Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Standing in the Place of Prayer for 1972 Babies_October

"I will go before you and will level mountains and make crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron." This great promise is paraphrased from Isaiah 45:2.

It is reassuring to know that God has promised to take away everything that retards, opposes, and resists our victorious walk in Christ Jesus. All limitations and boundaries that the enemy imposed upon us to prevent us from walking in the fullness of God's purpose for our lives are subject to destruction according to this promise.

No wonder the Psalmist called out in Ps 107:15 - 16; "Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He has broken the gates of brass and cut the bars of iron in sunder." The immediate response to deliverance from limitations and captivity is praise.

I invite you to join me tomorrow, Wednesday 31st, to lift up the 1972 Babies listed below before God, and pray that every limitation and boundaries imposed upon their lives be broken according to the power in the word of God in Is 45:2 and Ps 107:15-16.
  • Let us pull down every stronghold of the enemy in their lives and pray that every obstacle in their path to the fulfillment of their God-given purposes be broken in pieces.
  • Let us  give praise to God on their behalf being persuaded that there shall be a performance of this word in their lives.
  • Femi celebrated his 40th birthday during October, let's remember him as we pray.

Will you spare some moments and join me as we pray for these precious children of God? Praise be to God Who has given us the Holy Spirit to help us make intercession according to the will 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.

     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 baby or in the life of your 1972 sibling, family and friend in the comments box below. 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, October 25, 2012

Bended Knees. Bowed Heart

Come, let us worship and bow down; let us knee before the LORD our Maker.
- Ps 95:6

Friends, my plate has been fully loaded during the last few weeks hence the irregular posting on the blog. Do bear with me. Today, I share with you on a subject tugging my heart strings - our posture during prayer and worship.

I come from culture where you greet an older person with bended knees if you are a female. If you are a male you either bow or prostrate before the individual. There are many variations of this courtesy of respect.

These include:  the two knees bent on the floor, one knee on the floor with the second bent, or a slight bent of one knee with back straight for females. And for males, prostrating on the ground (chest on the ground), bowing both head and trunk with one or both hands on the floor (similar to get-set position), or bowing the trunk with one hand at the back.

It depends on the status of the person to whom the courtesy is being offered or the relationship between you. Often this elicits  a blessing from the recipient.

Bended Knees - a fading culture?

I wondered many times if we are not fast loosing this culture of respect especially with our third culture children growing in cultures different from the ones where their parents were brought up.

Hugging my parents was a gesture I learnt to do much later in life but my sons me give the hug and not the bowing or prostrating.  But when it comes to their grandparents, they bow down in courtesy and give the hug as well!

My mother is visiting with me and I found that it had been a long time since I had to greet anyone with such courtesy as earlier described. With her youthful looking and fresh skin, and her grey hair covered, she was always passed off as my older sister by friends.

It has been interesting to watch people greet her when I introduce her as my mother. I paid particular attention to the younger generation and noted that:

- some immediately fell on their knees to greet her — you know their roots right away,
- some curtsied, with one bent knee and / or bowed head,
- some hugged her,
- some stood, back straight, arm stretched to shake her hands.

Recently, I worshipped in an old Anglican Church, with arched entrance, painted windows, brown wooden pews, green kneeling pads, green-covered hymn books and wine-coloured, leather bound prayer books with vintage pages—a reminiscence of a time gone past.

The minister encouraged the congregation to kneel down during each prayer time. Kneeling down to pray in the church was no longer a common place experience for me - we stand, we sit but kneel only occasionally.

I do recall those epic moments when my spirit is caught up in praise and adoration of God that I fell on my knees and worshiped in the presence of God. I remembered times when I was so burdened during prayers of supplication or intercession that I fall on my face before the throne of mercy to plead my case.

These precious moments happened more in my bedroom, but sometimes in the church too, when the presence of God feels so palpable. I wonder if these can't be a daily experience of God's presence.

Is bended knees sufficient without a bowed heart? I think not. Bent knees should be an outward expression of inward brokenness, humility and bent heart.

Bended Knees - in prayer

What posture do we take when we pray?

The Bible does not give any instructions as to a particular position we must put our body when we pray. But we have several examples in the Bible of how men of God prayed.

Jesus agonized in prayers on bended knees in the Garden of Gethsemane. He fell on His face (bowed his face to the ground) and prayed (Matt. 26:39).

Three times a day, Daniel got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to God—this was his daily practice (Dan 6:10).

Moses and Aaron bowed themselves in prayer upon their faces as they interceded for those who had deserted them (Number 16:22). Stephen fell upon his knees and prayed.

It is a posture of humility, submission and can denote an attitude of supplication or making an earnest and momentous request. It is a position when adopted in prayer indicates submission to God. 

Reverently kneeling or standing with head bowed seems to be indicative of a deep sense of God's presence and majesty.

Irreverently sitting and staring does not appear to command respect. No one does that in the presence of an earthly King. There ought to be a rebuke of such habits where there is no change in posture during prayer.

Do we give God our undivided attention in the time of prayer?

Every attention must be given to eliminate distraction during the time of prayer and to bring drifting thoughts under control.

Bended Knees - in worship

To whom do we come when we worship?

We come to the LORD our Maker, the Creator of the Heaven and Earth. Ps 95:6 called us to bow down in an attitude of worship, to prostrate before God in order to do Him homage or to reverence Him. For He is our God. It is giving to God honour and adoration due to Him.

Solomon knelt before God to give thanks for  the great benefits bestowed on him and his nation, and to pray for perseverance and prosperity for his people (2Chron 6:13). Hezekiah and all who were with him bowed down and worshiped God, while the singers sang and the trumpeters played (2Chron 29:28-29).

When we sing to worship and adore God, we must bend our hearts to be in tune with the thought we are expressing in songs.

How can we worship in spirit and in truth when our hearts are distant or we are engaged with mundane thoughts and distractive activities?

Bended knees—takes you right back to the old, perhaps archaic times—makes you to think about the old time religion. Bended knees is a posture of reverence and respect to be encouraged both at home and in the church.

It is not a rule. It is not a law. It can not be legislated. But it is the right thing to do.
A proper attitude to cultivate.

I love both the hugs and the bended knees. I can imagine the King of kings and God of gods wants us to be at liberty in His presence. And His presence also commands our reverence. Our reverence for God should go beyond our respect and fear for any man.

How do we comport ourselves when we are in the presence of God, especially during the times of prayer and of worship? With reverential respect or with unchecked familiarity?

Paying attention to how we comport ourselves in the presence of God will enrich our prayer, praise and worship time, and ultimately enrich our communion with God.

What does bended knees mean to you? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below. I ask you to share this message with your friends and enrich their fellowship with God.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

There is Purpose in the Process

Remove the dross from silver and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith
 - Prov. 25:4

I remembered that time before the advent of washing machines and Vanish Stain Remover, when you rub the bar soap on a dirty outfit especially around the collar and cuffs or on a stain, and you wash vigorously until the stain is removed.

The vigorous washing has a purpose—to make the cloth clean and spotless. If it were possible, the cloth will cry out during the process but that would not stop the launderer, because his purpose is to restore cleanness to the fabric. God is like the launderer's soap.

Refined as silver, tested as gold.

The Refiner's Fire
It melts down the bar of silver or gold, separates out the impurities (dross) that ruin its value, burns them up, and leaves the silver and gold intact. God's furnace of affliction is always for refinement, never for destruction like the fire of an incinerator.

The pure silver or gold which comes out is used to make vessels honourable, beautiful and fit for the master's use. A refiner's fire refines. It purifies. God is like a refiner's fire.

Every child of God will go through the refiner's fire at one time or the other in life. These furnace of trials, persecutions, suffering and afflictions, could be relational, physical, economic, emotional or circumstantial. 

Sometimes when trouble comes, it does not drizzle, it can be torrential—challenges at work, financial difficulties, failing health, a marriage that has dissolved into an endless string of loveless and lifeless days or a child whose decision grieves the parents' heart. And all avenues for escape seem blocked.

The trials that God allows have a purpose, they can change our conduct and refine our character. He uses our momentary trials and afflictions to change us and accomplish His purpose for our lives.

James encouraged us to consider it pure joy whenever we are enveloped in trials of any sort, being assured that ultimately the trial of our faith will bring perseverance (James 1: 2-3).

We are never alone in the furnace of trials.
The Refiner is never far from the mouth of the furnace when his gold is in the fire. His eyes are always fixed on the metal, taking care the fire is not too hot, and keeping the metal in until he knows the dross is completely removed when he sees his image reflected in the glowing mass.

The Son of God is always walking in the midst of the flames when his children are cast into them.

Knowing this kept me through many fiery experiences. Just knowing that God is there with me gave me the strength to hold on to hope.

You don’t want to miss the purpose:
Many times trials prompt grumblings and we complain like the children of Israel did while they were in the wilderness.

We want to fast track the process or by some means shorten the walk through the valley of the shadow of death, so that we can quickly come out on the other side. In so doing we can miss what we are supposed to learn through this process.

But what if we choose to go through it, determined to get the best God has in stock for us there? It is in our going through that we can experience His presence with us. David said, "I fear no evil, for thou art with me." He experienced the presence of God in such a way that it transcends him over the fear of evil. He got that only by going through.

Let's ponder for a moment on the anguish of the soul Jeremiah felt in Lamentations 3. Broken in body and spirit, his outward affliction and inward turmoil pushed him towards despair as would be the case for anyone faced with such challenging circumstances. Yet one thought kept at bay the hopelessness that was threatening to overwhelm him — it is because of God's great love he was not consume, for His compassion never fails.

Jeremiah could praise God in the midst of his adversity because he understood that God's supply of loyal love  and grace offered to him is inexhaustible. Therefore, he resolved to wait for God to act on his behalf and bring restoration.

He could trust God despite his circumstances because he realized there was a purpose for his affliction — it was to accomplish the greater good of turning God's people back to Him.

Perhaps the purpose of your affliction is to cause others to see that God never abandons, leaves or forsakes His own at their times of trials and difficulties. He can demonstrate to the world around you that He is a God Who shows great compassion because of His unfailing love.

The bottom-line is that the trials you are going is not about you alone. Our trials are attacks against the Kingdom of God. The enemy is trying to limit our ability to exercise our purposes to help others. So if in the periods of our trials we become self-absorbed in pity parties, we deny ourselves access to the supernatural power of God to help us through it.

If we respond to the process with unbelief, discouragement or bitterness, these will rob us of the treasure God is refining in us and others will miss out too.

God will never allow us to suffer in vain. If we trust Him, He can use whatever painful circumstance we encounter to accomplish His good purpose in our lives. There is gold to find in the midst of our trials, but we must go through to mine for it.

I can testify that I have found gold in the midst of my trials and afflictions.

Our experiences shape us
Our outlook to life is shaped by diverse life experiences. The furnace of trials and affliction may just be the very thing that will shape your life and ministry in the most powerful ways.

God can use the memory of our experience in our times of affliction as a source of encouragement for others going through similar experiences. He comforts us so we can comfort others in their troubles with the same comfort we have received.

What can we learn from the furnace of affliction ?
There is so much to learn from life's challenging situation if we perceive it as being used of God to accomplish His purpose in us.

First, we get to know God more intimately as the life and breath of our very existence and we experience the help of the Holy Spirit as we walk on the path marked with pain, suffering and affliction.

We put the glory of God on display:
Our lives in our period of trials and difficulties can display the superiority of the life lived in God. He wants to impact the world supernaturally through our lives. Because the three Hebrew boys stood by their faith in God and willingly endured the fiery furnace, a heathen King celebrated the name of God.

We are prepared for eternal glory:
Our momentary and light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 4:17). The trials Paul endured can not be considered light but yet he spoke of it as of the lightest conceivable thing compared with the weight eternal of glory which awaits him.

Weeping may endure for the night, joy comes in the morning:
No matter how hard and difficult the process of refining may be, it will soon pass away, it will not be for ever. Afflictions are only momentary, transient and temporary. It tempered by God's compassion and love and can be endured with hope in God's salvation and deliverance.

As bad as things may be, it is by God's mercy that they are not worse.

"The Promises of God never shine as brightly as in the furnace of affliction"
- A.W. Pink.

 Perhaps you are at a point where you do not feel the comfort the Bible promises for those in pain and anguish. And you don’t understand what God has planned for you in this fiery furnace you are in but you can have this confident assurance that your life is in His hands and His eyes are intent on you.

What do we need to go through the process?
We need …
… the right attitude to trials,
            …to understand the advantages of the trials,
                        … and to know where to obtain help.

Ultimately as a child of God, you can stand strong through the storm by pursuing, perceiving and practicing the Word of God. And your life will inspire hope in others.

In what ways have the fire of affliction and trials shaped your life? What golden nuggets did you mine in the midst of your trials? Please share in the comment box below.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Get the Picture

"That is the picture of what it would look like when the construction is finished."

My husband commented as we drove  past a huge billboard with a picture of the conference centre under construction at the intersection after Nations  in Geneva.

The billboard announced to us and all passing by, what a magnificent edifice the building  would be when the work is finished.

At the moment, the project has no semblance whatsoever with picture—it is all cranes, scaffolding and concrete. But the picture tells us what the builder is working towards.

We've got the picture of the finished product.

I see another picture — yes, a picture of me…

… leaping with hands lifted high and spread towards the heavens—full of life, full of strength and freed from all encumbrances …

… in a track suit and sneakers jogging along the road by the lake in the cool of the evening with gentle breeze caressing my face …

I see a picture of me…

…travelling far and near, sharing my story before a congregation and inspiring hope in those faced with challenging situations…

I got this picture in front of me, framed in gold and fixed on the board of God's promises for me.

It will cause many to be filled with wonder and amazement, absolutely astounded, asking, is this not the same person…? (Act 3:10)

And everyone who see me shall be amazed—filled with awe and they shall give praise to God, glorifying Him Who has done this thing in my life (Luke 5: 17-29). Declaring that they have seen a remarkable thing.

They saw it. It was visible. It was made manifest.

So shall it be—the picture of me.

God has a picture of me inscribed (engraved) on the palms of His hands. I am always in His sight and kept in His remembrance. He has a picture in His mind when He made me. He is working out His purpose in me everyday to shape me, like gold being crafted by the goldsmith, until I am conformed to that image.

I can begin the jubilation now and celebrate in anticipation, indeed great is my expectation because faithful is He Who has promised. He will not fail.

Faith is seeing the finished product while it is still on the production line.

God's Word pronounced concerning me has the divine power to restore life, strength and health to me, just as it did to that 12 year old girl in Mark 5:42, and she got up and began to walk around. They who saw her were completely astonished and totally amazed.

Being so fully persuaded of the fulfilment of God's promises in my life, I am devoting this month to celebrating the victory God has wrought on my behalf and on behalf of my family - immediate and extended. The victory and deliverance purchased for us through the Blood of Jesus.

To begin the season of jubilations, I was ecstatic with joy on Monday—

Served with a delightful cake
of the finest sort
not made by hands
ingredients—choice selections
from scores so dear
far and near.

My cake —
baked with love,
layered with much prayers
covered with fondant of good wishes.

Never a cake
so richly composed
of divine promises
skilfully crafted around the edges
an exquisite lacy design and garlands
each holding a message of hope and love

Light as air, laden with favour
its velvety softness caressed
the roof of my mouth
dissolving into a burst of flavours
on my tongue, as I savour
its sumptuous richness.

A resounding shout
of praise
and Amen,
burst from my heart
like water from broken dam
I am truly loved

I was totally overwhelmed last Monday with the record-breaking phone calls and messages from scores of families and friends. Indeed, my heart rejoices in the God of my salvation. I appreciate you all. God bless you richly.

Got the picture?

Can you see the picture of what you would be like when this period of trials, testing, afflictions and challenges is over?

Can you see the picture God has in mind for you based the promises He has pronounced concerning you?

Now is the time to get the picture!

Each time we look at the picture, it is reinforced in our minds, a reminder of what is coming soon.

Get that picture and keep it in view.

My heart overflows with praise and resounding joy reading this blog post over again today. It is more than three years ago since I wrote this post, I can testify that it came to pass even better than I pictured it.
- I am healed and restored. I am living a full and vibrant life without any encumbrances
- I am traveling far and near sharing the testimony of God's faithfulness and amazing grace.
- I recently walked 6.93km as part of a Charity Walk to raise funds for amputees living in poor communities.
And I am doing much more. Simply because of the amazing love and faithfulness of God to keep His promises. Rejoice with me.