Tag Archives: faith

An area of growth

Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3 

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. James 1:26

With those close to me, I love to talk. But equally, I tend to say things that are undesirable or hurtful and so my desire and prayer is that I would learn to restrain my tongue, being slow to speak and anger and quick to listen (James 1:19) starting today and always by God’s strength.

Courtesy of this journaling prompt.

Sunday Reads

Source

Recipes

Thursday Music

 

I discovered Lauren Daigle this week and she has quickly become a firm favourite. I am amazed at how she sounds like Adele but different. Here are some favourites to enjoy:

Enjoy

xoxo

Sunday Reads

Recipes

Concluding Thoughts on the Book of John

On the last night of BSF we typically have a sharing night where class members share with each other lessons and thoughts of the study. It is a very encouraging and motivating part of the lesson as the Holy Spirit continues to affirm that He is the one who reveals knowledge to each of us.

Below see some of my thoughts and I pray that you will be deeply encouraged/challenged as I was.

  1. The Father and the Son act in one accord always. Jesus acted in total obedience and submission to His father and was obedient to death, even death on the Cross (Philippians 2:8).
  2. God is Sovereign – He ordains all things so that scripture will be fulfilled. This was confirmed for me particularly at the trial, crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord – He was in charge at all points, even when He gave His spirit on the cross.
  3. Through looking at the relationship between Father and Son, I was able to reevaluate my identity as a Child of God (John 1:12 -13) and to critically evaluate those relationships that were providing a pseudo identity. It particularly helped to read that believers are a gift from the Father to the Son (John 17:2) and we are securely held in the Father and the Son’s hand (John 10:28).
  4. Believers bear fruit as they abide in Christ. This forced me to look at the Fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) again and ask those around me to help me identify where I am not bearing fruit. It was challenging to hear but definitely true and it gave me another reason to trust and ask God to help me overcome this area of growth.
  5. The character that most reminded me of myself is definitely Peter. Oh how I wish I could say I was like John but I saw repeatedly how self confident I am as opposed to being God-confident.
  6. I was struck at how unbelief in Christ existed throughout the gospel. I had previously thought that it only grow during that Holy Week but it was only present among the Pharisees and the other Jewish leaders throughout His life on earth. However as John explicitly says that he wrote this book that we would believe and by believing we would have eternal life (John 20:31), this is what I learnt about belief:
    • Jesus confronts unbelief to expose the heart. I was particularly challenged at how praying small prayers ultimately demonstrated that I did not fully believe that God is able to achieve significantly above all I can think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
    • A believers’ sole identity is in Christ and nothing (or no one) else.
    • God provides evidence for each step of belief.
  7. I also learnt that obedience is the lens that allows us to see the purpose that we were created for. Also, through the depth of my obedience am I able to show my love for Jesus Christ.

Having learnt all of this, I can also say that my discomfort at the number of the unreached (unsaved) also grew. It is appointed for man to die once and after that to face judgment (Hebrew 9:27). My responsibility is purely to share God’s word and leave it to Him as he awakens faith in us and causes us to believe. While scary, failure to believe means meeting Jesus as Judge as opposed to as Saviour and Great High Priest. So I pray that we may continue to share the reason for our Hope when asked (1 Peter 3:15).

 

Sunday Reads

  1. How to read more books this year. I am definitely taking it to heart by reducing my junk TV viewing and making sure I always have a book as I go about various chores.
  2. A reading list on Kenya in case you are interested.
  3. If a story moves you, act on it!
  4. This article on insecurity made me stop and think. Really hard!
  5. Somali nicknames are hilarious 🙂
  6. So many white tears in this article. I see that they have only a given demographic of foreign spouses married to South Africans.
  7. Also, this IS cultural expropriation.
  8. More on how couples deal with finances.
  9. I didn’t know there were Nigerian Jews in Johannesburg. Today’s fact!!
  10. What does it mean to be a boy or girl? National Geographic asks 9/10 year old kids.
  11. Stealing from one of the comments, “This is by far the best article I’ve read regarding LBGT and the gospel.”
  12. Chocolate cake and another vegetarian pasta recipe.

Fact: You and I are God’s beloved

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

Isaiah 43:1-7 (NIV)

I love these verses. They remind me of God’s personal promises to us His children. We are loved and precious to Him. It also reminds me of a very dear friend of mine because she really got me into this verse. I have highlighted and underlined verses that are particularly meaningful to me.

Word for the Day

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1: 18)

Through the intense study of John in BSF this year, I have had occasion to think of the verse above. To me, God’s word is living and inspiring and able to cut through flesh and bone. When I read the Bible, it speaks to me and I gain understanding and learn something about the character of God, about my faith and sometimes about myself. And this is different from my feelings – it is an internal working of the Holy Spirit in the heart of someone that is submitted to God. But, this verse also helps me understand that for those that do not believe the Bible is God’s inspired word (2 Timothy 3:16 – 17), it is all foolishness.

Be encouraged!

Sunday reads

  1. Being professional means working with whatever tools you have access to.
  2. Working out as a believer.
  3. Our response to a couple that only wants one kid!
  4. Advice to young jobseekers on how to present your CV.
  5. The church in Ethiopia.
  6. 13 Rules for female friendship.
  7. Bullet journals seem so FUN.
  8. Travelling while Muslim.
  9. The cost of being a woman and doing fieldwork

John 6:16-21

I love it when Christian rock is so steeped in Scripture. As in this case Third Day have done with the track, when the rain falls. In the storms of life, let us never forget that Christ is with us.

When the rain comes it seems that everyone has
gone away
When the night falls you wonder if you shouldn’t
find someplace
To run and hide
Escape the pain
But hiding’s such lonely thing to do

I can’t stop the rain
From falling down on you again
I can’t stop the rain
But I will hold you ’til it goes away

When the rain comes you blame it on the things that
you have done
When the storm fades you know that rain must fall
on everyone
So Rest awhile
It’ll be alright
No one loves you like I do

When the rain comes
I will hold you!

Source

Decisions that have made me

little breakfast nook

I have to make some life decisions and that always makes me draw back on previous decisions I made and how those turned out. Some of the decisions I have made in life that I am quite proud of:

  1. The decision to accept Jesus as my Lord to live for Him after.
  2. To study Economics.
  3. To never try hard drugs.
  4. To settle down with my husband.
  5. To drop certain friendships.
  6. Financial discipline.
  7. To stop eating red meat and to a smaller extent chicken.
  8. To leave a straining job with no prospects at the time.

Are there any decisions I regret? Sure but that’s another days post 🙂 

Positive relationship related jams

Relationships are not easy. Conflicts are a side effect of all relationships and sometimes it’s all about the perspective we select.

Enjoy!!!

Sunday Reads on Africa

  1. I have read ten of these 50 must-read books by African female writers.
  2. Exclusive Books publish their first newsletter focused on African Lit. Great start.
  3. A South African church in pictures.
  4. Hot jams to get you ready for the week ahead!
  5. Beyonce’s style of feminism is not my own.” Chimamanda Adichie.
  6. I would venture a guess that most black women have this growing up with black hair story.
  7. On intersectionality. Yaa Gyasi’s essay on what it means to be Ghanaian in America.
  8. Pettinah Gappah’s recent short story.
  9. Love and Johannesburg. The couple reminds me of the Mr and I.
  10. 21 gifts for the creative black woman in your life.
  11. A guide to Africa’s dictators. Here and Here.
  12. Rachel Strohm highlights work by the team at Democracy in Africa in putting together a long reading list of articles on African issues by African scholars.
  13. This page showing Everyday Africa.
  14. But why is my leader like this? Not sure we need mandarin studies in Uganda just yet.

True Love is this …

This week’s lesson at BSF was on John 3, where Nicodemus approaches Jesus and learns that all who believe in Jesus are born again and have eternal life. Salvation is the necessary prerequisite to access the kingdom of God and eternal life. We become children of God when we receive Him, believe in our hearts and confess in our hearts that Jesus is Lord. I love the song and the lyrics below because they express this point in a beautiful way. Salvation is to be found in no other name but the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4: 12). There is only way to heaven, not many.

There is Love
That came for us
Humbled to a sinner’s cross
You broke my shame and sinfulness
You rose again victorious

Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm
And through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me

You are stronger
You are stronger
Sin is broken
You have saved me
It is written
Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of all

No beginning and no end
You’re my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross

God of Truth and Grace

 

No. Not today. I just can’t.

Some days never make sense and the more we try and make sense of them, the harder the truth we face is.

Today is one of those days.

I can’t.

I find comfort in the following: God is our creator and the sustainor of all life and in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). In the song “What I thought I Wanted” Sarah Groves talks of wanting to get to heaven so she could go and ask Job what he knew about faith and being able to remain focused on God through tough and trying times. Today, I wanna ask the same hard question. Thankfully, we worship a might God that we can directly approach with such questions.

 

Week’s Memory Verse

John 1: 12 – 13

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God children born

not of natural descent,

nor of human decision

or a husband’s will,

but born of God.

Belief in God gives us access to eternal life and a godly heritage. We are siblings of The First Born who died for us, Jesus Christ. I love this verse. It reminds me of Carol services on Christmas Eve. We always read John 1: 1 – 18 and this verse about being called Children of God always gives me the warm fuzzies. Always. Today, if you too would receive him in your heart and believe in Him, you will surely also receive eternal life and right to be called a child of God. While we all have life and are in fact living beings, not all of us are children of God, that requires belief and faith in God.

Thoughts on being a worshipper

During my BSF break, I have been going through the Purpose Drive Life book. I had read it some years back and following the study on Revelation, I thought this would be a great way to meditate on those specific lessons. I have finished the first purpose, created for his pleasure and wanted to summarise some of my thoughts so far.

  1. Because God delights in us, He created us (me). Worship is how we reflect our delight and pleasure back to Him.
  2. Anything, from the mundane to the extraordinary, can be done as unto God and therefore qualifies as worship.
  3. Delayed and partial obedience is disobedience. Understanding can wait, obedience cannot. Obedience to God precedes understanding.
  4. Worship is steeped in a total surrender to and trust in God. Here I am reminded of the 24 elders in Rev 4:10 who before the throne of Christ. “fell down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne” declaring His uttermost worthiness of all glory and honour. Their crowns were their most precious things and before the throne, they laid that down before God.
  5. Nothing is more powerful than a surrendered life in the hands of God! Surrender is counter culture and against our very personalities.
  6. True worship is steeped in understanding who God is. And here I am reminded of this famous line: “when we see Him as He is, we will worship Him as we ought”. Often we (me included) talk of worshiping a particular type of God i.e. I cannot believe that a loving God would do … and if He would, then I cannot worship Him. This makes the construct of God something that either you or I could fully grasp. God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours and the only we can understand that/Him is via constant prayer and meditation on His word.
  7. God calls for true worshipers in spirit and truth (John 4:24). True worship is authentic. Authentic in that it is centred on a true understanding of God and His character and is true to my unique character. I have come to understand that I worship best in a very structured and almost ritualistic environment and therefore things like an Anglican service really appeal to me.
  8. Sometimes, we feel like God is distant. We still have to worship. But how? (i) we can honestly share with God that we do not feel Him or His presence. We can trust God with our emotions. All of them, the pleasant and the not so great. (ii) Focus on God and His true character. Continue to pray and give thanks ceaselessly. (iii) Reflect on God’s past faithfulness. God has already met our utmost need through sending His son to die on the cross for us. Our biggest need is our salvation and reconciliation to God. This has already been met, we only need to believe.
  9. There are also some barriers to great worship. The biggest one is me and my perception of how I need to worship. In addition, is fear, lack of trust and pride.
  10. Finally, I leave you with a few verses to meditate on regarding worship: Philippians 3:20, Romans 12:1-2, Hebrew 12:28 and 2 Corinthians 5:9.

True Fasting (Isaiah 58)

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden

like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

As Christians when we fast, the intention is that we would increase in our devotion and faith by willfully withholding something so that we could spend more time in prayer and hearing from God. It is a private act of worship. It is refreshing and draws one closer to God. I am reminded of the verse, rend your heart and not your garments (Joel 2:13) – God knows our heart and we cannot deceive Him by being ‘externally good’ but inwardly untransformed. What would inward transformation entail? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8) and Is. 58:6-9.

 

 

 

Strength for the day

IMG_3493

A snippet from my diary