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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Get ready.... and the Holy Spirit will help you!


2011 – What a year it has been. Regardless of what our varied individual experiences have been, for the most part we can all agree that 2011 flew by prreeetttyy fast. I could only stare when my almost-9yr old son said to me ‘Mum, this year has gone by very fast. Have you noticed?’ Have I noticed? Well yeah! Mr-when-did-you-grow-up-and-get-so-wise-on-me!

Truly, It’s been a long, yet fast-paced year. There have been difficulties, breakthroughs, forging of new relationships, closing of old relationships. There have been unprecedented events that have shaken our worlds globally and in some cases individually. More than anything else, there have been multitudes of testimonies, the greatest of which continues to be the fact that despite it all, we are still standing. The Bible tells us clearly that only the living can praise the Lord and I, for one, am so glad to still be in the land of the living. I decree and declare over my life, your life, and over the life of anyone connected to you and I, that we shall not die but live to declare the works of the Lord in the land of the living; I decree and declare that the number of our days we shall fulfil, that God’s purpose for our lives here on the earth shall be manifested in Jesus mighty name.

This morning, among other things that I received in my spirit, I got a Word that I am led to share with you. I am not sure why, but perhaps there is someone out there reading this blog who needs to hear this.

Obedience to the Word:
GET READY!

God is going to ask big things of you in the year ahead.

You must be ready to obey – unequivocally and speedily.
You must be ready in your mind, heart, will, emotions,
 with your time, with your finances, with everything.

Get ready my daughter.

I will help you!

Funny enough, a couple of days earlier one of my WAN (Woman Act Now) Nigeria sisters had shared a message God gave her for the team and when I put this beside this Word I received all I could think was ‘Wow!’

Seems to me that the challenge is not so much the fact that God is going to ask things of me; no, the challenges I see are two-fold. First is that He says He will ask BIG things. I think how in times past it has sometimes been so difficult to do even the small things that God has asked me to do. It continues to amaze me that I find it easier to obey the medium-sized things, and then struggle with things that should probably not require me to think twice. But God does have His way doesn’t He? I have found that it’s usually in those small levels of obedience that He brings forth big results, so I am learning to just go with it when He speaks those little things into my heart. What’s that catch phrase again ‘Let go and Let God!’. Yup! Works every time!

The thing is then, when a BIG God tells little me that He will ask BIG things of me, and tell me to Get Ready, no one needs to tell me that its time to up my spiritual game. God doesn't do things in half measures that’s for sure, so when He say ‘big’, I know He means ‘big’.  This set me thinking: What is the biggest thing that God has asked of me to date? And that’s a question for you too my sister. What is the biggest thing that God has asked of you? If we can’t look back and try to figure what that was, how we responded, what the results of our obedience/disobedience was; we might not be able to effectively answer the call to get ready, and we might miss the big thing that God is calling us to.

This takes me to the second part of the challenge – obedience. Am I really ready to obey with my ‘everything’? Have I raised anything as an altar that will stand in the way of my total obedience to God? If God puts a demand on my finances, my family, my time, my everything, as He said.....will I yield unequivocally and speedily? Will you yield on His terms?

Questions, questions, questions which readily played around in my mind. At the end though, I think I have come to a place of peace. The last Word was simple ‘I (the Holy Spirit) will help you!’. That’s really what everything hinges on isn’t it? The Holy Spirit will help me. The Holy Spirit will help you. 

Scripture after scripture came to my mind in quiet reassurance that God is in control:
     ·      TheThe Lord will grant me full insight and understanding in everything - Timothy 2 v7
           ·        The Lord watches over His Word to perform it – Jeremiah 1 v 12
           ·         Through and with God, I shall do valiantly – Psalm 108 v 13
           ·         Apart from God, I can do nothing – John 15 v 5
           ·         The Lord will establish my steps and direct them by means of His Word 
                                                                                         – Psalm 119 v 133
           ·         For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; I am the Lord Who says to you, 
              Fear Not, I will help you! – Isaiah 41 v 13

This is the key – whatever big things God will call any of us to do, we can only achieve by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit....Counsellor, Comforter, friend; He is always right there waiting for us to invite Him to move on our behalf. when we do this, He will help us. 

I believe that in the year ahead the Holy Spirit will make Himself, His power even more available to the children of God, and in new ways. I also believe that to access this power, we must draw closer still to God and remain in a continuous atmosphere of praise and worship. Indeed, we may not be able to see in the flesh how we can be ready to answer God’s big call on our lives in 2012, but if we train our spirits to stand in that state of readiness, we will be positioned to move into action immediately God changes His ‘Get ready’ to a ‘GO’.

I pray that as you and I take the decision to get ready for the new move of God in our lives, we will open ourselves fully to receive of the power of the Holy Spirit, and that He will indeed guide and direct our paths into the things that God has purposed for our lives. 

Get ready my sister... a new level of greatness lies ahead of you, to the glory of the Father.

Shalom


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Faith..... nothing to do with feelings

I’ve been studying the book of Job over the past couple of weeks. One thing I know for sure, He was a strong man in more ways than I can readily imagine. Truth be told, I am not sure how much I could go through without buying the arguments of his friends.....but, I'm quite sure I don’t even want to know. As I read through my amplified Bible version, I came across this note and I would like to share it with you verbatim:

Faith over feelings  - Note by Joyce Meyer:

Job endured many tests and trials, but his patience and faith triumphed in the end (as we will see in chapter 42). God tests us too. One of the ways He does so is by allowing us to go through dry times – times when nothing seems to minister to us or water our souls. We go to church, but we feel no different when we leave. We read the latest book or listen to the latest song, but it does us no good at all.

I have had those times in my life and ministry, and Job certainly had them - in what seems like extreme measure (see Job 19 v 7-11)! I have gone through mountaintop experiences, and I have been through valleys. I have had dry times in my prayer life and in my praise and worship. I have had times when I would go into a meeting or conference and be able to feel the presence of God, and I have had times when I would go and feel absolutely nothing. I have learned to believe that God is with me whether I feel it or not. There have also been times when I could hear from God so clearly and I know that I heard a ‘’Word in season’’ for me. There have been other times when I have not heard anything at all.

Looking back on m spiritual life, I realise that at times I have gone up and down, up and down. When I was up I felt I was saved, and when I was down I felt that I was lost. When I felt sure God had called me, I was up, and when I was uncertain of my calling, I was down. When dry times came upon me, I let them affect me. At that time I did not know what was happening to me or why. Now I know that God was working all the harmful things out of me and getting me to the point where I did not base my faith on my feelings.

I will be honest with you. I rarely go through those times now. I just love God, and that’s it! I worship Him, and that’s it! I pray, I believe He hears me, and that’s it! I know I’m called, and I go out and do what I’m called to do, and I do not go through all the ups and downs I used to go through. Why? Because I have learned to stop basing everything on my feelings and to live by faith instead.  I do not allow my emotions to determine whether I believe God is with me or not. I just choose to believe He is. That does not mean I never experience a rough time of have a bad  day, but those times no longer control what I believe.

I do not believe God can allow us to go from one emotional high to another. If He did, we would depend too much on them and would probably start thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. God loves us and protects us from depending on emotions too much so that He can continue to use us.

We must learn to trust that God knows what He is doing in us. If we feel something in our emotions, that is fine. If we do not feel anything, that is fine too. We must remember that we are in this for the long haul – not just for those times when we feel good, but also for those times when we feel bad or do not feel anything at all. Be patient and stay faithful. God will always come through for you.

I thought that was really deep. I am no stranger to those times when it ‘feels’ like we are far away from God, or worse....that God is far away from us. I remember going through that sort of wilderness experience earlier this year. I had a deep and really intense sense that God was far away from me. There was just so much silence and it didn’t ‘feel’ like any of my praise, worship, prayers, quiet times, were yielding any result.

I recall vividly sitting on my couch, Bible in hand, journal on my laps. I couldn’t bring myself to open the Bible, I couldn’t raise  a song on my lips, I couldn’t pray. I just sat there in an otherwise unnatural stillness. Eventually, when my heart felt like it could take no more, I spoke out loud and said ‘Why have you left me so alone Father?’ The response was so clear that it was almost audible. God said ‘I am with you my daughter. I never left. I will never leave’. As hot tears rolled down my cheeks, all I could say was ‘Thank You Lord, thank You Lord’.

This is why I thought to share this Bible note with you today. I have been there and He met me and gave me the assurance which I now give you.... You may not feel Him sis, but He is ALWAYS there!

More than anything else this season, as we mark the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ ...let this assurance wash over you afresh. God loves YOU!  He promised never to leave you or forsake you. He says He does not sleep nor slumber because He is watching over YOU!

Now how awesome is that?

I leave you with this: Job 19 v 25; Job 22 v 21 - 30

Be blessed, for surely you are blessed!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chasing after God

I don’t really know when it was that I first heard this song but its words continue to reverberate in my spirit time and again. I believe it’s by Vanessa Williams and it goes:

Never can I be satisfied with my place in God
Oh Lord, I’m chasing for something
Cos there’s something more that God has in store for my life
Oh Lord, I’m chasing for something
I’m praying and fasting, I’m seeking and asking
Lord I need You more than ever before

I am chasing for God on my knees
It’s my prayer, my desire
For God to be pleased
Oh Lord, Oh Lord, I’m chasing after You

I’m searching for secrets revealed in your Holy Word
Oh Lord, I’m chasing for something
La la la la la ........ (okay so I forgot the words to the second stanza, lol)


Somehow, this portion of the song has stuck over the years and is reflective of my constant state of being: I’m chasing after God; chasing after His peace; chasing after His love; chasing after His promise of a heavenly Kingdom. Every day, my hearts cry is ‘Lord please help me get through the day; Help me resist the temptations of the world; Lord, help me to show forth the Christ that is in me; help me live a life that is worthy of You’A tough call no doubt. Sometimes, the challenge is not even that I am not doing the right thing. Sometimes the challenge is that I am doing the right thing for the wrong or a selfish motive. You’ve been there right? The thing is, neither position works as far as God is concerned. Na wa! But this heaven? We must make it by the grace, power and mercy of God!

Anyhow, what has prompted me blogging again so soon? I just attended an event that gave put this message on my heart. A beautiful invite it was and the follow up to the event was great. It was supposed to be about bringing women of God together for a time of fellowship and sharing. Being one who does not like to pass up an opportunity to fellowship, and being that one of my precious sister’s was right by my side, off we went in anticipation.
I won’t go into details about what happened, except to say that at some point I had a sense in my spirit that The Spirit  was not in what was going on. The feeling was so strong that I began to feel physically ill. As a set of prayer, ‘prophesies’ and ‘revelations’ came forth from the pulpit, I found myself seriously pleading the Blood of Jesus as a hedge over and around myself.

At the end, I asked my sister what her thoughts were and through her, God confirmed that what I had wasn’t just a stomach upset. Wow! We tried to figure what purpose God had for allowing us to be in that space. She had been given an unexpected opportunity to minister earlier on in the course of the event, and based on the message she was led to share, and the prayers I was invited to give; we realised that God had us there for a reason. Yep! it appears we were sent to stand in the gap without even knowing it. The words of this song dropped in my spirit as we departed from the venue and I realised that God had given me a new message even through this experience.

Simply put, God's message from what happened today is that while He desires us to chase after Him with everything that we have, He is admonishing us to be careful of the spirits we expose ourselves to as we seek Him. I believe God is saying that we have to be discerning especially at this time, because not every messenger is from Him. God is reminding us of His Word that in the last days there will be multitudes of men and women ‘of God’ who will come forward in His name, but who have not been sent. God is reminding us that in order to effectively hear from Him and walk in the knowledge and wisdom of God, we need to be built up in our spirits as well, to have the Word of God firmly rooted in us.

Each of us has the capacity to know God for ourselves and we needn’t be overwhelmed by anyone who presents as being more righteous; as hearing from God per second; as having been sent from God. If we draw close to Him and allow ourselves to grow in Him, we will be knowledgeable enough to test every word that comes from any pulpit, pastor, prophet, etc to determine for ourselves if indeed it is from God. The Bible tells us that He confirms His Word right?

So my call to you today is to please chase after God more than ever before. In your praying, in your fasting, in your Bible study, in your fellowships, in whatever means it is that you position yourself in this race to find God...including your relationships; please be sure to pray for discernment. Ask for the wisdom of God to guide you into all truth. For sad will be the day that you find that in chasing God, you were really running down the wrong road. May this not be our lot IJMN.

I pray the Holy Spirit will breathe upon us all afresh and impart a new measure of discernment upon our spirits. I pray He will fill us with the strength to carry through, even as we work to build ourselves up; as we chase after God. I pray that in the end, we will truly find Him.

Be blessed!

Monday, December 19, 2011

In a good place

Truthfully, I don’t have much to say today, except that I’m in a good place and I know it. And.... you need to find your good place, and quickly too.
Recently I went on a retreat with a four of my dearest sisters (you know the ‘there-is-a-friend-that-stick- closer-than-a-brother’ kind? Yep! ...four of those kinds of sisters). That God met us in our place of retreat would be an understatement. We had an awesome time in His presence. My Coach and mentor Anna McCoy talks often about the power of women who are able to move from the level of physical bonding, to that of relational bonding, and then the greatest level of all – a spiritual bonding.  Boy, but did I experience the true meaning of spiritual bonding over the past couple of days. Awesome!
Of the various worship, praise and prayer sessions we had, we also had time to evaluate where each of us is right now and how we were framing our 2012. Granted, each one of us have something or the other that we are dealing with, but isn’t that the way of the world? God Himself did say that in this world we would have tribulation didn’t He? So the issue is not so much whatever anyone of us is dealing with at any one time, it’s more of whether we have understood that there is power in the presence of the King and that we truly are victorious through Christ. But, I am getting ahead of myself.......
Over the past couple of years I had somehow found myself in a place of intense dissatisfaction. I was constantly in a place where I felt there had to be so much more to my life, to my business, to my relationship with God, to everything really. In truth, I found myself on my knees many a time just asking God to grant me new vision. My life had achieved something of a status quo, so to speak and it just didn’t seem to be ‘enough’.
Here’s the funny thing. I was not at all in a bad ‘status quo’. Indeed a lot of things in my space were basically ‘settled’ by God. A good home; good businesses; great husband; great kids; defined areas of positive impact; etc. But....something in me just refused to rest in the peace of the moment. I was constantly desiring a new challenge; new areas to make impact; new I-really-don’t-know-what’s!  
Why do I mention this? Because the irony of life is that you can experience discontent as much when your boat is yet to set sail, as you can when it’s cruising calmly across the sea of life. Discontent is discontent and the constant mental turmoil that it brings can be quite unsettling. I don’t know what the source of your discontentment with where you are in life is, but my sister....suffice to say that we have worn the same shoes and I do understand.
I prayed and fasted for new vision. ‘Lord please give me a new vision for my life. Please Lord, give me new territory to conquer. Lord please do something new in my life’. These were my constant kinds of prayer points, so  much so that I once had to go on my knees and remind God that I was truly not unappreciative of the blessings He had placed upon my life.... but ‘New vision Father, pleeaasssee!!’. I can only imagine now that God probably had a few chuckles on my account. Pathetic! I can almost hear Him think ‘Do you not know that I am working things out for your good, whether you can see it or not? O ye daughter-of-mine of little faith!’  Hmmm! It is well.
Anyhow, one bright sunny morning (okay, scratch that. I really have no recall of whether it was sunny, but I am sure it was morning), I was listening to one of my favourite ministers preaching and he said something to the effect that everyone is asking God to give them new vision/new territory, but the Word of God to us is ‘Have you really done the best you can with what I have given you already?’. Wow! That was a Rhema Word for yours truly for sure. I did some real deep thinking and came up with a realization that I was discontent because I hadn’t really worked my present space to the fullest. I realised that if I had, then I would have a peace around me and the next move would be quite clear. Yes o, I had a new spring in my step the next day that’s for sure.
So, at this retreat, issues and all, my mantra was ‘I am in a good place’. And you know what? God confirmed this through one of my sisters as she ministered. She said ‘We don’t need to worry about the concealed will of God for our lives. We need to walk in the revealed will and as we walk this faithfully and to the best of the ability that God has put in us, His concealed will for our lives will become clear’. Deep!
This is the confidence that I have for 2012 and beyond. I AM in a good place. Challenges, issues and all, I am effectively positioned to be used of God. He will make clear at His own time and in His own way, what it is that He has purposed for me to achieve in the year(s) ahead. His Word is that what the enemy meant for evil, He will use for my good, so I don’t need to focus on the constraints in my life. No, I need to focus on His ability to work all things out for my good. I need to trust and believe that His goodness and mercy shall surely follow me all the days of my life.
Wonderful woman of God, I decree and declare that no matter where you are in your life today; no matter the ‘noise’ in your space; whether your boat is idling or it is on cruise control; that the Lord Himself will guide your course. He is the light and lamp and He alone will illuminate your path.
Rest in that confidence my sister. It may not look like it; your spirit may be disquieted within you but, trust me.... No, rather trust HIM! It is well with you and you will fulfil the purpose that the Lord has ordained for you IJMN.
I said I didn’t have much to say right? As the Spirit led, girl! As the Spirit led! Rofl. But you get it don’t you? The message is so clear and simple. Trust in the Lord with all your heart regardless.....you truly are in a good place.
Ttyl


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The responsibility of Christmas

There’s just something about the holidays! I was listening to Dan Foster on the I-FM morning show and he said something that caused me to pause. He said it was a scientific fact that most suicides occur around the holidays than at any other time of the year. My first thought was ‘Seriously?’ but even as I thought that, something about that statement resonated within me. I recalled that for several years...and I do mean several, I would begin to get inexplicably sad (depressed even) around the holidays. Many a time I cried for no just reason once the harmattan haze begun to appear. I smiled at everyone who smiled at me; I had a ready laugh for any funny word/situation around me; but.... I was as sad as could be inside. Many a night, I simply stayed awake all night and just CRIED!

I remember clearly when it was that I finally identified what the problem was. I was homesick. I was longing for what were the best moments of my childhood family times. My parents had one of the rockiest marriages ever; so much so that each of my siblings and I had, at one point or the other, sworn never to get married. It would probably have helped if some of their friends had a good marriage, but alas....we had no role models to benchmark against in that regard. Anyhow, as I have grown and matured over the years, I have come to realise that if they had managed so many of the external influences better, if they had communicated more clearly, my parents might jolly well have made a pretty good go of it. But, this is not really about my parents’ marriage..... No, it’s about the responsibilities of Christmas. Allow me explain.

One thing that I will give my parents any day, is that they tried their best to make the Christmas holidays work. Maybe it was the ‘Peace on earth and goodwill to men’ angle, but they did their best to play ‘family’ at Christmas and in the New Year. It didn’t matter that they hadn’t spoken to each other in 6months, or that they were currently not speaking to each other; just before and at Christmas, they took us on family outings, we went shopping, put up the tree and decorations, wrapped presents, we even had Christmas stockings  stuffed with all the wrong things, and Christmas crackers full of nice nothings. More than anything else though, unfailingly, every Christmas day and every New Year’s Day, off we went to my father’s favourite Chinese restaurant (and as I write this, I come to a new realization that this is also part of why I love Chinese food. Wow!).

We would sit at that table for at least three hours. It was a thrill to have such uninterrupted time with my father, seeing him laugh and hearing him make some of the funniest jokes ever. Now, my father was a military man to the core so believe me, seeing him in relaxed mode was a real treat. It was awesome seeing my parents constantly laughing and smiling across the table, though as we got older we also realised that sometimes those smiles were directed at us and not at each other; plus it was amazing how well they’d perfected the art of talking across each other through us, rather than with or to each other. But you know what? As a teenager, that just didn’t matter one jot. It was family time and we loved it, especially me! The whole ambience of the green and red colours and sparkling lights and decorations everywhere we went, just added so much to the family mood. And the icing on the cake?.....a surreal element brought in by the fog (okay...harmattan haze, lol). It was almost our own ‘white Christmas’. No we had no snow, but it was nice and cold and my dad had the Jim Reeves, Bonny M, Sinatra Christmas music on to boot.

But then came the split and it was all gone. Poof! In a flash, one New Year’s eve we started the day as a family and by the wee hours of the New Year, we were no more. Time passed, I grew and moved away from home but I left a portion of my heart in those Christmas experiences. Even as a young wife, as in love and happy as I was with my husband, I would unfailingly dissolve into a real emotional mess every first week of December and I had the poor man at wits end by Christmas. But God stepped in and I am eternally grateful for that.
When my second son was 2yrs+, I had an epiphany. There I was, one son sleeping in my arms and the other leaning against me on the sofa while watching cartoons; yet yours truly was struggling with tears. The usual childhood memories plagued me and I was a ball of misery waiting to implode. I was so incredibly lonely and sad (yes, even while surrounded by the two sweetest children ever) and it was only the fear of having to explain to my son why mummy was crying that kept me at that time. Then two things happened in near perfect timing.

My baby opened his eyes and stared me deep in the eyes. He then lifted his free hand, touched my cheek and just kept his sweet pink fingers there. He didn’t need to say a word! He couldn’t anyway. But I heard him in my spirit. He was saying that he loved me with his entire being; that I was his world; I was the making of his Christmas memories. Then, my older son sat up, turned to me and said so intensely ‘I love you mummy’. He put the sweetest softest kiss on my other cheek and then leaned back into me. I thought my heart would just burst with love, with joy, with gratitude, with....just about every other expression of love that you can imagine. I suddenly realised that Christmas for me was no longer about the memories of my childhood. Christmas was now about the memories I would build for these and any other children God would see fit to bless me with. In that split moment, I realised I had a choice. I had a choice to either dwell on everything unfair that I had been through in life, everything that I ‘could have-would have-should have’ been or done; or, I could let go and build a new set of experiences that would bless not just me, but all those around me and especially my new family.

I realised in that moment that I had a choice about what kind of marriage I would have, what kind of wife I would be, what kind of mother I would be, what kind of relationships I would have. I realised that so much of my future lay in letting go of inconsistencies in my past – past pains, past disappointments, and even past joys that threatened to keep me in a past that would take away from my enjoying my present. I realised that this was part of the true message of Christ and thus a responsibility for me every day, but more so perhaps at Christmas.

The birth of Christ was about a redemptive move; about letting go of old sins and making a way for an eternal joy; about newness; about hope. In the same way, I had to let go and make way, so I could live fully present in my present, building a new set of memories that would help my children live their future in wholeness. I would have failed Christ if the testimony of my children ended up being that they didn’t experience the joy of Christmas or the joy of living life to the full, because I was too wrapped up in my past to create a present reality for them.
So today, I want to encourage each of you. I know because I know, that each of us has that one ‘something’.... that one pain, that one disappointment, that one regret; that deep inside of us we know we have not completely let go. There may be that one person you need to forgive ....you don’t want to, but you know that you need to forgive. Make that move today! Whatever that ‘something’ is, I encourage you today that even as Christ freely gave Himself to be born of man in order to pave a way for your rebirth and eternal salvation; this Christmas....let go! Breathe! Yes, you can do it! The Lord will help you. Search your soul my sister. As a wife, mother, daughter, friend, colleague... what is it from your yesterday that is still standing in the way of your being able to give completely of yourself, in sincerity and truth, in any of your relationships?

If you appreciate the full implication of the birth of Christ, then lay all those past issues on the alter and ask the Holy Spirit to take them away from you completely. He is able. Live whole! Live free! Love completely! Laugh from the inner recesses of your being! For even as Christ was born for you and I this season, He birthed your wholeness as He did mine. Your responsibility this season is not to make His birth of non-effect. He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. You can and you will.

I’m looking at your future sis......you look so much better already. And those in your life....wow! They’re positively glowing.

Merry Christmas

Ttyl 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Seeing God through my mouse

December 1st marked many different things for me. It was my husband’s birthday and thus a day to be highly appreciative to God for having kept him thus far, in good health and in safety. It was also our very first birthday of his that we would not spend together in 21years, so yes yours truly boo-hoo’d a bit the night before. That in itself was another reason I had to bless God for December 1st, given that countless women are rather praying their husbands would stay away from home longer so they can have their peace.

Anyhow, before I begin to bore you with my M&B tales, this is not about my husband. It’s about how God showed up for me via a wireless mouse. Yep! You read it right sis... God showed up in a simple wireless mouse and I am once again amazed how He uses the simplest things to show that He is in absolute control.

My husband (I promise we will soon get off this topic) had been going on about how he wanted a mini-computer that he could travel with. He had said he got more work done when typing on a keyboard than he did on a touch-screen pad. He’d said it often enough that yours truly got the hint that I was being notified of what he wanted for his birthday gift. Given that I was actually at a total loss at that point as to what to get him (I mean how many bottles of perfumes, watches, shirts, shoes can you buy the one person year after year abi?)...... em, where was I? Oh yes, I was at a loss, so it was really nice to have the answer dropped in my lap by oga himself.

So I consulted with my head of IT and we agreed on the specs of what I should get him. Off to the one direct shop I went then, thanking God I wasn’t going to spend the entire week scouring every shop around. I bought a nice beautiful mini-computer and a rather cool carrying case. As I paid my bill I was given a free gift of...... a wireless mouse. At that point I thought to myself, now what would I do with this? But a gift is a gift so I said thank you as nicely as I could. What did I know that God was simply working the end from the beginning?

Anyhow, so I get home and toss the mouse in some odd corner of my bookshelf, thinking that at best it would serve some day as a back up to my children’s pc at home. As I headed down to the kitchen to organize dinner, I promptly forgot about my little blue friend. A couple of hours later, I pulled out my laptop and as it booted, I mentally debated between working on either of the books I am currently writing, or writing a new post for this blog. And what do you know? My laptop hung! Yes o, the mouse pad absolutely refused to respond.

I did a forced shutdown a couple of times, thinking that would resolve the problem but it didn’t. I decided that perhaps this was a quiet prodding from God reminding me that I am supposed to be resting more. In that frame of mind, I shutdown once again for the night and relaxed into my Karen Kingsbury novel.

Saturday morning, I again tried to work but the pad remained unresponsive. ‘Arrrggh!’ I thought. How could I have such a free day, open for me to apply myself to my writings but alas, this was apparently not to be? Somewhere around 6pm, I got a prodding in my spirit to call my IT supervisor. I explained my challenge to him and asked if he could guide me through a trouble-shooting on the phone. He said he couldn’t do that since the challenge is that the mouse pad was unresponsive. I thanked him and we agreed he would sort it out on Monday morning.

And then God made His move.....  

As I said my goodbye and asked him to say hello to his family, my IT guy says ‘Sorry I couldn’t be of help madam; I only wish you had a wireless mouse to work with until Monday’. You could have knocked me down with a feather. A wireless mouse? Did he say ‘a wireless mouse’? As in..... that little blue contraption that I had just been given for free? That wireless mouse which I couldn’t begin to figure what to do with? That wireless mouse?

OMG! I had absolutely not even put it together. It never even as much as crossed my mind! I tore open the pack and a couple of clicks later, ‘Voila’, my laptop was up and ready for my use. In that split second, the Holy Spirit ministered to me that God is in my details; that He truly knows what I need even before I ever have to ask. The Lord reminded me that nothing is too great for Him to handle, but more than anything else, nothing in my space is too small to skip His attention. He reminded me that He is mindful of me... of everything concerning me. He alone knew two days before I did, that my laptop would develop a fault that would put me in a strained situation. He knew, and He made the provision ever before I got to that point of need.

Scripture says that He is a God that knows the end from the beginning. I remember years ago, being so amazed by the scripture that say ‘Before time ever was, I AM!’. In something as small and seemingly insignificant as a computer mouse, God has proved His Word true once again. Simply awesome!

As I reflected  over this, I asked myself why it is that though God shows up time and again in the ‘small’ issues in our life, we have still not mastered the art of ‘praying always’ where it comes to the day-to-day life issues we face. Why are we not yet at the stage where we pray before every meeting, before we speak to our bosses/subordinates/customer; where we pray before speaking with our spouses on touchy issues; where we pray when our children are being difficult; where we pray when we need a new idea; where we pray for God to just show up and show us the simplest of choices that we need to make on a daily basis? Where we just pray about any and everything as our days’ progress?

I shared with some friends recently about how I had planned to wear a certain outfit for a function. That evening I had a prodding in my spirit to wear something else. It was odd then but I thought to say a quick prayer regarding my choice of outfit and the Holy Spirit brought to my remembrance a black dinner dress I had forgotten I’d bought. Well, I walked into the venue later that night and right smack in the magazine we were launching, one of the leading lady features was wearing the exact same outfit I had earlier planned to.

My sister, God is concerned about our everything. Methinks we would live happier, more contented, more fruitful lives if we would learn to look for avenues to regularly commune with God in prayer as we go through each day. We would find ourselves more attuned to and in tune with Him and His voice would be our constant guide. I mean, what would be better than to walk daily with the One who is Himself wisdom?

If He showed up in my wireless mouse, and given that He is no respecter of persons, how much more will He show up for YOU? He is in your details too sis... just open yourself to be led of Him and by Him in all your ways.

Remain blessed IJMN

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I spoke .... and it came to pass

The tongue! The bible tells us clearly that it is capable of setting the whole body on fire. This is so true and you and I know it. So why then do we constantly allow ourselves get into trouble simply by the power of this tiny but powerful fellow tucked into our mouths by God Himself?
Perhaps I should rewind a bit and give source to my vent. We were invited to a wedding in some remote village in the east. I didn’t want to go, that much I knew for sure. But, I needed to play it out so my husband didn’t see my reluctance and become insistent about my attending. Suffice it to say therefore that I made all the right sounds about being there, even planning the travel arrangements with him, all the while praying fervently to God to make a way of escape for me. My silent prayer was that something would come up that would make it imperative for my husband himself to suggest that it would be better that he goes alone, or better yet none of us would go. It would have been nice if I left it at the prayer level, but noooo...... I had to speak! And... it came to pass! Sigh!!!
My people, you know that saying ‘Be careful what you ask for cos you just might get it’? Not a cliché at all I assure you. On a Thursday in the week prior to the wedding, I was at a conference where I caught up with a friend. She extended an invitation to me for the next Saturday, same day of the wedding. I had them promised her that if I was in town I would attend. She asked if I was going somewhere and I had moaned about this impending wedding which I so didn’t want to attend. I said some things to her which later came to haunt me and which have now informed this blog.
I fell ill on the Monday, had to be rushed out of the office mid-morning and ended up home alone and on bed-rest for the rest of the week. I will save you the gory details of my illness, save to say that I was totally down for that week. Being an action person, I was also bored silly in the middle of all this. But it was clear my body needed to rest so even I didn’t push it too much. Bottom line though was that I didn’t get to travel as planned. Indeed my hubby, bless the precious man, delayed his own trip to the last minute cos he didn’t want to leave me in my condition. Even though I was a lot better by Thursday, he recognised that I couldn’t come out of an exhaustion–induced rest and begin the long torturous travel to that village.
So, I did manage to make my friend’s event on Saturday. She asked how I was able to avoid the wedding cos she really wasn’t expecting me to show. I had then told her that I had been ill all week and her event was basically my first outing from my home in an entire week. She’d hugged me and said she’d had no idea at all, what happened? How was I? Etc. As I reassured her that I was back in business she said something to the effect that we needed to be careful how we cursed ourselves with our own mouths. I looked at her in confusion and then she asked me ‘Dont you remember?’
Remember what I asked? She reminded me that at the conference when I mentioned that I was looking for a way out of going for the wedding, I had said that perhaps I would start ‘feeling a bit under the weather somewhere around Thursday’. We had both laughed and high-fived each other; two women who understood the game was to play off the man so as to achieve one’s personal agenda.
My mouth (the same mouth o, yes) simply dropped open in amazement. My people, I had absolutely forgotten. As she laughed and walked away I thought, OMG! I really did speak a ‘word’ and it came to pass. I was the author of my own illness.
 I had forgotten that I am a vessel of power and that the Lord has said that I should decree a thing and it would come to pass. His Word makes clear that the power of life and death are in the tongue and that I could either choose to speak blessings or curses over my life. I was more focused on ‘one-up’-ing my husband that I totally overlooked whether the intents of my heart at that point were in alignment with the Word of God.
I have since repented over this and trust that God has forgiven me. Beyond this I have asked for the grace to overcome in every such situation that will come my way henceforth, for surely the temptations shall come. I have asked God to help me to hold myself accountable to His Word, even for the smallest things in life.
So as I pray for the Spirit to assist me in bridling my tongue......No, scratch that! I am praying for the Holy Spirit to help me to first take even more charge over the thoughts and meditations of my heart (for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks). As He helps me to do this, my further prayer is that He will help me bridle my tongue even more, and continually so, so that it will not lead me into the wrong things.
One thing I think we can all take away from this, for surely each of us has had a similar experience at one time or the other; is that we need to examine the circumstances surrounding us at this time and ask the questions ‘How much of all this have I spoken over myself?’ and ‘How many of my challenges are as a result of things others have spoken over me’?
It is by the power of the same tongue that we are able to cancel every negativity in our lives and decree and declare those things that we want to see in our lives. We have the power within us and heaven is waiting to act on those things that we call forth...... for though they be not now, they shall BE indeed by the power of our own tongues, and backed by the immutable Word of God.
Today I commit not to inadvertently confer any illness or challenge upon myself. I choose to stand and face every situation and just trust God to hear my hearts cry and work it out for me Himself in His own way... because He is able!
Today I choose to reaffirm that my tongue is a vessel of honor unto the Lord. And every good word I speak with it, the Lord shall cause it to come to pass. And so shall it be for you also, IJMN, Amen.
Ttyl




Saturday, November 12, 2011

By this time tomorrow

Quietly sipping on my cup of herb tea, I reflect on the events of the past few days. I was in Philadelphia at my sister’s wedding after all, and I made it to Dallas to meet with my WAN (Woman Act Now) sisters over here. So your question probably is how did this happen between my last post and now? An awesome testimony which I happily share!

Truthfully, I had absolutely and completely given up on this trip and surrendered totally to the will of God. I had sent my sister an email to say I couldn’t make it. I had cried my eyes out and then, recognising that I couldn’t stay in that place of pain any longer, I (somewhat unwillingly I confess) dried my tears and had then allowed God’s peace to wash over me. In that ultimate state of surrender and acceptance I went to bed. But God.......

Oh yes! The greatest testimonies in the world always add up to just this.....  ‘But God’

My God, the Lord omnipotent; the One who knows the end from the beginning; the One for whom nothing is impossible; the One who speaks and it is done; the One who commands and it stands fast. Yes people, as I went to bed defeated but at peace, God had stepped in. Yours truly just didn’t know it yet. 
I awoke to the annoying blinking red light on my phone. A missed call......’who could be calling at such an ungodly hour of the morning I think?’. Oh wow! Its my agent. I am somewhat hesitant to call back. I had made my peace and wasn’t willing to push in my own power anymore (truthfully I had also cried for both the disappointment present and future so I didn’t want to go through that again). Anyhow, at what I now know for sure to be the prodding of the Spirit, I did call back. Near breathless, she said she got a last minute opening for my husband to be at the embassy the next day (in Abuja no less) and an appointment for me a few days later (on the same day as my sister’s wedding). As I began to heave a heartfelt sigh at the hopelessness of her ‘great news’, she announced that the embassy in Abuja would attend to a husband and wife on the same day in so far as their appointments were within the same month.

Hmmm! Well my hubby and I decided that we take ‘this one last chance’ and see what would come out of it. Did I have my doubts, oh yes I did. But I figured that since it didn’t look like I could go anyhow I might as well just get the visa renewed and end the drama. In retrospect I marvel at the attitude I had chosen to adopt and I thank God that He is faithful even when we are faithless. Midway through the afternoon, God spoke to me and said I should confirm my ticket for Friday night. Again, I must confess in truth that this was one of those moments when I had to decide if I was speaking what I wanted to hear into my mind, or if I was really hearing the voice of God. But the voice was consistent, it was persistent, and it was so strong it was almost audible. Thankfully, I chose to yield and to obey.

Next day, hubby and I were in Abuja. We shared a prayer of faith and just gave the situation to God to take control and work His perfect will. From the moment I woke up and all the way up into the embassy, I rattled on in tongues for I knew that victory could only come from an intervention by the Lord of Hosts Himself. OMG, the protocol officer at the entrance  looked at our papers, underlined my date, and then simply and passed both of us in...... Unbelievable! I could barely breathe. God had definitely sent favour ahead of us. The embassy staff were friendly, rather jovial really. They didn’t look at any of the multitude of documents that we (okay I confess, I)  had come prepared to inundate them with. The visa was granted within 5minutes. A sister who had been standing in faith with us had said to me ‘ask and you will be given your visa ahead of time’. Recognising that the Hand of the Lord was upon us, I asked and the embassy agreed to give us the visas the next day Thursday. The rest as they say is history. I don’t think the magnitude of it all dawned on me until, confirmed ticket in hand, I found myself on board a flight to Atlanta on Friday.

What have I learnt from all this?

First is that God truly watches over His Word to perform it. He is truly the same yesterday, today and forever more. In times past He performed a ‘by this time tomorrow’ miracle, and He is still doing that even today.  I was reminded that in God’s economy it’s never too late. No, God is always on time.....His time, and nothing is impossible for Him to do.

Secondly, the Lord will never allow us to succeed at anything whereby we may inadvertently ascribe the glory to ourselves. That is why it is so important that we move in His strength and in His will for us, acknowledging Him in all our ways. When I had truly laid it all down, then He stepped in and proved that He is God in every situation. When I finally humbled myself before Him, He exalted Himself in my situation.

Third, the Word of the Lord is that many times we do not get what we want because while we ask, we ask amiss. Our motives must be pure before God. We can’t bribe Him and we can’t use emotional blackmail to get him to cotton to our often selfish and self-serving perspectives. He is all seeing and all knowing, a fact which we sometimes forget. Just as I was able to declare ‘Not my will but Yours Oh Lord’, when we make our requests before the Lord we need to ask Him to guide our thinking and emotions so that we do not desire amiss and ask things of Him that are not in line with His will for us.

Lastly, this experience has again confirmed His Word that He cause ‘all things’ to ‘work together’ for our good. He will cause a stirring wherever He needs to in order to bring His will to pass. He will cause strangers to serve you with a smile, He will cause protocols to be set aside for you. He said that His plans for us are of good and not of evil, to bring us to an expected end. So so true! He brought me full circle to a good place and to an end that I had been struggling in my power to attain.

Yes, I am so glad that I made the wedding but more than this, I am so glad for how I was able to attend. I am grateful to God that He used this experience to remind me of things that I had inadvertently taken for granted, and that He made a message out of it all for me....all to His glory.

My sister and friend, What is that thing that is looking impossible in your life? What is that thing that you have been breaking your head over and trying to make work in your own strength? Relax, be at peace, hand it over to God and let Him show you that He is still very much in control.

I pray a ‘by this time tomorrow’ experience into your situation, in Jesus mighty name.

Shalom




Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NOT MY WILL

Hmm! Suffice it to say, the last few weeks have been very humbling for me. Last night I spent a long while ruminating over the events of the past few months and trying to use a lessons-learnt approach to analyse where I find myself today.

My beautiful baby sister (yes, that’s what she always will be to me despite having grown into an incredibly beautiful and intelligent woman) is getting married in a few days from now. As at today though, it looks like I won’t be there. I have dreamed about being at her wedding since she was about 15years old. She has always been my baby-girl, my princess. I remember her birth so well. I remember vividly some rather amusing incidents from her growing up days.

I remember how mortified I was when she almost drowned in a swimming accident when she was 5years old. I remember her as a teenager in her blue school pinafore. I remember watching her with her friends and thinking how she just seemed to radiate with a light that brightened each of their lives. I remember when she had to have her appendix out and I had that hospital experience with her. I remember taking on those ‘young’ doctors who I thought were not qualified to operate on her. I didn’t want those ‘small boys’ toying with my angels life. Thankfully, God used them to heal her and we all became very good friends out of that. 

I remember how she has always just seems to ‘get’ me and how I always ‘get’ her. I have always felt perhaps it’s because we look so much alike that we have this special ‘thing’ between us. I have loved with her, laughed with her, cried with her, prayer with and for her and generally just indeed reserve a special part of my heart just for her. Bottom-line is that I love her so completely and totally...... and I won’t be at her wedding.

How I arrived at this point is perhaps not so much the issue anymore. Suffice to say that I have beaten myself up so much about what I could and should have done, what I shouldn’t have done but did, etc. There is a saying that in life hindsight is always 20:20. But, there is also a saying that the reason that the rear-view mirror on a car is usually smaller than the windscreen is because what lies behind is largely insignificant compared with what lies ahead. Yes, there is a greater learning and growth that has resulted out of this entire experience.

I had prayed and petitioned God endlessly. I fasted. I cried. I tried to negotiate with God. Indeed, I actually tried to ‘psyche’ God, using scripture to try to get Him to turn the situation around for my benefit. I remember telling God ‘Lord, you know right now this is not because of me anymore. It doesn’t matter if I don’t make the WAN convention. This is for my sister. You know she will be heartbroken if I am not there’. I reminded God that He said we should ask and He would give us the desires of our hearts. I reminded Him that He said we should come and let’s reason together. My reasoning was that my sister really needed me to be there for her. Somehow though, I had a nudge in my Spirit and I could almost hear the Holy Spirit say ‘Come on my daughter. I know the thoughts and intents of your heart, you know!’.  Hmmm! Suffice to say I quickly changed tactics and moved into a ‘Lord I just beg you. Grace and Favour, Lord....Pleeeaassse!’.

But God is God and always will be God. He has shown me in so many other things and ways that He is always miles ahead of me. He has shown me that every disappointment is indeed a blessing – maybe not dressed in the clothes I expected, but a blessing nonetheless. He continues to remind me every day that I should never take anything for granted, but indeed should always bring ALL things to Him in prayer and supplication just like His Word says. As I think over the past months, I realise that I was confidently making boast in all my travel plans, without specifically talking to Him about them. I never asked what His will was for my proposed attendance of the Dallas event. I just said I would be there and expected Him to move His plans for me in that direction. 

I never consulted Him about my plans to attend my sister’s wedding. I didn’t hear from God before I communicated my travel plans to my sister and she booked her wedding date to accommodate my schedules. I remember that I had a clear impression to ‘wait’ before I revalidated my ticket, but I ignored it.  I remember clearly going into a tongue-speaking frenzy as I drove off to the embassy that very early morning. Somehow, I had a sense in my spirit that the interview wouldn’t hold and I know now that that was a last ditch effort at negotiating with the Lord. I came out feeling sad and sorry for myself. Funny, I also felt the Holy Spirit‘s sadness as He brought to my mind certain steps I had taken that clearly didn’t align with His will as far as trip was concerned. As I continued to push, my entire focus being on being at that wedding, God just continued to resist me on all sides as I ignored His quiet prodding’s which were contrary to what I wanted to hear.

Finally, I broke. Amidst my tears, I decided to just surrender completely and to trust God. I reminded myself that I believe absolutely that nothing is impossible for God. I believe absolutely that He is well able, that He is the God of by-this-time-tomorrow. I believe absolutely that He hears me and answers my prayers according to His riches in glory. I believe absolutely that He sees my heart and knows my most intimate thoughts. I believe absolutely that He works everything out for my good. I believe absolutely that His ways are not my ways, or His thoughts my thoughts. I believe completely that nothing is too hard for Him so it wouldn’t have been a hard thing for Him to turn around my situation and open a door for me to attend this wedding.

But He has chosen not to. I have also made a choice. I have chosen to be at peace and know that He is God and that whatever He has not allowed me, is not for my good. I choose to believe that He felt a strong need to remind me not to leave Him out of any area of my life and not to assume I can achieve things in my own strength. He reminded me that we need to be careful not to assume some kind of spiritual arrogance where we go round making the right set of sounds, but in real terms we ignore God and the counsel of the Holy Spirit. So this is a call and a reminder to myself and to you all, to be sure that we keep a God-will focus in every area of our lives. From the decision of what to wear in the morning to the things that it comes to our minds to say throughout the day; from quiet little decisions which we make daily that may affect no one other than ourselves, to those major decisions that impact on us and other lives around us, it becomes clear that we need to ask ‘Lord, what is your will?’ or ‘Lord what would you have me do’.

I know God is not mean. I know He loves me and He loves my sister. I know that He would love for me to be at that wedding. But, I also know that He knows there is some critical decision point that lies ahead of me, which I have not had this painful experience now, I will also walk into blindly on the wrong path. So, as I chose to wipe my tears, as I choose to allow the Holy Spirit humble me on one hand and heal my pained heart on the other; I am actually choosing once again to allow God be Lord over every area of my life. I am choosing once again to say ‘Lord, not my will but Yours be done’. As I choose this, I feel His peace flooding into my soul.

My prayer is that is the Lord is dealing with you in any way today, small or great; you will be strong enough to yield to the Spirit and like me declare ‘Not my Will Oh Lord, but yours’.

Ttyl



About Me

Entrepreneur, Mentor, Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend. A firm believer in God. Walking in faith everyday that by His grace, I will achieve harmony in all areas of my life, and make measurable impact in the lives of other women of the world

WORD FOR THE WEEK

LUKE 1:

34“-How can this be, Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God

JEREMIAH 2:

5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you; [and] I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am only a youth. 7 But the Lord said to me, Say not, I am only a youth; for you shall go to all to whom I shall send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8 Be not afraid of them [their faces], for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord. 9 Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. 10 See, I have this day appointed you to the oversight of the nations and of the kingdoms to root out and pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.

1st CORINTHIANS 1:

25 [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men. 26 For [simply] consider your own call, brethren; not many [of you were considered to be] wise according to human estimates and standards, not many influential and powerful, not many of high and noble birth. 27 [No] for God selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is foolish to put the wise to shame, and what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame. 28 And God also selected (deliberately chose) what in the world is lowborn and insignificant and branded and treated with contempt, even the things that are nothing, that He might depose and bring to nothing the things that are,

Colossians 1:

28 Him we preach and proclaim, warning and admonishing everyone and instructing everyone in all wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God), that we may present every person mature (full-grown, fully initiated, complete, and perfect) in Christ (the Anointed One).

29 For this I labor [[z]unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me.