Follow by Email

Friday, June 14, 2013

Not to the swift

Its June already! Incredible isn’t it? It has certainly been a busy and rather fast-paced year. As I say this I acknowledge that it is a privilege and testimonial to the grace, provision, and empowerment of God upon my life. I mean, just think about it. There are millions of people world over for whom the year has dragged on, and inordinately so at that. For those people in the thick of poverty, sickness, and disease; for those people who are trapped in abusive relationships; for those people who have found themselves as victims of human trafficking; for those who have no jobs, etc... for these and many other groups of people, it would undoubtedly have been a long drawn out year so far. If like me however, it seems to you that the months have simply flown by, then my sister let the praise of God our Father not depart from your lips because through the good and the bad, there are millions of people who would swap their lives for yours and mine at the drop of a hat.

June is of course a very significant month for me. My first son turned seventeen, and his birthday also marked nineteen years to the day, that we opened our doors for business. As I reflect on the life of my son and the progress of our business over the years, all I can say is that God has indeed been faithful. It could all have been so very different but for the mercies of God. June is also for me, a good time to do some serious stock-taking of my life. It is a time to question how the earlier part of the year has played out, as well as give some serious thought to and re-alignment of my vision for self in the course of the rest of the year.  

I started this year with a clear commitment to myself and an encouragement to you, not to allow any form of overwhelm in my life. I believe by God’s grace that I have held largely true to this in the past months. Truth be told though, the past few weeks and up till today have been particularly trying. I have held on tenaciously to every vestige of internal peace that I have been able to muster, even as a whole lot of pressure and responsibilities have continued to pile up. I have maintained stability by very simply looking upwards, drawing strength from, and trusting God to work things for my good. Every day, I have reminded myself that in my weakness, He is my strength; that in Him I am well able. I have stayed in prayer and found refreshing in worship. The Lord is my Helper! No truer phrase have I known than this, out of my experiences in the past few weeks.

I had started to write this post as I headed to work on Monday morning but found myself trying to figure if this was really the message the Lord would have me share with you this time. But I got a word yesterday which convinced me that someone out there needs to hear this. God spoke a reminder to that the race is not to the swift. He reminded me that it is truly not of him who wills, or he who runs; but it is of the Lord’s mercy and grace. God reminded me that He alone is the One that brings promotion, that causes us to be distinguished, that gives the power to get wealth, that lifts us up, that causes us to prosper. He reminded me that He alone is able to bless our bread and our water, to cause us to be fruitful, to cause us to be victorious. He alone is the source of our witty ideas, the source of our wisdom and intellect, the One who provides the resources that we need to achieve. He is the One Who keeps us healthy enough to do the things we do, the One Who puts dreams in our hearts, Who gives us songs in the night. He is the One Who is the source of our discernment, the One Who leads and guides us into all understanding that we need to excel.

Yes sis, as the Lord spoke these things to my spirit I received clarity that you and I need to be reminded that we are not in competition with anyone else, that we must each run our own race looking ahead and upward unto the Lord. I read somewhere that you can’t run a race looking sideways and this is so true. Focusing on what everyone else is being/doing/achieving in comparison to ourselves is akin to running forward while looking sideways, and you and I already know that is a recipe for going off-track, more likely than not also derailing others who are trying to run their own race alongside us. The beauty of running a heavenly race is that there is a first prize for every winner, a crown of glory. It is not a struggle to cross the finish line and best the other persons. No, our heavenly race is simply an individual race for your own prize. That kind of puts a very different slant on our all wishful thinking's, quiet envies and comparisons, don’t you think?

It came to my spirit that we are certainly not in a race with ourselves either. I was reminded about the mind map which I had drawn for my 2013 within the last week of December 2012, and which I printed and pasted, and look at as often as possible to see how I am progressing in my plans. As I thought about it, the Lord reminded me that there are many plans in a man’s heart, but it is the purpose of the Lord that shall stand. This was a reaffirmation to me that more than anything else, beyond reviewing all the planning, strategizing and goal-setting/resolution-making that we might have done at the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013, the most important stock-taking that you and I need to do now sis, is to assess how obedient we have been to the leading of the Lord for our lives from January to date. We need to test our level of obedience to the things that He has spoken to us, particularly those things that seem not to line up with our many mind maps, vision boards, and whatever other forms we captured our aspirations for the year in.

God is reminding you and I sis that the race is not to the swift. Those who will win are those who stay open to receive from the Lord, to hear from Him, to be obedient to His instructions, to serve where He assigns us, to let go of the projects He asks us to and to undertake those ones that He asks us to. The One Who loves us more than we can ever love ourselves is calling us to come up higher in Him sis. At the end of this year, our fulfillment will not come out of the many targets we set for ourselves and which we achieved. You and I know by now just how empty certain victories can be. Rather, our fulfillment at the end of 2013 will come from a clear understanding that we yielded to His direction and promptings, that we walked according to His counsel, that we fulfilled His mandates and assignments, and that we walked in obedience to His revealed will for our lives.

Let me encourage to prayerfully to go to God once again today sis. Ask Him to show you, ask Him to counsel you, ask Him to guide you into those things that fit into His purpose for this year. Ask the Lord to redirect your steps if you have moved forward in your own strength in any way. Ask Him to reveal to you every plan you have made, every objective you have so far chased but which does not align with His will. Ask Him to show you every ‘good’ work you are currently doing which in His eyes amount to ‘dead’ works because He did not send you. Ask for clarity sis, that in the rest of the year your race will be truly according to His purpose and for His glory.

These are my prayers sis, for you and for me. I know that the One Who is more than able to give us the desires of our heart, Who is able to bring to pass all that we ask in His name and according to His will… He will surely help you sis as you run your own race sis. He will help me!


Be blessed sis….. For you surely are!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

God’s applause

It seemed like my girls and I had been on some kind of marathon traveling spree. One after the other, and with overlaps in between, we had found ourselves in one trip or the other to different countries. We had breathed a collective sigh of relief when the last of us finally touched-down back home, and the very next morning our collective plea was ‘When do we get to see?’ Yep! I had surely missed my crew and as surely they had missed me. You see, these are my sistas, my friends, prayer warriors, my accountability partners – each of us God-given midwives to the other on the pathways of our destinies. And yes, technology made it possible for us to stay as much in touch as we could, but as you well know… ‘Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby’.

As one by one, we walked into some new restaurant that we had scheduled to meet at I couldn’t help but be somewhat amused at this one group of people who apparently came in for a quiet business lunch and for whatever reason decided to take up the table beside us. On one hand, they were going to have to contend with a lot of laughter from six women who hadn’t seen each other in a bit; and on the other hand, they would have no choice but to hear the Word of God and share in our prayers together. Oh, but if only they had known, lol.

As always, we started our time together by running through the goings-on in our lives over the period since we last met; ultimately ending in prayer and thanksgiving. Everyone had some challenge to share yes, but even more overwhelming were the incredible testimonies from each of these precious women that I have been blessed to have in my life. My head was simply spinning in amazement at the awesomeness of God in each of their lives, so much so that when it came to my turn, I simply blanked out. I couldn’t think of anything to say. In my mind, all I saw was a huge neon sign blinking ‘Wow! Wow! Wow!’ over and over again. I made a comment about not having anything to say, only to have one of my Sistas raise an eyebrow and ask me ‘Really?’

No, not really! Of course I had so much to testify about. I testified about the many endless trips my husband has had to make in the past few weeks, through which God has granted him safe passage; I thanked God for my daughter who just turned thirteen and who is evolving into the most amazing young lady ever; I testified of my first son who made a perfect A-score in his school in Canada; about my second son who was just made a prefect in his school; about my last son who just brought in a gold medal for his school in a golfing tournament. I testified about the fact that the Lord was confirming His word and opening new ministry opportunities to me. I testified about the great things the Lord is doing in my businesses and the new opportunities and prospects He has been bringing our way. There was just so much to be grateful for and as I constantly maintain, the very fact that we have the breath of life in us is more than testimony enough on a good day.

When I was finally done, my Sista retorted ‘See?’ and we all laughed heartily. But here’s the thing…. I did see! I saw perfectly, but I know that she didn’t. I had some insight that my Sistas didn’t have and this informed my awe at the time. What I saw clearly was that God was moving in each of our lives in ways that lined up with what He had earlier spoken to me about His move for us all over the next season. One thing that He had said was that we would not need to strive to be distinguished, but that He would lift us up accordingly in His own way; that we would surely marvel at the new things He would do in our lives. As each of my Sistas spoke, all I could think was how evidently God’s word was unfolding.

The thing is sis, that all human beings share this need to be recognized, to be respected and honored, to know that we count, to be accepted by others. This is what Maslow captured in his theory of man as being the need for self-actualization. From a spiritual point of view however, it strikes me that all that man really seeks is something that gives us a sense of completion, but we mostly (and foolishly I might add) seek this

completion from our fellow men rather than from the Creator. It would be great if you and I could say unequivocally that once we come to Christ, we are done with the seeking of recognition's and the applause of men, but that would be a lie. The truth is that there is a process of growth and maturity in the Lord that leads us to the point where we know without a shadow of doubt, that all we need is God’s love, God’s approval and God’s applause to make us whole; and even at that point, it is only the grace of the Lord that sustains us.

When we succumb to the striving's of the world we live in – striving to make that promotion; to be selected for that overseas training; to be nominated into that committee; to sing solo for that special church service; to be selected for that specific project; to win that contract… when we strive in our own strength, no matter how glorious the win might be, it tends to leave us with a deep hollowness within. I dare say, the higher the high, the greater the emptiness we subsequently feel. Herein lies the difference when our victories, our selections, our nominations, our recognition's are orchestrated by the Lord Himself. There is a humbling of our spirits that comes from knowing that only God could have worked a certain positioning for you, and along with the humbling is an internal wholesomeness, completeness and sense of peace that no one can take away from you.

Sis, you and I need to be totally submitted to God and allow Him take the wheel in our lives. Truth is that we haven’t gotten to where we are minus Him, and indeed we might have been much farther ahead in life if we hadn’t tried to work so much out in our own effort and reasoning. We are all living epistles of the grace of God in our lives sis. I hope you know this deep in your heart, mind, and spirit.  I would like to ask that you take a few minutes today and think through those things that you desperately seek at this point in your life, and which you believe will earn you the recognition, applause, acceptance, and honor. These are not necessarily things that you seek from a place of pride or a sense of entitlement, and they might not even be ‘big’ things; they will however be you are convinced will bring you fulfillment in some area - desires that are so dear, and thoughts of which practically cause a clutching sensation in your heart.

Bring all those things and lay them at the mercy seat today sis. Give them over to the Lord and ask Him to work with them as He sees fit, in accordance with His purpose for your life. I can promise you that once we hand our deepest desires fully over to Him, He is more than able to bring the right things to pass in our lives and at the right time. He is the one Who is able to lift us out of the dunghills and set us with princes remember? He is the one brings promotion remember? He is the one Who is able to make us objects of distinction, causing kings and nations to come to the rising of our brightness remember? He is the one Who distinguishes us remember? He is the one Who chooses us and Who sets us apart remember?

Sis, there is nothing that is impossible for our God to do for you and I, and no height that He is not able to take us to – irrespective of whatever obstacles the enemy tries to bring our way. How about you and I just rest in this assurance, sis? More than any temporary recognition's, promotions, or adulation's the world has to offer, methinks we should stay focused on ensuring that in the end, it is God and God alone that is saying to us ‘Well done! Great job! I’m so proud of you!’

The Lord will help us rest in His peace sis. He is more than able to distinguish and promote us the His glory and honor of His name. Enough of the struggling sis! As we trust God to lift us up, He will help you sis, and He will help me!

Be blessed sis…  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.