What’s LOVE got to do with it? 

Yes, February has passed by along with Valentine’s day and all it’s festivities, but I hope the “love” shared and displayed hasn’t faded either.  In this post I’m going to talk about a 4 letter word that is most important in the life of a Christian. This word isn’t  FAITH or HOPE, I’m sure you could have guessed by the post title – it is LOVE.

You may have come across the verse in 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Love is greater than both Faith & Hope, really!?   FAITH is the foundation and content of God’s message, HOPE is the attitude and focus, LOVE is action. When faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand how God loves. Paul says though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2) Having the highest degree of faith without love is nothing. Without love, genuine hope cannot exist. Is it possible to hope (long for or have a desire) for something you don’t love? I don’t think so …  Therefore unless faith and hope are coupled with love they are dead. 

It’s no surprise that love is a keyword in the 2 greatest commandments: Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). I want you to draw close attention to verse 40. What’s love got to do with it? Rather than focusing on all the things we shouldn’t do in the 10 commandments, we should channel our focus onto what we should do. That way we are looking at God’s Laws in a more positive light. I’ve heard some people use the above passage to support the opinion that we are not required to keep the laws of the old testament. However, if we love God we are naturally going to obey the first 4 commandments which deal with God ( vertical relationship). Additionally, the remaining 6 are centred on our relationship with  one another ( horizontal relationship), if we love one another we are going to think twice before stealing, lying or murdering them. As I mentioned earlier the greatest commandments have a central theme. So verse 40 can be read as “All the Law and the Prophets hang on Love”.  Love is the fulfilment of the Law, love enables you to keep the Law.

Horizontal and vertical Love is what the cross is all about. Firstly, you come to the Lord and then you share or display that same love with others. Therefore if you do not have vertical love, you will not be able to display horizontal love. Let me use a song I sung at primary school to explain this concept; Love is something if you give it away, Give it away, give it away. Love is something if you give it away, You end up having more”. You’ll agree with me that you can only give away something that you possess. So, in order to love and be loved completely we need to love ourselves first. In Matt 22:39 Jesus says: You shall love your neighbour as yourself, if a person doesn’t love him/herself, this command amongst all others becomes very difficult to follow.

Then again, you might have self-love but find it extremely difficult to love those neighbours who have carved wounds so deep you think they can’t be healed. You develop love through trial, by surrounding yourself with people that are difficult to love. Falling in love with God for example may not be at first sight, it takes time. The love you have for God develops through strain and the trials of life, if we persevere real love muscles eventually develop.

So I ask again what’s love got to do with it?

At the centre of Christianity is love, the greatest sacrifice in history was done because of Love. Love is a practice that our Saviour embodied. Through love we may do good deeds, care for our bodies and possess a desire to help humanity. Love involves unselfish service to others.  If our lives are full of quick-fix, feel good approaches to our fellow humans instead of intentional and purposeful responses to God’s unselfish love, we have failed to understand the meaning of the gospel. God’s love is evident throughout the bible, it governs the actions and decisions He made and continues to make. And finally, God is love

No matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do, I am bankrupt without love.

I love this song called “The Proof of Love” by King & Country, please listen to and meditate on the lyrics.

Stay blessed,

Dara xx

Happy New Month – June

Whatever trial, obstacle or test you are facing be rest assured THERE IS LIGHT at the end of the tunnel. A famous quote says: “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit and trust the engineer”. In the same way, as you are going through a tunnel, no matter how dark your situation is keep moving and preserving while placing your full trust in God. He will bring you out in this month of June. Happy New Month. xx

GODFIDENCE †

As you may be aware it’s that special time of the year again. One of the few days (apart from my birthday in July)  in the year I get very very excited for. On this day 4 years ago, there was a celebration in Heaven as another soul decided to join the winning side.  If you haven’t guessed by now it’s my Baptism Birthday (as I like to call it). I enjoy using this landmark to reflect on my relationship with God and share some encouragement with others.

To begin I want to shed some light on the title – GODFIDENCE.

God•fi•dence

Definition:

A: a feeling or consciousness of Gods powers or of reliance on God’s promises. < I had perfect Godfidence in His ability to HEAL>

B: faith or belief that God will act in a right, proper, or effective way <I have Godfidence in the heavenly Father!>

Synononyms:

Faith

#HolySlang

Do you have GODFIDENCE? 

I believe that this past year has really strengthened my GODFIDENCE. There have been many doubts along the way; I doubted that God will make a way for me to get into Uni, I doubted that God will enable me to pass my exams with all the obstacles and even for a hot sec I doubted that my plane will land safetly despite all the turbulences, you get where I am coming from? I am sure some (if not all) of you are able to relate to those small moments when your mind wanders and you start to lose confidence in God & forget about His wonder working power. Having said all of that, I believe that doubts are a part of a Christian’s journey. Doubts strengthen us in ways we may not be able to understand straightaway.

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it”– Timonthy Keller

I have realised that when you decide to follow Christ and make a decision to no longer stay on Satan’s side, his attacks on you become greater. When we decide to turn our backs on the ways and customs of this world we become the number 1 target for Satan. One of the ways he attacks us is by depositing doubts in our minds. He makes us doubt God’s ability and promises. When Satan begins to fire fiery darts of doubts at us, what are we supposed to do? As Ephesians 6:16 states “above all, take the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”

taking up this shield of faith

Taking up the shield of faith means that we decide to see things from God’s perspective, we decide to see beyond our current circumstances and know that ultimate victory is ours. It means that whenever Satan wants you to believe that you made a wrong decision by choosing to be on God’s side you, you remind yourself  that God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Numbers 23:19. God will do what He said He will do, He will stand by His word and come through for you. Doubts pierce our trust in God, but when we take up the shield of faith we are protected.

Abraham’s faith is detailed in Romans chapter 4. Verse 21 says: [Abraham was] fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Unlike yourself and myself Abraham never doubted that God will fulfil his promises, eventhough Satan fired arrows to give him reasons to doubt. God promised to give him a land but satan fired the arrow of famine. God promised to make him father of many nations but satan fired the arrow of old age. Yes Abraham made mistakes, committed sins and experienced failures but he consistently trusted in God. Abraham had GODFIDENCE. The obstacles Abraham faced strengthened his faith. Abraham’s life demonstrates Faith in Action. We should all take a leaf out of Abraham’s book and obey God and wait for Him to fufil his word. As I said in my post A Shout Out to GodNever think that God is punishing you, he is taking you on a journey to strengthen your faith and relationship with Him. AND most of all he is showing that he will remain FAITHFUL to the end. 

How do you feel when your birthday is approaching? I don’t know about you but I am always excited, and sometimes slighlty anxious. I am usually excited to recieve the presents I have been looking forward to. But then I would be anxious about the ones I am not aware of -the surprises. Assurance and anticipation are words that accompany birthdays and surprinsingly or unsurpsingly those words also describe what faith is like. Faith ” is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is the confidence based on our past experiences that God’s new and fresh surprises will surely be ours. Like I mentioned in If He dId it before. He can do it Again: Believe that the same God that helped you to succeed in the past is going to  help you again. He is the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Confidence & Certainty are words that should describe our GODFIDENCE. These qualities have a begining and ending point.

  1. Begining point: Believe in God’s character – He is who he says he is.
  2. End point: Believe in God’s promises – He will do what he says.

When we believe that God will fulfil his promises even though we don’t see those promises happening  we should still demonstrate true faith. Consciously remind yourself of God’s power and rely on His promises. 

Doubts are not a bad thing, as I quoted earlier “A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it”. Antibodies help us build our immunity so that we are able to fight infections when they rise up again. In the same way doubts are fired at us so that we learn to pick up our shield of faith and strengthen it. In John 20:24-31, Jesus doesn’t have a go at Thomas for his doubts. Despite Thomas’s skepticism, he was still loyal to Jesus. Just like Thomas some of us need to doubt before we believe. Doubting leads to questions, then questions lead to answers and then the answers are accepted, in the end the doubts were helpful. It is when our doubt becomes stubbornness and stubborness becomes a prideful lifestlye that doubt harms our faith. When next you find yourself doubting, don’t stop there! Let your doubt deepen your faith as you continue to search for answers or wait for explanations or miracles from God. 

Doubts pierce our trust in God, but our faith protects us.

Stay Blessed,

Dara x

P.S- Please have  a read of the posts I have mentioned in the post, they reinforce the points I have made in this post. If you have any prayer requests please feel free to send them through this link. I am always happy & eager to pray for others 😊

Walk through Major Bible prayers: Prayer Pump & Umbrella

I want to use this moment to apologise for my absence, I’ve been very occupied with my final exams. But Thanks be to God they are all over now. I have many exciting projects and plans for the summer and the rest of the year, which I can’t wait to share with you all. Firstly, I would start with a series which are centered around prayers in the bible. I just completed a bible plan which went through fifty major prayers in the bible.  And I have decided to share my favourite ones with you.

WATER PUMP

So, it has been said that Prayer can be compared to an old and worn out water pump. Now why is that?  The water level in a pump that is used frequently is very high, therefore the water pours out instantly. However if the pump has not been used regularly, the water level gets low and a person must pump for a long time before the water finally trickles out. So how do we relate this to our prayers? If we neglect and don’t cultivate a strong prayer  pattern, it would be difficult to recapture the sense of God’s presence. However if we maintain a good habit of daily devotions, there will be an increase in the awareness of God’s presence in our lives. Remember the words of the song we must have sang during our childhood; “Read your bible, pray everyday, pray everyday, pray everyday, read your bible pray everyday, you will grow, grow, grow”. We may not have understood the great message behind this song then, but now I hope you can  tell that digging into God’s word daily and being in constant communication, through prayer, is the key to having a good and Christ-centered life.

Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:8, “in every place of worship, I want men (& women) to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy”. From this we can tell that Paul believed that prayer should be important for a believer. He was aware that from the platform of prayer come the godly actions of witnessing and living right, because he knew that the power of prayer can change people. Therefore Paul said: I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercession and giving of thanks be made for all men. (1 Timothy 2:1) 

UMBRELLA

Genesis 15:1-6 holds the account of the very first prayer, recorded in the bible. As readers we catch a glimpse of Abraham’s faith from this prayer.

Genesis 15:1-6
After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. ” But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (‭Genesis‬ ‭15‬:‭1-6‬ NIV)

In the bible plan a story was used to illustrate the involvement of faith in prayer. During a very hot summer, some farmers went to church to pray to God for rain. The dry weather threatened their livelihood. After the service, a little girl asked her father if the farmers really expected it to rain, the father replied saying “Of Course, otherwise we wouldn’t be here”. Then the little girl protested, “But Daddy, how come no one came with an umbrella?”

The sort of faith Abraham had is one that goes beyond human understanding. Abraham was a very old man and he complained to God about not having a heir. Therefore God promised Abraham that he will be blessed with a son, despite his old age Abraham believed. From then on, Abraham was very expectant of the son that God will give him. In essence this is Abraham carrying the umbrella of faith in this first prayer.

Of course there were sometimes when Abraham doubted, nevertheless he lived a life full of faith. What seemed impossible to Abraham became a reality because he believed God. What is that impossible thing that you are praying about? If you want it to become a reality and be possible, you have got to believe in God and pick up your umbrella of faith. One thing we can all take from the life of Abraham is that God ALWAYS honours the faith of his followers. James reminds us: let him ask in faith, with no doubting ( James 1:6) . When we marry our pleas and petitions with faith we will surely give birth to answered prayers. 

The scriptures tell us that:  “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” (‭Romans‬ ‭4‬:‭3‬ NLT) Will God count you as righteous because of your faith? When you pray, you have to believe as well.

As I share with you what I learned from the bible plan I completed, we will discover which prayers God answered and why and hopefully we will discover ways to improve our own prayers and develop a habit of constant prayer. As Christians it is not always easy to pray, reasons range from being occupied with other things to not feeling worthy to talk to God, however prayer is a necessary component in the life of every believer. So I pray that you will be able to gain something valuable from this series. ( A Walk-through the Major Prayers of the bible). Be sure to check my blog regularly so that you don’t miss the posts. Subscribe via email as well so that you can receive an email whenever there is addition to the series.

Stay Blessed,

Dara x

P.S- feel free to send me your prayer requests through this link, No matter how small or big they may seem. 😊