The One Friend You Cannot Afford to Miss

The One Friend You Cannot Afford to Miss

Friends that you need in life

In your friends circle, I am sure you will find different kinds of friends.

There would be a friend who will know all your weaknesses and secrets.

There would be a friend who will have similar hobbies and likes like yours.

Then there are office friends, college friends and school friends.

But there is one kind of friend that you cannot afford to miss. “I got a word for you” friend. Because this kind of friend will come to you at a time when you have a need (and probably nobody knows), and say, ” I got a word for you”.

Cherish this friend!

Because this is a friend who is praying for you, and talking to God about you. She will bring a Word from the Lord for you, which will be able to sustain you in the season you are going through.

In the Old testament we read about Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were always together in standing for the Lord in every challenge that they faced. When the king of Babylon had a dream and no one could interpret, he issued a decree to put all the wise men to death. When Daniel comes to know about this, he returns to his house and explains the matter to his friends. He urges them to pray for it and during the night the mystery gets revealed to Daniel in a vision. (Daniel 2:17-19).

After Daniel interprets the dream for the king and he is bestowed with honour and royal goodies, he gives the king a recommendation to make his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon.(Daniel 2:49)

This is such a beautiful example of godly friendships.

A friend who runs behind Jesus

I am not talking about someone who fakes religion, but who genuinely loves Jesus and is walking with Him, like Daniel and his friends.

This friend will encourage you to run behind Jesus. This friend will not put your fire off, but stir you up to walk in God’s ways.

This friend will not be scared to confront you when you are going wrong, like Prophet Nathan who confronted his friend David when David committed adultery and was going in the wrong direction.

Do you have a friend like this? If yes, how about sharing this post to that friend and thanking her. If not, you become that kind of friend for someone, and God will bring one for you 🙂

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Three Ways the Enemy Attacks a Leader’s Calling

Three Ways the Enemy Attacks a Leader’s Calling

March 8, 2018

Three Ways the Enemy Attacks a Leader’s Calling

Leaders guard your calling

                                 By Pastor Kim D’souza

Nehemiah is one of my favourite leaders in the Bible and it’s amazing every time I meditate on the book of Nehemiah, there are so many things to learn!

Through this post, I want to encourage all those who are in leadership and draw your attention to three prominent ways in which the devil attacks a leader’s calling. These are three D’s – Discouragement, Distraction and Discredit.

Discouragement

Every leader has to go through discouragement and criticism. This comes from two sources – people who have walked the same path before you and from people who have never been in your shoes. Not everyone will agree to your way of doing things and will have an opinion about everything you do, but be humble when it comes to accepting Godly correction and be resilient when it comes to obeying God, regardless of what people say. Many will slander and gossip behind your back, but if God puts something in your heart, just do it.

When God put a purpose in Nehemiah’s heart, he had to go through insults and ridicule (Nehemiah 4:2-3). There was also discouragement from his very own people who complained saying, “Our strength is giving out.” To add on to this, the Jews confessed “Ten times over” that the enemy will overpower them. (Nehemiah 4:10,12). But all this didn’t demotivate Nehemiah. He encouraged himself and others saying, “Don’t be afraid. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome and fight (Nehemiah 4:14).

 

Distraction

As leaders, don’t get distracted by failures or even by your successes. Be focused on your calling because distraction is another tool that the devil can use to pull you down.

When Nehemiah was overseeing the work of the walls, there were people from the enemy camp trying to meet Nehemiah, They said, “Come let us meet together. Come down on the plain.” But Nehemiah figured out that there was a hidden agenda. And he said, “I cannot go down”.

Dangerous D’s of the enemy – Discouragement, Distraction and Discredit

Dear leader, don’t go down. Don’t go back to from where you have come. Don’t get off course. Don’t go back to your past. Don’t be ruled by man’s empty praise, lest pride takes over. Also, be careful who you associate with. Discern what and who is pulling you down. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Remember, the life of a person who is called out by God is very lonely because not many will understand you. But know that He who has promised is faithful.

Discredit

When discouragement and distraction didn’t work for Nehemiah, the enemy camp tried to push Nehemiah to commit a sin, so they would give a bad name to Nehemiah and discredit him ( Nehemiah 6:10-13).

Let us beware of the devil’s schemes, he will always try to malign your character and discredit you because when a godly leader falls from grace, the repercussions can be drastic on the people who look up to to him. As Rev. Billy Graham said, “When character is lost, all is lost.” Graham and his close-knit team determined that integrity would be the hallmark of their ministry. He had four predominant rules for his team: Operate with financial transparency, Avoid even the appearance of sexual immorality, avoid criticizing other pastors and churches and be painstakingly honest in all publicity.

We ought to guard our character and walk with the Lord ferociously. You see, at the end of it, what matters is not how well we began, but how well we finished!

To conclude let Micah 6:8 be guiding principle of your life –

And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

for guest writers. text will come here

Are you compromising your destiny for company?

Are you compromising your destiny for company?

It is impossible to live a life that is unaffected by other people. Your association/friends can take you closer to your God destiny or far away from it. Their attitudes and opinions, like pollen, blow into our lives, shaping our perspective and influencing our decisions.

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The parable of weeds in Matthew 13:24-30 tells us about two types of seed: 1. Children of God (good seed) and 2. Sons of the evil one (weeds). Both were planted for one reason – to add influence. Many people do no realise the power of influence and therefore they are caught unawares by people who leave their seeds of slander, back biting, gripping, complaining, pride, gossiping, etc. They wake up one day all of a sudden and see their garden with all sorts of weeds that choke the Word of God in their lives.

Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God (James 4:4).

The Bible also warns, Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ (1 Corinthians 15:33).

On the other hand, when one godly person’s life sharpens another’s, it’s a good thing (Proverbs 27:17). It yields a harvest of mature fruit over time.

Don’t compromise your destiny for company

One principle that I have learnt with bad company is that it is progressive. If you are not careful you will be moving down a slippery path that ends in shame, disgrace, worthlessness, loneliness and every evil work. Psalm 1 hints at the three progression stage of association that leads to sin: It first begins with standing (casually listening), then walking (intentional listening) and finally sitting (living) with wickedness.

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I like what Pastor Steven Furtick says, “Don’t compromise your destiny for company.”

The Bible says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20).

I am not talking about associating with the world alone, but even in terms of believers who claim to walk with God.

Here are some guidelines about who you should stick to, or stay away from:

Stay away from:
1. Fools, or the know-it-alls, who are wise in their own eyes. (Proverbs 1:7)
2. Gossipers, grumblers, drunkards, immoral, boasters, hot tempered men (1 Corinthians 5:11), (Proverbs 22:24,25).
3. Those who cause quarrels and fights, backbiters, unsubmissive to authorities (Romans 16:17)
4. Those who are lovers of the world (James 4:3,4).
5. Those who are lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-9)

Stick to:
1. Those who are wise. Not in the ways of the world, but in the knowledge of God’s Word (Proverbs 13:20).
2. Lovers of Jesus, those who boast in Jesus (1 Corinthians 8:3)
3. Visionaries, who have a vision for their lives, who have an action plan and who are pursuing it, who are not mere talkers, but doers. (Proverbs 29:18).
4. Those who are humble, hardworking and who never stop learning. (1 Peter 5:5)
5. Who correct and counsel you according to the Word of God (Proverbs 3:12)

I can think of a lot of examples in the Bible and in my life where I see people influenced or rather allowing themselves to be influenced by bad company and I can tell you that it will corrupt the good character (seed) placed in your life. It will always make the journey to your destiny harder, tougher, lengthier and you will also end up hurting many people along the way both family and friends. So watch out!

Repentance and Running After God Again

Repentance and Running After God Again

In the previous post, we addressed brokenness as a means to chasing God’s heart and in this post we will look at the heart of repentance.

God loves the heart that is quick to repent when it messes up.

God loves the heart that is quick to repent and runs after Him everytime it messes up.

Brokenness brings repentance, weeping, humility and sensitivity to the things of the Spirit.

David, tagged as the man after God’s heart fell terribly in his life. But everytime he broke God’s heart, he was always quick to repent and weep, almost shamelessly and publicly at times.

As soon as Nathan confronted David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered Uriah, David didn’t try and give excuses about his act, but in the immediate next verse we read, he repented (2 Samuel 12: 13). In another instance when he counted the fighting men in Israel against the will of God, soon the Bible says that he was conscience stricken and said to the Lord, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done.”

Every time David messed up, his heart wept in repentance unlike his predecessor Saul who was quick to give excuses.

But I did obey the Lord (1 Samuel 15:20)…..was Saul’s song.

And David was worried about pleasing the Lord in situations when no one saw, nor no one knew (1 Samuel 26:12).

David knew how to weep

When I was reading the account of David, I was amazed at how many times David wept. If fact no other Bible hero’s account has so many scriptures on weeping like him.

David wept the most…( 1 Samuel 20: 41); David wept aloud ( 1 Samuel 30:4); Mourned and wept (1 Samuel 1: 12); wept aloud ( 2 Samuel 3:32); David wept ( 2 Samuel 12:22); wept very bitterly ( 2 Samuel 13: 36); He went weeping ( 2 Samuel 15: 30); he went over the gateway and wept ( 2 Samuel 18:33); cried out aloud ( 2 Samuel 19:4).

Of course, he wept for different reasons and in different situations but his heart was always sensitive to the convictions of God.

Untiring Pursuit

I was talking to a man of God and he had this to say, “David actually messed up more than any average man. So then it was not his acts that made him a man after God’s own heart. It should certainly be his desire to please God even after messing up. After God’s own heart surely then refers to the untiring pursuit after His heart.”

A broken heart and a contrite spirit are the key attributes of a God chaser, and he doesn’t get bogged down by his folly in seeking God’s heart but chooses to run after Him no matter what.

In the concluding post of this – After Your Heart series, I will share with you a vision that God showed me, which I am sure will encourage you.

Meanwhile you can share your views on my above post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

 

Drawing Near to God With Brokenness

Drawing Near to God With Brokenness

In the previous post we learned about God’s desperate desire to reveal His heart to His children. Now the question is how do we on our part seek after Him? How do we become a man (or woman) after God’s heart?

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Your brokenness is precious to God

I don’t have a long list of dos and don’ts for this, but here is what David, a man after God’s own heart, had to say in Psalms 51:17

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

God is yet to deny a broken and repentant heart! In other words, if you want to draw near to God’s heart, know that your brokenness and repentance will hold the key.

Isn’t it interesting? The biggest love story – between God and man – at one point ended up with brokenness and regret in Genesis 6:6, and that’s exactly where we find the Spirit of God leading us to.

Mind you, this brokenness and repentance is not to be thought of in the ways of the world – in fact it is something that the world may never understand.

Brokenness

Exodus 20:25 gives God’s clear instructions about making the altar of sacrifice for Him:

If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use.

Our heart is the altar of God. Sadly in pursuing God somewhere down the line we have allowed the world to chisel our altars. We have lived lives of compromise trying to ‘fit in’ our society, friends circle, and church setting.

“If I don’t lower God’s standards, I will not fit in the world.”

We are not content with the way our hearts have been created and all the time we are trying to show the world that we are similar to you. We have even abused the grace of God to please our flesh.

And then, we wonder why the fire of God is not falling on our sacrifices; Why signs and wonders stand so aloof from us; Why the Kingdom of God is all about talk and no power.

Beloved, you and I are not called to conform to the world but to be set apart for His glory.

I believe the pursuit of God’s heart begins with brokenness. Brokenness to realise how messed up we are, how adulterated our motives are.

Can you hear God’s heart as you read this : “Child, I don’t need you to chisel yourself. That will all be works. I need you to fall into my hands of grace, that I may shape you and break you so your heart becomes a reflection of mine.”

Oh, how we need brokenness!

7 Dos and Don’ts of WhatsApp Group Chat

7 Dos and Don’ts of WhatsApp Group Chat

Almost every phone user today has the ubiquitous green and white WhatsApp icon on his home screen. With millions of users worldwide, this instant messaging application offers numerous benefits to its users, and one of which is the Group Chat.

 Recently one of my friends created a WhatsApp group with 50 people across the globe who wanted to read Rick Warren’s best selling book Purpose Driven Life together over a period of 40 days and share what they learned with each other on a daily basis. Everyone was encouraged to give input, ask questions and finally see the biblical perspective. He also provided an incentive to those who were able to finish reading the book in that stipulated time!

I thought that was a wonderful way of utilizing the WhatsApp Group Chat function to add value to people’s lives. 

Word of caution, Whatsapp chat

However a word of caution: Group chats can be immensely annoying at times. And if you don’t take guard, they can drain you of your precious time and peace of mind. Below I thought of sharing some Dos and Don’ts of WhatsApp (or any other) group chats:

1. Don’t join every group that you are invited or added to

The more generic the group is, the more the possibility of unwanted messages, while the more specific a group is, the more the possibility of quality communication that you can benefit from. For example:  Joining a ‘working mother’s’ group is always better than joining the ‘Woman’s’ group. Also before joining a group ask yourself – how will it edify me or what value can I add to others’ life through it.

If you are part of a group that sends teasing comments, lewd jokes or unnecessary forwards, it is better to excuse yourself out rather than allow your ears and eyes to be a place where others can dump their trash. And no, nobody will feel bad about it.

From time to time keep coming back to the motive behind creating the group and check whether you as a group admin or member are in line with it.

2. Do use it to encourage one another and build each other up

Use the group chat to speak life over those you are addressing. Build up rather than tear down. Pray for one another and aim to learn from each other’s successes and mistakes. A couple of good examples: One friend of mine has created a group called ICU (In Christ Unit) where members can share their urgent prayer requests and pray for one another. Another friend has a group called ‘Pastor’s Wives’ where women in the ministry can share and learn from each other’s lives.

3. Do not get personal

Don’t use chat groups as a medium to pass unnecessary comments or nit-pick one another. Of course you are free to disagree, but never disrespect.  If there is something that you think may not interest other members of the group or may offend someone, share it in a personal WhatsApp chat rather than your common group.

4. Do use it to make a good habit or break a bad one

There is great power in creating habits and breaking habits when you’re surrounded by like minded people. And that’s what WhatsApp group can help you do. For instance if you are struggling to meditate on the Word of God daily, how about creating a group of people facing a similar struggle and then you can daily encourage one and another to break this cycle.

To quote from the bestselling book The Power of Habit: “There’s something really powerful about groups and shared experiences. People might be skeptical about their ability to change if they’re by themselves, but a group will convince them to suspend disbelief.”

5. Do be patient

Initially whenever a group is formed there will be a lot of pings, but be patient. After the initial excitement fades away, that’s when the conversations will become limited. Remember you are dealing with different people here. There will be some in the group who would frequently try to create conversations, while there will be some others who will be silent observers. If your purpose of creating the group is good, don’t give up, keep investing in it.

6. Do not keep pushing Forwards

Forwards are similar to uninvited advertisements and can be a big turn off in a group chat. Sadly many of us don’t even read the long messages we receive and we are quick to hit the forward button. Freely we receive, freely we give!

Limit your forwards to short inspirational videos and images, which have personally blessed you first. When it comes to plain text, make your stories brief and to the point because not all users in your group may have smart phones with reader friendly screens in which case your message may look like a big scroll of text.  And please don’t convince others to “Send the message to 10 people to receive their blessing”.

7. Do not make it your master

Lastly, don’t allow WhatsApp to eat your quiet time with God or even the quality time you spend with your spouse and children. Make an effort to disconnect from WhatsApp during the day and even days together in a week. There are better things in life to do!

What is your experience in dealing with Group Chats? What annoys you the most and how do you handle it?