Transforming Zambia: The Post August 11th 2016 Zambia.


Just two years after the independence of Zambia, in March 1966, the then first Zambian president had this to say. “Most of our weaknesses, is derived from lack of finance, trained personnel, etc., etc., etc. We are left with no choice but to fall on either the east or west, or indeed, on both of them.” What Kaunda did not state was that the weaknesses that he spoke of were, first and foremost, products of European colonial strategies and, second, the failure of all (including him) and other independent African nations to fully serve the interests of their people through brave and innovative development programs.

Zambia missed the point way back in 1964. Since then, we have been building a nation on wrong foundations. But Zambia is our land. Zambia our large country, with a unique butterfly shape.  As beautiful as the colours of the butterfly. A country that can be hot in the lower valleys but with beautiful weather with most land across the high plateau where temperatures are more pleasant.  Zambia the beautiful.

The Zambia of today and the mess we face under the current government, is a total sum of all collective decisions and behaviours of both citizens and leaders who ever ascended to leadership before and after 24th October, 1964. However, the Zambia we want post 2016 should be a careful consideration of all factors that define the nation we now call Zambia. We must be students of history to be relevant today and strategic tomorrow.  My fear is that what I hear in all the campaigns now does not attempt to address the real problems Zambia faces.

Rebuilding Zambia: The August 11th 2016 Elections will be different from any other in the history of Zambia. Not only because the sixth President of the Republic of Zambia will be elected, but because up to now, Zambia has been damaged by reckless financial policies, lax regulations and failed political systems. Our country boasts in imported products and is a large supermarket of the rest of the world. Unless we get a leader who will reconstruct the economic outlook of the country. We are headed nowhere.

Grounds for a new start:  Developing the new Zambia will require a paradigm shift; certainly what needs to be avoided is to pour new wine into old wineskins. The salvation of Zambia from the current door drums requires a complete deconstruction of the current Zambian state and constructing a totally new paradigm shift on which to build.

In terms of policy making and execution the Post 2016 Zambian government must accommodate other integrative forces at work at different levels, whether at the form of micro-regions, cross provincial operations, regional public goods, and non-state actors in Zambia’s development agenda. That is, a multi-pronged approach, including the reconstituted state, would better reflect reality and be more useful.

In practice it means, that Zambians become students of our own country history and focus not only on the current government that has made so much mess.  This article is not an attempt at attacking the government in power but using what we know from all the historical issues that subject our country to perpetual poverty, for the way forward.  In this article I am simply using the history of Zambia and Africa to date to spring up development in Zambia. I just cannot understand why a rich country like Zambia should be poor.

Zambia needs reconstruction and repositioning for growth. Zambia has listened to too many lies from the external forces for too long. This country is dying because of the foreign capital “trade-off”.  Zambia has over relied on foreign investment instead of balancing the two and investing in local human capital. It is Zambians and only Zambians with a heart for the country that will develop this nation. The government must facilitate every Zambian to become an asset in the building of the nation. Everyone is important and must contribute to a better Zambia. As long as Zambians do not own Copper mines and other means of production, this nation is doomed.

In order to rapidly acquire the requisite capital and skills, previous Zambian governments especially the second republic generally opted to realise their resource endowments through attracting foreign resource companies (TNCs & JRCs), rather than mainly relying on domestic capital. However, this “trade-off” comes with several possible “threats” and has not developed Zambia. Zambia is a living example that there are limits to Foreign Direct Investments and such development agenda must be dealt with caution. We drunk and imbibed the doctrines of IMF and World Bank to the point where Zambia was praised by the two institutions. But Woe unto a nation if it is praised by the IMF and World Bank, for it is finished. Zambia got finished when we got some of the best ratings with the IMF and World Bank. It was not because we were doing well, but it is because we had sold our own very lives and economy.

The Wrong Economic Policies we pursued: – These are some of the lessons I can pick that we should have learnt by now from our economic history in Zambia:

  • Trans – National Companies have often used global purchasing strategies which have been least likely to develop local suppliers (linkages), as we have seen. All companies sold out by the Zambian government to foreign investors have since changed hands several times and are unrecognisable for the worse. Many jobs have been lost and no new ones created.
  • TNCs tend to optimise their global processing (beneficiation) facilities which can deny local downstream opportunities; all companies that relied on ZCCM externalities have all since disappeared.
  • TNCs locate their tech development (R&D) in OECD countries,, thereby denying Zambia the development of this critical side-stream capacity;
  • TNCs also have tended to locate their high level HRD in OECD countries (often linked to their R&D university partners), which could deny Zambia the development of this seminal capacity;
  • In the longer term there are clearly political downsides to a resource sector dominated by foreign capital;
  • Finally there is the TNC “core competence” conundrum.

Zambia’s short to medium term potential lies in our natural comparative advantage: Namely, resource & resource-based industries (provide a competitive platform for finished products in the longer term, and an immediate market for resource inputs industries.

Zambia has so many mineral that we can exploit, but we have over relied on copper and we do not even manage those copper mines. They are with foreigners and they are not benefiting us. We have power blackouts when we have coal in Mamba and 40 percent of Southern Africa’s water is in Zambia. Help local Zambians generate micro power schemes and we will have enough. Why borrow for infrastructure development when you can borrow to invest in local Zambians to become entrepreneurs.

What about the land we have. We will cry one day for this land we are letting foreigners take.

The need to delink from the past: – All governments since the first republic have been omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. The common qualities usually attributed to Zambia as a state are that it must have territory, people, government, and authority for the legitimate use of coercive force. The Public Order Act which belonged to the colonialist has continued to be used against opponents to date. Arguably, this is not always been applicable to us in Zambia.

  • Post-colonial Zambian political elites attempted to build on the inherited colonial Zambia and in the process transform it into a replica of the Western model. The results have been disastrous as the latter had distinctly different origins and reference framework. We tried going East, came back to the West and go lost in the process.
  • Political independence attained in 1964 was not accompanied by a reconstruction of the colonial Northern Rhodesia, a European construct, to make it more relevant to the environment and better respond to the needs of the indigenous peoples of the independent Zambia. The post-colonial Zambia remained not as an alternative but as a successor to the colonial state – Northern Rhodesia just renamed Zambia. No wonder the problems we have.

Manifestations of the colonial Zambia that were inherited by our Post independence governments:-

  • First, the colonial Sir Raphael “RoyWelensky government was authoritarian and repressive state and we changed nothing after 1964.
  • Second, Welensky’s government played a major role in the economy, with an all-dominant public sector and we followed suit.
  • Third, the Welensky bureaucracy, as a major component of the state, was highly centralized.
  • Fourth, the colonial government system coexisted with indigenous governance systems and models and we tried to modernise them into house of chiefs and so on.
  • Fifth, vast amounts of government resources were directed at eliminating all contending political authorities or divesting them of any meaningful functions. This included not only opposition political parties but non-state actors of all hues, traditional institutions and socio-economic bodies. This has continued to date punishing opposition parties at will using state resources.
  • Sixth, the spread of the Zambian government resulted in its presence being felt in all areas of socio-economic life. Not only within what was traditionally the public sector but also in most parts of the private sector. Remember we had Mansa batteries in Mansa, Pineable factory in Mwinilunga, Livingstone Motor Assembly in Livingstione etc. Mindeco, Findeco and Indeco and the list goes on.

In terms of performance the successful governments in Zambia have fallen far short of the basics:

  • All successful government so far have not proven to be developmentalist – in our area the government is more of a part of the problem than a solution to the problem of development. All the works of successful governments since independence have not impacted positively on the vast proportion of the populations; rather, poverty has deepened.
  • Capacity for policy implementation has been considerably limited and substituted by non-governmental and faith-based organizations, and an informal sector growing at exponential rates.
  • The sovereignty of the post-colonial Zambia is compromised by the fact that it is so deeply dependent on the ex-colonial powers (donor aid) and the international community to solve its developmental and other problems including those directly associated with regime survival.
  • The inability of any successful Zambian government to prevent, manage and resolve most internal tribal conflicts, has been a burden and a drain in development efforts.

Grounds for new government thinking include: – First, it is important that the previously dominant model of governance which almost exclusively concentrates on formal institutional frameworks should be challenged if for no reason than that the previous governments have all proven themselves not fit for purpose, as glaringly shown earlier.

Second, older approaches do not reflect what happening on-the-ground is but accept without questioning the ‘often optimistic and unrealistic accounts of what government and their ministers say they are going to do to build Zambian provinces and districts including villages. The government cannot develop this country. It can only put in place policies that will enable Zambians thrive and development will follow. How can we still believe in this era that a government can bring development to our villages?

Third, these other approaches do not have any relationship with the realities of Zambian development besides demonstrating the chasm between ideal and reality.

The New Zambian thinking should be grounded on the need to ‘unpack’ the old traditional Zambian state ridding it of Western conceptions and making it truly Zambian. We are a unique people and operate uniquely. We cannot be a copycat of other nations.

I conclude by saying,  that the conventional ‘top-down’ preoccupations of the institutionalists/inter-governmentalists need to be domesticated through a ‘bottom-up’ emphasis. Let the people run the nation through a strong constitution and empowered citizens. Zambians, August 11th 2016, Vote wisely.

 

 

 

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Trusting God When I Don’t Understand


Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

When the children of Israel were finally set free from Egypt after 400 years of slavery, they started marching out to freedom and the first thing they came to was the Red Sea. There were impassable mountain ranges on two sides of them, the sea in front of them.

Behind them, in hot pursuit, was the Egyptian army because the Pharaoh had changed his mind about letting them go. The path before the Israelites looked like a dead end.

But God knew exactly what He wanted to do. He had not made a mistake. He could see what they could not see. He opened the Red Sea and they walked through to safety. Years later, the Israelites looked back and sang, “Your road led by a pathway through the sea—a pathway no one knew was there!” Psalm 77:19 (LB).

You may be facing a dead end right now—financial, emotional, relational—but God can see a path that you don’t know about. If you will trust God and keep on moving in faith, even when you don’t see a way, He will make a way.

It will become more understandable as you head down the path he sets before you, but understanding is not a requirement for you to start down the path. Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining brighter till the full light of day” (NIV). One day you will stand in the full light of eternity and view the big picture. You’ll see God’s purpose behind the path He specifically chose for you.

What do I do in the meantime? You do what Proverbs 3 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

What does He mean “don’t lean on your own understanding“? You don’t need to try to figure it out. In truth, you’re not going to understand most of the things that happen in your life until you get to heaven.

Be patient. God knows what He’s doing. God knows what’s best for you. He can see the end result. You can’t. All those problems, heartaches, difficulties and delays — all the things that make you ask “why” — one day it will all be clear in the light of God’s love.

But for now, we’re learning to trust God.

Adapted from Rick Warren

 

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Am I a Pillar or a Pedestal?


You’re either a Pillar or a Pedestal

David's Blog

And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be
pillars, perceived the grace thatpillar 4 was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Galatians 2:9

The New Oxford dictionary defines a “pedestal” as: “the base or support on which a statue, obelisk or column is mounted. A position in which someone is greatly or uncritically admired.”

The New Oxford dictionary defines a “pillar” as: “a tall vertical structure of wood, stone or metal, used as a support for a building. A person or thing regarded as reliably providing essential support for something.”

A further look into how these two words weave themselves into the church is worth further inspection and investigation.

Let’s take a peek at how they each differ in function, purpose and meaning.

1) Pedestals are used to lift…

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There’s wonderful power in the blood.


Power

Would you be free from the burden of sin?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder working power
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder working power
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin stains are lost in its life giving flow.
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Would you do service for Jesus your king?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Words & Music: Lew­is E. Jones, 1899.

Story:

This is a great old hymn written during a camp meeting in 1899 by Lewis Jones. Lewis graduated from Moody Bible Institute and worked for the YMCA. He wrote hymns on the side, and this song has endured for over 100 years now, encouraging many generations to overcome temptations through the “precious blood of the Lamb.” Jones wrote this song at a camp meet­ing at Mount­ain Lake Park, Mar­y­land.

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Sometimes It’s Hard for me to Understand!


IMG_2437

Russ Taff, James hollihan and Victoria Taff wrote one of the songs that I loved since my youthful days. The opening lines goes, “Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand why we pull away from each other so easily even though were all walkin’ the same road. Yet we build dividing walls between our brothers and ourselves, but I, I don’t care What label you may wear, if you believe in Jesus, You belong with me, the bond we share And all I care to see it will change the world forever if you will join with me, join and sing, sing…”

Well, I too have found myself saying the same words. Sometimes it’s hard to understand! To understand many things. Why God doesn’t allow things to happen straightaway. Why God allows the good to suffer and the wicked to prosper! Why bad things happen to good people? An important lesson that I am continuing to learn each day is that God works things out in his own perfect timing.

Yes, sometimes it’s hard to understand. You pray and feel convinced in your spirit that God is with you on this plan and set out to do what you have been seeking the Lord’s face for. At first things go smoothly and praise the Lord. But then suddenly things fall apart and you begin to wonder:

Is God really there and with me in this? Did I really hear you God correctly? What is happening here Lord?

Well, I have been there and let me share some of the things that I found out in the process. Let us look at Paul in Acts 16. He was serving God and building the church. Things were going great. Until they were not. Now pay attention to this:

“And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

If you did not do geography like I did, you might need a little bit of a geography lesson: Paul was heading east into Asia. That’s what he thought God wanted him to do.

When that door closed, he could have gotten discouraged and confused and quit. He did not. Instead, he figured he would go up the coast of Asia to Bithynia and preach there.

When that door closed, he could have gotten discouraged and confused and quit. He did not. Instead, he waited to see what God was up to then went where God told him to go: west to Macedonia – the exact opposite direction of where he had started. He understood what you and I fail to connect:

When God closes a door, He does it with a purpose. He’s re-directing your paths. Men and women may say all kinds of things against you. Keep in mind, God is still working on you, to make you what you ought to be. Sometimes through the fire, and sometimes through the flood, but God leads His dear children along. Do not despise the path the Lord has cut out for your brother. God means good for him. Just pray for him and do not be a holier than thou.

When God closes a door, He does it with a purpose and redirects your paths. He sometimes does it through broken plans. He can do it through devastated dreams. He sometimes even does it through unexpected failures. Name it, career, marriage, education, business including all your successes in life. But there is a catch to all this.

God always, and I mean ALWAYS does everything for your good. It may be bitter now, but God has the long term plan in mind. It is a crucible of righteousness. You are being refined as gold. You might be facing some unexpected detours in your life today. You might be tempted to quit. You might think that you are a big failure. One thing you can do is emulate what Paul did:

God uses broken plans to re-direct your paths. God uses what looks like a failure in your life to get you where he wants you to be. To stumble and fall is not the end, unless you refuse to rise up. God created you for a purpose and He will do whatever it takes to get you there. When Paul got to Macedonia, Lydia was waiting for him.

And who knows who might be waiting for you in your unexpected Macedonia? There may be a special Lydia there. Find out!

Your broken dreams are not a mistake. They’re simply a detour to get you where God wants you. Listen to God.

 Quite honestly, one of the best answers I’ve ever come across to the question why things happen in a bad way so to speak, was written by C.S. Lewis in his book, Mere Christianity. Lewis likened God’s use of adversity to walking a dog. If the dog gets its leash wrapped around a pole and tries to continue running forward, he will only tighten the leash more. Both the dog and the owner are after the same end:

Forward motion. But the owner must resist the dog by pulling him opposite of the direction that he wants to go. The master, sharing the same intention, but understanding better than the dog where he really wants to go, takes an action precisely opposite to that of the dog’s will. It is in this way that God uses adversity!

We really don’t like being pulled and corrected by the Lord — but when we understand there’s a greater purpose involved, then we can pass through adversity with hope, expectation and steadfastness knowing these events are for our greater good!

Let’s learn from the trials and tribulations we go through because God has a purpose in them. We may not enjoy it, but when all’s said and done, enduring trials faithfully will produce perseverance, character, and hope. And hope will not disappoint us for the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…[Romans 5:4-5] We truly can trust in the God who loves us with an everlasting love because He knows the direction we need to go, AND He knows exactly how to get us there!

When Jesus said in the Garden, “Not My will, but Thine be done,” He was not entering into a passive mode of resignation to inevitable circumstances. He was actively consenting to glad participation in the divine will. We need to be careful at this point. For sometimes when we are exhorted, to look positively at the difficult aspects of the divine will, we settle into an attitude rather like that of a rebellious teenager ( we have some in the home) who chafes under parental discipline, and can’t do anything about it except project a constant attitude of disapproval of what he/she has to endure, and plays this one possibility to the hilt – technically submitting to the parental will, but realistically living in open, although muted, resistance to it and resentment of it.

So try this. Next time God’s will and yours don’t see eye to eye, and before you get horribly bent out of shape, remind yourself that you don’t know all the circumstances so you can’t make a definitive assessment of the situation as to whether it is ultimately good or bad. Then remember that God claims His will is “good, acceptable and perfect.” Give Him the benefit of the doubt and concentrate on the positive things that you know can come out of glad acceptance of His plan. You may be surprised at the way life becomes less of a struggle and God’s will becomes less of a problem.

 

 

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Surviving Babylon


Through it

So what do you do when you realise you have ended up in Babylon? Because sooner or later, you will. Babylon is where you find yourself when life does not turn out the way you planned. Maybe it happens when a relationship or even a marriage that you had such dreams for ends. Maybe it happens when your greatest career hopes die. Maybe it happens when somebody you knew and loved wounds you deeply. Maybe it is when you realize that a deep prayer that you cherished will never be answered the way that you want it. You find yourself in Babylon, cut off from the life that you wanted and planned on, and you may never get home. And worst of all, you wonder if God even knows. How could God let this happen? Has he forgotten his promise? Does he even notice? What do you do when you find yourself, like Daniel, in Babylon?

One of my favourite characters in the Bible is Daniel. As a young boy, I read his story countless times and was amazed by his courage to worship and pray to his God in a foreign land despite being forbidden to do so. He was thrown into the lions’ den as a result, yet the God he served rescued him from being devoured by the lions.

Unlike in Daniel’s time when it was decreed that praying to God during a 30-day period meant sure death, we are blessed to enjoy religious freedom in my part of the world. We can freely assemble, proselytize, and engage in faith-based activities.

As we move on doing our business this year, we can use a few precious faith lessons learned during my years away from home and at home in a new country. Every day, we face our own share of fierce lions, but like Daniel who depended on God to deliver him, we can also take comfort in the fact that God will never leave us nor forsake us. I have learned a lot too from reading Larry Osborne’s book Thriving in Babylon.

Here are some Lessons to help you thrive when you walk through Babylon. 

  1. Obviously Gods hand was on Daniel… He was a man of great hope, humility and wisdom.
  2. God doesn’t have a temper problem. His discipline and judgement are perfect in timing and scope. When it comes to dealing with his people and children, his harshest judgements are carried out with our best interests in mind.
  3. Babylon is the personification of evil. Even at the end of history it will represent to the angelic hosts the worst of the worst.
  4. If we’re caught in the backwash of someone else’s sin, experiencing Gods correcting discipline, or simply suffering the natural consequences of living in a fallen world, the proper response is still the same. We are called to live a life of Hope, humility, and wisdom.

Biblical humility is simply serving others by putting their needs and interests above our own.

  1. Today there are many who claim to be Christ followers but are not, when asked, they check the Christian box. They live a generally moral life… But in reality, their faith is nothing more than cultural accommodation.
  2. We often equate ethical and moral lifestyle with genuine faith.
  3. It is easy to obey God if we agree with Him, but that’s not really obedience. We haven’t really learned obedience until we do what he says despite our doubts, confusion, or concern that his way won’t work out.
  4. Daniel had Hope in the biblical sense of the word. He had a deep-seated confidence in God’s character and sovereignty.
  5. As our society and culture becomes increasingly hostile toward Christianity and Christian values there are some spiritual qualities that become especially important. There are five in particular that we can’t survive without. They’re important no matter what the situation. But in a Babylon like environment they become absolutely essential.
  6. But his trust in God’s ultimate goodness and power was stronger and deeper than his sorrow or confusion. He might not have understood everything that was happening. But he responded as one who knew that God was in control of who was in control, even when God’s choices proved to be puzzling and disturbing.
  7. If we want to experience Daniel-like courage and Paul-like peace and hope, we need to follow their example. Instead of letting our friends, the media, and the latest crisis du jour determine our outlook, we’ll need to let scripture, our personal experiences of God’s power, and his many promises determine our outlook.
  8. Jesus’s promise to build his church is still in play. So is his promise that the gates of hell can’t hold us back. But we’ll have to change our game plan. We’ll have to go back to the basics. The methods of the flesh and the methods of this world will have to be set aside, exchanged for the methods and weapons of the Spirit: prayer, obedient living, loving our enemies, and faithfully proclaiming the gospel.

 

Daniel wasn’t afraid to be in the presence of evil. He knew the power of his God.

  1. Admittedly, the local church is anything but sexy. It has lots of problems. It often puts cherished traditions above its God-given mission. It’s easily sidetracked. And it’s done lots of stuff that gives God a bad name. But despite all that, the church in all of its local manifestations is the one thing Jesus said he would build and sustain. It’s the pillar and foundation of truth, Satan’s kryptonite, and God’s plan A for making disciples.
  2. At its core, biblical humility is simply serving others by putting their needs and interests above our own. It’s treating others the same way we’d treat them if they were someone “important.” It doesn’t mean we become a doormat. It does mean we become a servant.
  3. Daniel genuinely desired the best interest of his captors. Much like Joseph, he endeared himself to his captors with humble service and a heartfelt concern for their best interests.
  4. The more Babylon-like our culture becomes, the more our resentment builds, resulting in bitterness, slander, rumormongering, and harsh critiques that no one would characterize as a kind and gentle rebuke… Yet every interaction Daniel had with him was respectful and gracious. He understood that every time we treat God’s enemy as our enemy we harden their hearts and build up a wall that makes repentance all the more unlikely.
  5. Daniel’s wisdom also made him a man of great forbearance. He put up with an astonishing amount of evil and decadence. He was amazingly tolerant in the biblical sense of the word. Rightly understood, tolerance is trait we should all excel in. If tolerance means granting people the right to be wrong, we of all people ought to be known for our tolerance.
  6. Legalism is simply adding extra rules to the Bible. It flows out of the best of intentions. It seeks to promote righteousness. But it’s far more likely to produce pride, isolation, and a reputation among non-Christians that we’re weird – or at best quirky.
  7. That’s why Daniel had no problem studying the language and literature of the Babylonians. He didn’t care that it had pagan roots. He wasn’t afraid to be in the presence of evil. He knew the power of his God.

 

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Be Strong And Take Courage


Be strong

Be strong and take courage
Do not fear or be dismayed
For the Lord will go before you
And His light will show the way

Be strong and take courage
Do not fear or be dismayed
For the one who lives within you
Will be strong in you today

Why don’ you give him all of your fears
Why don’t you let him wipe all of your tears
He knows, He’s been through pain before
And He knows all that you’ve been looking for

So, be strong and take courage
Do not fear or be dismayed
For the Lord will go before you
And His light will show the way
Be Strong and take courage
Do not fear or be dismayed
For the one who lives within you
Will be strong in you today

Nothing can take you out of his hand
Nothing can face you can’t command
I know that you will always be
In His love, in His power you will be free!!

So, be strong and take courage
Do not fear or be dismayed
For the Lord will go before you
And His light will show the way

Be Strong and take courage
Do not fear or be dismayed
For the one who lives within you
Will be strong in you today

Some songs stick with you for a long time because of their lyrics. This particular song has been ringing in my head for the entire week. Sometimes we go through struggles, through pain, a death of a friend or family member, heartaches, trials, there are many things that almost defeat us. Then we finally let go and let God and he takes over, and it’s refreshing. It is like a fine mist on a balmy day that just seems to regenerate you. It gives you the strength to continue on, it seems to replenish your dry skin and goes all the way down to your soul.

All through the Bible you can see that water is a picture of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is able to quench your thirst and give you new life. To refresh your tired and heavy heart. In John 7:37-38 is says, “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

T.D.Jakes  in one of his 2015 sermons said, ‘Just because you have faith, doesn’t mean fear isn’t present’. Although a highly controversial statement, the moment I read that, it resonated with me. Faith in the presence of fear is what we call courage, which leads to trust in God.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and take courage, do not be afraid or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go? … Joshua 1:9. Again in Deuteronomy 31:6 he says-  “Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you’.

There’s no way God will encourage us to “be strong” if the situation  ahead will not make us weak. There’s no way He’ll be telling you “take courage” if He didn’t know the fear you’ll face wouldn’t almost cripple you.

Moses said the above statement to Joshua when the latter was about to take the people into the promised land.

Believe me, the ten spies that came back and reported that they had seen giants as men in the promised land and the giants could not be overthrown did not tell lies. The only problem is that they allowed the fear that was present overcome their TRUST in God, and God was not tolerating that. They allowed their human limitation to overcome their limitless God.

So that is the thing, God knows there is a reason to fear. Do you think the three men in the fire were super men? I think not. To be faced with burning flames, almost reaching to the sky would have been a reason to be greatly afraid. But their complete trust in God made them decide to cast their lot in with God in the fiery furnace. I am sure you know that they must have also decided, even if God does not save us, we will still go with him( another level of follower ship).

There are two lessons to be learned here:-
TRUSTing God ( which is placing complete confidence in His ability to come through for you).
Understanding that a lot of times when you have faith, you will also have to have courage, which is as a result of the presence of fear.

Because, please hold on. If the situation wouldn’t cause you to be afraid, how would you know that you trusted God implicitly? How would you know that in a totally negative situation, you will still say ” I trust in God.”

David said ” even if the mountains fall into the sea, I will not be moved”. Paul and Silas, prayed in the cell, praised and worshipped.

Believing God gives you tremendous power, the same kind of power that raised Christ from the dead. When we BELIEVE Christ died on the cross for a particular situation, we are able to activate tremedous power for that situation. It is however important to move one up from believing for one situation to TRUSTing in the saving power of Christ’s death for EVERY situation. It is consistently believing that the power that raised Christ that one time is available for not only that scary situation today, but also for that terribly uncertain one tomorrow.

Trust would actually mean that a person places complete confidence in another person and can rely on them for anything. Believe is a more temporary concept that requires the person to place faith in a person for a select time frame.

Do you realize that even in the presence of fear in any situation, acknowledging your own limitation and recognising the fact that the God you serve is a limitless God is one of the most beautiful things God desires from us as believers?

Do you know that doing this sheds more light on the statement “my strength is made perfect in your weakness?” So are we going to go one up, from BELIEVING to TRUSTING?

Are we going to “Be strong and take courage, not be afraid or be dismayed, knowing that our LORD will go before us regardless of the circumstances?

 

 

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