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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Friday, February 28, 2014

7 Spiritual Whisperings for Encouragement

MUCH of my writing occurs quite thoughtlessly, in the moment, but thoughtfully as I re-read and edit the work, sometimes up to six or seven times. I’ve used the same technique below, but because they are more thought-bytes than aligning to the same idea, I’m calling them “spiritual whisperings.”
I’ve constantly received spiritual revelations from God. Years ago I would carry a notepad and pen with me, and sometimes I would write these revelations down at such a furious pace I would sometimes struggle to read what I had written. God would say, “Keep up!” It was a burden. Then something happened. The revelations stopped for a while. But I continued writing in faith that they would return. They did return. But the volume of these revelations has lessened.
I find, as I invite God’s Spirit to speak with me, he does so two ways. God communicates with me both by direct revelation (a specific thought – which in the past I’ve written down, but now I remember) and by indirect revelation as I hone in on an abstract concept and then let the Spirit gradually fashion my words, their order, and their quantity.
Here are some aphoristic offerings:
The high life gets us nowhere. The low life is offensive. But that is where the learning is – in giving our desires away and not giving into them.
Harsh words erode the soul. They take something precious away. But kindness builds the soul back up. Kindness revives a person and gives them back their life.
Life tends to catch up with us. None of us gets away with our sin. All are judged. And that judgment is the reconciliation of us as persons – showing God wants us to have our best. We are becoming real again. Hence, judgment is good. Judgment is the second chance. Fools are we when we ignore these opportunities to repent.
“Play life with a straight bat,” “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” “Pray daily,” among other sensible suggestions, are wisdom. We are always best off, however, in checking our wisdom with God’s. Not everything that seems from God actually is.
Long lasting many things are, but not many known to this transient world. Long lasting things are what reality is all about – find the good ones and adhere; let go of the bad ones and keep walking. Long lasting and fleeting things need to be discerned. Blessed is that discerner.
Let the matter go. Knowing when and how to let it go, however, is the wisdom. It’s no good if people don’t have the opportunity to learn. But sometimes simply letting the matter go is learning enough for anyone.
Respect is the golden implement for change. But that’s an irony; for, respect honours things just the way they are. Only when we honour things as they are do we generate the license to change things to how they might become. Respect changes many things, and not by division, but by unity so everyone can be happy enough.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What Does Repentance Mean and How Important Is It?

“Repentance isn’t behavioural modification; it’s relational restoration.

— Sy Rogers

When I awakened to the sin,

Of the life I was in,

That was the cherished moment of arrival,

That moment the Father said,

“Come home to your bed,”

And that was my very survival.

THOSE who have repented of their rebellion against God have done so for their very spiritual survival.

Oh, how we get God confused with very human fathers! Those of us who are fathers know what this is all about – we were known for our anger and lack of patience, or for our apathy, or for some other lack. We are all too human. But praise God that the Father is every bit the perfect Daddy we need.

Repentance is not about harsh scolding. It is very much the opposite; of coming to our senses and turning about-face and coming home to the victory song called redemption and to the party in the name of restoration.

When I awakened to my sin, the Father brought me to two places at once. He woke me up and then he dressed in clothes fit to wear home. No judgment nor condemnation. Just the desire to see me restored.

Anticipation of home was just the beginning. On my way there I enjoyed the thought that a new future lay waiting there for me. I hardly knew it, but I was already restored, having turned for home.

Repentance is the decision to turn. With the will to turn and to do what needs to be done, with all this new energy, having been awakened, we turn and do not look back. The reason repentance is so alluring (for all the right reasons) is there’s no shame about it. We are dealing with God and the Lord of Glory treats us with the dignity we hardly feel we deserve. But he bequests to us, favour.

This is what repentance means: to wake up and turn back and to enjoy that fear-free life of restoration, living God’s best, with the ability to turn again and again back to God. Repentance is a skill of the consciousness piqued to one’s own morality, day after day, motivated positively to act.

Repentance is critically important in the life of the person who follows God. It is the one and only prerequisite in saying “yes” to Jesus. We cannot do the will of God without repenting.


Redeemed and restored to God, having repented, which is to wake up and turn back, we can live life to the full. Repentance is the first choice for life. The second choice is to live. Discerning and doing the will of God; that is our twofold purpose. Life gets no simpler.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Embracing the Wondrous Challenge of Forgiveness

You know, when we pray,
For the one who seems to betray,
We allow Mercy into our heart,
And then forgiveness can start.
PRAYER hardly enters our minds when we are frustrated with people. Those that set their minds on doing us over deserve our mercy if for no other reason than our bitterness for their betrayal is a barrier to our beneficence. Is it ever easy to forgive someone who’s betrayed us or let us down so significantly? Yes, it can be, so long as we pray, and as we pray we let go with intention. Letting go has power and control about it.
With forgiveness as our aim,
God’s love we do proclaim,
Especially as we do,
Loving acts we know to be true.
There is always a time,
Where out of resentment we may climb,
So let us simply enjoy,
This grace of God’s we employ.
FORGIVENESS is first an attitude – it’s underpinned that way – and then it’s, secondly, the natural conversion of a tangible action or actions.
Transcending the bonds of the captor of this world, the person forgiving – the aggrieved party – is choosing a heavenly thing: to cast into the abyss all sense of bitterness, resentment, spite, hatred, and all malevolence.
When we have engaged our forgiveness gear, those teeth enmeshed bring peace and growth, all because of the faith we have had to move out of neutral and into inertia and the inevitable redoubling of momentum.
Forgiveness is a thing to embrace,
It’s what we ought to verily chase.
That’s because forgiveness is right,
It brings human and divine delight.
FORGIVENESS is the glory of God because it reveals the will of the Lord to universal divine delight. All those on the side of God are on the side of forgiveness. Only those haters and enviers are happy with unresolved conflict. Theirs is a power struggle. Everything is a conquest of the ego. But not with the one who forgives. They see via the lens of God. And not only that: they seek to bring the will of heaven to earth. They do it because it is the right thing to do. They shelve their selfish agenda.
Forgiveness is first an attitude and then, secondly, an action. It is a whole series of humble yet wise actions. The attitude sustains us, whilst commitment and carry-through are the jewels in reconciliation’s crown.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

The Strength Gained for Enduring Grief

Dealing with despair,
And anxiousness beyond reason,
Where feelings are stripped bare,
And mark this grievous grieving season.
When we bear this grief,
One day at a time,
We are strengthened for eventual relief,
And out of grief we will ultimately climb.
There is the reward from enduring horrendous seasons. Growth is acquired by the person who can suffer well. It’s the point of suffering. God makes out of these situations the mettle for growth. For what other reason does God allow us to be tested other than for strengthening?
As we bear the transgression against us, we are reminded of the virtue grown in simply standing our ground. Sure, we will stumble and perhaps we fall – for a moment, a day, a week – but then we make a calm and resolute resolve to mount up again. Soon we are feeling sufficiently invincible in our comparative weakness.
There is strength gained in the enduring of grief; in the conquest of depression; in the bearing of anxieties that deprive us of peace.
Let us not slip into cliché here: this is a sure-fire solution for the faith we dispose in Jesus’ name.
We must hold the faith that the bearing of issues tremendously terrible will gain for us something worthwhile – yes, again that is gain! We don’t want to hold on simply to stay where we are at. We might settle for what we had – an existence far from the dearth of lament we endure right now.
But God has something gorgeously better in mind.
There will come a time when we look back – with fondness for the brave decisions of faith we are making right now that are forging the moment in godly stability.
There will come a time when we look back – with clarity for what the purpose of the present trial was. Soon we will see it in full view. Soon! Hold on.
There comes a time, always, when we have journeyed faithfully, where God delivers us.
Great is the hope we hold in our hearts if we can believe the destiny often caged in a pathetic cliché: God has a plan for your life; to prosper you and to give you a future you can believe in now. No cliché; reality it is soon to become. We make it ours by belief.
There’s strength gained in the enduring of grief; in the conquest of depression begetting sadness; in the bearing of anxieties that deprive us of peace. God grows us in strength as we endure. It is evident with clarity as we look back. Fondness, also, for the growing season as we look back.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What Depression and Anxiety Are and Aren’t

“[Depression] is not a character defect, a spiritual disorder or an emotional dysfunction. And chief of all, it’s not a choice.”
— Brandon W. Peach
THERE is much confusion about mental illness – as there has always been. And as we might expect that confusion to abate gradually, we must understand that culture change is not just about addressing the truths and the lies, and righting the wrongs. It takes a generational shift. It takes mothers and fathers and grandparents to open their minds and hearts – if they haven’t been personally afflicted, or haven’t borne a dear one to the pillage of mental ill health – so as to challenge what they have accepted for years.
Much of what we ‘know’ might be revealed as rot.
Much of what we ‘know’ might not be worth knowing in the long run.
As we consider a broadened perspective – that we don’t know it all, will never know it all, and that much of what we know may be overturned at some point – we are able to be open enough to conceive and comprehend what our own eyes might tell us.
Anxiety and depression are not so many things they are said to be.
And even when we can consider that anxiety and depression may be one thing or another, we must always look for the exception, because you can bank on there being one. Mental health and mental ill health cannot be formularised.
One thing anxiety and depression are is unfortunate. We would not wish such mental ills on anyone, because they are so much more than ‘worry’ and ‘sadness’. These are more appropriately life-threatening conditions for what we might be caused to think and do.
There is a part of our humanity that always has the potential for anxiety and depression. I recall a friend who, in approaching fifty, couldn’t reconcile how prevalent mental illness was. He just didn’t get it. Then he got burned out and he was fried by his company. Suddenly both anxiety and depression hit with full force, to the point of suicidal thoughts. Desperate and at the end of life as he had only known it, he stood at a precipice he could not have expected. That is a frightening thought all itself – that our identity is so challenged as to reveal that it, as a construction, is a house of cards.
Anxiety and depression are unfortunate conditions of the heart, mind, and soul that don’t discriminate. We should throw out all the labels for mental ill health, like ‘weak’, ‘dysfunctional’, and ‘immature’. They just don’t do sufferers any justice. They aren’t the truth. Anxiety and depression are respecters of no person. We should praise God more and more often for our mental health.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Journeying to a Secure Life

Isolated and overwhelmed

Life would have us be,

But as soon as we connect

We suddenly begin to see!

Others have suffered

Very similar trials,

Others have had to contend

With times devoid of smiles.

The grass is always greener on the other side, they say. But the truth is, we all have green grass seasons where life flourishes as well as times when our grass browns off and dies. Our opportunity is to enjoy what we have today.

When we connect with other people in meaningful ways, in ways implicit of community, where we are equals with one another as mortals, we are granted the blessing of observation. That is, they see us and we see them. And what could be cause for comparison, is just as much cause for seeing the seasonal vagaries of life; sometimes we are ahead, sometimes we are behind, and life is more equal than we often give it credit for.

Journeying to a secure life is as much about accepting that God has favoured not one over another. God cannot play favourites. It is not in his character to do so. And even though it seems that some are favoured in life, as we view life from the eternal perspective we all have different lives, that’s all. Sometimes we are ahead and sometimes we are behind.

If we can accept that sometimes we are ahead and sometimes we are behind, we begin to accept, also, that it is best that our hearts rejoice with those who are rejoicing and mourn with those who are mourning. Because we have had our own successes and losses, and we have felt those feelings of elation and desperation, we are all perfectly equipped to rejoice and mourn with others as their circumstances fit either one – as we contemplate how they might be feeling.

Journeying to a secure life is about simple acceptance. Sometimes we are ahead and sometimes we are behind. God is not favouring us when we are ahead, and he certainly isn’t punishing us for being behind. Not everything can be explained. This is acceptance. Acceptance, in the grand scheme of things, is a great blessing in accord with eternity, for in eternity things cannot change, and acceptance runs beautifully in accord with eternity.


Sometimes we are ahead in life, and sometimes we are behind. We are neither being favoured nor are we being punished. But being alive is the favour of God. Being alive is the invitation to journey to a secure life. Being alive is the invitation to know God by his Presence. If God is for you – and he is – who can be against?

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love This Day

Love this day
Despite what they do,
Love will pay
Every little due.
Love this day
No matter where you go:
Your love will stay
And your faith will grow.
Love this day,
Open your eyes and see,
In every little way
Be who God wants you to be.
Love this day
Beyond frustrated sighs,
Even when life’s grey
It’s more than goodbyes.
Love this day
Enjoy every stride and strain,
Don’t deride the delay,
And the presence of pain.
Love this day,
Be all you can,
Don’t worry what they say,
Respect every woman and man.
Love this day,
Get over the fight,
Extend grace anyway,
Find a way to delight.
Love this day
Believe that God’s good,
And don’t forget to pray,
As you know you should.
Love this day,
Resist the temptation to hate,
To love them is okay,
Do it early, so you’re never too late.
Love your day,
There’s joy to find,
Make time for play,
And nourish your mind.
Love your day,
Because this day you’ve got,
Negativity you can slay,
And transform into goodness what was rot.
Love your day,
Because no matter how bad it gets,
God loves you and cannot betray,
Though it’s us that forgets.
Love your day,
Come what may,
Cherish your role,
And advance your goal.
Love your day,
By valuing people’s hearts,
That’s where peace lay,
And the presence of joy starts.
There are ample reasons to love the day.
As patience is its own reward, so is love. Love pays us back every mode of investment, because when we give in to love it costs us nothing in any event, so anything we get back in terms of results comes back as a sweet reward of faith for having plied by the form of love. Yes, plying love means we practice faith, and, even as love is betrayed, faith makes us not give up, so we love and keep loving.
Love helps us be all that God designed us in the beginning to be. We become who we were always destined to be when we love.
In this present mode we have patience in pain, and we also see the grand designs of a God who always sought the best for us. We can seek to understand that God bears the pain with us as we bear it, and doesn’t wish the pain on us.
Loving this day is our greatest responsibility, for it can be done. Not always are we blessed with inner joy, but to keep coming back to appreciation for the days we have is to be thankful to God for them.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

His Anger, Her Tears, Their Happiness

What is it that makes her cry?
What is it that makes her sigh?
And now what about him?
What makes him seethe?
What makes him breathe?
What makes our relationship
Become clearer from what was dim?
COURTING is an incredibly important process for the couple that aims to be unified in their love, through Christ, for the rest of their lives.
When my wife, Sarah, and I started courting, I sought her father’s approval. He was very gracious, but also very wise in allowing his daughter of thirty years to make her own decision. Just one question he did ask me, however, in words to the effect: “have you dealt with your scars?” I was glad I was able to answer that question with some level of authority given the process of recovery I’d been through – three years hence my previous relationship.
Sometime afterward, when speaking about our relationship with him, he indicated that we know how female partners when we know several things that might make them cry. At basically the same time he asked Sarah if she knew what made me angry. Even though we had been courting for only a short time, we were both able to answer these key questions: what brought tears in her and what incited anger in me.
At a point in time when we have a grasp on how we interact with our partner to the point of detriment is the point of time when we know who we are dealing with. It is important to know who we are dealing with, before we commit to a lifelong relationship.
Had Sarah found my anger irreconcilable she would have had perfect reason to quash any long-term plans with me. And I couldn’t qualify to know her unless there had been times when I had sufficiently seen her upset. And if I didn’t know what caused her to be emotional, how could I then know whether I could be loving with her, and not angry, in response?
We can see, here, how very important a man’s anger and a woman’s tears are in the context of a long-term lifelong relationship.
If a woman has seen her man’s anger and she doesn’t feel scared and can still love him the relationship has a future. If a man has seen his woman’s tears and he can bear them and support her lovingly throughout, his love has passed an important test. Their love has God’s blessing.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, February 14, 2014

365 Valentines Days

My Valentine,
My Valentine,
I love you so,
Day after year,
Let’s watch
Our love grow.

To become better

At this husband thing,

Is my goal,

I love you,

I love you,

Your mind, heart,

And soul.

For my wife.


“If every lover was treated like they matter — everyday; Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be so ‘special’.”

― Mokokoma Mokhonoana


When we are in love, life is surreal; it has been touched by God. Each day – with few exceptions – we are plausibly thankful for God’s gift of a partner who we are swimmingly delighted with.

But, so many do not experience life like that at all. Some are without love. Others are abused and/or neglected by their ‘lover’, and others, again, have lost a great love and their delight has turned into despair.

Those of us who have been gifted to love, who have received an outlet for our love; we are very blessed. But blessing is a transient thing in this world. Circumstances change. We take too much for granted. Only after blessing has come and then gone for good do we lament our loss. Rarely are people sufficiently grateful – at the time of love’s deployment – for the love in their lives.

Valentine’s Day is a grand clue to this.

For one day – February 14 – we are compelled to love our lover. The commercial world has made much of it, and, we too, have made a lot of it, if we have recognised love’s true importance. Some of us have railed against the singling-out of one special day (of the full 365) to focus the extravagance of our love.

But the point is this: we need to apply our Valentine’s Day efforts evenly over the full year. Why would we not buy flowers, say kind words, and spend time with our partners on days other than February 14? Why not, indeed? We probably don’t think of love so intentionally every day, but the important ones – Valentine’s, his or her birthday, Christmas, etc – get fuller treatment.

Valentine’s Day isn’t as special to the one who intentionally puts their lover first most days, but there is an exceptional person who raises the bar on this particular day. Most, however, see through the con that Valentine’s Day is, and the best laugh it off and take part in it anyway – refusing to be offended by a fabrication of one’s own imagination.


Love is important enough to rein over our entire lives. When we spend our Valentine’s efforts over the full 365 days we are granted continual blessings of love and we have less need of regret when loss invades and pillages our joy.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

How Reverse Psychology and God’s Grace Go Together

Dealing with people in ways that are kind,

Is one thing that God makes sure we find;

When we allow people to kindly save face,

There’s a blessing known, and that is God’s grace.


Intelligent people deserve the kind of respect that exemplifies God’s grace between two people. When we are in the position of mentoring or leading someone or a people – and these people or persons have sufficient moral intelligence as to relate with us as real people, nothing held back – we are obligated to deal with them gracefully.

Dealing with people gracefully is about allowing them to come to their own conclusions, as we journey with them conversationally. There are no rules in relationships, but there is plenty of space for reflection – where thoughts may be shared aloud; as thoughts. There are very few situations where we will need to play hardball, and playing straight down the line is more likely to separate close friends than to draw pleasant enemies. Why would we exasperate what God has not yet finished with – the relational dynamic that is us and them?

This is where reverse psychology comes in. When those seeking our advice ask for an out, we can cooperate with them and imagine what the experience would look like once they are out of the situation. Or maybe they want to do something they probably shouldn’t do; what is our advice then? We imagine the experience with them and consider the possible consequences. We use questions. We try to be encouraging and sufficiently upbeat.

We tackle this from the aspect that it isn’t our life we are living; it’s theirs.

There is no common trickery in using reverse psychology, because we are simply journeying with the other person as if they were having a conversation with themselves, as two people uniquely fitted and capable of determining a good course of action for the one person.

That is the biggest favour we can do as we interact with them: to treat them in such a dignified fashion that our own material – yet, not God’s wisdom – is no barrier to their decision-making. We want God’s wisdom to emerge, so we offer ourselves in such a way as to be surrendered to God as a vessel for his wisdom through which to flow out into the conversation.


God’s grace in relationships is about allowing people to save face when and if we disagree. We are not always gifted with the perspective we need. Sometimes God reveals things to us over time. Reverse psychology and God’s grace go together when we get our opinions out of their way, and we can see life from theirs and God’s perspective.

© 2014 S. J. Wickham.