Tag Archives: Akeela Marin

From where I left off

2015 is missing from my blog. Ideally it should’t be, because 2015 was the year when I took time off to discover who I am and understand myself better and if this is the space where I record my experiences as it relates to God, then this is the place where I should have at least tried to document 2015 right? I keep thinking that I should include an apology somewhere in this post but I’m not going to, because I think it’s okay for a person to stop and reassess their life and find peace amidst the storm in isolation. I’m not sorry for abandoning this space but I missed it immensely. I missed engaging with my readers and engaging with other writers.

I can’t say that I regret not writing about 2015 though. The year has passed and I haven’t documented anything anywhere, not even in my personal journals. 2015 was my year for living, learning and letting go. I’ve had so many challenges and life changing events take place and I never once stopped to add those to my online archive of experiences-had and lessons-learned. As I sit in my hotel room (I’m in Thessaloniki Greece at the moment) and I prepare to pick up the pieces when I get home in the next couple of days I find myself thinking on Philippians 4:6-8

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I’m in desperate need for God’s peace. My mind races like a Ferrari on an open circuit and while I know that ultimately God’s plan will be revealed to me in time, I still struggle to find stillness amidst the madness that I see before me. My heart aches for a glimpse of the not so distant future so my mind would cease to run rampant with worrying thoughts and I can wait peacefully for God’s promises to unfold. However amidst the uncertainty there is a great expectation stirring within me because I’ve experienced God’s awesome move in my life before and I know it’s at times like these He shows up and shows off for me.

I continue to depend of God and I continue to rely on His love, grace and mercy as I move forward. My heart still longs for more of Christ and my desire is still to please Him in everything I do. I wish only to see God take complete control of my life, regardless of what that translates into. I may not have documented 2015 in this space but I am certain the lessons I’ve learned will be referenced from time to time as I pick up from where I left off in 2014.

This 2016 I stand on God’s promise in Philippians 1:6

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

I expect great things from my great God and I look forward to serving Him, His people and His kingdom this year. God continues to be good and I will continue to give Him all honour and glory and praise. I am blessed to be numbered amongst His children and I am proud to proclaim His name across the globe!

2016 will be amazing and I can hardly wait to take you on this journey with me 🙂

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Encouragement From The Cross

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Today I was reminded of the foundation on which my Christianity is formed. I am saved because God loved me enough to send the only son he has into the world to die on a cross and shed His blood for me. The thing is, He sent His son knowing that I would not accept Him right away and I would reject this perfect gift he was offering me. I believe in the story of the cross and in the saving blood of Jesus Christ, and that, is the foundation of my faith.

I think saying that I forgot the principle of the cross would be a bit draconian, but I can say that I needed a reminder of it today. When I first understood the love God showed me it changed my life. Everything I thought was important went out the door; career, marriage, friends, everything paled in comparison to my new desire for more of this amazing being.

As my desire grew and my passion became stronger, the enemy of my soul stepped in and life became a battle. The war between my flesh and my spirit was all too real and the weight of that battle took it’s toll on me. I started losing things, and I was stripped of every right I thought I had and for someone as liberal as me, that change was hard.

The darts came hard and fast and the closer I get to my purpose being fulfilled the harder this Christian walk seemed to get. Then, just as I was at breaking point, God reminded me of His love for me. He reminded me that I’m reconciled to Him and I’m His child. I was reminded that He loved me before I loved Him and gave up his most prized possession to secure a place in eternity for me.

Once, I spoke to a group of youths and I was told them that if you believe something then you should act in accordance with that belief. If I believed I had a million dollars in the bank then I’d go shopping and start swiping my debit card, expecting the machine to say “accepted” every time. In the same way, if I truly believe in God and the love He has for me then I’ll live my life following His word and expecting to have victory over the enemy time and time again.

I don’t believe that things will get easier. I believe that Satan will continue to fight me, that my flesh will continue to war against my spirit and the challenges will get bigger as I grow stronger in Christ. I also believe that the God I serve is greater than any challenge I will face in life. I believe that through Christ I can do ALL things and I hold firm to God’s promise that I will never be given more than I can bear. I believe and hold strongly to Mark 16:16-19

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.

All of these promises are available, not only to me, but to anyone who believes in Jesus Christ; that he came to earth in the form of a man, died on the cross for our sins and rose again on the third day. I am who I am and I am where I’m at today only because Christ died on a cross to save me. That salvation is available to you too and whether you’re only now finding out about the cross or you’ve known about it for a long time, I think it’s good to have a reminder that someone loved you enough to die on a cross so you can have a wonderful eternity wrapped in God’s arms.

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Disobedience: Is it worth the price?

I went to bed and woke up with the same subject on my mind: Choices. In a recent post I wrote about deliberately making bad choices without considering the true consequences of them. Today I’m wondering how many bad, deliberate choices are we allowed to make before God leaves us to do our own devices.

In 1 Samuel chapter 15 Saul went into Amalek to kill the Amalakites. Before his journey God gave him specific instructions to kill all that was in the city; both men and women, infants and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. Saul and his army destroyed everything with the exception of the King; Agag and the best of the sheep and oxen, which they intended to sacrifice unto God.

On the surface it seems that this was a well intended decision which would please God because in the midst of their battle the Israelite people considered the God who was with them and took the animals to offer before Him in celebration of their victory. How thoughtful and loving of them right?

Wrong. When God saw what they did he became angry with Saul and said

 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.”

God was not interested in the sacrifice of these animals unto Him as much as He was concerned about Saul’s ability to be obedient to His voice. He was upset because Saul chose to do what he felt was pleasing unto God and not what God said he would be pleased with.

I think this is the problem we face sometimes. Like Saul we have the knowledge of what pleases God and sometimes when given a task to perform we ignore the specific instructions he’s given to us and subscribe to what we know usually pleases Him. You see, because it was the custom of the Israelite people to offer the best sheep and cattle to God as a sacrifice they prescribed to that even when God said He didn’t want it.  So to, we have our customs and practices but I think we need to be sensitive to what is acceptable to God right now.

Saul’s disobedience made God reject him as king. In verse 22 and 23 of the same chapter the prophet Samuel says to Saul

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king.”

In our own lives how many times have we rebelled against God and disobeyed His commandments? How many times have we been stubborn towards the instructions for life as prescribed in the bible? How many times have we chosen to offer a sacrifice; through prayer and fasting, excessive giving, acts of worship, in lieu of being obedient to what God is asking of us right now, without realizing that our sacrifices are meaningless if they are not in alignment with God’s request?

God compares our actions to witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry.

For me, this is a sobering revelation. One which I’m certain I’ll think about for many days with the hopes of it being embedded in my heart so I may never sin against God this way again. I’ve got a lot to think about and I’m sorry that I’m writing this prematurely, but for right now I feel like I have to let some of my thoughts out.

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The Harsh Reality of an Angry Me

I’m angry

At least on the surface of me that’s all I can see

An anger with the potential to do as much damage as a raging sea

I’ve been silently observing me for a while

Making sure never to lose my smile

For without it I fear the world would see

The anger that’s been plaguing me

I’ve been contemplating when this anger started and how long it’s been building

Maybe it’s from as far back as my father’s beatings

Or as recent as my friends’ chastising of who I am

I could never be one hundred percent me

Because the me that they see and the reality of who everyone wants me to be is a fallacy

Everyone and their expectations

Placing me in difficult situations where my mind and my heart condition is always questioned

Maybe in the future I’ll see transformation

A heart transplant and blood transfusion

Call it righteous indignation

But I can’t help but feel like I’m bigger than my situations

And while they’re building blocks on my foundation

I can only look forward to completion

Because the me that I see is so bitter and angry

It leaves me desperate for a new reality

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Great Expectations

SunriseThis morning I was reminded that there are great expectations from those who called to carry out the great commission, as I sat enjoying a warm cup of tea as I prepared myself mentally for the day ahead. While I sipped, I pondered on my rebelliousness toward God’s direction for a spirit led life over the last week or so and couldn’t help but frown at the foolishness of my ways.

Let me back up a bit so I don’t leave you lost in the transition of my mind’s rambling without adequate content and context with which you can refer to. Last week I decided that people expect too much from me. I’ve never hidden my Christianity nor have I tried to hide my passion for God and the things of God. In fact I’ve done quite the opposite; I’ve taken every chance I got to let people around me know that I serve Jesus and how much I’m in love with Him. I invite others to share in this wonderful experience of salvation and encourage them to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of their faith. This wasn’t a problem until I came to the realization that I’ve put myself in the spotlight and there’s a target aimed directly at my head. You see, in a world where religion and God has somehow become the oppressive enemy of the human race when you decide to openly express your belief in God and practice the teachings of His doctrine people tend to look at you.

If everyone who looked on had good intentions or did so with the understanding that you’d slip up sometimes that would be great or at least considered fair. If somehow people could see that amid all the passion and excitement, you; just like anyone else, was figuring this whole “God thing” out and don’t quite have all the answers or solutions to every situation you encounter, then maybe your walk with Christ might feel a lot less burdensome at times. This however isn’t always the case. It seems that the greater your passion and excitement for God, the more likely you are to draw attention to yourself. What that attention does is cause people to assume you’re always going to have a firm grip on things or cause to wait with bated breath for the moment you slip up.

For me I can’t say that I know of anyone who is waiting for me to slip up but people around me tend to think that I’m supposed to somehow have the right answers and make the right decisions all the time. I’m constantly reminded that I’m a role model and others are looking at me. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset or bothered that I’m considered a role model; on the contrary, I think it’s a fantastic thing that my passion fuels others to draw closer to God, but last week the expectations of others felt like such a burden that I decided to change the rules a bit. I deliberately made bad decisions. I found myself in situations where I sat down and thought through the possible choices I could make and how they would affect my relationship with God and I chose to do the wrong thing. It wasn’t an accident or a spur of the moment thing.

I CONSCIOUSLY MADE BAD CHOICES!

In hindsight, I feel so ashamed and broken that I spent time with the Savior, got to know Him intimately and then dipped my hand in the bread basket at the same time he did, only to betray him later on with a metaphorical kiss of death. Like Judas I chose to go against the God that loved me and have been so gracious and loving to me. I willingly persecuted Him to avoid living up to the reality that as a child of God who is called to the great commission I was expected to live a righteous and holy life unto my King.

So that’s where I was a couple weeks ago. I was dipping my toes at the edge of sin’s ocean, all the while wondering how deep I could go before I would begin to drown. Thankfully I serve a God who’s ways are not like mine and who loves me much more than I could ever love Him. Just as I began to think about moving past my toes and actually getting my feet wet, his guiding arms skillfully wrapped themselves around my torso and carried me to safety. My rebelliousness lasted all of two days before I started getting “the messages”. We’ve all experienced “the messages”. It’s when God gets your attention by sending you the same message everywhere you turn; facebook, twitter, the radio, conversations at work, etc. You know what I mean right?

So, God got my attention and he began to show me my heart. I cried bitterly when the reality of my thoughts and actions were revealed to me. When I realized how subtly I began my descent from Christianity into things worldly. Who would have thought that me; a passionate woman of God with a call upon her life who have experienced the awesomeness of God’s power time and time again, could be so easily fooled by the enemy? And just like that, I snapped back to reality, climbed off of the pedestal I’d mounted and decided to start over, recommitting my life and surrendering all over  again to  the one who shed His blood for my salvation.

So that’s where I was this morning; taking part in an ongoing pity party, when God reminded me:

” to whom much is given, much is expected”

You see, when we come to Christ we get to take advantage of all the wonderful things He has for us. We are recipients of Grace, Love, Peace, Joy, Strength, Comfort, Various Gifts and so much more. If we are to be partakers of all this then we must embrace God’s command that we live holy and acceptable lives unto Him. It’s not right to abuse grace or consciously go against God’s word because we have mercy and forgiveness available to us. In as much as we expect God to honor His word and promises to us, so to we must live out His commandments and be the difference in the world today, so that His name would be glorified.

I know that no one is perfect. That we all make mistakes and slip up sometimes but in as much as we can, I believe we should always choose to please God. We should let nothing get in the way of our relationship with Him and more than ever we should let our light shine before men so that His name would be glorified in heaven. We are the salt of the earth and to lose our flavor means to lose our effectiveness. I can’t say it would be easy (actually I can guarantee you that it will get hard sometimes) but I can assure you it will be worth it. Keep the faith, fight the good fight and at the end of the race I pray that we all hear

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant”

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You Said What?!

This tongue of mine seems to be the hardest thing to tame. Not for lack of trying though. I must admit that I’ve seen some improvement in the tongue-taming department but I realize there’s still some work to be done.

I’ve been wondering about words used via instant messaging (IM) and social media (SM). Is it that you blame the tongue for words sent these medium? Continue reading

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Heart Matters: Facing Filth

heart_xray2

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

My fascination with the human heart and the way it works is peaked more and more each time I see the potential for both good and evil in it. With each day that passes I am faced with the reality that purification of the heart and by extension, the mind is a daily endeavor that one must approach with humility and vigor.

Like David I continuously pray the prayer:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

God in His faithfulness continues to answer me and I am always surprised by what I see. As I grow and learn I’m realizing that my response to my heart condition is maturing. In times past, any revelation of the ills of my heart would have sprouted a fountain of tears and I would have been launched into a week of depressed prayers and brokenness, however this has not been the case recently.

With the passing of time and what I assume is increased wisdom, my approach to facing the filth of my heart has evolved.  Instead of bringing on the waterworks and curling into a ball of despair I am now able to acknowledge God in the process and open myself to change. Recently I’ve been reflecting on a number of things God has been showing me and I feel an explainable peace from the words in Hebrews 12:6

For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives. 

I can’t help but feel honored that God loves me enough to discipline me. To take the time to show me my wrongs so that he can make them right. For some reason beyond me I mean enough to this great being that he won’t allow me to continue living with a filthy heart. I fall more and more in love with Jesus as I embrace the depth of this love.

Proverbs 3:11-12 is somehow illuminated in my mind’s eye

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,as a father the son in whom he delights.

As with everything surrounding God there’s a choice to be made when facing discipline from our Father. We can choose to be weary of it and despise God because of it or we can embrace discipline and witness the transformation of our lives because of it.

I know that for each of us our journey would be different and we would experience God in different ways however, I wish to encourage you. It doesn’t matter where you are on your journey with Christ the key is to be open to Him and embrace His ways; chastisement and all. It’s not always easy to accept what God reveals about our hearts but it will be worth it to open those things to Him and have Him remove them and continue the purification process.

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Dissecting Worship: The Series

music

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Recently I’ve found myself paying greater attention to what I sing when I worship God; both in my personal time and during corporate worship. What I’ve found is when I move past the melody and harmony of a song and I begin to process what I’m saying the songs ministers to me on a new level. No longer am I enjoying a song because it’s catchy or has a nice sing-along chorus, instead my favorite songs are those that have meaning to me and my relationship with God. It is because of this new encounter I’ve decided to do a series on Worship (musical aspect).

This series will do two things; it will challenge us to listen to a wider range of gospel music across different genres and it will allow us a space to share our thoughts on what we’re examining and what we’d like to examine.

I think here’s the perfect place to make a disclaimer:

I AM IN NO WAY EXAMINING THE AUTHORS, VOCALISTS OR MUSICIANS. I AM IN NO POSITION TO JUDGE ANYONE’S HEART CONDITION AS IT RELATES TO GOD AND I DON’T INTEND TO TRY. I CAN’T SAY A SONG WON’T MINISTER TO SOMEONE BECAUSE THE AUTHOR IS BACK SLID-DEN OR BATTLING WITH SOME ASPECT OF LIFE AND I AM OF THE FIRM BELIEF THAT GOD CAN USE ANYTHING TO TOUCH SOMEONE’S HEART (REMEMBER BALAAM AND THE DONKEY?).

I’m really excited to begin this series and I look forward to the wealth of insight we’ll unveil as we embark on this series. The first song I’m going to evaluate is I Give Myself Away – William McDowell. Have a listen and do some evaluating of your own before I share my thoughts.

Also feel free to share a song you’d like to have dissected and your thoughts on any song in the series as we go forward. I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Send your requests via Facebook, Twitter or email me at testifywithme@gmail.com.

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The Heart of the Matter

heart transplant

At the core of my heart is an earnest desire to please God and live a righteous life. I’m sure that it’s there but I feel that there are so many things that are yet to be removed before that desire can be manifested in every aspect of my life.

I want so much to live a righteous and holy life but I’ve done so many things that’s messed up my heart. How much build up is lining the walls of my arteries? Is it even possible for the surgeon’s blade to penetrate the mass that has accumulated over time?

I keep wishing there was a way to speed things up. The process is seemingly long and extremely painful. To be silent in the midst of others doing you wrong or to keep giving when everything in you wants to give up. The more I see is the less of me I desire and I keep trying to find a formula to adequately express the things hidden at the very center.

Why can’t I be under anesthesia? To be numb to the pain of the process. Would it help if I saw the cleansing taking place but didn’t feel the pain of it? Can I fall asleep, trusting that my surgeon knows what he’s doing and awake with the scar to show I’ve undergone surgery not remembering the process?

Truth be told as wonderful as that sounds, I like the process. I appreciate it and wouldn’t want to miss a single moment.

I need strength though.

I need strength and peace to continue. I need to be constantly reminded that God’s got this. I don’t need to fight, I simply need to surrender. I need to remember to break down in the safety of His presence and no other place. I need to open my mouth and whisper my thank yous in the difficult times and keep believing that He will complete the good work He’s begun in me.

My desire to serve God is all I am left with, but somehow I feel that’s all he needs me to have.

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Godly Characteristics – Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth…………..Chances

Mercy

Exodus 7:14-11:10 The ten plagues of Egypt

As I continue on my journey in Christianity I am yet to experience a dull moment as I delve deeper into the word of God and attempt to mirror Him in everything I do.

I’ve gone back to the beginning (Genesis) and as I read, the realization of how amazing and marvelous God truly is, has me intrigued. The characteristics which God harbors are far beyond anything I could imagine comprehending. It’s baffling that the most powerful being in the world has the capacity to show mercy on us even when he knows we’ll definitely disappoint Him. I experienced a new exhilaration as I read of the mercy God showed Pharaoh in the midst of His hardened heart toward the children of Israel.

When God told Moses to ask Pharaoh to let his people go, he forewarned him that Pharaoh’s heart would be hard and Moses’ request would not be granted. In fact, God said HE would harden Pharaoh’s heart so generations to come would remember what He did and the power He demonstrated before he delivered the Israelite people.

Knowing that his request will not be granted, Moses was obedient and went to Pharaoh every time God instructed him to and did as he was told. Time and time again he went to the Egyptian king and asked him to let the Israelite people go. Each time he was denied, a plague was released upon the land which caused Pharaoh’s heart to grow harder. While I understand the process and the reasoning behind God hardening Pharaoh’s heart the mind blowing revelation was when I realized that in the midst of the plagues and the fulfilling of God’s plan, Pharaoh was shown mercy.

Yes, that’s right, God had mercy on Pharaoh!

After Moses stretched forth his rod and released the second plague of frogs upon the land of Egypt, Pharaoh called and asked him to intercede on behalf of the Egyptians that God would remove the frogs. Upon his request Pharaoh was given the honor of indicating when he wanted the frogs removed and as promised, Moses entreated God on behalf of the king and the frogs were removed from the land of Egypt. Once his request was granted however Pharaoh did not let the people go. Following the frogs, Pharaoh asked Moses to intercede on his behalf again when flies swarmed the land of Egypt and again Moses interceded. God answered the prayer of His servant and for the second time Pharaoh went back on his word. After dishonoring his word a third time Pharaoh asked again that a plague be removed from the land. When the seventh plague of hail overtook Egypt Pharaoh confessed his sins, acknowledged the righteousness of God and asked that God end the plague. Again God ended the plague, showing mercy on Pharaoh.  A fourth time Pharaoh beseeched Moses to intercede and have the ninth plague of Locusts removed from the land and a fourth time, upon his request, God granted him that desire, knowing that yet again Pharaoh would not stay true to his word.

What an amazing characteristic to embody. God knew that Pharaoh’s heart would be hard, he knew that Pharaoh would not honor his word, he knew that although Pharaoh was saying the right words his heart wasn’t in the right place to release the children of Israel and yet when Pharaoh could no longer bear the extent of the plagues God showed him mercy. He showed mercy knowing that the heart of the man he showed mercy to was not in right standing with Him.

Reflecting on my life I realize that this type of mercy and grace was given to me time and time again at different seasons in my life. There were times when I asked God for his blessings and his favor and made promises to Him if he should grant me the desire of my heart. Being the loving God He is, He gave me what I asked for knowing that I would re-neg on my part of the agreement. He never withheld his blessings because I did not have the capacity to love Him the way he loved me.

Examining God causes me to examine myself. My heart’s desire is to love the way God loves. To see people through God’s eyes and not my own and to have the right attitude and heart disposition to especially serve those who are considered the least among us. God’s demonstration of mercy and kindness is now at the forefront of my mind. I can’t say that I currently have the capacity to continue being kind to, loving or serving someone who continuously disappoints me but knowing that this is the way God demonstrates His love is enough to help me aspire to that place.

I know I won’t always get it right and I’m aware that I’ve messed things up in the past but I’m certain that with the right attitude and an open and willing heart I too can demonstrate this kind of love to everyone I come into contact with. I’m embracing every part of this journey and I’m happy with the way God continues to reveal himself to me. My encouragement to you is that you LIVE the word of God. It’s good to know what the bible says and to have a clear understanding of it, but ideally we should use what we learn in our daily lives. Where ever you are on your journey to see the King I pray that you embrace His revelations to you and aspire to live the way He’s showing you to by characterizing Him in everything you do.

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