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(in)SECURED

Hey! Thanks for stopping by at my blog. I was listening to a minister of God preach in a meeting on a particular Sunday afternoon, and while he was performing biblical exegesis to drive home his points, a thought he shared became expounded in my heart and I just needed to write on it. Again, I couldn’t get a catchy topic for this, please bear with me (apologies in advance if the title and content are parallel. Laughs.). I pray that beyond the words, the truth will be expounded upon in your heart by the Holy Spirit. (Amen).

I think the world we live in is rooted and built upon competition and comparison as a performance metric for every facet of life. When you think of the best student in a class, you are basically saying the student did better compared to his mates. When you want to know the richest man in a clan, you compare his net worth with every other rich man in a clan. It’s so interesting most times that our sense of success is measured by how well we are doing compared to our peers or immediate environment. A lot of times, we say we are not competing with anyone, words like “zero competition” “no competition” “the only competition I have is myself…trying to get better and be a better man/woman” proceed out of our mouth, but you know the ‘tug of war’ that goes on in your mind or the flash of incongruent thoughts when you hear of a contemporary doing big things and making great strides. Not that you wish them evil, in fact you are so excited for them. But then, when you are about to sleep, the thoughts comes as a flash, sometimes, maybe as a subtle thought or deep thought, and at that moment you want to start evaluating your life solely because of the news you heard. And most times if we do not nip those thoughts in the bud, we sometimes end up feeling ‘defeated’ and ‘discouraged’ in our mind.

I remember my short stint as a volunteer in a primary school, somewhere in the south western part of Nigeria. It was the end of session, where parents come to school to receive the session performance on behalf of their kids. A particular mother received her son’s report and was devastated. Why? The son had an average of about 80% and had 8th position. I thought that was impressive but I was wrong. I felt the son deserved a pat on the back for hitting the 80% mark, but the mother thought otherwise. “’His mates with first, second and third position, do they have two heads?,’ The mother retorted”. I think for us sometimes as believers, success has been a function of where you are; the prevailing circumstances and measuring ourselves with others. I think at this point, it is imperative to ask ourselves, what is the object that serves as a performance indicator for success? How is success evaluated in the kingdom?

The LORD was with Joseph, and he was a SUCCESSFUL MAN; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. Gen.39:2 NKJV

The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it PROSPER. Gen.39:23 NKJV

How do you explain putting someone in Guantanamo Bay, and yet say he is successful? Sounds ironic right? I agree. How do you call someone being sold into slavery without any glimmer of hope of returning to his native land, a successful man? Was he successful because he was the Chief of Slaves or the Director General of Prisoners? I think this scripture disabuses our mind on the world’s definition of success. You mean to say, even in Prison, Joseph was successful? If then, why did he tell the butler that he wanted to leave (Gen.40:14-16). I think no sane human mind would want to leave a place where he is prospering. I dare say if you had an opportunity of interviewing Joseph in the prison and say to him “You are successful man”, you’ll probably find yourself in the Intensive Care Unit of a renowned hospital after the question. I like to think Joseph didn’t even see himself as successful but God calls him a prosperous man. Joseph was seeing incapacitation; God was seeing progress and advancement. How do you view your circumstances? The way God sees them or the way you see them.

I like to think Joseph was a successful man because every step he took, every situation he found himself in moved him closer to purpose and destiny. From the pit to slavery to prison to palace, God described Joseph as successful because in those precarious situations, he was getting closer to God’s intent for him (the expected end) – the palace. Success is advancing towards your purpose by instructions. Success cannot be determined by any other man except the God of the purpose (For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends 2Cor.10:18 NKJV), not by measuring yourself with others (But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2Cor.10:12b NKJV). The best person to determine how much progress you are making in your research work isn’t your buddy but your supervisor. One of the things they emphasize in a research institute is that: “Don’t compare your work with what someone else is doing because every project is different. Your supervisors are in the best position to appropriately measure your progress.” You are running a 10,000Meter race but want to measure yourself up with someone in a 4 X 100 relay race? You want to build a skyscraper but you are fixated on the foundation of the one that wants to build a bungalow? (I wish you well in your adventure then. Bon voyage!) .In the competing and comparing game, we quite miss the point of PURPOSE. We leave the location of rest and transport ourselves to a state of anxiety, worry and fear. No matter how pleasing or ‘successful’ what you are doing is, if it’s not in line with purpose, though it may bring momentary satisfaction and euphoria, but trust me, it will result in weariness, frustration, or depression. Every step you take in proceeding towards your purpose is a ‘SUCCESS’ step.

Joseph was loved than all other children. He was his father’s favourite (more like the modern day version of ‘Daddy’s little boy’). His father made him a tunic of many colours (Gen.37:3). In fact, theologians have said that the colourful coat was the type that was won by royalty. Joseph being in his Father’s house seemed to be when he was most successful, but that was when he was farthest away from purpose (palace). Success isn’t about the circumstances (good or bad) or the competing or comparison, it is about progress in purpose. Little wonder you’d hear Paul say stuffs like: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2Tim.4:7NKJV) (Notice the constant use of ‘I’). Like my sister used to say to me while I was growing up, “Destiny is per-head per-head” (*forgive the tautology please. It’s intentional).

The answer to incessant voices of grading, comparison and competition you hear is to know God as your referee, qualifier, and approver (Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, BUT OF GOD. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant Gal.1:10 NLT) (Our PURPOSE is to PLEASE GOD, NOT PEOPLE. He ALONE examines the motives of our hearts.1Thes.2:4NLT). There is no need for comparison and no place for competition. I like to think this is the deathblow to the spirit of insecurity that can shift away our focus from purpose. There is growth in the process. Stay true to your assignment/calling/purpose. Take every ‘baby’ step of faith in response to the instruction received from the God of your purpose. There is freedom and security when God is the God of your purpose – your approver, qualifier. God’s plan for us is huge, and as the Lord was with Joseph, much more than our Emmanuel; God is FOR us; God is IN us; God is working in us to complete what he has started (Phil.1:6); The God on our inside is mighty. You can’t judge the destination based on your present location. A lot of moves will be orchestrated; dramatic turns, maybe even a complete overhaul or change of direction or even a complete change of strategy, but rest in the process trusting the one whose faithfulness has never been in question. Like Pst. Mathew Ashimolowo says, “It’s not over until you win”.

“Lord, please forgive us for forgetting that you are in control” (Jonathan McReynolds)

“Lord you’ve been faithful to plant the seeds. And you’ll be faithful to always send your rain” (Seasons Change – United Pursuit)

God will provide rain for the seeds you sow. The grain that grows will be abundant. Your cattle will range far and wide. Oblivious to war and earthquake, the oxen and donkeys you use for hauling and plowing will be fed well near running brooks that flow freely from mountains and hills. Isaiah 30:23-24(MSG)

Do have a beautiful week ahead, and Happy New Month.

Oluwafemi Olukoya (@simokool)

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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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On the Journey of MORE

Hey! Thanks for stopping by at my blog. I was supposed to publish an article last week but I couldn’t but I’m glad I waited. I’m sharing some random thoughts that was just impressed on my heart during the course of the week and I just had to write about it. Trust me, it’s something you’ve heard about one way or the other, but I just hope it rekindles a fresh or a renewed commitment in the core of your being. The thoughts may seem unrelated but I hope they register in your hearts. I pray that beyond the words, the truth will be expounded upon in your heart by the Holy Spirit. (Amen)

I had heard of you [only] by the hearing of the ear, but now my [spiritual] eyes see you. Job 42:5 AMP

During the course of the week, I skimmed a paper written by Thomas Gitovich on “Second hand Information and Social Judgement” and I thought the research output had some interesting points worthy of note. The authors found out that second hand impressions are often more extreme because second hand accounts of another person’s actions frequently fail to convey adequately the role of mitigating circumstances and situational constraints in producing that person’s behaviour. The findings also demonstrated that people’s impressions of someone they have often heard about from a friend (but never met) are more extreme than their friend’s more informed opinions. The rationale for the conclusion is that many of our impressions of other people are based entirely on second hand information. Before you start asking, ”Who experimental social psychology don epp?”, Let me quickly state that, second hand impressions are pervasive in our generation.

Maybe just like Job, we had made impressions, formed perspectives solely on hearsays. It has been communicated down to us by the experience of man, or our perspectives have been rooted in the tradition delivered from our forefathers, more like “ancient landmarks”. Maybe life for us has been built on “Who do men say He is?” and not “Who do you say I am?”. I like to think, in most cases, our knowledge is often times grounded chiefly upon the instructions of men. But allow me say this, No man’s experience is perfect and flawless, only the word of God has that attribute (Isaiah 40:8, 1Pet.1:25, Psalm 19:7). I believe God intends for our life to be run on revealed knowledge – when the mind is enlightened by the spirit of God which has its own evidence with it; that causes our understanding to be enlightened by the Spirit of Grace.

There is a clear apprehension of divine things which can only be furnished by revelation. There are views from the tower of revelation knowledge which is not dark or obscure – it is earmarked with clarity, unflinching persuasion and confidence. I think sometimes, we are always preoccupied with “He said…They said…She said etc”, I think more than ever before, the fuel for running now is “what did He reveal to you? What did He say to you? What are you laying hold on?”. Mary told the attendants at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, “He may not be the master of ceremony neither is He the Governor General of the Province or the distinguished chairman of the occasion but WHATEVER HE SAYS TO YOU, DO IT (John 2:5 – paraphrase in my words)”. I believe these times call for a “powered by revelation” mantra, not as a cliché but a reality. I think this is the time we should say “I knew ONLY what others had told me but NOW I have seen you with my eyes…I have heard about you, but now I have encountered you”. I think sometimes, it just gets comfortable living off history.

Jesus asks in Mathew 16:13, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”. The disciples gave answers on what they had heard from others. They replied – John the Baptist, some say, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. From their responses, Jesus got what they had discovered through communicated knowledge. He then questioned them, “But who do you say I am?”- a question that can only be solved by revelation (revealed knowledge) Mathew 16:12. The first question was “What Are People Saying? What have you been hearing?”, the second question was “And what about YOU?”. Revelation knowledge is the truth that God imparts directly and all believers are to be built and rooted in it. Remember the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden right? The command about the tree of knowledge of good and evil was communicated to Eve by Adam, possibly. On the other hand, for Adam, the command was revealed as God spoke to him directly. But, something interesting happened when the serpent deceived the woman, which I think is pivotal. God told Adam…not to EAT of the TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL (Gen.2:17). Eve told the serpent that God said…not to EAT nor TOUCH the fruit of the TREE WHICH IS IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN. (Gen.3:3). Eve misrepresented the instruction and added “nor TOUCH”. Eve also didn’t call the tree by the same name Adam called it, she simply said, THE TREE IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN. The instruction was given to Adam by God prior to Eve’s creation (1Tim.2:13). The Bible even recorded in 1Tim.2:14 that…” And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived…. I think the reason for Adam not being deceived by the Serpent is not far-fetched. There is something about revelation knowledge that makes indisputable, irreplaceable and irresistible. Seek revealed knowledge like the Berean Christians, (Acts.17:11) not just mental assent. Listen to Sermons, inspired teachings but also search the scriptures to soak it in so it becomes a revelation to you and not just mentally alluding to the communicated truth.

A breakthrough in revelation enables us to see from God’s perspective – we see what God sees. Our commitment to matters of the kingdom is fuelled by our revelation of God. As Mark Hankins aptly puts it, “Every advance in the call and the blessing of God comes from an advance in revelation. Every breakthrough in faith comes from a breakthrough in revelation knowledge, not necessarily new information”. The best resolution you can make is to grow in the understanding of the word by giving ourselves to study (2Tim.2:15). The charge wasn’t even to five-fold ministers. There is a way we sometimes abdicate “studying” to the five-folds. But then, I believe rightly dividing the word of truth is for all sphere of calling – whether pulpit or market place. I remember how the Apostles needed men full of Faith to serve tables (more like Deacons), so they could focus more on the ministry of prayer and word (Acts.6:3). Let me roll out the CV of Stephen (one of those selected to serve tables), it was, “…full of the Holy Spirit, full of faith Acts 7:55, Acts 6:3-5. None of them could stand against the wisdom and spirit by which Stephen spoke Acts 6:10. In Acts 7, Stephen addressed the council in a way in which quite a number of theologians have called an apt description of the Old Testament”. Jesus (the Messiah) in Luke 4:1 (full of the Holy Spirit), Barnabas (he and Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against Judaizers) in Acts 11:24 (full of the Holy Spirit), Peter (Apostle to the Jews) in Acts 4:8 (full of the Holy Spirit), Paul (Apostle to the Gentiles) in Acts 13:8 (full of the Holy Spirit). I think the points from the explanations are clear.

I think a lot of times, we just get ‘worked’ up by the depth of revelation that someone else is getting, and we sometimes begin to make ‘competition’ out of it or conclude those things are for selected few while undermining your learning of Christ. No! It shouldn’t be so! It’s a process. Keep at it! Keep growing. Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists that ever walked the earth, did his PhD on “A New Determination of Molecular Dimensions Avogadro Constant”. In his PhD thesis: N = 2.1*10^23. He made the first correction later and postulated that N = 4.15*10^23. Later, the second correction N = 6.56*10^23, while the actual value: N = 6.022*10^23. There’s value in what you are learning of Christ. Value the process. Grow in Grace. Grow in revelation. As we make conscious effort to add value to ourselves in form certifications, higher degrees, trainings etc., we should also make effort and commitment to increase/upgrade our revelation “bank”. Enjoy the journey.

I think just like a PhD student, where you attend conferences and workshops to hear people speak about the research they are actively involved in and present their research outputs. Sometimes, you get to read journals and review papers. While all these things are very important and vital to your training, it will never take away the fact that a time would come when you’d just watch and listen, you have to be a key player – present your personal work as an independent and autonomous researcher. There’s progress to be made. I think this is a clarion call to growth. Being committed to what really matters: “knowing and enjoying Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:8) – sharing and doing life together with Jesus.

[17] asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[a] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. [18] I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[b]
[19] I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power [20] that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. (Eph.1:17-20 NLT).

Whatever these unrelated thoughts mean to you, I hope it starts a fire or rekindles one.

Have a beautiful week ahead!

Oluwafemi Olukoya (@simokool)

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Aside

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years…Mark 5:25
Let’s take a quick walk into the life of the woman with hemorrhage for twelve years
She was a high profile career woman who had everything at her beck and call. In her garage were fleet of posh cars; her mansion is such an architectural masterpiece that the Society of Engineers had to use it to grace their annual Engineering Innovations’ magazine cover; the exquisite furniture in her living room is second to none. The clothes and jewelries in her wardrobe were always having a ‘confab’ fighting for her attention to be picked. She is well respected by all and sundry. Her husband walks in the streets with his shoulders high for being the hubby of such a successful woman. Her children are known all over the city because of their mother’s profile of upper-class elite. She has so much reserve in foreign bank accounts and every indigenous bank have been looking for that rare privilege to have her bank with them. She seems to have everything all together.
Like every other woman, she had her monthly menstrual cycle which normally lasts for three days. But this particular one had stayed on through the fifth day. She was scared. She immediately picked her phone to call a female family doctor who told her there is no ‘biggie’ about the unusual variation, as hers lasts for seven days. Waoh! What a soothing comfort to her misery! The Doctor convinced her that it must just be one of those unusual variations. But alas! The story is still unfolding. The flow of blood didn’t stop on the seventh day; it became a fountain pumping out ceaseless flow of blood.
Let me take you back to the Law of Moses because that was their operating rule as Christ had not yet died and the law held sway.

The Law of Moses states that, “If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, but not at the time of her monthly period, or has a discharge that continues beyond the time of her period, she is unclean the same as during the time of her period. Every bed on which she lies during the time of the discharge and everything on which she sits becomes unclean the same as in her monthly period. Anyone who touches these things becomes unclean and must wash his clothes and bathe in water; he remains unclean until evening (Lev.15:25-27 MSG).

Since the flow of blood remained continuous, it means she can never be clean. She remains ceremonially unclean. If you touch the same door knob she has touched you become unclean too. You must not have any contact with whatever she has come in contact with lest you become unclean. What a dilemma!

She had to resign from her workplace as the Chairman, Board of Directors left her with no choice because nobody wants to relate with an unclean woman. The company was losing clients solely because of her. Her husband can no longer share the same bed with her let alone allow her prepare dinner for the kids. She was in isolation. Her very own immediate family was avoiding having contact with her. The husband could no longer bear it as its obvious she may never be out of the dilemma. The husband vacated the house for her, and took the kids to Granny’s house. The mansion that was the cynosure of all eyes had become the island of desolation. The cooks, cleaners, housemaid and everyone else working in the house had to leave.

She had not been negligent of herself; she had tried every means she had to get her wholeness but, all to no avail. She had sold the posh cars, mansions, jewelries, furniture, clothes and every other valuable she had left to service the best medical attention to herself but all was an effort in futility. She became a laboratory specimen. Respectable Doctors, Consultants and Specialists took all her money leaving her worse. She had exhausted the queue of long succession of Physicians waiting to treat her.

A woman that once had everything all together is now an object of public ridicule and shame. No taxi driver wanted to render their service to her because that’s bad business for them as their taxi becomes unclean till evening. She had to fall in love with a new means of transportation called ‘foot-wagen’. She was dejected, rejected and isolated. She had nothing left on her. She had lost all including relationships.

Then, she overheard neighbours relaying the track record of a new Physician who heals every diseased person that comes to him. But that news didn’t really excite her because of her past dealings with Physicians. Every Physician that had treated her had left an indelible memory on her mind as they caused her enough psychological traumas from the numerous haemostatis and Kleihauer test, the piercing surgical knives, infringements of the syringe and needles, and the uncountable pills consumed but, without a cure. However, she was snapped out of her thinking state when she heard from the ongoing discussions among her neighbours that this new Physician makes people whole without collecting a dime and since she had nothing to lose but everything to gain if the reports were true, she decided to harness this opportunity with every energy she’s got.

I’m sure you know the end of the story.

For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Mark 5:28

Whatever you are going through, you will see God happening at the same time. At the same time, the dead son of the widow of Nain was being carried out through the city gates; a Jesus that could raise the dead was also passing. When a terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake and the ship was about to capsize, a Jesus that could rebuke the wind and raging waters was also present with the terrified disciples in the boat. While the first wine was running out at the wedding at Cana of Galilee, a Jesus that could produce the best wine was also present at the wedding. When Peter looked at the boisterous wind beneath his feet and started sinking, we saw a Jesus that can help Peter up available too. All you need is to make a choice of what gets your attention. If you look at your circumstances, you will be shut down, if you look at Jesus, you will have a reason to hope. As long as Peter kept his gaze on Jesus, he was walking on water; as soon as the boisterous wind got his attention, he started sinking. When we fix our eyes on Jesus and make him the center of our lives, we will definitely walk above the churning waters of our situations and circumstances. Fixing our gaze on the boisterous waves of our challenges can only make us to begin to sink into the raging tempest of despair.

The woman with the issue of blood was resolute on seeing Jesus. She was so sure that all she needed was to touch Jesus. For the first time, she silenced the voice of her circumstances. She didn’t care about what people would say. She didn’t even bother if her touching of Jesus would make him ‘unclean’. All she wanted was just to touch Jesus. The circumstances had been her master for twelve years, but at the instant she determined to see Jesus, she was full of hope again.

For whatever was thus written in former days was written for our instruction, that by [our steadfast and patient] endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures we might hold fast to and cherish hop Rom.15:4(AMP).

Friends! I know your situation and circumstances are very real. In fact as you are reading this, the thought of some of them is flashing across your mind. Storms are good at doing that. They overwhelm you. Wave after waves of relentless battering that knocks you off your feet till every ounce of energy is used up and you feel so weak, abandoned, lonely and dejected. But don’t go by those negative feelings and emotions. Feelings, circumstances and human conjectures can’t be compared to the Father’s goodness. Live by the truth of God’s word, which encourages you to be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not panic.

Live life with confidence and assurance because the one who created the Universe is the shepherd of your life. He is not the Father that goes ahead of you in a separate boat and leaves you in your own sinking boat. He is the Father that comes to you in the midst of the storm and leads you to victory every time.

Things are getting better for you. If it is not good and perfect, then God is not through yet. He that created time isn’t bound by it. Anchor your thoughts and emotions on the unshakable word of God. Let the word of God have your focus and not your problems.

We win always!

@simokool

THE DOOR OF HOPE IN THE VALLEY OF TROUBLE

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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