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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

 

 

 

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