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Monday, December 26, 2016

Come Back to Purpose

Hiatus….     /hʌI’ ertəs/

Google definition: “Noun meaning:   a pause or break in continuity in a sequence or activity.”

Synonyms: pause, break, interval, interruption, suspension, intermission, interlude, gap, lacuna, lull, rest, respite, breathing space, time out.

Vocabulary.com definition:A temporary gap, pause, break, or absence can be called a hiatus. When your favorite TV show is on hiatus, it means there are no new episodes – not forever, just for a little while. Even things that go on for a long time take a break once in a while: one kind of break is a hiatus.”

Urbandictionary.com definition:  top definition: A gap or interruption in time or continuity; a break. Eg: ‘my blog will be on hiatus for a while”

I love this last definition and I’m guessing by now that it’s clear why I am starting out today with an English lesson right? Ah yes, my precious sister…. Yours truly has been on hiatus from this platform. I haven’t written a post since July, though I can admit to you that I started three posts in September which I never got to finish. Life’s responsibilities have pulled at me from every side, and it has been the busiest of months for me recently. Over the summer, I had what I thought to be probably the longest, richest, most restful, emotionally and spiritually fulfilling holiday in quite a while. And I so needed it….I really and truly did! Within a couple of weeks after I came home however, I felt like I never actually went on holiday. It was like a whole pile of responsibilities had stood back watching me lounge on vacation, and determined to themselves to move in on me with rapid succession immediately I returned. Such is life, isn’t it? Reality always awaits you…. you may go on holiday, but life doesn’t lol.  

Add to all this the fact that I also moved into a new season of life. My daughter joined her older brothers in Canada, and my once ‘little man’ and baby of the house (who by the way, is over six feet tall now) went off to boarding school; and so I officially became an ‘intermittently  transient empty-nester’. It’s a mouthful, I know…but it’s way better than the alternative and sooner-than-later to be reality of just simply being a complete empty-nester. Did I hear you ask what the difference is, sis? Well for a few years yet, I will still have a full (or almost full) house on vacations. Yyyyaaayyy! In this season for instance, my quiver is full as all my children are home for Christmas, but in a few years… it just won’t be that easy to swing this, will it? Hmm!

I know those who are currently in my position or who’ve been here before and already have an empty nest can relate. If you are laughing at me however because your children are still quite young; if you are yet to have children; or if you are still single… SAVE THIS POST! I can assure you that you will read it with understanding in a few years’ time, and I can promise you that it will happen much sooner than you ever thought.

It’s an interesting phase…coming home to an empty home. There are no messes, order everywhere, and the silence is palpable. I initially spent the first couple of days post-vacation doing some spring cleaning that was honestly way too intense for someone who’d just come back from a long trip a couple of days earlier. I later realized though that it was therapeutic for me as it helped me to recreate my spaces for the next season. Let’s not mention that it also helped me not to focus too much on how lonely I could otherwise have been if I let my emotions hold sway. I had made up my mind to deal this new phase of life with an understanding that while it would take its own period of adjustment, this season also opens me up to do more for God in even more unique ways. I had primed myself mentally for months about this time, but let me tell you that it’s hard, sis. I can’t tell you how many times I walked into the quiet and simply burst into tears. I can’t tell you how many times I went and opened the doors to my children’s room and just stood and stared, not sure exactly if I expected them to magically jump out of their closets and yell ‘surprise’, but nonetheless feeling a sense of closeness to them just by being in the spaces they would otherwise occupy if they were physically present. It’s gotten much better with time, but I am still constantly talking to myself – reassuring myself that this is my best season yet, that I can handle it, that I will be just fine, that I will not be overwhelmed by the loneliness; but will rather use this season to pour more of myself into others that need a touch from God through me.

This is one of the things that I want to speak into your spirit today, sis….. the fact that it’s your choice how you embrace the ebbs and flows, tides and turns of the seasons of your life. If you more readily embrace the season, determining to make the right choices – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, regardless of how difficult it can get - you will ultimately thrive in it. Each new season comes with some adjustments, but embrace each of them! Sometimes you will be strong and sometimes you will be weak… either position is okay as long as you keep God in the midst of it, and trust Him to help you through daily. If you don’t embrace your seasons however, you will find yourself wallowing in depression sooner than later… the irony being that depression doesn’t reduce the length of the season (but it sure compounds the intensity). Life will happen regardless! Better to be in acceptance and embrace mode, I assure you sis!

This morning I found myself remembering that day when we dropped my daughter off at school. Hot silent tears were streamed down my face as we drove away. This was her first time away from home and it was hard knowing I wouldn’t have my ‘twinnie-me’ around for a while. I tried to remind myself that she was going to be away because she was moving forward in life, which is a great thing. But honestly, I really needed encouragement from the Lord so I took a deep breath and looked up towards the heavens, a silent prayer of help on my lips. As I looked up, I saw the moon. Only about a third of it was visible. Something about it held my attention however and as I stared at it, the Holy Spirit ministered to me. He said to me that while on the face of it, it appeared that darkness covered two-third of the moon, there was still a brilliant light behind that apparent darkness nonetheless. He said to me that even darkness has purpose, and it is important in dark times to remember that the light is always there and that it would unfold and become visible in its fullness in its due season. Wow! Sis, even as I recall this, I still feel the same goosebumps I felt that day. It was as much a relevant word in that season as it is today. Go read Genesis 1 verses 14 to 18, sis. I pray God will clarify this for you in His own unique way.

And this brings me back to ‘Hiatus’, the word I started with today. Sis, there will be those seasons in our lives when it looks like the darkness is taking over. The darkness can manifest through a myriad of problems - illness, frustrations, financial lack, relationship issues, work issues, confusion, depression, false accusation, intimidation, and so on. Many times the darkness may involve a combination of many issues at the same time. Many times, the darkness would seem to have covered almost two-thirds of your life and it may be taking everything you have to keep your eyes on the bright spots in your life. The ‘darkness’ is not always a bad thing though, and I need to clarify that. Sometimes, darkness is just a lot of busyness and activities that overwhelm you, try to tire you out, and ultimately steal your joy. Regardless of its source or form, darkness is designed to create distractions from your core assignments; designed to keep you from manifesting God’s best as He has purposed for you to walk in during your time here on earth. Darkness creates frustrations and a lack of fulfillment that comes from your knowing there is so much more that your life can and should yield, but which you are unable to think, to see, to touch, or make time for.

Sis, darkness can put you in hiatus mode, as it did me. My darkness has been unprecedented busyness compounded by some other challenges here and there, situations I have had to manage, assumed-rested battles that resurfaced. But you know what? When the vicissitudes of life put you in hiatus mode for a while, you have to remind yourself constantly that hiatus is not your default mode. You were designed for impact, for influence, for productivity, for fruitfulness! You were brought forth to deliver specific assignments to the world, and you should not ultimately leave this earth with anything you should have delivered to it while you are here. You have to keep your eyes focused on God from Whom your help comes, to draw strength from Him and let His light dispel the darkness in the way He alone knows how.  

This is what I chose to do, sis. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this platform is part of my assignment from God for this season of my life. I knew I couldn’t deal with the growing lack of fulfillment I have felt for so long in my time of absence. And so I had to choose to focus on the light which for me has been all the past testimonies from people who have been blessed by my posts and the books that have come out of this platform. The light for me was God’s constant reminder of my commitment to be resilient in this assignment, the promise to myself to always come back no matter how long I have been away. You know sis, I made the excuse for myself for quite a while that I was perhaps suffering from writers block. But I realized a couple of days ago that an excuse was all it was. In reality, I had allowed the darkness to hold sway. I had started to allow myself think like the darkness wanted me to – that I don’t have time to write, that I wasn’t even sure anymore what I wanted to blog about, that I wasn’t certain I had a message that was relevant in this season, that my audience has probably moved on anyway, etc etc etc. no wonder I found myself drawing a total blank each time I as much as thought to sit down and make this happen. Following from this realization though, I made a commitment to myself yesterday that I would focus on the light – and the light is an understanding that I this post is not about me writing for writing sake; no, it is about God’s call on my life. And my heart’s desire sis, is to fulfill that call.

The light is about the number of people who have asked why I haven’t written anything for a while because they were always blessed by my posts. The light is about the fact that you are reading this today, and I know God will use this to also bring a commitment on your part to look past whatever is stifling or causing His assignments in your life to stagnate, and make you determine to start again. The light is about me yielding myself afresh to doing what I know will deliver glory to God, and making a fresh commitment to intentionally create time going forward to deliver on my Kingdom assignments, regardless of the things that would otherwise pose as distractions to my ability to do so. The light I choose to focus on, is the understanding that life will pull at me from different directions, and it will sometimes try to get me to bow my head, but I will keep looking up to the hills and know that I am already helped and that indeed I can do all things through Christ; and that my desire is to do the will of Him Who sent me to this earth. The light is about me being intentional about not wasting heaven’s investment in me!

Sis, please check your own space and ask yourself where you have been on a hiatus, and where you need to step back into what you know God would have you do. Look at the things that are covering your assignment, and then speak to God about it, sis. Ask Him to help you refocus on the light so that you can not only do His will, but also live a more fruitful and fulfilling life in the process. I don’t want to go on. This post is long enough as it is. But please don’t let today end without coming back as I have to the place of intentionality of purpose. You can never be truly happy until you walk your way back there, sis. I can tell you this for free from experience. God has something great He has purposed to birth through your life and daily walk with Him…and you already know this. Come back, sis. Enough with the hiatus! Vacation season is over! Come back to delivering on destiny! The Lord will help you sis, even as He has surely helped and will keep helping me.

Be blessed sis…. For you surely are!

Here's wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Positioned to Bring Forth ....1

I have known since I had the experience of the 2016 edition of the Return of The Helper (ROTH) conference that I needed to share some of my key takeaway’s with you. However, I have had to spend quite some time chewing on them myself. It’s strong meat… I assure you! I honestly wish I could have had every woman (and man, quite frankly) that I know in the conference arena that oh-so-significant 16th day of July 2016. Heaven came down and touched each of us in that space, it surely did! God had already made clear to ROTH convener – my sista, friend and accountability partner Bidemi Mark-Mordi (www.bidemimarkmordi.com) that He was going to do an awesome work at ROTH this year. My own spirit was agitated for weeks in an expectancy that belied any form of logic or reasoning. I have been a part of ROTH for several years now, but somehow I just felt this one would be explosive, and it sure was. From the depth of my heart, I urge you to reach out to Bidemi (email bidemi@bidemimarkmordi.com) and get a copy of the CD’s or DVD’s from ROTH. It would be very hard to describe just how much of a blessing that conference was, but I know that Heaven pushed back on my account at ROTH. I know that the atmosphere of my life shifted. I know that something was birthed anew and afresh in me, and I am walking in excitement at the manifestation that is certainly already unfolding.

This year’s ROTH was themed, ‘The Birthing Stool’. The Spirit of God descended so heavily in word and deed that you could see people in what looked like physical labor. Some of the testimonies that have since abounded would almost be scary, if I wasn’t in the room and if I wasn’t witness to what was an epic move of God. We had four ministers whom only God Himself could have picked, and through whom He released His word mightily. Ah yes, but my Father did an amazing work through Coach Anna McCoy, Pst. Mayokun Oreofe, Dr. Linda Wallace and our very own Sister B (Bidemi Mark-Mordi). I am only able to share a few of the several notes I , otherwise this post will be over ten thousand words long. Plus, no matter how I tried, I wouldn’t be able to do justice to the messages the Lord released through these great ministers anyway. I will be sharing the nuggets as a series, just so you can meditate on each post and allow the Lord unfold and minister it to you in His own way. Stay with me okay. Today, I start with the session with my coach, sister and friend, an amazing daughter of the Most High God, Coach Anna McCoy.

Coach asked a question which I believe is or should be on the heart of every one of us. She asked, ‘What will make the world a better place because you are in it?’ Have you ever taken time out to think about this, sis? I have! And it is this question that brought me in to a space where I purposed to die empty. I’m sure you know by now that my personal mission is ‘To add value to the lives of everyone I meet in a tangible and sustainable manner’. Dying empty is for me an aspiration to deploy every gift/talent/ability the Lord has put in me towards making the lives of His children richer and more fulfilling. It’s a mandate for me not to go back to my Maker with anything He has seeded in me and which He requires me to birth and nurture into maturity on this side of eternity. I have understood that the entire world may never know me, but there will and must be generations that will be blessed because I exist, and that will call themselves blessed because they came across me physically or otherwise. This is a tough call, sis. It’s tough because it makes no room for complacency. The world the Lord has given you MUST be better because you are in it. And yo know what the Holy Spirit just ministered to me? He said, ‘Better is not a destination. It is a continuous journey of growth.’ Wow! That is so incredibly spot on, sis …for if we ever assume we have arrived at ‘best’, we will settle ….and you can never die empty if you settle, sis. You simply can’t!

Coach Anna ministered through three phases of the birthing process – Labor, Active Labor, and Birthing. She reminded us that we each carry something, that we are all pregnant with purpose and potential. She reminded us that as we get closer to labor, the more the pressure increases. And she admonished us, ‘Don't ignore the pressure’. The pressure is part of the process, sis. We need to stare it in the face and embrace it as part of building the muscles we need to bring forth. Jesus told us that we would go through trials and troubles, but He assured us that He would be with us in the process. Look at the pressures in your life right now with a fresh set of spiritual eyes, sis. Embrace them and then ask God to show you that which He purposes to bring forth through whatever season of difficulty you are in.

Coach Anna said, ‘God wants you to stop pretending with Him!’  He is not looking for the super spiritual, I’ve-got-it-all-covered Christian. No! He is looking for those who will be real about their weaknesses, and in the place of that weakness, submit to His strength. God cannot work with who you pretend to be, sis. He can’t! You know, even for someone who does her best to be authentic, someone who is not afraid to show her weaknesses, this was still a challenging charge for me and I found myself on my knees asking God to show me any areas where I have been a pretender with Him or with those whom He has put around me, and to give me the grace and strength to come back to the place of authentic me by His design. Can I encourage you to pray this same prayer, sis? You can only bring forth in authenticity with God!

Coach Anna reminded us that while you are in labor, it is important for you to hydrate. And from a spiritual perspective, when the word of God speaks of Water, it is a reference to the Holy Spirit. Sis, you and I need more of the Holy Spirit! Indeed, we will need more of Him continually and in increasing measure if we are to bring forth. I don’t know where your relationship with the Person of the Holy Spirit is right now, but I can assure you that when you ask for more of Him, He will come and He will fill you. If you would push back on logic and reasoning, and allow Him full access, your spiritual life will never again be the same and your physical life will manifest in greater measure, downloads from Heaven that He will continue to flow in, through and out of you. Make room for Him, sis! Position yourself to host the Holy Spirit. And don’t worry, I can assure you from personal experience that even when we sometimes fail and grieve Him, He is forever and always willing to forgive and continue to indwell in us as long as we repent and turn back to Him. We are the ones who push away from Him you know. He never moves! He is forever stoic and stable, ever-loving, forgiving, freely dispensing of the goodness that is His innate nature. Hydrate, sis! Hydrate!

As Coach progressed into the phase of active labor, she reminded us the invisible is at work at this stage. As you get closer to birthing, internal changes begin to happen with intensity. There is stretching, and there are things that need to move out of their original alignment in order to make room for you to bring forth. She said that the active labor phase is a time to surrender. It is a time when you come face to face with the reality that the birthing process is a breaking process; a time when you yield to every pain and discomfort with an understanding that ‘greater’ is going to come forth at the end of it all. She reminded us that God – in the grandness of His design, has made our bodies with the capacity to return YET AGAIN. Therefore, we must stay calm during active labor and go with the ebbs and flows, recognizing that many things must necessarily shift if we are to bring forth.

Coach Anna reminded us that delivery requires discipline; that even in your worst pain you cannot afford to lose sight of the essence of the pain, and of the anticipated end which is to hold your ‘baby, your purpose, the fruits of your life’s assignments, in your hands. She said to us that on the journey of purpose, we must remind ourselves through the pain that ‘It can only come through ME! No one else can take my place on the delivery bed’. I thought that was pretty profound. You see sis, in the journey of delivering on all God has put in you to bless the world, there are no surrogates, and there are no adoptions. You must go through because just as He created you ‘uniquely you’, so also is your purpose and process uniquely yours. You will have midwives and destiny helper’s yes, but you must go through… so embrace active labor. I speak over your life and declare that as you do, you will surely bring forth in Jesus name.

Lastly, Coach spoke about the birthing process. This she said was a transition phase, a time when things are opening and collapsing at the same time. And that can be very confusing, sis. It can! It is a time when the pain is most intense, and yet it is the time that calls for the most focus in the process of bringing forth. It is the time when that which is within you begins to propel itself forward, to twist and turn in order to come fully into alignment with its manifestation to the world. And this is a time when you must be attentive to instructions more than ever before. This is a time when you must realize that obedience is key in order not to truncate or damage your purpose.  She said, the birthing process involves a crowning moment, and you must be attentive and fully yielded to the instructions of those that God will have positioned to help you bring forth safely.

Remember that when a baby’s head can be seen pushing against the opening of the birth canal, the baby is said to have ‘crowned’. Well, Coach Anna reminded us that each of us was crowned when we came into the world. She said that at the transitional moment of bringing forth on the gifts/talents/abilities God put in us, what is actually playing out is our crowning victory – which is to give back to God what He already gave to us… GLORY! I burst into tears when I heard this, sis. Don’t ask me why, but I just did. You see, my hearts cry is for my life to bring glory to God always. More than anything else, the idea that He is pleased with my every day is what keeps me going from day to day. My last conscious thought at night, and one of my first thoughts every morning is that I do not know if the day past/yet ahead will be my last. And so, my constant prayer is that my life might be daily pleasing to Him. Maybe that’s why I cried, sis… my silent prayer that my life might be a testimonial of many crowning moments that deliver glory to a God I adore so much. Can you relate? Hmm!

Coach Anna  then reminded us that a time will come when you are fully dilated, and that this is a time of complete surrender; a time to drop your head, pull your chin into your chest, and bear down. She said the dropping of the head, is a process of allowing your head collapse in all your ‘knowing’, in all your ‘intelligence’. It is a time to surrender and allow God to crown you, a time to listen to what the Spirit says. It is a time when everything in you will tell you to push, but sis…. you cannot push unless God tells you to push. It is a time that you understand that ‘PUSH’ is in your DNA, but your DNA is under the authority of God and He alone knows your best “when’. And when He gives you the word ‘NOW’, you will know to bear down with all of your might, sis. You will know to ignore everything else around you, and push with everything in you.

You are pregnant with purpose, sis. You are pregnant with destiny. You are pregnant with blessings that are crying to break forth and manifest on the earth. But you know this right? Yes, of course you do! That is why you are always looking for that something else to fill that void you can’t pretend doesn’t exist. That is why despite your busyness, your position, your resources, your family, etc….your heart pines quietly for fulfillment, for completion. The ‘more’ in you is desperately trying to break forth, sis. So yes, pregnant you certainly are!

My questions to you today however are, ‘Are you in labor, active labor, or in the birthing transition? Can you allow the Holy Spirit interpret the things He ministered through Coach Anna McCoy, which I barely scratched the surface of in this post, directly to you in a way that is just right for your season?’ I don’t know at what pace you have read through up to this point, but I implore you to stop, take a deep breath, exhale slowly and then send up a word to our Father to explain this to you again Himself and make this word flesh in your unique situation. Can you ask Him to show you and teach you Himself? And when you are done praying, read again slowly – pausing as you are led to allow the Holy Spirit speak to you directly.

I will leave you with this today sis, and I will be back shortly with other nuggets from ROTH 2016. One thing I know, God is moving in the lives of His daughters. However, only those who connect and remain attentive to His word in this season will partake of that move. Please don’t be left out, sis. Position yourself to bring forth, and trust the Lord with the process. I know that more than anything else, He longs to be good to you continually and in greater measure, as surely as He is always good to me. You will deliver glory to our Father, sis… in Jesus mighty name, amen.

Be blessed sis…. For you surely are!


- 

Friday, July 1, 2016

You will surely get it!

Brexit!

That’s the word on the lips of the world now. And rightly so! Its ramifications for the global economy are yet to begin to play out fully, but they are bad enough already. Indeed, I was saying to a friend yesterday that it’s all a bit much – by which I meant that if you are paying attention to what is going on in the world, too many things of quantum significance are happening at the same time. From natural disasters, to terrorism, to the crash in oil prices, to this… to that, and now to Brexit! The question on everyone’s minds now ought to be ‘what next?’ …for surely, many ‘what next’ situations are yet up ahead. These are the end time’s people! And it is irrelevant if the end times last ten years or a hundred. In the scheme of things and from the eternity perspective, it’s irrelevant. All that matters is that we are prepared for the end.

I am not about to launch into an economic expose about the Brexit debacle, but it provides the Launchpad from which I will be sharing with you today. Actually, what got me thinking about Brexit was the fact that I find myself at the airport, all checked in, a whole two hours too early for a local flight. Thankfully my children whom I am travelling with both came with their laptops and so beyond the initial ‘So why did you make us leave so early, mum?’ I have not heard a peep out of them so far, lol.  What has my arriving early got to do with Brexit? I will explain. Just give me a couple of minutes to laugh at myself again, lol.

Any way…. I was supposed to have been on the 7am flight this morning but somehow or the other, by the time I gave my secretary the go-ahead to confirm the tickets, that flight was fully booked so we had to reschedule. I was very intent on not finding myself spending three hours in the proverbial Friday rush hour traffic however, so I made up my mind to leave really early. What I didn’t think through was what would happen if my traffic projections didn’t hold. So I harassed my children into packing and left home this morning with very stern warnings about their making sure they were ready to leave the minute the driver arrived to pick them up. Darling children that they are, they complied (like they had a choice, lol).

They were in my office at 1pm prompt, but it turned out that the lady making the dress my daughter would wear at the wedding we were travelling for arrived at the house after they had departed. We therefore still had to wait for her to get to my office. I remember the strange look she gave me when I repeated emphatically that she must arrive before noon. That was probably the Holy Spirit asking me what I was thinking, lol. Well, much as I had told her the children would leave home at noon, I’m guessing she had it figured that this was too early for people trying to catch a local 5pm flight and so rather arrived at 1pm.  Well, we finally left for the airport at about 1.40pm.  And what do you know? The road was so free that it might as well have been a very early Saturday morning. We arrived at the airport at 2.40pm and despite my best efforts to drag my feet, the check in counter was free and we were all done and settled in the waiting room at 3pm. Sigh! Where am I going with all this? Please be patient with me, my friend.

As I sat for the first few minutes trying to figure how best to make use of time which I knew would NOT pass very quickly if all I did was count the minutes, the British Prime Minister David Cameron came to mind. I burst out laughing as the popular cliché, ‘Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it’ also then came to my mind. Are you familiar with this expression, sis?

We all know, as he readily admitted, that PM Cameron didn’t wish for or conceive that Brexit would go through. Indeed he was so sure it wouldn’t that he clearly didn’t make room for what the implications of an ‘exit’ vote would be. If he did, he might quietly have gone on with the business of the day for yet a while longer, or perhaps he would have adopted a different engagement level and strategy that would have shifted the vote in favor of a ‘stay’. But like I said, this is not about global politicking and economics. It’s just that we have to sometimes question the things we press forward towards, because when we do get them, there are oftentimes many other unforeseen implications and/or complications that we then have to deal with or live with. The British PM finds himself having to resign his position…which was not part of the plan; and yours truly… for all my unwarranted hustle and bustle, now find myself with seemingly unending time to kill in an airport waiting lounge. And you know what? As VIP as the lounge I am currently sitting in is or may get, an airport lounge is exactly ultimately just a lounge and not the most comfortable place to be. Thankfully though, the Lord has helped me redeem this time, and rather used is to give me a message for you and I, sis. Praise the Lord!

Ask yourself a few questions, sis. What are you asking for that is consuming your time, thoughts, prayer life - without a corresponding question to God as to whether that is His will for you? What are you desperately pressing forward with, despite signs and counsels for you to ease up a bit? What are you seriously trying to orchestrate because it seems to fit into some picture of an outcome that you desire for yourself? What are you putting everyone around you under pressure for because you have already framed what the outcome you think you need or desire is?

Do you know what happened in my case? Well, apparently there are some major church conventions happening this weekend all along the same axes on the major expressway into and out of Lagos. As a result, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) had been proactively sending out bulletins, emails, tweets, jingles, etc advising people to take the alternative routes which they also very graciously proposed in order to minimize the anticipated traffic gridlocks. And apparently, everyone - save for myself, had seen those announcements. So as I was busy moving my earth to make sure I didn’t get stuck in traffic, they had gone ahead to prime the people who would have constituted my traffic, to have them take alternative routes.

Methinks if I had paid more attention to the prompting’s of the Holy Spirit, I might not have been in such a hurry. And how like God the actions of the FRSC were. I mean, think about it sis… isn’t this how God goes ahead to make a way for us where there seems to be no way? Isn’t this how, when we are busy doing our best to help Him get the results we desire, He is busy working behind the scenes and around us, trying to resolve the things we think are in our way. Isn’t this like Him to have thought out the things that are for our good well ahead of us?...to have caused people to change their plans to accommodate what His ultimate purpose for us is? Isn’t it like our amazing father to go ahead of us and make crooked path straights? But when, as I was, we are so focused on smoothening those paths ourselves, we miss the signs that He has already finished what we are trying to start, don’t we sis?

Hmm!

I can almost see the wheels turning in your head sis. And I can so relate. You see, among the best of us, we do this every so often – my very self included (Just so this doesn’t sound like a first for me. Far from it, lol). The best part however - and this is what I want to leave you with, is that the very self-same loving and gracious Father God that we serve does not condemn us when we run ahead of Him. He just smiles and shakes His head and immediately instigates a course-redirect. Yes sis, He knows how to extract the treasure in the muck. Ever before we come to the place of acknowledging that we miscalculated, He begins to orchestrate things such as to still bring glory to Him – if we would hear, and if we would yield. And I can say this comfortably and confidently because even in my over-extended airport wait, He dropped an expression in my spirit that then had me pull out my laptop and begin this post, right?  

So sis, this is God using what was my miscalculation to redirect me to one of my assignments that I have otherwise allowed busyness to make me neglect. And I believe I haven’t just written an article for writing sake. No! What has happened is that I have yielded myself to allow the Holy Spirit minister through me to me, and to you. But as you read, there is a next step sis. What God now needs you and I to do is to introspect, sis. God needs you and I to reflect on our lives and the things which we currently are allowing to constitute pressure points in our lives. He is asking that we reconsider the things we are asking, praying, believing, and over-extending for; and He is reminding us that He is in control and will work things out in His own time and way. He is demanding that we reexamine where we are unduly exerting pressure on ourselves, for we might just get what we are asking for…but if those things don’t fit into His own picture, we will end up in regret.

Sis, He is however also asking that we be at peace concerning any mistakes we may have made as a result of our anxieties, and He is assuring us that He is more than able to bring beauty out of the ashes of our mistakes. But He wants us to grow sis, so He is asking for an increased measure of intentionality about letting Him captain the ship that is our daily lives, and steer us aright continually. He is reminding us to get up each time we fall sis, for His everlasting arms are ever around us, ready to catch, to help, and to uphold us.

More than anything else, He is saying that the only thing we need to press into is Him. He is saying that as long as we are pressing towards His presence, seeking His face, His will, His way and His glory… then it means our hearts are asking for the right things. And once we are asking for the right things, we will get them sis. As long as our every effort is diligently directed towards entering His rest and giving Him glory, we may just….no, scratch that… we will surely get these. That is His word isn’t it, ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and every other things will be added unto you’? It sure is sis. It sure is.

Personally, I am grateful to God for loving me enough to constantly be my Help and Guide. His same help and loving guidance is always and ever yours too sis. It is with this confidence that I assure you that God will never give up on you, even as He never gives up on me. There is no need to be careful what you pray for when you pray for more of God – more of His presence, more of His will, more of His way, more of His glory. In the end, we will get it sis… that heavenly crown of glory for all eternity? We will get it in Jesus name, amen.

Be blessed sis…. For you surely are!










Saturday, June 4, 2016

EVERYDAY THANKFUL

 I’m trying not to cry! Really, I am!

But perhaps I should first confess that I already wept my eyes out this morning. What I am trying to do now is to stem the tide of tears. I’m not sure it’s working cos my tears seem to have taken on a life of their own, so let me ask your pardon in advance for any typos, or if at times I appear to ramble. I’m trying to focus sis. I really am! It’s just that every new message that comes in on my phone or via various social media platforms set me off again.

I’m not sad though sis, no! Not by any means whatsoever! Indeed, I can’t stem the tears because I can’t stop marveling at God’s faithfulness in my life. I can’t help but wonder afresh why He loves me this much. I can’t help but look at my sins, my countless failings and falling's, and wonder why my Father has chosen to love me this much and to manifest this love in the ways that He does.

Sis, today is the 4th of June 2016. If you have followed me long enough on this blog, you will know that today holds a double-barreled blessing for me. Today, my first son turns 20! Such an amazing young man! I was thinking earlier today about how beautiful and peaceful he looked when he was first placed in my arms. I was thinking about the incredible joy that burst forth when he opened his eyes and looked at me for the very first time…. How he held my finger and squeezed it ever so softly as if to say ‘I’m here mama. I love you'. I was thinking about how he looked almost into my soul it seemed, as I breastfed him in those early months, like I was his entire world. I was thinking about his younger years… always a ready smile, so easy going, friendly to everyone, kind and caring even then, always a joy to my soul.

I’ve been thinking how his smile has never failed in all these years…. how his ‘I love you Mamz’ still makes my heart melt. I call him ‘My Bodyguard’ because we are so in tune with each other’s feelings that it is almost scary sometimes; because He always makes sure to walk behind or beside me to make sure I’m okay. His traditional name means ‘The peace of God’ and I can tell you that he has been such a peaceful young man. He has been such an example to his younger ones.., so respectful, responsible, and such a blessing to all who know him. Ah sis, I could go on but I won’t. Suffice it to say that as I’ve been thinking about the fine young man God has helped him become, and as I’ve reflected on the first 20 years of his life, I’ve cried deep heartfelt tears of gratitude to God.

Today also, my first ever company marks 22 years of operations. This is a company that God Himself birthed… that God Himself has upheld all these years. In reflecting on the past 22 years, I couldn’t help but think how lost we would have been were it not for the grace of God, for His leading, for His direction, for His creating opportunities for us. I think of all the great people He has resourced us with as staff or business partners over the years. Simply amazing!

Sis, I’ve been thinking of how many times God decided to qualify us even where men tried to insist we were unqualified. I can’t help but recall how He has distinguished our businesses in their industry… of awards and recognition's received, made all the more precious because they were completely unsolicited.  I’ve been thinking about how He positioned us as giants even at those times when we were literally like grasshoppers in our own eyes. I’ve been thinking of corporate battles He fought for us Himself. He has kept us through the strangest of internal and external storms, some of which we didn’t even recognize had the potential to derail us until they had blown over. And sis, I can’t help but think about the current storms in our industry and how in His own way, He is covering us. We are in our very own ‘darkness in Egypt but light in Goshen’ experience and this can only be because of the mercies of God. How can I not be grateful, sis? And why should I even try to stem these tears?

Please praise the Lord with me, sis. Please do! Just take a couple of minutes and bless Him with me. He is no respecter of persons so as my testimonies are, so (and indeed greater) shall yours be, in Jesus name, amen.

I have been away for a while so beyond the two big things I am celebrating today there are the many testimonies in between. But let me assure you too that there have been the many challenges too, sis. Oh boy! Have I been assailed from various quarters in recent weeks, or what? I won’t go into details. The world does not need another epistle to the Corinthians and neither do you I’m sure. Rather, I want to share a couple of things with you and land my message today with an invitation to you to join me on the podium on which I have elected to stand….the podium of ‘EVERYDAY THANKFUL’.

I know I have said before on this blog that we need to come to the point where we are thankful for the problems we have and the challenges we face, sis. Does that sound strange? Think about it sis. Embrace your challenges and be thankful for them. I heard Bishop David Grier say recently that you can’t run away from Goliath and yet slay him. So apt! And you know, the only way to appreciate principle is to turn your mind a bit to the problems and challenges you DON”T HAVE! If you do this often enough, you will understand where I am coming from.

Truth is and will always be that no matter what we contend with in our individual lives, there are countless others who are contending with so much more. Some struggle with the same kinds of challenges we have, but they have other complications in addition. Some other people have challenges which don’t look like ours in any way, but if we were asked to swap our lives with theirs our answers would be a resounding No!  I was speaking with my younger sister a few days back and we were reflecting on a development in our extended family concerning someone I have been of help to time and again over the past twenty years, but who always came back to hurt me and put to question my good intentions. We were reviewing the rather expensive interventions I have chosen to carry time and again on their behalf, and trying to understand then why I always ended up at the receiving end of their bad behavior. Go figure! Anyway, I ended the conversation by saying that I have refused to allow the ingratitude of others steal from the essence of who God has called me to be as a helper and encourager, but wow is it sometimes so painful, sis.

It didn’t take long for us to find ourselves discussing other challenges that we all are struggling with in our individual lives, ending with a prayer as always for God to meet each of us at our points of need. As I signed off, I reminded my sister of this very same thing… that in so far as we have quite an interesting array of challenges we all deal with, we had best be grateful for the problems we don’t have. Her response was, ‘Amen to that, sis’. God is always in the mix, sis. All He needs is for us to adopt the right perspectives so that when we open our eyes, we really ‘see’.

There is a reason why we have Ephesians 5:20, Thessalonians 5:18, Philippians 4:6 among other Scriptures on thankfulness, sis. God foreknew that a part of our earthly life would involve ‘going through’. And He understood (because He knows all things) that our ‘going throughs’ wouldn’t always be a good experience. For Him to have then asked us to give thanks always means that there is a fundamental principle and power behind a heart that is everyday thankful. Thankfulness is worship, sis! It is! Thankfulness is an open acknowledgement that the God we serve is bigger than any trial we many face. Thankfulness is an expression of our confidence in God. It is us saying, ‘I’m dealing with this but God, I know You are in control and You are more than able to bring me out victoriously once again’.
Thankfulness is me looking at all the challenges in my industry now and how it is affecting my business, yet thanking God for how else it has not affected us. Thankfulness is me looking at some of the internal issues we are contending with as a business, yet seeing the hand of God in each situation. I had to let go of a staff recently for instance. That is never an easy thing to do. Yet, somehow I knew I needed to take a tough stand and stick with the decision despite appeals from others to give the staff a couple more months to improve. I had prayed and had peace about this decision though, and I thanked God in advance for the strength to carry through. I thanked Him for the gap He would help us fill. I thanked Him for restoring any losses that may occur out of me taking this action, and then I did what I needed to do. A few days later, I found out the staff had been trying to defraud the company, and I thanked God again for His perfect timing even and for coming through for me even when I didn’t know my business was under an internal attack.
Thankfulness is me looking at the ingratitude of the family member I spoke about earlier, yet recognizing that I’ve been graced to have had enough to give at every point in time. Even in those seasons where my giving was made very sacrificially, everyday thankfulness means that I was and always am grateful that I God positioned me as the giver and not as the one standing at the receiving end. Thankfulness means I also then see how in those times when I gave my all to bless another, I actually never lacked. God was repaying me in greater measure through a peaceful loving home, a successful business, health in my family, etc. Sis, thankfulness is recognizing that you didn’t have a great day… but you are alive and well enough to even analyze whether a day went well or not. The dead are dead… there is no analysis after the fact. At least not on this side of eternity!
Everyday thankfulness is you understanding that you can read your bible because you have eyes, or because you can afford glasses and the services of your optician/optometrist. Everyday thankfulness is understanding that you can read your Bible because you can sit down, because you have a roof over your head, because you have hands to flip the pages, because you can afford the cup of coffee you like to read as you meditate on the word….. because your mind works! Everyday thankfulness is you recognizing that you can sing praise and worship songs because your ears work, your mind works, your mouth works, your voice works, etc. Simply put sis, everyday thankfulness is you recognizing that you go through… because you ARE!
Everyday thankfulness is recognizing that you have failed once again, but you at least have the opportunity to receive mercy again, and to try once again. Thankfulness is acknowledging that there is still breath in you, that God is not done with you yet. I could go on but I know you get my drift, sis. I speak often about our coming to the place of living a life of fulfillment. Not a life of perfection no…. a life that is fruitful and day by day fulfilled; a life that we know matters to God and to those in our corner of the earth. Can I suggest to you that learning to be everyday thankful in the big things as well as the little things (or learning to be thankful when it looks as if there is no ‘thing’ be it big or small) is what God considers to be our greatest act of worship. Worship is not about singing songs. It’s not about reading your Bible. It’s not about how often you are in church. No! Worship is everyday thankfulness to your Maker and your Source.  
Sis, everyday thankfulness is a lifestyle that you will CHOOSE to adopt and which you will daily CONTEND to maintain, for certainly other things will contend for your peace on a regular basis.
As I sit here thinking about the many blessings in my life all over again, I realize that I am blessed because I AM! …storms, problems, challenges and all. It is because I AM that I have the privilege to go through them. And I AM because of the greater One that has brought me into existence, and Who has assured me that no matter how hard it seems, He has actually not allowed any trial in my life that He has also not resourced me to be able to carry and overcome. And the best part sis, is that I have a hope and assurance that even after I cease to BE on this earth, I will go home to my Father and enjoy everyday thankfulness in the place of eternal worship in His glorious presence. That alone is more than enough to cry out for joy daily, don’t you think sis?
Think about your life, sis. What are your current struggles? Please make peace with the reality of the fact that you will yet have more struggles on this earth, some even more intense than you face right now. But can you make up your mind to adopt a thankful heart daily? Can you covenant afresh with your heavenly Father that you will set your eyes on Him, and on the problems He will not allow come your way? Can you remind Him that you trust Him? Can you remind yourself that you need to trust Him always, in all things, and through all things? Do you get my drift, sis? Did I ramble on too much? I hope not. All said and done, here is where I want to end this: Sis, can you ask the Holy Spirit to help you be everyday thankful NO MATTER WHAT? I assure you that He will help you sis. As surely as He is helping me!

Be blessed sis… for you surely are!


Thursday, May 5, 2016

This Too Shall Pass

Hey sis! Please indulge me as I first of all give a big big big shout-out to a woman who has been such a blessing to me from the very first day I met her. No, scratch that…. She was a blessing to me waaayyyyy before that; in so far as she is the mother of my awesome brother-in-law Marc, and she is mother/sister/friend to my precious baby sister. I love you Mrs. Diane Johnson aka Momma J.

It was my birthday several weeks back and I had such an outpouring of love from her and countless others. But just a couple of days ago, I received some ‘express’ mail that in the end turned out to be snail mail, and in the package were two absolutely delightful birthday cards from Momma J. And she is so special like that, my second mama! She really is! It wasn’t enough for her to do Facebook posts, etc… no, she brought a personal and very unique touch of love from the depths of her heart.

Tears immediately began to stream down my eyes as I considered how she would have taken her time to drive down to the gift shop. I could see her browsing through various cards, looking for the ones whose wordings would best convey the love she feels for her ‘other daughter’ as she so lovingly calls me. I could see her at her dining table, bent over the cards, taking time to underline and place emphasis on the words and phrases that she needed me to hear truly and deeply as coming straight from her heart. I felt that true love as being from the heart of God, and it was my birthday all over again. So this is me honoring a precious woman who took time to honor me so much. I love you Momma J, truly I do. And I thank you form the bottom of my heart. God Himself hugs you for me momma-mine. He sure does!

That said, and necessarily so, let me get back to the word I have for you today, sis. And that word from God is that ‘This Too Shall Pass!’

I kinda already figured that God was trying to tell me something. What was happening couldn’t have been a series of coincidences. No! It became rather clear to me that I was dealing with ‘Godincidences’ when for four days in a row, everyone I listened to was ministering about Esau and Jacob. From Stephen Furtick, to Joyce Meyer, to Robert Morris, to Leon Fontaine, to At Boshoff, and finally to Bishop TD Jakes…. the message was so essentially the same that it would have been scary if my walk with God hadn’t yet gotten to where He has helped me be today.

Truth be told, I didn’t cotton on to the relevance of this message in my space until yesterday. Stephen Furtick had said, ‘Don’t sacrifice what you want now for what you need in the future’ (Let me encourage you to get his ‘God of Jacob’ also called ‘Death to Selfie’ series. Powerful word!); and when a few minutes later Bishop Jakes gave the charge ‘Don’t make permanent decisions based on temporary situations’ I suddenly saw it clearly. Over the past couple of weeks, I have found myself burdened under the weight of a few situations playing out within my work and extended family. My own inner sanctum has been well protected, praise God; but all around me were existing dependencies that were being compounded by challenges that were creating other dependencies – emotionally, spiritually financially, in and of themselves. It was all a bit much, sis. It was!

As I communed with God during my quiet time a few mornings’ ago, He had reminded me that I needed to stay in His rest in order to fulfill His assignments. I didn’t need to wonder why He reminded me about that, sis. I can tell you that in those few days, my peace had been completely stolen – to the degree that by the day before yesterday, I’d found myself moping around quite a bit, and then randomly bursting into tears every so often (much to consternation of my poor clueless husband). 

As I stood in his embrace yesterday morning, I was grateful that my husband knew well enough that it wasn’t one of those times when he needed to ask me any questions or try to solve a problem for me. He just stood rock solid with his arms around me and my head on his chest. His steady breathing belied what I knew would certainly be his own inner turmoil and feeling of helplessness; and I was grateful because his outward calm was so soothing. I needed that. It was in that space that I began to speak to myself and again allow the Holy Spirit minister peace to my soul. It was in that space that I reminded myself that I am the blessed of the Lord; that I am favored; that I am a privileged daughter of the Most High God. I reminded myself of my many blessings; I reminded myself of my countless testimonies of old, and I assured myself that God would do it again and again.

Sis, in the space of my husband’s stoic embrace, I reminded myself that the situations I was (and am) dealing with been there a while anyway – even if somewhat exacerbated now. I reminded myself that the same God Who has delivered me time and time again would fight for me even in these new battles. And why not? He is jealous over me, isn’t He? He has good plans for me, doesn’t He? He has said He will never leave me nor forsake me, hasn’t He? Has He not kept me and mine in great health, in material wealth, in love, joy and togetherness? Has He not given me a great family, successful business, growing ministries? Has He not shown me the ultimate expression of love – a love that was deep enough to sacrificially call me out of sin and keep me growing in Him? Ah yes sis, as I clung to my husband in the physical, my spirit man clung back tighter to God! I exhaled deeply twice, slowly let go and smiled broadly. I said to my husband ‘I’m good. This too shall pass’. It was a word that came easily from my heart, and I knew as I spoke that God had released those words straight out of His Holy Spirit that is within me.

What has this got to do with Esau and Jacob? Well quite simply sis, I saw that God was reminding me that in the heat of our passions, distresses and travails, when we seem to be buffeted around about by various storms (in Esau’s case, his intense hunger); then we need to be careful not to let go of our birthrights. We need to be careful not to make permanent decisions off of temporary situations. As I sat back and reflected on the things I was (am) struggling with, and the initial sets of thoughts I’d had regarding how best I could sort the issues out, I realized that minus my coming back to the place of resting in God, I would have made some suboptimal decisions, consequences for which I would have had to contend with for ages. I was reminded afresh that none of the situations was or is in my hands, and that operating outside of God’s rest would have amounted to me trying to help Him do what only He actually can in the first place. I realized that minus God, any choices I made would set me up for complications along the line. Thank God for divine interruptions, sis. Thank God indeed!

And you know what? Though I’d retaken my ground at home, as I walked into my office yesterday, I also began to speak out into the atmosphere of that space which I would occupy for a good part of my day, and again declare the blessings of God over my life in that space. I declared the things I needed to be thankful for and I openly rebuked the enemy for his attempt at distracting me. I could literally sense the shift in the atmosphere, sis. Literally! Then in my first meeting of the day, what was supposed to be a thirty minute sit down to talk business turned into a three-hour apostolic session, with intense prayers and prophetic declarations that validated on at least seven different levels, things that God had spoken to me over the past few months. Wow! At the end of the day sis, with a clearer head and heart, and with a resettled spirit, I can tell you that I have practically been floating ever since, a silent sing-song putting a skip in my every step. The irony is that nothing has changed in the physical. The issues are still there, but I am back at rest. I am back to the place of the fullness of knowing with certainty that each of these issues shall yet pass, as my God lives true to His word to contend with everyone or everything that contends against me; as He indeed fills me with a peace that surpasses all understanding; as I again enter my hiding place – in His rest!

What then is my message to you, sis? As the Lord ministered to me, I want you to hear His word for you also,sis. No matter what you are going through, no matter how difficult the situation is, the Lord is asking that you trust Him. He is saying to you that this too shall pass. He is saying that something great is ahead of you, good plans that He laid in store from you from the foundation of the earth – your birthright, sis. Your heavenly birthright is in store for you! He says you should not allow the hunger pangs and pains of the day cause you to sub-optimize your destiny, sis. Don’t make hard choices because you can’t see your way through, sis. Rather, keep your focus up – on Him. Remind yourself of your previous testimonies, sis. And then rest again, trust again, believe again.

Don’t worry that it looks hard, sis. Don’t worry that it looks scary, confusing, frustrating, that it appears to be stagnating. Don’t let the winds blowing from all sides distract you. All eyes on Jesus, sis! Your Father is calling you back into His rest, and into the assurance that He is more than able. Whatever is your current ‘this’, sis…. Please trust that it too shall pass. Count your blessings, sis. It truly does help you see life through God’s perspective and power. Yes, like me you may find yourself weighed down and teary-eyed for a season. But please don’t let that season escalate, sis. Rather, be intentional about your God-focus. Be intentional about finding your past testimonies because He will do it again. This too shall sis! This too shall pass! I trust that the Holy Spirit will help you see this clearly with every attack of the enemy, even as surely as He has and is daily helping me.


Be blessed sis…. For you surely are!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Receive Rest

Welcome to Q2 2016, sis. It is simply amazing for me how quickly we have gotten here. The reality of this hit me more when my husby began to ask questions around what our plans were for the summer. Summer? Already? Hmm! But that is our reality, sis. If we got to April in the blink of an eye, then I can promise you that summer is truly practically already upon us.

Speaking of summer, my first son called to say he planned to stay back and work over the holidays. He has set an audacious financial target for himself and decided to take active steps towards actualizing this. And God has been faithful to honor his desire, as himself - and his younger brother, both got jobs last week. So sis, bless the Lord with me for mature and responsible children. Bless Him with me for His faithfulness and provision. And then bless God with me for hugging me in this season of excitement and gratitude on one hand, and a deep sadness on the other hand that I won’t have my precious seed close to me over those summer weeks as planned.

Growing up is hard to do, sis. It is! At every stage we have to mature into something new and but for the grace of God, our reactions and choices could alter the trajectory of our lives in a significant way. For me, the last few years have been an emptying-of-the nest season. For each child that has ‘left’ home, it has been an emotional and psychological adjustment. Just when it became almost ‘normal’ to have just the two of my four children at home, I am also now faced with the reality of my daughter leaving at the end of this summer. So sis, my countdown on how far the year has gone is also partly because I am bracing myself for another emotional adjustment ahead. Hmm!

As I typed that last sentence, God just ministered something to me. He said He was the One orchestrating my boys’ decisions to stay back and work, because the transition from all children at home for summer to only my last one home in September would be a heavy one for me. He says He will ease me into the next season and help me to carry through. Wow! Thank You Lord. Forever and always You are God! I see it clearly Father, and I am grateful.

Speaking about seasons, I actually started to blog about something God had shared with me concerning the ‘many waters’ we struggle with in our lives, but somehow I find myself drawn to a message I shared at our last Sista Power gathering which was themed ‘Rest & Renewal’. I sense in my spirit that it is a word that will bless someone who needs to be reading it exactly here and now, for a particular season that they currently find themselves in.

I had spoken based on an anchor Scripture in Matthew 11 v 28-30, ‘Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  I had said though that the Message Bible version spoke more to my heart, and it says, ‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Earlier this month - specifically on the 9th of March, God spoke to me during my quiet time and He said to me:  ‘REST & RESILIENCE ARE TWIN SIDES OF YOUR ASSIGNMENT. Don’t forget this! There are challenges ahead that will call for you to be resilient, and yet to constantly and consistently enter into and remain in My REST!’  I thought about this deeply and continue to. God said to me at the beginning of the year that He has ‘graced me to deliver specifics in my latter years’ so I understand that I am on assignment, and I understand that God has something new on hand for me in this season of my life. It is clarity that for me is then key as I move forward in this space, and I needed to understand the ‘rest’ part.

My meditations were kept largely to myself until my sister Bidemi Mark-Mordi informed me that of the theme for our next Sista Power gathering was ‘Rest & Renewal’. Clearly God was and is up to something. God is an intentional God, and He does not waste words. When He speaks it is powerful and it is purposeful. He takes His time to confirm His word, and His word is always fresh manna that feeds us in our different seasons if we choose to avail ourselves of it. I believe this is a Word He needs you to hear in this season, sis. I truly do!

So anyway sis, I had started my session by looking at some definitions of the word ‘Rest’ that made sense to me. Rest was defined as:
-        Peace of mind or spirit (made me think of the peace of God which surpasses all understanding)
-        Something used for support (made me think of God saying He is our stay; the solid rock on which we stand)
-        Free of anxieties (made me think of God’s call for us to cast all our cares on Him)
-        relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs  (made me think of God as our burden bearer)
-        Mental or spiritual calm; tranquility  

As I looked over these definitions, I kept remembering Matthew 11 v 28-30:  ‘I’ll show you how to take a real rest. You’ll recover your life.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  You’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’ Sis, does the expression ‘unforced rhythms of life’ not just give you a sense of the peace that can be? Amazing!

Remember I had said in one of my earlier posts that I had started this year on a hard course as God had me do a study of Revelation? At the end, He said to me that He didn't ask me to do this so that I would be scared, but rather for me to understand the weight of what is coming and the fact that there is much work to be done; and that He has chosen and equipped me for a portion of the work which I must necessarily deliver on. You can imagine sis, that I was very happy when He then asked me to follow this with a study of the Psalms. The Psalms used to be and I guess still is my favorite book in the Bible. Indeed I’d hung out there for many years until God told me I had drunk enough spiritual milk and needed to start eating meat. So, I was glad to go back to the Psalms. I was! 

In a very short time however, I began to see why the Lord would have me in a study of Psalms in this season. It became very clear to me very quickly that one of the central messages of the Psalms is for us to learn the secrets and benefits of resting in God. Almost from the very beginning of the Psalms we see David speaking about enemies, about persecution, about those plotting against him, about difficult situations. Somehow though, we also see that he keeps coming back to the place of making such bold statements as in Psalm 3 where he says in verses 5-6: ‘I will sleep. The Lord sustains me so I will not fear those who have set themselves round about me.’    

In Psalm 4, he acknowledged that he was hemmed in, but that God freed him; that he was in distress, but God enlarged him. He ended by saying that he would not only lie down in peace, but that he would also sleep in peace because the Lord makes him dwell in safety and in confident trust. You and I know that lying down is no guarantee of sleep, and that sleeping is no guarantee of rest, right sis?
In Psalm 5 he started by speaking about crying, groaning and sighing, talking about wickedness and enemies; but ended with declaring that those who trust God sing and shout for joy because He is their covering and defense; because He surrounds them with favor as with a shield.

In Psalm 6, he started with a cry for mercy, because he was weak by his own admission. His body and spirit were exceedingly disturbed and troubled. He was weary with groaning and tears soaking his pillows at night and soaking his couch by day. But he ended in an affirmation that the Lord had heard his cries and had received his prayer. We are not told the problems went away into thin air, no. Rather, what is clear is that he entered into the rest of God despite the problems.

And this goes on and on. Even where the word rest is not specifically mentioned, the Psalms show us that among the best of us there are afflictions we deal with. We have seasons of praise and then the tide turns. But we have so many assurances from the Lord Himself that if we would just enter into His presence, we fight the battle from a different vantage position. Sis, rest is about understanding that God is truly Lord above all, and that in Him we already have every victory. 

In Psalm 16, David acknowledges that the Lord is his Refuge, the One in whom he put all his trust. He is at rest in the confidence of a goodly heritage. He speaks with confidence of a God Who gives him counsel, such that his heart instructs him in the night seasons. He speaks to there being fullness of joy in the presence of God…. Not an absence of problems, a fullness of joy (rest).

As I read this, I was struck by the expression ‘Night seasons’. I thought about the fact that with the goings on in the global Oil & Gas industry and the impacts on various economies, many businesses have been in what looks like a night season for a while. Sis, in some of our homes, personal relationships, health, finances, etc., many of us are in what look like night seasons. And night seasons can be confusing can’t they, sis? They can block visibility, clarity, creativity. In our night seasons, it can be difficult to focus on God’s face. Usually, we start looking for His hand – the short terms fixes, instead of His face (His presence). Yet God is constantly saying and trying to show us that our difficulties do not invalidate His sovereignty! That He is always God and that He is always with us. He is constantly trying to get us to see that it is never pitch dark even in those night seasons. There is always a glimmer of light somewhere, and this glimmer is God saying ‘Be at Rest, I am with you even in and through this’.  

Sis, so many of us are going through diverse difficulties. We are just about midway through the month of April, but many of us already feel like we have lived two lifetimes in 2016. Many of us have found ourselves contending afresh with things we thought were laid to rest, travailing in battles we thought we had already won. Many of us are dealing with hydra-headed demons….a combination of husband, work, business, children and health issues. We are dealing with multi-faceted challenges that make us wonder where to start fighting back. Many of us are already bowed down, cowed, afraid. It’s looking like we can’t handle this – and Q1 just barely ended. Any excitement we entered the New Year with has fast diminished and is now being replaced with anxiety as to what the rest of the year might hold.

Sis, many of us are busy, busy, busy….near overwhelmed actually; and our response has been to pull away from the one thing that we need to overcome in these situations – THE REST THAT GOD FREELY OFFERS! But it ends today, sis! God says, ‘Enough! My offer still stands. ENTER into and ABIDE in MY REST today!’

Do you remember Moses encounter with his father-in-law Jethro in Exodus 18? Well sis, the Lord ministered to me that what was playing out was a type and shadow of God’s principle of REST in the first place. Remember that Moses had sent his wife Ziporah back to her father along with her two sons. Jethro had heard all that God had done for Moses and his people, and how He had brought them out of Egypt. So Jethro took Ziporah and their two sons Gershon and Eliezer back to meet with Moses. Time and length-of-post won’t allow me do justice to this scripture, but please read it for yourself from verses 14 to 24, sis. Let God minister life to you through that Scripture.

Sis, even as Jethro asked Moses, God is asking you, ‘What is this that you are doing?’ He is saying, v18 ‘The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out both yourself and this people with you, for the thing is too heavy for you; you are not able to perform it all by yourself’. God is saying to you as in v19, ‘Listen now to Me; I will counsel you and be with you’.

As Jethro asked Moses to share the burden of judgements with others, God is asking us to let Him share our burdens. He is asking that we assign them to Him because He is more than able to bear our loads. In V23 Jethro said, ‘If you will do this, and God so commands you, you will be able to endure the strain, and all these people also will go to their tents in peace’. Sis, God is calling you to enter into His rest… to do what He is telling you so that the strain of your life will not be too much for you to endure; and indeed, so that those around you also dwell in peace.

God has given us several assurances in His word concerning rest. I love Isaiah 30 v15  ‘For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” It however ends with ‘But you were unwilling’. Sis, don’t be unwilling! God said in Exodus 33 v14, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Can you come back to that place of absolute trust, sis?

When you are in a rested state, then no matter what is going on around you, you have inner peace & clarity of thought; you have the ability to hear the voice of God; a higher level of discernment – to see what isn't visible & hear what isn't said. When you are rested, you more easily live a truly spirit-led life. When you are at rest, people are drawn to you.  There is a constant calmness around you that draws people to you; you become a silent message in yourself. There are of course physical benefits to being in a state of rest – lower blood pressure; less headaches, diabetes, cancers, etc - and quite frankly, even if you are being ravaged by some illness or the other, you are able to elevate your spiritual health over and above that of your physical health when you are in the rest of God. 

Sis, rest positions you to fulfill your assignment! A rested spirit is more useful to God. Simply put therefore, you have to contend for your rest, sis. Your flesh would rather wallow because in the midst of storms, rest is not logical! That is why we can only rest by keeping our eyes on God and His word, in faith and confident trust that He cannot lie. Rest is not casual, sis. It is hard fought for, but well worth it! It involves a continuous choice to renew your mind and keep it renewed – constantly casting down every thought and imagination that tries to exalt itself against the word of God that you are holding on to. 

Sis, God says you must enter rest because He wants to use you to do great things, but He can’t use you maximally where you are now.  He had given me a few questions to ask and a few things to say at Sista Power, and I will again share them on this platform because I believe they could also be for you.
-        God said to ask, ‘Where are your previous testimonies? Have I not done this for you time and again? Why are you fretting?’ 

-        God said I should tell you 'I have given you the gift of tears'. Cry it out! Stop bottling things up. Stop trying to be strong in your own strength! You can’t do this thing by yourself. I am the power that is at work in you. I am the power that avails for you. Cry it out on My Alter. I collect your tears. Cry it out, but when you are done, don't collect your tears back! Leave your burdens at My mercy seat and enter into My rest. If you let me, I will fight your battles for you and you will hold your peace’. 

-        God says to tell you, ‘Rest is of the Spirit, and it is in the heart. You can rest if you stop trying to help Me think things through. Stop trying to figure it out for Me. The time you spend fretting is the time you should spend worshiping, and in My presence so that I can speak to you and give you direction’. He says there is nothing new under the sun. He has fought your battles before and He will yet fight them again. That thing that you think is peculiar to you, is not new to Him. 

Sis, rest is about our faith. You either believe God knows the end from the beginning or you don't. And do you recall that He said that in this life we will have trouble? Don't you know that His word is true? We will have trouble! But we are to rest in the assurance that He will be with us through the fire and through the flood. He said His thoughts towards us are of good and not of evil remember? He said that ALL things (the troubles and all) work together for our good, didn’t He? Come back to the place of the fullness of your faith in Him, sis. Once you and I purpose to maintain that position and conviction, we will find it in ourselves – by the power of the Holy Spirit, to declare to the enemy that no matter how many times he has or will come against us with his darts of doubt; our confession is that IT IS FINISHED!

And as we confess this sis, we will not only lie down in peace, but like David…we will sleep in peace.

Receive rest today, sis! The Holy Spirit will help you, as surely as He has been 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.