HEALING BROKEN HEARTS AND WOUNDED SOULS

Posts tagged ‘God’

The hardest part of Christianity: Living the crucified life

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If I’m sharing this, it’s not because I’ve crossed the finished line and can now turn around and mentor those who are still behind. I still have my own struggles in this area; but as I learn, I share to bless others.

What does it mean to live the crucified life?

  • Putting God first in everything I do. Not seeking my own pleasure first, but seeking to please Him first.
  • Always seeking to know what He desires and wants me to do in each situation.
  • Willingness to suffer rejection, humiliation, persecution and pain for His sake.
  • The willingness to accept His will even at my own inconvenience.
  • Acceptance that my own wishes, desires, will and pleasure are valid only if He validates them.
  • Refusal to take the glory for any victory won, but giving all the glory to Him.
  • The ability to say “Thy will be done”, from the very bottom of my heart.

Folks, this is the hardest part of Christianity and those who have attained to it receive of His spirit without measure.

May the Lord Himself help us to attain to such full stature so that we can indeed be His ambassadors on the earth.

HARD TO PLEASE? DEAL WITH IT NOW.

When I look back on my life I discover that the time I was the hardest to please coincides with the time I hated myself the most. What is the relationship between these two realities?

If you do not like yourself, nobody else will be able to make you do it and you will be rather hard to please. Why do people hate themselves so?

  1. Long exposure to negative feedback. When people keep hitting it home that you are no good, you could end up accepting it and that will define the way you see yourself.
  2. Lack of positive feedback and appreciation for efforts you invest. When no one ever tells you it was well done you could start thinking you never do anything worth encouraging.
  3. Your best efforts always seem to produce the most mediocre results. You must find out what you are good at and excel therein. You can’t get your best grades in an area you are not gifted in.
  4. The kind of things that happened to you in the past. You might have messed up much too often. But remember, we all do mess up sometimes.
  5. Disabilities that make you look and feel different. This could be very tough, but not impossible to overcome. You need God’s grace for this one. God can enable you to love yourself in spite of any disability you carry.

                                                                                                                                                          

When faced with self-hatred, we must not blame anyone for our condition. This will only lead to bitterness and that is not good either, for our emotional stability.

It will be an error to try to use our relationships as a means of finding happiness. Strive to get happy as an individual. If you want to get it out of others you might become too demanding and more difficult to please.

Don’t use other people’s successes and achievements as a means to your own happiness. They might no longer be there tomorrow and you will find yourself sinking even lower.

From my own experience I can tell you that getting a lot of stuff around you doesn’t help. A new house, a new car etc. will help you but only for a season.

Ask yourself if you can really be happy if all the stuff were taken away from you. If the answer is yes, then you are happy indeed, or let me say you are experiencing joy.

What do I do then?

  • Ask God to show you your intrinsic value. There is something about you that when you discover you will begin to sing, and then you will never stop singing ever.
  • Develop your potentials and become a blessing to others. There is great joy in giving. When you live your life helping others you will hardly get depressed.
  • Find out your weaknesses and accept them. Stop trying to wipe away your weaknesses by your efforts. If you fail you could become more depressed. Acknowledge them, bring them to God and leave them there.
  • Read the kind of books that will build up your self-image. Avoid going to places and being with people that speak negativity, that always try to bring you down.

Be happy apart from them, then you will be happy with them.

When you get into a relationship it should be to share what you have, not to get what you want.

TOO EMOTIONALLY CONNECTED? IT’S TIME TO GET GOING.

Life is made up of times and seasons. We are called upon to move on from one place, situation and level to another. This will happen to each one of us from time to time. There are moments of transition and there are new challenges and targets to handle all the times.

We can’t grow, make progress or even succeed in life if we get stuck in one position.
The problem with people like me is that we often get too emotionally attached to some situations that are meant to be only temporary; a job, a mentor, a habitation etc. It becomes difficult to let go and keep going when it’s time to break camp and advance.

In my own experience, God has dealt with this issue in my life in a number of ways:
A. He sometimes provokes a conflict that will then end up kicking me out of my comfort zone.
B. He sometimes incites people to reject and hate me outright. This is usually when I insist on holding unto a dead end- a relationship that has come to its natural end.
c. I have had situations where I was moved to hate an environment; this as preparation for me to move to a new location. Isn’t it amazing that the things that you loved and cherished yesterday have become simply unbearable to you today? Perhaps it’s time to move on.

 Now, let’s be very careful here. There are things you are not permitted to move on from. You can’t just move on from your marriage, spouse and kids because you no longer feel like staying on. You will be hurting a whole lot of people and bringing more disorder and pain in society. You can’t move on from your assignment because things have become too tough. God calls us for life, not for ‘as long as it feels good’.

 Sometimes the movement is not necessarily physical. It might be emotional or psychological; you may have to stop engaging in a certain activity, dressing in a particular style or treating someone in a particular manner. For instance, when your children become adolescents you move on from the way to used to talk to them when they were just little kids.

 Remember, there is no promotion without movement (physical or mental). If you resist moving on when it is the time to do so you could miss out on what God wants to do in your life for that season. You could then be stuck on one spot all your life.
On your marks, get set, move…

What’s wrong with being single?

I have come to believe that being single is not a problem. It is the way the society sees and interprets it that creates a problem that should not normally exist.

Why is that preacher talking as though to be single at a certain age is a curse?

Why is pastor hurriedly trying to clip people together so that they don’t remain single?

While we celebrate marriage, because God ordained it (Genesis 2:22), and because it is honorable, we must not always try to get a reason as to why so and so is not getting married.

While we strive to help people get life partners, we shouldn’t make others feel they are abnormal because they aren’t there yet; or never will be. Let’s celebrate singleness too, with Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 7:7-8).

Help the singles valorize their singleness; don’t push them to a position where their single and most important dream is to get married.

Unmarried people are not societal misfits, no matter the reason for their singleness. The blessing of the Lord is upon them too.

Give them the respect they are due.

Is it right for leaders to interfere in the choice of marriage partners for those they lead?

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A leader here refers to anyone with authority over another, for instance in the church, family or any other established structure.

Let’s examine a few facts and then reach a compromise.

Let’s go back to the story of creation and the first man Adam. When God entered the garden and asked Adam,

Have you eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you not to eat (Genesis 3:11)?

The man’s response was very interesting.

The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Genesis 3:12).

Adam literarily blamed God for giving him that woman to be with him. It was like saying, had you not given me this woman, I’ll not be in such a mess like this.

Eve was no longer the “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”. She was no longer the darling and sweetie and baby…

He was like saying, ‘if I had had my say in this matter, it won’t be this one’.

If you were in God’s position, will you ever think of bringing someone home to your son even if just to see if he liked them?

Don’t get me wrong here. There is someone out there God will very much want you to marry. But he will never violate your will by forcing them on you.

He doesn’t want to get blamed when the boat hits a tide.

Does it mean God has left us to our own devices when it comes to marriage? I don’t think so.

  • He will create an opportunity for both of you to meet.
  • He’ll use various ways to suggest the person to you as a possible partner.
  • He will put that loving desire for that person in your heart; He’ll convict you about them.
  • If you say ‘no’ to that, He’ll not force you into it.

If you come crying years later that you missed the right person, He’ll still wipe the tears and bind the wounds. But that’s about all he can do at such a time.

  • So, dear leaders, I think we shouldn’t strongly interfere in such a sensitive domain in the life of individuals. Don’t go where angels fear to tread.
  • Give your opinion, suggest to them, and create an avenue where they can meet; but don’t push them into it.
  • Pray for it to work if you are absolutely sure they are meant for each other, but stay clear and let them work it out by themselves.

 

 

DREAM-KILLERS AND DREAM-PROMOTERS

Dream-killers

  • Joseph’s brothers saw it, understood it even before the lad knew what it was all about. They tried to kill it (Genesis 37:5-8).
  • David’s brother Eliab tried to talk him out of his giant-slaying destiny (1Samuel 17:27-29).
  • The crowd wanted to stifle Bartimaeus’ dream to see again (Mark 10:47-52).
  • Jesus’ family came to take him home because they thought his own dream was some form of madness (Mark 3:20-21).

Dream-promoters

  • Eli saw it in little Prophet Samuel and taught the boy how to hear from God (1 Samuel 3:8).
  • Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law gave him useful ideas on how to do ministry (Exodus 18:17l-24).
  • Naomi gave Ruth a strategy to win the love and respect of Boaz, her future husband (Ruth3:1-4).
  • Barnabas took Paul and taught him how to do the things of God. Paul was accepted in the brotherhood because of the former’s recommendation (Acts 9:26-28).

What is your own dream? Who are you telling it to? Do you know in what category they fall? Is your dream at risk because of the people you are telling it to?

I pray God will send the right people to help you achieve that dream that keeps you awake all night long.

 

It’s how you respond that matters

God loves everyone the same

It is our response to His love that makes the difference.

Your response could be warm or cold

It could be enthusiastic or lukewarm

You can receive it with excitement or indifference.

But know for sure that your response to God’s love

Will determine the kind of relationship you have with Him.

God is a gentleman; He will do everything to win your love,

But He will never force Himself on your intimacy.

You take it or you leave it,

THROW OFF THE CLOAK OF REJECTION

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There are behavioral patterns that are set in motion when one has had to suffer rejection of any kind. You might not even be aware of it but they stick to you and stick out their heads in your daily activities.

But it is possible to live a normal life without carrying that cloak around. Victims of rejection could manifest some or all of these behavioral patterns.

  • They suffer from low self-esteem. They think there is something lacking in their lives; that they are not worthy and that is why they were rejected in the first place.
  • There is an internal emptiness and pain as they yearn to be considered “normal” but all they get is prejudice. Every human being, no matter how bad yearns to belong and be loved.
  • People who have suffered rejection could easily become men-pleasers in an attempt to be accepted by them. They could become too good or too bad depending on the demands of the group they want to belong to.
  • It can lead to anti-social behavior. They could join groups or gangs that engage in anti-social behavior as a way of lashing out at the society that has rejected them.
  • Some of the victims tend to search for love and acceptance in the wrong places; they could end up in promiscuous behavior and even prostitution. This then leads to abusive relationships and the vicious circle of rejection starts all over.
  • Even when they become Christians they want to earn God’s love and acceptance. They may engage in some form of penitence and activism thinking it will make God love them more. They feel unworthy before God and are constantly afraid of being rejected by Him even for the minutest mistakes they make.
  • They are afraid to ask God for big things thinking they are asking for too much from a God who might just be coping with them.

What is the way out of such a trap? I do not have a magic formula but I will share some of the things that helped me get over the rejection syndrome in my life.

  • Make a conscious decision to throw off that cloak of rejection just as Bartimaus threw off his beggar’s cloak. Let it be clear to you that no matter how bad people say you are there is an unexploited treasure deep within you. You have gifts, talents and qualities that no one has ever discovered. It is possible that the rejection you suffered is just one of the satanic strategies meant to keep you from ever reaching your full potential in life. Do not believe his lies; you are not useless because God created no useless person.
  • Stop listening to people’s opinion about you and start learning about who God says you are. This has had the greatest and most influential impact on my life. When I was growing up I heard a lot of abusive words that made me feel rejected and estranged. They created a very negative self-image in me. It took the word of God to delete them from my mind and to reprogram my mind according to who God says I am. That is when the suicidal thoughts vanished because I had found my worth in Christ.
  • Avoid the trap of banding yourself with people with similar problems as a way of finding comfort and consolation. A man can only give what he has. They will speak and act just what is in them and you do not want to get dragged deeper into it. Read inspirational books, attend some motivational conferences and hang out with motivated people. If you must join a group, it should be one that helps people get out of such issues.
  • Discover and develop your gifts and talents. The day I started discovering my gifts and talents everything changed. I no longer felt like a useless consumer of the resources on planet earth. I felt like a contributor. I had something some one needed and this completely changed the way I saw myself. Everyone is gifted and the fact that you are not yet using your gift to bless others does not mean it is not there. You might not be like that great preacher or singer but you might have that ability to make people laugh. Start making people laugh and before you know it you will be in demand, and then the perfume of rejection will vanish from your life.

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Greater is the glory (2 Corinthians 4:17)

If the affliction is this heavy, and God says the glory will even be heavier, then that glory must be very great and heavy indeed.

I earnestly look forward to it.

I refuse to die in this wilderness.

I must get to Canaan, by His grace.

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What is your Isaac?

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In my previous posts I have been talking about laying your Isaac on the altar. I have talked about the importance of surrendering it all to God so that God can reveal Himself through you.

But what is your Isaac? That is the question I will attempt in my own humble way to address in this post.

You might just be wondering whether God will ask you to kill your own child. NO! Our God does not require human sacrifice from us like the heathen gods do. He sacrificed His first and begotten son once and for all for us all and that sacrifice is enough.

But now, why does He yet ask for us to sacrifice if Jesus’ sacrifice was just sufficient?

In this post we will see the difference between what Jesus did and what the Father requires us to do today.

We all have different kinds of Isaacs in our lives and my own Isaac might not be the same as yours. An Isaac is that thing, that person, that situation or place that you so much love and cherish and will not want to be separated from. It is that thing you will never willingly give up if you had a choice. It is that thing you think you can’t do without (although God knows you can).

Let me share my experience in this area.

I still see myself weeping profusely and telling God I want to die, I can’t take it anymore; that it’s just too painful for me to bear.

He had asked me to lay Isaac on the altar.

At that moment I thought I could never be happy without that thing He wanted me to lay down on the altar.

At that moment I was convinced in my soul, (not my spirit), that I can never be happy without that relation: yes, it was a relationship.

You know what? He wasn’t some heathen or someone who didn’t know God? That would have been easier to handle. I would have easily understood why God wanted me out of there. NO! he knew God, but he lacked some salient points that were very necessary for the kind of relationship this was supposed to be.

Having been called to be a Christian leader and Minister of the Gospel, God was telling me that I can’t get married to a man who has no respect for what I’m called to do; and who will willingly tolerate behavior which I considered sinful. This may look minute, but when one is called to God’s vine yard, no error is ever too small to spark a wave of unholy scandal.

But because this man was loving, caring, generous and possessed all the qualities I ever asked God for in a life partner, I suddenly became willing to overlook his faults and to forge ahead in a serious relationship. The answer from God was a resounding NO!

How I cried.

My emotions were screaming in a different direction but God loves me too much not to just stand by and see me get into a mess.

So you see? Your Isaac could be just anything. It might even be something God Himself gave to you. (God gave Abraham Isaac). But if that thing becomes a hindrance to His greater purpose in your life, He could ask you to lay it down and let it go.

So what is your own Isaac?

Is it your habits? Your way of dressing, your relationships, the places you love going to or the things you own? Is it a particular hair-do that God doesn’t approve of but you just won’t let go?

It could look insignificant but know that it is not just about staying away from something or somebody. It is more about putting God in the first place and obeying His voice for obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22).

The Bible says we are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Therefore anything that will make us not to adequately represent Him must be laid on the altar.

When God puts His finger on a thing in your life, don’t try to justify your choice. Just let go and you will see His glory. He will take you to a new dimension.

Remember, Isaac didn’t die physically on that altar, but the moment Abraham raised that knife to slay the lad, Isaac died in his soul, and that is what God demands from us; that some things die out of our souls so that He can be glorified in our lives.

Nothing left

When you get to a place

where you have got

nothing more to lose

Then you have become qualified

for God to use.

Lay your Isaac on the altar and leave him there

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We all want God to do great things in our lives. We want Him to use us mightily.

We want to be carriers and transmitters of the presence, power and glory of God.

But there is one great condition that must be fulfilled. We must lay down our all.

We must let Him empty us of all, strip us of us, then He can trust us enough to put AK47s in our hands.

Have you put Isaac on the altar? Have you left him there or you are about to take him back home because you do not trust your God enough to entrust your life into His hands?

Grace: Have you ever experienced it?

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Only those who have received of the grace of God are able to show grace and mercy to others. You can’t give what you don’t have.

If you have never known and experienced God’s grace, you could be unnecessarily hard on others because you do not know just how merciful God is.

When you open your heart to His grace he will pour out so much of it into your heart that when you open your mouth to speak, it is grace that will flow.

Grace is so deep, so unique that we tend to misunderstand it.

Sometimes we fight against grace (God) because we can’t handle the kind of blessing grace has bestowed on us.

Those of us who have always got it by hook, crook and work find it hard to just settle down to the fact that this time we got it all for free, by His grace.

Those of us who have messed up so badly in the past and have paid dearly for it find it hard to understand why God will just forgive us without us paying the price. (Jesus paid that price on the cross).

If you fail to understand grace you could spend your entire life fighting against God’s will for your life.

Knowledge of the grace of God will free you from a lot of headaches and heartaches in this life.

When God does “dumb” things, grace is at work: part 4

 

When I waited for condemnation and all I got was love, I began to understand the depth of God love and grace for me. I’m a product of grace and I’m sent forth to spread the message of God’s grace.

When I expected rejection and rather got another round of God’s love that is when I began to understand the God I have been “serving” for years. I just realized I never knew Him all this while.

Since I was the kind of person who always wanted to fix it all on my own, God allowed situations in my life that neither money nor relationships, nor talents nor networking could ever solve. I mean impossible situations. I fought, I networked, and I prayed and fasted…no solution.

Then I learned the song… “I surrender all…”

For how long has God been trying to bring you to the end of yourself so that you can start trusting Him? For how long has He been trying to bring you to an understanding of His grace? How much longer will He stand with outstretched hands while you run about trying to fix it all by your own effort?

I invite you to sing with me…”I surrender all…”

You hate the white flag. You don’t want to see it, let alone use it. But for this situation God is telling you “pull the white flag my child. I can’t come to your rescue until you pull that white flag.”

Don’t try another recipe; ask for God’s own recipe.

 

 

When God does “dumb” things, grace is at work: part 3

 

I came from a background where I had to earn it all through hard work and good works.

Receiving God’s unmerited favor was quite an issue for me. I didn’t understand why God should just give me things, do things for me or pardon my folly without me having to do something to earn it. I always wanted to do something in return. Then one day God got tired of my wrong mindset and came up with a strategy just for me.

He let me mess up so badly and so many times that I thought “woe is me, I’m undone…I’m no good. I’m an embarrassment to you Lord; kill me so that I don’t bring more shame on you…”

I was kneeling there like a condemned criminal waiting for my sentencing. You know what? I instead heard that song “When peace like a river attendeth my soul…it is well, it is well with my soul.”

You will ask me, does God condone sin then? No! His grace is bigger than His anger.

God will suspend one of the laws for a season, for a reason and for a person so that a bigger purpose can be achieved. That does not make Him unrighteous. It makes Him sovereign and very merciful.

 

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