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.

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.