Interesting conversations about Nigeria – Part 1. 

Over the course of my recent travels, I had several interesting conversations about my dear homeland each drawing a different emotion from me from joy, hope, pride and even disappointment. But each one ended with a voice in my innermost saying “do your part and God will do His own”.

There is hope. I know a lot of my FB family will shake their head furiously and say I’m going spiritual, but that’s how I roll. I’ve heard experts say that our economy does not respond to textbook solutions because they are not an outcome of classic text book problems; so while I leave the economic experts to figure out the right button to push, I’ll do my bit and encourage those in my circle of influence to have faith, to do the right thing always (we can’t sow oranges and reap strawberries), to trust God and most of all to hold onto the biblical account in 2kings 6 & 7 where God turned the captivity of Samaria around overnight in amazing circumstances – God is still in that business. 

So, on to Part1- the cab driver 

I’m headed home in a cab and the cabbie probably from a middle eastern heritage strikes up one of these interesting discussions. As usual it starts with the weather, how hot it is today, where am I from and how hot is it back home.

That’s how we entered Nja jist. He hadn’t met anyone from Nigeria close up and he proceeded to tell me how he keeps a collection of currency from around the world. We digressed into my sharing with him that we spend the Naira and Kobo etc. He then asked if I had any ‘small’ Naira note on me, “I will pay you the pound equivalent” he said.

I didn’t think much of his offer to pay till I got to my destination. I rummaged my wallet and found a N50.00 note which I gave to him, he was genuinely excited, turning it back and forth asking about the images on it which led to a short Nigeria 101 course. He asked about value – I told him he could get a snack sized pack of cookies with that (coaster was on my mind). Wahala started when he opened his wallet and asked me what the equivalent rate was…………

I honestly started to do the mental math, but then I stopped in my tracks with what I was coming up with … Seriously? I don’t think I wanted to have the exchange rate discussion with a cabbie. So I told him it was a gift for his album but he still persisted so I moved the conversation to value – I told him I’d happily give him a pack of coaster buiscuits if I had one in my bag and not expect him to pay for it. That seems to have made him comfortable about not ‘paying’ me for my N50.00

As I think about it, our N50.00 can get us a bit more value than the estimated converted value (for some it may be easier to think about this value question with N100). The decimal places may increase in the wrong direction but everyday we also get fully loaded with new benefits (Psalm 68:19). And my thoughts got stuck on value, value, value.

My prayer is that with each passing day we ask ourselves the value question about our worth, our expenses and our deeds; what does this action mean to me? What value does it add to me? What value does it add to my family? What value does it add to Nigeria? Is this spend considered an Asset or a liability? 

I strongly believe that when we go the value route, adding value in every act – the decimal places will become less significant and begin to take back seat.

It’s time to raise your glasses!

It seems just like yesterday that with the help of my small but powerful technical team,  my blog http://www.elozino.com was brought to life.  Our major concern was about content and if I’d have time and technical savvy to keep the page going with minimal help from my crew. But we agreed on a 2 step strategy ;

  1. 1 day at a time 
  2.  ‘shout , if you need help’. 

Today, I’m minding my business and  get a most pleasant surprise from WordPress!.

 It’s 365 days already!. we are still here, on nearly every continent, reaching followers with regular (and I hope inspirational ) posts and a pipeline full of stories waiting to be published.

Thank you for being part of this journey, I truly appreciate the follows , comments, shares and the referrals. I hope you’ll still be following at every anniversary and I hope you get a front row seat when I finally publish and launch my first book. 🙂

Sun stand still

Joshua 10:12-13

Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:“Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped,Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies.Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. NKJV

Today marks the first day of June, the 6th month of the year, a half way mark.

The year is running out fast, so much to do, so much left undone, where did all the time go?

But I heard a word this morning, that God is in full control of time and can do the impossible concerning time for my benefit…I am encouraged.

I am passing on that word to someone who needs to hear it today;

  • All that you have purposed to do, but struggling to complete for one reason or the other, this month God will cause time to work in your favour until you achieve completion.
  • Every area of your life that you have experienced delay, From today God will cause time to expand in your favour so that you catch up in a supernatural manner.
  • Where others have only 24 hours a day to work and excel, God will give you extra time to shine – people will wonder how you are able to achieve so much in 24 hours.

This month, I pray that when we raise our voices for help, God will cause time to stand still until your joy is full and your testimony complete.

Amen

True WiFi – no constraints 

Isaiah 65:24

And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

And so it was, I finally got the opportunity to test the WiFi onboard a plane. It had been proudly advertised “wifi on board” and I was looking forward to connecting and chatting with my online circle of friends while enroute.

I eagerly turned on my device as soon we were allowed to and soon discovered that “wifi on board” comes with a financial commitment – I decided the chatting could wait till we were on the ground. While pondering on this ‘mild’ deception, a word dropped in my spirit – “aren’t you glad you can connect with me without any constraints.”

That brought a smile to my face. So many times we fret about the littlest of issues, forgetting that we have unlimited access to the divine Network powered by God almighty. A network that never fluctuates, all bars full, responsive and sensitive to even unspoken needs.

So rather than a planned browsing and chatting to spend the free time, I connected to the only WiFi without constraints and did some power networking with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It truly works.

Elozino

Thankful for the sun

Leviticus 26:4 “Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit”


So, I’ve been gripping about the heat a lot. But, today on my usual lunch time walk about the Lagos business district (which would be referred to downtown if it was in North America), I walked by several merchants selling fruits that thrive only in the hot tropical weather like ours. Once the rain starts it marks an end to their season.

I bought a few mangoes and agbalumo’s ( aka udara, african star Apple ) and headed back to work but my heart and soul was already anticipating my evening enjoyment. As I finish off 2 mangoes for dinner and contemplate whether to attack the agbalumo’s, I start to repent of all my gripping. If there was no sun and no heat, there would be no delicious mangoes nor juicy agbalumo’s

In addition, Google churned up some health benefits of these fruits that convince me I should go for seconds. What an awesome God, packing so much nutrients in and putting an end to my guilt trip….one more before bedtime 🙂

So, tonight I’m sending up a special praise up to the one who is the master of the universe, the Lord of the harvest. Father, I’m thankful for the sun, the rain, the heat and the cold because I know you have instituted order in your creation. So, sweat we must and mangoes we shall enjoy. When the rains start we will shift our evening enjoyment to corn.

 

Health Benefits of Udara/Agbalumo (African Star Apple)

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-health-benefits-of-mangos.html

They didn’t understand then, but do we now?

 1 Cor 2:8 “None of the rulers of this age or world perceived and recognized and understood this, for if they had, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory”. AMP



I sometimes wonder…. if I had lived and walked alongside our Lord Jesus over 2000 years ago, would I have understood? 

  • Would I have betrayed Him for financial gain ? Mathew 27:3
  • Would I have dissassociated myself with Him on the way to the cross? Mathew 26:73-74‎
  • Would I have been expectant for His return? Mathew 17:22-23
  • Would I have recognised him in the spirit? Luke 24:31-32

He gave clear indication that he would be betrayed..he gave full indication that he would be tortured…he gave full indication that he would arise on the third day in victory…he walked and talked in their midst, they heard but didn’t understand.  We are several centuries later, do we fully understand ?

It’s 2016, Easter Sunday, and we celebrate his resurrection in singing and dancing, but do we truly understand ? Jesus, with his last breath said”It is finished”. Do we truly understand what is finished?.

Jesus summarised His mandate in Luke 4:18-19 “The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Do we truly understand that this work is finished for the sake of you and I?

  • The gift of the gospel
  • Healing for the sick and broken hearted
  • liberty for the captives and oppressed
  • sight to the physically and spiritually blind

 Do we truly understand that because of the resurrection power we have eternal life (John 17:2), do we truly understand that because of His death on the cross, God has exalted the name of Jesus high above every other name (Phil 2:8-11), do we truly understand? All power? Yes all, has been given to Jesus.
Lord, this Easter, help us to truly understand. Open our eyes to see and embrace that power that we now have access to because of your ressurection. Power that is greater than anything that exists or is to come. 

Power that overcomes.

 Help me to understand the truth that Easter brings, I am saved, I am a victor, I am an overcomer.

Phil3: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; KJV

OUR FIRST CAMPOUT

c Note to Self: #Be prepared for heaven

My son K signed up for a boys scout weekend camp last weekend and the entire process leading up to the camp-out provided so many learning points for my walk with God. Random thoughts that have found a structured pattern for this post.

  1. First of all, the sign up:
    • Hounded is the only word I can use to describe what K did to me, he was our constant shadow until we gave parental consent on the sign-up slip.
    • Learning point – the journey to heaven needs a personal sign up, sometimes you may be hounded, cajoled to accept… but that’s because it’s a great destination to look forward to and requires personal commitment.
  2. The Excitement, the anticipation:
    • I haven’t seen such excitement in my home for a long time. The week running up to the camp out, the bed time mantra was “I can’t wait to go to bed so that tomorrow can come, I want this week to end quickly”. I was also able to use the trip as a joker to instill good behavior the whole week.:)
    • Learning point – the journey to eternal life needs to be filled with zeal. Zeal is the secret ingredient that keeps a Christian going. Zeal is what triggers the right behaviors and attitudes in a Christian.
  3. The preparation, the packing list:
    • I received a very precise packing list which I found interesting. It covered body, soul and spirit; toiletries for bath time to keep the body clean, a bible and notebook for connecting the soul with the Holy Spirit, swim wear and sports wear to keep the spirits high.
    • Learning point – the journey to heaven must be well balanced. We cannot ignore an intimate relationship with God the Father, neither can we ignore the importance of looking after the body with a sensible diet and regular exercise and rest.
  4. The real deal:
    • I am happy to confirm that the camp-out delivered on all points. K’s feedback when he returned on Sunday afternoon was “there are only 2 problems with camp; the days were too short and parents were not invited”
    • Learning point – Heaven is the real deal. Guaranteed with days filled with fellowship and worship that we would never want to come to an end.

What can I say?, such much to learn from little random events around me. I’m asking for the grace to continue to be perceptive to these learning’s so that I can learn and share.


 

Matthew 6:19-21. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. KJV

Following God’s sign posts….and trusting that ‘No’ is good.

Have you ever wanted something so bad? Every sense telling you there’s a good chance of success? You’ve even began to taste it, feel it, dream it and Bang! It’s another dead end?

  
‘No’ is never easy to swallow and when it comes from the Lord it’s a bitter pill we must learn to accept and swallow.

I had an awesome epiphany this week and I’m sharing to strengthen someone who is waiting and trusting God for a breakthrough. This year, I have made up a list of ‘hard things’ which I’ve shared with the Lord and I’ve been praying and waiting. The year has been good, the list is getting shorter, God has been faithful; answering prayers and moving down my checklist.

There is one big one I’m still expecting, I’ve been waiting, encouraging myself that soon I would hear the good news. I woke up one morning this week with a strong feeling of expectation, I felt deep in my spirit that I would receive good news that day. My morning devotion took me to 1 Kings 17:8-10  “ Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks.”

I was super convinced that today was D day for receiving the word of direction I’d been expecting. The day went by as usual and I kept my eyes on my email, waiting….. The email arrived a few minutes to the close of work with news , but, it wasn’t what I expected. It was the ‘wrong’ answer.  Totally deflated, I took off to a quiet place to cry. Through my tears, I asked “Why?”, “but you promised”, “I was so close, why did you close this door“. It was tough to get through the rest of the day, hubby did his best to cheer me up (even got me icecream 🙂 ) but everything he told me I already knew; he was preaching to the choir

“God’s perfects things in His own time ” 

” His thoughts towards me is of good”

 “The vision will not tarry”

I knew all that, but we are made of flesh and bones and sometimes need a meltdown before we can dust ourselves down and continue on our journey.

The next morning as I showered, I resumed another pity party with God and you know what?  I heard a quiet voice at the back of my head/heart (where does this voice actually get heard? Discussion for another day). “I thought you asked for my word, I’ve given it and it doesn’t have to be convenient for you” . It was like a light bulb coming on in a dark room. I was throwing a spiritual tantrum because God had said no. I had ignored the hidden testimony that I had received a word when I expected it, choosing rather to dwell on the perceived inconvenience of the response. My spirit lifted instantly, indeed God’s ways are not our ways. I asked for His word and I got it – so, why am I vexing?. His word was on time and it was NO, this is not for you for now.

 I’m now super thankful for this revelation and for the fact that God answered my prayers.

Today, I share to encourage someone.  When we ask of the Lord, He will always respond and provide direction, only remember, that even if His response today is not convenient for you, keep trusting Him because it’s all part of His grand plan for your good.

Have a blessed day. 

The day I met Silverna*

It was an ordinary day that I met Silverna*, there was no inclination that I would be blown out of the water by the encounter.

It was a normal vacation morning and I woke up asking myself  “so, what am I going to do today?” The coin toss gave a trip to the mall priority over lying on the couch flicking channels…so off we went to the mall with no clear agenda but to wander around and perhaps get a high calorie meal. A spot of shopping here, a sugary snack there as I sauntered leisurely around the mall. Then, I spotted the eyebrow studio and decided to get my eyebrows threaded – a bonus of my mall visit.

For those familiar with the art or skill of eyebrow threading, you will appreciate that the thread needs to be held firmly in the fingers of both hands and controlled in precise movements to sculpt perfect eyebrows. This is not a distraction from my musing but the focus of where my amazing day starts.

threading3

Silverna welcomes me, smiling and asking how I’d like my brows shaped. After a short description, she set out to work holding one end of the simple magic thread in her right hand and somehow ‘controlling’ the other end of the thread. I probably need to mention here that she does not have a left forearm (her left arm stopped at her elbow). I watched through one eye as she worked briskly and skillfully, curiosity building up to spill point – did she learn to thread eyebrows before or after her amputation?

I finally summoned enough courage to start some small chit-chat, she was very friendly and obviously used to these curious customers and reassured me that she was not offended by my questioning. Silverna hadn’t been in an accident but was born that way, a birth defect she said.

She has never seen herself as different even when the world would say otherwise. She grew up learning to do what other kids and teens did naturally. She grew into a young independent adult by learning a profitable skill; she is an eyebrow artist and a very good one too. The most important thing she said to me was that she owes it all to her mother who always encouraged her to be confident, independent and to push through obstacles to get to her goals.

Alas, I have only 2 eyebrows and as such our conversation was short but so impactful. I thanked her for an awesome 30 minutes and headed out with a myriad of thoughts in my mind and of course my perfectly shaped brows. As a mother of 3, I know what it is like to see a child struggle at different stages in life and today God reminded me again of the critical role mothers have in encouraging our children to become men and women of confidence and good character in society.

A mother teaches, a mother encourages, a mother fights, a mother prays, a mother never gives up on her children. My day at the mall ended up being very purposeful (typical with God) and I am sharing this experience with all mothers out there on the brink of giving up, mothers worn down by the constant battles – Remember Silverna’s mum and don’t give up. Our children will face tough times, they will have their up days and down days, they will have days that they battle with low self-esteem….. but we must remain as firm as a light house (showing the way on a dark, stormy night) focused and steadfast in our role to motivate them and help them achieve their goals.

By God’s grace, we will be filled with unique wisdom to guide and encourage our children to reach their goals. Some time in the future when they get asked “How did you acheive so much?” their response would be, “I owe it all to my mum”.


Silverna* : name changed for privacy.

God has my back covered

It was Monday morning, usually all hell breaks loose on the Lagos highways and leaving 15 minutes earlier than usual was the only way to guarantee getting to the office in a reasonable time.
So I set off in good time, radio on my favorite channel. My first hint of trouble was when the news caster started reading the headline news – I looked out the window to the sky, it was pitch black and I thought to myself “I hope we haven’t started observing some kind of daylight savings in Lagos because it can’t be 7 O’clock already.
Then the rain started, it hit my wind screen with a scratchy sound, it sounded like sand particles. The rain steadily increased and soon the wipers were off no effect, visibility dropped to zero and I could not even see the lights of the car in front of me. Traffic slowed down and hazard lights came on. “so much forgetting to work on time” I thought.
Then the scariest thing happened, the first gust of wind hit my car, then another and another. It felt as if the wind was intent on pushing the cars off the bridge. Horns were blaring, pellets of rain were drumming down, the wind was raging, the bridge was vibrating and worst of all the cars were not moving. The last time I felt this way was when I was stuck with my family on the Gbagada-Oshodi express way during the Lagos cantonment bomb blasts 10 years ago. That was super scary because all we could see were people running and explosions ahead of us, no one knew what was happening – it was total chaos.
The car jolts again, and my mind is drawn back to the present. Did my car just move? I was sure that the force of the wind was able to move my car. With my heart pounding I start to check out my surrounding to make an exit plan…several options flip through my mind; should I unclip my seat belt so I can get out faster?, can I swim in the lagoon in this condition (swimming skills questionable), should I get out of the car until the rain stops, do I, can I……..questions, scenarios, action plans. I am still running simulation models when I heard a loud creaking sound followed by a massive crash. My heart stops beating, surely the bridge has cracked – I would have to swim for it.
My brain goes into overdrive and I moved into the spiritual realm. I reminded God of how he promised to be with me, how He was in the boat with the disciples in a storm similar to this and he kept them safe (they didn’t have to swim for it). I am driving myself today, alone in the car and my phones are in the trunk, Jesus and I were having a deep conversation. I look out and can’t see anything except the lights of the car right in front of me. A couple of seconds pass and it appears that the bridge was still standing. So what was that noise?
I still couldn’t see anything. It must have been the longest 5 minutes of my life before the darkness begins to recede. I check my mirrors again and see an incredible site – the lamp post (yes, the ones in the median that light up the bridge at night) lies in the middle of the road behind my car. I look to my left (I am in the third lane from the centre) and one car has the pole across its trunk while the other has it right on top of it. The 2 cars are in bad shape, they were going nowhere for a long time. I wondered how much damage I got from the end of the pole which lies in between me and the car behind. No one could get out and access the damage because though the wind had let up, the rain was still pouring. I engaged thanksgiving mode because it could easily have been me under that pole. The traffic lets up and I test whether I am somehow hooked by the pole – my car moves easily, thank God. Thanksgiving continues as I complete my commute on the bridge. I notice several passengers in other cars peering at my car and I wonder how badly damaged my vehicle rear was or did I leave the bumper behind? I count a total of 3 fallen poles that morning, 1 of which got a minivan smack in the middle of the roof. The fallen poles constitute a nuisance as they limit the bridge to 1 lane at those locations.
I make it into the office, heart still struggling to slow down. I try to get out of the car and my legs don’t hold up. I wait a few minutes before I try again. Heart in mouth I go behind to check the damage and I do a little thanksgiving dance. The main body of the pole missed me by a fraction of an inch.
The word of God says for in Mathew 4:6 ‘He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.’ This is what happened to me this morning. I am convinced that an angel nudged my car forward this morning, and I am grateful to God that. Just 1 inch and my rear window would have been smashed.
What an awesome way to start the week knowing that God has my back covered (literarily).

13 Feb 2012