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.

Why demarcate?

Demarcating a plot of land with tall strong walls and barb wires is rife in my native country – Nigeria. Some of the land lords will go an extra mile to put a big sign board on the wall which reads, “this land belongs to Mr XYZ. Trespassers beware”. Some will actually place sharp-edged broken bottles on the fences.

I had often wondered why this was commonplace, bearing in mind that the landlord legally bought the land and was issued a title-deed. Whilst that was the case,  bandits will try to take hold of the land especially when the land is unoccupied.

I recall my dad had a practice of visiting his lands at least twice a month when I was growing up –  checking that hoodlums had not broken through.

I find this practice essential in the spiritual too. Jesus Christ has purchased a good life for us by giving himself as a ransom, he has handed over the title-deed to us. However if I don’t put a stamp on this title-deed or enforce my ownership, the devouring lion will devour my possession.

A lady shared with me how she lost her two pregnancies during the first trimester. She said it started by having horrible dream where she bled and few days after it’s reality. She searched the scriptures and came across “who gave himself as a ransom for all 1 Tim 2:6”. If the price had been paid, if the blood had been shed and a life had been given as a ransom, then her pregnancy is fulfilled. She held on to and  confessed this scripture through out the 9 months despite the odd dreams. She delivered safely!

Have you aligned your life with  Christ’s and yet you are being tormented? Rise up dear reader! Check out what the scriptures say about your situations. Confess them- these are your barb wires.

Daughter of Your Father

In Luke 13:11-13, Christ referred to a woman as “daughter of Abraham”. I have been wondering why He did not call her by name for Christ knows all things. He could have identified her by her issue (bent over woman)? Why did He make reference to Father Abraham? Could it be that there is an underlying message here? This woman had been bent over for 18 years!

In my culture, when people call you in reference to your parents, i.e. are you not a daughter of Mr X or Dr Y, or Pastor Z, depending on the context, it means that individual has demonstrated a behaviour that doesn’t quite conform to the identity of her parents or perhaps she condoned herself according to the attributes of that family. Most often than not, the former is the case.

Let us check out Father Abraham’s profile. He is the father of faith and the blessing. God separated him from of his brethren to establish a new covenant with God (Gen 17). He was blessed with the promised land and this promise was passed on from his son, Issac to grandson, Jacob/Israel and Joseph and on and on. Whilst these generations sojourned to the promised land, God itemised the blessings in Deut 28:1-14. One of these blessings was divine healing and health.

What is the connection between this woman and Abraham? She was a Jew/Israelite therefore descendent of Abraham. Consequently, healing and divine health were her entitlements. She was meant to stand straight and walk uprightly but she had been bent over for 18 years- such a long time and she probably just got used to it. Also, the encounter between her and Christ took place in a place where Christ was teaching; showing she had a heart for God but did she call out to him for healing?

How does the above relate to you and I in Christ? Gal 3:7, 9, 13, 14, “…those who are of faith are the seeds of Abraham”. “So they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham”. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us…”. “That the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles through Jesus Christ that we might receive of the Spirit through faith”.

Are you in Christ? Have you confessed Him as Lord and Saviour? Are you serving Him wholeheartedly? But are you bent over in any area of your life? You ought not be bent over. Stand up and take your entitlement. Confess and believe your divine healing and health. Thank God for it. For His leading.

Note:Study Gen 17, Deut 28 and Galatians.

Not forgotten!

I was meant to have my day-off sometimes last week. “Off what?” you may ask. Well, not to sound self-centred, off being home all am, noon & pm with my baby. She resumed nursery  and I was looking forward to having 8.30am-6pm to myself – a luxury in this season of my life. I had grand plans mapped out; full intercontinental breakfast at a favourite restaurant, 2hr spa treatment, go shopping (indulgence), late lunch at another favourite restaurant and be home for 4pm to catch a 2hr nap! Well deserved, I thought, after 11 months of nursing and caring.

An hour after she left the house, I felt I had lost something. Where was she? Was she alright? Is she coping? Did I let her resume too early? Should I have waited till when she turned 12 months or even 18 months? Heeee! Hooo! My baby! Oh, my Deborah, how I miss her!

In a nut shell, I sulked till noon. Unbelievable! Then I snapped back, I had 4hrs until pick up! But I really needed a 2hr nap. So I thought, I will do some reading for a couple of hours. Indeed, after 1.5hrs of reading, I realised I had not flipped a page – where was my mind? With her, of course! I don’t remember if I eventually had a nap because I rushed out of the house at 5pm to go pick her up!

How do I define what happened to me? Was it a bond too strong? Was I just being overly worried? So I sampled some mothers whose feelings resonated with mine. One said, “though my kids are in their late 20s, I still have them constantly in my mind. The only difference is that I get on with my daily activities.

Maybe I went overboard in my case (first-time mum syndrome) but really, the attachment is forever evident. Can a mother forget the son of her womb? Can she really? Peradventure she does, God says He will not forget His own! Because we are engraved in His palms and our walls are always before Him Isa 49:15-16

Glory!!! I am comforted in knowing that I am not forgotten by the Creator of the Universe.

The race

I alongside my daughter took part in the much-anticipated 5K walk/run yesterday on the Cape Breton Island. Please don’t ask me how long it took to complete it. Though it was a race, I took out some life lessons.

A. Unique individuals
We commenced the race just after the coordinator blew the horn. Some individuals immediately sped past me and I left some behind me. Each person had a goal and plans. Some ran through out, some did power walk, some jogged, some walked/ran (like me). Each person in his own pace. Some individuals paired e.g. siblings, couple, parent and child, friends and I assumed each pair trained together yet each individual had slightly different pace. There were different age groups. I saw some pregnant women too. I outrun some individuals who had gone ahead of me early on likewise some outrun me. In all these, I compared myself with no one.

Just like above, we have been uniquely created by God and each of us has a specific purpose. “And it is he who gifted some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, and still others to be pastors and teachers” (Eph 4:11).

B. Encouragement
These were cheerleaders along the route and at the finish line. I appreciated the former. I had Deborah with me fast asleep in the buggy seemingly unperturbed by the undulating road. It was quite challenging having to push and run uphill, I almost decided to stop. Then I heard the voice of a cheerleader saying (Canadian accent), “way to go girl”. I was enthused that I doubled my pace and almost tripped over. Oh, so much power in positive words and offering encouragement!

There are some individuals passing through challenges in their homes, marriage, health, career etc and almost wanting to give up. If only you utter edifying statements like, “you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus”, “you can do all things through Christ Jesus”.(Heb 3:13, 1 Thess 5:11).

C. Get rid of weights
I had my two hands on the buggy and kept running as fast as my legs could carry me. It was fun and she did give me inspiration. But really the uphill runs were challenging and it would have been less so if I had not carried her with me. I have not seen ‘mother and buggy combo’ in serious-minded races (the likes of Usain Bolt and Mo Farah) and not that I have seen a lot.

It is wisdom to lay aside every weight that hinders and pulls us down. (Heb 12:1)

D. Running the race
I started training for this race some weeks ago. I researched on how to prepare for such a race and I followed (howbeit not regimental) a tested and trusted routine – walk/run/jog every other day and used the elliptical on alternate days. There were some types of food I had to avoid and there were some I introduced into my diet. I prepared mentally and physically. I was determined to get through the race. During this training period, I eliminated involvement in trivial activities. On the day of the race, I followed all instructions and the route mapped out.

Just like 2 Timothy 2:4-6, a Christian should, on a daily basis, be Kingdom minded.

Offering what I need.

So much has been going with me and I barely have time ‘to myself’. I have recently introduced solid (weaning) to my gorgeous daughter and therefore been spending an extra hour in the kitchen; also she interacts more these days and I have had to combine the role of a mother/play mate; my editor has reviewed a book I am working on and she has said I have done a great job but it could be greater; I have enrolled myself in a 5k walk/run race and I have been training moderately for this but being a 6 months postpartum, moderately feels difficult; I am on an online self-study course; I am in the middle of managing few emotional issues among my folks. These sound overwhelming.  While these are going on, I have had to engage in the ‘ministry of encouragement’ with some of my brethren in the Lord. (Heb 3:13, 1 Thess 5:11).

But tonight I was privileged with a wee bit of time ‘for me’ and I said to the Lord, I am the one needing encouragement, my plates are full! Immediately, I was directed to the scene just before Jesus fed the 5000 (Matthew 14). John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin, had just been beheaded. Herod, according to Matthew Henry’s commentary, believed Jesus was John risen from the dead and therefore he hated Him. Jesus resorted to going to a desert, whether He went to mourn or just to escape Herod was not specifically recorded. Whatever the reason, he would have been justified. He needed some time ‘to himself’.

Unfortunately, it was not going to happen. People sought for him. You would think they sought to encourage or to help Him plan a route of escape. Oh no, they needed encouragement (healing, faith uplifting, joy, food, water, life etc). Here, Jesus had a choice to say,”please give me some time “to me”, Herod beheaded my cousin some hours ago and he is looking for me too. I need some time to think through.”  Rather, immediately He spotted these guys, he was moved with compassion and started His good works.

So I asked myself, what reason have I got not to fulfil Heb 3:13 and 1 Thess 5:11? And I ask you dear reader, what reason do you claim for neglecting to offer a word or prayer, an encouragement, a smile to, seven seconds of laughter with individuals you know are in the need of these?

‘…. whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me…..’

I am encouraged

I am currently navigating a journey in life and I have fallen in to a mood. My thoughts are: ‘how do I manage through with my resources‘, ‘am I going to cope in this new environment?‘,  ‘how smooth will the transition process be?‘ ….Those are sudden flash of thoughts despite that I know I am in the will of God.

While studying Leviticus I found something so encouraging. By the way, Leviticus contains the laws God gave to the Israelites through Moses after they had come out of Egypt. A couple out of the many laws was that the Israelites were to observe the Sabbath and Jubilee years. I will explain. For six years, they were to sow, prune and harvest but not in the seventh year as this was meant to be a Sabbath year and dedicated to the Lord. And the fiftieth year after seven Sabbath years is Jubilee year. They were not to sow or reap what grew of itself or harvest the untended vines.

At this point, my natural instincts kicked in. I spent a couple of minutes thinking, “did that mean they would go hungry in those years?”, “what did the Lord expect them to eat?”, “perhaps they would have had to save up for the Sabbath and Jubilee years?“, “but was the harvest per year sufficient thereof?“, “would they have had to ration during the six years to cater for the seventh year?“. Then I continued reading and 8 verses further down, I read the below:

‘You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.’ Lev 25:20-22

Oh, that blew me off! The only requirement from the Israelite was obedience! God had sorted them out! Almost instantly, I remembered that this was what God told Elijah .“Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 1 Kings 17: 9.

Similarly in Luke 9:1-4, ‘When Jesus had called the twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town’.

The moral is ‘God has it well planned as long as I am in His will’. I am confident. I am encouraged. Perhaps, you are like me about to or currently navigating through a journey (in line with God’s will), be encouraged because God has taken care of all!