One of the gifts the Lord has graciously given me is the gift of exhortation. I love encouraging people. I choose to write uplifting blogs not only because I carry the gift of exhortation but I have found out that many people are dealing with difficult situations and in order for them to rise up, they need to be encouraged. When I was reading the passage in the bible where Moses sent the 12 spies to scout the Land of Canaan and bring a report, ten out of the 12 spies came with a very discouraging message and discouraged everyone. They drowned the report of the other 2 spies. Having said that, you can get encouraging messages all day long but you still have to make a choice whether you want to stay discouraged or believe in God who says that nothing is impossible with him. In this life, there are more discouragers so make sure you look around your circle of friends or people who are around you and know who will discourage you and who will encourage you. You don’t want to be discouraged by someone when you are already discouraged.
One of my aunts was sitting for an exam. Everyone in the room was seated quietly going through their papers to see which questions they could answer. It was so silent you could hear a pin drop. Within a few minutes into the exam, they heard one of the male students crying. Everyone was startled. Apparently, he had gone through the whole paper and found out he could not answer any question. I don’t know why he could not but he was devastated. He was pulling down his hat and crying. Now my aunt has a sense of humor so as she told this story we were laughing so hard with tears streaming down our eyes so I never got to ask her what happened to the young man. This is the point of the story.
With Every Assignment Given, One Needs to be Prepared
Before you get into your assignment, there needs to be a period of preparation. I am using the word assignment as something you need to do or something you feel called to do. Probably a passion you have. Maybe it is becoming a lawyer or going into a mission field. Maybe you want to be doctor or a nurse. Whatever you feel you are being led to do or whatever you are passionate about, you need to go through a process of preparation otherwise you will fail. The apostle Paul had to go through a process of preparation in order to fulfill his mandate. Joseph had to go through a process of preparation in order to become second in command. The preparation comes with challenges but with God everything is possible. By the time I got to do radio, I had gone through a preparation period of about 6 to 7 years. And I am still in preparation for something else. Sometimes the preparation is long but don’t give up in the middle of that preparation. Joshua was given instruction concerning Jericho. They were to go round the city seven times. Each morning, they woke up and went around the city of Jericho one time. That was the process given. Without following that instruction, that wall would not have come down. The process may have looked foolish to someone else. In Jericho they probably question what the children of Israel were doing. Don’t let someone discourage you in the middle of your process. Just go through it and depend on God. Ask God to encourage you. He will.
Some Assignments Look Impossible
Lets look at Noah. Noah was told to build an ark. His directions concerning the building were no small task. He had to build a boat large enough to house not only his family but also animals. The ark was to measure 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Noah did not have an army of people to help him do this. The requirements of this project were unbelievable. It not only demanded of his faith but also his energy and time. He only had his family to work on this ark. When you look at the assignment and you dwell on how impossible or hard it is, you will not be able to go through with it. You may give up right at the beginning. You have to not only depend on God but also put in the work. He will enable you. It took Noah and his sons 100 years to complete this massive project but God waited for them so that he could not only save them but save the animals.
You Will Face Life Challenges as You go About Your Assignment
When you read scripture, there are people who went through a lot as they did what God had called them to do. Prophet Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet went through difficult situations. If you have never read the book of Jeremiah, please do take time and read it. Life was hard for this prophet but God enable him and gave him the grace to accomplish what he was created to do. Apostle Paul endured many beatings, jail, and many other trials and tribulations but he never gave up. He continued teaching the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Acts 14:19-23. Paul was teaching in Lystra and then some Jews showed up.
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Paul was not about to give up doing what he was called to do. His act of rising up after being stoned was encouragement enough. The enemy will attack you so that you can give up. He will discourage you so that you don’t accomplish the purpose for which you were created. You just need to remember that He who is in you is greater than the enemy. Don’t be anxious but pray and give all your requests to God. Also ask God to give you peace in the midst of turmoil. He will.
Not Every Level of Assignment is Equal
Some are called to be apostle, others teachers, others prophets, others pastors, others nurses, others judges, others to run orphanages etc. God has given you the measure of grace you need for what he has created you to do. Never compare yourself with another. Just follow the process the Lord has laid before you. Also don’t get into someone else lane. Some people want to do what someone else is doing because apparently that person is more successful. One of the people I respect greatly is Evangelist Billy Graham. He stayed on his lane. He was called to be an evangelist and even as he became famous, he never tried to be a prophet or Pastor. He continued to evangelize. He stayed on his lane. Stay on your lane. You are carrying the raw materials to your success. Let me give you an example. Sonnie Badu, a gifted and anointed worshipper has made money with the gift God gave him. It was through this gift of singing that he was able to make money and invest and therefore runs a number of businesses. He is very successful and also very humble. Don Moen, one of my all-time favorites has had a successful career as a worshipper. He has written and sung many songs. Later, I will share stories of a number of people who are wildly successful because they did not give up.
You have to Focus on the Purpose
Jesus purpose of coming to earth was to save mankind. He knew exactly what was going to happen. He knew the pain he was going to go through. He knew the suffering he would endure for the sake of saving us.
Let me tell you something that happened to me. It was learning lesson. Looking back, I cannot believe I let so much discouragement into my life. Let me make this clear.
I had not given up on my relationship with God. I had given up on my assignment
Last year, I decided to organize a singles meeting. I can’t believe I am telling you this story. I would love to keep it to myself cause I still feel so embarrassed about it but if I don’t share, you may think I do not go through situations that discourage me. So here we go. I was organizing this meeting on my own really. I called a pastor friend of mine who was able to connect me to another pastor and I got a venue free of charge. Ministry needs money and because I am in the beginning stages, I just don’t have enough money to do what I need to do. Anyway, I advertised for the meeting three months before the scheduled day. On the day of the meeting, the first people to arrive were the speakers and the person who was to lead worship. We had to wait because we could not speak to ourselves. So we waited and the next group of people came may be thirty minutes later. Did I mention they were two ladies. The next lady came 45 minutes later and two other ladies, one single and another married came around an hour later. That was it. I had two very good speakers, and four single people in a meeting. There were more married people in the meeting than single ladies. I was very discouraged and I could not rise up from that discouragement on my own. Everything to do with ministry stopped. I was in the process of writing my third book but it took a back seat. My blogging came to a halt. I mean everything to do with ministry was abandoned. Two things took over; Crochet and watching television.
I was done with God’s process. I was running away from my assignment. I was reading scripture but not the way I like to read and I was not praying as much. I would do those hurried prayers because I gotta crochet. But as for my calling, I was like I can’t do this anymore. I knew I should not give up but I was like, I am just not going through this anymore. One day God told me to seek him. He reminded me Jeremiah 29:13 which says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” I heard him but because I had given up, I just decided I will do other things. I seriously thought I have just gone through enough. I cannot do this anymore. I am done done done.
Once discouragement took over, I did not want to listen to God. In other words, I had started down the dangerous path of rebellion. I was like Jonah. I had gotten into the wrong boat. Really, where was crochet and watching television gonna take me
Nobody really knew how extremely discouraged I felt. One of the reasons I was not talking much about it was because I probably would get asked why I feel so discouraged and I did not want to say why I was feeling so low because I thought that it was something so minute that should not discourage me. I felt embarrassed. I just did not feel like anyone would really understand.
There is nothing to be embarrassed about when you are discouraged. Please share
If you know the story of Jonah, remember when he entered the wrong boat, he comfortably went to sleep even though he was being rebellious. God would not let him sleep. That is what I call mercy. I was now getting comfortable in my crochet and watching television business. In fact, I had started coming up with a business plan of how I can make money by selling crochet. Discouragement got me to the place of not surrendering to God but giving up on God. Such a plan of the enemy. The devil wants you to give up on God because if you do, you will not be who God created you to be.
Remember, If the enemy can’t use your gift for his own purposes, then he would rather it stays dormant because you cannot be effectively used by God
Let me say, now that I am finally back to myself, crochet would have been one of the worst ideas and it would have flopped. God never called me to start a crochet business. He called me to minister to women. God in his mercy got me before I could start the business. You see, Jonah being swallowed by a big fish, was God’s way of getting him back to his assignment.
Giving up cheats you that you can succeed in doing other things instead of what God has created you to do.
You are probably asking how I got back. After around one to one and a half months went by, a friend of mine wrote me a message. She said, “Martha God woke me up in the night to pray for you. He is able.” This was such an uplifting message. I wrote to her and opened up. She is a pastor. She prayed for me and ever since has continued to pray for me. God woke someone up from another continent to pray for me. Our Merciful God chose to wake someone up to pray for me instead of giving up on me just like I had given up on him. He is faithful.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (ESV)
Never give up. There is an article I found in the huffington post about some people who never gave up even though the situation looked useless and I thought I might share that with you. I chose a few people from the list but here is the link, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/25/successful-people-obstacles_n_3964459.html if you would like to read the article
Bill Gates’ First Business Failed
Yes, the richest person in the whole world couldn’t make any money at first. Gates’ first company, Traf-O-Data (a device which could read traffic tapes and process the data), failed miserably. When Gates and his partner, Paul Allen, tried to sell it, the product wouldn’t even work. Gates and Allen didn’t let that stop them from trying again though. Here’s how Allen explained how the failure helped them: “Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later.”
Benjamin Franklin was a School Dropout
Franklin’s parents could only afford to keep him in school until his tenth birthday. That didn’t stop the great man from pursuing his education. He taught himself through voracious reading, and eventually went on to invent the lightning rod and bifocals. Oh, and he became one of America’s Founding Fathers.
Richard Branson has Dyslexia
Branson was a pretty bad student — he didn’t get good marks and he did poorly on standardized tests. Instead of giving up, he used the power of his personality to drive him to success. Today, Branson, known for developing Virgin Records and many of its more technologically advanced spinoffs, is the fourth richest person in the UK.
Stephen King’s First Novel was Rejected Thirty Times
After being consistently rejected by publishing houses, King gave up and threw his first book in the trash. His wife, Tabitha, retrieved the manuscript and urged King to finish it. Now, King’s books have sold over 350 million copies and have been made into countless major motion pictures.
Those are just a few from the list. Don’t give up. Trust and believe that God is able. Always remember, you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.