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).

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.

Moses’ mandate

Moses was such a great man. At the time He lived, he was said to be the meekest man on earth. Highlights of his life are:

1. His birth and rescue by Pharoah’s daughter

2. He was miraculously nurtured by his mother

3. He was an Israelite yet was opportuned to live in the Egyptian’s palace

4. He killed an Egyptian when trying to settle a row

5. He fled to Midian

6. He was commissioned by God at 80 years old

7. He was seriously ill on his way back to Egypt

8. He held notable conversation with Pharaoh, each translating to grand miracles

9. He led the Israelites out of Egypt

10. God, through him, parted the Red Sea

11. He struck* a rock twice and water came forth

12. God, through him, sent manna from heaven

13.  He showed that he was a man under authority by constantly enquiring from God

14. He was a compassionate man who interceded for the Israelites several times

15. He spoke with God one on one. God commended him.

16. He made the 10 commandments known

17. He was given the building specification of the ark

18. He led the Israelites to victory on many battles

19. He gave the rules and regulations on how to possess the “promised land”

20. He died at 120 years

Moses’s purpose, I believe strongly, was to bring the Israelites out of Egypt (Exo 1:5) and take them to the promised land (Num 20:12). Was this achieved? Not quite.

You may wonder what happened. God instructed him to speak to a rock to allow for a free flow of water for the Israelites when they cried out of thirst. I presume they had put much pressure on Moses through their murmuring and ungrateful attitude. Instead of speaking, he struck the rock – giving that frustration an outlet. That was disobedience and God was crossed with him. (Num 20:12)  “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”

He ask God for mercy but he was not pardoned. Deut 3: 24-27 “Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? Let  me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan–that fine hill country and Lebanon. But because of you the LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. “That is enough,” the LORD said. “Do not speak to me anymore about this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are not going to cross this Jordan”.

Honestly, I really think that was sad. Despite all the thick and thin he went through with the Israelites, the great and mighty miracles wrought through him, the cloud of fire and glory of God he carried around, would it not have been sweet if he had entered into the promised land? It would have been the peak of his leadership. But for a momentary anger!

What can debar you entering your promised land or what could cause you to not achieve your God-given  purpose? Anger? Malice? Doubt? Do a self check and nip such in the bud!

Is it repairable?

This question comes in different scenarios. For example: (1) a lady who received a doctor’s report of fertility problems might ask, “is it possible to conceive naturally or would assisted reproduction yield good results?”(2) spouses with marital challenges might ask, “can it ever go back to days of our first love“, or “could it ever be sweet again?” (3) parents with estranged children might ask, “can we ever have that loving tete-a-tete with our kids again?” (4) a promising business man who has just lost some money to a particular venture might ask, “how do I recover?” (5) a student who happens not to be doing so well in school might ask, “can I really cope and get good grades?” (6) someone who has just gone through a divorce might ask, “can I find joy again?” (7) a widower/widow might ask, “how do I get on again?” (8) a sick patient might ask, “can I ever experience good health again?” etc

Just like the scene in Ezekiel 37, the prophet was taken through a valley of dry bones and God asked him, “Son of man, can these bones live again?
Note that he had gone back and forth the valley and had seen and evaluated the rottenness of the bones. My responses might have been, “don’t think so!”, “really, you must be kidding me”! But I see diplomacy in Ezekiel’s answer. He erred on the side of caution lest he is said to not believe. Or could it be said that Ezekiel knew the power of his tongue. Proverbs 18:21)

What happens next? God instructed him to speak the words of God to these bones. And as he spoke, things started happening.

Words of God.

John 1:1-5. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 6:63. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

The truth is: Yes, it is repairable. Yes, it is recoverable. Yes, it is renewable. Yes, it can be revived. Yes, yes, yes. Get the right words to speak and speak them to those situations.

Why exercise?

I have tried to maintain my daily routine of walk/run as I look forward to participating in another 5km race. I  have a time target in mind so hopefully I will meet my target. Daily routine requires discipline, self motivation, eating right, adequate resting in between training etc.

Several times I have had to get up earlier than usual. The more I used the muscles, the more they get accustomed to the routine although a bit painful in the first few days. All in all, I am enjoying the results; I feel healthier, lighter, happier. It is no wonder the NHS (UK) advocates for daily exercise of at least 30 minutes for adults. Joyce Meyer also once mentioned the  tremendous benefits working out has delivered for her. For those who work out, I believe we share same testimony.

Paul said to Timothy, “… and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things….1 Timothy 4:7-8

How great to know that there is another form of work out which could yield even greater and much more beneficial results! Ofcourse it comes with a price but sure worth it!

So how then do I exercise unto godliness? Perhaps, we should define what godliness is. It is a state of being godly. Holy, God-fearing, righteous are some synonyms for godly. Simples!

As I devised a plan for my 5km race, so have I devised a daily plan for being godly and I am happy to share.

1. Speak in the spirit to God. 1 Cor 14:2. This is the language of conversation. The more you commune, the deeper the relationship with God and your knowledge of His will . You become 5 and 6.

2. Be led by the Spirit. Romans 8:14. This is a choice for you to make. If you seek God for direction, He will grant you and you should obey. While running the race, we had guides who led the runners and also various markers along the route, it was wisdom to follow the guides and the markers.

3. Walk in the spirit. Gal 5:16. Walking is defined as moving about on foot. To walk in the spirit is to carry the consciousness of the Spirit with you at all times and relate with him; draw strength as and when. Some of the runners particularly those on the 10km race (my brother) had fuel tank containing water and electrolyte strapped around the waste. They were conscious of the resource and they drank to replenish as and when. It would have been unwise to do otherwise.

4. Wrap up in the word. Joshua 1:8.

Keep exercising unto godliness for it delivers benefits in this life and in the life to come.

Holiday…

I am drawing up a list of things to pack for my next holiday and I am really excited, the holiday is in one and half months’ time though. I like to think I am very organised and not a “last minute person”. I have been making contact with friends who I will visit and how long to stay with each one of them. I am also checking out where to visit etc. You may wonder how long my holiday is for, it is for two and half months! All I can think of is holiday!!!

But then I paused for a minute and asked myself did Paul or Philip or Stephen or Elijah or Elisah go on holiday? I assume not although not all the scrolls were canonised but I doubt very much if there was ever a time these ones took holiday to rest. Then there comes this feeling of guilt. Paul, as an example, travelled about a lot for the sake of the gospel. The apostles and disciples all went to cities and towns solely for the sake of gospel. They had an urgency about reaching the world. There was fervency in their spirits regarding the work of God.

So I ask myself, should not a holiday be influenced by the work of God?