Don’t expect it to go smoothly.Don’t expect it will be easy.Don’t expect that you can handle it.Don’t expect you can do it alone.Don’t expect for more.Instead, pray for what you’re planning on, pray for a wise decision, pray for help, pray for guidance, pray God will make a way. Pray first.His ways are perfect. (Psalm 18:30)Though it may involve pain, joy always comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)Expectations kill, but faith gives life.I once had a beautiful picture of how I wanted my life to be, but sometimes, the frustration comes because I can’t handle the responsibility, the depression sinks in because I’m making my body, my relationships, my ministry, all my blessings—a god. I make a god out of my fear, doubts, expectations by magnifying it, meditating on it, dwelling on it, remorsing over it, feeding it, when instead I should be feeding my faith.I know, it’s not easy to shift thoughts, shift perspectives, leave the pain entirely, but I know I need to move on or else it will kill my faith.I can’t stay down. I have to get back up. I can’t let discontent burn bridges that connect me to the people that love and care for me, whether in a subtle or disciplined way, because God placed them there for a reason. There’s no reason for me to stay hurt, mistreated or broken, because life goes on, and the uncertainty of it, makes way for surprises, makes way for more challenges, makes me hold on to a Savior even more. Makes my life colorful, makes me whole, makes me live with a purpose. My purpose is not for myself to be happy, my purpose is to live and give love, my life comes from God, my life is short, my life is meaningful when I choose to give a part of myself to others because only in giving will I gain more. Only by faith, I can gain more of what this life God has in store for me. There’s no potluck at the end of the rainbow, but there is a God waiting at the end of your earthly life to give you that eternal rest.Have faith, it’s not over yet, you’re breathing! Praise God because you still have your purpose. He is giving you another chance to live better. Wake up and stay faithful to Him. He’s got your back and He has more in store for you!
Excellence is not equal to perfection. Excellence is striving to do what’s right in God’s eyes.
I once heard my female officemate say, “I’ll get married when all my insecurities are gone.”
Frankly, it never goes away, never dealt with when it’s not recognized and surrendered daily.
Every woman wants to be loved, to be secure, to be cared for, to be recognized, to be called worthy and this is every woman’s insecurity because they can never find it in their loved ones or in themselves. Security of being loved is not something you search for, it’s something you surrender daily.
The love of God is more than enough to fill up the void in your heart, you have to believe it and practice it everyday, and it is a PROCESS.
There’s no such thing as an Insta Christian with instant love overflowing unto others. What the world calls “love at first sight” and “forbidden love” are just deception. It’s not from God and whatever is not from Him is not best for you.
God delights in pruning us, but do we love it?
Do we go through every season of our life with willingness and joy?
Joy is not pretending to be happy, it’s choosing to accept suffering (persecution & brokeness inside and outside your life), standing firm in your faith, and rejoicing in the truth of God’s sovereignty over your life.
Philippians 1:27 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel.”
Philippians 1:29 “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”
Psalm 16:9-11, ESV “Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Psalms 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
The worthy woman follows the Lord wherever He leads her, she continues to strive for excellence, she is fearless, she relies on His great strength, she keeps His Word within her heart and mind.
God is within her, she will not fail, God’s love never fails, never fades, it knows no end.
It was all planned perfectly from the beginning. Being an usher at our local church who wants to raise the standard in loving God and loving others taught me a lot about serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
“Grace” before was just a synonym of of “poise” for me or having kept things beautifully in control while dealing with pressure or difficulty until I found out God’s grace was so much more. His grace meant loving you and I to the point of giving up His son Jesus. Did we deserve it? No. And other than that, He totally erased all our sins, past, present and future and gave us an inheritance in His kingdom as His own children. How blessed we are! Do you believe this? Read on!
Of course, we don’t instantly become good. He gave us the freewill. He didn’t want to control us or our situations, because He loved us. People around us sin, we still sin, that’s why our world is so broken and in need of love. We find all kinds of love in the wrong places and from the wrong choices. But God’s love was clearly this:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16, NKJV
I didn’t know it ’til I sought Him for myself by deciding to take the first few steps to people who knew him. It took me years to actually get planted in a church where God has placed me and I’m glad that this became part of His perfect plan for my life.
I became an usher out of a need that arose in the church service, my friend was an usher and seeing that there are only a few who want to help, I offered them a hand. I thought that was just for a day, (laughs) but eventually I got into the habit of it.
I was such an insecure person, I couldn’t decide on what to wear, I always felt inadequate in looks and in social skills even just to smile at the churchgoers was totally hard for an introvert! I thought I was just passing offering bags and greeting people until the responsibility got bigger and bigger and God just prepared me in every challenge.
I would stand there by the door, there were times I cried silently, recognizing families sit together in church, because my family does not go to the church where I am now, there are times I’d like to skip church and just stay at home, but I have to because I’d feel rotten inside knowing I skipped because I’m tired and there are just a few ushers in a 2000+ member church.
Recently, we had a praise and worship night called LIVE LOUDER. Three years in a row already. Happens once in the month of June. I remember leading ushers the previous year, God just revealed how in control I wanted to be and I ended up frustrating myself. This year, God reminded me how powerful and in control He is, and how I just have to be always in a mode of worship and in a role of being God’s servant.
Only a few ushers agreed to volunteer. 17 was the headcount and suddenly you receive messages of people being late and some who can’t make it. We were expecting 2,500 people in a stand-up concert indoors and PWDs, seniors & pregnant women in reserved seats. On top of that, I had a few unclaimed tickets for the event and people were calling up to meet me and get their tickets. It was stressful.
Volunteers normally agree out of a luxury of time they can afford to give, but servant hood meant going out of your way; no matter how tired, irritated, confused, broken or unqualified you may feel, you will do it because God deserves it. You are serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Besides, it is Him who will give you the strength, provision and the heart to serve Him.
Ezekiel 36:26, NKJV “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
Why do we tire ourselves with all these? because He loved us first, and sometimes in service to God, we forget to love.
We get so irritated, so into making things perfect, so into control, so into making things flawless that we forget that it’s not part of our role.
Our role is to show the love of God, not be like God.
Psalm 139:23-24 is the prayer I constantly pray and it revealed a lot about my heart.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Human as I am, I have anxieties, I have pride, I have sinned. Too many to mention, but His loved covered it all.
Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8, NLT
So he covered my fear and worry over us being few in number, He strengthened each of us, just gave us wisdom and joy to serve him in ushering and provision! Those ushers who couldn’t make it for the call time volunteered themselves! Some even filed a leave just to usher. Some had to stay outside even if it was their first time, some had to deal with stubborn attendees (peace be with you :D) and who knows what they’re going through.
So as God’s servant, you would always have to stand by the door, forget yourself and just welcome anyone passing your way with the love of Christ.
The most joyful people can worship and obey God no matter how it may displease others.
LIVE LOUDER INDEED!
“Choked.” “Stretched.” “Squeezed.” “Gasping for Air.”
Four words to describe the pain of the process that each one may go through when your pushing or for some, dragging feet to discipline yourself and keep your faith.
I wouldn’t kid around about my life as a Christian, it’s hard. The pressure, the temptation and the uncertainty, the uncertainty…it’s always going to be there.
Pressure of keeping up with your ministry—leadership at work, among friends and in the family,
The temptation of compromise or doing things “my own way” and “the easy way out”
and the uncertainty—how will this decision affect your life 5 or 10 years from now?
No one really has the answers to the struggles we face trying to keep up with our faith, no one except God.
Sometimes He keeps it from us for our own good, yet most of the time, He knows what He’s doing. He’s is in control, He’s not apart from you. He rules over you, He made you, you are secure only in Him.
These things would not be so hard to believe if you only allow Him to prune you, chasten you.
If only you would endure the pain longer, If only you knew what joy it would bring you if God we’re to stretch you, to change you; He will never hurt you, He never forsakes you, He never gives up on loving you. That’s more than enough to put our trust in Him.
Psalms 23:1, ESV “The Lord is my sheperd, I shall not want.”
Hebrews 12:11, NKJV “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Deuteronomy 31:6, NKJV “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5, NKJV “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say:
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”
NLT: “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”
The more you choose to be with someone, the more you will discover things you won’t like and we’re likely to do five things: don’t deal with it, deal with the source, deal with another person, deal with the right person or deal it from within. There’s God’s way and there’s more that are not from him.
Proverbs 19:11, NIV – “A person’s wisdom yields patience, it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
James 3:13, ESV – “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”
Meekness is to remain in power and showing love (Pt. Brian Kairuz). We’ve been given power by Christ to do all things (face challenges with joy, encourage one another, give love) according to his Word. The power is not for us to abuse either for our own selfish ambitions or out of our jealousy, but it is to be used well for glorifying the Lord alone.
James 3:17, ESV – “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”
When we ask wisdom from God, we need to act on it justly. Here’s what the Lord showed me in regard to how other Christians deal with offense:
- They Don’t Deal With It. (IGNORE)
Probably the safest way is to ignore it, but at times when it’s heavy, you really need to deal with it justly.
2. They Deal With The Source. (CONFRONT)
Dealing directly with the source is a good choice, but it needs wisdom from the Lord in knowing how to openly regard the situation by resolving any conflict you have with the source without partiality and with much love.
1 Timothy 1:5, ESV – “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
3. They Deal With The Wrong Person. (GOSSIP)
Persons who don’t care about your spiritual growth will never make your situation any better. In fact, they can do the opposite. Negative perspectives can arise out of a conversation with the wrong person.
4. They Deal With The Right Person. (COUNSEL)
Most Christians are surrounded with a lot of accountability from parents to church leaders and small groups, but it’s best to seek our Mighty Counselor first, Jesus, for those who seek Him above all things, He promised, “I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.” (Luke 21:15, ESV) The rest of the people accountable to your life are there to confirm what God had already said to you when you lack faith.
5. They Deal It From Within. (ADJUST)
At times, an offense tells us that we need to deal with our emotions. We can be too sensitive and magnify the situation instead of magnifying God. No matter what happens, let go and let God take control of that offense, so He can turn that into something better—a compassionate heart that overlooks offense and a powerful piece of testimony that will give more glory unto the Lord.
Luke 17: 1-4, NKJV
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
~Forgive always as you have been forgiven for everything by the Father.~
Being a servant of God is difficult and it will never be finished until He is done with you.
Do you trust Him when you’re alone? Do you trust Him when you’re off to work, to school or with family, friends and in church?
Recently at work, I had the toughest deadlines to beat and in church, I had one of the busiest days packed with meetings, but I knew that throughout those challenges, God’s peace remains.
It’s hard to serve God because it meant giving up your pride, the offenses that come to you, the problems that worry you, and even the things you love the most and say that you can’t possibly live without.
In all those times, God was there, listening to my prayers, providing a way out in all the challenges I encountered and loving me in my weaknesses.
It’s harder without Him because we reach to a point that we’re too confident in ourselves that we miss the whole point of why tests were given to us in the first place and why we existed and have such gifts which are all for His glory.
The hardest is when it’s just you. The motive of why you serve is just for you to get rewarded, appreciated or recognized as good by any member of your household, friends, church and even enemies, or worse to get something in return.
And when it’s just you, you refuse to share what You have accepted from the Lord, it is the hardest because by keeping what you have, by choosing not to keep God’s commandments, we fall out of our purpose.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27
God has great and marvelous plans for us, we can taste that freedom if we let go of things that don’t please him at all and pursuing our faith with the help of His Holy Spirit to live out the person He designed us to be.
The course of life of every young adult is to find where they belong, yet find themselves running in circles when all they need is to settle down and take time to work on their vision, submit to the Lord and watch how He moves the vision you thought was impossible.
If one desires to follow Christ, one must have the strength and courage to turn away from OPTIONS THAT ARE NOT HIS GREATEST CHOICE FOR YOU.
The circumstances you are in right now are a result of your own decisions, and God permitted them because He doesn’t control you unless you allow him to.
No one can make a decision for you, but you, yet, if you pass on this authority to people, they can fail you because they are not perfect, whereas if you pass this on to the Lord, he is faithful to deliver you to His greatest plan for your life.
Before we receive His blessing, we must allow Him to take over our current situation, free ourselves from worry, recognize his complete hold of our life, trust in His perfect timing and act in faith by working towards what will honor Him.
“Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22, NKJV
In ESV version, it refers to “youthful passions”, things we enjoy that God does not, things we are comfortable with, but God insists that there is something greater!
Here are wonderful lyrics from Amanda Cook of Bethel Music called Heroes. The chorus says:
Awake my soul, to sing with your breath in me, I will worship!
You taught my feet to dance upon disappointment and I,
I will worship!
Walking with God means asking Him to renew you with His love and continually pursuing His love by skipping what’s not part of His plan for you, even when it disappoints you because all that matters is you worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
It’s time to settle down in God’s presence and greatest plans for your life.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”