Recognising Opportunities

When I was growing up, my folks would jokingly say, “opportunities missed/lost may never be regained”. I think this might be true of most things in life…if we don’t factor in the “anointing”.

This verse jumps at me, “The lazy man does not catch and roast his prey, but the precious possession of a [wise] man is diligence [because he recognizes opportunities and seizes them].” PROVERBS 12:27 AMP

But my initial thought is how do I recognise an opportunity? And when there are multiple mutually exclusive opportunities ( e.g. two promising guys proposing marriage, two fantastic job offers….), which one do I seize?

The first thing I do is: go back to God. Well, some might say, that is too spiritual. Rightly so, however I have come to realise I function exceptionally well when I have settled things, first, in the spirit. After all His words are, “the hearing ear and the seeing eye, the [omnipotent] LORD has made both of them.” (Proverbs 20:12 AMP). It is a simple prayer, “Lord, I need a seeing eye to see the opportunities around me. I need a hearing ear to hear when people talk about opportunities”.

I recall a story I read from a book of a shoe salesman who was sent to a community where everyone was bare footed! The salesman called the sales manager and said, “No one wears shoes here, so I am coming home”. The same sales manager sent another salesman to the same community, and on getting there, he called the manager and said, “Please get into touch with the factory ASAP and place orders for thousands of shoes. There are lots of potentials here!” What did the first salesman fail to see?

Secondly, I ask for a discerning heart. Not all opportunities should be seized! “There is a way that seemed right but the end of it destruction…” On the surface, the self led option might look more attractive but might not the better of the 2 at the long run. In a case of 2 mutually exclusive job opportunities, I need to be able to discern the place where I would be most valuable for God’s Kingdom.

1 Kings 3:9, “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong…….”

Thirdly, I thank God for answered prayers and wait expectantly for His voice which could come as an impression in my heart, or as a word in flash, or in a dream, or in a multitude of godly counsel, or divine wisdom to choose. And I continue to confess this promise in Psalm 32:8, ‘The Lord says, “He will guide me along the best pathway for my life. He will advise me and watch over me”’.

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Alaanu

Stories in the bible never to amaze me. Thinking about Exodus 2; the birth of Moses (Joachim, his name at birth), I marvel yet again at the ways of God.

Moses, the deliverer, came to the world at a time when Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, ordered the midwives to kill every Hebrew male child. Before then, the Egyptians held the Israelites captive for many years. However, there was a prophecy that a deliverer would spring forth from amongst them; therefore Pharaoh thought it best to kill all male babies. “Simple and logical solution”

Unfortunately for Pharaoh, the Hebrew women had quick labour and fast delivery making it difficult for the midwives to frame still birth or death due to unexplained complications. 1st escape route for Moses and others.

Moses’s mama knew there was something about her child. She could not quite pinpoint what it was but she knew. She hid him by faith for 3 months. Mothers instinct! Those instincts are just strong. A bit of digression, I heard Terri Pearson say God speaks to us about those we are responsible for; those instincts and impressions of the heart could be God saying something.

After 3 months, she developed a fear for the life of her family. I guess the punishment would be grievous if the baby Moses was found. She made a basket (what we know as Moses’s basket except that hers was waterproof) and put him on the bank of a river.

This is where the drama becomes even more intriguing. It so happened that a lady, Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river shortly after Moses was dropped. It so happened that she noticed the basket; asked that it be brought to her. It so happened that Moses cried at that time and this lady had compassion on him. She knew it was one of the Hebrew’s who her Father wanted killed. Despite this knowledge, she was happy to adopt him. She asked for a nursing midwife to take care of him. Long story short, Moses lived in the palace thereafter. I will pause here for now.
 Some will call this saga coincidence but I say divine orchestration.

I strongly believe Moses’s mama would have prayed that no evil befell him. I also believe she would have asked God to have mercy and send help to Moses. She would have prayed that a miracle happened to her baby boy. I believe her prayers were effectual.

I have found myself in situations where I get mercies & favour bestowed upon me from unknown quarters. And I just know without doubt that my parents had prayed it through.

This is a call to papas & mamas; decree daily over your children & wards that they will always cross paths with willing destiny helpers through out their life’s journey.
(Btw, Alaanu is yoruba for helper).

Potty training

I learn every day even from activities I rate as “not that important”.  Summary of potty training my 2+ year old daughter:

Morning of Day 1: Few minutes after she woke up, we went to the “ladies” and I encouraged her to sit on her potty. After about 15 minutes, she managed to do number 2 business. Same result on days 2 to 4. I made a decision – “I will persist, I choose not to be frustrated”.

Morning of Day 5: We followed same routine, result was a successful number 1 business. Hooray! But we had to wait an extra 10 minutes before the show. And it was hard to resist the temptation of telling an innocent child to hurry up, but I persevered. Same results for next many days.

Morning of Day 12: She woke up and said, “Potty” and she did her Nos 1 & 2 businesses. This has carried on for many days afterwards. It became her habit. Unprompted, she indicates her need to use the potty – goal achieved/intended outcome.

My persistence, patience & consistency levels were challenged yet again and the exercise further  reinforced the truths below.

“If I do something repeatedly and continuously, it becomes an habit.

“If I could exercise a little bit of more patience, I will realise the intended results”.

“Success is end result of a long series of little things, done consistently over time” ( Jeff Olson)

#be consistent to a cause.

Nursing Time

My few weeks old baby stirs signalling that he is hungry, he opens his mouth & turns his head into a nursing position. He continues for few seconds, if I don’t respond (early cues).

For mid cues – he increases the pitch, starts to stretch, puts his hands in his mouth, turns his head from left to right and back to left and again.

If I have not responded, he starts late cues, he gets restless, the cries get a lot louder, kicks his feet, at this point I just can’t ignore. No matter the task I was doing, I drop it and attend to this child. I automatically respond.

My baby makes a demand I just can’t ignore. He demand for his right, “breast milk”. His expectation is to be nursed hence he takes that position. For reasons beyond me and as designed by the Creator, I respond to his demand.

Realise that my baby nurses till he is satisfied, he dictates when to stop, after all, the source of supply never runs dry.

“Nations will give you what you need. It will be like a child drinking milk from its mother. Then you will know that it is I, the Lord, who saves you. You will know that the Powerful One of Jacob protects you.” Isaiah‬ ‭60:16‬ ‭ICB‬

The experience with my baby brings the verse above home. Nations will respond to me when I make demands, if I am persistent and expectant (Prov 23:18), I will get all I need to my satisfaction.

Fully paid

It could not get any better….received a gift to travel to a resort location with all expenses paid: flight & hotel, and a wallet I was instructed to open only after I had checked into the hotel room.

Extremely excited and looking forward to a lovely time, I packed my bags and got ready to fly! I got my boarding tickets from the airline staff and walked down the corridor into the plane. I located my seat but someone, a tall & big guy, was in my allocated seat. I paused, for a second, and considered my options: should I get this guy to stand up or should I look for an unoccupied seat.

His physique was a bit daunting, I must confess! But I summoned the courage, told him it was my seat & showed him my boarding papers – that was my proof! To my surprise, he said, “well, I sat there because it was empty, there are other empty seats, occupy one”. Truly, the plane was not filled and I could easily find a seat. Also, the air hostess tried cajoling me into another seat. But I stood my ground, after all, that one had my name on it! I think I made myself a bit unpopular.

Fast forward to 1.5hours later and checking into the hotel. The receptionist was warm and beautiful. As she was about handing over the key to the room, she said with all smiles, “I am sorry but there has been an error on room allocation. Instead of the original “double room” booked for me, she will have to give me a single room”. She further said, since it is only me, she hopes I would not mind.

“This is not what I bargained for!”, this I screamed in my head! Forcing a smile back, I said, “I mind!, my double room had been paid for, I won’t want anything less”. After a few hours delay, passing the intent of my heart across via my eyes, she got me my room. The few guys behind me wanting to check in but who had to wait till I was sorted gave me funny looks. Again, I had murmurs – “could not she accept the single room?” Phew! I cared less really.

When I stepped into my room, I felt a huge relief and said out loud, “No one and nothing will stop me enjoying this trip”.

It was a 4-day trip. I had great fun: bought exotic food & drinks, took long walks, bought souvenirs etc.

Mid day on the 4th day, my beloved, who presented me with this fabulous gift rang me to say hello. We talked through all the experience – good, bad and the ugly. He asked if I had used up all the vouchers. I said, “what vouchers?” There and then, I picked up the unopened wallet and saw food & drink vouchers at top notch restaurants, 2 spa treatment vouchers and extra cash for shopping.

I bit my tongue! I missed out! The vouchers were time-bound and neither could I go out to town anymore. My first reaction – I castigated my beloved, “why did not you call me day 1 or even day 2 to remind me?”. My second reaction – I retraced, “what made me forget the wallet?” Answer – my two experiences earlier that day?

It was too late! Vouchers were unused and forfeited, beloved was not 100% pleased, I missed out of even having a much more greater fun in a “fully paid” vacation. Oh, how sad!

This is how I relate this to my Christian walk:

1. Jesus Christ fully paid the price for my salvation and eternity with everything in between including the blessing of Abraham.

2. In this world, the enemy will plan to steal, kill and destroy the blessing by negotiating and cajoling me to accept lesser and if I don’t resist or adamantly stand my ground by aligning my words & thoughts with the word of God, I will miss out.

3. Distraction! I should not allow myself to be distracted by the events around me. I will keep my focus: meditating daily on the word day and night and not skipping a day no matter the “events in that day”.

4. It is my responsibility to study the word. I ought not be reminded to study it. I won’t stop at making the decision to, I will put it into action.

5. There is a possibility of not enjoying 100% of the blessings; if I don’t know the full content, I would not appropriate them nor know my right and privileges.

Thank you to my Beloved who paid the price.

Family Tree

Another lesson the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see in the story of Ishmael (in Gen 16-21) is that automatic blessings can be allocated to an individual without needing to work for it.

For background to Ishmael, please read my post here. At some point Sarah could no longer tolerate Hagar and Ishmael in the house and she sent them away. Abraham was grieved with this decision and God comforted him in 21:13 saying, “And I will also make a nation of [Ishmael] the son of the maid, because he is your descendant.” The same words were spoken to Hagar in 21:18.

Ishmael need not work for it. He automatically qualified for it due to the lineage. Whao! Some stash of inheritance awaiting him – his Father’s, Abraham, will so to speak.

In Luke 13, Jesus referred to a woman who was bound over as ‘a daughter of Abraham’. And here, he said this woman qualified to be healed! I have tried to plot out this woman’s family tree to check out the connection and which generation she was in: 1st, 2nd, 3rd…, 20th….40th? It was not easily traceable however there were 42 generations between Abraham and Jesus Christ. Therefore, I guess this woman will possibly be in either the 41st or 42nd generation. The point is that she was not in the 1st generation yet she qualified for automatic healing. The question is what made her qualify?

According to Galatians 3-5, if an individual confesses Christ as his Lord and Saviour, then he automatically qualifies for this stash of inheritance too, irrespective of the place you are in the family tree. Apart from being established as a nation and healing, the contents of this stash can be found in Gen 12 -17 and other chapters of the bible.

I study and claim those promises today and continually. From the story of the woman in Luke 13, apparently, she knew God however she was bound over for 18 years! Could it be that she was unaware of her full right to the stash?

Following God’s Script

I have been pondering on the story of the widow of Zarephath and Elijah in 1 Kings 17: 1-16. My eyes and mind have been fixed on  verse 9. God told Elijah,  “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”

On getting to Zarephath, we discover that this widow had needs and in fact was poor. She was happy to serve Elijah water when he requested for it however notice that when he requested for food, the widow had a story to tell. The intriguing part of the story is that God had said earlier that He had commanded this specific widow. Surprisingly, it was not recorded in the bible that God pre-informed this widow about the prophet’s visitation.

In the absence of detailed background of this widow; I make a guess that she knew God and therefore believed the words of prophet Elijah and thus followed his instructions? Or could it be that she felt propelled by “something” within her to be sacrificial and generous? If God had pre-warned her, would it have changed her disposition?

Linking it back to my day-day activities; there is a possibility that I have acted the ‘role of the widow’ in people’s lives without necessarily realising that I was following God’s script or aware that the recipients of these good acts were under specific instructions.