Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

I was in church a few weeks ago, and this hymn jumped at me in so many ways. I downloaded it after the service, and by the end of the week I had listened to it about 100 times. Imagine if I had 1000 dollars for every time I listened to the song, lol.

Anyway, so I remembered the hymn today (the one sung in church today didn’t really grip me) so I thought I’d share. And with lyrics too. This version is by the Bill and Gloria Gaither Band, it’s fabulous. You’re welcome.

1 Once I was bound by sin’s galling fetters,
Chained like a slave I struggled in vain;
But I received a glorious freedom,
When Jesus broke my fetters in twain.

Refrain: Glorious freedom, wonderful freedom,
No more in chains of sin I repine!
Jesus the glorious Emancipator,
Now and forever He shall be mine.

2 Freedom from all the carnal affections,
Freedom from envy, hatred and strife;
Freedom from vain and worldly ambitions.
Freedom from all that saddened my life.

3 Freedom from pride and all sinful follies,
Freedom from love and glitter of gold;
Freedom from evil temper and anger,
Glorious freedom, rapture untold.

4 Freedom from fear with all of its torments,
Freedom from care with all of its pain;
Freedom in Christ my blessed Redeemer,
He who has rent my fetters in twain.

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So it’s been a little while since I reproduced my notes from church, not because I haven’t been attending, but because… *sheepish grin* I’m sorry. I’m glad you’re here though because today’s sermon you cannot afford to miss!

I attend HolyHill Church, and if you’re regular here you know I’m always talking about how I enjoy worshiping there, the choir ministrations, the Word of God that feeds my spirit, and the focus on charity the church has using HolyHill Relief Foundation. I love it! 

On the other hand, I’ve heard a lot about Pastor Poju Oyemade; a number of my friends swear by his messages, and I keep hearing great stories about him. Interestingly, I’ve never listened to any of his teachings, and even though I’m in Lagos a lot, somehow I’ve never been to his church.

Then it was announced that Pastor Poju would be at church on Thursday and for some reason I was super excited in my spirit. I knew I would attend.

Fast forward to Thursday evening, I was in church (EARLY), and a really intense worship session, after which Pastor Sunday Ogidigbo introduced Pastor Poju. Cue my thumping, really expectant heart.

The rest of this post is my reproduction of the notes I took during the sermon. Ready? May God bless the entrance of His words into our hearts, amen.

Title: The Economy of Faith – God’s Economic System

Exodus 6:3

El-Shaddai – God of the field. When God revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He introduced Himself as the one who causes fields to produce in abundance… as the God of the marketplace. God is the God of the fields, the one that teaches our hands to profit.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (Amplified Version) “And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.”

Such a powerful scripture! (There and then I downloaded the Amplified Bible onto my iPad; no time!)

Deuteronomy 11:10, 8:17, 28:11

When you refuse to work at all, there is nothing for God’s rain to fall on. You’re not in the game. Joseph was working in jail and God met him there.

The mystery is, how can anything good come out of Nazareth? Mark 4:30

Give God something to work with – He needs a seed in the ground for His rain to fall on. Even if working for free is the way to get in, do it. Get in the game.

The History of Money

Barter system – French Opera singer (there was a story here about the barter system starting to fail and this singer who was paid in sheep, goats, pigs, and thousands of coconuts and then had the problem of transporting her pay home, lolololol) – value system for products and services. Money moves when products and services of value are exchanged.

Entrepreneurship – using your skill to open the doors for business. Offering – giving a gift without expecting anything in return.

Wisdom creates labor-saving devices. We, as Christians should be full of this wisdom which is a product of the rain of heaven.

Warren Buffet said, “Acquire skills that no one else has, or invest in those who have these skills”.

The ideas God wants to give to me will be too much for me so I will start to trade in them – consultancy/strategy.

The value is not in the ground but in the idea applied to the product in the ground. For example, crude oil. It was just this black, gooey substance in the ground till someone figured out that refined it could do all the things that earned it the name, ‘black gold’.

The starting point to operating God’s economy is this…

  • When we start doing anything, whatever we make from it is not the point. Whatever we are given, whenever we are given, take God’s part and give to Him. Then He will pour out A Blessing that we won’t have room to contain.

But we need to start doing something first. The strategy of the church is (and should be) “…wherever the soles of our feet tread upon…” Where are your feet going/treading?

  • No matter what we’re doing, praise God there. Give thanks – the earth is waiting to yield increases for us when we praise.
  • Jesus is the vine, we are the branches. John 15: 5 God is the husbandman though, John 15:1, and the scriptures say the husbandman is the first partaker of the fruit. So why do we deny him the first fruits?

Anything I release of my own freewill without any demands on the recipient (implied or not) God rewards by Himself. Prosperity is not in material things but the next big idea God drops in your heart.

It was Daniel, it was Joseph, it was Jacob; God is quicker to put His people as right hand, influential men/advisers rather than kings.

Final word: Get to the office excited tomorrow and pray down God’s rain on your place of business. Glory to God!!

And that was it, the message ended while I was still on the edge of my seat, waiting to drink just a bit more. Argh!! Ah well, means I’m hooked on his messages now jor. Totally!

Good news; the message is available for download on our church website, and you’re welcome to fellowship with us in person or online.

God bless you!

 

 

How’s everyone doing?

Good weekend? Ready for the week? This is going to be one of my busiest but I thought I’d take a few minutes and say a big hello to everyone, play catch up a bit.

So my niece and nephew were ill, one had malaria and a tummy bug, and the other one had a cold that stretched at least two weeks, and she still had it after she gave it to me. We spent small time in the hospital, and that’s where the story about blood donation came from (I published that recently).

I’ve also done a bit of local travel, looking forward to when I can take a proper holiday… I owe myself two – one for my birthday and the other because life is short and we should take time off to rest and be quiet when we can. Amen?

God dey.

Work is alright… Moved into a new office in June and we’re getting settled in really nicely. Really thankful to God for that, and the immediate possibilities I see for expansion.

Still on work, got two interesting referrals recently, a stark reminder that clients, no matter how little, matter and an excited client post your custom might make a difference as much as 24 months after. I’m really thankful for the referrals, and now just need God’s help to ensure that we beat the standards we’re being held to. Amen?

On Saturday I was privileged to speak at my church’s business/entrepreneur summit, and I drew my topic/talk from some work I’d done for a client recently. I spoke on minding the gaps and facing the direction of travel. Corny I know but it was a good opportunity to fuse my love for trains with my experiences as a student, an employee, and now an employer. It was interesting for me to talk about some of the lessons I’ve learned, and how each step leads to the next, and the next, and the next. It was also very instructive to talk about the place of God in business, and the mistakes I’ve made simply because I ignored the still small voice telling me no. I had a good time, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

What else? I’m happy. Sweet baby Jesus this daughter of God is happy. I am joy-like-a-river, peace-like-a-fountain, love-like-an-ocean brand of happy. Such a beautiful feeling. Everything in my life; experiences, joy, sadness, mistakes, successes; everything that I have seen has prepared me for where I am now, and I am thankful to God for His many blessings and precious gifts. There’s a new mercy every single day! And I’m loving it!

Finally, I need to get back in the gym. Don’t know why I’m typing this instead of renewing my membership but yeah, this child needs to be back in that place where more calories are burnt than piled on. Yep. This week is out of the question sha, and I’m not bothered in the least what you think! *sticks tongue out*

Finally finally, lol. My nephew moves to reception next school session! Whoop! He’s officially a big boy now! Interestingly, he’s slowly outgrowing the millions of hugs and kisses I drown him in, and he’s only four! I thought they didn’t start all of that till much later? Arrrrrghhhh! Bring back my baby! *sad face*

Finally finally finally, I got a birthday gift yesterday… I know o, this is still for the birthday that passed in May. Is the Lord laying it on your heart to send me a pressie? Harden not your heart biko!

How have you been? Are you keeping okay? Are you doing well? Want to share? Please do!

Mwah!

PS: A song in the back of my mind for a few days now has been “we are h-a-p-p-y, we are h-a-p-p-y, we know we are we are sure we are, we are h-a-p-p-y!” (If you went to primary school in Nigeria this should ring a bell… or two… or three… or four… I’ll stop here)!

Welcome to church!

So my church pastor started a series on giving, and I’ve enjoyed it so much I’ll try my best to share it with you! Ready?

Giving and receiving are cardinal functions of life that cannot be broken or suspended without consequences. Life as we know it operates on the principle of giving and receiving.
Giving and receiving is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the church because people approach God like they approach gambling.


Why do we give?

1. We give because it is a law. Luke 6:38

Most times you don’t reap where you sow, you reap what you sow.

2. We give because we are in love with God.

3. We give because we are alive, to sustain life.

4. We give to honour God, and to honour man. Proverbs 3:9.

*The first fruit principle: By choice, not to be compelled. It is the first increase in anything we’re doing.

5. We give to be of help. Luke 10:33.

The reason why some people are hungry is because some others are greedy.

6. We give to worship God. Exodus 23:15

7. We give to stir the covenant we have with God.

8. We give to stop plagues, to destroy hardship. 2 Samuel 24:17-25

9. We give to provoke a blessing.

10. Giving moves God.

When do we give?
1. According to Ecclesiastes 11:6, we are to give every time.

2. We give in season and out of season.

3. We give when we have, and when we don’t have.

It is not what you give, but the heart behind the gift.

Where do we give?

1. Giving must begin at home.

2. On the street. Giving to people who are disadvantaged and cannot give back to you is one of the most fertile soils.

3. You give in church.

4. You give in the office.

How to give?

1. Give cheerfully. The attitude with which you give is just as important as the gift you give. 2 Cor 9:7

2. Give tearfully. Psalm 126:6

3. Give sacrificially, going beyond the call of duty in giving your seed. It is the giving that comes at a cost.

4. Give bountifully. 2 Cor 9:6 Bountifulness is not in the quantity but in the quality.

5. Give consistently.

6. Give systematically.

7. Give with expectation. “It is a sin to give without expectation” – Mike Murdock.

Who to give to?

1. To God

2. To your family

3. To the house of God

Matthew 5:23

Give to widows. Galatians 2:10

Give to strangers, Hebrews 13:2

*It is better to give to the poor, than to give to your pastor.”
Giving doesn’t have to be money. There are a lot of things we can give!

1. Money. 2. Time. 3. Talent. 4. Material things. 5. Good words. 6. Food, drinks, and water.

7. Shelter. 8. Good smiles!

Give someone a smile today!

The end of 2015. The end of the #31Days31Writers series.

I’m here. I’m still here. In April God delivered my family from a great evil, I was very ill at different times; on the 18th of October I was aboard a flight so turbulent I was walking ‘towards the light’ in my head, yet I’m here. I’m still here. God is merciful.

You know, if for some reason that’s all I could write, it would be more than enough. There’s more though.

My father was consecrated Bishop this year – was the first time ever I saw him cry. Like really cry. He fought tears at my sister’s wedding in 2010, maybe a few tears slipped through, but August 8th? Dang. I’m so proud of him and grateful to God for this lifting and fulfilment of prophecy that looked like we wouldn’t see it.

TechHer was born this year too, my pride and joy, and gift from God. From a ‘how do I plug this hole’ moment of frustration, to a community of women passionate/curious about technology in its hundreds, and growing too!

My sister passed an international exam this year, and I remember the joy, the tears, the celebration. So proud of you Mama na, we all are! You are a gem, and I love you, fiercely. Big hug to you and your amazing husband for housing me this year. My family is everything, and I’m grateful for them everyday.

What else? This was the year of leaning on, and getting leaned on. Brethren, pray for friends who can ‘cover your shame’, who are not just there when it’s time to ‘turn up’. More important, pray that you are the person the people you call friends can come to and find peace, quiet, a word of encouragement, action that leads to a solution, you get the point. Wunmi, my best friend, is a blessing; she’s my gift from God. Francesca saw through my bullshit one afternoon when I wouldn’t stop saying I was fine, yet I was crumbling under a feeling of inadequacy I can only trace to the pit of hell now that I think of it. My personal chekeleke!

Here’s a big hug to The Committee, friends who have become family in more ways than one. You guys rock!

This was the year I took a decision about my weight, and though I’m still on a journey to the numbers I want to see, I love where I am! I feel incredible too!

Also, I cut my hair! Not the ‘big chop’, big scrape, for simple reasons that included the unbearable heat, and me wanting to see what my head looked like! Love it, love it, love it! Looking forward to experimenting with it a lot in the New Year.

I hired staff this year, and I’m excited that 7 months on, I see growth that makes me proud. Thank you guys!the

What would I undo this year? Nothing. Maybe make more practical financial plans and not believe that people will fulfil their obligations (read as pay their bloody debts) so it doesn’t skew my programmes, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I learned a few things too:

  1. God loves me. Even in my most unfaithful, most unlovable moments, He loves me. And He shows it.
  2. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I heard that like a million times this year (SMH at everyone who told me :))
  3. Human beings are inherently selfish. A complete understanding of this (and I’m still learning) helped me get through the year.
  4. It’s ok to stop (shut down, turn off, whatever you want to call it) and breathe sometimes. I learned the importance of stopping to rest as my body (and mind) demanded it.
  5. Everyone needs a nephew! I cannot explain this, just go and ask your siblings to ‘bring’ you one! My nephew is my numero uno (next to God jor, walk away)
  6. Read! I didn’t read all I planned to, but I read this year, and I believe I’m better for it.
  7. It’s okay if things don’t work out, even after you’ve done everything you were supposed to do, prayed, worked hard, etc. It’s okay, really.

I had a good year. This was one of my busiest travel-wise, and each time a plane I was in took off, it landed. Not taking that for granted at all. I have this blog, and all you wonderful people who read and like and share and comment – thank you. To everyone who contributed to the #31Days31Writers series, you’re awesome! To those who said they’d send in an entry and didn’t/couldn’t, there’s next time.

Here’s to a big 2016, enlargement on every side (not my girth though, God no), advancement, and God’s great blessings.

Look at that beautiful head...

Look at that beautiful head…

Nigerian Blogger

Happy New Year folks! Mwah!

 

Demola the politician. Demola the PDP guy. Those are probably the bits of Demola the world (read as young Nigerians within and outside the country) know. I know a Demola who loves history, who can quote Nigerian history from here till tomorrow and not make a mistake. From this post, you’ll meet a Demola who’s head over heels for his family, and his entry (very quiet but laden with wisdom) is a joy for me to share today.

This time last year, my son was just few weeks old and since then, I’ve watched him grow and learn. And I have learnt as well… seeing the world as he sees it, seeing him struggle to understand the nature of things as they are – that a ball rolls but a remote control won’t/can’t. That the flick of a switch can flood a room with light, that a bed doesn’t make a good place to walk but the floor isn’t good for rolling around either. That my phone cannot be chewed and that every morning he has to get his body washed, though he doesn’t like it. He’s learning the nature of things and the laws that govern them and I have also learnt.

I’ve learnt more about the nature of men – that people are often who they show themselves to be, not what you imagine them to be. That who they are is often obvious but emotions blind us to their reality. I’ve learnt to work more with my instincts about people and not question those instincts.

I’m grateful for relationships and the doors they opened this year. Grateful for life, for love, for friendships and for family. I find it hard to be grateful most times about life because there’s always so much more I want it to yield to me so I should be grateful for this chance to write about my gratitude.

Let me think for a minute please.

I am grateful for my son. He’s moved to being the centre of my world in the most amazing ways – no matter how things upset me on the outside, I only have to think of his unflappable spirit and I smile. The woman who takes care of him is the woman in my life – that’s my wife is also another reason to be grateful. She’s understanding and very tolerating of my excesses. I’m not the easiest person to live with but she has managed to cope with me.

All life for me is an experience and there is little I would undo if I could but I could have done some things better this year. I’m one of those who believe it is up to me if things will be or not – like if Arsenal loses a football match and I did not watch it, I think they lost because I did not watch. I had a small chance to play a small part in the last presidential elections and I saw my party make mistakes. I truly believed we had the better candidate, I truly believed our platform was the best for the country. I shouted, but I could have shouted harder. I fought but I could have fought more. I could have challenged those who assumed we would win as we always do – but perhaps I too was guilty of thinking that our candidate would do all it took to win, unlike he had promised to do.

In a way, that loss turned out to be a good thing – I’ve learnt now to fight harder to make my views known in any political setting and not succumb to prevalent wisdom. I’m more convinced about the things I suggested – a victory would have meant my methodology wasn’t necessary but now I know it was and better? My party knows too.

I would also have loved to have published a couple of books this year – one written already on my laptop so if you’re reading this and think you’re into publishing: holler.

2015 has been a great year as I reflect on it and I’m hopeful of a greater 2016.

IMG_4034

Awww, so cute how you talk about your son and your wife, family is precious and I’m all about that! I’m also excited about the new dispensation with a new party in power, big hopes and prayers for Nigeria because it either works or it doesn’t, for all of us. 

Thank you Demola for sharing today, most appreciated!

So how do I know Chukwuka?

I saw a comment he left on one of the entries for this #31Days31Writers series and it just occurred to me to ask if he would be interested in sending in an entry. And he said yes! And reading this, I know it was God that wanted him to share his story to encourage everyone who would read, including me.

The year’s been a bit dodgy for some, ups and downs, and lefts and rights. Only constant thing is the One who made us, fashioned the earth, and is already in 2016 waiting to show us His greatness! I’m so encouraged by this!

I’m experiencing what it is to live by faith. When I heard Micah Stampley do the song ‘Heaven On Earth”, I never understood what he meant until I began to meditate upon those lyrics that “to be living in His favour and grace is just like heaven on earth”.  I usually don’t like speaking about what I’ve gone through in the past, rather I choose to sit in my quiet times and allow those tranquil thoughts go off my subconscious mind. 2015 has been a year of tests, trials and lessons for me.

2015 January started for me with fresh memories of my Mom’s burial ceremony in December 2014, I couldn’t think straight because there is nothing more painful than the loss of a mother. Later on when I thought all was going well, I lost my job.

At the time, it seemed like an orchestrated process by the devil to pull me back to square one as if a volcano had just erupted over me. I started getting addicted to alcohol gradually to suppress my deep hurt but I found no hope. Sometimes ladies think they are the only ones engulfed in the race of keeping pace with the realities of life. We guys do too! When our friend proposes to his bae, we smile and clink glasses but deep inside you feel like you aren’t measuring up! Yeah? When half of your friends suddenly hibernate only to appear on Instagram on the streets of Denmark, there is a feeling in you that makes you want to fly away too! It looks like some things have eluded you each time you compare yourself to people, and that was my case.

I was heartbroken; looked like the whole world had moved ahead of me, like really? I got rejuvenated after reading 1 Corinthians 15:41. I focused on developing myself, praying daily and leaning on God. It was during those periods of being out of a job that I got introduced to the Winners Family and joined in the daily 5.30am prayer sessions. Thereafter, I was introduced to what is known as “Kingdom Advancement Prayers”. These prayers ushered in a new dawn for my life in all areas. Where I saw lack I began to see abundance, where I had rejection, I began to see love, where I saw hopelessness, I saw light and things began to take shape.

My major lesson is this: I’ve learnt that friends are angels in human form; they exist in our lives to help us build a family away from ‘family’. God be praised for friends.

I’ve come to terms with investing in my relationships with people, my friends and even neighbours. I count myself lucky to have been blessed with godly, disciplined and purpose-driven friends.

I’ve learnt never to compare myself with anyone.

If there be anything I wish I could unmake or change, it will be that I will learn to take actions quickly.

Truly Heaven on earth has been my experience all through this year; I have no regrets rather I see my mistakes as a refining fire to bring out a better version of me. I might not be yet married, I might not have the type of cars my friends are driving but I am contented with the gift of life God has blessed me with – a passion for teaching.

I have channeled this gift into practical use for three years now volunteering with Beyond The Classroom Foundation. I am involved in a project initiated by Microsoft Nigeria –One Million Fingers Coding” where I teach the basics of coding to students in primary 4. My biggest dream in 2016 is to see these children come up with ideas about what their future careers will be and?

My next desire in 2016 is to be seriously engaged in advancing the Kingdom of God on earth, for that is the key to all of life’s breakthroughs.

My name is Chukwuka Anslem Ozor, I work and reside in Lagos, I like teaching. I work as Content Deployment Executive at Imaginarium Creative.

Amazing work!

Amazing work!

First off, my condolences on your mom… Here’s praying God’s great comfort on your entire family. Second, a very big yay! Very well done Chukwuka, my dad’s semi namesake (My dad’s Chuka, no full-form)… Here’s to a brilliant 2016 for you!!

PS: Have you heard of TechHer? I think we should do some work together next year when TechHer goes to Lagos….

I’ve known Andy for just under nine years now, and we’ve gone from being acquaintances to business partners, to great friends. Whether it’s sitting on the road in Wales waiting for pizza to be delivered, or brainstorming for hours on end for clients, or agreeing to pray about something that’s proving difficult, Andy is the kind of friend you want in your corner.

He’s quiet, is a good listener, has learnt to forgive (thank you Jesus), and is one of the most versatile entrepreneurs I’ve met. And I’m happy he’s my friend.

It isn’t necessarily foolish to make a mistake twice you know? It could also be that risk taking sometimes becomes addictive. Not the bungee jumping type, but the type when you decide to stay on a job for XYZ period then up and leave because you know you have paid your dues… This was me in 2013, that was me in 2015 and hey, I love being able to make decisions without feeling I will die if things change.

I left a steady 8am -5:30pm job as a Chief Technology Officer in an ePayment and IT solutions firm exactly two years after leaving the role of a Senior Cyber Threat Analyst in the UK. For most people I seemed crazy, to others, unserious. What was the next plan? Well, the next plan had started almost ten years ago and kept me as busy as all my other steady jobs did, surprisingly that even paid better. Eight months later, I wake up every day filled with the peace of mind knowing that the hustle is up to me; I broke free of the chains called corporate slavery and went full-time into being an entrepreneur and an innovator which is what I have always been passionate about. I actually started a pre-book taxi service which has in turn created several employment opportunities for some young Nigerians.

I am thankful for so many things, knowing that I can survive through the month without salary coming from one source has driven me to do better and has even helped me prioritize and have peace of mind. I got closer to God and learnt the real art of giving. I did that for a bit and realized that when we give expecting to receive, we actually do receive but hardly ever in the way we expected. The gift of life, health, family and little things are the rewards which can hardly been quantified. The best blessings are the blessings unseen.

While thinking of reasons to be thankful, I had a real-time experience that shaped my thinking and sense of experience on the 29th of November. A thief/armed robber jumped into my moving car and tried wrestling the car from me, of course it was late at night. Years of working out finally paid off as I foolishly fought till he fell out of the car and I drove off Nollywood style. I would have been stabbed or shot but I am here today. That means more than money.

I work with an amazing group of young people, the Abuja hub of the Global Shapers Community (the youth arm of the World Economic Forum), who are leaders in their own right and passionate about having an impact on the society. Less than 10 days after the Nyanya and Kuje bomb blasts by Boko Haram in Abuja, we started a project called #AGSDrive where the good people of Abuja contributed cash and several items for the people affected by the bomb blasts. This renewed my belief in good people who are able to have an impact even without waiting for government.

I am thankful for bottled water. I visited a community called Wukara were their main source of water can not even be called a stream. Where they had to sieve out spirogyra from the same water they drink, bath and wash with. Thankfully the Global Shapers, Selfless For Africa and The Project Drink Live teams sunk a borehole for them.

It is another December and I’m still unmarried, said several people. But that does not define me or you, it does not put a benchmark on achievement or success. I have learnt that the real resources crucial in life is people and not money, the right network and how you cultivate relationships with individual and clients is what sets you aside from the next man. It is okay to be upset at things around you as long as you are creating a solution. Finally, find something to believe in; for me it isn’t a pastor or Church but I believe in God and that has helped me find some sense in a lot of nonsense in 2015.

Andy Madaki is a Partner at iBlend Services, CEO SmartDropNg, an information security analyst, a public speaker and part-time geek. He stays in Abuja, Nigeria.

Ahhh!! See Posh Kid! Please I'm auctioning Andy jor! Private bids only...

Ahhh!! See Posh Kid! Please I’m auctioning Andy jor! Private bids only…

See what I said? All-round correct guy! Thank you for sending in your entry, and for being on my blog again! Here’s to a fabulous 2016!

Ike has been my friend for a very long time. From attending the same church together, to looking forward to his comments on my blog, some people you just know will always be there when you need them.

He’s a fine gentleman, loves the Lord (ladies y’all need to check if he’s single – and ready to mingle), and I know you will enjoy his post!

My Name is Ike Onuzulike, I am Nigerian, and I work in a Bank.

This year started off for me laden with some good expectations; I would be due for a promotion at work by the time our company’s annual appraisal will be conducted mid-year though it wouldn’t be automatic and also, I would turn 30 by the month of June. I pretty much knew I needed some good measure of focus and lots of favor so, I turned to prayers. A three-week fasting exercise observed in church provided an excellent platform. I seized the opportunity turning my goals into prayer points on sheets of paper.

As the days rolled on during the exercise, it not only brought me favors at work but also a lot of focus that rubbed off well on my work. I was among few selected in my Division as the outstanding staffs and I was given a letter of recommendation by my Divisional Head after our Annual Divisional Retreat.

A twist of events occurred just a few weeks to the appraisal month, I began to witness some lows, a couple of errors that threatened my unit’s performance rating. The fear of this blip working against my appraisal piled a bit of pressure, and increasingly my confidence dipped. After a while I sat back and reviewed the period and I knew obviously that my foundation were shaken. So this time, I turned to family to join me in prayers and with them offering support, the tide changed. Mid-year is here, some of my mates unfortunately missed out on the promotion list but I made the list and in the month it took effect, month of June I turned 30 (on the 28th of June to be precise).

I would say that I have come to learn that hard work alone is not enough, there will always be the moments when all you need would just be a lift to push on and for me, prayer and lots of family support always comes in handy. I am most grateful so far for the people around me. I feel that beside “Time”, the gift of people around you is one of the most valuable things God had blessed us with. That is why for me He placed premium on us loving our neighbours. I work hard in keeping the love alive for people around me whether to offer a smile, a kind word, a shoulder when things are not going so well, down to offering material help because at the end, there may be low moments when they will be the ones to will fill in and offer you that much needed lift.

The remaining part of the year for me? I need a lot of stability and so I’m looking to God for directions. I am torn between going back to my first love, Engineering for a graduate course in one of the top North American schools or to advance my career in Banking. I have been doing the preliminary tests required for the admission but, I need lots of direction.

And yes, I’d like to have some stability at work and good health.

So far though, It’s been great!

Congratulations on the promotion Ike, and happy birthday again! When are we getting the wine to ‘wash’ all these?

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Ladies! Don’t say I didn’t do anything for you!

 

So, a little backgrounder to this article. Sometime in January a friend ran a series on her blog for people to testify about their year and I sent in this piece. Somehow she didn’t get round to using it.

I was searching for some document this evening (28th March) and I stumbled on it! And so I thought I’d use it for a end-my-first-quarter type of thank you post. And so, here’s my testimony of how brilliant my year has been so far, obviously I’ve added a bit more to the original post – God has really rocked these first three months for me! The additions are in green.

Ready? Let’s do it! Whoop!

 

I Testify!!

2014! Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude! Nothing more, this is the year that God and I have agreed will be full of gratitude alone. Gratitude.

2013 was a difficult year. Ooh, very difficult. So difficult some days I was scared that one day I would do something to hurt myself. It was incredible, wearing a smile outside because people were ‘counting on me to smile’ and I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, but I was really struggling inside. Like I really struggled.

To put this in perspective, I’m not a stranger to rough patches, but I’ve always seen the good in every unpleasant situation, felt like it would get better. But when I woke up on the 21st of July to news that my aunty Pat had passed, the term ‘numb’ came alive. Ooh it came so alive it nearly consumed me.

Can I say a big thank you to Olamide Craig (@RevDrCraig) here? I rang him, and he left school and his preparations for his exams, literally came running. I remember kneeling down by the train station, wailing. He stayed through my rants, tears, and only left after I slept. God bless you for me Craig, God bless you richly. And boy am I excited you scaled the exams! Proud of you baby!

By November it started dawning on me that the weight I put on in the hospital caring for my aunt wasn’t planning to ‘leave me alone’ (lol), and that was a very present worry. One day on Twitter looking through the handles of some fitness experts (if looking /watching Insanity curled up in bed with a hot drink could scare the pounds off my body I’d be anorexic by now I promise), I chanced upon an idea that became the #31Days31Writers project after I tweaked it a bit.

Amazing! Whoop! It’s one of the best things I did last year! Loved the distraction it became, and when the stories started coming in, oh what a joy! Mrs. E’ sent in an entry too, she was up on Christmas Eve! I’m excited at the Christians I’ve been exposed to and become friends with via this blog; it’s such a blessing to be part of a blossoming community of young people who love the Lord!

It wasn’t all gloom and doom though. Matter of fact, when I said I’d send in an entry, it was actually a challenge for me to find things to be grateful for.  All I had to do was think, and boom – testimony after testimony. Have time for a few?

In 2013, I was sought out on LinkedIn by the project manager of MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation to provide social media consultation for Shuga. We’re looking at bigger engagement for the project this year, and I’m proper excited about that!

In September I stood in for a friend (@Chude) at Social Media Week London, moderating a panel of people I can honestly say I wouldn’t have been able to meet all at once otherwise. Off that event, by December I had gotten two all expenses paid speaking trips for 2014. One of them is in three weeks (butterflies of life and destiny!) That event was Social Media Week in Hamburg, and God really came through for me on so many levels! There are new opportunities off that, and it’s all very exciting! 

In the same 2013, I went to bed and woke up every morning, no struggle. I traveled (and I like to move around), and there never was an evil report (except me missing a flight to Aberdeen, falling asleep on the train back home and therefore missing my stop, losing my train ticket – all in one morning, sigh). Even in that, there were funds for another ticket, strength to go back to the airport that same evening, and a safe trip to and fro. God loves me walai!

My family is healthy. Big miracle. We might have fallen ill once or twice, but we always got better. I remember crying to church one Sunday in October cos my sister sent me a photo of my nephew with bumps all over his body, suffering from a reaction to something. But, he got better, and now feeds himself! My darling boy! Boo Boo is playing football now (he’s all of 18 months, and I’m already looking for scouts for an academy! Hit me up if you know someone!)

Speaking of healing, God healed my dad of some strange, excruciating pain in his shoulder, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I tasted love in 2013, met an awesome young man. I’m excited at the big and great things my Father has designed for me this year, for the grace and humility that led me to read books, listen/watch messages, especially in January. I’m growing (in faith and in my mind), learning about myself, amassing tips I will adapt as necessary; readying myself for the great man and home He has designed for me. And I can’t wait!

I asked God to lead me by hand this year, and not only has He been doing that (patiently, because I know I can be a piece of work), but He’s linked me with people I am accountable to, people I can openly talk to when I struggle, and not worry about anything. This is where I’m grateful for Francesca, Tomi, Wumi, and Tokunbo. Extraordinary women!

Bottomline, I’m not where I should be but ooh this year is so bright I’m excited at the things the rest of the months in the year will bring!

And so I testify today, of His goodness, and His mercy, and His grace, and His love, of His awesomeness and great glory.

I testify because there can never be a good enough explanation for God loving me the way He does, with all my flaws, imperfections and weaknesses. I can’t comprehend it (but then if I did, it wouldn’t be God na… He has to ‘show’ Himself)! Whoop!

I testify because I see 2014. Want to know what I’ve seen? I’ve seen a great year, full of peace, good news, love, hearing from and speaking to God, a complete dissociation from everything that doesn’t please Him, prosperity (oh yes, ooh yes), and immeasurable joy on every side.

This is the year, and I testify!

What are you grateful for? Share!

 

 

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