who am i?

"I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearned myself." - CS Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

Friday, August 19, 2016

I Don't Have to Look it...


On the day I took this picture there was a family celebration and I was sick, but Atilary Photography was around and I just had to have a portrait with him. 
I had looked forward to binging on small chops and food this day, but my plans were flat lined, as I couldn’t enjoy anything. 
So maybe it isn’t my best portrait shot. My make up is stale as it was applied early in the morning and this was late at night, plus the way I apply makeup would probably make any makeup artist wince… I’m done in a few minutes if no ones making me up. I have no patience for foundations, contouring, blending or eye shadows, just a dab of powder, black eye liners and lip-gloss and we’re good to go. 

This was a bad case of food poisoning. I had stomach cramps, fever, high temperature and the chills… and it doesn’t even look sick here. The portrait is decent and would have been exceptional if I had freshened up my makeup. No sign of the misery I was experiencing within.
Sometimes we look at certain people, especially Christian folks and see how perfect they look and envy them and get discouraged by their perfection, how they have no problems at all, when it seems like we're tackling one problem or the other.
I am a Christian, the one God loves. I know it more than I know myself that God loves me. Do I go through challenges? Yes! Am I fighting to pull through things? O yes! But I know I’m fighting from the place of victory Christ gave me.

Do I get so broke that I can’t even afford to stop the car for some groundnut sometimes? O yes!
I was telling my sister how I haven’t shopped in a little over a year, because I haven’t been able to travel, thus I haven’t experienced that shoppers high, the joy of new purchases. I have been enjoying outfits made by my tailor instead of brooding about it… but you know what? Its ok!
You see, I don’t beat myself down. I stand tall, I smile and it’s not a fake smile, a front for the world, it’s true.
I don’t sit around whining and crying and complaining, because I know these are just distractions, I know who’s boss over my life and I know who holds the victory… I can’t let these things distract me from life and purpose. Yes it gets me sometimes, but not enough to hold a lamentation party or write copies of my own book of lamentations. If I want to break down, then I would break down in front of my Father, and get right back up to being fabulous.
These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (MSG). It always is comforting to read this. When I know that these hard times are small potatoes… they’ve got nothing on the good times I’m sailing through to, the mighty supply. I can’t let myself be dragged to the pity party dance floor.

I’m a girl, and I’m not so bad looking, thus I get attention, male attention… Wealthy men! Do I get tempted sometimes? I mean, I see some of my ‘friends’ living their lives in their luxury cars, luxury apartments, luxury vacations etc As much as I know it’s all worth nothing, the truth is, sometimes, I wonder what the big deal is… I can get whatever I want my way, so why not just get it if it's right in front of me? even when i know I can't and would not, the thought peeks it's ugly head. Those temptations exist, they are real, I’m not so Christian that I don’t experience such things, but I have received the grace to ignore those thoughts as fast as they come in when I find myself in such situations… If you’re facing temptations, it’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re not so righteous that’s why they’re in your face. No! There’s grace to overcome… God's right there willing to help you, to remind you who and whose you are.
 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

You see, if you strip me of all that I am, my reputation, money, my looks, everything… I will still be standing tall, because I have all that matters, I’ve got Jesus, I’ve got His love. Thus my picture would express His beauty even in my brokenness.

God is a good God, best believe it. If you’re going through trials, don’t give up. The seemingly super Christians you see out there, your pastors looking good and preaching good… they go through stuff too, but they don’t wear this challenges on their sleeves! They don’t look like what they’ve been through. Sometimes they worry about a sick child, sometimes they get tired, sometimes they face same temptations you do, and sometimes they need all the encouragement they can get… All the storm around them has not distorted the picture of peace within them. That is what gives them the beautiful picture you see of them, oblivious to what they're going through.
Get up and out of your pity party and rejoice in the most tangible truth you’ll ever come across, the one that’s realer than the world you live in, you are loved by God!
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 2 Corinthians 4:8
This verse tells of a picture that isn’t defined by situations…. not driven to despair despite all they were going through. Knowing the love of God the Father for you is enough reason to rise above your storm and live in hope.

Doubts will come. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your faith. This is the natural mind trying to process and grasp the things of the spirit. So, to succeed Gods way, you’ve got to deal with doubts, and let each one go just as easily as it comes.”  Jesse Duplantis

I make mistakes as a beloved child of God. But you know what? I don’t stay down, because you can’t keep a good woman down. “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…”  Proverbs 24:16
I rise up again and again by His love into His love. That’s the difference between me and that person who was once “hot” but walked away, not because I have it all together, but because I have refused to give up even when I fall as a child of God, because I know the perfect one loves me perfectly and perfects me daily and does not condemn me. I wouldn’t put on sack clothes of shame on a runway of self-condemnation… I refuse to look like my mistakes, because I know I am the forgiven one.
 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

I plan events and people feel I can do these things because I’ve got a bank account overflowing with spare cash to throw around. Truth is sometimes I take the next step afraid, I start projects with nothing but faith, with not a thousand naira lurking anywhere, but I get them done. How? I don’t know how God always comes through…. But you should see me planning, I am not gloomy, or broken…. I get discouraged in-between planning sometimes, but I stand tall and determined, knowing that the vision in my heart glorifies God, thus it is His will and He wouldn’t let me fail…
Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7

What am I trying to say? We all go through things, we are humans and sometimes, these challenges try to suppress our zest for life or dampen our appetite for the presence of God because we feel like we’ve failed Him. We don’t have to allow this pull us down. It's not about pretending to be okay when we're not. In the midst of all these, if you want to break down, then do, break down before God, and receive strength to keep living and moving, but don't stay broken. 
We don’t have to look like what we’ve been through… there is a living hope, and that hope is Christ. If we hold on to Him and His promises in His word… we wouldn’t be oppressed by the situations we find ourselves in. The storm may rage around, but we would find ourselves having peace within in the storm, because Christ is in our boat, and the picture the world sees of us in the midst of all the madness around is just beauty and not the storms of the seasons that try to bring us down.
There's a reason we are told to guard our hearts with all diligence.

I sure don’t look like one battling with a high fever and the chills in this portrait… Daily my heart is guarded, thus I choose to see my peace, see my joy, see my hope beyond every situation I find myself in… I don’t look like the one who is going through or has gone through any storms. It is a choice! I know how to slip into depression if  want to.
We don’t have to look like what we’ve been through or what we are going through, it is a choice. Thank God! That in itself is grace and goodness.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thankful

He calls it rap worship… I call it fabulous worship! A song of thanksgiving to a God who is good in all seasons. 
N.U.T.T.Y Josh plus Onos... Fire!
So proud of my brother N.U.T.T.Y!
So much to be thankful for… Gods love and that we get to live out His dream for us, walking in the path and being perfected daily.
Meeting all our needs and bring us through the fire unharmed. This God is indeed too good, and I'm thankful to Him.
Enjoy and be blessed.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

He Loves me Like That... In all our Picasso (Not) Glory!

I can’t sing to save myself. I really cant and its pretty ironic because I love music, i play music most of the time, well not all the time, but it stays on top, right next to reading and writing… Its one of my favorite things to do on my one on one time with God… to just sing of His goodness and worship, but there's just a little hitch, I can't sing to save myself. Granted, sometimes I hear myself and feel like I should at least be in the finals of American Idols when it was still popping, even if I’m not getting the prize… but sometimes, even I wince at myself when I hear me croaking a song…

I was at a worship conference some days ago… the minister had just finished a powerful word session on worship, and we were singing in tongues, spontaneous worship was ongoing… that moment was so intense, the presence was so real, so tangible, so beautiful, and what a voice the minister had! I was on the floor, ugly crying and singing and I heard my voice and grimaced, and then at that moment, I believe God put this picture in my heart… that got me laughing in the midst of it all.

This is the picture I saw: you know how kids make drawings and we all gush over them with genuine love and appreciation and hang them up on the refrigerator? Well, we don’t care that those drawings are ugly when we do… because lets admit it… they really aren’t spectacular, even for a five year old. I’ve had those moments, where my nieces/cousins have made drawings for me that weren’t master pieces or beautiful in the sense of the word, but they were treasured, and I really meant it each time I told them how much I loved it and kissed the little Picasso's, and kept the drawings in special places… some of those art work were regularly stuck on my sisters refrigerator, in all their not masterpieces glory. Chuchu my seven year old cousin, recently showed me a painting she did, I was truly impressed, and this wasn’t the love covers all flaws kind of amazement, this was the wow, you really are artistic kind. I sincerely loved it, beyond the I’ll love anything you give me even when it isn’t near perfect… but my enthusiasm wasn’t any different from what I would express when the next one would bring me some senseless colored scribble painting that I would love just as much.
Source

At that moment, I understood that when I sing, as croaky and off tune as I sound sometimes, it pleases God ALWAYS… it may not be the best of voices like the kids paintings weren’t close to being perfect, but He genuinely is excited, He genuinely loves it and He sticks my praise song on the refrigerator right next to the genius works of the great singers… and he puts it in a special place, where he keeps the nice voices as well, side by side! (We could say He stores them up in a special special place in His heart.)

That got me excited in worship and laughing to myself, there I was with my off tune song, and there the minister on stage was with his beautiful voice singing in tongues with a beautiful tune, and our Father hangs up our worship in love, side by side… looking beyond our talents.
Its not my voice, its my desire to worship, my eagerness to minister to God… my response to His love for me, my love for Him…. That’s all He sees, not the notes I hit and the tune I miss, not the croakiness and my inability to reach!
Thank God for that!

One of my new favorite  'on repeat' songs...

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Keep Walking... This is not a Johnnie Walker Ad

My little cousin DJ was operated on last weekend. It was simple enough to be done as an outpatient procedure. The procedure was to correct an umbilical hernia. It was an uncomplicated surgery, but I felt anxiety, especially as general anesthetic was going to be administered on the little four year old … it didn’t help that I had the flu and I was probably hallucinating in my apprehension from the fever it brought.

A photo posted by Joy Akut (@inyamuakut) on

The surgery was successful thank God!
He was in pains when he was fully conscious and restless/confused at what must have happened to him, especially with the big scary looking plaster on his stomach. We reassured him that he’d be fine, and since he was an outpatient case; he was taken home that night.
He couldn’t/wouldn’t get up for anything, he had to be carried to the bathroom if he was in the mood to indicate his desire to pee, but if he didn’t, he freely peed on his mum and the bed with no care in the world, and no one was mad at him for doing that. He didn’t set a foot on the ground that Saturday, neither did he on Sunday, and not even on Monday when he was taken to the hospital for checkup and dressing. He was carried into the hospital that evening, like a fragile egg… notice I said fragile egg… eggs are already fragile, but a fragile egg is… You get my point I believe.

After his consultation, the doctor amusedly asked why DJ wasn’t walking…. Doc even said homeboy could run if he wanted to. The doctor held his hands and walked with him, and he walked gently at first, then he picked up pace, and so the boy we didn’t allow to set foot on the ground walked to the car.
I understand that he didn’t totally understand what he went through and so was scared to move at his normal pace, he had gone through something and was unsure of what it was like to function normally. Even we the adults were scared of letting him be because we weren’t sure of what the healing process was like, we assumed he shouldn’t be walking after the procedure and didn’t attempt to make him walk. We were used to seeing patients remain on hospital beds for days after surgery and not walking around. I had a good laugh at how ignorant we were and how we treated him so fragile when he could be himself already… how our fear probably fueled his fear, and same time increased his pleasure at being extra pampered so much that he stopped himself from being himself, being cradled and carried in your mums arms always is much better than walking after all. God used what happened to him to show me a little something that happens with we humans.

Many of us are like my cousin DJ.  We go through something unpleasant in life, like he went through surgery and then refuse to walk again, thinking we’re too hurt to even move, too betrayed to trust again, to scarred to smile again, too heartbroken to laugh again. Its time to put your foot on the ground, you can move, you can not just walk, you can run if you want to…. The pain isn’t deep enough to cripple you. Who has the power to hurt you deep enough to cripple your life, put it on hold, halt it? Who have you given that power to? You’re so wrong for that, but I’m not beating you down for not knowing better…. I’m encouraging you, take your life back. Put your feet down and walk. A divorce isn’t the end of your life. A failed business shouldn’t take away your passion and desire for success. Being raped can't stop you. Failing a course again isn’t a recipe for giving up and wallowing in self-pity. Who’s your Daddy? Why would you, a child of God let challenges cripple you?

Or is it something you did that’s so bad you cant get yourself over it? What did the bible say about falling and rising again? (Proverbs 24:16) It’s talking about you. Sin has no dominion over you. Yes you fell, rise up… that’s what makes you not just a Christian, but also a child of God; your ability to rise above your mistakes no matter how many times you make it, because God loves you and forgives you always. Put your foot down and walk. Its not so bad that God has banished you from walking in life. Walk boldly into His throne room and obtain mercy baby girl(Hebrews 4:16). Your condemnation of self is what’s crippling you brother.
God says there is no condemnation in Him (Romans 8:1)… meaning you can walk, so why are you bedridden in your guilt and shame? Like Joyce Meyer said “Condemnation weakens us and we keep making the same errors over and over.”
You’re only hurting yourself when you refuse to rise up from the ashes. And like my aunt had to suffer the consequences of being soaked in pee and lifting the heavy little man because he was not walking, your loved ones are suffering the consequences of your decision to lie there…. Peeing on yourself and just messing yourself up.
The longer you stay there stagnant, covered in guilt and wallowing in self pity, the longer you miss out on full recovery and the joy of new beginnings, the joy of knowing the love of the Lord being renewed every morning for you.
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left. Lamentation 3:22-24
(MSG)

Start walking, you may be too scared to hit the ground running, even though I promise you that you can, but you can start one step at a time… that’s progress, any progress is good news right?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Bridge...

I woke up some days not wanting to go to school. You see mum could have given into my whims and let me stay home from school whenever I wanted to, and as much as I still don’t understanding why I was finding x in mathematics class through school, as I have never found a reason to find x or y as an adult, I’m glad I have an education, howbeit a reluctant certificate.
 It takes becoming an adult to appreciate how you were brought up, and to look at those moments that left you crying and sulking at your parents to see that they really meant you well, even when they forced you to eat vegetables or share your ice-cream with your brother.

As a child I would travel with my mum, my aunt and my siblings to see my grandparents. There was this makeshift bridge, which was more like a bunch of wooden planks placed across a river in a town called Adoka on our way to Otukpo (all in Benue state). It was quite scary, as the bridge had no wedge/shoulder and was about 12feet above the stream beneath.
If my aunt was the one driving, once we approached the bridge, she would pull over and hand over the keys to mum to drive, and mum the super woman that she is would confidently, even in her fear drive us across.
When we drove across, my brother and I would look with glazed wonder at the village kids swimming in the brownish mud stained stream below. They looked like they were having so much fun. That image made us or well, I’ll speak for myself here, it made me wish the car would fall off the bridge into the water so we could swim with those kids, not like I knew how to swim, but they looked like they were having the best time, that falling over looked like the best idea ever. It was what daydreams were made of for me.

As a grown up today, I am thankful our car didn’t ever fall over. Thankful God didn’t answer that desperate cry of an ignorant child. The lives that would have been lost just so I could get in that water. The loss I would have had for a silly desire to be fulfilled.
It makes me wonder, what are we praying/wishing for that could kill us? Those things that God is keeping us from? Those request that He sees for what they really are beyond the bright lights we see them in? Those men who’s pictures you’ve taken to prayer houses to make them love you?
Thank God He doesn’t give us all that we ask for. We’d be a wreck.
Be thankful. That life you pray for could be the death of you.

It looked like bliss from above the bridge, my vantage, but it was potential death and destruction from Gods’ vantage point.
Thank God for being the good good Father that He is. The one that loves us enough to stop us, even when we don’t understand, even with knowing that we would sulk at Him and see Him with eyes that reduce His love because of what His love is saving us from.
He’s such a good Father, so perfect in all His ways.
Whatever you're asking for right now, think about it.... is it like wishing for your car to fall off the bridge for a little dirty swim? Is it worth it? 
Thank Him while you wait, knowing He'll only allow you have the best... even when it doesn't seem to be going your way, He is perfect in all His ways, and He's got the best for you... His favorite baby!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Thirty-One Is Here...


Thirty was a good year. I soared at thirty. I lived… I faced unchartered territories and took them by faith, and I saw the goodness of God in new dimensions. The deeper I dug into God, the more I discovered there’s so much more in this big God that dwells in little me.
It’s limitless, the goodness of God, the love of God. Every day His love becomes more real to me… in the midst of the trials and the things that push me to the edge of the mount, I see His love and I am unmoved, and confident that I can’t be pushed over. I believe in this love more than anything. I know, deep within me above every fact, and I hold on to this truth that I am loved by my heavenly Father. That is my rest… the love God has for me.

I’m so thankful that I get to be called His child. He’s filled my mouth with laughter, filled my heart with songs of His love, and all that He is…
I look forward to thirty-one and all the beauty and glory it’s unleashing… even more limits would be broken.
If I had candles to blow out, what’s my one wish/request? More of this power, more of this glory, more of this… the beauty of His presence. Nothing compares, in it is everything… it’s worth more than all the things I could wish for, more than all the physical gifts I desire. His presence is truly heaven to me, and I would choose this over all.

I'm so blessed in more ways than I can mention... I can't thank God enough for the family I was born into. And thank God I don't look thirty-one... #GraceBabyGrace.

It’s a happy birthday…6th July it is!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What Did Mary Do?...

Mary was a virgin girl engaged to Joseph when an angel appeared to her. He brought a life-changing message to her; the Holy Ghost would overshadow her and she would carry the seed of God, and bring forth Christ to the world. Its wonderful news when you look at it from one end, and then from the other end it’s a challenge. Conceiving a child out of wedlock in an age where twerking wasn’t what made you an acceptable lady… there were consequences that spanned beyond gossip and suspending you from the choir.
No one would believe her story, that she was a virgin with child and she risked being stoned to death, especially if her fiancé denied responsibility. Adultery was punishable by death in the Mosaic Law. Talk about risks. It was a time of difficulty, and probably judgment and scorn.

I was reading Luke 1 again and Mary’s reaction to this news was awe-inspiring. I mean she certainly knows more than I do what the potential consequence could be for her, especially if God who gave this unusual gift didn’t show up for her. Her response to this? Mary sang a song of praise; she worshiped God right in the midst of her uncertainty in regards to the judgment of the society and the reaction of her fiancé Joseph. She was focused on the end result, the promise and not the hurdles she would have to cross to get there. It wasn’t a spontaneous praise in the heat of the moment when the angel was there… this was after she must have reflected on everything… the good and the bad and what lay ahead for her on the path of birthing a savior to the world. It must have scared her. But she chose to worship.
Mary’s song of worship popularly referred to as the magnificent in the message translation…
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now. Luke 1:46-56

How many of us can rise above our fears and the odds against us and worship God for what He’s doing? To move beyond whining at the obstacles you face and praise and worship Him in the midst of all you face on your way to the promise? Don't beat yourself down if you've been whining, this is just a wake up call to worship.

Most times carrying Christ and Christ inspired dreams to your generation isn’t so easy. There’s so much planted within us… dreams that are bigger than us and all it takes to kill our obedience to God to step out in the impossible is the reaction of people, these people could be anyone from our family to best friends, mentors and even strangers.
There’s a backlash, there’s lack of support, not everyone sees your God given vision as you do, because well, it’s something that’s unconventional, so not everyone would rise to support it, in fact opposition and discouragement would come. Sometimes it would be a time of difficulty, and labor when you’re running with a vision, a whisper only you can see and hear.

How hard has it been achieving your God given dream? How hard has it been carrying the seed placed within you that’s getting ready to be birthed to the world? The roadblocks, rejected proposals, financial restraints, lack of moral support, and the sacrifices of things you have to give up on to make room for this dream? It’s not been easy but you’re still standing, right? That does prove that the power that gave you that vision is the same that’ll keep you through. Learn from Mary, learn that it’s not the time to whine, take a cue from Mary and praise in the midst of it. Worship in the heat of the moment, trust the one who overshadowed you and planted the seed in you. It’s your own way of birthing Christ to your generation. Be in in business, ministry… your passion/talent… anyway.

Remember the words spoken to Mary and rise up to tell yourself always, Hail (Joy), thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women (the people of the world). Luke 1:28
The Lord is with you, and He favors you, and He has blessed you amongst the people of the earth, how can you fail? When the trials come, how can they overwhelm you? When you walk through the fire, how can it consume you? When the flood comes, how can you drown? The Lord is with you, do not be afraid, Mary (Joy), for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God. Luke 1:30(AMP)
It’s time to worship…


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Picture Perfect... Slay!

The wrong lighting/camera setting gives the wrong picture, a wrong representation of what a person looks like or what a picture wants to portray. The wrong angle makes for an awkward picture … you would be silly to judge yourself based on that.
I prepare for weddings/events feeling fly… I have mini photo-shoots at home, and I’m slaying with my pose in those pictures, then I arrive the event and those unofficial photographers rush to give me a paparazzi moment, I usually don’t let them, but sometimes, I kind of get carried away by the attention, especially with the slayed stamp seal on me, choosing to forget they are just hustling men and not true paparazzi. When they bring those pictures, they look horrible, I quickly snatch them from the guys not because they are good enough to be paid for, but because I really can't let them move around with those unflattering pictures of me, exposing their flawed picture of me. No no!

At weddings, there’s the official professional wedding photographer and his team that have been carefully sourced out and contracted and there are the commercial/freelance photographers who find  their way in, and a whole ton of family and friends posed as amateur photographers with their cameras and phones with bad settings. Sometimes the pictures come out looking good, half decent but not as good as the professional ones would.
You can’t judge your looks by these other peoples pictures. Their camera is on the wrong setting, they get you from wrong angles and the lighting is ridiculous plus the scramble to get your printed pictures to you by the freelancers results in them bringing unflattering pictures where you’ve been so airbrushed you look like a blurry piece of human with no pores. Your look has been distorted by their cameras.

Don’t judge yourself through those lenses, there’s an official photographer and when you see his photo-book, the pictures are a far cry from what the others present to you. You’d see pictures of a particular pose taken by the different people around, but nothing comes close to the copy presented by the main guy with the contract to capture your day. Some of the amateurs may give you a picture that isn’t half bad…. But nothing trumps the original, well that’s if you’ve hired a well and trusted professional.
Any other person would have captured everything wrong, but Heavyrain Vendutti my official photographer for the evening got perfect shots of me. I am undeniably flawed, but God sees me in my imperfection and gets only perfect shots of me. He presents me picture perfect with His lens of love. Knowing that the one who reigns over all has this beautiful images of me, how can the world and it's opinion of me stop me? How can it stop you?
God is our well and trusted professional, if we chose to serve Him as our God, then we know we have the best man for the job, not a counterfeit. The bible, Gods word concerning you is the perfect lens to see yourself through. Others may see your reality, may see your struggles and judge you by them, but they mean nothing when you see what the real picture is. God says you’re perfect in his sight, He says He loves you. He says you are healed and forgiven. He says you’re the blessed of the Lord.
I saw this statement while reading on photography “Everybody, no matter how ugly they are, has a good (or at least better) looking side.”  You see, even if you don’t feel beautiful or handsome, no matter how ugly you feel, there’s a good side for a good photograph… Be glad, you have a good side… that’s the side God looks at you through; the angle He takes your portraits from and presents to the world in your photobook/album… your perfect angle Is the side of His perfect sacrifice, and that's an all-rounder.. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process.  Hebrews 10:14(MSG)

Seeing yourself through the lens of the wrong people is what brews unhealthy competition in us. Have you asked yourself… would you be happier or in a good place to exercise patience and trust in God if you weren’t seeing yourself through the lens of others? Imperfect and a failure is the picture they present to you when you’re not doing things in their pace. So what if Jack is married? So what if Mary’s business is booming? You are on your path and things are working out for you in a different pattern from how they worked out for the next person and in the end, its all for your ultimate good because God makes all things work together for your good and thinks good thoughts towards you to give you a future and an expected end.You would avoid that bad marriage if you're not trying to prove a point. You wouldn't make that bad decision just to get the latest iphone if you're not bothered about what your neighbor's got. You wouldn't be hooked on drugs if you weren't trying to show you can be a hard man too when your friends mocked you. You wouldn't leave the gospel fold just at the brink of your breakthrough to go secular if you're not looking at how that secular act who can't sing has blown in just a second while you've been there for a minute. You wouldn't care what they are saying, or who they are comparing you with.
'Opinion polls don't count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.' Luke 7:35(MSG) Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? 

Step back for one second… smile into the lens of God, the main photographer and wait confidently for His picture in that situation, not the amateurs… tell yourself you’re in competition with no one. Believe it. Now do you feel half as bad about whatever situation as you did before?

God has a perfect picture of you in every situation you find yourself in. Just pick up His photo-book of you in His word and view yourself.

See yourself through the perfection of Gods lens. That lens that produces pictures of you as perfect, pictures of you being the beloved of the lord. Pictures of you having abundance, the rich and satisfying life God has for you. Pictures of you having good success, pictures of you being the head and not the tail. Pictures of you as an overcomer. Pictures of you right on time, in Gods time. Pictures of you on the right path, in the right place at the right time meeting the right people and doing the right things.

People would use the lens of condemnation to paint pictures of you. So what if you stole before? So what if you were a cheat?
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus... Romans 8:1(NLT)

Whose picture of you are you using as your display picture? That of the professional or the amateurs? It's your choice.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Toothless Dragon...

A whatsapp group was opened for my old secondary school mates. I’m not too wild about seeing hundreds of messages coming into my phone as I hate seeing unread messages. It doesn’t mean I’m not excited about getting to see how life has treated us in a more intimate way outside what Facebook projects, because on Facebook we scroll past, but in this group we actually get to talk, or well they talk and I read through silently.
The group has brought so much nostalgia, it makes me miss secondary school and the ladies we were or still are as in the case of some. I laugh a lot at the conversations and just sit amazed that we have nursing mothers and mothers of two and three amongst us. Just yesterday with were eating kwado(You’ll only get this if you were in boarding school in Nigeria) and ironing our Saturday bread to get the perfect toasted bread and today there are doctors and lecturers and Dj’s and caterers etc.

It took me back to a time I was punished in school. My set had the black sheep label stamped on us, I don’t know why, but we were always punished and never really liked, so even when I tried my best to stay out of trouble, I was always punished with the whole set. I would labor to keep quiet and out of the noisemaker list, but the class would get so noisy the whole class would be punished. Talk about paying the price for another’s sin. How can’t I understand what Christ did? :)

One day I skipped the last lesson for the day, I think it was an economics class. The library was my happy place, my hide out from unwanted lessons. Unfortunately for me, I saw some of my mates from the science and art class there as well and I sat with them. I zoned out from their conversation and was enjoying the Guinness book of records just added to the library collection, that’s when one of the young male teachers walked in, and there was a bout of giggles on the table about something someone said, I wasn’t even paying attention to them, I was lost in my book. That kind of threw the young man off, he felt like he was the object of mockery from us, why else would they have been giggling just as he walked in, and I mean I cant blame him for feeling that way in the midst of a bunch of young ladies… we were subtly intimidating, budding pretty young ladies and it couldn’t have been easy being a young man working and walking in our midst daily. But that doesn’t excuse him from what he did.

This teacher with his insecure self suddenly came to our table and next thing I know, every one of us was flogged, we were about six or seven girls. I was confused when he went all crazy on us even as I brought out my palm to receive the lashes, then he asked us to go kneel down in the gravel layered courtyard, now this was the center point where the junior students and practically the whole school came through. We knelt under the sun with our knees digging into gravel when the closing bell went off and students headed out for lunch. I was embarrassed, seeing the juniors see me serve punishment. I hated the feeling and I got pissed by the minute that we were suffering for the teacher’s insecurity because we did nothing to deserve the punishment or well, I know I did nothing. That thought got me angry and prompted me to get up and walk away. I walked towards my hostel, no looking back.

I told myself I wouldn’t suffer for nothing, and I already had a lie played out if I was hunted out, I would claim to be ill or something, but all I knew was I wasn’t suffering unnecessarily.
The teacher didn’t even notice I was gone when he eventually set the rest free. And just like that there was no consequence for me.

The devil sends shadows to stop us from going forward, shadows to keep us trapped in his bondage, as his slaves… thus we remain bound.
God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating. Colossians 1:13-14(The MSG)
Christ already paid the price; we have been set free from the curse of the law, from the wages of sin. Any bondage we’re in is illegal as children of God. We need to step forward with boldness, to refuse to be held bound, knowing there can be no consequence for us when we walk away from his trap. There is absolutely no consequence when you walk away and shut down his accusations shouting at you. He’s a toothless dragon. 
Egypt is all show, no substance. My name for her is Toothless Dragon…. Isaiah 30:7
What does Egypt represent theologically? All that is opposed to God, a place of oppression. Known to be wise, but in all their wisdom, they couldn’t outdo God’s wisdom and power through Moses. And for this post, I’ll say, the oppression and persecution of the enemy.
God called this place of bondage a toothless dragon for a believer… meaning if you’re held bound in Egypt, it has no power to keep you, it’s scary, as scary as a dragon looks, but it can’t do anything… all shadows. A toothless dragon, thus it can’t bite, it can only try to intimidate and oppress you, play games with your mind and manipulate you with your own fear.
There’s a higher power speaking for you, thus you only stay under a curse if you choose to. (Christ has redeemed us from the curse... Galatians 3) Walk away by embracing the power in Christ, the sacrifice He made for you that gives you authority and calls you and qualifies you for the blessings. There’s no other power strong enough to hold you down.

Walk away from that relationship (business, romantic, friendship etc) that is causing you pain and shame… walk away from the hurt and the cheating and lies…. It’ll feel like you/your social life/your business may die without the person/contact/expertise, you’ll be shocked at how well you survive, just too well, you more than survive, and you actually live a better life. Walk away from habits that seem addictive, that makes you feel incomplete without indulging daily. It’s all shadows, all the threats of the consequences of walking away from actions and events that bring shame to you.
Don’t let fear stop you. Remember, toothless dragon!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

On Musical.ly, Coca Cola and Luscious Lyon.


I’m a lowkey musical.ly fan. For those at a loss, musical.ly is an app where you get to make short videos and share. I don’t share my videos, I make videos and keep them private. But its fun. I mean where else can I be a real life saved video vixen? We need this apps to let our hair down, except when they take over your life and you’re this walking talking social media robot.
I think I’m addicted to coke. This isn’t a lowkey sort of addiction… I’m openly addicted to that black gold in a bottle/can. I don’t enjoy meals without a bottle of cold coke. The day isn’t the day if I haven’t had one or two or three of those. I know it isn’t healthy, but I told myself I cant stop… which I’m not so such about because I think I’ve been able to stay clean for a few weeks once. So, you see, I love coke, but sometimes at midnight I try to convince myself that the fact that I’m up late doesn’t mean I need to sip on some coke. I put up this video on instagram… it’s a mashup of three of my musical.ly videos. They just seemed so apt to describe this struggle.
It depicts the battle in my mind when it comes to coke sometimes ...

A video posted by Joy Akut (@inyamuakut) on




Voice one: You need a bottle of Coke to wash it all down. Food ain't dope without coke. Midnight ain't fun without sipping on some Coke. Coke all day everyday baby!
Voice two (the still small voice):  Say no to Coke child, don't give him your name or number. You need to give it up!
Voice three (raging monster in Luscious Lyons voice): Y'all want some? Go get some girl.

Ha! I always end up with a bottle of Coke. Maybe it's the aggressiveness that wins... the voice that says no is ever so soft and the voice that encourages me to indulge is always so loud. When we struggle with decisions/choices, the voice that screams loudest is often the voice to ignore, what we should listen to is the one that is calm, peaceful and so still you almost miss it if you're distracted. God's voice is in the stillness of our hearts, the peace it feels even in the most difficult decisions we take against our flesh and will, not a screaming raging sound that tries to get us to do it. It doesn't argue, it's not in a hurry even when there's a trace of urgency in it, while on the other hand, the devil just keeps yapping so loud, shoving his opinion down your throat in a my way or the high way sort of way, that you end up indulging to shut him up, to shut your mind up, to just get over with the voices in your head.

“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. I King 19:11-12(NLT with emphasis)

God is in the gentle whisper that leads in the way of peace even when the decision you want to take feels  feels like you're giving your flesh a massage with volcanic lavas and you know for real its the right thing to do even if it doesn't feel comfortable. The world is too noisy and we can't afford not to listen and hear when God speaks, we can't afford not to be led by His Spirit, we can't afford to make decisions without listening to what the whisper of our heart is saying... saves us a lot of trouble.  Remember to listen to the still small voice, remember to look for it in the midst of the voice that screams for you to make a choice that doesn’t give you peace. The Luscious Lyon voice is only good for one thing... empire, not ruling our lives.
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