Tuesday, 24 January 2012

"If I perish, I perish"; Esther's voice

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Esther 4:15-16

When I read the Bible, I sometimes wonder about the person behind the words. I wonder if Esther ever felt scared when she proclaimed those words. Did she speak with 100% confidence or did she just say them to pacify her adopted father. The words sound so sure and so confident and yet I still wonder.

There was the law of the land, you do not go to the king without a summons. To do so was punishable by death except he stretched out his scepter to you. He hadn't sent for her in a month...he obviously must have been quite pre-occupied...hmm! Her first response to Mordecai was the law of the land, the facts of the case. Mordecai reminded her that she had a voice. That phrase 'for such a time as this' keeps reverberating in my head these days. What is it that God has assigned me to do 'for such a time as this.'

Esther didn't scream, she didn't shout but she did practice civil disobedience in stepping up to her husband the way she did. I believe in prayer and fasting, now more than ever. However, we can't end there. I believe that the beautiful master plan that played out in the last chapters of Esther was delivered to her as she was praying. It was divinely inspired. I believe that in prayer she found her voice, found the strength to what she had to do. Today we celebrate her but I want to go beyond that to emulate her.

I found it incredibly fascinating that although Esther was the main character, the words she actually spoke were few. It's not in how much you say but what you actually say. Not so much in how much we do but what we actually do. Her voice was to save her people, my voice may be to save my family, my church, my community, my nation. The most important thing is for me to find my voice and use it.

What about you?

Remain blessed.


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Finding our voice..

I am not what you would call a bold person, not really what you would call a courageous person. However, I am beginning to realise how important it is for one to find their voice. There is a difference between voice and sound. A voice can express itself in a whisper or a scream. I wouldn't whisper if I realised my best friend was crossing the road without looking and a lorry was about to hit them. I wouldn't scream while having a conversation with her about some personal choices she had made.

We all have a voice, some people are more vocal than others. Some voices are oral, some are written. A voice that stands out to me is the hazy image I have of an Indian man in a white robe who felt it was right for his people to be independent of British rule. We all have a voice. God gave it to us. Our voice is our purpose, what we are here for. Whatever it is, find your voice and use it.

God bless.


Friday, 20 January 2012

OccupyNigeria: Worth thinking about

Some videos that really got me thinking..

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

iMeditate: Godly Leadership

Selected verses from Nehemiah 5....  

Now the men and their wives raised a great outcry against their fellow Jews.  Some were saying, “We and our sons and daughters are numerous; in order for us to eat and stay alive, we must get grain.” Others were saying, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.” Still others were saying, “We have had to borrow money to pay the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards. Although we are of the same flesh and blood as our fellow Jews and though our children are as good as theirs, yet we have to subject our sons and daughters to slavery. Some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but we are powerless, because our fields and our vineyards belong to others.”

When I heard their outcry and these charges, I was very angry. I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, “You are charging your own people interest!” So I called together a large meeting to deal with them and said: “As far as possible, we have bought back our fellow Jews who were sold to the Gentiles. Now you are selling your own people, only for them to be sold back to us!” They kept quiet, because they could find nothing to say.  So I continued, “What you are doing is not right. Shouldn’t you walk in the fear of our God to avoid the reproach of our Gentile enemies? I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let us stop charging interest!  Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them—one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.”   “We will give it back,” they said. “And we will not demand anything more from them. We will do as you say.”

Moreover, from the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, until his thirty-second year—twelve years—neither I nor my brothers ate the food allotted to the governor.  But the earlier governors—those preceding me—placed a heavy burden on the people and took forty shekels of silver from them in addition to food and wine. Their assistants also lorded it over the people. But out of reverence for God I did not act like that. Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for the work; we did not acquire any land. Furthermore, a hundred and fifty Jews and officials ate at my table, as well as those who came to us from the surrounding nations. Each day one ox, six choice sheep and some poultry were prepared for me, and every ten days an abundant supply of wine of all kinds. In spite of all this, I never demanded the food allotted to the governor, because the demands were heavy on these people.

 Remember me with favor, my God, for all I have done for these people.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Why I am Occupying..

What I am about to share has been on my heart for a few days now and while it is a deviation from what I would normally write, I am learning how important it is to have a holistic view of life. As much as we yearn for eternity, right at this moment we live in this world. Jesus said 'We are in the world but not of the world' and sometimes I have this tendency to compartmentalise life into Christian and secular boxes when in reality it is really one life lived with Christ at the centre.

Since the announcement of the removal of the fuel subsidy in Nigeria, I will be lying if I said I have not been angry. In short, angrier than I had ever been before about things occurring in my nation. I saw prices of goods and services rising. I saw some people on minimum wage of N18,000, £72, $120 a month  having the major part of their salaries obliterated by the sure increase in transportation costs. I saw an insensitive Government yet laying another burden on the people. A Government that asked people to sacrifice and tighten their belts and didn't show any good faith in tightening their own belts. A Government that calls basic amenities like healthcare, education, good roads, drinkable water palliatives. There is the economics of the subsidy, why its removal is good for the nation. There is the propaganda, how the fuel subsidy only helped the rich and not the poor. I shake my head and pray that I am wrong in thinking as a nation we have trod this path so many times. That this present administration lacks sincerity and compassion. That while we think we live in a democracy because we have elected leaders, the lack of freedom of the press and judiciary makes it seem we are not.

What I found interesting was the initial silence from believers. I sometimes think we confuse Paul's admonition for us to respect authority with keeping quiet in the face of evil. For to keep quiet when evil reigns is to condone it.  A lot of people felt that our Christian leaders should have been more vocal with regard to the issues. While I am among that group, I respect people's right to do what they feel is right. The most important thing for me is doing what God wants us to do and not what is popular opinion. My grievance was and in some ways still is that a lot of these leaders publicly endorsed a particular candidate and used their influence amongst their congregation so now is not the time to claim separation between church and state.

It was encouraging to see some ministers finally speak up as a response to some criticism for the silence. For too long, the church has hidden behind 'Let us pray' and forgotten that prayer while being the MOST IMPORTANT FIRST step in transformation, it is not the only step. Jesus prayed in Gethsamane, his prayer so intense it was almost like drops of blood fell from his brow, this was his preparation for Golgotha. Esther prayed and fasted for her people, after which she went to face the king with the injustice about to be unleashed to the people even at risk to her life.

Other blogs have the facts and figures. The 2012 budget, the KPMG audit on NNPC, the SURE document etc. I am occupying because I feel in 2012, enough was finally enough. Occupying isn't personal, political, ethnic, religious. It is about Nigeria. It is about saying No to a system where corruption thrives and righteousness doesn't. A system where believers find it difficult to say No to compromise so they can earn a buck. Occupying isn't about insulting anyone but standing for truth. People are free to agree or disagree. For the first time in a long time, the people are united in their stand. I believe in a democratic society, people have a right to say NO in a peaceful manner. I am still praying for Nigeria and I hope we are all praying too because there must be a change. Things can no longer go on as they are.

He said 'Occupy till I come' which wasn't in reference to protesting but us taking our rightful place. Most importantly I must allow Him to Occupy me.

Remain blessed.


Friday, 6 January 2012



I woke up this morning singing 'I have seen the Lord's goodness, His mercy and compassion. I have seen the Lord's goodness, hallelujah, praise the Lord!'

I claim the words of this song to be my reality in Jesus name. Indeed You have been good to me and my family in the past. I know You will continue to do the same in my future. Dear God, I thought what I needed was a job, fit into that dress, and all the x things on my imaginary 'I will be happy when this happens' list and yet what this week has taught me is that when you choose to 'detox' be warned because all sorts of stuff is just going to start coming out of you....literally! The sugar shaking, the crankiness, the headaches on the physical side and now on the emotional end I am just realising how much resentment has been in my heart towards a, b and c.

Yesterday, I allowed a seed of mistrust lie in my heart and I know its because of the things I have refused to deal with from the past. Daddy, help me not to allow that seed germinate. Great thing about this process is not just the giving up of things you don't want in your system but taking in things that you do want. The fruit of the Spirit is love and Your word says we should love one another, deeply and sincerely to fulfil the call of Christ on our lives. Dear God, please be my guide and shield. This heart was not created to hold on to resentment and anger but to give love. My life was created to be a reflection of You. Help me Daddy to always say what needs to be said but to speak all truth in love.

Help me weed out bitterness and envy from my life. Tired of my 'woe is me' song lately. Please help me. My heart cries out to You. I believe in the transforming power of your love. You took Simon the flake and make him Peter the rock. At the cross we can drop our sin clad lives and receive righteousness, peace and joy. I want my life to be a true reflection of You. Lord it isn't about accumulating silver and gold but living and fulfilling purpose.

God thank You for being 'honesty' in our relationship. For showing me things about myself that You do not like. Not to condemn me but that I might be saved. Thank you for this season in my life, for the grace for this season. Thank You for strength in this season, thank you for joy in this season. Do what You alone can and may your awesome name always be glorified. May I always find rest in You. Now and always.

In Jesus name. So be it.

Much love


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Open and Honest

Dear Lord thank You. I'm so glad and blessed that I was in church yesterday. Pastor's message really spoke to my heart. Lately, it seems that all I can see around me is disorder, just as it was in creation. I call to mind the walls of Judah that had been destroyed and the sinking feeling Nehemiah must have had as he purveyed the walls. But You are not intimidated by the size of the problems and challenges I face. You did not stagger at the chaos present in the Beginning and I know You are definitely not overwhelmed now.

I know Your Word tells me to be anxious for nothing but prayerful about everything and that those who know their God are strong and do exploits. But I am weak, I feel like I have been buffeted by trials and tribulations on every side. It seems the battles just line up back to back. I have been weary because I have not waited on You. I haven't hidden in You as my refuge, haven't kept You as my refuge and shield. I did faint in the day of adversity, indicative that my strength was small.

All, including myself have sinned and fallen short of your glory. Your glory is how You intended for us to live. I know I have Lord but again I ask for your mercy. I want to be intimate with you again. Fall in love with you again, walk the line with You again. Today I just want to be honest about where I am and what I feel. You know and see all things anyway. I'm hurt, I'm tired and I'm angry. I'm hurt about the things that have happened* . Daddy I know that I shouldn't keep all this hurt and pain inside of me, its toxic and affecting me in so many ways yet I don't know what to do. A voice says 'Talk to me about it, tell me where it hurts.' It hurts deep inside, so deep that I don't know if I really want to reach inside and get to it because I don't know what else I'm going to find in there. Daddy, I believe that You have the power to transform lives, to turn things around and bring about a good change.

I commit them into Your hands, they need You more than ever. They need You to be their strength, shield and exceedingly great reward. They need You to show them the way back home. I just realised my truth. That even if it was proved without reasonable doubt that You didn't exist, I would still believe in You (what sort of scientist am I then...lol!) Lord this is a right hot mess that only You can fix. Please help us and please help me. I know weeping endures for the night but Lord please let the morning not tarry for it comes with my joy.

Thank you for always listening.

*I want to be as open in my prayers as I can but some issues involve other people and so I will not always give details. The point of this is not so much about the actions but the feelings. I hope you understand. Also the prayers in this series do not reflect where I am right now, by His grace I am in a very different place : )

Much love


Tuesday, 3 January 2012


Let everything that has breath praise the Lord

Psalm 150:6

Dear Lord thank You for allowing me see this day. For Your goodness and faithfulness, for keeping me alive. There is so much on the inside that I would really love to let go of but dear Lord as always I ask for your grace to stay on this journey to the end. It is a new day, I can hear the birds singing and I know I should be thankful.

Your Word says 'let everything that has breath praise the Lord.' Truth is at this moment, I don't feel like I have anything praiseworthy about but that is not actually truth, because despite everything, I know I can still say 'Thank you I am alive.' The Word doesn't say 'Let everything that has breath and FEELS LIKE, praise the Lord.' So I will praise You with every fibre of my being. I will praise You and give You thanks. For all you do and all you will continue to do.

Lord please keep me in this attitude today. One of thanksgiving, one that doesn't dwell on what has gone wrong or what is going wrong but one that dwells on your truth. I am comforted by Your word. In the beginning, the earth was without form and void, darkness on the face of the deep and yet despite the chaos you  said 'Let there be light' and there was light. I'm grateful that You have the power and can shine light in the darkest of circumstances.

Pray I hold on to this word through my day.

Remain blessed


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Prayers in the Valley...

Wow! How much I have missed blogging. How has everyone been? This post is dedicated to my baby sister @doshix for your constant support, encouragement and kicks (in a good way) to return. And return I have.

It always surprises me when people ask me why I like to pray. Truth is its that its more that I just have to pray not that I like to...lol! Truth is that there have been periods when I have found it difficult to pray, when I haven't felt like and when I haven't wanted to either. Truth is prayer is a lot more than what we think it is and sometimes a lot less too.

I write most of my prayers. If you've followed this blog for any period of time I'm sure you'll know that already.  Prayers in the Valley are prayers I have written over a period of time. They aren't polished, they don't reveal deep truths, the only thing I can say about them is that they are sincere. Prayer is talking to God, nothing more and nothing less and I am on a journey towards a place I call 'Authentic Christianity.' Christianity doesn't say this is the end to all your problems or that there always be laughter, what Christianity says is that 'no matter what happens, you don't have to face it alone.' Its easier to offer prayers of praise and thanksgiving for the goodness of God in our lives but a balanced Christianity knows that the Cross and grave precede the resurrection.

My prayer is that they bless each and everyone reading this, encourage them that no matter how personal the struggle, you are not alone. I have really missed being here, not just writing and reading comments but being part of my blog family.

I am looking forward to 2012. Everything it has to offer, mountains and valleys, sunshine and rain.

Happy New Year.

Remain blessed and highly favoured