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Friday, March 30, 2012

Your latter shall greatly increase



Yesterday was my birthday. I am sure our dear  Nike Oshinowo (once crowned Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria) will allow me borrow from her fitness DVD title and proclaim that I am truly over –Forty, Fit and Fabulous! God is awesome and today I share with you in an open expression of my gratitude for His faithfulness in my life. Yesterday was simply an incredible day – I dare say it marked my ‘best-est’ birthday ever. My family blessed me with an amazing diamond-studded wristwatch..... and I tell you what? Even though I’m not one who really cares for bling (especially of the expensive sort), I’m sure loving these sparkles on my wrist, lol. My sweetheart also gave me the most beautiful flower bouquet ever (courtesy of Garden Aesthetics. Great job Inyang!). And here’s the best part, he presented them to me on his knees, telling me I was so well worth celebrating and once again how grateful he is to God for bringing me to him. Wow! He had me right there girl! He truly just hit the spot ....right at the centre of my heart, once again. This is the stuff that life is really made of!


Above and beyond all prior birthdays, I received an avalanche of goodwill calls, text/BB messages and emails yesterday from all corners of the globe, with a few more coming in today belatedly. I was blessed to hear from people I hadn’t spoken to in forever - friends in Nigeria, Canada, UK, USA, Sweden, South Africa....   I had an entire unit of my Bank call me and individual members of the team wish me HBD and pray over me. There was just such an overwhelming outpouring of love and appreciation and in return I just want to appreciate everyone who reached out to me, and as many who on reading this will say a silent prayer for me.


Forgive me for going on a bit about yesterday, but I have to tell it to the end. Hubby had asked that I bring the children out so we could have a nice family dinner together. Only for me to arrive and he had arranged a surprise dinner with some family and friends  - the people whom he knew I truly love and treasure so much. I was totally clueless up to that point and needless to say, my eyes filled with tears of joy. I salute this wonderful man of mine, and I salute the precious people who love me enough to have given of their time once again in honour of me  - despite it being a work day; despite the maddening Lagos Friday traffic; despite the distance from their homes/places of work. I love and appreciate each and every one of you. The Lord Himself will always come through for you IJMN, Amen.


I simply couldn’t sleep last night. At the end of it all, there was need for intense reflection and that’s really what I want to share with you today. I thought about the fact that the Lord spoke one thing consistently to me through different people yesterday, a Word about this being the beginning of the best years of my life. From my quiet time, to an early morning radio ministration I listen to everyday; the reference directly or indirectly was to Job 8 v 7:  ‘And though your beginning was small, yet your latter end shall greatly increase’. As I meditated over the words that were spoken into and over my life yesterday, I found myself pondering once again the import of this piece of Scripture. Questions to self for me were ‘What are my measures of increase?’ and ‘What are the things that for me will clearly indicate that the Word of God is being made manifest in my life?’


The measures of increase as the world sees them are clear - the material things we have; the positions we attain; the people in our circle; our social standing, etc. Measures of increase by the world’s standards are those things that Solomon referred to as vanities; they are those nice-to-have/achieves which, not handled properly, can cause us to absolutely lose focus and turn away from the full service of God.


From a Christian point of view however, I am convinced that the only measures of increase that truly count are our salvation first; and then how we are growing in our daily walk with God. Everything else just pales in comparison and, this is an indisputable fact! So on this my birthday, my pondering ultimately led me to a self-assessment on where I am with God. Have I attained the highest level in my relationship with God? Clearly not! I sure am not still drinking spiritual milk, but even I can question myself as to what level of spiritual meat I am eating.


Sis, you will never get to a place in your relationship with God where you have ‘arrived’; there is always room for growth. God promises to move us from one level of glory in Him to the next. His Word is a constant refreshing for our souls. No matter how much of the Word we have read or stored in our hearts, it is new for every situation and there is always fresh revelation. We can never praise enough; worship enough; or study/ fellowship enough to bring us to a place where we are at our peak in our relationship with God.   I see this as the beauty of our walk with God and at the same time, it is also the greatest challenge – a challenge because if we are not careful, we become so focused on how far we yet have to go, that we lose sight of how far we have come in Him. The enemy is also always lurking by, trying to release such a heavy weight of condemnation on you that you eventually slink away from God.


I want to encourage you today to keep your eyes set on the mark, literally! No matter how many times you slip and fall, please get up and begin from where you are. For every new beginning, for every fresh step, He makes a way for you. Don’t let the enemy take a hold of your mind and convince you that you are not good enough, clean enough, or spiritual enough to come before God. Rather stay focused on being in His presence, under the cover of His righteousness and the Lord will receive you for sure. He is mercy and grace personified!  


One thing I know for sure, God sees the heart. He discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart remember? Once you choose to remain in His stead, you make yourself available to grow in Him. In this I assure you sis, as you choose to stay in His presence and to be led of His Spirit, then for the measure of increase that is truly absolute – your walk with Him; each time you look back, you will definitely see that where you are is greater than where you used to be. I celebrate you today my sister. I declare IJMN that each day shall again mark the beginning of the best years of your life.


Because the Word of God shall not return to Him void but shall accomplish the purpose for which it was sent, today I celebrate your journey of growth. I celebrate the sure increase that will be your portion IJMN.


Be blessed sis, because you are blessed!


   

Monday, March 19, 2012

Give of yourself

I had the most interesting experience last week. I had a first time meet with my newest mentee and were it not for my mandate to focus on the revealed will of God, I would have spent the last couple of days trying to figure what the Lord had set up for me out of this relationship. Why? Because, as I listened to this beautiful young lady tell me about herself, it was almost uncanny the similarities of our lives and paths. Our lives just paralleled so much from the ‘how’ of our first courses of study, to the talents and interests that we share in common. That we share a deep love for the living God was for me a real sweetener, the proverbial icing on the cake. I sense that this is one mentoring relationship that will challenge, uplift, and cause both of us to grow. Last night, my sister-in-law had said to me, that one of her biggest fears in life is that when she dies, she will not be remembered for any tangible thing that she has done here on earth. She said it would be such a shame not to leave some sort of legacy in her family or some community around her. We had quite an intense discussion around what constitutes a tangible legacy and I would like to share my thoughts with you. Methinks that surely, we can’t all be an MJ, Steve Jobs or Whitney Houston. We can’t all be the multi-millionaire philanthropists – building schools and orphanages, homeless shelters, etc all around the world. We can’t all be that dynamic serial entrepreneur – building multi-national business and creating jobs for millions of people worldwide. No! We can’t all be all that. But I hold true and very dear to my heart, that we can be the one thing that we truly have in our hearts to be – the very best that we are designed to be. We can be God’s ambassadors of LOVE, making Him real in the lives of those who are around us and for whom we may be the only Christ that they truly see here on earth. I had suggested to my sister-in-law as I do to you also, that the truly worthwhile things for which we should pray to be remembered by, are the intangible things rather than the tangibles. My goal is not to be remembered for what I give you, buy or build for you, sis. No, my goal is that for every second I spend with you, you can walk away feeling that this sister truly cares for me; she is so real with me; she truly tries to ‘see’ me for who I am; she truly values me; she really listens to me; she speaks from the heart to me; she prays and will pray with and for me; she is someone I can count on; I am better for having known her. Why is this so important to me, pray tell? Because all my life, I have had to contend with quite a few things (as you undoubtedly have also) and the things that have helped me through the most are the people who have looked past my ‘issues’ and taken the time to see me, to hear me, to know me, to grow me. A chance encounter here; a few sincere words spoken there! Times spent with me in utter silence, just knowing I needed someone near. A sense that I wouldn’t be judged; but always corrected firmly, and in love! People have come into my life at different times - some a near fleeting encounter; others have been with me through the years. One thing though that holds through regardless, there are people whose legacies will live on through me simply because they have chosen to make themselves available and to love on me. Methinks, this is the greatest legacy of all. As children of God, what is it that we celebrate and that we hold priceless above all things? It is the fact that God the Father so loved us that He gave freely of Himself, even as far as giving up His only begotten Son for our sakes. Our confidence and joy stem from the knowledge that Jesus the Son of God gave in to the will of the Father, and in unfettered love for you and I, went to the cross. It was in giving of Himself so completely that He bore the shame and all the pain, for you and for me. How awesome is that? It is in love that the Holy Spirit gives of Himself continually, choosing to dwell in you and in me, to guide and direct our paths and keep us walking in the purpose of the Father concerning us. The question you and I need to ask of ourselves daily is, ‘Even as God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit gave and continues to give us freely of Himself in love, what are we doing with this love?’ Are we storing it up for ourselves alone? I truly hope not! That would be like ‘storing up of treasure in an earthen vessel’. The ultimate commandment from God is that of love, and the ultimate expression of love is in our heart-felt giving..... of ourselves first of all, and then of any substance (the tangibles). Ask yourself a question today, sis. Who are you truly giving of yourself to? Indeed are you truly giving of yourself, or are you going through the motions to satisfy third-party expectations? Are your motives for giving pure? Are you mentoring someone or some people around you? Have you made yourself available to just love on and be fully committed to helping a sister (or brother) be the best that they can be? This calls for quiet reflection and deep introspection. It is however a rewarding experience and as you allow the Holy Spirit minister to you, He will show you a new love walk that will ensure your memory lingers on, that your life truly makes a difference. Give of yourself sis. Let go of the fears and insecurities, the concerns about being hurt or making yourself vulnerable. You are not called to look unto man for your reward, but unto God Himself Who is a rewarder of those who are diligent in the things He has commanded of them. I believe that when you freely pour out of yourself into the life another, the Lord Himself smiles down on you. Don’t know about you, but I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside just thinking about this..... God is smiling down on me! He will smile on you too... He surely will! Be blessed sis...... because you are!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Simply love !

I just go a BB message from my sister and it read: Momma J says ‘Guess what? I was just reading UNIQUELY WOMAN. Tell your sister (my other daughter) that I simply  love her & her writings’. As I read this over again, I can’t describe the warmth that just filled my heart. Yep! I could feel the love right from the other side of the world. And yes, I can already hear your question: ‘Who is Momma J ? ’ Momma J is my sister’s Mother-in-Law. But wait! That doesn’t begin to describe who this awesome woman of God is. Momma J is so much more, and today I ask that you allow me some space to appreciate this beautiful soul. I had heard so much about her from my sister. I was excited that she had a mother-in-law-to-be that she was able to love on so easily. They even shared the same birthday which I thought was really cool. But Momma J wasn’t my focus earlier on. Nope! My focus was on the young man who had so obviously stolen my sister’s heart. I got to meet him and at first contact, deep called unto deep. I knew then and there that this was a good guy, one with a good soul and a heart that was not afraid to love. Yes o! He sure got my vote. So, I have shared previously the drama that went with my attempts to attend my sister’s wedding, and the testimony that ensued out of allowing the Lord to take absolute control. I made the trip.... and that’s when I got to meet with Momma J. I still remember clearly how she smiled when I walked into the room. It was a smile from the heart. She stood, smiled and hugged me real tight. She embraced me from her heart. Her eyes spoke of the richness of her essence. There was no sizing me up; no holding back to try and figure me out..... No, Momma J just chose to love on me.   We spent very little time together but I was very mindful of her. I mean, here was the woman who was going to ‘Momma’ my baby sis going forward. We had dinner with her family before I left, and I by the end of that evening I had decided that she had adopted a second daughter (Me, that is ...and whether she wanted to or not, lol). So in reading her BB message today, my heart went out warmly again at the thought that this woman whom I had chosen to adopt, had chosen to see me as ‘her other daughter’ too.   Momma J had texted ‘I simply love...’ and I can’t help but think that truly, she simply is love. This is my tribute to you Momma J. Truly, I simply love you right back.   Thinking about Momma J reminded me about the love of God. This is a love that continually amazes and overwhelms me. When we come to God we don’t need to worry about Him sizing us up. We don’t need to worry if He will think we are good enough for His company. We don’t need to worry if we will have clashing personalities. We don’t need to worry if we will find common ground, or be able to make conversation with Him. We don’t need to worry if we are in the same social class. We don’t need to worry if we will make a good enough impression; if we are dressed right, etc.   God loves us exactly as we are and exactly where we are. He for sure does not love any imperfections or sins in our lives, but He loves us individually and unequivocally. He hates the sin but He loves the sinner....and no, that’s not an empty cliché. God is love itself and  ......love simply loves ! Love does not judge; it does not prequalify; it does not condemn; it just opens up and accepts. The beauty of God is that right from the first time you meet with Him, He smiles at you from the depth of His being; He enfolds you in His deep, warm embrace; and He lets you know without a doubt that you are His other daughter , as special to Him as the next. Yes sis, it is so beautiful how from the first, and every single time you come to Him, God simply loves you and He loves on you. I love how God is always there, even when we stray. He is patient; He does not rub our noses in our mistakes; He just holds out His everlasting arms, always waiting in a ready embrace. I love how with God, I can truly be myself. I can’t hide because He knows all things anyway, yet I am comforted by the fact that I don’t even need to try to hide. He sees it as it is, and He sees me as I am. I love how even when I fall, He is always on hand to lift me. He is my biggest cheerleader when I am on the right path. He has no hidden agenda, but truly is concerned with what is best for me. I love how with God I can be weak, because He is my strength. I love how I can cry my heart out to Him, and mascara-streaked face and all He kisses the tears off my face.   As I think through how my interaction with Momma J  and the commandment of love, I find myself wondering if in any of my family relationships (direct or in-law) I am not reflecting the love of God and the Christ that is in me. I can think of a couple where perhaps I haven’t truly simply loved. I was saying to my husband last night that God has been chiding me a lot recently about a few relationships I am not handling as well as I ought. Specifically, God said to me that I would be so busy focusing on what I think are the big sins in my life, that if I was not careful, the smaller things I was not paying attention to would be my undoing. Oh dear! Thankfully, He also made clear the areas He needed me to work on and I have set my feet squarely on those paths of restoration. I see His bringing Momma J and this message to me today, as a reminder to simply love on His every other daughter (or son) whom He has brought into my space.   I encourage you to look at your love walk sis. Look at your relationships, especially with family. Be sure that you are simply loving on everyone as best you can, for these are the other daughters and sons of the most High God. And if we are to truly claim that God is in us, and that He is the hope of our glory...... then His love must shine through us  - in a ready smile, in a warm embrace, and in an authentic simple love. I saw this in Momma J. I pray she saw this in me.... as I pray I will see this in you my sister.   Be blessed.... for you truly 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

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.