My earned greys

So, I’m getting my Gele (traditional Nigerian head gear used for formal occasions) tied

20190622_1833328733499412926135103.jpgprofessionally and the 2 lady stylists are speaking in the Yoruba language (from South West Nigeria) about the grey hair taking over my hairline and how its spoiling my swag.

I pretend to be uninterested in the conversation.

Lady 1 to lady 2 in Yoruba: “it seems she doesn’t understand what we are saying”.
Lady 2 to lady 1 in Yoruba: “cant be, maybe she is just distracted”. (Them to me in English), “m’am we were asking you a question”.
Me: pretending “I’m sorry, I don’t understand Yoruba”
…Conversation then switches to English…

Lady 2: “M’am, I was asking why you don’t want to colour your grey hair. It makes you look older than your age, I bet it’s just stress… blah blah”
Me: “Don’t worry, I’m very comfortable with my greys. And, It’s not stress, I’ve earned every single strand and I don’t plan to cover it up”
Lady 1: “Earn? You cant have possibly earned grey hair at your age”
Me: “So, how old do you think I am?”
Lady 1: “Between 30 & 35”
Lady 2: “No way is she 35? She can’t be up to 30”.

Me: smiles
Lady 1: “M’am which one of us guessed your age correctly?”
Me: just keeps smiling and allow them stew in their curiosity. No point telling them they are nearly 20 years off the mark.

My greys may not have swag, but I’m so proud of them, they remind me of every day that God has shown me mercy, putting the precious breath of life in my lungs.

Maybe when the #50sFever is fully loaded, I’ll dye my hair red or blonde or something out of character and blame it on the #50 Crises.
… but for now, please leave my hair and allow the world to keep guessing my age.

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“Not so” – Lessons from the prisons

This pondering is inspired by a recent visit to the Kirikiri female prisons in Lagos, Nigeria. It is dedicated to Ivana Akaraiwe for making it happen.

The visit was to mark her 50th Birthday, she wanted to spend the special day fellowshiping with female residents of the prison. As we worshipped with these ladies living in confinement, the Holy Spirit ministered these 5 points to me which I’m sharing to inspire someone today.

1. I created you all beautiful in my image (Gen 1:27)

There is no such thing as prisoners, they are regular people; one thing we had joked about as we rode to the prisons was the importance of the visitors tags we would be issued, several warnings were issued “don’t loose your tags or you won’t be let out”, to this our response was “seriously?, do we look like prisoners?”

Beloved, not so, the ladies living in the prison are just like you and I, created by God in His image, the only difference is mercy.

2. Rejoice, that situation can’t compare to this (Phil 4:4)

Gratitude has no chains. They praised, they sang, they danced, they laughed. They put their past at the foot of Jesus and were looking up to Him for peace today and a better tomorrow. And I thought of our local assemblies where we have to cajole people to shout hallelujah.

Beloved, not so, no burden should hinder our praise. Our praise should always be spontanous, because of who He is and not where we are.

3. Speak always with grace (Col 4:6)

A kind word turns away wrath, always allow the Holy spirit be in control. Some of the stories that brought these ladies to Kirikiri are mind boggling; just a few minutes of anger, loss of self control and the enemy takes over – the dust settles and a life is lost with a case of manslaughter or even murder hanging over ones head.

Beloved, not so, resist that temptation to always have the last word, to raise our voices, to always be right, to strike (with hand or mouth), to always have our way. May God have mercy.

4. Always choose the giving side (Matt 25:35-36)

Don’t always be the helped, seize small opportunities to be the helper.

One thing the celebrant said ceaselessly was “Nothing was too small, even just your presence is sufficient for this mission”.

Many times, we put our needs ahead of God’s needs, beloved not so. Your ‘little’ will always go a long way in someone else’s life. We put smiles on the women’s faces, we encouraged them. A large percentage of them have not yet been convicted, their trials have been long and slow as they can’t afford legal services – now, some will be going home because they will get some funding for legal support (you won’t believe how little is required in some cases).

5. Jesus is what we need (1 John 1:9-10)

Sin is not a respecter of persons, whether within or outside the prison walls the common denominator man needs is the admission and confession of sin. We fall into the trap of self righteousness, thinking its a world of ‘we vs them’.

Beloved, not so, the Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom 3:23). So, each of us, regardless of prison walls need to work daily at living a life above sin through the power of Jesus Christ.

These are my 5 ponderings, triggered by the prison walls which can not hold the spirit, shared to inspire and hopefully to kick-start a life long attitude of gratitude in somebody’s life from today.

Revel in the freedom which exists only in the Lord Jesus.

Elozino

2019, let’s do this!

It is that time of the year when targets are on our mind – whether it’s at work, at home, at play. Every one is setting a target to challenge themselves to do better, go longer, go higher.

Last year I had several goals; fitness goals, spiritual goals and by God’s grace most were conquered. However, one thing I learnt from my fitness buddies is how to create fun challenges playing on words to attain the goals in an atmosphere of excitement.

So this year, let’s be encouraged to commit to some fun 2019 spiritual goals;

2019

20:19

2.019

20/19

What ever you are led to create, let’s go there!

Some challenges I’ve been considering;

  • 20:19 word search challenge. Study chapter 20, verse 19 of every book of the bible and dig up any promises that are written there for us. Memorize them and keep them as our 2019 promises.
  • 2019 seconds prayer challenge. Pray 2019 seconds every day this year…That’s only 33mins a day!
  • 20.19 stop and pray challenge. Where ever you are, whatever you are doing, at 8pm every evening stop and intercede for 19 minutes for someone else in need.
  • 20/19 fasting challenge. Identify 19 people or situations that need a touch from God, commit the 20th of every month to fast, pray and intercede for those on your list and trust God for testimonies.
  • 20.19 lunch time challenge. Sacrifice 20minutes19secs of our lunch time to just worship, no prayers, just worship. And the King of Glory will do a new thing in our lives.

The list of spiritual challenges we can create is endless, but what is most important is that at end of the year, we would have grown to be consistent in prayers, consistent in putting others before self in prayers, consistent in worship.

I pray that as we succeed in becoming consistent, we will succeed in abiding under the shadow of the wings of the almighty and we will become consistent recipients of consistent miracles in 2019.

So, as you read this, and as led by the spirit, please share with us (in the comment section) the 2019 spiritual challenge you are committing to. It could encourage someone else to do 2019 in power.

Elozino

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Deliberately delivering the 4 point strategy

As I arrive home from work, my son special-K opens the front door and greets my with an exuberant “Mummy look, look!” Grabbing my hands and trying to get me to join a dance.

I’m looking but I am not understanding the source of excitement.

Finally he shares – “I can open the door without the stool”!

My eyes open wide as I see, oh My! “You’ve grown taller” as I release myself into the dance.

You see, the front door has a latch at the top which even some ‘height challenged’ adults tiptoe to open. Special-K had devised a means of opening it with a stool but today he opened it on tip-toes.

Where did time go?

As we dance, I remember that physical growth is just 1 of 4 strategies for total child development, the rest are spiritual. My four points strategy is gotten from the life of Jesus as a growing lad in Luke 2:40;

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

  1. Physical growth
  2. Strong in the spirit
  3. Full of wisdom
  4. Grace of God

The holy spirit prompted me with this thought as we danced- am I as delibrate in feeding him spiritually as I am physically ?.

We are deliberate in planning their meals, their drinks, their play. We encourage them to drink more water, eat more fruits and veggies, eat less sugar, drink less soda. We sign them up for sports programs so they can be strong, We ensure they get enough sleep…. the list is endless to deliver strategy 1. But, What’s the deliberate plan for delivering strategy 2-4 in our children?

This is my random musing, and I pray that as we allow this marinade in our spirit, the Lord himself will show us how to deliver this 4 point strategy, deliberately, intentionally and successfully.

The play dough saga: What will Jesus Do?

My 10year old and I were out shopping yesterday and he made a very good sales pitch about the advantages of me buying him a pack of play dough.

Now although play dough would be a catalyst for his creative side, it will also be a huge distraction. To meet in the middle he asked we pray about it. Impressed, I asked him to lead the prayers….. he thanked God for life and privilege for being able to get play dough. He prayed that it will not be a distraction such that  daddy wouldn’t confiscate it.  He prayed that he wouldnt leave it lying around the house so that mummy wouldn’t get into a screaming feat (!).  And then he prayed that he would obey all toy rules (toys should never leave the house except with permission). And we all said a big Amen.

Fast forward to Today, less than 24hrs later.

Sunday school teacher reports that said son was playing with play dough in class and was distracted!. A short 1-1 interview followed;

  • Me: how many things did you promise God before we bought this?
  • Him: 3
  • Me: How many have you  broken
  • Him: 2
  • Me: what’s the consequence?
  • Him: it is going to the cabinet.

Yup. All play dough cleared and stored in the revered cabinet for seized toys/books .

But, wait though! How many times have we broken our promise to God ? How many times have we taken God’s gifts for granted? Yet God keeps on giving, admonishing us to be better and nurturing us to maturity.

So I’ll repent and take this as strike 1. Instead of the cabinet, he’ll get off with a stern warning. With lots of love, understanding and nurturing….And faith….this boy will blosom into a super responsible young man….Amen

That 11th hour reward

Matthew 20:1-16 (NKJV)

6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’
 7 They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.’

In the 11th hour, Jesus found some people ‘idle’. Idle is a word synonymous with unproductiveness, unfruitfulness, emptiness. Idleness can be physical,  financial even  emotional.
In this last hours of 2017, Someone may be considering their situation and it is describeable as idle – Jesus is concerned about you. He is calling you for a specific  purpose which will attract a full portion of reward.

4 key points to hold on to as 2017 winds down ;

1
. Jesus is concerned about your welfare

2.
Jesus is able to do a full compensation plus arrears.

3
. It is not over until Jesus finds you.

4.
It’s never too late to do work for God.

Can our 2017 be described with the word ‘idle’? Perharps there is a task that God has asked us to do but we’ve been procrastinating – now is the time to act. Our last minute breakthrough could be linked to that singular act of obedience.
11th hour Prayer points
-Father in this last hours of 2017, bless me exceedingly and Compensate me.
-Father as you go out today looking for whom to bless,  I am available.
-In this 11th hour of 2017, bless me with a blessing that will surpass all other blessings.
Elozino

 

Now I understand – The plan was there all the time!

We read the bible, we meditate, we pray…. but we struggle to understand.

We get by with strong smiles, maintain our usual routines. We are superman, we are wonder woman.  We are invincible, yet we struggle to understand. 

Why me Lord, why now? Days turn to month and the answers never come. Still we struggle to understand.

By faith, we hold on to Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you” which encourages us that through the waters and fires, we will overcome.  So we hold on to God, trusting. 

Then one morning or perhaps one evening, your struggles bring you to an ‘aha’ moment. You arrive at a crossroad and meet a fellow traveller there. You suddenly realised that God has orchestrated your months of struggle just to get you to this meeting point, at this perfect time to bless someone else.

Your challenges finally make sense, it adds up, we finally begin to understand.

Joseph in the bible stood at a similar crossroad, he finally connected the dots. His utterance at this point is popularly refered to as the 5020 rule. (Gen 50:20)

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

So today, like Joseph, I stand with the scales falling one after the other. I stand understanding that I am only here today because of the fire and the water.  I stand,  finally getting what it’s been all about – God orchestrating the perfect place and time to use me to intervene in another persons life changing crisis. I’m standing in awe that the hot fire didn’t burn, neither did the waters drown me, only the heat and the damp bothered me. I stand in Awe.

Perhaps I stand alone in this revelation or maybe someone else out there can relate to this. Hold on, God has a solid plan, you’ll see.

Elozino