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Volume 10, Issue 01: Something BIG

Happy New Year 2020! The start of a new year is always filled with excitement, anticipation and hope for those who have learnt to let go of the disappointments of the past. It is the time we can dare to be radical as we take in all the possibilities that the new year can bring. This is the time when we are feeding our minds with inspiration while engaging in lots of envisioning and laying hold of our prophetic Word for the new year.

As people of faith, we don't want to settle for just an ordinary year, we want to believe God for something big for ourselves and others. 2019 had its share of challenges for each of us, but we are not going to dwell on those. We are putting all those messes and frustrations behind us, denying them any opportunity to color our new year. In their place, we are choosing to remember the good stuff that we experienced in 2019 as we get started on bigger and better things in 2020.

What are your dreams for 2020? What are you going after? Is it something that you wouldn't dare say in front of people because of how impossible or unrealistic it sounds? If it's not, then you better go back to the drawing board. In addition to your regular new year goals, what is it that your heart truly desires that you can dare stretch your faith for this year? What is it that would be your radical petition in 2020? Don't shy away from pursuing it if it's in accordance with God's Word. We are going for some BIG things this year. Don't be left behind.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 52: Finish Strong

I made it! One of my goals this year was to write and publish an article each week. I maintained the rhythm for the better part of the year, but as work got crazy and life happened, I struggled to find time to write. I am glad that even though some weeks went without a post, I managed to make up for it by ending up with the same number of articles as the number of weeks in the year!

There are successes we are all celebrating as 2019 draws to a close, but there are also failures that we need to admit and work through. This is the direction I wanted to take with this last article of the year. I wanted us to reflect on how we have faired, especially these last few weeks and months of the year to see whether we have kept up the flame even if not at its fullest. But I heard a special message at church this Sunday that inspired me to change the trajectory of this post.

Our church Deacon Caroline Wambugu preached on looking back towards the future. She said that as we look back into 2019, some of us are having “Hallelujah” moments. We had a great year - the things we anticipated actually came through. We achieved the goals we laid out for ourselves, amazing things took place for us. If that's you, you ain't seen nothing yet. Success is not a destination or an event in itself, success is successive. Don't settle for the successes of 2019, rather use them as launching pads for even greater successes to come.

On the other hand, there are some of us who are going through "mixed feelings" moments as the year draws to a close. What we hoped for didn't come to pass. We were disappointed, frustrated, let down, rejected, tearful and sad. We didn't receive the support we needed to attain our goals. All that could go wrong went wrong for us. If that's you, don't let the side shows distract you, God's plan for you is still intact.

Deacon Caroline exhorted us from the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, and put in prison from a false accusation. But it was from prison that Joseph went to Pharaoh's court. Like Joseph, your circumstances are shaping you for your next big break. There’s hope that things will get better. We can trust God to make all things beautiful in His time.

Whether it's “Hallelujah” moments or "mixed feelings” moments that we are having as 2019 draws to a close, we can finish strong because where we are going is far much more important than where we have come from. Looking back, we can all thank God for seeing us through 2019 and position ourselves for greater things in 2020.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 51: Put a Lid on It

I should have published this at the start of the holiday season, but it is still relevant for us as we are still in the holiday season, approaching the tail end of it. I wanted to bring it up because I have been beating myself up for being sluggish this season, not being up to speed as I hoped I would be.

Let me start by saying that we don't need to beat ourselves up for not being our disciplined selves during the holidays. However, we still need to keep up healthy habits and honor our bodies. Wouldn't it be amazing to start the new year without the need for a grand resolution for your health? What if you could say on January 1st, "I did not go crazy with food this time, and I kept up some form of exercise throughout the holidays!"

Each year when the holiday season starts in late November for those in parts of the world where Thanksgiving is celebrated, and mid December for the rest of world who wait for Christmas time to start celebrating, all through to New Year's Day, many people throw self-control out the window. Is that you? Maybe you find yourself double-feasting on cakes and other special occasion treats as you move from party to party, while sleeping in too long to make it for your morning walk/run or to the gym. I witness this every other year when my gym is almost empty from mid December.

Ashley Armstrong wrote that we can still honor God with our bodies when life is stressful and full, especially around the holidays. Life is the ebb and flow of celebration and sorrow, weddings and funerals, running and rest. We cannot allow the season or the events on our calendar to dictate our health year after year. What we can do is control the pace of our lives with the help of the Holy Spirit and some well-established healthy habits.

Heading to Ashley Armstrong's advise, let's try something new this year and carry it through the years to come. When the holiday season starts, limit your over indulgence in food and continue exercising like normal - reinforce the habit of going to the gym or working out at home, but allow yourself to decrease the duration or intensity. It's all about maintaining the habit of exercise all year round. So, like me, give yourself grace and maybe work out 30 minutes as opposed to an hour. With that' you will still experience the benefits of stress-relief, calorie burning, and increased serotonin.

When it comes to food, I have noticed from my own experience that taste buds do change and adapt to new options. After eating a certain way for awhile now, I am no longer drawn to a bite of processed foods and over sweetened cakes. But if you are not there yet, decide ahead of time exactly how you're going to "cheat." Even for where I am at, I often find myself over eating the good stuff during the holidays, which is not any better. Plan ahead of family get-togethers or social events and decide which food or beverage is "worth it" for you to indulge in. Eat your favorites and turn your back on the "just-okay" treats.

The other thing to remember is to protect your sleep. I went to a Christmas party at my sister's and they couldn't understand why I was ready to leave at 8pm! I was surprised because I usually leave her place by 5pm to enjoy the evening at home. They thought I would stay until midnight because it's Christmas. We left the kids there to continue enjoying time with their cousins. We later learnt that they were making it to bed at 4am!

I find myself ignoring my bedtime alarm during the holidays as when we are not home, dinners aren't served until almost 8pm, and when home, there are more conversations and laughs to he had, or another movie started a bit late. As this happens, the consequence is finding myself staggering my way toward my quiet time in the morning or ignoring the alarm in order to get an extra sleep cycle. This messes up my calendar from being late for my quiet time, late for my walk and gym workout, and late for relaxation activities - hence, some things don't get done or their duration gets slashed. But it's okay because it's the holidays, right? We get to cut ourselves some slack and take it easy, don't we? That said, give yourself plenty of sleep during the holiday season so you can have the time and energy to indulge in all your activities of choice.

When it comes to holiday shopping and splurging, plan ahead of time how much you are going to spend on things and gifts for yourself and those you love. It's important to plan for these things well in advance so that you enjoy yourself during the holidays. When you get to it, remain sensible, resist peer pressure and stick to your budget. Nothing is worth having a miserable January.

I believe the holidays isn't a time to be sloppy or to go crazy, it's a time to take in the things you enjoy without a rush and without feelings of guilt and regret afterwards. This is only possible if we exercise self control with food, exercise, sleep and shopping. Enjoy the holidays while remaining true to yourself.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 50: Beyond Amazed

This is a follow on to the "Living Amazed" article below. In addition to telling God what you are grateful for each day, tell God something or many things that you love about him. I was reminded of this by a YouVersion Bible plan from the Jewish Voice Ministries International's 7 ways to sweeten your new year. They wrote that an interesting thing happens when we praise God, we experience joy.

They went on to say that not only is it fitting that we honor God and praise Him, it actually benefits us. Praising God sweetens our lives and strengthens the intimacy of our relationship with Him. When our hearts are focused on Him, we see His amazing generosity towards us. How astounding is it that the God of the universe would stoop down to love and save us so that we could be with Him forever!

Ask God to help you develop the habit of telling Him what you appreciate about Him. The plan exhorted readers to intentionally reflect on what God is doing. From day to day God will meet your needs. What stands out to you today? Is it His tenderness toward you in a particular situation? His attention to detail or His wild and colorful creativity? Perhaps it's His ability to intricately weave circumstances together to accomplish His plans. Tell Him the reasons you value Him. You will be blessed as you reflect on Him. God takes pleasure in our sincere gratitude.

I am beyond amazed when God helps me figure out a budget mishap at work. I am beyond amazed when there's laughter in my heart from my relationships. I am beyond amazed when God redirects me to a road with less traffic, or when He ensures that a meeting I am running late for isn't ready to start until long after I have arrived. I am beyond amazed when I look at the beauty around me that God has allowed me to have and enjoy. What are you beyond amazed about?

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 49: Living Amazed

A few Sundays ago I gave my family loose leaf pads to write down what they are grateful for and hand them back to me on the last day of the year. I like to write down the things I am thankful for every day. So many little things happen that brighten up my heart from seeing God's acts of love towards me.

We can take so much for granted, but I don't want to take it lightly when God redirects my plans from what would have been a flop and total waste of time to something convenient and successful. Or when He keeps me from doing something I would regret doing or didn't need to do. Stuff like that happen to us all the time but we don't stop to notice that it's God looking out for us - taking care of us.

It is when we take for granted the little things that God does for us every day that we lose our excitement for what God is doing. Some of us can't remember the last time God did something great for us yet He is doing them every day. When good stuff happen, we are not amazed, or we think it's our luck or that we are just smart like that. Far from it. It is God working behind the scenes on our behalf.

Apart from the different things that take place on different days that we give thanks for, there are things that remain constant on our daily gratitude lists that we must give thanks for even when nothing good happens to us in a given day. These are things that we are eternally grateful to God for. We are grateful for being alive, for our health, for our families and friends, for our abilities, for the materials things that God has blessed us with, for the things we know and apply for our good, for the opportunities and privileges that we have, the list is endless. We should never take these things for granted but be amazed by God's goodness towards us.

There are times when we don't feel like praying - we feel too dried up to come up with words for God. In such times, we can settle for just giving thanks to God - for who He is, for what He has done for us, and for what He has given us. Thank Him for His protection, for His provision, for His guidance, for His deliverance, and for His goodness and mercies. No matter your circumstances, you can lived amazed.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi