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Volume 10, Issue 06: The Backside of BIG

I have been seating under the voice of the renown minister of the word of God, TD Jakes for a few weeks now. On my blog, we have been talking about going for our BIG things this year. Listening to one of his messages clarified some things for me on the matter.

BIG things don't come out of nowhere, they are always a result of investments we make prior to their manifestation. However, when we say we are pressing in for big blessings, what most of us mean is that we are trusting God to bless us out of nowhere. And when the blessings don't come, we lose faith and manage our expectations.

What we fail to grasp is that for us to harvest something BIG, we must have sown into it for God to bless it. Trusting God for something BIG therefore means that we have sown seeds for BIG that we haven't received a return for. Now we are trusting God to send rain to water the seeds to produce a harvest for us.

God is not Santa Claus. He acts in accordance to his Word. There's a requirement for every blessing. We can't ignore what is required of us to receive and expect to receive anyway.

God sends rain on schedule. But if you haven't put anything on the ground, you cannot expect a harvest when the rains come. What have you planted in the past year or the past several years that you haven't received a return from? Will you be ready when rains come? The backside of BIG is sowing. We had better get busy sowing into what BIG looks like for us.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 05: A Joy Revolution

This is a continuation of the "Cheerful No Matter What!" article. One of my big takeaways from Neal Samudre's study on joy is how he connected our thoughts to our reactions. It blew my mind away. The reason we are stressed is not because of our circumstances, it is because of our thoughts about our circumstances. Neal's research revealed that our circumstances are not inherently stressful, it is our thoughts about a circumstance that makes it stressful. Neal used the example of Paul to drive the point home. In the book of Philippians, we find Paul in jail, yet he is repeatedly saying he is rejoicing.

How can he rejoice when he is on one of the most stressful situations imaginable? If we were in jail, we wouldn't be talking about joy. But being in jail isn't inherently stressful. It does not automatically carry stress with it. It is what we think about being in jail that is stressful. And Paul thought about being in jail as a way of living for Christ. His thoughts about his circumstances do not communicate stress, they communicate joy.

To make it personal, I would add that having challenges at work isn't inherently stressful. It is what I think about those challenges that is stressful. I can therefore rewire my thoughts about my circumstances to communicate joy rather than stress. This is really powerful, don't miss the revelation.

To elaborate the point, I will add that it is not inherently stressful to be in trouble. Trouble does not automatically carry stress with it. It is what we think about being in trouble that is stressful. It is not inherently stressful to be in lack. Lack does not automatically carry stress with it. It is what we think about being in lack that is stressful. It is not inherently stressful to be mistreated. Mistreatment does not automatically carry stress with it. It is what we think about being mistreated that is stressful. The question that follows is, how can we capture our thoughts and rewire them for joy?

Neal emphasized that it is important to know that our beliefs are just repeated thoughts. Paul used the words "joy" and "rejoicing" sixteen times in the short book of Philippians. He is repeating a declaration of joy. He is repeating the thought he wants to believe. So in the face of daily stress, what thought do you want to repeat? The more we repeat Biblical truths as thoughts, the more we believe them, and the more we rewire our thoughts about stressful circumstances in light of joy.

Let's make the habit of repeating declarations of joy and thinking about being joyful until we believe it. This will turn our individual worlds upside down because instead of responding to difficult circumstances with stress, we will respond with joy. Talk of a new normal - a crazy one at that! Pause and picture yourself responding with joy when all that could go wrong goes wrong all at once, when hell breaks loose and you find yourself in the middle of a big fat mess. Now, that's what I call a joy revolution. And it's not a fantasy.

The Bible says to be cheerful no matter what. If the Bible says we can have joy at all times, then we can rejoice no matter what happens. I choose joy over stress. What will you choose today?

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 04: Cheerful No Matter What!

One of the things I am pressing in for this year is joy. While at a Christmas party last year, someone challenged me about what I do for pleasure. They felt that I was missing out because I don't indulge in the things they enjoy. From the experience of that moment, I wanted to find ways to make my joy obvious to those around me. So I went in pursuit of studies on joy and found a few that caught my attention.

Neal Samudre's work on the subject focuses on making joy a daily habit. He writes that joy is the internal satisfaction we feel when we pursue well-being and success, even through great difficulty. It makes us feel better and more positive, but it differs from happiness in that it can be present during difficult times. Now this speaks to me. I recall some really difficult times at work last year when I was cheerful on the inside. What's powerful to note is that the presence of hardship doesn't constitute the absence of joy.

Joy is something we can have day in, day out irrespective of our circumstances. Neal correctly stated that it's impossible to be happy when going through trials. Your external circumstances won't allow for it. But it's very possible to have joy when going through trials. Joy to me then is something very valuable to have, because my reality isn't always happy. I know how to be peaceful and calm, but I want to learn how to exude with joy no matter what.

Just like any other fruit of the Spirit, Neal wrote that joy is not something we automatically have, it has to be cultivated. Joy is not automatic. It is a discipline, a daily choice that we must make. This means that to get the hang of it, we must make a decision to be joyful irrespective of what comes up. One of my declarations in the morning goes like this, "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. I will enjoy my family, I will enjoy my work, I will enjoy my food, I will enjoy going out to exercise, I will enjoy my encounters, my cheerful heart will fill my day with song".

It is joy that gives us strength to push through difficult circumstances that come up in our day, or those that stay with us for days or weeks or months. The Bible says that "The joy of the Lord is my strength." Therefore, if we make joy a habit, we will have the stamina to face anything and be joyful through it.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 03: Courage for BIG

This article is comprehensive on its own, but it would be better if you first read the "Steward Your Way To It" article that I published last week. In the pursuit of our something BIG, some of us may need to make a brand new start in something. I know only too well how scary that is. Some of us have stayed in our comfort zones for so long that the thought of starting over is extremely uncomfortable.

Joseph was comfortable at Potiphar's house. Though a slave, he was thriving there as the chief manager and overseer of Potiphar's household and estate. But managing Potiphar's estate wasn't Joseph's destiny. God had bigger things in store for him. What is the thing you love to do that you have been putting off for years because you have a stable job that is paying the bills and supporting your lifestyle? Why are we so afraid to venture out to pursue our destinies?

The thought of risking failure at something new is almost traumatizing. Sometimes I think the only excuse that would do for some of us to step into our destinies is to get kicked out of where we have been "temporarily" putting up at for so long. So, how do we overcome the fear of risking to rock the boat if we choose what we love over what makes sense? How do we start a thing that doesn't guarantee a stable income like the one we are used to?

Joseph had a choice to either continue working in Potiphar's house or risk imprisonment. He could have given in to Mrs. Potiphar's demands by compromising his integrity and faith. But Joseph chose to honour the God of his fathers, no matter the consequences. Psalm 78:19-29 shows that God can really spread a table for us in the wilderness. The prison was Joseph's wilderness, yet it is the platform from which God elevated him to his destiny. Taking the risk to do what we love may land us in the wilderness at first - long months of drought, but it may well be the platform from which we will flourish beyond our wildest dreams.

Even behind bars, Joseph thrived. One of my anchor scriptures this year are found in the 7th and 8th verses of the 17th chapter of the book of Jeremiah. It says' "Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit". This is what we can expect to be our portion should we find ourselves in the wilderness.

God can do whatever is needed in our situations. When we can't find the courage to make a brand-new start, He can give us the courage we need. There are no guarantees that the journey of venturing out to do what we love will be anything short of a wilderness experience. However difficult the wilderness may turn out to be, our God is faithful to see us through until we lay hold of our something BIG.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 10, Issue 02: Steward Your Way To Your BIG

This article is comprehensive on it own but it would be better if you first read the "Something BIG" article that I published last week. Faith isn't faith in the absence of works. If we are going to experience something BIG this year, we had better get busy taking some actions, because God can only bless what we are working on. The Bible says that God blesses the work of our hands. What are you doing about what you are stretching your faith for this year? We are praying and trusting God, but we must also do the best we can with what we have.

Perhaps you are trusting God for more resources, or for your own house, or a bigger house. But how well are you taking care of the one you have? How content are you with what you have? Would God consider you a good steward of the resources he has given you? Does more than half of the fresh produce you bring home from the market end up in the dustbin? How about the food you pile on your plates to devour, how much of it gets thrown away because it's too much for you to finish? When Jesus fed the multitudes, he had the disciples pick up the leftovers for later consumption.

Could be that you are trusting God to start your own business or get a better job. But how are you carrying yourself at your current job and opportunities? Are you being a good steward of what you have been given? Are you giving it your all despite the forces going against you at your place of work? As long as you still have a job in that place that you can't wait to get out of, work as if it were your dream job.

Joseph didn't start with his dream job. He was a slave in Potiphar's house yet he did his job so diligently that his boss entrusted him with the management of his whole estate. Don't take it for granted when you have been entrusted with the stewardship of resources at your place of work. You may not like the place, but God has used it to expose you to big things, and to people in high positions that you would otherwise have never had the opportunity to sit at the same table with.

We are going for BIG things this year, but this could be the year that you lose your job, the job that you diligently serve at. Be prepared not to be moved because your something BIG isn't pegged on your job or connections. Your something BIG is pegged on Who is with you regardless of where you are. Joseph flourished wherever he was because God was with him.

Joseph did his job well at Potiphar's house and did the right thing, but he still lost his job. Worse still, he ended up in prison. But it was from prison that Joseph got elevated to his something BIG. It may never have happened for Joseph had he not lost his lucrative job at Potiphar's house. Your something BIG could spring up from the most unpleasant circumstances you will ever face.

All through Joseph's story from being sold into slavery by his brothers to getting to the palace as second in command to Pharaoh, he was doing something with what he had, where he was. Joseph had a big dream, but he didn't sit around waiting for it, he kept himself busy stewarding what he had. It didn't matter that he was a slave at Potiphar's house, or an inmate in prison, Joseph took responsibility and gave it his all. And that is how those in authority over him put him in charge over much. And in the fullness of time, he made it to his something BIG. Let's continue to steward our way to our something BIG this year.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi