who am i?

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

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!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Stronger Than The Adversary...

I just got back from London; it was a too short visit with my sister and her kids. My niece Stephy turned eleven while I was there (happy birthday sweetheart, I love you, you are a star. She’s taller than I am and sometimes finds her way to this blog, but tells me it was a mistake. So I have to give a birthday shout out just incase she mistakenly reads this)

I’m not short… I’m about 1.67m or thereabout and the eleven-year-old sweetheart is as tall as I am.  I remember carrying her around and holding her to sleep on my chest as a baby, that’s one of the glaring proves that I really am older than she is. Now I may need her to carry me if there has to be any carrying in our love language.
Before: Pardon my dreads :)
The known fact that she’s an inch taller than me, makes her (and me) forget the truth that I’m older than her, thus she bullies me, and I run and scream and plead with her to stop as I cower like a lost puppy, but she keeps going on and on with the tickling. 

One day as she harassed me, it suddenly dawned on me, that the fact that we were walking head to head didn’t mean I couldn’t or didn’t have authority over her. So with my new-found knowledge, I took charge. I ordered her to stop in between my shrieks for mercy, and I guess she sensed I had come to my senses, but she wasn’t sure if I was joking or not, so she tried tickling me some more, I was almost resigning myself to fate but I forced my voice to be as firm as I could muster and asked her to stop and spiced up the order by ordering her to kneel down and put her hands up, proper naija style punishment. 

She was shocked, but something in my voice must have told her the joke was over and I was serious. She knelt down and I did a victory dance and laugh around her… reminding her I had authority over her and showing her who the true boss was. It was fun watching her squirm as the amused smile at kneeling turned into pain when she realized kneeling with your hands up isn’t really a fun type of punishment, it hurts. (She’s never had to do that punishment, lucky her) I was the boss again… no more running away from my subordinate.

That’s the kind of game the devil plays with us and we forget we really are more than conquerors; we have the authority to talk him down when he comes with his bullying and harassments. (Sweetheart, you aren’t the devil… I just used it as an illustration ok? Don’t question your salvation :))

No weapon formed against you shall succeed and every tongue which rises against YOU in judgmentYou shall condemn.…(Isaiah 54:17) not angels… but you, the condemning is all in your hands or you just keep right on being a victim when you really are a conqueror.

Here's a rather long excerpt from a story Hagen told on Authority (Yeah it’s long, I know, but I feel we ought to read this) “In 1952, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me in a vision* and talked to me for about an hour and a half about the devil, demons, and demon possession. At the end of that vision, an evil spirit that looked like a little monkey or elf ran between Jesus and me and spread something like a smoke screen or dark cloud. Then this demon began jumping up and down, crying in a shrill voice, "Yakety-yak, yakety-yak, yakety-yak." I couldn't see Jesus or understand what He was saying.

(Through this entire experience, Jesus was teaching me something. And if you'll be attentive, you'll find the answer here to many things that have troubled you.) I couldn't understand why Jesus allowed the demon to make such a racket. I wondered why Jesus didn't rebuke the demon so I could hear what He was saying. I waited a few moments, but Jesus didn't take any action against the demon. Jesus was still talking, but I couldn't understand a word He was saying—and I needed to, because He was giving instructions concerning the devil, demons, and how to exercise authority.

I thought to myself, Doesn't the Lord know I'm not hearing what He wanted me to? I need to hear that. I'm missing it! I almost panicked. I became so desperate I cried out, "In the Name of Jesus, you foul spirit, I command you to stop!" The minute I said that, the little demon hit the floor like a sack of salt, and the black cloud disappeared. The demon lay there trembling, whimpering, and whining like a whipped pup. He wouldn't look at me. "Not only shut up, but get out of here in Jesus' Name!" I commanded. He ran off.

The Lord knew exactly what was in my mind. I was thinking, Why didn't He do something about that? Why did He permit it? Jesus looked at me and said, "If you hadn't done something about that, I couldn't have." That came as a real shock to me—it astounded me. I replied, "Lord, I know I didn't hear You right! You said You wouldn't, didn't You?"
He replied, "No, if you hadn't done something about that, I couldn't have." I went through this four times with Him. He was emphatic about it, saying, "No, I didn't say I would not, I said I could not." I said, "Now, dear Lord, I just can't accept that. I never heard or preached anything like that in my life!"

Jesus replied, "Son, there is a lot in there you don't know." He continued, "Not one single time in the New Testament is the Church ever told to pray that God the Father or Jesus would do anything against the devil. In fact, to do so is to waste your time. The believer is told to do something about the devil. The reason is because you have the authority to do it. The Church is not to pray to God the Father about the devil; the Church is to exercise the authority that belongs to it.

"The New Testament tells believers themselves to do something about the devil. The least member of the Body of Christ has just as much power over the devil as anyone else, and unless believers do something about the devil, nothing will be done in a lot of areas."
 We believe that certain people have power. No, Jesus said the least member of the Body of Christ has just as much power over the devil as anyone else; and when we start believing that, that's when we're going to get the job done.

Jesus continued, "I've done all I'm going to do about the devil until the angel comes down from heaven, takes the chain and binds him, and puts him into the bottomless pit [Rev. 20:1-3]."

That came as a real shock to me. "Now," He said, "I'll give you the four references that prove that. First of all, when I arose from the dead, I said, 'All power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth' (Matt. 28:18). The word 'power' means 'authority.' But I immediately delegated my authority on earth to the Church, and I can work only through the Church, for I am the Head of the Church." (Your head cannot exercise any authority anywhere except through your body.)

The second reference Jesus gave me was Mark 16:15-18: 15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

He said, "The very first sign mentioned as following any believer—not any pastor or any evangelist—is that they shall cast out devils. That means that in my Name they shall exercise authority over the devil, because I have delegated my authority over the devil to the Church."

The next reference Jesus gave me was James 4:7: ".. .Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (the understood subject of this sentence is "you"

After that vision, and after Jesus gave me that verse from James, my spirit told me the word "flee" was significant. I looked it up in the dictionary and found one of the shades of meanings was "to run from as if in terror." The devil will run from you in terror! Then I knew why the demon in my vision had begun to whimper and cry—he was terrified.

Since then I have seen other demons quake and quiver in fear as I exercised my God-given authority over them. They were not afraid of me, but of Jesus, whom I represent.

In the vision Jesus gave me another Scripture that tells us to do something about the devil. This third reference was from First Peter. Peter wrote, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:
. Your adversary means your opponent. Notice what it says as we go on reading. The next verse reads, "Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions [tests and trials] are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." The American Standard Version says "your faith" instead of "the faith." I like that better.

Jesus said to me in this vision, "Peter did not write this letter and tell Christians, 'Now, word has come to me that God's using our beloved Brother Paul in casting out devils, and he's sending handkerchiefs or cloths, and the diseases are departing from people, and evil spirits are going out of them, so I would suggest that you write to Paul and get a handkerchief.' "

No, instead of that, he told them to do something about the devil. Why? Because they've got authority over him. The Spirit of God through the Apostle Peter wouldn't tell you to do something you couldn't do.

Jesus, James, and Peter tell us to do something about the devil. Paul says in Ephesians 4:27, "Neither give place to the devil." This was the fourth Scripture Jesus gave me. He explained, "This means you are not to give the devil any place in you. He cannot take any place unless you give him permission to do so. And you would have to have authority over him or this wouldn't be true."

Jesus added, "Here are your four witnesses. I am the first, James is the second, Peter is the third, and Paul is the fourth. This establishes the fact that the believer has authority on earth, for I have delegated my authority over the devil to you on the earth. If you don't do anything about it, nothing will be done. And that is why many times nothing is done." Now you can understand why things have happened as they have. We've permitted them to happen! Not knowing our authority—not knowing what we could do—we have done nothing, and we actually have permitted the devil to keep on doing whatever he wanted to do.

We need to realize this. Let's wake up. We may have to change our way of praying and get after the devil. I did. It won't hurt you to change; it's good for you. We have authority to do this. We're sitting at the right hand of the Father, far above principalities and powers. If we're far above them, then we have authority over them. (Kenneth E. Hagin)

I’ve let so many things happen and hoped that if God willed He would do something about it… I’ve realized that the victory has already been given to me, thus all I have to do is walk in that victory through exercising my authority, in prayer and pronouncements over my life… say a thing and it shall come to pass.
He’s given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the powers of the enemy, nothing shall in anyway hurt you(Luke 10:19). Don’t sit back and let oppression continue in your life… don’t wait for Jesus to reprimand the devil when He’s given you the power to crush Him. Use the authority you’ve got today! You're stronger than your adversary.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dune Bashing...

The smaller dunes, less scary but still a terror to sis.
  My heart went helter skelter the first time I went dune bashing… it wasn’t something I ever wanted to do again. It was horrible. That adrenaline rush was no child’s play. It gave me a headache and it was everything but funny even though my friends’ boyfriend laughed once or twice(out of fear I guess). But it didn’t mean I didn’t have fun at the end of the ride, even though I was shaky when I stepped out of the car.
I had fun at the camp after that horrid ride, I rode a camel, had a good meal, rode a squad bike, belly danced or attempted to shake my waist and took loads of pictures that didn’t give away my moment of terror a few hours earlier.

Fast forward to some months back… we were going to do the desert safari again. I told my sister she may want to skip the dune bashing and go straight to the camp, she was quick to agree, but our driver had other plans. Oh boy, he was mischievous about it and the ‘I’m oh so tough’ sister of mine had her heart getting ready for an attack . I thought I wouldn’t be able to take it again, but I enjoyed it this time as I sat between my brave cousin and my fearful sister. I had heart-skipping moments, but I was confident because I knew what to expect, and I knew we had camp and fun things to do right after. I didn’t have time to panic even if I wanted to because I had to look out for my sister. I had to be a comfort to her. Holding her and being genuinely scared that she was going to pass out as she buried her head between her legs and kept screaming about fainting, blood running into her head and everything senseless. I wasn’t half as scared as she was the first time I experienced this…looking at her made me realize what a brave little girl I am.

I knew it was going to be all right. I knew there was a beautiful camp somewhere ahead where we could ride camels, paint hennas, dress up and just be fabulous with loads of food and cold drinks and pictures.
She refused to be comforted by that fact as the car went down another high dune. I’m sure deep down she was comforted by our confidence, I’m sure the only reason why she didn’t actually pass out or kill herself right there was because we seemed calm and sure that it’d be over soon and she would be over it.
The scaredy cat is masked behind the pose...
We stopped in the middle of the desert, balanced on one of the medium sized dunes, taking in the beauty and taking lovely pictures, and I was amazed at her transformation, she wasn’t the scared girl when it was time to pose… and then she went right back to screaming the rest of the way when we resumed our journey to the camp, and I went right back to putting my arms round her and saying, the camp is just ahead, we’re almost there. She really did have fun in the end…

As Christians, we have many afflictions, but the lord delivers us from it all. The temptation we go through isn’t peculiar to us… that is why there are books and there is the bible and there are messages and teachings available to us. Things you hear that mirror what you experience. God lets others go through trials so they can come out strong and be a comfort to those going through. Many would not survive their going through if they had no reference to someone who had been through and come out whole and well and better and praising. Imagine if we heard of no one called barren who had a child? If we heard of no one ever getting healed of cancer or HIV or a fever, or no one ever bouncing back after a huge set back in business and career. Without the experiences of these ones to hold us as we pray through, our faith will be seriously shaken, and without hope, we wouldn’t live through our trials or if we do, we would come out of it terribly scared.

I am thankful for those who have been through on their way to in the ages past… I still look as far back at the experiences of the Israelites and see hope for myself, I still look as close as Christians around me to help me stand firm in my believe and trust. Thank God thatNo test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.’ 1 Corinthians 10:13 (msg)

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