Thursday, 14 July 2016

BACK TO BASICS

Stripping myself bare, I wrote for days. I wrote and wrote. Making sense of yet another bad call became priority. It wasn't because of anything special - it was after all, just another of several of the same that had become all too familiar.

Making sense became priority because I had had enough - enough of the same old roll call, the same kind of people, occurrences, mistakes, choices, lies. Yet, not just that. This time, something was different.

The last experience particularly stank? Yeah, maybe that. But there was more. Timing? I don't know. More Grace? Maybe… I just knew at this time I had to have something different. Something better. Henceforth, things had to change.

The repetitions had gotten boring and uninspiring. My life looked bleak with more of this same if something did not change. I had to change. So I wrote. And these are a few of what I found;

One, some might be able to get away with it but I cannot. What? Talking God and dropping Him was just not going to work for me. I wanted my life to pan out too much of just so, to settle for anything less than He had. Some got it wrong and just brazened their way through. Me? No such luxury. (1 Corinthians 9:16)

Two, If I was going to talk God, I had to follow Him to the hilt. No half measures or I was always going to be in a loop about my convictions and my results. (Roamns 1:28)

Three, I had to be an epitome of 'as many as are led by the Spirit' (Romans 8:14). Why? Because even though I had heard from Him before the beginning about my last bad call I had not believed it. Why? Because first of all in my own human thinking, how could He answer so soon? I had asked casually and not really expected an answer. His answer had come so quietly and so instantly I had brushed it off. Looking back now, I recognise it.  

Being led by the Spirit would definitely ensure I don't have time for the wrong kind of people or better still, I would recognise them whenever they appeared in whatever form they appeared. Which brought me to the next point.

Four, I had to spend enough time in His Presence to do the most humanly seemingly 'foolish' things just because I heard Him and I know Who and what I heard. (1Corinthians 2:14) 

Five, I had to find me which I discovered was interminably intertwined in Him. He created me. There is no way on earth to find me without asking Him. No way on earth what He told me about me would mean anything to me if I did not first know him. Inevitably, it seemed knowing me was buried deep within knowing him. (Acts 17:28)

Six. Folks probably didn't all need this journey. I did. Which was another reason why I couldn't go off working my life out by what I saw in other people's. Mine just is different and no matter how much of an oddball I might seem I have to tow my path. I can't aim the same targets, follow the same routes or even do the same things. I can't follow what society says is success and I must be ready to seem a failure in people's eyes just so I can be a success in His. (Philippians 2:12)

Seven. I had to stop finding, making or accommodating the wrong allies. Can two work together except they agree? (Amos 3:3). If you've just not got the same thirst, we'd probably not make it far and if we did, it wouldn't be my call. The right allies would come. He would send them and I would identify them if I follow one to six above.

My choice to follow my route will cost me, I know but anyone or anything not in my life per time henceforth, has no business being in my life per time. People and things I don't have per time, I don't need per time, nor need to desire - their approvals, presence, acceptance - inconsequential because my life is henceforth God's sole enclave. He directs the people and things I need as I move and act according to His Will and Direction. 

The people, things and victories I do have would be well worth it in more ways than one. Why? Because I am no longer operating in my own wisdom, in my own strength. I lie in His and there I find true rest.


HARSH TRUTHS - II

The ground caved in under me almost instantly - in a day or two things began to happen so fast I was certain God had only been waiting for me to say the word for Him to swing into action, and now I am in the aftermath of the rubble.

But I have never felt so elated as I feel right now, so alive. There is a sharpening of my vision. 

Was I cooperating with God all the way? Nope! 

If anything I had held on so tightly to my illusions I got burn marks on my hands. I refused to admit I had spent the better part of six months chasing a lie. 

Like God could be mocked! He was not about to have me drag His name saying 'spiritual' things like "God said he was the one" when I had left simple common sense alone and He had definitely said nothing of the sort. 

I was the one screaming and reeking, "Need, Need" and "Desperation, Desperation" for whatever sad reasons. Kicking and dragging, screaming and yelling, my heart seeking God's Will and my emotions pleading He endorse my foolishness, God got down to business. I had voiced what He needed to hear. 

I look at the rubble in the aftermath of His intervention and I am glad. Why? Because He took nothing out of my hand He did not replace- questions with answers, lies with truth and most of all, the relationship with a renewed sense of responsibility.

I wish I could say, ".. the relationship (replaced) with my identity" but that would not be completely true. "...With a sense of responsibility for discovering who I am" would be more like it.

"Discovering who I am? At thirty five?" Lol! I wish I could say "No, that's not the case." But really, it is. And when I look back, that question - "Discovering who I am? At twenty? At twenty five? At thirty? ..." were probably the reasons I side stepped that responsibility for this long.

So... to avoid having to ask, "Discovering who I am?" At forty five?" I will set out on that journey now. 

Why do I have to? So for one, I can know who I am, what I stand for and where I am headed. So for two, reason number one can help in making the right choices not just in relationships but in life. So, for three, I can live a richer, fuller and more purposeful life.

Does everyone else apart from me know who they are, even at seventy? No. Does everyone know that they do not know who they are? No. So mighty glad I am and thankful to God that even at thirty five I can finally say, I want to know who Esther is. 

You might decide to join me. You might decide to oppose me. You might decide to criticise. You might decide to encourage. You might decide to ignore. You might decide to be indifferent. You might decide to use this opportunity to ask yourself some very salient questions at eighty. You might conclude you know yourself right well, at twenty. Your choice and position is yours, really.

I must say, thus far, it's not been easy. I have had to face painful truths. Still yet, it's been worth it. (Hebrews 12:11) There's a peace that comes from seeing your ugliness because now you know you can clean it up and who knows, discover diamonds lying just beneath. 

There's a peace that comes from accepting you've been living a lie because now you know you can live the truth, your truth; from accepting that you have been making the wrong choices because now you know you can now unlearn whatever has wired you up so wrong, learn what you need to and start making the right choices- live life not just right but to the hilt. There's a peace that comes from accepting that all your romantic relationships have been wrong because now you can ask why, find answers and grow - put an end to nightmares that have gone on for too long.

So, what do I have to say now?  By His Grace, the best of my life lies ahead of me in Christ Jesus. And discovering who I am now, that treasure now is  "Better late, than never."  



HARSH TRUTHS

I'm staying over at my Pastor's when I tell him some dreams I had overnight. On the first one he said, ".., that is only your mind, The same worries you have had for all these years, that has cost you this same mistake you just made (a wrong relationship), that is it manifesting in a dream, Stop looking for a husband!"

His words cut like a knife. It reverberated through my brain - "Stop looking for a husband!". In a few seconds I ran the whole gamut of denial, anger, indignation, realisation and finally, acceptance. 

He was right. The word of God says that "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32) In that instant, I got my freedom. Or more accurately, the process began to get my complete freedom. 

Each truth reveals another truth. Painful as they are, if you can take the bold step of walking through those 'Truthful doors' you will find healing to your soul to the extent of the number of doors you are willing to walk through.

The entire failure of my last relationship had had me working my way backwards in my mind through error after error to the very beginning. The mistake had been from before the beginning. 

And why not? The statement my Pastor made made sense. It was the only explanation for horror after horror I had suffered in relationships, poor relationship choices.

Painful as it was I had to come face to face with my own fear of discovering myself that was so morbid I thrust myself at anyone who would take me. Needless to say, people who carried that burden were themselves broken and in no position to be of help, direction or use.

The last seemed the worst, (It was probably no worse than all the others before it, though - they were all spawned from the same root cause, an identity crises that had probably been in place far longer than I cared to remember), seemed the worst more so because I had hoped that making the same mistakes I made out of the Church in the Church would somehow get me God's seal of approval on the relationship. 

Getting my Father God's approval didn't happen, though. He stood aside while the whole thing ran aground and at the end of my tether, neck deep in muck, eyes blind with grime and both parties still clutching on in misery, I cried out "Lord, forgive me. Every way I am out of Your Will (in this relationship), please re-align me, in Jesus Name."


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

PRODIGAL DAUGHTER

My last post on this blog was on Saturday, 18th July 2015.

Today Tuesday, 12th July 2016 I resume- six days short of a year later.

Where have I been? A lot has been happening, really. I have been to the house of God. I have been to Bible School. I have been distracted - health trials, a relationship etc, and now I am being chastened and now here I am. I have been in life in the past year but I haven't been at my duty post...

And what have I learnt? That you can go as far as you please, get as much as you want but if you don't have the King of kings you have nothing - "And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living" (Luke 15:13)

Also, trials come to test what you have, what you claim to have and if you faint in the day of adversity your strength is small (Proverbs 24:10). Trials and problems do not come to defeat you. They come to expose you, where you stand, who you really are and what you say you are. And if you are not standing you will be defeated. It will expose like Stormie Omartian said, your 'Christianese'. Or your substance.

I waited fervently for Bible School from July, resumed in October, basked in the euphoria of new found grace and knowledge yet I was bursting at the seams. The class attendance seemed intense and I couldn't wait to complete the semester in December. Then the end - of - year parties rolled in, the dates, and then the lies - the ones I told myself hit the hardest and hurt the most.

The first day of Bible School resumption and I was rushed to the hospital at 2 a.m.  Where was the faith? Where was the stand? A needless relationship rolled in, in all this. No health, no truth, no spirituality... and I'm just beginning to stand.

Like the rubble that remains after an holocaust, my environment demands I squint myself into comprehension. Like the dust that would float for weeks after a volcano would demand, I peer ahead seeking something, anything - a semblance of sanity, a relic of the old and all I can find is nothing.

Like a befuddled old woman, bent over with age and weakened with the pain of consistent battery, weary with burdens she had carried all her life, I look inwards and there I find Him - again.

I look to the One Constant Being that has always made sense in my life, through thick, through thin, faithfulness and unfaithfulness, The Sun. If I peered intently enough, I could actually make out the Sun. "But onto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall" (Malachi 4:2). Do I fear Him? Yes. It is one of the reasons I turn to Him. So I peer through that dim float of dust and I acknowledge The Sun. I bask in the warmth of its thinly veiled glow. I heave a sigh of relief as its healing powers seep silently into my weakened bones. I will be healed.


What's more? It is still day. The day is not gone yet. "I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh when no man can work". (John 9:4).  I will still do... The work of my Father.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Relationship Versus Fellowship

Pastor Bukola would give an example thus:

If my father disowned me and people saw me, what would they say- “There goes the child whose father disowned him”. And when they saw my father what would they say? “That is the man who disowned his Son”. Had the relationship being broken? No. Neither party was being described without the other. (And if you ask me I’d say, the relationship probably became more pronounced after the disowning as now both parties were being described using each other. This might not necessarily have been the case if a disowning had not taken place.)

Pastor Bukola would continue, “The relationship had not been broken but the fellowship had been”

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary describes Fellowship as ‘a feeling of friendship between people who do things together or share an interest’

Do the Father and Son still do things together when the Father disowns the son or the Son turns prodigal? No. fellowship has been broken- the feeling of friendship has been lost. 

What is friendship? A relationship. You might say then that the feeling of relationship has been lost. What kinds of relationship are there- friendship, family, siblings, neighbour. 

What kind of relationship do we have with God- Father/Son. So what relationship feeling has been broken with God when Fellowship is broken? Father/Son feeling- The relationship has not been broken. It’s still there. But the feeling of relationship has been broken. The Father does not feel like He has a son though the son is still alive, well and kicking. And/or the son does not feel like he has a Father, although the father is still Alive (and in this scenario with God, can never die).

The Oxford Advanced Dictionary also describes fellowship as ‘an organized group pf people who share an interest, aim or belief’.

It means that people can come together for a common purpose- they are a fellowship.

So what about in this area of sharing an interest? Fellowship is broken when there is no longer a shared interest. The things of the father do not interest the son. The things of the son are not appealing to the father. Fellowship is broken but the relationship is still intact. Feeling of relationship is lost but the Father-son relationship is still intact.

When we share God’s purpose and follow his agenda for fulfilling them we are in fellowship with God. We can even say that we are a fellowship with Him. But when we cease to share God’s interests, His aims, we have broken fellowship.

However, if a father and son had fellowship and the son left or broke the fellowship and decided to be on his own. Would he cease to be the father’s son? No! But would He still be in fellowship with the father! Still, No. The son would still be the father’s son- relationship is intact. But the son would have broken fellowship with his father- feeling of relationship lost.

Bringing this home; when a child of God does not live according to the Will of God, does not spend time with God, does not fellowship with God. The child of God does not stop being a child of God. The child of God’s Relationship with the Father remains intact- He is that child that has broken fellowship with His Father. Note the description of the child of God is still going to be in relation to God- "I thought He was a Christian/child of God/believer" is what some people will say.

The child of God however, has broken Fellowship with His Father. The feeling of relationship is no longer there. He is not in communion with the Father and so cannot know the heart of the Father. The child of God, therefore has lost Fellowship not Relationship.

How can fellowship then, be restored? Simple! Simply by returning to the Father- stirring back up the feelings of relationship, sharing His interests, making His interests as important to us as ours is, has always been and always will be to Him, doing His Will, staying in the Will of the Father and communing with Him- always.


Grace II

Back to the gift of Grace. I realise that God had been trying to talk to me about His Grace for so long. Yes, I had been so afraid of taking it for granted that I was not using it at all. But here He was reminding me through Pastor Bukola that He had not written the concluding pages of my life yet. I could still start over- that was Grace.

I was to stop fighting the Old and build the new. That was Grace.

He had not condemned me or written me off. That was Grace.

All I had heard from people pretty much summing up the rest of my life and what I could expect were all lies and nothing like His beautiful plans for my life.

The Rhema I had received about things that had happened, why they had happened and why I had done the things I had done were confirmed- that was Grace!

When I asked this morning, “How do I stop fighting the old and start building the new?”

I got- each time I look back, I was fighting the old. Each time I rationalized and tried to make excuses for my mistakes, I was fighting the old. Each time I wondered or worried what people had to say about my past or what they thought of me, I was fighting the old. Each time I was holding on to what I used to do, trying to fight old sins, preparing for them in case they came back, I was fighting the old.

What was I supposed to do? I’m supposed to build the new. How? Take my eyes off my past and look onto God, onto Jesus.

And that reminds me of what Pastor Bukola said about my wandering, looking for Grace- “You don’t go looking for Grace. You go looking for God and when you find God, you find Grace”. Saying in essence that when you find God, you would see His Grace. 

The Grace of God wraps us all every single day. That we are all alive is by Grace. So many things we enjoy is by His Grace. But we do not see this Grace because we do not see God. We refuse to acknowledge Him, so we do not know that we have what He has given us.

So how do you find God- By going into his Word. By communing with Him. By spending time with Him...


And this brings me to the topic of Relationship Versus Fellowship...

Grace!

The message of Grace is one whose revelation has eluded me, slipping through my fingers even at the times when I seemed to grasp it. For an attribute that I had been actively and intentionally looking for, leaving my home church and changing churches every now and then, visiting churches and eventually refusing to go to any church at all- it is almost inconceivable that I would lose it once I grasp it. But lose it I did- over and over again.

Pardon me but, my religious mind, then Muslim now Christian and seemingly every bit as religious as it had ever been, refused to grab the concept of Grace! Grace! That one word- denoted in so many ways but promising hope, freedom, victory…

That God wants me to come into His Grace, receive His Gift of Grace and appropriate it in my own life is not deniable. In fact, I am not certain if He has chased me in recent times with any gift as actively as with this Gift of Grace- A Benny Hinn message here, a personal Rhema there, even a Display picture I saw which said something along the lines of not wasting energy fighting the old but on building  the new. Did I get it? No! I just kept going around looking for Grace whilst I swam in it.

So, what am I going to do? Well, pretty much like the story of my life and like my relationship with God, He saved me- again!

I was talking to Pastor Bukola about my past mistakes- mistakes which seemed destined to run me into the ground and leave God flailing helplessly beside me, unable to help? But that is not possible! God can never be helpless. Even His Weakness is stronger than men 1st Corinthians 1:25

You see sometimes we underestimate our God and overestimate sin, the devil, our human weaknesses, past mistakes. We are all so convinced that this evil tripartite of devil, sin and man will just run us into the ground and of course, there is nothing God can do about it. Especially when you add the fact that God cannot behold iniquity. How on earth is He going to save you from  your foolishness, mistakes, errors, doom, sin- all self-inflicted of, course?

My thanks be to God Who is not limited by our inabilities, failings, weaknesses. In fact, whether we like it or not, we are inexorably being drawn towards the perfect will of God. It’s going to end like he said. Whether we are on the right side or wrong side of His Judgement is all left to us. And now is the gift of Grace available.

You see, we cannot hear it long enough, loud enough or often enough that our God is all powerful. All the demons there are could not stop Christ rising – how many exactly do you have in your life that can stop God. Don’t hold your breathe trying to count because no one is going to stop Him - no one and nothing.