Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas With A Difference

Take all the glory, all the glory, Almighty God
Take all the glory, all the glory, O Lord
For Your faithfulness, power and Your love
Take all the glory, all the glory, O Lord

By the grace of God, I have had the opportunity to celebrate many Christmases. Each of one of them has been unique, even when we did just about the same things. But this year, Christmas has a unique and special meaning to me. Never have I so much appreciated and be filled with this much joy sharing Christmas with my husband and our two sons.


Jesus loved me so much,
He left His throne in glory
He took the form of man
He walked the surface of the earth
And He felt every pain, distress
and discomfort ever known to man

What amazing love
That brought Jesus to us on earth
What overwhelming joy
Filling our hearts to overflowing
Just to know that Jesus is the reason
I can celebrate this Christmas.

Indeed, the best gift I could ever ask for; is the grace and mercy of God in giving me this Christmas with the three wonderful men He blessed my life with. Honestly, the joy of spending this Christmas rejoicing and reveling in the awesome love God so extravagantly lavished on us as individuals and as a family is indescribable.

It has been an eventful year. There have been times this year when the thought of being here rejoicing at Christmas was simply a hope and a dream. But we got to know the superabundant grace of God in keeping us through the darkest vale. We experienced His peace which garrisoned our hearts against all agitating fears. We saw the Lord fight our battles and He gave us victory in our trials and struggles.

Through it all, our sons matured into strong, supportive and God-fearing young men. Personally, it is joy inexpressible for me to be blessed with these fine young men who gave me many reasons to fight for life, and not to give up. I love them so much and words can not express my gratitude to God for blessing my life with them.

What can I say unto God for the special gift of a strong and God-fearing man, He gave me as a husband, who stood by my side through the thick and the thin. Together we have been to the mountain and to the valley. Together, we walked through the floods and through the fire, the good Lord kept us. You don’t even want to imagine how many times I wondered, "how does he maintain a composure of peace through the challenges and difficult situations, which marked the landscape of our lives this year?" I still can not imagine how he coped talking to someone who could not answer him back, walking away from my bedside knowing only by faith that it is by the grace of God that I will be kept in life or coming back home to an empty bed-room and not being sure when he will be able to share that space again.

If I spend the each day of the rest of my life thanking God for this wonderful and courageous man, it will not be enough to express my gratitude and appreciation to God for my blessing my life with him.

God fulfilled our much desired and longed for dream this month. We went for a vacation together, just the two of us, after over 15 years. That was a blissful time away together. Just to see my husband relaxed and rested was priceless.

 










Christmas is a special time
to thank the Lord
for the gift of love
that binds our heart
through all the seasons of the year.
- Dayspring Devotions: A Christmas Prayer.

I can say without any iota of doubt that it has been God's gift of unfailing love that kept our hearts through all the seasons of our lives this year in particular and in the last twenty years. That is why I can not but overflow with thanks, praise and gratitude to God this Christmas.

Christmas 2013 is different and unique, I have so much to be thankful for. It is about appreciating the goodness of God in surrounding me with loving and caring family and friends. If I want to begin to write about how God used our families and friends to support and uphold us these past years, I will need another post to do justice to it.

I am truly blessed with a wonderful family - our parents, our brothers and sisters, and their spouses and children. They held us up in prayers and stood in the gap for hours. The phone calls were countless, and their encouragement was profound. Only God can truly bless and reward them.

Our friends showed us what brotherly (and sisterly) love is all about. Friends who expended of themselves and gave themselves no rest until they saw the glory of God on display upon our lives. God Who owes no man will surely be their recompense and great reward.

On Christmas eve, we had friends in the house for a night of Christmas Carols singing. We sang joyfully unto God, shared testimonies and fellowship with one another. More friends came to share fellowship with us on Christmas day. We acknowledged God's faithfulness in our lives and in our countries. The turkey came out fine. We have opened the gaily-wrapped gifts and cleared up the torn wrapping papers - some people don’t have the patience to unwrap their gifts without tearing the wrapping papers.













As I wrote this post, I pondered again over the events of the past year and all I can say is that behind every cloud, there has been a silver lining. And the song playing in my heart has been:

"…. For Your faithfulness, power and Your love,
Take all the glory, all the glory, O Lord."

Each moment of this season has been profoundly moving  and reflective. He who is capable of deep and reflective reasoning will be full of gratitude. I hope you too can look back into 2013 and as you reflect on the events of your life this year, I pray that you will identify many reasons to fall upon your knees and sing: For Your faithfulness, power and Your love, take all the glory Almighty God.

Please feel free to share your testimonies in the comment box below and let us give praise to God on your behalf.

May the reality of God's unfailing and undying love for you fill your hearts with overflowing joy this Christmas and in the New Year, may this sure and guaranteed love hold your hearts in perfect peace.

Thank you all for being there for us and for standing with us in 2013. May the good God be your recompense and reward.

Friday, December 20, 2013

And It Came To Pass

On May 5th, 2012, I posted a blog - An Icon For A Dream. Below is an excerpt from the blog:

"I have yet another dream, a vision of an answered prayer and in this vision, I saw myself—handbag over my arm, passport, ticket and boarding pass in one hand and my carry on luggage in the other hand—walking into a Jumbo Jet, in readiness for a long haul flight. I walked into the plane without any encumbrances or paraphernalia, just my personal effects. Indeed, that will be the open manifestation of God’s promise fulfilled in my life which will require no further explanation—a walking testimony."

Earlier that year in February and at the Geneva Writers' Conference, I wrote a poem, "I will fly again" during the Poetry class I participated in. It was the first time that I read a poem in public. I was moved to tears as I read the poem and the class instructor also asked me to read it again. It was quite significant for me because I had never considered myself a Poet though I had written many of what I called "my poetic musing." She affirmed me and asked me to continue to work hard at this skill. She did not know my history or story but there were obvious signs that indicated that the poem had deep personal meaning.

My mother once said that I had itchy feet. It was a parlance in Yoruba to describe someone who loves to travel and does travel a lot. In those days I did a lot of travelling within and outside Nigeria. My job was travel intensive. And I loved it -- going to different places, seeing different cultures and tasting diverse cuisine. As years passed, travelling became a consistent part of our family lives. For a number of years, we had to live apart because my husband and I were working with two international organisations in different duty stations. Travelling by air was a regular and frequent activity. I love flying, gliding above the clouds. But in 2007 I became too ill to travel. It required a lot of planning and special assistance for me to travel by air or even by road. By 2010, I was grounded.

That was difficult. I wrote a number of poems to express my inner turmoil at not being able to travel either for pleasure or work. I felt like a plane grounded in a hangar, and like a caged bird. Both are meant to spread their wings and fly, soar above the mountains. But my wings were clipped by my medical situation.

But I had a dream, a vision and a desire. I knew that it would come to pass and I will fly again.


On Monday, December 16th, after over three years in the hangar, I walked out my house with my bag packed, this time it was not to the hospital. It was to the airport. And it came to pass, I flew again. It was with exhilarating joy.

As we sat in the waiting room, my husband and I recalled the last couple of times I had travelled; we remembered how anxious we were that the batteries powering the oxygen concentrator would last until we were on board.

This time last year, the facts of my life made it look impossible that we could be living our dream, just a year down the road. I had a big swelling in my neck. Celebrating Christmas 2012 was simply an act of faith. We were unsure what was going to happen next as the cyst on my thyroid gland was growing at an alarming rate.

By the turn of the year, on January 2nd, 2013, I was admitted into the hospital, and on the third, I underwent a very distressing and uncomfortable surgery to remove the tumour. On April 13th, I was back in the operating room for a life-threatening surgery. And on May 30th, I was in the operating room again, this time for a life-changing surgery, which redefined our normal.

Despite all these facts, the truth of God's word remained unchanging. And that is, faithful is He Who has promised (Heb. 11:11), He is able to accomplish all His purpose concerning us. And it came to pass, according to His Word that there shall be nothing hard of difficult for God to do (Jer. 32:27). It came to pass just as He has spoken, that He keeps my soul in life. He restores my health and heals my wound. He is the God that heals me.

God is able to do all what He says He will do
He will accomplish all the promises He made to you.

Today, my heart simply rejoice in the Lord, Who has made it possible for me to live my dream and granted me the desires of my heart in accordance to His will for me and His promise to me.

Dear Friends, the facts around you today may be contrary to your dreams and visions for your life. And it may look almost impossible for your dreams and heart desire to come to pass, but I want you to know that God always do what He says He would do. At the appointed time, God visited Sarah, and it came to pass just as He had spoken to Sarah. At the appointed time, as God promised Abraham, it came to pass (Gen 21:1-2). Through the challenging and difficult waiting time, God preserved her and her husband, Abraham. He ensured that nothing could thwart the fulfilment of His promise to them (Gen 20).

He is still the same God alive and active on your behalf today, if you would put your trust in Him and hold on with hope and patience on the unchanging truth of His Word. At the appointed time, it will come to pass, all the righteous desires and dreams of your heart based on His promise to you.

"You can expect your vision to be realized. You can expect whatever you are believing God for to “come to pass.” I promise you that. It may not be at the time you want to manifest itself, but it will come to pass. It may not come in the form you want to come in, but it will come to pass!" (Revd. Lauren Webb, Examiner.com).

I am a living testimony of the truth that God fulfils His promises. He Who has done great things for me is able to do the same for you too. He is never late in fulfilling His promise. There may be just eleven days left of 2013, but it is more than enough time for God to turn your situation around for good. Don't give up hope. Don't give up on your dream. Hold fast to the promise of God to you and rest assured that in His own time, God will make all things beautiful in your life. It will surely come to pass.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

When God Put His Glory On Display

Do you remember the old Sunday School chorus based on the healing of the lame man by Peter and John at the temple's gate called Beautiful in Acts 3?

Silver and Gold have I not
But such that I have give I unto you
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth
Rise up and walk

He was walking and leaping and praising God x2
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth
Rise up and walk.

The crippled man rose up, he walked, and leaped and praised God. The people around at the temple saw him walking, leaping and praising God. And they recognized that it was the same man who used to sit at the temple's gate begging for aims.

They were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Now, this man was crippled from birth.

The wonderful works of God puts His glory on display in our lives. People and nations, including the heathen, shall see it and declare that our God is good. When God moves on our behalf at the appointed time to show pity on us and to favour us, people around us shall see it and reverently worship the name of the Lord. Kings shall praise Him because of His mighty works in our lives (Ps 102:13-15).

Great was David's distress and affliction in Ps 102, that he sat alone like a bereaved sparrow on a rooftop. He was inwardly depressed by his afflictions and trials that he lost the will to live. But David  was confident that God will answer his prayers because he knew that God will not despise the plea of the destitute. He was confident that God would not forget forsake or abandon him.

For the Lord looks down from His Holy heaven to behold us His people on earth, and to listen to our plea. Because of His faithfulness to us, men will declare His praise and people shall gather together to worship Him.

It gives us such an assurance to know experientially that God looks down from heaven and He behold us. His eyes are intent on us and He is greatly concerned about us. David was assured that as a result of the anticipated deliverance, the name of the Lord will be praised when the people of God gather together in Zion.

This same confidence and assurance was expressed in Ps 126 as he declared: "When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream." God did an amazing thing in their lives to the extent that it was like a dream. It was too good to be true. Because of this awesome work of God, they laughed with joy and overflowed with praise. It was so loud and copious that even the heathen (that is, those who don’t believe in God), who heard them, had to affirm that their God had done great things for them.

Isn't it wonderful when the display of God's mightiness and faithfulness in our lives would cause even those who do not acknowledge God to declare and confirm that our God is good and worthy to be praised? When God gives us a testimony that does not need explanation, everyone who sees us would acknowledge the faithfulness of God on our behalf and give praise to His Holy name.

That was the case for me last Sunday. It was the Annual Thanksgiving and International Day in church, a day we set apart to bring offering of thanks and praise to God in a truly multicultural and international way. We are from different nations and cultures, and we add this diversity to our celebration of God's goodness in our lives. It is usually an extended service followed by a food fellowship during which we share food from our different countries to wrap-up the celebration.

It was an exceptional day of exhilarating joy for me for a number of reasons. Remember, God has done great things for us, whereof we are glad. First, it was the first time we did not have to worry about having someone to go back home to refill the oxygen tank because we would not have sufficient oxygen for the whole period we had to be in church. Last year, my husband who is in the choir had to leave mid-service to dash back home and refill the oxygen bottle.

Secondly, there were people at this special service who had not seen me for over year. The joy they expressed when they saw me without the supplemental oxygen paraphernalia is indescribable. They were so glad for me that they kept praising God and thanking Him for my healing. I was truly overwhelmed at their reaction. They had never seen me before without the paraphernalia. It was a unique sight for them.

One of them was the Guest Preacher. He surely gave praise to God for what He has done in my life and he declared that this is a testimony that needed no explanation.

But there can be no testimony without a test. And it does not matter how long the tests and trials last for. It is the victory that God gives us over the difficult and challenging situations that brings the praise and put the glory of God on display in our lives. Like the man who was blind from birth and was healed by Jesus in John 9, it was for the glory of God to be made manifest that he had to go through that difficult situation. Our calamities and afflictions are for the glory of God and to make manifest His works.

In Matthew 9:8 and 15:31, the people were amazed, astonished, awestruck and they marveled when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed become whole, the lame walking and the blind seeing. These are testimonies of the power of Jesus to heal at work in the lives of these individuals which could not be hidden. Then the people praised and glorified God. That power to heal and to deliver is still at work today in the lives of those who put their trust and hope in Him and believe in His name.

What we need to do in our day of trouble, distress and affliction, is to call upon the name of the Lord. As He promised in Ps 50 verses 15 and 23, He will answer us and He will deliver us. And what should our response be to this? We praise and glorify His name. But that is not all, many people around us will see it and also give praise to God because of what He has done for us.

David anticipated God's deliverance. He was very confident that God will not leave him that his difficult situation, therefore he was able to declare in advance that God will be glorified and praised because of what He will do on behalf of His people. We can begin to give praise to God while we are still in that difficult situation when we are confident that God is able to deliver us as He has promised.

We can praise our way through our days of trouble and distress just like Paul and Silas praised their way out of the prison. See the number of lives touched because these men confidently praised and worshiped God even while in bondage and shackles. God was so moved that He had to step into their situation and that cause the earth to quake bringing about their deliverance and release.

Dear Friends, the year 2013 is rapidly coming to an end, whatever the situation you may be facing right now, no matter how long it has lasted; you may even feel as if God has abandon you or He seems so far off and you have not seen your desires fulfilled yet. Let me this assurance give you, this situation is for the glory of God to be revealed and be put on display in your life. One thing I can assure you of is that, God loves you passionately with an amazing and unending love, and He is daily putting that love on display in your life.

Look back, look around you and then look up. There is so much for which you can thank and praise God. And soon, at the fullest of time, God will put His glory on display in your life such that men will see it, they will marvel, and they will rejoice and glorify God because of you.

This assurance alone is a reason and an opportunity to rejoice in the Lord and be glad. For those who sow in tears will come again with rejoicing and exhilarating joy as they bring the sheaves in.

May God's glory be on display in your life and home this Christmas Season and beyond.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Incredible Potentials of a Seed

Today's blog post takes its leap from the blog I posted last week:  Connecting Lives Beyond Imagination (click on the link to follow). I was overwhelmed by the way God used one man’s act of obedience to set in motion a series of reactions, interactions and connections which is providing opportunities for open doors for many, and enabling us to pursue our dreams and the fulfillment of our destinies.

Through these series of connections and linkages, I am coming to a deeper understanding that God sees and knows the great potentials of our ordinariness or the things we consider to be ordinary.

A Seed:
Mustard Seed
The black mustard seed, which was the smallest seed grown by the first century farmer in Ancient Israel, is known to grow to the heights of 3.7 meters (12 feet). The seeds of the orchid flower are like minute dust particles, so tiny that it cannot be seen by unaided human eyes, yet it grows into the beautiful orchid plants which blossoms in the forest, in our gardens and homes.

Seeds have great potentials and when nurtured, they produce abundance, greatness and significance. Seeds multiply. Every seed sown by the sower has the potentials to produce many more seeds. One little tiny seed has the potential to multiply itself up to 10000%. Each time I hold a cob of corn in my hands, I attempt to count the number of the grains as I nibble them off the rows. I am simply amazed that all of them came from just one seed of corn. And each stalk of corn has multiple cobs on it. The multiplication is simply exponential. Every farmer knows this truth.

Seeds carry the power of continuity because each grain of corn on the cob is a potential seed with the potential for multiplication and to continue the spread of the corn beyond the point where it was first planted.











No seed is ordinary no matter how tiny or invisible to human eyes as it may be. Every seed is a seed of destiny because it has the capacity to influence destiny. Every seed is a seed of significance because it has the potential to make a difference. Every seed is a seed of promise, because it carries a promise to bring about a bountiful harvest.

Something of great and immense significance has been infused by God into the DNA of a small tiny seed.

You are a Seed:

In Genesis 9, God pronounced on Noah and his sons a blessing, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” One man and his three sons are to multiply until the whole earth is filled. Awesome! What a great potential for multiplication and fruitfulness this is?

God also promised to make Abraham exceedingly fruitful and to multiply him greatly, and make him father of many nations (Gen. 17: 2). He had placed in Abraham a seed that will bring forth many nations, though for almost a hundred years the seed laid dormant. One man, but in him lives the seed from which many people and many nations would arise.

Our God is a God of exponential increase. He made a great and mighty nation of one man. Kings were birthed from him because God said of Sarah that Kings of people shall come from her.

We also, the seed of Abraham, and like seeds, we have stored in us the potentials for greatness and significance. God has placed in us the seed of greatness and the seed of significance. For the moment, that potential may be dormant. And we may not know what exactly this potential stored up in us is or what we have been called to do. Nonetheless, it is worth waiting patiently for it to be revealed and for us to discover it. Be assured that you have the potential for significance hidden within you. There is something unique and only-you-can-do that God has gifted and equipped you for. You can depend on the help of the Holy Spirit to find it and to act upon it.

The Seeds We Sow:

We as the children of Abraham are blessed to be a blessing and an inexhaustible dispenser of good to others. We can indeed be the conduits of God’s answer to someone’s prayer.

When we sow seeds of mercy and kindness into the lives of those God bring along our way, and this seed is nurtured by the grace of God, it affects and changes the hearts and lives of the receiver, bringing forth a spiritual harvest of eternal value.

We can sow the seed of words of encouragement, our time, our energy, and our resources into the lives of others. We can be the ones God can use to open doors of opportunities to others. It only requires our willingness to listen and to obey the leading of God, and a desire to make a difference in every sphere of influence God has given us. We sow seeds into the lives of people when we make the effort to invest in them.

The seed we sow into the lives of people God brings across our path may seem unimportant and inconsequential. As long as we are following the leading of the Holy Spirit, the God of exponential multiplication and great harvest, will multiply that seed beyond our wildest imagination to the glory and honour of His Holy name.

Do not despise, scorn or make light the days of small beginnings or the day of small things (Zechariah 4:10) in your life and in the lives of those around you. God often uses the weak and unlikely instruments to bring about great things. It is an act of unbelief and ingratitude to scorn humble beginnings. It is an evidence of pride to despise the days of small beginnings in the lives of other people.

Little deeds of kindness can snowball to touch lives of many for good and become a spring board to launch others into living in their God-ordained destiny. You never can imagine how far God can use one act of kindness. Little seeds of mercy sown into lives can grow to reach many more lives across many continents.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” – Luke 16:10. Can God trust you and me to sow these tiny little seeds of kindness, mercy and compassion into the lives of His precious ones?

Often, a seed has to wait for many months before it gets the opportunity and the right environment to begin to germinate. It may appear that the seeds we have sown have remained dormant. Be patient. At the right time and at the right place with the right set of conditions, your seed will begin to multiply as it is meant to and it will bring forth bounteous harvest to the glory of God.

As we approach the end of the year and with the festive season in the offing, it is a great opportunity for us to consider how we can be used of God to be a blessing to many far and near. There is something God has placed in your hands, a seed, which you can sow into lives this season. I encourage you to prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to guide, lead and show you how you can and what you can sow into the lives He will lead you to.

There is great joy and reward in being a blessing. It is an act of gratitude and obedience, a wonderful way to express our appreciation to God for His marvelous works in our lives.

You are blessed exceedingly beyond your imagination. Believe it, dear friend!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Connecting Lives Beyond Imagination

I heard the front door opened. I heard her call out from downstairs, “Where is she?” and the sound of her footsteps running up the staircase followed. I stood at the top of the staircase and waited for her to appear as she turned round the spiral. In a moment, I beheld her and then she was in my arms. We hugged (at last), we shouted, “Hallelujah!” and we hugged some more. It was a dream come true. That was Tuesday, November 11, 2013, and it had taken 2 years and 7 months of waiting with expectation. She is Bidemi Mark-Mordi, the Author of Sistapower and Publisher of Effectual Magazine.

Looking back today, I can testify that my first contact with Effectual Magazine in October, 2010 was divinely orchestrated. That was when a dear brother in church blessed me with an enveloped gift after the Sunday service. I opened the envelop and found in it a copy of Effectual, a Magazine for women and those who love them. It was of high quality both in content and presentation. The colors were vibrant and inviting. The message was richly inspiring. I was deeply impressed, specially noting that it was published in my dear country, Nigeria.

I shared the Readers’ Digest-styled magazine with my husband, since it is also for those who love women. He encouraged me to write to the editor and acknowledged the job well done. I promised to do so but that slipped through the cracks. Six months later, I had a very strong nudging in my spirit to keep the promise I made earlier. I searched for the magazine but could not find it. One day, while searching through a pile of books on my husband’s bedside table, the magazine fell out. That was on April 19, 2011. This time, I immediately went to my laptop and I sent an email to the Editor of the magazine. I wrote about my impressions of the magazine. More than that, I asked her if I could support them by distributing it in Geneva as I was sure that there would be many more women who would be blessed by it, and also that I would like to contribute to the magazine if possible.

She replied instantaneously and included her telephone number. Soon we were on the phone chatting as if we had known each other for ever. We simply clicked in the spirit. I later found out that my mail came at a time she was at her lowest point and unsure of the directions to which the magazine was heading. According to a well-respected Sister and Pastor, the message was timely. Though I thought I had sent it late, it got to Bidemi when she needed it the most. It was a divinely engineered connection.

I invited Bidemi to Geneva earlier in this year and during the planned visit, she was to launch her book, Sistapower and facilitate the Women Empowerment Seminar in my church on April 27. She came. She and her husband, Pastor Mark met my husband. They stayed in my house but I was not there. I was in the hospital, in the intensive care unit (ICU), in coma. She was not allowed to see me. By the time I woke up some weeks after, I found that she had come and gone. I missed the opportunity of meeting with her in person. But she left a message that she would be back in Geneva, and we will dance and give praise to God together.

That day came last week on Tuesday. For over two years, we talked for hours over the phone; we praised God and prayed together; we had times of crying and laughing over the phone, and we encouraged each other through difficult moments. But I got to know more about Bidemi, the fine details, during the week-long stay with me than I knew about her in the last two and half years.

Our relationship deepened. And it confirmed to me again that when we dwell in close proximity with those we are in relationship with and we give attention to one another, our relationship deepens and becomes richer. This has application for all our relationships especially in marriage. When couples spend time together and give undivided attention to each other, their relationship and intimacy deepens. Even more important is our fellowship with God. Enoch walked in habitual fellowship with God. They were such great friends that God just took Enoch to heaven with Him. God did not allow him to taste death (Gen. 5:24).

I watched her ministering during two separate gatherings of ladies. Each one was unique and different. As we learnt later, there were specific persons who needed to hear the message God led her to share at each event. For these ladies, it was the confirmation of what God had spoken to them.

As the visit drew to an end, I began to reflect again on how it all started and the impact this connection has had on me, Bidemi and on the lives of the many ladies, and men too, who have become connected and reached through our connection.

One man’s response to God’s leading to give me a gift of a magazine became like the branching of a lightning bolt reaching far beyond its starting point. The rippling effects of that singular act of kindness is still being felt up till today. Our families have become connected together. Bidemi and her husband are now linked with many more families here in Geneva. As Pastor Mark said, he could never have imagined this happening a few years ago. Through Bidemi, I have become connected to a network of Sistas pursuing God's purpose for their lives.

There are many more ripples of this relationship. Sistapower and Effectual are circulating in Geneva and beyond. Sistapower was translated into French by a young lady in my church and is ready for publication. Many ladies are being motivated to be relentless in the pursuit of their God-ordained purpose and to fulfill their dreams. Lives are being connected and touched for good. Windows of opportunities are being opened to many at personal and professional levels.

I am simply amazed and overwhelmed at what God can do with one act of kindness, one act of obedience and one man’s willingness to share. It has gone far beyond my or Bidemi’s wildest dream. A seemingly ordinary gift and become an extraordinary powerful connector of many lives.

Last night while preparing this blog post, and in search of a document, I came across the first draft of the article I wrote in July 2009. It was titled “Divine Connections.” Three years later, I was amazed when Bidemi told me the theme for the September issue of Effectual would be “Connections.” I told her I had an article related to the theme. That article was published in October 2012. I never knew at the time I wrote the article that God had prepared a place ready for it ahead of time. At the appointed time, He connected me with that opportunity.

I concluded that God is constantly speaking and His Holy Spirit is always nudging us. But, the question is, are we taking time to pay attention to Him and listen to His voice? When we do so, and we obey Him and follow His instructions, He will add the EXTRA to our ordinary and turn it into EXTRAORDINARY. He is able to connect us with the information and the helper already designated to facilitate the process of this transformation. Because He sees and knows the potentials of our ordinariness. I will share more on this in my next blog post.


Dear Friends, God is speaking to your heart today. Do pay attention to Him, dwell in His presence, listen actively to His voice and take steps to obey Him. He will surely lead you to your Promise Land – to the place of fulfillment where dreams come true.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Conceit of Idleness

In 2003, I took time off work on health grounds and also to assist my sons adjust to their new environment – we had just relocated to Geneva. Coming away from a full-day loaded agenda to a flexible home management schedule, my friends thought I would not last 3 months. I was too active to be home-bound.  I did survive one year before I got restless. The boys did not need me as much as they used to do. I could not make the house cleaner. The wheels were running smoothly. I was involved in the Parents activities in the school but it was not enough to keep me busy. And I felt a strong urge to be able to contribute to the family income again. There was no where I needed to be or where I would be missed if I did not show up.

I did a stint of marketing food supplements for those watching their weight. I did an even longer stint of marketing beauty and face cleansing products. I even volunteered to work pro bono at the Nutrition Department of an International Organization in my city. While all of these did not generate the kind of income I needed, they kept me gainfully engaged.

Recently, a Sista-friend shared with me her concerns about a mutual friend who has been out of work for a long while, and was unwilling to accept a position offered him. He claimed that the position was beneath him. He had set a standard of the kind of job he was willing to do and it was either that or a “big time” business. He was not willing to settle for anything less. I was aghast, shocked at his adamant position. He has a young family to support, bills to be paid were mounting up plus debt to be settled. The situation was simply beyond my comprehension.

Is this faith, or foolishness or simply being presumptuous?

Or am I the one with the problem here? So I went in search of what the Bible says about being unwilling to work.

The Bible warned us in very strong terms against idleness. “…Work with your hands” (1Thess 4:11).

“…The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” (2Thess. 3:10).

If anyone is not willing to work then he is not to eat either. Such as could work but would not work should not be maintained in idleness. As children of God we must be creative, productive and action-oriented like our God. The Bible recorded that God worked for 6 days before He rested from His work on the 7th day.

“Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need” (Eph. 4:28).

The point is that there must be a willingness and eagerness to work, and to take action to accomplish something even if it appears for the moment that nothing is happening or there is no dividend.

If there is a willingness to work and there is yet to be an opportunity, the individual will keep seeking, he will get up every morning and go out in search of something to do. He will not sit back at home idle. He will be willing to exert himself and go the extra mile to make a living.
 
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Paul demonstrated that hard work is essential even though he had the right to depend on the people since he was ministering to them. He said “we were not idle when we were with you. On the contrary, we worked day and night, laboring and toiling, so that we are not a burden to you…” (2Thess. 3:7, 8).

Those who are not busy, who live lazy and idle lives, walk irresponsibly and become busy bodies. With much times on their hands, they meddle in other people’s business and interfere in the lives of others. They go about talking nonsense, saying things they ought not to. Devil will find work for idle hands.

Idle people, because of their laziness and slothfulness, reduce themselves to become a great burden on their families, friends and the church, depending on the bounty of others. They also deprive those who are truly in need access to the limited resources available. Those who are diligent in their business and earn a living, have great pleasure in doing it, and they are also able to contribute to helping those in need.

Idleness is productive of misery. “Keep away from everyone who is idle and disruptive” (2Thess. 3:6).

Busybodies denotes being busy with useless, superfluous and unproductive things, that is, to be occupied with trifles. But man was created by God to be an active, productive and creative creature, made for work and business.

Those who believe that some activities, chores or jobs are beneath them remain rooted at the same spot. They want the big-bang, they are waiting for a windfall or the beyond-imagination, which will propel them straight to the top. They don't want to do the hard work of building. So they wait and wait, and while they are waiting, they complain, grumble and blame everyone but themselves for their situation. They refuse to take responsibility for their inaction.

Inevitably, those waiting for a windfall or open heaven will likely miss it because they are not at the right place at the right time to receive the windfall or open heaven when it comes. They are too lazy to move from the spot where they are rooted.

While we are waiting for ours dream to be fulfilled, we need to keep ourselves gainfully preoccupied, building a strong foundation, improving our skills, acquiring new and relevant knowledge, and preparing for our dream to come to pass.

“Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). They took action which demonstrated their faith in God. Their works put their faith in God on display. They did not just speak or talk about their faith and trust in God but they took steps/actions which demonstrated that they trusted God to act on their behalf.

I know that God does not despise the days of small beginnings. And I know that he who is faithful in small things, to him more is given. God has promised to enlarge our coast.

As Christians, we should demonstrate a high standard of integrity, excellence and diligence in all we set our hands upon to do. Knowing that we stand as God’s ambassadors in whatever area of influence God has given us. We are the salt of the earth there and the light beacon directing others to Christ. We should be examples of those who demonstrate a high standard of responsible work ethics in our vocation and calling.

If we can work and are unwilling to do so, we miss opportunities to have the glory of God put on display in our lives at the workplace or market place, and we also miss opportunity to attract others to Christ when they see His good works in us.

It is a good thing to leave a godly heritage for our children and not just wealth. The sure way to do so is by teaching them the value of hard work and of working in the consciousness of God.

Gina Rinehart, an Australian mining heiress, will not leave her wealth to her children because she noted that they have not “developed the requisite skills, capacity, experience and responsible work ethics to manage wealth.” Gene Simmons wants his children to “be forced to get out of bed, go out, work and earn a living.” These are two of the wealthiest people in the world who would not leave their fortunes to their children.

Christianity does not take us from the work and duty of our calling or vocation, but it teaches us to be diligent in it. It is a responsible thing to encourage others to work and when positioned to do so, we should create opportunities for others to be gainfully engaged.

There is a difference between those who cannot work and those who would not work. Those who cannot work as a result of weakness, handicap, illness and old age should be provided for by the body of Christ, their families and government.

The Proverbs 31 woman is my standard of a hardworking, industrious, multi-tasking and God-fearing woman. She does not eat the bread of idleness. She taught me that I can be constructively engaged no matter what my circumstances may be. Dreams don’t get fulfilled neither can we walk in the fullness of our calling if we are idle and unwilling to start “small.”

Be encouraged to start something today. Take a step forward, it will take you towards living your dream. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Step of Faith: Two Years After

On Tuesday, November 1st, 2011, I posted my first blog with great uncertainty, unsure of where it is going. I was stepping out in faith and I had no clue what God was going to do with the blog but I was assured in my heart that He will surely touch lives with the messages He will give me the grace to share through this medium.

Today, two years after with 101 more blog posts and over 11,800 page-views after writing Stepping Out in Faith, I can not but give praise to God for His faithfulness in keeping His promise and for the grace He gave me to step out in faith.
 
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Step out of the box by faith
Over the past two years, I have shared testimonies of God's rich mercies and awesome faithfulness in my life. I have shared with you chronicles of the gracious work that God has been doing in my life. It has indeed been a joy and a blessing to me to see how God has used these stories to touch lives for good.

Through this medium, I have been divinely connected with so many people whom I would never have had the opportunity to relate with, if I had not followed the leading of His voice to start blogging. I have also made many new friends, many that I have not yet the opportunity to meet and will probably not get to meet on this side of the divide. But certainly, by the grace of God, we will meet around the throne of grace.

Every single one of you, who helped me to set up the blog, who visit the blog, read the posts, make comments and who have become friends, are a part of my story. You have made it possible for this page to be a place I long to be to reach out to many beyond my little corner. You have encouraged me to remain committed to this medium. I give praise to God for you. I ask my God to richly bless you and advertise Himself in your lives.

Noah was a man who stood out for righteousness among a wicked, corrupt and perverse people. He found favour with God as he walked in habitual fellowship with the Lord (Gen. 6: 1-9). God instructed him to build an ark. He was given clear instructions on the dimensions of the ark. Noah had no prototype to follow, no previous similar project to learn from or any recorded previous experience in ship building. But the Bible recorded that "Noah did everything just as God commanded him," even though an ark had never been built before.

He must have been the laughing stock in his community. But he took the step of faith, began to build the ark and remained on the course that God had commanded him by faith. His obedience was ready and resolute. He was employed in making that which God would use to preserve him and his family.

The Lord said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go the land I will show you….So Abram left, as the Lord has told him;" (Gen 12: 1,4). Abram departed from Ur as God directed him. He stepped out in faith and began the journey to a land he did not know. It was an unparalleled act of faith. His leaving started a chain of reactions and his obedience would bring great blessings.
Faith takes God at His Word and obeys His voice. Trusting God means we are ready to depend and rely on God to do what He says He will do and to lead us to where His purpose would be fulfilled in our lives. By faith, these two witnesses responded to God's instructions, obediently carried out His command and followed His plans.

As He did before in the times of old, God is still speaking to each and every one of us today. He is giving us clear instructions as to what He wants us to do and His plans to move us forward. Let us learn to listen to His voice and obey Him.

If we want to fulfil our destiny, live our dream and possess the possession that God has ordained for us, we must be ready to take a step of faith to do as God has instructed us even when it looks incredible, is beyond our understanding and we don’t know how it will unfold or have any idea of where He is taking us. One thing, we are assured of, is that our calling has a purpose.

Faith and obedience are intricately woven together but it is by these that we will live in our promised land. It is by obediently taking the step of faith forward that we will do the never-done and never-seen-before.

As I read again that first blog post, I observed that a lot has changed in many spheres of my life since then. I am no longer where I was at the beginning. Indeed, I am a living testimony of what God can do in our lives if we would trust Him to step out in faith. That I am still here and I am testifying to the goodness of God in the land of the living is an evidence of God's faithfulness in fulfilling His promises.

I give praise to God for the day He used His daughters to encourage me to set up this blog and I thank Him for the grace He gave me to obey Him and step out in faith.

What has the Lord been laying upon your heart to do? Are there areas where the Holy Spirit is nudging to step out in faith and move forward?

Today is the day to hearken to the voice of God and obey His instructions. Take a step of faith and begin the journey. The God of all Providence Himself will lead you in the way to go and provide for all you need to succeed in what He has called you to do.

Now, I am going to edit my profile because of the changes that have taken place since I stepped out in faith.

In what ways has this blog: Enriching Lives. Inspiring Hope, been a blessing to you? What more would you like to see on the blog to make your visit more rewarding and to enrich your fellowship with God.

Please share in the comment box. Your feedback is highly appreciated.


Yours in His Service.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Not Static. Not Stagnant. Next Steps

Not Static. Not Stagnant. Next Steps.

Today's blog post takes its leap from my last post - Blog Post 100: Not Static. Not Stagnant

I noted in the previous post that at one time or the other, we are visited with seasons of darkness and vicissitudes, which forms dark bands across the landscape of our lives . Seasons of pains, hurts, disappointments, rejection and grief. Seasons when the fulfilment of our dreams and desires look bleak. Seasons when we appear to be rooted to the same spot or going around the same mountain for so long and our breakthrough seems not forthcoming.

I concluded that at such times, like David did in 1Sam 30, we need to seek God's face and take God-oriented actions.

In today's post, I will share with you some of these God-oriented actions we may take to move forward and away from the spot where we have been sitting on the track.

A Call for Consultation, Collaboration and Partnership:

Right from the beginning, God demonstrated to us the importance of consultation, collaboration and partnerships. After creating all living and moving creatures and calling into existence the firmaments, when it came to the creation of man, there was a difference in God's approach. He did not say, "Let there be man" nor did He say, "Let me create man" but God said, "Let us create man in our image…"  A consultation was held in the formation of man. "Let us" was spoken by God to the Son and the Holy Spirit. The three persons of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost consulted and concurred in the creation of man. There was a partnership and inclusiveness of these Three in the creation of man.

Man was created different from all the other creatures and living beings. He is the fusion of the flesh, soul and spirit.

Too many times, we try to go it on own and do things by ourselves—solve the problem in our own way and isolate ourselves from others in our dark seasons and how we deal with the issues of moving forward. This isolation almost always lead to a fall.

But what we need to do is to first consult with God and with the Holy Spirit for leading and direction. And there are times we need to consult with godly, matured, tried and tested Christians, God brings into our lives. It is amazing how God can connect us with such people if we listen to His voice and follow His leading.

The Bible says that there is a great gain in the multitude of counsel. Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but there is safety in an abundance of counsellors (Prov. 11:14). The way of a fool is right in his own sight but a wise man listens to counsel (Prov. 12:15). Without counsel, plans fail but with many advisers they succeed (Prov. 15:22). There many more of such verses in the Bible, urging and encouraging us to seek wise counsel as we seek to move away from status quo and move forward in fulfilling God's plans for our lives.

I learnt a lot from Bidemi Mark-Mordi's book - Sistapower, about the power of collaboration and the importance of partnerships. From the Bible, we learn that "a three-fold cord cannot be easily broken." My Sista said in her book that "what this means is that every venture takes more than one person's input and once we have enough people making their input, the impact will be a lot more effective."

We will need to form God-directed partnerships in order fulfil our assignment, our calling and our dreams. The Bible is replete with many examples of people who consulted with each other, formed partnerships and alliances, and collaborated to achieve a common goal and purpose. Some were for good and some were for evil.

The Shunamite woman of 2Kings 4 consulted with her husband and proposed to him that they extend hospitality to the man of God, Elisha. It was not a small task that she proposed but they agreed to build an extension to their home to provide accommodation for Elisha and also to furnish the "apartment." This proposal is obviously a product of careful deliberation in addition to the display of kindness, thoughtfulness and appreciation of the man of God. But the final decision was in agreement. Read the rest of the story and see how this decision eventually affected their lives for good.

Marriage is an important relationship where husbands and wives must consult together and work in partnership, agreement and unity of purpose in every decision making and in fulfilling their God-given purpose.  Consultation and agreement are critical for a thriving relationship and beyond that, "There is usually a ripple effect when a man is connected with a woman that compliments him, (and it affects) all other relationships the man may be involved in, especially at work and in business" (Sistapower, p.29).



Collaboration and partnerships in other spheres of our lives also have rippling effects. "Let us" as the starting point of consultation and partnership provides us with the opportunity to advise, exhort, stir up and encourage one another to the work proposed. It gives us the chance to tap into the skills and resources that God has invested in others, which they bring to the relationship, and which God is poised to use to enhance our skills and resources.

When you are one in agreement and one in spirit and purpose with your partner, collaborator and assigned helper, there is no limit to what you can accomplish together especially when it is God-directed and pursued to fulfil God's purpose for your lives. In Genesis 11:1-9, the people were united and in agreement, and they were going to do the never-done and never-seen-before but unfortunately, their goal was in conflict with God's purpose.

The effect of partnering with the right person is like throwing a stone into calm waters and watching it ripple all the way to the shore. The impart is felt far beyond the original starting point. When we trust God to form the right partnerships, it catapults us beyond the spot where we have been rooted and in the process it touches many more lives that we could ever have imagined.

In taking the next steps forward and away for the status quo you have been at, I encourage you to wait in the presence of God and seek His instructions as to where to seek counsel and with whom you should collaborate or seek partnership. I pray that your ears will be sensitive to His voice as He leads you in the way to go.


Have you been a recipient of wise counsel or perhaps you have entered into partnerships which have taken you far beyond your wildest imagination, share your story and encourage someone today.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Blog Post 100: Not Static. Not Stagnant.

This blog post refused to be written in a hurry. Rightly so, it is my hundredth post since I started blogging in November 2011.

I spent five days last week in the hospital undergoing a 6-month post-surgery checkup. Yes, indeed it is six months since I had the life threatening open-chest surgery. My God is truly awesome and worthy of my praise. Tried as hard as I did, I just could not get the post finalized in time for posting on Thursday. Do bear with me.

My second son, DE, was 5 years old and had been ill on and off for a period of time. So I took with me on a trip from Tamale to Accra, where I was scheduled to attend a series of meeting at the Country office, to see a UN staff doctor for a checkup. After the consultation with the doctor, I left him in the care of my colleague while I attended my meetings. My colleague gave DE sheets of paper to draw on and colour to keep him occupied. He sketched a number of what appeared to be long and tapering objects and coloured the tips red. When asked what he had drawn, DE promptly responded, “Mummy’s fingers and long nails.” Well, I took good care of my fingers and kept well-manicured nails. His agro was that I kept my nails long while I insisted on having his nails cut.

Over ten years later, in April/May 2013, I suffered from severe oxygen deprivation at the extremities (my feet and hands) and also had renal failure. A short while after I regained consciousness, I noticed changes on my nails. They were discoloured, some were deformed, a couple had fallen off and some had what looks like blood clot under the nail. There was also a dark band and indentation across the nails.

Deformed
With dark band
As my fingers became re-oxygenated, they recovered and a new season of refreshing came upon the nails. During the last 4 months, I observed that as the nails grew, the dark bands moved up and after sometime, the part of the nail above the dark bands literally separated along the line above the bands and in some cases while the upper part was still attached to the nail bed, causing a lot of discomfort.

Despite the extremely difficult circumstances my nails were subjected, they struggled to grow again because the living part of the nail was active. The dark bands have almost reached the tip of my fingers. Soon it will be a figment of my memory that they have once experienced a season of darkness.

In Biology, we were taught that all living beings exhibit seven characteristics. Among these are movement, growth and reproduction. Everything that has life must grow, move and reproduce. Nothing that God created with life is expected to be static or stagnant. Man was created to be an active creature.

There was a time that the earth was without form and void, and darkness covered the deep. It laid in waste, empty and chaotic, and was shrouded in thick darkness. Then came a spark of hope. God did something about it (Gen. 1:2).

Why?

Because emptiness and chaos is not of God, He is not an Author of confusion. The Bible recorded that the Spirit of God moved upon the waters. And God began to speak things into existence—“Let there be…” He made some things— the sun, moon and the stars. He created some things—great creatures of the sea, every living and moving things and He created man (Gen1:2-28).

He blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply/increase in number.”

At one time or the other, we will experience seasons of darkness in our lives -  periods when things go wrong in different spheres of our lives, when we are treated unfairly or unjustly,  and periods of trials and tests, of insufficiency and lack, and of troubles – spiritual, physical and emotional. These leave dark bands across the landscape of our lives.

Perhaps, you have dreamt dreams and nurtured great desires in your heart, and the fulfilment looks bleak
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Or you have been sitting on the same spot for years waiting for a breakthrough in a particular area of your life and it is not forthcoming.

Or you have been going around the same mountain for so long.

What do we do at such times?

Put our hands over our heads, and our heads upon our knees, moaning and wailing?

Make a move - Let it be God-directed:

David was a man who had many seasons of darkness in his life. Let’s take a look at one of them described in 1 Sam. 30. He and his men returned from following Achish to fight against Israel. He was rejected by Achish. When they got back to Ziklag, they found that their wives, sons and daughters were carried away by the Amalekites and their homes burnt down. They had lost everything.

What was their reaction?

They lifted up their voices and wept until they had no strength to weep anymore (vs. 4). Whilst his men remained bitter, angry and full of grief, David took an action to address his situation.

First, he encouraged himself in the Lord his God – he found strength in God (vs. 6b).

Second, he enquired from the Lord what steps he should take to deal with the situation – he sought God’s direction and leading.

God gave him clear instructions and in addition, He gave him an assurance of victory — “Pursue: for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.”

There will be times we will walk through the valley of the shadow of death, times we will pass through deep waters, and times we will walk through fire (Ps. 23:4, Is. 43:2). The key word is THROUGH. We walk and pass through difficult and dark seasons. We are not expected to stay static and rooted there. We must at such times turn towards God, be encouraged and find strength in Him, and seek His face for instructions – What shall I do in this situation?

Time to be Active and Creative:

Wait in His presence until you get clear instruction AND take the necessary steps to move forward! Growth and movement requires effort, time and other resources but above all, it takes willingness and determination to move and not remain static or stagnant.

What is holding you rooted to the same spot?

Usually, it is fear. The enemy uses fear like a shackle to pin us down, to hold us back and to limit our movement. Fear paralyses and keeps us static and stagnant.

Sometimes it is fear of failure. It could be fear of rejection, of being refused or even fear of death. Fears whispers doubt and disbelief into our hearts – maybe God’s word will not be fulfilled in this case. But let me give you this assurance: God’s words are effective. His words are not idle. They always accomplish the purpose for which they have been sent forth and will never return to Him void. God will do what He says He will do. He will never go back on His word or renege on His promises.

God’s grace is also abundantly available and sufficient to move us away from the spot to which we have been rooted.

When God, the Trinity, created mankind in their image, He put in us the ability to relate with the Holy Spirit. He, as our teacher and counsellor, broods over us and brings creative and purposive life out of our chaos and makes a ministry out of our mess. Also, because we are created in God’s image, God’s creative ability is at work in us to make us creative like our Creator.

God has created us to be active. He created us to be productive, to increase and to grow.  He created us to be creative. Sometimes growth may mean for us a deeper spiritual maturity, which we are all called to attain in Christ.

He did not create us to be static or stagnant or idle or to live in fear.

Dear Friends, it is time to move from this spot where you have remained static and stagnant, and from the spot you've been held down in fear. You have encompassed this mountain long enough. It is time to follow God’s leading and instructions if you want to fulfill your destiny and possess what God has ordained for you for a possession (Deut. 1: 35 – 2:9).

Today, is the day to take action. Let it be God oriented, directed and guided.