who am i?

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

Friday, September 9, 2016

Incense... A Worship Experience: The Prison Edition!

When I began to understand Gods love, it was hard for me to accept just how deep and unassuming it is. I still struggle with the truth of how great this love is sometimes. You mean the person who hurt me… the murderers, the schemers, even the prostitutes; you mean God loves them as much He loves my then self-righteous self? Yes! And I am required to love them too... We love the people, not their actions, not their sins.

Thus I took incense, worship to the inmates… and as we know what the Nigerian system is like, some are convicted and some have no business being there. We took hope to them; we took the truth of Gods love to them, the beauty of His grace through worship.
As much as we took worship and Gods love to them, we took our love, and this love was in form of items to help make them a little bit more comfortable. We nourished and refreshed their spirits as well as their bodies.

I can't begin to say what impact it had on me. It wasn't arranged the usual way, the way I planned, but it sure was God's way. I saw women at their lowest worship God the deepest... And what presence!!!! The men had a great time as well; the sound out of their block was like one from a football match.

We took Gods love to them and I believe their lives would never be the same again, that something happened from the impartation.
Romans 8:38 is brought to light here… Nothing can indeed separate us from Gods love. Even in their guilt, God loves and does not condemn them or us... That's why He died for us!
So thankful to some of the true worship leaders I know (Paul Amuta, Owie Abutu, Adakole William, Doshai, Tessy Okewu)
who came out to help release the worship of Gods beloved children who didn't know better, made mistakes and found themselves in these unfortunate circumstance.

So thankful that God has so much faith in me to hand me such a precious thing as Incense… I’m so sure I wouldn’t have the guts to move and to do, to obey and to trust Him to come through always if He didn’t pour out His grace that’s more than sufficient to help me believe, be bold and lean on His strength to do this.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

What a Miss!

We went to pick my uncle up for a dinner date we had with him. He had just received a call before we walked in, that left him half amused, and half borderline pissed.

His staff was traveling to America on an official trip that night; they had spoken earlier in the day and agreed that he would pass through the house to see him on his way to the airport.
He called my uncle at the time he was supposed to be at the house, my uncle answered, expecting to hear the staff was outside, but instead he told him he was already on his way to the airport or did my uncle still want him to stop by? he could turn back. Of course he was asked to go on ahead. (Note, he wasn’t running ridiculously late. He still had time for one stop, so I really don’t understand what he was thinking. )

But you see, he missed out on something. While uncle was going through some things earlier in the day, a few hundred-dollar bills fell out and he decided he would give it to the staff traveling when he passed by; some thing a little extra for the trip. He already had a huge sum for his trip, allowance and all, but we all know that an extra hundred or two or five never hurts, in fact, it does so much good, especially in this day. That would have been a perfect extra treat,a real blessing and he missed out because he didn’t obey. He tried to play smart. I felt the pain for this guy. 
Of course he has no idea what he missed, except he reads this post or my uncle mentions it to him when he gets back. He traveled ignorant of the blessings that awaited him if only he obeyed. 

Some times obedience can feel like an inconvenience to us. Going out of our way, but it pays. It could feel like a burdensome stop at your boss’s house, when you could just take that straight road without having to divert to the airport.

When God gives instructions and ask us to obey, it’s so important that we know that our obedience isn’t for Him, it’s for our own good. Yes, we are blessed already, but those extras toppings in life, we get them through obedience.  We see people who walk in obedience sometimes and feel like God’s showing a little preferential treatment to them… but we can enjoy same privileges.
Remember, obedience is better than sacrifice!(1 Samuel 15... King Saul lost out of his kingship because he failed to obey.) 

We are asked to tithe, sow and give offerings, if we don’t do it, we wouldn’t go to hell, God wouldn’t punish us, He still loves us and still blesses us, but there’s a little extra for those who go the inconveniencing route to tithe or sow seeds (Mal 3:10, Prov 3:9-10). I wouldn’t even waste time arguing with people about tithing… I’ve tasted and seen the benefits of obedience when it comes to sowing seeds, tithing, offerings and giving to those in need. Some unexpected blessings!
Yes we are under grace and not the law and we are forgiven! But that doesn’t mean we should ignore walking in obedience of his commandments. It saves us from unnecessary issues. i.e As a lady, when you obey instructions to not have premarital sex, we enjoy the little extras and blessings of not having to deal with unnecessary heartbreaks/disappointments. When you get drunk with wine, most times you end up making stupid decisions or doing things you later regret. Those instructions are there to save us from ourselves!

(Proverbs 3:1-6) 1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

The verses above show the benefits of obedience… When we obey to trust in the Lord with all out hearts and lean not on our own understanding, and submit to Him in all our ways, He gives us a beautiful bonus of making our paths straight.

“Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:20). Not only is this pleasing to God, but there’s also a promise of long life on earth when we obey our parents (Ephesians 6:1–3)

Obeying to spend time in prayer and fellowship with God gives us inside information on life. We walk in the supernatural... He expresses His power through us in diverse ways, because we take time out to just stay with Him and enjoy His love. It feels hard sometimes to take time out, so we go days without a proper timeout with Him and miss out on a lot.  

Sometimes obedience takes you out of your way, and like my uncle’s staff still had loads of money for his trip, we still are blessed when we refuse to take the path of obedience (for Gods blessings are without repentance Romans 11:29 and grace has qualified us to be blessed outside our doing) but we miss out on those extra things that give a rich and satisfying life, like he missed out on the extra money.
Go out of your way today in obedience, there’s grace available to yield, and O, what joy you’ll feel when you’re enjoying the benefits, makes the little inconvenience and discomfort of that moment so insignificant in comparison to the size of the blessing. 

Sweet Holy Spirit, please help me to be obedient, to listen to your voice and follow your instructions. I can't do it in my own strength, so I rest in you to help me walk in obedience. Thank you for hearing me, and giving me the grace to yield to your promptings. Amen.

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


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.

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

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.
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