who am i?

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

What Did Mary Do?...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Picture Perfect... Slay!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Toothless Dragon...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 11, 2016

On Musical.ly, Coca Cola and Luscious Lyon.

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

A video posted by Joy Akut (@inyamuakut) on

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

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

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

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