Mind the Gap

Last week I read something interesting in the bible that stopped me in my tracks. If you read the books of Kings or the Chronicles in the bible, it follows the stories of the kings of Israel and Judah. In fact, the opening lines of each story paints a picture of what to expect of each king by putting them into two camps: He did what was right in the eyes of God or He did evil in the eyes of God. But this week, the opening line to King Amaziah’s life made me pause for a second.

He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheatedly.

2 Chronicles 25:2 NIV

That totally caught me off guard! I spent the rest of the week mulling over that and on Sunday, the sermon made it so much clearer. When we do not live in full surrender to God, there is a gap between the perfect plan God envisages for our life and the reality of what our lives are on earth. The example the pastor gave was the fact that in Revelations 7:9 shows a vision of every nation, every tribe and every tongue before the throne of God and yet in the reality of our world today, churches are segregated and even racism and discrimination permeate the hallowed sanctuaries! There is a gap…

And it is in this gap that the enemy seeks to take dominion over God’s people. We know the enemy prowls around seeking whom he may devour and it is in the gap that he finds us prey. Amaziah’s story starts well… but because he was not wholeheartedly devoted to God, the end of his life was a different story. Arrogance and pride filled the gap between doing what was right in God’s eyes and doing so wholeheartedly and that arrogance and pride brought about his downfall and destruction. Paul cautions:

…and give no opportunity to the devil.

Ephesians 4:27 ESV

Jesus admonished that when the prince of this world, Satan comes, he will find nothing in him and as followers of Jesus Christ that must be our confession too. So this week mind the gap. Pay attention to your inner thoughts and your self-talk. Pay attention to your actions. Are you living the life Jesus envisioned for you? Are you walking in His purpose? I have been humbled by Amaziah’s life and so I conclude with this prayer:

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Yours Truly.

p.s. if you’ve been blessed don’t forget to like, comment and share with your friends so they can be blessed too.

Nothing is too emergent for God

Picture this… You have been looking out for an opportunity to work at a prestigious firm and one day you come across a job posting for which you meet the qualifications but it closes in 30 minutes. You now have to race against the clock to get your application in right away. You do not have a current resume or cover letter. What do you do? Do you get working on a stellar resume and cover letter right away or do you stop to pray?

This week I came across a story in the bible that blew my mind away. If you have a minute join me in 2 Chronicles 20 but here is the gist of the story: Jehoshaphat King of  Judah was informed that armies were marching up  to war against him and they had already started encroaching upon his territory. If I were him (with my Type A personality and all), I would have been thinking about battle strategy and coming up with back up plans for my plans and backup plans for my backup plans. But here is what Jehoshaphat did instead:

Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. 2 Chron. 20: 3-4 NIV

What!!! Can you believe this man?  Instead of rushing out quickly to go and meet the army in battle, he chose instead to pray and remind God of his promise to protect them. In fact while they were in prayer the armies of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir were still advancing and getting closer and closer but the people (including women and children) stood in God’s presence asking for help until He answered them.  And this is what God said:

‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’

And indeed the next day the people of Judah took up their battle position but did not have to do anything! God set ambush against the enemy warriors and all of a sudden they started to fight against one another until the last man was killed; a vast army totally annihilated. What has this story taught me? 

There is nothing too emergent for God.

Even in the face of an advancing army, an impossible-to-meet deadline, a pressing financial debt, a downright medical emergency, there is nothing so urgent that we cannot breathe a word of prayer to God for help. Nothing takes God by surprise because He is always with us. He sees the same supposedly insurmountable problem that we are seeing but also sees beyond the problem to the solution of it. There is nothing more frightening than being in situation that looks so bleak you cannot find a way out. But here is God’s assurance: 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NIV

So next time when you are in a tough spot, before you start trying to find a way out, can I encourage you to call upon the Lord first? Take a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours or even a few days to seek His help. He knows how urgent the situation is and will show up with help just in time. He is never too late… always on time. The battle is the LORD’s!

Yours Truly

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Hello folks! So for the past week I cannot get this word out of my mind: Foundations! I seem to hear it everywhere and interestingly, I just read an interesting passage in 1 Corinthians 3 about our foundations. Join me to read 1 Cor 3: 10-15.  Interesting, isn’t it? For those who have not read it here is the gist of it:

It is all in the foundation!

Everything we do here on earth amounts to us building a house and our works (thoughts, action, deeds, intents) become the raw materials that build the house. Based on the quality of our works, we are building with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, and straw or a combination of these and when our day of reckoning comes, that spiritual house you built will be tested with fire and you will be rewarded for the quality of the materials that went into your house. If your house withstands the fire you receive a reward, if not then you yourself will be saved but by the skin of your teeth! But there is a premise to this scripture. The house must be built of the foundation of Jesus Christ, the rock.

Without Jesus as the foundation on which we build our Christian life and faith, we build on sand and it does not matter the quality of the material with which the house is built. It crumbles. So this scripture is for Christians. Paul is telling us it is not enough to just have a solid foundation. He admonishes that

each one [of us] should build with care. 1 cor 3: 10 NIV

This imagery reminds me of the building of the first temple in Jerusalem described in 2nd Chronicles. Solomon started with a foundation of solid rock  (check) and then the magnificent edifice was built with gold, silver and precious stones (check, check, check). And yet God warned Solomon that that magnificent edifice could end up becoming a heap of rubble.

So this week, I have more questions than I have answers and I need your help. I will like you to share your thoughts about whatever God lays on your heart regarding foundations.  Here are some questions to spark some  thoughts and discussions but feel free to go in any direction and midweek I will compile your thoughts into a video:

  • how do we build with care?
  • How can we ensure that we are building a house that will not burn up when it passes through the fire?

That is it for me guys… I will be looking forward to reading your comments. Share the post with friends and colleagues so I can get as many responses as possible. By the way, August is my favourite month and to celebrate this month I will be giving away free copies of my book, God’s Bondservant. If you want a copy, send me a message with your email address here and I will send you your free copy!

Yours Truly.

Mental Health and the Church

Hi folks! This week church took an interesting turn. The pastor took the time to speak about mental health and how God helps us deal with mental health issues. The pastor even went ahead to share about his own experience and journey with depression and some of the congregants did the same. Now that was very different from what I am used to hearing about mental health issues in church. In fact, very little if any is said about it. There continues to be a stigma surrounding mental health issues, especially in Christians. However, this is a very important topic and especially now as many of us emerge from our COVID-cocoons.

This week I share with you what God has laid on the heart of  Chyina Powell, author of the blog Rise Holy, regarding the topic. And here is what she has to say:

Many believers in our society do not have a firm grasp on the truth of what mental health is. They mistakenly assume that it is all about depression or being crazy. But, in truth, mental health encompasses so much more than that. And that is why we as the body of Christ must break the cycle of stigmatizing mental health discussion.

What is mental health?

Mental health determines how we think and how we feel therefore it has an important impact on the way we view the world, how we treat others and how we treat ourselves. Our mental health is made up of three common factors: life experiences, biology (chemical make-up), and family history. Mental health problems occur when one of these factors begins to alter your mood and mindset. Someone who has poor mental health doesn’t have to be what the church stereotypes as “crazy,” they can be someone who lies awake at night with worry, someone who feels apathetic to the world around them or someone experiencing aches and pains in their body for no physical reason. Yet many believers who are uneducated on the truth of what characterizes mental health argue that mental health problems only arise in those who don’t know God or those who have backslidden.

Can God relate with our struggles with mental health issues?

The truth is that our Heavenly Father knew that His children would have mental health issues which is why He gives us example after example in His Word. Elijah, a man who was so loved by God that he didn’t even die had terrible mood swings and even struggled with suicidal thoughts. Naomi, a woman who lost everything, was ready to give up. Moses, the man who delivered Israel out of Egypt was so anxious that if it was up to him, he never would have gone at all. And the list goes on.

Mental health is a very real battle that we as God’s children must acknowledge in order to overcome. You cannot win a battle if you refuse to fight it. Ask yourself this question, if mental health wasn’t important would the Lord have included it in the Scriptures? Thankfully, God always shows us a way out which is why we have to seek His face for ourselves.

Why is it important to discuss this issue?

From depression to anxiety to finding ways to cope with our issues to feelings of inadequacy or abandonment, the struggle is real. And as God’s chosen people, His representatives here on Earth, we have to talk about it. We have to stop saying, “Oh, that’s just a Spirit” or looking down on someone who is going through these issues. Why? Because we cannot minister to people if they don’t trust us. We cannot help save souls if we look down on the very real emotions and battles people go through each and every day. Our light cannot shine if we never step into the darkness. Ignoring an issue doesn’t make it disappear. And, if we were honest with ourselves, I believe every believer that has ever lived has gone through periods of time where they were in poor mental health. It is okay to discuss it.

The Lord tells us that He will heal us but He cannot heal a pain we do not acknowledge.

When was the last time you talked about mental health in a group of believers? When was the last time you were honest with the mental battles you face? That is why the Lord laid my upcoming Bible Study Nevertheless on my heart. I faced these same challenges and thought to myself that maybe I wasn’t saved enough. But that isn’t true. The war we wage is in the spirit and in the mind which is why it is time for the Church to address mental health openly and unashamedly.

Chyina Powell is an editor and writer at Powell Editorial. She is the financial chair of the Alumni Epsilon chapter of the International English Honors’ Society, Sigma Tau Delta and her writing interests lie mainly in speculative fiction and creative nonfiction. With years of editorial and publishing experience as well as a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Pennsylvania, Chyina is passionate about her work and shining a light on those voices previously unheard or misrepresented. Chyina is also the author of an upcoming Bible Study called Nevertheless: What the Bible Says About Mental Health, that broaches such topics as depression, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy and more. In order to cover the expenses of publication, she has created a soon-to-launch Kickstarter project that can be found here. 

Thank you Chyina for this piece! My take away: You cannot win a battle if you refuse to fight it!

Yours Truly.