Saturday, June 30, 2012

Standing in the Place of Prayer for ’72 Babies - June.

When I got the leading to stand in the place of prayer for those born in 1972, I had no idea where it was leading to. Since then, I have received some feedback which confirmed that we are on track on this and I am sure we will marvel at what God is working out in the lives of those we are praying for. For background information see Standing in the Place of Prayer for 1972 Babies and The Year I Stopped Playing with Dolls posted in May.
It is the last day of the month of June. It is another opportunity to lift up these precious children of God in prayer. Love causes us to pray when a burden is laid upon our hearts even when we don’t know the specific need or the details of the need in the lives of the people we are praying for. We pray by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Paul encouraged pray in the Spirit, be on alert and pray with persistence for all believers (Eph. 6:18).
I pray that the love of God shed abroad in your hearts will compel you to pause for a few minutes and pray for the 1972 Babies listed below and for the many others we don’t know.
Let us pray that
·         There will be a definite move of the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives that will bring about a tremendous sense of the presence of God and revival in their hearts
·         Their decisions will be divinely directed
·         There will be a breakthrough for them in every sphere of their lives where they may be experiencing resistance, limitations and discouragement.
I encourage you to enlist others around you to join us to pray. Do find below names of those born in 1972 shared with me. I ask you also to keep sending the names. I will update the list as new information becomes available.
·         Dotun 
·         Subomi
·         Kemi
·         Bola
·         Folabi
·         Yemisi
·         Gbenga
·         Bola
·         Sarah
·         Tokunbo
·         Mary
·         Funmi
·         Simon
·         Grace
·         Au Huen


·         Taiwo and Kehinde
·         Kayode
·         Rosemary
·         Femi
·         Ehi
·         Erik 

Please share with us the testimony of what God is doing in your life if you are a 1972 or in the life of your 1972 sibling, family and friend in the comments box below and if the Lord has put a specific prayer point in your heart, please share it too. Grace be multiplied to you.
Now, let us pray….

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Power of Little - Part 1

This post is coming later than usual. I apologize to all of you who visited the blog in anticipation of a new post on Wednesday. I was preoccupied with the joyful cares of supporting my son to celebrate his 18th Birthday. Receiving many calls on his behalf from our dear relatives and friends while he was out celebrating with his friends engaged my attention.
In the last post, I shared about the damage caused by little drops of water seeping from our shower. Scrapped and exposed, we were amazed at the extent of the damage on the walls and it is taking more than we anticipated reversing it. I am back at home but we are not out of the woods yet. It appears we have to wait patiently for the plastered wall to dry completely before it can be repainted. Not a pleasant sight to wake up to every morning but I have to grit my teeth and bear it.
Three lessons came out of this experience to illustrate the power of little:
·         Little can move subtly, beneath the surface, under the radar for a long time like a stealth plane and would have caused much damage before it is detected.
·         It spreads. Its impact is far reaching beyond the point where it started.
·         The devastating effect of the power of little takes a long time with much resources—effort, patience and sometimes funds—to reverse.

Little by little but surely, isn’t that how most of us got into credit card debt. I watched on the TV recently, a father who was trying to assist his daughter, a student in the university, to understand how she got into a huge credit card debt. It started with little but unnecessary purchases she made to impress others. Before she knew it, she had a debt of $8,500 which she could not repay. I am sure a lot of us can relate to this power of little.
That is how Satan works too, slowly and subtly. He is never in a hurry. He takes his time, beneath the surface, in our minds, until he steadily gains ground. Ellen White said “it is one of Satan’s most successful devices to lead men to the commission of little sins, to blind men to the dangers of little indulgences…” – Review and Herald.
Joyce Meyer, in her book The Battlefield of the Mind Devotional, wrote about a man who confessed to being unfaithful to his wife: "I was unfaithful to you in hundreds of ways before I ever committed adultery" He spoke of their being too busy to spend quality time together, his critical attitude, her occasional lack of emotional response, her not listening to him when he talked about problems at the office. "Just little things, always little things" he said. "At least in the beginning they seemed that way" That’s exactly how Satan works in human lives. He begins by bombarding our minds with cleverly devised patterns of irritation, dissatisfaction, nagging thoughts, doubts, fears, and reasoning. He moves slowly and cautiously (after all, well-laid plans take time).
The magnitude of destruction caused by little things—little misdeeds, little careless words, and little but subtle suggestions from Satan into our minds which are not brought into obedience of Christ—is beyond what can be described within the scope of this post. Many who break faith with their spouses have testified that it began with a tiny lustful thought left unchecked and unchallenged with the Word of God. Needless to say, lives, relationships and dreams have been shattered by the power of little.
“Satan is never in a hurry…he’s willing to take his time, but make no mistake about it…his end game is always to steal…kill…and destroy what God’s done in our lives”Christlike Ministries NWA.
Relationships have been eroded by little acts of neglects. As described above, these neglects can lead to unfaithfulness in a marriage relationship. But it is not exclusive to marriage; friends can take each other for granted to the extent that a long-term friendship can become sour because we neglect to pay attention to each other’s needs. It starts with missing little opportunities to let those with whom we relate know we care about them and what is important to them.
The same can occur in our communion with God, when we neglect to pay attention to staying in God’s presence and we become too busy to have time for prayer and Bible study, gradually God takes a second place in our lives and our spiritual growth becomes stunted. These little acts of omission deprives of a rich and thriving fellowship with God.
“More sorrow is caused by little careless words of a friend than by the open slander of an enemy” – Amazing
As a spark can set a great forest ablaze so can the tongue though a small part of the body set nations, families, siblings, and couples against each other. Careless and unguarded words cause deep wounds. Words can sting worse than a scorpion. Words can bite worse than a rabid dog. Little hurtful words can destroy relationships. They take only a millisecond to say, but their effects can last a life time. How many lives have been destroyed by the hurtful words of significant others. Little drops of hurtful words erode self esteem and feeling of worth.
It is incredible that something which seems so little can have a devastating power and influence. Consider that as tiny as the mosquito is, it is ranked among the ten deadliest creatures in the world. It is responsible for up to 2 million deaths in a year through the spread of Malaria and other diseases.
The Power of Little touches lives, but in this instance not for good, except we make concerted efforts by the help of the Holy Spirit to be vigilant, alert and prayerful. I will share the flip side of the coin in the Part 2 of Power of Little next week. Until then let us pray for the grace not to hold Satan’s words in our minds or allow him to have a foothold in our lives through the destructive power of little.
What has been your experience with the force of little? Can you relate to the experiences shared in this post? If yes, how did you overcome or reverse it? Do take a moment to share your story in the comment box below. Your comments mean a lot to me and to the other readers too.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Seek Occasions to Give Thanks

Little by little, unnoticed and for a long while, water seeped through defective tiles in the shower of two bathrooms in our home.
The walls of the adjoining bedrooms became damp.  That was how we knew something was wrong. When we found mildew spreading from behind the cabinets against these walls we had to get help. The damage was extensive and a major repair was required. This meant I had to move out of the house to avoid the dust.
Packing personal belongings out of the way and arranging relocation to our friends’ home was exhausting. As I reflected on what it entailed to re-locate me and all the medical paraphernalia I needed daily, I realized this is the first time I am away from home in two years, and I am not in the hospital. I have had six hospital stays and no vacation in this period.
The damage to the house, the cost of repair and stress of moving out did not matter anymore. Praise and thanksgiving arose from my heart that even in this situation I found many testimonies of God’s goodness without seeking hard for them. I am blessed with great friends who are making my stay a vacation.
But there are times when it is difficult to see the blessing in a difficult situation for which to be thankful, when it appears that the tragedy outweighs the blessing.
How do we give thanks in the midst of such crisis or tragedy?
How do you give thanks when a child refuses to listen to reasoning but goes on a path of self destruction? How do you give thanks when a spouse breaks faith? How does a family give thanks when young children are orphaned overnight because of the death of their parents? How can you give thanks when plane crashes into buildings or churches are being bombed?
There are many of vicissitudes of life which tests and challenges us daily in different spheres of our lives. Does God expect us to give thanks even at such times and in such situations?
Pondering on all of these reminded me of what I read on Laura Kramer's blog late last year – Gratitude in ALL that IS. Even in these adversities God expects us to give thanks.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you”
In ALL circumstances?
Yes, that is what the Bibles says in 1Thess 5:18.
David and Job are great examples of men who were visited with series of tragedies, afflictions and calamities. David’s song of praise in Ps 34:1—“I will bless the Lord at ALL times” was at a time when he had to feign insanity to escape Philistine reprisal (1Sam 21:11-13). Job declared, “Even though the Lord slay me, yet will I trust in Him” and he had been afflicted beyond imagination (Job 13:15).
There are many reasons why we should seek occasions to give thanks even in dark and gloomy times because even when we drink from the cup of affliction we can still find mercy intermingled with it.
Dan Lacich, in his blog Provocative Christian Living, shared why we should – “We worship God for His character just as much as for the amazing things He does. Giving thanks in hard situations must follow that same wisdom. Even if we find it hard or impossible to thank God for some specific thing in our lives we can still give thanks for who He is... It means that even when you can’t find anything about the circumstance to be thankful for, you can and must still thank God that He is sovereign.”
 “The righteous shall give thanks unto Your name.” (Ps 69:30)
We honor and glorify God with thanksgiving especially when it is most difficult and when it is given sacrificially as an act of trust in God. To give thanks in ALL circumstances is to honor and magnify God—using the expression of thanks to make His name widely known and to declare His greatness.
We are prone to magnify the calamities and woes we endure as individuals, as a family and as a nation, and we tend to overlook the occasions for gratitude. When we focus on our trials and everything that is wrong, complaining seeps into our minds to make it sour like the little drops water seeping from the bathrooms damaged our walls.  Complaining is the full opposite of gratefulness. But when we focus on Who God is and what He is mighty to do, we can find a ray of hope in the midst of trials and tragedies that allows us to be thankful.
It is these occasions for gratitude and mercies that we must seek in every adversity and trials—seeking opportunities and making deliberate effort to be thankful in every situation.
We can thank God for His love and mercy. We can recall God’s past blessings and choose to give thanks for these.
I want to provoke you to seek occasions to give thanks in the midst of tragedy, crisis and trials, and when you feel you can’t find any bit of blessing, when the pain far outweighs the good you can see, at this point we must seek the grace to trust a Sovereign God. That trust will be evident in thanking God for Who He is even when what is happening to us does not make sense and is painful.
Will you give thanks today for Who God is?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Resisting Resistance

Now you see it…Now you don’t.
This can be the amazing effect of watching coastlines or harbors at low and high tide.
Of particular interest is the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick where the bay is filled with more water than the combined flow of the world’s freshwater rivers each day at high tide – 100 billion tonnes of seawater.
And the rocky bed of the shore is revealed at low tide. The Fundy Tides are the highest on earth and in some places can rise and fall to astounding 40 – 50 feet.
This phenomenon best describes the high and low tide I am experiencing with writing the book, “Empowered for Victory” except that the low ebb spans much longer time and the high tide, the same magnitude as at the Bay of Fundy, lasts only a very short time.
I seem to be at the low tide more often than I am at high tide. My attention seems to be constantly diverted away from working on the book. Sometimes, I feel there is a strong resistance against writing this book in particular.
I do not have the same experience with my other writing projects – writing for the blog, the magazine I am committed to and the message I share weekly with friends and families.
The resistance has been with the book. Lately, writing the book feels like swimming against a strong current. At the few high tides, it feels as if I can not stop writing, there is an exhilarating surge of inspiration, zeal and drive to write and I want to hold on to it until the book is completed. Suddenly, the flow of juice is snatched away and there comes this low tide when even with my best intention and planning, every effort I make to sit and work on the book appears to be resisted.
With the foregoing, I have taken the first step to recognize that there appears to be a force resisting the completion of the book—it is called Resistance.
Beyond recognizing there is a problem, what next? Recognize and understand what the problem is about.
I decided to understand better the force which seems to resist the projects, whatever kind, we set our hands upon to do. While I am focusing on my writing project here, there are diverse projects we set our hearts to do and half way through we feel resisted, they become stagnated and we are tempted to abandon them.
Resistance is a force which stands against you to prevent you from accomplishing a task, fulfilling your God-given purpose and from living your dream. Glenn Rothman in Secret of Life wrote, “Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. It is a repelling force. It will give us any excuse not to execute… not to do our work.”
In Daniel Chapter 10, we find useful insights in recognizing “Resistance” for what it truly is. It is obviously not a friendly or positive force, if it resists what you know you have been called or gifted to accomplish.
From the first day Daniel started to pray, an Angel was dispatched from heaven to make arrangements to secure the answer to his prayer, but for twenty-one days, this Angel was resisted by the prince of Persia—he met with fierce opposition which tried to stop or delay the answer to Daniel’s prayers. Daniel remained strong in faith even though he did not know that arrangements were in process of completion or that an Angel had been commissioned to secure the answer to his prayers.
He continued praying. He trusted God for an answer. He did not give up even when he was out of strength.
We resist resistance with prayers. We stand strong in position of prayer and refuse to give up on that project or that dream we know God has given us. Because we know in it we are fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. We can not be passive in resisting a force which opposes the plan and purpose of God for our lives. You can not conquer what you do not confront.
You need to confront the resistance to the completion of every work of your hands with prayers and fasting, and with resilience, determination and discipline.
Recognize why this task, project or dream is important.
I asked myself these questions:
What is my motivation for writing this book? Why is writing this book important to me? You can also ask yourself similar questions.
Writing “Empowered for Victory” was laid on my heart many years ago and confirmed by many witnesses. I am persuaded that it will enrich and touch many lives for good.
What is the cost of delaying or not finishing the project or task – this book?
The people whose lives will be enriched by this book, who would be encouraged to stand strong through their lives’ challenges are prevented from seeing the book. Understanding why completing this book is crucial and important has become my wake-up call.
There is an opportune time to complete a task or project or to pursue a dream. I don’t want to miss the opportune time—the right time for the ship ‘to harbor.’

“What may be done at any time will be done at no time” - Scottish Proverb.
I have the will to succeed in this project. When there is a will, there is a way. I am resilient. I am adamant not to give up but to keep at it. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. I receive strength to work on the book.
Have you felt resistance to completing a project or to pursuing a dream? How did you overcome resistance? Share your story and encourage someone.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Waiting For a Change

But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” - James 1:6 paraphrased.
There are many reasons why we pray.
We pray for our children, for our spouses, for our families, and for our churches. We pray for our workplaces, for our cities, for our nations, and we pray for ourselves.
We pray because we desire to see a change.
Sometimes trials and tragedies force us to our knees to pray. We pray when we are harassed by adversities and afflictions. Our righteousness does not shield us from the trials of life.
When we pray, often we do not get immediate answers to our prayers: there seems to be no instant change in the situation. God does not always give the response we expect or the answer on our timetable. God answers our prayers in His own time and His timing is different from ours. He does His things with due process.
The answer to our prayers may appear to take a longtime in coming but we must live each day in anticipation of the answers to our prayers.
When we pray, do we really prepare for the answer to come?
Do we have an expectation of God’s power to move on our behalf?
How is this reflected in what we say and do?
Waiting in Faith (Believing)
Faith demands that we wait for God's time. Waiting is an essential part of faith. Waiting for God is an authentic reality of faith. When you’ve had to pray for the same thing year after year you know the quiet resignation that can creep into your faith.
Do we pray because we believe God will fulfill His promises or do we just mindlessly make petitions before God without an expectation?
We must believe, and behave as if we believe, that God is able to use our prayers to bring about a transformation in that situation and that He is already working behind the scenes in ways beyond our imaginations to bring His purpose to pass.
It takes faith to live in anticipation of a change but your faith can not go beyond the knowledge of the word of God concerning what you are praying about.
Waiting with Praise
Complaining, grumbling and whining delays the answer to our prayers. We must be grateful that God is able and willing to answer prayers. We can deliberately hunt for blessings in that situation to give praise to God for while we are waiting.
Guard Your Tongue
What are you saying about the situation you are praying about at personal, family and national level?
Does your comment reflect hope, expectation and anticipation of a change in the life of person or people you are praying for? Or does it reflect a bleak future?
Do your words connote hopelessness or are you inspiring hope with your comments?
Are you laying a heavy cloak of despair on those who listen to you or lifting up their hearts with words of encouragement?
Sometimes our posture, words and actions after praying often implies that we do not understand the power of prayer and the might of the One Who answers prayers. It may be necessary to keep silent at times so that we do not say things that will negate our prayers or find something positive to hook our hope on instead of sinking in the quagmire of hopelessness and negativity. We can make a conscious effort to speak with hope while waiting for a change.
The changes we desire to see in our nations will not come with the depth of our analysis of the problems in the country. It will come only when we pray in faith, believing that God has the power to make a change starting with each of us and when each individual, in the sphere of influence God has given us, live a righteous life in integrity, pursuing excellence and serving as unto God—doing what is right by God’s standard.
Though we do not understand the reason why God makes us wait for answers to prayers we do know that He is working out His purpose during our waiting period. We grow in faith and become stronger in our time of waiting if we wait well. Waiting well requires us to be cautious, mindful and watchful over what we say, what pronouncement we make even in the name of analyzing or calling attention to the gravity of the problem.
There is only One Who can bring about a change. He is the only One Who can touch hardened hearts and make it responsive and sensitive to His touch and malleable to His will.
What do I know about waiting?
At a personal level, I wait in hope to see the physical manifestation of my healing – It has been over 10 years of waiting but I have many testimonies of God acting on my behalf in this situation.
Beyond me, I wait to see changes in the lives and circumstances of families and friends I am praying for, and I wait to see my country become a praise among nations.
I have also learnt to consciously seek to see something to give praise to God for everyday and most times I don’t have to try hard, they are right there staring at me.
God delights in our prayers. He hears every prayer we utter in faith and He answers them in His own way and in His own time. When we pray, we must believe that God will answer. Our words and actions should reflect this expectation.
What are you doing to keep hope alive while waiting for answers to your prayers?
Share your story and encourage someone today.
I share with you Lifeline by Mandisa