Vote of Thanks

Psalm 124

A song of ascents. Of David.

1If the Lord had not been on our side—

let Israel say—

2if the Lord had not been on our side

when people attacked us,

3they would have swallowed us alive

when their anger flared against us;

4the flood would have engulfed us,

the torrent would have swept over us,

5the raging waters

would have swept us away.

6Praise be to the Lord,

who has not let us be torn by their teeth.

7We have escaped like a bird

from the fowler’s snare;

the snare has been broken,

and we have escaped.

8Our help is in the name of the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 124 encapsulates the struggle that I experienced in 2014. On the 2nd of  January my car was wrecked. Two weeks later I gave birth to my second son. My birthday was the saddest day of my life as emotional and physical pain racked my body. I could not wait to return to work as a teacher after maternity leave. The summer really taught me life lessons as I dealt with my weaknesses, with the help of my Heavenly Counselor. At the end of the year, I have achieved peace that transcends all human understanding. Through daily bible devotions and prayer, the invaluable lesson encouraged me to fix my eyes on Jesus.

perfect peace

After making some life altering decisions, time became a wonderful healing balm. With each day, the process became easier and better. Every human relationship should exalt God. However in some cases God is edged out. Yet God is always there. God put those people together. Humans may try to separate from each other but there is an irreconcilable union which keeps them together.  At times life feels like floods and raging waters. It is fraught with emotional waves of disaster, anger, fear, resentment and bitterness. With God, these emotions are dealt with in a more positive way. Stifling emotions is an option but it resurfaces over time. Yet there are other uplifting outlets to deal with emotions.

emotions

Writing is at the top of the list of my outlets. This year has taught me how to deal with anger, bitterness and embarrassment. This year has left with me pearls of wisdom. This year has taught me that the decision making process should not be rushed. When you choose God, God chooses you. At the end of this year, I thank God for his promises. He is always with me and He will never leave me. I am not to blame for everything and if the blame is truly at me, I can rest in God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and grace. God’s truths stand firm for all time. The snares and plots have been thwarted. I have been set free, through Jesus Christ. Who better to depend on but the One who created the heavens and the earth as mentioned in the last verse of Psalm 124.

In thanksgiving to God, I name God’s blessings of 2014 and return them to the sender as a love gift of worship tomorrow evening, as I ring in the New Year at church. 2014 has been a performance with its highs and lows. Overall, God has done a magnificent task in bringing us safely to the end of this year. As His children we look forward to His continued blessings and guidance for 2015. We continue to be utterly dedicated to Him on our intended journey in life.

God at centre

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Christmas With(out) You

Christmas is filled with immeasurable joy and happiness. Christmas is also filled with sadness and despair. Yet despite feeling all of these emotions, it is possible to feel the undercurrents of peace and hope throughout the season. I just finished baking with my ever so eager elder son. The kitchen was in chaos with flour and its fellow ingredients everywhere. The more I cleaned the messier it became all because my eight year old son wanted to help. While cleaning the mixing bowls, I thought this child is making this task last longer. Then I realized I could choose to be angry and see it as an inconvenience or I could be happy and spend quality time with my son. I chose to be happy and we had a wonderful time in the kitchen. Wish you could smell it. Just like my experience in the kitchen, the choice is simple. This Christmas can either be with Jesus at the center or it can be without. It is your decision.

This season can be quite difficult for some persons as it is the first Christmas without a close friend or family member. Loss can be a result of separation, through physical or emotional reasons. No longer can this person’s presence be felt physically near to you, but nearness is felt in your hearts. Memories, stories and photographs encapsulate the value that person had in your life. When Christmas is mentioned to these persons, there is a sadness in their eyes. They swallow the overwhelming emotions of sadness, bitterness, resentment and anger, as they fiercely blink away the tears.

This season is full of excitement for other persons, especially children. Christmas means lights and lots of presents with Christmas carol singing. They just love Christmas with the giving, receiving, cooking and baking. They are quick to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the best for the upcoming year. Unlike those who have lost someone at this time, they celebrate the first Christmas of the birth of a new baby, the newly married couple or the recently adopted child or even pet. It is a time to appreciate old traditions and create new traditions this Christmas.

When those who experience sadness at this time, collide with those who experience gladness the reaction is inevitable. Each group needs to consider the other and bring about a balance of emotions at this time. For those in despair, consider that the difference between loneliness and being alone is Jesus. God is always there. Reflect on the true reason for the season. Mary and Joseph experienced excruciating circumstances when Jesus was born. There was no room for them in the town of Bethlehem. They had to share with the animals. That is the most lowly place imaginable. Instead Mary and Joseph chose to praise God despite their circumstances. They gave thanks to God for the safe delivery of their son.

mary and joseph

For those in gladness, consider those who are not feeling the way you feel. Share gifts that are eternal. These gifts cannot be seen with the eye, but they can be felt with the heart. Give and receive the gifts of faith, hope, peace, love and joy. Place yourselves in the comfort of God’s love and heal your spirits. Cast away the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Prepare yourself for the second coming of Christ, through the thoughtful reflection on his birth. The power of God will come upon you this season and as a result your conscience will be purified.

Instead of rushing to find the perfect gift, realize that the perfect gift has always been there. That perfect gift is the birth of Jesus Christ. For when your eyes are fixed on Jesus, everything else falls into place. Whether you are sad, mad or glad this season, may I suggest to celebrate Christmas with Jesus. We have Jesus at the centre and it feels so wonderful.

Immeasurable Joy

I’ve met someone. He says all the right things.

He tells me that I am gorgeous and desirable. He loves my shoulder-length, sun-kissed locs and does not think that my stomach is too big. He asked me to promise that I will never leave Him. I just want to walk hand in hand with Him every minute. He did not run away when I told him the story of my life. He simply listened and smiled at me.

He stayed with me. He loves to hear me talk about my sons and how my immense love for them. He loves the passion in my speech and the excitement in my eyes when I speak about my dreams and hopes. He is concerned about my needs and meets them as best as He can. With Him I feel cherished, loved and as if I matter.

The more I know about Him, the better. The less I dwell on the failures in life, the better. So I ask Him for wisdom and understanding. I trust Him completely by living in the present. He is right there by my side no matter where I go. Time allows us to grow to maturity. Time allows us to encourage one another. Time allows us to live in harmony and peace. Time allows us immeasurable joy.

I’ve met someone. I’m clinging to Him with all my heart for I love Him fervently. He was always there. He is always there. He will be always there. For Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Hope

Hope can be dangerous.

In difficult circumstances, hope can be used to keep the heart and soul in check. Hope can materialise from the mind into a tangible and inspirational substance. Hope is eternal. It cannot be seen with the human eye, but it can be  felt with the human heart and soul.

Yesterday I ministered with a Sister in Christ and she blessed my heart in all ways. We shared our experiences and by doing this we helped each other immensely. This is the will of God. By sharing with each other as Christians we are obeying God’s commands. Obedience reaps rewards and as Christians we believe that our rewards are eternal in God’s kingdom in heaven. According to Psalm 103, we bless the Lord and worship and adore Him for He is at the centre of it all. We try our human best to imitate God: to be slow to anger and to be full of compassion. We have hope because with God our sins have be thrown away as far as the east is from the west.

We have friends who can share our burdens as well as we can shoulder theirs. Yet the greatest friend we have is in Jesus, who always keeps his promises. One such promise is that when we are weary we can depend on Him. He will provide a place of refuge where we can rest and become renewed and refreshed. That’s the best part. God is always with us. When we call out for help and say, “Lord, help me.”, He puts his arm out and strengthens us. That’s the dangerous element about hope. For through hope we are strong.

We place our hopes on our children. We hope that they will be steadfast and strong and rooted in God’s love. We hope that they will grow up to maturity and independence but not before they enjoy their childhood which is reflected in the hope in their eyes.