Posts Tagged ‘Holy Spirit’

So it’s my Pastor’s birthday today, whoop! Pastor Sunday Ogidigbo is the golden age of 39, and he decided to share with us 39 principles he’s learned through 20 years of following Jesus, 19 years of preaching the word, and 5 years of pastoring full-time.

Ready for it? You better be!
39 things that equal wisdom for daily living.
1. Be planted in the word of God; listen to it, apply it, abide by and be guided by the word. Let His word lighten your path and guide your steps.
2. Be prayerful, not because you feel like it but because you ought to. Pray in the spirit, in your understanding, in season and out of season.

3. Be addicted to fellowship. As long as the iron is in the fire the fire will be in the iron. When you stay connected to God in the place of fellowship you remain on fire for Him. Executive Christianity will profit you nothing.

4. Fast often. It must be part of your lifestyle, at least once a week. Fasting is a spiritual catalyst.

5. Join a service unit, be useful in the house of God.

6. Join a smaller fellowship unit in the church.

7. Read books. Develop the gift and passions inside you.

8. Surround yourself with Godly friends. Any friend who isn’t helping you grow is destroying you; if you’re not changing them they’re changing you.

9. Have faith in God. Flood your heart with materials that will build your faith.

10. Read biographies whether they be men of God, politicians, sportsmen, social activists.

11. Be a giver… Giving is the proof that you’ve conquered greed. Give as you have, to God to your parents, to the needy, and with the right attitude.

12. Find a mentor. In the multitude of counsel there is wisdom; follow people who are headed in the same direction you want to go. Be accountable to them, submit to them.

13. Be holy. Holiness is the quality that validates our ‘sonship’.

14. Be a soul winner. Be a public Christian. If you are ashamed of Him He will be ashamed of you.

15. Be generous. The liberal soul will be made fat.

16. Be a person of integrity and honour. Be true to God, to men, and to yourself. Don’t make promises you won’t keep. Let your words be bankable.

17. Honour all men. Treat elders like your parents, accord them the respect they are due. Fear God, honour the King, love the brotherhood.*Don’t ever conclude on a Christian, you don’t know what God has in store for them.
18. Be contented. Learn to enjoy the things that you have.

19. Be supernatural. Don’t operate based on the things you hear, see, read.

20. Be humble. Humility engraces and enthrones. God gives supernatural support to the humble.

21. Work hard, work smart. Work to learn before you work to earn.

22. Learn to understand people. Be tactful, political, and diplomatic.

23. Be hospitable, allow people to eat your food and drink. Accommodate strangers.

24. Dream big. Visions are free, get yours. Money is too small to be a dream.

25. Be purposeful

26. Live your life on information and revelation.

27. Meditate on the word. Meditation is to your spirit what digestion is to the body.

28. Attitude is everything. The only disability in life is a bad attitude.

29. Love is the greatest. Love will always guarantee victory regardless of what life throws at you.

30. Be friendly. Try. Celebrate the successes of others. People never forget how you make them feel.

31. Be simple. Simple is hard but powerful and effective. Be brief.

32. If you have nothing to say, keep quiet. Train your mind so your mouth talks wisdom. A foolish man who talks less will be seen as wise.

33. Fear God. A fool says in his heart that there’s no God.

34. Don’t live on impulse. Let principles guide your life so it has a sense of direction.

35. Be gentle. Blue flames burn hotter, empty barrels make the most noise.

36. Self control.

37. Control your appetite, especially for food, sex, and sleep. A man who cannot control these three cannot be a vessel into God to be used by him.

38. Family is important. After God comes your spouse and children.

39. Hold no grudge, begrudge no man.

Happy birthday pastor Sunday! Thank you for yielding yourself to God and HIs great work, and for constantly dividing the word of truth with such simplicity. God bless you today and everyday!

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Isaiah 54:1-4 God will do things in my life that will reverse whatever shame or loss I’ve suffered. Amen o! Big amen! Even if this shame was self-inflicted, God is more than able to reverse it and bring me into the place of glory He’s designed for me! Glory to God!

Welcome to church! This service I attended on the 20th of December 2015, and I’ve had to put my own title of the message because I don’t remember what it was. Don’t know how I didn’t write it down.

I hope it blesses you, and if you’re ever in Abuja and want to come through to fellowship with us, you’re more than welcome to do so! HolyHill church, meeting at Immaculate Suites, Lobito Crescent, Wuse 2.

Romans 14:1-19 (this scripture contains basic principles that will help us navigate this course called life In explaining new concepts or ideas, it is best to start with isolating what it is not first.

A lot of things we burden ourselves with or restrict ourselves by in the name of religion are not scripture-based.

Don’t discriminate against others in the faith who may not be as ‘strong’ as you are. Even people who are not in the fair deserve our love and prayers, not condemnation. It is this ‘our way or the highway’ stance that has bred radicalization and extremism in our world today. Even Jesus had friends who didn’t believe.

People have rights to their opinions, and we should respect them.

It is better, more rewarding and sustainable for people to come to your Jesus because they can see Him in you rather than you forcing Him down their throats.

Don’t allow your station in life to make you resentful of people who are better off than you are. Conversely, when you’re doing great, don’t mock people doing badly so you don’t become them and experience that life.

Kingdom prosperity is not measured by material things…pertinent to note this because sometimes we erroneously equate Christianity with wealth. So when people are not doing well we attribute it to their sins. Think Lazarus.

Godliness delivers prosperity, however, it is not a measure of Godliness.

Three pillars of Godliness (things our lives must be defined by)

1. Righteousness: The kingdom of God is primarily centred around our relationship and harmony with God. Romans 14:17

Righteousness is boldly standing before God without any shame or blemish; saved/cleansed from sin and empowered to do good by the Holy Spirit.

“As a Christian I must get to a point where my creed is equal to my deeds” – TL Osborn.

2. Peace: freedom, absolute liberty from strife or offence. The peace of God that passes all understanding should permeate your life enough to give you calm/rest even when storms are raging around you.

Peace is material prosperity in a form that cannot be seen or touched.

3. Joy: this is our spiritual lubricant, the only one recommended for our spirit-man. Joy is the connector, the thing that brings all that should accrue to me as a child of God into my space.

I pray that you take God’s joy with you! Have a fabulous week!

This particular person? I don’t remember how we met. Like I tried to search my brain this morning, no luck. But, she’s one of God’s greatest gifts to me. Francesca is the angel God sent from heaven to save me from myself, yank me out of self-pity, stress, fear, you name it. Fran is the person who will listen to me complaining about something and in the middle of my well-prepared speech will go, “but Chisco I reject this feeling of sadness in the mighty name of Jesus!” I either start laughing (I think it’s something with the way she pronounces ‘Jesus’ when she’s trying to shut me up), or I start crying because I’m overwhelmed. But she never leaves me there. She will sit with me (even if over the phone), and be quiet with me till I’m better, or till she decides she’s had enough then she’ll go back to bullying me!!

Lol. I love her. Few females I really love (or love at all), and she’s one of them. Everyone needs a friend like her. Someone who you can be silly with, who accepts you the way you are (and loves you intensely), who prays for/with you, who is real. That’s it, Onomarie (and I can never say this name right) is real.

2015 was the year I learned not to be afraid. Pause.

That’s not entirely true. Let me rephrase that.

2015 was the year I learnt to face my fears, confront AND overcome them.

You see, I’d often viewed “facing fear” as something soft or abstract – not overly ground-shifting or life-altering. The loss of a job maybe, a bad breakup, or an uncomfortable confrontation; you know, difficult things, but not really life and death.

Well. Let’s just say life happened.

I lost my father on the 2nd of January 2015, and in many ways it is still a shock, almost unbelievable actually. That swift, sudden, brutal and absolutely painful event shattered every single thing in my life. I hated God, life, my immediate family, my late father (God rest his soul), and everybody else I came in contact with. I was seething with this volcanic-like rage; just bitter, angry, lost, grieving and waiting to erupt. I wanted to colour the world black, because that is how my soul felt – dark and odious. Like Job said in the Bible, “the thing I feared most had come upon me.”

But fear (and grief) are heavy burdens to carry; they poison everything they come in contact with. So I had to make a (hard) decision – to keep moving, or to let my grief (and fear) consume me. My father may have died, but I was still living. I owed it to his memory, and more importantly, to myself, to live wholesomely and completely. As long as I had breath in my lungs, dreams in my heart, and yearning in my spirit, I would keep living, and by God, I would keep moving forward.

So I reset myself – my soul, my mind, and my spirit – not an easy task to do by the way. I cried when I had to, (still do that sometimes). I learned to share my grief, my questions, my angst, my concerns, with my friends and burden-helpers, those who upheld me like pillars, people who fought tirelessly to move me out of the funk. Those who gave me tough love by saying “Okay, that’s enough, no more now.” Those who sent messages of hope, encouragement and humour, those who stood in the gap for me, who prayed, sent me food, or just sat with me.

It’s been an incredible year really. I lost my father, but I gained an incredible perspective on life. I learned that family is less and less those who bear the same surname with you, but much more about those who share your grief and your triumphs. I learned that putting someone you love in the ground, is one of the worst things that can happen to you, but maybe also the most important, because you value more, those you have with you. I’ve learned to be less patient with time-wasters; people who take and take from you – your time, your energy, your resources, your emotions, – without giving back. I’ve learned to immerse myself fully in life, to laugh, to learn, to travel, to love, by God, to live!! I’ve learned to live this life honestly, completely, fully, but also intentionally. Never before, have I been this desperate to accomplish God’s call and purpose for my life. Never before have I cared less about “haters” or “enemies” what are those? Only distractions. Only pesky scarecrows in my rich field of wheat and barley.

I have learned that fear is there to be overcome; you must not let it rule you. Fear is not of God, it’s from the devil. I have learned to look fear in the eye and say “ehen, you’ve hit me with your best shot, now fuck off!.” I have learned to stand. Oh! to stand and keep standing. I have learned to stand victoriously. I have learned focus and the beauty of rising up from ashes.

I have learned that my scars are my greatest assets; that instead of reminding me of the past and filling me with regret, that they point me towards the future, towards the woman I am meant to be, towards the woman I am becoming. I have learned love – that it is ABSOLUTELY about giving – anything less than that, is jive. I have found God again, anew, different, deeper. I am listening for Him more, involving Him with everything – from the mundane to the important. Oh! And I am still fighting fear, daily – in my work, in my mind, in my spirit, but I am winning, because I am of God’s I CANNOT lose.

I don’t know exactly what 2016 has in store for me, but I imagine that it will be a year of achieving big goals and dreams. I’m standing ready. As the Yoruba proverb goes: “there is nothing coming from the sky that the earth cannot handle.” That is me, standing ready, standing prepared, because the earth is mine and the fullness thereof. Bring it on 2016!

My gorgeous friend...

My gorgeous friend…

I love you chekeleke. My sister-girl!

Tessa’s on today, and her post is one that invokes memories for me, and I’m sure for everyone else who has ever lost someone. Her voice is one of thanksgiving though, and it is a charge to us that even on the days when we just want to curl up in a ball and moan, we can (and should be) thankful. Harder than it sounds I know, but doable.

I am writing the 30 days of gratitude challenge and even though I don’t feel perfect inside me, I realise that I don’t have to feel perfect to give thanks.

Why don’t I feel perfect?

I am still getting used to the fact that my dad is gone.

My daddy died on the 1st of October in the early hours of the morning.

I didn’t think I would cry but I did and I grieve but in spite of that I’m grateful for his life and that he got his chance to make his peace with God.

Life without God is not a walk in the park. I’m writing on my way to church. I’m thankful to God that he got a glimpse of God even if he didn’t get to walk closely with God.

I am thankful for my family. For love, for life, for God’s grace and favour. I’m thankful for the victories that we have gotten and more to come.

I’m thankful of all things for the relationship I have with God, even though I’ve not been talking much to Him, just listening. I’ve not gotten my bearings yet.

In spite of my silence, God is still good, I keep seeing His hand around me, even in things I didn’t pray about. I am kind of low on compassion these days cause I am looking out for yours truly.

I am thankful for the new year and this one. It would be interesting to see how we cope without our dad and who he was to us. I am confident though that God is not going anywhere, he remains in the midst of us, lifting, guiding, protecting, defending and leading us and most of all, I am confident he has good thoughts for us.

Nothing prepared me for this but I believe it’s the right time. It happened at the time that God allowed. I’m stretched on all sides trying to be everything for my family members and failing.

Now, from this moment, I surrender it all to God, He is the One who knows how to take care of us all, all the aspects of our lives, and most especially, our inner man, He knows how to soothe the hurts, how to work through the pain, pierce between soul and Spirit and bring peace and calm, he knows how to sort between friend and foe and bring helpers, Jonathan’s, sent by God.

He knows how to take off the pressure and lead beside the still waters, so even though I weep, I’m grateful for new things.

I trust God to make a way in the wilderness and bring streams in the deserts.

So in all the awesome things that have happened and in the passing of our father, the One God gave, I give thanks.

O Give thanks to the Lord, his mercies endureth forever.

First off, my most profound condolences on your dad…it is well with you. Receive strength and comfort from The One who gives and gives and gives. Plenty hugs, your family’s in my thoughts and prayers.

Second, I envy your relationship with God, seriously I do! And I trust Him for grace for myself to be able to lean on Him completely. 

Greetings from my lodgings in Earls Court, where I am holed up for a few days, trying to collect my thoughts, sleep uninterrupted (by my thoughts) for a few days, and just breathe air that isn’t disturbed by fuel scarcity, PHCN, or expensive data.

I went to church on Sunday, and guess who the Minister for the day was? Pastor Brian Houston! The man himself! No way! I was ecstatic! The title of his message is the title of this post (centered on temptation), and I hope it brings hope, light, and encouragement to you like it did for me!

James 1: 12-15 (and we read The Message version)

12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

13-15 Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer.

There is no shortage of ways we can or are tempted for the sole reason that we are human. For every temptation, there is a pain/pleasure route that presents as options and determines if we have pleasure or pain at the end.

1 John 2: 16

Hebrews 4:5

12 things about temptation

  1. Temptation is a control freak and a manipulator. Romans 7: 18 – 20
  2. Temptation targets our weaknesses and our most vulnerable seasons
  3. Temptation reasons like a seasoned academic or an articulate debater. That’s why there will always be a ‘justification’ for sin. 2 Corinthians 3. Our thoughts lead to Imaginations, which lead to High things (or arguments in favor of the sin) which lead to it taking a Stronghold.
  4. Temptation rationalizes the irrational and defends the indefensible
  5. Temptation’s seduction is as masterful as its abandonment is stunning.
  6. Temptation promises like a friend and disappoints like an enemy.
  7. It is overwhelmingly self-indulgent and has no regard/thought for the people you love and respect
  8. Temptation is a mocker – mocking God’s plans and desires for us
  9. Temptation will inevitably come round for another round
  • Temptation magnifies the immediate and clouds the permanent or the eternal.
  • Temptation blinds you to wisdom and opens us up to folly. Proverbs chapters 1 through 9.

James 1:5

Here’s the thing though – we cannot beat temptation through fear but by the love of Christ. Understanding God’s love for us and His sacrifice on our behalf and living our lives to show Him our love is a great tool to triumph over temptations.

1 John 5:2

Temptations are rooted in our desires or passions but the truth is not all desires/passions are bad. So how about not killing them but repurposing/refocusing them? How about consciously focusing on God and things of God? There won’t be much room for anything else.

So, a few things

  1. Don’t go there in your mind.
  2. Don’t underestimate the power of our friends on us – sometimes we need to cut some people out of our lives because they help create a conducive environment for sin to thrive.

I was thoroughly blessed by that word, and it is my hope that this has encouraged you. Another thing during the service that touched me was the encouragement we got before we gave our offerings and I will attempt to share that with you.

The pastor read from Luke 15 (the story of the prodigal son) and talked through how sometimes it is our sacrifices in church that pave the way for others. So, the Prodigal Son had stuff to come back to because others continuously labored. So, when next you’re putting an offering in church, cleaning, or serving in some unit or the other, have it at the back of your mind that your service is preparing the way for someone else to come to Jesus.

 

Have a fabulous rest of the week (fuel, electricity scarcity notwithstanding)!

Light, love, and God’s many blessings!

*Written on the 10th of May.

So there are a million challenges going on simultaneously in our world today. There’s the Ice Bucket challenge, 20 things about you (obviously resurrected because I know there was something like this some time in 2009), and tons of others. There’s also the favorite scripture challenge, and my friend Francesca (I have to stop blogging about this girl, haba) nominated me to put up my favorite ones. I decided to put them up (did that on Facebook) but I also decided to open it up to my Christian audience.

What is your favorite scripture? What are your favorite scriptures? What speaks to you? What gets you out of difficult situations?

While you think of it, here’s what I put up…

Here’s accepting Francesca Onomarie Uriri‘s challenge to put up my favorite Bible verses. Ok, so some of them are not complete verses but I’ll do a bit of a context for each of them…

Here goes!

Titus 1 vs 2 – “God who cannot lie” Not like He won’t lie, He can’t. Even if He wanted to, this is the one thing He cannot do. This scripture for me is what gives the entire Bible the legs it stands on. It is such a comfort on days when I feel blue!

Psalm 107: 20 – “He sent His word and delivered them out of their destruction” – Sometimes, we dey take our hands find trouble (can I hear an amen) but God’s word rescues/snatches/delivers us. Super grateful. Super super grateful!

Joshua 1: 8 – “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” – ‘this book of the law’ for me refers to whatever my hands find to do per time. The only one who can negate the promises of God concerning a person is? That person. So if the book of (whatever law – school, work, the Bible, whatever) departs from your mouth, and you don’t meditate (work at it, devote productive hours to it), you will not make your way prosperous, and you will not have good success.

Selah (said in the voice of my Pastor, The Rev Goodheart Obi Ekwueme).

So, who to nominate? My sisters – TokesRajiAdaora, Nike, go for it!

Over to you people, share yours!

The Word of God will do you good, anytime!! I have been remiss with publishing my church notes for a bit, so this week we’re catching up! The theme for the service (which I attended in June and totally looooved) was ‘Man/men of steel’. There was a guest minister, Pastor Sam Oye and his message was titled: ‘The Making of a Man of Steel’.

Steel is an alloy which is the product of two metals fused together to produce something that is durable and of a higher qualitative value.

This hybrid created by the fusion is done for three reasons

  1. Ordinarily it is ductile (it appears strong but is not as strong)
  2. It is malleable – it cracks/thins out under pressure
  3. It is less desirable in its raw state.

The process of fusion involves ‘smelting’ or metamorphosis. This process is never pleasant – tears will be shed, habits will be dropped, personal excuses for weaknesses need to and should go!

The weakness of the metals are removed during the smelting process, giving way for the additional materials that make it more durable, of greater quality and high value.

Three characteristics of a man of steel

  • An ordinary man with extraordinary grace and wisdom
  • A common man with uncommon character and courage
  • A normal man with unusual grave and undeniable results

A man of steel needs three types of people in his life

  • A coach: someone to make you uncomfortable with where you are per time
  • A virtuous wife. Ruth 3: 11, Proverbs 12:15, 31:10. ‘Virtuous’ is from the Greek word ‘Chayil’, meaning able, efficient, resourceful, rich, healthy, valiant, forceful, and mighty.
  • The Holy Spirit. 1 Samuel 10

Dear men, Adam was in his garden (tending it) when God brought Eve to him (or caused him to sleep and then formed Eve out of him and then brought her to him if you like the long version of things).

What are you doing? What garden are you tending? Have you found your purpose in this life or are you swaying with every wind of doctrine?

[Written on the 26th of June]

Sometime in the middle of the month I became a little fed-up of sending countless reminders to people to send in their pieces. By the 24th I’d missed two days, and I didn’t want to miss anymore, so I stopped mailing people and used the opportunity to publish pieces I’d written since June.

And suddenly, people started getting in touch to say their posts were almost ready. Lol. But then Ore emailed his, apologizing for being late, and without reading it (or checking the word count), I replied saying I felt he overshot the word count but I would publish today. He was sure he did 600 words and he said so. He was right, and I’m sorry.

I just read it now and it must have been God who made me pick this post for today. Dang!! Home truth after home truth, homie hit every note with this piece! Like, I’m so excited with it! Whoop! Feels like such a beautiful end to a beautiful series, and I couldn’t be any more chuffed!

Enjoy!

I bought a pack of Post-It notes today.

Or maybe I didn’t, I’m not sure.

Okay, I didn’t.

Seems like I need to constantly remind myself to remember.

And also to never forget that my life is beautiful.

Because it is.

But how did I get here?

Several times this year I have felt deeply sorry for myself, wallowing in self-generated moroseness as I contemplated my apparent lack of achievements. I would waste hours drawing up comparisons between myself and others who seem to have gotten it together, whatever that means. In the end, there would be no lesson learned and no grand plan for a swift turnaround conceived. A miserable state of affairs, if I may say so myself.

I wasn’t doing myself any good and I knew it, but the habit had become far too ingrained for me to dispatch it with a swift kick. And so I carried on in this pathetic way, patching my doubt-ridden self-esteem inwardly with hollow motivational speeches delivered without any feeling to my equally unbelieving reflection in the mirror, and outwardly with smiles so superficial that could very well have been velcroed onto my face.

Until one day when, out of the greys (the skies never seemed blue then), I asked myself the one question I had never before thought to ask:

So I need a turnaround, but a turnaround from what exactly?

The answers, they tumbled out from the depths of my soul of their own accord:

1. From a family that treats me like I’m a godsend?

2. From a job I’m incredibly good at?

3. From the God who loves me unconditionally even though I have failed Him too many times to count?

And on I went with the list of positives, like a man who all his life had been convinced that he was lame but suddenly found that he could not just walk but fly.

Stacked up this way, my blessings dwarfed my mountain of supposed underachievement. You see, I had been wearing my misery-coloured shades for so long that all the good things in my life had become near-invisible and my measure of success was all the stuff I didn’t have, stuff I didn’t even need to be happy.

Bear with me while I struggle not to come off as preachy, please.

I’m truly sorry if you have no place for the God of the universe in your world, He makes all the difference. I’m as sure of this as I have no doubt that if I eat a meal of boiled beans and go to bed right afterwards, I will wake up with an upset stomach. That has never failed to happen, and God has never failed to come through for me. That is no small comfort.

So I am thankful for my faith in Him. That faith will guide me to everything good. At my own pace. In His time. I’m not in a hurry, lest my feet find paths they were not made to follow.

I am no longer afraid of the world’s critical examination of my life, no longer afraid that my shortcomings will be spotlighted and my carefully cultured thick skin will rupture as soon as the shower of prickly insults cleverly disguised as ‘good’ advice begins to rain down on me.

I have learned to count my blessings, and they have begun to grow.

And because I have been counting, I am becoming a blessing myself.

If that’s not an achievement, I don’t know what is.

The rest of the year will be fine. I look forward to more counting.

Lomogram_2013-07-07_04-07-00-PM

Boom! What did I tell you? Absolutely loved it!

I met Sabine Ewald, project Manager of the team hosting social media week Hamburg 2014 @ Social Media Week London 2013. She said I had to attend at Hamburg and I was excited at the opportunity.

The story about the visa application is a short one, a few pages to confirm I was resident in England, bank statements, invite, you know how that works. There was a curious declaration form though, actually two I had to sign saying I wasn’t a terrorist. I remember a particular question asking if I had recently received training from …(listed a number of countries), and another lumping Nigeria and some war-torn countries together.  That hurt.

So I got the visa, now it’s on the trip proper. If you’ve travelled anywhere with me (via this blog), you’d know I cannot sleep the night before any flight. Last time I slept, not only did I miss the flight, I started in my own ‘league of unfortunate events that morning. It wasn’t funny then, glory be I can laugh about it now.

This night though, I slept I was exhausted, and so I slept. But I asked the Holy Spirit to wake me (that’s something I’ve started doing recently), and soon as I put my things together/booked a taxi for the next day, I hit the sack. Flight time? 7.40am. 

I woke up about 4.50am, 10 minutes before my alarm (thank you Lord). Shut my eyes to pray (still cozied up under my blanket) and I promise you I had gotten through one song and a few words of prayer before…I heard my phone ring and it was my beloved father asking if I was at the airport! Lol. Bless him!

I jumped up, took one more wake up call (thank you dearie), and then it was in, out of the shower, and in my taxi at exactly 5.50am; of course I dozed all the way to the airport.

Thankfully my hosts had paid for check-in luggage and I was on time so I went to drop it. 

Do you know that the Nigerian passport doesn’t do us  a lot of favors sometimes? Ok, so I got to the counter and after asking me where I was going and why, the lady rang someone to ‘register/confirm’ my passport and visa. Incredible. Just incredible. And that’s all I will say about that here.

Cleared security, got to the Duty Free Area, and a little devil wanted to tempt me to look around. Was ambling towards the perfume display then I saw my gate was closing in 11 minutes. Which perfume? Would it guarantee eternity? I dashed for my gate, made it just in time!

Boarded, and beside me was this stern looking lady, na wa. All of a sudden I heard my mother tongue behind me, whoop! Ladies and gentlemen there was a young man blasting Ibo on the phone – I was so excited! Tweeted that, said a prayer, and fell asleep!

Hamburg baby!

Touchdown! Cleared immigration (again got the extra scrutiny), and then I went to grab my luggage. It had dawned on me that I was on my own (no my hosts weren’t meeting me at the airport), so I went out, found a cab, and that story forms the beginning of part two!

PS – Written on the 19th of February, don’t even ask why I’m just publishing it now!

 

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Olamide Craig is a friend, a brother, and a great man of God without all the airs, the falsehood, and the half truths.

I saw this post this morning from a link off Twitter, and I just knew I had to share. Hope it blesses you as much as it blessed me.

Olamide is @RevDrCraig on Twitter if you want to get in touch.

Love, light, and God’s great blessings,

FGS.

PORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

Tonight, I want to stand with a friend of mine on a thorny issue. Pornography.  A vast number of Christians are struggling with various forms of online porn. A friend talked to me about his struggle, and as I listened to him share his story, I smiled. I smiled because it reminded me of my own struggle.

So tonight, I want to share with you my story, not his. Its easy for preachers to tell other peoples stories. But how about ours?

I picked up my first Playboy™magazine when I was in primary school. I flipped through the pages with a combination of curiosity and disinterest. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But a seed had been sown, and its roots would take hold of the soil of my soul to bud much later in my adolescence. By the time I was a teenager, I was familiar with all the American, British and French porn magazines. It was much harder then. There were no phones, there was no internet. You had to sneak around with glossy magazines and hope that no one knew that under the Good Housekeeping or Ebony magazine was Penthouse or Oui or Nuts. All this while I was a committed believer, I did all I could to please the Lord, but I still had this one issue.

And then one day, I got called to leadership in my secondary school fellowship and went from Usher to President. I was sure God had made a mistake. Surely there were others better than me.  I tried to stop, I wanted to fulfill my role as President with a clear conscience. The harder I tried, the deeper I fell. Ministry was great. Souls were being saved. The fellowship was growing. Lives were being transformed, still I was stuck. Mind you, it wasn’t all consuming at the time. I’d probably steal a glance once or twice a month but the guilt that followed was like a crushing stone that stayed on my shoulder and stuck wt me for months and months; it didn’t matter if I hadn’t touched a magazine in months. I always carried around a sense of guilt and shame.In between I would be fine. All would seem perfect in my life again. Then one glance would bring it all crashing down. I won a temporary battle while I was in SS3. Hadn’t slipped for months. I realize now that I was too busy with WAEC  

Then we passed out of high school. I had handed over the ministry. There was no more need to be accountable…and the passions came back like a vengeance.  Before University, I did JAMB 5 times and in that period of depression and hopelessness, pornography became my escape; what had once been a once a month slip became a daily obsession.  Just before my 5th JAMB, I remember going to the roof of Anglican Church on 21 road in Festac and crying out to God. My life was in a mess and I desperately needed him to show up and sort me out. And I remember God telling me how much he loved me and how he had great plans for me. How will I ever make it I asked. All my mates were in school, I was still at home. My faith was a mess. I was a mess. And I heard words that I would NEVER forget. “Stop trying to fix it on your own, my grace is sufficient for you”  

Within that year, I joined FECA where I got my faith on track, passed JAMB, and got into the University of Ibadan. The things I learnt that year became the basis of the ministry I founded when I was just a 21 year old 100L student. Dianoia Foundation and Club Chayil over the past 11 years have since preached the message of sexual purity to thousands  

How did I break free from pornography? All I needed to do was let the Holy Spirit help me.  

The biggest mistake Christians make is trying to use discipline or strong will to keep away from sin. It NEVER works. Sin will always have the upper hand if combated in the flesh. Only GRACE through the Holy Spirit can win over sin  

Second I had to refuse to elevate that one sin above any others. The devil tries to make us feel one sin is worse… and so for as long as I hadn’t viewed porn, I could lie and be unchristian in so many other ways but wouldn’t feel it simply because I had hinged my acceptance in Gods eyes on whether I had viewed porn or not. The Holy Spirit taught me that in his sight, all Sin was as bad as the next. Murder. Lust. Lies. Same thing!  Once I learnt godly sorry for ALL my sins whether they were lustful or not, I realised how truly sinful I was and it was here that righteousness made sense to me. Jesus told me he had forgiven ALL my sins, and given me a new robe. I was righteous not because of what I had done, or didn’t do, but because of what he had done.  

Finally, SIN THRIVES IN SECRECY! If you want to be free you have to open up and let the light in. Tell someone!  Find a mature Christian and tell them your struggle. It’s one of the most important steps on your road to recovery. If you keep it hidden, it will grow. If you bring it out of the darkness, it will die. I promise you. Trust me!  Same goes for fornication and adultery. Expose the sin and it will wither conceal it and it will grow  

I’ve shared this so that you can know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There is help for you in God and he has not abandoned you  God bless you tweet fam!  

Thank you to all those who DM’d to share their struggle or to ask for prayer or to just say thanks… The feedback has been phenomenal.

Someone asked me how my journey’s been. “Has it been plain sailing since you started preaching sexual purity?”  It would be so easy to say that I’ve never touched the stuff again and strut around in a toga of self righteousness. Let me tell you as it is! This is a lifelong battle. There is no quick fix. There’s no magic wand. Once lust has occupied a room in your heart in the past, he will ALWAYS come back to see if there’s a spare room and when he comes back, you bet he’s come with family and friends and he’s gonna ask for the penthouse suite  

I thought it was a war that I had won once and for all. That I had defeated that enemy and he was finished. Your freedom has to be fought for daily. What you won was one battle. There is still a long war.  

I’m still fighting and wining my battle against porn. Its a tough one and sometimes I am valiant, sometimes I am not.  And you best believe that its so much easier to access porn now than it was when I won my first battle. I remember burning all my Playboy™mags with great fanfare ☺ No one buys Playboy magazines anymore. Porn is now online; no need to hide in a corner with a bulky magazine, or hide stacks of old issues under your mattress. One click and boom

But there is GOOD NEWS! The power that rescued me then is still potent enough to rescue me now. Hallelujah! And if you let Him, he can rescue you too.  

Lust is not gender specific folks. He destroys as many men as he does women. Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking you’re the only one! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  

Same goes for masturbation, fornication, adultery. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Sin thrives in secrecy. Break the yoke. Be free!  Jesus died for all your sins including this one. His blood has cleansed you. Take your stand daily. This war can be won  

God bless you twit fam! Have a blessed day.

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menoword

Menoword’s note: I follow an incredible minister called Rev Craig and he posted some tweets yesterday night that impacted me very deeply. I got his kind permission to put all his tweets together and create a blog post. The only editing I have done is to remove the words “young men” from the second sentence in the post. Please read this post with an open heart, I hope that it will bless you. And don’t think that this only relates to porn – I learned many of these lessons while struggling with financial responsibility – it applies across the board to anything that anyone might be struggling with and also contains wonderful lessons on generally living a victorious Christian life. You can find Rev Craig on Twitter @RevDrCraig or check out his blog at  http://olamidecraig.wordpress.com 

Enjoy: 

PORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN

Tonight, I want to stand with a friend of…

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