Give yourself some time to…

beauty in nature

Sometimes we are in so much of a hurry to reach the next goal that we fail to take time to enjoy what we’ve achieved so far.

Take time to enjoy your achievements. There may never be another time for that.

 

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Passing the submission test

pray

What if you aren’t going to have that mega church you so dream of having?

  • What if God does not heal you when you want and how you want it?
  • What if you’re asked to serve in an environment you really don’t like?
  • What if you are required to work with people you don’t like?
  • What if the finances you’re expecting don’t come in?
  • What if that kid you’re praying for dies anyway?
  • Will you like Job’s wife desire to Curse God and die?
  • Will you succumb to pressure from your followers and do it your way like King Saul?
  • Will you like David say “your will be done?”
  • Will you go consult “the witch of Endor” like Saul
  • Will you try to prove to God He’s unfair like Job?

Sometimes the trials we go through are a test for us to express what lies dormant in our hearts.

I pray you won’t fail your test as a leader in God’s school of ministry.

 

 

HOW I DISCOVERED MY CALLING AND PURPOSE (My Testimony)

This post is in response to a request from a fellow blogger and reader based on the last post I published titled “Why I got out of bed this morning”. In this post I said my life took a completely new turn (a positive turn) when God showed me my purpose.

My fellow blogger wanted me to share my experience; how I came to discover my purpose. I will just give a run down of how it all started up till this moment.

The early part of my life was littered with verbal, sexual and physical abuse. I’ve known rejection, disease and acute poverty. This to me was the normal since I didn’t have access to another kind of life.

Due to these conditions I became an adolescent and young woman who suffered immensely from low self-esteem, inferiority complex and insecurities. I hated myself, and the kind of choices I made later in life simply confirmed my state of mind. I became frustrated by my choices and the inability of others to understand what I was going through.

I gave my life to Christ while studying to become a professional teacher. I came to Christ with a heavy load of troubles. My life was meaningless and dirty in my own very eyes.

Although I was envied by many for my academic success, I hated myself so much.

Once in the church, things did not get right immediately. There was a battle for my soul. God had rescued me but the devil wanted me so badly. This opened up the avenue for constant spiritual warfare. Very early on in my Christian journey I learned how to fast, pray and rebuke evil spirits (They were all over me).

I had to seek solutions, and I sought them wherever I thought possible. I attended crusades, bought books and tapes, asked to be prayed for and then fasted and prayed on my own. But this didn’t prove to be the magic wand I expected.

Little did I know that God had destined me to be His servant and that all what I was going through was part of the training for ministry. Sometimes I thought God didn’t care about me. I then wanted to die. I really wanted to end the stress and trauma because that is all my life comprised of.

During the early stages of my conversion I began to have these “strange” dreams and visions wherein I found myself ministering prayer, healing and deliverance to people. I later understood through the teachings I was exposed to that God was showing me my calling. At that stage I didn’t understand much of it.

Also, I once heard a sermon that really shook the foundation of my Christianity and pushed me to seek God deeper. The preacher challenged Christians to stop being those who “sit and watch” while others serve in the church.

I must admit that I didn’t like the way he described those of us who were not in active service in God’s house. I felt a holy anger in me that sent me on my knees asking God what He wanted me to do in His house.

I attended foundation classes for new converts. There, I learned the difference between general service and specialized service. The former is for those who do not yet know their particular area of calling and the latter is for those who already know exactly what God has called them to do.

I was challenged and I began to serve in the church. I have served with the cleaners, the hospitality team; I’ve been a Sunday school teacher, an intercessor, the intercessors’ leader, a member of the women’s ministry among others. Then one day when Pastor was transferred I was asked to assume the interim until a new Pastor was sent to the church.

I learned a lot in these various capacities. This general service established my foundation as a Christian and gave me a base for ministry.

As I continued serving in the church and spending time in intimacy with God He began to show me my area of specialization. This was facilitated by the books I read, tapes I listened to, sermons I heard, other men and women of God I observed, prophecy, and then seminars and workshops I attended.

I never missed any opportunity to attend conferences and seminars even if I had to forgo other needs just to afford the transportation I needed. I was hungry for more of God and He honored my hunger with deeper knowledge about Himself and His call on my life. I always came back from the events enriched and refreshed.

But I still had issues. Only gradually did God take them away one at a time.

I’ll like to cite a few of the resources which among others really helped me during my search.

  1. Your season is getting ready to change by Pastor Paula White (tape).
  2. The Assignment, the Dream and the Destiny by Dr. Mike Murdock (book).
  3. Maximize Your Potential by Dr. Myles Monroe (book).
  4. Tough Times Never Last, but tough people do by Dr. Robert Schuller (book).
  5. The confident woman by Joyce Meyer (book).

I accessed other numerous resources by servants of God like Bishop T.D. Jakes, Arch Bishop Benson Idahosa, just to name these few. (I’ve read a mountain of books and I’ve bought a great number of tapes. I’ve been to so many conferences and I’ve sat down to talk to not a few servants of God).

In the end God made me to understand that He let me go through hell so that I would help others come out of hell. I’m a survivor called to reach out to others and help them survive.

But in all these, God’s grace has been superabundant in my life. I owe it all to His mercy and favor.

If not for His grace, there’s no other reason why I should be alive today.

What I can say is that it takes patience, intimacy with God, the willingness to learn, to sacrifice and endurance, when things seem to go directly opposite to what God had promised you through dreams, visions, prophecy and especially His own Word, the Bible.

I’m still searching and I’m still learning. I agree with the Apostle Paul:

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).

I hope and pray someone is inspired by this resume of my testimony to seek God more and to get to know Him in a deeper dimension.

You are blessed in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

DREAM-KILLERS AND DREAM-PROMOTERS

Dream-killers

  • Joseph’s brothers saw it, understood it even before the lad knew what it was all about. They tried to kill it (Genesis 37:5-8).
  • David’s brother Eliab tried to talk him out of his giant-slaying destiny (1Samuel 17:27-29).
  • The crowd wanted to stifle Bartimaeus’ dream to see again (Mark 10:47-52).
  • Jesus’ family came to take him home because they thought his own dream was some form of madness (Mark 3:20-21).

Dream-promoters

  • Eli saw it in little Prophet Samuel and taught the boy how to hear from God (1 Samuel 3:8).
  • Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law gave him useful ideas on how to do ministry (Exodus 18:17l-24).
  • Naomi gave Ruth a strategy to win the love and respect of Boaz, her future husband (Ruth3:1-4).
  • Barnabas took Paul and taught him how to do the things of God. Paul was accepted in the brotherhood because of the former’s recommendation (Acts 9:26-28).

What is your own dream? Who are you telling it to? Do you know in what category they fall? Is your dream at risk because of the people you are telling it to?

I pray God will send the right people to help you achieve that dream that keeps you awake all night long.

 

HOW DO YOU REACT TO CRITICISM?

It is natural for people to react strangely to what is new, strange, baffling or even exciting. Talking about what is new, we have a lot of it in the body of Christ principally because God is always doing something new and because the devil is always trying to counterfeit God. Criticism is neither strange nor surprising; it is rather our reaction to it that can be both strange and surprising.

How did Jesus react to the constant attacks from the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Jews in general? He was mostly criticized for not keeping the Sabbath, (Mark 9, John 9, John. 5), and for making Himself equal to God. (John. 8:56-58, John. 10:30). In the face of all this, Jesus remained calm and focused. He was not moved to hit back or lose His temper. He knew who He was and who was backing Him.

Jesus knew within Himself that He was genuine and on the right path, so He did not need to change His character or style, His vision or values in order to satisfy the demands of His detractors.

However, He did listen to them and gave ample explanations where necessary. For instance, He took time to explain to the “Law Keepers” that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath, thus, it is unfair to allow a man continue in pain just because we want to respect the Sabbath. He also explained to them his messianic mission although they were plagued with unbelief and never got to benefit from His presence among them.

The lesson we can learn from this is that, we must never let criticism push us out of focus or away from our vision and values. People will always have something to say, and if you keep mutating in response to it, you will end up with a strangely-colored man-made vision and a queerly-decorated world-inspired ministry.

At the same time, we must not close our ears and eyes to critics. Sometimes, being in the forefront disconnects us from daily reality and critics become a check on our excesses. They bring us back to reality. Each time you are criticized, it gives you an opportunity to re-examine your values and decisions.

In all, your reaction to criticism is a reflection of how confident you are in God and what He has called you to do. If you are deeply rooted in God, like the baobab tree, you will not be afraid of the wind.