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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!

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.