who am i?

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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013... It's A Wrap!!!!

I’ve received gifts this year that have been unbelievable and amazing from an uncle of mine. God used him to make part of my year great. I was excitedly expecting the traditional Christmas package from him. Every year, I get a nice package, and this year, I planned a lot of things around this package. Well Christmas has come and gone and that special Christmas package still hasn’t arrived. I was high on being pissed. I wasn’t happy, I was sulking… I complained and I murmured, even though I joked about this unusual amnesia. Then I picked up my phone and came upon pictures of me smiling and having a good time at different times this year and it hit me, if he doesn’t do anything else for me, he’s done enough. Without me asking, he’s added to the beauty of my year by letting God use him to meet my wants.

Lack of gratitude and probably greed blinds us from seeing the good we’ve been laden with. We have a person doing good to us 364 days in a year, and the one day he takes a day off, we judge and condemn and throw all the other days out with the trash. I quickly repented of my rants, as much as I still feel a package would have done me real good, I’m no longer passively mad at him for that. I’m thankful. God forbid that he realizes how hurt I was for this one omission… what would he think of me?

It’s the last day of the year… my last post was about being thankful, and I want to end the year with another post on gratitude... Look back and see the goodness of God in your life. You may not have gotten that special request, but can you honestly turn back and smile at some events? Its all His grace and His goodness, be thankful to Him, don’t throw all He’s done out just because he hasn’t come through on one of your request…

Remember this song...
Count your blessings name them one by one, count your blessings see what God has done… count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

I am grateful, and I repent of every ingratitude, I repent of every grumbling and murmuring and doubt…. I trust God and I believe in His goodness. As bad as it may seem, people have looked at me and envied me this year… that’s enough reason to be thankful. I mean all the good and bad has merged into a big beautiful picture, the bad and the moments of despair has been covered up and I have been envied, people have wished to be me… even as I struggled through some challenges. The fact that no one can perceive my challenges is a blessing on it’s own. The fact that I look like I have not a problem in the world is grace! The joy of the Lord has indeed strengthened me this year. How awesome is that. I end this year with a big thankful bang. God is awesome.

Thank you for being a part of my 2013. For every time you’ve clicked on Eldorado, you’ve encouraged me to keep doing this, you’ve made me see it’s all worth it. Brace yourself for greater things in the coming year… See you in 2014!!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas...

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

Merry Christmas!!!!
Thank God for the gift of Jesus. The reason for our celebration.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ainya Owochio... Giving Thanks!

Sunday was my church’s end of year thanksgiving… I didn’t dance much, because I can’t dance…  It felt good dressing up for God and just showing Him how thankful I am… for my family, for my friends, for my dreams, for my hope, for my salvation, for faith, for His grace, for favor, for ease… for everything!!! (Yeah so I'm kind of showing off in pictures *shrug*)

It’s the end of the year again… how time flies, what a whirlwind… what a year! Many lost loved ones. I watched my friends go through the pain of losing a brother. Maybe you lost parents and friends. Life flung you and left them hanging from it’s fringes like a door hanging loose on a stormy night.

I’ve watched people question God, I’ve watched them serve Him in their pain even as they question Him in their hearts. Oh, I would say the year was tough for many… And then I bring the foolishness of what my Christian faith teaches, that God is good! That this year was good despite all you went through… that’s the foolishness of the gospel, telling you your path shines brighter even when you feel it’s been dimmed out and half way to quenching from all the pain of lose and how the reality of your dreams has eluded you. Forget the seen and dwell on the unseen, it is well with you (sounds like unrealistic religious talk right?).

Through your pain, through your gain, it’s always been well. I know its foolishness, I know I don’t feel the pain you feel… I know you hurt and you’re mad at God. I know the tears hurt; your heart feels like it’s been wrenched out. I know… but in all my knowing, I know one truth that stands, God is good ALL the time. I don’t know how or why I can say that, or why my bible tells me that and my heart convicts me of His goodness, I really don’t know, I only know that He is truth and if He says He is good, then trust Him to be good.

There’s nothing to be thankful for? You’re alive! You say, I’d rather be dead than go through this pain and failure… Solomon says a live dog is better than a dead lion (Ecc 9:4). There’s a reason He’s given you His shoulder to lean on in your mourning, there’s a reason He refused the heartbreak to kill you… there’s a reason you haven’t ended your life like your mind convinced you to… there’s a reason, I don’t know what it is, but there is. Be thankful, if for nothing, then for the fact that He is God in all situations.
Be thankful for the sacrifice of Jesus that qualifies you to be seen as Gods beloved. Ainya Owochio... means Thank you God in Idoma. Just take a minute to say thank you.

My year has been wonderful so far, and I know more is to come. Grace abounds… I learned more about the goodness of God, I learned more about His grace, I learned more about the truth of the gospel… I grew!!! Oh I grew… I saw the love of God, I walked in favor and entered into a phase of grace and ease. It was a perfect year… it’s been a perfect year so far…. Does it mean I didn’t encounter challenges? Does it mean I didn't cry? Of course I did(Matter of fact, I was so hurt I cried hard a few days ago) 
All my dreams haven’t come through and I haven’t achieved some things I hoped to, but that’s not what determines it… my heart is full… I don’t feel any hesitation in saying it’s been a perfect year, better than last and nothing near what the next will be. How am I sure? The path of the righteous shines brighter and brighter to the perfect day (Prov 4:18)… It can only get better, it’s only getting better, even when it looks worse. There's always a reason to be thankful. Ainya Owochio!

Keep trusting, keep hoping… don’t be weary in doing so, just at the right time, you’ll reap your harvest. There’s still days left to the year to achieve, there’s still time for a ‘suddenly’ kind of touch from God, and even if there isn’t, there’s still next year…. Don’t limit God to a year, who says If He didn’t do it this year He can’t or wouldn’t do it in the next year? Keep trusting!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Chairman's Daughter...

The factory workers were going against the authority of the chairman. They went against rules, did things wrong and neglected duties. It was only right for the chairman to close down the factory, cut off their only source of livelihood in a time of such economic crisis as this… the fact that she had been silent about their ways made them think they could get away with it. Her warnings/appeals were heeded, and then discarded as soon as the solemnity of the moment wore off. The production manager was practically useless, as he seemed to fear the people more. The factory was loosing money, and loosing credibility with the sloppy work and late delivery of goods.
That’s when the chairman’s favorite child and only daughter came in. She decided to forfeit the luxury of her title and her qualification to become a factory worker. To learn the ropes and hopefully stir some passion for the work in the staff, make them realize that just a tiny cord held them and their job security together.
She dropped the Jimmy Choos for factory boots, silk scarf’s and fascinators for hard hats, well manicured nails for rough gloves… soft clean hands became hard and brittle, Gucci shades for safety goggles, channel no 5 for the smell of sweat. The face that was well powdered became sweaty and rough with acne. Well-fitted clothes from the couture houses were set aside for unflattering and stained jumpsuits for one of her stature. Luxury accommodation was exchanged for a room in the staff quarters. Her income dropped. Lunchtime in posh restaurants was exchanged for lunch with the factory workers. She looked less than the numerous house helps that served her at home.
Many times, she wanted to quit, to give it all up, to tell mother to do what she wanted to do, it wasn’t worth it. But the more she stayed with this people, the more she loved them and wanted them to succeed, to be better even as they frustrated her. She tried boosting their commitment level, reminding them that they were better taken care of than their peers in other factories.  Only very few recognized who she was and respected her for the choice she made, respected her enough to renew their commitment to work. The others just didn’t care. They mocked her, told her she knew nothing. Even in her presence, they still went against authority. She tried making them see just how hurt the chairman was, but they called her bluff. She tried to make them understand that just a little commitment from them was all it would take for the Chairman to increase their benefit and her confidence in them… They told her to shush up. It wasn’t such an easy task after all.  
All hell finally broke loose. The day a major contract was handed to the company. A job, that would mar or make the company’s reputation for years to come. Negligence happened to visit in a big way this period. There was a mix up, an avoidable one. One that stalled production, one that put the company’s reputation on the line… one that broke the camels back of the chairman. She was closing shop, this people she had loved and kept working for her for two generations had taken her for granted long enough… she would replace them with new and worthy hands, people with no sentimental attachment but with an eagerness to work and earn a living…. She would close shop.
There was fear and trembling in the factory when word got round. Everyone was gloomy and sat in fear at the realization that indeed they had taken the chairman’s attachment and love for them for granted, they had taken advantage of the privileges and opportunities and chances she kept giving them, just because most of them inherited the job from their parents and grand parents. News coming in was that she meant business this time.
That’s when the chairman’s daughter walked towards the administrative block. Her heart beat with each step. She knew just how disappointed her mother was, she knew just how much this meant to the company, she knew what was at stake here…. But she knew she couldn’t let the silly people be punished for their foolishness. She knew she had to make a way for them to make it right again. Thus she stepped into the chairman’s office… and took blame for the mistake that almost cost her the company. She took the scorn and the disappointment, she took the mouth lash and the disgusted look, in that moment, she wasn’t a daughter, but a mere factory worker, an employee who had failed her employer. She took it all in pain because she loved her mother, and her mother had never spoken so harshly to her… but she took it, because she loved those silly people in the factory, the thought of the nothingness they would get with loosing their jobs kept her standing before the chairman and the board as words of disappointment were thrown at her. She took her termination letter with deep sorrow, she had always excelled in everything she did, to be given the boot over this was a hard one to swallow… But a feeling of relieve swept over her that she had saved families from unknown hardship.
She folded up her factory clothes, hugged those who understood what she had just done for them and thanked her profusely… and went away. As she took a bus home, she smiled. From tonight, she would be the chairman’s daughter again, she would be driven in her sleek car again, she would go to the spa and get a massage, facials and a full body scrub, She would be a sophisticated woman again, her hair would be made, and her nails will be pretty again. She would attend the events and be back to her social circle.
At least now she understood the workings of the factory, she would be able to advice on what needs to be done to the board, when she sits on the board, she would influence decisions and better the condition of the workers, little things that had been overlooked. She would know how to appeal to the chairman on behalf of the workers having been one of them for a period.
Hopefully, her sacrifice had beat common sense back into the lives of the factory workers. Hopefully. And so she was driven to the factory in her new car, and every air of sophistication, but with a love so great that she rushed into the factory in joy to see the people she took the heat for… Alas, the same attitude she took the burn for was still been played out, only a few worked, while the rest gambled, neglecting their machines and ruining the products.
What a stubborn people!
Our salvation story is quite similar to that of the factory. God was ready to let it all go, He’s said He’ll raise the stones to praise Him if we don’t, but Jesus stepped in. He left the glory of heaven, the attention of angels and became man, just for us. He’s walked amongst us, took the punishment for our sins by dying for us, only to peep back and see us act like He never did anything for us.
Thinking of Jesus leaving all that glory for us is overwhelming. I haven’t seen half of heavens glory, and the little that I have tasted is so hard to leave, to do nothing close to what God came to do.
“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross…’ Phil 2:6-8
Only love could have done this… I’m thankful for the love of God that keeps loving me even when I act like a spoilt child. The love that stands even when I’m ungrateful and rebellious. I’m thankful for the sacrifice of the cross that speaks better things for me… I’m thankful for the lamb that was slain. I’m so thankful for Jesus.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

When Giants Fall.... Paul Franklin Crouch

Paul Crouch Sr. (March 30, 1934 – November 30, 2013) (photo TBN)

I’m thankful for the life of Paul Crouch. I’m thankful he yielded himself to God. I’m thankful he answered his call and pursued the vision God put in his heart… I’m thankful for TBN, for the random times I tuned in and discovered wonderful preachers from all around the world, with timely messages for me. I’m thankful for the message of salvation it sends across the nations. I’m thankful for the lives that have been transformed through him.

He was such a blessing and remains a blessing even in death. I’m not as sad as I should be, I can't even imagine a pinch of the joy he feels where he is right now, the place we all call home and long to be someday.
God bless and comfort his family.

 I heard a voice out of Heaven, “Write this: Blessed are those who die in the Master from now on; how blessed to die that way!”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “and blessed rest from their hard, hard work. None of what they’ve done is wasted; God blesses them for it all in the end.” Revelations 14:13(msg)

I pray to have a legacy to leave behind, something that keeps blessing people even after I am long gone.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Got My Eyes On You...

I pride myself on being a superb babysitter, aunty extraordinaire and future super mummy. Thus I was so sure I had an eagle eye on my niece Steph… I took her to fantasyland in Ikoyi, back in the day when it still had a little fantasy to keep the kids excited. She had so much fun playing on the indoor rides but got bored soon enough. We went outside where there was dancing with the carton character mascots. I put Steph in the fold and sat down to watch…

Aunty eagle eyes sat and watched them dance, and oh boy, what a shock I got when I suddenly couldn’t see my niece in the fold, I assumed she must have inched to the other side of the dance floor and got up to check only to find no cute little girl in the crowd smiling at me. My heart stopped as all sorts of scenarios ran through my head. Truth be told, nothing ran through my head, I was blank like I usually am in times of shock. I told myself I was calm. And calmly walked towards the administrative building and as I headed there, I saw her, looking lost and scared as a staff held her hands and brought her towards me, the relief I felt knew no bounds.

Apparently, she lost sight of me sitting down and panicked and walked round looking for me thinking I had left her; what a bummer. I never took my eyes off that dance floor; it probably took just a blink to loose sight of her. I didn’t want to tell the story of what could have been to my sister, but I had to, if I didn’t the little sweet heart would, cause she kept telling me in the car as we drove home that she thought I left her, with unmistakable fear written all over her face even when I tried to joke about it with her, I reassured her that I could never leave her alone.

She thought I left her, and I thought I had my eyes on her, I was so confident that I had everything in control. I was wrong, I wasn’t as on top of things as I imagined. Right under my watchful mother hen wannabe eyes, she disappeared from the group and I had no idea…. I always wondered how mothers could loose their children,  and kind of judged them, now I know it’s that easy.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 1 Cor 10:12

Isn’t that how we feel sometimes, like we’re all that and more spiritually when we really aren’t all that?
Right under your nose you fall from the high horse of spirituality without you knowing. Standing there, judging the world for being humans living on grace. One day you get up like Sampson and realize your hair has been cut off and you’re powerless after all.
Its time to step down that high horse, because you never know when you find yourself tumbling down and face buried in dirt even when you’re so sure you had a tight grip of the reins of self-righteousness. Humble yourself and you’ll do just fine. Sometimes it takes just a blink to tumble down… and have such a great fall that even after all the king’s men struggle to put you together, you still walk around limping in shame.

“…you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.” Romans 11:20

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

On Marriage, Offsprings, Beauty and Plastic Surgeries...

“I married my wife out of love, but as soon as we had our first daughter, we began having marital issues,” he told the Irish Times. “Our daughter was incredibly ugly, to the point where it horrified me.”
The words of Jian Feng, the man who sued his wife for giving birth to an ugly baby. True story! Jian’s wife was ordered by the court to pay him $120,000 after he sued her on grounds of false pretense. He was ‘duped’ into believing she was a beautiful woman.

This young handsome man married a perfect beautiful woman and was one happy arm candy carrier until their first child was born. According to the news, the baby was so ugly her father accused the mother of cheating on him…. Because, he’s a fine dude, she’s a fine dude; a combination of their genes would not create something way out of the boundary of beauty. Thus he carried out a DNA test to prove she cheated on him, and alas, said baby was his. That’s when the true confession came out to play. The wife confessed that she had extensive plastic surgery before they met. She enhanced her looks… more like transformed herself to a beautiful swan. Ouch!!!

For your Maker is your Husband–the Lord of hosts is His name–and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth He is called. Isaiah 54:5

If we say we are Christians, then we are the bride of Christ. But we do well in deceiving the world like Jain's wife with our plastic surgery, making it think we really are beautiful brides, because we have put up a fake picture. Thus we walk around church in sacred steps, that if we were in a carton flick, there’d be an obvious halo floating above our heads. By all means enhance your looks, but true beauty in Christianity isn’t about faking it, its about an inner transformation of the heart that brings out the inner beauty in us, we wouldn’t need to go under the knife to impress the world. 
"You’d be surprised at the things that look great on the outside but are dysfunctional on the inside. Be sure to function as good as you look" T.D Jakes

Everyone is impressed by the perfect union, but soon enough we bear seeds that make the world question the paternity of our fruits, because what they see does not resemble what we claim to be and certainly isn’t an offspring of Christ, our bridegroom. Fruits of sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties. Galatians 5:19-21
Our fruits are nothing like His genes and what we claim to be. A true bride of Christ takes in the Holy Spirit and produces joy, love, peace and all things gorgeous. But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,
Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence)...” Galatians 5:22-23

Now God has every reason to ask to be separated from us forever when our deceit is brought to light, and He will be justified. But thank God our bridegroom, our Christ isn’t as hardhearted as the man who sued His wife. He loves us still and gives us chance after chance to empty ourselves and come as we are so He can love us as we are, all ugly in our sins, and fill us with His Spirit that transforms us from the inside and makes us such a beautiful bride as we produce seeds worthy of His name. When we walk in His transformation, we walk in truth, not in calculated steps trying to impress a portion of the world that we need to pretend to.
(not the real couple... this picture was taken for an ad, the children's looks were Photoshopped.) A Chinese ad showed a beautiful couple and their three not-so-pretty little kids, with the caption: “The only thing you have to worry about after plastic surgery is explaining it to your children.”

How apt, the caption for the ad is. I'd say the only thing to worry about faking your Christianity is explaining your fruits to the world.
Are you bearing ugly fruits? Making your groom question your identity? You can deceive the world of your calling, but soon enough they’ll see there’s a big cover up, a conspiracy when you begin to produce fruits.

I’m not perfect yet; daily I come to Him in all my ugliness, willing for a touch, a transformation. I thank God for the grace to refuse to cover up in my makeup and try to make Him think I am more than what I am. I am just a girl, who wants to receive the love of the man who has seen me at my worst and still loves me. I am just a girl, who comes before Him to drink of His love and His grace that transforms me into a beautiful swan by His Spirit within me. I am a work in progress, I may drop one of two ugly seeds, but He hasn’t finished His work in me, I am on the path to perfection. Thank God He hasn’t casted me away as He patiently waits for me to see myself in the light of His beauty.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Small Prints...

Recently, there was a story on the blogs about a Nigerian artist who broke ties with his record label, and released a new album as an independent artist… According to people, he’s a pretty good singer, I’ve lost track of the entertainers out there. Anyway his previous label got an injunction against him, stopping him from releasing any work outside the label till after a few years because of the terms of their contract when he was signed on.

You see, sometimes the deal is too sweet, the excitement too deep that we don’t bother reading the small prints in contracts. The juicy details of the deal magnify themselves in our eyes and that’s all that matters. If I was an artist just coming up, no one knows my name, and then a big record label approaches me with all the glitz and benefits of being a signed artist with their reputable company, I’ll be ecstatic and I’ll sign the contracts. Reading through but not really seeing what it states. Maybe he didn’t even get a lawyer to make adjustments; maybe he overlooked certain terms, I wouldn’t know. But the truth is the small print gets you if you don’t deliberately magnify it and meditate on it.
The benefits of the contract of salvation, doesn’t begin in life after death, the reward of heaven and being in the beauty of God’s presence. It isn’t just that. There’s a small print we fail to read like the humans that we are… we forget to, or choose not to read it. I mean how many of us have read the terms and conditions before ticking the box claiming we’ve read it on some of those websites? We sign our names, take out the basic info and go… thus sometimes we end up missing out on benefits of contracts, warranties etc or getting into deep trouble.

You have the right to peace, righteousness, joy, and a happy life…. A beautiful career, satisfaction, wealth…  It is your right, but only yours when you grab at it, and demand it from the treasure room of heaven, meditate on the terms and conditions of the contract in the bible and grab at it. When you live with the anything goes mentality, you miss out.

He says ask… before you call He will answer. You have 24hr security and you can command heavens secret service guarding you… your angels are ALWAYS on guard, and He says nothing shall in anyway harm you… Have you read all that in your bible? Have you meditated on them? Have you held Him up to His promises? If He really is a covenant keeper, then you better start tasking Him to do what He says He will.

Small prints are what the devil, like some of those companies who give sweet deals use to trap you. They tell you you’re getting a brand new ipad ‘absolutely free’, what they don’t tell you is there are hidden charges for certain things… You excitedly sign up, only to hear a different story from their email or telemarketer. I read this advice on some website If you're looking at another kind of iPad giveaway, make sure you check for hidden catches. Many of these so-called "freebies" ask you to sign up for various offers, which can cost you money or jeopardize your privacy. Make sure you know exactly what you're getting into before you start.”
Have you read the small prints? Don’t just sign on before you get on board, read the prints, comb it for any clause that’ll do you in. He’ll give you a wife… but he wouldn’t give you peace and joy in that marriage, it’ll be filled with distrust and all.
He’ll give you wealth, but there’ll be such a clause attached to it.
He’ll give you red velvet cake and take away the cream cheese… what’s red velvet without cream cheese?
But the blessings of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow (Proverbs 10:22). That’s the difference between the blessings from God and the blessings from the devil.

I have seen the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13) There’s goodness and a glory and such blessings to see here on earth before you die and go to heaven… Read the contract and don’t be ignorant.
 “Jesus Saves!’ The big question is what from? What does ‘saved’ mean? Actually, it means so much it can’t be put in a sentence. Jesus saves all the way through, ‘from the guttermost to the uttermost’. Salvation isn’t just insurance from hellfire and a passport to heaven. It is comprehensive. All sixty-six Bible books are needed to explain it. It has fathomless depths, like all God does. Even children enjoy it and yet it challenges scholarship and inspires new thought every day. This glorious Gospel is the landscape of eternity with intriguing perspectives. Salvation is Jesus and Jesus is salvation.” - Reinhard Bonnke

“We were not saved to go to heaven, but saved to restore the original plan of rulership. We were saved to bring heaven down to earth and make a difference to our world. What we have embedded in us is to be utilized on earth, not made to be taken back to heaven because heaven does not need it.
Stop the surrender lifestyle, aspire for more, go get that job, go start that business and be the standard in your industry. The reason why the economy is corrupt is because the righteous are running instead of staying, standing firm and establishing a government by being the light”. Chapel of uncommon grace.

Have you seen how stiff some Christians are? Living wretched, not willing to try to get out because wretchedness is humble, it’s a Christian thing to do, so they sit judging the world around and those enjoying themselves while they suffer… Well my Christian thing to do is to live a rich and satisfying life. I have chosen to read the small prints and I choose to enjoy every benefit to the fullest. I’m still learning about the terms of the contract, and how to place demands on them.

Its like staying in a luxury hotel and just being in your room all day or going out sight seeing/shopping all day, and on the last day of your stay, you decide to pass the time by browsing through the hotel’s welcome pack that’s been in the room since the day you arrived, and as you read, you discover to your dismay that there’s a complimentary steam room and sauna for you, there’s a complimentary full package treatment and make over at the hotel spa for you and you’re entitled to a free meal at the five star rooftop restaurant every evening of your stay, but its too late, you can’t cramp everything into your last day and you stay hissing because you spent so much on the hotel, and missed out on the benefits that come with it. You kept paying for things that were available to you for free because you didn’t take time out to read the small prints of your welcome package. You realize too late that the joy of staying in that hotel goes beyond it’s brand name and the architectural masterpiece that it is… there’s much more offered for free and you missed out on it.

Grace makes you worthy of heaven; grace qualifies you for heaven on earth. You just have to start making demands on the blessings grace has freely given you. Don’t wait for heaven after death, start enjoying heaven on earth. Read the small prints and don’t get cut short.

Monday, November 11, 2013

On Travelling, Packing and Excess Luggage.

I love to travel… but I need salvation from the pain of packing. I can’t pack to save myself. My friend Afi is such a pro at packing up a suitcase. If I had all the money in the world I would hire her to be my personal packer. She would pack my suitcases for me and be a billionaire off me. I don’t know how she does it, but what I need two suitcases to pack, she would carefully hurl in one suitcase and it wouldn’t have an excess luggage bill to it.

The term packing light doesn’t seem to make sense to me and I pay for this. I travelled for a wedding once. I was to be away for just a week. I felt embarrassed when my luggage was being loaded into the car… I had to keep explaining to my travelling companions that I had three weddings in one day and had no idea what to wear, thus the excess load. Something came up and my week long trip turned into a month… what I packed for one week sustained me for the month and I didn’t have to repeat outfits often.

There’s the ‘what if’ outfit, the just incase dress, I mean you never know when you’ll be invited to a dinner with the president right? *raised eyebrows* There’s the what if I had to attend an event and the this and the that, and of course there’s shoes and bags to go with all that … like seriously, and you only end up wearing nothing most times.

I always have excess luggage when flying. It’s horrible! I realized at the last minute that BA had doubled its fee for extra suitcases. Now that hit me hard, I was mad at them, having to pay #140 instead of #70 per extra bag. That cut out a whole chunk from my duty free shopping list. Excess luggage is not only a pain, but it steals your joy… imagine not being able to get all you planned from duty free because you had to pay more than you bargained for excess… its more annoying when you get home to realize most of the things you filled the suitcases up with are just worthless junk you could have done without. Why buy packs of crisps and cartons of biscuits and other junk? We just love to hoard when we travel… don’t we?

I remember once in Dubai, after paying a lot of dollars at the airport for just a few extra kgs, I saw a woman open her suitcase and drop purse after purse, she dropped the lovely purses on the floor to be discarded because she couldn’t afford to pay the excess luggage fee for all the bags she had on her. She was probably buying them for resale. I’m sure she bought them from one of the markets and figured they were cheap enough and worth sacrificing than paying the price for the excess luggage. Some things we drag around we really don’t need, we can afford to leave them behind as we check in for our flights in life.

There’s so much baggage we’ve packed up and hurl around the place with us as we journey through life. It isn’t really worth it, the baggage and the fees we pay. We’ve let this excess baggage steal our joy and deny us of the rich and satisfying life we were promised. Thus we walk as Christians and hardly have time to enjoy the benefits of walking easy and picking up joy and peace on our walk, like shopping in duty free because we’re hurling luggage we don’t need and we’ve spent so much on the unnecessary we don’t have room to enjoy ourselves.

The people you carry in your head(or plan for as we like to say). The things you worry about. Trying to impress the world around you. Stop for a minute and repack. Do you really need that dress of worry? Do you really need the extra shoes of revenge? Do you need those pants of unforgiveness? Stop hoarding petty things that’ll weigh you down… Stop falling over yourselves and burying yourself in packed suitcases of sin because you’re trying to keep up with the world around you and impress your friends. It really isn’t worth it. There’s only one-way to enjoy your life’s journey, and that’s by being as free as you can possibly be.

“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...” Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Calling It Off...

A friend called off her engagement a few weeks to her wedding. They say better a broken engagement than a broken marriage, but its so much easier mouthing that off than actually doing it.

Breaking off an engagement is as hard as it sounds, even harder… but in the end, it’s easier than breaking off a marriage or going into one knowing you really don’t want to.

Many have gone ahead even as they got a forceful wake up call that they were making a mistake, because the hall had been paid for, air tickets had been bought, years have been spent together, mother had crushed all restraints in planning and the train was moving so fast and they were afraid of the feathers that would be ruffled if they asked to alight one stop from the destination.

It got me thinking… would I be as brave as she was if I realize it’s all wrong? Not only in marriage, there are loads of things we go ahead to do even when we feel its all wrong because we’re too scared to back down at the last minute. We don’t want to disappoint people or seem weak; we think we’ve gone through all the hurdles to come this far to start doubting at the last minute.

It doesn’t matter how you react to a break up, locking yourself up and crying for weeks and months, shaving off your eyebrows, loosing so much weight and being sick for weeks… it doesn’t matter if you go skydiving or mountain climbing or learn to ride a bike. It doesn’t matter if you’re seen as weak and chicken for not braving it… It doesn’t matter if crying is all you do. The truth is, however you react, you are the strongest person for walking away, for listening to yourself and your truth, for choosing your truth over everything and what people would say. For seeing reason, even in the fog of laces, and trimmings and white dresses and asoebi. For seeing reason even when the world around you define your path as perfect.

I pray to have the strength to walk away from anything or anyone that I am convinced in my spirit is all-wrong for me. I want to be strong enough to give it all up even in my weakness and my tears. I don’t want to be the weak one who went ahead because she couldn’t be anything else, I don’t want to be foolish enough to dress my weakness up in a costume of strength as I make the wrong choice because I want it to be right even when my truest witness within tells me otherwise.

I want to know myself as being strong even as I break down and die a thousand deaths of heartbreak from walking away, because I know I will still live, and I’ll be happy after it all, and another lucrative deal would come, another wonderful man would come... another perfect opportunity that’ll be perfectly perfect with no hidden clause would come.

How long will we continue to deceive ourselves by parading our weakness in a mask of strength?  Learn to walk away from anything and anyone when the warning bells wouldn’t stop ringing.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Look Before You Scratch...

We went for lunch at some new Buffet place somewhere in V/I, Lagos. I shall not name the place since I was not impressed with the food. I was lost in thought, probably wondering why we didn’t settle for yellow chilli for Sunday lunch instead of the new place when the sight right in front of me jolted me back with a bang!
We sat close to one of the glass walls. It’s got inscriptions on the outside, hence if you stand outside, you wouldn’t see through the writings inside, but if you’re inside and seated, you can see the bottom half of the person standing outside. I’m not sure if you get the picture I’m trying to paint, I found a picture of the restaurant to give you an idea. (but I still don't see what I'm trying to describe in it.. oh well!).

There I was, minding my own business with my thoughts when a well-dressed guy positioned himself against the glass wall outside and proceeded to spend a good number of minutes scratching his butt. That itch must have been such a burden, and that glass wall with the inscriptions on it was a deceitful cover. I can imagine the relief he got when he found a good spot to just chill and dig into his butt and scratch out that frustrating itch as he waited for the other members of his party.

Unfortunately for him, it was as clear as the sun to me and my laughter attracted the other members of my table and we watched that show for as long as it lasted, yuked out and amused at the same time, I mean, I know we have to scratch when it itches but etiquette demands that you don’t tolerate such in public. It was real restraint that stopped me from taking a picture of the poor poor man.  I tried not to stare too hard and laugh some more when he finally walked into the restaurant with a gentlemanly fine boy swag, with the ladies in his party. If only he knew how he entertained us…

Never underestimate the power of being visible. You never know who’s watching even when you feel no one is. Think about that when you’re about doing something less honorable.
As Christians, we’re more visible than we think. Sometimes our lives are the only bible the world sees, it could bring them running in or send them running off and scoffing at the hypocrisy in our fancy dress show of religion.

Whether you realize it or not, people are watching you. Even in small areas, make sure you’re representing God in a great way. Joel Osteen

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Just Saying....

I know I don’t make sense to some people. I know they dismiss what I write as some religious blabs and go on to the next site and I understand why they do that, because I sometimes wonder how it is for one who doesn’t know God the way I do to believe some of the things that I write. Some things can’t be comprehended. If I wasn’t saved, and if I haven’t seen the obvious hand of God at work in my life in situations that couldn’t have been luck or magic but just God, I may scoff at some of the things I write and some of the hope I hold on to. They’re unbelievable until you’re right in it.

I hear people make fun of falling under the anointing in church… you wouldn’t joke about it when you’ve fallen under the anointing away from the pastor laying hands on you, right in your bedroom as you worship… now that can’t be faking. You would make fun of people seeing visions of heaven and having one on one conversations with Jesus, until one day you find yourself sitting in your room and it lights up and every other thing from then on is a daze because you’re living in a vision and smiling in the face of Jesus. Have you watched nollywood and some of their ridiculous story-lines of witchcraft et co?  I have been one of those to mock Nigerians and their beliefs... Until I knew for a fact that there's such a reality to all that. I could give true stories that would seem like just another script.

I read how people jeered at the lady who gave a testimony on Bella Naija about going to heaven and her journey to finding her husband… people mocked her and made all sorts of jokes about it, people who boldly declared they were Christians before delving in to tear her testimony apart. I believe as much as she was mocked, those who she was led to share that story for caught what they were meant to… People go through loads of stuff with God, and if they tell their stories, the internet would have such materials for jokes for ages, because when your mind is limited and closed, it’s hard for you to believe what you don’t understand, and what you don’t understand you make jokes out of. There’s a deeper level than just going to church on Sundays and tagging yourself Christians, the bible isn’t fiction or something that happened… there’s such a revival going on in people’s lives like it did in the lives of the disciples.

This Kind of hope and faith that I share, this kind of trust I feel led to encourage would be just another set of religious writing if I haven't through situations that needed nothing but faith and trust even when all seemed lost… they’re real and I believe them so much that I write to encourage the next person. I haven’t gone to church and taken the pastor’s sermons to drop here… this is my life! I’m going through a process, I didn’t just wake up one morning and get into my private jet and all I want and decide to spend my spare time telling every other person that their time would come. I’m going through a process where I need this encouragement as much as the next person reading this and sending me a mail or dropping a comment of how much they needed to hear it. I know first hand what it’s like to be joyful in the midst of pain, to have peace when you’re bumped around on the waves of chaos, to hope when a situation is hopeless. And because I know what it is, I’m able to ignore those who mock.

It’s just like a situation where the little girl you grew up with, the one down the road who ate your remnants and wore your old clothes… the one who had one pair of shoe and never had money for ice cream suddenly becomes the girl living the lifestyle of glitz and glam, wearing more expensive designer gears than you can ever dream of having, so you tell her she’s wearing a fake…. There’s a lifestyle of some rich people that seem out of this world… and she has access to it, and tells you stories of the private jets and the yachts and all that…. As much as you see her living it, you snigger at her and say ‘girl, you is a liar’. Because what you see on your TV and Hollywood feels so far off, that its impossible for someone you know to wine and dine in it.

The glory of the Lord upon a person transforms and breaks the boundary of the mind and what it hopes for and imagines. The glory of the Lord upon a person makes him/her believe in the impossible and walk in the extraordinary. The glory of the Lord upon a person gives him/her a calming peace and unexplainable joy in situations that dictates otherwise for another person.

Sometimes, God allows certain situations to happen so that you can speak from your experience and not speak on behalf of your intellect. @A1BARZ

Even when the world scoffs at your testimony and your faith… give it to them anyway. It may seem like a hundred people are mocking you, but there are twenty of them in that crowd that believe in what you’re saying and need to hear your testimony. When you’ve lived it, and survived it…. Share it. Your word may just be the defibrillator the next person needs to wake up and live!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Expectations, The Perceptions... One Crazy Ball Game!

All of us are affected by what other people think, say and do in response to who we are. Yet if pleasing other people becomes the goal, you will spend the rest of your life chasing down your critics. If satisfying the critics becomes your goal, you’ll never have peace. God knows you and loves you unconditionally. Remember that you serve the Living King…and not the critics. T.D Jakes

There’s an expectation the world places on you that isn’t fair. People see you and decide they know what you should look like, what industry you should work in, who you should date, the sort of bag you should hold, what class you should fly in (that’s if they’ve pardoned you for not flying private,) and what church you should worship in, what pastor you should worship and have as your personal APM (automated praying machine.)
Sometimes we may call it good intentions, but how do they know what’s right for you?
It gives undue pressure and we find ourselves going over ourselves to please the perception of those who would only sigh or tsk their tongues and move on to gossip about other things at the news of our death.
I’ve come to realize that they don’t matter. As hard as it is to fall short of their standards or expectations of me, I’ve got to do what I do for me, for my heart, my truth, my joy and happiness and peace of mind.

I don’t have to tip toe around airports praying today isn’t the day that the world is literally small and I see one or two acquaintances on my flight and how disappointed they’ll be that I’m not flying first or business or wish the world really is small when I fly business so they can see me. (But we’ve got instagram to solve that problem of visibility :p)
I shouldn’t be scared of going into primark or wearing what I bought from there because I will be judged…. What happens when you can’t afford a pair of true religion jeans?
While you’re happily married to a man outside the scope of their perception, they stay sad in their marriage of other peoples perception, envious of you on the inside of them but turning up their nose to you on the outside… because you failed the laws of the facade of humanity. Many envy you because you dare to be happy beyond the surface, and that’s why they make you suffer for it with their snide comments and smirks at you.

Giving up your dreams and living a lie, because the world says you should pursue a certain career because it gets you IN. Life is about you living a rich and satisfying one… Rich and satisfying is having the desires of your heart and living your purpose and living your dreams in reality… Rich and satisfying is being happy being you and not locked up in peoples perceptions of plastic surgeries and fake smiles with a surprised looked all year while inside you die every day, that’s not the life we were called to live, the life Jesus came to give. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Don’t you think he’s done enough stealing and destroying in you? Don’t you think you ought to pull the rug from under the pyramids of illusions of perfection you’ve built before he kills you in your pain? Don’t you think it’s time to dust the dirt of the fear of rejection from your friends for choosing to be you, different from them and unique? 
"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." John 10:10

“People will put you in a box and get mad when you don’t stay there. Make this note to yourself: Get out of the box.” Tera Carissa Hodges @teracarissa

I read Sarah jakes post as I wrote this and it resounded what I’m trying to say. She said what I was thinking… she said it much better than I could have, here’s an excerpt, read the rest here…..

"I made a pact with my fear long before I found my purpose. The pact insisted that I fix what the world said was wrong with me before I could be of any use. The day I realized that I was laying concrete over the ocean of my soul I made a new deal. I made a covenant with God that I would learn to seek His voice in the silence. And no matter what the people say I believe that I don’t have to look like what you’re used to, to still be used.
The secret to muting the fear-filled silence when walking in His purpose for your life is trusting that God is stronger than your doubt. He may not have created you to be like the rest of the world, but it’s only because He expected that you would be strong enough to find peace, not fear, in the silence.
God, I’m tired of living up to the expectations of what people say. I want to remove the roadblocks that are keeping me from finding the beauty in my walk and the promise in my purpose.  I’m tired of talking myself out of better. May the words from my mouth and thoughts in my mind be pleasing and acceptable in Your sight. All I want is for others to look at me and see You. "Sarah jakes.

Many of us need to get tired of living up to expectations right now… many of us need to destroy the roadblock peoples perceptions of us have put on the path to our happiness. Many of us need to start living that rich and satisfying life… and it isn’t by trying to please people or living the life they dictate to us.

It’s hard I know, but choosing to try this method of shutting the world up is one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself.(Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
Sometimes I find myself listening and trying to compete, to show that I can if I want to and I’m as cool as they think I should be, and even cooler… Sometimes I have my bad days of letting my joy and peace get stolen as I look on at the world and try to meet up with people’s ideologies and desire to be all the definitions of great I could be according to the standards of those around me… But I am always brought back to sanity by remembering what's truly important in the end.

It’s great to be reminded that embracing Jesus sets me apart, sets us apart. In Him, I am not of the world… neither are you. (the world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. John 15:19)We’re different, unique, a people called apart, chosen for greatness beyond what the world dictates… that’s what makes us special, not making the world happy by sacrificing our joy.

Go on out into the world and be happy!

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