comes wrapped in The Father’s Love and therefore, becomes a guarantee of fulfilment. There are no “if’s” and “but’s” in The Kingdom, only the language of “Yes and Amen.”

So what must we do as we journey towards the promised outcome?

My experience tells me that we must ask The Father to enlighten our spiritual eyes so that we grow up into all things in Christ. We grow closer and deeper in our intimacy with Him, allowing Him to forge and fortify our Identity in Him from one degree of glory to another. We learn to see, think and perceive the way He does. We lean into Him. We engage in conversations with Him. We glean from Him.

The waiting is where we grow. We develop. We become mature sons and daughters who don’t just hasten to unwrap the gift before the intended time, but slowly make our way towards it finding our peace, joy and delight in the pure privilege of partnering with The One who has seen the end from the beginning.

Because He has, we don’t need to.

Instead, we can joyfully give ourselves to celebrating, magnifying and glorifying Him. Not just for the gift of The Promise, but the sheer gift that Our Christ is to us.

Can anything else compare?

I don’t think so.

So come Jesus! We’re waiting
️🎄


Reciprocity.

“God’s Perfect Love, and therefore being perfected in God’s love.”

Our God is a God of Encouragement. To me, the term, “encouragement” means to infuse with courage. It takes love to pour courage into someone, and paradoxically, it takes courage to truly love. This has been my story and journey with Jesus thus far.

So above all else, I thank God for His Perfect Love each day. There is nothing I can do that can make Him love me more, and there is nothing I can do that can make Him love me less. Simply because that is who He is – Love. In His Love, He has poured encouragement upon encouragement in my life. It is a revelation of such Agape Love that has given me the courage to love Him back. This cycle of reciprocity has cultivated a depth of intimacy with Him that enables me to obey Him when He asks of me to love first, myself; and then, others in the way that He does. This isn’t something I can do in my own strength, but only in the strength of His Spirit.

Of late, He has laid the following passage on my heart. Though we are all quite familiar with it, I believe it is something that we will be walking out in increasing measures as we continue to walk out the wonderful process of our “becoming.”

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV)

These Christlike virtues make for a quick read, but take a lifetime to truly walk out. Therefore, it becomes vital for us to first come to God each day and simply receive. Receive His Love like a much loved Child of God. Receive His Mercy like a much loved Child of God. Receive His Forgiveness like a much loved Child of God. Receive His Compassion like a much loved Child of God. Receive His Grace like a much loved Child of God. Receive His Strength like a much loved Child of God.

For we cannot give what we do not have, and what we do have, no one can take away.

We can extend the Love and Light of Christ to those that God has called us to love only to the extent that we have first allowed God to pour into us. He asks us to be loving, gentle, kind, gracious, forgiving, generous and compassionate. However, as I write, something I recently heard comes to mind,

“Jesus first became like us before He asked us to become like Him.”

Stunning, isn’t it?

This tells me that God would never ask us to be something that He first doesn’t demonstrate firsthand in our own unique personal walk with The Lord. If He asks us to become an extension of His Love, then we can expect Him to first reveal Himself as Love that comes with no strings attached – the kind of Love that can never be earned for in Christ, it has been freely given. Therefore, the exhortation,

“Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8, NIV)

Which brings me back to what I wrote earlier on in the post,

“For we cannot give what we do not have, and what we do have, no one can take away.”

We can freely give with the confident assurance that what we do have, The Living Christ within us, an inexhaustible source of Love that heals, redeems and restores us every single day, is a gift from God that no one can take away. What we give of ourselves, He is Faithful to replenish. What we cannot give, He is Faithful to help us with.

If in essence, God is Love, it naturally follows that our journey would mean that we have been embarked upon a process of becoming love. Good fruit grows only in bad soil, and we are encouraged to love the unloved. This is something that needs us to be bold, courageous and supremely confident in the Perfect Love of God which casts out all fear, till all that is left is our willingness to go the extra mile and have our hearts echo with the resonance of a resounding, “Yes!” because we have tapped into our Identity as much loved Children of God who know that the way to live is to die, and because the very source of Eternal Life is within us, we are now free to die.

So, if Perfect Love casts out all fear, Perfect Love brings about courage. The courage to love and the courage to being willing to be perfected in love, slowly but surely with the radical confidence that even when we fail, His Grace shall cover us and His Mercy shall prepare our hearts again. We cannot fail, because Love never does.

Selah.