“The desire for self-expression afflicts people when they feel there is something of themselves which is not getting through to the outside world.”
— Fay Weldon
Everybody has something to say. It could be a comment on things, a story to tell, knowledge to impart, experience to share. The list is endless! The point is no one is void of expression. Even the dumb has something to say. As long as one is human and can think, there is always something to communicate. In fact, if animals were given the ability to, they’d probably have an opinion themselves (The point is that we all have something to express!)
Not everyone expresses what they want to say however. It’s not like they have a disability or anything. It could be that they are insecure about what they want to say and so they’d rather not talk (But how long can you keep it in?) Also, some people just don’t like talking and prefer to keep things in. Personality can play a big role here.
In psychology, we learn that there are different personality types but there are two basic ones: Extroverts and Introverts. Generally, extroverts are known for being outspoken and well, they like to talk; introverts however are reserved and talk less. They are believed to have a loud mind but are of few words. They prefer to observe even though they might have a number of things to say.
In my case, I often find it difficult to express what I really have to say. I’m an introvert and I prefer to just write what I feel and my opinion of things. I find this fulfilling, like a burden has been taken off me. Sometimes too I don’t make expressions because I’m not sure if they make much sense. It may be one of the reasons I can be very skeptical of showing others what I write.
Beneath all of these however is a desire to share my perception with others and for people to understand them. It wouldn’t hurt for people to know my views. I might be going around with a wrong view and people can correct me, or people can actually learn from my views. Also, there’s satisfaction just letting others in on what you feel.
This blog is my way of coming out and expressing myself.
Take the Bold Step!
So, if you’re like me and you find it difficult to express yourself, I challenge you to take the bold step and just express yourself however way you feel comfortable. If you’ve tried and still find it difficult, you may need to learn how to do it. Writing, for me, is in a way learning how to express myself. The world needs your expression because you’re unique and so is your expression.
This does not mean you should be all crazy in a bid for self expression (if you know what I mean). I believe in moderation. I also believe that reading the right materials, listening to the right things help in our overall expression. The things we see, read, hear all form our thoughts which in turn inform our expression. You may want to take note of these things.
Still, the idea of this post is to come out and express.
I sat down in a red bus on my way back home from a place I had visited for the first time. It was my second time using the red bus. My first time in that type of bus was in the morning, on my way to the place I visited. That ride was good, to an extent, and the fare was inexpensive; so, I decided to use the same type of bus when returning home. Wrong decision!
The bus was crowded! There was hardly any breathing space (This is a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is too many people were in that bus). Initially, the passengers were only few and I boarded the bus with the hope of the ride being like the one I took in the morning, but this was not so. More and more passengers were allowed in until the bus became packed.
Let me try to give a description of how the red bus is. It’s a long bus. There are two/three seats at either side of the bus and there is a wide space between the sides, where passengers can walk to their seats.
The bus conductor (as called in Nigeria: someone who takes in passengers and collects their fares from them) together with the driver decided that they were going to maximize profit (as is their usual practice).
The passengers had to seat closely to each other. As bad as that was, I didn’t know worse was coming. After all the seats were filled up, the bus conductor started to take passengers who would stand all through the journey.
Maybe I wouldn’t have had much problem with a few of those kind of passengers, but this man didn’t take a few. He took as many passengers as he could until the whole bus – seats and wide space between the seats – was full of people. Even with that, he wanted to take more. Haba!
While under normal circumstances this may not bother me much, it made me irritated that day. We are currently facing a pandemic that requires as much social distancing as possible to protect us from a ravaging virus that is claiming lives. Why would you endanger people including yourself to maximize profits?
The people that were standing also had to pay fares; although, they may not have had to pay as much as those who sat. Despite the cheap fares, I still believe it was wrong for allowance to be given for many passengers to stand so closely to one another, especially in this season where COVID19 is an issue.
Well, as I sat down angry at the fact that I was in a bus full of people and had to be careful, another thought crossed my mind.
I tried to put myself in the other passengers’ (those who were standing) shoes. What if they couldn’t afford a seating fare and that’s why they chose to board a bus whose fare they could pay, even though they would be uncomfortable all through the ride?
As sad as it may sound, some people live under extremely poor circumstances and cannot afford even basic things like a good seat in a bus.
What if the conductor and driver of that bus allowing people to stand in the bus was actually for the benefit of some people?
It actually makes sense to justify the driver and conductor’s actions, but really what they did was still wrong. If not for anything, the fact that there is a deadly contagious virus should have prevented them from such act.
Personally, I believe that they were more after the profit that they would make than in helping the less privileged. Safety and health should always come first. Imagine if anyone in the bus contracted the virus. How much money would be used for treatment? Far more than the amount they used for their fare, of course.
One sad reality that I’ve noticed though is that people (service providers) are usually profit driven, and consumers want to try to manage their money/cut cost, sometimes to the detriment of their safety.
What makes a service provider use substandard products, products that are of less quality and relatively cheap to provide services? The desire to maximize profit.
What would make a consumer go for a product that is of low quality and relatively cheap even though it may be hazardous to them? Managing money/the desire to cut cost.
An example of this is someone constantly including potassium bromate (a carcinogenic substance) in the baking of some bread because of the output, neglecting the harmful effects the ingredients can pose. Irrespective of this awareness, consumers still purchase this bread because it is cheap and big even though one of its ingredients is dangerous to their health. This is not right!
As humans, we must learn to look beyond instant gratification (immediate satisfaction/short term effect), and consider the long term effects of our actions. Sadly, the reality is that more people are concerned with instant gratification.
To be quite honest, sometimes I’m not left out of this way of thinking (thinking of the immediate pleasure and not considering long term effects of my actions). Nevertheless, I have to keep cautioning myself to do the right thing and weigh my actions.
If we all collectively would decide to take into consideration long term effects of our actions, doing the right thing, even though it may not be convenient, I believe the world will be a better place.
As for me, I’ll do my best, and try to make people see the need to do what they should in order to bring an end to this sad reality hinged on selfishness and instant gratification that we are faced with.
Thank you for reading through. I hope it inspired you.
The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.
In recent times, I’ve come to realize that many of the story books I read as a child, animations I watched, and songs I listened to while growing up have essential life lessons that I didn’t perceive at that time.
Then, as a child, I read, watched and listened to these things because I enjoyed them, but subconsciously some values were being passed through them.
(Note: it’s important how children are brought up. The things they see, hear and get exposed to serve as a foundation for the building of their life. In this time and age it is very important to have this in mind. Don’t think that they don’t understand much. Yeah, they may not understand much, but what they see and hear stay with them subconsciously or consciously.)
So back to what I was writing before the note. Some days ago, I remembered a story I had read as a child. It’s titled “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I see the lesson from the story fit for sharing here.
In this story, there was an emperor who was a lover of clothes. He even placed more value on clothes and dressing than in his duties as an emperor.
One day two men decided to approach him and they went in the guise of being cloth weavers. They told him about how they were competent designers and could sew beautiful clothes. They spoke so eloquently and the emperor was impressed. He decided to give them a contract.
These “weavers” asked for the best and expensive materials to aid their work and the emperor gladly gave it to them. Before they started however, they told the emperor that the clothes they were making would only be visible to those who were fit, upright and suitable for their work.
Simpletons, foolish/unwise people wouldn’t be able to see the clothes. This made the emperor even more pleased. According to him, he would discover those who were unwise and unfit in his community.
The whole community soon got to know about the special robes being made for the emperor. There was a planned procession where the emperor would march round the community in his new “clothes”. Everyone looked forward to seeing the clothes and to discovering which of their neighbours was foolish or unwise due to the inability to see the clothes.
As the weavers went about their work, the emperor decided to send his wisest adviser to inspect the clothes and return with feedback. The emperor didn’t want to see the clothes until they were completed.
When the adviser got to where the weavers were, he discovered to his utmost surprise that he couldn’t see anything. “Am I unwise?” He asked himself. Meanwhile, the weavers were making comments on the clothes’ beauty and colours, but they were lying because in reality they were not weaving anything.
The adviser didn’t want to look foolish so he too ‘played’ along. “Oh yes! The robes are very beautiful”, he said and went back with good reports about the robes to the emperor.
Other advisers and people from the emperor were sent. None could see anything, but none told the other about the inability to see the clothes. They all pretended that the robes were beautiful because they did not want to seem foolish.
Soon the new “clothes” were “completed”. It was time for the emperor to see his clothes, wear them and march round the community with everyone being present to see him.
The weavers came with the “clothes” (even though they were actually holding nothing). The advisers of the emperor were with him and they were all giving good comments about the beautiful robe. However, the emperor could see nothing.
“What!” He thought to himself. “Every other person can see the robes but I can see nothing. Am I the unwise one in my community? I am the emperor and must not be perceived as such”.
Because the emperor thought every other person could see the clothes and didn’t want to be the “unwise” one, he also said that the robes were beautiful and allowed his servants put them on him, even though nothing was actually being put on him.
The weavers requested that large sums of money be paid them for all their hardwork and labour. The emperor did this and the weavers quickly escaped secretly.
It was time for the emperor to make his procession (procession in his underwear!). Nobody said that the emperor was in his underwear only, they all said he had beautiful robes on. Even the emperor agreed that his robes were beautiful.
Everyone was gathered round to watch the procession and behold the well crafted clothes. As the emperor marched, the community members all soon discovered that they could see no robes except the emperor’s underwear. But none told the other because no one wanted to be the unwise one.
As the procession went one, it was a little boy from the crowd that shouted “the emperor has no clothes on”. An adult tried to make the child silent but then everyone soon agreed that the emperor had no clothes on.
The emperor was ashamed! He had been deceived. He had to shamefully complete the procession in his underwear.
What’s the lesson of the story?
I asked a friend this question and paraphrasing what he said and adding mine, “many times we are too concerned with how we look in the eyes of men. We don’t want to look unwise, so we agree with things that are not true and right, so that we can fit in“.
Many people have been lured to doing bad things so that they wouldn’t look foolish or so that they can follow the ‘crowd’. This is a wrong way of living.
Then, in line with that lesson, another lesson is don’t be afraid to speak the truth, even if you may stand alone. No one wanted to say what was true in the community because they feared that they would be the only one saying it.
What do you know to be true and right? Don’t be afraid to say it or do it.(This is a lesson for me too).
I also need to include that I know God’s word and the principles in His word to be true. In fact, it’s the basis for my truth.
There are other lessons in this story too. Which can you point out?
“Sometimes or even many times, it can be difficult thinking about the most suitable way to start a blog post, or the right words to express in the post.
Today is one of those days; however, I’m not going to allow myself get discouraged. I have some thoughts to express and this challenge shouldn’t deter me.
I want to address a question that plagues me from time to time and what I’ve resolved to do about it. I hope it helps at least one person who reads this post.”
The question “what if?” is one that comes to my mind often. I question past decisions that I made. I also question things that happened which were beyond my control, like the loss of a family member, where I was born, the actions of others etc.
Many times I spend time imagining what would have been had my decisions been different and if those things did not occur.
Do my daydreams change anything? Not really.
After fantasizing, I’ll go back to reality where I made the decisions I made and where the things that happened actually occurred. And whether or not I like it, I have to live in reality and not a fantastical world.
I’ve realized that it makes no sense living in a ‘world’ of what could have been or living in regret. Things happen in life which if we had the choice to pick, we definitely wouldn’t have chosen those things.
Also, mistakes occur, we make wrong and unwise decisions which bring about unpleasant results. Some of these decisions may have been from a place of ignorance or immaturity. But here is something pleasant to learn from mistakes: lessons.We gain experience and we learn lessons.
So, instead of beating one’s self from what could have been, living in denial of what happened, or creating a world of fantasy (except for a fictional story), we should learn from the things that happened and make the best of the situation or circumstance that we find ourselves in.
I read a blog post some time ago about ‘doing the next right thing’, and I believe it applies here too. In that post though, the blogger wrote in reference to climbing the mountains in front of us and reaching the peak.
When we’re on the ground, it may seem like an enormous task to climb a high mountain, but if we keep doing the next right thing – taking a step forward and higher, we’ll reach the peak finally.
In this post, however, I am using the phrase ‘do the next right thing’ in relation to bad decisions made or unpleasant circumstances beyond your control that happened.
Instead of a constant questioning of what could have been, do the next right thing. Make better decisions and make the best of the situation.
There’s an encouraging word for believers in relation to this. It’s a bible verse I love so much. “For we know that IN ALL THINGS, God works for the good of they that love Him and are the called according to His purpose”. (Romans 8:28).
So, yes, if you’re a believer, God is able to make all things work together for your good (even past bad decisions) as long as you stay yielded to Him.
For those yet to become believers in Christ, here Is an invitation to you to a loving, wonderful and victorious life, which comes by faith in the finished work of Christ, acknowledgement and repentance of sins, and receiving of Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
So, my dear friends and readers, don’t let the ‘what if’ question keep you unhappy or at a standstill. Learn from the things that happened and resolve to do what is right and make the most of the situation.
It’s a habit I’m learning to cultivate and God has been faithful. I just thought I should share it here today.
“If any of you would be the greatest, he must be servant of all”
Jesus (Mark 10:44)
There’s this interesting book titled ‘Vacancy: you are urgently needed‘. It is a book that was written to make people aware that they are useful, and to guide people on how to excel/stand out for excellence in their work. One overruling idea in this book, for excellence and demand, amidst everything written is service.
People constantly request the attention, services and are willing to pay handsomely whoever can deliver exceptional services/value to them. And the more service you provide to people, the more reward you get.
Quite frankly, an impactful life is measured by how much we have been able to serve people. By service here, I mean going all the way out to meet the needs of others and even surpass their needs.
Notice that everything that makes life more convenient today is a form of service. People invent things or do things daily to meet the needs of people. The level to which these acts of services are being able to meet the needs of the populace makes some people tagged ‘people of impact’.
Pay attention to men and women who through history are referred to as impactful people, you’ll notice that they served for the betterment of mankind.
It’s amazing how principles for success in this world are rooted in the word of God, and in Jesus Christ Himself (who is the word).
While on earth Jesus Christ made some insightful statements about servanthood, or you can choose to say ‘service’. Looking at His life too, we can truly point Him out to be One with a servant’s heart: He came to serve. (And really, Jesus is the greatest and most impactful person who ever lived on earth! Even up until this moment, He is still impacting lives).
One profound statement that Jesus Christ made concerning service is “I didn’t come to be served but to serve…” (Mark 10:45). And indeed Jesus served unto the point of His death. Even His death was service to humanity, so that we all by His precious blood shed for us may be united to the Father and be joint-heirs with Him.
Before the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus even, notice how He went about serving. He was preaching the good news of the kingdom of God, teaching men and women the kingdom lifestyle, healing the sick, performing miracles and doing everything good. Large crowds followed Him because He was serving. He was giving them great value – a kind of value they had never seen before.
Even when He opened His mouth to speak, people were in awe, because He spoke as someone with authority. Jesus Christ had great power and authority and value, but He never used it to glorify Himself. Instead He used it all to serve humanity, and He taught His disciples the same. He said, “If any of you would be the greatest, he must be servant to all”. In other words, servanthood is the pathway to greatness.
For every Christian, Jesus Christ is our perfect example. He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and we are to look unto Him for guidance. If the author and finisher of our faith showed and taught us to live a life of service, and take on a servant’s heart, how much more we His followers?
Even Apostle Paul by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit enjoined the Church to have the mind of Christ which was a mind of humility and servanthoood (Philippians 2:5-7).
Wherever we find ourselves, we need to have the mind of someone who wants to render services to make the people around us better. And this must be done with all humility and love.
Don’t think you don’t have anything. You have a lot. Your smile, your word of encouragement, your contribution, your skill, your abilities, your Spiritual gifts, your material resources etc. can all be used for service.
Don’t let what you have go to waste! Use it to serve others. The world needs what you can offer. If you have to develop what you have, do so. But by all means, SERVE!
In discussing service, I’d also like to point out something vital from the life of Christ – OBEDIENCE.
Yes, Jesus Christ lived a life of service to humanity; nevertheless, all His actions were from the standpoint of Obedience: Obedience not to just anybody, but obedience to God. He was obedient unto death for the redemption of humanity (Philippians 2:8).
For everyone reading this, even though we are to serve others and maintain a heart of servanthood and humility, we need to be first of all obedient to God, to His words and instructions, and to the voice of authority that the LORD has placed over us.
In reality, this obedience will still point us to serve humanity, but by doing this, we will be serving humanity in a way that pleases God and serving out of true love. This is a beautiful way to live.
The chaos that is experienced in the world many times is not because people are not serving, but because some people are not serving out of obedience to God and are not serving in a way that pleases God.
Some serve for their personal interest, some serve to please others at the expense of pleasing God, some serve to look good. The ultimate service however should be to please God first and by so doing, we will be empowered to serve humanity in a way that pleases God and meets the true needs of others.
Remember the sum of the commandments: Love God with all of your being first. Then, love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). Love serves (love looks unto the good of others).
Dearly beloved readers, I’m sharing a message that has been placed in my heart which is for the benefit of all.
Cultivate a heart of good and humble service where you find yourself, not because of the rewards you’ll get (and of course you’ll be rewarded especially by the LORD), but do it because such a life glorifies God and makes humanity better.
I assure you, a life of serving others is a life that is destined for greatness. Remember Jesus’ words, “He that will be the greatest must be a servant to all”.
“…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now, choose life so that you and your children may live”.
Moses (Deuteronomy 30:19).
It’s my first blog post of the year and I’m excited! To my lovely readers, I wish you a hearty ‘Happy New Year!’
So, we are a few days into the New Year and I find it very expedient to share this today.
We’re at the beginning stage of the year, and the way one begins anything matters a lot. I know it’s commonly said that the end of a thing is better than the beginning. This is true; nevertheless, the beginning is also vital because it helps to lay the foundation on which things are built.
I’ll use my experience in the university to buttress the significance of the beginning stage. As a fresher, during my undergrad days, one thing that stalites (our senior colleagues) constantly told us was that we should start well i.e build a good CGPA from our first year in school and this would help us in the long run.
They told us that to do this we had to understand basic concepts in the courses we were taught, especially the core ones. This would help growing in understanding those concepts much easier. I’m grateful I listened to my seniors because I can affirm that it helped me. A good foundation will always make for a stable building.
Why am I saying/typing this? It is the start of a new year and I believe that we should lay a good foundation by making an important choice: The choice to choose LIFE. In choosing LIFE lies the things we need for our all round success and prosperity, or you can choose to say ‘fruitfulness’.
What does it mean to choose life?
“If you want to enter life, obey the commandments (of the LORD)” (Matthew 19:17b).
The words above were said by Jesus when a rich young ruler asked him what He could do to have eternal life. We can thus say that choosing LIFE implies obedience to God’s commands. In fact, when Moses called the Israelites together, he told them to choose life i.e. to obey the instructions of God – to choose the way of the Father. On that path lies blessings, according to Moses.
The bible further buttresses fruitfulness by obeying God’s word in Joshua 1:8 and Psalm 1:3. The man who delights in God’s word, mediates on it and is careful to observe all that is written in it is bound to be fruitful, prosperous and have good success.
Of a truth, God’s word contains what is needed for a prosperous man: it addresses the spirit, soul and body. It is life to our Spirit, refreshment to our souls and it does not neglect how the body should be treated.
It addresses how we should think, act, live. It teaches righteousness, diligence, love for God and love for others, honour, humility etc. It helps us to know the will of God for us. The knowledge of the Father’s will sets our lives on the right course and energizes us.
God’s word is God’s instrument for aligning us to His righteous kingdom. By seeking to be aligned to God’s kingdom, all other things needed will be added to us (Matthew 6:33).
Certainly, a man that chooses LIFE (obedience to God’s word) in every situation – life, work, relationship etc will be successful.
A BIT FURTHER…
There is something worthy of note from Jesus’ discourse with the rich young ruler. The young ruler replied Jesus saying that he had kept God’s commands since he was a youth (no wonder he was rich. Lol!). Jesus then said that for the rich young ruler to be perfect, he (the young ruler) should follow Him (Jesus).
In other words, true and perfect life comes from following Jesus. And really following Jesus is choosing to live by the word of God, as led by the Spirit of God. But firstly, you need to receive Him, and live for Him.
“I am the truth, the way and the life” (John 14:6a). “I have come that you might have life and life abundantly” (John 10:10).
Choosing life is choosing Jesus. It is choosing to receive Jesus, if you have not done so yet. It is choosing to walk with Jesus. It is choosing to let Jesus be your shepherd and guide you, while you hear His voice and obey as His sheep.
Choosing Life is seeking God’s kingdom and all its righteousness in whatsoever you do. It is choosing to weigh your actions and decisions, wherever you are, in light of God’s word and how Jesus leads you by His Spirit in you.
To do this effectively, there is a need to delight in God’s word, consistently feed on it, pray, fellowship with the LORD and with other believers, and be conscious about being sensitive to God’s Spirit. God deals with His children individually, and He has instructions He highlights to each one of His children through His word and by His Spirit.
Really, following Jesus is walking in the way of LIFE: the life that the soul of everyone cries for.
God’s word refreshes and instructs; obedience to God’s command gives peace and yields rewards; prayer gives strength and helps us to know specific things that God would have us do as individuals; the Holy Spirit leads, directs, comforts, gives joy. All these sum up our walk with Jesus, and it’s the path of life!I can’t imagine a better life.
I want us all to make a decision to choose life this year. I want us to choose to delight in God’s word, meditate on His word constantly and obey the word. The Holy Spirit is in every believer to strengthen us to do this.
I want us to choose loving God and loving our neighhours (This is the sum of all the law). Ultimately, I want us to choose to walk with Jesus – to follow Jesus, because He leads in the way of abundant life.
Doing this, I guarantee you, will launch you into a full rich life and help you know and enjoy God’s will which is good, perfect and acceptable.
NOTE: The world may not agree with this, even your flesh might not. From experience, I know it is not always easy, but the Holy Spirit guides and strengthens in our walk with Jesus. I’m looking up for more strength. You should too!
There is also need to have a personal resolve to remain strong. Note the blessed Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 6:10 – “Be strong in the LORD and in the power of HIS might. Put on the whole armour of God so that you can stand against the enemy’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
If you choose to follow Jesus, know that you are in the world but not of the world; nevertheless, you’re a light chosen to shine God’s bright light in a dark world. So, choose life, shine the light of Christ and bring glory to God.
I love you all! Happy New Year, once again! And please, pardon the long post.
…behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the LORD. (Luke 2:10-11).
I was asked to give a talk on joy early this month, and I thought “How timely!” December is generally known for so much glee because it is the last month of the year, and most importantly, it is the month when Christmas is celebrated.
Christmas is undoubtedly one of the best times of the year that many look forward to all year round. There’s just so much joy about the season and when it comes we are always excited.
It’s true that people see Christmas in different ways that can be quite far from what Christmas really means; nonetheless, I believe that the happiness in all the various kinds of celebrations is symbolic of the true essence of Christmas: Jesus Christ, the source of joy to the world.
Despite this, it is easy to look beyond the true essence of this time and just focus more on celebrating. Some may not even know the true significance of this celebration, but they get caught up in the ceremony. However, a celebration outside the celebrant is not true celebration.
What I want to share is not something novel. It is something that is widely said: “Christ is the reason for the season”. I nevertheless want this to be a reminder on why we celebrate and the real reason for our joy.
One bible passage that I believe really explans the great joy associated with the birth of Jesus (Christmas) is Luke 2:10-11.
The angels appeared to the Shepherds in the field and told them “We bring to you glad tidings of great joy.” And what was this glad tidings of great joy? “The birth of the savior, Jesus Christ.” How so? Christ’s birth, Christ’s coming in human flesh, brought salvation to the world, and this salvation that Jesus Christ brought to humanity by coming to earth as flesh and blood is the reason for our great joy.
Without the salvation of Jesus, there would be no reconciliation with God. And without reconciliation with God our maker, separation from God that brings doom, gloom, hopelessness and destruction are the result.
The devil whose aim is to steal, kill and destroy will keep on having a field day with humans (if you know what I mean) and then, there’d be no Holy Spirit to direct, to instruct, to fellowship with. There’d be no hope of eternity.
That kind of world is one that will not have the true and great joy that comes from a life united with the Father. People would only have transient happiness based on positive conditions. I cannot imagine such a world!
Jesus brought salvation to the world. He gave Himself for us, He brought hope, redemption, healing and deliverance to the world and for this reason we rejoice.
He has given us a nature of joy. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and an attribute of the kingdom of God which everyone that believes has received through Christ. This is why in any situation we can rejoice.
We can stay joyful because of what Christ has done. The Lord Jesus brought hope and great joy to the world! He is the source of our joy. Hallelujah!
Before I end this post, I’d like to share this. Early this month when I was asked to talk about joy, I found it to be a timely message, but quite frankly I didn’t feel like talking about joy.
A lot had happened in the year, and I had gone through some inner turmoils. I must acknowledge that in all things God has been faithful.
Still, I was so focused on my challenges that I was allowing them to determine how I should feel and act. I questioned why I should be asked to give a talk on joy when I was finding it difficult to stay joyful myself.
Thank God for the Holy Spirit and God’s word that helps to put God’s children in the right perspective.
I was reminded once again that Joy is not dependent on circumstances (even though favourable conditions do give a certain degree of joy), but Christ is the source of the joy of every believer, and by extension He is the source of the joy of the world. Keeping our eyes focused on Him ultimately helps us to maintain our joy (whether in prayer, reading the word, meditation on the word and the Lord’s goodness, thanksgiving, fellowship with the Spirit etc).
This reminder was a strong reinforcement for me, especially with it being Christmas time. Christ Jesus is the source of my joy! And He is the source of the joy of the world too. If only everyone would believe and receive Jesus, then we will all experience this great joy that He gives.
It is my prayer that we all come to grasp the fullness of the joy that Jesus Christ has brought to the world. Compliments of the season to all!
“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His mercies endures forever“
The psalmist said, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD” (Psalm 150:6). In other words, our breath is enough reason to give God praise. Anyone reading this should take this cue and utter a word of adoration to God: “Thank you LORD!”
It’s the last month of the year, and my heart is full of gratitude. Indeed this year has been an “interesting” year. A lot has happened, things are still happening but in the midst of everything, there is always a reason to say “thank you LORD“. I have seen God’s goodness and mercies play out in many ways that I can only agree with the psalmist to say “God is good and merciful”.
2020 has been a year of lessons too and looking back at the previous months, I’d like to share three lessons.
LIFE IS TRANSIENT. Life is momentary. We are here only for a while; thus, we should live life for what really matters.
We should do and prioritize what is right. In any situation, when we have the chance to be a helping hand, we should be willing to lend our hands. Acts of kindness are not easily forgotten, and besides, they actually go up as a memorial to God.
In addition, we were created to love and serve, and our lives should revolve around this. Remember the two greatest commandments: Love God wholly and love your neighbour like yourself.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH. Our health is vital; therefore, we need to take precautionary measures in how we do what we do. In the past, there might have been times when we engaged in some unhealthy practices, like eating with unwashed hands, dirty habits, unhealthy eating, sneezing without covering our mouths etc. Some sicknesses we’ve had in the past were due to some of these unhygienic practices.
This year however has showed us how we must really care for our health. Our health plays a significant role in our lives, and a simple neglect can bring great damage and lead to a loss of life. Health must not be trivialized. In fact, no part of our lives should be trivialized.
GOD ALWAYS MAKES A WAY. This is a great lesson that has been reinforced this year. I’m sure a number of people can agree that many sad things have happened in 2020.
In life, bad things are bound to happen. Jesus said that in this world, we’d have many troubles… (John 16:33) Nevertheless, in all that happens, God always has a way of providing comfort to us, and giving us the things that we need for the moment. And He has done and is still doing this with all that has happened.
Our strength and good health are good examples. What about provision, ability to think, to be innovative, to work, protection, the gift of friends, family? There’s always something good in the midst of everything.
And you know what? It’s even better for God’s dearly beloved. The blessed Apostle Paul wrote “For we know that in all things works, God works together for the good of they that love Him and are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Trust me, this is true.Iam a living testimony.
(NOTE: I invite those who want to be partakers of God’s sweet love to receive it by believing in the redemptive work of Jesus and accepting Him into your life.
By taking this action, you’ll receive the Holy Spirit, and I assure you that the presence of the Holy Spirit is such an awesome gift that you wouldn’t want to trade for anything. The joy, peace and righteousness are not replaceable by anything that life has to offer. Hallelujah!)
So, there you have it from me: three vital lessons I’ve learned. There are more, and I’m sure anyone reading this will have some to add or some to agree with from the ones I’ve listed. You can choose to put them in the comment section below, or you can just have them in mind as a reminder of what you’ve learnt this year.
What I want you to do nonetheless, after thinking through on the lessons, is to actually give thanks to God for His goodness and His mercies, irrespective of all that Has happened. Of a truth, the LORD is good and merciful. It is His nature.
As I wrap this long post up, I just have to include my paraphrase of some psalms from the psalmist (Psalm 103:1 & 2, Psalm 136:1):
Bless the LORD, O my soul and forget not all His benefits. Bless the LORD, O my soul and all that is within me, bless His Holy name. The LORD is good and His mercies endures forever.
“Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
One tv program that I enjoy watching is Sid Roth’s “It’s supernatural”. I like how Sid brings guests to his show to discuss their encounters with the supernatural, with God. It is usually edifying.
Last week, I was watching this program when the guest of the day, Pastor Mark Biltz talked about the importance of feeding on the word of God constantly. It should be a delight to every believer, he said.
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalms 119:103 NIV.
Regarding the necessity of feeding on God’s word, pastor Biltz shared an experience of how he was attacked on a particular day by robbers who told him to lie flat on the floor.
At that moment, he said, he was confused and didn’t know how to react. Suddenly, the word of God in Proverbs about lying down and having no fear of evil was brought to his memory.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid…
Proverbs 3:24 NIV.
I like to see it as the Holy Spirit bringing those words to Pastor Biltz mind. And because it was brought by the Holy Spirit, those words subdued his fears.
The word of God, that he delighted in, was used by the Holy Spirit in him, to crush his fears. And of course, he wasn’t killed because if he had been killed, he wouldn’t have been on Sid Roth’s show to recount that experience.
Pastor Mark Biltz words reminded me of what Apostle Paul said to the Ephesian church, and by extension the church of Christ, in Ephesians 6:10-19. There he told the church to put on the whole armour of God, so that they would stand against the wiles of the enemy.
One of the weapons that Apostle Paul prescribed was the word of God. He described the word of God as the sword of the Spirit.
You would agree with me that the sword is a very vital weapon in a battle. The sword is what is used to defeat the enemy. It gives victory.
Apostle Paul said to “take on the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. Please pay close attention to the words: Sword of the Spirit. Or if you like “Spirit’s Sword”.
The picture I can give this is the Holy Spirit, in a believer, holding a sword – His sword and using it to fight the enemy.
The word of God is a sword that belongs to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit uses this sword to defeat the enemy when the enemy comes with his lies, threats, fear, depression, anxiety, discouragement etc. The Spirit uses the word to crush anything that is not in alignment to God’s truth.
Apostle Paul said Spirit’s sword. He said, “take on the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. The Spirit uses the word of God that we have in us (the word of God that we have taken on) to fight the enemy. Putting this in another way, the Holy Spirit breathes on the word of God in us for effectiveness in our Spiritual battle.
Whenever a Christian is in times of crisis or any situation at all, it is the word of God that the believer has taken on that the Holy Spirit brings to the memory of that believer to make such a person counter the lies and pressure of the enemy. In other words, the Spirit of God is working in that believer, using His sword, to defeat the enemy.
In a similar vein, when a Christian is praying, many times, the Holy Spirit helps to bring the word of God relevant to the current situation to the believer’s mind. This builds up faith and makes the prayer even more effective.
Sometimes, one may have even read those words in the past but did not have a full grasp of the meaning until the Holy Spirit begins to breathe on it where it is needed and in the place of prayers, to crush the deceit and fears that the enemy likes to bring.
Notice though that those words have to be present in our minds as believers so that they can be used effectively by the Spirit of God in us. That’s why Apostle Paul admonished the Ephesians, and by extension all children of God, to take on the Spirit’s sword.
We must feed on God’s word constantly. Don’t joke with it. It is the Spirit’s sword.
I need to add that although the word of God is the Spirit’s sword, it is also ours to use in standing against the wiles of the enemy. The point, nevertheless, is that the word of God, without the Spirit of God cannot be effective. It has to be breathed on by the Holy Spirit because it is the Spirit’s sword.
NOTE: If you find it difficult to understand God’s word or to enjoy reading it, pray to God with an open mind. Ask God to help you understand. Discuss also with mature believers and read spiritual books and devotionals. All these aid understanding. It helps me.
I also recommend the bible app “youversion”. It has many plans that can help your study of God’s word.
However means possible, keep taking in the word of God. It is extremely needed. It is needed as the Spirit’s sword. It is needed to counter the lies of the enemy; it is needed to make believers strong in the LORD and the power of His might, otherwise we’ll continue to have injured believers.
Take good counsel and accept correction – that’s the way to live wisely and well. – Proverbs 19:20 (MSG)
They say Thursdays are for throwbacks; so, today makes it a good day for one.
Last month I had an experience that taught me how important it is to listen to the counsel of one’s parent(s). This experience reminded me of another experience I had as a child, still on parental counsel. I decided then that I was going to write about that childhood experience.
Today being Thursday makes it a good time to share what happened. So, sit back, read and learn as I take you back in time.
Back when I was a little girl, clocking ten was a big deal. I don’t know if it still is. That time though, it was something! There was usually a party with an mc, clowns, a dj, face painting, bouncing castles, fun games and activities, souvenirs, varieties of food and many more. Field birthday parties were also considered as epic. I loved them!
Before I clocked Ten, I already had the picture of how my tenth year birthday would be. I had attended a couple of birthdays for 10 year olds and so, I had some inspiration for mine.
I was fortunate that my tenth year old birthday was during the holiday period; hence, I could have a party!
As my birthday started to approach, plans began. I wanted a party on a field i.e. an outdoor party. There’d be canopies, ballons, a dj, fun activities, souvenirs, lots of pictures and many of my friends in attendance. It was going to be a blast! For a girl approaching ten, that was such a big deal.
As the d-day drew closer, my Mom started to advise me to have an indoor party instead, or something less big. One of her friends consented. In fact, he said that there are some things that adults see that children may not see; thus, I should listen to my Mom’s counsel. But I was adamant! I wanted a big party. It was something I had wished for in a long time and it was finally time for my wish to come true.
My Mom kept advising me to have an indoor party. I didn’t understand why she didn’t want me to have the party of my dreams. I pleaded with her that I wanted a field party and she finally let me be.
My birthday was on a Saturday but we decided to celebrate it the next day, on Sunday. Sunday finally came and I was ecstatic! I made a beautiful hairstyle, something they call ‘packing gel’ in Nigeria. The field was already decorated with music playing around. It was a beautiful sight with balloons, ribbons and canopies.
Some of my friends had started to arrive. All that was left was for me to change to my beautiful gown and then the party would start. The field was not far from my house; so, I went home excited. My wish was coming true!
I was still full of joy when all of a sudden, the clouds began to change and there was a strong wind, probably one of the strongest winds ever. I’m not kidding. Even the canopies were forcefully moved far from the field due to the impact of the strong wind. The wind was an indication of something bigger: RAIN! Not just rain, heavy rain!
It rained black and blue that day. I didn’t expect the rain at all. In my birthday excitement, I had forgotten that my birthday month was a month known for heavy rains. No wonder my Mom kept telling me to have an indoor party. She probably sensed that rain was going to fall that day, but didn’t want to say it, so that it wouldn’t happen.
As a child though, rain did not occur to me. Plus, I don’t think there had been rain in the previous days. Or maybe I just didn’t notice.
That day there was a heavy downpour. My friends who had arrived all had to come to my house. Being an emotional child, it didn’t take minutes before I started to weep. I cried profusely. My wish and dreams had crumbled. What was going to happen?
That day I learned the importance of listening to the counsel of one’s parents. They have more experience, and more knowledge. It’s true that they do not know everything; still, they know a number of things and they ‘see’ things that their children may not see. If they keep giving a particular counsel, it is better to take note of it.
Back to my tenth birthday.
Everything didn’t end with the rain like I thought it would.
Thankfully, my Mom, her friends and the event planner quickly arranged something for me. There was a hall just opposite the field, something I should have hitherto considered but didn’t think about it, because I wanted a field party at all cost.
Fortunately for me, they were able to make some connections and they got the keys to the hall. The event planner put her skills in action once again and made the hall beautiful.
I was encouraged with the substitute and my friends made me dress up.
I believe that God just wanted to teach me a lesson through my experience because not long after, the heavy rains subsided even though everywhere was still really wet.
I used the hall. Interestingly, many people came around irrespective of the rains that had earlier fallen and the mushiness. I must have been a pleasant child.
I still had a good birthday celebration but I would have saved cost if I had just listened to my Mom’s earlier counsel. Besides, what if there was no substitute at all? I would not have had any party at all. I’m grateful that there was a substitute but at the same time, I learned my lesson.
Dear readers, even though this is a throwback, the purpose of this post is to point to the fact that it pays to listen to the good counsel of our parents/guardians/elders. They have more experience and sometimes “see” things that we don’t.
So long as the counsel from our parents/guardians/elders is good and does not go against God’s will/instructions, it’s worthy of note.
The month of October 2020 has come and it has gone; still, I cannot help but reflect once more on the things that happened last month.
Although there were some things I didn’t understand until recently, and some things that I still don’t understand, there are lessons that I’ve learned.
Even though October 2020 is now history, I have decided to share some lessons from last month here. (Interestingly, the lessons I’ll be sharing are ten in number, and October is the tenth month).
1.) GOD’S THOUGHTS AND WAYS ARE HIGHER THAN MAN’S (Isaiah 55:8-9). Last month, I had a lot of questions on the various events that happened. I gave some hasty conclusions, and there were times that I asked “why?” On one occasion, I was reminded of how limited I can be in my understanding. But God is unlimited. He is the all wise God, and His ways are very high.
Knowing this, I believe that the things to do are trust God, keep abiding in Him, keep seeking to know more of Him, and keep doing the right thing as His word shows and as His Spirit leads.
It’s true that a Christian has the presence of the Holy Spirit who helps to reveal God’s mind and ways as we fellowship deeper.
Still, there are some things we don’t understand and must therefore trust and obey God. All things work together for the good of they that love God and are the called according to His purpose.
2.) HUMAN EVIL. This year and not just the month of October, has shown how dark humans can be. We’ve had rape incidences, racism, police brutality, injustice, violence and then the recent killings of young Nigerians.
This darkness nevertheless did not start today.
In Genesis, the bible records that God repented that He made man because of the evil inclinations in man (Genesis 6:5-6). Man can do some really inhumane things, to the detriment of others. This is terrible, and justice will definitely be done.
The truth though is that nooneis really immune from evil, and evil comes in different manifestations. While it may manifest in injustice, violence, brutality in some; it can manifest in lies, theft, deceit, immorality in others.
This notwithstanding, Jesus Christ came to the earth to die for the sins of the world. He paid the price with His blood.
Everyone, no matter how evil, can receive forgiveness of sins and purity through the sacrifice of Jesus. But there must be willingness to come to Him while there’s still time.
3.) IT IS GOOD TO DEFEND WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE TRUE AND JUST. I learned this from the #endsars protests in my nation. The youths wanted a change for the better in Nigeria and decided to voice out peacefully.
I had mixed feelings about the protests; however, through the peaceful protests, I was able to see the importance of speaking out in defense of truth and justice.
4.) SHOW EMPATHY AND COMPASSION. Another lesson from the #endsars protests. I believe that empathy was a big reason why some people decided to speak out against injustice. They put themselves in the position of those who were being oppressed.
I believe that our world needs more empathetic people who will be able to put themselves in the shoes of other people and do what they’ll love others do for them. Butit should be done in love. It’s also a challenge to me: to be more empathetic and compassionate
One story from the bible that illustrates empathy and compassion is the good Samaritan’s story (Luke 10:30-35)
5.) POWER IN UNITY. Again, I learned this from the peaceful #endsars protests. I believe that there was much strength and zeal to push until a change was achieved because of the united voices. Also, because of the united voices, a lot was accomplished in terms of organization.
6.) LISTEN TO THE COUNSEL OF ELDERS, ESPECIALLY PARENTS. This was a personal lesson for me. I didn’t take counsel from my Mom on a crucial matter. I thought that I’d be able to do things my way and still do well. However, it turned out that my Mom’s counsel was the better option.
Not listening to my Mom’s counsel cost me an important opportunity.
The words of our elders, especially parents are so important and hold so much wisdom. Our elders and parents have had experiences and seen things which we haven’t. When they speak, it is often from a place of experience, love and wisdom. It’s good to listen to them (Proverbs 1:8).
7.) DON’T JUDGE (Luke 6:37). I did some internal judgments concerning some events that happened in October. Looking back now, I wish I didn’t judge. I wish I just prayed more for wisdom and understanding, and listened more.
8.) GRATITUDE. In October, I had a number of reflections about my life, God’s wonders, my family, friends, gifts and all that God has bestowed me with. I realized that I had taken things for granted which wasn’t good enough.
There was a night I couldn’t even sleep on time but kept thinking about all the wonderful friends I have.
My life, salvation, my friends, family and the things in my life point to something: I am blessed! I am grateful to God for His many blessings. How much can I say?
9.)LIFE IS SO TRANSIENT TO LIVE WITHOUT A SOLID CONVICTION FOR LIVING. Life can be short, and truth is, death is inevitable. As I type, I cannot but remember the young and brave Nigerians who were killed unjustly on the 20th of October, 2020. I wonder if they had accepted Christ as Lord. I hope they had.
Truth is, whether one believes it or not, Christ exists. God is real and His handiworks in the universe point to this truth (Romans 1:20). We can do nothing against the truth but for the truth.
Besides, life in Christ is so beautiful and nothing else beats it. It’s wonderful to live for Him. There is joy, peace and assurance in Him, both in this world, and after.
And what’s more, He loves us beyond our imagination. He is love and He wants the best for us. Without Christ, life really does seem meaningless. If you’ve not accepted Him, what are you waiting for?
10.) PRAYER IS KEY. Final lesson from October to share. Prayer does wonders! There are so many testimonies. How much can I share?
Also, prayer deepens communion with God, trust in Him and it helps us understand His will. It’s a lesson I’m still learning.
Prayer gives strength, peace and assurance.
Personally, I believe that through prayer, mountains move. Prayer works beyond what human wisdom and power can. Prayer is powerful. The effectual fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much, dynamic in its workings (James 5:16). Remember too, the bible says: Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Lesson ten brings me to the end of the lessons from October I’ll be sharing .
I feel like sharing some more, but I’ll just end here. My Mum says my writing is usually lengthy. Let’s not make it more lengthy.
I hope you had a good read.
Happy New Month! Happy November! God be praised forevermore. I wish you a most blissful month.