ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY:

I wish I could reach out and hug anyone going through a difficult season right now and to anyone facing mountains in their way. My heart goes out to you, beloved friend. This is a treacherous time indeed! Many can attest to that. Everyone is affected in one way or another. Sickness, death, loss of a loved one, job loss, relational issues, marital problems, deep rooted family struggles, paycuts, hunger, separation from loved ones, loneliness, uncertainty, anxiety, depression, helplessness, despair, confusion. How do you face such challenges that threaten to break your very will to live? How will we emerge from these circumstances victorious and joyfully and in a way that we can encourage others going through similar troubles? How will we find meaning and purpose despite the darkness?
Well there’s only one way.

Let me introduce you to Someone who:


1. Created the entire universe and all that we have come to know as the wonders of creation. (For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16 NKJV)


2. Reigns supreme. (Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations. Psalms 145:13 NKJV)


3. Is the Alpha and Omega and has no beginning and end. (I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Revelation 22:13 NKJV)


4. Is not subject to time and space. (Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. Psalms 90:2 NKJV)


5. Is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-present and all-powerful. (Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46:9‭-‬10 NKJV)


6. Is pure love, pure holiness and perfection like we can not fathom. (“No one is holy like the Lord , For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. I Samuel 2:2 NKJV)


7. Knows you and saw you before you came to be. (Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. Psalms 139:16 NKJV)


8. Saves us wretched sinful humans from the snares of eternal separation. (“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. John 5:24 NKJV)


9. Looks on you with love and has your name written on the palm of His hands. (See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. Isaiah 49:16 NKJV)


10. Catches every tear you cry and puts it in a bottle. (You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? Psalms 56:8 NKJV)


His name is Jesus.
He is the way, the truth and the life.
Taste and see that He is good. Whatever your predicament is. He is knocking at your door. What’s your greatest need right now? Reach out to Him; only He understands what you’re going through right now. Only He can encourage you by His Spirit. Turn not to any man, or any ‘device’. No need to numb your pain. He can bear it all. He cares. He loves you deeply, recklessly. All you need to do is confess your sin and believe in Him. Take that step and find your strength in the Rock of ages. Unshakeable, sure foundation of love and holiness.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Matthew 24:35 NKJV.


Whatever we are going through and whatever will come; will pass away but His word remains true. When all is said and done, He will remain.

Anchor yourself in Him.

Finally, would you like to share your struggle that I may pray with you?

Be encouraged.

FIVE LOAVES, TWO FISH:

And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

Matthew 14:15‭-‬21 KJV


Many of us are familiar with this miracle. What’s in it for us?


Father, thank you for your word. Give us the grace to grow in our hunger and thirst for truth. May we delight in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Takeaways:

1. Jesus cares:

The disciples wanted to send the people away so that they could go and buy food. But Jesus told them to give the people something to eat. Jesus cares about us. Each one of us: man, woman, boy and girl. The figure of five thousand did not include the women and children. If He cared about each and every person in that crowd, will He not care for you and I?

2. Jesus listens:

How can one care without first listening? I can visualise the conversations between Jesus and the disciples. I can imagine Him listening intently, wanting to know why the people could not be fed. Jesus, is God: omniscient. Doesn’t He know our thoughts and needs even before we think or voice them? I tend to get rather impatient and bored when someone tells me something I already know. But not so with God. He listens to us. He enjoys it when we talk to Him. He desires for you to seek and commune with Him.

3. Five powerful words:

And they said, we have here only five loaves and two fish.

He said, “bring them here to Me.”

Those five words stood out for me.

Here are the disciples telling Jesus that all they had was five loaves and two fish….for five thousand people minus women and children.

This reminds me of reality. Whatever that may look like for you. Your real life circumstances. You know, the cards you’ve been dealt….believer or not. It is hard, I know. We all have burdens to bear, sometimes heavier than our backs can carry. Whatever the load is, as impossible as it may seem….take it to Him.

He says, bring them here to Me.

Leave the rest to Him. Could the disciples have imagined the magnitude of the miracle that was to come? I’d say no. Can you imagine how God will move in your situation? Probably not. That is not for you to lose sleep over. Yours is to trust that He who cares enough to say, ‘bring them here to Me‘, will do whatever He needs to for His glory.

4. There’s more to it than food:

Remember man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the Lord.

As we grow in our desire and yearning for God, He not only fills up….He not only satisfies; but as we abide in Him, our cups overflow. (Psalms 23).


Be encouraged as you continue to read God’s word.

HE WILL NOURISH YOU:

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Photo by George Becker on Pexels.com

And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:11)

Whenever I walk around my block, I never fail to appreciate the greenery that surrounds us. We live in a desert country characterized by eight months of scorching summer and four months of 23 degree winters. However, lush landscapes can be found in selected areas. We are privileged to live in one. As I walked this evening, I marveled, at one particular tree. It stood tall and had fresh offshoots sprouting out of its branches. I just had to touch them. How could this tree flourish in such a harsh climate?


This brought me to our desert seasons as Christians; where you find yourself in a place where you feel like there’s nothing for you? Where your spirit feels parched and desolate. Where your strength wanes when you behold the vast nothingness about you. Where you have a ‘why I am here’ moment. Only you can articulate what that season is to you. If you’re going through that right now, read on.

In the Bible we encounter deserts in the following stories:
  • Israelite’s forty year journey.
  • David’s escapes to the wilderness.
  • John the Baptist.
  • Jesus Christ.
What we can learn from them:

Remember Jesus’ prayer at Mount Olives; ‘Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.’ (Luke 22:42). God is capable of taking us out of our tough seasons. However, He allows them in our lives to teach and prepare us for a greater good, desert seasons included.

What was your last desert season like? What got you through and what did you learn from it? I’d love to hear from you.

Dear Father, may You be glorified in all seasons and may Your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A LETTER TO SOMEONE ON THE EDGE OF DESPAIR:

Dear friend,
I don’t know what darts life has thrown your way, but I’m here to remind you of something.
God doesn’t change.
He created the seasons. They change, but He stays the same.
He created us. We change, but He stays the same.
He created emotions. They change, but He doesn’t.
I don’t know what your days (or nights) look like,  I don’t know how you’ve been bruised and battered but I do know one thing. God doesn’t change.
Have you been lied to? Has someone broken a promise or promises they made to you? Had you put your faith in someone only for them to leave you hurting? Have you been cast out by your loved ones, or people you trusted? Perhaps you are confounded by a broken engagement or an old friendship that ended unexpectedly? Well God won’t do that. He does not lie.
Think of God’s attributes. Make it personal. Think of what He has been to you specifically. Now add this tag, ‘God does not change’. Has He been your peace even when things didn’t make sense? Then He will not change.
Has He been Supplier of your needs? Then He will not change.
What has He been to you?
You may ask yourself, why don’t I feel that peace? Well, you change, He doesn’t!!
I pray that you will be glad that life is unpredictable and that seasons, people and circumstances change. Picture that contrast between our changing, wavering lives and a God who does NOT change. How dull and miserable would we be if we served a God who changed. Nothing would make sense. Would we even be here? What hope would we have? Where would we run to if God had mood swings? What misery that would be; to have to deal with our unpredictable human lives and also a changing God who didn’t keep His word. I’m here with good news. That is not the case at all. Our God does NOT change. He will continue to be what He was to the men and women of old and He will continue to be what we have known Him to be forever and ever. He was before we were and will continue to be, forever more. All those attributes and names of God. All that He was, is and will be. He is what you need Him to be; He is enough and He does NOT CHANGE.
Your friend,
Sojourner

THREE WORDS:

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If you’re sad, confused, anxious, depressed, uncertain, fearful or feeling alone, read on.

If you went to sleep feeling like there was no one to talk to and had no where to turn, read on.

If you feel more hopeless than you’ve ever felt, read on.

If you feel like no one would understand, and just want to lock yourself up and cry, read on.

If you feel like the only solution for you is Jesus appearing to you and holding you in a warm embrace because you hurt so much, read on.

If telling yourself not to give up is no longer enough, read on.

If you feel like your life lacks meaning, depth and rhythm, read on.

Dear friend, my heart breaks for you, whoever you are, wherever you are.

Don’t feel like a wuss. Don’t feel like you should handle it better and that you should have spiritually outgrown such feelings. We all feel messed up sometimes. It’s the result of living in a fallen world. I’ve had my days where I just want to stay in bed and nurse depression. I know how it feels. I’ve been there. I know how life can beat one down. I know how it feels to wonder whether it’s the devil or the lack of dependence on God. You wonder whether situation X, Y or Z has all that power to knock you down to where you are right now.

Take a moment and meditate upon this verse:

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed nevercease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23
Whatever your situation;

HE IS FAITHFUL.

Be encouraged.

10 REASONS WHY YOU CAN’T FEEL GOD’S HAND IN YOUR LIFE:

I once was young and now I am old, but I have not seen a righteous person forsaken or his descendants begging for bread.

Psalms 37:25


 

‘Encourage’ and ‘exhort’ are two words we are familiar with in our Christian walk. I’m all for encouraging and being there for each other whether it’s in fellowship, online fora or any other social media platforms. 80% of my writing ministry is tagged as ’empowerment’. I’m a huge hope fanatic and my heart breaks the most for people who have lost hope in their lives, whoever they are. And more often than not, I’d love to hear this hope message replayed over and over again, for the benefit of others as well as myself. It’s no wonder that the greatest gifts are faith, hope and love. I’d like to go on and on about hope. However, rather than butter you up with a couple of xoxo’s, I’ll serve you up the real truth as to why you’re completely blind to God’s hand in your life.

 

#1 YOU FORGOT ABOUT TIMES AND SEASONS

Refer to my post breaking through seasons for more insight on this.

Ecc 3:8 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.

 

#2 YOU HAVE A DISTORTED VIEW OF TRIALS

We sometimes expect a miracle in our most heart-wrenching circumstances but we tend to forget that they will come to an end. They always do. It’s easy to forget that our glory is eternal and it is unseen.

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

 

#3 YOU FORGET WHO GOD IS

He won’t always work in the way or in the time we expect. He is not subject to time and space….. He is the Living God. Trust in His infinite wisdom. Trust in who God is.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.

 

#4 YOUR HUMAN NATURE GETS IN THE WAY

The bit I want to focus on here though is the disease we suffer from called, ‘What’s in it for me?’ There always has to be some gain for us in whatever we do. And we want it here and now. Patience is not our strongest suit.

Jeremiah 17:8 The heart is deceitful above all things. Who can understand it?

Refer to Mark 7:21 for your heart’s mirror.

 

#5 YOUR NEIGHBOUR GOT A MIRACLE AND YOU DIDN’T

It’s noble to rejoice with your friends/colleagues in the face of answered prayers but its also foolish to expect the same miracle to happen to you. Covetousness, another one of our signature human traits, is utterly and completely disempowering. One reason for depression is unfair comparison with others and as Christians we are not immune. Rejoice and celebrate others’ achievements but guard your heart from envy.

Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body but envy rots the bones.

 

#6 YOU’VE MADE  AN IDOL OUT OF YOUR NEED FOR GOD’S HAND

I’ll court controversy here by declaring that I have a problem with breakthroughs especially where one is so fixated. You want something so badly that your relationship with God is hinged on whether he brings it forth or not. The heart wants what the heart wants but can we trust it anyway?

Exodus 34:14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a Jealous God.

 

#7 YOU’VE UNDERESTIMATED THE TIME YOU SPEND WITH YOUR MAKER

The issue with us, as mentioned earlier is that we want stuff here and now. The healing, the baby, the job, the restored relationship, the miracle. We want it now. We forget that we need to sow the seeds of prayer and let the Holy Spirit intercede for us in order for them to bear fruit. We forget that our time spent with God is precious. We forget that his word is perfect and finer than gold (Psalms 119). Just because you’ve been praying and haven’t seen answers doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. Far from it. Sow those seeds and let your patience be made perfect.

Psalms 73:28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.

 

#8 YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT AN OAK OF SPLENDOUR IS

Kindly refer to my post beauty for ashes for more on this.

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

 

#9 YOU’VE BEEN HANGING WITH THE WORLD

Hang with the world long enough and you’ll begin to see things from a world view. If you never want to understand what God’s will entails, conform to the world.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your  mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

#10 YOU’VE ALLOWED DOUBT TO CREEP IN

Other than His son and our Savior Jesus Christ, I can’t think of anything else the Lord has so blessed us with more than the  promises rife in His word. If Abraham was alive today he would punch you for thinking that God doesn’t keep his promises. Has God issued you with a father-of-nations promise yet you have no child? Hang in there. He NEVER goes back on His word.

Romans 4:20 Yet He (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.


Seek God’s heart; not His hand.