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Monday, December 24, 2012

Two sides, Same coin

It’s the day before Christmas 2012. Everywhere you look there are lights flash red, white, green and blue; accompanied by a cacophony of carols, old ad new. There is a general gaiety in the air. There is the usual last minute rush to do some shopping, plan a quick trip, and make the most of the few days off from work, so traffic is of course crazy!  In the middle of it all, there are those of us (yours truly included) who are still trying to figure how come it’s Christmas in August…… Yup! It seems like last week it was August, then the weekend came and Christmas stared us in the face. There has been an unprecedented busyness around the office and an incredible pile-up of work-related to-do’s. For the first time in many years, even my children didn’t make any comment about setting up the Christmas tree. I figure they could tell that mummy dearest was too tired to think about the tree, lol. Thankfully, we finally got round to it a couple of days ago.

As always, there is an air of expectancy; varied as the reasons for this might be. All said and late as it was, Saturday was supposed to be my day to try and key fully into the holiday mode. I had it all mapped out. An hour with my personal trainer at the gym; a quick dash to join the last minute shoppers; a quick visit to a couple of friends; and then home to excitedly await the arrival of my first son from the airport.

I only got as far as the gym though. My personal trainer’s face told me something was very wrong. A children’s party at the club poolside the day before…. a 3year old girl had drowned!  Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe properly. My heart constricted and the tears began to flow. How? What? Why? The answers were truly irrelevant. She was and is dead! In my devastation my heart immediately reached out to the mother. I have no idea who she is, but I visualized a young woman who had lovingly prepared her daughter for a children’s Christmas party, barely five minutes drive from her home and in a place where she had spent countless hours prior to this. How was this woman supposed to imagine as she kissed her and drove off, that that would be the last time she would see her little girl alive? I visualized her home… blinking lights on the tree and in the garden; gifts lovingly wrapped; arrangements made for cakes and food and drinks, etc. So many plans laid out for the holidays and the New Year. How could this family ever have imagined the pain they would go through, in this season of festivities?

All day, I kept thinking about the devastation of this family. I realized of course that there are a million more families out there who had, in times past; and who would, even this season, have to deal with some form of loss or the other. For all their pain, the carols will continue to play; Christmas lights will glow brighter still; fireworks will be even more brilliant this year than ever before. Indeed, life will go on!  As surely as God is real, life will go on. Life will go on despite their pain; despite their devastation's. Life is life! It is a combination and culmination of our various experiences, good and bad; painful and pleasurable.  We will, each and every one of us, have our fair share of life. Life is your one coin, sis; and like it or not, you and I will have to deal with either, and/or both sides of our own coin at some point in our lives or the other.

Yes, life is just the one coin! You and I have the unique choice of determining whether we will spend our lives, or be spent by life. What’s the difference? From my perspective, the difference is in how much of our lives we are willing to try and live in our own strength, wisdom and power; as compared to how much of our lives we are willing to yield completely to God, so as to live in the wisdom, strength and power of the Lord. God has given us the choice… if only we could really see, sis. If only we could really, really see!

The secular world promotes the principle that ‘Attitude determines your altitude’. I so agree! I agree even more so when the spiritual dimension of this simple phrase is considered. It is our attitude to God that determines our altitude in life. Regardless of what side of our coin is lying face up at any point in our lives, our altitude… our ability to effectively cope with our successes and our failures, is determined by our attitude toward God! Success can be greatly mismanaged, minus a recognition and full acknowledgement that God is our source; that we are all we are because of all He has allowed us to be; that our lives and times are in His hands; that He is the one who causes us to prosper. Failures/troubles and tragedies alike can totally cripple us, minus a recognition that our strength comes from the Lord; that He is our helper, our comforter; that He is able to give us beauty for ashes; that He works all things out for our good; that He is always with us; that He is our burden-bearer; that He shares our pain.

This family and all others who are hurting at this time can only but look up and trust that God is God! They do not need to understand their loss; for indeed they cannot! His Word is clear that His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways. We cannot comprehend God, and neither should we try. He is too big for us to figure. As our lives play out, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Him. Regardless of whether we are in our season of carols and twinkling lights, or if we are in a season of gross darkness, He is the source of our one coin… our lives, our all. His desire is that we live to the fullness of the potentials that He has put in each and every one of us. He has prepared us to be victorious even through our storms. He promised to never leave us or forsake us. He is available always to help us go through. He holds us in the palm of His hands. He rejoices when we are happy. He collects our tears in a bottle when life tries to beat us down.

I don’t know where you are in life now sis. I have no idea which side of your coin is lying face up in this season. What I do know is that you have just this one coin sis. It was given to you to spend fully. Apply it rightly, and you will receive full value. Yes sis, full value will come if you keep your eyes on the King, regardless of your circumstances or situation. Only in this space will you and I always come out victorious.  The Lord will help you sis. He will help me!

Be blessed! For you surely are!


Monday, December 10, 2012

Love Beyond Measure

I was watching an episode of ‘America’s Got Talent’ a couple of days ago. I absolutely love that show. From the quirky ‘I can’t watch this’ displays; the crazy young lady in pink who faked a talent jut to get to meet Howard Stern; to other really great talents that get to feature; the show makes for interesting light entertainment to my tired self at the end of a long day.

An act was introduced – a young lady whose name I really do not recollect save for the fact that she is the daughter of late Florence Joyner (Flo Jo) and Al Joyner, both of whom made remarkable strides in competitive track and field events, nationally and internationally. Ms Joyner came on stage to perform a song, her dad anxiously hovering at the edge of the stage. She dedicated her performance to her late mum, and then proceeded to give a beautiful rendition of the song she had prepared for her audition. It truly felt like a touch of heaven in that auditorium as she sang. Indeed her mum would have been proud.

As Ms. Joyner sang, the camera moved over to where her dad stood. His trepidation before she started to sing was apparent. He was clearly anxious for her. He knew without a shadow of a doubt, just how important the next few minutes were for her. He had held her hand and walked her through hours of practice all leading up to this stage. As she began to sing, the camera held his gaze. His love for her, the pride he felt was palpable. Watching him, my own heart swelled with emotion. I watched as his eyes slowly brimmed with tears. He made no attempt to wipe them as they spilled over. This was his baby, his little angel… having a moment that could change her life forever; and boy was she doing a great job in the spotlight.

 At the end of her audition, the judges had asked her how she felt and she said she wished more than anything else that her mother could have been alive to see her on stage, but she'd felt her presence and knew that her mother was really proud of her at that moment. The judges invited her father on stage and in the ensuing moments, through his tears he spoke glowingly and lovingly about his daughter. Back stage he kept holding her and hugging her through more of his tears. So much love was evident between these two, I tell you that.

There was many a teary eye in my room that evening as my family and I watched this program. I looked over at my only daughter, who sat slightly ahead of me. I had a moment when I saw her on that stage, wishing I had been there to see her in her spotlight. Immediately, I choked up and silent tears began to stream down my face. As I struggled with my heaving chest and the raw pain in my heart, I begged God silently for mercy and favor to allow me see my children grow into mature adults. I was grateful for my family being engrossed in the next act that had come on, because I didn't want to traumatize my children with my many tears. It took everything in me to gain composure enough to silently speak life into myself and declare according to His Word, that I would live and not die; that I would live to see my children’s children; that I would live to a ripe old age still bringing forth fruits. I reminded myself that my life and times are in the hands of the Lord and that even if He calls me early, He would be father and mother to my children; and He is more than able to look after my children and ensure they still live in His divine abundance and protection.

I have been thinking about the depth of emotion I went through in those few minutes that day, simply thinking about how much love I have for each of my children. I kept seeing the love on Al Joyner’s face and it so resonated with my feelings. And then the Lord ministered to me that even the deepest depths of the love I have for my children does not begin to scratch the surface of the love He has for His children…. the love He has for me, and for you sis! He spoke to me spirit and let me know that if I had even an inkling of how much love He had for me....  if I could get a glimpse of the full depth of His love…. my heart would simply and literally explode in overwhelm. I didn't need to ask ‘How can this be Lord?’ No! I didn't need to ask. This quiet ministration brought to me what is the most clarity I have ever received about the love of God towards me, towards you sis.

I have been walking around in a renewed awe of God's love and of His mercy since that evening, a continuous stream of prayers and praise, worship and thanksgiving on my lips. Share with me in this praise sis. He is surely worthy of all our praise.  

Father, I thank You for Your love for me and for mine. Lord, I thank You because despite my shortcomings, my inconsistencies, my failings, my unfaithfulness, my ingratitude, my selfishness… thank You that despite all these, You love me Lord! You love me beyond my comprehension. Thank You Father because it is in this love that You called me and saved me and gave me the right and privilege to call You ‘Father’ and ‘Lord’. Thank You Lord that You are always with me; that even when I stray, You are always right here by my side. Thank You that nothing I do can ever diminish Your love for me. Father, thank You that You counted me worthy oh Lord. Thank You for choosing me Lord, for setting me apart.

Father, I thank You because of Your mercies upon my life. I thank You for seen mercies for which I have testified. More than this Lord I thank You for Your unseen mercies. I thank You for Your unmerited favor. I thank You for deliverance. I thank You for healing. I thank You Lord for provision. I thank You Lord because even in my storms, You have shown yourself strong. Father, I thank You for my children, biological and otherwise. Thank You Lord allowing me to know the joy of being a parent; thank You for allowing me experience the love of, and for children. Thank You Father for the great people You have put in my life and who have brought me so much stability over the years. Father, thank You for the love of a great man! Father, I thank You for so much love and peace in my home. Father,  thank You for strength to carry through and to overcome every adverse situation. Thank You for the things You have brought me through Lord.

Father thank You that I am the apple of Your eye. Thank You for loving me enough to send Your son to die for me. Thank You because in Him I have the assurance of my eternal salvation. Thank You because I have a hope and an expectation to be with You in heaven,  Lord….. not by my works, my goodness or of any righteousness; but by Your love beyond measure, oh Lord. Father, I am so grateful. Father, I thank You. Everything that is in me gives You all the praise, oh Lord. In Jesus mighty name, Amen.

Sis, I want to speak a word of encouragement to you today. I ask that you take a good look at your life. Look beyond the apparent challenges you have or think you have. Look at the things that you are allowing or have allowed to hold you down, to steal your peace. Then look up to the Father….. Can you see it? Look up sis at a love the depth of which you cannot begin to fathom. Look up and know that He loves you so much that He will ensure that everything works out eventually for your good. He loves you as you are sis - imperfections and all. He loves you completely and totally and there’s nothing you can do to take away from this truth. 

Beyond what any earthly parent, spouse, child, sibling or friend can do; the Lord will stand by you. He is the one you can always run to. He is the one Who will always walk you through. Keep your eyes fixed on Him sis. He knows the things that are important to you. He will hold your hand; He will guide you through. And when you hit your spotlight.... when you are set to conquer your stage, He will be there watching you with pride. He will give you every support to ensure an excellent performance. And in the end, He will say to you, ‘Well done my good and perfect daughter’.

Submit to His love once again today sis. Let His love beyond measure be the center of your everything, and your all. The Lord will help you sis. He will help me!

Be blessed…. For you surely are!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Just do 'YOU'

Without a doubt, the last few months have been a real trial for me in terms of time and responsibilities. One too many projects have slowly stolen away at my ability to share with you on this forum weekly. My commitment to you sis, is that I’m right here, regardless. Thank you for your regular feedback and for letting me know this blog is speaking to you one way or the other, as we walk this walk of me being uniquely me, and you being uniquely you.

A comment was posted last week from a reader who on one hand said a kind word about the post, and then made an odd (sarcastic?) remark about how the posts were ‘a bit too brief for beginners’ and could I ‘please prolong them next time?’ I will admit for a second I was taken aback for a second, and then I had a hearty chuckle as I thought how happy I would be to oblige, lol. Please forgive me “Anonymous’, but I have said in a few of my earlier posts, that I don’t do ‘brief’. This blog is not designed to do cute and conventional! I write from the heart as the Holy Spirit leads. Truth is that for as many that like to read the small books, there are many more who like the huge 1000-page books that run into volumes 1, 2 and 3. I do however appreciate the feedback and indeed this comment has inspired this particular post. Thank you and thank you again.

Just last week, I found myself in the middle of one of those rather engaging discussions regarding life and living. As we discussed the many pressures we face from family, the work place, etc, many  diverse opinions and perspectives were played out.  Things really took an interesting turn when the point about the kinds of pressures we impress, unsolicited, upon ourselves was raised. The question was, ‘Why do we inadvertently try to conform to the expectations/conventions of others?’ It is almost amusing how the immediate reaction of most people is to deny conformity, but the realities belie the fact. Any deep and honest period of introspection will bring the very best of us to the realization that we have been conditioned from birth to conform to certain environmental, familial or societal expectations, the most basic of which are now so ingrained that they have since become our very own norms. Anything wrong with this? Not necessarily, no!  

I had wondered out loud however, why as mature adults we unwittingly, and sometimes willingly, put ourselves under the pressure of trying to conform to the conventions of 'people'. Why do we find it so hard to defy convention? From the big things to the small seemingly unimportant things, we find it more comfortable to swim with the tide. Why, pray tell, do we get so hung up on what 'people' will say or think? Yet, we all want to make a difference? Hmmm!  I wonder, why for instance,  I should limit my posts to 600 words each because someone/group somewhere have ‘established’ that that is the number of words that holds the attention of ‘most’ people (never mind that they polled only 100,000 out of the hundreds of millions who can and do read)? Why should I not be true to myself because the conventions of man demand otherwise? Why shouldn't I do 'Me', and why can’t you just do 'You', sis?

You and I are created uniquely by the Master craftsman Himself. Our Lord God omnipotent thought you through from your end and back to your beginning. He breathed His glorious life into you and put some amazing gifts in you that He longs to see you use to the fullest. You are called forth to show His glory, to work His plans and purpose, to bless the earth and to be a blessing to unborn generations. I promise you this, sis: you cannot live to the fullness of your God-given potential.... you cannot live a fulfilled life, if you allow yourself be pressured into conforming. The one sure thing that you and I need to do, is to take our eyes off from the apparent acceptance of man, keep our eyes steadfastly fixed on Him, keep our ears fully attentive to His instructions, so that in our being and doing, we will conform to His expectations of each of us. You have to do ‘YOU’, sis! You must! And I have to do ‘ME’. Nothing else would truly give God all the glory.

Can I ask you to quietly and honestly answer these questions to yourself if you will. Do you have a constant yearning in your heart to do more and be more? Do you envy (err… sorry sis, no sugar coating on this one. It’s envy! Let’s call it as it is, and the Lord will help us) someone else who has achieved some milestone(s) that you know/believe you could have/should have achieved? Do you find yourself - glad for your friend/sister/colleague, yes; but also quietly asking God when your own recognition/promotion/financial breakthrough/etc will come? Do you ever find yourself inwardly resentful (even if ever so slightly) because you feel so much more deserving of something than someone else? Ouch! Oh boy!

Let’s be honest sis. We have - each and every one of us, been in one or more of these places… and sometimes in all of them at the same time, at one point or the other in our lives. A question to self would be how much more we could have achieved if we had been more willing to defy conventions and be true to the innermost desires of our hearts? How different would our lives have been if we were bold enough to stand alone in the crowd? How much more fulfilled would you be sis, if you had given full expression to your gifts and aspirations, regardless of what may have been the more conventional way of doing things? Are you stifling that something within you that desperately desires to break forth and shine through, because convention says it ought not be done? Because convention make an odd remark about it, or doesn't even have an idea what it would look like?

All through the Bible, the Lord asks various people to work what they have already in their hands, and each time great exploits came out of their obedience. Interestingly enough, our Lord moved and continues to move in rather creative ways….  a la talking donkeys, water out of rocks, parting of seas, spit and mud, et al. We serve a God that is innovation and creativity in Himself. One thing is clear to me, as long as we are filled with His Spirit and offer ourselves willingly to be led by Him, we cannot be at peace until we come to the place of being our unique Spirit-led selves exclusively.

God has a sure calling for you, sis. He has a sure calling for me. I can assure you though, that you and I are not called to the entire world. No! He has called you to some and called the next person to yet others. Don’t worry about what your sister/brother/friend/colleague is doing, being or achieving. Don’t focus on what everyone else expects you to be, do, or achieve. Just hold on to God… the One Who created YOU; the One Who can fill YOU, and the only One Who can fulfill YOU. In this place of submission, the Lord will direct your path; He will order your steps. He will make your assignment clear; He will give you the boldness to express yourself, and by the power of His Spirit, you will make purposeful impact in the lives of those to whom He has assigned YOU.

Ask God today to help you to always do ‘YOU’, sis. I mean, just look at you….. You are a masterpiece! A divinely crafted original! Don’t allow the conventions of men steal away from your destiny! Just do YOU, sis. Just be ‘Uniquely You!
 In the eyes of our Father, that's the most awesome that you can be.
The Lord will help you, sis. He will help me. 

Be blessed sis… for you surely are!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Marry Me!

The first of my brothers just got married. Woo hoo! I’ve waited on this wedding for quite a while. I had said to my brothers several times over the years, that it wouldn’t matter to me if I liked their wives or not, as long as they made my brothers happy. But you know what? He found himself a cute young woman who loves him for him. What more could any big sis ask? God is faithful! He truly is! 

Theirs was a pretty big wedding, and the usual craziness  that goes with every big event surely played out that day. With over a thousand guests, both the church and reception overflowed in a cacophony of activities. Ever heard of 'organized chaos'? Lol. Everyone needed special attention it seemed, and each person was intent on getting it. I’m so glad I can laugh about that now, as it certainly was nowhere near amusing on that day. I was totally worn out at the end of it all, but……. the strong, silent embrace from my brother at the end of the day was more than worth it! He was happy! He was fulfilled! And my newest of sister’s? She just positively glowed! She was a truly beautiful bride, I must say. It is my prayer upon them both that theirs shall be a unique story; that they shall grow in love and unity; that they shall be fruitful in all things; and that the Lord will set them up as examples of His favor, in Jesus mighty name, Amen.

As always, events around me lead me to reflection mode and and as I looked over some of the pictures of the wedding, a few things struck me quite strongly in my spirit. I could quite clearly see the correlation between the wedding to our salvation experience. Think about it! There you were trying to deal with life as you think you know it, then slowly but surely He comes into your life and things are never quite the same. Sometimes its love at first sight, but more often than not, He has to woo you. You hear His Word from just about everywhere, it seems. You keep thinking about Him. He shows up very strongly when your heart is weak; and you eventually realize that without Him, your life will never be complete. You know that in Him is your fullness, and you willingly come to the place of 'I do". 

Just like a new bride also, your wedding day is full of uncertainties. You love and are in love with The Lord, but you really just don't know how it will all play out. What you do know is that you are on a journey of faith, a journey of trust, and a journey of positive expectation. A new bride looks unto her husband with a heart that is full of hope and conviction that he will honor her, he will protect her, he will love her, he will provide for her, he will help her to reach her full potentials as a woman. A new bride knows in her heart that she is leaving a whole other life behind, but she trusts that that which is ahead is greater than that which she is familiar with. She has faith that with him she will be fruitful and fulfilled......the same set of convictions as when we come to the place of knowing The Lord. 

Beyond the wedding day and honeymoon period however comes the realities of married life. Over the months and years, day-to-day life begins to play out. If we are not careful, the love is still there yes, but there is a 'getting-used-to', a certain 'normalcy' that begins to become the order of the day. Our imperfections begin to play up - selfishness (the 'Me' factor), impatience, unforgiveness, anger, inadequacies and insecurities, busyness and lack of prioritization, careless words, emotional unfaithfulness..... Dare I go on? 
The hard truth is that in the middle of being the 'who' that we came into the marriage as, there is also a struggle to determine the 'who' that we need to be now that we are married. As with every process, there will be the smooth times and the rough times.... the extent of each being determined by the intentionality by which both parties to a marriage work at it. The end result of a focused effort with God in the middle of it, is a 'marriage made in heaven'. The end result of trying to go it in your own strength or wisdom is confusion, frustrations, hurt, bitterness. 

But here is what ministered most strongly to me and I leave you with this today.   All the above stem from an analysis of the physical marriage on earth, where the husband is a man..... as imperfect, as fallible, as insecure, as gullible, as weak as any other human - male or female. Our salvation involves saying 'I do' to the King of  Kings and The Lord of Lords. Our marriage walk is with the ultimate Being.... The I AM! He is perfection itself, sis. No better husband than Him, that I assure you!

In coming into a personal relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit our helper, counsellor, intercessor; we can rest assured that our faith and hopes and expectations in Him will never be cut short. He it is that loves us most thoroughly and unconditionally. He is not unmindful of our imperfections, but He is able to separate His love for us as His brides from His love for the lives that we live. When we are at our weakest, He is our strength. When we fall, He gently lifts us up. When we need it, He lovingly chastises us and sets us back into right thinking, doing and being. He never speaks evil against us. He will never forsake us. He always provides for us. He continually protects us. He does not need us to validate him..... He is 'all that' just by Himself; rather, He validates us when we are insecure. When we pull away, He stands fast; and when we come back, He does not consider our past errors. 

God is husband extraordinaire! He puts His ring not just around our fingers, but around our hearts, our lives, all that concern us. He never keeps malice with us, not even when we have done something to hurt Him. No, He is constantly speaking.... lovingly leading us into the right path by His counsel, always working to shape us into the image of His glory. He is a trusted partner and friend. He is jealous not of us, but for us. `In this jealousy, He hovers over all that is ours - our earthly husband's, our children, the works of our hands, our peace, our finances, our health. He is never too tired to listen, rather wishing we would talk to Him even more. He is unselfish to the core, always pandering to our deepest of desires...... in His wisdom, loving us enough to refuse us those things that He knows will not be good for us. His sole agenda is to help us grow, to ensure we will be with Him unto the very end. He is God! He is love! He is all! 

Knowing this, seeing this even more clearly sis, I ask that you do some deep thinking if you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Today, The Lord is before you on bended knee. He is pouring out of His abundance of love and saying to you: 'Marry Me!'.  His arms are open wide, sis. His ready embrace is the only wedding ring that you truly need. He is waiting in hope and in expectation that you will finally give up on trying to be made whole and complete in your fellow man, and come to the true place of fulfillment.....  Come to Him now, open your heart to Him and say 'I do, Lord! I do!'

If you have already come to Christ, then this is a call to examine your relationship with The Lord and ask yourself if you are living fully as His bride. He says again to you and I,  'Marry Me. Marry Me afresh! Marry Me in total commitment once again. I am still your husband, I still want to be all here for you. Come away once again from the place of trying to do things on your strength. Come back fully with your heart, body, soul and spirit. Say 'I do' once again and lets walk this beautiful walk unto the end.'

The Lord Loves you sis. He loves Me! How totally awesome is that? By His grace, I am reaching down once again to say 'I do, Lord'. Once again, I receive Your love and I walk into Your open arms. Father, thank You for loving me enough to call me into this love walk with You. Marry me totally and completely Lord. Thank You for the privilege of being Your bride'. 

What will be YOUR response to His call today sis? I pray that the Spirit   will draw you out, and that not only will your response be 'I do" but you will truly mean it with every fibre of your being. 

The Lord will help you sis! He will help me. 

Be blessed..... for you surely are!

The Lord Loves you sis. He loves Me! How totally awesome is that. By His grace, I am reaching down once again to say 'I do, Lord'. Once again, I receive Your love and I walk into Your open arms. Father, thank You for loving me enough to call me into this love walk with You. Marry me totally and completely Lord. Thank You for the privilege of being Your bride'. 

What will be your response to His call today sis? I pray that the Spirit   will draw you out, and that not only will your response be 'I do" but you will truly mean it with every fibre of your being. 

The Lord will help you sis! He will help me. 

Be blessed..... for you surely are!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Whom are you like in your greatness?

I had started to read Ezekiel 31 but couldn’t get past verse 2 for quite a while. As the Lord commanded Ezekiel to ask: ‘Whom are you like in your greatness?’ the question hit me pretty strong in my spirit. I found myself replaying an interesting conversation I had had with one of my sistas a couple of weeks ago.

I truly can’t quite recall how we got on the subject but I remember we'd ended up talking about intellectual arrogance and how among the very best of us, this is something that slowly creeps up on us if not checked intentionally and with a leaning on the Holy Spirit. We talked about how for people who are blessed with certain levels of intellectual capacity; who have the gift of highly analytical minds – able to see unique perspectives to just about everything; or who have the gift of oration and are able to command presence and attention, there is a major need to be careful not to allow intellectual arrogance, or a silent pride – sometimes cloaked in an outwardly apparent humility, to set in.

You know sis, if you think deeply enough about the assertion in the last paragraph you may find that you have been guilty of this; or you have been one of those who have unwittingly contributed to the build-up of silent pride in someone or the other that you know (a bit too much praise, a little too much adulation, undue dependency? sigh!!!). In truth, it is more than likely that each of us has worked both sides of that equation in times past. I know I certainly have. Hmmm! The Lord will help us!

Using ourselves as examples, my sista and I acknowledged that, to the glory of God, we are both women operating successfully and commanding respect in our largely male-dominated industries. We had talked over the fact that we tend to speak in strong, focused and very measured ways at meetings and so tend to attract significant attention at corporate gatherings. We also manage to sound pretty intelligent (it appears), stringing the right words in an impressive-enough order. We both have quite a few people who tend to depend on our counsel – personal or professional, to make critical life decisions for themselves. We are regularly engaged in speaking, training/teaching roles in both the secular/business world and in the church, usually to a good ovation at the end. We are both pretty well read, but continue to pursue our personal and professional education and development. We acknowledged yes, that our lives are outwardly and upwardly progressive. We acknowledged that this is all great, but that it can all also make us fall into a place of pride if we take our eyes off Jesus. 

Does any or all of the above sound like your life sis? I suspect so. For many of us who may be reading this blog, at the various levels that we may be at in life, in our families, in our businesses, in church, or in our professional associations, we may have achieved a level/levels of recognition in our various endeavours that give us some sense of identity, validated by the external adulations of others around us. What’s wrong with this? Are we not designed to use our potentials to move us to undeniable levels of achievement that add value to society and those around us? Are our lives not meant to count for something distinct and tangible here on earth? Certainly sis! Certainly!

The challenge which we identified however is that as we grow, as our achievements begin to bring us recognition, respect and honour; then we need to be very careful in this space not to be overcome by intellectual arrogance and/or a sense of entitlement, and believe me, this is so much easier said than done…. but for God!  It is so easy to think of pride from a very generic definition standpoint, but a hard look at our lives may reveal that we are walking in silent pride. How easy it is for those of us who train people to find ourselves listening sometimes with only half an ear to other trainers, mentally concluding that they really don’t have anything new to teach us. How easy it is to be dismissive of a speaker, mentally declaring to yourself how much better you could have delivered his/her presentation. How easily we expect recognition when we walk into certain place, and bristle when we don’t get it at all or in the manner to which we have become accustomed. How easy it is to ascribe glory to yourself at the end of a standing ovation, especially when in your view, you really worked to give a good presentation. How easy to forget that the glory is for the Father alone Who causes our gifts to make a way for us. I could go on sis, but you surely get my drift.

It’s great to be great, of that there is no question. Nothing is as satisfying as seeing your gifts and abilities bear fruit and make impact. It is undoubtedly gratifying when your greatness begins to shine through and be audibly and outwardly recognized by those around you. But the Lord asks of you and I today: ‘Whom are you like in your greatness?’

We serve a God who hates pride. He is a God of love yes, but His Word makes plain the things that He hates. Pride is a big one on His list. The Lord loves the humble and He loves to exalt them - to His glory alone. As we grow in our earthly greatness therefore, we must keep our eyes fixed on our spiritual greatness. Earthly greatness wins us recognitions, applause, accolades, etc in the eyes of man. But what sense does it make to be a ‘great’ woman in the eyes of the world, and yet be small in the eyes of the Lord? When we allow the silent prides of our earthly greatness to creep into our lives, we tarnish the image of our greatness in the face of the Lord. In the place of pride, no matter how small, we take away from our conformity to His image and glory. If we are not careful, we forget that the Lord is the source of all our wisdom, our knowledge and insights, our understanding and perceptions. Effectively, for each great thing we achieve, it is the Lord Who is deserving of the honour, the accolade, the applause. He it is Who is our greatness and not we of ourselves. 

My sista and I were laughing at the beginning of our conversation. But as we went deeper, we ended up in a prayer of ‘Lord help us! Lord we need Your grace’. As I sat quietly and reflected over the question in Ezekiel 31 v 2, the prayer in my heart was ‘Father, consume every silent pride in me. Lord, take away everything in me that is taking away from giving glory to You. Lord, let my greatness be wholly in Your image. Let me be like You in my greatness Lord! Lord, as You continue to lift me up and enlarge my coast and areas of influence, Lord keep me humble. Help me to continually show genuine love, respect and honour for my fellow men and women, your children whom You have also created in Your image and likeness. Lord, let my greatness be only in You Lord, as an instrument of Your glory; as a testimony of Your faithfulness; as a magnet to draw men unto You; and to further Your Kingdom here on earth. Lift me up, not so that I will exalt myself oh Lord; but that You and You alone may be exalted as I reflect Your image in every area of my life, IJMN’.

I speak greatness into your life sis. I speak divine enlargement. And I pray along with you that as the Lord lifts you up, as He makes you greater still; that you will not submit yourself to to the accolades of men, nor the pride that steals in alongside of that. I pray that you (and I) will rather stay focused on the Father; that indeed the image of our greatness shall be forever and only…. the image of God.

Be blessed sis…. For you surely are

Monday, October 8, 2012

A unique piece of God's puzzle

I’ve been quite excited about how quickly the gospel of the excellent mindset has spread since my last post. The response has been overwhelming! For me personally, this continues to be an unfolding discovery of elements of my being that I always knew were there, but perhaps never gave focused attention to. I have maintained my confession of excellence and found that despite the challenges of the past few weeks, I have stayed in the place of immense peace simply by holding on to this mindset. My prayer is that your confession of an excellent spirit has not been dimmed over time and never will be, so that the peace of God will continually overtake your very being in Jesus name, Amen.

I am currently reading the book ‘Life Overflowing’ by Bishop T.D. Jakes, my spiritual father. It’s a ‘must-read’ so please go get a copy. There are a few passages within that I want to share with you today because the words reinforce the need for us to accept our position of excellence regardless of how everything else around us is playing out. I quote:

‘We are chosen by God to be His precious children. We are wanted and valued by the Almighty King of the entire universe. God also chose you to be His child and to be part of the body of Christ on the earth at precisely this time and in precisely the location where you find yourself. God does not randomly snatch some piece of wood that has fallen down through a crack in the wall and say “oh, all right, I’ll go ahead and add this to the house”. No! With great determination, deliberation and design God has said, “I want you. I’m going to use you for this particular job. I want your specific personality and your unique set of talents in this precise position at this significant time”.

The Lord has crafted you and formed you and shaped you. He has molded you and made you. He knows your strengths, your weaknesses, and your character, and He has caused you to be a perfect fit and a perfect tool for a very precise and important role in His plan. You have been chosen just as the cedars of Lebanon were selected one by one, for the building of Solomon’s temple.

…..What good news! No matter what might be right or wrong with us, or what we might like or dislike about ourselves, we must be alright with God because He has chosen us for His work. He is going to use us for the fulfillment of His plan. He is going to apply our unique personalities and abilities to a particular time and place in history.”

And this for me is the crunch of it all my sister:
 “Stop to think about this any time you feel tempted to start trying to be like another person. If you give up being who you are in order to become like somebody else, you are going to be duplicating a piece in the puzzle that God already has! God needs you to be you! He made you in a precise way for a precise purpose, and only you will do.”

Wow! How true is this? Have you ever really thought about life in this context? God is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. He knows the end from the beginning. He is the source of all things and in Him do all things consist. He is eternity past, present and future. He laid the foundations of the world. It’s allHis perfect plan, His will, His divine purpose. Nothing is a surprise to Him. He sees all and He knows all. Indeed, God is the one who created the eternal jigsaw puzzle. He sees the whole picture at a glance; every detail is etched into His memory. He knows each and every single piece intimately. He doesn’t have to stare at the pieces endlessly, trying to figure what goes where. He sees! He knows! He is the author! He is the finisher!

The uniqueness of you comes from this picture. When God formed you and I, He knew exactly what part of the jigsaw He wanted us in. Our unique shapes (our mindsets, our talents, our family, our looks, etc) are specifically designed to suit that special place. In the natural, all we need to do to ruin a puzzle is to try to force a piece into the wrong space. Even if  in turning the shape over it appears to fit, what would be seen in that space would be a plain cardboard piece. The real beauty and picture that was the intent of the creator would be hidden on the other side.

I am a unique piece of God’s puzzle sis, as are you. How awesome is that I ask again? The Lord spoke something to me recently. He said “You are all I need you to be when you are in the place of worship!” What I have understood by this is that as long as my hearts cry is to worship God; as long as my every desire is to live for His glory; as long as I am willing to overlook my imperfections and just daily strive to know, love and serve Him more; then all I am right now is all I ever need to try to be!

I’m uniquely me sis! And you are uniquely you! Called forth for the singular purpose of showing forth the glory of God! Chosen to fill a spectacular portion of the puzzle that only you or I can fill! Excellent just as I am; just as you are! Oh yes, an excellent work-in-progress.
Our lives should not be about who has more money, position or power than we think we have; who has the looks we don’t believe we have; who knows more of the people we think we should know; who has the gifts we would have wanted to have; who appears to be getting the kind of recognition we think we should be getting; who appears to have achieved more than we think we have; and so on.

No sis! Our lives are simply about recognizing the Sovereign Lord designed us uniquely for His purpose and to show forth His glory. Daily our hearts cry should be, “Lord how can I worship You today?” As we stay in this place of our being, the excellence of our uniqueness will grow brighter daily, conforming us more and more to the image of Him who chose us, Who set us apart….. for His glory.

You are a critical component of the Lord's puzzle so enjoy your uniqueness sis! From where I’m standing, it looks preeeetttyyy good on you!

Be blessed….. for you surely are!

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm excellent!

One of the most difficult aspects of being away on a long vacation, particularly if it was as fun-filled, as emotionally and spiritually enriching as mine was; is that at the end….the very next day...BOOM! Real life hits you! I mean you always just kinda hope that you will have the chance to ease into things slowly when you get back right? Right? Scratch that! No answer required. I mean this is clearly a rhetorical question isn’t it? Real life is always here. While you vacation to get some reprieve from your daily realities, real life stands back, adopts an "I'll never leave you nor forsake you'' posture and carries on like you never left. Indeed that is what happens exactly - life goes on!  You go away, yes.... but in the end, two -four weeks later, you do have to come back! Sigh!

Do I sound like my reality is a bad place to be? Oh no, no, no! That is surely not my intent. I have a great life for which I am eternally grateful to God. What I am saying though is that while dealing with the emotional adjustment of leaving my first child in another country; coming back to unpack our one-too-many suitcases; having the children start school the very next day and coming home with a pile of assignments that they needed  my help with; and then resuming work the day after to find several files and official emails awaiting my attention, plus several update meetings lined up by my various managers; my nerves were close to being fried at the end of day one. By the evening of day three, I was at my wits end. It was truly a bit too much reality too soon, lol. I knew I was close to breaking point when my hubby asked me what was a rather simple question and I couldn’t find the strength to respond. I simply slumped on the sofa in total mental, physical and emotional overwhelm. The poor man was understandably quite alarmed, I tell you. I mean all he did was ask what was for dinner. He held me in a quiet embrace and then 'ordered' that I went to sleep early (err... okay so I went to bed early. No sleep for a while as my mind pondered over the many things I had to deal with the next day. Sigh! Sigh! Sigh!).            

Faithful God that He is, the Father was clearly watching out for me, speaking a word to someone somewhere to reach out and encourage me. I awoke to find a voice message from my Coach, singing me her trademark 'Good morning to you' song. She asked 'How are you? I was thinking about you and want you to know that you are loved and appreciated’.  I responded to ask her to uphold me in prayers as I was struggling with the weight of current responsibilities threatening to overwhelm me. A message came right back from Coach Anna. She said a few things but what hit the mark, and this I share with you is that she said to me 'You are not struggling. That’s not who you are. You are EXCELLENT!'  Now if you know Anna McCoy, “I'm excellent” is her standard response to the question 'How are you?' and excellent she truly is!              
As she spoke those words to me, my eyes flew to the WAN bracelet on my wrist. As the Spirit drew me to focus on the ‘woman’ bead, the message behind that particular bead washed over my spirit once again. I declared afresh to myself: I am a woman of an Industrious Spirit! I am Excellent! I am a woman of an Excellent Spirit!  I am excellent because the I Am is in me and He is such an incredibly Excellent God. I am an Advancer! I am an Achiever! I am an Accomplisher! I am an Executor ! And yes, I am a Finisher! I am all I am because the greater One in me has empowered me with strength from on high to be all that I can be... all He has designed me to be!

I am not perfect..... My Father reserves that for Himself alone. In my imperfections therefore, it’s okay for me to struggle with the post-vacation overload. It’s okay as long as I do not allow myself to stay in the place of wallowing. It’s okay as long as I can make the deliberate choice to lift my head and see clearly that this too shall pass. It’s okay as long as I do not by my words, empower my challenges of this season… No, they shall not overwhelm me for I am well able! It’s okay as long as I have awesome people out there holding me up in prayers, speaking words of encouragement into my being. It’s okay because even in the place of my struggles, I am intentional about being a blessing in the lives of other. It’s all okay. It really is! I mean, just think about this concerning me, and concerning you sis:                                      

I am a child of the King! I am royalty! The Owner and Creator of the universe is my Father any my Friend! He gives me my very breath of life! He causes lines to fall for me in pleasant places! He goes before me to make crooked paths straight. He brings forth my health speedily! He fights my every battle! He keeps me from the snare of the fowler! He causes me to be content! His grace daily abounds towards me! He never leaves nor forsake me! He is with me through the fire and through the flood! He called me by grace into a personal relationship with Him! He daily loads me with benefits! He is my joy, my peace, my Lord! In my lowest of moments, He picks me up. When I cry, He comforts me. He is always before me, with me, around and behind me. He has hemmed me in on all sides with His love and protection. He has me in His secret tabernacle! He has awesome plans for me life! And best of all, in Him I have the promise of eternal glory.

Truly, I'm excellent ….simply because I am! Sis, you are excellent simply because you are! I don’t know what might be trying to steal your peace this period. It may be way more serious than post-vacation blues. It may be a genuine challenge to your health, your finances, or your most intimate of relationships. Today sis, I ask you to speak the ‘Who’ that you truly are and not of the situation you find yourself in. Adopt a “though He slay me yet will I praise Him” mindset and declare with me today that you are EXCELLENT! Agree with me that henceforth this will be our daily confession…. and I know we will surely see excellence play out in our lives in Jesus name. He did say we should decree a thing and it shall be established right? He did say that life and death are in the power of the tongue right? I choose to speak excellence today sis. My prayer is that you will too.

What was that? Did you ask me something? How am I?   

                           …..I'm excellent sis. Simply excellent!

Be blessed… for you surely are

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dying empty

The graveyard is the wealthiest place in the world’. We've all heard this often enough right? It’s full of unfulfilled dreams, un-utilised talents, untapped abilities, unapplied knowledge and information. This expression is so very cliché, yes! Nonetheless, no one can ever diminish the truth that it contains. Each of us knows several members of our families, circles of friends, professional colleagues, etc whom we can point at as not utilizing a fraction of their gifts and abilities. Too many have died without trying; too many more gave up along the way, their potentials never to be realised. Sadly, even as we point at others, many of us – yours truly included, could readily fit into this category unless we remain focused and intentional about how we live our lives. There is always that one thing (or several things, sigh!) that we know we can and should be doing, but which we so easily allow procrastination and the noises of life keep us from.  The Lord once ministered to me over something I had been dilly-dallying about, ‘Do not let complacency keep you from your destiny, my child’. That was a much needed kick in the shin, I tell you.

I don’t recall where I first heard the message about dying empty .....about pouring out of yourself everything that God sent you to this earth to achieve. However, I do know that this has become a constant prayer point for me, that on the last day the Lord should not have cause to question how well I fulfilled my assignment on the earth. With each new strand of gray that appears on my head (and yes there’s one too many at this time, lol) I am reminded that life is a countdown. Like many of us, I wasted many a year doing things that didn’t count for the Kingdom (check YouTube: Gbile Akanni’s message ‘You are dead’). As the years roll by, my prayer and focus with the help of the Holy Spirit, is to use the rest of my life as effectively as I can, walking in the purposes of God for my life. Indeed, my prayer is that at the end, I will die empty; that my grave will not be fertile soil full of unrealised potential.

I had a set of experiences over the past couple of weeks that added to my perspective on the richness of the graveyard. Perspective! I find myself using that word a lot these days. It seems to me like once you become focused on Zero-living, once you become truly Kingdom-minded, that you really don’t take things as they come any more. There is a message and there is learning in just about everything. The Lord is speaking to us constantly through seemingly regular everyday events, conversations, interactions, etc. The Bible tells us to ‘seek the Lord while He might be found’. Seems to me that this seeking is not about being in church or about our quiet times; rather the seeking is to be as basic to us as our simple act of breathing; that we might find Him in everything that we think, say or do while we still have the breath of life in our mortal bodies. Yes! This is my perspective. And you know what sis? In the place of this understanding, I am amazed at the constant, otherwise overlooked manifestations of God’s favour, mercies and grace upon my every area of my life. Simply incredible!

Over the past few weeks, I have come to a deeper understanding that if we truly have the love of God in us; that if we truly believe that God is love; that if we truly wish to follow the Lord as our example; then the ‘doing’ is in our love walk with our fellow man. Our love walk is required to be a daily commitment and is not situation dependent. It is not a function of convenience. True love cannot be denied. It shines forth from within, manifested in things big and small which it is so easy to take for granted.

True love is my sister Karen staying up late, time and again, at the end of her very challenging work days, just to sort out some of the local travel logistics for her sister (yours truly) and her brood. True love is her taking time off work for several days in a row and playing chauffer, travel guide, food advisor, entertainment counsellor, et al – even knowing that I could readily find my way, but choosing to honour me with her time and presence.... and love! True love is my Coach Anna and her husband Richmond opening their hearts and home to my entire family, eight of us in all. True love is them extending the invite to a friend of mine – and then there were nine! True love is them making the unsolicited drive to and from the airport at odd hours to pick up my friend whom they didn’t even know. True love is Shemetris and Juanita – two special sisters, one of whom I had never met, moving into Coach Anna’s home for the period (leaving work, family and other responsibilities) and making themselves fully available to serve (literally) my family and I in any way that would ensure our time in Dallas was a great experience. True love is Ms. Harla, Ms. Margie and all the incredible ladies of Woman Act Now USA who just loved on us prior to and in the course of our time in Dallas.

I could go on sis, but I won’t. There was love ....deep and continuously flowing. It was genuine; it was an agape kind of love; and around it revolved God’s grace and favour. Yes sis, in simply day-to-day things, I could see that His banner over us truly is Love! And so this is the broader perspective that I have......
I have come to realize that beyond the richness of the graveyard in terms of unfulfilled dreams, visions, talents and abilities; the graveyard is full of love that was not freely poured out. Too many people have died without giving of themselves in service of others; they didn’t love enough and so clearly, they didn’t live enough. While it might be too late for those who have already left this earthly realm, this is a good time for you and I to reassess our love walk. Are we allowing the past pains, hurts, disappointments, negative experiences, rejection, and fears keep us from allowing ourselves to love fully and freely? To love not just those who are close to us but also those who are not? Are we yielding fully to the call to serve? Are we yielding to the call to love those who appear unlovable and or undeserving? Are we missing out on opportunities to pour out love on others because we might be inconvenienced in the process? Food for thought!

My prayer at the end of the day – for you and I sis, is that of all the many things that the Lord has put in us, we might die empty of love.... for God is love, and if we are made in His image and likeness then we must be love, we must give love and we must show love. My Coach defines love as ‘Contending for the highest possible good to be manifested in the present moment’. That is all we are guaranteed isn’t it sis? The present moment? Father, please open our hearts to truly love like you do. Help us to forgive, to overlook, to open ourselves to love others like you love us. Help us to pour out love according to your ultimate commandments, that at the end we will die empty of the love you have put in us; and that the lives of your children (not the graveyard) will be richer because we existed. The Lord will help you sis... He will help me!

Be blessed sis...... for you surely are!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another perspective on gratitude

I have been away awhile I know. Sorry about that people. Yours truly has had a million activities to close out before a much-needed vacation. It looked like it was still a while away, but then one morning I woke up and it was the 3rd of August... I was to travel on the 12th. OMG! The flurry of last-minute must-attend-to’s took their toll on me both mentally and physically I can tell you. Anyhow, here I am trying to deal with the jet-lag but fully committed to my responsibility to speak what is in my heart to you as we walk this walk of life as women uniquely created to achieve the purposes of God here on the earth. If I haven’t said so before sis, please know that I so appreciate the fact that you take time to read this blog and allow it minister to you. Thank you especially for all of your feedback. Thank you for as many people as you have referred this blog to. I really am grateful for you sis.

Gratitude! An interesting word, you agree? It’s a word that speaks of thankfulness for something or someone; appreciation; expressions of value. In all of two minutes the most of us could readily come up with at least twenty things, people, circumstances, experiences, etc that we are grateful for. Between our salvation and relationship with the Father; the breath of life every morning; our families; our health; jobs/businesses; etc you and I undoubtedly have quite a few things in common for which we are eternally grateful to God. Halleluyah!

Today however, I would like to share another perspective on gratitude with you. As I read through the newest edition of TW magazine (Awesome publication by my friend Adesuwa Onyenokwe. Proud of you always girl!) a few days ago, the Editor had written about being thankful and how while it is always said that we should be thankful for the things we have, she’d once read a quote that said to ‘Be thankful for the things you don’t want that you don’t have’. That struck me quite strongly and the more I reflected on it, the more all I could think was ‘Wow!’ Profound right? Truly, in some situations, ‘Wow’ is the most profound you can get and this was one of such times.

For the vast majority of people – yours truly included, our day-to-day realities include a continuing focus on the things that we desire to have, be or achieve. Think about it! Reality is that we get so accustomed to the things we already have in our lives, that our energies, prayers, conversations, meditations, etc are focused on the things that we aspire towards; the things that we believe will improve the quality of our lives, our loved ones lives, our businesses, and so on. If we had to measure, my guess would be that roughly 25% of our daily prayers are in category of   thanksgiving to God for our evident blessings and whatever is the most recent of the testimonials of His goodness we are currently experiencing. The other 75% would be in the ‘Lord bless me....’  ‘Lord, pls do this or that for me’ category. Is there anything wrong with asking? Surely not! The Lord Himself tells us to ask so that we can receive and that our joys might be full. He even goes as far as to tell us that we have not because we ask not, or because we ask amiss. So He does want us to ask of Him, giving God that He is; ever waiting to bless us with His abundance.

Methinks however, that we really should spend the greater amount of our prayer time praising God, just worshipping Him for Who He is and less time in asking  ....for the Father already knows that you (and I) have need of all these things (whatever your particular ‘these things’ might be). I have learnt by experience especially over the past year and a half, that there is an overflow of His provision in the place of worship. Our Father just loves worship. That is the place where He simply smiles and opens His arms even wider so that more of His blessings can flow down to His children – you and I. Worship is the ultimate expression of gratitude. It’s the complete acknowledgement that your continued presence in the land of the living is only by His grace. It’s a complete acknowledgement of the fact that He has chosen you and called You unto Himself simply by grace.

As I thought about being grateful for the things I don’t want that I don’t have, my thanksgiving, my worship took on a different dimension. I am thankful today for the bad husband I don’t want and don’t have. I am thankful for the wayward children I don’t want and don’t have; I am grateful for the dysfunctional family I don’t want and don’t have; I am thankful for the job I don’t want and don’t have; I am grateful for the bad friends I don’t want and don’t have; I am thankful for the illnesses I don’t want and don’t have; I am grateful for the accidents I certainly don’t want and by His grace have not had. I had surgery on my spine two years ago. I can tell you that I am so grateful for the wheelchair I could have ended up in, but which by His grace I will never need. Get my drift?

Every single day, our Father in His multitude of mercies, allows all sorts of accidents, afflictions, and negative experiences to pass over us. Lord, please help us to be grateful for Your unseen mercies and provisions. Help us to recognize just how different things could have been in our marriages, our relationships, our families, our careers/businesses, our health, our finances, our everyday lives ...but for Your Love, favour and grace.

As you go forward into your tomorrows sis, let me encourage you that in every situation or circumstance that life may throw at you, flip the switch to immediately see how much more different, how much worse things could have been; and rather than wallow in whatever the challenge is that you are going through, lift your hands in praise an open your mouth in worship. Give full expression of your gratitude to the Lord for how much worse He has not allowed things to be. When He sends you a blessing or a breakthrough, thank Him for it first, and then thank Him even more for what could otherwise have been that He has not permitted to be. I have found that in this space, it’s really difficult not to be grateful for just about everything in your life really. Methinks that fits into His injunction that in all things we should give thanks ....for this is His will concerning us. Don’t you agree?

I pray the Lord will open your eyes and ears of understanding to receive this revelation and give you a new perspective on gratitude. As you yield your spirit to stay in a place of constant gratitude and worship, the Lord Himself will pour out even more of His abundance over you sis. I know He will!

Be blessed sis ......for you surely are!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Insights from ROTH 2012

It has been a joy and a privilege over the past three weeks to have my soul sisters, mentors and friends Coach Anna McCoy and Linda Wallace present with us here in Nigeria. Deeper bonds of love, deeper spiritual bonding and experiences with not just ourselves, but our entire families.... simply awesome! I love that these women both give of themselves so freely in furtherance of the gospel. These are women who clearly love the love and are deeply committed to bringing as many women (and men) with them on this journey. They continue to exemplify the love of God and to teach us the real meaning of worship; of being in the presence of the Lord; of being fully yielded to Him life as a Zero – decreasing so that the greater One within, the ‘I am’, can increase in us. I simply love and appreciate you both Coach Anna and Ms. Linda. Indeed, Nigeria has been blessed simply by you being true to the assignment the Lord has placed upon your lives.

Over the course of the past ten days, the Return of The Helper (ROTH) conference [convened by my sister Bidemi Mark-Mordi  in response to a clear mandate from God] held its 5th edition in two different States of the country. This is one part of the reason Coach Anna and Mama Linda have been over here. ‘Mind blowing’ is what comes readily to spirit as I reflect on these events. Fresh Word, fresh oil and fresh waters flowed freely as the Holy Spirit unfolded more and more of Himself through the Bidemi, Anna and Linda as they spoke to us in the course of those two days.

A couple of things ministered very deeply to me and these are the things I am moved to share with you today. Clearly because of time and space, I cannot develop each of these to the fullest but I trust the Spirit and He will surely minister to you as you choose to meditate on a part or all of what is to follow.

In order to be a more excellent you, you must commit to certain levels of accountability in your life. Simply put, you can only become the best you that God designed you to be by holding yourself accountable to be excellent in every area of your life. No one can force personal accountability on you. It is a very personal decision and commitment and it is only in this space that you develop the fullness of character that has you living a life that truly always pleases God.

Going deeper in your relationship with God will need you to ask Him what you need to adjust in your life to have more of Him.  As I see it though, the bigger question would be if God turned to you and I and asked “What would you be willing to adjust for me, my daughter?” I am seriously pondering what my answer(s) will be at this time sis, and I ask that you do too for surely He will ask that question of you and I time and again as we grow from one level to the next in our relationship with Him.

We need to host the presence of the Holy Spirit”. Amazing how Mama Linda brought clarity to the fact that while our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we need to ‘host’ Him. In the physical, what does a host do to make their home welcoming to their guests? In the physical, how much effort do we make to keep our homes clean, tidy, warm and inviting so that it is always welcoming and comforting to those who live within it? How much time and effort are we giving towards being a good host to the Holy Spirit so that He never wants to leave, but rather His presence goes with us wherever we go? Hmmm!

“God is interested in our faithfulness. He wants to know if we will stay the course.” Beyond our salvation, God is interested in our faithfulness. Wow! Questions to self and to you sis, ‘In your day-to-day living, are you staying the course and standing in faithfulness, trusting God always and completely – regardless of what comes your way or how circumstances appear? Are you walking in the constant assurance and confidence that He is with you and He is in control? Is this evident in your decisions and choices; your fears and anxieties? Hmmm!

Your greatest enemy is comparing yourself with something that does not align with God’s image and identity of you.” You will never walk in the fullness of who you are designed to be if you are too preoccupied with how other people perceive you. Don’t worry about how you look in the eyes of others; your entire focus should be on how you measure up in God’s eyes, and the starting point is to have a strong mental picture of how He sees you – fearfully and wonderfully made; above only and not beneath; full of potential; created in His image and likeness; endued with power to do exploits; an overcomer; an achiever; a blessing unto generations; a king and a priest; etc. See yourself in nothing less than this frame and yours will be a life of peace and fullness of joy.

You are intentionally crafted by God Himself for a purpose.” Visualize God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit having had a long and involved planning session where they designed you to fill a specific purpose on the earth, and then equipped you fully with every potential and resource you would need to fulfil that purpose. You are not a mistake – irrespective of your birth circumstances. You are God’s original design and intent. Everything you need to live a successful life is within you. You were (and are)  intentionally designed for success.  Imagine that! Awesome!

Don’t worry if you are yet to find your purpose. Just go deeper in Christ; just listen out more intently for the Holy Spirit; just Zero-out and allow Him to lead you always. Since He created you for His purpose, He will order your steps and will surely not lead you on any path apart from the path of your purpose.

Lionesses arise! There is a clarion call from God for His daughters to come out from among the daughters of the land. The only thing the land has to offer you is the compromise of destinies. We need to go back to God. He will add every other thing to us. We must go back to chasing God and not the things of the world! As women, we are contending for generations and whether things will remain stagnant or they will move forward is in our hands.

"Trust yourself to deliver on God’s mandate for your life. You can do it! Enough of the complacency!" You, yes you can make a big difference just as you are and with the ‘little’ you think you have. It is God Who will make the way and the provision. You don’t need to know the process. All you need to know is that God has committed destinies into your hands and He has equipped you with all you need to deliver on this mandate if you accept the call.

Destinies of others are hinged on your commitment to be a success; your commitment to die empty of every gift and talent the Lord has chosen to bless the world with through you. Move immediately God speaks to you. Stop calling committees to discuss the mandate God has given to you. Otherwise while your committee is discussing, your assignment might pass you by.

Don’t just seek success when God has ‘good success’ in store for you. Why choose to be average when God has designed you intentionally to be great? The greatest success you can have – good success, is in the presence of God and in your obedience to do what He asks you to do while you are in His presence.

The pursuit of God must be a habit and a pleasure in my life and in yours sis. The pursuit of God must be a discipline in our lives. Put a high value and a high priority on the presence of God. Your cry should be ‘Lord, I don’t want to do anything out of Your presence and Your glory’.

We are standard-bearers for holiness. We must adjust whatever needs to be adjusted. We must shift whatever needs to be shifted in order to meet the call from God to ‘Be holy as I am Holy’. As women, holiness is not an option because we are the covering for mankind. We carry the womb. "We have to close the gap so that the enemy does not have access to the next generation."

Serious food for thought right? I so wish I could have shared the entire sets of messages with you sis, but if you think quietly through what I have been able to share, I know God will speak to you. Indeed what ministers to me is that something in here will be a confirmation of something that He has been speaking to you for a while now. My prayer is that the Lord Himself will bring clarity to you sis. May He give open the eyes of your Spirit to see; open your understanding to help you discern; and give you a heart to be fully obedient to His will.

Be blessed sis..... for surely you are!

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



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


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.


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.