October 2019

Wisdom: The Real Beauty

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In the book of Esther, Queen Vashti is described as a very beautiful woman. She was married to King Xerxes who organized a banquet in the third year of his reign. This means Queen Vashti also had only been queen for about three years too. She too gave a banquet for the women at the palace to celebrate the third year anniversary.
While in this celebratory mood, the King ordered Queen Vashti to come dressed in her royal apparel with her crown to ‘show case’ her beauty. But the Queen refused.
My initial conclusion when thinking about this singular action of Queen Vashti was that she was full of pride. But on a closer look, I began to see her action from a different angle – the Queen may have been trying to ‘caution’ the King on his excesses. Remember that the King had earlier shown off his riches, his kingdom in all its glory, and the honor of his excellent majesty during the celebration. In fact, the King displayed his vast wealth over 180 days, one of the longest displays of wealth described in the Bible.
In fairness to the Queen, (1) she could have been stressed out (2) she may have been uncomfortable with the arrogance being displaced by her husband (3) she may have been busy with the women in the palace whom she was hosting at her own banquet and (4) she may have felt embarrassed or angered that seven eunuchs were sent to bring her.
Upon a closer look, Queen Vashti had some level of freedom given to her by her husband. She was the women leader and was granted access to the kingdom’s resources.
Dear sister, any woman whose husband supports and gives her the freedom to be who God wants her to be, who also has access to her husband’s resources – time and money – is highly favored.
Wisdom has built her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.
For the purpose of this write up, I will like to outline two lessons I learnt from the ‘home’ of Queen Vashti.
1. There is no excuse that can justify disobeying, correcting, confronting and embarrassing one’s husband in public. Imagine if Queen Esther had publicly confronted the King about Haman’s plan just because she was under pressure, or because of the urgency the matter required.
Instead, she wisely sought a private moment with the King by inviting him and Haman to a private banquet. A wise woman discusses issues with her husband in private.

2. It is important to dress beautifully for your husband. The same royal robes that Queen Vashti refused to wear following her husband’s orders were worn by Esther but she achieved a different result. Perhaps the King would have given Vashti an open check if she had worn her royal robes. Let us put on our royal robes, sisters.

Hmm, the two women were described as beauty to behold but what made the difference was WISDOM! I pray that we will embrace wisdom in dealing with our husbands, in Jesus name.

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SEEDS OF PURPOSE

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Having to deal with some physically challenged, or sick children can be overwhelming. The pain, hurt and demand of tending to them could be beyond words. It seems hard to imagine the pain of hoping daily for miracles, or believing that God will turn the story into glory and with that, wipe away every tears.
I know a child that was born blind from his mother’s womb. Hard to imagine? What do you think would have been the fate of his mother when the doctor told her that her new innocent child could not see. Some may say her that she probably didn’t take the necessary medical prescriptions, or that she may have been careless. Others could add that the boy’s condition may have been hereditary. Which ever ‘MAYBE IT IS, MAYBE IT WAS’ that people say is it, still, it is the child’s mother that will likely bear the daily brunt of having to look after, and care for her blind child from infancy to his teenage years.
In most cases, some people may never really understand what such a mother could be going through, knowing that only a few persons may be available to help her. One of the solutions we must seek in this situation, is to find out God’s side of the story.
What is God saying about it? I remember a similar case in the bible, when they asked Jesus why a man was born blind. They wanted to know whom they could put the blame on, or better put, whose fault it was that the man was born blind. The amazing part of this story was Jesus’ answer to their question. His response swallowed the verdict!!! He said it’s not because of anyone’s error or fault, but FOR THE LORD TO BE GLORIFIED!!!
Have you ever thought that what you may be going through over your child, could be a way for God to glorify himself? Yes there is pain, yes there are tears, yes there are demands which tend to weigh you down, but ALL OF THESE ARE COMING TOGETHER TO GLORIFY GOD !!! Don’t give up on that child, don’t listen to the lies of the devil, don’t succumb to the pressures around, rather seek God’s opinion about the situation and hold on to Him. You will yet testify!
I can never forget in a hurry, the story of Mephiboseth. He was dropped on his feet and he became lame. Before you know it, he became the responsibility of a nurse. When the whole world dumped and abandoned a lame boy, his own mother left him behind too. She could have cared for him, the prince’s life could have been protected, and her memoir written in the chronicles as a great woman who raised a physically challenged prince. But what a pity, the word of God was silent about her! She was among the nameless in the bible, and a generation yet unborn couldn’t call her blessed! Please be encouraged beloved, don’t drop that boy, don’t abandon that girl, don’t give up on those SEEDS OF PURPOSE who may have been specifically and intentionally given to you by God.
We need to stand firm on our conviction that children are gifts given by God, as all good and perfect gifts come from him. Even if they are mentally, physically or ‘health-wise’ challenged, we should not give up on them or compare them with others. They are “SEEDS OF PUPOSE” they must be planted in God to bear fruits for his glory. We must rejoice that we are privileged to work with Him to bring forth these Kingdom Gems. It must not become a burden to us, we must see them as Jehovah’s blessings and treat them as such. God is our exceeding great reward. Amen

Writer: Odetola Funmi

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God sure like a ‘Ugly’. Qualifying the Unqualified

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“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”
(1 Corinthians 1:27-30 NLT)

Recently, I came across a book titled “God Nuh Like Ugly” by Nicole Dennis-Benn and the first thought that came to my mind was “God sure likes ugly. This person doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” I ended up reading the book, but I’m not here to talk about its contents.

God’s love for mankind is unique – it can be likened to a parent-child relationship. There is a popular Nigerian saying, “Monkey no fine but him mama like am” (a monkey may not be beautiful, but its mother loves it). God loves us, his children, regardless of how ‘pretty’ or ‘ugly’ we may be. In fact, it is safe to say that God loves the ‘ugly’ more. In the parable of the prodigal son, we see how God’s love for the ugly is brought to the fore – the wasteful, spendthrift son who squandered his inheritance, was welcomed back home with open arms by the Father.

Many of us feel unqualified for God’s love. However, there are several examples of broken and lost people in the bible whom God used for his glory. God loves to use broken repentant people. Vance Havner, a Baptist pastor, once said: “God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever”.

Have you wondered why Jesus chose each of the 12 disciples? They were surely not all the crème de la crème of their society! We have Peter, Andrew, James and John, all fishermen. Matthew, the tax collector. None of them appeared to be fit to walk closely with the Messiah, yet Jesus chose them and used them mightily. Can you imagine how puzzled the Pharisees and the Sadducees were when they looked at the motley group Jesus surrounded himself with? It is probably why they found it hard to believe he could be the long-awaited Messiah.

Examples abound in the Scriptures of imperfect people whom God used to showcase his glory. Abraham was an old man when God chose him to be the father of many nations. Elijah was suicidal at some point due to the persecution from Jezebel, yet God used him. Moses had a speech problem. Gideon was timid and fearful. Samson was a womanizer. Rahab was a prostitute. The Samaritan woman was a serial divorcee. Noah was a drunkard. Jacob was a cheater. David was a murderer. Peter denied Jesus three times and Paul was a persecutor of the early church.

God sure likes ‘ugly’. If you are ever in doubt, read the stories of the lives of these examples in the Bible. Men and women who had the dirtiest pasts and physical impediments. God wants to use you and I. Don’t let the devil fool you into believing you are beyond redemption. You are not. Especially if you are currently struggling with sin and the devil constantly reminds you of it. Know today that Jesus wants you to come as you are. As stated in 1 Cor1:27-30, God chooses the despised things. The broken and contrite hearts, the ones who know that all that they are could have only been by the grace of God. Come as you are today. You are worthy. You are loved. You are special to God. He loves every bent, broken, twisted and dirty part of you. He wouldn’t exchange you for anything else. You are worthy of His love. You are worthy to be used by Him.

God sure likes ugly.

Writer: Tomilola Adebiyi

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Navigating Office Politics – Making Lemonades out of Lemons

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What is your initial reaction when you hear ‘office politics’? If you are like me, you’ll probably scrunch up your nose in distaste. What immediately comes to mind on hearing the term ‘office politics’ is backstabbing, gossiping, spreading malicious rumours, schmoozing with the powers that be, portraying a façade in order to make the ‘right’ impression and generally sucking up to the right people to get ahead.
Most people’s initial reaction is to stay far, far away from office politics and just bury their head in their work, believing that their hard work would eventually pay off. Excellent work ethics are great, but you need to pay attention to what is going on in your workplace to avoid sabotaging your own career.

Office politics is present in all workplaces – big or small. If you are seeking career growth, its important to be politically savvy. Thankfully, becoming politically savvy is an acquired skill, one that you can develop over time. You can develop this skill without compromising your integrity. To do this, you need to pay attention. Understand that your work alone will not get you promoted. Be aware of what’s going on in your company. Here are a few things to bear in mind as you navigate the maze of office politics:

i. Power & Influence: Who has the power and influence over your career? Spend time analysing the organisation’s chart. Sit back, observe and then draw a map of political power and influence in your organization (not necessarily by job rank or title). Figure out who the real influencers are? Who is the brains behind the business? Create visibility with the influencers and build a strategic network of allies who can advocate for you in your absence.

ii. Identify the Rules: What are the written and unwritten rules of the Company? Pay particular attention to the unwritten rules i.e. the socially acceptable norms in your workplace. A good example of an unwritten rule is where the employee handbook provides for a 40-hour work week. On your first day at work, you arrive at 9am to find out that everyone else in your department have been there working since 7:30am. What happened? There is an unwritten rule that you need to arrive work 90 minutes before the boss and stay an hour after the boss leaves. Note that this rule is not written any where in the employee handbook, but what happens where you fail to comply? Will you get promoted? Very likely not.

iii. Develop strong interpersonal skills: You need to develop a keen sense of perception and excellent emotional intelligence in order to decipher people’s emotions and understand the best approach to deal with them. Consciously choose your reaction to every situation. Your basic instincts when faced with uncomfortable office politics is to fight or take flight. However, it is important to understand that these aren’t the only options available to you. It is necessary for you to take a step back to reassess the situation before reacting. Learn to actively listen to others. Slow down, focus and learn more about the people around you.

iv. Don’t be naïve: Be purposefully in all your interactions. Avoid fuelling the fire and joining negative politics. Maintain your professionalism at all times. Avoid passing on rumours without taking the time to carefully consider their source, credibility and impact. Don’t rely on confidentiality. It is safer to assume that whatever you say will be repeated, so choose carefully what “secrets” you reveal. Don’t take sides and avoid getting sucked into arguments. Where conflicts arises, work on finding a solution that is possible to find a solution that satisfies everyone.

v. Study the company culture: what is the prevalent culture at the company? Female-friendly? Gender-biases? Does the company’s values align with your values? Will you be given the opportunity to showcase your talent in this environment?

Office politics does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. Practicing “good” office politics can help you promote you and your team’s interests fairly and appropriately. Being sensitive enough to identify “bad” politics will also help you avoid some tricky situations in the workplace.

Sources: Forbes Women article by Bonnie Marcus – “What I learned about office politics that changed my career”; “Great Leaders Embrace Office Politics” by Michael Chang Wenderoth, April 11, 2016 Harvard Business Review

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UPSTREAM 4.0 IS HERE!!!!

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*For Facebook:*

*Final Reviewed Copy Edited*

It is that time where every instrument of outreach is being pruned and sharpened for the Kingdom.

It is unusual, radical and apostolic in nature.

The revival is on and hence a huge recruitment of the Lord’s generals is on-going for the army that will war to win.

Your place in this is to be a part of the endtime generals that will go to the battlefields to expand, extend and explore territories of the earth for the establishment of God’s Kingdom Agenda.

It’s that time to equip women in Leadership, Enterprise and Ministry who are emerging from unknown terrains to take over the Mountains of the earth, take on unchartered courses, tear down anti -God systems and institute the Mountain of the house of the Lord.

UPSTREAM 4.0 is the formation ground for His endtime agenda.

Come join other women to be equipped and prepared for the day of the Lord which is NOW.

Save the Dates!!!!!

Register TODAY by clicking on the Link below👇

UPSTREAM 4.0 2019

We rise Strong!

See you at UPSTREAM 4.0!!!
#UPSTREAM2019
#TheEmergence
#deborahinitiativeforwomen
#LeadingWomen
#KingdomEntrepreneurs
#MinistryGifts

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