Christianity

A Prayer For The Heart: 

Dear God, 
(Jeremiah 17:9) says the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. So much so that I nor anyone of us really knows how bad it is?  (Proverbs 15:11) says that even Death and Destruction hold no secrets from You. So how much more do you know my human heart!” Lord, have I tried to hide my sins like other people do, concealing my guilt in my heart? (Job‬ ‭31:33)‬ ‭ For “how can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” (Psalms‬ ‭19:12)  Father, I ask that you cleanse my heart through faith (Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭15:9‬b)‬‬. 

(Proverbs 21:1) says “a king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases.” And (Proverbs 22:11) says “whoever loves a pure heart and gracious speech will have the king as a friend.” Father, “create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” (Psalms‬ ‭51:10‬) A heart that will not desert you or stray away from your path.” (Psalms‬ ‭44:18‬)  Nor, a heart that is filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness (Matthew 23:28b) Lord, may my heart cease to be filled “with bitter sorrow and unending grief” (Romans‬ ‭9:2‬) and as “my heart hear you say, “Come and talk with me.” my heart’s response will be, “ Lord, I am coming.” (Psalms‬ ‭27:8‬)  “Lord God change my heart and the hearts of all my descendant, so that we will love You with all our heart and soul and so we may live!” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:6‬). Lord, give us one heart and put a new spirit within us. Take away our stony, stubborn heart and give us a tender, responsive heart,” (Ezekiel‬ ‭11:19‬). So that we will “obey your instructions; and put them into practice with all our heart.” (Psalms‬ ‭119:34‬) In Jesus name, amen! 

Discount. Discount. Discount.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation, [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].” – 1 John 4:10

Funny enough this verse had me reminiscing on my ‘caring too much about what the world thinks of me’ days. Days where I would happily walk into a clothing store, pick out a few items that caught my eyes, proceed to the checkout counter and happily pay FULL PRICE for items that I could have bought at a discounted price. Majority of the time, it wasn’t because I didn’t know the shop offered discounts but I was more concerned about portraying myself as able to afford everything I wanted without the assisted help of discounts. I honestly should have just taken the discount, saved a few pounds and use that money towards something else. That would have been the smart thing to do.

**It’s interesting because I believe out of God’s love for every one of us, we can obtain ETERNAL LIFE at a price in Jesus Christ. **

It’s simple. Believing in Christ Jesus is the golden ticket we need to obtain eternal life. Believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who was crucified, who died for our sins and was buried, who rose again on third day from the dead, ascended into Heaven and is seated on the right hand of God Almighty.

Nothing sinful or evil can exist in God’s presence. He is absolutely goodness. He cannot overlook, condone or excuse sin as though it never happened. He loves us, but his love does not make Him morally lax. If you trust in Christ, however, you will not have to bear the penalty for our sins…. (extract from NLT study Bible).

**(He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became our healing – 1 Peter 2:24) **

… But you will be acquitted by His atoning sacrifice.

** (Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone – Romans 5:18) **

When Jesus died on the cross, He paid in blood to buy men and women from all over the earth and back for God (Revelation 5:9). His blood washed our sins from our lives (Revelation 1:5). It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb (1 Peter:18-19). His blood poured out as a sacrificial confirmation of the covenant between God and His people for forgiveness of sins for many (Matthew 26:28). For at one time, you were far away from God, but now in Christ Jesus, you are brought near to Him. You are bought near to God through the blood sacrifice of Christ (Ephesians 2:13).

Christ’s blood is part of God’s love that drives out fear from your heart and causes you to live free of condemnation and in confidence that the price of your sins has been paid and you can come boldly before God and into His presence.

You don’t have to live in fear of judgement day as this dreaded event that is yet to take place but instead you can be excited at the thought of being in God’s holy presence. All-expense PAID! But….

If you’re currently living a life that pretty much saying to God ‘Thank you for the blood of Jesus that frees me from condemnation and into eternal life but I’m not going to take it’. I encourage you to look within yourself and answer this …

‘Do you believe YOU are ABLE to PAY the PRICE for ALL YOUR SINS by YOURSELF?’

** Because God cannot overlook, condone or excuse sin as though it never happened. Understand that those who believe in Christ Jesus have the luxury of being acquitted from facing punishment for their sins because they BELIEVED in Him. Those who chose NOT to believe in Christ Jesus have only themselves to stand before Christ to answer for themselves. **

If you trust in Christ, you don’t have to bear the penalty for your sins, but if you don’t, you are pretty much saying to God ‘I can bear the penalty of my sins’.

If you’re reading this and you haven’t chosen to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, I greatly encourage you to come to Jesus, grow to know Him more and more and live in great confident that His blood covers all your sins and in Him you have eternal life and you are saved.

If you want to give your life to Jesus in this moment, I urge to pray with me ……….

“For if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Prayer of Salvation:

Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Your Son Jesus Christ. You said in Your Word that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13) Father, I am calling on Jesus right now. I believe He died on the cross for my sins, that He was raised from the dead on the third day, and He’s alive right now. Lord Jesus, I am asking You now, come into my heart. Live Your life in me and through me. I repent of my sins and surrender myself totally and completely to You. Heavenly Father, by faith I now confess Jesus Christ as my new Lord and from this day forward, I dedicate my life to serving Him. In Jesus name. Amen.

The Answer Is Closer Than You Think.

There is a Yorùbá adage which says ohun ti a nwa lo si Sokoto waa l’abe sokoto “. This adage simply means “what we are travelling to Sokoto (a northern city in Nigeria) to get is inside the pocket of our trousers”.  Quoted by my Pastor to further emphasise his teaching which he titled ‘there is water in the desert’ on ‘Hagar and her son’ (Genesis 21:14-19).

See, Sarah, Abraham’s wife had a maid named Hagar, who bore Abraham a son with Sarah’s permission of course. One day, Sarah saw Hagar’s son, Ishmael poking fun at her son Isaac and asked Abraham to send Hagar and her son away; in which he did even though it brought him great pain to do so but God spoke to Abraham about it and pretty much told him ‘I’ve got your son, Ishmael’. (Genesis 21:9-13). Morning comes, Abraham packs a to go bag for Hagar and Ishmael and sends them on their not so merry way.

In their nomadic journey into the desert of Beersheba, they ran out water and Hagar left her son, Ishmael under a tree. Crying, she said ‘I cannot beat to watch my son die’ as she walks out. God through his angel graciously reaches out to her and asked her ‘What’s wrong?

**at this point of the sermon, in my head while giving God the side eye like ‘You know why she crying’**

Anyways God’s angel then said to her ‘God has heard the BOY crying, and knows the FIX he’s in. Get up; go get the BOY. Hold him tight. I’m going to make of him a great nation’. (Genesis 21:17-18). God then opens her eyes to see a well of water. She filled her container with water and gave Ishmael a long cool drink.

**In that moment, my pastor said something so profound. He said ‘the well of water was probably there all along but she was blind to it. She could only see the problem in front of her which was ‘they ran out of water’ among many other things. She had given up and saw no way out for them and proceeded to thinking of DEATH! She did not realise that the answer she should have been looking for was closer to her than she thought’. The fact that she was crying but scriptures says God heard Ishmael’s crying and reached out to Hagar’. Therefore, Ishmael was her answer!

Honestly before this sermon, I also have been searching for answers. Feeling rather lost in the sauce, I thought I’d ask the big man upstairs for some direction and guidance. Also during my devotional, I embarked on reading through the book of Daniel.

Later that Sunday evening, surfing through YouTube as you do, I noticed that the ‘Elevation Church’ Sunday service was going on and I being a fan of Pastor Stephen clicked to hear what the sermon was about. I noticed he was preaching on a new series titled ‘Seven Mile Miracle’ which sounded interesting and being taught in anticipation of Jesus’s death and resurrection (Easter).

He explored the story of two individuals. One named Cleopas, and the other; unnamed. Walking to the village of Emmaus which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were in deep conversation about recent events of Jesus’s crucifixion. In the middle of their conversation, Jesus pops up and walks alongside them. Unable to recognise who he was, they pretty much had a conversation with Jesus about Jesus. (Luke 24:13-18)

**‘Can you imagine they told Jesus about Jesus’. I just think that is hilarious **

Jesus proceeded to asking them ‘Oh so what happened?’ and they continued to giving Jesus the lowdown about himself. They said ‘Jesus was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. He was sentenced and crucified to death. They had hopes that he was the One; the Messiah who would deliver Israel. (in that moment, the penny dropped for me). Continuing, they said it was now the third day the One, the messiah should have been walking ‘these streets’ but the only things happening was confusion from some of the women who said that they had seen a vision of angels who proclaimed Jesus was alive and others even went to check and found the tomb empty. (Luke 24:19-24).

Jesus then schooled Cleopas and his companion. Starting with the book of Moses, and went through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to Him. They still didn’t see it. Finally, grazing the edge of Emmaus, they invited Jesus to come in and break bread with them; which he did. He sat down to eat with them, blessed the bread and gave them to eat. (Luke 24:25-31).

**IT WAS AT THAT MOMENT THEY REALISED THEY MESSED UP! THEY REALISE WHO THE ANSWER IS AND HAS BEEN **

They realised that the man they so kindly invited in was Jesus. The ‘answer’ they have been hoping for all this while. The answer they were searching for in life ‘the messiah who would come and rescue God’s special people’ was indeed Jesus. The man who is dynamic in works and word.

** I believe these two like many others search for answers one way and because we are so blinded like Hagar, to see or not see what is in front of us **

They like you and I are going to the ends of the earth, searching for answers that are literally inside our pockets, answers that is walking alongside us to our purposeful destinations, answers that can already be found in the Word of God.

It was in my penny dropping moment, I realised I didn’t need to go searching for the answers I already had. The answers I was in pursuit of was all along in the word of God I had been reading.

**Once again, I was blown away by the message, especially because I had the same mind as Cleopas and Cleopas’s travelling friend. I was Hagar, who didn’t realise that the answer I was searching for was closer to me than I thought’ and was so adamant on receiving my answers a certain way. **

Longing for a Beautiful Place of Worship.

Wheeyy-heeeyy!!!!

My very first cheeky weekly fav of 2017. I have been longing to get back into that beautiful place of worship with God. I stumbled on the beautiful sound of Elevation Worship.

Elevation Worship is formed of worshippers from Elevation Church based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pastored by Stephen Furtick. I would describe pastor Stephen himself as a meticulous pastor with a good sense of humour. His ongoing preaching series titled ‘Work Your Window‘ based on 1 Kings 19 has been thoroughly insightful and if you love your preaching with stories attached to it; check him out at ‘Elevation Church‘ via Youtube. Now unto the music.

The group has several albums out already but their ‘Here as in Heaven’ album is LEGIT! But here are my top 7 favourites:

Peace and Love

 

An Open Letter to God the Holy Spirit.

Dear Holy Spirit,

I am sorry, that I’ve always thought you to be somewhat of a mere messenger, who wears the phrase ‘speak only when told to speak’ so well. In all the doctrines and understanding I have acquired and accumulated, I have always thought of you as the lesser one in the Trinity. Sometimes, I have ignored the fact that you are God the Holy Spirit; so therefore, you are God. I have made the mistake of reducing you into the liking of a small errand boy in all my quest of believing in God through Christ Jesus. I learnt the other day that you are not a substitute for God the Father’s voice to me when He wants to say something to me; but you ARE God’s voice that speaks.

Trying to build a better understanding of who you are the other day, I tried to imagine God in his awesome glory sitting on His Awesome Throne. He had no face, but he had a mouth. I tried to picture God the Father through the words of Ezekiel when the prophet spoke of his close encounter with God; which I may add, was only possible through You.  He spoke of the four living beings. He, Ezekiel described the glory of God. From what appeared to be his waist up was like gleaming amber flickering like a fire. And from his waist down; a burning flame, shinning with splendour. All around Him (God) was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shinning in the clouds on a rainy day.

In attempts to capture an image remotely close to anything like that; I grew in understanding of the Trinity but especially you. See through my imagination, I pictured God the Father sitting on His Majestic Throne and as He opened His mouth, the words He spoke into creation; He spoke in reference to God the Son. Every word spoken speaks light, life, and love. See He first spoke into existence Light. Then Life from dust and now I inhabit in His Love every day. Question. Who is light, life and love himself? Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

I am getting excited all over again at the awesomeness of this understanding. Before I could ask myself another question like ‘so where is the Holy Spirit in all of this?’ I realised that even before light existed, you were present. You were hovering. You hover a lot. I realised that the power in the word God the Father speaks is you; God the Holy Spirit. You are the power and presence of God in the Trinity. You have been present way before the New covenant, yes even during the Old Testament. You didn’t just come into existence when the Son of God ascended into Heaven. No, that’s when we were able to receive You personally. You were present in the midst of the great and powerful wind that tore mountains apart and shattered rocks. You were also present in the earth quake and fire. I can imagine when Moses was about to separate the Red Sea right, God spoke the word; You immediately moved into action and manifested the Power and Presence of God.

I have realised that to think of you as simply God’s messenger and by unintentionally separating you from the Trinity is unjust. You are not to be separated nor seen as the lesser one of the three. To imagine God the Father without you is to believe God’s Word is powerless. It would be saying God the Father spoke in reference to God the son but nothing happened. You are important in the Trinity; You are important to me. You are NOT an errand boy who speaks in a gentle voice in substitute for God the Father’s great voice that would possibly burst my ear drums if I ever heard it in all its entirety but you are indeed God, Holy Spirit.

Please forgive me?

I’m Sorry but Don’t Be an Eve.

“Be the kind of woman who, when your feet hit the floor each morning, the devil says “Oh, no! She’s up.” – Joanne Clancy

This morning, I am that kind of woman. Feeling like I have just won the battle and a great war and it feels truly amazing. I came across this quote last year and immediately fell in love with the empowering sense of motivation it gives. Imagine waking up each morning and working through the day like you know you’ve got the spirit of power, love and of a sound mind. Today, I walk in this knowledge and boy, do I feel empowered.

Many times in the past, I have felt powerless in my abilities but grew in the knowledge of the God I serve. I have allowed the devil to have a field day in my mind, weighing me down with more confusion and a lack of peace of mind. Waking up today was no different. I woke up feeling lacklustre about the day ahead and thoughts of conspiracies flew into my mind and decided to plant its unwanted self in my head. Great, just what I need; more confusion. I couldn’t shake it off on my own. So feeling powerless in my abilities, I proceeded to praying and asking God for forgiveness because I recognised that these conspiracies were hurtful to him, doubted his abilities and there I say, his presence. I don’t even remember how I got to channelling all that prayer into rebuking the devil; but in that moment, I’d realised that my greatest weapon which is the word of God had to be used. And who is the word of God? Jesus! Using the name of Jesus to fight my battle this morning; left me winning the battle of this minefield. Battle won. Breath.

Isn’t it interesting how canny the devil can be? He is so slick in his ways that if you’re not careful; you end up falling into his trap. But I’ve learnt in his slippery manner, he’s also equally stupid. But scripture reminds me that ‘I have Power, I have Love and such as heck, I have a sound mind’. So when you feel like your mind is called into question, rely on the rock in whom your identity is found, the power of Christ that lives in you, know that you are loved by God and he wants for your good and not evil and know in Christ, you have the promise of a sound mind. So therefore, fight.

Remember Eve? Don’t be like Eve, who lost in her battle against the devil’s temptations. Don’t forget God’s love for you, remember the power of Christ that lives in you and don’t consider yourself powerless but call the name of Jesus EVERY TIME. The grace to do so never runs out nor does the power in His name. Don’t draw your weapon on the shelf only for the great wars but use it even in the small one. You must be alert, awake and intentional if you’re going to win this war and be victorious.

The devil will only test and attack you if he knows that you know who your foundation is in and if you are someone who inhabits in the Power that threaten his plans for devour.

Today, I am the kind of woman who, even before my feet touched the floor, this morning, the devil said “Oh no! She’s up.”.

Scripture Reference:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.’ – 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

‘And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.’ – 1 Corinthians 10:4 (NKJV)

‘Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.’ – Ephesians 6:17 (NLT)

‘Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruits and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.’ – Genesis 3:6 (HCSB)

‘Then, the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed, more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, grovelling in the dust as long as you live.’ – Genesis 3:14 (NLT)

‘Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.’ – 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

A Space of Optimism.

Happy New Year Everyone.

Can you believe we are already 8 days into the new year, I honestly cannot believe that. I feel like all I do is blink and days just fly by! Anyways, it’s not how much time you have, it’s what you do with the time you have been given, that truly matters. I thought by now I would be hearing so much lip on new year resolutions but funny enough I haven’t heard many people speak on their ‘new year new me’ resolutions. If anything, listening to someone speak about how people ought to not make those ‘new year new me’ resolutions, just makes me cringe to a level 100, like we get it. That is so 2009, let’s move on, everyone else has.

Another thing that really surprised me is how so many people have come out of nowhere either putting a curse or a blessing on the year 2016. I even saw a trailer to a potential ‘year 2016’ movie. Personally, 2016 wasn’t the one for me but I am grateful it happened. I am definitely one of those who at first had to truly analyse 2016 for what it was, in order to find the beauty in it and I cannot lie, it was hard but I am better for it.

Saying I’m excited for this new year is a big stretch but also an understatement. I’m excited for what’s in store.

Speaking to a friend, she shared with me her bother on how much emphasis is placed on celebrating the new year. Her thoughts were, ‘why wait until the new year to start something and leave whatever you had been previously working on undone?’ To which I agreed, to an extent.

But as someone who enjoys and celebrates beginnings and endings of anything life has to offer, I had to explain that sometimes ‘people are appreciative for the end it brings but also the beginning’. Especially if it has been a long rocky road or the end of something negative for them and emphasising on the new year is just their way of celebrating an opportunity to create a space of optimism. Plus, living with the idea that your life is one big continuum; even though it is, seems rather daunting for many. Think of the new year as ‘recess’ before heading back to class, or a ‘bookmaker’ to aid you in continuing through chapters of your favourite novel.

I realise the new year is my favourite time of the year. You get to celebrate an ending and a beginning all in the same breath. Yes, it also helps in creating a space of optimism for one’s life. However, I’ve learnt with that comes the habit of being ‘intentional’.

I believe setting resolutions are not necessarily to be done away with, resolutions that cause some to spontaneously sign up for gym memberships only adds to one’s space of optimism for the year or until you reach your goal. I believe you ought to only count resolution as a downfall waiting to happen, once you stop being intentional about achieving the goals you’ve set.