Soliloquies


Razor Head

“Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the face of his friend.” – Proverbs 27:17

Last year, we used to have two of our regular Friday services at church modified to accomodate group interactive sessions called “DTT” (Dividing The Truth). The point was to sit down in small groups to discuss a topic/scripture in The Bible and instead of being taught by the minister, we teach each other.

On this particular Friday, we touched on the scripture above and a few things occurred to the members of our group.

Sharpening can only be performed with like materials. If you’re a piece of white gold interacting with platinum, you may look similar and shine similar but after a few interactions, one of you will begin to scratch and become worse for wear, and it won’t be the platinum (hence the price difference).

Another point to note about iron sharpening iron is that when the two meet, sharpening is the result of aggressive abrasion. So it is with people. When you meet somebody you have an interest in, and you “sharpen one another”, sparks will fly.

Don’t expect to get along with everybody – even those whom you know have a common mindset as you. The friction of your communication and interactions will often (but not always) sharpen you.

It may leave you as a better person in the long run but do not be surprised if the short term journey appears to be less than smooth. When your face is sharpened by your friend, you shall be brighter, shinier, and a more polished product than before you began the process.

Beware, however, as the comparison between the sharpening of irons is a process that occurs between friends. If you know they’re you’re enemy, chances are that they’re NOT trying to sharpen you – well, not in a way that will benefit you anyway! There is a reason why some people describe their closes friends as people that “challenge” them and push them “to do better”.

Remember, God wants you win.



Finding Wisdom

25 All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. 26 And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair. – Exodus 35:25-26

When we notice people who act in Wisdom, we often look to see what it was that they did differently – obviously, to try and replicate it, but I wonder if we have ever considered what phase of an action Wisdom is found.

I believe that Wisdom is not found in the “when” phase of an action but rather in the “how” and, on some rare occasions, in the “what“.

A lot of people, however, search for Wisdom in the “when”. We assume that waiting till the very right moment will make an action successful and yield the desired result (or better). This isn’t knocking the importance of timing – it plays a huge part in success but if you should ever stumble into a moment of Wisdom, or see a wise moment in action, avoid attributing it to the “when” and believing the timing to be the key to insight.

Rather, consider the “how” – how did this moment arrive? How did the Israelite women spin that yarn of goat’s hair? How did Solomon arrive at the conclusion to cut the baby in half?

Once we pay attention to the how, we will position ourselves to find the elements that constitute Wisdom in any situation.

Go on, give it a try.

Further reading: Proverbs 2

Remember, God wants you to win!



Lessons in Equality

“…And he fell down on his face at His feet, thanking Him. And he was a Samaritan.”
– Luke 17:16

The situation preceding this verse is one where Jesus heals 10 lepers of their disease and only one one came back to give Him thanks for the miracle.

It got me thinking…

Only in our problems and miseries do we forget our differences and become “equals”. Most people, myself included, struggle to look at everybody the same way for various reasons, for example, [insert your own excuse here].

We know from scripture that it was very strange for the Jews to associate with outsiders, forbidden even – the outsiders knew it too! The Samaritan was with The Jews because they were all lepers – their situation was significantly greater than any taboo associated with a fellowship between a Jew & Gentile.

Look at how The Good Samaritan parable changed the perception of who one would consider a neighbour (Luke 10:25-37). Look at how The Samaritan woman reacted to Jesus speaking to her at the well (John 4:9).

In the midst of problems is one of TWO places where we have no regard for creed, colour or race.

The other place is at THE TOP. When your gifts have made room for you (Proverbs 18:16). That is often where people come to be respected for their skill, regardless of their colour, creed or race.

Let’s take the time to learn these lessons in equality while we are climbing rather than waiting till we reach the top to have our prejudices address, or worse still, when we are so low, we have no choice but to treat others as equals, regardless of how skilled, talented or educated we are.

Further reading: Joel 2:28-29; Revelations 5:9

Remember, God wants you to win!



Learning to wait...

“Whenever God wants to act, He uses a man…”

This phrase has been uttered consistently by my pastors (Gateway Chapel) for over a year now and it’s only just starting to sink in.

Too often do we get impatient waiting for God, assuming He’ll pull a miracle out of thin air for us like He is a magick practitioner. Sorry to disappoint – He is not!

In our impatience, we take things into our own hands and make the “best” we can of our own efforts because we can’t afford to “rely on people” but yet we claim that we are relying on God. If we are relying on God and when God acts, He sends a man (man being used in the general term here) then where do we think the manifestation of that help will come from?

Too many of us are like Sarai. The Lord gave a promise, He isn’t a man that He would lie (Numbers 23:19), yet she thought it best to speak to Abram to take a solution that was of her own fashioning (ever wonder why Abraham never told Sarah that he was taking Isaac to the mountain top? – food for thought). Some of us have been pushing the envelope of impatience. This in turn has birthed disobedience  and we have nurtured it for so long that we end up like Saul who very NEARLY ALMOST made it – but like they say, “almost doesn’t count”.

Samuel asked him to wait seven days till his coming and after waiting the complete seven, he took it upon himself to do what was right in his eyes (Proverbs 14:12, Proverbs 21:2 anyone?). Look what it cost him. Look what God said after the penalty was exacted (1Samuel 13:13-14)? What a damning statement!

Finally, consider this – when The Lord wanted to save you; when He wanted to save me; when He wanted to save us, who did He send? He sent Himself, yes – you guessed it, AS MAN! (John 3:16)

Next time your patience grows thins and you think of how “long” your solution is taking, remember –

“Whenever God wants to act in your life, He uses a man.”

Do not be impatient. (Galatians 5:22-23 [AMP])

Further reading: Genesis 16:1-2; 1Samuel 13:8-4

Remember, God wants you to win!



Overcomers Unite

I was having a conversation with Bella & The PIC on Sunday about this curious verse in James (5:16).

Bella brought up the most interesting juxtaposition between this verse and Revelations 12:11. She said something to the tune of “The reason we overcome is two-fold: the blood of the Lamb AND the words of our testimony. Our testimony is not just the “miraculous” stuff.”

Too often in Christianity, emphasis is placed on testimonies that are “magnificent” to the hearing of men. Have you ever noticed people (or caught yourself) rolling their eyes at a testimony that begins with something like “I thank God I’m alive…”?

To most Christians, if God didn’t save you from drugs or killing people, if He didn’t give you a new job, smite your enemies, wipe out your debts, deliver you from the jaws of death, and drag you out of the proverbial miry clay then it’s not really a testimony.

It’s for this reason, and also shame and taboo, that people never testify about being delivered from things like pornography, masturbation, self-harm, gluttony, etc. These things are considered too insignificant to testify about and we fail to realise that God cares about EVERY single part of our lives, no matter how insignificant we may think it is.

In your testimony – the one you’re embarrassed to give despite God having completed the work, lies somebody else’s encouragement and release.

Remember, Revelations 12:11:

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul until death.”

Your testimony MATTERS to somebody. Don’t keep it to yourself.



Disturb Us O Lord

 

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst for the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back the horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future in strength, courage, hope and love.

Sir Francis Drake



Noise Filters

On Sunday, I visited a United Reform Church (in Hayes, Kent) and discovered something very interesting.

On a normal day, I cannot stand when children make noise in church. I find it so distracting as I believe(d) that it disturbs the message reaching me. This Sunday at the URC taught me a lesson.

At this particular URC (I’m not sure if they are all the same), the children were at the back playing with their toys and whatnot while the sermon was being delivered. When I say “at the back”, I mean, literally, at the back of the room – of the main auditorium. No separate room/chamber for them, just a space near the entrance.

As I sat there trying to focus on a very good message (it was on strength of character), I realised that the problem with receiving the Word of God in a service in which children are present (and making noise) is ME, not the children.

In this service, I also learned that this scenario is EXACTLY what I MUST become accustomed to if I want to consistently hear God’s voice in the midst of all the noise that life brings.

Here’s a little something to encourage you:

“Faith is not a free pass through life’s storms, but rather a life jacket to help us keep our heads above the water.”

God bless you.

Further reading: Matthew 19:14; Luke 18:16; Psalm 62:11



The Origins of Self Esteem

At a prayer meeting yesterday morning, Pastor Laye of Gateway Chapel made a most interesting point that I’d never thought about before.

What’s the first thing that God gave Man?

Before the instructions that many know well (be Fruitful, Multiply, Replenish, have Dominion, Subdue – Genesis 1:28), God gave Man one crucial thing: self-esteem/image (Genesis 1:26,27)

“And God said, Let Us make man in Our image,…” (Genesis 1:26 – MKJV)

“And God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him…” (Genesis 1:27 – MKJV)

Above all, we must remember, in our times of loneliness and despair, in times of distress and self-loathing; God made us in HIS image. Our self-esteem and self-image is founded in God.

If God valued us so much to make sure we were made in His Image, then we should not undervalue ourselves or each other.

God bless you.

Further reading: 1John 3:2-3; 2Cor 3:18; Psalm 139:14



God's Faithfulness

One of the things I love about church is testimony time – that time you get to testify of God’s goodness. One of the many phrases that I tend to hear is:

“God has been so faithful. Even when I was unfaithful, He remained faithful.”

A few weeks ago, at The (Fellow)Ship, Midé dropped something so profound. We were studying The Lamentations of Jeremiah and we were speaking of God’s promises – He delivers, regardless.

Most times, we will speak of God’s “faithfulness” when it comes to the wonderful things He does on our behalf but we fail to recognise/acknowledge that God is faithful. Full stop. Regardless of our actions.

God will faithfully deliver His promises. God will faithfully exact His curses.

Blessings. Miracles. Curses. Ruin. Destruction. Empowerment. Lifting up – it’s all a part of His Faithfulness to His Word.

God bless you.


 

 

 

 

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