Wednesday, 27 April 2016
MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE
So lately I have been thinking about life and how we can let life issues swallow us up. The truth is it is very easy to dwell in the negative and the truth is very few people you tell will encourage you. Most people will either feel sorry for you or add to your sorrow.
So for the longest time it has been easier for me to see the negative side of things and to just see like life was unfair and was not seeing when I would get out of the rut I was in.
That is until I started to view things in a different perspective. I did not make sense why I would feel so bad about stuff and remain in my gloomy state and expect change. Something had to give. It may not have been immediate but something had to be done.
I started with writing something I am grateful for each day. It could be as simple as the weather but it helped me view things differently. Sometimes I was forced to really think of something to be grateful for especially during the tough seasons. At that time even being grateful to get through the day will do.
Another thing I started to do is write a grateful list every end of year. You know you can just be glad a year is over because all you remember is how tough it was, then you sit and write a grateful list. I was so excited by the time I was done with some of my lists and realized the problem is that I kept dwelling on what when wrong I did not notice what went right or what I had learnt through that tough season.
I also started listening to worship music. Yeah it sounds cliché but the truth is the Lord really does dwell in the praises of His people. There is just something about an uplifting atmosphere that no matter how down you are you will get your spirit lifted.
There is also sharing with people. As people say a problem shared is a problem halved. HOWEVER one should not talk to just anyone about your issues. Not everyone is helpful. Not everyone wants your circumstances to change. So pick the people you speak to wisely.
Distract yourself. Yes I mean take a break from the issues at hand. If possible go on a trip. I have found it very helpful to just change environments sometimes. It really helps to just be in a new place that doesn’t remind you of what is stressing you all the time. There is a friend who once told me that when she is low and stressed she would go volunteer in an abandoned children’s home and just play with the babies. She always felt so much better and was glad to give some joy to someone else. There are also people I know who go to an old people’s home and just listen to their wisdom and their life stories. There is no way you would leave such a place without a new perspective.
One thing I did this year is learn a new skill. I signed up for a class and it was a real challenge but I paid so much attention to what I was learning that I barely thought about issues that were bothering me. They did not go away but it certainly helped me get new perspective that no matter what is going on in one’s life, life goes on despite your problems. If you choose to only dwell on the problems you have life can easily pass you by.
My favorite on is to walk with someone either as a mentor or in discipleship. Helping a young person trying to figure out life especially when you have passed through that stage makes you feel that you are not a total failure after all. When you look at your life through a young person’s eyes it makes you realize just how much you have accomplished.
We need to learn that we are not the only ones who go through stuff and even what we are going through we are not the first ones nor will we be the last ones. Our issues may seem like a big deal when we are going through them but the truth is that you will always find someone who went through worse and they either came out victorious or miserably failed.
All in all making a joyful noise means accepting to live a full life beyond your circumstances. Joy is more than happiness. It is a state of living. It is knowing that tough times do not last but tough people do. It is know that we will be stronger at the end of this trial. It is knowing that this situation will not last forever. It is knowing that good times are ahead.Make a joyful noise.
Wednesday, 20 April 2016
BEING A DISCIPLE
So I recently re-watched a Jesus film. Jesus of Nazareth by Franco Zeffirelli's. It was one of those films we watched a lot as kids, for some reason an it was actually an annual ritual considering its 6 hours long
Anyways I hadn’t watched it in a while so I decided to give it a go and watched it in bits, It’s divided into 4 parts so it was easy to schedule. What strikes me at first is how Biblically accurate it is. I appreciated the effort the director did to actually follow the scripture as accurate as possible. As compared to some of the current Biblical based movies he really tried to include the message very well and it is always clear what the purpose of Christ was.
So yes highly recommended
For some reason I got curious what it means to be a disciple. Because of how they were depicted in the film they seemed very human with real struggles.
It is easy to judge them because of their weaknesses but how differently would we have acted in their place.
First you have to deal with a man calling Himself the Messiah in a day and age where they were not as many and the focus was on Roman rule and how to survive the oppression. Also because it was someone known to people since He was a child and seemed like an ordinary fellow and suddenly your next door neighbor is a messiah, yes for sure there would be some skepticism
Then there is this issue with Judas. Over the years I have learnt to cut Judas some slack, here is why. Judas was part of the Zealots and the Zealots wanted to devise a plan to overthrow the Roman government and become free from their rule. So when he came across Jesus who said He was the Messiah, he automatically thought Jesus was going to be a political leader similar to the Kings they had had in the past. He was expecting a militant king like David who would lead them to victory.
His accepting to betray him was a way to provoke Christ to act into the military role he was expecting. But because instead Jesus was crucified, Judas was riddled with guilt over what he had done. He blamed himself for Jesus death and could not see how he could get any form of redemption from what he did. He clearly was not really paying attention to the times Jesus mentioned His crucifixion and resurrection.
How often have we as believers let our daunting circumstances overwhelm us that we cannot even recall God’s truth. How many times do we just give up and not seek God’s purpose for allowing things to happen. Maybe Judas rushed and killed himself too fast because of his guilt but what if you were in the position of betraying the Savior of the World, the Messiah and he actually dies, what would you do?
Then there is Peter and denying Jesus. Most people do not do well with being confronted an especially when it’s a controversial topic and you are on the opposite side of what majority think. Or the side you currently support is looking really bad and you just do not want people to associate yourself with it.
That is what Peter was facing. We have all been in a place where you want to disassociate yourself with a controversial matter you may have been involved in.
It is easy to say we would not have done what Peter did but when you have been following someone for 3 years and suddenly the government comes and arrests him and tries him as an enemy of the state, the truth is you would be tempted to say you did not know him at all just to save yourself.
Then there is the matter of Thomas. This guy always need Jesus to prove Himself to him one way or another. Was it because he was weak? How many times have we just felt there way no way Jesus was going to come through for us in a situation and we want proof that He will. How many times have we tried to do things our own way before we surrender it to Him. We have our doubts as well
I could go on and on but it is important for us to know what following Jesus will cost us and be willing to go through with the cost.
He promised us in Matthew 28:19-20 that He would be with us always even till the end of the age, meaning we are not going to do it on our own strength.
So here are some points I came across from various sources on what being a disciple means to us today. There are very many but I have picked a few.
Our decisions will either encourage or discourage spiritual growth so they are very crucial.
· Being a disciple of Jesus means you are a follower of Jesus Mark 2:14
· Being a disciple means loving Jesus more than anyone else Luke 14:26
· Being a disciple means bearing fruit John 15:8
· Being a disciple of Jesus means studying and obeying God’s word. John 8:31
· Being a disciple means loving one another John 13:35
· Being a disciple means denying [surrender] yourself and taking up the cross Luke 9:23
· Being a disciple means forsaking all you have Luke 14:33
· Being a disciple means counting the cost Luke 14:28
Those are just a few I came across and yes they are not easy
There is a lot one has to consider but the beauty is we have Christ to help us through the power of the Holy Spirit that is why He sent us a helper.
I encourage you to be the best disciple you can be and also to disciple others.
It is important that we reach out to new believers and share our walk of faith with them. It goes a long way to helping them with their own discipleship journey.
You too must be disciple by another mature Christian so you do not grow weary.
I found some good tips on Disciplers Manual
Here are a few lessons from the site I would like to share
Suggested guidelines for discipling another person.
o Arrange to meet together once each week for about 1½ hours or so. The time can vary depending on their spiritual hunger, assimilation of Biblical concepts, and maturity level.
o Plan on spending at least with a disciple, meeting regularly.
o The purpose of the meetings is to explain Biblical truth and principles, and to give the disciple opportunity questions, spiritual struggles, and related topics.
o It is important for you to be a thoughtful ; it’s the best way to identify gaps in their spiritual understanding.
o enough to allow the Holy Spirit to change the direction of the study or conversation, yet enough so the time is not squandered on less significant matters.
o Teach .
o The disciple should be encouraged to look to the Lord to apply Biblical principles to his life.
o A goal is for the disciple to increasingly understand and be able to clearly explain those Biblical principles to others.
Wednesday, 13 April 2016
ARE YOU READY?
So I am at that point in my life when FINALLY I am in a new season.
You know how you can pray and pray for so long for something. It starts to become that prayer request that you always bring before God and you want it answered and it’s always an issue you want dealt with. And then, its gets answered and you for some instant think it’s a fluke and wait for things to go back as they were.
Here is a question I have for you, what are you doing to prepare for the answer?
What if God actually answered your prayer as you have been praying for?
ARE YOU READY?
· Are you ready in season and out of season?
· Are you ready to move to another city?
· Are you ready to change jobs?
· Are you ready fall in love and commit?
· Are you ready to care for others?
· Are you ready for your new role?
· Are you ready to give as much as you get?
· Are you ready for that extra income?
· Are you ready get married?
· Are you ready to invest?
· Are you ready to start that business?
· Are you ready to be a parent?
The truth is we blame God for a lot and especially for our preparation for His blessing? We expect Him to keep His end of the bargain and yet we don’t feel obligated to keep ours. There are many things God wants us to work on before He gives us what we keep asking Him for. He is ready to keep His end of the deal, but are you?
Why would God give you a desire in your heart and let you agonize for ages wondering if the desire is genuine.
There is a process with these things, through the whole Bible you see God giving people dreams and taking them through a preparation period before they get to it.
Look at Joseph’s process before being a prime minister he got a good lesson in humility and being a man of prayer and patience and relying on God’s guidance to help him through a position he got overnight. There is no way joseph though he was going to rule in Egypt and actually rescue his people from famine. God had way more in mind than the way Joseph understood the dreams he had been given as a boy.
Look at Ruth, who gave up all she knew to follow a God she barely knew to a land she had never been with who hated her people. She learnt to just trust God and go about her daily business until God decided He wanted to give her more and restore what she lost because of her loyalty. He restored her position as a respectable woman in society and even an heir to continue the family name. When she left Moab that did not seem possible and even she couldn’t prepare for such a blessing.
There are many stories such as these in scripture
Doesn’t mean God will not give you the dream, just means you need to prepare. What you want as a dream is usually way bigger and it’s always way more than you think it is.
So ARE YOU READY?
· Are you ready to develop the fruit of the Spirit in your life?
· Are you ready to love like 1 Corinthians 13 says?
· Are you ready to be persecuted for your faith?
· Are you ready to give a reason for your faith?
· Are you ready for the tougher test the blessing you want will come with?
· Are you ready to resist the temptations and finish strong?
· Are you ready to submit to authority?
· Are you ready to raise children in a godly way?
· Are you ready to stay without an income before business picks up?
· Are you ready to live in a culture that think you are strange?
· Are you ready to love like Christ loved the church?
· Are you ready to obey God completely and trust His lead?
· Are you ready to have the same qualities you expect your life partner to have?
There is a lot to work on especially ourselves when we ask for things. The truth is that when we pay attention to getting ready, our prayers get answered.
That is the focus is being God’s best version of ourselves. The glory goes back to God and we become better and more qualified for whatever it is God is preparing us for.
I have always felt that at times I am caught off guard by God when He actually answers my prayers that have been a prayer item for a while. I even think at times I am unprepared to handle things but HIS GRACE IS SUFFIECIENT 2 Corinthians 12:9
We can never really be completely prepared for what God has in store for us, For His way is higher than our way and His thoughts higher than ours [Isaiah 55:8-9]
He does more than we can ever ask or think. That can never change.
However we must prepare.
We must do our part
We must work on ourselves and our attitudes
We must have an expectant heart
When you pray, do you expect god to come through for you?
Do you expect your prayer to be answered?
Are you ready? I ask again, Are you ready?
If not, get ready,
GET READY FOR GOD TO COME THROUGH FOR YOU
Watch this sermon when you have the time
It echos alot of what i have said
Wednesday, 6 April 2016
So I recently watched the movie WALT BEFORE MICKEY. It is basically the story of Walter Disney and his journey to establish Disney Animations.
This is one of those stories every artist relates to in many ways. A story of fighting for your art even when people do not understand it because you know it will serve a greater purpose.
In a time when there was an economic depression and animation was something relatively new it was a very difficult time to have such a ream when it just made sense to grab what you can in terms of a job and survive as you wait for better days ahead.
I am those kids who grew up on Disney animation. I grew up knowing, “the dreams that I wish will come true” that I could do all I put my mind to and yes I can sing all the songs and narrate most of the scripts from the Hakuna Matata’s to Bear Necessities.
When I watched the story it amazes me how Walter Disney had a dream and he worked so hard on it that it became part of a culture. He never gave up.
I don’t even think he realized that he would create such an impact but the truth is at that time his message and point of view was a great source of hope to many at that time and even to us now.
I grew up dreaming of being a Disney animator. I loved to draw the cartoons so much its basically what I practiced when drawing. I would make large drawings and hang them in my room all over the wall.
I was always very excited after watching the cartoons and it stirred so much excitement in my heart. It always made me feel like my dreams are possible and yes they are.
I recommend that you watch the movie if you can get it, especially if you are an artist. Against all odds never give up on your dreams.
This week I would like to share an article of my interview for my career as a fashion designer. Mia Mara Creations
I may not have become a Disney Animator but I am still an artist dreaming of something big and how I can impact my industry to a global scale. [Who knows maybe one day I will be commissioned to design clothes for one of the characters in an animated feature]
Either way lessons learnt just never give up. Things may not always play out the way you want but they do work out