Day 1: My Satisfier

“My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning…” (Psalm 130:6)

Today is February 1st. Glory to God! Oh, February! The month of love (so I call it 🙂 )

Since I became a follower of Jesus, the month of February has been a month strictly dedicated to Jesus, a month where I am conscious of showing my love to Christ. I try to do different things each year; last year, for example, I was able to survive the Daniel’s fast (with some alterations, for health reasons). This year, by the grace of God I am doing a man fast.

I first heard of a man fast from a friend with whom I served in Croatia. Then, early last month, when asking God about how I can show Him love this time around, I saw an article on Facebook about a man fast; I was intrigued. I tried researching into a man fast really is, but I got little info– the title itself is self explanatory; the women who have done it simply focused more on God and didn’t entertain men who could be romantic partners. Anyway, my aim and hope is that I’ll be in God’s bosom, embedded in His heart, and grow more intimate with Him!

So… Day 1: 

I prayed A LOT! I prayed those Nigerian fire-thunder-die prayers… very refreshing, I must add. I am grateful to God that I did that because it showed me how much I missed praying. I also listened to a lot of sermons, which was helpful as well. Perhaps the most important part of the day was reading the Word! I read Isaiah 14, and verse one really struck me, “The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land” (NIV). I love this verse because it shows the caring (loving– He can’t help Himself because He is love) nature of God. It encouraged me that, at the end of the day, God is on my side.

But, what I was reminded of, which is the whole point of this fast for me, was that God is my satisfier. I can do a man fast from now till Kingdom come, but if I am not completely satisfied (focused) in Christ, this entire month will just be a month will be a waste. I thank God for reminding me that it’s all about Him– and He did it in the most gentle way!

So, I think Day 1 was successful. I really enjoyed being in the presence of God, being able to just take the day to pray, hear His word, and bask in His ambiance! Here’s to 28 more days! I expect more days to be challenging than others, but I am at rest in the fact that His grace and mercy will see me through each day! Praise Jesus for that assurance!

Waiting: Spoken (Written) Word

I told myself I’ll wait for you…
But innocence was stolen by “Uncle”,
ripped
from my tender heart.
So I gave up.
Stained.

Fast forward:
thought I had found you-
how foolish of me:
wasn’t it supposed to be reversed…
Thought his “love” was going
to cover the multitude of my sins-
but my sin became a burden too
heavy for him to bear.

So I bore myself to myself
and crashed under the weight
of my own burdened lust
that was laid up in my wicked heart-
my heart, too crushed to be revived
by fleeting moans and momentary pleasures.
Until
I saw His love crushed for me
on that wooden tree.
There, battered, was Christ,
broken for me,
under the burden of my sins.
Yet He rose again, victorious,
giving me a new slate,
burden free, without stain.

Fast forward:
I thought I had found you
again…
A baby in Christ, sipping on that milk,
I gave my old self reign,
even though I am new.
Flesh yielded to flesh,
forgetting that only He
can present me unstained
unto Himself,
but he chose to lie in sin with me,
presenting me unto himself,
unholy,
again
stained…

So I stained my heart
with hate and regret
and the shame became too
much for me
and I longed for grace
that will bring me back to Him
so I tried and I worked and I slaved
but could never really
get it right,
so I fled…
Until
Mercy found me,
crashed into me,
I was ruined,
blinded.
He showed me my end, without you,
without Him.
He removed the scales
from my eyes so I could see
the wrong in what
I thought was right!

So here I am.
With this new light in my eyes,
the clean heart inside of me
I am telling you, husband,
even though I do not know you,
I will wait for you.
I will wait to be found by you.
You are the one God made me
for and from— the man made from
the second Adam,
presented holy, to present me holy to Him.
You have the perfect combination
given only by Him who kept me, hidden,
from me, for you,
to unlock the deepest crevices of my heart.
You know what it means to
love me with the love of Christ,
you know what it is to love me
the way Christ loves his church—
I am the Ephesians 5:25—
to present me to my Father,
without stain or blemish,
only by His grace.

So, I will wait
to be found by you
and I won’t give myself
to every cubic zirconia— false gods
pretending to reflect the true image of the One
who paid the price for me,
His bride.

So, I will wait
for you
to find me—He found me—
And pursue me with the
relentless love,
reckless abandon,
reverent fear of the Lord—
the way only you—He—can.
But understand this:
you are not my Father,
so if God chooses,
in His sovereignty,
to have me love and serve Him
alone
I will wait on Him—
Yet I am never alone,
for He will never leave me, but you can;
for He will never abandon me, but you can.

And at least, death wouldn’t do us part.

Even When it Hurts

heart

“Take this mountain weight. Take these ocean tears. Hold me through the trial, come like hope again” (“Even When It Hurts”, Hillsong).

I woke up this morning with heaviness in my heart. I didn’t understand it because nothing prompted it. So, I did what I know how to do; I prayed. What was supposed to be a regular praying time with my Father turned into a bawling session with my Counselor. I admitted to God that I didn’t even know why I was crying. God being God reminded me of Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (NIV). So, I just gave in, trusting that the Holy Spirit was at work. I was comforted that God knew what each tear represented. Did that make me feel better? No.

Once I start crying out loud, it is impossible for me to stop; I will continue until I am physically unable to cry anymore. As I cried, I kept thinking about the fact that I am hurting. This year has been one challenge after another, and I kept asking God this morning, “When will it end, God?!” I just want it all to end. I want to feel remembered by God. I admit to God that I felt like an afterthought on His list of people to help. I found myself saying, like David in Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (verse 1, NIV). Truth is, even while writing this, I still feel hurt. But the question I posed to myself is this: Does that somehow change who God is?

God is constant. When He promises, He fulfills; His words are yea and amen; His thoughts and plans for me are not to hurt me but to give me hope and a future; I am worth the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to Him… I can keep going, but it still doesn’t change the hurt I feel. Someone once told me that unfortunately for me, no one can help me or encourage me when I’m feeling down because I know the truth about who God is. I don’t want to be sad or depressed while knowing who God is and what He is about, but I am… Is that sinful? Is that bad? I don’t know.

While having my quiet time I only read Psalm 23, one of my favorite psalms. Verse 4 stood out to me, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (NIV). What this verse says to me is that just because I have a Shepherd doesn’t mean I won’t face trouble. The good news is that He is with me. My Shepherd has a rod– it is used to protect me from any evil that may want to come my way; it is also used to discipline me because my Shepherd loves me (Proverbs 3:12)– and a staff– this is used to comfort me and to direct my path. I should be comforted by these truths! I must be comforted by these truths!

I kept crying this morning, asking Jesus why He has forgotten about me– it seems to me as if everything coming my way is somehow delayed– but I had forgotten His promise to me that He will never leave me or abandon me ( Deuteronomy 31:6). What I need to do is get these truths to be heart knowledge. Walking is Jesus is HARD, friends! But if David can say even when– “when” means it will happen– he walks through the valley of the shadow of death, he won’t be scared; if David can say this and believe it, then I can too! I think it was Charles Spurgeon who commented on this thought and said that a shadow means there is a light somewhere, meaning that God’s light (Jesus Christ) is ever present, even in the midst of my storms and challenges.

What is the application for me? Well, I need to feed more on the word of God until my very being believes it, until the Word of God becomes my bread and livelihood! I want to be able to praise God even when everything is crumbling down around me! I want to look at the storms in the eye and tell them that they are just fronting because my Shepherd has overcome the world. This is not to say that I won’t feel hurt, but it means that I won’t dwell on that hurt and be depressed all the time. God remains God regardless of what I go through or what I do, and I don’t want anything to cloud my view of Him.

Throughout this day I have been reciting verse 4 to myself, becoming more real to me each time. God is with me and He is for me. So, even when it hurts, even when the storms are throwing me all about, yet will I stand and praise my God whose steadfast love never ceases.

Funny thing, though, is that God laid a song in my heart which says, “You turned my mourning into dancing again. You lifted my sorrows, I can’t stay silent; I must sing for my joy has come!” I wonder if this was the same song David that was in David’s heart when he wrote this psalm.pic

Focus on the Unseen

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2nd Corinthians 4:18, NIV).

The above passage is one of my favorite passages for various reasons. For one, Paul, my spiritual mentor, wrote it; secondly, it is a passage that helped me focus on Jesus when I first became a believer; also, I used to memorize it and it reminded me of my future, which is in and with God in Heaven.

But how quickly we forget these truths, especially as we grow in our faith. Well, at least I’m speaking for myself.

Today has been a tough one for me. I have been internally struggling with myself and asking God to reveal Himself to me. You see, I desire to hear God, I desire to see Him move in a mighty way in my life, and I am excited for what He is doing; but I find myself getting weary because all I keep thinking about is when will God do it?! Maybe you can tell, but waiting is not really my forte– I know God is working on me.

I want to see God do something miraculous in my life and God is showing me, even as I am writing, how microwaveable I want it. I woke up this morning with an uncomfortable feeling in my mouth. I don’t even know how to describe it– it’s like something is moving back and forth inside my lower gum. I prayed that God should take it away because it was a familiar feeling; but the last time I had it was when I was still living Nigeria. Anyway, I prayed and it went away! I was so happy! But after my morning routine the feeling came back and it has been there since. I hate being uncomfortable, so you can imagine what I’m feeling right now. On top of that, I have been thinking about how I would go about the fundraising I have to do. I found myself asking God, “What’s going on? Why aren’t you moving?” 

It’s in the midst of this that the aforementioned verse came to my mind– I needed to hear from God, to focus on something other than what’s making my heart troubled; plus I wanted God to tell me what to write about. Like I said, this was a verse I memorized, but I didn’t do a good job memorizing the scripture because I was so sure it was in  Philippians 4:18; God being God gently corrected me. Anyway, I read the verse but  I felt in my heart that I needed to get a context for it so I read the book from chapter 1. Paul is basically talking about the new life we have in Jesus and the glory that comes with it, how the glory is great. He also talks about how the present sufferings we are experiencing pale in comparison to the glory of God, and this glory, this hope, (ought to) encourages us to not lose heart (2nd Corinthians 4:1, 16). And verse 18 is the conclusion of that admonition.

So, what does that have to do with me? Well, for one, it humbled me and reassured me that focusing on God is the way to go! I consider the feeling in my mouth a trouble because it is actually very uncomfortable, but the God who knows the intricacies of my body will fix it. Also, in regards to my fundraising, I just have to fix my eyes on God because I am doing His work, so He is with me. Whatever it is I am facing pales in comparison to the eternal glory of our God! When I get to Heaven I won’t be thinking about the money I need to raise or the body part that isn’t functioning properly. When I get to Heaven I’ll be with my Creator, beholding Him in the fullness of His glory! That is what I am looking forward to. And to spend eternity with God… My human mind can’t even begin to comprehend that!

What then? As I go about today, I’ll keep reminding myself to keep on keeping my eyes on God because whatever I need, ease or money or comfort or whatever else, I can get only from Him! Friends, keep focusing on God and everything else will work itself out because He is in control. Everything else is so temporary, so why focus on them? Let us focus on the One who was, is, and is to come!