Friday, 3 November 2017

Marked.



Ezekiel 9:4-6

"Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city...Kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all--Old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark."

So I just woke up this morning doing my devotions and minding my business when I came across this verse. Immediately it broke me as my mind started wandering back and forth. I struggled with finishing up the readings because I just wanted to share it immediately. However, I disciplined myself till the end.
The realisation of God's wrath on the day that matters most-The Judgment--is something serious. I'm not sure why but I became REAL SHOOK at the thought of it. Let me let you know, as much as I have silly fears like being put in prison and roaches or anything else that crawls coming close to me; my BIGGEST and MIGHTIEST-EST TERROR and HORROR and NIGHTMARE is come Judgment day and God looks at me without emotion, forming His lips to utter the words: DEPART FROM ME. I NEVER KNEW YOU!!! *falls out*


WAIT SWEET JESUS! REWIND AND FREEZE PLEASE. "What do you mean by 'depart' first of all?! To WHERE? HOW? Can I EXPLAIN?!" Like there are too many questions. The frightening part is that day will be so clinical. The verse says "show no mercy; have no pity?" WHAAAA?! If nothing else motivates me to get this life right, the fear of the anger of God is more than sufficient to set me straight.

The faithfulness of the people of Jerusalem at that time was determined by the sorrow over the nation's sin. Those that had their foreheads marked were spared, and those without were killed. In the days leading up to the Judgment, God will single-handedly mark the foreheads of those that are truly His (Rev. 7:3), and Satan will equally mark his (Revelation 13:16,17). Tying that to our present day, we are in a time where we have access to so much of the gospel for the most part. This is an era that allows us all to repent and turn away from our evil ways and truly focus our eyes on God. We are in a season that God is beckoning on us and tugging at our hearts to choose life. This is the era of God's PERFECT LOVE. What are we going to do with it?

This life is not a joke to me at all. As often as I can, I try to draw other's hearts to Him in any way possible. I don't shy away from topics focused on God except of course the conversation is not productive and aims to cause division rather than God's love. In that case, I won't be found there. There are so many things the Bible doesn't explicitly say, but I won't pamper my ignorance by debating contexts, Hebrew and Greek translations and every other devices we use to exalt our logic. Something I remember my dad saying is "If there's doubt, don't." That is enough for me. If I need to sit down and search deep within if what I'm purposing to do is right or wrong, I would rather not. When I get to heaven, if I missed out on anything on earth and it was indeed a good thing, I am beyond confident that I will have access to it there. While I'm here though, I am laser-focused. Close-minded to the world (SUPER CLOSE-MINDED) and open ONLY to the VOICE OF GOD. I'm not trying to be shaking in my boots all alone when I am called to give account of my life. Nobody will be there to defend you (and this is why we need freedom from people-pleasing). Run YOUR race for YOUR eternity.

There are SO MANY distractions in this world. My Goodness! A TON of distractions that if you don't know God for yourself you will end up doubting what you believe. Close your ears to this world please. Pay no attention to the desires of your flesh. This flesh will never be on God's side so the earlier you stop listening to what it wants, the quicker you get to say YES to the Spirit of God. While we have time let's do all that is in our power to keep our names in the Book of Life. You can't live life how you want as if when we are lowered six feet under that will be the end. If that isn't a LIE of the devil, I don't know what it. Listen! The moment you shut your eyes on this side of life, you immediately begin a new one. That is the true beginning of life. What mark do you carry? Are you on the Lord's side? For real for real!

(Pardon my CAPITAL's lol It just mirrors the passion in my heart over this issue). We need to stop playing life. Seriously! We canNOT afford the game. Make that decision to be marked and stamped for God alone. This world is not our home.

TIP:
- Be very careful who you follow on social media. Guard you eyes and your heart. People you innocently follow can start to desensitise you to things that go against your beliefs. Things that were a total "no-no" to you begin to look "Not that bad" anymore and so on. Social media is partly for entertainment, but be careful not to lose sight of what matters most.

Psalm 139: 23-24

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out ANYTHING in me that offends You,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life."


AMEN.

I LOVE YOU. I MEAN IT!!!

Favor A.
x

Monday, 21 August 2017

Do You Even Journal?



When was the last time you wrote down your honest thoughts? Silent prayers? Too-big-to-discuss-dreams? Frustrations? etc. When last did you put pen to paper to document happenings in your life? When last did you see life as a miracle? I don't know but there is just something about reading old journals and laughing over things you wrote, or seeing prayers you penned to God answered, or even that last heart-break you fought day by day to keep your head over water that is now a laughable memory. I've come to understand that writing has tremendous power.


Research claims that there is a strong connection between mindfulness and happiness. The more you write, the more you learn and experience yourself differently, increase your emotional intelligence and gain a deeper understanding of God. Journaling also brings you into a space of mental organisation, with improved communication skills too (because you use words when you write. See?!) I haven't been a consistent "journaler" for many reasons. One reason I can think of is I have this IRRATIONAL fear of dying, and someone reading vulnerable moments in my life I never vocalised. When I journaled seriously, I would write very vaguely and abstractly that only I as the writer could tell you the meaning behind it LOL. Maybe I need to get back there. On the flip side, I understand that just maybe when this appointment with death comes, and I have my dreams and visions and plans written down, there just be that person that will turn these written down plans to living memorials in my honor.


Anyone who reads Psalms can see David's honest and vulnerable "journal" to God that we keep on reading today. Maybe my daughter can just learn a thing or two about the healthy pattern of journaling and not putting all her business on social media?! (Because the way this technological age is set up....Whatever the case, I'm just getting to a place where I need to have things written down for organisation and memory. I want to actively be able to "count my blessings" day by day come December 31st. I want to measurably take stock of my progress. I want to know that my dreams indeed came to life. I want to remember.

Jeremiah 30:2 "This is what the Lord, the God if Israel says: write down for the record everything I have said to you, Jeremiah."

Psalm 102:18 "Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD."

Journaling isn't the same as keeping a diary, in the sense that diaries just chronicle the activities of the day. Journaling documents LESSONS learned along the day, prayers in your heart and things God is placing in you. Journaling is the art of pulling away for some time during the day to share a moment between you and the Father. Journaling is discipline. I dare you to begin. I dare you to dust your abandoned journal and continue. I dare you.

Join me as we elevate to the level of journaling.
I love you--Mean it.

Favor O. A
xx

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Scared of the Dark.





For some reason, I don't remember ever being scared of the dark--even as a child. Strangely, I find solace and peace there. I can sit in a room with the lights off and be totally comfortable and at peace. I understand that some people experience fear of the unknown, uncertainty, the anxiety that comes with the inability for vision. The same sounds we hear--without worry--during the day can totally rattle us at night in the dark. There is something about light and illumination. There is something about clarity and the ability to see. There is comfort in predictability and control.



I can't help but wonder how as Christians, we sometimes experience "dark" seasons. Times where we can't see God, or hear His voice. Doubt, uncertainty and fear suffocate the faith, stamina and grace we need to navigate in the face of darkness. Maybe we weren't designed to have all the answers. Maybe our next move is totally up to God, and when we are mature enough to handle our next level He will shine light on it. What if God wanted us to hold onto Him as tightly as we hold onto our will? Could it be that your cries for wanting more for yourself are only echoes that bounce from your lips to the wall, because you have refused to get up and fight for more? Don't let this world sell you a lie long enough that you start to believe this is how your story will end. God is light. If you've made a home in the dark, it is probably because you have missed your steps long enough that the reflection of God has been hidden in the dark.



Memory recalls one of my secondary school experiences. During "evening prep," (where the students were to have an hour or two of study in their classes) all will be well and the evening will progress as planned until NEPA decides to cease the light. Immediately and almost rehearsed, girls will begin to SCREAM!!! I mean yelling on top of their voices. Of course, our interpretation for the scream was that it allowed the boys know the exact location of the girls so they could be inappropriately touched (while the girls screamed in an attempt to appear like they didn't want any of such games-even though we all know the true story LOL). In retrospect, it is true that we attract what we fear. If these girls sat quietly in their seats, these boys won't know their locations. If they learned to enjoy the down-time that darkness sometimes allows, maybe fear would have lost its voice.



In times when it seems like God is distant, and we are left alone in a room with darkness thick enough to choke us, it could do us good to learn to breathe easy and allow God be God. We already know seasons don't last forever, so with that perspective in mind we must put down our ammunitions of control, fear of the unknown, and our flags of hopelessness. Discover the beauty of your littleness compared to the bigness of God. Learn the art of waiting on God like never before. Celebrate little rays of sunshine that pierce through every now and then. Find your voice of hope right in the midst of it all. If God as "All-Knowing" as He is allowed you to be in this season; in this moment, and in this dark, there's a good chance he knows you can't handle the light he has prepared for you just yet. So the darkness is for your protection. Rather than curse the very day darkness swallowed your strength, praise Him for the light on the other side. He won't put you through it just for the fun of it. So, the thicker the darkness, the brighter the light and glory at the end.


This too shall pass.
Favor A.
x

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Standing In Love

💕February 25 2017💕


This date will forever be special to me for two reasons: In 2003, on this exact date and four days after my birthday, my father passed away after an intense war with brain cancer. This war was something serious because it consumed so much of the man I knew and loved deeply. His basic functioning--feeding himself, seeing, walking, speaking in coherent sentences and much more--started to diminish. It was in these times that I grew more fond of him because somehow I felt he needed me. In my child-like mind I would walk behind him when he had to climb the stairs just so I could catch him if he was going to fall. I would sit on the dining table with him and feed him because his hand-eye cordination was zero. I would sit in his study with him and read Bible passages to his hearing because even when sight failed him, he insisted on having his morning devotions (complete with writing down revelations he received along the way). I would watch my "superman daddy" write in-between, over, under, and everywhere but between the lines of his devotional book. He held his God close, because God is love. He stood in this truth, and so did his faith even in adversity. 



The most dear and precious memory I have of my father during this whole ordeal was we would have moments where I would lay in bed beside him and just hold his hands. No words, but hands. Hands, because there was a unique bond and love. Hands, because nothing else seemed more natural. Hands, because somehow, my little heart felt a little better and somewhere on the other side of the rainbow I felt hope. Hands, because love. We would intertwine fingers and just lay there. It was and still is incredibly special to me. I am reminded of Isaiah 41:13 "For I hold you by your right hand--I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid. I am here to help you." Daddy was love-and he stood tall in my eyes till there was no more fight left.





Fast-forward to fourteen years after. On this exact date in 2017, I made a vow to love. I stood before family, friends, well-wishers and God to commit to stand in love forever with another man. I am a very deliberate person (or I like to think) and so everything I do, I am clear-minded about. For this reason, I am uncomfortable with the term "fall in love." Why fall? Falling means it wasn't planned or intentional. On the other hand, what happens when I rise from the fall? Will I still be there? Or I will try to correct the "mistake" that was the fall? I don't know, but I don't need to. 



Standing gives me more peace because I know I can't ever excuse "falling" along the way. Standing, because like Ecclesiastes 4:12 (A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer) I know together we will have strength to wage any war or adversity that will come. Standing, because from this position, we can walk and run, and even fly together if we so choose. (You can't walk or run from the position of a fall can you? I didn't think so either). Standing, because each day I wake up, I want to "clear-mindedly," deliberately and "focusedly" choose him, choose him, and choose him some more. Being married for exactly 39 days now, I have seen a lot of my father in him, and truly I can whole-heartedly agree "girls marry their fathers."  This is my case at least. 




Before we courted, one of the things that allowed me go into a relationship with him, was the fact that he reminded me a lot of my father. A quiet, gentle but strong spirit that carried a presence. It was love to me, and still is. I can stand on the rooftop and shout it out boldly that I have been priviledged to love two amazing men in my life. My daddy taught me what love is from how he treated my mother, and it strongly imprinted in my mind the kind of love to anticipate. Mummy said, "People are constantly tasting and experiencing you."



I seemingly lost love in February, but the awesome God that He is restored love to me in February.

Favor A.
xx