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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Are you ready?

It’s that time of year again so ‘Merry Christmas’ to you, sis. It is my prayer that this has been for you a time of fun, love, and laughter. More than this and the attendant food, gifts and parties though, I pray that this has been a time for you of sober reflection at the awesomeness of the love that God has for you and I, so much so that He gave us Jesus Christ Who is the reason for this season.  

Three experiences which I would like to share with you today, with a hope and a prayer that when the Holy Spirit brings the message together in the end, you will be blessed and impacted for His glory.

First is that I found myself sitting in a hospital room a couple of weeks ago, waiting on the results of my test. They had a really large and beautiful clock in the waiting room, one of those nice silent one’s that don’t grate on your nerves with their loud ticking sounds. I found myself staring in fascination as the second-hand moved continuously round the face of the clock in a smooth, seamless fashion. For some reason, it struck me very strongly that life was and is passing us by; that time really waits for no man; that we can never get back a single second that has passed; that we only have so much time to complete our earthly assignments; and that we really have no idea when our clocks will stop ticking and we will be called to face the Lord. Simple enough truths yes, but more real than ever in that hospital room for some reason which I only now understand.

Secondly, one of my Sista-Sista’s recently decided to have a praise night to mark her birthday and to honor the Lord for a great testimony of healing that He bestowed on her. It was an awesome outing to say the least! We left with hearts uplifted and spirits filled with the completeness that is only possible in that place of worship. We were still basking in the glow on Christmas Eve a couple of days later, when we got the message that her brother-in-law died rather suddenly that morning. We immediately reached out, standing as a support to our Sista and her family at this time. What did I know?  How could I have imagined that even as I stood with and tried to encourage my Sista, that I would myself be hit the very next day? It was Christmas morning and there I was, reaching out to all the members of my family. I had picked up my phone to call my eldest sister, when I saw that there was an incoming call from my younger sister whom I had spoken to earlier. My heart skipped a beat at the hushed tone with which she again said hello. Then she shared the news. My own brother-in-law, a dear man who I saw just recently, passed on this Christmas morning! I found myself making the call I was set to make a few minutes earlier, but instead of a hearty ‘Merry Christmas’, I found myself saying ‘Sorry’, ‘God is your strength’, ‘It is well with you’  and other such expressions of comfort, over and over again. Hmmm!

Third, I had a sense as I sat down to write this post this morning, that I should re-read my post in December of 2012 (“Two Sides, Same Coin’). I had shared how a young child had drowned in the pool at what was to have been a children’s Christmas party. It was quite devastating! As I struggled with the trauma I knew the child’s mother and family, and indeed countless others who experienced loss in that season would have been going through, I had shared the things the Holy Spirit had spoken to you and I out of this experience.

I found myself sitting back at my desk this morning, thinking about the things the Lord ministered to me to share with you. I must admit that I struggled with being obedient to the Spirit’s prodding to start typing, as I tried to understand if I am to become a carrier of messages of doom and gloom in a season where most people want simply to have fun and enjoy the holidays as best they can. I actually found myself trying to think up some nice sweet and fun message I could share. I thought for instance about the fact that as a family, we had agreed that our Christmas day was going to be a stay-home-and-do-absolutely-nothing day, and we did just that. We spent almost four hours at the table at lunchtime - eating way too much, yes; but more so praying, talking, laughing, sharing experiences and insights, and absolutely loving on each other as a family, for hours on end. I thought how I could have written some really entertaining stories and shared some great anecdotes from our time together at the table yesterday. Alas, the Lord has not called me to be ‘cute/smart/funny’ sis, especially not today. No sis, He has deeper things in store for us this morning, so please read and listen with the eyes and ears of your spirit.

The Lord put these three and very separate events together for you and I, in the form of a question – ‘Are you ready?’

What God spoke to my heart is that the hands of the clock are ticking fast, and that they truly can never be reversed. He said however, that for many of us, our focus on the passage of time is more on the things we wish/expect to be/do/achieve within certain defined time frames of our lives, and the Christmas season – heralding the end of another calendar year, is the period when we most miss the reality of what our time here on earth is really about. He said that most of us are too focused on the pursuit of ‘purpose’ as defined by tangible and intangible earthly attainments – the degrees, the husbands and/or children, the jobs/businesses, the recognition's, the health, the financial status, the gifts/talents/abilities that draw accolades from our fellow men, the membership of/position on the committees/boards/choirs, the number of mentions we have on Google and other social media sites that give us a sense of relevance in the scheme of things, etc.

The Lord showed me that the only true measure we are to be focused on, is that last second… that moment when - concerning our walk on this side of eternity, He says ‘It’s over child. Come!’

God has and continues to try to show us that we really have no idea when He has appointed for this time to be – it could be a Christmas eve, a Christmas day, the day after Christmas, or any of the other 362 days in our human calendar year. Sis, our focus needs to always be that the passage of time is daily bringing us closer to our Father in heaven, and if this is so, we will be fixated on living in a way that is pleasing to Him, on growing in the knowledge of His Word, on ensuring that nothing stands in the way of our having a close and loving relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. The Lord showed me how easily we ‘forget’ in the times of our festivities, and when everything seems to be going well around us. Not that we completely lose sight of God ….indeed many of us continue to ascribe glory to Him for every good thing we have or are privileged to experience. Many a time though, it is an acknowledgement that is only slightly below the surface and does not go as deep as He deserves – if truth be told.

Think about it sis – which ‘holding on to God’ period is a more intense experience for you and I? Is it our good times or our times of trouble? Truth is that at a time like this, too many of us place the greater emphasis on the ‘experience’ of Christmas, than on the Christ that is Christmas personified. Too many of us anchor our lives and times to things that are transient, only beginning to give our eternity the weight it deserves in our daily focus/thinking/being when we find ourselves pressed on one side or the other. Think on your Christmas, sis. Beyond the festivities, did you allow yourself acknowledge that it could have been your very last day here on earth? If the Lord called you as He did my brother-in-law, would you have been ready? You know already that these are questions the Holy Spirit asked of me too, right sis? Food for thought and a strong call to turn, to return, to press in ….to Jesus Christ!


It’s Christmas! It’s about Christ! Where are you in Christ, sis? if you have not yet confessed Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I urge you to get on your knees and do so immediately. No fancy words are required, sis. All you need is this prayer:

 ‘Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I believe that You came into the world, were crucified and died on the cross for me. Lord, I ask You to forgive me of every sin of my past. Lord Jesus come into my heart right now. I make You my Lord and Savior. Lord, I give you my life. Take away my heart of stone and give me a new heart – a heart of worship, Lord. Today, I renounce evil in every form. I break every covenant with sin and darkness. Write my name in the Book of Life, Lord. I declare that only You will I serve all the days of my life Lord Jesus. Teach me by Yourself, Lord. Help me to grow in You. Send godly helpers to guide me in my growth as a Christian Lord. Order my steps according to Your will and way for my life. Thank You Lord Jesus Christ for saving me. I am born again. Halleluyah!’

If you already have this relationship with Jesus sis, then today the Lord is calling you and I to come up higher. No more milk sis! It is time to redefine the walk that we think we have we God so far. Sis, until you and I come to that place where our every breath is a prayer for the Lord to help us, to order our steps, and to keep us steadfast until the very end, then there is spiritual work to do, and we have to take it by force. You can’t get back the time you have spent reading this post, but if you started reading with the conviction that you would receive a word in due season from the Lord, then this time has been about Christ and you are blessed for it. Sis, we have to make Christ part and parcel … no, scratch that. We have to make Jesus Christ the very foundation and complete essence of every second of our daily lives. In living for Him, with Him and in Him, we will discover and fulfill this ‘purpose’ thing that we are constantly running around for, but more than this we will always be at ‘ready’ whenever He calls – be it at Christmas or any other time of year.

Sis, set your Christmas clock today as a firm recommitment to make every day Christmas, to make every second of every day henceforth about Christ and His birth, life, crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Set your spiritual clocks on the ‘Counting-down-to-meeting-my-Lord’ mode, sis. This is what the Lord is asking of you and I today. In this place of spiritual clarity, everything we think/do/say will be a build-up to our readiness for the Lord’s call. In this place, we will live more fulfilled and uplifting lives; we will touch heaven and bring down blessings on the lives of everyone around us – not just at Christmas time, but each and every day that the Lord grants to us by His grace and in His mercies. Your clock is ticking sis… please make sure it is ticking in ‘ready’ for the Lord mode.

As I once again wish you a Merry Christmas, my true message is that Christ looks really good on you and I, sis. Let’s wear him well okay. We must be ready on our last day, sis….anything else would be too sad to contemplate The Lord will help you sis, even as He is surely helping me.

Be blessed sis…. for you surely are!




Friday, December 6, 2013

What's in your bag? ....De-clutter!

Where have I been? Big question sis! Big question! I’m not sure even I realized just how much time had passed since my last post until a couple of days ago when my daughter said something to the effect that she’d thought I wouldn’t be blogging anymore after the book Uniquely Woman was published. I can only guess that she came up with that because she hadn’t seen me at my desk for a while. I assured her the blog was still very much alive, her response being a quick kiss on my cheek and a sing-song ‘okey-dokey mama’ as she left me to work. After she’d left, I thought about how incredibly busy I have been at work over the past month, and how in my quieter moments after work, I have very truthfully reveled in doing nothing more than ‘absolutely nothing’ ….literally! Believe me when I say we all need times like that. I think that it takes a certain kind of emotional and spiritual maturity to be confident in, and comfortable enough with yourself that you are at peace even in your ‘doing absolutely nothing’ periods. We can’t go through life always on a ‘purpose high’. There must be times when we are able to slow down and simply ‘be’, intentionally silencing the many noises around us. Indeed I believe that in those quiet times, we are more open to hearing the deep and quiet things which the Lord speaks to us. It is in this quiet space that I had an experience that I would like to share with you.

Now ordinarily, I am not very big on many of the things a good percentage of women consider to be of prime importance. I just can’t bring myself to be too concerned with my hair, nails, clothes, shoes, jewelry, bags, etc. I must have slept through most of the life classes where such topics were taught, lol. And yeah, I can already hear some of you who know me from a distance thinking ‘Nah! That can’t be true’. But my closest of family and friends know for a fact that I get my make-up on in 3 minutes flat; work happily through a very limited wardrobe; have no interest in labels and certainly never follow trend; can barely tell the difference between real gold and anything else which shines; put on nail polish in the car (if I really need to); wear wigs more often than not because I hate hair salons; and only have a few pairs of shoes, of which I am very happy to wear one or two in particular just about every day, lol.

On the flip side though, I am still very much a girl-scout though I guess I take the motto ‘Be prepared’ a bit too far. You see, while some of my sisters carry entire make-up kits, hair brushes, perfumes, etc in their bags, yours truly carries everything including a sewing kit, scissors, measuring tape, nail clippers, safety pins, plasters, corrector fluid, a mini torch, screwdrivers, and my multi-function penknife in mine. Yep, as far as the contents of my bags go, I am a trip-and-a-half no doubt. That said, I can assure you that many a time I have had to bail out some seriously glammed-up sister with my needle and thread (amazing how those zippers give out on you at the strangest of times and places isn’t it?), or carry out some emergency electrical fixes using my screwdrivers, so it can’t be all bad.

I am also a woman who is ready, willing and able to carry the same handbag for months in a row. I once had a friend describe my every day bag as my ‘National Anthem’. My precious husband buys me new bags every so often, but his challenge remains getting me to actually use the bags and admittedly, for his sake, I am trying, lol. Anyhow, yesterday was one of those days when I decided of my own accord to switch bags. Mind you, my idea of switching bags is to empty everything out on the bed and then stuff everything right back into another bag in no particular order. Sometimes I’m good though and actually arrange the stuff in the bag   …..Sometimes!

I love how God ministers to us through the oddest of things. I had looked down at the jumble of things I’d emptied out of my handbag and asked myself whether I really and truly needed to carry as much as I did daily; particularly as on most days, I barely open the bag at all between getting to work and getting home again in the evening. I thought how some of the contents had since outlived their purposes – for instance, my children are way past the age when I constantly needed to have plasters handy but I still carried them. I laughed at myself a bit and then reached forward to begin stuffing…. I mean, ‘putting’ the things into my other bag, when the Lord spoke to me and said “How like the lives of My children this is”. Oh wow! I stopped and allowed the Holy Spirit minister to me. The Lord showed me that whereas He says we should cast our cares upon Him, mostly we cast our cares (empty our bag) in the place of prayer, but immediately stuff our bags with the same exact cares when we rise from His presence, not stopping to think that this is itself a manifestation of fear, core unbelief and a fundamental lack of faith in God’s ability to work all things out for our good.  

God showed me how over the course of our lives, we literally stuff our bags (our lives) with a whole lot of things we have absolutely no business carrying. Some things we use as crutches, giving ourselves a sense that we are protected because they are in our space. We hold on to some things, the purpose for which has long since passed, but which are comfortable and familiar. Some things we hold on to because we know deep inside that letting them go means we must necessarily take those new steps we are so afraid to take.  Some things we carry with us because the world, or the people around us also carry them and we have a sense that they are needed for us to be complete and acceptable in the eyes of ‘people’.  Some things we hold on to in fear really, constantly anticipating something not working out, and so holding ourselves as being prepared – not realizing that such a mind-set impinges on our ability to see and lay hold of God-given opportunities that may come our way out of the ashes of something that in our view has not ‘worked out’.

The Lord showed me that even as I was very readily about to stuff the same sets of things – many of which I realized I really didn’t need to carry, right back into a new bag; so also do we His children sometimes know very clearly those things which are no longer useful in our lives, or which we have willingly allowed hold us down, yet every day and through every new season of our lives, we continue to carry those things with us. Time and again therefore, our lives are as heavy as our handbags, and as jumbled inside as the contents of our bags are; and God said, this is not His design or plan for us.

So even as I deliberately took out some of my ‘stuff’ from my bag that evening, I have also had to do some serious reflecting about the stuff I need to get out of my life, and to deliberately take them out – painful though this has sometimes been. Sis, you and I need to decongest our lives so we can live the fullness of that which our Father has purposed for us, and so that there is room enough for Him to infill us with those things which He has purposed for every season of our lives. It’s not easy, that I assure you. Much as my handbag is much lighter, I can tell you that I am still carrying a couple of things that I know I will really not miss if I could only but let go of them. But, I am a work-in-progress so for now I can pride myself in the many things I did take out of my bag (life), and slowly work my way up to letting go of the rest with the grace, power and help of the Holy Spirit. This is what you and I need to do in our lives sis – today and constantly. We need to take those first steps to unclutter our minds, emotions, social calendars, relationships, activities, etc – very deliberately choosing to let go of our crutches, weights, and fears so there can be room enough to truly be who God designed us to be.

You know how it is said that no matter how beautiful and expensive a woman’s bag is, you really don’t want to see what’s inside of it? Well sis, let’s not allow that be the story of our lives okay? Our inner beauty must first radiate the God that is in us, and when this shines out, it will complement the outward natural beauty and other enhancements that we might then choose to adorn our physical selves with. What are you carrying in your bag sis? Empty it out now! Screen the contents with a dispassionate eye, and then, de-clutter as intentionally as you are able to. Lighten your inner load sis, so that you can truly shine for the Lord. He will help you sis… as surely as He is helping 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.