who am i?

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Road Trip...

I went on a trip to a town about 45minutes away from where I live, but takes about an hour thirty minutes because of the bad road… how horrible that road is.
We had to charter a not too nice car for this trip because we had car issues… I had plied that road one too many times, but it was always in the comfort of a nice air-conditioned privately owned car…
But this time, how horrible the trip was. The car bounced and bounced and everywhere rattled and my body rattled, I was so sure I had displaced parts from all the prancing… and then there was the dusty section of the road that was extra horrible because the windows were down, I had to inhale an unhealthy amount of dust…
I was exhausted and felt so dirty and in desperate need of a bath when we arrived the hotel at our destination.

For the return leg of the journey the next day, I returned in a style I was used to… a nice air-conditioned private car. I was relaxed and so happy I didn’t have to go through the rigor of the first leg of the trip.
When we seemingly glided on the same bad road, even though we went in all the same potholes, I thought how this was the same horrible road that rattled my bones the previous day… but my experience of the road this time was different because of the vehicle I was in.

I literally felt sick after that trip. My body ached from the first leg of the trip and I was thrown into a comatose sleep most of the day.

I had always known the road was bad, but I had never really been so affected by it on previous trips because I was in nice cars… I had even driven myself once or twice on that route and I didn’t feel it was so bad. But the moment I stepped into another kind of vehicle for the trip, everything seemed to have gone wrong. I experienced it in a different light.
Earlier this year, I experienced the same thing. This time, I drove with my friends to Porthacourt(a Nigerian city) about nine hours away from where I live, I didn’t even feel it, not the bad road or the distance… it wasn’t tiring at all, it was fun and relaxing. Fast forward to a week later when I had to return home with a chartered car… from the moment we started the trip I already felt tired(he picked us up about two hours later than our agreed take off time)…. The bad roads pierced my nerves(if that makes sense) and of course the car had troubles on the way. I hate to think about that journey. The driver dropped me home feeling like I walked the distance… I couldn’t believe it was the same trip I felt refreshed after about a week earlier.

Jesus said in this life we would have troubles…. There’s’ always trouble both for the saved and unsaved/believers and unbelievers.
Life is like that really messed up road… there’s no sugarcoating it.  One day after the other we hear different horrors, from cries of recession, to cries of terrorism, to unjust things happening, to molestation and child abuse etc and so many hideous effects of these things like increased suicide rates among other things as a result of discouragement and despair. Life is a bumpy road… but your experience of this flawed road is dependent on whose car you’re sat in…

You will pass through the fires and it will not consume you… (Isaiah 43:2)
A thousand may fall at your left and your right… if you make the Lord your refuge, the most high your shelter, no evil will conquer you... He will order His angels to protect you.... He is your refuge and safety place, you will find rest in Him. (Read Psalm 91)

I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world." John 16:33(MSG)
Jesus said he has overcome/conquered the world… now that’s the vehicle to jump into(the shock absorber of this vehicle is top notch)… you go through the potholes and dusty road knowing Jesus has conquered, you go through it cushioned in his love, that as much as the reality of what’s happening surrounds you, there’s a deeper truth that gives you peace in the midst of it. You’re shielded and they do not and cannot affect you… same experience, different reception and handling of it… same experience, different security measures keeping it from affecting you.

See, I knew the road was bad but was never affected by it until the day I took another kind of vehicle… once you take your eyes off Jesus to try things your way/another way, you’ll realize that the same situations would leave you so scared and covered in sooth and just so despaired that you begin to think and see suicide as not as bad an option as you used to think when you heard those news.

In this world you would have trouble… but if you’re riding in God’s vehicle, know that He is providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil… (Psalm 94:13(msg))

People are going through trouble in marriages, finances, self image, and life goals etc.
I’ve gone through periods that have been daunting and tasking for me, but never enough to floor me. I’ve never seen a reason why I should pack up and get floored on life because of certain seemingly larger than life crisis, both private and public experiences that I have faced. I have cried but I have not allowed the tears drown me. Now its not because I have super powers… its because of the car I am sat in. I have seen others go through the same things or even less than I have and look like car wrecks. It’s unbelievable how good I’ve looked through some of the worse times of my life.

Who are you riding with on this journey? The worlds system with a car that makes you feel every single bump and wear and tear of the road, or with Jesus in His car of salvation that takes you through the bumps without feeling like you’re going through it, because He has indeed overcome the world for your sake?
I don’t want to arrive the destination of my dreams too beaten to enjoy the victory… I want to arrive rested through the process.

Beloved, let not your heart be troubled. Rather, let it be strengthened and established in the love and wonderful promises of God for you! Joseph Prince (John 14:27)

We are children of Light!
By Gods favor, we are exempted from what affects the people of the world! We weren’t saved for nothing.
Jesus has deprived the elements and systems and evils of and in the world of its power to hurt and harm us and has conquered them all for us” Apostle Mish Ogbodo

Its easy to get on-board this vehicle… it takes nothing from you… instead it gives everything to you. You don’t have to get it right before been accepted in Christ i.e change your clothes, and wash the mud off your shoes so you don’t stain the interior, get sober, clean off tattoos and wipe off your ruby woo painted lips i.e You don’t have to drop your denomination… whatever it is… all it takes is letting Jesus into your heart and resting in His vehicle as His love drives you… leads you through life… cleans you up and dresses you right.
(Say the welcoming word to God - "Jesus is my Master" - embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation. Romans 10:9(Msg))
And it all starts with just simple words…

Whisper it to yourself, or shout it out loud… just make sure you sound it out…
Thank you Lord for loving me,
For your grace that accepts me as I am and shows me mercy
Have mercy on me
I’m tired of doing things my way, in my own strength
Please come into my heart… come and be Lord over my life.
Let your love wash me afresh.
Teach me your ways.
I believe and I receive you into my heart. 
The Bible says if I confess with my mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead, I will be saved 
and so I confess that Jesus is Lord over my life
Thank you for my salvation.

It’s that easy.
Please send me a mail (akutjoy@yahoo.com) if you said these words, I would love to hear from you and just kick it with you on this trip…. We love road trips don’t we? And its fun when we are riding with others. I would love to keep you company.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Not Just Yet!....

The other day I lay down thinking how death wasn’t a bad idea at all.
I wanted to die….
Now ask me why, and I can’t point at anything in particular that was wrong.
I have been through dark seasons in my life, and this isn’t particularly a dark one… its full of light and hope and joy, and something so little, so insignificant that I truly cannot say what, made me feel like maybe it’s a better deal… Heaven! Away from this overwhelming sense of responsibility in life.
Heaven is rest… heaven just eating some good good food and chilling amongst many other wonderful things... like beautiful worship. (the food gets me always)
No i wasn't thinking suicide... it was more like a caught up kind... the Enoch kind, just hanging with God and there she goes.

It was such a feeling of being down, I wouldn’t say I was depressed or was I? But I was down and I literally forced myself to worship in that hour… it was about midnight, and during the Nathaniel Bassey #praisechallenge. My force to worship wasn’t because I was questioning God in that moment, more like questioning myself I guess. The things I am doing and have to do felt overwhelming and i had no idea where the next step was to land(because i wasn't staying still enough to let God lead me), I can't even say what I was questioning… it was just a big pile of empty nothingness around my thoughts, myself, and my room. I had lost steam… no steam!
The Internet connection was horrible, so I couldn’t join the instagram praise party… so I did what I do best on my own… I worshiped!
I worshiped myself to sleep and I woke up a few hours later forgetting about what I was dealing with a night before. Not mentioning it to anybody. Not seeing it as a big enough deal to mention to someone in a counsel kind of way.

But why am I writing this here, because some people think its all perfect for Christians/certain Christians especially those in some sort of ministry.
I understood Elisha in that moment, after building momentum and doing this gorgeously power filled things for God; he called for fire from heaven and what a fire came down, he rounded up all the prophets of baal and killed them all. Such a tough guy, but he got threatened by a little woman and fled, went into hiding, went into depression, questioned God…. Sometimes even in the thick of your faith, you will be more human than superhuman… and its okay. It’s okay to cry… it’s okay to not pretend. It’s okay to allow yourself to get to the place where even you know that you need help…. Because it is in this place that you get refreshed in your spirit… that you get renewed in your heart… that you get to experience Gods love like never before. Sometimes it’d be silent and you would feel like God isn’t hearing you, but even in that feeling, that’s the best moment. Because He’s holding you tighter than ever… didn’t he say His strength is made manifest in our weakness?(2 Corinthians 12:9)

Sometimes, the times we cry out for help are not the times we need help the most. It’s the silent seasons that are quite more dangerous…
Just a few weeks prior that night, I heard some news that was disturbing to me. I stood firmly on the water of faith, but my heart was weary about walking long in the storm. I knew I could survive it, I would walk through it, but I didn’t want to be strong in that moment, I didn’t want to encourage myself by reminding myself of the things I knew to be true. I was vexed about the news, and so I ran to my friend. I got into his home and just dropped on my knees Nollywood/Bollywood style… I was deliberately being dramatic on the rug, and I was deliberately crying… I looked for the tears and I loved that they came out. It was a relieve leaning on someone else… and to hear the encouragement I knew in my heart sound off from someone else.
I think the silent moments like I went through a few nights ago are more dangerous, because you cant pinpoint to anything… and you think of how uncomfortable this home is getting, wanting heaven. Wanting the easy way out of nothing and everything.

But how selfish it is to think that. If God has given you dreams and a mandate to fulfill, He has equipped you to do it. He wouldn’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you. (Matthew 11:28 msg) If you’re wearing a challenge in a season, know that it isn’t ill fitting on you… you have what it takes to rock it perfectly.
There’s a reason Jesus asked God not to take us from the world, but to keep us from the evil one. (John 17:15)
I mean, why can’t he just take us when we get born again? Because there’s so much to do on earth and he needs us!
That’s a nice thought… God needs me, and He needs you. God in all His glory needs me to be all He has called me to be, and so when I get discouraged, I will get up and keep at what I have to do, its okay for me to act as a spoilt brat every once in a while and cry or wonder… but I have to snap out of it, find a way to be disciplined with words of encouragement from those close to me… or just fall into worship and get myself back together.

(I’ve realized that sometimes Christians don’t know what to do with a 'depressed' or 'going through stuff' believer. They instantly judge or say you’re not spiritual enough. Leaving the person needing help to feel condemned. That’s why many refuse to show their discouragement till they implode. You are not a weak Christian because you cry about something or you feel discouraged sometimes. When you go through that… make sure its just a going through, don’t spread out a mat and sleep in your discouragement… when you fall, you get up and keep going.)

If it feels tough for you… don’t be despaired, Gods got you. Nothing more than you can bear. You can’t crack under that weight because it’s the perfect size, the perfect fight, and the perfect obstacle for you in all your graced status to overcome and handle.
Don’t underestimate the power of praise in those moments, the power of worship… the power of remembrance/meditating on Gods word/ prayer.
You’ll be fine. Heaven is a beautiful place, but earth is beautiful as well, and what helps in making it beautiful is you refusing to cave to trials and focusing on what you’re called to do… be it fashion, arts, medicine, law, music, civil service, production, teaching… anything. Your walking in purpose is you standing as a puzzle piece that has been fixed in place on the board, one by one we fit into the picture in our calling till the end picture is produced… a beautiful heaven on earth even with all the trouble it faces. You make the picture beautiful.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30(MSG)
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