Saturday, September 29, 2012

Standing in the Place of Prayer for '72 Babies_September

Over the past couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to reflect on some events in my life which took place in 1972. The more I pondered on it, the more details I recalled with vivid images.

The pictures fleeting through my mind were interesting and quite amusing--it was worth noting the things that left impact on me as a child which have stayed in my memories ever since.

These memories have strengthened my connection with the 1972 Babies and my commitment to intercede for them. It is on their behalf that I enlist your support to stand in the place of prayer tomorrow - September 30th.

Four of '72 babies on the list celebrated their 40th Birthday during the month of September. We give praise to God for the Twins - Taiwo and Kehinde, Kayode and Rosemary.

We have an addition to the list - Temitope born in January.

I received more praise reports of what God is working out in their lives. Do keep sending the praise reports as well as the prayer requests via email or in the comment box below.

Please read and meditate on Exodus 31: 1 - 4 and let us declare the following as we pray:

That they are:
       filled with the Spirit of God,
             given great wisdom, skills, ability, intelligence, knowledge and expertise,
                    to excel in every sphere of influence God has given them,
                           and to fulfil God's purpose for their lives.

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.
·       Temitope
·        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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tapestry of Memories

"The time that passes, the roads taken and made
Grudgingly abated, the memories of olden days
Cast before us now the worn tapestry of time
A diagram of choices, of weeks and years gone by…."
By P.M. Linnet 2003. Tapestry of Memories; Winds of Time

It was one of those morning when my mind took a trip of its own to the land of imagination where dreams are inspired. I was sitting on the edge of the bathtub —my usual spot for musing, meditating, dreaming and thinking — many ideas for writing have been conceived at this spot.

This one line of a song nagged me from the deep recesses of my mind. Like a string of thread peeking out of a tapestry, I tugged at it pondering:

"What was this one line playing in my head?"

At first it was unyielding.  After a while, it yielded and I began to pull out the string, line after line until I got the whole stanza.

I ran into my room, grabbed a piece of paper and pen, and wrote it down before it disappeared back into the oblivion. It was a special rendition by the Choir of the Methodist Church, Olowogbowo, Lagos possibly in 1975 or 1976. I was amazed I could recall this song in particular more than 35 years after I listened to it. I don’t know what triggered the recall but it was sitting there all this while.

My father later confirmed that it was a song rendered during the harvest thanksgiving service of that year and he also was shocked that I remembered the song in Yoruba.

Ọbagiji, awa tun de
Pelu iyin
Fun ore Rẹ igba gbogbo
Awa s' ọpe Baba rere

Wa gba 'yin gb'ọpe wa,
Edumare gba ọpe wa
Oyigiyigi Ẹ de o, 
dakun gbẹbẹ wa.

Below is a rough translation:

Almighty God, we give thanks,
we rejoice and jubilate
For Your goodness poured on us all the time
We are grateful, our Good Father.

Come and accept our praise and thanksgiving
Gracious Lord, accept our thanks offering
We have come, our heavenly Father,
We implore You, accept our petition

About a year later, I found another string of thread peeking at me from the tapestry. I tugged at it and found it was another rendition from the same Choir during the same time period. It was another song of praise, exalting God and declaring that we will prostrate before Him and join our voices with the host of heaven to praise Him.

It was again interesting how well I eventually recall this one stanza of the song without having any contact with it for over three decades.

A few days ago, I woke up with the first line of a hymn playing in my heart. I thought it was 'King of kings and Lord of lords, I will praise You.' I searched for it on Google but what I found was not what was playing in my head. This hymn latched on to my heart. The more I tugged at the string of memory peeking out of the tapestry, the more I remembered and could hum the stanza, but still I did not get the words until suddenly, "Seven whole days and not one in seven, I will praise Thee" flashed through my mind. I searched for it and found the song at last. The first line was actually - "King of glory, King of Peace, I will love Thee." I sang it over and over again, and was truly elated in the presence of God that morning.

The common factor among these songs was that they were deposited in my memory a long time ago when I was a child growing up in the Methodist Church. It was there, and during my secondary school days, that I grew to appreciate Hymns.

These songs and hymns unplugged a cascade of memories and made me to realize how music has been intricately woven into the tapestry of my memories. It also made me to appreciate the incredible ability of music to conjure up memories - some pleasant and some not so pleasant.

I took a closer look at the tapestry woven of my memories and I noted some dark spots in it, consequent of  some wrong choices I made decades ago. I recalled that time of my life when so intoxicated with the freedom of being on my own at the University, I became exposed to "unwholesome songs and music" while darting like a bee from party to party. I recalled how much praying and efforts it had taken to override those spots each time they try to play back. Believe me, these ones are not difficult to recall at all!

Last Sunday, my Pastor asked, "What kind of music are your children listening to?"

Like a strong wind, this question blew at my tapestry of memories causing again a cascade of memories.

I pondered on that question for quite a while. With headphones rammed over their heads and earphones jammed into their ears, what kind of songs are they listening to? Songs which gratify the physical senses or songs with rich messages and those glorifying God?

Each tapestry if hung out to the public eye tells its unique story. Every passing moment of our lives with its unique experiences become like a thread  skilfully woven into the tapestry of our memories. What unique story will the tapestry of our children's memories tell?

What is being deposited and woven into the tapestry of their memories today which will come back to them decades down the road? It is not only through music but also through what they watch and read. I still recall vividly some of the bedtime stories my mother read to me as a child.

Are we paying attention to be watchful of this detail?

As adults, are we also selective about we listen to or watch or read?

The flip side of the story which gives me much joy is that when we do our bit as God commanded Abraham in Gen. 18:19, to teach and direct our children to keep the way of the Lord and we use every opportunity to impress it upon their hearts (Deut 6:7), we can be assured that by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in them, these seeds deposited in them will yield good fruits.

What Timothy learnt at home from his mother and grandmother made a difference to his life (2Tim 1:5).  It gladdens my heart that the truth, which our children learn at home will always be with them and at the right time, when most needed, the Holy Spirit will bring it to their remembrance.

Ultimately, when time has passed, the tapestry of our memories will reflect the diagram of the choices we made, decades gone by. Let's take heed to be watchful over these choices in our lives and in the lives of our children.

King of Glory, King of Peace

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

He Will Not Disappoint

"He will not disappoint you. It is not in His character to disappoint.
He will keep faith with you…."

This was a message from our family friend to me in response to my blog post - Cartwheels of Joy. He did not know the circumstances under which I wrote that article but the message was apposite. It was timely too.

It got me thinking. Do I know God for Who He really is? If yes, then I will know that
there are some things that God will simply NOT do.

It is not in His character neither is it an attribute of God to disappoint.

  • He will not fail.
  • He will not forsake or abandon.
  • He will not let me fall.
  • He will not let me down.
  • He will not leave me alone.
  • He will not lie.
  • He will not go back on His promises. 
What does it mean to disappoint?

It means to fail to fulfil or satisfy the hopes, desires and expectations of someone.
- To prevent  hopes and expectations from being realized.
- To thwart or frustrate. To let down, forsake or abandon.

Disappointment is what the weary traveller in a sandy desert feels when he finds that the beautiful lake he saw from afar, for which he sought earnestly, is just an illusion—a mirage.

Disappointment is like a stream that runs dry at summer time or a spring that fails when most needed—hope is dashed, expectation is cut off and dreams are thwarted.

Well meaning friends and even close family members can disappoint us. Life can disappoint us when it is filled with challenges, trials and sorrow. We also in all our best intentions can disappoint others. People and circumstance can disappoint.

For 21 days, I was in the hospital fighting an infection with every possible intervention—an intense course of treatment and therapy. It was a rigorous schedule. At the end of it, we did not get the resolution we desired and waited expectantly for. I was disappointed.

For 21 days, we tried to unravel a knotty issue. One investigation after another, from one specialist unit to another. Some quite distressing. At the end of it, we did not get the clear answer we wanted. We still have to wait some more for the information needed to define the next steps. I was disappointed.

For a moment I wondered, how much more of this—
How much more can one person take?

Disappointment can lead to despair if hope is not anchored on a Solid Rock.

But we know from the Bible that God satisfies the longing soul (Ps 107:9). He fulfils the desires of those who fear Him (Ps145:19). There is surely a hope for us and our expectation shall not be cut off (Prov. 23:18).

And Romans 5:5 tells us that we have a hope that does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by His Holy Spirit whom He has given us.

"This hope will not lead to disappointment, for we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us His Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love" - NLT

It thrilled my heart and filled me with joy to have this understanding of the character of my God and Father upon Whom my hope is anchored.

If I focus on the disappointment, I would loose sight of the many blessings and mercies God poured on me during the past 3 weeks and His miraculous interventions on my behalf.

I am amazed at the grace God has given unto me.

I am overwhelmed at the peace with which He held my heart against every agitating fear even when the storm was fiercest.

I am stunned at the joy He filled my heart with which caused me to sing aloud almost everyday in my hospital room to the amazement of the hospital staff and neighbouring patients.

In spite of all that was going on around me, God made me an amazement to all with the stability with which He anchored my heart. He strengthened my heart. He gave me the strength to endure. Ps 27:14 says, "Wait on the Lord, He will strengthen your heart…" I can testify that He did just that for me.

We can go through trials, afflictions and difficult times with strength that is not our own, because we have the spirit of God inside of us and God in us is strengthening us.

The Christian hope is such that will be fulfilled. It will not disappoint. We are sustained in our trials and afflictions by the consciousness of the super abundant love of God poured out into our hearts under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Our hope is founded on the goodness and truth of God, therefore our expectation can not be cut off.

Like Job, we will not understand the whole picture or the plans God has for us but we know that he was able to maintain an eternal perspective. He maintained his integrity and faithfulness to God in spite of his great afflictions. He expressed an absolute confidence that God will vindicate him and he was not disappointed in this hope.

I can then ask myself this question:
Am I able to separate the physical reality of my life from the spiritual reality of my relationship with God?

To the extent that I can say with unswerving confidence that no matter what comes my way, my life is in God's hands and come what may happen to me physically, I know that God will not disappoint me.

I know God will not leave us alone in our struggles. I know He will always be with us in the difficulties and disappointments of life. In Christ, the battle is won and we have the victory.

As I focus on this attribute and character of God, I can call my soul to be still and know that He is God Who will not disappoint.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with You above the storm
Father, You are King above the flood
I will be still and know You are God.

I can then joyfully sing:

With this breath You have given me
I will praise Your Holy name
As long as I have this breath
I will sing of Your love
I will sing of Your faithfulness
As long as I have this breath
I will sing Your praise
And when this breath is gone
I will join the saints in glory
To sing Your praise
Forever and ever more.
©Irene Olumese

I encourage you, dear friend, to rest on this infallible character of God.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Matchless In Details

"He made two cherubim of wild olive wood, each 15 feet tall, and placed them in the inner sanctuary. The wingspan of each of the cherubim was 15 feet, each wing being 71/2 feet long.

The two cherubim were identical in shape and size; each was 15 feet tall.

He placed them side by side in the inner sanctuary of the Temple.

Their outspread wings reached from wall to wall, while their inner wings touched at the center of the room.

 He overlaid the two cherubim with gold" - 1Kings 6: 23-28.

This was a part of the description of the Temple built by Solomon. Several elements in the description caught and hooked my attention—my imagination was fired up as I created a vivid mental picture of the two golden cherubim standing in the sanctuary.

More on the detailed description:
·        It showed the Temple to be made from limestone and cedar.
·        The lavish use of gold overlay.
·        The motif used for decoration - gourds, open flowers, palm trees and cherubim.
·        The building parts were assembled quietly on site. No noise or sound of metal tools was heard.

Attention was given to describing the details of the work done in the temple which enhanced the imagery of the beauty and intricacy of the project. Recording the crafting of the furnishing in such minute detail emphasized the magnificent beauty, symmetry, and the glory of the temple.

Jump back to the Book of Exodus Chapters 25 to 30 and see how God provided detailed instructions for the building of the Tabernacle and its furnishing. The specifications included:

  • Types of wood and metals to be used.
  • Dimensions and placing of all the items for use in the Tabernacle.
  • The fabric for colourful curtains, exquisite tapestry, intricate motifs and embroidery.
  • The skilled craftsmen to do the work.
Moses was warned when he was about to start building the Tabernacle: "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain" (Ex. 25:40). And Moses built the tabernacle to specification. He followed the detailed instructions he was given.

The account of both the building of the Tabernacle by Moses and the Temple by Solomon were described in the Bible in details.

From creation to date, there is no haphazardness or tardiness in the dealings of God. He is interested in the details. His doings are well defined and purposeful. God gave detailed instructions and the understanding of the details.

Creativity and Details

God, the Father Almighty, is the Creator of the heavens and earth. He created order out of chaos. He is the God of details. He paid attention to the details when He created exquisitely beautiful things out of nothing.

Observe the wonders of nature—majestic mountains, scenic lakes, vast oceans— and you will marvel at the multiple colours, amazing patterns and unusual animals and plants, which God incorporated.

We are created in His image and in the process, God deposited in us the ability to be creative.

Creativity requires paying attention to details—taking note of intricate, fine and elaborate particulars.

"Opportunity for discovery and creativity comes from digging into details"
- John D. Cook.

As a writer, I learnt that a writing life springs from a creative source. The more I tap into God, the more creative I am. The details I see in the Word of God inspires me to be attentive to give descriptive details in my writing and invoke vivid imagery which will hold the attention of my readers.

Every detail must be addressed with care if you want to create something beautiful and elegant. This has application in every vocation or calling.

Productivity and Details

In this context, it relates to important and significant particulars which ensures that a job or task is performed thoroughly and meticulously to produce an excellent work. It also ensures that the standards specified are followed or achieved. It excludes the trivial elements.

"God is in the details"
- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 - 1869)

When God is in the details nothing is overlooked. A mediocre does a shoddy job because he does not give attention to the fine details.

In the building of the Tabernacle, Bezalel and Oholiab were chosen for their skills and artistic craftsmanship. Solomon sent for Huram from Tyre to work on the building of the Temple.

The report given of the work of these men showed that they were excellent skilled workers, they were thorough, and they gave attention to the details.

Whatever our vocation may be, there is an opportunity to produce an excellent work when we use our talents, skills and gifts as unto God.

The goodness of the final product is established by its details.

God and You, and the Details

God, Who did not spare any details in the creation of the universe or the building of the Tabernacle, is interested and concerned about the minute details of our lives. He does not want to be involved in the big issues only but also in the day-to-day small details of our lives.

He wants to be a part of every decision we make. He wants us to check with Him about those small details of everyday life we think we can handle.

I read in my Bedtime Bible Storybook as a child, the story of a young girl who lost her coin. She searched fervently but could not find it. Distressed, she cried to her mother for help, who asked her to pray about it. She did. A short while later, she found the coin, in an unusual place.

The story stayed with me. When I put it to practice, I am amazed how God leads me to find something I lost or to something I needed. This happened many times and in mysterious ways too. There's nothing we can't share with God, nothing too trivial to commit into His hands. If it concerns us, it concerns Him too.

We can rely on God to take care of all the particulars of our lives when we keep Him in the details. And this comes with practice.

How much details of your life do you share with God? He is waiting for you today to make Him a part of all the details of your life. And your life will be enriched as you do so.

P.S.: I apologise for coming late with the blogpost in the last 2 weeks. I am writing under difficult circumstances. More on that soon. God bless you.