Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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

During the past month, I had the opportunity to learn a bit more about some of the 1972 Babies listed below--the challenges they have been faced with, deliverances God wrought on their behalf and the victories they have experienced.
It was a delight to note the Hands of God working on their behalf. I am confident that God Who began  a good work in them in them will bring it unto completion until the day of Christ. He will perfect all that concerns them and fulfill His purpose for them (Phil 1:6, Ps 57:2 & Ps 138:8).
God's mighty hands made and shaped them, He will not abandon, forsake or leave them. He will hear us and them, and answer our prayers. I am persuaded that:
"Grace will complete what grace begins."
On this last day of the month of July, let us be encouraged by these promises from the Word of God as we stand in the place of prayer for the 1972 Babies. Let us also give thanks for the wonders God is already performing in their lives.
Will you spare some moments and join me as we pray for these precious children of God?

For background information, please read the following blog post:
- The Year I Stopped Playing With Dolls - May 23rd, 2012
- Standing in the Place of Prayer for 1972 Babies - May 31st, 2012
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, July 26, 2012

Thanks-living: A Lifestyle of Thanksgiving and Praise

During the Colorado Fire crisis in June, Darnly of Steadfast Love and Faithfulness, a blog I follow, found many reasons to give thanks to God even while she was being evacuated from her home.

Last week, a friend of mine posted on his Facebook page that he was switching to thanks-living mode, I was intrigued with the word—Thanks-living. It was at a time when my heart was very heavy.

At times of adversity, when things are not going the way we desire them to, what do we do? Murmur, complain, grumble, and whine? The Israelites did so and God got angry with them. That generation did not enter into the promised land. Murmuring and complaining displeases God. Ingratitude brings pain to God's heart.

"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child"
- Shakespeare's King Lear, 1605

When we complain and grumble about the things that are not going right, we fail to see what is already in the cup, we focus our attention on what is not in it—the cup is always half empty. We see what our spouse, our children, our friends and government are not doing right. We fail to see the good in any one or situation.

Quit complaining; start thanking.
- A Japanese saying.

What is thanks-living?

Thanks-living is praising God when the cup is overflowing and when it is half full or even empty.

It is the heart that says "Though the fig tree does not blossom….yet I will rejoice in the Lord…"

It is paying attention to what is in the cup and giving thanks to God for what we have already—to the thankful heart the cup is always half full.

How should Christians be thankful?

We bless God with our hearts, soul, tongue, hands, feet and instruments.

"Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name" - Ps 100:4b (AMP). Come before His presence with singing, with joyful songs and with a grateful heart.

We make thanks an offering which proceeds from a heart which is deeply affected by God's mercies and numberless favors, expressive of gratitude and praise, and accompanied by a lifestyle that is pleasing to God.

Can we express thanksgiving when…
          …life is gloomy
                   …our mind is pressured,
                   .         …our heart is burdened,
                                      …our nerves are rattled
                                                …and our emotion is frayed?

David called his soul, his heart and all that is within him to praise and bless the Lord. He went further to command his soul not to forget God's benefits (Ps 103: 1-2). It always seem so much easier to focus on all the negative things happening around us than on the benefits of God but he called upon his soul repeatedly to praise God, which suggests an earnest desire. It was an emphatic command. It is not only when it is convenient but also when it is most difficult that we must demonstrate a lifestyle of gratitude.

The dawn of a new day

We show ourselves mindful of God's benefit by being thankful. If we are mindful of the benefits which God daily bestow upon us, we will be full of thanksgiving and praise. Since He daily loads us with benefits, thanks-living can not be optional. Blessed be God Who daily loads us with benefits - Ps 68:19.

Imagine, for a moment, if we consciously catalogue the load of benefits God daily pours out on us even in the midst of our adversity and with grateful hearts, we offer praise and thanksgiving for each of them through each day, then we will of necessity develop a lifestyle of thanksgiving which is the essence of thanks-living.

Being thankful is a learned behavior. It is not automatic. We learn to maintain an attitude of gratitude even when faced with devastating events, because we know that God is good all the time and He works all things together for our good even when we don't understand how.

"Sometimes the good that God intends to bring through our suffering is intended for someone else." - (Williams Barnes on Thanksgiving vs. Thanks-living). Gratitude at such times requires us to maintain the proper perspective of God and our circumstances.

Knowing that God expects us to live a life of thanksgiving rather than offering limited thanks, and knowing that we must never lose sight of God's goodness, and God's hand at work in everything we face, our thanksgiving must be continual and not contingent.

Suffering provides us as Christians, the greatest opportunity to demonstrate the validity of Christianity. If we are grateful and joyful only when things are going right then how are we different from the world?

We become vulnerable to the devil when our praise turn sour and our thanksgiving disappear during our times of trials and challenges. He is waiting to hear us gripe and complain or to accuse God of being unfair, but if instead we offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving at such times, we resist him and he will flee from us.

A lifestyle of thanksgiving and praise opens the door to God's power, which opens the door to victory.

I will conclude with offering a sacrifice of praise in the next post and also share my catalogue of praise.

What does thanks-living mean to you? Have you considered making your catalogue of praise? If yes, do share in the comments box below and let us rejoice together.

Please to share with you We Will Remember by Tommy Walker

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When My Heart Is Overwhelmed

One phone call.

A shocking and devastating news.

And your world spins on its axis—momentarily out of control.

Just as the powerful earthquake of April 2011 moved the main island of Japan from its position and shifted the axis of rotation of the Earth, devastating events set lives off its course and on a different path.

Plans for the day, the week, the month and the foreseeable future lay in total disarray as you struggle to process the news… the shock… the grief… the pain…

It was a phone call.

And the news hit me like a ton of bricks. If I feel this way… I can not bear to imagine what it is like for my friend and her family.
With heart pounding in my chest, I dragged my feet, heavy as lead, towards the door wondering how can I best support my friend at such a time as this. I wished it was a bad dream, we will wake up and it would have been a dream. But when the door opened, it was not a dream. It really happened.

What do you say that could possibly make a difference?

so insufficient… at such a time as this.

How much do you say?

How do you say it that it would salve the raw wounds of grief on their hearts or sooth the pain of sorrow in the depth of their soul.

Helpless. Clueless.

I looked up to Jesus.

"Just be there for her, words will not mean much right now." My husband's counsel hung over my head. Still, I wanted words... the right words... they did not come.

But he trusted that the mighty and comforting hands of God and His Word is able to do much more for them than our words.

The song from Ps 61: 1-2 has been resounding in my heart since then.

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth
Will I cry unto thee,
When my heart is overwhelmed,
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I
That is higher than I.

At times of deep sorrow and grief, what do we do as Christians? What do we do when our heart is so overwhelmed. When we are visited with devastating events which defies understanding, what do we do? When tons of questions fly in quick succession through our minds, what do we do?

It is the only the Word of God that can shield us from the places our emotions and our thoughts want to go when our heart is overwhelmed.

It is the Word of God dwelling in us that leads us to the place that is higher than us.

In the heartbreaking moments of our lives, it is the Word of God which holds us up strong, and it revives us when our soul wants to cleave to the dust in grief.

"This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction: that Your Word has revived me and given me life" - Ps 119:50

Fortified by the Word of God, we can trust in the faithfulness of God and be assured that He is in control… even in this…

It is ONLY the Word of God echoing in their hearts that will ultimately make the difference.

So as my friend and her family deal with what no parent ever pray to experience… I pray:

"Father of all comfort,
Only You can be to them what no other person can be—a comforting and compassionate Father. I ask from the depth of my soul that You wrap Your mighty hands around about them, hold them close to Your bosom and breath Your peace which passes all human understanding upon them. I pray that You garrison their hearts, that it may not fail them. Hold them strong through this stormy blast anchored fast on Your love for them.
I pray in Jesus name."

Will you join me to hold them up in prayers?

I share with you "Hear My Cry, O Lord" by Marvia Providence


Teewa, aged 17 years, was laid to rest after a commendation service held in Geneva on Monday, July 23rd. Below is a verse from the poem shared as part of the tributes made to commemorate her life.

"I am free" by Linda Jo Jackson.

Perhaps my time seems brief;
Don't lengthen it with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, He set me free.

On behalf of my friend and her family, I want to thank you all for your calls, prayers and words of encouragement. I have passed these on to them. God bless you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Took It For Granted

I did not know it is a gift—the ability to enjoy with gusto the sumptuous taste of a gourmet cuisine and pick out the rich blend of spices in it, or savour the simple delight of home-cooked meal.

I did not know it is a gift until even the best prepared meal tasted like sawdust and with tears I struggled to swallow it.

I did not know it is a gift—to take a whiff of the fragrance floating from a drop of a sweet floral perfume or the creamy aroma from the brilliant yellow banana or the fruity smell of the succulent orange-yellow mango.

I did not know that to be a gift until I sniffed and sniffed, and found no difference between the three of them. The rich intoxicating flavour of the sweet mango and the long golden neck of J'Adore triggered only a memory.

A precious gift—just to draw a deep breath and savour the sweet freshness of the air after the rain.

No one told me it is a gift—to look with longing at the platter of delight rich in colours set before me, to scoop a spoonful, place it in my mouth, chew it, turn it around, savour it and swallow it.

I did not know this to be a gift too, until I listened to the lady who could not chew without excruciating pain and read the story of the one who could not swallow even a spoonful without reeling in agonizing pain. It was when I hungered for food, starred at it in front of me but could not eat it, only then did I valued the taste of good food and the song below had a new meaning to me. I wondered how many have food, and can eat but take that for granted.

Some have food but cannot eat.
Some can eat but have no food.
We have food and we can it.
Glory be to thee, O Lord.

I did not know how noisy the flow of air I breath in was until, for a brief moment, it was turned off, and silence became amazingly quiet. So quiet, I longed to hold on to it for much longer. I did not know this silence too is a gift.

Many precious gifts I receive every moment of each passing day. How so often I treat them with indifference because I have taken it for granted I would always have them. Until breathing took as much effort as running a marathon and as noisy as the blaring of the klaxon from the boat passing by on the Lake down the road.

Not ever again would I take for granted the precious gift of breath—the fuel for life. Now I know how precious the gift of breath is, I choose to use every breath He has given me to fuel a high praise due only to Him.

What about the precious gift of families and friends?

How often have we carelessly watch our relationships go stale or sour. We take for granted the precious people God has blessed our lives with. We complain about what they failed to do, how they fail to meet our unspoken expectations and magnify their shortcomings. We fail to appreciate the efforts they make and their strengths. And we expect them always to be there for us.

Make time and effort to appreciate those with whom you relate while you have them. Let them know you care while it has meaning to them. It is not a weakness to show you care about those God has blessed your life with it. It takes strength of character to show love without fear. Perfect love cast out fear. Your parents, son, daughter, sister, brother, wife and husband have been placed in your life for a special purpose. They are precious gifts of God to you. There will always be issues to deal with but we have to learn to separate the issues from the person, deal with the issues and cherish the moments we share together.

These moments you share making memories are precious. It is a gift. Appreciate God for it.

We plan for tomorrow, next week, next month, next year and beyond. Many times without a thought. Yet we have tomorrow only if God wills. We take life for granted and fail to nurture it as a precious gift. We forget that the breath of life is but a wisp of vapour, a mist, we can not hold to it—it is given. It is a precious gift.

If you can pick up your jogging shoes, lace them up and go for a jog, you are without excuse, you are blessed. Do it now, don’t delay. You have a great gift of good health, strength and vitality.

Appreciate what you have today. Don’t wait until you have lost these gifts or at the brink of loosing it before you appreciate how precious they are.

I ask God for the grace to pause as often as possible each day to appreciate and give thanks for the many precious gifts I am blessed with, which I have taken for granted in the past.

Nudge me with the gentle touch of Your Holy Spirit, dear Lord, help me to take note of the blessings You daily pour into my life and appreciate them now. I don’t want to wait until something threatens them.

If I can cause you to pause for a moment today to count the many precious gifts you have taken for granted and for which you ought to give praise to God, then is my joy full.

Will you pause now and reflect on some of the blessings you have taken for granted? Will you take account of some of these precious gifts and give thanks to God for them?

Did you? If yes, share your experience in the comments box below.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Power of Little - Part 2

Over the past few days, I have come to appreciate again the power of little - the value of one small breath. It was shocking the rapidity with which I fell off the edge of the cliff of wellness into the deep dark vale where I had to struggle to hold on to breath. Drawing breath was like drawing water out of a deep well with a heavy galvanized bucket. So much effort for so little, yet that little made the difference between life and death.

The mighty Hands of God kept my head above the water as I grabbed hold of precious breath and push it down with all the strength I could muster. Soon the prayers raised by many precious family and friends on my behalf lifted me out of the dark vale and God's hands set my feet upon solid grounds, again with such an amazing swiftness.

A small breath - who thinks about breathing? Every moment of each day, billions draw this small breath without a thought. Yet if for a moment, you are unable to draw breath, life begins to ebb away and death looms in. Precious small breath determines between life and death, and we take this breath of life for granted. I will praise God as long as this fleeting breath I draw.

Since I shared the part 1 of this article last week, I had occasions to discuss with friends and to ponder deeply about the power of little. I noted that unforgiveness, bitterness and unresolved anger is as destructive to the persons in a relationship as cancer is to the body. A little unguarded harsh word spoken can create a huge gulf lasting for decades as long as the individuals hold on to it. I know that to be true because I have been there. If you are also holding on to such painful experiences, it is time to let it go and free yourself from its poison.

This week is about the positive side of the power of little. A story was told of a shepherd who saw little drops of water falling on a huge stone and directly where the drops were falling there was a deep hole in the stone.

“What mighty power there is in a drop of water,” thought the shepherd. “Could my stony heart ever be softened up that way?” The Shepherd who began to study the Torah at 40 years of age became Rabbi Akiba, a great teacher of his time with 24,000 pupils.(A Drop of Water)

Little by little, drops of the Word of God falling on a stony heart can soften and make it responsive to the touch of God. Consistent, persistent and persevering prayer of a righteous man avails much. Many can testify of hearts and lives  changed in response to the word of God gentle spoken and effectual prayers offered on behalf of such individuals.

Little investments of eternal value, that is the worth of praying for our children and sharing the word of God with them from a young age.

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life." -- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). The bedtime Bible stories my mother read to me when I was a child and her prayers have stayed with me too.

"Don't ask God to guide, lead or direct you if you are not willing to move your feet."

I was astounded when a friend shared this quote with me. We have to be willing take the first step forward by faith as we ask God for guidance and leading.

Faith is taking the first step when you can't see the whole staircase - Martin Luther King Jr. We all know that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a first step. Starting this blog was a step of faith. Now 8 months down the road, I have by the grace of God shared a post every week irrespective of my circumstances.

I am taking baby but definite steps towards living my dreams. I am not where I want to be yet, but praise be to God I am not where I used to be. I am making progress each day and I know every step, every effort and input is adding up.

"…Show me your faith without good deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." - James 2:18.

What is that goal you desire to reach or dream you desire to fulfill? You have made the plans at the beginning of the year. You have prayed and ask God for guidance and leading. It is time to take the little step of faith and lurch forward. You will be amazed where each small step in the right direction will take you.

When we recognize and appreciate the precious value of little time, we will refrain from wasting time. A little bit of time can be powerful. It can make a huge difference to being right place at right time to connect a helper God has appointed for us. We need to use time wisely, as God created us to industrious. Go check out the ants in Proverbs 6 - the little ants can teach us some lessons.

Whatever your hands find to do, do it well - Eccl. 9:10.  It is a waste of precious time to do things in half measures. Each of us must strive to be an excellent worker who puts a high premium on the value and use of our time.

Lifetimes and memories are made from little moments. The little acts of kindness we show, the words of encouragement we speak and the little moments we give to lighten someone's load can enrich the lives of people around us. It is amazing the difference a little smile can make. It takes only a little investment of time and effort to make life brighter for another.

What little thoughtful gesture made a huge impact on your life? In what ways have you experienced the positive power of little? Do share your story in the comment box below and enrich the lives of other readers.

Pleased to share with you, “Little Drops of Water” by Julia Carney 1845

Little drops of water,
little grains of sand,
make the mighty ocean
and the beauteous land.

And the little moments,
humble though they may be,
make the mighty ages
of eternity.

Little deeds of kindness,
little words of love,
make our earth an Eden,
like the heaven above.

Little seeds of mercy
sown by youthful hands,
grow to bless the nations
far in heathen lands.

Glory then for ever
be to God on high,
beautiful and loving,
to eternity.