The Violent Take It By Force.

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“What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in delicate raiment? Behold those who wear delicate things are in the houses of kings. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.” …

“And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” Mathew 11:12

You and I both know that the word of God is alive, active, doesn’t expire and is as fresh now as the moment it was written. So let’s highlight ‘NOW’ in the scriptures above. Until NOW, the kingdom of heaven still suffers violence and up until NOW, only the violent seize it.

Jesus spoke the above to the multitude and in verse 7, He tells us it was concerning John. But what drove Him to say this? In the previous verses, we see John in a state that I would like to call – the low place in the high place. Here is the description that Jesus gives of John, Mathew 11:11, “…Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist…” Sure, he was a prophet. He prepared the way for the coming of the Messiah. He baptized Him. He was a mighty man of God and right from his birth, he was an ordained nazirite. He lived in the wilderness feeding on locust and wild honey and preaching the gospel of repentance to all and even to those he termed the offsprings of vipers. Yet rebuking king Herod, Mathew 14:1-4 only led to his imprisonment. The kingdom of heaven under violent assault! And the same man who preached Jesus, who believed in Him long before others did, from the dark, unpleasant, demoralizing and devaluing dungeons of prison sends two of his disciples to Jesus to confirm if He truly was the Messiah or if there was need to look/ wait for another – quite the low place in the high place!

Kingdom

What is a kingdom? How different is it from other forms of government, say: constitutional government, democracy, dictatorship or federal systems? How does one receive kingdom citizenship? Can the kingdom citizenship title be revoked? But why kingdom assault/ violence? And why take it by force? And How?

From the Lord’s prayer, ‘your kingdom come’, clearly shows that His kingdom is right here with us and in us.

Let’s first talk a little bit about this kingdom stuff:

The concept of kingdom is introduced by God Himself when He made heaven and earth, and for earth to be a place that He would colonize to become an expression of His kingdom to a physical planet. Gen 1:26, “…Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over…”

Dominion is always in reference to the kingdom.

Mamlakak (Hebrew) means sovereign power/ royal power/ sovereignty or kingdom dominion which was given to Adam when God made him king over the earth and therefore all his offsprings are kings that are supposed to rule the territory called earth on behalf of God.

King of the universe/ King of glory is in reference to heavens – Jesus.

The concept of kings is therefore critical to kingdoms.

The Kingdom principle of kings.

Jesus came to earth to bring a kingdom, not a religion.

God’s redemptive program and plan was a means to an end – re-establishment of His kingdom on earth.

Christ came to the earth to restore the kingdom that Adam was given, the kingdom of heaven back to earth. Because Adam lost the kingdom, every human heart is searching for what is lost.

The number one hunger for every human spirit is for the kingdom. When you get it, you stop searching.

John 3:1-3 “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

A kingdom is not a religion but a country. Countries don’t have members. You don’t become a member of: Canada, Brazil, Kenya, France or Russia. You can only become a citizen of a country. That’s why Christ never talked about membership but citizenship – being born into a country.

When you become a citizen, you gain constitutional rights to the promises of a country. Citizenship gives you access to privileges, promises, protection and wealth etc. That’s why countries guard their citizenship so much.

John 17:14 “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Although we live here on earth, our citizenship is in heaven.

Therefore: A kingdom is the sovereign rulership and governing influence of a king over his territory (his domain) – impacting it with his will, intent and purpose, producing a citizenry expressing a culture, reflecting the nature and lifestyle of a king.

Hence we talk of kingdom citizens and kingdom citizenship.

Luke 22:29 “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;”

…….

-The king is the ultimate and only source of authority in the kingdom.

-The sovereignty of the king is inherent in his royal authority. The people don’t make the king king. He is born sovereign, and that’s why Christ doesn’t need your vote to be king. You don’t vote him into power. You acknowledge Him as King.

-The king is the beginning and the end of the kingdom: The Alpha and the Omega.

-A king chooses who will be citizen.

…….

The Kingdom of God come to earth under violent assault! And the violent take it by force!

When you are born citizen of a country or have been conferred citizenship of another country, with full rights and privileges associated with that country, then you don’t plead for what is already yours.

We also do know that to continuously guard this citizenship, then we got to acknowledge our sonship/ heirship in the kingdom and be in constant communion with the King.

Well, whereas there could be other forms of taking it by force, my focus weighs heavily on three factors:

-PRAYER

-Violent Faith

-Active Faith

1. PRAYER

Why Pray?

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Colossians 4:2 “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

1Thess 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I remember this evening precisely slightly more than 2 years ago while pacing in my house and heading to draw the window curtains, hearing this voice tell me so audibly, “I want you to stop what you are doing and PRAY!” I left everything as it was and proceeded to my altar to pray, from where I had a great encounter, got healed in the process even emerging with a solid promise from God.

Of late, I have been replaying this quite often in my mind. Why would this all so Sovereign, Omniscient being: who knows everything I need before I even say a word, who has the power to grant my petition even without me asking, who owns the earth and everything in it, who has the power to rain down provision just at the tap of two fingers, who was capable to heal my hand and entire arm without me necessarily praying for healing, command me to PRAY??

This purely shows that prayer as a spiritual activity plays an indisputably core role in the life of a believer, in his relationship with the Creator, and no doubt in taking it by force!

Well, I have moments when it’s all lovey-dovey – kinda like in some sort of honeymoon with the Father, some moments when it’s a calm whisper – almost some kind of surreptitious struggle, some when I can worship in tongues – yes, He does give me a new song every once, plus its tune in tongues I don’t comprehend. Then there are those moments I’m all so done and tired to even talk, so I write Him a note and ask Him to read – it happened once to me. And other moments when it’s plain warfare – my personal favorite. This is where real warriors are made – right in the heart of the battle ground. Where we neither plead, smile nor negotiate with the enemy; where we get to: command, set on fire, cancel, reverse, render powerless and defeated, quench, nullify/ declare null and void, claim, detach from, scatter the agenda, unseat by fire, release thunder fire and brimstone, uproot, simply set the empire of darkness in total disarray. It is beyond KDF style – only, no physical force employed.

So whether you go: lovey-dovey, whisper, meditate, talk in tears: tears of joy or agony, write to Him a note, break into uncontrollable laughter, speak through your heart – in silence, break into heavenly tongues or plunge right into the heart of the warfare zone, causing irreparable havoc to the kingdom of darkness, well, yes, it’s all communication to and with the Father.

The plain reality is that most people, even some who profess Christianity have been taken captive of: their lives, their goods, their benefits, their inheritance and even their purposes. These are well guarded under heavy surveillance behind the gates of brass. And we can’t in any way take back what is ours in a gentle manner. We do it crude, forcefully, ruthlessly and of course with strategy.

Gates! Gates! Gates!

What is a gate? It is a point of entry or exit as well as a point through which transfers take place.

There are varying types of gates: different sizes, with different types of soldiers guarding them, with different levels of power/ security accorded them, with different categories of weapons used by the soldiers on guard. Whatever the case, whatever the size and capacity of power enforced, one thing I know for sure is that gates are normally heavily guarded. Let’s take an example of 3 (three) different gates here: the gate of your school/ work place, the gate of your residential estate/ home and the gate(s) of the USA or Israeli embassies. You’ll agree with me that they are all different.

And different bandits in different hierarchies of banditry know what it takes to get in in order to steal, kill or destroy depending on the type of gate. Bandits can be patient, strategic and somewhat humble before they get in, but once they occupy the territory, they claim it, control it, jealously guard it and will not leave that easily. It takes violence beyond what I can describe in writing. Bandits are always on a constant look out, persistently for the next territory to possess. No, they don’t sleep like we sometimes do.

You’ll equally agree with me that no bandit can get into a territory to possess it, to claim it without the permission of the owner of the territory, save for a few cases like through the gate of birth. And I’m talking spiritual bandits here. There must have been an entry point – a gate, and unfortunately some entry points come as a result of sin e.g. the gate of idolatry, the gate of immorality or the gate of bloodshed.

Thanks to the blood of the lamb on Calvary. As Jesus cried, “It is finished! / Tetelestai! / Entièrement Payé!”, so was it. And in like manner, we achieved freedom. But what of him who believes neither in the finished work of the cross at Calvary, nor in this blood?

Let’s have a look at what the Lord, Jesus Christ says about dealing with the soldier at the gate: Mathew 12:29 “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.”

Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Isaiah 45:2-3 “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, That thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”

When we get to deeply comprehend the magnitude of warfare at the gate, then we’ll know that violence is an indispensable tool that must be employed, and a lethal one at that.

2. Violent Faith

Violent faith glorifies God and advances the Gospel.

Among the myriads of examples of such faith, let’s single out the experiences of Peter and Paul behind bars, of Daniel in the lion’s den, of Shadrack Meshack and Abednego in the fiery furnace.

Daniel 3:16-18 “Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

Holy violence: possessing kingdom possessions require kingdom violence. If you know your rights and privileges in Christ and in the kingdom, then you got to become assertive to enforce them. Boldness is essential for faith to operate.

3. Active Faith

Prayer, thanksgiving and praise are some of the examples of components of active faith. It is what we DO, beyond believing which demonstrates that there’s an integration between that which we believe and that which we ACT upon.

Meditation and applying the word are equally pillars of faith in action.

Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Reading through the whole of this chapter, we’re practically led into seeing that active faith requires sacrifice.

James 2:17- 23 “Even so faith, if it hath no works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”

To drive the point further home, here is an excerpt on Acting on Faith by Benny Hinn.

“Exodus 14:15-16a “And the Lord said unto Moses, wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it:”

Deuteronomy 2:31 “And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before thee: begin to possess, that thou mayest inherit his land.”

“I have begun to give.” He doesn’t give until people start moving and acting upon faith. He will take care of the enemy in your way, but once He gives you the land, you must go and possess it. He often leaves it up to you to overcome the obstacles. Most importantly, you cannot inherit until you take ownership, until you receive what God has promised to you.

Acts 2:4 Believers prayed and then began to speak; acting upon the revelation and infilling that God had given them. As with the early church, we must not wait and then react, but rather act first in faith and then see God move. You see, pursuit is faith in action.

Pursuit, active faith, brings victory! The more you come to know the Lord, the more you find out that He has so much more waiting for you to receive, yet nothing miraculous happens without faith. Until Moses stretched the rod over the Red sea, the water stayed intact. Until the children of Israel were ready to possess the promised land, they wandered 40 years in the wilderness. Until David unleashed the small stone from his sling, Goliath towered over him, sneering the young man’s God. Until Bartimaeus and the woman with the issue of blood acted in faith, their miracles remained unfulfilled.”

…….

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I’d love to share a quote that to me has been a pillar over the years especially on those occasions when I’m just at the helm of giving up. “Nothing happens without prayer.” – Elisha Goodman

All these go out to encourage:

-Someone into holy violence.

-Someone on the verge of giving up on prayer.

-That person who is yet to begin and the other one who has slackened on prayer.

-Someone who is constantly mocked by that satanic laughter. It’s only a matter of time as you pray persistently that that laughter will be replaced by the laughter of Him that dwelleth in the heavens, Psalms 2:4.

-Someone who has walked the longest in the rain and it seems like the night isn’t breaking forth into day.

-That person patiently awaiting the fulfillment of a promise by God.

-That person who is mad at God for not answering his/ her prayers.

-That person whose goods are well guarded in the storehouse of the enemy.

-That person who has lavishly given an entry point to the enemy to come in and pick whatever he wants.

-That person who is rejoicing ‘cos he/ she has beautifully mastered the art of making the gates sway to the rhythm of his/ her music.

Please don’t stop praying. Keep pressing on! There’s always something to offer to the Lord in prayer, be it through: Adoration, like Moses Deborah & David after victory, or Petition as in Luke 18, or Intercession – standing in the gap just as queen Esther, or simply Thanksgiving just as the one leper among the ten. It could also basically be accompaniments like: communion, sacrifice/ offering, adorning a grateful heart or just simply erecting everlasting altars in form of our hearts to Him. There has to be something we can give unto God, anytime.

Well, as I conclude, I’ve had uncountable number of moments/ seasons when I’ve had to just simply put, Take It By Force: when my prayer life has come under raging and scathing attack, in my previous work places, in my family and in many other different areas.

As a believer, all the power you need is right inside of you, to claim back the kingdom, be it: in the market place, in the corporate world, in governance and leadership, in your marriage, in Ministry and the body of Christ and in all the domains as much as we have been given to subdue and to take dominion!

Wishing you sufficient grace in taking it by force as you step out in holy violence.

The Violent Overcomer.
References:

-UNDERSTANDING THE KINGDOM. Kingdom Principles, Preparing for kingdom experience and expansion, (DVD) – Dr. Myles Munroe

-Acting on Faith, (online) – Benny Hinn Ministries

The Heart of the Father

It is practically inevitable to talk of or even think about the Father’s Heart without thinking – L.o.v.e.

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“What do you want?”

Has God ever asked you a simple question like, “what do you want?” And you stated it thinking that it was clearly and precisely answered, but at the end of the season’s lesson with Him, you get to see a perfect picture of the Heart of a loving Father who patiently and lovingly deals with a stiff-necked people, with a people who don’t even know what they want when they think they do, who can’t accurately articulate what they want, who have forgotten what they want, yet in all these, He still helps us find it?

God’s unquestionably solid and unchanging character draws me into falling even deeper and anew in love with Him with ev’ry passing second, helplessly so.

We all know our God to be: merciful, patient, forgiving, compassionate, faithful, loving and guuuuwwd.

Luke 18:18-19

And a certain ruler asked him saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.

The magnitude of Christ’s meekness struck me, the first time the scriptures above sank in me.

Well, Integration and The Heart of the Father forms the basis upon which I am inspired to write today.

Integrated

When we say that someone is integrated, it means that what he thinks, says and does at any one given moment within himself is in one harmonious accord.

This is one of those realities about God’s character that my finite mind is yet to completely grasp. Everything about God sends me to an ‘automatic awestruck mode’, but this particular one? When I translate this concept from the human understanding and practice of the word, I helplessly get awestruck. Every time I ponder about this word – integrated and how it perfectly gels with the description of God, it becomes a vicious cycle of getting awestruck over and again, the latter magnitude even greater than the former.

And this is why. Is it always all times that when you talk to someone and deeply study their eyes, their vocal tone, their body movements, their subtle facial expressions, their gestures and even their silences that you get to see an integration of their words with what you observe? Is there a consistency now as it will be four years from now or as it was three years back?

Honestly, this is one of those qualities of God that blows my mind off.

The Father’s Heart

Recently – to be precise, last month, I undertook a 21-day prayer and fast marathon – a program in which I wanted this: financial equation, career, vision thing to be sorted out once and for all.

And several times as I was praying, He could ask me in simple words, “what do you want?” And I could answer. Another time I would be praying and the question would arise again, “what do you want?” And as I began to answer, He would cut me short, “you, what do you want?” And I would give an answer related to a certain type of a job. Well, this is not funny. I never ever got to answer that question correctly despite having heard it close to four or five times.

So one evening, a few days immediately after I had just completed my 21-day prayer program, a friend gives me a call, invites me to her business premise for a hook up and just basically to chat. We catch up on life issues then I wait for her to close down, after which she decides to give me an escort. As we’re walking along the road and chatting, she turns to me and asks, “what do you want?” I begin to give a narrative and as I put a but in it, she deliberately cuts me short and asks again, “you, what do you want?” I instantaneously had to slow down as I was hit by the fact that this was a God-moment, and that He was giving me another chance to answer this question correctly. What a brain shake-up!! How on earth could she be able to ask me the exact same question, in the exact similar manner as I had earlier been asked so many times before while praying?

Guess what!? God used her to help me remember the vision that to me was given 3 years ago, and which is exactly what I wanted but which I couldn’t clearly articulate. Sometimes it takes longer than we anticipated, which drives us to think that God’s not in it anymore, that He forgot about it, or maybe we just didn’t get it right.

The reality? He never trashes a single covenant. The truth is that I was slowly losing track of this covenant I had with Yahweh 3 years ago, and the vision He planted in my heart then was quickly slipping through my fingers. The plain truth is I needed a quick fix, as quick as possible. Yes, I needed a job, or so I thought. It would answer all my queries. It would sort out this unhilariously mysterious puzzle once and for all. And well, the reality is that He doesn’t operate that way. He is not a God of ‘Quick Fixes’, but one who in His perfect time, offers a lasting solution, fully anchored in Him.

My lesson? Be alert to the move of God. God will use anyone to reach out to you. And I mean, literally, anybody.

My other lesson? Walk in divine timing. Neither be left behind by Him nor go waaay ahead of God. I practically can relate to the not so pleasant effects of the latter.

What a Terrible God! And what an Integrated God! I still stand in awe of this ‘oneness’ within Himself at any one given moment. He doesn’t think one thing and say a different thing in relation to His thoughts. He doesn’t say one thing yet do a contrary thing in relation to His words. He doesn’t do one thing yet mean a different thing in relation to His deeds. And what He thought, said and did: more than 2,000 years, 7 years, 1 year and 8 months or even 2 weeks ago would never ever contradict itself with what He thinks right now, says right now or even does right now.

My heart has seen a perfect picture of a gracious Christ who intervenes in prayer for us even when we don’t know how to package our words. It has tasted of the love of a Father who doesn’t force His choices down our throats willy-nilly. When we give Him a chance, He equally gives us a chance and asks us, “what do you want?” Surely, a perfect Father must perfectly know what His child wants. I have seen a Father who in His perfect ways gives us a platform to choose, yet even in choosing, when we: don’t know, can’t clearly articulate or simply forget what we want, He helps us to accurately define it, and just doesn’t stop there. He helps us find it!

And you know what else? I have seen a picture of a Father who doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. Who as far as the East is from the West, such far has He removed our transgressions. I have seen the true heart of a compassionate Father. I have personally known a God who provides mysteriously.

He is in control. If He allowed you there and put you there, He’ll sustain you right there and make a way such as the human eye cannot figure out right now. Stop fighting!

When it has been close to two years of making applications and you’re rarely called for an interview and whenever you’re called for one, you’re never taken then you wonder if you were overqualified. Still, that doesn’t damn change His heart and plans for you.

When it’s close to two years since you wanted to ‘fly’ with that business and you had a deficit yet He clearly told you not to borrow money from anyone and that He would show you how He works, then it’s time to be reminded of His name – Jehovah El-Kanna, the jealous one who shares His glory with no other. And well, yes, it’s time too to be reminded that He is an I.n.t.e.g.r.a.t.e.d God.

When you feel caged and you desperately want to run back to the comfortable and unprogressive life you knew back then, yet He deliberately blocks you, then it’s time to be reminded that He is not a backward God, but a progressive one, and that part of the progression is allowing Him to walk you thro’ the fire. Then it’s equally time to answer this question correctly, “what do you want?” Then it’s time to be broken…to bend to His will. Then it’s time to recognize that you ain’t and never will be the boss, not even of your own life, but a steward and a partner to Him.

When the vision was birthed in partnership with Him, then it’s time to acknowledge that you have no total control of the ‘how’ and the ‘when’, He does. And for you to have a glimpse or knowledge of the how and the when, then you gotta be constantly and intimately connected to Him like a cable to a power source so He reveals it to you, no other option!

So mine is to dance, in the rain just as much as in the sunshine, though this time, I am not dancing to the rhythm of the madness in me, no. I am dancing in splendor and awe to this sweet rhythm of His unquestionable and indisputable musique, responding and moving to the tempo of His beats. When He tells me jump, I simply smile and ask, how high? And in what manner? Vertically or diagonally? And when He tells me move, I stop and ask Him how fast? And towards which direction? Northwards, westwards, southwards or eastwards? Plus, in what manner? Horizontally, in a zigzag motion or spirally?

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What do you see when you clearly stare at the Father’s heart?? I see L.O.V.E.

I’m not yet done!

This is the heart of the God whom we serve. I have seen a Father who loves unconditionally – who doesn’t lay down a proviso to the attainment of His love. I have seen a Father who doesn’t use the same: faulty, self-centered, wanting scales and lenses that the world uses to weigh, view and cluster us. Not even the inadequate, self-questioning, self-righteous lenses that we use to view ourselves. But one whose lenses of viewing His children is ‘like no other’ – perfectly refined.

I have seen and felt the Father’s Heart in close range. I have seen and known Authentic L.o.v.e.

Well, since this heart is: deeper than the profound depths of the ocean, higher than the ranges of the highest mountain, wider than the whole round centrifugal view of the cosmos, lower than my determinate comprehension of genuine humility and unfathomable even with the help of the most high-tech microscope and telescope, I am still on a voyage and mission of unearthing and of deeply understanding it, plus its peculiar integration. The Father’s heart.

Welcome aboard!

Totally wrecked!!

Fresh from my Short Writings Gallery.

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G.R.A.C.E

If I were to walk right into the most exorbitant store,
I’d choose the grace and love store.
If I were to be dressed by the most distinguished designer;
so I exude an air of exquisite,
I’d choose the grace designer.
If my statement scent were to permeate and engulf an entire room,
I pray it’d be the fragrance extracted from the raw product of grace.
If I were to be adorned by jewelry made from the most precious of stones,
I’d select ornaments of grace.
If I were to strut my way down that aisle,
I’d still choose the red carpet of grace.
And then when the interviewer walks up to me and asks,
“Ma’am, whom are you wearing today?”
I’d reply him in incontestable confidence,
“I’M WEARING GRACE.”

“Unmerited favor” confidently executes her role:
-Covering our shame.
-Taking us to platforms and places:
we honestly would never have been to,
that we don’t deserve to be in
were it by our own strength and ability.
-Grace, I have practically discovered is not backward
but a forward movement, smart enough
not to ‘excavate’ the untold history of the long road travelled.
-Beneath the intricately encrusted embellishments of grace,
is an indomitable spirit.
-Grace has spoiled me rotten!!
-She doesn’t care whether I’m in a room where:
I’m the most inexperienced, the least exposed,
‘unfortunate’ in the eyes of some…
but just as her name suggests, she gracefully taps my shoulder,
offers me a seat and shifts me to a caliber
only her knows best how to.

And today,
I get to wear my designer label of ‘g.r.a.c.e’
with courageous and humble pride.
Wouldn’t trade this regalia for another.

But wait!
What if grace were to be bought?
What if it came in packages?
Aristocratic grace, royal or imperial grace,
upper class grace, middle class grace, lower class grace etc
Where would you and I genuinely be?
Think about it.

-Reena

#WhenSimplicityCollidesWithGrace

-Inspired by my personal experience of a year of incredible favor where in acting in obedience to the many things that God directed me to do, the financial equation notwithstanding, I saw His mighty hand at work, open doors and sustenance at unfathomable level. -October 2017

PRAYING WITH KNOWLEDGE

“I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” – Charles Spurgeon

“There is no other activity in life so important as that of prayer. Every other activity depends on prayer for its best efficiency.” – M. E. Andross

“He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” – John Bunyan

“Prayer is not learned in a classroom but in the closet.” – E. M. Bounds

“Relying on God has to begin all over again everyday as if nothing had yet been done.” – C. S. Lewis

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” – Martin Luther

“He who kneels the most stands the best.” – D. L. Moody

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Colossians 1:19 For this reason we also, from the day we heard of your faith and love do not cease praying and asking for you, to the end that ye may be filled with the full knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Psalms 144:1 Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

From my 7 years that I have been in the prayer closet learning: how to do targeted prayer, how to fast, to hear God’s voice and the prompting of His Spirit, obedience, surrender etc, it goes without saying that a hungry spirit is constantly thrusted into new endless dimensions, where the current kinda acts as an additional illumination to the former revelation. Needless to say, we never come to a point of ‘ultimate knowledge of prayer’ as long as our souls are open to learning and thirsty for more.

In this regard, I must reiterate that I don’t view myself as the ‘ultimate prayer guru’, rather, an eagle with an open mind & heart, thirsty for more knowledge; a submissive vessel that’s ready and eager to learn and be taught some more, and on that note, one that’s willing to share her knowledge from her prayer journey.

I remember on 31st December 2017, I had this heavy heart, many cares racing simultaneously through my mind and my heart weighed heavily upon me. My spirit was troubled. I purely dreaded coming back to the city to face the unknown and in that instant; I was led to go to Heaven’s Gate prayer mountain in Gilgil. Yes, what I needed at that time was all there – quiet uninterrupted time with my Heavenly Father. I deeply yearned for an assurance of peace, of rest, of hope. Sitting, kneeling, praying, worshiping and lying prostrate beneath a tiny tree at the top of the mountain evoked a feeling of familiarity with the incomparable beauty and awe of the garden of Eden (before sin crept in). The tranquility there is unparalleled. I spoke to the Lord and it was as though His strong yet gentle arms beautifully wrapped me in this cozy and sweet embrace that I never wanted to peel myself from. I was massively consumed by this infallible and unrivaled love as I savored the moment and drowned in such breathtaking and indescribable splendor. And so it was when I left after two days that I was almost prompted to feel like I hadn’t had enough of God. Well, God is everywhere, with us and in us, yet the experience at the prayer mountain was just outta this world, if you know what I mean.

Back in the hostel, two of my roommates were candid enough to share experiences of how when they slept at night, they could feel like they were having intercourse with a stranger. There are some of these things that we read about and think that they are myths. One of them even shared with me of how she had broken an engagement thrice. It was my time to minister. Armed with knowledge from my prayer trainings, I forthwith knew without a shadow of doubt that this lady had a counterfeit – an evil spiritual spouse claiming her. That she had been married off unknowingly in the evil spiritual realm which basically rendered her unavailable in the physical realm. I remembered the lessons that I had acquired of such spirits, of soul ties, of their effects, control and manipulation even in the lives of believers.

Believers joke and laugh with the devil, but the devil? This scene to me is well exemplified in my reconstructed version of the pig proverb – “Never play with the pig. You both get dirty and the pig gets happy.”

Allow me to take you back to something I shared in an earlier article on this blog entitled ‘Passion Prayer’. – “Before anything happens at all for you to see, it has already been enacted in the Spiritual world.” – Elisha Goodman

My take: It all begins in the spiritual realm. It’s first enacted there – evil or good. That’s why it’s imperative that our battles are not fought carnally if effective results are by any chance to be achieved.

As I continued spending time with God right at the mountain, He revealed to me a new dimension of effective prayer: Praying with love and Praying with knowledge.

Fast forward to late last year, I had a vision on prayer. As I was sleeping, I saw this intensively bright light which connected my heart to Heaven. I felt like a Jacob when he saw angels ascending to and descending from heaven. Then I heard this voice audibly say, “Two things determine answers to prayer: WHEN and HOW you pray.”

Well, the factors above inform the basis upon which I write on prayer today.

1. WHEN

‘When’, I believe cuts across ‘what time’ as well as ‘triggered by what’.

What time – ‘when’ did the Lord Jesus pray?

-Matthew 14:23,25 “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone….and in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.” This prayer must have been throughout from the evening right up to before the fourth watch of the night when He walked up to his disciples – by estimation around 3, 4am.

-Mark 1:35 “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed in a solitary place, and there prayed.

-He prayed before undertaking given tasks e.g before choosing His disciples, He prayed all night – Luke 6:12-13.

-Luke 14:19 He prayed before eating food or breaking bread – Luke 24:30.

-He prayed prior to being tempted, Mathew 4:2. He had fasted for forty days and forty nights.

-He prayed when in pain and agony, Luke 22:41-44, well equipped with knowledge of the great sacrifice that lay ahead that He was to make on the cross.

These are a few examples of when Jesus prayed.

The Bible is not only keen and specific on matters numbers and seasons, but also exact timings. The Bible is so deliberate in giving us precise indications of times when certain: deliverance, victories, miracles and even judgement took place – a call to pray during times such as these.

How about looking at ‘when’ – the exact timings when miracles, deliverance, even judgement took place in the Bible.

-Paul and Silas were delivered from prison, Acts 16:25-26 at midnight.

-Peter and John administered healing at the gate of the temple called Beautiful, Acts3:1-8 at the ninth hour.

-The veil getting torn at the temple and saints being awoken from sleep, Matthew 27:46-53 was preceded by darkness from the sixth to the ninth hour.

-David arose to give thanks, Psalms 119:62 at midnight.

-Cornelius received a vision, Acts 10:3 about the ninth hour of the day.

-The Egyptian first born sons were smitten to death, Exodus 11:4 about midnight.

-When Jehovah didn’t answer King Saul either by dreams or by urim or by prophets, he resorted to consulting a woman that had a spirit of a python, 1Samuel 28 by night. Through the spirit of Samuel who was already dead, Saul gets the message of the Lord having rent the kingdom out of his hand as well a prediction of his death together with his sons on the following day, which was executed as per the word of the spirit of Samuel.

I wonder though why the Bible is so deliberate in giving us precise indications of such timings. Is it for beautification or décor? Would they have been stated just for the sake of it? I mean if they didn’t serve any functional value? That’s upon you to personally think about and decide.

Much as I basically pray anywhere, anytime, I personally love my prayers and intercessions at the midnight hour – 1hour, 2hours, even 3 hours as led. And much as midnight is assumed to be the time of evil: invocations and practices, it also stands out as a calm time with minimal distractions when seeking the face of God.

Close to two and a half years ago, I dared God, and well, He honored me with a visitation right in my house. It was at the midnight hour, precisely 7 minutes past midnight. I wanted to hear His voice, I asked Him for His glory. I was nuts, I really was. Someone had told me without batting an eyelid that God doesn’t speak, but I believed the contrary. I asked God why He spoke to others and not me. Well, with a conversation that began at 2pm in the day, the guy appeared at 00:07. Again, this ran on persistence & obedience – I was directed on two specific worship songs to sing which I did. Imagine singing the same two songs repetitively for close to two hours while kneeling? Well, on that day, He didn’t speak audible speech but coded language with signs.

He got me dazed, made me lie with my face downwards. And the next thing? My bed shook terribly, I heard thunders, rumblings and saw light – these, three consecutive sequences. He served me a tiny dose of His glory. I hitherto still wonder if I would have contained the full splendor of His glory. Yet, this tiny dose was, for lack of better description, excitingly frightening and enough to make me not to switch off lights while I slept for the next 7 nights. My visitor didn’t wait for a glass of juice. Later on, 8 months later, He started speaking audibly to me.

See? It all was initiated at the midnight hour.

2. HOW

I view this as cutting across ‘the manner’ as well as ‘the strategy employed’.

How did Jesus pray?

-Jesus prayed alone (Matthew 14:23 & Mk 1:35), with a chosen few (Mk 5:37, Mk 1:35-36) and with the crowds e.g before eating.

-He prayed in fasting and sometimes retreated alone to the mountain/ wilderness throughout the night. (Luke 5:16 & Luke 6:12)

-Jesus always addressed His prayers to God and prayed in accordance with His will.

-He prayed kneeling, He prayed with strong crying and tears Hebrews 5:7, He prayed with love and compassion, He prayed with a thankful heart (John 11:41, Matthew 11:25 & Luke 10:21).

The Lord’s Prayer still remains our greatest guide. Matthew 6:9-13

So, how should we pray?

-Our prayers should always be directed to God.

-They should be made through Jesus. In His name – John 14:6.

-In accordance with God’s will.

-Making declarations using scriptures related to and that address the given situation.

-Articulating the request with clarity and precision.

-Having a clear focused prayer strategy.

-Through meditation.

-Getting engaged in the night watch.

-In a closet, in secret, Mathew 6:6.

-Employing the prayer of agreement as led.

-Persistently – day and night, Luke 18.

-Guided by the Spirit.

-With thanksgiving.

-In worship, with praise and giving God all the honor that’s due Him. “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, amen.”

-In asking for revelations and His guidance so we can pray with knowledge.

I love it when God breathes His guidance in every tiny step of a project that I’m undertaking. I started co-authoring a book with Daddy beginning mid-October last year, a book in which He clearly showed me the two main themes that were to govern and override the content throughout. Interestingly, having done 8 chapters in 3 months, I somehow debated within myself whether I was done writing. And I kept hearing this prodding in my spirit…so I asked God, “Father, is there anything you want me to add in this book?” And sooner than I knew, He gave me a full chapter and shortly afterwards, another last one. The result of simply asking Him for guidance and listening to His instructions.

3. PRAYING WITH LOVE

I believe that this is self-explanatory. We attract with love, admiration, awe, positive acknowledgement etc. And we repel with hate and bitterness etc.

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4. PRAYING WITH KNOWLEDGE

Here, I would like to focus on two things: knowledge of God’s word & praying with revelation.

Knowledge of God’s word.

Every single situation that we deal with has a scripture element related to it. That means checking out the scriptures that back up the petitions we take to God is a sure way of praying on target.

Praying with Revelation.

This is my personal favorite. God reveals secrets to His saints when: He speaks audibly, thro’ certain, almost strange occurrences like the writings on the wall – Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin; thro’ His servants and the prophets, thro’ visions and dreams, thro’ mental inscriptions etc

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

So, at the start of the year, God was reminding me of the importance of seeking that secret code, that hidden understanding from Him so that when I embark on prayer, it’s not a matter of aimlessly throwing arrows in all the wrong directions.

I’ve had moments when I’ve said simple prayers like “Oh Lord revive my dream altar.” Or “Oh God revive my midnight prayer altar.” Or “Father revive my worship altar.” And the consequence sometimes is a night of three to four revelations. When I awake, the 1st thing is to record them down then check out the relevant scriptures and the prayer strategy to employ. Sometimes I can’t understand a dream, so I ask for its interpretation and well, God always gives it to me.

Candidly, I have moments I wake up to worship at midnight – David style, Psalms 119:62, other moments when I’m perfectly just not in the mood for even prayer and yet some nights when I start to pray at 1:00am and the next time I check the clock, it’s 4:00am.

What would you do if you realized that you have been praying amiss? Or how you are praying is not the way you should pray? For instance, you are praying for a health, marital or financial breakthrough, yet those are not the root issues? That what you see in the surface as a tussle that is to be tackled in prayer is simply hidden in the root issue which must be effectively addressed in prayer but which would only be possible through a revelation?

I remember one time being led to consistently pray against the spirit of rejection. If I were to have chosen to look at things from a contrary view and at surface level, then I wouldn’t have been praying with understanding.

Another time I was led to pray against the evil manipulation and control of destiny stealers and destiny diverters as well as star gazers/ monitors and star hunters.

Praying and walking in revelation means you could be heading in a particular direction and the Spirit guides you to change the course of your path. Praying with revelation means you can effectively pray on target for 15 minutes and get results on the same issue where another with no revelation has prayed for an hour and missed results.

  • Clarity

What happens when we pray with doubt?

I believe that clearly articulating what we precisely want, getting the related scriptures, forming that image in our mind and praying in God’s will nails it.

Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give me your heart and let your eyes observe my ways.”
Beyond stating our needs with precision, we need to broadcast the image of that which we want from God with clarity.

Look! God did not only tell Abram that he would be a father of many nations, no. He directed him out then showed him the countless stars in the sky in comparison with the promise. Why? So that there would be an imprint of the promise in his heart and mind and consequently, focus with clarity.

We have the power within ourselves to attract or repel that which we want just thro’ our attitudes, declarations and feelings towards that element/ factor/ thing. It’s simply an inexplicable law of nature. For instance, it’d be harder for one to obtain a certain car that they long for, yet when they see someone else with it, they criticize it.

I remember one time reading Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now and he illustrated how he and Victoria once enhanced their faith and clarity. A house and neighborhood that they loved but which was waaay beyond their pocket power. So they would stroll and just simply sit around that area.

Ahem! Ahem! Well, sometimes you just gotta be in that ‘environment’, if not physically, mentally.

Just like Abram, God will sometimes imprint certain images in our minds so that we can focus with clarity. Similarly, He has the unbeatable strategy and power to make extinct from our sights and imaginations the deterrent factors to focus on His promise, again, just so we can focus with clarity.

  • Understanding Seasons.

I have come to deeply understand that discerning and understanding seasons also help us to pray with knowledge.

-Are you in the Job season? What ought to be the believer’s attitude?

-Are you in the Elijah season? Being prepared, learning of supernatural provision, being used by God to affirm that He is the one true and living God.

-Are you in the Daniel, Shadrack Meshack Abednego season? Needing to defend your faith prior promotion?

-Are you in the Esther season? Being used as a deliverer, to even reverse a decree?

-Are you in the Hannah season? Your hands and fingers are being trained to battle it in prayer. Your waiting patience has been stretched but not ‘beyond repair’ and well, tested in the fire.

-Are you in the Jonah season? Running away from being used of God. Trust me; He’ll soon catch up with you.

-Are you in the David season? No one sees your importance yet in God’s agenda, there’s imminent shift in ranks from a shepherd to a king.

-Are you in the King David’s season? Your very own son conspires with your adversary to dethrone you. An adversary whose wisdom, God is yet to turn into utter foolishness.

-Are you in the Ruth season? Making deliberate sacrifices. The reward is not at bay.

-Are you in the Eli season? Serving faithfully yet having rebellious children. What are you doing about it?

-Are you in the Nehemiah season? Tobiah and Sanballat & company won’t let you breathe, yet God’s work must be done.

-Are you in the Joseph season? A dream got you in trouble. I get lekker exhilarated every time I read Exodus 42:6 on the fulfillment of this dream whose origin had God as its trailblazer and on how Joseph’s brothers got to bow down to him – their faces to the earth.

So, what season are you in?

Embracing seasons ◊ Having a revelation of ‘em ◊ Letting God be glorified in and thro’ them.

Can you see and feel how practical the Bible is like I do?

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  • Beware! A roaring lion seeking to devour.

Of late, I find myself continuously thinking of the story of Job. I’ve had a ruthlessly inquisitive brain since I was a toddler that stems from very keen observations and insightful imaginations. At 3, I asked questions that made adults fumble with logic, facts and reason. Everything rare I observed was a cause to be mesmerized and to seek answers. The stars? They looked sooo cute and adorned the sky with so much grace and beauty in the night. Well, these may sound hilariously stupid to you, but they didn’t to me as a 2 year, 3-year-old or thereabout. For instance, I innocently asked, “Where does rain come from?” It bothered me. “Where do flies go to at night?” “Why is it that when we go for long call, we wipe and clean ourselves, but when the cow does, he doesn’t clean himself?”

That aside, back to Job. Job 1:6 “When the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, satan also came among them.” What I keep wondering of late is: In which form did satan appear? How was he dressed? Did the sons of God who stood next to him discern that they were standing right next to the devil himself or it’s only God who knew?

Isn’t it also mind-boggling that there’s no chance for a short leave or even an off from prayer? One must pray before they get a job to attain it and after getting it to maintain it. One must pray before and after marriage…and so on.

Back to the prayer mountain where I began, even in such a divine and anointed place, you meet highly anointed servants of God: pastors, bishops, apostles, prophets and needless to mention, witches too. They really got guts. So at night while we were fasting and praying, satan and his consortium: advisors, consultants, priests and prophets also came to church and when people were fewer, right at the altar – a cause for being warned for all, irrespective, to keep off from the altar. Listen, I am not glorifying him, neither am I afraid of him. I’m simply reminding us to be on the lookout.

My take? Just as we’ll never get to a point of ultimate knowledge where we are saturated and have no more room for more, we too should never get to a point of comfort where there’s no more need for prayer.

1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

Accompaniments to Effective Prayer.

Here I would love to state a few factors. By no means is this list exhaustive.

Fasting Mathew 17:21 “But this kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.”

What if your prayer item and case shares the same category with this of the lunatic boy?

Giving Isaiah 58:8 One of the benefits of giving Isaiah 58:7, is the glory of Jehovah being our rearguard. “Then shalt thou call and Jehovah will answer;”

True repentance. Hiding sin in one’s heart is a sure giveaway. It sells you exorbitantly. It is a stronghold and a thriving ground and cause for the enemy to accuse and for counter-attacks.

Deliverance. This is an elephant in the house that believers still grapple to deeply understand.

Meditation

Worship

Holiness

Persistence

Thanksgiving

As I conclude, if you’ve been crying because it is just too much, I’d love to console and encourage you even as I do the same to myself ‘cos I too, once in a while shed a tear or two. “God is not as moved by tears and complaints as much as He is moved by faith and praise.” – Hebrews 11:6. To me, tears, grumbling and giving up is by no means different from creating a perfect entertainment zone for the enemy where he gets to have the real time of his life. It is like playing him a guitar and the goddamn being dances like crazy.

Wow! didn’t I just write a looooong blog post…probably the effect on the first article after just having completed writing a book.

I honestly wanna increase in understanding and practice of how to pray with knowledge and effectively so. I can’t help wishing the very same for you.

Remember, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” -Oswald Chambers

Pray with love!

Pray with knowledge!

The wrecked vessel.

Here comes that dreamer!

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. – T. E. Lawrence

Barack Obama – It is not where you start!

The mention of this name hitherto sends a spiral of pure goosebumps in me, in a highly respectful way. Focused, charismatic, an orator, true, a fighter – a man who fiercely defends what he truly believes in, a man loyal to the sanctity of family etc. I have come to highly respect this man. A man hated with equal breath as he is loved but whose astounding, remarkable and relentless effort to rise from obscurity to become the 1st man of an African American descent to rule the United States of America will be painfully in-erasable from the books of History. Illustratively, it goes without saying that Obama never second guessed matters pertaining to family and particularly his wife. What an honorable man!

Well, people love to see the end product: polished, intricately beaming with an alluring appeal, composed, bold, successful…but what we forget is the gap and journey between the final product and the dream/ vision. Between a plan and its eventual execution when we can courageously say ‘Mission Terminé’, is the process.

What runs through your mind when you see the photos below of Barack Obama, especially the one in which he carries a sack, accompanying his grand momma to a small, open air, village market in K’Ogelo? To me, they birth a genuine testimony of true humility and love for family. Look! Aren’t we most prone to lose focus of where we are going if we keep forgetting where we’ve come from?

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Ev’ry time I get to look at the photos above, the question that invades my mind is, who would have known then that young Obama would one day be the POTUS? Who would have known then that this little boy innocently smiling and resting, comfortable in the loving arms of his mother would one day be a force to reckon with? I keep looking at the mother and I wonder, does this lady really know whom she’s carrying? And the immediate warning that lingers in my mind and heart is: Be careful how you treat people! And the prayer that stealthily creeps through my lips is: Lord, teach me to see the beauty and recognize the value and worth in every single person and to view every single child as important and special.

What is the magnitude of value you attach to people?

Here comes that dreamer! The Cost.

Think about it. Isn’t it mind-boggling that dreaming, then executing the dream comes at a cost?

Genesis 37:18-19 And when they saw him from afar, and before he came near to them, they conspired against him to put him to death. And they said one to another, ‘Behold there comes that dreamer!’

Genesis 37:4-5 And his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, and they hated him, and could not greet him with friendliness. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and told it to his brethren, and they hated him yet the more.

I look at Joseph and I see a man who had to endure sorrow, pain and hate in inexplicable and irrational measure.

But who would have known then that one day he would rise against all odds and be appointed by God as the Governor over Egypt, 2nd in command to Pharaoh?

I look at him and I see someone hated 1. Because he was loved by the dad, & 2. Because he dreamt.

But why would one suffer ‘cos he dreamt or had a vision (something he had no total control over)?

And was Joseph justified to share his dream? What if he kept silent with it? Would it have made a positive difference?

I look at him and all I see is a man abandoned and neglected by the people he least expected would do that to him – his very own family. I see a lonely and sad man. The hate rises to an inordinately excruciating tempo such that even his appearance is such a disgust and is no longer palatable to the appetite of their sight and must be gotten rid of.

Good riddance or a blessing in disguise?

At least Joseph had his eldest brother (from a different mother), Judah who God used to save a purpose, a destiny, in that instead of killing their brother, Joseph, he proposed that he instead be sold to the Egyptian slave traders. He was therefore removed from the pit in the wilderness where he had priorly been thrown by his own brothers and sold to the Ishmaelites for twenty silver pieces. That’s the amount of value they placed on him. Clearly!

Was it that some of them like Benjamin were too young to voice out their opinion and defend Joseph? I wonder…but we later on read in Genesis 42 that Reuben too tried to defend him, all in vain.

What captures my attention here however is that in a group of 11, only 1 person was able to rise up against him being killed, which translates to 9% support. That must have been a massive gang-up!! Think about it. Yet it only speaks of one thing to me – when a vision is from God, it must accomplish its purpose and God will raise up a Judah to defend it.

Who is your Judah in your wilderness and amidst intoxicatingly chocking opposition?

And in which camp do you belong? Are you a Judah to others?

Or are you in the camp that tirelessly works and conspires to strangle others’ dreams/ visions?

From the pit to the slave traders, to Potiphar (Pharaoh’s chamberlain)’s house, to prison (where he interprets the cupbearer and baker’s dreams). At the end of 2 full years (24 months it is! And I just don’t want to imagine what other manner of agony he had to put up with behind the scenes), he interprets Pharaoh’s dream and is appointed Governor over Egypt, 2nd in command to Pharaoh.

“Shall we find one as this, a man in whom the spirit of God is?”

A God-ordained purpose will never be strangled!

The story of Joseph confirms this indisputable fact.

I also love to think of King Herod who in his insecurity ordered the killing of the 1st born sons within the range of Jesus’ age, unsuccessfully trying to write him off, stubbornly trying to strangle a purpose; not knowing that the angel of the Lord had long before warned Joseph (not the son of Israel, but the son of David) to take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt.

I once heard Pastor Dr. Myles Munroe preaching and he stated that:

“You can always tell when a vision is from God…it makes you look like a fool. If they believe you the first time you tell them. It’s not from God. Every vision has one believer first. If they don’t think you are crazy, it is not a vision from God yet.”

And in my utter naiveté, I thought then that that was a grand and hilarious joke!

I am the firm believer that very minimal…almost close to nothing can be achieved without: focus and unrelenting sacrifice, discipline and selflessness, faith and belief in oneself, passion and aggression, self-respect and respect for all, integrity and character. But F.O.C.U.S? Focus carries the day for me; Any time, Any minute, Any second.

The End-Product: Dream on…

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LOVE overrides all negativity & opposition.

I personally love a positive end to a play or a story where the protagonist after painstakingly battling it out eventually emerges as a hero/ heroine and where the antagonists don’t get away with changing the course of the plot of the play/ story. And Joseph’s story is one of such.

I love it when all his brothers eventually meet him in Egypt and he has undergone a 360 degrees’ transformation such that to them, he undoubtedly remains incognito. The antagonists of his God-ordained purpose up to this time can’t recognize him but when he eventually reveals himself to them, fear invades their hearts, thinking that the protagonist will go on a spree of waging revenge missiles towards them. Unanticipatedly, he makes peace with them and forgives them. This love is evident when he later even informs Pharaoh of the presence of his brothers, when his father, Israel (Jacob) is also brought to Egypt and his entire family is settled in the best part of the land – the land of Rameses (Genesis 47:11).

What are your dreams?

What is the God-ordained dream/ vision that you are pregnant with today?

What is the magnitude of opposition that you’re encountering? Hang in there! Rest and breath easy.

Isn’t it incomparably awesome to know and to be irrevocably convicted that no magnitude of opposition, no Potiphar’s wife, no prison has the power adequate to nullify, to change the course, to delay, to strangle or to even all together stop the manifestation of a dream/ vision that is within the confines of God’s divine will?

Dream on…dream fearlessly.

Irene.

Purpose: Why I believe its Discovery and Execution is Indispensable for Fulfillment

“Every individual forms his own estimate of himself and that basic estimate goes towards determining what you will become. You can be more than you believe you are. Real belief will stimulate power from within yourself. Do not be afraid to trust yourself.”

-Norman Vincent Peale

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Please stop for a while and think with me. Stop and look around you. What do you see? Basically everything you’ve just seen, every idea, every inventory has a purpose. How do you think the world would be like if we subjected everything you observed around you earlier to a purpose it wasn’t intended for?

Well, today I tackle a subject that I have profoundly and authentically come to love – PURPOSE. And how would I even write about this without a mention of someone who to me, to my life, was the pioneer publisher of such hefty a subject – Dr. Myles Munroe?

In 2014, I began a new journey; one in which I deeply longed for my Manufacturer, my Creator to reveal His purpose to me. And just as a trait is well born in the deoxyribonucleic acid, so I believe is our purpose well tucked in His mind. Having stumbled upon the in-depth teachings and exceptional revelations by Dr. Myles Munroe, for the first time ever in my life, I earnestly started praying for a revelation of Purpose. I believe this prayer, with time has led to a bulk of some of the radical decisions and sacrifices that I’ve had to make.

Some of my favorite notes on Purpose & Vision.

“It is more tragic to be alive and not know why than to be dead and not know life.” – Dr. Myles Munroe

According to Dr. Munroe, “The greatest enemy of man is not sin. No, it’s not satan. The greatest enemy of man is IGNORANCE.”

“Where there’s no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18

“If you have no vision, you are an open game. Anybody can run your life.

Purpose precedes vision,

Purpose is the foundation of your vision.

Vision is a manifestation of your purpose,

Vision is a glimpse of your purpose.

Vision is a conceptual reality of your purpose for living.

Vision is purpose in technicolor.

Vision is a view of your end at the beginning.

Vision is a preview of your finished future.”

-Dr. Myles Munroe in “Why Men need Visions and Dreams.”

I regard it quite a priceless privilege stumbling upon such exceptional teachings that are by and large ignored by many but which two years ago led me to carve my life’s Vision Statement and to put it on paper – a blueprint that has since relieved me of making yearly resolutions.

Dr. Munroe points out that the only way for us to know the truth about ourselves is that it has to be revealed to us by the Spirit of the Manufacturer and that the truth about a product is only hid in the mind of the manufacturer.

How about this?

“If we compete with ourselves and not with others, then it does not matter who is behind us or ahead of us; our goal is to become and achieve all we are capable of being and doing and this becomes the measure of our satisfaction.” In my lay understanding, comparison and competition ought to be utterly extinct from one’s journey of Purpose and Potential discovery.

But why did God make it that we have to pursue Him in order to know our purpose and for some of our hidden potentials to be revealed? Why is it that such a crucial blueprint can only be accessed through prayer and a deeper intimacy with the Creator?

It is never about us. It will never be!

We serve and minister through our different gifts & talents and it is not, has never been and will never be about us. It has to be, it has been, it is and it will always be all about Him – God.

Kindly allow me to divert a bit from the topic at hand. It is worth noting that there’s a huge disconnect between our notion of wealth and God’s notion of wealth and that most times, we miss it. The owner of all the gold and all the silver extravagantly blesses us and He is longing to partner with us. He wants us to willingly be a ‘Point of Redistribution’ of HIS WEALTH.

Potential

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Prayerfully identifying one’s areas of gifting and working on them in close contact and consultation with the author of Purpose, I believe opens an opportunity to thrive. Working closely with Him means we humbly and honestly acknowledge that we are limited. That way, He steps in and even helps us recognize a potent in us that we had never even knew ever existed. We thrive too ‘cos we’re not subjecting ourselves to the wrong use, we’re doing that which we were born to do and ev’ry single day is a God-given opportunity to grow in it, to polish it, to maximize the underlying potential within.

Some of my favorite quotes on Potential.

“Do not dilute the truth of your potential. We often convince ourselves that we cannot change, that we cannot overcome the circumstances of our lives. That is simply not true. You have been blessed with immeasurable power to make positive changes in your life. But you can’t just wish it, you can’t just hope it, you can’t just want it…you have to LIVE it, BE it, DO it.”

-Steve Maraboli in Unapologetically You: Reflections of Life and the Human Experience.

“Don’t allow people’s opinions to interfere with your potential. Don’t let anybody declare an opinion over your speedometer…Opinions do not change Potential!”

-Dr. Myles Munroe in The Best Kept Secret (1995)

“How tragic that most of the nearly 6 billion people on this planet will settle for an average life limited only by their unwillingness to extend themselves to the summit of their own selves. Mediocrity is so common and pervasive that those who are labelled as genius or exceptional have to do only a little extra.”

-Dr. Myles Munroe (Motivational speaker and author of Maximizing your Potential).

Is it crucial to know one’s Purpose?

I believe it is because living with no clue of one’s Purpose means:

-One is not subjected to, but subjects him/ herself to the wrong use/ purpose; they dance to the wrong music, in the wrong dance floor. With time, they can’t stand the boring monotonous music anymore. This music wears them off.

-One lives exceedingly below his/ her potential just as in a car with very powerful engine designed with a maximum speed limit of 300km/h but whose driver has constantly subjected to a 70km/h speed.

-When there’s no clarity in Purpose, life’s sense of direction becomes vague.

-One lives void of fulfillment. With Purpose, fulfillment comes not simply ‘cos one’s makin’ bucks but more so ‘cos he or she is making a difference and enjoying it.

Time to Ponder…

What on earth are you here for? Are you living a God-designed, purpose-driven life or a self-designed purpose in life?

Think hard about it. Please don’t forget to pray about it. Don’t forget to profoundly get to the heart of the Father on the matter. Don’t forget to work in close contact and consultation with Him. And above all don’t be afraid to meet Him on His terms.

This is Why!

An excerpt from John C. Maxwell’s ‘Learning from the Giants’ drives the point home.

“When you find yourself on God’s terms, you find Fulfillment.”

“The ultimate goal in life is to find your purpose and then lose yourself in living it. In a sense, you lose yourself twice. First you lose your old-self – the prideful, willful one – by letting God have control of your life. Then you lose yourself in devotion to fulfilling that purpose. That’s where the true fulfillment comes in life. You understand why God put you here, what your gifts are, how you can best serve Him. You know your Why.”

“God knows who you are – not who you hope to be, not who you wish you were, not who your parents wanted you to become, or who someone else expects you to be – but who you really are. And He has a PLAN for your life. If you let God have control of your life, you will experience it.”

My Turning Point.

Did you know you’re just a wink far from excellent if you’re on the journey of discovering your Purpose and that average will soon not feature anywhere close to your description?

Once upon a time, people would ask me to rate myself and quick on my feet without adequate mind-engagement, I’d say ‘above average’, ‘till I watched Dr. Myles Munroe on YouTube preach on Purpose and he said something like “The average mind can’t grasp this.”

That was the last day I ever used ‘average’ or any of its associated synonyms to describe myself.

You only are average because you are yet to discover why you are on this planet! Not because your teacher or academicians rate you so. Otherwise, of what value would it be to be rated excellent by man yet live without ever having discovered why life was given to you?

As I conclude, I feel this is one of those subjects that I never ever heard being addressed while I was growing up probably since our society tends to glorify academics and white collar jobs – which is okay, as opposed to discovering and developing talent. There are questions that I have recently been tossing and turning in my head. In order to have a Purpose-conscious next-generation: how do we cultivate a life of purpose in our children from a tender age as parents? Sure, talent cannot be tamed but a parent plays a very huge role and has the power to either nurture or inhibit a Godly-given potential in their child. What is the parent’s and the community’s role? I believe we need to pray and make declarations for purpose-driven children right when they are still in the womb but at what age are we to start communicating the knowledge of Purpose and instilling its importance in our children?

Wish you, just as I do myself a Purpose-oriented life journey!

Irene.

Staying Positive

sp1Dare Mighty Things

“It is not the critic who counts;

not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,

or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,

whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;

who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;

but who does actually strive to do the deeds;

who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;

who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,

and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

 

Well, sometimes I just can’t help interrogating myself:

What if I gave a damn to critics and naysayers?

What if I consulted man more than I consulted God?

What if I didn’t act in obedience to what God was directing me to do or say?

What if I gave a damn to peoples’ opinions and speculations, some of which I know act as a deterrent to the focus I need to reach my destiny? To attain & live my purpose?

What if I spent so much of my time and took counsel from people who look at me and honestly see nothing, utterly nothing in me? For there’s always a treasure in each of us, from the least to the greatest, only difference is some lie in us dormant – inactivated!!

This poem above by Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States of America and the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize winner ranks as my top 3 favorite. To me, the poem is a perfect echo of deliberate positivity and the obstinate choice of not yielding to the negative spirit, even during those moments when failure takes a seat right next to us. It is refusing to turn, smile, give it a handshake or even dare bow down to its whims. It is being sound-proof to its voice. It is refusing to exchange contacts with it. And at the end of the session, it is giving it a resolute goodbye without a hug. It is ensuring that we neither take similar paths home with failure nor even accept a lift from failure. It is ensuring that it doesn’t feature anywhere close to our dreams.

Surroundings

Our company defines us. Surroundings is diverse ranging from people to what we expose ourselves to in terms of what we: listen to, watch and read which in the long run determines how we think and eventually how we view ourselves and feel about ourselves.

Sorry! But at times, you’ll do better deliberately shedding off surroundings that are toxic to your well-being, positivity and renewal. Look at the reptiles, particularly the serpent who through the process of ecdysis sheds off its skin to allow further growth and to remove parasites that may have attached to its old skin. Hence they regain their new youthful look time and again. A time comes when the old look is no longer functional and hampers growth and it gotta be stripped off. I believe the same formula should apply to toxic surroundings.

So how do we stay positive?

Most times than not, the body takes in what has been dictated by the mind. So how about enhancing the mental well-being? Please walk with me as I share some of my findings.

Rewiring our brains into positive powerhouses.

-Surround yourself with positive-minded people.

-Practice ‘daily gratitude’: you can write a gratitude letter, keep a gratitude journal, incorporating in it the large and small things that make you smile.

-Remind yourself to savor: stop and smell roses and look at them and touch them. Do whatever you can to really soak in the lovelier aspects of your life.

-Search for the silver lining: look for the positive in a negative situation.

-Change unhealthy self-talk that all so easily entangles us. Proverbs 6:2 “Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.”

-Boldly & deliberately detach yourself from negative surroundings.

-Let go of the strivings that all so drain mentally and eventually physically.

-What is it that you love doing that relaxes you as it re-energizes your brain and gives you a new view of yourself? For me, I know it has to do with: listening to soothing music especially worship love songs, reading a book or simply dressing up, putting on make-up then going to a tranquil nature spot, taking photos & having fun there. Sometimes, just playing love songs in the background and knowing that God loves me with an unparalleled love suffices. Just listening to songs like: First loved me by Israel and Newbreed, How loved am I by Laura Martin (Abundant Life) and More than what I wanted by Cece Winans just to name a few have incredibly lifted me from extremely heart-shattering moments, giving me a new dawn, new hope and new strength. So c’mon, recognize and schedule to regularly do that which puts a smile on your face, re-energizes you and brings the glow from within.

-Help others. I call it service. It brings along with it some kind of fulfillment.

-Follow your passion.

-Stay active: eat, drink and sleep well. Work out.

I’m looking at all these and some sure look more physical than mental, but their effects have a direct positive bearing to the brain which in turn roll down to the physical.

-Above all, Plug in to the power source. To ensure our positivity, power and strength is in perfect constant check, continual prayer, I believe is fundamental.

 Garment of Praise

Our joy, peace, strength and freedom is dependent on the sacrifice & effort that we are willing to put in no matter how terrible and draining the situation.

We all are cognizant of the beautiful story of Paul & Silas in Acts chapter 16, who having been thrown into prison, at the midnight hour, in praying, were also praising God in singing and consequently, all the doors were open. Acts 16:25-26

How about the story of Jonah in the whale’s belly and how he is eventually delivered when he ultimately resorts to praise? The whale vomits him out. Jonah 2:9-10 “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation is of Jehovah. 10 And Jehovah commanded the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”

The power of Praise! Is it an innate occurrence to automatically worship/ praise amidst turbulence?

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Please allow me to share this excerpt that i really love from an email that I received.

“How often do you stop and think about what you are thinking about? So often, people live with their minds on autopilot, taking in whatever thoughts come their way. But if we are going to rise up higher the way God intends, we have to determine to make sure our thoughts line up with God’s thoughts.

Seven times in scripture God asks, “What do you see?”

God is interested in our vision. Before your dream comes to pass, you have to see yourself accomplishing that dream. You’ve got to GET A PICTURE OF IT.”

-Joel Osteen

Isn’t it awesome that we get to choose? That no one coerces us to be continuously negative? Isn’t it also amazing that the angle at which we tilt our lenses determines the view that we get?

Tilt your lenses with the right attitude! At just the right positive angle!

Wish you, as I do myself infinite positivity.

Irene.