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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Celebrate You!


Yesterday was my birthday. And what an incredible day it was. I had been looking forward to this particular birthday, not so much because it marked any milestone age, but because this was another one of those few extra-ordinary years when my birthday would fall on a Good Friday. I mean, how awesome is that? Yesterday was for me, more than anything else, an incredible reminder that as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died and went to the Cross, He had me on His mind and in His heart. He knew I would be born thousands of years into the future, and He was mindful enough of me that He willingly bore the pain, the abuse, the mockery, the crucifixion…. for my sake! He chose to look past my every future shortcoming, the pain I would cause Him, my future disobedience, my future failings. He looked past all of those and looked up to eternity. He saw the ‘me’ that I could be, and loved me enough to give His life up for the assurance of my eternal salvation.

He chose me to be His own on that Good Friday so many years ago. On that day, He validated me! He declared that I was worth it! Halleluyah! That is the same validation that He gave to you, sis. By paying the price on the Cross of Calvary, He wrapped each of us that would confess Him as our Lord and Saviour in His eternal embrace. This is where we must get our confidence and our identity, and this is my message to you today sis. Celebrate you! The great I AM thinks the world of YOU! Know this! Bask in it! Let this be your full confidence and assurance! Halleluyah!

Yesterday I was bombarded with calls, text messages, emails, and visits, as is expected by majority of us when we mark our birthdays. My heart is filled with thanks, love and deep appreciation to every single person who honored me by reaching out in one form or the other. My staff had kicked the celebrations off the day before, recognizing my birthday fell on a public holiday. As they trooped into my office, sang a very hearty ‘Happy Birthday’ and prayed for me, not even they could have imagined how humbled I was by their outpouring of love. Then there was the incredible chocolate cake they had delivered to my home yesterday. Slurrrrpppp! My sista Enife had taken time to prepare and to send a huge breakfast over to my family and I; her way of ensuring I didn’t spend my birthday sweating it out in the kitchen. So much love, sis! So much love! And how do I say thank you to my dear friends and their hubby’s who joined us for dinner last night? You are each deeply loved and highly appreciated. God sure reminded me that He is love yesterday. He surely did!


As I opened my eyes this morning to the sight of the gorgeous balloon floating at my ceiling (thanks Igie), I quietly reflected on my entire day yesterday and I would love to share something pretty profound that came to my realization.

First is that it struck me once again, but perhaps in a deeper way, that there are millions of people in the world who so inundated with problems, that their birthdays – if they ever had the opportunity to know when their birthdays are, are of no significance to them in the scheme of things and in the struggle for survival. Then there are the millions of people who do know their birthdays but do not have the wherewithal to begin to celebrate them in any measurable way. I was also reminded about the fact that there are countless others who are, to all intents and purposes, so alone in the world that they do not receive as much as a single call, visit, or Happy Birthday greeting from anyone. Yes sis, there are many in the world who do not have a friend, sister, brother, or parents to lean on. That to me is one of the saddest things in the world – to be alone and truly lonely. Thank God that you and I have Jesus, for in Him and with Him we are never alone are we?

What hit me more than anything else however, is the fact that there are many who do have people around them, who do have the resources to make a splash of their birthdays; but who are somewhat disconnected from all the love and goodwill around them on that day ..…because they have truly not learnt to just love themselves - regardless. I realized that the fullness of my joy yesterday, the contentment in my heart this morning, is because I believe in me. I have come to the place of self-acceptance. I have come to the place of realization of my self-worth. And no, I am not being arrogant in any way at all. This is just a truth that struck me deeply this morning. My fullness of joy comes from the realization and acceptance of the fact that I am worthy of being celebrated. Not one of my friends reached out to me because they were forced to. No one forced the fingers that typed the texts and emails. No one forcefully kept awake anyone of those who waiting up till midnight so as to send in their birthday greetings at the turn of the day. No one forced the visits by those who drove down simply to see me for a few minutes and then continue with their busy days.

No sis! For as many as poured of their love, time and resources into making my day great yesterday, they each did so willingly and freely …because they believe that I – as imperfect and as fallible as I am, am worth it. And the only reason I am able to receive all this - fully confident that it is all from the heart, is because I believe I am worth it; and because I choose to celebrate myself. If you haven’t read my post ‘I kinda like me’, please go look it up in my blog archives. It’s a lesson in loving and appreciating yourself – warts, weight and all.

Hmmm! I can almost hear the wheels turning in your head – asking if this is this pride or arrogance. But here is the thing sis… I celebrate myself not because I am ‘all that’, but because God clearly believes that I am worth celebrating and yesterday He reaffirmed this. I spent too many years being unsure; insecure; always wondering; constantly seeking the underlying motives to everything. I spent too many years being focused on my shortcomings, on what I was not, and on what the enemy had convinced me that I couldn’t do, have or become. I spent too many years constantly replaying the voices from past experiences that reminded me of my every sin, voices that tried to convince me that God couldn’t possibly love someone like me. I spent too many years struggling with being different – in my choices, my thinking and perspectives. I spent too many years struggling with the ‘aura’ of me; trying so hard to fit into spaces and groups that I now know I clearly wasn’t designed to be in; feeling inferior in the midst of near perfect strangers; struggling with and against the essence of who I was, not realizing that those were the hallmarks of distinction that God has put in me. I could go on, but I think you might be able to recognize yourself in this space as well.  

I was listening to John Bevere preaching recently and he made a comment about how God never intended that we begin to buy up real estate and dwell in the place of our problems/challenges/ insecurities, etc. I think this very aptly describes what many of us do with ourselves. As life buffets us with one bad experience or the other; as people speak negativity into our hearts; as we compare ourselves with the externalities we see in others; we slowly buy up prime property in the lands of insignificance and inferiority complexes. But guess what sis? I sold my plots, penthouse and all, many years ago when I came to realize that God loves me just as I am and that’s exactly what you need to do too. Today, I see God’s love for me so clearly in the things He does for me; and more so as times like yesterday, I see His love in the people He put around me - people who love and believe in me! They know I am far from perfect, but they love the ‘me’ that I am and the ‘me’ that I am evolving to be. They are giving of themselves, pouring their time, love and resources into my life because my Father sees fit to use them as instruments of His live and validation in my life.

God’s investment in you and I is because He really and truly loves us, sis. He loves each of us His children so totally and so unconditionally. He celebrates us! And He is in us! Why then would we do any less than celebrate ourselves? Take your eyes off all that you are not this morning, sis. Take your eyes off all that you have failed to achieve. Take your eyes off all that you don’t have. Take your eyes off all that you don’t think you can achieve. Take your eyes off the people who are not/no longer in your life. Set your eyes on the Hill. Look up to Jesus who sees YOU as awesome; Who counted you as being worthy of the Cross. This is not a pride issue, sis. This is about being assured enough in your eternal salvation that you don’t need anyone else to validate you…God already took care of that.

When you come to this place, you are more readily able to receive the love that those around you share; you are so much more at peace; you are so much more able to walk purposefully, evolving into the greatness that is packed inside of you. Celebrate you daily, my sister. It doesn’t have to be your birthday. You don’t even need anyone around to speak words of celebration or affirmation to you. Affirm yourself! Celebrate yourself just where you are! Celebrate the YOU that God Himself found fit to love, to save, and to dwell in. Let your peace and self-confidence come from within. You are awesome just like that sis. Uniquely Woman’s definition of who are….an Awesome Work-in-Progress. Walk assuredly in this truth!

Be blessed sis….for you surely are!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I just want to praise


Today I just want to praise! I really and truly just want to praise! Did anything in particular happen? No sis! But that’s exactly one of the key reasons why I’ve got praise oozing from my pores. Nothing happened, and so everything happened! Nothing happened and so I am alive and well today. Nothing happened to take my life, to steal my joy or peace. So bear with me as I give glory to our God and Father and ask that you do too. Halleluyah!

Lord, You are simply awesome! So great and so glorious! I love you with all of my being. I praise You today Lord… just because You are! I praise you for the very breath of life that I have. Lord, I went to bed last night with no guarantee of waking up this morning. But You Lord…. You Who holds the very breath that I breathe, You counted me worthy to continue in the land of the living and blessed me with breath and life this morning. Yes Father, I praise You! My husband and children didn’t awake to find I had passed on in my sleep. I didn’t wake up to death in my home. Rather Lord, You brought us all into the light of this day – in health, in peace, and in love. And what a beautiful day it is Lord. What a remarkable day indeed! Lord, I just want to praise You because only the living can give You praise. Thank You for life Lord. Thank You for my life Lord.

Lord, I just want to praise You for the things You have given me; and to thank You especially for the things You have not given me. Lord, I thank You for my every unfulfilled dream and aspiration; for in Your own time You bring things my way in the fulfillment of Your great purpose for my life. You are the potter Lord, and today I once again lay myself before You willingly. Mould me continually Lord, into that image that conforms to Your glory. I praise You for You continue grow me, making me into a more excellent me. Lord, I just want to praise You because of myself, in my own strength and power, I am such a mess. But in You oh Lord, I’m awesome as I am…ever-evolving for Your glory alone.

Lord, I just praise You for You are my peace. Nothing in my many endeavors, pursuits or acquisitions has or will ever fill me, Lord. Thank You for plugging the hole in my soul. Thank You Lord, for Your presence in my life… Your Holy Spirit within me; brings me perfect completion and peace. Lord, I just want to praise You because in You, I don’t need to strive. I don’t need to impress You, Lord. I just need to be me! Thank You Lord, that You don’t judge me for where I am; rather You see what I can become and lovingly walk the journey with me.

Lord, today I just want to praise You because You truly never leave me nor forsake me. Thank You because You are my sure foundation, my strong tower, my place of refuge. Thank You because even when I am unfaithful to You, You are faithful and sure. You never leave me Lord! Even when I distance myself from you, distracted by my busyness or by my failings; You stay with me. I can never get away from You Lord, because You never go away from me. Thank You Lord that You are in me. Thank You for the privilege of being Your child. Father, I so worship You!

Lord, thank You for the works of my hands. There is yet so much I aspire to do, yes. But thank You Lord for that which I have been able to do. Thank You Lord because any wisdom or intelligence I believe I have, only comes from You. Thank You Lord that I am able to work! Thank You for my abilities and disabilities – physical or otherwise. They all work together to make me the ‘me’ that You designed me to be.
Lord, today I just want to praise You for every single mistake I have made and will yet make. I praise You Lord for You have committed to give me beauty for ashes. Thank You because You are mindful of my every teardrop. You are mindful of me Lord. You are mindful of ME! How great is that oh Lord? Father, I worship You!

Thank You Father for the love of my family! Thank You for the great people I work with! Thank You for the members of my household and staff who have been such a source of strength and support to me these long years. Not because I am an excellent being Lord, but because of Your favor. Thank You Lord that I have eyes that see, ears that hear, a mouth that speaks, legs that walk, arms that move, a digestive system that works, kidneys that function, a heart that beats. I’m alive Lord!!! How can I but praise You? Halleluyah!!!

Lord I thank You for parents that are alive and well. Thank You for wonderful, healthy children. Thank You for the health and wellness of my loved ones. Thank You for the enemies I don’t know Lord… for even they must surely have their purpose in my destiny; even they shall surely yet declare that the Lord has been good to me. Thank You Father for my other ‘children’, the ones who You have allowed me to ‘mother’ and nurture. Thank You Father for using me as a channel for Your overflow. Nothing because of who I am Lord, but because of Who You are. I worship You Lord!

Thank You Father for my support group! Thank You for my sistas! Thank You for the very darling people You have stationed all around my life. Thank You because they remind me daily that You are LOVE, and with Your love in my life, it is well with me. Thank You Father because You call me the apple of Your eye. Thank You Lord for my loved ones and I are Your special treasures… apples of gold with linings of silver You said. How awesome You are oh Lord! How incredibly awesome is my God!
Thank You for endless praise on my lips oh God! Thank You that regardless of how much I have to deal with, You are always right there in the midst of my storms. You equip me! You embolden me! You strengthen me! You comfort me! You counsel me! You empower me! Lord, You make me victorious at the end of it all! Thank You Lord!

Thank You for counting me worthy Lord. Father, I probably wouldn’t have saved me if it were up to me….frail and fallible human that I am. But this is why You alone are God, and I love You just like that. You shaped me and formed me! You planned my end before my beginning. So You couldn’t have ever given up on me. You chose me from the beginning because You already knew my end Lord! You designed me for You! Lord and I am grateful, and I worship You.

A million tongues couldn’t praise You enough Lord! So, as I stop here on this blog, I continue to sing Your praises on my lips and in my hearts. I pray by Your grace that my life will be one long continuous testimony of praises to You, oh Lord, for You as soooo worthy! Halleluyah Lord! I love You Father! Thank You Jesus! Holy Spirit I adore You! I just want to praise You today Lord! Halleluyah! Halleluyah!!!

My precious sis, please find yourself in the place of praise. Regardless of how life is trying to press you down….find the place of your praise! God didn’t suddenly wake up and decide to choose you on the day you made the commitment to serve Him sis. No, He chose you the day He formed you! How precious is that! Just praise today sis. Just praise! Our God is oh so worth it!!!

Be blessed sis…. for you surely are!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Of actions & intents….. This thing called love



Something has been pretty heavy on my heart for the past few days and I woke up this morning with clarity about the message I needed to share today. My quiet time reinforced this thinking and thereafter, I found myself flipping through my notes from my recently concluded study of the book of Romans. As I did this, I kept thinking about this thing called love.  I had it somehow settled in my mind that this would be the topic of my blog today. As I sat down to type however, I recalled that I had started an article about two weeks ago, but which I never finished as I had a leading to write on something else. Reading through that partial write-up, I was amazed at how it tallied so well with what I want to share with you this morning. This is the genesis of my double-barreled title today sis. It seems even more apt given that today is International Women’s Day and I pray it ministers to you doubly so.

23rd February:
Not to sound like a broken record or anything, but I really have had quite a few of these experiences recently where I hear the one thing on the one day, and then same or next day read or hear the exact same words spoken to me through someone else. In my last blog (Realignment) I had shared one of these experiences and I do so pray it ministered to you, sis. Today, I am again led to share another of these experiences, sensing this is again as much for me as it is for you today.

So again, there I was listening (albeit with half an ear) to Bishop Dale Bronner as I sorted through some stuff I was putting aside to give to charity. Something he said caught my attention and I stopped to listen more intently. He said ‘You see the problem with most of us is that we judge others by their actions, whereas we judge ourselves by our intents’. Hmmm! Serious food for thought! I grabbed my jotter and made a quick note of this statement. It was certainly something I needed to think through and assess how I measured up to in practice. The very next morning, I was listening to leadership guru John Maxwell speaking. Admittedly, I again was listening only partially as I was running slightly behind schedule and was focused on being able to leave the house asap. He sure had my full attention however when he said ‘Too often, we judge others by their actions, whereas we judge ourselves by our intentions’.

Wow! I literally stopped in my tracks and couldn’t move for a few minutes. Now, I don’t need to tell you that I immediately began to do a mental search to figure why the Lord would need to speak this word to me. I beamed a spiritual torchlight on my relationships and interactions of recent to see the ‘if’s’/‘how’s’ of any judgmental positions I may have adopted of recent. I really couldn’t put my finger on any one thing, but you and I know the mind is so not willing to cooperate in any one area where it might be found guilty right? So perhaps admittedly, I didn’t turn the searchlight on full beam. Oh dear!

I immediately also began to try to find linkages to the similar ‘period vs comma’ experience I had a few days earlier, and which was the subject of my ‘Realignment’ post. Thankfully, I didn’t have enough time to get into that space of spiritual intellectualism that so often gets us into trouble with God. Rather, I mentally moved this into the realm of things which the Lord had promised to make clear to us all in due course. I mean, who knows? There really might not be a link. Indeed this could be me trying to put a comma between two experiences the Lord has clearly differentiated with a period, right? Hmmm!  That said, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit as He reminded me that much of what He had been teaching me in the latter part of my study of the book of Romans, had to do with issues around judgments and walking in love. I was clearly going to have to re-examine my love walk on this earth.

March 8th:
A few days ago, I found myself in a very remarkable gathering. Words that readily come to mind are ‘explosive’, ‘volatile’, ‘noisy’, ‘discordant’. I was quiet through all this, but really and truly came out of that session somewhat traumatized. And why wouldn’t I be? I spent three hours in the midst of mostly unwarranted bickering and arguments, very loudly so too. The critical discussion points and corporate goals were near lost in the space of interpersonal play ups, outright rudeness, several people speaking at the same time and a basic refusal to accord honor to each other. The cells of my body were literally vibrating out of that session. But here is the irony - at some point, we all stood up to say prayers, ending with ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit….’. I went stock still as the Holy Spirit ministered to me that neither grace, nor love, nor fellowship was at play in the midst of that gathering. He said those prayers were on our lips but certainly not in all our hearts. I came away sad, thinking to myself how easily we miss this thing called love.

Sis, the Lord our God called us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. He took time to explain that this was the greatest of commandments, given that God is love and all His commandments are fulfilled in the commandment to love one another as Christ loved us – even unto dying on the cross. Early this year, the Lord said clearly to me ‘Don’t be religious! Walking in love goes much deeper that you can ever imagine’. Sometime soon I will share with you what happened before I received this word, but I so thank God for chastising me that day. As I thought about this gathering I was in last week, the Lord brought this message to my remembrance and I want to speak it again to you just as clearly. Sis, walking in love is deeper than we imagine! Walking in love is our highest call to be like Jesus. I mean how can we claim to be the image of Christ if we fail in love?

Sis, please look up Romans 12 v 16 & 18; Romans 13 v 8; Romans 14 v 10, 12 & 13; Romans 14 v 19; Romans 2 v 1 & 6; and 1st Peter 1 v 14 – 22. For easy reference, these Scriptures are also put at the ‘Word of the Week’ section at the bottom of this page. I so want to make heaven sis, and no doubt so do you. Let us therefore consciously work to overcome as many of those ‘sins that so easily beset us’ as we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our minds must be focused on the greater good. We must learn to humble ourselves so that the Lord Who is the lifter up of our heads can exalt us in His due season.  

In 1st Corinthians 13 v 4-8, the Word describes all the attributes of love as God calls for us to love. If we are truly heaven-minded sis, then there should be more times than not when we lay aside our strong arguments, our pride, our personal agendas, for the greater good. This is what my Coach defines as love being ‘contending for the highest possible good to be made manifest in the present moment’. As I think on that gathering sis, I realize how what was playing up was truly a ‘judging of others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions’ situation. That was why grace, love, and fellowship could not prevail, and that was why the Holy Spirit said He was not in it. God cannot be in an equation if there is no love, for He is love. It’s really that simple!

Sis, reflect on your relationships and interactions as I am doing now. You and I need to look past our difficult relationships – be they with spouses, friends, colleagues at work or in church, social groups, in-laws, etc. If we look at the tensions between us as a stumbling block in our walk with God, then we can more readily (as we should) ask the Lord to take away the hearts of stone among us, and fill us with His spirit of love and grace. We will not make heaven if we do not walk in love, sis. Since we are always clear on our own intentions, how about you and I take the time to ask the next person to explain their intentions and open our hearts to see their perspectives. We may not always agree, but in the place of honor and respecting our rights to be different, it is still possible to agree to disagree in love; to contend for the highest possible good for all concerned.

I leave you with this as food for thought sis. I will be praying for you, as I will for myself, that God will once again pour out of the abundance of His love into our hearts. When He does so sis, please be a channel and allow God’s love to flow through you to those around you. As imperfect as we might see them to be, remember that we aren’t perfect either. Far from it! Yet, God chose to love us… our imperfections and all. How can we do any less, sis? How can we? We must love; we must honor; we must respect; we must show grace; we must ensure the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit truly reigns within and among us. We must truly understand, live and walk out this thing called love. The Lord will help you sis. He will help me.  

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

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.