Faith

Do Nothing

By Dorcas Dariya

When you take swimming lessons, one of the few things you learn is that the human body is about 72% water. This means that any human should be able to float easily. Our lungs, filled with air gives additional buoyancy to our body. Overall, we have an advantage in water. 

Research shows that if a person is drowning, they ought to remain calm and allow their body to utilize its natural floating capabilities. This will keep their head above the water, letting them breathe. 

So basically, do nothing. Interesting!

Why do people drown even when they are aware of these facts? I’ll tell you why. They panic. Okay, that’s understandable. Your body goes into survival mode. That’s good, but not in this particular situation. The only way to save a person, who is panicking and drowning in water, is to let them near-drown. When they stop all rapid movements, they can easily be towed ashore and resuscitated. Risky, don’t you think? The other course of action is to throw them a lifeline. 

Relaxing or staying calm is easier said than done, especially when you're in a life and death situation but confidence in what you know and believe - keyword “believe” - is what saves you. You can know yet not believe; this construct is one I will address in detail as you read on. 

When we find ourselves drowning in life, we cry out to God to save us, all the while flapping our hands and grasping on to anything but his outstretched hand. When it seems like God is silent as we drown in all our worries, in those moments, He is waiting for us to find ‘the courage to do nothing’. When it seems like we might be lost before he - the lifeguard - gets to us, he throws us a word-line. As long as you surrender your will - do nothing - and grab that word, it will reel you in. 

“...In the vast emptiness of my mind, I swam in oceans resembling perdition. Reaching out to everything and nothing I fell deeper and deeper into the abyss of fear. Then I stopped. There was no strength left in me.  It was then I looked up as if for one last time.  I saw it.  The word-line. I grabbed on to it and slowly felt a tug as I drifted slowly to shore. I had stopped struggling…” 

“O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31b This was Jesus’ statement and question to Peter after Peter started to sink - and it is astounding. 

‘O ye of little faith...’ He could have stopped there. But then he asked, ‘why did you doubt?’ 
Why would Peter or any of Jesus’ disciples would still find reason to doubt after he had given a word. He instructed Peter to walk on water with one word, “Come”
 
Jesus had proven to his disciples that there is a power at Jesus’ disposal of a magnitude never seen before. So what was a little wind to a man who defied the odds and walked on water, gave life to the dead and opened blind eyes? 

What is that wind to you as he empowers you to walk on water towards him? This is the word-line I hold on to. What’s God’s word-line to you?

An excerpt from Dorcas Dariya’s upcoming book

Action Point: What is that wind to you as he empowers you to walk on water towards him? This is the word-line I hold on to. What’s God’s word-line to you?

Biblical Inspiration: Matthew 14:22-33
 

Forgetting The Past

By Pastor Matthew Kassim

Are you stuck in your past?

This question might be hard to grasp but the reality is that some people may be present and yet be living in moments past. To forget is to, intentionally, disregard or overlook an event. It is necessary to disregard past events – good or bad - to keep moving forward. 

If we keep dwelling on past successes or failures, we will not dig deeper, move on and work harder to reach our potentials. If we do not let go of the old, we will never be able to embrace the new.

Your history does not matter, what really matters is what lies ahead of you. It is up to you to make a choice and take that step to move away from your past. This would involve walking with God and trusting that He will guide your path as you go.  Trust He has a better future in store for you and He is working behind the scenes on your behalf.

As you forget what lies behind, press forward and walk with God, you will begin the experience His provision and abundance in ways that you cannot comprehend.

Say this word of prayer - Father, I choose to forget the past today. I don’t want anything to hold me back from the good future You have prepared for me. I choose forgiveness and ask that You help me by Your Spirit to press forward in every area of my life in Jesus name, Amen.

Action Point: Ask God for the grace to move on and not be stuck in your past.

Biblical Inspiration: Philippians 3:13

Do not be Discouraged

By Damilola Olasehinde

It is so easy to be discouraged when life gets tiresome, bills aren’t paid, school gets so difficult, work gets too exhausting, your health deteriorates or future seems bleak. It is so easy. 

A discouraged person is prone to fatigue, hopelessness, despair, depression and bitterness. 
Discouragement stems from past misgivings, present shortcomings and uncertainties about the future. It steals your joy, peace, contentment and zeal. It comes with so many unpleasant thoughts.

The moment you have nothing to rely on or forget your blessings and begin to focus on your circumstances, discouragement sets in. As you become unaware of God’s presence around you begin to forget or doubt the promises of His word, discourages shows up.  

Instead of wallowing in discouragement, yearn to be and remain encouraged.  Be steadfast in your hope in the Lord and let His peace encompass you. Rest in his love and promises for you. God knows your troubles and He cares so much for you that he will not abandon you. 

If you want to stay encouraged, focus on Jesus and His word for your life. When you focus on Jesus, you experience comfort, peace and encouragement. Find Him, focus on Him and his promises, love Him and be steadfast in your faith with Him. 

A snippet of one of my favourite songs says;

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father you are king over the flood
I will be still and know you are God Still
Hillsong United


Action Point: God did not bring you this far to leave you. No matter the circumstances you find yourself in, be encouraged in the Lord and his word. God will never forsake you.

Bible Passage: 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5

 

 

Count it all Joy

By Theresa Simba

You have received so many powerful prophecies. God has told you awesome things that He is about to do in your life. You can even see the signs of some of them coming to pass; and you are so excited and expectant about what is coming. 

Suddenly, when that breakthrough seems so close, a huge disappointment or trial comes up and you start wondering where God is. After all, he made his promises clear to you. 

What happened to all the things He said? Why does it look like nothing is happening? Why does He seem so silent? 

Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing. - James 1:2-4

Understand that you do not go through challenges to get destroyed. For any greater level, there are greater tests. God will not take you to a level where your faith can not sustain you; but you have to build yourself up to be fit for where He is taking you to. You need to be ready for the blessing so that it does not destroy you. God, in all His mercies, equips us for such situations.

You have to stretch your faith when you are between a rock and a hard place. If everything was comfortable for you, you would not know what you are capable of. When things do not go exactly how you want them to or everything seems to be against you, you have the option to give up or continue trusting that the promise will surely come to pass at the appointed time. 

Through a dream, God revealed to Joseph that he would be a leader despite the fact that he had never held any leadership position before. Nevertheless, along the line, he acquired necessary skills, traits and knowledge while he went through challenges.

His challenges trained and prepared him for his destination. He became a leader in his slave master’s house. When he was falsely accused by his slave master’s wife, he learnt how leaders deal with detractors. While in prison, he understood the importance of being a servant-leader. His living conditions at the time helped him to have compassion and kindness for the paupers of his society.

So be encouraged, challenges ought to stretch you. Your experiences will birth fruits beyond your expectations. Your character has to grow to the level of your expectations. 

Action Point: No experience is wasted. Look for the message in the mess.

Biblical inspiration: James 1: 2-4

It is well

reflections

by Pastor Matthew Kassim

The hymn, It is well with my soul, was written by a successful christian lawyer, Horatio G. Spafford. In 1871, the great Chicago fire wiped out his vast estate and two years later, while on a summer trip to England, his wife and four daughters died as their ship – the SS Ville du Havre – sunk.

However, his wife survived. When she eventually arrived in England, she sent him a telegram that read Saved Alone. Spafford wrote the hymn while sailing to England to join his wife. 

‘whatever my lot, you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul.’

Your attitude determines your altitude. When you reflect on your life, career and family, what do you do? Do you praise God? Do you have a positive attitude towards God? Do you mumble against God?

Whether you believe it or not, several people would rather be in your shoes than in their predicaments. Some want to walk like you, live in a house like yours or be as healthy as you are. 

Instead of mumbling, be grateful and affirm that it is indeed well with your soul. 

To do this, you must:

  • Be positive (2 Kings 4:26): 2 Kings 4 tells the story of a woman who had lost everything – her husband and children. Regardless of how severe her circumstances were, she held onto her faith and confessed “It is well.”
  • Be obedient (Jeremiah 42:6, Joshua 1:8): Pay attention and yield to every word of God – regardless of how convenient or inconvenient His instructions may be. When you obey God’s word, he gives you the strength to break through every roadblock. Meditate, confess and obey His word, let it be a part of you. 
  • Be prayerful (Philippians 4:6): By praying, you share your challenges with the one who truly cares about you. Talk to God every day and continue to develop your relationship with him. 

Action Point: No matter the challenges you are facing at the moment, be grateful to God because all things work together for your good.

Biblical Reference: Jeremiah 1:5

 

Before The Testimony

By Latifah Shittu

The journey of life could get really tough sometimes, especially when we are faced with challenges and situations that shake our faith. Everyone has dealt with one issue or the other in their lifetime. Facing challenges are normal but it is how we respond to them that really matters.  

1 Peter 5:10 reads “So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”

Notice it reads “So after you have suffered (challenges)”. Sometimes, we go through challenges that baffle us but you should know that every challenge has a channel of blessing attached to it. 

As Christians, many of us get so engrossed in our challenges that we start to focus on things of the world instead of the word of God. You can never feed on things of the world and expect the products of the word of God. We want the testimonies but we are not prepared for the test that comes before the testimony.

We need to remember that the race is not for the swift but for those who can endure. Things may not go the way we want them to; and that is why you need to remember the word of God and stand firmly on it. His word says He will never forsake us and that He has plans for us – plans that will give us hope and a solid future. 

 Count it all joy whenever you face challenges. Let them make you become who you need to be and don't let them break you. 

1 Peter 5:10 taught me so much on how to deal with challenges - after I had suffered, he restored me. When you face challenges, guard your heart with all diligence. Let your challenges birth your purpose and increase your faith in God.  Do not allow yourself to be stuck in a cycle, break through it and move forward.  Go about your day praising and glorifying God.

I dare you to trust God today. 

“Even through waters uncharted, let [your] soul embark and let him speak to the sails of [your] wandering heart. Let him be [your] captain and let all [your] allegiance be to him.”Captain, a song by Hillsong United.

Action Point: Work with the word of God and not the world. Trust that after you have suffered a little while, he will restore you. 

Biblical inspiration: 1 Peter 5:10

While We Waited

By Tobi Nifesi

It is amazing how much you can learn while waiting.

The essence of the internet is to provide you with information – not necessarily when you need them but – whenever you feel like you need them. Many at times, we get that feeling (to go online) when we are idle, inactive or waiting.

But, we can’t blame the internet. It has taught us so much that, in a way, we can appreciate our idleness, inactivity or waiting periods a bit more.

So, while we waited, we learnt/got something. 

As a student, I learnt how to be patient the hard way. For almost every test or exam I wrote, I had to wait a while before the results came out. That waiting period, which could range from days to months, was one of my pet peeves in school.

During that period, I would go through a rollercoaster of emotions. Right after the exam, I would be relieved to be done. Regardless of how complex or easy the exam was, I would be at complete ease but it only lasted for a while.

As I waited, my relief was replaced by realism, facts and memories. I began to remember the mistakes I made while writing the exam. I would acknowledge the fact that, realistically, my lecturer should fail me. Realistically, I should not expect 100%.

Then, I would panic. I would go from being a realist to being a pessimist – expecting the worst. Sometimes, I would slap myself out of my pessimism and hold on to the faith that my results will come out great but most times, I remained a pessimist and faithless to the end. I went from being confident in my strides to staggering, from being at ease to being fearful and to losing hope.

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote a letter to Jewish Christians who were being persecuted and were waiting on their freedom. He encouraged them to be joyful as they went through different challenges, trials and tests. He wanted them to be cheerful during their waiting period; and he told them why.

By waiting, their faith was being tested. That process made them learn how to be patient and with their patience paved the way for completion and abundance. As they patiently waited and allowed their faith to be tested and exercised, they worked and pushed on towards a perfect result.

So, while they waited, they learnt/got something.

As a student, I learnt that the real test comes after the exam. My patience came from being hopeful and holding on to my faith. I needed to test my faith to become patient and patience kept me going till I graduated.

For every perfect result, there is a waiting period. What you do during that waiting period, determines the nature of the result. While you wait, allow your faith to be tested and remain patient.

Action Point: Cheer up and test your faith. Stop thinking realistically, start thinking by faith.

Biblical Inspiration: James 1:2-4