who am i?

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

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Beef That Breeds Nightmares!

In light of the recent killings by fulani herdsmen in Benue state, I wrote this down. It is not my intention to downplay what happened to a place of fiction. It's just me, trying to make it feel more real, trying to picture it from the eyes of a victim.
May the souls of all those killed rest in peace. 

There’s a flight response triggered in both humans and animals alike in the face of danger. Adrenaline, a metallic taste in the mouth, impaired cognitive function, fleeing, a strong desire to survive and there’s the other way we respond to danger,  the freeze, and that is my response today. Legs firmly planted on the dusty ground, not shaking; fear lounging in the corner, not interested in what my eye is taking in, my heartbeat regular, my cognition is alive…. more alive than it’s ever been. I take in everything happening around me like the reporters who dare to go into the carnage of war torn zones, but unlike them, I have no security. I am exposed. I have no hope for survival, or rather, I’m not thinking about surviving or being a victim, I am just existing in that moment, frozen.

There’s a trickle down my legs. I have urinated on myself… that’s the only thing that gives away what my subconscious mind feels in the back of my freeze moment, or maybe I just couldn’t hold it in anymore, I was on my way to find a spot to squat and pee when everything changed.
I imagine the jests Terwase my brother would throw at me if he knows what just happened to me…. I, the city girl, the self acclaimed ‘know what’s up’ girl with painted pepper red nails and pink lipstick, with well lined perfectly highlighted brows peed on herself.

He would laugh for a lifetime, but he wouldn’t as it were, because he can’t, and he can’t because he’s lying dying a few feet from me, his stomach with a deep gash that has left his intestine or something that looks like it hanging out, his right hand semi-detached from his body from the shoulder… his eyes open and bewildered, fixed on me, his sister who was going to be a nurse, wanting me to do something to stop the pain, or maybe wanting me to run? But I am frozen. Beside him is his pregnant wife Ieember, dead already with a nasty gnash on her head and her neck, the baby that was on her back, ten month old Bem is sprawled, half removed from her back, his naked body looks lifeless from where I stand.
My grandmother screams calling on God as she falls from a machete hitting her back. The people that matter in my life are all falling or have fallen dead. I see others, neighbors and some relations running. Would they be able to escape?

The smell of roast yam fills the air.
I love roasted yam. In fact, that’s what lured me to the farm today. While they farmed, my grandmother and the very dead Terwa were going to roast some yam with some bush rat the younger kids caught and I wasn’t going to miss out on it. Just to show them that I wasn’t a farm girl anymore, I wore my borrowed shoes, the ones I took from carol my roommate, and I sprayed a little too much perfume… I came to slay them with my sophistication but here I am in the midst of the worst kind of slaying I have seen.
Heaps of harvested yams are on fire, yams from our hard work, yams that were to be sold for out livelihood and to sponsor my education set on fire… the smell of burning yam, fresh blood, dust and burning flesh hit me… I smell the screams of the fleeing, the dying people and the killers more than I hear them. I smell the smell of evil.  

Bodies drop, babies cry, and as the blood hits the ground it cries out for vengeance. I see the humans, who may as well be demons raise their machetes and land them on the babies. The barbarians, eyes expressionless, a dark evil looming as they do their evil like zombies, controlled by something beyond what the human race can describe.

The Christmas holiday is over, and nursing school resumed two days ago, but with all my city girl façade, I love being home, I love being on the farm, even though I hate the work. I love being around my grandmother and her funny jokes, I love the pride my siblings have when they show me off to everyone in the village. I love speaking ‘perfect’ English to the clan head and the admiration of my childhood friends who didn’t get to continue school like me. I love my mother’s cooking and Father’s endless pride as he calls his first daughter ‘Doctor’…. so I delayed resumption, because as much as I love to become a nurse and one day a matron in a big hospital, I hate the stress of classes and homework, the teasing of some of my classmates calling me a ‘village girl’ just because my grades are better than them but I have a tiv accent they say.  If I left two days ago, I would not have had to witness this. But I’m thankful I did not leave, because what is life without my family? I wonder where my mother is, is she dead already or did she run? She was to come meet us in the farm. What would my father say when he gets back? He went to the neighboring village to sell some products.

As I stand in the midst of the carnage, I see one of them running towards me, I still don’t run, he raises his machete with a menacing look on his face, it lands on my skull, I feel no pain, just a thud… in the freeze mode, there is a decrease in the feeling of pain. My legs suddenly shift as it gives way for me to hit the ground, before I land, another blow hits my side, I feel the blood gushing out, then a throbbing headache and for the first time, I begin to shake as my body no longer answering to my mind jerks, and then its blank. The last thing I see is the face of the devil, a herd’s man not older than eighteen.

My name is Mercy, or Mhorun as my grandmother named me, a child of mercy, reporting live, or dead as the case may be from the carnage of Guma.
A second year nursing student, an aspiring matron. First of its kind from my family, the only educated one beyond primary education. The city girl. The shanpepe of my father’s house.
With all of this achievements, I am still equated to the life of a cow… my life and that of my loved ones, taken in exchange for a cow, that is our beef, their beef with us… their excuse to wipe us out.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Gone with the wind...


 I have been a victim of blustery days

Some days ago, I had another windy experience, we had just finished a press conference for a worship concert holding later in the evening, and we were out taking pictures and just having laughs, but in the midst of that, I was fighting a warfare with the wind… my free hand held on to my dress, I wouldn’t have minded much if I did it in a classy way like the famous Marilyn Monroe pose, but oh well, it was more of a clumsy way, not fit for an iconic moment. I was not ready to expose the men of God to another sort of unsolicited worship, and so one hand with my drink and plate of snack, and the other holding down my dress, I walked bent over to a sit and found rest and protection from the shame of being exposed. Oh the struggle!!!!

Subtlety fighting with the wind...
Most ladies in skirts and dresses regardless of class has had her own share of fighting for her right to dignity with the wind. It doesn’t spare anymore, not even the royals from its assault. You have to be well armed with quick reflexes or you’ll leave yourself exposed… indecently! What a vulnerable moment it is being exposed.
But in all these, the queen, Queen Elizabeth found a hack to tackle this problem, she uses a perfect defense for this war with the wind and I love it. We wouldn’t be seeing any gone with the wind tabloid picture of her royal treasure anytime soon. I read once, that she has weights sewn onto the hem of her clothes. Curtain weights to be precise, are sewn into the lining of her dresses and skirts, giving them extra weight thus making a windy waltz and a royal exposure near impossible.

"Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth." Ephesians 4:14(NLT)

We need to take a cue from her majesty and I’m not talking about dresses. We need weights to hold down our beliefs when the wind of new doctrines blows or we’ll be left exposed.
Let the weights of the truth of Gods word you’re grounded in, your worship etc keep you from exposure when the wind blows your way. There’s a lot of wind of ridiculous teachings from clueless people blowing on social media, talking against some of the very rituals of our faith, if you let it sweep up your faith you’ll be left exposed, and what a loss it is when we are exposed.
The word says we’re immature when we jump on any teaching that comes our way, they may come off as eloquent, but we’re been tricked into the lies that sound so clever we’re convinced it has to be true.

Be grounded in the word of God for yourself….  As for all the ‘wind’ of doctrine that is blowing people out of their belief, “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—”I Peter 2:15 NKJV
In other words, keep doing the good you’re convicted by the word of God to do... Stick to your truth long enough and time will silence the ignorance of ‘foolish men.’ Truth can only be buried for so long with arguments... but it’ll always exhume itself with its results! Let the weight hold you down, and soon enough, you’ll see just how wrong the wind was/is.

It’s the New Year. Be wise. Test every Spirit before you go with the wind of the voices. Seek God… You’ll never understand God’s word, the scriptures, His power and His principles with just head knowledge. That’s why people carnally and wrongly interpret scriptures and many allow their skirts blown with this wind of deceit… Don’t be quick to despise prophecies
Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. Ephesian 4:14(TLB)

Sew in your weights and don’t get exposed.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

2018... Focus!

Happy New Year every one. 
I'm somehow not so wowed at the fact that it's 2018, like I usually am every new year, I already feel used to writing the new date, it's quite weird. Maybe I moved into this year a long time ago in my subconscious. But I'm glad to be alive and excited about the year, whats to come and what's already come.

So the other day, I walked into my room, my own personal space because I wanted to be away from everyone, I wanted to study, reflect and just travel into my inner mind and maybe write. You know, it’s the beginning of the year, and I really wanted to reflect, but instead, I found myself taking selfies. (You see, I'm always so 'solemn' about new years, this distraction just helped buttress my point that I just may have come into this year sometime before 2017 officially packed up)

I was so distracted by self, and by the chemistry I seemed to have with the camera in that moment
That’s how life happens to a lot of us!
We build a momentum, and start to run with it, then we get distracted, and sometimes, these distractions are valid… valid reasons to focus on self and what is and what isn’t working, that the impetus to keep moving at a certain pace is dimmed and we slow down.

May we not lose the momentum we’ve built with the New Year by being distracted with self.
May we fix our eyes like a flint to do all that we ought to do and not get sidetracked by frivolous things, even valid thins.
These distractions will surely come... self, relationships, the comparison of self with others etc and they will only slow you down if you feed them with attention.
I pray for the grace to be focused for everyone of us! It’s in our focus that we enter into these wonderful prophecies that have been spoken over us for the year.

Jesus loves you, and He’s willing and able to help you, keep your eyes focused on His love and walk on water, do the impossible, step out on your dreams, all things are possible… stay focused.

Happy New Year.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas...

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. (Thus) The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish. John 3:16(amp) John 1:14(msg)
The beauty of Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Swimming Lessons, Life Jackets and Life...

I love water! It’s amazing how drawn I am to bodies of water, but as much as I love water, I am scared of swimming as much as I desire to, but not exactly scared of shallow ends of pools. I just haven’t gotten comfortable with the fact that you can let your legs go and wade through something. There’s such a comfort in having your feet firmly placed on solid ground.
I turned thirty and I wanted to do life, one of the ways was by finally stepping up to take swimming lessons. I wouldn’t journey round the world or go on many vacations that come my way only to stay in the shallow end, holding on to the edge of the pool, I plan on swimming a lot more. That’s what I say before each bold step to start a swimming lesson that never seems to find completion with me.

I felt pretty confident about this particular class, this was it, the year I would finally race a fish and show it a trick or two. We were using a life jacket to start with; my teacher said I was doing really well… I did laps across the pool, which was progress; me not freaking out that my legs couldn't find the ground because I’m at the deep end was progress indeed.
My teacher was quite impressed, his name was Amos, I would believe that I was quite impressionable with my beginners skills in a life jacket, but you see Amos seemed to like me a notch higher than usual, so that made me doubt and imagine that he was just trying to make me feel good. I liked Amos too, he was a good, reassuring teacher and I compelled myself to trust him because I knew the day would come when he would take the life jacket off during my training, I wanted to have someone who liked me, and who thought that there was a possibility that I felt the same way about him beside me then.
Unfortunately I gave up too soon on swimming and never got to the stage of taking off the jacket.. because well, i wasn't so confident on how i would survive without my life jacket on.
Whenever i see this picture, i try to make myself believe I was right in the middle of the ocean... and not some pool.
So the main gist about my swimming lesson gist is this… You know, life is like a big big ocean, and just like you can’t possible swim non-stop across oceans in your own strength, you can’t swim through life on your own, you will cramp up, crash and burn, then drown. That’s why God threw us the ultimate life jacket…. The cross is our saving grace, the sacrifice of the cross. Stop struggling against the tide and just wear the life jacket of salvation… Jesus!
That’s what keeps you afloat, and growing in this salvation gives you strength to not just go with the tides or as the ocean tosses you about, but you grow in power through the Holy spirit, getting filled daily in the place of worship, praying in the Holy ghost. And then you swim, you move. You move your hands and legs and you’re not stagnant or just taking what life gives you, the tides of life don’t toss you about, you in power show it where you want to go, swim against it. You are meant to be a power filled Christian.

Letting go of the edge of the pool and dear Amos was such a struggle for me, but it took me overcoming the fear that came over me, to realize that when I let myself go, that's when I float, the effectiveness of the life jacket is seen/manifested. I could not sink as long as I had my life jacket on. False perception and fear would give every reason to believe, rationale would make me believe that the instant I let go of my human clutch Amos, is the moment I sink. But I conquered that fear and found myself confidently swimming to the deep end of the pool, just me and my life jacket. Let go to Jesus and you lose everything, (i.e cool factor, street cred and all) we've been made to believe;. But you’re only just starting in all those things.
The reality of Christ is even much more than a life jacket… HE doesn’t just keep you afloat… that’s like barely surviving… He puts you above… walking on water.

I learned to not just float with the life jacket but to ‘swim’ or a semblance of swimming anyway from one end of the pool to another... I wasn’t just in one place. I went to the deep end! I dared it to sustain me. We hold on to relationships, money, fame etc and we lose those things easily. But in doing life with God, letting go of all and holding on to Him, we gain all.
Seek first the kingdom of God and all other things will be added to you. It’s time to stop seeking God as an afterthought… put Him first place.

 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. “ Mark 8:35 NLT

We have an advantage as one with God... but most times, we Christians don’t take this advantage, we prefer to just float in a spot or go wherever the waves tosses us… when we can choose to swim in the direction we want, even to the deep end and even walk on water figuratively by using the supply of Gods Spirit for wisdom and witty inventions in our businesses, marriages, offices/organizations etc.
Christ is a life jacket that does more than keep you afloat. Jump into the waters of His salvation and the supply of His Spirit and do exploits.  
(But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to EVERY man to profit withal. I Corinthians 12:7)
And if you’re already wearing this jacket, then kick your legs, and better still move your arms as well and swim to greatness, you were not saved into stagnation and unproductivity.

Some people are just Christian enough to avoid hell. They know without salvation its hell, so they’re just floating Christians, like they know without a life jacket they’d sink, they don’t make efforts to grow in the truth of what they believe, the joy of knowing God, the peace and the Power they have. Its fear of hell and nothing more. Yes they’d make heaven but why not enjoy life now? Why not take advantage of the audacity we have with this reliable life-jacket on? I use the word reliable, because others have found other life jacket imitations to help them through life, but none is as reliable and fail proof as Jesus…. The authentic one!

God is waiting on us to do something... and it's not something out of nothing, because He’s already given us everything. He’s given you the life jacket of His salvation as an added advantage to wade through the waters of life… It's something out of something... something out of His grace. Grace is there, grab a slice and BE something, build on its foundation and stand out... that’s how we take over, from the springboard of this grace, not laying on lounge chairs with straw hats and drinks with little umbrellas waiting for something to happen. Kick your legs and move your arms and get moving, dare the deep end… God’s got you.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

When shit happens… Give a shit wisely…

Its not every time you’re the butt of the joke… but God has a sense of humor and he’s using my butt to deliver a message. I have struggled with posting this but hey… after posting this, I’m spritzing some Chanel mademoiselle on, putting on lip-gloss and some heels and strutting about like the human that I am… I don’t take or do shit!

Caveat/Disclaimer: I don’t go about saying shit in real life… I show some decorum. Poo-poo somebody? Certainly not excrete… probably ‘take a dump’ sometimes.

That said…. I went to get my hair done at a salon my friend recommended. It was in one of those plazas in Wuse 2, Abuja, ADB plaza to be precise.
I noticed my tummy acting funny… but I assumed whatever it’d be, the salon would have a bathroom I could dash into.
The shit really did hit the fan when I bit into the hot puff puff I ordered from one of the shops. Say what?

I can do this… I will not be moved. I reaffirmed to myself. Beads of sweat may or may not have formed on my forehead. I couldn't concentrate on the book i was reading.
And so time went, I spent hours there… and each minute became more uncomfortable.
The center really could not hold anymore… because you see, I had had it to here… it wasn’t about been tough or exercising patience anymore… it was the whole nine yards, I had no more strength or so I thought, and if I held on to non-existent strength, something was going to emerge…
This was when shit got really messy (pardon this pun, I really am not cussing). There was no bathroom in the salon, the only option in the plaza was the general toilet and the salon girls wouldn’t let me use it because they said it would be too nasty for me, not up to standard, they could use it, but I couldn’t. I was too poised in their eyes to be subjected to that mess.

At that moment I didn’t care, even as I tried to maintain every front of composure. I told them I had to go, I really needed to and I wouldn’t mind the mess, it couldn’t be that bad… but they looked at me, looked at my bag, looked at me and my innocent never had to take a shit looking self and refused to subject me to the instant gratification of the moment.
Funny thing is, I wasn’t even dressed to the nines to warrant such treatment, I was dressed down in an I’m spending all day in the salon with no make up  kind of way.

They gave me an option… go across the road to the hotel and use the bathroom… it’s neat, its decent, it’ll be comfortable.
Would they let me just walk in and head straight to their toilets… or lavatory as we sophisticated (Ha) people say?
“Yeah, just walk in the reception and ask where the toilet is.” They told me.
Now that sounded like a good idea, albeit, embarrassing to walk in and head straight to the toilet and head out again, I mean, no disguise of enquires about the hotel before depositing shit on them.

Even with the assurance that there would be a clean bathroom ready, waiting for me, the next question was if shit could stay put long enough for me to get to my destination. Would the center hold or would things fall apart?
I felt like if I got up and moved, everything would come crashing down…

I loved the toilet they wouldn’t let me use… other people in the salon used it, so why not me? At that moment, if you put a potty right in the middle of the plaza, I may just have pulled my pants down and finished a business deal there… but….

And so I bravely and prayerfully got up, got a scarf to cover my half made hair so I don’t look crazy crossing the busy road… I walked or ran down the stairs… cursing the salon for being three floors up. Walked into the hotel and didn’t even pause as I greeted the cute receptionist… just my luck two very male men smiled from behind the desk and responded to my greeting…. I asked, “Please where’s your ladies?”…. And they said “toilet?”  I said “yes” while still walking in the most likely direction (it wasn’t a large hotel thus the reception area was quite compact), toilet, ladies, whatever you call it, I didn’t give a shit in that moment. They pointed in the direction I was going, and it took me every dignity, and every ounce of strength not to run… I would worry about the embarrassment with the receptionist later.
What joy it was… what a relief. A song of deliverance could be played right about that moment… I had a clean and relaxed atmosphere to relieve myself... there was a sweet smelling freshener, soft tissue, plus running water, soap and a dryer to wash my hands well.

(Another (Unnecessary) Disclaimer: No I don’t go through life throwing the word shit about, I use well-contoured words ... but somehow there’s shit splashed around this post… Lord have mercy)

I shared this embarrassing story so I could tell you that sometimes, you’d be so pressed in life, so pressed that you tell yourself if you don’t grab at that opportunity right now, you would die or shit on yourself, even if that opportunity has dirt marked all over it. Even if you know there’s risk of an infection in whatever form from using that dirty toilet… even if you know you’re worth more than that move that’d give you that instant gratification. But that’s a lie from the devil. It may feel like you’re dying in that urgency the situation tries to choke you with, but truth is, that situation can’t kill you. It may be pressing, but you certainly wouldn’t poop (see how I didn’t use the word shit here…) on yourself if you hold on for just a little little while as you look for a clean spot. You can walk to the hotel across the road and use a very clean toilet; you have the stamina, the strength, what it takes to patiently endure and walk to a proper, neater solution than your body makes you feel. It may be uncomfortable, but it is worth it.

There will always be a decoy before the real deal shows up… well, maybe not always, but most times… and we need to learn to discern, to pray, to listen to the leading of the Spirit and how our hearts react to certain things that look right, but rubs off the wrong way on us. Like marry that guy with a shitty attitude because you're so pressed by the pressure of society, when there's a better alternative just across the road from you.

“Satan has a counterfeit for every good thing God wants to give you.” Joyce Meyer.
You need people around you, true friends and mentors who will boldly discourage you from going the dirty path no matter how pressing the issues may be, who will look you in the face in the heat of the pressure trying to floor you into making the wrong choice and say NO!  People who will point you in the right direction and cheer you on.

That day at the salon, I wasn’t dressed the way they addressed me, I wasn’t dressed my best or looking quite classy and stuck up in heels and well made up face… but they still recognized something in me to know that I wouldn’t be comfortable in that toilet. You need people who will recognize who you truly are, maybe you may not be feeling or acting so spiritual in that moment, may not be pumped up with the spiritual juice, but they recognize the journey you’re walking in, they recognize that God has a bigger purpose for you and would stand firm in holding you off a decision that looks right, but isn’t Gods right and may end up causing more harm than good after the instant gratification of the moment, they will recognize you and insist on redirecting you to better… on convincing you to wait for the best. The blessings of the Lord make rich and add no sorrow… no condition to His blessings, but a lot of clauses to the instant gratification from hell.

I pray that God gives each and everyone of us, that person, that friend, that mentor, that pastor, that spouse… that family that looks out for us and saves us from our desperation born mistakes.

“Do not settle, not in marriage, career, ministry, or your dreams. Hold on. There is grace available; for God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can handle. If He’s making you wait, then there is grace available to wait, and when the decoy comes, there is also grace available to resist, if only you choose to.” Joy Akut, Kiss & Tell (How cool is it that i get to quote myself from my book? You should get yourself a copy :)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Henna Tattoos... The Paste

When applying henna tattoos (Laali), the longer the dye paste stays on, the darker the outcome of the tattoo...and the longer it lasts on your skin.
Take it off too soon and it's a faint mark left that will fade away quickly before its effect can be truly enjoyed.

I always never have the patience to sit still long enough for it to dry properly, or even if I let it dry I kind of take off the paste too quickly, thus I have never had the luxury of experiencing the beauty of a well set henna tattoo on my hands. It’s always a faint mark that just fades away like a kid scrambling away from the boogey man.

The longer you keep the paste of hurt and betrayal in your heart, replaying it over and over again, recounting the story of disloyalty to whoever cares to listen, cuddling with the pain it brought you, the more it sets... and the harder it is to clean off, thus creating the perfect environment for offense to breed. We really should lovingly stay clear of people who always bring us to the dance floor of betrayal and beats us with their moves every chance they get.

"You can't control what comes in your mind but you can control what stays there." Jesse Duplianties

You really can’t control the way people decide to behave towards you, or the feelings they serve you with, the bitter taste of the effect of their treachery towards you but you can control how you handle it, if you harbor the pain like a fugitive or you feel the effect of the hurt and sweep away the dust of bitterness eagerly waiting to settle in your heart, feeding you with a repugnant taste.

People would most definitely hurt you ... both those on the haters club and even those on the exclusive lovers list. They will give you reasons to be mad and lawfully pissed off, and if you decide to exercise your right to cuddle that hurt...rolling it over in your head for days and days going on years... the longer your heart harbors it, the darker the stain sets and the harder it'd be to take off... in other words, the more offended you get. (Which translates to stress and a whole lot of negativity, thus a break down of your body, because inside is so messed up, it shows on the outside, creating easy access for the negative energy in the world around you into you)
Offense is such a barrier between you and loads of blessings...
John Bevere calls Offense The bait of Satan.  “Many are unable to function properly in their calling because of the wounds and hurts that offenses have caused in their lives. They are handicapped and hindered from fulfilling their full potential. Most often it is a fellow believer who has hurt them.”
(You really should find a way to get this book.)

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
Philippians 4:8-9 MSG

These are the kind of pastes that need to stay longer in our hearts as the verse above describes... things that are true and pure and lovely... things that trigger joy, like the fact that God loves you unconditionally... He came and died for you and rose again... redeemed you... forgave you ALL your sins... has voluntary amnesia towards your iniquity and transgressions ... made an open show of the devil for your sake... made you more than a conqueror... blessed you... favored you... graced you... crowned you... enthroned you... made you His righteousness. Think on these things! Like fine wine they make the heart merry and trigger an inside out response that makes you a joy to the world around you even when all looks bleak.

“Love forgets wrongs so that there is hope for the future.” John Bevere.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Cars, Body Odors... Nigeria!

The old driver resumed as the new driver (long story)... but it was a new problem... His body odor was such an issue. Everyone EVERYONE was battered by it (This isn’t a post to put him down)
The car has had our different scents from the new car scent to Chanel to Gucci and all the various pleasant perfumes! 

But just one whiff of such a bad odor and the car was in a bad shape.
Everyday the driver would get in with his less than pleasant smell... and I would get in with my sweet smelling self, but what won the battle was always his body odor... especially when the car had been parked for a bit.

Even when he's not there, there's a stamp of his smell. I would get in the car and have to put the windows down just to dispel the smell.

The story of the car mirrors life. You could do all the good always (smell nice) and everyone loves you... but one bad is all it  takes to overwhelm every good thing.
Suddenly the humans that we are forget how good a person was or has been in the past as the one bad he's done glares at us... we point fingers, distance ourselves and whisper loudly. We are executors of those with weaknesses once exposed. 

Life amplifies the bad over the good.
The bad smell over the nice scents.

But God doesn’t judge us by our mistakes and weaknesses, even if mistakes are all we make. The good always outweighs the bad in His eyes. And what’s that one good we can do to get God’s attention? Our believe and acceptance of the truth of the gospel. (Christ died for our sins, he was buried and he rose again according to scriptures) That’s why He loves us through our struggles to get to the place of perfection which each step takes us to. I believe He wouldn’t let the one bad smell, cloud over the other sweet scents from us. 

I'm not saying we should tolerate abuse from people or encourage them to continue in their weaknesses. I'm just saying we should find a way to love them through their bad times. Maybe just one encouraging word from you that isn't spiced with judgment but laced with love is all the comfort they need or the tap to wake up to learn from their mistakes. (And sometimes they are unaware of their smell if they are not told)

Jesus healed the woman who had been bent over for 28yrs and the Pharisees let the bad smell of him doing it on the Sabbath (against their law) outweigh the glory and beauty of what he had just done9Luke 13:10-17)... a lot of stories like this found in the Bible... Even with all the sweet fragrance of Jesus ministry on earth and the strong Oud fragrance of the sacrifice was not enough to quench their sniff of how bad it smelled because it was against their law.
Let's not be quick to forget the good in people when we smell the bad emanating from them. It's a lesson I'm still perfecting in. 

I’m Nigerian. I love my country… we just turned 57 on the 1st of October and we have a lot of disgruntled citizens, who frankly cant be faulted. Nigeria may have a lot of bad smells... but you've got to admit there's a lot of pleasant smells emanating from her as well. Don't let the bad smell be the stamp you put on her... As a citizen, I will love her through her weaknesses and lovingly guide her to overcome it in my own corner, in my own way, by doing whatever I do well. Let the good smell outweigh the bad... that's how you can truly rise and pray for her with conviction, that's how you can consciously work towards the change you hope for in her..

Happy independence to Nigeria.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Pardon The Interruption... Keep Moving!


I had made up my mind as I got to oxford street that afternoon, that I was going to spend as much time as I could looking through primark and grabbing as many fairly priced wardrobe essentials as I could. And I indeed took my time, weaving through the throngs of European tourist and carefully double-checking that the right size was on the right hanger of the things I put in my basket. My feet hurt, I had spent hours out shopping before braving the primark madness.

I was finally done and took my things to the till... It was while concluding my transaction that I heard the announcement to evacuate the store and I saw security ushering everyone out. The lifts were barricaded and we all (hundreds of us) trooped down, me clutching my purchases (thankfully I had paid), and others frantically leaving their overflowing baskets… efforts of hours of careful selections through different floors. The staff were confused, I overhead a couple of them asking if it was another fire drill with nothing less than mild irritation in their voices.

My heart beat at the state of oblivion to the obvious danger that prompted our evacuation. When I got out I was shocked to see that the road right in front of us had been sealed off with the yellow tapes by the cops and they were everywhere…. Say what?!
What I was able to glean from the cop who was ready to answer our questions was that there was a suspicious parcel found… But did we run off after getting that information? No! We stayed behind the line looking at what was happening and some even had their phones out recording… I really couldn’t understand why we would do that, why we were hanging around to see. What if the suspicious parcel went off when they were checking it? As my sense started getting clarity, I prepared to walk away when I saw the police take away their barricade and give a clear, it was a false alarm, the shops were allowed to open a few minutes later and you should see how people rushed in… to get their baskets before it was taken away to restock… Was I shaken? Yes. Did I walk away to the tube station, by-passing my stop at Selfridges? No way. I walked back into the store with those running, in, I had to get my VAT done and I wasn’t going to let that false alarm stop me, and then I strolled down to Selfridges to get my perfume, then grabbed something to eat before heading home, abruptly forgetting the some what scary interruption.

I had another experience of this sort one boxing day… the craziness of Oxford Street was on, as usual with the Boxing Day sale. I noticed the cops sealed off the road in front of JD Sports, and blocked everyone from following that way, there was an ambulance and police cars, we were told a young man had been stabbed just a few minutes earlier… it was scary, but after my friend and I stood still for a while, we found another route and kept heading our way to regent street… we had shopping to do, we came out to shop and we were not going to be distracted.
Those were serious cases that came up… but even though it distracted me for a few moments, I went right back to doing what I came out to do, not letting fear stop me, or allowing how shaken I may have been to distract me from my goal of being in the area, which was to shop.

I was thinking back on those two events recently and I realized that as crazy as it feels sometimes, we should go right on back to fulfilling purpose, achieving our dreams after interruptions, most of the interruptions that come our way, though they look threatening, most times are just false alarms… shadows (the devil loves to play with shadows a lot, because he has no real power and they make him and his distractions look bigger than they are)

So even if you get distracted by that, don’t be discouraged with the fear it instilled, too discouraged to get back on your path, like those people didn’t let the bomb scare stop them from their shopping, they literally ran in with speed to continue after the distraction, so they wouldn’t lose what they labored for.

I get to host this wonderful event called Incense… do I get to experience hitches and false alarms? Yes! Financially sometimes, its borderline frantic trying to get everything in order… and sometimes, I see a nice crowd, packed full halls, overflowing halls, other times just under two hundred people when you expect more… but is that enough to discourage me? No! I go right back to organizing more meetings. Even if I get distracted by the numbers. Even if sometimes the budget feels like a huge punch in my guts… I get right back up and do what I ought to do, because there’s a big picture I see, bigger than the distractions and the discouragements that come… there’s a picture bigger than my mind can wrap its hands around, that’s why enlargement of heart is key for me… that’s why getting right up and enjoying every single step as a step of victory is key. Knowing what you’re doing, knowing the end you’re looking to, knowing the picture you see in your heart is the thrust that gets you up and going when there’s any distraction sent your way.

After the roar of the pussycat lion impostor startles you a little, go right back and finish up. (The devil roams LIKE a roaring lion, looking for whom to devour, startle, deceive). Pardon the interruption instead of dwelling on the 'what ifs' it could have been/getting hung on it and just move on! 

I've had countless interruptions in life. some enough to floor me and get me fazed, but that's not a loss for me, because as much as I loose my breath sometimes, I never remain there, I always choose to move towards the goal, the bigger picture. Interruptions could come in form of a broken relationship/marriage, bankruptcy, rejection of proposals, 'failed' businesses etc... but you've just got to keep moving.

The picture you see of the beauty it would be if failure were not an option… that’s the joy set before you! So you keep doing what God has asked you to do, chasing those dreams and big ideas, knowing failure is not an option, even when challenges are all around you…. The little distractions will come, but they don’t faze you… your face is set as a flint.
We have people giving up too easily, bowing out to discouragement. Faith doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, but it means it is possible.
Don’t let the distractions deceive, discourage, or hold you bound in fear, but Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. Hebrews 12:2(The Msg)

He never lost sight of where He was headed… and so He put up with all that was thrown at Him even when they weren’t convenient or pleasant; shame, the cross, the spite… He could see it, and He’s right there, right now, in the place of honor, because He didn’t let the decoy, the distraction derail Him... and we have Him to look up too.

Don’t give up just yet. Keep moving.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Game of Thrones...

This Picture makes me feel more like Brienne of Tarth... but not the point!

I am a Game of Thrones (GoT) fan… I joined the bandwagon somewhere in season five, so I had the luxury of watching episodes back to back, sometimes binging without having to wait for the next week to see a new episode or months after for the new season (I loved that luxury of not waiting). But last season was my first time of watching it in real time. Waiting for each new episode after cliffhangers of the last. Breathing down my friend Oris neck for each new episode.

We watch one episode that is nail biting, and we are in suspense waiting for the next. Suddenly, next Sunday feels too far away. And so we spend time meditating on the last episode, knowing the next is surely coming, but while we wait, we talk about what happened, our expectations are on a high… looking forward for the next. We bite our fingers (well not literally), regurgitate, bringing it out and chewing on it over again, excited about it till the next. And when the season is done, we do the same thing… sometimes, we watch the past episodes, go on fan pages, join discussions… write on facebook, tweet about it…snooping around for spoilers for the next season, and you may find glimpses and pieces of puzzles and guesses that seem right, its not the whole picture, but it excites you all the same. Sometimes the next season starts just after a couple of weeks, sometimes it’s a few couple of months, but for shows as epic as GoT we impatiently, excitedly wait a whole year for the next season… and I hear we may be waiting for maybe two for the finale season 8 (well, GoT just happens to be the scapegoat here… it could be any of your favorite series)

When God speaks to the Game of throne fan in you...

That’s what faith should be like for believers. You’ve enjoyed one episode of Gods blessing in a season, just don’t give up yet, there’s another episode coming, one after the heel of another… while you wait, be in faith for the next episode of success in what you’re doing. 
What do you do? Do you complain? Or you meditate on the blessings God has poured on you? You chew on it, regurgitate, and in doing that you make an easy entry for thanksgiving which makes for easy digestion of rejoicing, which helps lighten your heart, exciting you for what next is coming. Meditation makes the waiting period move fast… it takes away the time or even if it doesn’t, it makes for good company while you wait.  Be it for the next episode or the next season.

What are you doing while you wait? Start thinking of the goodness and faithfulness of God in the different seasons of your life. His promises, the beautiful plot for your life in the bible… the plot that says His plans for you are for good and not for evil… a plot that says He has blessed you and has paid the price for you… given you authority over principalities, you reign! In the game of thrones, you sit on the iron throne, at the right hand of God the Father high above every principality and power… the villain of life has been put under your feet. He prepares a feast for you in the presence of your enemies (epic scene). He anoints your head with oil, and your cup runs over… He has clothed you in His righteousness, and nothing is impossible for you that believe. The plot for each season of your life makes for a blockbuster, each season more intense than the last season, for every level you rise to. Each episode has so much to talk about, so much to rejoice about… so much to be thankful about, especially with all the action scenes of what God has saved you from, how the angels assigned to you have acted on your behalf behind the scenes, battles you are unaware of.

Be encouraged, think of the things you've been through and what God has done, and rejoice as you wait for answers... the breakthrough!Get ready for the blessings that is about to fall on you!

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