Friday, June 22, 2012
It continues to amaze me how with God, everything is connected and He always brings things full circle in His own time. It’s interesting how He sometimes speaks a word to you and then asks you to just hold on to it quietly for a while; no explanations given. In February of this year, among other things, the Lord spoke the words ‘Concentric Circles’ to me. I recall thinking clearly, ‘What does this mean Lord?’ and His response was ‘I will make all things clear in My own time’. Several times over the past few months, these words have reverberated in my spirit in my quiet moments. I think you know by now that I didn’t just hold on to the words and leave it at that, don’t you? So let me be the first to admit that I spent quite a bit of time trying to reason this expression out on my own. Could it mean this? Or could it mean that? At the end of the day however, I came to the place where I again had to remind myself that trying to force revelation is an exercise in futility. At that point I was reminded that our mandate is to concentrate on the revealed will of God, and to trust that His concealed will would be made manifest at the right time, His time. At this point also, His peace once again flowed over me like a river.......
All of yesterday, my sistas and I took time out to retreat and commune with the Lord. I simply love these ladies. Each of them brings power to the table and I never leave them feeling I have diminished in any way. Nope, they power me up; they surely do! As always, our time together in the presence of the Lord was nothing short of a ‘time of refreshing’. As we loved on each other, laughed, cried, fellowshipped and worshipped God together; we each found ourselves truly ‘clothed with the Holy Spirit’ and girl, did the Holy Spirit move powerfully amongst us yesterday or what? Yes, ma’am! God was surely in the midst of us – speaking new things to us, reminding us of certain things and convicting us (ouch!!!) of yet others. Simply powerful, I tell you sis!
As we began to reflect on the things the Lord had laid on our hearts, I had shared with my sistas that the words ‘Concentric Circles’ had come to me in February this year and several times over since then. I said to my sistas that I truly didn’t know yet what these words meant, but that since He had reminded me again during the time of our praise and worship yesterady, I felt I should share. We sort of moved on to other things but what happened later on made clear that God had been speaking this to me all this while to bring each of us to that place of deep revelation as we found ourselves in yesterday. You know what? Just learn to trust God. He has said that not one iota of His word will come back to Him without achieving the purpose for which He sent it. So when He does speak, we will – if not immediately, eventually receive clarity on the purpose His word.
So there we were, discussing the relationship between a word God had spoken to one of us two years ago, and the manifestation of that word in the life of yet another one of us. As this sista shared with us that she was believing God for clarity regarding the purpose of a particular set of relationships He was drawing her into, it suddenly hit me.... ‘Concentric Circle’! I received a very clear revelation which near blew me away as I shared it with my sisters as immediately and in the words the Spirit laid in my heart.
In summary, God showed me the picture of the circle He had formed between the six of us – seven really, counting our sista, Coach and Mentor Anna McCoy (not to mention the linkages this relationship with hundreds of women all over the world that has come out of knowing Coach Anna). We continue to be amazed by the love and power that we share. Seven incredibly strong, diverse yet like-minded, successful entrepreneurial women; each hungry for God; each focused on being a sister-mother-daughter-friend to the next and to all; each constantly giving and helping to build up the next; no bitterness; no rancour. Indeed, it’s simply amazing! And why not? God brought us together didn’t He? The story of our coming together is itself amazing; a God-connection that I will one day share with you on this platform.
As God showed me the formidable circle that we represent, the Spirit ministered that out of each of us, other circles of relationships in our areas of endeavour or strength would be built up. Yes, from each of us, several other strong circles of relationships would arise. The beauty however is that we would, in ourselves, remain a circle of strength; we would not diminish. As we remain plugged into the source of our power (at Woman Act Now we recognize and acknowledge God unequivocally as the source of all our power), then no matter how much we give of ourselves to power up these other circles, we will never diminish. How can we lose power as long as we remain plugged into He Who is the most powerful? The message was that we shouldn’t be worried about the other relationships building up around us. They are designed by God to fulfil His purpose. God is using us to impact the women of the world and we can only do this if we yield ourselves as a channel for new links to form. What we need to do is stay connected to His voice and leading, so we are sure to build only those relationships and circles that He sends our way.
The Lord pointed out that within concentric circles there are no chinks, no breaks. Each circle remains complete. There are no weak points. Each circle is strong in itself, yet the strength of each circle is fortified in its being a part of the concentric. What this spoke to us is that we are called to stand together yes, yet we are called to reach out. In reaching out we make more impact; and as we impact the world for the Kingdom of God, we are ourselves strengthened and enlarged. As I write this, I am visualizing each circle as having a fluorescent glow. We are the light of the world right? Now visualize with me a ball of concentric fluorescent circles. In my mind’s eye, that’s a truly brilliant light. Such power! Such glory! Truly amazing to know you and I can be part of that!
This is God’s call to you and I today sis. Think about it! If your circle has remained closed over the years, perhaps you need to rethink what God’s mandate for you is. Look at the relationships He has tried to bud through you. Have you been holding back in fear? Have you been holding back because you think you have nothing to give? Maybe you have been hurt one time too many and so you are shying away from new relationships? Why not take some time today and pray, asking the Lord to give you new eyes to see the mandate He has for the women of the world today, and how He can use you to further this mandate. Allow Him to mould you into that formidable inner circle from which Kingdom power can begin to flow to your sisters – known and unknown. The beauty of forming Spirit-led concentric circles of women is that you are inadvertently affecting generations. I pray that you will be fully yielded to the Spirit even as He again begins this work in you.
Be blessed sis..... for you surely are!
Thursday, June 14, 2012
I started writing this post about two months ago but never quite completed it because the Lord moved me to write on something else. Today however, it has been made clear to me that this is the time and season for this message.... for me, and I hope for you. I truly pray that it ministers to you as it does to me. Here goes.......
Yesterday I had a lazy morning. Yes, one of those mornings when for the life of me, I would truly rather have stayed under my very warm blanket than go to work. Alas however, work called unto the worker in me so I really did have to go. But, that yesterday morning, I was going to milk every extra second at home that I could. Yup! There must be some perks to being the one who has to worry about the wages and salaries of my many staff (let’s not think about their wives, children, aged parents and relations that are also counting on this payroll of mine. No, please let’s not mention them ....oh, the pressure, the pressure!!!)
Anyhow, where was I? Yeah, so there I was chilling over my morning coffee, savouring the sense of peace and comfort I get from cradling a warm (okay, I admit... it’s more like closer-to-boiling- point) cuppa in the palm my hands. Pastor Taffi Dollar came on live on TBN and I turned up the volume a notch. She had been on air three days in a row now, dealing with some very ‘real’ issues – you know the kind that makes you think someone leaked your innermost secrets to her? Well, yesterday she was sure speaking to me and work was obviously going to have to wait another 30mins, lol. Halfway through her message, Pastor Taffi began speaking about the original sin and how despite the abundance of trees in the garden, satan was able to convince Eve to eat of the ‘one’ tree, on the strength of argument that she would then become as wise as God. This singular act begged the question of why was Eve not content enough in the knowledge that God is all-knowing, all-seeing; that God is wisdom Himself? Why was Eve not content with the knowledge that God had nothing but good plans for her life; that He had actually provided her every need - past, present and future? What was that ‘extra’, that ‘other’ thing that she so needed to know that caused the fruit of the ‘one’ tree to draw her in such a compelling manner? Pastor Taffi then reminded us of a passage in the book of Proverbs where God tells us clearly not to be wise in our own eyes. Her message gave me serious food for thought, I tell you sis!
I find that it always helps my understanding to put Scripture in the context of my own realities of the day and girl, was it easy to begin to find many a fault with Ms. Eve or what? Mmm hmm! It certainly was. God was at work though and it became clear that I certainly didn’t find myself listening to this message by coincidence. Nope, it was certainly a God-incidence and it didn’t take too long before I had a check in my spirit that beyond castigating Ms. Eve and trying to figure what her issues might have been; why she wasn’t satisfied with the apparent abundance of blessings she had been given; etc, I should turn the spotlight right smack on myself. Ever had one of those moments where the Holy Spirit gives you a not-too-gentle nudge and you do your best to pretend you didn’t notice? Well, yours truly tried to ignore the big guy but failed woefully at my attempt to make my cup of coffee of greater interest than the message I was listening to. God is God and when He wants to say something, you are going to have to ‘hear’ Him sooner or later, whether you want to or not.
So, next thing I know Pastor Taffi brought the message down real-time and said ‘Ask yourself how many times you have tried to sort things out in your own strength and power? How many times have you heard from God and yet you have taken time to talk yourself out of the conviction that God actually spoke to you; especially when His mandate is contrary to your proposed line of action? And how many times have you moved and taken action without even hearing from Him at all, simply because you have certain results you want to see in the now, rather than wait for His time? How many times have you acted and/or reacted in your flesh rather than listen to the voice of reason within you which is the Holy Spirit?' How many times this... How many times that..... You know, I could almost hear her call my name at the beginning of each question. I don’t have to tell you that that cup of coffee went cold and stale in my hands as each question resonated within me. Lost in thought, I did leave late for work... only not for the same set of reasons.
Flash-forward to today....
I was reminded about this incomplete article because as I rode home in my car today, I was listening to a message in the ‘6th Sense’ series, as preached by Pastor Dharius Daniels of Kingdom Church, Pennsylvania (www.kcnj.org). Pastor Dharius, in my view a truly anointed minister of the gospel, started to speak on being wise in our own eyes. In his words, ‘I am determined that I am not going to be wise in my own eyes because I know that God’s Word does not contradict reason. Rather, God’s Word transcends reason! It is not that my own way does not make sense by my own human logic. That’s not the issue. What it is, is that God’s way of thinking is so far beyond the capacity of the human mind that I can’t even begin to comprehend the rationale that God is operating from’. He went further to declare that God is saying to us ‘My ways are higher. I have a vantage point you don’t have. I see 5yrs down the road. You can’t see that. I see eternity. You can’t see beyond the moment. So My promptings make sense based off of what I see. And what I see is beyond your senses. You can’t lean on your sense. You have got to lean on ME! Trust in My wisdom, for you really have none of your own My child’.
No one needed to tell me that this was a Word-in-due-season. All through my ride home, I had to step back and think hard through some of the decisions and choices that I have made of recent. Of a truth, I can clearly see the difference between the results of steps I tried to take in my own strength, and the results in areas where I fully yielded – albeit painfully in some cases, to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I can’t help but wonder why among the best of us, we continue to try to take control when we truly have none. Bottom line? We truly are not smart enough to make decisions regarding a future that we know nothing about. In and of ourselves, we are totally unable to comprehend the depth of God’s plans and purposes for every single situation or circumstance that we face. Only God knows! And He is totally in control and able to work all things out for our good. We just need to stay in that place of His presence, guidance and leadership over our lives and daily actions/decisions.
I wish I could say with certainty that I will always get it right; but that might be stretching my current realities a bit. To say anything more would be unduly pretentious. I may kid you, but I certainly wont be kidding God. I am a work-in-progress; unapologetically so! And He just loves me like that doesn’t He? What I do know with certainty though, is that as long as you and I have an intentional focus on operating at zero; at listening out for the voice of God; a determination to yield to His will; then we will be growing daily until we get to that place where we can truly say that we operate fully in the wisdom of His eyes and not our own. The Lord will help me sis. He will help you. We will make it in Jesus name, Amen.
Be blessed......... for you surely are!
Monday, June 4, 2012
I’ve got a lot of mixed feeling swirling within me today.
On the 4th of June 1994, my husband and I started the first off our businesses with next to nothing... and I mean that literally. Reflecting on how far we have come, the territories we have conquered, the challenges we have surmounted and the prospects that lie ahead; I am eternally grateful to God for His clear work of grace and favour that has been in operation in our lives. No one can explain enough how a medical parasitologist and a microbiologist could end up running different businesses successfully within a rather technical industry.
We started with no experience, no resources, no contacts/connections, nothing - save for some basic intelligence (which we can’t even credit to ourselves) and the hand of God in our lives – even before we ever made a full commitment to Him. Yes, the Lord has been good to us. He has blessed the works of our hands. Primarily though, He has revealed that these blessings have a Kingdom focus, a heavenly mandate. Our prosperity has a purpose. Our enterprise is a platform to promote the work of the Kingdom. Today, I am reminded of this and today, I rededicate my business to the Lord.
Today, we launched a project designed to take us to the next level – a project for which God Himself woke me out of my deep sleep and revealed the name to me in that odd hour of the night. Today as we shared the vision and mandate with our people, I couldn’t help but pray that in every other area of our endeavour, the Lord would speak with the same clarity always. I asked myself why His voice was so clear in this instance. The knowing I have since had in my spirit is that it is because I have yielded my daily walk in the business world fully to Him. I pray for the strength and grace to make this just as true in every other area of my life.
On the 4th of June 1996, exactly 2years later to the day; the Lord blessed us with our first son. He is 16years old today. From birth he was a beautiful and peaceful child. He smiled ever so freely, his every sound almost a song. Looking back on his life so far, I am even more grateful to God for His blessings upon my life. I have always said that God knew I didn’t have the heart to deal with a troublesome child and so He gave me the most peaceful, loving introduction to motherhood ever. Calm; quiet; mature; witty; loving; frugal; artistic; academic; sporty; an organiser; a leader – wonderful traits that in this child that clearly have nothing to do with how great we have been as parents. And the best part? He set the pace for all his siblings to follow. Ah yes! The Lord has surely been good to me in many ways. I am so thankful that I can make boast in my God. God knows, that of myself and in myself, I am nothing! I choose to be zero! I choose Him to be all!
Today, the 4th of June 2012 however, I am also heavy of heart. Yesterday we received devastating news of a plane crash. Deep within me I immediately knew I would know some of the passengers and surely I did. With every new call or email my heart sank further still. Children orphaned; parents devastated; homes in turmoil! What do you say to a widowed mother who lost her two children? What do you say to a husband who loses his wife and new baby boy? How can you comprehend not being able to find their corpses? How do you comprehend the unidentifiable charred remains that are supposed to be your loved ones? How do you reconcile the unpreparedness of the ‘emergency’ response agency? How do you handle this unimaginable horror? My heart grieves intensely for the affected families. I lift them in prayer, trusting the Lord Himself to be their shield.
I remember being incredibly upset yesterday as I tuned from one station to the other, trying to get an update on the crash. The stations were all running their usual programming. There were music shows; talk shows; sitcoms, etc running. Nothing to show the devastation except for an occasional newsflash scrolled at the bottom of the screen. As always when death strikes, I found myself thinking how the earth does not tremble. No, life simply goes on! For those of us affected, time simply stops in that place of immeasurable pain, but for the rest of the world life really and truly just goes on. A painful irony, but an irony nonetheless! We are left to our grief and alas...eventually we must go on also.
We received several calls and texts from people who know how much my husband is in the air and especially on that route. I realise how I could so easily have been widowed. Just last week he had to make a sudden trip to Abuja – one of those ‘I’ll be back tomorrow’ trips. How many of those that died yesterday said those same words to their loved ones? My first thought was to convince him to put it off to this last weekend, but for some reason it ministered to my spirit that I should just let him be. What if I didn’t heed the voice of the Holy Spirit within me? How easily it could have been me, sis! How easily indeed but for the grace of God!
All I see in all this is another reminder from God that there is more to life than this present earthly state. I am reminded yet again that we need to stay heaven-focused sis. Death can come at anytime and to anyone. Regardless of how much time the living might spend debating whether a death was timely or untimely; an attack of the devil or God-ordained; guess what? The dead remain dead! The minute there is a separation, our true selves in spirit form are either drawn into the eternal pit of darkness or into the eternal light of God’s love. I say constantly that while the prospect of hell is extremely daunting, more frightening to me is the prospect of not being in a place where I can experience the fullness of the measure of God’s love for me.
Today, 4th June 2012, I hurt and yet I am joyful. I choose to intentionally turn my pain inwards and rejoice in the salvation of my soul. I choose to recommit to heaven-mindedness, a renewed focus on the things of the Kingdom. I choose to be reminded yet again that I do not know my when, I do not know my how; but I know that one day I will surely be called out of this body. I choose to remind myself that my loved ones will grieve; that there will be many a sigh; but if I keep my sights on Him, in death I will indeed be with my Lord in heaven.... in the fullness of His warm embrace. This is my deepest desire.
My precious sister, today I ask you to recommit with me to living a life that is heaven-minded; to teaching your children and loved ones that we need to focus on living right for God. We will never know when that trumpet will sound... but by the help of the Holy Spirit and in full submission to the Lord, we can be sure our final song will be ‘Oh death, where is thy victory?’’. Keep your focus on heaven sis. In thought, word or deed, allow the Lord to guide you and you will surely make it.
Be blessed...............for you surely are!
WORD FOR THE WEEK
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.
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,
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).