Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Be still

Be still and know that I am God


Being still is something I find difficult sometimes. My mind wanders all over the place. I think that the same impetus that gives me great insights in life on the one hand and inspiration for my artwork  on the other, makes me vulnerable to not being still. But yet this is a crucial requirement in hearing from God.

I learnt many things in the season of my life when life threatening sickness and disability was my experience. 

One of the most important things I learnt which I must add that I see now only in retrospect, is to be still. 

Even doing 'good things' like being constantly occupied with kingdom work may also be detrimental to the important discipline of 'being still'

Being still means being quiet on the inside, consciously, and intentionally shutting out all else to create an environment for 'listening' . Listen I must, if I am to be truly led along the right path of purpose and service. Busyness is detrimental to being still, and yet there is so much to do in God's vineyard, there seems to be a shortage of time and people to accomplish it. 

I have written about the 'God DNA' deposited in us in earlier blogs. It is vital that we realize that being still is key to connecting with ourselves, the part of ourselves which is God himself deposited in us. This needs careful nurturing and an enabling environment to grow. This is because it is the part of us that connects us to eternity and values that will never perish. The most important part of us which requires our stillness is 'the image of God in which we were created' It is when we connect with this part of ourselves that we have the experience of looking in the mirror of our spirit man and seeing the true reflection of who we are in Christ Jesus. Here we have confidence, we have true identity and in the stillness of these moments we see and hear God. So today I thought I should take a look at detrimental actions to being still.

They include the following: 

1. Being on my phone far too much

2. I am sometimes like Martha preparing and organizing the home

3. My thought life 

4. My attitudes and motives

5. Entertaining my fears and anxieties

6. Laziness

7. Many activities (even church ones)

So, what is the way forward?

How can I be still as described in Psalm 46:10 ?

.... "Be still, and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth."

 

Psalms 46:10 | NIV

 

My thoughts

1. It takes PRACTICE

2. It requires being INTENTIONAL

3. It requires being SENSITIVE in the spirit

4. It requires practical things like REARRANGING our schedules

5. It requires RECOGNITION as to when to shut down

6. It requires DISCERNMENT as to what is detrimental 

7. It ultimately requires ROMANS 12:2 

 

In short, in order for me to Psalm 46:10, I must first Romans 12:2 my life so that 'we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.'

 

2 Corinthians 3:18 | NIV

 

So help me God.

Amen

 

 

 

 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Abraham and Isaac up on the mountain



I just read Genesis 22:1-12. 

I am trying to imagine what I would be thinking had I been a fly on the wall when Abraham heard he was to sacrifice his son . This is his only son, the one born to him and his sweetheart after many years of waiting, even beyond the fertile years of Sarah. A miracle baby, a precious baby, one that defied science when there was no IVF. 

And then there was the matter of the promise that Abraham would be a Father of many nations.

This story appears to raise more questions than answers. How was Abraham going to be the father of many nations after he kills his only son and heir? 

If it were in this present day, I wager his family would call on the psychiatric community to have Abraham sectioned and we in the body of Christ would all be binding and casting and denouncing every plan of the enemy. The social media waves would be bursting with compelling messages, calling for all of us to pray 'against the plan of the evil one' . The message would go something like this. 


Dear Christian brothers and sisters, please read this message to the end, it is vital and important that we take action and pray in one accord. You all remember Elder Abraham and his wife Mummy Sarah, and how they shared their testimony about the fruit of the womb after waiting over 30 years? 

Sources close to the family ( this was leaked by their house help ) reliably informs us that Elder Abraham is about to kill that baby who is now in his teens. He said he heard from God that he should sacrifice Isaac aka Oluwa pamil'erin .

Everyone should say this prayer and pass on urgently to all your chat groups and networks, to forestal the machinations of wickedness in high places


Dear Heavenly Father , we come before you on behalf of Daddy Abraham and Mummy Sarah's family. We bind every plan of the enemy to destroy your precious fruit of the womb Oluwa pamil'erin ( God has made me laugh) 

We say that all the evil forces surrounding them should die by fire! 

Protect the life of  Oluwa pamil'erin , send your waring Angels to protect him and fight for him. Restore Elder Abraham to his right mind in Jesus name. We declare that no weapon fashioned against this family shall prosper..............etc etc etc 


Thankfully, we learn from Abraham's actions that obedience is more important than anything else , that God's sovereign will triumphs over all. That God will make a way where there seems to be no way.

That God is a miracle working God indeed.

That trusting God will never take us to a place outside His will.

That our perspectives on life may be at total loggerheads with God's plan and His plan may appear to go against all logic.


I am not sure that I would have obeyed in this manner, I am sure I would be rebuking the enemy and would not have recognized this instruction from God. Abraham did, what about you and me?

What is God asking us to sacrifice, something so precious that he has gifted us with after a long, long wait? 

Are we tempted to try and align sovereign will with our own logic spurred on by what we want? 

These questions are scary to think of, but it is clear from this scripture that I must, so help me God 


Other things I have learnt:

  1. There is no limit to the extents to which God will call you and He dictates the 'how' 
  2. God is the giver of our lives and He alone has the power to direct its path.



Saturday, 20 May 2017

Focus

Help me to FOCUS Lord on you and the things you deem most important in my life. Turn my gaze away from distractions and going my own way. I need your Holy Spirit power to fill me anew, so I can FOCUS. AmenπŸ™πŸΎ 

Monday, 8 May 2017

Sovereign Lord - remembering Marianne and Benedicta

This May 2017 was twelve years since I received the news of my father's passing away. I remember that I was in the car on the Tema beach road in Accra Ghana, and hubby was driving. A phone call came in and the news was broken to me and the beautiful sea scape and beach instantly lost their meaning. The grieving process has taken me through various twists and turns, and I am in a place of peace and acceptance now. Thoughts of my late father, together with just receiving the news that I am all cancer free at my five year check up, brought me to remembering two women. Marianne Dappa and Benedicta Ampong who have also passed on to glory at various times after my Dad. This post is in honour of these two women who like me were diagnosed with breast cancer. We all belonged to the same house fellowship which we hosted in our home for a season. I still cannot get my mind round the fact that out of thirteen or so regular attendees to the fellowship, three women were found to have breast cancer within a short space of time. We could not be from more diverse backgrounds and ages, and the only common threads are the obvious one that we are all women and attend the same fellowship. It is like a cruel coincidence, and definitely a trial in terms of, 'how could God allow this to happen' in so small a group? 


It was devastating to hear the news of the demise of these two sisters. I just cannot fathom why neither of them survived. They were both steadfast in faith and were very strong women. They got good medical interventions. I keep asking why they were called home and why I have survived . I must be honest and say that I sometime felt guilty and I know this is not a rational reaction. It is what it is, and I wish to face it square on and accept the sovereignty of God. Psychologically, it is a challenge to think of. I have not been stronger or more focussed, or stood on the word of God any more than either of them. 


I have been thinking of this over the years and it came up again as I crossed the milestone of five years post surgery. My conclusion is that I don't know the answers to all my questions, or to fully comprehend the pain of separation that their families have been and are going through - God alone decides, He alone knows. It is just by His grace that I am still here. 


So, I wish to celebrate my two sisters in the Lord, co-warriors , who have been called home. To honour their memory and their lives. RIP Marianne Dappa and Benedicta Ampong. May the Lord continue to strengthen their families and all who loved them.

 Amen πŸ™πŸΎ




Thursday, 4 May 2017

We are pressure cut diamonds- thoughts on the role of pressure in our lives



Pressure is important and necessary in this life if we are to be refined in the way that our Father God wants. Each one of us comes to this earth like a rough cut diamond, bearing the limitless potential and creativity that is wrapped up in our DNA. Our true brilliance needs time and the pressures of life before it can be experienced by us and also seen by others. 

Our DNA is not just about physical, psychological and emotional characteristics we inherit from our parents and ancestors, it also includes the image of God which he placed inside every single human being he created. Our spiritual DNA may appear intangible until we make certain choices that connect us with what God intended when he allowed you to survive in the midst of some one hundred million potential sperm. 




The thought of this is mind blowing and sometimes I find it difficult to grapple with understanding the full impact of what this means. Arriving here on the planet with our God DNA means we already have:

-The mind of Christ

-All the powers of heaven

-The characteristics of God himself


We were imbued with this sometimes enigmatic quantum of power from the God Head in a way that should make us able to withstand the knocks of life. 

It's hard to imagine this, but we are to embrace the knocks of life, for in and through them, the unique characteristics of our particular kind of diamond is revealed. This is because every one of us has a purpose or destiny or life's walk; whatever we like to call it, what this 'path' signifies is the 'reason for our being'

We see so many examples out there in the world and also in our lives of the indomitable human spirit. People who travail beyond the confines of crushing limitations to excel in some way and thus bringing us to a place of inspiration and wonder. 

One of the key God characteristics we came with is creativity. Inherent in each one of us is the capability to use our God given creativity to surmount the issues we face. Creativity is an agency of change, it is an agency of healing, it is the most potent force of God. 

Unfortunately, the popular information pushed out there is that creativity resides in musical and visual artists alone - or at least mostly in that group of people. This is not true, every human being has creativity buried within them because it is a key aspect of the Godly DNA we arrived on planet earth with. There are many ways that creativity is expressed, even more than the Seven and a half billion humans inhabiting this beautiful earth. 

Our primary job is to unleash this inherent creativity through various fields of endeavor to bring about change in a manner scripted by heaven. The pressures of life force us in various directions. The purpose of pressure is to direct us to develop in growth producing ways. To shut down and oppose the odds that stack against us is like a physical work out to build and strengthen our muscles, but in the spiritual/ soul sphere of our lives. This is the role of 'pressure' in our lives. So it is really worth keeping this in mind when we are going through our sometimes painful life's journey , that your particular design, brilliance as a diamond is being 'cut and polished'. The brilliance of a diamond is predicated on how it is cut, how many facets it has which ultimately reflect light in optimum ways. 

So embrace pressure, and shine forth the glory of God, reflecting His true light, His character and DNA which is already within. For all their beauty and brilliance, Diamonds are very hard and not easy to break. In the analogy I am focusing on here, it means we are actually more resilient than we can imagine. 



Sunday, 30 April 2017

The last girl standing- By Guest blogger NK Maduforo



My eyes were closed and opened suddenly as some
men burst into the room. The smirk look on their faces
told it all…I was a goner. One of them laughed
wickedly and told me that I was done for. I had always
gone scot free but as he said those words, it
confirmed my worst fears; these men were not going to
let me go.
I quickly grabbed some clothes to cover myself
and urged him to do the same. Even though we were
certainly going down, we could at least look decent.
To my uttermost surprise, they grabbed me, left him
and pushed me outside as I screamed at the top of my
voice, "but we are in this together". No one listened
to me so I kept quiet. I had always known that this
could happen but I guess like they say 'stolen water
is sweet'. Now I would pay the ultimate price.
As we walked along, I listened to their
conversation and heard one of the men say, "this would
certainly trap him". I did not understand the phrase
and as I looked up, one of them spat on me and called
me names.
They finally brought me before the one I assumed
was the judge and pushed me forward. I pulled my
clothes tighter around me and as i looked at him, my
mouth dropped open because I had seen him before. I
had even listened to him before. Though I knew I was
guilty, I felt ashamed standing before him. This was
most certainly the end for me.
One of the men said to him, "Teacher, this woman
was caught in adultery, in the very act. I looked down
at my toes; I knew what was coming next.
He continued. "Now Moses, in the law commanded us
that such should be stoned. But what do you say?
I braced myself for the condemnation I deserved
and looked up at him again but Jesus stooped down and
wrote on the ground with His finger, as though he did
not hear.
When they continued asking Him, he raised Himself
up and said to them,"He who is without sin among you,
let him throw a stone at her first. And again, He
stooped down and wrote on the ground.
I braced myself again as He said that and waited
for the stones. These were the scribes and Pharisees
and certainly they were holy men. Without raising my
head, I glanced sideways as one by one, beginning with
the oldest even to the last, they went out.
I looked up to see Jesus standing alone. I looked
around and observed I was the last one standing.I
still felt like the condemned waiting for my sentence,
when Jesus raised himself up and saw no one but me. He
said to me, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours?
Has no one condemned you? I answered, "No one Lord".
Jesus said to me, Neither do I condemn you, go and sin
no more.
That was a long time ago now and I must tell you
that I followed him faithfully from that time. I was
there when He was crucified and saw Him after He
resurrected too. It's easy to say that He died for us
all but I know deep down in my heart that if I were
the only one in this world; if I were the last girl
standing, Jesus would still pay that ultimate price
for me.
Written by

Nkiruka 'NK' Maduforo


Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Giver

Thinking about the importance of giftings that God puts in every one of us. There is so much talent out there, in all fields of endeavor . It is mind blowing. I looked within and gave thanks for mine, but I am hearing deep in my spirit this morning, that the most important part is the giver. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

This God

If like me you have ever wondered why natural beauty can be inwardly uplifting, I realize that it was all part of God's plan. To display His beauty, the awesomeness of His majesty and to gladden our hearts.  He gave us that impetus in us called 'sense of wonder'. 
We are then supposed to return glory to the creator and enjoy what He has put out there for our eyes to feast on.
I was doing just that when I sat on a friend's porch in Johannesburg and witnessed this stunning sunset. 


This God

Who painstakingly

Painted the sunset

With many different hues

Who set the fiery ball in place 

Who juxtaposes light and dark

In the right proportions

To please the eye

I gasp in wonder 

In awe of His creation

This God

My God

My King

My Saviour

My everything




Sunday, 16 April 2017

He is risen! Hallelujah !

The best way I knew how to worship and show my appreciation for what Jesus did for me and all mankind is to draw. So I got to it, starting with a scribble in my journal. I think these images express all that I wish to say.
Thank you Jesus for what you have done and for giving me grace to express my joy in drawings.
Amen





Friday, 14 April 2017

Good Friday thoughts on Psalm 139: 16b



Yesterday, I was reporting to a dear sister that all my medical check ups came out clear. I am in to my sixth year of breast cancer survival and the all clear report was very welcome indeed. As much as I have faith that God will uphold the miraculous healings I have received, my human mind still needs this physical confirmation. It is actually what I expect but there is always a tiny thought in the back ground saying ' what if'

She shared with me, her complete and total acceptance of what God says to her in Psalm 139 verse 16b. It is a scripture I am familiar with but her mentioning it like she did, made it come alive again. So I penned this bit of prose below in my journal today, as I reflected on the scripture. 

TO WHOM I BELONG 
You ordained my days Lord
You know me 
You made me
Fearfully and wonderfully 
Even before my days came to be
You called me by name
I am so grateful that
I know who I am 
~Miracle
~Empowerer
~Encourager
~Proclaimer
~Warrior
And I know 
To whom I belong 

This Good Friday, I am led to think deeply about the importance of the cross and what Jesus did for mankind, and how Jesus as God man , knows who we are.
Jesus knew who I was even as He hung on the cross. 

In my life's journey, I have been on a path of discovery, and life's experiences are helping me uncover the beauty and wonder of how God created me. This journey is also walking me in purpose.

Trials have come, huge seemingly insurmountable challenges and I have been anguished and wondered how a loving God would allow these difficulties in my life. The truth is this, that every single experience good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant is a crucial part of our 'moulding' , our 'becoming' and our 'living out the days ordained for us'
In Christ Jesus, we are ' becoming' more like Him and therefore aligning with our 'making' which was truncated by Adam.
And so we must embrace all that the Lord will allow in our lives, so that we 'attain to the measure of the stature of the Lord'
This is the least we can do in order to honour what Christ did on Good Friday thousands of years ago. What He did to restore us to His intention when He made us in His image.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Palm Sunday



This Palm Sunday, I was privileged to see a stunning sunrise and my thoughts went to who Jesus is . The light of  the world sat on a donkey and the people who threw their cloaks down and waved palm branches recognized him not. They said he was 'A prophet from Nazareth in Galilee'

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Live long, live focused on winning the prize.

Introducing Nk Maduforo who is guest blogging today on 'finishing well'

The article was written around the time of the Rio Olympics but it's message is still relevant and true for all times. 

Enjoy πŸ˜€


So I watched Usain Bolt win the 100m finals in the ongoing Rio Olympics and I'm like 'wow'; the amount of training that goes into being a winner of race that averages 10 seconds.
How much more the race of life which we are running . Or should I say the race of eternal life! Are you giving it your all or is it business as usual but hoping that somehow, the win will just happen? Be encouraged by the following scriptures to take a more active stance.

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9v 25-27)

An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. (2 Timothy 2 v5)

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4v8)

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3 v 14 )

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. (1 Corinthians 9v 24)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.(2 Timothy 4 v 7-8)

This race has a prize! Are you running, trekking, jogging, crawling or sitting this one out?

Live long, live focused on winning the prize!

NK Maduforo

Thursday, 16 March 2017

On being my brother's keeper and showing empathy


I wish to share some thoughts about practical  steps we can make to reach out to people in the body of Christ in the context of being our 'brothers keeper.'


I was struggling with dealing with the chronic condition I am living with and told various brethren to stand with me in prayer because I was feeling overwhelmed with the  difficulties of various challenging symptoms. I know that it is in the nature of chronic conditions that there are flare ups, but I had been experiencing more than what is usual for me, more or less back to back with short breaks in between. This had an impact on my being able to get on with normal life. 
I had prayed , my husband had laid hands on me and prayed but I was still struggling. I got to a place of feeling tired of fighting . I asked various brethren to pray for me after telling them my plight and every single one threw scripture at me and asked me to declare them and to stand on them. This is absolutely good advice, but I was not short of standing and declaring, I was just tired, and my strength was flagging. 

It took a while before I realized I needed to be specific about what and how the brethren should pray. It took me a while to remember what I have learnt through my lifelong journey with health challenges, that the prayer I need is for 'grace to endure.' For I have come to learn that if the Lord will not miraculously take away the challenge immediately, what I need is 'grace to endure' 
On my part , I have decided on a lifestyle of endurance and using every tool available to ensure that I look after this amazing 'temple' body God has given me. My belief is that I need it to operate in this earthly realm , to do God's work and I am often led by the spirit to take on various lifestyle strategies. First, to preserve it well and thus allow it to work at as optimum performance as possible. This has meant that apart from prayer and reading the word, I have payed attention to diet, excercise, my thought life and choosing carefully my everyday tasks and activities as well as noting any changes that show up. 

Every prayer I received from well meaning brethren, was very much appreciated but I  just want to share that it is not always that we should be declaring scripture at someone suffering. We should also try to be like Christ who always in the first instance 'showed compassion'. Sometimes, the best way of 'being our brothers keeper' is to show 'empathy' Sometimes, it is enough to say something simple  like 'I am sorry you are suffering like this, it must be difficult to deal with.' Sometimes, it is valuable to the person to connect with your humanity. 

So,  by all means pray scriptural prayers for the person, but also show your love by using plain and simple empathetic words . Sometimes these simple words can be encouragement for the soul and a booster to help the person rise up and stand again.