ENCOURAGEMENT IN OUR DARKEST MOMENTS.

DEAR FATHER,

I want to thank you for our lives, I want to thank you for your strength, love, guidance and forgiveness. There are times when things don’t always go our way but it is important for us to keep you at the centre of it all, pray read the word and walk in obedience. There are many times we fall short of your glory and try to do things in our own might, but I pray that in those darkest moments you will strengthen us and cause us to follow your will with patience and wisdom. So help us father in all that we do. Help us to remain firm in the word, help us to learn, help us to grow, help us to love and help us to walk in the spirit at all times. In your name we pray. Amen.

 

We can all relate to the fact that we will go through things that will hurt us, change us, cause bitterness, anger, life changing moments and more. But it is in those times that I have learnt the importance of self-development, strength, patience and maturity. You see it is easy to smile and give God thanks when all is going well and we have everything under control. But the moment things get tough, or don’t go our way then we begin to panic, become anxious and doubt why it is happening.

 

One thing I always remind myself of is the fact that to get to the good one must first pass through the bad. You need to have your character refined and endure the process to be able to be trusted by God with what He wants to share with you, the works He wants you to do and how to be relational with others. What you pass through is not for you alone to say that you overcame it and are much stronger, but for you to be an example to others out there who are also going through similar and are assured that they are not alone, but the same God they serve is the same God who did it for someone else.

 

So what is encouragement?

Yeshua told His disciples ‘In this world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world.’ John 16:33

 

Yeshua made them aware that troubles will come – this walk isn’t easy and trials and tribulations can’t be avoided. You will be mocked, hated, spoken of badly. But remember each time people try to bring you down, that are set apart and created in His own image- Gen 1:27, you won’t be liked by everyone even though you do good. Pain will come and cannot be avoided or complained away or cried away. But thank God He is greater than all we face, that alone is encouragement for us all to stand firm on.

 

When I think of God’s encouragement it makes it easier to go on in this messed up world, knowing He has me and will never leave me or you, and will continue to guide us to walk in holiness and righteousness. It is also a reminder that He loves us despite our mistakes and falling short of His glory.

He is there for us, don’t doubt this, trust and believe and know that you are a conqueror and will never lose. 

Joshua 1:9 ‘Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage, be not afraid neither be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’

 

Notice here that God starts off by reminding Joshua, ‘Have I not’- serves as a reminder to show that He is not only reminding us, but commanding us to be of good courage. He commands us to be strong, in saying this He expects us to pull through, to not be afraid, anxious or distressed. He is assuring us that He will always be with us wherever we go- knowing that we will face trials but are always able to overcome those trials.

 

Our darkest moments are not a punishment, but the fact that He commands us, shows the seriousness to follow and align our actions to His- not emotions – not people – or things. But sadly when trouble comes we are so fast to do the opposite and rather than go to the word and go in prayer, we become fearful, distressed, low, bitter and negative. We are humans and so emotions do run wild when the going gets tough, but we must learn to cause those emotions to submit to the word of God for peace, wisdom and understanding. Yes we read the word, but in our darkest moments of family issues, friends issues, work disappointments, relationships ending etc do we still seek God and pray? Do we still read the word? Do we still worship God?

You see many of us have carnal minds, which are in need of being renewed to refocus on the word of God, so that when a dark moment comes we are equipped to read the word and fight in prayer, to get your peace and direction.

Psalm 34:4 ‘I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.’

Another word for sought is to seek – when you seek you are attempting to find something, help, shelter, answers, direction etc. This scripture is telling you to therefore seek the Lord, here we are told to do this one thing, and in this same scripture we see that God does two things in return for us. He first of all hears us and then He delivers us from our fears.

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 You see God knows what we will go through, He knows we will have bad day, He knows we will complain, BUT with all this He assures us that what He will do will be to bring us through all our trials to the end- But we must seek Him. You cant expect God to do these things if you do not seek Him and put Him first. Now if we were to look at the opposite of this scripture one can say that it could say ‘I fled and sought help in people and things and was temporarily free from my worries.’ We tend to distant ourselves from God when dark moments come, because we have the I can do it my way mindset, but when you pray and seek God remember it will be His will that is done in our lives at the right time in His own timing not ours. So when you take it upon yourself, though things will happen quicker doesn’t mean it will lead to peace of mind and healing from that dark moment, if anything you will make it worse and go around in circles.

 

You need to get into the habit of running to God for everything and in every moment, not just in the good moments but the bad moments too. For assurance, help, comfort, healing, strength, wisdom, guidance and direction. Our ways will always fail, but His never will. It is also very important to remember that each time we read the word we need to pray for understanding and fresh revelation, to read the word with our spiritual eyes, because if you read the word with your natural eyes you will become more aware of the issue rather than the solution (God’s word) you will begin to doubt yourself and even God and by doing all this will distance yourself from God.

 

He delivers us from our fears because we cannot say we serve Him and also fearful too. Light and dark ways can’t mix. Fear will have you doing the opposite to the word of God to get quick results, leading to a dead end of no fruitful results. As it says in 2 Timothy 1:7 ‘For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of POWER, LOVE and SOUND MIND. So the moment you feel fear, anxiety and worry creeping up on you go into prayers and let God have His way in renewing your mind and outlook on the matter at hand. After all He does say that we can do all things THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US- Phil 4:13.

 

Proverbs 16:24 ‘Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.’

The soul consists of the mind, will and emotions, with this God bring healing, strength, wisdom and guidance, instruction, protection and answers. We need to be careful of what we feed our souls with because not all things that are said to us and information out there provided is good for us. You have to guard yourself (Proverbs 4:23), don’t fall victim to being led astray by false information appearing real, or what people say which doesn’t align to the word of God. Not all sources are genuine. We cannot go to people to fill the voids only God can fill, because He knows everything about us and what we need as opposed to what we think we need. He has all we need and even if you lose everything and all the people around you, He will always be enough for us.

 

We have it in mind that when something happens we are to go to our friends, pastors, family etc but then we don’t go to God first rather He is usually the last resort. The people around you can help only to some extent, we are all limited resources they can only do so much for you. They may mean well and have your best interest at heart but God’s word gets to the root of the issue, heals, edifies and equips us- His way will always work for us.

 

Go to word of God every day, at all times to get your own understanding, apply it to your issues and learn to walk in obedience. This will help you to seek out the error of your ways and live a Christ like standard, not to people please, but to God please in every action and thought.

 

Whether it is a sickness, friendship issues, job cuts, death, whatever disappointment it may be, God is not smaller than those issues and will see us through each time something we can’t handle alone arises. The enemy is very crafty, as we all know he comes to kill, steal and destroy John 10:10. He always works to turn our thoughts around to go against what God says about us, to cause a distance from Him and please ourselves rather than living to please God.

 

But we must remember that ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against cosmic powers over this present darkness against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.’ Ephesians 6:12. So with this it serves as a reminder that it is not just matters of worldly things we face but the battle spiritually- so the encouragement in Christ provides the strength, willpower and spiritual armour to overcome. Ephesians 6:10-18.

When we are discouraged we shouldn’t – take matters into our own hands to try to handle it, we shouldn’t stop praying and reading the word and we shouldn’t distract ourselves from God. Look at Elijah, one of the greatest prophets who struggled with discouragement 1 Kings 19:3-10. So it doesn’t matter who you are, discouragement happens but it can be defeated with the word of God always.

 

FINAL POINTS OF ENCOURAGEMENT-

·         The spirit of rejection is very common and many are battling secret battles which need to be addressed not ignored.

·         Our darkest moments are for a purpose too – Romans 8:28

·         Just because you don’t believe it in the moment doesn’t mean it won’t change or get better – Must work on the mind (Romans 12:2) and guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23).

·         Life can be so difficult but we must not fall into the victim mentality and get depressed.

·         Never give up – God makes all things possible in His own time

·         In all things whether good or bad there is always something to learn

·         God calls us to be faithful, and gives us the power to be faithful

·         Like Elijah God will always meet our needs at the right time. Psalm 183:3 ‘As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.’

·         He is our strength when we are weak

·         God loves us and will keep us – He won’t leave us

GOD BLESS YOU ALL

ISAIAH 65:24

Dear Father,

Thank you for being our strength, comfort, forgiver, guidance, shelter, resting place, friend, deliverer, bread of life, restorer and more. You are all we need in this crazy world, you are all we need to make it through, you are all we need when troubles come our way and you are all we will ever need to be knowledgeable and wise in our steps. Father I pray that those who are reading this will continue to lean on you in all they do, in the good and bad you are never changing, you are the same God yesterday, today and forever more, despite what we face may we never lose sight of you, may we focus on you alone and never doubt in your timing, for you alone are all knowing and all seeing. So help us God as we continue to go on. In your precious mighty name, I pray. Hallelouyah.

Let us look at - ISAIAH 65:24 which says ‘It shall come to pass, that before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.’

Let us break this verse down, to be able to understand this well enough to encourage us in our walk.

We live in a society that is microwavable, expecting things here and now, impatient and want the fast lifestyle, will tread on toes to get what they want and are in it for themselves to please their fleshly desires and you name it anything quick paced they do it.

In the kingdom it is not that way, when we become born again our desires and wants we once had gets renewed and aligned to what God’s desires and wants are for ourselves. His best for us is far better than our best for us and what the world says is our best.

‘IT SHALL COME TO PASS’ – What I love about this is that we can be assured that all that God says will always come to pass, no matter how tough that situation, the sickness, the no’s received, rejection from others, friends betraying you, people doing all sorts to you. God’s word will always come to pass we just have to trust in Him to do the unimaginable and be assured that we will indeed continue to walk by faith and not by sight. He said it and He will do it. Do you have all your trust in God alone to believe this?

Prior to this verse we can see a clear image painted to use of God creating the new heavens and the new earth, they are indeed eternal and in them there is assurance of safety, peace, and plenty in abundance that is to say that we can read His word receive that revelation and trust in Him to bring it to pass, trust in Him to work on our doubts, trust in Him to lift us higher, trust in Him to heal us, trust in Him to be our provider, trust in Him to do what no man can do, open doors no man can close. Isn’t this God we serve amazing? No words are enough to speak of His mighty works and character.

‘BEFORE THEY CALL’ – God knows what we need before we say we need it, He knows us better than we know ourselves, He gives us hope, He gives us strength, peace and in His love we have comfort. To believe in Him and trust He knows best for us, is when we voice what we need to Him, which shows that we are in need and He is our helper to provide those needs and no one else.

It is to say that we have faith in Him and that no matter what seems impossible in the natural, in the spiritual He can do far above and beyond what we ask for, I no longer believe that my best is His, because to me based on what I have experienced in life so far, my best may still be less than my worth and what I deserve, because of my attitude and distorted view on life and what I feel is for me. When He saying to me that it shall come to pass before I call I need to then renew my mind to be aligned with His truth not my truth.

It just humbles me to know that all those people I used to rely on, all the false promises, all the expectations opened my eyes to see that what God has for me is not what man will say they have for me but far more. It is to say that He not only promises but delivers, and not on our level of expecting but higher. Hmmm I do not know about you but that alone makes me jump and shout for joy.

‘ I WILL ANSWER’ – People will say things and disappoint us, they will make promises and break them, they will go out of their way to remind us that they did us a favour and we ‘owe them’ for it, they will do and say all manner of things, that is human nature for you, the heart is wicked is not put there for nothing, but as a reminder that indeed the heart of man is wicked, BUT we should never equate peoples actions to mean punishment and in turn an excuse to stay away from God.

At times self-inflicted pain is what we experience because of our own blindness to things and people thinking that our way alone is better and far above any other and then when it doesn’t work out we blame God and distance ourselves. Some sadly leave the faith and give up. But when we read the word we can and should be encouraged that His word is life, His words are true, His words are far above man’s words and actions and should never be placed in the same category as man. 

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‘WHILE THEY ARE YET SPEAKING I WILL HEAR’ The word YET stood out to me, ‘Up until the present, as soon as the present or a specified or implied time, from now into the future for a specified length of time, referring to something that will happen in the near future.’

As already mentioned the word yet stood out to me because of the weight it carries in the sentence, God is saying to us while we are YET to speak, He will hear. We haven’t even arrived in the future and He is already assuring us that in all we are yet to speak to Him about He will hear us, He will give us His undivided attention, He will heal us, He will direct us and so much more.

So encouraging to know He is our Father, and just want to end by encouraging you to hold onto God, in the bad as well as the good, we know how life can be difficult, unexpected blows, disappointments, etc but that is not to say God wont and cant change things around for our good. Stay rooted in Him and He will never ever let you down, even when you doubt in Him, lose focus, want to give up, fall short and distance yourself. He is still there and loves you no less. Hold onto Him He is all you need.

God bless you all

PHILIPPIANS 4:11

Let us pray

Dear Father,

Thank you for everything that you have done for us, thank you for seeing us through all the obstacles, thank you for providing us with what we need, thank you for healing, strength, wisdom, and always providing provision, making ways where there seems to be no way. May we continue to trust in your timing, to be patient in all we do and let the word of God alone be our source and truth in every step that we make. So, help us Father to not get distracted by things we see, what people say or pressure. Help us God in all that we do, in your precious mighty name I pray. Halleluyah.

Welcome to 2017, we thank God, we have entered a new year, I am thankful that I am alive, thankful for being able to do God’s work, for my healing process, having peace, wisdom, growth, learning so much, have amazing people around me, more opportunities on the way and more. Doing what I love, all by His grace, so I ask you what are you thankful for?

I ask that because a lot of us, myself included tend to look at our circumstances and what we do not have, as opposed to looking at the positives and what God has blessed us to have. God will always give us what we need not what we think we need it. We need to align our minds to the word of God and focus on Him alone to see us through in our daily living. Romans 12:2 comes to mind “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The world will have their view of what we need and how to be famous, how to live the fast life etc, but we are not of the world and how they live, we don’t have their same views, lifestyles and thoughts. It is important for us to position ourselves to what God is saying and not the world and flesh. So, what has your yes and focus? What do you spend more time doing? Think about it and let God reveal to you areas you need to work on and be made aware of.

PHIL 4:10-20 - GOD’S PROVISION...

Let us look at what the word CONTENT means- “To do with being pleased and satisfied (feeling content) or making someone else feel happy and at peace with things (contenting them). “

To be content is to be accepting of your current situation and what you have, to be assured that no condition is permanent and you are an overcomer to do and be great in life, despite what comes your way. It is to be sure of yourself in Christ and whose you are knowing that God alone can and will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. Phil 4:19 If the word says God will supply ALL, why do we worry and become anxious when we do not have things, or situations aren’t going our way? It does not make sense to say we trust in God but the moment something happens we doubt and try to get things and change things ourselves? Easier said than done but we must remember to position ourselves to do and be greater in our ways, selfless, and dependant on God alone.

As we have entered the new year there will be those who will want new things, a new job, a partner, a promotion, material things etc you name it. But my question to you is that though there is nothing wrong with wanting things, we are human and have desires. But what is your intention behind wanting those things? Check your heart and actions when you want things and let God do a work in you. He knows what you need and He knows the right time in your life for you to have it. Don’t get drawn into the wants and needs lifestyle, that you turn God into a genie going to Him just for things you think you need and not building on a good relationship with Him. Know your ways and do self-checks to avoid getting distracted by things and people.

 Let us break down some of the parts of Phil 4: 10-19

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 

-When you focus on God and give Him thanks He will supply all your needs

-Bring destiny helpers to help support you and in all your ways will always be many steps head guiding you. Let your faith not be shaken based on what your natural eyes show you, be encouraged to know that God is always working things out for your good, and it will manifest in the natural in His timing. ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.’

- When you need, things don’t go to people first, express your needs and concerns to God and He will bless you, involving using people. But it is not with their permission you must seek, but His will to be done in your life. He will open new doors and exceed your expectations.

-God knows your needs before you even voice them to Him so be rest assured you are on His mind and He has not forgotten about you or neglected you. He is the author of our lives, and so it is right to go back to Him when in need of help and guidance for our lives.  

- In all circumstances are you able to go through them with a positive attitude? Paul is a perfect example of going through circumstances being content with what he had and what he faced. The powerful thing to know is that we can draw strength from our Father in heaven to help see us through. Rely on God’s promises and His power to be your focus as you go through life don’t let what you don’t have keep you in bondage of negativity and hopelessness. He will always supply our needs in a way that is best for us.

12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

-       I just love Paul, he really was an example of what it means to be totally surrendered to God in the good and bad, he could see life from God’s point of view, he focused on what God expected of Him to do, not feeding into desires of what he felt he needed. Take away an important lesson from Paul, he did not set his sights on the temporary things but rather on the eternal, all things are temporary, so when you set your sights on things, you set yourself up for failure. Because it will become a vicious cycle of always wanting and never being satisfied. Is that life? Any voids go to God and He will fill those voids in your life not man or things. Where are your priorities in life and what or who is your focus?

-       We are able to do all things through Christ who strengthens us, when we draw from Him the strength we need, to live a Godly blessed life. As we contend for our faith in God, there will be many trials and tribulations we face, pressures, setbacks and more but as they come against us we have the assurance of God’s strength in us.

LASTLY…..

19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 

-       Isn’t this beautiful to know? We can trust in God to always meet our needs, we need to remember that whatever we need, He knows and will supply in due time have faith in Him, there are things we want, which He knows aren’t all good for us to have and so He always provides our needs. Over time you will begin to see that your attitudes and appetites can and will change from a place of wanting all that you think you need, to accepting His provision and power to live for Him and Him alone.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL

HEALING

HEALING

One thing I love God for is His love for us, He loves us unconditionally a love that is like no other, a love that is second to none and when you experience it will never want to depart from Him ever. Indeed He wants the best for us and nothing less than we deserve to have and be in life. Peace, love, restoration and wholeness to become what He has destined us to be. That is one of the reasons why I hold.

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DONT RELY ON ANYONE!!!

Dear Father, 

Thank you for your love and grace that is sufficient for all, thank you for never leaving us nor forsaking us, thank you for the word of God which never changes, is the same yesterday today and forever more. Thank you Father for everything and more importantly thank you for never being part time with us. In your mighty name we pray and we say Hallelouyah

As it says ‘Don’t rely on anyone’ I was speaking to a dear sister of mine about this and it is something that comes up often and in doing a reality check, came to the realisation that a weakness I had was relying on people. Yes this is a weakness because when you rely on people and they say they are going to do things and then don’t do it, you find your plans being messed up, taking longer than planned and just having that sense of frustration of thinking- it would have been better to do it myself, rather than to rely heavily on man. Because man is not perfect, they say things today and tomorrow it’s a different story, we have to be very careful at the level of reliance we place on people.

Everyone is going through something; we all have our own crosses to carry. But being that we are relational beings and need people, it can easily be misconstrued to mean that they will always be there when you need them to help with something. Now I'm not saying do it all yourself, what I am saying is don’t heavily rely on people to do things expecting it will turn out the way you want it to. You can’t entrust things 100% to just anyone cause then you will never get things done, so learn to trust in your capabilities too and remember that stepping out in faith to ensure things are done properly to a high standard, is not a bad thing.

But it is easier said than done and as it says in Romans 12:2 ‘Do not be CONFORMED to this world, but be transformed by the RENEWAL of YOUR MIND, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.’ Not all that is good is God and not all plans that you put in place does He want you to follow through on. So we must get to that level where we are productive in our works that is ordained by God and not man because it sounds good to the ears. We need to know that our hands are productive and not just busy, taking you away from the path God wants us to be on. That’s why it is important to keep all plans in prayer align it with the word and seek the purpose of it, is it worth doing? Has God said to do it? What is the benefit of doing this? Will it help advance the kingdom?

You see relying on people can have devastating effects, because the more you rely on people the more you’ll become stagnant, not doing anything because as far as you are concerned those people are the RIGHT people in your eyes to do the task at hand. No it is not always the case, we are not perfect but we serve a perfect God and indeed faith without works is dead – James 2: 26 ‘For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.’

We all need to have the faith, but not to have faith to just entrust anyone to do the work, we need to do. We need to be sure we are aligned with the right people to help us and not throw all the work on them to do.

Step out in faith + trust + actions + God’s instruction = Fruitful results.

It is important as well to use our time wisely and not rely on man to do it all, especially not to look at numbers. Because two quality faithful people are more than enough to get the work done rather than five people or more who lack faith, substance, wisdom and direction to get the work done.

Learn as you go along to invest in yourself, pick out areas of weakness, areas which are strong, how you act around others, look at all these factors and more and develop on it to be and do better. You need to do this daily as well as having a close intimate relationship with God – like my sister put it ‘you are in private service with God working on you, and to the outside world you are under construction – once this period of time has been utilised then you are ready to go out again and make better choices with the strength to endure and know who is who.’

I used to be that lost woman who had her happiness planted into the actions of people and what they said to me. If someone says they are going to do something I would be happy and expectant. But humans beings would also bring disappointments. Then I would find myself back to square one and didn’t really learn until later on. That trusting and relying heavily on others can do more damage than good. I learnt the hard way after several disappointments that it is important to seek God in all you do to know the purpose of things and how to do it. Knowing all this helps you have a backbone, pushes you to pray more and read His word more. Yeshua when He was here on earth was disappointed and so we shouldn’t think that we too wont be disappointed, but it is important to know how to handle it. After all we are all limited resources and cant over stretch ourselves to please man at the expense of our peace, sanity and walk in Christ.

My motto in life now – TALK LESS – PRAY MORE – SEEK GOD MORE IN ALL THINGS.

Look at the Israelite's they spent 40 years in the wilderness going around in circles, in disobedience, trusting in their own instincts, thinking they knew better, only to reach dead ends and have so much time wasted. This is what happens when you are not fully committed and reliant on God, you take path B when God is saying path A is the right one to take. Flesh will have you do what you want. God has good plans for us and not plans to ruin us, so by us not following His plan is foolish in itself, because it is saying we know ourselves more than He does. Then we miss our way and run back to Him again and again.

For the last half of this post would like to share the notes I took away from TD Jakes sermon titled – ‘The sparring partner’ I was blessed, convicted and speechless at how timely it was. To show me areas I needed to take up to God and things I needed to cut off.

The sparring partner – was defined as one who will challenge you, prepare you and uplift you for what is to come – like a boxer who is training with his sparring partner in the ring to prepare for a big fight. But one important key he highlighted was that when things happen we shouldn’t always be fast to blame the devil sometimes it is how God would allow it to be.

Because it is the adverse environments that prepare us ahead of time, prepare us and cause us not to rely on people’s words. Not everyone means well and some speak through a blur of deceptive ways. Life is a combination of good and bad – but it is those advancements that will cost you – the revelations, blessings and emotional physical growth.

He started of with the powerful verses in-

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 which reads ‘For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to strike me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

 

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.’

What I love about Apostle Paul here is how transparent and bold he was, to let us see the inner depth of His walk with God, He knew the standards of Christ and ensured he followed them, he condemned being too exalted and humbled himself to understand that thorns in the flesh are not there to punish us but teach us, strengthen us and keep us on track with renewed minds and spirits. We may not fully know what this so called thorn in the flesh actually was but whatever it was, was tough to handle so he went to God in prayer, to have it removed but God refused.

For Him to pray this must have meant it was very painful to bear and hard to cope with, but he was indeed persistent in his prayer – even though his prayer wasn’t answered in his pain, God enabled him to be stronger in character, wiser, humble and more sympathetic with others. This shows us the love he had for God and how in our trying times God can equip you with what you may not have prayed for, but what He knows you need. God has His ways of doing things, so we shouldn’t always think that His timing is ours, we should still pray, trust and believe in Him despite what comes our way.

Another important element to pick up on here is that though Paul prayed for healing he didn’t receive that right away, this showed me that what we think is right at the time to receive is not what God has in mind. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. But in all things never feel that God separates Himself from us and doesn’t care because He does more than you could ever imagine.

God’s power is indeed always displayed in our weakness, so that should encourage us, equip us and give us hope to endure. We all have limits we can’t do it all, but that is why we need to rely on God much more than we do on people (the people He created, the people He knows better than we do), it will enable us to be more effective in our walks to know all this, deepen our understanding and go to God in all things instead of man.

We tend to have the tendency to think that we have all we need, to be able to do what we need to do. But that opens the door for pride and self-gratification thinking we know best, giving tasks to the wrong people and then having it all crumble before us. It is important to humble ourselves let God fill us and move as He speaks and not before, because His plan for us is not to be weak and defeated but to be strong and able to handle what He gives us, even when obstacles and negative people show up. Our dependency on Him covers all this with the power to leave lasting results we wouldn’t have been able to achieve alone.

Going back to the sermon it is important to not compare ourselves to others, because many have a facade of what they want us to see and so you thinking they are reliable and true to their word, will not lead you down the right path if they aren’t even true to themselves.

Lastly coming on to the final point he touched on, our surroundings as being ‘controlled environments’ where the devil has to ask God for permission to afflict us (book of Job) It shows that God is in control of all things and nothing can get past Him, He may make way for the afflictions but it is not to punish us but to work on character and purge us of what we do not need.

So again in all things, rely on God and let Him guide you.

God bless you all