Thoughts On Psalms 91
Ways To Get Out Of The Rat Race
Get Out Of The Rat Race
- Musings From The Book Of Ruth 2 years ago
- Hope in Spite Of… 2 years ago
- His Truth Or My Truth? – A Closer Look At Psalm 91:4 3 years ago
- Thoughts On Psalms 91 3 years ago
- Ways To Get Out Of The Rat Race 3 years ago
What Is Your Testimony?
We often quote Revelations 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
What is the “word of your testimony”?
Is it those two minutes that you stand before a congregation and tell them how God healed you?
Or that discussion you had with your house fellowship members or a group of friends telling them of how God delivered you from a fatal auto crash?
I dare say NO!
A light bulb went off in my head as I studied 1st John 5:9-13 (Please take a few minutes and read the entire chapter).
1 John 5:9-13 New International Version (NIV)
9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1 John 5:9-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
From the foregoing, we see that God have given us a testimony and that is the testimony we must reiterate.
This therefore means that the word of my testimony is this” 11 that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life”.
So anything that shows up in my life that does not look like the eternal life that God has given me, I overcome it by the blood of the lamb and by the word of my testimony.
Sickness comes against me; I overcome it by the blood of the lamb and by the word of my testimony. “By his stripes I am healed”
Death comes knocking at the door; I overcome it by the blood of the lamb and by the word of my testimony “I shall live and not die to declare the works of the lord in the land of the living.
Poverty, lack, disaster, troubles, temptations… whatever! You name it. I locate the word of my testimony and overcome it!
Even when it looks like the situation or circumstance would kill me; I do not love my life above the testimony that God has given. I do not fear the scorn and mockery of men. I do not fear being politically incorrect. I do not fear missing some popularity contest or even losing privileges.
I stand by the testimony that God has given; “God has given us eternal life and that life is in his son; I have the son therefore I have eternal life”.
Today I overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the word of my testimony. Hallelujah!
Live In The Present- One Day At A Time
Live in the present! Every day you wake up to is a gift from God and has to be treated as such. It has to be received with joy and thanksgiving.
Psalm 118:24 King James Version (KJV)- This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
What did you expect God to do for you yesterday that you felt he didn’t do?
What are you looking forward for God to do tomorrow?
Have any of these expectations robbed you of living in the present?
I once saw a movie title “Waiting To Exhale” Although it didn’t appear deep or highly spiritual, it was an insightful movie.
Many of us are waiting for an event to occur in our lives before we “start living” or get excited about life.
Check out these scenarios:-
“I would be happy when I graduate from college and get a good job” Then it happened and you’re still not happy or “living yet”. Or you were happy for the first year, and then you got frustrated with/on the job and began to look forward to another event.
“I would be happy when I get married”; you got married and discovered it wasn’t all that you expected. Then you shifted gear and began to expect kids; “I would be happy when I have my 2.5 kids”
Now the kids are here and they are not all social media cracked them up to be. You expected your “mini me” to be a cute little boy or girl that would always make daddy or mummy go “aaaawww”. But no! Junior gets cranky and wants to have his way; cute bambina throws tantrums and wouldn’t eat or sleep without fussing.
And once again the happiness goal post shifts; “I would be happy when these kids grow up and go off to college”. They grow up, go off to college and graduate.
Then comes ” I would be happy when these children get married and give me grand kids”
These scenarios are just one aspect of our live expectations; what about the financial aspects? Or the career goals? Or even the ministry goals?
Wake Up And Smell The Coffee!
When would we learn that the rainbow has no end and neither is there any pot of gold at the non-existent end? How long would you keep reaching for the future or living in the past?
Some of us are living either in past glories or in past failures. “I remember when I was a size 6 with flat stomach and firm skin” or “I used to have 6-packs and toned muscles”. That’s mundane right? But many of us are still dreaming of our teenage or twenties bodies and hating the bodies we live in presently.
Well, if you hate those flabby muscles or sagging belly; then get to the gym! Have a lifestyle change; do something about it! But enjoy life daily while you are at it.
What about body changes that come with age that no amount of exercise or lifestyle change can alter? Be glad that you’ve lived long enough to encounter them, embrace the aging process and age gracefully.
You know in what areas you are still living in the past. It may be that prestigious job that came with so much perks and honor that you lost some years back or that business that was second to none in the 90’s. The list of past glories is endless but you have to let it go!
You may have encountered failures either through your carelessness, naivety of stupidity. Every one of us has. Pick up the lessons learnt, grow/improve and move on!
Learn From the Nature Of God
When God appeared to Moses, he told him that his name is “I AM”. God is not the future; he is not the past, He IS!
The Holy Spirit explained it to me this way; that God is a constant; he is present continuous. Before I was born, he IS, presently, he IS and in my future he IS. There is no “was” or “would be” with God.
Let’s examine some scriptures to buttress this fact
King James Version
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
New International Version
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.
Psalm 46: 1
King James Version
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
New International Version
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
New International Version
You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”
King James Version
And as vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
And like a robe You will roll them up;Like a garment they will be changed. But [a]You are the same [forever],And Your years will never end.”
King James Version
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he IS, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
I could go on and on but I challenge you to go and do a study of the unchanging nature of God and his present continuous status.
Live In The Present
The fact that the God who made you “IS” gives you carte blanche to enjoy life every day. This is because he’s got you covered. He daily loads us with benefits (Psalms 68:19), so don’t let any day go by without availing yourself of the benefit of that day.
Does this now mean that you shouldn’t plan or have goals? Absolutely not! Have your plans and your goals. Learn from the mistakes of the past, look forward to the promise of better days ahead but enjoy this day in which you find yourself.
Let me end on this note. Do not borrow tomorrow’s troubles and forfeit today’s benefits.
New International Version
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
New Living Translation
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
American King James Version
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.
Cast Not Away Your Confidence; Hebrews 10:35
What does confidence mean?
Wikipedia defines it thus “Confidence has a common meaning of a certainty about handling something, such as work, family, social events, or relationships. Some have ascribed confidence as a state of being certain either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective”.
So many people started out the year with strong confessions of faith and a joyful expectation of great things. Their confidence was most probably based on the truth that God is faithful and able to do what he promised.
Fast forward to the second half of the year and the confessions are beginning to wane. Not as bold and strong as in the first and second or even third month of the year.
Just like Peter, many of us are looking at the wind; but can one see the wind? Yep! When you look at the boisterous roiling of the sea, you are “seeing the wind”.
But how can I not cast away my confidence when the bills I saw in January are still staring me in the face?
How can I “cast not away my confidence” when it seems like I take one step forward and two backwards?
What is happening? Do I not have enough faith? Have I not trusted God enough? Am I not working hard or smart enough?
I have a word from God for you today….
Do you know that the hours before morning are usually the darkest?
Cast not away therefore your confidence for it has a great recompense of reward! For you have need of patience that after you have done the will of God you might obtain the promise.
Having done all to stand; STAND!!!
The patience you need now is not the literal dictionary patience of putting up with a situation. It is rather the bible patience of staying consistent with what you believe. It is standing firm on that promise that God gave you without “looking at the winds”.
You started out the year standing on God’s promise; stay steadfast and unmovable on it. Do not be like the first grade child who planted a bean seed and kept uprooting it to see whether it was growing.
You have planted the seed of your confession, it’s time to water it with your praise; even the sacrifice of praise. Your tears are part of the watering but only if they are cried in praise and worship and not in complaints and bitterness.
Lift up your head! Look above the winds; look up! The one who gave you a word is faithful (Numbers 23:19…Take out 5 minutes daily for seven days to meditate on this verse).
Dare to Walk Alone – Say No to Peer Pressure
Welcome to the second part of my treatise on peer pressure. If you haven’t read the first part check it out here.
Every human being is born with the need to belong; there is a longing in everyone’s heart to be part of “something”. That’s why children in a family need to know that they are an integral part of the family. In the same vein, the new kid in school wants to be accepted by his peers. So also the new staff works hard to be accepted as part of the team.
Nobody wants to stick out like a sore thumb in any environment. Fitting in is the easiest thing to do at all times or is it? Sometimes the cost of fitting in is by far steeper than the pain of standing out.
It’s true that the natural inclination of any rational man (generic) is to tow the path of least resistance. But do you know what I’ve discovered? No one ever made it to greatness or significance in life by towing the path of least resistance.
Before we go far in this discuss, let’s consider the book of Romans 12: 2
King James Version
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Good News Translation
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.
GOD’S WORD Translation
Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants–what is good, pleasing, and perfect.
The Message Bible
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
I always like to give us bible verses in different translations so that we can have a broader understanding of the verse. You can go a step further to do a study of this verse on your own.
What is God’s Will For Us?
From the forgoing, we can infer that God’s will for every one of his children is to think like him. That means being holy and being holy means being set apart; one of a kind.
So when you refuse to be ruled by self image, status symbols or worldly values, you are being holy. When your idea of an ideal mum or dad or how to conduct yourself as a mature single woman is not from Instagram or social media; when you’d rather obey God than live by the rules of society you stand out.
Holiness is not defined by the cloths you wear, your jewelries, accessories or hairstyle (those are more like expressions of your personality and or upbringing).
In these days of social media popularity and fronting, a lot of people would love to be seen as standing out. They post contradictory messages and attack whatever seems to be a norm. I’ve seen many quotes that get thumbs up and likes just because they sound deep but sadly are not scripturally sound.
Standing out and daring to walk alone doesn’t mean condemning people or their way of life. It doesn’t mean being a social miscreant or rebel. Neither does it mean causing strife and sowing seeds of discord wherever you are.
Standing out means learning to walk the path that God has ordained for you. Following God’s blueprint for your life whether single or married, raising your children according to God’s purpose and being all that he has ordained for you to be.
Note that every individual has a blueprint from God; he knows our end from our beginning. He is the manufacturer who has given us the user manual for his product and that user manual is the bible.
God’s Blueprint/User Manual
If you want to be totally free of peer pressure, the most important tool is the renewing of your mind. We know from Romans 12:2 that the renewing of our minds would help us access God’s will for our lives.
When you consult your manufacturer’s manual regularly, you would understand what to do and what not to do. That’s the process of renewing your mind.
Most user manuals would include the following sections:-
- The name of the product and other identification information (may also include materials used in manufacturing the product)
- The features or characteristics of the product
- How the product functions and what it can do
- Instruction for installation, Use and Maintenance
- Precautions, Safety code and other related guidelines
- Frequently asked questions
- A section that gives technical support for troubleshooting
- Warranty statements
Do you know that the bible contains all these sections about your life? You are the product, God is the manufacturer and the bible is the user manual.
Let me give you a fun challenge; look at all the sections of the above sample table of contents of a user manual and use it for a bible study plan.
For example; day one would be a study on number one on the above table of content. So I would go online and look for bible passages that define who I am (what did God call me when he made me?). Then I would go on to find out who I am in Christ Jesus; I would type in “bible verses about who I am in Christ Jesus” etc.
From there I would move on to item two on the list. Try this and you’ll be amazed at the treasures you’ll uncover. Furthermore, you’ll be so engrossed in this challenge that you’ll not have time to check out what other people are doing with their lives. What’s more, you’ll be delivered from the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses.
I started out this piece with some ideas that I wanted to share about practical steps on how to combat peer pressure. Little did I know that the Holy Spirit would steer my thoughts the way he did.
I invite you to join me in exploring our user manual; get in on the challenge today!
Peer Pressure – Too Old For That!
Whenever we hear the phrase “peer pressure” our minds go to children or teenagers. We think that its only teenagers that experience peer pressure. But can I announce to you that peer pressure is a lifelong phenomenon?
Before we go on, let me give us a formal definition of peer pressure: –
“Peer pressure is the direct influence on people by peers, or the effect on an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudes, values or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. This can result in either a positive or negative effect or both”
The above definition confirms my earlier assertion that we are never free from peer pressure as long as we live.
That being said, it is pertinent that we understand the characteristics of peer pressure. For only then would we be able to combat or withstand negative peer pressure. And then we can go on to help our kids, mentees or people in our sphere of influence deal with it too!
7 Telltale Signs of Peer Pressure
Sometimes people wake up and decide to do something and they feel that the decision is solely theirs. Not so! There are subtle influences that informed that decision. So whether you are a teenager or midlifer, these telltale signs would alert you to peer pressure.
This is not totally negative; sometimes these adjustments may be for the better. There are people who make you want to be a better person. Some others influence/inspire you to seek God more; others challenge you to be a better spouse and/or parent… the list goes on
But how do you determine when these adjustments are negative? Here are some pointers:-
Anything/person that makes you go against God’s word is a negative influence. This is also true of anything/person that makes you go against the grain of who you are
Let’s come down to “mundane” issues. When you start behaving in ways that people who know you don’t recognize then there’s a negative peer pressure at work.
Case in point:
A friendly woman who goes out of her way to be friendly with everyone she meets; says “hi and how are you today” to the janitor, or chats with the waiter at the restaurant/cafeteria at lunch time. Then all of a sudden, she becomes this aloof person who now has an understanding that she’s a management staff who shouldn’t fraternize with the “help”.
Hmmm! that’s not really who she is; can it be that some persons have told her that successful career women carry themselves with an “air of dignity? This by the way is just a very shallow example but I trust that you get my drift.
A Feeling of Not Belonging (Low Self Esteem)
When a person feels like they don’t belong in a place, then there’s a subtle peer pressure to make the person fit in.
I know we have all found ourselves at one time or the other in this position. Maybe you didn’t/don’t speak with the same accent and inflections or you didn’t/don’t have the same fashion sense. Your case may be that you didn’t/don’t live in the same geographical location (every city/state in the world have “bourgee” locations) or you don’t have a certain pedigree.
We can all totally relate to that feeling of being the odd one in a group. And why is that? It’s because there’s an unwritten code that some influencers are pushing and you are subtly feeling the pressure to conform.
Trying new things is one sure sign of peer pressure. Again, this may be either positive or negative. Peer pressure can help you become more adventurous with your fashion sense, relaxation/fun, exercise regimen etc.
It can also lead you into bad habits; yes even as a midlifer! Don’t be deceived into thinking that it’s only teenagers that pick up bad habits.
I know a number of married women who went wild and broke up their marriages after they turned 40(Most of them got married in their 20s). Those I spoke with told me that they’ve been in bondage all these years but have now “woken up”. Do you think they started trying those new things or going wild on their own? Definitely not!
Once a person becomes overtly conscious of their image or status, then they are succumbing to peer pressure. You are a pawn in the hands of social influencers when you live by a “code of conduct” that has no scriptural or moral bearing or that exalt image above reality.
If you can buy clothes and other fashion accessories on credit just so that you look the part, you are a victim of peer pressure. Same goes for those who misplace priority for status symbols; flashy cars and a fancy house instead of a good school for the kids or college funds, expensive vacations instead of regular mortgage payments… and the list goes on.
Whenever you find yourself comparing yourself with someone else, you are responding to peer pressure. Whether you do so to feel good that you are better than others or you feel inferior to your contemporaries. It’s all one and the same; it does you more harm than good.
2 Corinthians 10:12
New International Version
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
New Living Translation
Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!
English Standard Version
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
Doing Things Just to Please Others
Have you ever attended an event just to please someone? Or have you worn something you didn’t particularly like just because it’s trending? These are simple examples. Let’s go deeper…
What of those situations when you have been pressured into making life changing decisions that didn’t resonate with your spirit?
All of us can testify to having done something that we didn’t like just because of peer pressure or other forms of pressure.
Performance at Work or Other Life’s Endeavor
Peer pressure affects people’s performance either negatively or positively. Some people become overachievers while others become underachievers. Others yet are inspired to become all that God has ordained them to be.
The following excerpt from www.verywellmind.com explains overachievement/overachievers:-
“Success is something that everyone strives for, but is it ever possible to work too hard to reach your goals? Overachievers are people who do great things, but still need to accomplish more. Even though they attain more success than the vast majority of people, they are never satisfied and always strive to accomplish more.
While this behavior can lead to professional and academic success, it can create a huge imbalance in a person’s life. An overachiever may neglect his or her own needs or the needs of family and friends in order to triumph.
Achievement is, in most cases, a good thing. After all, who doesn’t want to reach their goals? The problem with overachievement is that it involves reaching these goals at costs that outweigh the rewards. People often sacrifice their own health, happiness, and relationships in order to chase a target that is always moving beyond them”. https://www.verywellmind.com/are-you-an-overachiever-4580606.
There are so many definitions of an underachiever but in the course of my study/research this write-up on the link below caught my attention
It explains who an underachiever is and what makes you one. This discourse goes to corroborate my assertions that we are driven to certain actions and habits by peer pressure.
I deliberately brought these links to you so that you can do a bit of further reading and hopefully learn more from these write-ups.
I’m sure some of you are wondering why this post is not replete with bible references as is my style but not to worry. This is just the first part of my thoughts and findings on peer pressure.
Please stay with me as I bring you the conclusion of this treatise in subsequent posts.
40 and Single – How Do I Cope?
Many singles have woken up one day and discovered “wow! I’m 40 and single; how do I cope?
There are many reasons why one may still be single at 40. Some of the most commonly known reasons are as follows:-
Death of a spouse, Never Been Married, Divorce, Health or Personal Choice
Truth be told, 99.9999% of single people out there (especially women) never saw themselves single at 40 or beyond.
Of all the reasons for being single, one that poses the greatest challenge is that of never being married. Am I saying that other reasons are not as daunting or challenging? Nope! But sometimes society dictates otherwise.
Coming to Terms With Being 40 and Single
Navigating the waters of being single after 40 differs from one person to the other. But the constant factor that must anchor every Christian single is the bible.
Although many physiologists have a lot of theories on coming to terms with singlehood after 40, nothing beats the word of God.
To come to terms with your single status, you have to believe God’s word and hold on to it, come rain or shine.
Don’t roll your eyes just yet. Let’s consider these scriptures:-
1st Corinthians 7:17 The Message
And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.
Ephesians 1:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:4-6 The Message (MSG)
3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Practical Ways of Dealing With Singleness
Free yourself from societal expectation
So many single people live in constant fear of what people are saying about them. They are taunted by the ridicule and castigation of society.
I have first hand experience of it here in our African society. I’ve also heard about the experiences of my sisters in other climes and societies.
From the snide remarks at weddings, baby showers or other family gatherings. To the insinuation that something must be wrong with you if such a pretty and intelligent woman can’t get anyone to marry her. Or the admonition that you should please tone down your intelligence and assertiveness so that you wouldn’t intimidate potential suitors… the lines are unending.
For the guys, I’ve heard it said that a guy that’s still single at 40 and above must be irresponsible. In some circles, they say that there must be something wrong with the man physically (in reference to his sexual health/ abilities). In this day and age some people even go as far as questioning the person’s sexual orientation.
It can be exhausting I know but we all have to learn to cope with it.
Tips for coping
Let me share some of the coping mechanisms, I’ve adopted over the years
Before going for any gathering that I know may trigger pressure, I meditate on some scriptures. I call this my spiritual fortification
I keep emphasizing the fact that the bible is an anchor for our souls. Please don’t trivialize this fact or take it as cliché.
These scriptures work for me and I believe they’ll work for you too. Let me share some of them with you . They are Romans 8:28, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 49. You can still find more for yourself.
In addition to meditating on scriptures, I pray in tongues for a bit. This helps to keep me grounded because I could become caustic if aggravated. I’ve noticed that this helps to fortify me and keep me calm no matter the jabs, innuendos or aggravations.
In addition to meditating on scriptures, I remind myself that life is an adventure and not a plan.
When I was coming to earth, I didn’t come with a plan. I was just born! I had no say on who my parents were going to be or about any aspect of my life. So there’s no need to stress myself over any situation
This is not a “Que será, sera” attitude but a paradigm shift. Build up a stronghold in your mind that you are complete in Christ and that nothing is wrong with you.
Marriage is not a reward for good behavior neither is singleness a punishment for bad behavior.
I would not be bamboozled into fulfilling anyone’s expectation of me. I would be courageous enough to trust God’s plan for my life.
Please note that these affirmations and fortifications is not a one off exercise but a continuous exercise. Trust me, the more you engage in this exercise, the calmer you become and more equipped to ignore all that society throws at you.
Avoid Pressure triggering situations
Try to avoid those situations where you are always put under undue pressure.
I’ve had to delete some numbers from my contact. I don’t attend every program I’m invited to (especially by long time acquaintances) I’m not saying you should cut off everyone from your past but learn how to evade too much proximity that leads to comparison.
Case in point; I was invited to the wedding of one of my Sunday school kids (she’s 20 years younger than I am). I knew most of my old acquaintances would be there and the first question out of their mouths would be “when would we attend your own wedding? Or why don’t you want to get married? So I called the bride-to-be’s mum (who happened to be an old friend) and asked for the bride’s account number (this was after making the requisite enquiries and congratulatory speech).
Thereafter, I made my excuses and expressed regrets at my inability to be at the wedding. Then immediately wired a cash gift to the account. This was a case where I could avoid the event. But in a case where you can’t avoid the event, you fortify yourself before attending.
Anyway, that’s my personal opinion and experience. You may differ or have a better way to handle this… I’d love to hear from you.
There are so many other pressure triggering situations and events. Learn to identify yours and ask for divine wisdom on how to avoid them or at best cope in those situations.
Surround Yourself With A Positive Support System
Be An Active Member of A Church
As the saying goes “no man is an island”. Everybody needs someone; that one or two persons that you can be vulnerable with and not feel judged or condemned.
As a Christian, it is pertinent that you have a church family. This is so important that we can’t gloss over it. We need to emphasize this point especially in this day and age where one can be a member of a church by proxy. Do not assume that logging on to a service and joining in the chat room conversation is the same as physical attendance and membership.
Remember Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake the assembling of the saints. When you meet with other believers, you are encouraged and exhorted. You receive fortification to face the pressures and storms of life. Additionally, you get the right kind of support!
Proverbs 27:17 says that iron sharpens iron….
Some may say that church folks have done them more evil than good. Hmmmm! Stay with us; we’ll discuss the purpose of the church in later posts.
Have Friends of Like Faith and Values
In building a positive support system, you need to bear in mind that they have to be people of like faith and values. Amos 3:3 says “can two walk together except they agree? Do not surround yourself with people who scoff at scriptures. Or those who tell you to be real (that is suggesting that scriptures are fluffy but worldly philosophies are real).
Case in point:
Me: My hormones have been running wild lately; I need some TLC(tender, loving, care).
Happy go lucky, church going friend: I can hook you up with a cool bloke. No questions asked. After all God knows we have needs.
Same scenario, spirit-led friend: Let’s go take in a movie or go for a Zumba session. You’ll be fine.
Who do you think I should hang out with? The one who affirms my sexual frustrations and proffers one night stands or friends with benefits? Or the one who helps me find healthy alternative outlet for my frustrations?
Every human being is a slave to something; no one is actually “free” in the true sense. But thank God that we can choose our chains! Ponder this:
New International Version
Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
New Living Translation
Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.
The right kind of support would not only keep you away from sin but would also build you up emotionally.
Don’t be friends with negative people. Don’t be friends with people who love comparison(2nd Corinthians 10:12b NIV :When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise). Don’t be friends with people who sap you of spiritual or emotional energy. Don’t! Don’t!! Don’t!!!
Your support group should be people whose values mirror yours; people who would look you in the eye and tell you the truth in love.
Learn To Play And Have Fun
When you hit age 40 and above, tendency is that you have become set in your ways. You go to work, come back home, eat and sleep.
Some folks are fortunate enough to love exercise or have developed an exercise regimen. So these ones may hit the gym or exercise routes twice or more times a week.
Other folks who are active in church or ministry would also invest their energy in church or ministry activities.
At the end of the day you find out that life seems to become a chore or burden. But it shouldn’t be!
Find activities that excite you! Make out time to play and have fun with friends and family (minus pressure triggering events; the keyword is fun. If it aint fun or healthy, stay away!).
Do not isolate yourself!
Life should not be all about responsibilities and obligations. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy life; everyday that comes is a blessing from God. He has freely given us all things to enjoy.
Determine today to enjoy life in your single status. Whether single by choice, never married or made single by circumstance remember that your status in life does not define you.
You are already accepted in the beloved and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!
The truth is that you do not just have to cope with being 40 and single; you can be 40, 50 or 60 and above and still flourish.
It’s not over until you draw your last breath; if you are still here, then you’re not done.
I’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us in our comments section; we’ll be glad to respond.
The Pain of Fruitfulness
Oftentimes fruitfulness can be painful; so many examples abound in nature that attests to this truth.
When a woman conceives, her body’s first reaction is “wow! What’s that? Some strange things begin to happen to her. Some women experience morning sickness; others experience absurd cravings while others are sleepy and lethargic all day long. These experiences are just a few of the things that happen.
All through the nine months of gestation, the woman suffers discomforts and some other inconveniences that one would rather do without. For some, the process of birthing is excruitiating, for others not so bad, but not pleasant all the same.
These and many more encompass the pain of fruitfulness. Yet I wonder how come women like my mother went through this process 8 times!
I asked her once about this and she said “once I held my baby in my arms for the first time, the pain is forgotten”. Wow! What a wonder of nature!
Let’s look at a fruitful tree. My father once told me that it’s only fruitful trees that children throw sticks and stones at.
This in essence means that fruitful trees are usually the most attacked. People throw sticks at them to get the fruits down. Some others shake the trees vigorously while yet others climb the tree to get the fruits down.
The process of the tree sharing its fruit with the world can either be painful or discomforting or even sometimes downright frustrating! But does the tree stop bearing fruits because of this? No!
Every season, it goes through the cycle to produce fruits that would either be received respectfully, or by other less pleasant means.
So what would it be? Would you forfeit fruitfulness just because of the pain?
Would you rather die in obscurity because you don’t want people talking about you?
Would you rather go to your grave with all the potentials that God has endowed you with than be criticized by people?
What would it be? Would you embrace the pain of fruitfulness or would you live an unfulfilled life?
Think about it!
For further study : John chapter 15
The “What If” Syndrome – Dealing With Fear of The Unknown
The “What If” Syndrome is a malady that attacks everyone. However, this problem is more prevalent the older one gets.
The single asks “what if” I never get married?. What if I have to be all alone in old age?
Some women ask “what if” I never had kids?
The parents of college age kids ask “what if” we can’t see our kids through college?
The single parent asks “what if” I mess up my kid’s life? “what if” I’m not a good parent?
There are so many “what ifs” that confront midlifers…
“What if I’m diagnosed with cancer or some life threatening disease?
“What if I go bankrupt or become unable to provide for my family?
“What if my husband leaves me for a younger woman?
“What if my children turn out badly?
What if? What if?? What if???
The Root of The ‘what if “Syndrome
Notice that all the examples of the “what ifs” I’ve given are negative? So is it safe to say that the root of the “what if” syndrome is fear?
I did a bit of research on this and my conclusion is YES! Fear is the root of the “what if” syndrome.
Before we delve into dealing with fear, we need to understand what fear is and God’s perspective on fear.
Dictionary Definition of Fear
Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. Fear in human beings may occur in response to certain stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to body or life. The fear response arises from the perception of danger leading to confrontation with or escape from/avoiding the threat (also known as the fight-or-flight response), which in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) can be a freeze response or paralysis. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear
Human Perspective on Fear
Psychologists posit that fear is a healthy phenomena. They all agree that every human being is wired with a sense of fear. Furthermore, they say that this type of fear helps us to avoid dangerous situations.
Humanly speaking, we can all identify with this. From the irrational fear of the dark/bogey man of childhood to fear learned from experiences; different factors shape our fears.
Some of these fears are considered rational while others are considered irrational. The irrational fears are the one categorized as phobias.
Everyone has one phobia or the other, or has had to deal with one fear or the other.
I have seen macho men cringe and break out in sweat at the sight of a rat or other rodents. I have also seen smart, intelligent and strong women pass out at the sight of a roach or spider.
Yours truly is still putting off learning to swim because I can’t stand water on my face and fear of being underwater (can’t even stand under a shower; thank God for detachable shower heads!)
But funny enough I love going on ferry/boat rides. I would overcome it, I’ll learn to swim before I’m 60; I promise (tongue in cheek)
Well, I’m not giving an expose on fear just wanted to give a little background.
So what does God/Scriptures have to say about fear?
God’s Perspective on Fear
I am not a certified bible scholar, just a student of scriptures. In my limited study of scriptures, I have come across the word fear or its synonyms a number of times. But in 90% of the times I’ve encountered it; it has been as a warning against it.
The word “fear not” is recurrent in scriptures. It shows up as either “fear not” or “be not afraid” why is that? Because God knows that fear has torment!
Yes psychologists agree that there’s healthy fear but God’s word constantly says “fear not”
Would God wire fear into man and then command him not to be afraid? I think not!
The little illumination I got from the Holy Spirit is that fear came in at the fall of man.
God created us in his image; “in his likeness created he them” -Genesis 1:27
So if I have been born again, it means that I’ve gone back to original setting –
1st Corinthians 5:17
King James Bible
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.
GOD’S WORD® Translation
Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence.
New Living Translation
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
You may do a further study on this scripture it would bless you.
So if the old is passed and the new is here, it means my definition of fear and how I relate to it must change.
‘Practical Ways” of Dealing with Fear
By “practical ways” I mean psychologists’ prescription for dealing with fear.
In the course of researching this subject, I found many prescriptions for dealing with fear.
On the surface many of them were great. I’ll give you an example…
1. When faced with fear, confront it; stare the fear in the face and acknowledge it.
2. Then go away to a quiet place.
3. Empty your mind of all the negative thoughts and finally,
4. Begin to meditate on positive things. Think of green meadows, peacefully flowing streams, birds chirping in the trees or a beautiful sunset.
Some Psychologists even recommend yoga and other methods of meditation.
Yes, most of these prescriptions may help calm your nerves for that moment. But do they get to the root of the fear? I dare say, NO!
My Own Coping Mechanism
There’s one thing that has helped me so far to deal with fear. This is in addition to the tested, proven and true method of the bible.
Nobody taught me to do this, I just found myself thinking this way. Or maybe years of walking and fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit taught me. I can’t say categorically what prompted me to do this when fear or one of those “what ifs” come visiting.
I gather all my what ifs, line them up before me (this is of course an imaginary line up) .
Then I begin to ask myself what the worst case scenario would be about those “what ifs”
So what if I’m still single in my mid to late 40’s? – What’s the worst that can happen?
So what if I never give birth to a child?
So what if I don’t have substantial savings for retirement?
So what if I don’t have a home of my own? What if I’m still renting and can’t afford a home well into my 50s or 60s?
The list goes on and on.
By the time I line up these what ifs and answer the question with the worst case scenario, I find that life would still go on in spite of all the worst case scenarios.
In fact not only would life go on, life would still be enjoyable because there’s more to life than all my “what ifs”.
God’s Prescription For Dealing with The “what If” syndrome
If you examine all the “what ifs” in your life, you’ll discover they stem from a fear of the unknown.
I know many of us would have loved to have the entire picture of our life’s journey. But unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
“If only God had told me when I turned 18 that i would get married at 45 or at 50 or not at all”.
“If only God had told me that he wanted me to be a preacher instead of allowing me to go through all those career fails”.
“If only God had told me this”… “if only God had told me that”.
But he has already told us all we need to know to live fearlessly. Huh?? When did he do that?
Have you studied your user manual lately? Yep! Your user manual; the bible.
God has a lot to say about your journey on earth and why you don’t have to be afraid.
So when one of those monsters or perky naggings of “what if” rears up its head, here are some scriptures to meditate upon.
When You Feel Unloved, All Alone or Uncertain and Anxious About The Future
Isaiah chapter 49 (Read and meditate on the entire chapter)
|Jeremiah 29:11||Young’s Literal Translation||Wycliffe||The Webster Bible||World English Bible|
|For I have known the thoughts that I am thinking towards you — an affirmation of Jehovah; thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give to you posterity and hope.||For I know the thoughts which I think on you, saith the Lord, the thoughts of peace, and not of torment, that I give to you an end and patience. (For I know the thoughts which I think about you, saith the Lord, the thoughts of peace, and not of torment, so that I shall give you a good ending.)||For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.||For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.|
If You Have a Wayward Ward or Child…
|New International Version||English Standard Version||Berean Study Bible||New Living Translation|
|Isaiah 43:4-6||4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. 5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth||4 Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. 5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. 6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth||4Because you are precious and honored in My sight, and because I love you,I will give men in exchange for you and nations in place of your life. 5Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east and gather you from the west. 6I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth—||4 Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. 5 “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west. 6 I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth|
|Isaiah 54:13||All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.||All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children||Then all your sons will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their prosperity.||I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace|
When You Fear Impending Shame or Public Embarrassment
|New International Version||English Standard Version||Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)||New Living Translation|
|Isaiah 54:3 & 4||3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. 4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.||3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. 4 “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.||3 For you will spread abroad to the right hand and to the left; and your offspring will possess the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. 4 Fear not, for you shall not be ashamed; neither be confounded and depressed, for you shall not be put to shame. For you shall forget the shame of your youth, and you shall not [seriously] remember the reproach of your widowhood any more.||3 For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will occupy other nations and resettle the ruined cities. 4 “Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.|
|Matthew 6:26||26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?||26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?||26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth much more than they?||26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?|
|1st Peter 5:7||Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.||Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you||Amplified Bible (AMP) 7 casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. Classic Edition 7 Casting the [a]whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, [b]once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you [c]watchfully.||Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.|
“What ifs” would rob you of all the joy that God has for you in the here and now.
God’s got you covered so go ahead and enjoy life!
Yes you heard me; enjoy life! Sing a little louder! Dance more often! Work hard and play hard! Explore new interests and pursue adventure (within Godly limits of course)
Hear Solomon in Ecclesiastes 8:15…
New International Version
So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.
New Living Translation
So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.
Berean Study Bible
So I commended the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be merry. For this joy will accompany him in his labor during the days of his life that God gives him under the sun.
The Message Bible
So, I’m all for just going ahead and having a good time – the best possible. The only earthly good men and women can look forward to is to eat and drink well and have a good time – compensation for the struggle for survival these few years God gives us on earth.
Solomon had a very adventurous life before he ended up saying “vanity upon vanity, all is vanity”
Do not wake up one day with all your teeth gone and your eyes dim only to discover that life has passed you by. Then you become a bitter old man or woman!
Leave all the “what ifs” at the master’s feet and skip along with no worries; Yes no worries!
Prayer For Salvation – Establishing The Right Foundation
The latebloomercenter.com is a christian site and everything we do or say is premised on the word of God.
The bible said that spiritual things cannot be discerned by the physical senses. This means that you cannot understand or appreciate God’s word with the five senses. You have to be tuned to the right frequency to get the right signals. Therefore everything we say on this site can only make sense to you and bless you if you are tuned to the right frequency
How then can you be tuned to the right frequency? By becoming spiritually alive and this can only happen when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior.
Accepting and receiving Jesus into your heart is an act of your will; a conscious act. And you do this by believing and confessing.
First step is acknowledging that you are a sinner. This idea throws a lot of “good” people. But note that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God “- Romans 3:23.
You are a sinner because you were born into the Adamic nature not because of what you have done. So to become a child of God, all you need to do is receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior.
You cannot get to God through good deeds or behavior – You must accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior .
John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
Acts 4:12,Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”
Acts 16:30-31 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
These are a few bible verses to help you understand more about your need for salvation and how to be saved.
If you have never made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior, you need to do so now!
Pray this prayer …
Prayer For Salvation
Father I come to you in the name of Jesus.I know you are willing to accept me as your child and that you will not turn me away based on your word. Today I confess that I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the son of the living God and that he died for my sin just as the bible said.
I believe that he was raised from the dead for my justification. I believe that because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am made right with God.
So today I confess that I accept what Jesus did on the cross for me to be saved and I confess with my mouth that I am saved. I am no longer a sinner. I am saved! I am a child of God!
Thank you father God for accepting me into your kingdom. I am now a new creature old things are passed away, all things have become new (2nd Corinthians 5:17 ) in Jesus’ name . Amen!
Welcome to the family of God
For further help or counselling you can reach out to us in the comments section or by email to chisomodimba @gmail.com.
God bless you.
Get the Right Lens –Readjust Your Focus
I wear glasses and so have difficulty staring at light/screens or reading up close without them. I remember one day that I forgot my glasses at home and went off to work. When I got to the office my assistant offered me her glasses (she wears glasses too)
One would think that my problem was solved but no! I brought her glasses close to my face and felt dizzy and woozy. Wow! What happened? I thought glasses are meant to help you see or read better?
Yep they are! But you have to have the right prescription.
That brings me to my thoughts for today
Here’s what the Holy Spirit showed me from the book of 2nd Corinthians 4-16-18.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 The Message (MSG)
16-18 So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
IT OFTEN LOOKS LIKE …
Have you ever heard the phrase “it’s not really what it looks like?” Hmmm! If you’ve been in a relationship with an unfaithful partner, you would have heard this often (ouch!).
But do you know that sometimes, this phrase really explains the situation? Sometimes things are not the way they appear at first sight. Take a second look.
Our perception of circumstances and situations might be faulty… It all depends on what lens you are looking through.
Everything would seem to be wrong or falling apart when you look through the eyes of popular opinion or worldly philosophy.
The lens of the world tells you that you are a lost cause. It tells you that your mates have gone far ahead of you. It can also tell you that life is no longer worth living; what are you still living for? You can never get married, you can never have that baby, you can never be a financial success, you can never… you can never… you can never!!
That’s what you see when you look through the eye of the flesh.
But when you look at things through the lens of God’s word, you see that all things are working together for your good.
When you get the right lens, you become an overcomer. And the overcomer does not look at the things that are seen; he looks at the unseen.
God’s word cannot be interpreted with the physical eyes. Case in point, God’s word says you are healed; the symptoms tell you that you are sick- reference the boy that Jesus healed in Mark 9:14-29 (you can read the whole passage later)
Let’s just check out this part
22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
What it seemed like was death, but what it really was, was life!
Get the right lens; readjust your focus and look again.
Every day of consistently gazing unflinchingly on the word of God works a depth of grace that can’t be quantified.
Put on the right lens, focus on the promises of God and get set for a lavish celebration.
It’s not always what it looks like!