Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Yay, It’s June!!! I’m grateful Lord

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“Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

Happy new month and welcome to June my efolks! It's our month of new wine. Remember the wedding at Cana in John 2? The Lord is set to give us new wine this month like at that wedding feast, and you remember it tasted better? All He requires is that, like the servants at that feast, we trust Him and do as He says. When He says pour water in the pot, do so; and when He says draw from it and give to the master of the event, do so. And you'll experience newness in every area of your life. (You should read the text, John 2 for yourselves and draw personalised insight).

Moving on...

They say time flies, I think I agree. I even think time must be a fighter jet, with the speed at which it seems to fly. I mean was it not just yesterday we were telling each other ‘happy new year’? Now 2016 is six months in! That strolling ‘tick tock’, ‘tick tock’ of the clock has translated to 153 days, 22 weeks and five months! Hmm…

So, six months in, where are we at? Would you say it’s been a good year thus far? A fantastic one? The best yet? Or not-so-good? How about your goals for the year, abandoned them? Are they still alive? Or you've accomplished them? Surpassed them?
Well, for me it’s been my best year yet! That might sound cliché, but I have had a wonderful 2016. Seriously. (Since 2010, I would say I have had a progressively better year; I have not had a better last year).

You remember that hymn, count your blessings? It’s so true! If only we would take the time to count the blessings of God and how faithful He has been, we would actually be surprised at the things He has done. So, I choose to be grateful, I choose to count my blessings and name them one by one - no matter what is happening, no matter what the news headlines read, no matter how much things are selling for, no matter the widespread apprehension – I choose to take stock of what my faithful God has done, and they are plentiful. Besides, what is happening cannot negate what is written in His word!

Lord, this is grateful me saying thank you to faithful you. This is humbled me saying thank you to caring you. This is loved me saying thank you to loving you. You owe me nothing. Everything you do for me flows out of your abundant love for me.

Lord, I’m grateful for…
My life
I take it not for granted that I sleep and wake with breath still in my lungs. I take it not for granted that I go out and come back in safely despite the devil’s best efforts to the contrary. I take it not for granted that I sometimes eat things that may not be entirely free of bacteria and germs, yet I’m still standing. I take it not for granted, Lord.
Thank you for this life, Lord. Many have gone with the year, I’m still standing not because I’ve been very prayerful, or very holy, or very faithful, not at all; but because the Lord still considers me relevant to His plans here, for which I am deeply grateful. This life will continue to bring glory to His name – from now till the end of age! With this life, I’ll show the world how great a father and friend God is, and men shall be drawn to Him. I rededicate this life to you – do with me as you please, Lord.
For my life, health and peace... I'm grateful Lord.

My growing faith
When God told me at the beginning of the year I needed a “faith boost”, I didn’t fully understand, but six months in, I see clearly now. He wanted to take me on a journey unlike ever before and I’ll need to trust Him wholeheartedly for me to take the steps He’ll need me to take.
He has called me out upon the waters, the great unknown where feet may fail, but I have learned to trust Him with all of me as a result.

Now, when I speak to people who are going through rough patches, I smile and tell them to trust in the One who has the heart of the king in His hand, and turns it wherever He wishes. I’m not where He wants me to be yet, I still allow the frustrations get to me sometimes, but I have an unshaken belief that it will all turn out well, because I know He’s got it all figured out and nothing catches Him by surprise. I will rise as Christ was raised to life in due time… in His time.
For my growing faith and wholehearted trust in you... I'm grateful Lord.

My relationships
It takes God-birthed wisdom to maintain relationships and be able to influence people for Him; and I’m grateful for that.

It’s such a big deal for me to be the one influencing others (for good, that is), because I used to be the one that was influenced, especially negatively.

Above all, I am grateful for my relationship with the Lord – it has changed everything. Sometimes, I look at the things God is doing through me, and I’m thinking who dash monkey banana? (check any Nigerian English dictionary if you don’t know the meaning). God has made feel loved, but beyond that, He’s made me feel wanted and valued.
For all my relationships and the people in my life... I'm grateful Lord.

The lessons and new insight
The Lord has taught me quite a number of things this year, which have helped me trust Him more.

During Easter, for instance, He gave me a new insight, which is now my affirmation against fear of uncertainty, He said, “as the devil could not stop the resurrection of Jesus, he can’t stop my plans and purpose for your life from being fulfilled” – it was reassuring. Now, when things appear bleak and the devil is trying to instill fear and doubt, I say to his face - where were you when the stone was rolled away and my Jesus arose from the dead with all power?! Why couldn't you hold Him back in the grave? If you can undo His resurrection, then you can stop me! But until then, I will fulfil all that the Lord has designed for me - it fills me with strength as I just cast my mind on the fact that He's alive and He lives. For that singular fact, my tomorrow is secured!

Also, as I shared in this post, He has taught me what it really means to trust in Him; to trust in His power, in His plan and how He chooses to bring it to pass. A lot of times, I think our problem is not that we don't believe God has the power to do as He says, we do believe! But that we don't trust in the way He chooses to bring His word to pass. We want things done our way, and not God's. I have learned to trust in God - in His ability and in the wisdom He employs. Because truly, it is He who knows the future that is in the best position to plan for the future - and God still reserves that right, the right to know what tomorrow holds. My role is obedience to His instructions. And like I've believed and shared for long, miracles are programmed into God's instructions, and activated on obedience.

I have also learned to give more, not just physical things like money, but of my space, my convenience, and of myself (still working on, though). I have learned to love in more practical terms (again, still work to do).
I made a personal resolve on April 24 to Give more. Love more. Learn more. Trust more. And pray more. To God and humanity.

Another insight I have gained this year through experience and from Isaiah 46:11 which reads, "Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man who executes my counsel, from a far country" - God will do all it takes to fulfil His word - even raising help from the unlikeliest of sources. I have experienced that first-hand.

Also, I have become more compassionate and sympathetic; these days, I feel more of compassion than hate or condemnation for the unsaved. I look at people who don't know Christ, and I'm wondering, "how do they go through this dark world without any trace of light?" It's one thing to be in a long dark tunnel and you can see light in the distance, but it's an entirely different thing to be in the long dark tunnel without any hope of light!
The Lord impressed this on my heart in March while I was seeing a movie titled New Hope. In the movie, a couple lost the younger of their sons, who committed suicide - he was only 16. It shook everyone, no one saw it coming - not his big brother, not his girlfriend, not the parents. It drove his brother almost insane because he felt he could have saved him; it drained life, joy and hope out of the parents who felt they failed their son. But while they were seeking help, the counsellor cum preacher made a profound statement. He said, "I sometimes wonder how people who don't know God go through dark times." And it stuck with me. No wonder Proverbs 4:19 says "the way of the wicked (implying those who do not know God) is like darkness..."; as I reflected on this, I couldn't help but develop compassion for those who have not come to know the light of the world. I thank Him for this, and for helping me share as much as I can the message of life and hope.
For all the lessons and new insights - these here mentioned and those not... I'm grateful Lord.

His provisions
God has really come through for me this year.
Some three weeks back, I was taking stock, writing down all the monies that I could remember had passed through my hands for one purpose or the other (especially for the processing of my admission into Yabatech for my HND) within a space of under three months (mid March to May). My eyes popped in amazement at the figures in front of me! I couldn't believe I had received that much money within that space of time, and there I was complaining. I was humbled and went down on my knees to tell God how sorry I was for ever being ungrateful. The Psalmist wrote "forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103), because really we do forget sometimes.

Lord, for all you have done - these I have mentioned and the ones I haven't - I'm grateful and I say thank you. This month and beyond, I surrender all to you, withholding nothing... I say yes to your will Lord - all of it, to the bits and pieces.
I'm withholding nothing...

Full text of hymn: Count Your Blessings by Johnson Oatman, Jr.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—*money cannot buy [*wealth
can never buy]
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

What are you grateful to God for this year? Do share with us in the comments section.

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