Monday, 31 August 2015

The Ministry of Impossibility

In Ezekiel 37:1-14 Ezekiel was faced with an impossible situation. Delay, distress, discouragement may have been turned on to make your marital breakthrough appear impossible…

When you face an impossible situation or what seem as such, what are you expected to do? Leave it in the hands of the Specialist! Refuse to calculate. Refuse to doubt. Refuse to work it out by yourself. Refuse to worry. Revert the situation to your Maker. Say to God the creator; I cannot handle this. It's impossible to me, but you said in Luke 18:27 that the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

If you buy an essential oil diffuser that won’t work, you don’t sit around and fiddle with it, you return it to the manufacturer! Unfortunately what we do to God is that we try every other thing and when they fail, we now send our mess to God and plead for His mercy. What should have been our first call becomes our last point of call. We dump our mess on our Maker; The One who owns the manual of our lives.

Pastor Charles Swindoll, an evangelical Christian preacher and educator who is waxing strong in the Lord at 80, is quoted as saying Don’t let your self-confidence prevent God from doing what He specialises in.”

We are so confident in our Adamic nature, which is sinful and our righteousness, which is like a filthy rag, that we try to fix what is broken instead of calling The One who made us and said I will give you the desires of your heart. My thoughts for you are thoughts of good and above all, I wish that you prosper and be in good health!

Don’t try to fix, what is broken or impossible, return it to the God of impossibilities

Matthew 13:15 (KJV) gives us insight into what God expects of us, “For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

In essence what are we supposed to do in impossible situations? Fix ourselves! Fix our sense of sight (eyes), fix our sense of sound (ears), fix our heart of understanding. Revert to our original identity in God. With that, we switch on the healing mode.

Matthew 6:25-34 asks us not to be worriers but worshippers. The last two verses read: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Tommy Walker in the song below reminds you of God’s assurance:

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

There are so many things God has done that you aren’t thanking Him for. Like Ezekiel, we are seeing the present dry bones not the fact that God was in the journey to Babylon which was caused by Israel’s sinfulness. Ezekiel was not seeing the deliverance of Hanania, Mishael and Azaria (whose slave names were Shedrach, Mesach and Abednego) from the fiery furnace and the fact that God’s glory fell and His name became honoured because of the miracle in the land of captivity.

Ezekiel gave a doubtful response, “Thou Knowest”. Short of saying in Pidgin English parlance, “Na you sabi.” This was the same Ezekiel whose name mean, “May God strengthen him", and was born into a priesthood lineage. This was the same Ezekiel that had a glimpse of God and Cherubim. The same one that prophesied; witnessed the fulfillment of his prophecies concerning Jerusalem and went on to serve as a prophet for over 20 years. What happened?

Discouragement. Dejection. Dismay. He was in captivity having been exiled by Babylonian armies along with 3000 Jews on the orders of Nebuchadnezzar II who deposed King Jehoiachin of Judah in 597 BC and had lost his wife 9 years into exile.

His response in the valley of dry bones may very well be your own response. But the God who knows your name understands your discouragement. Instead of saying to Ezekiel, if you don’t believe after all the time you’ve spent with me then forget it. Rather what did the loving God say? See verse 4: Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.

God saw beyond Ezekiel’s words and gave him directions; divine directions. Ask God to divinely direct you. Imagine the gymnastics Ezekiel would have gone through to prove his mettle as a prophet if it was totally dependent on him to make the bones live!

Nick Vujicic, of the “No arms, no legs, no worries” fame, getting married was an impossible situation. A woman without a womb having a child was impossible. Not only is Nick married with 2 children, last year, God through medical science made it possible for a woman who lost her womb due to cancer treatment to have a child via the transplanting of her own mother’s womb into her! I have seen the lame walk, I have seen sickle cell patients live beyond the 21 years traditional lifespan…

What impossible situation are you in?

Even if like the Israelites you brought this upon yourself… Dry bones of what used to be a great army in a valley signify the army made a wrong judgement. Soldiers stay in elevated places to fight their enemy. For this army to have been ambushed and killed in a valley shows that someone somewhere made a wrong strategy decision and they all paid with their lives. Yet, God said in Isaiah 49:25

“… Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.”

Perhaps your delay is caused by your own error in judgement despite being a Christian; you may have a closet filled with dry bones yet you are like Ezekiel. Today, turn it over to God. Your God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all you can ask or think. Reach out to him. Speak to him. Turn over your brokenness and impossibilities to the one who makes a way in the wilderness and rivers in dessert (Isaiah 43:19), the one who said in Matthew 19:26 With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. 

Different versions with the same title was first preached by Pastor 'Yemi Osinbajo in April 
and by Deacon Bola Omoteso in August. Dr. Omolola Omoteso is a minister 
who is passionate about sharing God's words for the healing of souls.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Beware of Little Foxes

There are a number of “little foxes” a couple needs to watch out for while preparing for the wedding. The wedding is the bridge between courtship and marriage, if you have chosen to have a ceremony. First let me point out that courtship is not a time when you find out whether the man or woman is God’s will or right for you; you enter into courtship, after making a decision that this is your man or woman. So, courtship is the time when you prepare for formalising or legalising your union. So when issues spring up, don’t take them as red flags to opt out but as little foxes that must be driven away or put to death so they do not destroy your fresh grapes. This message will be multi-part; feel free to post your comment and questions. 

What the Bible says

Song of Songs 2:15: “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes” (KJV). “Catch the foxes for us, yes, the little foxes! They are ruining the vineyards when our vineyards are in bloom!” (CJB). Most Old Testament scholars agree that the vineyards in this verse represent Solomon and the Shulammite's love. When we make the decision to get married and start planning for the wedding, everything appears perfect; there is love in our hearts and heads and smell of love all around us. But the moment we leave the planning stage and enter the action stage, we begin to see little foxes in our love yard. In the verse, the Shulammite warns Solomon of their presence. 

Usually the woman sees or spies the little foxes earlier but her approach and his matters. While seemingly harmless, little foxes can sneak through fences, and are capable of digging holes and passages that loosen the soil around the vines, preventing them from developing a stable root system. We can equate that root system to our emotions or love which is at the very foundational stage just before marriage; like blooming grapes, it is very tender. 

What are they?

Foxes are proverbial symbols of destroyers, the little foxes symbolise problems, challenges etc which may start out as being minor but can grow to become the monster we blame the death of our love for, if we don’t catch, drive or put it to death. 

The two most common foxes for those in courtship are gossips and arguments.

I met a lady who was really worried and wanted to cancel her wedding. Why? She reported that lately she started having heated arguments with her fiancĂ©. I realised after a couple of questions that these arguments had to do with the wedding plan. One thing you must consider is that during the period of planning for wedding, there are so many pressures from here and there; presuures that put your emotion on the edge as you gear up to make this life changing decision. The pressures would make the woman and man vulnerable to attacks of different forms. Your ability to look up to God and maintain your balance will go a long way to aid your survival and give you a testimony as you face this reality test. If you have established, before entering the wedding planning stage, that this is your man or  woman, never return to that decision stage. The decision has been made to marry so the problem, not the person, should be dealth with. Don't ever call off your wedding; reschedule, postpone, but except you realise that your judgement about this being your man or woman was blurred or wrong, NEVER call off the courtship or wedding. Let me warn that many who reschedule end up never getting married, if you must reschedule seek God's direction.
The devil knows that you have to survive the wedding to become married so he begins to throw darts in your way in an effort to make you lose focus or become upset and walk out on your dream. Let me start by saying that you need to know what you want, differentiate it from what you need and realise that you cannot satisfy everyone. 
Little foxes can be anything and everything! Usually they appear as little problems or minor irritations but can ruin a relationship. Because they appear small, many ignore them but these little foxes are deadly because they attack the root of the vines i.e. relationships. They may come in form of arguments, comments, hearsay or gossip etc. “Are you sure you'd be happy with him?“ “Do you know that she was seeing someone else when she accepted your marriage proposal?” As simple as this last sentence is, it can lead a jealous man to cancel the wedding plans even before verifying the truth. But what I usually tell those I counsel is, what if the information came in after the wedding? 

My take has always been that if you have the assurance that this is your woman or man, then any information and every information should be used to strengthen, not destroy, your foundation. So you find out just before the wedding that your mate has a terminal disease and you go, “Well, if she didn’t tell me before, it means she is not trustworthy and if she is not thrustworthy why should I marry her!” Are you worthy of trust? My Bible in Isaiah 64:6 say, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Didn’t you say she is God’s will for you? So how did her willingness to hide a truth from you change God’s will? 
But what if the issue is his age? You have vowed never to marry a younger person and when you met him, you asked for his age and he said 40 years old. You thought that was okay since you are 39, “At least he is a year older!” You exclaimed to your friends who are joking about marrying someone who looks younger. Then two weeks to the wedding as you were putting documents together for the court wedding, you saw his original birth certificate, he is actually 39 and few months younger and you flare up. “Why shouldn’t I! He lied to me?” When he asked how many men you had dated, did you not lie and then justify it in your heart by saying, “What is the point in saying 5 when he can use that as a reason not to marry me?” But you also told your Pastor during counselling that he is God’s will because you had a dream where his name was written on the wall by God’s finger. So if God’s finger wrote the name, how come his age is now an issue. 
Another Scenario: Everyone knows your fiancĂ© as a medical doctor and you pride yourself in everyone calling him doctor this and doctor that but you've been wondering why he works in a laboratory when he can very well work in a clinic. But shortly before your wedding you found out that he actually went to medical school but he dropped out. So you become enraged and threatened to call off the wedding. You were in dilemma because you knew for sure that friends will laugh at you. You had told yourself that this is God’s man for me, you told your friends that you just love his level of intelligence and comportment, you told your mother how so gentle he is and you told your father that he should just be happy that you found a man after his heart. So are you saying you were lying? Are you saying you fixed him into all those beautiful boxes because he has a humanly awarded title which unfortunately is false?  

So what are you saying?
I am not saying that I have accepted everything I never envisaged but was faced with during the wedding or came to me in marriage, NO. What I am saying is that you should accept the man as is. You know when you go and buy a "tokunbo" (used) car and you are about to pay for it, they'll tell you that it is, "Sold as is", meaning no guaranty! This legal term which is used to disclaim any implied warranties is applicable, though never clearly stated, in marriage. If you have accepted the man or woman as God’s will, then instead of walking out because of an ailment, disease, debt, attitude or character, you have to position yourself to take it to God in prayer and trust that since He gave you the man or woman, He will give you victory over whatever issue may sprung up to affect my happiness with the man. And you have to realise that in addition to prayers, you would have to develp skills to enable you solve the issue. 

To learn or develop skills you may need to speak to counsellors; the DC Host, Cordinators and Counsellors are only a message or phone call away. You must realise that, you do not win by letting go, you win by hanging on, not only to God's will (the man or woman) but to the God who willed and the resources He has blessed you with.
Other foxes?
Arguments are also little foxes and they will come up about anything and everything. Things like the type of wedding, clothes to wear, the reception venue, the person that should do the actual joining, where to be joined, the guest list, who to be on the programme, what to spend money on, who to pay for what etc. can escalate into unresolvable arguments. In Part 2, I’ll give you some scenarios and then talk about how you can ensure that these little foxes, out to destroy your wedding plan and ensure you do not get married, are put to flight or better still to death.

Mrs. Omolola Omoteso is a minister who is passionate about sharing God's words for the healing of others.

Monday, 10 August 2015

“I Asked the Lord to Make It Clear!” Lola Akindele’s Story of How She Got Confirmation of “The One”

This testimony was shared by Lola Akindele online. I have reproduced the interesting story here (though there were a couple of absences) because this could be your story. Portiphar did not know God, yet God connected Joseph to him to fulfill purpose. King Ahasuerus was ungodly, otherwise he would not have made an unrighteous request of Vashti, but God connected Esther to him for the fulfillment of purpose. 

Lola Akindele and Dayo Busari are now married. I have edited the story for brevity and clarity.

How We Met
At the end of July 2010, I had just come back from a holiday with my sister and friends and I was also rounding up dissertation for my masters program. I was ready for marriage and I prayed for God to reveal my future husband, as I didn’t want to be lead astray. I decided to do a week of prayer and fasting for God to please give me a discerning spirit throughout the whole process.

Being 26 years old, from the age of 16 up until I was 23, I had had 3 different boyfriends at different stages throughout that time. The reason for breaking up with each one had \been the same. None of them could understand or accept my views on having no sex until marriage (even though they said they were fine with it at first). I had made this decision when I was 13 at my old church, KICC, after reading Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo’s book, “Let’s Talk About Sex” and it’s a decision that God has allowed me to keep, by His Grace.

This time, I needed God to bring the man that He had destined for me, not someone who I wanted to choose with my own reasoning. The first day of my fast was just before IGOC 2010 and my mother encouraged me to take advantage of the access we were given to directly call Pastor Ashimolowo. I told Pastor Matthew my prayer points regarding my future husband and we both prayed for a discerning spirit so that I would know the right one whom God has chosen for me.

Strangely, that week, I randomly received messages and calls from my ex-boyfriends, telling me that they still wanted to be with me but I was able to dismiss their advances without being drawn back in. For each of them, God revealed things to me about them that were warning signs, confirming that He did not want me to be with them.

On the last day of my fasting I received a message from an old friend from University called Dayo. We had studied at Queen Mary’s together in 2006, until he left for a different university (UCL) where he completed his masters program. We occasionally kept in touch from time to time. I ignored his message as I was not prepared to ‘waste’ time with another guy who was not ready to deal with my views on abstinence, so.

Surprisingly, later that day, my mother asked after him, saying that she hadn’t heard me mention him for a while. I was shocked and told her that he actually sent me a message that morning. She urged me to reply his message, which I did reluctantly.

The Answer to My Prayers
We eventually started speaking, and I learned that he just felt an inexplicable urge to send me a message on the morning that had turned out to be my last day of prayer and fasting.
And thus began the start of something good. During a conversation on the night of our second date, I asked him which church he attended and he went silent on the phone. He then said he had something that he had wanted to tell me face to face. I urged him to go on… Then he said, “I’m a Muslim!” I felt like I’d been slapped in the face by a mighty wave of shock and disbelief.

I informed him that we would just have to be friends because as a believer in Christ, there would be no way that our relationship could go further towards the road of marriage.

I informed my parents and they supported my decision. However, I could feel a strong urging in my spirit, telling me not to break up our relationship and to just stay where I was with him. But I was not certain of how God wanted this to go. Was I just supposed to be a friend to him who would introduce him to Christ and after a period of time we would go our separate ways?

Angelic Intervention
In January 2011 God began to speak to me clearly. At the start of January, I awoke at 3AM to a bright light shining in my bedroom. There, standing by my wardrobe was a very tall angel dressed in sparkling white robes. I was so afraid and I could feel a strange sensation surging through my body that would cause me to shake, like my whole body was vibrating and shock waves were going through me but at the same time it was a beautiful feeling. Then the angel spoke to me. It said that God has seen that I’ve been worried about Dayo being a Muslim, but that I shouldn’t worry about it because in the Lord’s own time, He will bring Dayo to Jesus Christ and that the Lord has called for us to be together as husband and wife.

I was shocked, afraid, amazed and glad all at the same time. I couldn’t even speak and the Holy Spirit instructed me to write everything down that the angel had told me. I also wrote down the date and time that it happened and told my family about the visitation. I was so happy. I had no clue when Dayo’s salvation would take place or when our wedding would be but I trusted in the Lord and even bought my wedding dress and started making wedding plans.

This angelic visit continued… The Holy Spirit would wake me and I would spend time with the Lord. He would tell me various things about what would happen in my life in the future, as well as about the relationship that he had planned for Dayo and I. One of the key things that Jesus told me during one of my visits was that He himself would bind Dayo and I together with cords of love that cannot be broken and that we will be joined together when we are made of the same material.

At one point in 2011 the Lord told me that when Dayo gives his life, a sign will take place and that sign would be: one of the elders in my church will come up to me after I have taught my Sunday school class, and enquire of Dayo and the wedding plans.

I documented everything down, sharing the Lord’s messages with my family but not with Dayo, as the Lord had said that I was not to reveal these things to him. That He himself would reveal Himself to Dayo so that all of the glory would go to God. God’s voice sounded like thunder in my ears, so loud and mighty but also very distinctly clear and full of love.

Deeply Spiritual Revelations
It was fantastic being so close to God and knowing that He truly does care about the individual lives of His people. However, it was a challenging period that tested my faith as I was receiving words of doubt from certain people around me and even threats of being disowned because of my relationship with Dayo. I cried and ask God questions; why couldn’t I just be with a good man from church, where I would have none of these complications.

But God is faithful and always has a plan. Just before I turned 25, an angel came to my bedside, bringing a loaf of bread for me to eat. The Holy Spirit explained that the bread is the Word of God and dwelling on the Word will bring strength to my spirit. The Word of the Lord sustained and kept me going through what was like the lowest point during the two year period of waiting on the Lord for Dayo’s salvation. It was a couple of days after the angel had brought me the bread, that my father informed me that Dayo had asked for my hand in marriage and that he had objected to it.

I cried out to the Lord again and asked Him for help. I couldn’t stop crying. Like Hezekiah who laid out his letter before the Lord, I wrote a letter to God, reminding him of His promises regarding Dayo’s salvation and our marriage – and I took the letter to the Lord in prayer and placed it in my Bible by Psalm 27,  which states that we should wait patiently on the Lord.

Since the Lord had already told me about Dayo’s salvation, I needed to know if He wanted us to be married first and then Dayo would be saved or if he was to be saved first, before we were to be married. So I asked the Lord to please make it clear. Despite not discussing this with anyone, the next morning my mother came to me saying that she had a dream the night before, where the Lord was wiping away my tears and comforting me, telling me that He knows that I want Dayo and I to be married now but that I must wait for his salvation first. I was amazed and I revealed to her that I had asked God for a sign regarding this the night before.

I knew that for certain, when God decrees a thing, it will surely come to pass. Exactly 3 months after this, on a Friday, Dayo informed me that he had finally finished reading a book called The Shack, that I had given to him about 18 months ago, which helped him to understand the God Head and the dynamics of The Trinity.

Dayo’s Salvation
After my mother had a dream that the time for Dayo’s salvation was now, she woke up everyone to pray for Dayo, for his salvation. I prayed, believing in God’s promises but also having a slight sense of doubt and despair, for I knew that the past two years had been so difficult. Furthermore, at this point in time, Dayo and I had taken a break, as I wanted him to seek Christ and the truth for himself, and to not accept Christianity just because of me or to just stick with Islam because he had grown up in a Muslim home.

I explained that the truth is found in having a true personal experience and relationship with God for yourself. God told me that He would put spiritual wings behind Dayo’s ears so that when He calls him to salvation, he would hear and know that Jesus truly is the Lord.
To the glory of God, the very next night Dayo gave his life to Christ and he later explained that he had had a dream that revealed the truth of Christ to him.

Thereafter, in accordance with God’s Word, as I was walking out of Sunday School, the very same elder that God had told me about over a year ago, approached me and asked me about Dayo and the wedding, just as God said it would happen. After speaking with this elder, my Pastor, Pastor Ashaye called me aside, saying that he wanted a meeting the next week to discuss the progress regarding Dayo’s salvation.

The Glory of Success
I can only give God the glory because it’s all His doing. His plans for us will never fail and His pure love for us goes beyond anything that we could imagine. I am truly grateful to God for blessing me with a man who, despite not being a Christian before, still respected my love for Christ and my views regarding no sex before marriage – a view that even my ex-Christian boyfriends did not accept.

God has blessed me with the man of my dreams and brought me my true prince. In fact, at a time when I questioned God about His decision to bring me a Muslim, I was beginning to feel envious of typical young ladies who found their husbands in Church, God’s exact words to me were: You have your prince in Dayo.

I truly bless the Lord for His faithfulness and I thank God for the encouragement and support of my close friends, my siblings, my father and especially my mother, because God revealed things concerning Dayo’s salvation to her and her support throughout it all has been an incredible blessing.

My Charge to YOU
My prayer is that each and everyone of us will never leave the path that God has laid out for us, for when we are in right standing with the Lord, He will surely speak to us and direct us in our lives.

For all the women trusting God for their future spouse, my prayer is that we will always put it into God’s hands. He will surely tell you if He does not agree with you being with a certain individual but the choice will always be ours to either follow His perfect will for our lives or not.

My first book “Papa’s LITTLE Girls” shows the love that God has for His daughters, no matter what they go through in their relationships with men. I thank God for filling me with the passion to be a mentor to young ladies and to encourage them to love Christ first, before any man.

I give the one and only true Lord, Jesus Christ, the highest praise, as He continues to direct and guide Dayo and I in our Christian faith together as we prepare for our wedding.

Dr. Omolola Omoteso-Famuyiwa is a minister who is passionate about sharing God's words for the healing of others.