CREATION AWAITS

I was driving past our old neighbourhood recently and I remembered 2 businesses that used to be there; one a bakery and one a neighbourhood supermarket. Both of them closed, not too long after they opened…lack of business.

As I passed, I reflected on how much the area had grown in the 10 years since we used to live there. Those businesses would have been thriving today! The bakery would be perfect for freshly baked bread on the commute to and from work (they had fresh stuff morning and evening) and the supermarket had everything you could need, handy for all the new estates mushrooming by the second.

The phrase in my mind was – they were ahead of their time

A couple of days later I was reading a verse in the Bible, and in that way God has of connecting the dots, there was a fizz and a flash of light. The verse was Romans 8:18 – 21 in the Message translation

18-21 That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.

Guys, now I have always read this verse, but I saw this part for what seemed like the first time:

Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead.

You know, sometimes it feels like you are being held back. You don’t understand it. You know what you want to do, you know how to do it, but it isn’t coming together. Sometimes, you aren’t ready. Sometimes, the world isn’t ready for the thing that you have to give or do. Sometimes the people that should walk with you aren’t ready. So God holds it back, reins everything in until both creation and creatures are ready and can be released together

I know that this isn’t a popular view, but I sincerely don’t believe that there is any such thing as delay. There is a set time which must come, and until that set time, we are patiently waiting and growing. However, as your set time approaches, one of a number happen:

  1. God raises an awareness in your soul that it is time to push (Daniel when Israel’s 70 years of slavery were up)
  2. God uses people to make things happen (Pharaoh and Joseph)
  3. God creates circumstances to birth a new season (the Israelites when the time of captivity had ended)
  4. God uses circumstances to push you forward (Esther)
  5. God uses supernatural circumstances and visitations (the angel’s visit to Zechariah prior to the birth of John)

I no longer pray against the spirit of delay, I pray for a revelation of God’s timing. Because His timing is always perfect. I do not seek to hasten the time, only to be found in His time.

Twice now God has given me this visual when I have felt like nothing is moving in my life. The first time, at 29 and in total despair because I was going nowhere fast, He showed me a picture of a house, abandoned, overrun with weeds, empty. Then He took me inside and I saw that there was furious repair going on. From the outside, nothing was happening, but within, there was massive renovation ongoing.

There is a house in my area, I have passed it for months looking like it had been abandoned mid task; imagine my shock when I walked in recently and saw that the inside was practically complete.

If you know how it is with houses you will recognise this, people will often leave the outside and spend months inside – plastering, wiring, putting in fixtures, tiling and all that. Then, in a week or so, weeds are removed, paint is applied, gates are fixed.

The main work happens indoors

Recently again He showed me a house, fairly nice looking. There was nothing wrong with the inside, but it was being upgraded. It was suitable for its former purposes, but now needed to be elevated to its new purpose.  And again, while men passed by unaware, within the workmen laboured, removing, installing…preparing.

Where in the renovation process are you? Can you see the changes going on within? The adjustments in your spirit? The refinement of your faith? The maturity in your understanding?

From our view we are stalled and stalling, idling while life passes us by. From God’s perspective, creation and creatures are reined in while all factors are made perfect so that you can be launched at the perfect time!

So that while a Hebrew slave grew and served in the prison, while he learned how to manage scarce resources and calm hardened criminals and impose order in a place of chaos, God prepared a famine, and touched a Pharaoh’s sleep.

And when Pharaoh woke up, heart pounding at the dreadful sight he had seen, a Hebrew slave was ready. Ready not only to lead, but ready to walk into the fulfilment of a dream that he had as a teenage boy tattling on his siblings to his doting father.

Creation needed to be ready – an Egypt heading to a famine

Creature needed to be ready – A Joseph tempered to administer in both the plenty of Potiphar’s house and the lack of the prison

Creatures needed to be ready – A Pharaoh troubled enough to hear the revelation of a pardoned servant…and to act on it.

Dear ones, you are not languishing. You are not waiting in vain. You haven’t been forgotten.

Align yourself with the time of the One who creates time and authorises seasons. See through His eyes the process as earth and heaven move for your manifestation. Have peace that He will not leave you behind. You will not be, like the bakery shop and supermarket, a great product launched way before its time.

Revel in the joyful anticipation that in due time, in your season, all that needs to happen will come into perfect position… and when the curtains are raised, there you will be, prepared, poised and ready, in your perfect time, in your perfect place.

 

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FOR GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US…

But God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of  power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Now I know that I, like many other people, quote that verse probably on a daily basis. However, today, something today forced me to look at it again critically and I noticed something new…

Let me break it down like this:

First, God has not given us the spirit of fear

Well, first this means that fear in you is an alien; it doesn’t belong to you and wasn’t given by God. Second, it tells me that fear is a spirit, so if it is a spirit, it can be dealt with by the Spirit of God at work in me. I am learning to recognize fear as a spirit on a mission from the devil and to cast it out by the Spirit of God. It is not of God, so fear in my spirit is never something I should entertain.

Second…and this was the one that made me excited…what He has given us – power, love and a sound mind…

Why does power come first? Because that is our default standing as a child of God…our default position in Christ is one of power. Now, imagine walking into a shop as President Goodluck’s daughter…you would walk in with the full confidence of your father’s position in leadership. So why are we so timid in our approach to life? Why don’t we carry this authority with us wherever we go?

In my opinion, and this might be true for you as well, our biggest fears come from a feeling of powerlessness, an inkling that things are happening/might happen that we will be unable to deal with/influence/change/control.

The devil literally lies to us, he hides our truth and feeds us a lie…and we believe and accept it

This morning, God reminded me of the power I have in Him, and even more, His power that is at work in and for me.

Then love…because power without love becomes a dictatorship. We would wield authority without caring for others. So God gives us love to act as the channel through which we exercise this power, thus ensuring that as we exercise our power, we do so as He would, with a heart full of love for the various people we encounter.

And then, a sound mind…or as I thought of it this morning – mental and emotional balance. Knowing the right thing to do, possessing a clear view of the world and the actions thereafter, possessing the skills to effectively and correctly assess what needs to be done as it needs to be done.

I saw this verse through new eyes today, and it just gave me a boost in my spirit. Many of the things we face come from ignorance of our rights, possibilities and privileges in Christ.

Today, God opened my eyes to just one of many…I hope it blesses you like it blessed me.

WALKING ON WATER

Ermm…this is the part 2 of the Part 1 that I posted last week. It has been a hectic couple of days – I’m working all through this week and it seems that there are 5 million things to do and 5 million people to see before I finally leave for Cally…but I thank God for the grace to go through all this with a smile on my face…all na Him.

So, last week, after I had put up my post, I got hit again by the utter certainty that I was making a mistake. All I could think of was all the plans I had made – I mean, I had a 25 year career plan. I started biting my nails and wringing my hands and then God whispers to my spirit – “This is an attack”  As that thought entered, I began to remind myself of God’s assurances ad faithfulness, and the storm ebbed. But guess what, that wasn’t the end of it, later that night, 3am, Abba kept me up and so I was playing music, singing absent-mindedly to Him and just chilling, then – God by Donald Lawrence and the Tricity Singers came on. They sang this line “Whatever You do with me, it’s alright, You have my total trust” and guys, I realised that I was still holding on to MY plans, MY dreams, as if He did not give them to me. That was the door that the devil kept using to slip fear and unbelief into my spirit. And so I released them to Him, asked Him to take them back, I re-surrendered to His will for me and that was it…everything zapped. for good…I almost literally felt fear and doubt leave my body.

I’m grateful for a Father that instructs and teaches, one who guides me so lovingly with His all-seeing eye. One who searches my spirit, who digs deep and finds the roots of every issue…

Now, what are some other things I learned from this – Well, sometimes people will see something in you before you do. Almost everyone I have told about this job has said to me, “That would suit you so well. It’s so totally you” which always comes as a surprise, because I didn’t see it coming. I’m grateful for people who see more in me than I see in myself – God uses them as a mirror to help me see myself as He sees me. It’s awesome.

I also had to deal with the other side. Someone looking at me and doubting that the job would last, people who went quiet and changed the subject, people who acted like it was no big deal and nothing to celebrate…I heard and saw all. I won’t deny that it smarted, but it opened my eyes to some people in my life and the level of access I have allowed them.

Finally sha, I am grateful to God for everything that this month has brought my way, all things are truly working out for my good and I am blessed and highly favoured, anointed for great things, ready to take over this new territory.  I’ve put one application for testimony before God, asking Him for something that can only be from Him…I look forward to sharing that too.

In the meanwhile, I wish you all a great rest of the week and God’s abundant blessings

 

#PornAgainChristian by Reverend Olamide Craig

Menoword’s note: I follow an incredible minister called Rev Craig and he posted some tweets yesterday night that impacted me very deeply. I got his kind permission to put all his tweets together and create a blog post. The only editing I have done is to remove the words “young men” from the second sentence in the post. Please read this post with an open heart, I hope that it will bless you. And don’t think that this only relates to porn – I learned many of these lessons while struggling with financial responsibility – it applies across the board to anything that anyone might be struggling with and also contains wonderful lessons on generally living a victorious Christian life. You can find Rev Craig on Twitter @RevDrCraig or check out his blog at  http://olamidecraig.wordpress.com 

Enjoy: 

PORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

Tonight, I want to stand with a friend of mine on a thorny issue. Pornography.  A vast number of Christians are struggling with various forms of online porn. A friend talked to me about his struggle, and as I listened to him share his story, I smiled. I smiled because it reminded me of my own struggle.

So tonight, I want to share with you my story, not his. Its easy for preachers to tell other peoples stories. But how about ours?

I picked up my first Playboy™magazine when I was in primary school. I flipped through the pages with a combination of curiosity and disinterest. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But a seed had been sown, and its roots would take hold of the soil of my soul to bud much later in my adolescence. By the time I was a teenager, I was familiar with all the American, British and French porn magazines. It was much harder then. There were no phones, there was no internet. You had to sneak around with glossy magazines and hope that no one knew that under the Good Housekeeping or Ebony magazine was Penthouse or Oui or Nuts. All this while I was a committed believer, I did all I could to please the Lord, but I still had this one issue.

And then one day, I got called to leadership in my secondary school fellowship and went from Usher to President. I was sure God had made a mistake. Surely there were others better than me.  I tried to stop, I wanted to fulfill my role as President with a clear conscience. The harder I tried, the deeper I fell. Ministry was great. Souls were being saved. The fellowship was growing. Lives were being transformed, still I was stuck. Mind you, it wasn’t all consuming at the time. I’d probably steal a glance once or twice a month but the guilt that followed was like a crushing stone that stayed on my shoulder and stuck wt me for months and months; it didn’t matter if I hadn’t touched a magazine in months. I always carried around a sense of guilt and shame.In between I would be fine. All would seem perfect in my life again. Then one glance would bring it all crashing down. I won a temporary battle while I was in SS3. Hadn’t slipped for months. I realize now that I was too busy with WAEC  

Then we passed out of high school. I had handed over the ministry. There was no more need to be accountable…and the passions came back like a vengeance.  Before University, I did JAMB 5 times and in that period of depression and hopelessness, pornography became my escape; what had once been a once a month slip became a daily obsession.  Just before my 5th JAMB, I remember going to the roof of Anglican Church on 21 road in Festac and crying out to God. My life was in a mess and I desperately needed him to show up and sort me out. And I remember God telling me how much he loved me and how he had great plans for me. How will I ever make it I asked. All my mates were in school, I was still at home. My faith was a mess. I was a mess. And I heard words that I would NEVER forget. “Stop trying to fix it on your own, my grace is sufficient for you”  

Within that year, I joined FECA where I got my faith on track, passed JAMB, and got into the University of Ibadan. The things I learnt that year became the basis of the ministry I founded when I was just a 21 year old 100L student. Dianoia Foundation and Club Chayil over the past 11 years have since preached the message of sexual purity to thousands  

How did I break free from pornography? All I needed to do was let the Holy Spirit help me.  

The biggest mistake Christians make is trying to use discipline or strong will to keep away from sin. It NEVER works. Sin will always have the upper hand if combated in the flesh. Only GRACE through the Holy Spirit can win over sin  

Second I had to refuse to elevate that one sin above any others. The devil tries to make us feel one sin is worse… and so for as long as I hadn’t viewed porn, I could lie and be unchristian in so many other ways but wouldn’t feel it simply because I had hinged my acceptance in Gods eyes on whether I had viewed porn or not. The Holy Spirit taught me that in his sight, all Sin was as bad as the next. Murder. Lust. Lies. Same thing!  Once I learnt godly sorry for ALL my sins whether they were lustful or not, I realised how truly sinful I was and it was here that righteousness made sense to me. Jesus told me he had forgiven ALL my sins, and given me a new robe. I was righteous not because of what I had done, or didn’t do, but because of what he had done.  

Finally, SIN THRIVES IN SECRECY! If you want to be free you have to open up and let the light in. Tell someone!  Find a mature Christian and tell them your struggle. It’s one of the most important steps on your road to recovery. If you keep it hidden, it will grow. If you bring it out of the darkness, it will die. I promise you. Trust me!  Same goes for fornication and adultery. Expose the sin and it will wither conceal it and it will grow  

I’ve shared this so that you can know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There is help for you in God and he has not abandoned you  God bless you tweet fam!  

Thank you to all those who DM’d to share their struggle or to ask for prayer or to just say thanks… The feedback has been phenomenal.

Someone asked me how my journey’s been. “Has it been plain sailing since you started preaching sexual purity?”  It would be so easy to say that I’ve never touched the stuff again and strut around in a toga of self righteousness. Let me tell you as it is! This is a lifelong battle. There is no quick fix. There’s no magic wand. Once lust has occupied a room in your heart in the past, he will ALWAYS come back to see if there’s a spare room and when he comes back, you bet he’s come with family and friends and he’s gonna ask for the penthouse suite  

I thought it was a war that I had won once and for all. That I had defeated that enemy and he was finished. Your freedom has to be fought for daily. What you won was one battle. There is still a long war.  

I’m still fighting and wining my battle against porn. Its a tough one and sometimes I am valiant, sometimes I am not.  And you best believe that its so much easier to access porn now than it was when I won my first battle. I remember burning all my Playboy™mags with great fanfare ☺ No one buys Playboy magazines anymore. Porn is now online; no need to hide in a corner with a bulky magazine, or hide stacks of old issues under your mattress. One click and boom

But there is GOOD NEWS! The power that rescued me then is still potent enough to rescue me now. Hallelujah! And if you let Him, he can rescue you too.  

Lust is not gender specific folks. He destroys as many men as he does women. Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking you’re the only one! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  

Same goes for masturbation, fornication, adultery. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Sin thrives in secrecy. Break the yoke. Be free!  Jesus died for all your sins including this one. His blood has cleansed you. Take your stand daily. This war can be won  

God bless you twit fam! Have a blessed day.

olamidecraig.wordpress.com

 

DAY 10 – GRATITUDE JOURNAL

So I’m sitting in my favourite chair and scoffing down some absolutely wonderful salad when I remember that I have not posted my gratitude post for today. (Have you noticed how big a part food plays in my posts? I’m such a glutton ehn). Meanwhile, I have to confess, I’m not sure of the name of the salad; might be a beef and potato salad…or something else entirely. It’s awesome sha.

Anyway, this is one of the things I’m grateful for – free food. I like food, and I have many friends who try to feed me. This makes both me and them happy. I guess what I truly have is friends who do their best to take care of me and show me how they value me. So maybe I’m actually grateful for my wonderful friends. I went out with my friend Pearl tonight, and somewhere in the middle of us both being totally silly, I realised that I am blessed to have friends that I don’t need to “form” for. They get me, I get them, we’re good.

Next, I got an awesome testimony today. I went to my eye clinic today for a consult.  The last time I did an eye test, the doctor noticed astigmatism in addition to the short-sightedness he was assessing me for.  This must have been about 5 years ago. Today, I was told that my eyes “rejected” the test for astigmatism. the optician saw it in my file and checked to see, and there was nothing to see. I do not have astigmatism anymore. Where I come from, that is called a miracle.

Third, this morning, I had an awesome prayer time. Now this shames me slightly to say, but while I have taken easily to worship, I find myself taking some extra time to become as adept at prayer. I am much better at speaking my prayers on the go and have been learning to discipline myself to consistently pray for something specific. But guess what, today I prayed and forgot the time. Lay on my floor and  prayed…and when I was done, I could not believe that so much time had passed. It was awesome, I enjoyed it and I know that God will continue to build me up as I become more and more capable in prayer.

Ok, my gratitude things for today, wish you all a wonderful day. God bless

DAY 9 – GRATITUDE JOURNAL

I didn’t feel grateful this morning; I felt angry and disoriented and unhappy and…well, you get my drift.

Today was one of those days where you just want to stay in bed and sleep…

After some hours in the office, I needed to pop out to run some errands, and there was some seriously crazy traffic on the road. But instead of spoiling my mood, the combination of blaring horns and suffocating heat and (probably petrol fumes), got me to a very Zen place. Somewhere on the road to Wuse Market, I realised that I was at peace again, happy and centred again. By the time I got back to the office, I was a little light headed from dehydration, but I was good. So today, I am grateful for maddening, infuriating traffic.

Despite that sha, I have never been so grateful to have a day end as I was today. I was sleepy, tired and just needed to be somewhere else. So, I am grateful for the work day that ended just as I needed it to.

Third, hmmm…what do I pick? Is it the staff members who thoughtfully and kindly brought me snacks and drinks from a birthday party in their class, or the way the Holy Spirit came to my aid to ensure that I still got an incredible amount of work done? I could talk about today’s service in church, my Pastor was on fire today, she spoke, preached, prayed and declared…I literally felt things shift. Or maybe I should talk about the joy I felt when I was standing with my siblings at the door to my room, chatting and laughing, no quarrels or squabbles, no power play, just love and enjoyment of one another’s’ company. I’m grateful for all of them…can’t choose.

I could say this 5 million times and it wouldn’t be enough…God has been good to me, my loving Father has been good to me.

Goodnight guys