LOOK TO BETTER DAYS AHEAD….

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This is a long read but I think it would be a blessing to you.

On one of my wedding anniversaries, my husband and I spent most of the day at a beautiful wedding. The bride and groom were beaming and just looked so in love and excited; I was so happy for them. I mean, the joy was radiating on their faces and the bride was absolutely gorgeous – in fact she reminded me of myself when I got married lol! Anyway, it was actually a good way to spend the day because while there, some of the things that took place took us back to our own wedding day. Each time we saw something that reminded us of our big day, we would lean into each other and say it and at different points in time, we laughed out loud. It was really a good day. Thank God that we look back on that day with so much joy and laughter; and thank God much more that the joy and laughter did not end there but has multiplied in our lives.

I want to share a few things from my heart to you that have helped us and I believe would do the same for you.

I must say that marriage has actually been fantastic. I remember when we were about to get married; while we got positive advice, there were some who told us to expect a tumultuous and rocky road ahead, but I thank God that we had the same mental picture of a peaceful marriage right from the day our relationship began. In fact when many realised I was getting married to a pastor, their responses were “sorry”, “Aww”, “I can never marry a pastor” to sympathise with me. They told me that being married to a pastor was going to be very difficult. I thank God that we didn’t allow the opinions and unsolicited advice from anybody taint our own expectations of a crisis-free marriage. I thank God for giving me the grace to be his wife, and I thank Him for the grace He has given to us to be there for each other. I have to say that the road actually has been easy; simply because God has been our rock and our guide. A few things we constantly do that I believe would help you:

1. We remind ourselves that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25).

2. We remind each other that where strife, envy, bitterness and the like come in, every evil work has come in (James 3:16) so we give them no place.

3. We remind each that it is only where unity is that God commands the blessings (Psalm 133:3), and it is only where there is unity that there will be progress.

4. We remind ourselves that no matter the challenges that arise, we remain a house united, and when we have that mind-set and stick together, we can achieve our common goals or desires (Genesis 11:6).

5. We see each other as our advantage in life. I do my best to help him in his assignment and he also has brought out the best in me, challenging me and helping me develop my potentials (Ecclesiastes 4:9), and thank God this is just the beginning.

My own little advice to you is this: no matter how long you may have been married, keep giving your marriage the best of you, and you will only get the best out of it. Renew your mind and base everything you do on The Word of God. See everything you do towards your spouse as unto The Lord (Colossians 3:23); and don’t buy into the negative experiences of others.

When we, the guests were asked to stretch our hands out and pray for the couple; we were told to wish them whatever we would wish ourselves. I simply said

“Father, let today be the day that they experience the least amount of joy and excitement in their marriage. Because, the path of the just is as a shining light that should not be getting dimmer and dimmer but brighter and brighter; therefore, the joy, the excitement, the hope – let it only increase. Cause them to experience only better days ahead. Give each one grace to play their own part in building this marriage and may your grace colour their efforts. Let there be no cause for sorrows, no cause for regrets, and any tears they shed going forward must be tears of joy in Jesus name”.

While that prayer was for them, I received it for my own marriage and family on this special day. I also excitedly look forward to better days ahead!

Receive grace to do your part; God is no respecter of persons. Pastor or not, as long as you do what is required of you, He will step in and give you an enviable testimony.

I pray for you today that your own restful and peaceful marriage and family life that God has in store for you, will not elude you, and it would only get better all the days of your life in Jesus name.

And if you are single now, when you do get married, it’s my prayer that your marriage will only enhance and elevate you; not deplete or downgrade you.

Here’s to better days ahead in our marriages and family life!

Just Wait…

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Some years ago, a friend of mine was getting married and everybody was so excited about it except her; she was just not at peace concerning it. Many of us didn’t really understand what the issue was because this gentleman was handsome, born again, and spirit filled. She really wanted to get married and she tried to hold on to him and although she was not at peace, she couldn’t really understand what her reservations were. We saw that her enthusiasm and excitement became less and less as the wedding day got closer so we began to pray for her and asked the Holy Spirit to reveal whatever was wrong, to her. So much effort went into the planning but guess what, two weeks before the grande wedding was to take place, it was called off! It was a shock to everyone and it was a terrible season in her life. Although she cried every night for months, although she was extremely embarrassed, she knew in her heart of hearts that he was not the one for her. The gentleman was not a bad person at all. He was good but He was not for her.  And because she was in tune in her spirit, she was able to discern and not allow her emotions to lead her down the wrong path in marriage. I personally believe that God was protecting her from whatever was down the line.

As a single lady or gentleman who is looking forward to marriage, it is important that you don’t bypass the leading of the Holy Spirit when making your decision to get married. Whatever you do, ensure you are fully spirit led. Forget the excitement of everyone and be real with yourself. Surrender yourself to God; let Him take over. Yes, that lady, that gentleman may be wonderful but is he/she God’s best for you? Don’t force that relationship; your times are in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15) so don’t let pressure be your motivator. He knows what is to come so He is the best Person to show you which way to go and whom you should go with. There is a definition of wait that I love so much – “Remaining in readiness for a purpose”. That is my point to you today. Marriage has a purpose but that purpose cannot be established if you enter this institution carelessly. The coming together of a man and woman in marriage should not be aimless but purposeful. If you rush or move too slow, you may miss the purpose.

I really applauded her courage to call it off despite all the resources and emotional investment that went into the relationship, and despite what people will say or think. In fact, I recall someone being angry about having to spend so much money preparing for the wedding that never took place and I asked this individual “would you rather hear about her being miserable in the marriage at the end of the day? Is how much you spent worth her peace of mind?” Of course that was the end of that conversation. I am quite passionate about singles because there is still a chance of preventing undesirable situations and there is a saying that “prevention is better than cure“. In the book of Proverbs 16:25, and Proverbs 14:12, we are told that “there is a way that appears to be right but its end is the way of death“.

That destructive end can only be avoided when we don’t hurry but move according to God’s timing and direction. For my friend, I also thank God for honouring her because a few years later, God’s best for her showed up unexpectedly. And that’s how God works. Habakkuk 2:1 talks about waiting to see hear what God has to say before making a move; that’s exactly how it should be if we don’t want to miss what God has in store. When you move according to His rhythm, you find that what He gives to you is far better than what you had in mind for yourself (Ephesians 3:20). It’s my prayer for you that you hearken to the voice of the Lord and receive strength & grace to just wait!

…While There Is Hope

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Your children will not remain small forever. One day, their feet will no longer be in cute trainers, crocs, flip flops, etc. Such shoes will be swapped for striking stilettos or loafers or brogues and whatever else is out there to be worn. Then, they will walk into a busy world and you will not have so much time to hang out together, play together or even pray together. So, please don’t trade in precious moments with them for anything. Irrespective of their ages, do all you can to pump them with all the necessary values, spiritual and otherwise that they need to be value adding adults both in the world and in their future homes and please make sure such values are evident in your life as well. As I often say, do it like their life depends on it! Slip off your heels, mother; father remove your shoes and tie. Stop being so focused on everything else while your children get your left overs. Remember they are with you for a season. The bible says discipline your children while there is hope, otherwise you will ruin their lives – Proverbs 19:18. I always add love them while there is hope, correct them while there is hope, spend time with them while there is hope, get to know them while there is hope. Push them to God while there is hope. The list goes on and on. Do everything while there is hope; while the opportunity is still there. A time will come when what you say is only an advice and not an instruction. But when you do what you are supposed to do at the right time, you won’t be worried whether they take your advice or not because the teachings you instilled in them will be working for them. If your children are no longer under your tutelage and may have made some wrong decisions, don’t be dismayed; don’t lose hope. One weapon that never fails is prayer, use it with all your heart concerning them. Even when you want to speak to them, pray. Ask the Holy Spirit for utterance that will gain entrance into their hearts and bring about a great testimony. You may be a single parent here, the same applies to you. It doesn’t matter how you became a single parent, the point is that your child or children are here now so what are you going to do to bring out the best in them? Don’t have a “woe is me” mentality, many single mothers and fathers have done a fantastic job raising their children so while it may be more challenging, it is 100% doable! Parenting is serious business and cannot be done well without depending on God. Don’t take it as a casual responsibility. You and I have the privilege of moulding the character of another person from scratch – what an honour from God. Let us be determined to do a great job using time, among others as our motivation. I always remind myself that as my children’s shoe sizes change, it means the time to mould them and prepare them for the world, spiritually and otherwise, is reducing, therefore I must remain strengthened and keep looking to God for the required tools and help to give them all I can, while there is hope.

IT’S ENOUGH FOR YOU….

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My daughter was playing with her fake dog a few days ago and as I walked by, I gave her a big hug. When I began to walk away, she said “mummy loves me so much” as she combed her dogs hair. I walked back to where she was and said “of course I love you” She said “yes I know, and you will always love me” I said “you are right. I will always love you” She said “no matter what, you will love me forever”.

I laughed and said yes. Then I asked her “how do you know mummy loves you?” She said “because you always tell me you do, and you always give me big hugs, that’s how I know, mummy”, and carried on with her dog.

I simply smiled and went about my business but I began to think about how vulnerable my children are with me; they believe absolutely everything I say and take it as the law, as the truth. Because they know I love them, it is easy for them to have ‘faith’ in me. Because they know I love them, they don’t question the fact that I would meet their needs to the best of my ability. They take me at my word. It made me think about my relationship with God.

No wonder Jesus said unless we become like little children, we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). It means that we have to take God at His Word at every point in time simply because He has said so. It means that we need to change our mind-set and think exactly like children think. It’s not that we need to become immature or childish, but we must learn to accept things effortlessness from The Word of God.

It reminded me of some time ago, when I was meditating after studying about faith in Hebrews 11. I thought about how important faith was for people like Joseph, Daniel, Abraham, Sarah and others in the scriptures, to stand out in life. For them, hoping and believing in God’s Word, simply accepting it, is what made the difference. Something came to my spirit that day from God, and it was “the same way your children have faith in you; you also, must have faith in me”. That made it as practical as it could be for me!

One Sunday when my husband was teaching, he said something that stuck with me. He said “the Bible is simply a documentation of God’s thoughts towards us (Jeremiah 29:11). He has already told us how He feels about us. Our responsibility is to believe what He has said and accept it by faith”

That is all we need to do. The fact that God has said it, should be enough for us. The fact that I tell my daughter I love her is enough for her to accept it and take it as the truth. So she is at rest just knowing that; which means that every ounce of fear and anxiety is far from her.

It’s that simple. He loves you so much and He has proven it by sending His son to die on the cross (John 3:16). It cannot be any more practical than that. All He needs you to do is to accept that truth and have faith in Him. When you do so, you will no longer have any reason to fret over the issues of life!

As I walked away from my daughter, I began to sing the popular song that children always sing:

Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong

Yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so!

That song is so simple but it also depicts the deep truth of God’s love towards us. I pray you will see His love as more than enough for you. When you accept it effortlessly and just bask in that truth, all things contrary to peace of mind will be far from you!

Strive for such a Spirit…

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It’s important for every lady to carry herself with dignity. I always like to tell ladies, young and old, married and single, and I even keep reminding myself that if we must be known for something, we should be known as respectable, as courteous, as prudent, as wise, as kind, etc. Not as one whose mouth leaks, who gossips, who is quarrelsome, etc. Such behaviors will not only affect you but it will also affect your husband wherever he is found. As a wife, your husband may have his own issues but please don’t justify yourself by also behaving contrary to what God created you to be. When a husband is misbehaving and a wife is also misbehaving, the outcome is never good. This also applies to you as a single lady; if hurtful, loose talk is something that is identified with you, you will suffer from a reputation that will go ahead of you wherever you go and you will be a detriment or contribute to the ruin of your husband and your future home. In fact, a potential husband may pass you by just because of such attributes. Remember that the bible says it’s better to dwell on the roof of a house than with a nagging or quarrelsome wife (Proverbs 21:9) and if you go further down to verse 19, we are told this time that it is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman. Imagine that! That is to say that it is better for a man to live a dry life than to be with such a woman because nothing good can come out of such a situation. No man wants such a wife! Please let us discipline ourselves to speak only good and let it reflect in our actions. Don’t sit down and gossip with other women here and there. I believe that people who gossip, who are troublesome, who always want to fight are like a thrash can. You know a thrash can? Rubbish or garbage goes in and rubbish or garbage comes out of it. Please don’t let anybody make you a thrash can and don’t take pride in being one. For whatever reason, women can naturally be troublesome but it is not something that cannot be pruned away with God’s help and with our determination. Even if such negative traits are often linked to women, make yourself the exception. Let people say that you are a lady with a difference. A meek and quiet spirit is of great price in God’s sight and a woman who possesses such a spirit will always give her husband and those around her rest (1 Peter 3:4). So lets strive for such a spirit. Nobody is born that way; it is something we must consciously work hard to achieve and if God’s Word is dwelling richly in us, only edifying words and actions must come out of us.

Make it a pleasurable one…

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Please don’t forget to enjoy your life with your spouse. Stop being so serious that you don’t go on dates, go for walks, you don’t have playful conversations, you don’t tickle each other and run around the house. Enjoy your life & create your dream marriage – it’s for life! He has given us all things (including marriage) richly to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17) so go ahead and enjoy it. Create your own fun with each other and with your entire family; make the atmosphere a jovial and uplifting one and stop being so stiff. Remember that  where there is joy, God resides! Literally speak to your spouse and children in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs; find joy in every moment. Homes that are void of joy and laughter are more often than not, filled with people who are depressed, frustrated, angry, and even unwell and there can’t be progress in such an environment! That is why the Word of God should dwell richly in you so that you always have a seasoned word for every situation (Colossians 3:16). Take a cue from where God placed the first couple – in the garden of Eden. Eden means a place of delight and pleasure, so why should your own marriage and family life be any different? .It doesn’t have to be just in your physical marital home but anywhere you are together, should be enjoyable. Regardless of what stage you may be in now, your home, your marriage, your family life can only be what you make it to be – make it a pleasurable one!