Faith

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (7)

Thankful in Obedience

Today, I am thankful because I know that it is the best way to live life.
Thankfulness unlocks stuck doors and brings the impossible.
Thankfulness settles troubled minds and opens eyes to overlooked blessings.
And above all, “thankfulness in every circumstance” is the instruction in the Maker’s manual.
2022 has been one of a kind; and staying thankful was the secret ingredient that made it so.
Faith

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (6)

Thankful in my World

Today, I am thankful because of everyone who was a part of my year.
My friends offered me listening ears and shoulders to lean on; the gift of companionship.
Family loved me in spite of my flaws and encouraged my progress.
Colleagues kept it cordial and enabling in that environment where I spent 1/3 of most days this year.
The acquaintance, stranger, the service provider and my readers – everyone was a gift!
2022 was one of a kind; and I have so many people to thank for it.
Faith

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (5)

Thankful in my Considerations

Today, I am thankful because I have considered the year 2022 and all it brought.
I reviewed each month of the year; I checked my goals, plans and targets.
With every reflection, I am wowed; in every thought, I judge God kind.
The accomplishments, the gifts, the company, the unexpected, the twists.
2022 has been one of a kind; and I am thrilled to have been a part.
Faith

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (4)

Thankful in Anticipation

Today, I am thankful because there's so much more that's coming in the near future!
I smell it; the fragrance of my profits, the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed.
I hear it; the honking and the sounds of my shipment as from a distant country.
I rejoice in anticipation; I have prepared and made room for all my goodies.
2022 has been one of a kind; but I can hardly wait for all that is to come!
Faith

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (3)

Thankful in Retrospect

Today, I am thankful because as I look back, the journey suddenly makes sense.
I am thankful for what seemed like a waiting period because I now realize how it built my strength and finesse.
I am thankful for the unanswered prayers because I see now that God was only choosing a better option for me.
I am thankful for every milestone, every month, and every ordinary or unique day.
2022 was one of a kind; but in retrospect, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Faith

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (2)

Thankful in the Pandemic

Today, I am thankful because my friends, my loved ones, you and I survived the pandemic!
We did! With all the waves, stats and rapidly changing variants, we pulled through.
I do not count any of us better than those who passed because of COVID related issues.
I only acknowledge what a miracle it is to be alive and breathing.
2022 has been one of a kind; but I thank God because by His grace, we are survivors.
Faith

Thankful for Year 2022 – 7 Reasons Why (1)

Thankful for the Present

Today, I am thankful for where I am physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and otherwise.
I recognize that the things I take for granted are someone else’s goal and pursuit.
I acknowledge that I am indeed blessed.
I refuse to be in a rat-race, chasing after the next item on my list.
I choose to realize how deeply blessed I am; and to take a moment to appreciate it all.
2022 has been one of a kind; and I thank God - the source of all blessings.
Faith

November: With Joy!

With joy, we will draw water from the well of salvation.

Happy new month, everyone!.

As you know, the penultimate month of the year is here! 2022 is almost coming to a wrap.

I trust that you have been working on the action-points you outlined at the beginning of the year, and have been seeing significant progress towards your goals.

I am not sure if it is the same for anyone else, but I have personally gone through quite a number of seasons throughout the year. Earlier today, my eyes landed on the bright purple-coloured vision board I had designed at the beginning of the year. A couple of times, I have had to change/refine my goals as I progressed through the year. On the other hand, there were times when I ran up a mountain as with deer’s feet towards my goals. However, there were also days when I could not care less about any goal or target. And then, some goals I have actioned as much as depends on me and all I am doing now is trusting and waiting for the results to mature.

Today, I would like to share a scripture that is a great encouragement to me in this season.

I believe that this short passage will spark something new for you in your own journey as well. No matter how you feel about your journey right now; whether everything is going according to plan, or if you are doing everything you should but it feels like your goal (the weight-loss target, the job offer, the spiritual reawakening, the parenting goal, the promotion) isn’t coming fast enough.

Here is a prophecy to fuel your faith.

Isaiah 12

In that day you will say:
“I will praise you, Lord.
    Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
    and you have comforted me.
2 Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defence;
    he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water
    from the wells of salvation.
4 In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done,
    and proclaim that his name is exalted.
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
    let this be known to all the world.
6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

Isaiah 12 is a charge for us to stay in the place of praise and joyfulness. And have you noticed that praise, thanksgiving and joy have become overarching themes in most Christian communities this period?

Praise, thanksgiving, joy.

In this scripture, God is saying to you, dear reader, that He is no longer angry with you. He has forgiven your past mistakes. He has put them behind Him. On the contrary, right now, you have His favour and comfort.

God says that He will be your strength and your song. Another translation replaces “song” here with “defence”. It means that God will be your war song, your victory song. It is just like Jehoshaphat, a king of Judah experienced. (II Chronicles 20: 20-22)

See, Jehoshaphat had 5 strong kingdoms coming against his relatively smaller kingdom for a war. He didn’t know how he could survive the attack. It seemed like a sure win against the land of Judah. But instead of giving in to despair, Jehoshaphat prayed and called on God for help. He didn’t stop there. He invited some delegates (the Levites) who led his kingdom in praising God.

Seemed like an illogical strategy, right? How can merely giving praises to God save a kingdom from imminent attack?

Well, one thing is sure: there is nothing mere, mean or average about praises and joy. Praise is a tried, tested and trusted weapon of warfare – as is staying joyful.

In whatever way praise is offered – be it in singing, recounting God’s goodness, declaring His attributes and character to glorify Him, praises to God are potent because they bring us into an atmosphere where we can experience the extraordinary and miraculous.

Just like it happened for King Jehoshaphat, if we will praise God ahead of our battles, when we arrive at the battlefield, we will only see results – a finished battle with victory secured in our favour. God will fight the battle on our behalf.

Finally, in Isaiah 12 above, God also says that with joy, we will draw water (sustenance and flourishing) from Him because He is our salvation. That He, the Holy One of Israel is great among us.

Practice joyfulness. Joy is a weapon that will work in your favour.

To conclude, I invite you to join me in this personalized version of Isaiah 12 as an affirmation of victory.

Today, I declare:
“I praise you, dear Lord.
    Because you are not angry with me, 
rather you have comforted and favoured me.
Lord, you are my salvation;
    I trust in you, and I will not be afraid.
You are my strength, my song and my defence;
    You have become my salvation.”

With joy, I draw water
    from the wells of salvation.
Praise be to the Lord, I see all that You have done,
    I exalt your name.
Lord, you have done glorious things;
    that I will declare to all the world.
I sing and shout aloud for joy,
    because you Lord are great among us!”
Faith

A Prayer of Protection

Praying from the Psalms. Say this prayer for yourself and your loved ones. 
Dear Lord, I come to you for protection. 
May I never be disappointed. 
You always do what is right, so please save me. 
Listen to me! 
Come quickly to my rescue. 

Be my Rock, my place of safety.
Be my fortress and protect me! 
Yes, you are my Rock and my protection. 
For the sake of Your name, lead me and guide me. 

Save me from the traps my enemy has set.
You are my place of safety. 
I put my life in your hands. Save me;
Because Lord, you are the God we can trust. 

My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
From those who pursue me.

Hide me in the secret place of Your presence;
From all human intrigues;
Keep me safe in your pavilion from accusing tongues.

Dear Lord, you are a hiding place for me. 
Protect me from my troubles. 
Surround me and protect me,
So I can sing about the way you saved me.
‭‭
In the day of trouble,
Keep me safe in Your shelter.
Hide me in the shelter of Your dwelling.


Confession:
Oh, how great is Your goodness Lord,
Which You have stored up for those who fear you,
You have done so many good things for those who trust in you.
You have blessed us so that all the world can see.
You have lifted up my head above my enemies all around me;
Therefore, I will sing and offer sacrifices of joy in Your house!
References: Psalms 27, Psalms 31 & Psalms 32.
Faith

Held Fast

One character of God that always leaves me in awe is His firm and unswerving commitment. It is the way that He is dedicated, committed to, and invested in each of our spiritual flourishing.

Have you noticed how God consistently introduces people, resources, thoughts and opportunities to you, to draw you closer to Him, or to answer a personal question that’s been bothering you?

Christ will hold you fast.

God ensures that our belief system is right and healthy for us. He works hard to get our attention, even when He is the last thing on our minds. And when He eventually secures our hearts, He holds it fast. He makes sure He doesn’t lose us.

When we somehow slip away, He chases. He pursues us hard, and holds again. Fast.

Most people are familiar with the story of a young son who ran off from home to squander his share of his inheritance in foreign lands. He made poor decisions with what he was entrusted. He lost everything and could barely survive. Embarrassed, he dragged his feet and traced his steps back home and was pleasantly surprised when his father received him with joy, and reinstated him. (Luke 15:11-32)

This story of the Prodigal Son is your story, my story, each one of us. Sometime in the past, perhaps even now, you may have made choices that you are not proud of. But I can assure you that once you retrace your steps to God, He will welcome you with open arms and extravagant grace.

Embrace the Father’s love.

Another less popular story is found in Luke 22. Jesus saw the tough season that was coming ahead of Peter, and Satan’s intended scheme to bring Peter down. True to Jesus’ character of relentless love, he warned Peter and prayed for him. Thankfully, Peter successfully sailed through that storm and came out a stronger person.

If you are in Christ right now, but somehow are nursing fears of falling away, I hope that Peter’s story assures you that you are safe and secure in the love of Christ. He holds you fast. Your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

Jesus, whom you believe in, is able to keep you who has been committed to Him until the Day of His return. (2 Tim. 1:12)

I am well aware that we have a part to play in ensuring that we thrive and are successful spiritually, but today, in this moment, I will like us to bask in the love of Christ and His unshakeable commitment.

Bask in the love of Christ.

Relentless pursuit, relentless love, until we are drawn close and held fast, forever.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

Additional Resources:

  1. Desiring God; “To the Uttermost. How Jesus Keeps us Day by Day.” (Article)
  2. Keith and Kristyn Getty; “He Will Hold Me Fast” (Lyrical Video).