Be Storm-Ready

hurricane matthew
Image of Hurricane Matthew (2016) passing through the Caribbean Season

“and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”. Rev 20:13-15

This week, Storm Matthew makes its way into the Caribbean Sea, but not before dumping showers on Barbados and dragging his winds through our trees. Officials were prepared, some thought too prepared, as the impact we were bracing for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning never materialised. The island was shut down for more than 24 hours. Schools were closed for two days. And although we knew days ahead that bad weather was approaching, many Barbadians still waited until the absolute last hour to stock up on petrol or food supplies.

Many of us thanked God for his mercies as the storm veered to the north of the island. Many more of us have never experienced the impact of a severe storm, the greatest in our recent history being Hurricane Janet in 1955. Perhaps it is the child in us that wants to see trees bending and rooftops flying (not ours course), that causes some of the remarks which typically follow when a storm misses us. I heard, “4” to 6″ of rain they told us… and I woke up with the place as hot as ever!”. I heard that the Met office was in cahoots with the business sector to trick us into thinking the storm was more serious than it really was, so that we would spend more money. And I was told (and this one really took the cake) that one woman called into a radio programme demanding that the Government tell her what she was supposed to do now with all the canned food stuff she had bought in preparation for a storm that never came! I wish I was making this up!

Folks, there is a greater event that is coming. It will not miss us and we must be prepared. I am talking about the return of our soon coming King, Jesus Christ! Though prophecy points to the time when his coming is imminent, no one knows the hour. Will we be ready?

And what if God calls us home (we die) before Christ’s return? Will we be ready? Reality is that not all of us will get the luxury of determining how our final hours are going to be. Not all of us will have time to do that last-minute thing we need to do to ensure we’re prepared to face death. So why wait for the rains to come? Why wait for the storm to come raging, only to find that you were not prepared and are now exposed to its battering? Hell is no party, my friend. Be storm-ready.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I be found a faithful steward of this life you have entrusted to me so that I will have no need to fear when you come or call me home. Amen.

Fool’s Gold

Meditation: 1 Samuel 8, 2 Corinthians 4, Philippians 4:6

“Give us a king to lead us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight out battles”. Even though Israel was warned that this new king would oppress her, place her children in bondage and plunder her possessions, she still wanted to fit in. How sad, when God had called her out from the other nations to be a standard in the earth for justice and righteousness.

We too, faced with a barrage of distractions in this temporal world, are tempted to trade what cannot be seen but is of greatest value, for that which can be seen, touched, tasted, reasoned, and which will pass away.

Living each day by faith can be hard. I remember walking away from a job with nothing left to fall back on, except a promise that God would take care of me. As the weeks and months passed, I became so filled with anxiety that I would cry out to God for any job, just as long as I could get some money in my hands to take care of my responsibilities. At other times, I would treat God as if He was not enough for me. Choking on my own fear, I felt like God was moving too slow and I needed to rescue my own-self. So I would leave Him out of my job seeking efforts.

As women, we can sometimes express our frustration about God’s timing concerning our love life. We can get impatient when years pass and no husband is seen on the horizon. So to help God along, (as if an immortal God needs help from us!) we go about choosing our own mate. We seldom rely on the Holy Spirit at this point, but on our emotional desires to fit it with others we feel have attained success. We appear as crazy as Israel was, ignoring all the red flags of a miserable and broken relationship ahead. We just want a ‘king’ so that we can boast among the other ‘queens’.

Have you noticed that only merchandisers who peddle cheap goods and services compete for your attention by blaring advertisements offering flashy deals and discounts? The store owner of valuable treasure however, does not reach out to you. You must seek him out. He does not compete with others. He has no need to because those who discern how valuable his goods are will not need to be coerced into coming to him.

I see God as that store owner, standing far away from the advertisements of fool’s gold. Will we seek him out today? Will we trust that what He offers us is far better than what the world can give? Or will we lose heart, shrink back and grasp for the cheap trinkets that can be easily accessed but will cost us more pain in the long run?

 

Prayer: Lord, if I have rejected you in the life decisions I have made in an attempt to pursue temporary comfort and convenience, I repent today and ask your forgiveness. I turn my heart’s devotion back to you. Please strengthen me as I chase after your will for me. My path and destiny you have made, and you have called it good.

Love conquered… and still is the answer

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

The verse above came to mind when I read an article about a refugee father and son who recently resettled in Spain. An accompanying photo showing a smiling son walking with his dad made me feel for a brief moment that everything was going right in the world, that we were capable of surmounting hate and violence. I hoped his success would open the door for others.

The father is Syrian refugee Osama Abdul Mohsen and his son is called Zaid. He came to public attention after he was filmed being tripped up by Petra Laszlo,  a camerawoman, as he fled police near the Hungarian border with Serbia in September 2015. He was carrying Zaid, then 7, in his arms at the time. The two fell sprawling on the ground. The incident went viral thanks to social media, resulting in Laszlo being fired and a Spanish sports academy offering Mohsen a home and help in finding a job when they heard he used to coach a first division team in Syria. One article even referred to the outcome as a fairy-tale ending. That this was a blessing certainly cannot be denied. However the story is not yet ended as Mohsen’s wife and two of his sons are still in Turkey.

See photos here.

I think Laszlo made a terrible mistake, perhaps provoked by fear, the same fear that causes people to lie, to discriminate, to reject others. Without a doubt, if the police were chasing people who were “unlawfully” in our land, the inclination of many of us would be to do something to hinder them from getting away. Just read the threads of commentary following stories on the Refugee crisis. The amount of hatred being spewed by human talking about other humans is gut-wrenching. Laszlo suffered grossly because she was caught on camera… and because she was “touchable”. But what about the many “untouchables” with influence at the level of governments and international organisations that are directly or indirectly causing pain and devastation to entire communities. Who is seeking to fire them?

Claims by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Mohsen was a member of the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front which committed crimes on civilians, seem to be dark plots which threaten to keep this family trapped in a past of bloodshed and remind us of the tragedy of mankind void of God. The scriptures shows us what is at the root. It is not politics, not religion, not oil, (though these are arguably all factors). The root is man without God, the root is sin. Without God it is impossible for us to truly love one another. And if we cannot love one another, then we must dare not say we know God. 1 John 4:7,8

Prayer: Father we pray for scattered, hurting Syrian families who are in need of the very basic things many of us take for granted. Mankind’s unwillingness to know You and to walk in love, has caused much pain. The nations may not have the answers, but You do. May Your hand of love reach these families. May they find spiritual, material and emotional refuge under Your wings.

 

 

 

 

Strange Fires on the Altar

You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. Deuteronomy 12:31

A few years ago when I first came across the young American Prophet Brian Carn, I thought, “Lord, keep this young man walking right before you, don’t let pride step in”.

His ministry was anointed (still is), he had a mark of humility and was not afraid to speak the testimony of Jesus Christ. I felt him to be a breath of fresh air in a time where the American Church seems more known for preaching prosperity than holiness, and where men speak more about what car they bought their wife than about what orphanage or soup kitchen they built.

This year, I watched him again after not following him for a while. I noticed something a little different. I wondered why he was now incorporating this “Sow a seed” component into his message. It saddened me a great deal because of what it represented to me.

In March he was smeared in this scandal  (see here as well) which swooped over social media and sparked awful comments primarily among leaders in the black Church and the black community. I read so much of what was said. There was hurt, so much anger, so much disappointment among people. Others like Evangelist Perry Stone provided a more balanced and sobering comment here .

Out of the experience, Carn extended an olive branch to his accusers and said that he has submitted himself to a local church. If this is truly so, may he be surrounded by his church and spiritual leaders. May he not beg to be love an accepted by a world that rejected Christ. Many want to call themselves prophets, but want to be loved and accepted by all.

That said, what I sensed strongly in my spirit as I was thinking about him and other young people like Manasseh Jordan who some would call a false prophet – is this.

The Church of America stands to be judged for prostituting its young, (spiritually) gifted men and women. Like those who earned a lot of money from their servant girl who had a spirit of divination, too many church leaders are looking for the next bright spark to parade on their TV shows and conference platforms. Sometimes they fail to even correct works of the flesh, turning a blind eye when money is coming in on account of these young ministers. If Carn was “caught”, what about the many others whose ministries are accountable to no one? What about the “untouchables”?

Please understand that when I speak of Brian Carn and Manasseh Jordan, I speak of all younger ministers. I am not calling them false, neither am I justifying all of their actions. The Commercialized Church of America will be judged, not for pastoring but  for “pimping” out its young. Like entertainers, many of these young men and women who are “covered” by many but submitted to no local church are depressed, into sexual perversion, are suicidal and jacked up because they crave the “love” we give them when they “entertain” us.

Prayer Heavenly Father, our attention is drawn to the gifted young men and women within our own churches. You have created them and have enabled them with what they need to fulfill  their earthy assignments. May we be able to say to them as Paul did, “follow me, as I follow the example of Christ”. May we teach them the value of service and submission to God and to those God has placed in authority over them. We repent for getting caught up in theatrics instead of preaching the free gospel of Jesus Christ. We repent for the times we have peddled the Word of God for profit. Teach us to honor you in all we do and say  both privately and publicly. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Continue reading