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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

At ease in Egypt?


I love life. I absolutely do. In all its up’s and downs, life remains what it best is... a teacher. Life throws you a myriad of experiences, sometimes complex, sometimes painful, and sometimes so simple that you almost, or entirely miss it. Like any teacher though, life leaves it to you to do the learning. It’s an individual choice to pass through, or to go through. Passing through leaves you constantly befuddled; a silent ‘Huh?’ always at the back of your mind. Going through, as I see it, leaves you in a constant frame of ‘Oh wow! so that’s what this was trying to teach me.’ Bottom-line, going through life is about adopting a positive attitude, a mental acceptance and an innate knowing in your spirit that you have a God who is constantly watching over you and Who has promised that all things will work together for your good. My personal mantra is that ‘His goodness and mercy shall follow me and mine all the days of our lives’. I believe this to my core and so this has continued to hold true for me. Don’t I have issues, challenges, problems? Sure sis! By whatever name they are called, I have got my fair share. But I have chosen to be intentional about retaining my place of peace and my conviction that my life is working out for good. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he, right? I choose to think in my heart (believe with every fibre of my being) that I am blessed, I am prosperous, I am healthy, I am wealthy, I am wise, I am a blessing, I am a joy to generations, etc, etc, etc! I choose to believe it.....therefore I am walking and will continually walk in it IJMN.

Am I wrong to make such bold statements? Nope! The One who said He created me fearfully and wonderfully taught me how to make boast....not in myself, but in Him:  my Father – the one who created the heavens and the earth; the One Whose very essence causes the hills to tremble; the One for Whom nothing is impossible; the One Who says He called me to show forth His glory. Yes o! Today, I borrow a phrase from my sista and friend DNW (Desperate Naija Woman aka Bola Essien-Nelson) and’ I brag on God’ because in my life, He has continued to show that He is worthy to make boast about.
Methinks if you haven’t bragged enough on God recently, today is as good a day as any to take stock and just cause the goodness of God in your life to be noised about. He is just awesome isn’t He?

I was thinking about a hilarious conversation between my ladies and me in SA recently. One of us was complaining about the hair-piece she had on and asking if I would help her flat-iron it. Coach Anna laughed and said how back in America, Afro-American sisters were busy trying to keep their natural as a sign of ‘going-back-to-their-roots’. She said how she had also gone natural at some point, which was quite a struggle for her. On her last trip to Nigeria however, she noticed that practically every woman had on weaves, perms, braids, or at best very low cuts. She had said to her ladies back in America that they were climbing up the wrong ladder:  ‘Aint no Nigerian sisters walking around with no afro’s’ . She said something to the effect of ‘I’m outta here. Yes! I’m going back to Egypt’. Then she really got into the swing of it: ‘In Egypt, we had relaxer. In Egypt, we could comb our hair easily. In Egypt....’ .  We were tripping, I assure you. Absolutely rib-cracking! But that’s our Coach. She’s just crazy like that and we love her to bits.

As I recalled this episode however, I thought.... in my own life, what is the ‘Egypt’ that I keep going back to? I can already hear my WAN (Woman Act Now, Nigeria) girls Nneka Nwobi, Enife Atobiloye, Inyang Sami-Orungbe, Bidemi Mark-Mordi and Ini Onuk screaming ‘Cheesecake’ and sistas, you are so right, Ha! What are my Egypt’s? How easy it would be to focus on the physical Egypt’s in my life – the cheesecake; the chocolate; the cookies-n-cream icecream; the hot peppered jollof-rice with stewed beef, slurrrppp!!!  Errr.... where was I ?

Ah! Oh yes! I remember.....  

What I think is the more difficult part, is agreeing with yourself what your intangible ‘Egypt’ is/are. Is it that place of pride which you constantly struggle to keep under some public cloak of feigned humility? Or is it an unbridled open pride that even you have come to be at ease with? Is it that place of faithlessness that you and you alone know that you constantly stay in, even while openly making the right sounds and speaking the right kinds of  ‘christianese’ to convince those around you that you are strong in faith? Is it that inner space where the green-eyed monster constantly rears his head; where envy and covetousness abide; where you constantly find yourself benchmarking God’s blessings or gifting on someone else against yours?

Is your Egypt a root of bitterness that has gone deep and continues to spread? Outwardly, you say you are over it, but in your private space you allow it to dwell and you wallow in it? Is your Egypt a relationship that you know is not good for you but in your lonely moments, you quietly slink back into? Is your Egypt an unspoken, yet constant feeling of inferiority; a refusal to accept God’s Word that you are special in his eyes and that He has a great plan for your life? I could go on but I think you get my drift.  Is your Egypt a lustful spirit; a quiet battle against pornography or other fleshly excesses that are at variance with your outward mien of holiness?

It’s true yes that God sometimes puts us in an Egypt situation so that His purposes can play out in our lives. Again, it’s in our hands to decide to ‘go through’ our Egypt and know that there is a learning; a preparation for something greater ahead. We are not designed to dwell in Egypt, but to take from it what we need to fulfil purpose. Once God asks us to move, we need to question why we sometimes do not budge at all; or why, when we do, we keep going back?

I’m asking myself as I pray you do too: ‘Am I at ease in (my) Egypt?’  That’s the funniest part isn’t it? The answer is always and unequivocally ‘No!’ so why do we more often than not stay in our Egypt? Methinks being at ease in Egypt is mostly about fear. Egypt is not comfortable; it is sometimes downright painful but....  it’s what we know and even a familiar pain can become our ‘normal’ if we allow it. It strikes me that staying in Egypt is a choice......  a choice not to walk in absolute faith; a choice not to be fully submissive to the Spirit of God and to trust Him to deliver us completely and take us to our place of flourishing.

I hope I don’t sound too preachy today. I actually realize as I have written this straight from the heart, that it is the Lord Himself who is calling me to action, as He calls you also. So, I’m going to making a nice hot cup of tea; I will go sit in my new thinking corner, and reflect on any deliberate journeys I may have made or may be in the process of making back to Egypt. I trust God for one thing....He will help me. That is His Word and it is forever settled in heaven. Besides, He did say ‘These Egyptians you see, you shall see no more’. I’m holding on to that – His promise to throw both the horse and the rider into the sea... for my sake. Someday soon, I will share what I found to represent Egypt for me. But don’t stay in the place of expectancy....waiting to hear all my crazy issues, lol. You go do some Holy Ghost-inspired laundry yourself sista. The Lord will also help you.

See you on the other side of your red sea.

TTYL

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sister power !


As we approached the gates of the guest house that was to be our home for the next week, I again wondered to myself what to expect from my time in South Africa. God was silent, but I somehow sensed that He had a smile on His lips. How right I turned out to be. From His favour on the in-bound flight, to the incredible outpouring of His Spirit while we were there, and even up till I entered the embrace of my children back home in Lagos; God smiled on me continually. Wow!

My sista and fellow traveller Bidemi Mark-Mordi and I, first exclaimed at the sight of the huge grey dog that bounded out towards the car (His name is Jack and he turned out to be pretty harmless, belying his size). And then an angel appeared... She wore a white robe and the warmest smile ever. Immediately she enveloped us in a hug that was pure love. I tell you girl, deep sure called unto deep. Thank you Linda Wallace!  I thank you for opening your heart to us ever before we got there. The warmth of that first embrace mirrored the pure love that is in your heart and the genuineness of who you are. I love you sisi.

Coach Anna McCoy         Linda Wallace
        (Woman Act Now)   (A Company of Women)

When Coach Anna McCoy joined us a little later, more love wrapped itself around us. Coach Anna continues to astound me with her ability to continually give of herself in love. Every time I am in her presence it is clear that she is ‘mindful’ of me, that she ‘sees’ me and her every thought is how she can add value to me. I love you Anna McCoy.
So, here we were with two awesome, amazing, highly successful, beautiful women, whose focus is not their wealth, beauty, success, reputation.... No! They are just two women who have an awesome, authentic heart for God, a burning passion to walk out their purpose, and to bring as many others as they can to understand and experience the love walk that God has called us to.

Indeed, I salute you Anna McCoy and Linda Wallace. I love you and I am blessed and highly favoured to be your sister and friend. Over the past few days, we bonded at all levels. We laughed, we cried, we prayed, we went on an ‘adventure’ (errrr....we got very lost actually, lol), we learnt from and just loved on each other. Awesome!

Am I boring you? Sorry sis. I know however that my new found soul sisters in SA will understand what I am talking about. I encourage you to google Coach Anna McCoy (Woman Act Now) and Linda Wallace (A Company of Women). You need to have these kinds of women in your life. These women are my friends; my mentors, they are my spiritual guides; they are my teachers..... they are my SISTERS! And this is really what I would like us to think about today.
Anna McCoy,Me Apostle Sithole, Linda Wallace, Bidemi

While in SA, I had the privilege to meet and love on some awesome beautiful women of God. There was Lona Twala, Rose Mathebula, Mama Sibonghile Sithole, Bokang Moatlhhodi, Nelissa Petse, Bongiwe Mnyande, Tutu, Jane, Johanna, Kosi and so many wonderful ladies that made such a phenomenal impact on me. (Okay lets be fair. I also met some great men of God: Apostle I. Sithole, Mubita Nawa, Pastor Lucky and our very own handyman ‘Sam-the-man’).

We had lots of women from my generation, some older women and a crop of young ladies from the next generation. We truly represented the nations (USA, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia) and the generations. One thing that stood out though, was the spirit of oneness that shined through. We were all and each of us...’Woman’  period!


We were all sisters with the same kinds of dreams and aspirations. We each shared the same kinds of challenges. We each just needed someone to truly see us and to love us the way we are. We each needed someone to see our dreams, believe in us and speak words of affirmation over us. We each needed someone who would not judge us based on our hair/nails/clothes/accessories/social status, etc. We each needed someone who we could honestly share our fears with, and hear them say ‘it’s okay’. We each needed someone we could cry with from the heart, releasing our hurts openly and sharing words and prayers for healing to take place. We each needed someone to not just hear us, but to actually listen to us (as Coach Anna would say... someone who would be ‘fully present’). We needed someone to encourage us and speak life/favour and grace over us. We needed someone to assure us that no matter how far we still need to grow in God, we are on the right track. 

Women Acting in their NOW!
Yup! We each needed to feel the love of a sister, one of our own kind, a deep that could readily relate to our deep. The chords of love and unity that flowed from these encounters clearly made its mark on each of us and will not readily be broken. We stood as women, as sisters and in one accord we pulled down the power of God. I am excited and expectant for the manifestations that will soon follow from the powerful prophetic words and prayers that came forth over the lives of each of us.

My take from all this experience? When I count my blessings going forward, I must acknowledge that God, in His infinite love for me, has placed special women in my life that will hold my hand in this walk to fulfil my purpose. I am reminded that there is nothing like a chance encounter, but that God truly is always ahead of me. I am convinced that my angels are on assignment, ordering the steps of the great women that will midwife my destiny, to put them in my path.

I am reminded that I also need to stand in the gap for my fellow women; that everything God has blessed me with is to be used to build up those He brings into my life. I am reminded that love does make the world go round and my love walk with my sisters will bring glory to God. I am reminded that as a woman, I am a nation-builder, an example and an influence unto generations. I am reminded that I’m all woman, and that everything I need to make a difference in the life of the next person, is already in me.

Think about whom YOU are, my sister and my friend. Look out for those who are in your space to build you up; but also look out for those who you are positioned, and well able to build up. Bring these two chords together with a third – the power of the Holy Spirit, and just see what God is able to use you to do. Remember that with God, YOU shall do valiantly. You are called to live a life of purpose, and you will fulfil your purpose... for your life, and in the life of your fellow woman. You have the power sis. You surely do!

Be blessed.... because you are.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Purposeful living

‘Will the earth shake when you die?’ Hmm! What a strange question!

I had fallen asleep on board my flight to South Africa two days ago, and awoke to this thought. Why it came so strongly to me at that time, I couldn’t figure. Was our aircraft destined to crash? Heaven forbid! The cabin lights had been dimmed, the aircraft silent as the passengers slept. I stretched and stared out the window in quiet introspection. Would the earth shake when I died? Okay Lord, I thought; explain this one quickly please. Then it came to me. The question was not one of ‘if’ I died (death being inevitable); it was one of ‘when’ I die, which means I have time left to work through what the answer to this question would be.

Secondly, I realised that ‘the earth’ did not necessarily represent the entire world;  rather ‘the earth’ represented the playing field that God gives each of us to achieve His purpose for our lives and time here on the earth realm. Generally speaking, our ‘earth’   includes our families; businesses; friends/loved ones. No doubt, as a wife/mother/sister/daughter, my family would be shaken by my absence. No doubt, business/work would need some adjustment time before the gap is filled effectively (if ever); no doubt I would be sorely missed by friends and loved ones. So from that standpoint, I thought how easy it would be for anyone to say ‘Yes’ to the question in relation to these elements of their earth.

Beyond this however, I realised that you and I would be doing ourselves a great disservice by limiting the definition of our ‘earth’ to this scope. My sister, my earth and your earth is inclusive of the territory that the Lord has ordained that we will move into over the course of our lives, and we have to be very focused so that we don’t miss this. Some elements we can see are beginning to take shape, others we only know that He, who holds our tomorrows in the palm of His hands, is working out behind the scenes. I realised that our earth also includes those we come/will come in contact with over the course of our lives, and over whom we have potential (deliberately or inadvertently) to influence and/or impact – physically, financially, socially, psychologically, morally and spiritually.

I took some time in the quiet of the moment, to reflect on my existing relationships. I thought through my relationship with my husband – as his wife and helpmeet am I really being the best that I can be? With my children and likewise in my other relationships, am I nurturing them more in my strength or am I truly walking under the leading of the Holy Spirit? This was the easier part.

The more difficult part of my reflections was perhaps what I am also calling you to do today. I’m calling you to spend some time in quiet introspection and see what answers you come up with for yourself. The question God posed was ‘Will the earth...your earth shake when you die?’ and my first question to you then (and to myself, I promise you) is ‘How have you defined your earth?’.  Have you looked beyond your family, friends, colleagues and relatives to see a bigger sphere of impact that the Lord is calling you to?  Remember that the Bible tells us that showing love to our friends and family is nothing to make boast about for even the Pharisees do that; no, the real challenge is going beyond these borders and purposefully seeking to bless the ‘strangers’ out there.

And I guess this is where my other questions to you (and to self) follow. Having defined your earth fully, can you also define (and write down please) definite steps you will take to make sure you can show love to the whole of your earth? Can you look the resources God has gifted you with and see how you can use these to impact and bless your greater earth? Do you have the gift of encouragement, of wise counsel? Can you work out ways to use this for the benefit of your earth? Can you write? Are you blessed in your finances? Do you have great people skills? What is it about you that you can use effectively as a way of touching lives beyond your immediate sphere?

This is a new year; a year of new things. I believe that even as God has given this vision of newness, He is also calling me... He is also calling you, to live purposefully this year. I believe the question He posed was simply to get you and I to think through how we live our lives from today onwards. He has given us life, health, various resources; He has made power available to us. He has given us these so that we can fulfil what He says is His greatest commandment – that call to love. Our role is to purposefully reach out in love so that at the end, when He calls us to be with Him, the earth ...our earth, will indeed be shaking. And you know what that shaking will be? 

Common girl! It will be the earth resonating with the applause from the angels on high, as the Lord enfolds you in His arms and says in pride ‘Welcome home my daughter. You did good! I’m so proud of you!’

Be blessed  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A new thing

As I start to write this it’s 1.25am on January 1st 2012 so ‘Happy New Year’ to you all. I am grateful to God that we have all made it into this awesome year. I am so excited because I know that there is glory available to each of us. This is indeed an ‘Arise & Shine’ year for you and I in Jesus mighty name, amen. I am also grateful to you for faithfully following my blog. I know the traditional blog is short and nothing compared with my usual ‘epistles’ but you take the time to read to the end, and from feedback I get, I know that you are being ministered to. Please forgive me in advance in 2012 as I continue to flow in my writings as the Spirit leads. I just don’t readily conform to the traditional. My promise to you however, is never to write a new post simply for the sake of  writing, but to yield to the leanings of the Spirit so that we can both see God in our everyday lives. It’s almost 4pm now. New Year’s Day is almost over already. We slept half the morning away, having had an amazing night of praise, worship and prayers and then spending time with other families in the park, well into the wee hours of this morning. My estate was agog all night with people young and old (yours truly included) spilling into the streets in celebration of the New Year. The sky above was a kaleidoscope of brilliant colours, as fireworks went off every second. It’s an awesome display no doubt, a very deliberate and apt reminder of the fact that we have entered into newness. I am soooo excited about this expression ‘A new thing’. Remember God spoke to my sister and ministered that He was going to do new things in 2012; then He spoke to me saying He would ask big things of us in 2012. Remember? Well here’s the source of my excitement. I just read the 2012 prophesies from Pastor E.O. Adeboye (General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God); then a friend sends me the prophetic Words from the pulpit of the House on the Rock Church; then yet another friend sends me the prophetic Word from Christ Embassy. Tell you what; the personalities aside, they basically spoke the same message albeit with different words. Scripture tells us that God confirms His Word and I have received confirmation from several quarters already. Thanks You Lord! I am excited because from different sources, God has confirmed that He will do a new thing. I am so excited because the Bible tells us that He watches over His Word to perform it. I am excited because He knows the end from the beginning; because He calls things that be not as though they were. I am excited because this means He has already done the new thing and all that remains is for us to walk into the manifestation. So this day, what I want to share with you is the hope and confidence that God is working out your future and mine and our future is going to be great. This is a year of manifestations of glory, I am convinced of this and the Lord will perfect all that concerns you and I in Jesus mighty name, amen. Can we share a quick prayer? For the Lord says that where two or more agree He is in their midst; He will hear and He will answer. So Father this 1st day of January 2012 we just bless You Lord. We declare Your majesty O Lord. We declare that You alone are worthy to be praised and glorified. Father our hearts are filled with thanksgiving. We are grateful to be counted among the living for Lord only the living can praise You Lord. Father we are excited because You have spoken newness into our lives in 2012. We trust o God for Your express purpose concerning our lives to be made manifest in Jesus mighty name. Lord we submit our hearts, our minds, our will, our emotions, our time, our finances, our businesses, the works of our hands; we submit our everything to be used of you o Lord. Father, we ask that You use us mightily for Your glory IJMN. Help us to remain steadfast and focused on You Lord. Help us to achieve Kingdom purpose o God. Help us not to walk in our own strength o God, for surely you do not delight in the legs of men. Help us to yield totally to You, to allow You direct our paths IJMN. Father, we lay our every plan for 2012; our every desire and aspiration; Lord we lay them before You and ask that You bless our intentions o God. Father, whatever it is that will lead us out of the path that You have purposed for us in 2012, Lord take away from us IJMN. Whatever we need to see or do that will keep us in Your purpose, Lord give us eyes to see and ears to hear in Jesus name. We speak divine health into our bodies and into our spirits IJMN. We come against premature death and we decree life over us and ours IJMN. Our families shall prosper, all those who are connected to us shall prosper in body and spirit IJMN. Lord, we thank You in advance of the manifestations of that which You have already done. We stand in faith and in trust; that even where it does not seem clear what You are doing, we will believe completely that You are working all things out for our good. We bless and exalt You o Lord for You are worthy to be glorified and adore. We thank You for loving us with an everlasting love. We thank You for Your mercies and compassion that are new every morning. We thank You for the new things o God. We are expectant and our expectations shall not be cut short IJM, Amen. Have an awesome year sisters. Lift up your heads, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon YOU!  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.