Overcoming Fear!!!

Overcoming Fear!!!
No Longer Slaves (Official lyrics video)

When I first heard this song (being the smart arse that I am) I honestly thought they got the lyrics wrong, I didn’t understand why the singers sang:

“I am no longer a slave to fear”

I mean shouldn’t it have been ” I am no longer a slave to sin”, wouldn’t that be a more accurate portrayal of what is written in the bible, if you haven’t guessed I am a stickler for rules and regulations and although this is a good thing ( I think?) it does limit my understanding of God because I like things to fit in a box and God does not fit in a box, however, in this context I honestly thought that they miss-referenced Romans 6: 22 which says:

“But now, since you have been liberated from sin and become enslaved to God”

With the key phrase being “liberated from sin” which would go hand-in-hand with the phrase ” no longer a slave to sin”, but this was not the case. Despite my misgivings, I continued to listen and worship to the song, because the lyrics were pretty powerful but only now do I understand why these lyrics are powerful and why the writers did not get confused when they wrote: “I am no longer a slave to fear”.

As a 15-year-old I remember sitting in my bedroom making a poster of all the easy scriptures that I could memorise, I am glad I did that because a lot of the ones which I memorised then have remained even to this day and more specifically this scripture:

‘For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgement’

2 Timothy 1:7 (HCSB)

I would proudly declare this scripture out-loud in my room in my attempts to memorise it, but I never actually sat down to think why God would not give us a spirit of fear, is it not fear that gives us the adrenaline to fight, isn’t fear the thing that makes us cautious of certain areas and allows us to avoid disaster, does it not say in the bible ‘fear the lord’? However, with time I came to understand fear as a paralysing illness that can render its subjects to complete disability.

YES: the Bible does instruct us to fear the lord, but this is a different kind of fear to the one I am talking about. Often because of translation some words and interpretations are not fully expressed, so when the bible says to fear the lord it can be understood as ‘revere or respect’ whilst the one mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7 is understood to mean ‘timidness’ and other such connotations ( this information can be found in the ‘Strong’s Concordance’ or other reference bible’s).

As mentioned in ‘2018: My Spider Thread’, 2017/18 was a challenging year for me as I still had a lot of uncertainties about my future. I was now in my final year of university and still lost as to where God wanted to take me or how, every single direction seemed like the wrong one and the more I pressed in, in prayer the more silent God seemed to get regarding my circumstances which ultimately led to me throwing a tantrum with God that if He would not answer me than I would stop talking to Him. I was angry because God had been the one who had directed my steps to that university and I had followed His decision believing that he wouldn’t leave me stranded at the end, but here I was standing at cliff-edge staring at the vast barrenness in front of me; alone and afraid. I wasn’t coming from the position of a new believer, this wasn’t my first time not getting an answer and as I write this now I am still waiting for a response to a prayer I have given many times since infancy, I knew that God was operating and in many areas of my life God was responding daily — but why was He remaining silent in this area? As graduation day loomed, I was terrified, terrified of walking in the dark, terrified of everything. Many opportunities were available but I was so uncertain of which way was right and which way was wrong that I did nothing, and when I decided to no longer focus if this was the right path or not I still had a lot of doubt as to whether I was qualified or not and instead I went from dreaming big, to dreaming small to not dreaming at all.

All that I knew was that ‘fear did not belong to God, therefore, it did not belong to me’

I felt stuck like this minibus I was in

I’ve only ever experienced one panic attack in my life and that was when I was learning how to drive and I couldn’t get the car up the hill, I was in tears, sweating and shaking and although I did overcome that hill that very day, the experience did leave me traumatised. I wasn’t born shy or afraid, in fact, I would say I am the complete opposite of that, that is why that experience was so surreal that despite going on to pass my driving test first time, I dared not drive a car ever again. A lot of people would be so grateful to receive a car for a graduation present but I wasn’t, because every time when I looked at that car I didn’t think about the day I casually passed the driving test, I thought about the time when I was a learner struggling to get up the hill, and I became even more terrified to drive that my mother had to push me into driving again. This same fear is what shrouded me all throughout last year and the beginning of this year, I felt paralysed in time – time was moving ahead of me whilst I remained stagnant.

There are so many scriptures in the bible where the Father speaks to His children telling them:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41: 10

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4: 6-7

Have I not commanded you?  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’.

Joshua 1:9

Fear narrows your periphery, it makes it difficult to see anything past your nose, it is so loud that it overtakes all other thoughts. In the same manner it had paralysed me in the car, it had paralysed me in life, for instance as it was my penultimate year at university there was this year-long dissertation I had to complete but due to my fear of actually starting it, I really struggled with it and ended up submitting something which I wrote in such a short period, my assignments and other works which I had easily completed in previous years; I was finding it more difficult to balance. The unexplainable peace which I had had in previous years was nowhere to be seen. There is this passage in Mathew 6: 25-34, where Jesus is saying, aren’t you worth more than the flowers or the birds, but fear really did make me forget about my position as a Son of God, a Royal Priest, a Bride of Christ beautifully adorned.

Before last year I thought I was brave, bold, extrovert but last year really highlighted an area of my life which I hadn’t noticed ‘fear’. Going back a few paragraphs when I first read 2 Timothy 1:7, I thought what it was saying was that we shouldn’t feel afraid or intimidated by God like the Israelites of the wilderness or Naked Adam and Eve did, and instead know that God loves us and gives good gifts to His children like ‘power, love and sound-mind’. However, I missed something important which is this:

‘God does not give us a spirit of fear’

It is not saying do not be afraid of God, it is actually saying a few things which we can elaborate on

  1. There is a spirit that leads one to feel afraid
  2. That spirit of fear does not belong to God,
  3. If that spirit does not belong to God it belongs to the enemy
  4. As a new-born Christian with a new skin and a cleansed soul there should be nothing of the enemy within us including the ‘spirit of fear’

As such the spirit of fear is a weapon used by the devil to debilitate God’s people from not only hearing God’s voice, or remembering His promises but of also taking action. Now I am going to get a little bit deeper…

As for myself, I had chosen to entertain fear and now I was literally a “slave to fear”.

We as humans all have souls and our souls in simple terms are our thought process’, they are our minds, our emotions and so forth and so forth. But our souls are a bit like a filing folder with many segments and sections, what we watch say or do get filed away but not without attracting attention first. For instance, when we are in worship we attract the presence of God and that in itself is a blessing so not only is our moment of worship filed in our folder it is filed away with the blessing but when we spend time watching pornography we invite the spirit of sexual immorality, so not only is the image of pornography getting filed in our folder so is the spirit of sexual immorality. So when we chose to accept Christ as our Lord and saviour, the Holy Spirit erased all that was not of God within our folder, but as new believers, we can still choose what we want to entertain or not. As for myself, I had chosen to entertain fear and now I was literally a “slave to fear”. I remember one Sunday service our Pastor spoke and I had no idea what he was talking about all I knew was that it didn’t concern me so I zoned out , but then our Pastor began to encourage people who needed prayer in whatever area he had been talking about to come to the front ( in the middle of the service which is not the norm), but then he said something really quickly he said “if you have fear come to the front”, as soon as I heard this I got out of my seat I didn’t care that I was the only one heading to the front all that I knew was that ‘fear did not belong to God, therefore, it did not belong to me’.

The spirit of fear does not belong to God therefore, it does not belong to you. if this is an area in your life that you are facing challenges in join me in this prayer

‘Dear Father, I don’t know what your plans for me are but I know they are for good. Father, all my fears, anxiety and worries I place them down at the cross where your son died for me, with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead I remove all fear in me and ask Father that you invite your peace and love into my heart forevermore. Amen’

BRING your whole tithe

BRING your whole tithe

This is just a question that I have, I haven’t really looked into the topic of tithing much but it is something that recently has made me think a bit.

I have never been one of those people to ask why does the Church ask for 10% of our income ( note how I choose to use the word ‘Church’ and not ‘God’). It makes logical sense, if you are going to use their facilities on a frequent basis then pay up, it costs money to maintain a church there are taxes , bills , instruments , the tea and coffee you get at the end of the service and this is not including any community projects or services the church provides to everyone, church members and non-church members alike. Though I am surprised I’ve never been swayed by doctrines preaching about sowing to the church so much and reaping so much from God , which though they do take biblical scriputre as evidence for example:

Proverbs 3 :9 ‘Honour the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled,and your vats will overflow with new wine’

Many people miss out the key word in this scripture which is ‘honour’, it is what separates God’s wisdom from mans or in other terms it is what separates the Church from Goldman Sachs but this is a topic for another time.

I understand that money is an essential tool for the church, therefore, whatever income I am getting I do give 10% to the church this even includes birthday or gift money. But here is the thing, every Sunday I see people getting out of their seats during praise and worship to put their money in the collection basket and it makes me wonder should I also be doing the same thing… I mean… Once a month I make a bank transfer of 10% of whatever I have earned in that month to the church but recently I have been questioning whether this is the right thing to do.

Is there any significance in actually bringing your tithe and offering to the church?

Though to be honest I rarely give nor feel compelled to give an offering, money wise. As an offering can be in many forms e.g. Romans 12:1

Is there something I am missing out by sending tithe and offering via bank transfer am I showing a lack of reverence by making the process of tithing and offering transactional? I chose bank transfer as it is literally the most practical way of giving money, cash to me sounds very dubious so it makes sense why I use online banking to tithe.

I don’t know but these questions have been bothering me lately.

New Wine Skin

New Wine Skin

And who would use old wineskins to store new wine? For the old skins would burst with the pressure, and the wine would be spilled and skins ruined. Only new wineskins are used to store new wine. That way both are preserved

Matthew 9:17

This isn’t a bible study post, but I just thought interesting and wanted to share with you all this topic.

When we choose to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and saviour we are literally taking off our sinful self, like taking off our old clothes and putting on new clothes. It is important that now that we have been made clean we don’t go back to our old sinful-self, take this analogy for example:

Imagine playing Rugby and getting really muddy, when you get home you quickly take off your clothes to take a shower or bath, but after taking the bath you change back into the muddy clothes you were wearing before. What then was the point in taking a shower if your clothes were going to make you unclean again?

For this reason, God creates for us a new body that has no fault or sin, where His Spirit can reside comfortably and operate in full. When making wine, the New Wine is poured into a new wineskin to mature, the wineskin expands as the wine begins to ferment. However, if you were to place New wine in an old container, that old container has already expanded and stretched to its limit because of the previous wine that was inside of it ( sin), so when the New wine begins to expand the old container bursts because it just can not stretch or allow the new wine to fully mature. If we still remain in our old garments, there is little for the Holy Spirit to do within you because your old body does not have the capacity to receive many more things from the Holy Spirit. God is all about the new and starting clean, so everything must be made clean and new, so when we come back from the muddy fields and shower , we no longer wear our muddy clothes but put on a new clean attire that is befitting our new position.

Check out this post if you are interested in reading more about the New Wine Christ wants to fill into your New Wineskin….

Living Under Grace

Living Under Grace

I remember many years ago asking someone what role the left-hand of God played, as many verses in the Bible mention a lot about Gods right hand and a few if not, non about His left. For example:

Gen. 48:17-19, “When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on Ephraim’s head, it displeased him; and he grasped his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn. Place your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know; he also will become a people and he also will be great. However, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”

Even within Genesis 48:17-19, there was greater emphasis placed on blessing with the right-hand above the left hand.

Acts 5:31, “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

We are even told that the Son of Man sits on God’s right-hand, because His right hand represents strength and majestic power

Exodus 15:6, “ Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power. Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.”

Psalm 20:6, “Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed.  He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand.”

For this reason, I really wanted to understand the significance of God’s left hand and what it actually means. I remember that this individual came back to me and told me something that has stuck in my head ever since. The right hand is rightly so the majestic power of God and His sovereign authority, the right hand is for the things that reveal what God has done in our lives but the left is gentler than the right and is for the things that God has done for us without our knowledge. Today, as I write this blog I am reminded that God does many extraordinary things for His children that we are so unaware of, we take it for granted that we are able to wake up in the morning and eat comfortably and sleep without worry. But, there is a protector who ‘neither sleeps nor slumbers’ (Psalm 121:4), who is on constant guard so that we are protected ‘from all harm'(verse 7). When David writes in Psalm 91 that ‘the one who lives under the protection of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.’ The shadow of the Almighty is a hidden location that is unreachable to the enemy it is a certain glory that covers those who are under His protection. In the shadow of the almighty, that is where we are provided with rest, comfort and stillness whilst His right-hand fights on our behalf.

Last year November my mother had used my room to pray, and whilst in my room, she had plugged an electrical heater into the plug socket, however when she had finished praying she could no longer take the plug out of the plug socket and we just left it in there. So since November , I have switched on that heater in my room many times and have even placed other electrical items in the available socket next to the heater. Today we called in a plumber to fix our radiators and whilst He was in the house we just asked if he could pull the plug out of the socket for us, but when he eventually managed to pull the plug out, we found that the socket had overheated and burnt and in our ignorance something drastic could have happened. We had continued to use the electric heater for the last 5 months not knowing of the risk it imposed on our house, and this is when we realised how much we truly Live Under Grace.

Our burnt plug socket

Similarly, an incident also took place last year with our car when by chance we found out that the mechanics that hold the tires and other stuff ( too complicated for me to remember the name) had never been present and if they had were for all intents and purpose pointless. Yet we had driven the vehicle countless times in blissful ignorance, not knowing the immense danger that we were in and the danger we imposed on other drivers and the severity that this incident could have caused.

All of these incidents made me realise how much I take God’s grace for granted, there are perhaps many more incidents and scenarios that I have been involved in that God had protected me, there are many things that God has done with His left hand that I have no knowledge of and perhaps never will nor have to. There are many things that happen in the physical and in the Spirit that we are beign guarded against daily and we continue to live in blissful igorance, but God asks us to join in with the spiritual warfare ‘for we wrestle not against flesh or blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armour of God’ ( Ephesians 6:12- 13). When we are not armoured with the armour of God it is like walking without grace, incredibly ignorant of what is happening in the heavens, no wonder God said ‘my people are destroyed for lack of knowlegde’ (Hosea 4:6) because they don’t know the dangers they are in.

I feel so blessed to be able to attend a spirit-filled church where the presence of God is very tangible, yet I take it for granted every Sunday in the same way that I take it for granted that I live under such grace, that despite my ignorance I am still alive.

My duty is to make myself aware of His presence in everything I do and wake the dawn with praises with gratitude and thanks giving. Forgetting His presence is dare I say it blasphemous , I don’t want to live a life where I am not aware of Him this is one of the main reasons why this blog was created so that I remain near to Him in some way.

Benediction: May the grace of our…..

Benediction: May the grace of our…..

I have grown up and experienced many church denominations within my life, my mother took me to a Pentecostal church when I was an infant, got water baptism and confirmation in an Anglican church, attended a Roman Catholic School from ages 11-18years, and have been attending a Pentecostal church since I was 14 years. In all my experiences at the end of every church service the ‘Father/ Priest/ Pastor’ would have the church recite the Benediction which goes like this:

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the sweet fellowship of His Holy Spirit be with us now and forever more, and surely may goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever. Amen.

However, when I was at university I was attending this small Pentecostal church which before giving the benediction would have the congregation speak a watch-word, and this watch-word would be said for the entirety of the year. I remember that for the entirety of 2017 the watch-word was Isaiah 43:19 (KJV)

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Because of this, I can now proudly recite that scripture by heart, although my ability is currently no match for this little boy:

Reciting scripture using ‘ABC’s’

Inspired by my experience and Melissa Forster’s blog Borderless I thought to do a similar thing with my Mother every Sunday before we leave for Church, and have a watch-word that we recite for 2019-2020. We decided to go with Ephesians 6:10

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might

If all else fails we have at least one scripture that will forever remain in our hearts

Pancake Day :-)

Pancake Day :-)

For some reason growing up, I didn’t really like pancakes, it always tasted slightly odd and rubbery ( maybe this was because of my cooking), but it is only recently that I have started to like them. I mean, they’re not my favourite type of cakes but I do have to admit they are easy to make and you just can not ignore the hype for pancakes particularly at this time of the year.

If you don’t know, today is Shrove Tuesday or more colloquially ‘Pancake day’, the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent. Lent is essentially a 46-day countdown to Easter ( or as I would prefer to say Resurrection Sunday) the day when Christ was resurrected from the grave, it was created by the early churches to prepare people’s hearts for Easter by encouraging them to fast and pray and just become more intimate with Christ, in this way when Easter comes they are truly joyous. On the first day of lent/ Ash-Wednesday a priest in an Anglican or Catholic church will place the sign of the cross on your forehead using the ashes from a palm tree or leaf. The ashes represent death and this whole act is a reminder that we too are putting our flesh to death and in so doing are waiting for our rebirth, for we received New Life when Christ was raised from the dead. It is in many ways the re-enactment of John the Baptists minsitry in which John preapred peoples hearts to receive Christ through the baptism of repentence.

Today represents the last day of living in sin, and a pancake represents sin because of its over-indulgence. It may not seem like a pancake is the most over-indulgent cake there is but back in c.AD Whenever, when milk, flour and eggs were super expensive, believe me, this was the most indulgent meal that an average Joe would have in a year. It’s similar to having a giant burger on Monday and on Tuesday beginning your 6-week weight loss journey because you want to be a healthier and fitter version of yourself, in our case we want to be a more spirit-filled cherished child of God.

So today, I graciously ask that you may join me in celebrating Shrove Tuesday but even more so the countdown to Resurrection Sunday beginning this Wednesday.