Wednesday, August 24, 2016

When love seems hard

When Love Seems Hard

1st Corinthians 13 has long been my go-to scripture whenever I think about the topic of Love. It does such a great job of defining love and it provides the guidelines for love.
It's a scripture that I usually attribute to love between a husband and wife but I've recently come to realize that it's not just to define and the guidelines of love between husband and wife but also amongst the brethren.
Have you ever encountered a situation where you have shown love at all costs according to the scripture, but still you are left with asking yourself , "why is love so hard?" "I show this person so much love and yet she behaves so retched, she makes it difficult to love." "I do all I can for him and still he makes it difficult to love him." Suddenly you find yourself on that thin line between love and hate. When love becomes hard.

Chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians was the Apostle Paul's way of teaching the Corinthians the essential role that love plays in the life of a believer. He attempts to show how needful it is for the body of Christ to be unified and work together and that could only be achieved with love. He starts off by describing how empty one's life is without love. In verses 1 through 3 he defines the constructs of love by detailing how far love must be willing to go to be exemplified and personified and the do's and don't's of love.

In order to really understand, we should consider the basics. Jesus' golden rule is " to others as you would have them do to you", (Luke 6:31, Matt. 7:12). Fortunately we human beings are just awesome to say the least! I always consider that God must sit back and marvel at His creation sometimes and just shake His head. The golden rule is the simplicity that is meant to make loving people easy. No matter what a person does or fails to do, love must always be the principle thing. Romans 3:23 says "For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and ALL are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." We are fallen creatures right from the beginning. We are selfish and prefer to love ourselves than to love others. We can be so judgmental because we often fail to remember that the short comings of other's can just as easily be our own shortcomings.

Love is meant to stand out! No wonder the fruit of the spirit begins with love (Gal. 5:22-23). Love conquers, love lifts and love sets free. It's because of this love that God gave His only begotten son. It's because of this love that Abraham passed the ultimate test. It's because of this love that Jesus was willing to die upon that cross. Love is so powerful and Satan will do all he can to rip it out of your heart and tell you "love is too hard, it's less stress if you just hate." But hate is a criminal that comes with his accomplices such as anger, annoyance, irritation, gossip, backbiting and the rest! Hate takes away what has been freely given to you which is love; for John 3:16 says that God loved the world (which is us) that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall have everlasting life." Everlasting life in love, liberty, grace and so much more.  Therfore you must always show love no matter what the obstacles are.

We make love difficult by treating it as just an emotional response. It's that emotional aspect that makes love difficult. We put so much expectation in human beings who will fail because they are not God. Love is a responsibility because God is love. Love is a command says John 13:34, "I give you a new commandment;love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another."
I love you because God love's me despite my mistakes, despite my shortcomings He loves me at all cost.

Some people are difficult to love because they don't know how to express love, but you must just still show them love no matter what and be the example of love that Jesus is for all of us. There is a popular saying that says "kill them with kindness". Yes!, Kill that hate within them with kindness. Love no matter how much resistance you are faced with.

Make love easy by abiding by the following:
-Love by doing to others as you want them to do to you. (Luke 6:31 & Matt. 7:12)
-Love without keeping a record of wrongs,
-Love by humbling yourself at all times.
-Love by being sincere. (Rom. 12:9)
-Love by hating evil (Rom. 12:9)

A man by the name of John Randolph Price said "Chose to live in love, as love, with love and every aspect of your life will change dramatically."  When you chose to love above all, you are a winner and a conqueror. You experience peace. You overcome the schemes of the enemy by allowing love to be 'the most excellent way' as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:1.

Olushola Saka Fashina

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Broken to Breakthrough

Broken to Breakthrough

I found that there are 10  meanings under the word Brokenness in the dictionary. The 7th meaning in the dictionary states 'subdued totally;humbled'. It then refers the meaning to a broken spirit, which is just perfect for the context of this subject. Brokenness is the process that brings the believer to the truest essence of humility. When you are broken, all walls are being brought down, all that fallibly kept you standing without God is taken away. In the state of brokenness all is stripped away and make you into what God desired you to be. You may be wondering if the other definitions of brokenness are not important. Well, they are unimportant when you consider the end results. When things are broken, the natural tendency is to throw those things away. Hope is given up and the item is deemed useless. In a marriage that has experienced infidelity or in any other relationship where trust has been compromised we deem it fit to just discard and walk away. The human mind and heart has rightfully decided that the best thing to do with something that is broken is to throw it away and look for something new. But you see, God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27).When we are broken God has the ability to put us back together. He has the capability to mold us as the potter molds his clay into a beautiful piece of art. In this state we even function better than ever before. Isaiah 64:8 says "...We are the clay and You are the potter; and we are the work of Your hand." A renewed you, a recreated you is the masterpiece of God's hand.

What we don't realize is that our lives become a landfill of broken items that create pressure that can never be released unless we take it to God in prayer. This was the cry of King David in Psalm 51, as he pleaded with God to create in him a new heart. He admitted that his sins and transgressions had broken him and he needed a new heart. Notice his cry to God was not to have a repaired heart, he specifically asked God, the Potter, to create a new heart. The significance of this is to be able to operate in the manner that will glorify God. To rid he body and the mind of the sinful habits that once held him bound. In the state of brokenness we are set free from pride, stubbornness, rebellion, disobedience and anger that don't allow the Holy Spirit to freely move in our lives and direct us in the will of God. This is the time that we must subdue our spirit and completely humble ourselves before God. In your state of brokenness God is able to use you. How useful is an egg if its not broken, even when it has gone through the pressure of boiling water. It's only after it has been broken that you are able to access the contents that are so useful to you. Broken to become beautiful. Broken to become useful. Broken to experience victory. Broken to rise above. Broken to heal. Broken to experience freedom. Broken to overcome. Broken to be released from shame. Broken to breakthrough.
Ask God to break you today so that you can breakthrough those challenges you are facing. Pray that God will create a new heart within you.
Shola Saka Fashina

Friday, January 22, 2016

Trust God's Timing

        It is a normal part of life to make plans and set goals. Sometimes things work out the way we plan and sometimes they dont. So what do we do when things don't work out the way we plan? What do we do when things take a little longer than expected? Do we get angry and become frustrated at God? Do we play the blame game on God or perhaps our loved ones? What we ought to do is trust God's timing.Yes friends, trust God's timing. Did you ever read that scripture from Isaiah 55:8 that explains to us that God's ways are not our ways. Well of course that's true. God's timing does not even compare to the human clock. That's because from the very beginning, He knew what the end would be and everything in between. He is all knowing.
       I like putting puzzles together. I have the app on my tablet that scrambles the pieces up for you. You can choose small, medium or large peices; I normally go for the small pieces to make me think a little more and of course it's like busy work. My technique is picking out the corner pieces first, then joining the side walls with the straight edges to create the frame of the puzzle. That makes it a little easier to fit the remaining pieces in. Let's consider this as a template for what it takes to trust God's timing.
      The first corner piece is understanding that God is not a wicked God. He loves you and desires nothing but the best for you. He says in Jeremiah 29:11 that His plans for you are of good and not of evil, to give you a hope and a future. So never for one minute think that He is torturing you. No, he is preparing you for a greater testimony. One that is not rushed and muddled together.
      The second corner piece is trusting that God knows everything including how the plans for that glorious future will come together to create the bigger picture. At this juncture there must be a total surrender to Him, believing He's got this and He doesn't need your help! So, butt out!
      The third corner piece is having the understanding that God is all-powerful. He can do anything so don't think that things are not working out because it's too difficult. "For with God, nothing shall be impossible". Luke 1:37. He is a limitless God, no boundaries, no obstacle has ever been created that He cannot get through. He is undefeatable and unstoppable! (This is the part I would break out speaking in tongues if this were a verbal blog! Too bad I can't spell in tongues.)
      The fourth corner piece is knowing that God is faithful. He hears the cry of His children and He is ready to answer. The only 'but' to that is you must also be faithful. Don't give up on God. Don't give up on hope. Learn to suffer long. That is supposed to be a part of your Christian habit (Galatians 5:22). It keeps you on the treadmill of perseverance.
      One of my many favorite scriptures is
Habakkuk 2:3, "For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but it speaks of an end, and does not lie. If it delays, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay." That sounds contradictory doesn't it? Its not. It's just to explain that in our eyes it's taking forever, but for God, it's just in time.
I hear it said all the time that delay is not denial. When things take a little longer than expected God is working on some magnificent pieces for a spectacular end product. Wait on God and trust His timing.

Friday, January 15, 2016

How can I describe God?

One day I was listening through my YouTube playlist and William McDowell started to sing this song that took me into a worship space for like the whole day. The song reads like this "How can I describe a God that's indescribable? How can I explain a God that's unexplainable? I'm at a loss for words...." But I wanted to answer the question, even though there are so many ways to describe God, the words are not even enough. Though there are so many ways to describe God, they don't amount to the way God really is. That is just the amazingness of God (yes, I realize that's not a word, but we'll manage it for the purpose of this write up!!).

I always love to praise God and call Him by all the things He is to me. I feel that is the best way to really worship Him. The Awesome God, Mighty God, Amazing, Loving, Faithful, Merciful, Compassionate God. Some have experienced Him as a Healer, Savior, Deliverer, Restorer, Redeemer. I know Him as El-Olam (Everlasting Father), Jehovah Tsidkenu (God my Righteousness), My Banner, Jehovah Jireh (God the Provider). He is known to be Bigger than the biggest, Greater than the greatest, Deeper than the deepest, Wider than the widest. He is All powerful, All knowing, I Am that I Am, I Am that Is! He's described as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God of Elijah, the God that answers by fire, the God of Daniel, the Covenant keeping God. A Strong Tower, The Mighty Man in battle, He can do all things, Be all things. He's undefeated, incomparable, unstoppable. The God that creates but was never created. He's not a man but created man even in His own image and His own likeness. He doesn't need my money to be activated or motivated to be who He is or what I need Him to be. He is, and He is God all by Himself.  The same, yesterday, today and even forever more.

Glory be to God!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

I know who I am! Do I?

Israel Houghton is one of my favorite gospel recording artists and in the beginning of that song "Identity", he said, "one of the things plaguing our generation today is the issue of identity" We've all heard several songs that speak to identity, boldly proclaiming that we know who we are in Christ, that we know our God. When we hear those songs that are often in the tone of declaration, we sing them with boldness and confidence even with extra oomph!! "I'm walking in power, I'm walking in miracles, I live a life of favor, I know who I am..." That was sang by Sinach. Israel Houghton sang it best in His song when he sang, "You are my father, You are Father, in You I find my identity". Genesis 1:26-27 says:
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, 
so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, 
over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all 
the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
Now say with me "Imago dei"! Imago dei is the Hebrew way of saying Image of God. I was introduced to this concept a few weeks ago in the Bible College class I'm taking.  My professor asked "What does that look like to you?, to be made in the image of God? I went blank. I'd never considered that before. If someone asks who are you, you begin to recite your name, tell your age, tell your mother and father's names and say you're their daughter or son; maybe give your social security number to add validity; but it's way deeper than that.
To really begin to answer the question, 'Who am I?' , you must begin to understand the image of whom you were actually created. God said "let us make man in our image and in our likeness". Image simply put is the physical representation or physical likeness of a person, thing or animal, the resemblance, depiction or portrayal.

Now what is God like? What is the image of God? God is love, God is peace, God is power, God is intelligent, God is creative, God is patient, God is kind, God is bold, God is beautiful. God is emotional but He is rational. God is free and He is holy. God is awesome and the list is endless. All these things that God is, we are.

I started to wonder, why we human beings don't recognize that? I considered going back to the beginning after God created Adam and Eve and He gave them free will and access to everything He created with just one clause. We all know what that clause, in  Genesis 2:16-17," of every tree but the tree of knowledge of good and evil". Now something we must always remember of Satan is that he does not create, he cannot create, he was created in beauty and splendor but likened his beauty and splendor to his own power and might, that's why he fell. What Satan does is he tweaks everything, mars and scratches things all up so we don't recognize the original form.
 You were made in the image and likeness of God but if you don't recognize that Satan plays on it and feeds you with lies like, you're slow, you can't figure things out. You're ugly, guys will never be attracted to you. You're nose is too big, you're too dark, you're hopeless, even if good things come your way you won't recognize it. You have anger issues, your heart is too dark to ever recognize when you need to be patient and listen. Sing? , you can't sing, you're too shy, you can't even look your dog in the eyes let alone look into a crowd of people. Lies, Lies, Lies.. Satan is the father of lies!
On the other side of every lie is what?....the Truth. What is the Truth?, the Word of God. 

After God created us the second gift after life was the ability to create. He said to us "be fruitful and multiply. So you have the ability to create. That is the first ability in your identity. Satan makes people believe they are homosexual in order to minimize that ability to create, to procreate. Satan makes people believe they don't have talents so they don't tap into their creative abilities. The next thing God blessed us with is dominion, power, authority! When God created the animals, He gave Adam the ability to give names to all the living creatures including his wife. That is authority. The ability to speak those things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17). Depression is not yours, oppression is not yours, weakness is not yours, sickness is not yours!  The minute you begin to allow those things to be spoken into your life, they are planted as seeds and begin to grow. You must exercise authority over those things. His Word says in 2 Tim 1:7, "For God has not giving you the spirit of fear but of boldness, of power and of a sound mind"....other versions say the spirit of timidity... some say but of self-control. God is not timid, God is not fearful, God is power and He is boldness. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Walk by Faith and not by Sight

In Christendom faith has become such a complex topic when really it is so elementary. We all know the elementary scripture from Hebrews 11:1 that so perfectly defines faith for us in saying: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." There are two very important components in this scripture; what's in our mind and heart and what we haven't laid our eyes on. By law of science in order to obtain something you need your eyes to see that thing and then you will need to coordinate your hands and or your legs and feet to get to where that thing is and obtain it. This is how the physical body is designed to work with the mind. Now this scripture is telling us the direct opposite. It's saying to us don't worry about setting your eyes on that thing and figuring out how to coordinate your eyes with your limbs, just desire it in your heart, hope for it, imagine you already have it, close your physical eyes and there you'll have it. Hebrews 11:1 is saying as it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:7 "for we walk by faith , not by sight." In other words to be in faith is to negate the physical, remove from mind what is tangible in order that you might receive just that; the physical and the tangible. This sound ludicrous, right? Well, one of the wonderful and amazing things about God is that He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27a). In plain words faith is believing. Belief that is absolute and uninhibited. Perceive that desire in your mind, that desire or hope is the substance, and because you have not seen it yet but you believe in it, then it becomes possible. It worked for Walt Disney so I know it will work for you!  So don't worry about how crazy this may sound, the bottom line is Believe, have Faith. 

Let's look at a few ideas that will help us gain more understanding:
     -Faith is law in the Kingdom of God.
Like obeying the red light is law, having faith is law in the kingdom of God. When you attempt to work without faith in the kingdom of God you're as good as an illegal immigrant. You have no rights. As a potential citizen of Heaven, you must obey the law of Faith. Which leads to the next thing:
     -Faith is your right and it entitles you to all the promises of God. 
Do not allow the enemy to make you believe faith does not belong to you because if you do you have allowed him to rob you blind. As a child of the Most High God, you are entitled to unlimited blessings from God when you have faith. That is why Psalm 23:5 says that He has set a table before us in the presence of our enemies and our cup overflows as He anoints us with oil. That is blessings unlimited. When Jesus gave His life on the cross of Calvary it was to atone for our sins. In order for us to benefit from that, we must believe in Him and what He represents which is love, grace, etc. You don't need to sell anything or buy anything in order to partake in that, just have faith and all you desire and hope for is yours. One scripture I love so much that sums up faith for me is Mark 11:24 that says "whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you will receive them and you will have them." Its just that simple. Faith equals Ask, Believe, Receive in that order.
     -Your faith and my faith are not at the same level.
Everyone has been apportioned a level of faith. Our faith can be as small as a mustard seed or as big as a mountain. The things I believe God for might seem minor compared to someone else believing God for something that is seemingly unattainable or outrageous. But see, God is the one that owns the cattle upon a thousand hills, He has access to the big and the small. Jesus said in Matthew 9:29 "According to your faith  be it unto you". Some levels of faith arise out of desperation, like the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25-34). This woman had been bleeding for 12 years, suffered and toiled to fix her issue to no avail. Until she had the opportunity to touch the hem of Jesus' garment, she believed that the touch would be her resolve. Jesus counted it unto her as faith that brought healing and wholeness. The same with blind Bartemeus (Mark 10:466-52). The more you believe the more you receive. 
     -Having faith is pleasing to God.
Hebrews 11:6 says that "without faith it is impossible to please God". When you please God you enter into the faith walk of fame like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Isaac and Moses. God smiles on you when you exercise faith.
     -You have to build your faith.
As body builders build their muscles Christians have to build their faith. Today you trust God for $1000 increase in your bank account, tomorrow trust God for what eyes have not seen, what ears have not heard, what has not been perceived in the hearts of man....."( 1 Corinthians 2:9).
     -Use your words and let your actions follow.
Be ready to speak faith and act faith. James 2:14-26 " without works is dead." Please do not confuse this with "heaven helps those help themselves" ooo! Ehen! That is not scripture. Faith with works is taking a risk in the name of God and knowing that He will back you up. Believing in something and turning it into action that does not negate God. You want a job and you ask God and you believe you will get a good job that pays well but all you do is sit at home all day and browse through social media and or talk and text all day long. The action to that faith is spending time submitting your resume to reputable companies within the line of work you desire. That is faith with works. You desire for your children to succeed in life and excel in all their endeavors; then from the time of conception to the point of that desired success you begin to speak success, excellence, progress, etc into their lives. Pray and decree into their destinies. Envision their success and guide them by giving  the proper training and exposure and it shall be so. 
     -Cultivate the habit of speaking faith-filled words.
As a track runner you believe you will be first to cross the finish line, then you speak these words: "I am a winner". As someone in the midst of trials and many tribulations you say "I am an overcomer" even add scripture: " the word of God says in the book of Revelation 12:11; they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony". 

Walking by faith sounds difficult and it can but it needs to be a learned behavior. "For we walk by faith and not by sight." Faith is the Christian's walking stick, like those who are visually impaired they have faith that using their walking stick coupled with their physical senses they will get from point A to point B. Christians must have faith and depend on Christ to get their blessings. Don't limit your faith in God, just Believe.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wrong Assumptions

Wrong Assumptions

What are assumptions?
Assumptions are defined as the act of taking possession or asserting a claim; something taken for granted or accepted as true without proof
Therefore wrong assumptions can be defined as something wrongly taken for granted or falsely accepted as true without proof.
Making wrong assumptions is not innate but is a learned behavior in my opinion. Often times we are too lazy to find out the entire truth so we assume.  As Christians often times we believe that if we take God’s word on the surface that its “good enough”. We believe because God is a God of mercy and the Bible tells us that He is good, it’s okay for us to pick and choose what we “feel” is right or wrong. Hence, wrong assumptions. For instance we assume that if we go to church every Sunday and “live right” God is automatically happy with us or is on our side. We assume as human beings in general; that is believers and unbelievers alike; that with such things as material prosperity is as a result of God being on our side so no further action is required on our part and we are not outside His will. But this is not true. It’s a matter of complete obedience. Prosperity is ours no doubt, its promised to us as children of God, however we also understand that as it is written in Matthew 6:13 that we must seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto us.  John 8:32 says “we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free”. The key word there is “know”; know the word, know your God, know the circumstances and seek to understand the entire situation, whatever that might be.
Wrong assumptions lead to wrong conclusions
When wrong assumptions are made we don’t get to know the whole truth because we’ve already appeased ourselves with the half truth.
-It’s important to speak with integrity. Jeremiah 9:23 This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
  or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.  I, the Lord, have spoken!”
-Humility takes us a long way. That one possesses a PHD does not mean that person knows everything. In other words we should not display a” know it all attitude but rather be open minded.
James 4:6, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
-Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t gossip or speak against people. We must use the power of words in a way that will direct people in the way of truth and love.
-Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. Most times people’s words or actions are a projection or their own reality. It’s important to become immune to people’s opinions and actions so you won’t feel or become victimized.
-Ask questions, get clarity
-Be expressive in asking questions. Learn to communicate with others to avoid misunderstanding sadness and drama.
-Put your best foot forward in action and in thought. Don’t be complacent in doing whatever. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
With the recent actions of the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage in America, people of different beliefs and backgrounds have been expressing their feelings and opinions via social media, myself included. A certain actor/ comedian made this statement that speaks very clearly to making wrong assumptions, he said: “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle you must hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe, say or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

This says so much and it is so concise. The truth is knowing and understanding where people are coming from in their thoughts and actions and addressing just that. Communicating and not imposing your own personal judgments or opinions on people. The truth is the Word, which is written and cannot be compromised. That should be the yard stick for all situations.