Sunday, 19 October 2014

Power of a Woman: Doing it BETTER (I)

This is the original transcript of message delivered at the Breakfast Meeting of the WOMEN MINISTRY RCCG Dominion Cathedral on Saturday 18.10.14

My name is Omolola the wife of Adebola Omoteso and the daughter of Ibiyemi Odu and Olukunle Famuyiwa. I have written 10 manuscripts, 8 of which are published to the glory of God. Please get copies from the ushers. Especially the titles for singles and young people, bless someone outside of you. I am here today with women from RCCG The King’s Court. Please rise. God bless your heart for coming with me.

I thank the women of Dominion for this rare privilege. After the invitation, I went to my pastors for tips. Pastor Mrs. Odunsi said, “You’ve been speaking at conferences, what more tips can I give”. I made it clear this is different. When you are invited to the church of the first mother of RCCGNA; my brethren, you better know how to mo eko je! You better know how to eat at the table of grace. When you mess up at the grandmother’s table you may just have nailed your inheritance in that province! When you do better, you can be sure you would soon be invited to the high table to dine with the redeemed of the Lord. Let somebody shout Hallelujah – Hallelujah.

I am glad to be here. I specially thank Mama Laoye for the leadership she has provided in RCCGNA. I thank Deaconess Enaohwo and Deaconess Awoyinfa who brought your message to me. I thank you all; as I was told, you requested the presence of small me. I pray that God will make me a blessing to you as He pours out His undiluted inspiration upon me to deliver what He has for us today.

My ministration is in 4 parts. In part one, we’ll look at the women in the Bible – the good, the bad, the ugly; all around us even today, all on one journey – a journey to do it BETTER. Then we’ll look at hindrances to doing it BETTER. We’ll look at how we can tap into God’s anointing to BE BETTER in every facet and season of life and we’ll pray.

Let us rise as we worship the King of kings and Lord of Lord:
Worship: Ancient of Days as old as you are, you will never change…
Pray:   Lord as we learn at your feet, open our eyes to see the immense power you have deposited in us as women. Grant us the grace to tap into the fullness of your strength. Instead of accommodating the cankerworms that dissipate our energy, renew our minds to tap into the knowledge that would transform us from weaklings to giants of faith. Father we thank you for this wonderful time in your Word and in knowing that indeed we can BE BETTER In Jesus matchless name we pray. Amen.

I’ll like to start with an icebreaker especially now that it looks like we are all expecting a miracle. Were you not told that I am Sister Omolola? I came with no title, let’s all look up to God who is the author and finisher of our faith.

Who agrees with me that Women are powerful and have a powerful hold especially on men? Whether you do or not, let’s share a playful scenario: “WOMAN has MAN in it”, yes or no. “MRS has MR in it”, “FEMALE has MALE in it”, “SHE has HE in it”, “MADAM has ADAM in it”. Yes or no? So we can say in logic that men always want to be inside their women, hmn hopefully they would decide to be in their legal women ONLY. Let’s take this a little further, “All of women’s issues start with men? “MENstrual cramps,” “MENtal breakdown”, “MENopause”, “GUYnecologist” and finally HISterectomy! Do you know that without a woman we would have never had the Son of Man, so behold the power of women! Amen.

The theme is Power of a Woman: Getting to do it BETTER. Let’s open our Bibles to read our main text together: Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Now open to our sub-text 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I actually like the phrase “getting to do it better” because it means we are always working at being better, we do not come to a point where we do it best and accord ourselves the right of superiority over others. But getting means striving, trying, labouring to do it better. Since we have grace, we believe we can do it better. With that knowledge, we will change the topic to Power of a Woman: Doing it BETTER.

Let's clarify the theme by defining the key terms - woman and power. An adult female is a woman. Look around you; these are women in different seasons of life. Power is twofold – control and influence. When we talk about women having power we don’t mean control but influence. What is the difference between influence and control? Control is fear and flesh based. The tools we use include manipulation, aggression and anger. Influence is trust; faith based trust.  When you influence you bring powerful forces to bear on others without being prideful about the outcome. Women do better when they lead from power of influence rooted in God.  

Abraham Lincoln arguably the best president of the United States said: “God bless my mother; all that I am or ever hope to be I owe to my angel mother”. But Lincoln had 3 mothers.  His birth mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, was born to a single mum and grew up in difficult circumstances but she became a marvelous seamstress who knew the Lord.  She read and taught the Word of God to Lincoln and his older sister Sarah.  “She taught him the sweetness and forbearance he was known for.” She died at the age of 34 when Lincoln was 9.  His sister became his second mum.  She made sure he went to school, watched over him and cared for him while their dad travelled for work.  After a 3-month trip, Thomas, Lincoln’s dad, brought home a stepmother.  Her name was also Sarah.  Though she was not literate, she brought with her life changing books. She influenced Lincoln’s appetite for reading; his stepmother influenced his legendary sense of humour. We may never know which woman he was referring to when he said “God bless my mother…” But we saw in Lincoln the power of influence a woman can have on a child, a man, a community and a country.

Each time I returned home from an inspiring fellowship I attend with retired Caucasians every Tuesday morning I would grumble as I approach my house because the garbage folks always fling my trash bin cover. Then I learned to only shrug instead of grumbling. After many months, I returned home to find the guys that carry the recycle bin outside my home relaxing. I felt uncomfortable with them being in the sun, so I asked my husband if I could offer them water. Truth be told, my empathy spurred from the fact that those who picked the recycle in my opinion were nicer and better than those who picked the trash because they would empty the bin and turn it upside down instead of flinging it. So I always returned home on Wednesdays with a word of prayer for them. Now that they were on my front yard instead of wondering why they were not busy working or why one of them sat on my recycle bin, I wanted to pay it forward but my husband said this is America o, you will give them water now and they’ll say they had dysentery from drinking your water. It sounded rational to me so I quickly went in to check whether I have bottled water but I had none. So I gave up and went upstairs but my mind was not at rest. How can I watch able bodied men who were just unfortunate to be the ones carrying trash resting in the sun and I can’t offer them anything? I looked through the window, seeing they were still there did not put my mind at rest. I knew what my husband would say if I asked him again so I put a tray together with filtered water jug, 3 glass cups and the only unopened pack of muffin I had at home on a tray, which I put behind the sofa. I peeped through the door and said, “Hello, do you mind some water.” At that point I felt all they would say is no and no would not remove a strand of hair from my skin. But to my surprise they excitedly said yes, I gave them the tray and asked that they leave it on my front door when they were done. The guy who collected it from me appeared shocked and excitedly said, “The others haven’t seen what I am seeing”. As I was leaving I said to them, “You do a good job!” I was going to add, “You do a better job than the trash people who fling my lid but the Holy Spirit cut me short”. As I looked through the window I saw them having a good time and my spirit was lifted. Brethren by Friday when they came to pick the trash, my recycle was also gone! It was then it dawned on me that the same people pick the trash and the recycle. The muffin and water may have cost me less than 7$ but doing hospitality better erased the problem of flung trash lid and the unhealthy emotion that had built up over months. They now pick my trash and recycle whether I put it on the curb or not, and instead of leaving the bins on the curb, they return them to their position! I merely solved my own problem by being better!

We will look at 5 categories of women in the Bible i.e. Women in marriage, family life, career, church and community.

In Marriage
The first is women in marriage; here we see smart Abigail, who was married to foolish Nabal but she did protecting her home better by using wisdom to save her family from destruction. We see very attractive and pushful Sarah who was married to ‘siddon’ look father of faith, her far better do-it-yourself attitude landed the whole Christian faith in the trouble of Hagar and Ishmael. We see the cunning harlot Delilah who was motivated by money to do seduction better. The lords of the Philistines came up to Delilah and said to her, “Seduce him, and see where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to humble him. And we will each give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” How many of us would sell out of sisters, siblings or sons because of a coveted title or reward? This woman used her master art of manipulation to bring down the greatest warrior that ever lived. Delilah’s evil machination destroyed what would have been an unparalleled destiny. We have mentioned three women; make sure you are asking yourself, “Which of these women am I”. In marriage we see the Shulamite protagonist in the Songs of Solomon. She was a lover like no other, so much so that her love exclaimed, “Many waters cannot quench love.” This lover was sensual and sexual; she was amorous and flirtatious but all directed at her man. Truth be told, this maiden could have turned any man’s head. She had it and she flaunted it but with the man who wooed and won her heart. She knew how to love better; she wasn’t waiting to be turned on, she did the turning on with purity of purpose thereby showing us the ideal relationship God ordained for a man and a woman. I once went on a trip with my husband and I decided not to take my laptop, he was shocked but his shock wasn’t the effect. Instead of him turning the television on, he ended up turning me on! The Shunamite woman – wealthy yet humble and disciplined. Her ability to care better led to breakthrough, resurrection of her son and freedom from depression. If you don’t know these stories, please search them out later and meditate on them.

In Family Life
Let’s look at the family life of Bible women beginning with Rachael. Rachel was the first to be toasted, to be wooed but tradition made her the second wife. For some of us, we are married to men who had children before marrying us. Even though you are so to say, the alarede meaning legal wife, you wake up one day to realise that tradition says, “Ko si omo ale”, there is no bastard child. These women are considered wives under customary law so Rachael the beloved became number two. The love Jacob had for her did not decrease but the way she reacted to it suffered a meltdown. She became depressed when she didn’t have anything to show so she became better at flirting, at fighting for mandrakes, at stealing wooden gods; she was doing everything to strive for attention. Her story became the saddest love story in the Bible; she loved hard but lost all. What of Hannah? After shunning food, her husband queried, “Am I not better to thee than ten sons?” Instead of nagging her husband, she decided to do praying better by lamenting to God. While she was at it a man of God with a loose mouth almost interfered with her blessing but no, she was so broken that she knew when not to pick battles. Hannah was in polygamy but polygamy did not diminish her, she became the mother of the greatest prophet that ever lived. Hannah did wisdom better by making good her vow. Some women vowed to God that if you give me a male child, he will become a pastor but once the child becomes a teenager they start saying, “But dear Lord, our community needs a doctor and he is so brilliant, once he becomes a doctor he will spend his money to support a church, he will even build a church for you Lord”, you start negotiating after the fact! The child goes to medical school but ends up dropping out for drug use. What of Naomi? A mother-in-law like no other. We have women amongst us who like Naomi have lost sons or who have become single again, do we abandon them or celebrate them, do we look at them like she must be a witch or we tap into their strength. Ruth was a wise woman; instead of going to start all over again she pitched her tent with Naomi and decided to do submission better. Do you submit to your mother-in-law? She did humility better by taking lessons from this woman who like her seem to have lost it all. But wait a minute, Naomi still had grace, she had God, she had experience, which worked for mature single-again Ruth. How many mature singles have been wise enough to attach themselves to elderly women in order to tap into their divine connections – spiritual and physical? What of Mama Rebekah of blessed memory? She had it smooth; imagine the trouble some went through to be found by a man to gbe ori duro, who kept his head down for marriage. This woman was going about her business jejely, quietly and she walked into a divine connection. 

One day she was single, the next she was married. She was from a wealthy home but couldn't even wait for a formal marriage. She arrived at her new home and came down from her high horse to meet a grieving laidback man whose father had to arrange a wife for at 40! There are men like that and Mama Laoye may have to arrange women for them. But Rebekah failed to do knowing and loving better. That a man was arranged for you does not mean there is nothing to learn. The first thing was not to get to know this man better but to have sex. Could she have been better in love making or intimate interactions when she never knew how? 1 Samuel 24:67 says, “Isaac brought her into his mother's tent, and had sex with Rebekah, and she became his wife”. No conversation, no agreement, no courtship just sex and sex scattered everything. The lack of understanding, the lack of knowledge, robbed her of the joy of marriage as she began to scheme; she loved one twin child better and that was her downfall. She did not reap the fruit of her labour. The child she loved had to be exiled to stay alive. Let’s look at Dinah. She had premarital sex with a prince but instead of wrapping herself in the true image of God in which there is no dirt or variableness, she decided to do revenge better. We will not go into whether she was raped because theologians have two sides to this coin. But, we know that her father consented to giving her in marriage to the prince. Did she guess this was a plot? Did she go along in order to get her pound of flesh? A man once decided to sleep with every woman that came his way after his virgin girlfriend left him. You were compelled against your wish to have sex outside marriage and so you decided. “I am now filthy that I have to sleep around". Instead of promoting God's image better, you go pro with immorality. Please make out time to go over these stories.

In Career
We have looked at women in marriage and in family life, let’s look at women in career beginning with the profession considered the oldest. Rahab did the business of prostitution better. She strategically located her lodge on the borderline so she got all the men with money, the travellers, the foreigners, the wealthy ones who could afford to leave the city and come in search of her finger-licking service; she had the bottom power and she used it for any man that could pay her price. But when this woman met with the power of God, she freely gave her home to strangers and decided to do negotiation better. She negotiated for her life and the life of her clan. Dorcas, the emblem of beauty did giving better. She went over and beyond by serving Jesus Christ not only with her time but, with her money. Dorcas knew what it was to have a regenerated heart. You are here and saved but giving is still a problem – you can’t give to your siblings, you can’t give to your friends, instead of sowing money you always prefer to “Fi ara sise, just give your energy”. You care not charitable at all. You have never invited any other woman for lunch; you have never been led to give outside of compelled giving. Dorcas gave to apostles and to widows; she searched out those in need and met their needs. From this seamstress you and I can learn to give better. Why? She knew to give her heart to Jesus before going ahead to give her resources because only then would her offering be acceptable. When the Ark of Covenant was to be built, God specifically told Moses to only receive offering from those who are willing (Exodus 25:2)When Luke says that Dorcas was full of good works, he meant the word “full” to refer primarily to her inward grace. For Dorcas, being good meant doing good better. Her manifold good works flowed from a heart grateful to God for His saving grace. What of the Proverbs 31 woman, her husband and children call her blessed, her husband was known in the gate because of her. She did motherhood and entrepreneurship better. A woman once said to me after my husband preached, “I saw your hand in that sermon, he didn’t use to preach like that.” I took that as a compliment, his sermon is better because I went the extra mile in the area where I am gifted. If your man is an IT consultant who works with machines - software and hardware and you are a communicator like me, you would be better in the area of relating with people and can use that to his advantage. What of the alabaster box woman, she was in business and knew to save like a number of us, she was saving for a purpose but when the need arose she was touched to pour it all out on Jesus and did He accept this grandiose hospitality. You bet he did! Where are the women who will go the extra mile to pour into people of God without evil intention? Finally under this sub-heading Saint Junia. Some call her the lost apostle. There is an ongoing debate about this apostle’s gender but today, I’ll make ref to her as female. Romans 16:7 - “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” Paul commended this woman. Is your work of faith commendable? Have you done Christianity, church, loving your man, nurturing your children better? Have you served faithfully like Junia?

Please see Power of a Woman II for conclusion. 
Mrs. Omolola Omoteso-Famuyiwa is a minister who is 
passionate about sharing God's words for the healing of others. 
God bless you.