From a place of Victory

The date is 24th August 2018 and I am writing this blog post from a position of Victory. I’ve said in a previous blog post that as Christians we should fight from a place of Victory and not for victory. So back to my initial point, I just finished resiting some medical written exams. I had not been successful during my first sit but I write this post in faith and Thank God for the Victory he has granted onto me.

For me this is not only a faith-building exercise, it is also a way for me to firstly testify about God’s goodness and secondly, encourage you all. It feels very strange that I am thanking God and testifying about how he brought me through another year of medical school when I can’t physically see it in front of me, but I am more than assured that there is power in Praising God in advance. Where do I begin? I want to keep this short, but that may not be the case depending on how the Spirit leads.

It is often difficult to avoid worrying about the events that unfold in our lives and the hurdles that come our way. We find ourselves falling into a trap in which we ask God why? But the truth is we may never truly get to know why we end up in certain situations or why God makes us go through seemingly longwinded paths to make it to a particular destination. As Christians, it’s important to cultivate a habit in which we aren’t always trying to be the detectives and figuring out God’s plan & purpose for our lives because as I said it’s GOD’S PLAN. We can’t expect to know more than our maker, that’s not how it works.

Fighting from a place of Victory is not easy at all, the enemy detests this so He’s already trying to get into my head but as I go through this experience, I’ll keep adding to the list below which are ways I maintained my stand in fighting from Victory.

  1. Gospel Music
    • Listening to gospel music has a very calming effect on the listener and it is an opportunity to partake in praise & worship
    • There is power in Praising God in advance
    • Some songs that have been on repeat for me include; Won’t He Do It by Koryn Hawthorne, Praise on the inside by J Moss, Olowogbogboro (The outstretched hand of God), Great is the Lord by Jonathan McReynolds, Victory belongs to Jesus by Todd Dulaney
  2. God’s Word
    • God will use all possible routes & means to communicate to you and encourage you
    • The Bible plan devotions and bible texts I read during this whole period were very applicable to my circumstance – it was as though God was directly speaking to me.
    • 29/08, Another devotion – Happy You, Happy Life! by Drenda Keesee: “If we stay in God’s word, we are able to fight successfully. Don’t wait till the evil day to prepare; instead, meditate on God’s Word day and night. If an attack comes, God’s Word stored up inside of you will quench it!”
    • Some other devotions that helped me during this time were: Stay The Course Because God is Faithful to His promises, Goliath Must Fall: Winning The Battle Against Your Giants by Louie Giglio. Both of which I highly recommend and can be found in the Bible App Plans section (links can be found below)
  3. Positive Affirmations
    • The devil is a pathological liar, he wants you to doubt all that God has promised you. The best way to counteract this is to use God’s Word against him
    • Everything the Devil whispers into your head you profess the opposite.
    • Another thing I did was that when I was leaving campus, I repeatedly whispered: “I am returning in September as a 4th-year student”. There is power in the tongue!
  4. Inner Circle – Support Network
    • I can’t stress this enough, having an inner circle with godly people is the way forward. An inner circle is a group of people (friends/ loved ones) that you trust and are open with. When you are down and want to give up, these people will continue to encourage you and pray on your behalf (an amazing feeling)
    • There were some days I would be so fixated on the soon coming of my results that it hindered me from enjoying myself even whilst on holiday. However when I shared how I felt with those in my inner circle they sent words of encouragement which eventually lifted my spirits. They prayed for me and with me even when my faith was shaking.
    • Don’t be disheartened even if you feel as though you don’t have an inner circle, God will send unlikely destiny helpers to assist you. I have a friend who I spoke to occasionally in my 3rd year of Uni who been through a similar situation (having to resit his exams in the past). He had kept in touch with me since the first sit results came out, he assisted a lot in my preparation for the resits and continued to keep in touch & encourage me during the wait. God certainly placed this person in my life to be nothing short of a blessing.
  5. The Name Of Jesus
    • On the 25/08, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a gospel concert. I am certain that God specifically orchestrated that whole experience from me being able to secure the tickets even though they were sold out and then making it “on time” despite being late for an hour and a half.
    •  Earlier that morning my devotion said: I am intimately involved in all your moments, and I am training you to be aware of Me at all times. I have taken up residence within you; I am central in your innermost being. Your mind goes off in tangents from its holy Center, time after time. Do not be alarmed by your inability to remain focused on Me. Simply bring your thought gently back to Me each time they wander. The quickest way to redirect your mind to me is to whisper My Name. When I arrived at the event you will not believe it each ministration had a recurring theme which was about the power in Jesus’ name. Definitely not a coincidence – the Holy Spirit was moving and had directed all my steps that day.
    • The name of Jesus is very powerful, Whisper, Shout, Scream it. If fear and anxiety threaten to paralyse you and you can’t say anything else, His Name is more than sufficient to redirect your thoughts and mind back to Him.
  6. Prayer is a major Key!
    • Pray Pray Pray!
    • Specific prayer points I had:
      • God, please give me the courage to deal with the outcome of this trial in a mature way. 
      • God give me your peace that passes all understanding.
      • Lord, I believe but help my unbelief. 
    • Share your request with people of God that you trust & are comfortable with; your friends, family, pastors. You can never have too many prayers being sent up on your behalf.

The time was 3:33pm when I received an email;

I am pleased to confirm that you have…

I had successfully completed the academic year and was through to the next chapter. This was a confirmation of what God had already promised me, an earthly confirmation that I had reached my place of Victory. At the beginning of this post, I told you I was fighting from a place of Victory and not for victory and I am here to testify now that as a 4th-year medical student God has brought me to that place of victory.

Thank you for being a part of this faith-building exercise, I pray that you will also be encouraged and reminded that “faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see”. My prayer for you is that as you fight from a position of victory may you receive your report saying: I am pleased to confirm that… 🙏🏾

Leaving you with this final passage: James 1:2-4; Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. We don’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure. It is easy to have faith when everything is going well, but can we still keep that faith when our world appears to be turned upside down? This scripture says that the aim of testing our faith is to make us mature and complete, therefore instead of complaining and throwing tantrums when life doesn’t go as we’ve planned, open your eyes to see the opportunity for growth. I once read a quote: Great things never come from our comfort zones. Thus in order for growth to occur it is mandatory for us to be made uncomfortable. Faith thrives in discomfort. 

I tweeted this a while ago and I think it is very appropriate to end this post:

Stay blessed,

Dara x

P.S – If you have any prayer requests please feel free to send me a message via this link: Prayer Request form

Links to the Bible Plans discussed above:

  • Stay The Course Because God Is Faithful To His Promises – Sometimes God seems to work so slowly. We wish things could be the way we envision them RIGHT NOW; yet we must trust that God is building a bigger vision, weaving our stories together into His rich tapestry. Pastor Bayless Conley teaches you to remain stable, having a heart free from anxiety and full of confidence that God will get you to exactly where you need to be on time. https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/2768-stay-course-because-god-faithful-to-his-promises
  • Happy You, Happy Life! – God has an incredible plan for your life, but it starts with discovering your joy in His presence. In this 14-day devotional, Drenda Keesee combines wit, humour, and encouragement to create a dynamic and prophetic space to encounter God. When we create space for God to move, He never fails to meet us in a powerful way! Get ready to embark on an eye-opening journey toward a happier you. https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/11177-happy-you-happy-life
  • Goliath Must Fall: Winning The Battle Against Your Giants – It’s likely you have a giant in your life that is holding you captive, intimidating you, and stealing your joy. Adversaries like fear, rejection, comfort, anger, and addiction stake a claim and gain a foothold in your heart. In this seven-day reading plan, Louie Giglio examines the David and Goliath story to show how those giants can fall: by focusing on the size of our God, not the height of your giants, and by walking in the victory Jesus has already won. https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/4024-goliath-must-fall-winning-battle-against-giants
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How to Shaku Shaku in the Storm

Let me start with a Disclaimer: I am not here to actually teach you how to Shaku Shaku. And if you do not know what that is, it’s the latest Nigerian dance style that has stormed the internet over the last few months. In an attempt to jump on this new dance wave I have watched endless YouTube tutorials and music videos, let’s just say there’s a very small glimpse of hope. 😂

If you are a student like myself you are probably in a storm or about to encounter one, and by storm I mean the long-awaited exam season. Stress levels are high, deadlines are fast approaching, exam dates creeping up not so slowly. And for those who aren’t students, I am sure you can agree that there are some storms that you may or may not be currently in. Each gospel has the account of the Jesus calming the storm, here it is in the Gospel of Matthew 8:23-27 :

23 Then he [Jesus] got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Do we sometimes feel as though Jesus is sleeping in the midst of our storms? Whilst the waves were raging Jesus was sleeping!! He was cool, calm & collected. Imagine that. When Jesus wakes up he rebukes their fear and unbelief. That same rebuke may apply to us right now Jesus is asking:  “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” When we trust God correctly, there will be very little room left for fear.
The thing with the disciples is that they had reasons to have faith despite the raging sea; they had seen Jesus perform wonders in the past, they had seen people like the Centurion who displayed a big trust in Jesus and most importantly Jesus was on board. It takes great faith to trust that a “sleeping Jesus” cares about us even when he seems very silent. A bible commentator says: “There are many Christians today who seem to think the boat is going down! I am tired of the wailing of some of my friends who take that view. The boat cannot go down. Jesus is on board.” (Morgan)
The boat cannot go down: Jesus is on board.
 Key points to take from this story:
  1. Jesus is Lord over all; He has full authority & power over the circumstances that we face. Jesus appeared to have left them in the midst of their chaos but in reality, he was always with them – the same way he has never left our side.
  2. We Must trust Jesus in the storms of life
    • Storms often reflect our lack of trust in God – Sometimes we need to become weak so that we will learn to rely only on Christ’s strength
    • Not all fear is wrong, however, when our fear is excessive and causes us to panic & not think of God’s control over our problems – it is.
    • If we are so focused on a problem & can’t see God’s control over it, we are not trusting him.
  3. Storms should drive us towards God; One thing I have learnt about the storms of life is that the more we trust Him in our current storm, the more we will know Him and be able to trust Him in the upcoming storms.
  4. Storms hit us unexpectedly and without warning; thus in order to survive we must be prepared in advance. NOW is the time to prepare for the storm, if we don’t learn to trust God in the calm of life we will not be prepared to trust him when the storm hits.

Once upon a while ago, I heard: life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. A bad habit I have adopted whilst at Uni is playing music whilst revising and recently because of this new dance style – Shaku Shaku I find myself getting up every time a suitable song comes up to practice my moves. 😂😂 I’m literally dancing in the storm, my revision (which is driving me crazy) is there but I’m dancing instead.  What am I trying to say? This is the attitude we should have whilst in a storm. The reason we should be able to dance in the rain is that we understand that we have a firm anchor – God. I am reminded of the hymn:

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

So there’s only one main step on how to Shaku Shaku in the storm and that is to anchor our faith in God’s promises and presence. The purpose of an anchor is to prevent the raging waves from smashing the boat into the shore and to stop the boat from drifting or being swept away. And so the same applies to God’s role when we encounter storms, He keeps us sane despite the adversity around us, He gives us serenity amidst the hustle and bustle of life.

Here are some of God’s promises to claim as we encounter storms in our lives:

  • God will keep me in perfect peace because I trust in him and my thoughts are firmly fixed on him. (Isaiah 26:3)
  • When I pass through deep waters, God will be with me, and when I pass the rivers of difficulty, I will not drown. When I walk through the fire, I will not be burned, the flames shall not consume. (Isaiah 43:2)
  • The Lord’s loving kindness never ceases. I am not consumed, for his compassions never fail and they are new every morning, Great is His faithfulness. The Lord is good to me because I seek Him and my hope is in Him. Therefore I will wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentation 3:21-26)
Fully trusting and relying on God & His promises means that in spite of the circumstances you can dance in the middle of the storm because you know; God will be with you, you will not be consumed, you will not drown and you will come out better and stronger to face the next storm. Faith is not an automatic thing, we must choose to exercise it daily, and sometimes you have to recall previous storms and remind yourself of God’s faithfulness. He hasn’t failed you in the past and he would not start now.
So I urge you today to drop your anchor and stand on the Rock of Ageslay a firm foundation in God and His Word and you will be able to Shaku Shaku in the Storm.
To all my fellow students, Go smash those exams and remember the same God that brought you here is still on board with you and will take you even further.
Stay Blessed
Dara xx
P.S: Students check out my previous blog posts for exam season for more encouragement & prayers :When fear creeps in… (for those who become very fearful & anxious during exam season), Do your BEST and He’ll do the REST (has a prayer especially for procrastinators) and Commit it to the Lord (a revision tool that works for EVERY & ANY subject).

Commit it to the Lord

It’s that time of the year that many students including myself dread or some may be excited for as it means that Summer is round the corner, another academic year is over. Yes, it’s exam season. I’ve written this post to share a great revision exercise for students as we prepare for our forthcoming exams. Even if you are not a student there is something to be learnt.

If you have not done so already (or if you just want to refresh your mind), check out last year’s exam season post : Do your BEST and He’ll do the Rest.

I recently  submitted an assignment that I had been trying to complete for a while. On one particular day after spending 3 hours attempting to answer just one question (and still getting nowhere) I got really frustrated and disheartened. A thought came into my mind I hadn’t fully committed that work session into God’s hand. At that exact moment I quickly uttered a word to the Lord. Then I spontaneously took a post-it note and wrote “With God it will be possible for me to finish this AR assignment.” 

 

Post -it note encouagemnt

After that day every time I sat down at my desk to write the assignment, I would notice the post-it which reminded me to commit that session to the Lord. Now I urge you to adopt this little activity (revision tool if you like) or adjust it to your preference for the upcoming weeks or months. In your study area put up post-it notes of encouragement with bible verses to encourage you when times are hard and you feel like giving up. Let it be a reminder to commit it all to the Lord so that the burden is lighter. Cultivate a habit of committing your revision, coursework/assignment deadlines and exams to the Lord. The bible says: Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. (Proverbs 16:3). I prefer this translation which is self-explanatory: Commit your activities to the LORD, and your plans will be achieved.

Everything you do towards preparation for your exams commit it to the Lord. I can honestly say that after committing my assignment to the Lord, He directed my research and directed my eyes to the right places where the answers were, He gave me new insight into the questions I was answering and an overall peace that it would eventually be completed to my satisfaction. When you commit your actions and activities onto the Lord, the difference is evident.

Pray this prayer out loud…

I pray that the Lord will enable me to cultivate a habit to commit all things to him. As I commit my revision, preparation and daily activities onto the Lord I pray that they shall be successful. May I remember to cast my cares and worries upon the Lord, for He truly cares for me.  As I cast my cares on you in prayer, please Lord don’t let me leave with them and put them back on my shoulders. Holy Spirit remind me that I have committed my ways and cast my worries on to the Lord and in return I should honestly leave it in His hands. In the midst of the stress of preparing for exams (or just life itself) let me remember the words of David: Cast your burdens on the Lord. And He shall sustain you. (Psalm 55:22). 

God honestly wants to carry our burdens, often times we want to continue to bear them on our shoulders even though we have said we are trusting him. Trust that the same strength that sustains you will also carry your burdens.

If you want to reach new levels of faith in your life, you need to make a habit of committing things to the Lord. Committing things into God’s hands has to become part of your lifestyle. It differentiates you from others around you. Others will be stressing out but you will be resting on the promises of God; you know that He is in charge and He’s got your back.

Stay Blessed,

I wish you all the best in your exams!

Dara x

 

Encouragment wall

P.S – Don’t forget to check out last year’s post for exams, It has more prayers and one specifically for procrastinators. Do your BEST and He’ll do the Rest.

Do your BEST and He’ll do the REST

So the exam season has finally arrived. 😳 The nerves may have kicked in and the butterflies may have begun to flutter in your stomachs. I just want to encourage you in this post, so that you’ll be able to face these forthcoming exams knowing that God has got your back.

The bible clearly says in James 1:5; “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”. This is one of my favourite promises in the bible.  I pray that the Lord will give you the knowledge and understanding in order to be successful in these exams you are about to sit. All your efforts, late nights, all nighters and neglecting of your social life will be crowned with success and shall not be in vain. 

In Timothy 1:7, we are told “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline”. My prayer with regards to this is that any spirit of fear, anxiety, worry or even procrastination in relation to your exams shall be deleted by The Lord himself In Jesus Name. When you think about that subject that you are struggling with, maybe its the knowledge aspect or the application aspect, think about God’s ability. Is anything to difficult for him? No! As you are well aware “With God all things are possible!” Ask him, to help you in that subject, to give you retentive memory, and through him excellence and success shall be yours. Adopt a belief that God is able to do abundantly more than you could ever think, ask or imagine concerning that paper and subject.

Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, ” Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked. (1 Chronicles 4:10)

Jabez prayed that God should;

  1. Bless him
  2. Help him with his work
  3. Be with him in all that he did
  4. Keep him from evil and disaster

From Jabez’s payer we learn that he acknowledged God as the true center of his work. When we pray for God’s blessings, we should also pray that he will take his rightful position as Lord over our work and in this case our exams. Now from Jabez’s prayer, pray that;

  1. God will bless you with wisdom, understanding and retentive memory
  2. God will help you remember what you have been taught, and help you revise effectively 
  3. God will be with you as you sit each paper 
  4. God will keep you from all harm and danger and any sudden illness that will inhibit your progress

In the same way God granted Jabez’s request, he shall also grant your requests In Jesus Name.

 Prayer for the Procrastinator:

Oh Lord, I pray that you will guide me.  Please help me set good time priorities and stick with them.  Give me self-discipline.  Empower me to ask others for help when I don’t know how to get started or how to finish up.   Give me confidence in my ability to do big tasks.  Help me to overcome the temptation to do other things that I’d rather be doing that are less important.  I know that you want me to live a healthy, productive life.  Help me learn how to break this habit.  Empower me in my weakness.  Bring me back when I stray.  Focus me.  Organize me.  Remind me.  Energize me.  Amen.

May you be like Solomon: “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore.” 1 Kings 4:29 NIV

I saw this little prayer and wanted to share it with you, even though it has a little humour the words in it should still be what we pray about to The Lord.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not flop;
He keepeth me from lying down when I should be studying.
He leadeth me beside the water cooler for a study break.
He restoreth my faith in study guides.
He leads me to better study habits
For my grade’s sake.
Yea though I walk through the valley of borderline grades,
I will not have a nervous breakdown For thou art with me.
My prayers and my friends, they comfort me.
Thou givest me answers in moments of blankness;
Thou anointest my head with understanding.
My test paper runneth over with questions I recognize.
Surely passing grades and flying colours shall follow me.
All the days of my examination.
And I shall not have to dwell in this sixth form forever.
AMEN!!

Now, I leave you with this, Do your best and leave the Rest to God! Nothing and I repeat nothing is too difficult for Him to do for you, you just have to believe that. I wish you all of God’s blessings as you sit your exams.

 Stay blessed,

Dara x