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Sunday, January 19, 2014

One day

My sister-in-law died this morning. I am still struggling to come to grips with the reality of this. The ring of my phone had roused me from sleep in the wee hours of the morning. I dragged myself out of bed very reluctantly, somewhat annoyed at being woken up so early, particularly as I had not been able to get to sleep till past midnight. What did I know? It wasn’t a number in my phonebook so I put the phone on silent and then went back to bed. Something wouldn’t let me rest though. I began to imagine that the call could have been from someone in distress, someone who had been robbed and who was trying to reach me on someone else’s phone. I distinctly heard the Lord tell me to go and pick the phone. Sleepy-eyed and foot-dragging, I got to my desk to see that I had just missed another call from the same number. I called back severally but the call would just not go through. I guess by then I knew something was wrong; I just couldn’t have figured the ‘what’… or more specifically ‘who’. Yes, I knew by then that something had shifted somewhere and I mentally braced myself for bad news. Even as I carried on with my Bible study and quiet time with the Lord, I would break every so often to try the number again.

I was just rounding up my study when another call came in from another sister-in-law. The way she said my name confirmed my instincts. Then she asked where her brother was. In response I said to her, ‘Just tell me what has happened’. Long story short, we find ourselves today dealing as a family with a new born beautiful baby girl… and a dead mother, sister, sister-in-law, daughter, and friend. It’s all so surreal, but such are the paradoxes of life! In speaking to my brother-in-law, we found ourselves saying ‘sorry’ repeatedly, not having the nerve to say ‘Congratulations’ on the birth of his new baby girl, at least not yet. I guess those who have found themselves in similar situations will understand. When my brother-in-law died on Christmas day, I certainly didn’t have it in me to wish my sister and her husband a ‘Merry Christmas’.  Likewise this morning, we were short of words to speak to a man who had just lost his best friend, his life partner, his champion, the mother of his three (now four) little children. All we had to offer were words of assurance that God only knows why He called His daughter at this time, and that he (and indeed all of us) must somehow find it in ourselves to accept God’s ultimate will and purpose.

I have been thinking all day about the last time I spoke to her. We had wished each other a Happy New Year, asked after all our children, and then made a fresh commitment to try to stay more in touch with each other in this year. Last year was quite busy for everyone and somehow we clearly dropped the ball on regular enough communication with each other. We laughed about her heavily pregnant state, and then committed to speaking with each other again once she put to bed in the next couple of weeks. What did we know? We had just said the very last goodbye. Sigh!

Today, in the middle of my grief, I feel a sense of urgency to speak to you and remind you that, in this year especially, we need to factor ourselves and the things that are important to us into our programs. We need to take time off and simply breathe in the essence of life, being alive, and truly living. We need to keep our eyes on the things that are of eternal value. We need to be sure that we are working towards being rich in the things that really and truly count from an eternal perspective. Our true riches, worth and impact barely have anything to do with our work and the many things we keep ourselves so busy with and keep striving for. I was listening to a program by Joel Osteen this morning and he spoke to the fact that on the day any of us is called, there will still be a long to-do list somewhere that will then never be done; there will likely be emails that would then never get attended/responded to; for some, there will be hard-won projects that will never then be executed at all (or at least not by them); and without a doubt, for the greater percentage of us there will be intended quality time that would then never be spent with our loved ones, on applying ourselves to our passions… or – most importantly, to the development of a deeper relationship with God. One day… it will all simply be over, and we need to constantly be reminded that we have absolutely no idea when that ‘one day’ will be for each of us!

On that ‘one day’, we will be sorted out with God one way or the other in the twinkling of an eye. Once that separation occurs, we lose the connection to this realm.  True, there will be those we leave behind who will have to live – as I am now, with that sense of something or the other that they could/should/would have done if they had known they didn’t have enough time with the loved one they have now lost; and knowing this, there is an intentionality that is called for in investing our time, emotional and physical presence in the lives of our loved ones. There are calls that need to be made NOW, visits that need to happen NOW, etc. But, from the perspective of he/she who has died, none of those things will matter. What will matter is whether they find themselves at the point of separation – in heaven with the Lord and all the saints, or in an eternal damnation in hell! Knowing this calls for an even greater intentionality in investing our all in a closer relationship with the Lord, a deeper knowledge and understanding of His Word, and an overriding commitment to living a life that is worthy of and pleasing to Him; so that on that ‘one day’, we will enter into the eternal fulfillment and fullness of joy that is promised to the true children of God.

It is only the Lord Who knows why my first set of posts on this forum this year are so weighty. From what I know about the ways of the Lord, there is/are certainly those one or two people out there who need to hear this and turn full circle back to God. Is that you sis? Can you examine where you are in your relationship with Jesus Christ and ask yourself if you are truly ready for that ‘one day’? It’s a question that I hold close to my heart daily because my deepest desire is find myself with the Lord in heaven when I die. As easily as I have shared with you about my recent losses, it could easier still be that you get a message letting you know that I am no more…. or it could be you for whom the curtain falls. We need to be ready sis! We have to be ready! I need you as much as you need me on this journey sis. As we encourage each other and hold each other accountable to walking out our salvation, and as we lean wholly on the Holy Spirit for help; He will come through for us sis… He surely will! God is more than able to comfort, uphold, protect and provide for those that we will leave behind when He calls us. He is, sis! Let’s walk with Him this year and beyond such that when our time comes, as He watches over our loved ones who are still on the earth, we will be assuredly resting in His bosom on the other side of eternity. That is such a glorious picture isn’t it? The Lord will help you sis! He will help me!


Be blessed sis…. for you surely are!






Saturday, January 4, 2014

Resilience! Relentless! Rest!

Happy New Year sis!  I praise God for and with you for the gift of life. Quite a number of us have one story or the other to share about people we know directly, or whom we heard about, who didn’t make it into 2014. You and I are here in affirmation of the fact that God still has work for us to do. You know this right? We are daughters of destiny and purpose, with a mandate to empty ourselves of every gift that God has put in us with which to impact the world.

I feel led to first remind you that God is not bound by the 12-month calendar cycle of man. In the scheme of things, He sees, knows, and indeed authored the entire screenplay that is your life, sis. There are things He has ordained for us which, regardless of how we worry and aspire, will not manifest until the appointed time. Then there are also those things which we deeply desire, which if He has not purposed, will never come to pass or at least not in the way/manner/time in which we desired. We need to come to that point of spiritual maturity where we realize that in either of these situations, God is still God, and God is still good. The call is on us to believe, and to trust – unequivocally too!

My fifteen year old son changed his BB status on January 1st. It read, ‘New Year, Same Guy, Different Perspective’. In the course of our interactions over a family meal a couple of days back, my husband asked him what informed his putting up this status. He explained that a friend of his from school lost his brother on New Year’s eve, and for some reason – while this was certainly not the first time he had heard of the death of his peer, it brought him to a more startling realization of the fact that even teenagers die; that their time is also precious and must be applied purposefully to things that count; that they really couldn’t afford to be casual about making it to heaven. As he spoke, all I could hear was God’s continuous call to me in this season that we need to come up higher in our walk as Christians in 2014 and beyond. If a fifteen year old boy is speaking of perspectives sis, does this tell you something about how you and I need to be framing our thinking in the year ahead? Hmmm!

I have been assailed with this message ‘Come up higher’ from every quarter you can imagine – in various teachings, in songs, in things I have found myself reading, and in sharing with people close to me as well as other people I happened upon in one random meeting or the other. Sis, you know I am bent on you and I growing together right? I so believe that when God speaks to me, He speaks for you and I to feed on His Word and to grow in Him together. If I may therefore, I would like to ask that this early in 2014, you please commit to walking with me on this journey to a higher place.

The Lord spoke a few things to me concerning this year and His declaration was and is that 2014 will be a year of ‘release into super-abundance’ and a year in which we will experience ‘an excellent newness’. He gave me what I have now termed my 3R assurances for a remarkable 2014. His words? ‘Resilience! Relentless! Rest! I would like to encourage you with the things that the Holy Spirit ministered to me regarding each of these words sis.

1.    Resilience: This year, more than ever before, we must cling to God (Deut. 13:4 amp). There is a clear call for us to walk this year in total submission and reliance on God, and to have His Spirit order our every step. God has assured me that He has great things in store in this year. He has said that some of the things ahead of His faithful ones are very weighty, heavy things; but we are more than able because His strength is available to us in our weakness. He has said that resilience is the key. As long as we press in, stay on the course and refuse to back-track, then this will be a victorious year for us and ours.

2.   Relentless: God said He would speak to His children more than ever in this year. This for me is truly great news, nothing I love like hearing the voice of God. However, He also instructs that we must be ready to obey even the strangest of His commands because all lead to the fulfillment of purpose. He said clearly that we should not struggle with His instructions this year. And you know sis that God’s constant call is for us to be swift to obey right? Being willing to obey and then promptly doing the things the Lord speaks to us is not always easy. Sometimes, it takes everything that is in us to be obedient doesn’t it? When He tells us in advance therefore that He will ask of us some things which appear strange, it strikes me that only the hiding of this revelation of an excellent newness in our hearts and a shifting in our perspectives in order to leave ourselves open to the super-abundance that He has declared can help us do this successfully. God is calling on you and I to stay focused sis. We must be relentless about being in His will, and doing His will. This is not a year that we can afford to be casual in the things of God. Please hear this clearly with the ears of your spirit, and hide this truth deep in your inner man!

3.  Rest: When we cling resolutely to God; when we are relentless about our prompt obedience to His will; we will find ourselves always in the right place and position before God - a place that is in accordance with His express purpose; a place where He magnifies our every effort and causes us to rejoice at everything we set our hands to (because the things we do will be according to His will) …and in this place, God’s rest is always available to us. Sis, the place of rest is the place of God’s choosing. Once we are leaving our choices up to our minds/ wills/emotions/intellect, we will always be fretful in our spirits. When we receive God’s rest however, there is an inner calm, quietness in our spirits, an unspoken unshakable conviction that all is well, that the Lord is good and that He will turn everything around for our good. When we are in the place of God’s rest, our homes are more peaceful; our relationships more fulfilling; our challenges less daunting; our spirits are completely awake and fully in tune with our maker; and our communion with Him is at peak. Sis, God assures us of entering His rest this year …if we are resilient, and relentless in Him.

I don’t know if like me you hit some sort of spiritual plateau in 2013. I have shared with you that in the latter part of 2013, the Lord chastised me about having becoming spiritually complacent. And He was so right! I had settled at some point on doing the things I had gotten used to doing. Growth implies an upward trajectory and I could see that I had leveled off. We all need to grow sis, and so even as I minister these revelations to you, I am really speaking them again also into my spirit. As the Lord shared these things to me, I made a fresh commitment to answer His call to that higher ground. Knowing full well that I can’t make it on my own, I have again asked the Lord to help me, to remind me, to chastise me, to encourage me, to lead me, to guide me. As I commit to pressing in, I know that the Lord will take me deeper still in Him. Can I encourage you to make this same commitment today, sis? How about you and I purpose to not just enter, but to dwell steadfastly in the rest of the Lord this year? Sound like a plan, sis? Yep, sounds like a great plan!

The Lord will help us sis. He certainly will!     


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.