‘Do it afraid’…

There’s a popular saying to ‘do it afraid’, it is very widely accepted amongst people who just want to push and encourage you to do whatever it is you want to set out to do. More often than not, it comes from a place of pure intentions and I think the Subject also gets the message however, is it right to actually ‘Do it afraid?’ it is biblical to do it afraid?

Setting out to start anything new is daunting, it’s never really a walk in the park because most times, there are levels of uncertainty.

I wanted to take our minds back to the time when God called Abraham to leave his fathers country and people and ‘go to the land which He (God) will show him’, I don’t know if I’ve ever come across a more daunting and adventurous command like this. What makes it all the more scary is how he was the first man God spoke to after Adam as recorded in the bible, so Abraham really did not have anyone to run this by, he couldn’t say, “I’ll have a meeting with so and so to get an opinion and weigh my options”, he literally picked up His things and ‘Went’, as the bible records.

My Spirit tells me that Abraham moved fearlessly and in boldness that God said what He said, at that point, he was not even considering all the ‘might happens’ or ‘could happens’, he had firmly set himself up in the word that God had spoken to him and he moved. I began to ask myself what it would have looked like if Abraham ‘did it afraid’, I reckoned that he would have made plan B’s, advised the people staying back that he would return later and maybe even gone without Sarah to see first if God delivers before dragging her into it.

He would not have obeyed to the degree he did if he was moving in fear. Whether or not we are conscious of it, when we do things in fear, we leave a small room of doubt within us, a small room of ‘what if’, a small room of ‘just in case this doesn’t work’ and this small room left is now manifested in our execution of whatever it is we’re out to do.

The results of a totally surrendered and trusting heart will always exceed that of the heart doing it in fear.

I honestly get the motivation in the advise to ‘do it afraid’ but today, God challenged me as I thought it to myself and I felt convicted to also encourage us never to do anything afraid. Deal with the fear and then move, so that your move is in full surrender to whatever God has called you to. Part of dealing with fear is confronting those things that actually bring the fear one by one if possible and telling them through your confessions and actions that the God who called you to whatever is bigger!.

Here’s another caveat, do you realise we move in fear when we aren’t even certain if God has called us? when there’s no certainty of God’s call to us on something, that’s another space left for fear to leverage on. Let’s walk and move in step with the Spirit of God. We either trust completely or not at all.

Don’t do it afraid. Deal with the fear, then do it.

fear

Down and Out? Not yet!

sleep

Kelechi Nwankpa

There’s a story in the new testament that got very little scene time, but it’s captures a great truth nonetheless .

Paul stopped by a house in a town called Troas, to break bread with fellow believers, as is his customary style. He went on and on, unveiling deep truths, and there was a man named Eutychus seated at the window on the third floor, who decided to practice “deep meditation” as Paul spoke. Can you imagine?

Paul, the man who was whisked into the third heavens, and shown great mysteries which couldn’t be known to man, someone would sleep at his sermon. Nah, sleeping in church didn’t just start today, you’re in good hands, lol. This man fell off the window to the ground during his “deep meditation” and probably died. Paul comes down, lays hands on him, embraces this man, and assures everyone that he’s alive!

Have you had or known someone who has had similar experiences to Eutychus? Despite the availability of the word and light all around, we still fall into one unhealthy habit or the other, still living below the glory mark God has set for us, still being trapped by labels all over social media. Could we be like Paul, going down to the level of one another and administering words of life? Could we be like Paul that calls forth light out of the supposed darkness? Could we be like Paul who wouldn’t be pressured to speak out of faith?

 

Don’t pressure the Now

I have been on a plan talking about goal setting for a few days now.
The focus has been on understanding goal setting from God’s perspective and not merely what the world tells us.

Every day on the plan, I’ve seen something that has linked to one main thing and I’ve seen how important this one thing is and have understood the reason why the devil has it on surveillance and under attack constantly.
It is the power of moment.

All the things you’re concerned and worried about right now don’t necessarily affect your now, or this moment but rather, it’s something that happened in the past or something we’re looking to in the future.
We get so carried away with either or both and forget the Now.

When the devil succeeds in taking the Now from you, you’re not able to enjoy the phase you’re in at that moment because it’s either what I should’ve done or what I should do that you’ll remain focused on and daily, it’ll drain you till you even look at that moment and not see any worth or good in it.

I have aspirations, oh God, I have aspirations, i’m sure you do too, I also have things in my past I’m not proud of or I feel differently about now, but I’m intentionally learning to focus and be appreciate of the moment I am.
To focus on the Now and plan for the next step, not the 10th step or the 20th step but the next step.

It doesn’t alter or eliminate your future focus or inner drive, rather it allows you focus to actually learn all the things that need to be learnt and will be useful for that place you’re headed.

There’s power and value in This moment.

Don’t get carried away with what you think you should’ve done or where you think you should be and pressure your now out of an equally important phase.
Take a few minutes and observe and appreciate the environment you’re currently in, the activity you’re currently doing, and the thoughts at the tip of your memory.
Embrace it and learn from it.
Moments don’t last, but there’ll always be the past and the future.

Culture difference pt 1

The western culture is actually really funny, I know the African culture have their hiccups here and there but I’m more inclined to be all and for it in spite of the trouble it causes us sometimes.

I was at an event a couple of weeks ago and half way into it, I walk out the main hall to use the toilet, as I was walking past a sitting area between the hall and the bathrooms, I here a muffled sound and some serious sobbing.

I was actually really pressed but I think my ‘amebo’ was more at this particular time so I make my way into the small open room to see what’s going on. I was hit with a young woman, about my age or younger, curled up in a chair at the edge with her phone in front of her and a terribly stained face as her make-up had been completely messed up by the tears and her wiping away with her hands.

All my antennas shot up and it was less about amebo and more “what is wrong with you??”

As every other crying person will say, she said “nothing”, trying to wipe away the recently rained down tears and hide her face. So I sat beside her and waited till she thought she had covered it all up and asked again. She Hesitated at first but finally realised the lost battle and said she had just received a call from her brother that their dad had just died. Just like that, in a middle of a conference, this young lady had got a call that her Dad was dead.

At this point she was back in tears again and I was too shocked to speak too, so it was just rubbing her back and barely muttering “I’m so sorry”, I couldn’t even add her name after cause I didn’t know it.

One of the organisers walk past and walks back again slowly, obviously trying to see what’s going on, (his own version of amebo)

And because I didn’t know if she wanted him to come any closer, I walked up to him and explained why she couldn’t come back in as per the news she had just received. He was also obviously devastated and asked if there’s anything he could do, of which I couldn’t answer.

Long story short, we get a cab and send her home, so I’m left with this man and he asks me if she’s my sister (because she was also a black girl … typical). I told him no and he’s proper probing about how I know her and I’m like “I really don’t, I met her on my way to the loo and she didn’t look too good”.

He starts praising and commenting about how what I did was so brave and selfless and is even asking me to write my name down, that he was also to write a letter to the organisation I had come with.

I left him still questioning myself, if this man is praising me and even wanting to write me a recommendation because I saw someone crying and went to ask her if she was okay. I was thinking how even if you were the meanest person in Africa, seeing someone in tears will always move you to find out if they’re okay, but in the western culture, it might be the best time to mind your business, which might differ with scenario.

I know Nigerians call it amebo mostly but frankly, there’s actually the caring and concerned part that genuinely wants to know that you’re okay if you’re met in a disoriented situation.

Then it hit me, I actually wasn’t the only one leaving the hall between when that girl came out and when I came out. Several other people (predominately white) had been out but hadn’t approached her despite how audible the sobs had been when you walk back the little wall.

Either way, I’m glad she didn’t have to be there by herself, I’m happy I am African and had the first instinct to go console her rather than ‘mind my business’. I’m hopeful that across all cultures one day, our first response to anything and anyone will be the highest form of love, however nosy it might seem.

Culture

Are eggs scared of getting crushed?

eggs

I woke up this morning with a horrible memory of the unfortunate event that happened on the morning of my birthday this year, I had just had a shower and got dressed and my plan was to get to the store to pick up a few other things for the day, as well as the next day, seeing as it was a sleepover thing.

I had planned pancakes for breakfast the following day and assessing the stock in the house, I realised more eggs were definitely needed.

So as per the plan, I got out and did my shopping, made sure to get the 12 crate-eggs as I had planned to. I got home, thankfully, I got some help lifting out the stuff from the car and taking them in, so when we got to the kitchen, I retrieved the other bags from the very kind person and turned and placed it on a counter without caring too much of what was in what bag, I looked at my wrist watch, and with a very satisfied proud smile, I was right on time!.

In my mental celebration, I heard a horn from the gate and I knew it was my sister who was to come help me set up that was here, so my excitement heightened, before I could enjoy this happiness, I heard a very horrible sound that meant only one thing, something had dropped out of what I purchased and had hit the ground.

There were so many things in those bags, I didn’t understand why it had to be the eggs, but yes, the entire crate was now on the floor, with ever single one of the eggs smashed and the content of the shells every where around the area it had dropped on.

But no, nothing could spoil my day.

I was reminded of this event when I read again the story of David and Goliath this morning, I was reminded of the words of David, with emphasis on the last sentence ;

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied

-“…whom you have defied”.

I wanted us to see that David or the Israelite’s didn’t own the issues the Philistines had brought them, despite being the ones suffering whatever oppression it was, David made it clear that they were defying God and not even them and I thought it was amazing that they saw oppression and opposition to them as oppression and opposition to God, and I began to think, if we understood that ‘It is not I who lives now, but Christ in me’, if we understood this clearly, it’ll be had for us to take or give offence, we’ll realise that when people do stuff to us, they’re doing it to God, when we do stuff to others, we’re also doing it to God in them, we’ll be more conscious of how we speak and relate to people because it isn’t just them you’re relating with, but God, and so, we won’t be scared of offence, we won’t be scared of being disrespected, we won’t be scared of getting told off, because beyond us being the physical recipients, the God on your inside is also a recipient, And so, we’re never scared of getting crushed, why? Cause Something uncrushable lies within.

Ideally, when I got home with my eggs, Like my mother always does, I should’ve separated the eggs from the other things because I realise how fragile it is and placed it where it needed to be. My mother does this first always, when she goes shopping and gets back, I knew this, but I didn’t do it.

The egg ‘knows’ its nature and it is also ‘aware’ that you should be aware of it’s nature and handle it with the care it requires and so, it is not scared that it will be mishandled, and even in a case where it is mishandled and crushed, the person in question is the one who suffers it as I did.

This is sort of how we are to God, His precious eggs, remember the psalm of David, “… He leads me in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake”!, God has an identity in us, we’re carrying His name and Himself and so while He’s faithful to us cause we’re His children, He’s also faithful to us because He cannot deny Himself!!!

This gives us a Godfidence that we cannot get anywhere else, It gives us the knowledge of Who and what is on the inside of us, It eliminates any kind of fear or doubt that might come from the world because we know that like a normal person protects and gives priority to their newly purchased eggs, God also protects and gives priority to You!, His Precious egg.

When I realised early on in my Christian life that I could report people to God, ahh, the game changed, I use to now be praying that nobody will do anything negative to me because you’ll be contending with my God and not even me and that allowed me take myself out of the situation, although being human, I do still sometimes take and give offence, but when I get to the full mastery of this truth, even that taking and giving offence will cease.

I want us to do this week knowing how precious and cared for we are, be the egg and know who’s name is on you, and so even if they drop and crush you, it is to the detriment of whoever that has dropped and crushed as it was in the case of David and the Israelite’s who carried the name of the Lord.

Pick me Please!

This title came to me while I was sat a lecture in Uni, and I remember I giggled out loud, completely oblivious to my environment.

There’s a group of people on twitter that they call ‘Pick me’ twitter. Basically, twitter believe that these set of people always design their tweets to appear like they are the best things that ever happened to this world and so, indirectly suggest that they be picked in whatever it is they are talking about. An example of a tweet that’d be termed ‘pick me’ is – “A Man should always come home to find food that his wife has cooked, I don’t know what women of these day’s are doing, i’ll never do that to my husband”. – A relationship example.

-“A boss should be allowed to call his employee in and demand progress with any project at any time, besides we should always be on top of our game, at least a few of us know this” – A Career example.

It is very easy to get caught up in this category, once you somehow admit to a thing amazing or great about you or something you’ve learnt over the years and have now become an expert in, automatically, you’re a ‘pick me’ tweep.

Forgive me for this next statement but I don’t think social media should be for everyone, I genuinely feel like some people aren’t mature enough, psychologically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually for the kind of things that go on there and so I have my strong reservations with the idea of how free and accessible social media is, because daily people are hurting themselves by what they’re getting exposed to, but hey, that’s not the point of this post.

But before I continue, I just wanted to say that you should not allow people bully you out of celebrating your wins by calling you ‘pick me’ person. Be proudly pick-me, but obviously in a wise and humble manner.

I got reminded of all this while reading Acts 13:2;

While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

This was when some of the disciples and apostles got together to pray after Jesus had ascended and they had been charged with The Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations.

To give context to the verse above, they had all done what they needed to do, they came together to pray some more for the journey ahead and then the Holy spirit asks them to separate 2 from amongst them for the work He had called them to do. I don’t know how some of us might read this but the first thought I had was about the way the other ‘unpicked’ disciples had felt. Were they completely excited at the idea that the Holy Spirit wanted just Barnabas and Saul for this particular project? or were some of them internally harbouring  thoughts of why they had been picked and not them, I mean, anointing is not about quantity right?

So why did the Holy Spirit choose them and not me?

I think it is a question Christians of today battle with daily, we see the Holy spirit manifesting in certain ways in the lives of other people on the same journey with us and were internally probing the Holy spirit on why we have not been picked. We end up hurting ourselves first and then the body of Christ, by allowing the devil leverage on those silent complaints in our hearts.

I know we say often that God works with the available and not the most anointed or the most qualified and not even the most disciplined. He takes the available and makes Him every other thing He wants Him to be.

In this case, all of these disciples probably fell under the category of ‘The available’, so when were all available, how does God now choose?

I’m afraid the only answer God gave to me was ‘My sovereignty’, God’s sovereignty is His reservation to do what He thinks best, to use who He thinks best and to work out that which He thinks best, it is not subject to human involvement or even angelic deliberations, solely on His decision of what works best, which later on, we also see is actually the best, even for us.

We can work with God so closely to the point where were totally surrendered to His sovereignty, we don’t mind too much of who He decides to use or how He decides to go about something, we’re just focused on the one He has given us and Joyful at the work He is doing through the other members of the body. We can’t do God ‘Pick me’, all we can do is be available by sitting at His feet, and even when He looks and sees us all at His feet, whomever He decides to pick is completely fine with us because we trust totally that He knows and sees best.

Like the disciples who gathered together when the Holy Spirit spoke, the next verse said that “They placed their hands on them and sent them off”.

Let this be our attitude as well, physically and also the attitude of our hearts when God God picks and it is not us.

Let’s trust God’s knowledge of the best always.

pick me

Have a lovely weekend will you! x

What is remaining?

remaining

A few days to the end of 2018, I was reminded of a lesson from the story of Elijah and the Widow at Zerephath, I was reminded that the widow and her son received their miracle from what they had left, not from anything they had lost.

This came back after reading some tweets of people who were honest enough to say they definitely hadn’t crushed all the goals of 2018, but were hoping to do better in 2019 and I got excited at the thought of the lesson because despite all the lows and losses that left the goals underachieved, the best realisation was that ‘what is left’ is enough for the miracle.

Elijah’s words to her were “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have…”

Some of us think that the miracles will come from the whole of whatever, we think it has to come from a perfect and whole us, a perfect bank account, a perfect age, a perfect friend or even a perfect family. We sometimes forget that God doesn’t choose people to work in based on the status of a person but on the availability and willingness of the heart in question.

The losses never contained the miracle, they did contain opportunities but not the miracle. The widows miracle came from the “…handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug”. After the abundance of the flour and oil had been exhausted and she was down to the little left.

Were humans, as such we tend to spend more time on the things and people that did not work and forget the ones that did, we allow the devil rob us of our joy and peace as a result of the losses which sometimes really aren’t our fault, but I’m challenging us to see it from the eyes of Elijah, from the eyes of God, that despite the gravity of the loss, the one that remains is where the miracle will come from.

It will help us be optimistic, to focus on the blessings and not the losses, to remain grateful of the blessings rather than tolerant of the blessings God has bestowed on us and my prayer for us is that even as we remain in this mind frame, “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land”.

This week, we’re choosing to walk in gratitude, in abundance, in the mindset of ‘the remaining’.

Spoiler God

In bible study last week, we were talking about how God loves to lay a foundation for His children always, before He begins to build anything.

Our discussion progressed to understanding what God might do if a man builds already before he finds God, which often is the case. The question was, ‘will God carry on with whatever he is already building, or will He require the man to start over with Him?’ And as you can imagine, there was a range of answers, all presenting different perspectives and understanding of God, we looked into some bible stories with similar examples and I think the conclusion arrived at was that Gods demand on a man’s life to restart or continue with what he has already started to build is completely at the discretion of God’s sovereignty. Because sometimes he requested a fresh start from foundation level, other times, He worked around what was on ground and made beauty of it, but it was important that we purposed in our hearts to get it right from the start, from now, follow and go with God, rather than wait till we’ve built what we wanted and then invite Him in.

In the course of it all, a question emerged; ‘Do we think that God sometimes might be a spoiler? or a bit negative?’ seeing as some people are scared to ask God’s plan on certain things because they fear He might respond in the one way they don’t want to go.

Take for example, the rich man who sought validation, asking Jesus what must be done to be saved, after Jesus answered and He was validated, Jesus then advised him to go and sell all his possessions and give to the poor, and as we saw, this one threw him off guard because it was the crux of his desires.

Often times, it’s same with us, we think God to be the person who wants to take away all the good things and experiences in our life just so we can focus and love Him wholly, we think He is watching closely for anything that brings us more-than-is-needed pleasure so He can come and demand it of us, and as such, were scared sometimes to ask His opinion on certain aspects of our life.

An interesting story that always pops up among Christians is that of Abraham and Isaac, people are often perplexed as to why God requested Isaac be sacrificed even when He knew already that Abraham trusted Him completely and had waited so long for that promise. Why did God still need to set that test for Him? Did He want to cut His joy short? or maybe create a plot twist in the original plan?

Questions people are sometimes tossing around internally.

Here’s a summarised answer, God was never after Isaac, He was after Abraham’s heart. The whole ordeal was not in any way about Isaac, it was all about Abraham’s heart. The same is with us, all the things and people we feel we’re ‘protecting’ from God are the least of God’s problems, all He’s after is You, and if those things need to go to get to you, they will.

You is all that matters to God. Not the Work or the possession or even the career. And it makes so much sense cause when He has us, He has direct link to all those other things in our reach.

He isn’t trying to be the spoiler, as a matter of fact, He’s trying to be the beautifier, the Good father, the meticulous potter and the careful creator. When we grasp how much we mean to God, it’ll make so much sense to us why sometimes He allows certain things to go just so We can see Him clearly.

When next you’re at that verge of believing ‘God is being a spoiler now’, look for your heart in all of it, is it on God or is it somewhere else?

GRACE!

This Morning, I was reminded again of how inadequate I am and how adequate grace for me is, an excerpt from my devotional said;

” If you prayed every moment of your life, you could not pray enough prayers to earn acceptance with God,

If you gave every penny of every dollar that you ever earned in every job you ever had, you could not give enough to deserve acceptance with God,

If every word you ever spoke was uttered with the purest of conscientious motivations, you would never be able to speak your way into reconciliation with God,

If you gave yourself to an unbroken, moment-by-moment life of ministry, you could never minister enough to achieve God’s favour.”

Sin is too big, God’s bar is too high for us to think that we might be able to earn His righteousness by the greatest of our deeds.

The faster we grasp this Grace, the easier this journey becomes. God isn’t looking out for your performance.

Christ said ‘It is finished’.

Happy New Year!

We always wait a few days before we acknowledge celebration on this blog, and frankly, it is intentional. We realise that on the day of any national event or holiday were  all bombarded with congratulatory and well meaning messages on the day and frankly, it might get long and boring so at some point, we begin to scheme read and not really read to get the message in the content.

For us, day 7 of the New Year is the best time to come say our own Happy New Year because you might have replied or deleted all other Happy New Year messages by now and settled proper into 2019.

Nothing different came with 01/01/19 except a fresh orbit of the earth round the sun and the obvious change in date. The only other changes that will be occurring will be the ones intentionally decided with measurable steps to achieve them, so by day 7, you know already that anything you have not consciously decided to stop, start or pause, is not going to miraculously happen oblivious to you.

We announced on the Instagram page couple of days ago on FOCH woman’s theme of the year. We said it is a year of Depth! Growing in depth in whatever God has placed in your hands. The beautiful thing of depth is that it is directly linked to growth. There is no depth without a level of growth, so as we strive to increase depth, we strive to grow.

Here’s wishing you your best year yet!

Foch Team x

happy new year!