Death – Only the beginning

I started reading the ‘Heaven trilogy’ by Ted Dekker some weeks back.  A book he wrote when he was dealing with the death of his 33yr old brother. Obiola would have been 32 by August.

(I actually recommend this book to anyone dealing with the passing on of a loved one, it’ll help ease the heaviness and hurt that accompanies grieving. It won’t take the pain away though, but it’ll help you better understand the process of the passage from Life to Death and from Death to Life, and also help you deal with whatever numbness or confused state your mind and emotions are in at the moment. It’s doing that for me)

As much as I’m learning to deal better with the concept of ‘Death’ in this ‘Earth’ as part of this whole ‘Life’ series equation that we’re in, and the fact that which each lesson you learn or are learning there comes a time to test the value of what you have learnt, this is a ‘test’ you don’t exactly look forward to.

From what I’ve learnt, Obiola is probably looking down and saying, in his usual funny + calm and easy + ‘chop life’ manner “Omo, guys, I know say how I waka dey messed up, but meeeehhhn, this side wey I dey, the place dey tiiiight!!. Una sure say una no go do come join me? I’m better off here o.” And then he’ll just give that his laid back smile.

The dead are dead and have moved on, it is we who are still living that grieve and are left with the worries and struggles of life.

Image

Obiola Ikpoki (09/08/80 – 03/06/12) – Too sudden, too soon bruv

Obiola Ikpoki, you’ll be missed on this side my brother, you’ll be sorely missed.

And then this brings me to that one essential question:

Are you ready to die?   (Now, that’s another post for another day)

For it is in our readiness to die, that we indeed begin to fully live.

“…Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life [germinating, springing up, and growing] unless it dies first.”  1 Corinthians 15:36

#NoteToSelf  Life, live it like you’ll soon leave it; for Death is only – The Beginning.

Hook, line, sinker, fisherman and boots…

“…But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things]…” – 1 Cor 2:15 (Amplified version)

I’ve been pondering on this verse of the scripture since I read it yesterday.

So why do people make it look like we are to just swallow everything we hear from the pulpit without questioning?

Why?

In my opinion, as long as you have the Spirit of God in you, regardless of who the message is coming from, if your spirit doesn’t accept it, then don’t do it.

If that WORD is truly from God, with time he will break it down to you, if not, do not take any step that God’s spirit in you has not convinced you about.

Just like the ‘Bearean Christians’ described in Acts 17: 11, we are to:

–          Receive the word of God with all readiness of mind.

–          Use discernment

–          Search the scriptures daily, to see whether the thing’s (WORD) you’ve heard are so.

In the house of God, there is no such thing as taking someone’s word ‘hook-line-sinker-fisherman-and-boots’.

SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES!!! 

Let God confirm the words and speak to your spirit himself, he’s not an author of confusion.

It’s him you’re serving, right?

It’s him you want to live for, right?

And he loves you, right?

I then believe that if he wants to pass a message across, he’ll not leave you confused about it, he’ll make sure your heart understands what he wants you to do.

So I say this to you as I say it to myself, (adds #NoteToSelf), when listening to that person’s opinion who you so respect in the things of God, and a question suddenly rises in your heart, don’t feel bad, don’t shut out that question, it means God wants you to search deeper about that matter.

Go ahead and do just that until your spirit is settled within you.

He/She has spoken, now, let GOD speak!

🙂

#EOD

Therapy…

I’m currently going through ‘character therapy’ sessions as I like to call it and I thought to share what I’m learning. I hope it helps you too.

Here goes…

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We know that God is Love and Love is God. God lives in us so we are ‘like’ him.  So just like God, we are Love. Or, we are ‘supposed’ to be Love. (errrrmmm… that’s the starting point of the therapy, he has to live in you, or the rest of what’s below won’t be a workable plan for you. So, what say ye? 😉 )

 

Anyway, what does the above then translate to?

It means, we should display the character of Love.

What is this character?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 describes all that Love is:

–          Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

 –          It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s  love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

 –          It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

 –          Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

 –          Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([a]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].

In light all of the above that Love is, we are to daily remind ourselves of who we are just like Love is by reacting this way instead when faced with situations:

 

I suffer long

I’m kind

I do not envy

I do not vaunt myself

I’m not puffed up

I don’t behave myself unseemly

I do not seek my own

I’m not easily provoked

I do not think evil

I do not rejoice in iniquity

I rejoice in truth

I bear all things

I believe all things

I hope for all things

I endure all things

I don’t fail.

 

You might not at the moment feel like you’re any of these (those of us who need this therapy mostly aren’t anyway), but like the bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:18 “…The more we behold the more we become…” (paraphrased).

 

Put these characteristics before you (in your minds eyes) and keep ‘beholding’ them and soon you’ll become the express image of all that you see here.

*inserts #NoteToSelf* 😀

Commitment phobia or what??!!

(hehehehehhehe, here’s more throwback thursday post. This one was written on Monday, August 11, 2008 at 11:40am… Enjoy :D)

Aug 9th – Chika’s wedding, Sept 6th – Nyikus’s wedding, then Jen’s, then Kachi’s, then Barbie’s then…..
Where in heaven’s name are all these people running to. Is there like some whistle blowing somewhere signalling a “Time to get married everyone” period?

Geez, it’s forever, you and him, from different backgrounds, together in one house, under the same roof, same bed sometimes; whether his fart smells like 2 weeks old rotten egg (or yours does LoL :D). I hear that even if he makes you “VERY” angry in the morning and comes back home at night with a smirk-like smile on his face ( u know how guys conveniently forget they are the reason that frown is on your face, heaven knows where they go to empty the contents of their brain) and touches you at night wanting “something”, I’m told there is no “Shakara” on that side of the fence ooo and by law it’s “OPEN SESAME” because it’s his RIGHT (KAI!!!) – and yours too when its your turn to get him upset hehehehe.

I also hear there are benefits too, you know, when it comes to decisions, 2 heads being better than one (that’s assuming his head is good and yours is too) and bills paying (for non-Ijebu immigrants).

When your mum or dad or siblings get you upset, there’s the “blood” factor that helps you wipe their slate clean because its “family”. Meeen, but this is different, this guy is aaaaaaaarrrrrggghhhh. Ok, I guess when you say “I DO” there’s some supernatural power for special forgiveness that comes on you right? I hope there is such a thing ‘cos heaven knows I’m gonna need loads of it.

Then the “see finish” factor, doesn’t boredom set in at some point? when it starts looking like routine? u know the saying “monotony kills the appetite”

I hear at this point too you look for ways to rekindle the flame aye, keep the fire burining eh?

Meeeen, na work ooo.
It most certainly is not a sit-cross-leg-and-enjoy-the-show matter.
Looks like maths to me – permutation and combination.

Lord help us…… ‘cos it’s that or grow old ALONE, yikes!!

When I grow up, I want to be…

(Ok, I guess it’s ‘Throwback Thursday’… Here’s another (Facebook) post I wrote on Monday, August 11, 2008 at 5:30pm.. :D)

 

At lunchtime today, an ad was running on TV, kids were saying what they would want to be when they grow up (if they grow up).

I was touched to hear such innocent ambitions and I said “awwww, dats sweet” and Mag says “Hmmmppphh, stooory, all of that will never happen and I’ll prove it right here and now, in this canteen”.

So the survey started, and yours truly started asking everyone what their dreams where when they where younger. Akin said he wanted to be a policeman (I work in an IT firm by the way), Kunle wanted to be a pilot, Glo wanted to be a nurse (I forgot to ask Ms. B, the caterer what her dreams where). And so in less than 5 mins, in a room with about 12 people only Chidi wanted to be an engineer which he is now, hmmmpphhh.

Yours truly wanted to be two things actually – Newscaster ( inspired by the then Sene Alwell-Brown), I used to practise memorizing stories on the newspaper and looking up to read it without looking into the paper, it was so haaarrrd, if only I had known there was a screen right in front of those guys where they were reading it off from *iiisssshhh*, I would have kept at it. Then, I wanted to be a Doctor, but I don’t like the sight of blood, or wounds or lifeless bodies, how I for do am na? -_-

In summary, Mag’s theory proven without much arithmetic….. but I still believe…..

The Elected – the days ahead…

(Going through old notes on Facebook today and I’m reminded of this one… It was written on Sunday, November 9, 2008… 🙂 Here goes…)

 

Dear Lord,

Your word is of no personal interpretation, it was sent to us for a purpose, let that purpose be fulfilled in our lives, let your word sink deep into our hearts bearing the fruits you desire that it bears in us, in Jesus name, Amen.

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my notes on today’s sermon in church. I was blessed by it and i thought to share, I pray u r blessed too

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What changed for Obama right after the election when he became president-elect of the United States of America? His security was beefed up, he was briefed by the secret service intelligence agency, he has access to inside information, he’s sitting with advisers on national matters etc.. All this, after the election.

The bible talks about the physical realm being a mirror of things in the spiritual.

Now let’s see the original picture of what’s playing out here:

Rom 9:11
11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls)

We have been elected (called) by God, we didn’t choose him, he chose us. The benefits accrued to the elected one is as follows:

– Security is beefed up, angels are assigned to minister to you and on your behalf, they are at your beck and call

– The Holy Spirit begins to reveal deep things to you; he gives you insight into matters. You relate with him as one because you understand his language as an elected one and you know when he is speaking.

It would be strange at this time for Obama to begin to worry about things like house rent, what he and his family will eat the next day, school fees for his kids e.t.c, he has no cares or worries over such matters now because they will automatically be taken care of as a result of his election. His priority now is assuming the elected post and doing the work of the office he has been elected into.

This is one elected by men…..

Imagine being elected by God, you should not begin to worry about that challenge, that sickness, that debt that….. whatever it is that brings you worry. When he called you he made a provision and all you have to do is step into the office you’ve been elected into and begin to perform the duties required, just like the bible said – seek first the kingdom of God and every other thing will be added unto you– get acquainted with the requirements of this office through Gods word and begin to work is supper protection and abundance. Begin to touch lives, be God’s hands of healing to a broken world.

If you have doubts that just maybe, you might not be able to function well in the calling which you’ve been elected into, have no fear, faithful is the one who called you and he’ll equip you with all that’s required for a successful time in office.

And guess what, you’ve been elected into an office that you’ll occupy throughout your life time because only you can reach your world for God.

So rejoice and take up your office and its entitlement with joy!!

It’s ok now, you can relax, you are covered…

(I wrote this post way back in July 2009, can’t remember what was on my mind then, but yes, my views on this still hasn’t changed, so I’ll just go ahead and share it again)

GOD says “Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.…”.

Beijing conference says “……………”.

I’m not married and like they say “some things are easier said than done”, still, these are my thoughts on SUBMISSION to one’s husband.

I believe and Love God and I know a lot of things I want to do but restrain myself from doing because of this relationship between me and God………… I said that to say this —> read on…

It’s kinnda tough to suddenly realize that the marriage step you took means you loose your rights to making any move on your own (hehe, you didn’t know? Well, now you do), all decisions have to be approved by him. Yes, that tough independent you has to discuss your next steps with him and if he approves of it, you go ahead and if not, OUT goes that bright sparks idea, lol.

Why doesn’t he agree with me? Is it because it wasn’t his idea? Does he feel threatened by it? All these thoughts and more begin to run through your head.

But, here is what I feel the solution is…………….

God is the ultimate one we all should be submitting to, a relationship with God is already one of submission. You tell him about your plans and wait for his instructions on what steps to take. You trust that he loves you so you let your guards down and you do just what he says; to go or not to go, not ur choice but his .

When you submit to a MAN, let it be a MAN who is submitting to GOD. If he listens to God then he won’t miss out the remaining part of the scripture above which says –

– Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 

– So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, 

– That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such 
things [that she might be holy and faultless].

– Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.

– For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church

God’s instructions to him are simply: love her, provide for her, protect her, CHIKENA! 

You are submitting to a man who is submitting to God who you are already submitting to ( hope you got that, nothing really changes you know)

God loves you, he has your back and this man is submitting to GOD, baby, you are SOOOO Covered!!!

So the question now is, What is your man submitting to? That should help you know what you are or will be submitting to.

Submission doesn’t make a fool of you, it doesn’t mean you are weak, it’s WISDOM, ‘cos the bible says to be “…Wise as a Serpent, Gentle as a Dove”

So, to all my strong Sisters who, like me, have got strong spirits, it’s ok now, you can come out of that protective shell, you can relax, you are covered, the Master Planner had you in mind, mmmmhhhhhh…

Hardened hearts…

“But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron…”  Exodus 9:12

Why did God send Moses to Pharaoh and at the same time harden Pharaoh’s heart?

hmmmmmmpphhh…..

God said to pray for our leaders, but at d same time they are acting like people who some forces are just hardening their hearts… hmmpphh

Then again I remember this saying : “…Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad…”

Now replace ‘Pharaoh’ there with the name of a Nigerian leader that you can’t understand their actions…

Why is XYZ’s heart hardened to the plight of the people they are supposed to represent? Why? is it because they are about to be destroyed?

When something that’s supposed to be so clear, and they don’t seem to get it? Why?

~ questions are more than answers… ~

Wider, wider, wider…

“make a big circle… (shouts) Like your mother’s cooking pot!!!!!”

The wonderful thing about God’s love for us is that he never asks us to do stuff that he knows we can’t.

In his word he says ‘sin shall not have dominion over you’ (Romans 6:13-14). He already said it, so what we need to do when faced with actions which we knows will not please him is to remind ourselves that we can walk away from it. Our maker who knows the way he wired us has told us that ‘Sin’ will not have dominion over us, this means, we are not helpless. We can walk away from that awkward situation!!! You can!! I can!! *inserts #NoteToSelf here*

I like how God keeps trying to reach out to us everyway he can, either through making the Pastor preach about something that’s on our mind, or situations we are facing, or even making people like me blog about or discuss these things right when someone is facing it.

For me, I believe he’s been trying to reach me lately with this song and I’ll share the lyrics with you in a moment. He also placed this illustration in my spirit. You know how you pass a road in this our wonderful Lagos (well, any road which is not being maintained actually… Just that eerrrmm, our Lagos roads shaaa), you notice a small hole on the ground and you just ignore, a week later you pass by and see it’s a little bit wider than before, the next time you pass there it has now transformed into a pothole that you have to avoid, next there’s traffic because there’s now a big hole on the road and only one side of the road is motorable.

It all started with one small-choncholo-tiny hole that wasn’t fixed in time and has now transformed into a big menace.

That’s how little funny situations we allow to ‘have dominion’ over us grow into big menaces that cause a traffic situation and mess up our lives and those of our loved ones or even affects people we don’t even know. Situations that God has told us we can walk away from because when you became his, he put something within us that cannot be subdued by Sin.

Notice I said, “when you became his” because if he’s not Lord over your life, sorry, Sin will have dominion over you, you can’t walk away from it. So make that choice to let him be Lord over your life.

And if you’re his but it still feels like you can’t walk away from awkward situations, then (#NoteToself), you have not been activating this inherent ability, you’re performing below your actual capacity. You can.

(#NoteToSelf… #NoteToSelf… #NoteToSelf… -_- )

~ I encourage you as I encourage me ~

Alright, here’s the song I talked about earlier, it’s by ‘Casting Crowns’ and it’s called ‘Slow Fade’.


Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray 
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you’re thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Praying Vs Acting

When I hear peoples responses whenever ‘Praying’ is suggested, it lets me know that those who raise arguments against prayer being a line of action do not fully understand what prayer is.

I shall try sharing some thoughts here, with the hope of opening your minds to what prayer IS NOT and what it is.

Praying IS NOT a state of hopelessness’, it’s not a lazy option sought by those who don’t seek to change situations.

Praying IS what gets you out of that state of hopelessness.

Praying IS what opens your eyes to the answers for that situation which you face.

I hear many people say “Don’t just pray, prayer doesn’t solve any problem, ACT, do something” and I ask “Do what? What do I know to do?”

Oya, you, in all your “prayer is not the solution” wisdom, can you please tell me what the solution to my problem is? Don’t give me a textbook answer please, no thesis, get me out of my predicament.

If I wasn’t sure of what I was saying, you’d probably here me saying “Pastor XYZ said, Pastor ABC said”… BUT, I write this, just as the disciples wrote in 2 Peter 1:16 —- For we were not following cleverly devised stories when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (grandeur, authority of sovereign power)…. This is not some feel good story, I write what I’ve seen work for me (and is still working for me). It’s out of my own experience so calm down and read. #YesYou! 😛

Whether we like to admit it or not, most of our ideologies have come from something we’ve read somewhere, or activities, events in history we’ve observed and these have helped form our opinions on certain issues.

That I do not contest, but, it then means that you must allow me to state my opinion from what I’ve read from the Bible and observed from various accounts of history stated in it. Yes, ehen? You have your articles and books, and I have my book too, my Bibeli Mimo. Yes ke, *shines teeth*

Anyway,

HISTORY:

The children of Israel at various points were faced with difficult situations, and they sought God’s face (prayed) on what to do, asking what the next line of action would be. God answered and sent his word. Psalm 107:19,20 — “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.
They never went to war without first asking God what to do (praying).

PRESENT DAY:

A man/woman/nation is faced with a difficult situation. He/She/They seek God’s face in ‘Prayer’ and he sends his word to them, a message from the bible, or he breathes ideas into their spirit right there in their praying position, they take note of the answers and do as he says.

You can deduce from this that ‘Prayer’ is itself an action. It is a ‘Strategy Session’ with you and the maker of the Universe; the one who has seen the end of the matter from the beginning and knows the next step to take. People who act first plan, that’s what you do in prayer.

Maybe it’s our ‘religious’ upbringing that’s holding us back from fully comprehending the true meaning and impact of prayer. In the past (and even today), people just pray to fulfil all righteousness, they don’t really expect answers to their prayers. They pray, stand and act like what they just did is not related to anything.

Today and to those who understand and know better, when we pray, we even have a pen and paper beside us, because we are expectant. Prayer is the beginning of the process of solving the matter at hand. As you pray, the Holy Spirit begins to breathe ideas into you and you begin to jot them down. When you stand from that place of prayer, you no longer see the problem as unsolvable or the situation as hopeless, rather, your eyes open and you begin to notice answers everywhere. Prayer gets you out of that “I’m finished, there’s nothing else I can do” state.

If you don’t have a notebook or something to write down your ideas get one and don’t pray without it beside you.

Get a pen and paper (or something to take a note with, these days we use our mobile devices) whenever you want to pray about a situation (this would mean it has to be with you at all times because the Bible says we are to pray without ceasing). Praying is you having a conversation with him; your instructor, and this can be done anywhere. You can say a prayer aloud or under your breath and expect an answer and note down what he says. You’ll know it when you get his response because he says that his sheep hears his voice, if you’re his, then you’ll know when he replies.

Something else to note is that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, life is spiritual. Everything we see in the physical is a reflection of something that’s taking place in the spiritual realm.

Let me give you an example. In Exodus 107, there was a battle between the people of Israel and Amalek. In verse 11 we read — And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
A physical battle was going on but they noticed the results were from a spiritual process. Don’t be deceived, I say again, Life is spiritual.

America does not have the solution to Nigeria’s problems, other nations also do not. (switches to pidgin) Dem sef dey find who go solve their own. Textbook solutions have failed the world and its systems. All man dey package themselves make e be like say dem know wetin dem dey talk. Don’t think that all these articles and ‘boboyaya’ statements will help anyone. One moment they release a roadmap filled with the ‘supposed’ solution to the problem and the next minute their hands are on their heads because it has failed.

Prayer puts you in a place of authority; far above all the plenty grammar people are busy speaking everywhere.

On many accounts the bible tells us of how God revealed the plans of the enemies to the Israelites. Imagine going to war with not just the knowledge of your move, but that of your adversaries; placing you steps ahead of them. Now that’s what I call being at a position of advantage.

In a praying place you’re receiving spiritual solutions to physical problems. As you receive the instructions for the next steps concerning an issue, you dispatch ministering angels to go ahead of you to make sure things are in place and that your actions produce the desired results.

Why do you think people get frustrated? They keep doing their best but the system keeps pulling them down.

That’s when you need to act from a position of advantage and that is what your senses alone cannot give you. That’s why you go about solving it by getting instructions from the one who knows the beginning from the end and he has seen the obstacles you’ll face and has planned a way of escape for you already.

Praying IS NOT an alternative to action, IT IS your first step in action.

So, next time you hear someone say “Have you prayed about it?” or “Pray for Nigeria”, know that this means “Go and strategize”.