What do you see?

There’s this story of an intern prophet, who wouldn’t stop fussing about the enemy. He kept on going to his superior, “They’re coming… they’ve surrounded us… they’re drawing their weapons, they are…”

The veteran prophet, however, wasn’t a bit disturbed because he saw something and knew something. So he said, “Lord, open his eyes to see…” Then he saw fiery horses and chariots, around them, ready to defeat the enemy.

What do you easily see?

It’s easy to see the obvious. Our history and experiences have often trained us to see with Limitation-colored lenses. We know what’s difficult, we see what’s at stake if we fail, we see what it looks like if we don’t make the cut, we have vivid imagination of what sets us back. Challenges can be so overwhelming that you lose sight of the victuals you already have in you to overcome them.

Seeing the obvious is easy and safe. But it’s not all there is.

So here’s my challenge:

Open your eyes!

Open your eyes to see the power available in the name of Jesus. Open your eyes to see your unique gifts and opportunities you can leverage for positive change.

If you open your eyes,

You will see beyond the wisdom of this world. You will see opportunities in challenges and hope in disappointment. You will see sources of provision in times of scarcity. You will see love, truth, justice, and mercy in the moment of guilt, pain, evil and offense. You will see truth bud in the proliferation of falsehood. You will see hope and strength in the wake of turmoil.

The people that have achieved anything great have done so because they saw beyond what is in front of them and broke forth beyond the limitations of the obvious into the realm of possibilities. They saw what is around us, and in us — the virtue of the divine influence in our world.

Open your eyes, what do you see?

For your perusal, story referenced can be found in 2 Kings 6:11-17 of the Bible.

The artwork above, inspired by this post can be purchased here

The Uncharted path


It is pertinent to seek and discover God’s will for you – his purpose for your life. But when you then try to plan your own path in light of the insight God showed you about your future, you are trying too hard to help God. Whatever you know about your life is an impartial glimpse and you cannot set off fitting the pieces with that limited view. Actually, you can and I know you’ve tried, but you always end up feeling like someone who has been tasked with fitting the ten thousand pieces of a jigsaw puzzle whose final image is not shown to him or her.

I’ve found that after the glimpse into purpose, God’s notification comes increasingly and daily. Regardless of how much we pray, study and commune with God, the circumstances of our lives are often revealed in installments, the deep details made known only after the fact.

Joseph (in the Bible) must have envisioned a lofty future in sync with his dream but he surely would not have envisaged the alternating triumphs and challenges that would characterize his path to victory. That is what an uncharted terrain feels like – you have an idea of the future end, but it’s okay to not have the whole stretch of the journey mapped out. 

Actually, that is where the magic happens, the adventure of a purposeful life where a person has to trust God, gain victuals, build character, resilience, and humility for the glory that is ahead. Thank God we have a comfort in Joseph’s ardent faith in God. 

If you feel that God is taking you through a seemingly divergent experience quite unrelated to what you have seen, relax. Do not try to channel the path. Just be still and trust his process. Joseph’s undulating path of slavery, repose, temptation and betrayal culminated to the expected end.

For whatever it is worth, you must remember that the path that eventually leads you to the glory will not always make logical sense. But it takes perpetual faith to overcome!

If it is God’s path, it will lead you to the expected end and when you get there, you will be able to look back and see things openly and clearly.

Hold on!

Cheers, 
Toluwanimi

reFOCUS

It’s very easy.

To direct our focus to and set our hearts on –

The challenges. Limitations. Weaknesses. Disabilities. Call it whatever you will, whatever makes you feel better… they are synonyms to me.

Argue my lexical correctness but I’m certain you’d agree with me that we all use these words for the same purpose – as an excuse to walk away from being the person God visualizes in His mind, and from doing that wonderful thing God’s asking us to do with our lives.

You are not alone.

Moses stuttered. Gideon was timid. Jeremiah was but a youth. You’re broke. You have an obvious record of failure.

Fill in the gap.

We present these things before God as if He’s intimidated by them. We set our heart upon them so strongly that they strip our inundated minds of energy.

Life has challenges; it’s no news that one bad day can be sandwiched between two good ones. You’ve watched people laugh, or cringe when you’re about talking because you stutter. You have a bad leg or you’ve been abused. You discover a besetting weakness in your life. Your mum is late and your dad cannot afford to financially sponsor your dreams.

I understand that’s how life happens.

You are not alone.

I dare to say that the mere presence of challenges is not what causes fear and prevents people from living on purpose; it is taking those challenges to heart that makes you afraid and discouraged. Giving it much thought makes you lose confidence and settle for mediocrity.

You mull it over, because you see it every day. You cannot see any light ahead because the bleak facts of life have clouded your vision.

David – one of my Biblical heroes – faced something similar. Before he spliced Goliath’s head, he did not think so much about the man’s military prowess or the “what ifs” of losing the fight to a seasoned warrior. He only thought about his God’s ability to win battles with unlikely shepherds. The deadly chase by Saul did not do so much to discourage him. He trusted God and enquired from him as he ran from his former master.

But –

when he came to Ashish and he started hearing things, “David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath.” 1Samual 21:12

See, he did not just think about those things – he laid up these words in his heart and they blocked out the light. Pronto – fear come up!

Laying your challenges at heart boils worry to the point where the steam of inadequacy overwhelms your weary soul. Little wonder the Bible says, “keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8

So let’s take it again.

Challenges are everywhere. Weaknesses, limitations, negative circumstances.

Just ignore them. And refocus!

refocus

Yes, ignore the fact that you do not have what it takes to beat that goliath. Turn your thoughts to the fact that “Abba” can.

And with His strength, you can do ALL things!

I stutter. I am timid. I am 24. And there are challenges before me I cannot yet speak of. But all these things do not matter, because God will show up. I will set my heart on God’s promise, and will live one day at a time on purpose.

Go take that test. Set that personal goal. Enroll for that course. Talk to that colleague. Embark on that project. Fix that wedding date. Sell that house and pack up for that mission field.

You will not figure out the details, but when you do set your heart on God, He will not fail – He’s inside of you, anyway!

God is our present help in trouble, says the Psalmist. I guess application of this scripture means that there has to be in trouble first, right? LOL!

Believe your God, think happy thoughts, step on water and do great things!

Happy new week!

 – Toluwanimi

The Healer

Hello,

This is not a flash fiction, but a “flash-muse” which came to my heart yesterday morning. Read, reflect and recourse.

Many people think the suffering of Jesus was simply that of his death on the cross.

I beg to differ.

I recently studied John’s account of Jesus’ life and was alarmed at the amount of consistent mocking and opposition Jesus faced almost on a regular basis from the Pharisees and leaders.

“Blows will break my bones, but words won’t hurt me.”

Tell that to my foot.

Tell me constant opposition and harsh demeaning words don’t break even the strong man.

The Bible, through Isaiah called him “a man of sorrows, afflicted, despised, rejected.”
They always countered him and his words. You know that it is we that see Jesus as someone important – not them. We view Jesus with a glorious lens of divinity and power. They saw Jesus as a random guy.

“Ordinary carpenter’s son.” They snickered.

They always plotted to kill him. More than once, they tried to seize him, arrest him and push him off a cliff. They didn’t appreciate his miracles and good works. They accused him of having a devil, rather than glorifying God.

What more could trouble a man who gave all to the people that constantly tried to eliminate him!

Yet he held tenaciously to the claim of his identity with the father and the purpose of his life.

It wasn’t easy, but, to us and the whole world, it was worth it in the end.

If after all he experienced, he’s talking, then we need to pay attention.

So When he says he feels your weakness (Hebrews 4:15), he knows what he’s talking about. And he says he is able to help you when you come to his gracious throne to receive mercy and grace to help in time of need.

You haven’t faced a fraction of what Jesus faced. So what is that trouble? Or challenge?

Create your reality from the truth of God’s word and hold tenaciously to it until it comes to pass in your life.

That is faith!

And that is all what the healer requires you to do.

Happy Sunday,
Toluwanimi

Clifford

image

He stood at the edge of the cliff, ready to plunge.

As he heard the rushing sound of waters below crashing against smoothened rocks, he knew it was his destiny to plunge into the deep possibilities the future held. But looking back at the two lions which snarled at him, one weak and bleeding from the javelin wound and the other stamping furiously some metres away, he knew he had to slay them before earning the right to plunge.

He felt a huge relief having been able take down one. That one had aimed for his jugular but he caught it by the breast, and stroked it with the mini javelin he held. Few minutes earlier.

Now, with blood-stained hands, holding a fresh javelin, there was a conquest. No referees, many spectators. But none made a sound.

He was scared at the ferocity of the second prey. That must die too.
It was a defining moment for him… the struggle of the past seven years finally coming to bear. Or not. Depends on the winner of the battle.

Thoughts of past mistakes and triumph flooded his mind, as he contemplated his next move. Eventually, he decided to exhale and trust.

As he charged for the second beast, he stumbled over a stone…

***

Clifford opened his eyes.

The room was dark above but dimly illuminated below the table: as he wiped sweat and drool form his face, he bent to pick up the reading lamp he had toppled.

He straightened the page of the textbook before him, looked up at the clock and realized it was just an hour to the last paper of his final exams as an undergraduate.

***

MOrale behind this flash fiction:
Everyone faces challenges in life. Except you’re not from our planet. Challenges that come from decision points in life, new phases of life, family relationships, your spititual journey, work or examinations! And at times, these might seem as ferocious as ravenous beasts, poised to destroy your peace.
Do not fear, you have a God that empowers you with strength for life’s challenges. He can do it. He will do it. All you need do is to trust and obey. Happy New week!

Cheers,
Toluwanimi

The statute of Liberty

Hello,

In Nigeria, October 1st is independence day – fifty four year ago, we got our freedom from the colonial masters. I got to read the Biblical story of the Israelites as they got their freedom from Egypt and I thought about the implications of Liberty for our daily life.

I learnt a few things I want to share with you.

lib2

 

The Pursuit

The Egyptians struggled through the night, barely making progress in spite of the strong horses they rode. The thick blanket of dark clouds that hovered above reduced their visibility and speed. It seemed the God of their enemies was very angry with them and had placed the clouds there.

When it was morning, they could see their enemies ahead, walking into the midst of what used to be the sea. But the sea had made a wall of water on each side of the Israelites; so they walked through on dry land.

“This is our chance! We can beat them to the chase and overtake them! Move!” The commander barked the orders and they charged.

But as they got into the dry ground, their chariot wheels got stuck in the sand and it was hard for them to move. They panicked when they looked ahead and saw that the Israelites had got to shore and their leader, Moses, was now stretching his rods towards them.

“What the hell –” The commander ran at a loss of words, but the people he led knew what to do by survival instinct. They said to one another, “Let’s leave these people alone! The LORD is on their side and is fighting against us.”

But it was too late.

The water came rushing and covered the chariots, the cavalry, and the whole Egyptian army that had followed the Israelites into the sea.

Not one of them was left alive.

 

CUT

Well… that’s my rendering of what happened the day after the Israelites received their freedom from Egypt. You can find this story in the book of Exodus in the Bible.

So, the Israelites were free – LIBERTY!

You would have thought that the Israelites would completely rely on their God through their life-journey, right? He was mighty to save them. He had performed signs and wonders when they were in Egypt. He had done it again, destroying a nation’s full army in the process.

Well… it was not so. The night before was a different story.

Their God had given the command, “Let my people go that they might serve me.” After ten plagues and the death of all the first-borns in Egypt, Pharaoh listened to them. The Israelites left Egypt. But Pharaoh rethought his decision and decided to pursue and recapture them – more like Great Britain coming back to recolonize Nigeria after independence. So He summoned his hosts and pursued hard.

When the Israelites turned back at the sound of stampeding horses and saw Pharaoh chasing them, they lost their minds.

“Moses! We told you to leave us alone that we might serve the Egyptians. There are graves in Egypt, we need not come to die in the wilderness!”

In this challenge posed to them, they saw only two options: Surrender to the enemy or die.

I can almost hear you say, “What were they thinking?”

If you have read the Israelite story before, you probably are wondering how quickly they forgot the signs and wonders performed by Moses before their very eyes. You ask why they did not choose to trust the same God who spoke to them through Moses and led them with a pillar of cloud and fire. Will He grow so powerless all of a sudden?

This God gave them a panoramic view of the promise land – flowing with milk and honey – and they had directions on what to do when they got there. They had proof that they served a greater-than-life God.

Yet, they saw two options: SURRENDER. OR. DIE.

FEAR.

They were afraid.

The same kind of fear that attacks our hearts when we face challenges in life; the fear that beclouds our judgement and forces us to respond the same way – surrender to the enemy or die.

We see the frying pan and the fire, and we are quick to return to the frying pan.

 

“With all my heart I praise the LORD! I will never forget how kind he has been.”

Psalms 103:2 [CEV]

liberty

Spiritual amnesia robs our minds of the strength and courage that comes when we remember God’s word and how He has helped us surmount past challenges. We refuse to learn to trust Him for the bigger things.

You have seen God heal you in the past. Can He not do it now? He has provided for your parents in the past. Is he not able to pay your fees this session? He has given you directions before. Now, the stakes are higher… I know. But, is He limited by the urgency or the magnitude of what’s at stake in this decision?

When we face a seemingly greater challenge, we quickly lose our composure.

But God said to them:

Fear Not.

Stand firm.

See My salvation.

Hold your peace.

I will fight for you.

Do not cry.

Go forward.

Moses listened and believed. Then he led the people across the sea to true liberty. And we are able to read the beautiful victory of the next day. When you do the same, friends will hear your testimony tomorrow and be encouraged.

“Let my people go, that they may serve me.”

 

BACK TO 21st CENTURY

As we reflect on freedom this day, this is the statute of liberty: TRUST.

God is serious about liberty. He did not start you on a journey He is not willing to take you through. Jesus fought the battle and won for you freedom. And, if you have given your life to Jesus, you have become a part of the family of God! He has set you free from the oppression of the “Egyptians.”

You have freedom to live, freedom to serve.

He has called you to an adventure called an “Heir-Walk,” a journey of faith where you learn, grow and shine [John 15:1-11]! The Father by His spirit walks alongside you – in fact hand-in-hand – to help you surmount whatever challenge you face as you live according to His will.

 

“The person who is right with me will live by trusting in me. But if he turns back with fear, I will not be pleased with him.”

Hebrews 10:38 [NCV]

But anyone who is right with me thrives on loyal trust; if he cuts and runs, I won’t be very happy. But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way. [The Message rendition of Hebrews 10 verse 38 and 39]

He needs your permission – your Trust – the statute. When challenges come, trust Him and hold your peace – He will fight for you!

 

Reference: Study the fourteenth chapter of the book of the Exodus

Cheers and Happy new month,

Toluwanimi

 

P.S.: learn more about “Donut” on http://www.eatyourdonut.wordpress.com

Large Earth, Small me, Big God

Large earth, small me, big God
Large earth, small me, big God

When I hear the swirling of a windstorm, watch the devastating effects of an earthquake in the news or just after a heavy downpour, I get scared of the power the elements of nature wield.
Whenever I stand in the middle of a great expanse of land, I feel minute compared to this big earth I live on. Do you feel small at times too?
When life happens to you, like when you are disappointed by someone you trust, you flunk a test you needed to pass, or you lose a loved one, it is easy to feel small and helpless, not in control and unable to do anything about it.
As big, magnificent or powerful the earth and its elements are, its nothing compared to the power that supports it.
The earth weighs about 6.6 sextillion tons, so says National Geographic. How massive! And for millennia, various theories of what supports the earth – elephants, giants and other fantasies – were accepted by mankind as truth, but the Bible makes no such absurd error.
By divine inspiration only, the patient rich man of the east – Job – acclaimed:
“Without assistance, God made the earth by his uttered words. Everything – even underneath the earth – stands bare before him”
He spreads the skies over emptiness and hangs the earth upon nothing! Imagine the planets spinning at 1,000 miles per hour as it hurtles through space in its orbit around the sun – with no physical support – isn’t this incredible?
He holds the waters in the sky bound by the clouds – which otherwise would spill on the earth all at once – and the clouds doesn’t rent under them!
He covers the face of His throne and spreads over it His cloud. The pillars of heaven tremble – thunder and lightning – and are astonished at his rebuke.
He stills or stirs up the sea by His power, His breath beautifies the heavens.
Yet these are but [a small part of His doings] the outskirts of His ways or the mere fringes of His force, the faintest whisper of His voice!
Who dares contemplate or who can understand the thunders of His full, magnificent power?
Whew!
How great this God. He is amazing! And He is your Father.
He advises those who lack wisdom. He declares sound knowledge to them. He helps him who has no power. He strengthens the arm that is frail.
Whenever you hit a crossroad in life, or you are overwhelmed by a challenge, be quick to remember and self-affirm that, even though you are small, you have a FATHER-GOD who is bigger than all there is and He lives in you.
Just call on Him!

Cheers!

Toluwanimi