July 2019

Just like that we’ve stepped into the 7th and arguably the best month of 2019! 💃🏾

If you’ve been throwing a pity party for yourself in the first half of this year, NOW is the time to quit. You’ve deceived yourself to think that complaining is the way to get God’s attention. The true password into His presence is Praise & Thanksgiving! Don’t limit your singing and rejoicing to sunny skies & amazing circumstances, pray with Joy even when your life appears to be falling apart. When you enter God’s presence with PRAISE, he enters your circumstances with POWER. Have a Jolly July!

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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.

Prayer Practice

In the dark streams of Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, you will find fishes that are still alive but have lost their sight. These fishes have lived for many centuries in the darkened waters of the cave, as a result their optic nerves have become atrophied.

One new word to learn: atrophy. This is the wasting away of muscles through disuse or neglect. Atrophy (degeneration of cells) is a common condition among living t
hings. So where am I going with this? It is possible for mankind to suffer from spiritual atrophy. Charles Darwin admitted that he lost his love for poetry and music because he failed to develop them. Likewise, we can lose our vital prayer power through disuse. We have got to keep praying at all times, in order to avoid spiritual atrophy. We are even reminded in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18: pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

when life is great pray

The next major bible prayer was by Solomon as he dedicated the temple, and his main point was about staying “prayed up”. I understand being “prayed up” as being spiritually prepared and having a continual prayer pattern. This is a pretty long prayer (1 Kings 8:22-53) , I’ve taken out some verses but the most important sections are in the bold print.

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven 23 and said:Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today. 

27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven,cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. …

33 “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you and give praise to your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, 34 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors.

35 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them,36 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.

37 “When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, 38 and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel—being aware of the afflictions of their own hearts, and spreading out their hands toward this temple— 39 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know every human heart), 40 so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our ancestors.

41 “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— 42 for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, 43 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.

44 “When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to the Lord toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, 45 then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.

46 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.

52 May your eyes be open to your servant’s plea and to the plea of your people Israel, and may you listen to them whenever they cry out to you.53 For you singled them out from all the nations of the world to be your own inheritance, just as you declared through your servant Moses when you, Sovereign Lord, brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”

To summarize this account, Solomon stood before the congregation and pleaded with God to always hear the people whenever and wherever they pray. This prayer benefited God’s people more than it would have benefited God. Of course Solomon knew that God will hear His people, but he wanted to remind Israel that they should pray in bad times as they do in good times.  Jesus even said in Luke 18:1: men always ought to pray and not lose heart.

To persist in prayer until the answer comes does not necessarily mean endless repetition or painfully long prayer sessions, which seem very daunting. Always praying means keeping our requests constantly before God as we live for him day after day, always believing that he will answer. Thus, when we live by faith we should not give up. God may delay answering, but his “delays” always have good reasons. In fact they aren’t even delays because God is never late, he is always on time. As we persist in prayer we grow in character, faith and hope.

In order to prevent spiritual atrophy, we must maintain a strong prayer life. There are times when I forget to pray and could go without praying for a long while, now I realize that such a lifestyle is steering me towards spiritual atrophy. Spiritual atrophy ultimately leads to us losing the power in our prayers, thus it is important for us to set aside a daily time to commune with God. Prayer practice keeps our muscles toned up for any crisis.

Stay blessed,

Dara x
P.S- Please share with friends, family and those on your social media. If you have any prayer requests, no matter how big or small the seem send them through this form (click here for the form) 🙂

Happy New Month- September 

In this month of September I want to encourage you to Pray hard when it’s hardest to pray. God knows that there will be unfair situations. That’s why he’s already arranged a comeback for every setback you may have already experienced this year. A new beginning for every disappointment. Every setback is a setup for a comeback. God wants to bring you out better than you were before. Happy New Month! Have a spectacular September! 

From the Ruins

Hello everyone, sorry for the break. I have been ill recently and I didn’t have time to continue with the series, but I’m strong now, Thanks be to God. Let us carry on with the “Walkthrough the Major Prayers of the Bible”, with the book of Judges.

An American clergyman named Henry Ward Beecher, experienced many sorrow in his life and once said “There are many fruits that never turn sweet until the frost has lain upon them; there are many nuts that never fall from the bough of the tree of life till frost has opened and reopened them; and there are many elements of life that never grow sweet and beautiful till sorrow touches them.”

Now, we move onto the life of Samson. If you are aware of the life of Samson you will be aware that at first he was seen as a delight and then a shame to his parents. He always insisted in things been done in his own way, and he was determined to live life to the absolute fullest. If Samson was a 21st century dude, you could say he was all about the YOLO lifestyle. Therefore naturally, what Samson reaps from the lifestyle he had sown was a life filled with sorrow, so at the end we find him blind, bound in chains and drowning in humiliation. Samson was a man that started with such great promise but unfortunately ended up in disgrace.

However it is not all bad news, Sorrow did something for Samson. In Samson’s final days, he came to know God personally, in a way he had never done so throughout his life. The bible even says “Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived” (Judges 16:30). He accomplished more in his last days, how interesting is that?

What is even more interesting to me is that in his final moments he spent them praying and God heard and answered him. Here is his account;

Judges 16:25-31

25 So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may perform for us.” So they called for Samson from the prison, and he performed for them. And they stationed him between the pillars.26 Then Samson said to the lad who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars which support the temple, so that I can lean on them.” 27 Now the temple was full of men and women. All the lords of the Philistines were there—about three thousand men and women on the roof watching while Samson performed. 28 Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, “O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!” 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. 30 Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life. 31 And his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.

I wonder how Samson’s life would have been if he had learned to pray way before that very dark day when he was chained to the pillars in the temple. Imagine all the great things he would have been able to accomplish. Now what can we learn from this prayer encounter. In spite of Samson’s  past, God still answered his prayer and destroyed the pagan temple and worshipers. God still loved him, He was willing to hear Samson’s prayer of confession and repentance and use him that final time.

Now, one of the side-effects of sin in our lives is that it keeps us from feeling like praying.  We may feel like God will turn a deaf ear to our prayers because of our sinful lives, so we decide not to. But I’m telling you today that a perfect moral behavior is not a condition and requirement for prayer. Don’t let guilty feelings of sin keep you from your only means of restoration. No matter how long or how far you have strayed away from God, he is always ready to hear from you and restore you back onto good terms with him. Every situation can be restored if you are willing to turn back to Him. If God could still work during the 11th hour in Samson’s situation, he can certainly make something worthwhile out of yours.

So to conclude;

No matter how far you think you are from God turn back to him today; He is waiting for you to reach out to him and when you do so he will not forsake you. God can restore you from the Ruins.

Stay Blessed,

Dara x

P.S- I hope you are all enjoying the series so far, please share with friends and families so that they can be blessed. The next post in this series will be up on Friday, so be sure to check back :). By the way if anyone is interested in joining a Bible Study group that I am starting soon please let me know and I will send you details.

The Blot 

Now we are going to move into the book of Joshua. I found this entry particularity interesting, when I read it on the bible plan. 

An author went to visit his friend, and he found her very upset. She had ruined an expensive handkerchief by a blot of indelible ink. She cried out “Nothing can be done about it”. The author took the cloth home that night, and returned it to her a few days after. The blot that was on the handkerchief could not be recognised . The author had made a spectacular design by using the blot itself as the basis for a pattern. The cloth was even more valuable than it was before it got stained. 

This story is also illustarated in the book of Joshua. After the great victory the Israelites had at Jericho, they were embarrassingly defeated at Ai.  Joshua was very frustrated because of their defeat and questioned God, on why he let such happen to them. Joshua also complained that such a defeat would be a blot on Israel’s reputation and would reflect badly on God as well. This account is in Joshua 7:6-13;

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭7:6-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

6 Joshua and the elders of Israel tore their clothing in dismay, threw dust on their heads, and bowed face down to the ground before the Ark of the Lord until evening. 7 Then Joshua cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, why did you bring us across the Jordan River if you are going to let the Amorites kill us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side! 8 Lord, what can I say now that Israel has fled from its enemies? 9 For when the Canaanites and all the other people living in the land hear about it, they will surround us and wipe our name off the face of the earth. And then what will happen to the honor of your great name?”10 But the Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. 12 That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction.13 “Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the Lord. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you.

God pointed out the problem that Israel had to Joshua, and then Achan’s sin was corrected. ( if you are not familiar with this story read chapter 6 &7 of Joshua) The second time the Israelites went against Ai in battle they were victorious. God had taken the blot, being defeated terrible because of Achan’s sin, and made something beautiful from it. Just like the author in the story told earlier. It has been said that when the Israelites where in Jericho they learnt the lesson of faith and at Ai they learned obedience. No one can argue that the lives of the Israelites were enriched by the blot of Ai. In the same way the lives of Israelites were touched by the incident, our lives are sometimes touched with defeat. If at those times we remember to pray and seek the face of God, He will point out all our problems and take the handkerchief of our lives to make a beautiful and valuable masterpiece.
While we are looking at this passage I would like to point out some things I discovered while studying.  We are told in verse 6 that Joshua and the elders tore their clothing and put dust upon their heads as signs of deep mourning before God. They were all confused about their defeat of Ai, which was a small city compared to Jericho where they had conquered. Their actions demonstrated that they went before God in deep humility and sorrow in order to receive instructions from Him. When our lives fall apart, we should turn to God for direction and help. Likewise, we should humble ourselves so that we will be able to hear His Word

Another thing we can learn from this major prayer, is how we pray. Re-read verses 7-9. Imagine if you prayed in that same way to God. It is far from being formal, at that time Joshua was afraid and confused by what happened, so he poured out exactly what was on his mind/chest. It is pointless to hide your needs from God, because that’s like ignoring the only person who can truly help you out. God welcomes our honest prayers and so we should express our true feelings to Him. A believer can become more honest in prayer by remembering that God is all knowing (Psalm 139) and powerful and his love for each of us is everlasting. 

Remember when you are defeated seek The Lord in prayer; He will point out all your problems and take the handkerchief of your life and make an unrecognisable masterpiece out of it. 

Stay blessed,

Dara x
P.S- stay tuned for more posts in this series. Feel free to also send in your prayer requests on the prayer request page 

WHEN GOD SAYS “NO”

A man named James Russell Lowell once said, “There is no good arguing with the inevitable; the only argument available with an east wind is to put on your overcoat”

What are your thoughts on that quote? When something is inevitable it is ‘certain to happen’ and it is ‘unavoidable’, no matter how hard a person tries to intercede with matters. There are times when it is essential to intercede, however there are also other times God says “No”. We should all learn to accept that God’s word is final.

Moses really really wanted to enter the Promise Land, the land with flowing milk and honey. Moses often prayed to the Lord concerning this request, until God reminded him that he had been forbidden to step foot into the Land. In Deuteronomy 3:21-29 we have an account of this encounter with God.

21 “At that time I [Moses] gave Joshua this charge: ‘You have seen for yourself everything the Lord your God has done to these two kings. He will do the same to all the kingdoms on the west side of the Jordan. 22 Do not be afraid of the nations there, for the Lord your God will fight for you.’ 23 “At that time I pleaded with the Lord and said, 24 ‘O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do? 25 Please let me cross the Jordan to see the wonderful land on the other side, the beautiful hill country and the Lebanon mountains.’ 26 “But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. 27 But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River. 28 Instead, commission Joshua and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead the people across the Jordan. He will give them all the land you now see before you as their possession.’ 29 So we stayed in the valley near Beth-peor.

God said to Moses: “Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter Period” The case was closed, Moses had to live with that decision. Moses’ inevitable fate was that he was not going to see the Promised land.

Of course there are times when we do not like the answers to our prayers, or we don’t feel like God is even listening to us. But I want to reiterate to you that God is not a genie in a bottle we can conjure up to do our requests. As his children we serve Him; He does not serve us. Because of that, we cannot expect all our prayers to be answered with a “Yes”. We should know that God knows best. His plans are far greater than the ones we have for ourselves. In the same way our Lord and Saviour prayed, let us also pray:Not what I want, but your will O God will be done.” 



Stay blessed,

Dara x

P.S- the next post will be posted tomorrow. Check out the previous posts that are part of this series on this link here.  And stay tuned for more 🙂