The Secret Behind Enlarged Territories

This very second, as the breeze gently touches the velvety curtains cascading your window sill, millions of people around the world are down on bended knees, in front of their own velvety curtains, and they are asking God for the very same thing. Every one of them (and this might include you and I) is muttering the same phrase, and if not aloud then in the silence of a meditative prayer, hoping that somehow the ever-loving Father would catch a whiff of the sweet aroma of expensive offerings of praise & thanksgiving, and that He would finally answer this one true deep request today.

"Bless me indeed, Father. Enlarge my territory."

Jabez prayed it. Abraham sought after it. Joseph dreamed it. Joshua acted upon it, he saw the territory and took the city. David sowed into it. Solomon asked with style. Ruth gleaned in it. Even Jesus sent his disciples outside their familiar territory to make disciples of all nations, thereby enlarging their limited scope of things.

The absolute truth is that blessings will surely come with an increase in space, or an enlarged territory. Blessings come with the freedom to stretch farther than you've ever stretched before. Or with the ability to go beyond your greatest imagination. Or to do what you formerly thought was impossible. The blessings of God can cause you to be fatter (not literally). To be more than the man or woman you ever dreamed of.

♖The Secret:

But what's the secret behind the purpose of an enlarged territory (blessing)? I was just reflecting on the prayer of Jabez and it occurred to me that in those days territories were not for bringing chairs outside and having a party. They were more for planting lots of vineyards and farm crops large enough to feed a fortified city. If a man was known to be "blessed," he usually was the owner of large farmlands.

Farmlands (and enlarged territories) represent fruitfulness: sowing seeds and reaping plenty, using the harvested crops to collect new seeds and then sowing again into the same land for the next season, owning livestock and selling farm produce to both locals and foreigners, and so much more. That's the reason why people wanted to be "blessed" and own "enlarged territories." It wasn't just to feed their families, it was for a greater purpose. People did not just pray for enlarged territories, they understood that a bigger land meant a bigger responsibility and a higher level of vision. The bigger the territory, the bigger the level of fruitfulness required.

[Image by Mauro Luna on Flickr]

♖There's So Much More:

Today, we have such a limited and myopic view of "being blessed." We live in a society where people ask for blessings through drive-thru windows. We think the phrase is only subscribed to owning big houses, cars, money, husbands, wives, kids, a white-picket fence (or a tall one with barbed wires), two dogs and a cat and a garden in the backyard. If you only think of material things when you think of "being blessed," may God enlarge your mind for this phrase goes beyond material things to the depths of a "productive mind."

I agree that these things are blessings, but you see, there's so much more where that came from. When God blesses, He is not saying, "take dear, I give you this gift today, when it finishes come back and ask me for another one." He is saying, "take this and turn it into a miracle." He blesses to sustain us for a lifetime. He gives something like 5 bread and 2 fish and expects these to feed 5,000 people. He grants us wisdom so that we can become innovators and creators (made in the likeness of Himself).

What I'm trying to do here is to inspire and provoke you to enlarge your mind-set of asking for a blessing. When you say, "Father, bless me indeed; enlarge my territory," don't pray for just a one-time blessing. Pray for a major investment that can sustain not just yourself, but the people around you for a very long time. Pray for Godly wisdom in every single thing you do and in every action you execute. Pray for excellence. Pray for zeal. Pray for passion. Pray for the strength to endure.

You were made for more than one-time blessings. You were made to be a seed planted for generations to come. Your blessings are not to be used one time and disposed of like disposable plates and cups, no, when God blesses you with something, it is for your entire POSTERITY. You have a deeper responsibility to take it and reproduce. It's like the story of the talents over again. The one who was given 5 went and made 5 more. The one who was given 2 took them and reproduced 2 more, but the one who was given 1 went and buried his own into the ground. What good is a territory if you cannot turn it into fertile ground for more territories to be constructed?

Dear Lamp Readers, may the Holy Spirit expose to you the true purpose of your blessing so that you will in return bless nations and generations with it. May you not pray just for a cup of water but for several wells to provide a continuous supply of water. May our minds be broadened today to pray for enlarged territories not with the old mind-set of getting scraps or bits and pieces from His foot-stool, but with the mind-set of getting the full ingredients to turn a vision into a harvest field that yields fruits year after year.

A True Olympian: Allow Me to Re-Introduce the Man David

I remember watching the Olympics and each time feeling like it was me running for my country in one of those races, stretching my body, head first, toward the finish line, and of course emerging as winner of gold. It made me giddy all the time seeing elated athletes who'd spent years of their lives practicing for just one big moment.

Now, please allow me to re-introduce a true Olympian. David.

Most of us know him as, 'a man after God's own heart.' Yet, being labeled as that is just a tiny reflection of the sea of his life. It's just a scratch on the surface. A peep into a giant hemisphere. It's a phrase with only 6 words, yet so intensely sedated with underlying power. I don't want you to sit there and only scratch the surface any longer. Let's go a few inches deeper to unravel what we might not have known before.

See, some of us will not know what a race means until we've truly run the race and reached the finish line, cutting through the ropes with our hands lifted high above our heads in demonstration of sheer happiness, with teeth all showing, knowing that our Olympics was highly successful, ready for the gold medal to be thrown around our necks. I doubt David knew. He was just like you and I in his early days. Not a king. Didn't even dream to be. A nobody. From a small tribe. He was only a young boy living for the thrill and excitement of life. Yet, all we see today are his numerous accolades at the end of his life, and he becomes a hero of faith in our eyes. I am amazed and truly humbled by his story. His life is one of the greatest and also one of the most challenging ones I've ever come across.


He started out as a young chubby lad working with sheep in the 'backyard.' And yet, when some of us are told to take baby steps in the backyard, what do we do with those steps? We cry wolf and wail, "why me?" We say, "I don't want to be here, I know who I am." Or the famous line, "I am better than this." What did David do? He practiced with his bare hands, no tools...just hands, as he couldn't use weapons yet. He used what he had and saw the magnificence of God as he tore down the bear and the lion which came to attack. Yes, as funny as it may sound, the backyard was where he learned how to spell the word 'M-I-R-A-C-L-E.' He did not skip school in the good ol' backyard. He was there every single day learning precious little concepts which would later re-surface in the latter part of his life.

Some years later, who would have thought a prophet would come with a bottle of anointing oil, by-pass all his older good-looking brothers and choose the youngest of them all, him, only still a ruddy-looking boy who was not even present in the gathering (still in the backyard) to be anointed as king? Because God strictly instructed the one who came with the oil,

"Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV). 

Readers, you need to tell yourselves you are able to compete in the Olympics of your life. Do you think it has anything to do with the way you look? Are you too skinny? Too chubby? Don't think you are the right height? Ladies and gentlemen, God spent a lot of time in molding you just the way you are right now. You are beautiful and by all means meant to look the way you are. Are you still in the backyard though? Yes, stay right there fixated in the place God has allowed you to thread until you are anointed (and fully equipped) to move to the next level. Cultivate the garden of your heart, because that's exactly where God is looking. Not on your immaturity. Or your appearance (by the way if you keep training, you'll blossom into the most amazing sight to behold in the years to come). The truth is, the training for the Olympics begins in your heart. Be faithful, be diligent.


Still, after such an anointing (and knowledge of who you are meant to be), it takes so many years to get there. It is not the day you have a dream or know your purpose that it happens. But see, David did not wait to be crowned as king before he began to talk like a king, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living Lord?" It would take so many more years before he actually becomes king, yet we see how he attains the stature of a king still. In the mean time, he was employed as an assistant to the current king, went out to fight for his country, and fought like a valiant knight. What are you doing while you're supposedly waiting for the crown? Are you waiting for consolation? A "sorry darling, that thing you're waiting for has not yet come"? Then your wait is in vain, because you are already a king-in-the-making who is wasting precious time. It's not when you ascend the throne that it shall be victorious with you. Go and take up the land now, victory awaits you now. There are Goliaths to be slain.


That's not the whole story. We all want a picture-perfect anointing, but what would you do if, like this Olympian, while you are waiting for the anointing to take effect, it seems like the opposite is happening? In David's case, the current king became jealous and tried to kill him so he had to run away to a distant land where he wrote psalms like Psalm 11 where he said, "if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" and in Psalm 59, "Deliver me from my enemies, O God...O, my Strength, I will sing praises to you." Would you still praise God in the heat of the anxiety? If you don't know how to worship in the toughest of times, then you are not living life like a true Olympian. A true athlete knows that the end is different from the beginning and you have to keep worshiping the One who will make all things work for your good. Faith is the evidence of things not seen.


Opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. There are opportunities that seemeth right, but are at the wrong timing. What would you do if the one who tried to deplore your destiny is at your mercy? This Olympian, David, many years later after he had fled to the mountains to hide from those who tried to kill him, had the chance to kill his main attacker, Saul, twice yet he did not dare to "touch the Lord's anointed." Instead he said to God, "From Your presence let my vindication come. Deliver my soul from the wicked by Your sword, (Psalm 17:13). Something tells me that a wave of humility hit him those two times, reminding him of the "backyard" scenarios where, by God, he tore down the bear & lion with his bare hands. If God would do it again he wouldn't need tools. And God wouldn't need him either. Dear Olympians, because you've been practicing for many years does not mean the opportunity clad in gold and velvet right now in front of you is the right one. Wait for the God-opportunity.


Still (and you won't believe this), it would be many years before he becomes king. Saul is eventually killed in battle and David still mourns him. And even then, David is not crowned king of the entire Israel, but only of a sub-section of Israel--- Judah. He was 30 years old when crowned as king over Judah. And after that, it would be seven years and six months until he'd be finally crowned king of the entire nation of Israel and would rule for 40 years exactly. Some have tried to calculate the number of years from the time of his anointing as a boy to when he became king, but the Bible does not say explicitly. All I know was that it was a long journey packed with lots of training, but worth every step of the way.

Such an amazing race. Such a powerful journey. Such a beautiful encounter from boy to king, yet through humility and a heart ready to do it God's way. I observed while reading the books about David, that nothing else mattered to him other than being in the presence of God at all times. He secretly knew that this was the essence of life and victory. His 'All-in-All.'

The main thing is, with God we will always be Olympians from Day 1, not just when we reach 30 years of age or when we think it's time for our purpose to be unveiled. He has already painted our faces on a victory picture, but it's how we see the picture that matters. David saw it right. 

Although, I was still only scratching the surface, I hope I've been able to re-introduce to you, in a way you've probably never seen him before, the true Olympian commonly labeled as, "a man after God's own heart."

Life, Purpose, and Death

The truth is, I was shaken and in shock. I didn't have any words when the news came. What could I have written? Would it bring lives back? Would it take away the pain of those who lost loved ones? Would it make time go back to before those souls boarded the plane? No. Words don't have the power to do that. Words can't turn back the hands of time.

Today, after seeing the pictures of those who were actually on the plane, and how beautiful those faces were, I've found my muse, albeit for a few minutes. It could have been anyone.

Life is a gift from God. No amount of studies can determine exactly how an embryo becomes a fetus, and how bones extend in the womb, in preparation to be used after birth, or how cells populate the brain leading to intelligence. Yes, we can scientifically explain some of it, but not all. Only in bits and pieces. There's a reason for all of this. There's a greater purpose. And a plane crash (which could have been prevented) ending many lives, some of which had not lived past their first few years on earth, leaves a very tragic and sad story indeed.

One life is a bracket in time. It extends from one section of time to another, and then it ends. What truly matters is what we do in that space of time while we have this gift. It is our responsibility. We have been given the will to choose. We can either fulfill purpose or waste it. And on that last day, would we be worthy to hear God say, "well done, you good and faithful servant?" Would we?

I can only hope that those who lost their lives on the Dana Air Crash (the ill-fated Abuja to Lagos flight) on June 3rd left a good legacy behind. May God give all their families and friends His peace that surpasses all human understanding. Because words alone will not do.

The Walk & The Conversation

[Image by C. Pagani on Flickr]

"Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God." (vs 9)

"And God said to Noah..."(vs. 13).

The walk and the conversation go hand-in-hand, like two peas in a pod. There can be no conversation without a walk, and no walk without a form of exchange with the 'walking-buddy.' I have a group of friends who go walking in a park every summer. The last time they invited me, it was a beautiful walk. During the walk, each of us learned something new about the projects, new revelations, new the walk went on, so did our conversations tighten into three-fold cords.

So, needless to say, we really have to be near God to be connected. We have to be His walking buddy to understand His heart. There's no way you can be miles away from Him and still hear His voice.

In Genesis 1, I remember it said the spirit of the Lord was hovering over the waters. Very close. Near-by. As though God has been there all along waiting for us to realize that He's available to walk with us in this life. That it's way better when we do it with Him. It's less burdensome. It's less lonely. You have a Father who wants to take a walk with you, and during this walk called 'life' He wants to be part of your conversation. Isn't that amazing?

I want God to speak to me, so I'm willing to go on this very long walk with Him. It's first about the walk, and then the conversation. It's like God is saying right now, "Take my hand, let's go for a walk."

Let this ring in your ears today and always, "Take my hand, let's go for a walk."

This is Part 2 of the Chronological Series. I hope you keep walking with me as I go through the Bible chronologically. Stay blessed (and I hope to post more often than this) :)