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Posted in Non-fiction

Welcome to 2017.

It’s with utmost joy I write to you this year. I am sorry this is coming late but it’s better late than never- HAPPY NEW YEAR.
This is your year of all round VICTORY in Jesus name.
I want you to start this year with God. Seek God like you’ve never done before this year because Him alone can make your way prosperous. Don’t just slip through this year, instead make every day of this year count; be intentional. I want you to know that whatever you set your heart to do this year that is God’s will for you will come to pass if you work towards it and you put Him first. Don’t just dream about those things, work towards them. And remember everyday counts!

Don’t go through this year afraid because God is with you and He has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Trust Him!Forget the past, learn what you can from it and move on. Don’t let your past hinder you but instead let it propel you to aim for a better 2017. God can give you a fresh start if you let Him. He can make you brand new.

Remember that if you’ve given your life to Christ YOUR LIFE IS BRAND NEW. Everyday is fresh for you in God. GOD IS STRENGTH TO YOU (Psalms 18: 2). So seize the day! Welcome to your year of VICTORY!

I love you but not as much as Christ does!

Posted in Encouragement

How to Journal.

I started keeping a journal at age ten and I have at least a journal to show for each stage of my life. Each of my journals shows me areas in which I have grown. I write anything and everything in my journal. Things from random thoughts and observations, to notes on books I’m reading, to goals I want to work towards, to how my day/the week/the year went, to list of books I want to read, places I want to visit, my prayers, etc.
A journal is a personal record of significant occurrences, experiences and reflections kept on a regular basis while journalling is a process of writing in a journal or diary.

Journalling is a form of therapy that helps you to open up to your feelings without the pressure of being judged. A person who journals is able to gain mental and emotional clarity, validate experiences and come to a deeper understanding of him/herself.

The following are different forms of journal you can keep:
*A gratitude Journal where you intentionally write at least ten things you are currently grateful for. It is basically an act of counting and naming your blessings. This helps you to keep the right perspective when you are going through difficult times.

*A prayer journal where you pen your prayers. It helps you to pray consistently and see God’s faithfulness in answering your prayers. It also helps you to concentrate better if your mind tends to wander while you pray.

*A Bible study or sermon journal. It helps you to keep track of the things you are learning daily in God’s word. It also helps you to refer back to them and evaluate your life based on God’s word.

*A memorial journal( this is more like the memorial stones God instructed the children of Israel to pick as they crossed River Jordan in Joshua 4).

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord ’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the river right before your eyes, and he kept it dry until you were all across, just as he did at the Red Sea when he dried it up until we had all crossed over. He did this so all the nations of the earth might know that the Lord ’s hand is powerful, and so you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
Joshua 4:4-5, 7, 21-24 NLT

The idea behind a “memorial stone” is simply to recognize a significant event or change (either pleasant or otherwise) in the previous week/month/year and put it in the context of God’s work in your life. It affirms both gratitude and faith. It shows you all the ways God has being faithful to you.

I’ve had people say to me that they don’t think they can keep a journal because they are not writers. My response to that is “you don’t have to make a living from writing before you can journal. If you can talk, you can journal.” There is no right or wrong way to journal; just do what works best for you and start with baby steps. Associate your journalling time with the things that give you joy like lighting a scented candle, drinking hot sweetened tea or listening to music(provided you won’t be distracted) and enjoy the experience.
Never forget that your life is worth living well and your story is worth telling (in this case journalling about). Your story will one day inspire someone to live his/her life well. Leave a good legacy!

Blessings,
Esan-Praise.


Let’s Chat.

• Have you ever kept a journal or diary?

•How have you benefitted from keeping a journal?

Posted in Encouragement

Ruth: A beautiful woman in God’s eyes.

Beautiful Ruth was a Moabitess, a young widow, an immigrant and a pauper. You can decide to see her in this negative light or through God’s own eyes. She has a whole Bible book allocated to and named after her. You can be sure she was one of a kind for her story to be given such significance. Beautiful Ruth had qualities that made her stand out as a woman, beautiful in God’s eyes. You bet if God sees you as beautiful, then you must really be beautiful. Let’s take a look at Beautiful Ruth’s lifestyle!

1. She was a woman of devotion and resolve(Ruth 1:16-18)

After the death of her husband, brother-in-law and Father-in-law, Naomi her Mother-in-law decided to return to Bethlehem, Judah (Naomi’s place of birth) from Moab. Ruth decided to follow her. Elderly Naomi was against it and tried convincing beautiful Ruth to return but she refused. Here was Beautiful Ruth’s reply;

“Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.

Ruth 1:16‭-‬18 NLT

I want you to know that Ruth’s decision to follow her Mother-in-law to Bethlehem wasn’t an easy one. The scriptures doesn’t state clearly why she made that decision but we get a glimpse of why in verse 12b of Ruth chapter 2.

“May the Lord , the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.”

Ruth 2:12 NLT

We were made to understand in this verse that Ruth decided to follow Naomi to Bethlehem because she was seeking for refuge in the God of Isreal(the only true and living God). All her life she served different gods but now she is making the decision to serve the God of Israel. This single decision of hers would cost her her place among her people because she would have to turn her back against their sinful ways. This decision would cost her to live among a people who would exclude her from their congregation based on the law God gave them in Deuteronomy 23:3-4. This decision can cost her the prospect of ever remarrying because Israelites don’t marry a foreigner according to the law God gave them in Deuteronomy 7:1-4.
If she wasn’t a woman of resolve she wouldn’t have being able to make such a decision and stick to it. By the time you read through the book of Ruth you will see that Ruth was devoted to God all the days of her life and God rewarded her for it. Have you made the decision to serve the only true and Living God? Are you living a life of devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ?

2. She was resilient (Ruth 2:2-3): She had every reason to wallow in self-pity like her Mother-in-law did in Ruth chapter 1 verse 19 to 21 but instead she decided to move on with her life (Ruth 2:1-3). She decided to do what she could do today to make her situation better.

So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked. “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?” Ruth 1:19‭-‬21 NLT

Now there was a wealthy and influential man in Bethlehem named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband, Elimelech. One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.” Naomi replied, “All right, my daughter, go ahead.” So Ruth went out to gather grain behind the harvesters. And as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz, the relative of her father-in-law, Elimelech. Ruth 2:1‭-‬3 NLT

What about you my dear friend are you living in self-pity? Are you choosing to put one foot in front of the other? Are you doing what you can today to make your life better? Are you living in the past or you’re fully present in the now and here watching to see what God will do if you yield to Him?

3. She was courageous(Ruth 2:2 &7): Have you ever traveled to a foreign land preferably a place you’ve never been and among a people whose language you do not speak? I’m sure you looked forward to your stay there anxiously . This exactly was how Ruth would have felt. Her own case was even worse because she was a widow. Widows then had no one to protect them or stand up for them so, they were vulnerable. This could have made Ruth hide inside the house she shared with Naomi but instead she took a step of courage to go outside her comfort zone. This act of courage made her to have her first contact with her Kinsman Redeemer, an opportunity she could have missed if she didn’t take this step of courage.
Is there something you know you should do but you are afraid to step out in faith? Are you living in your comfort zone when God has called you to walk on water? There are some things you will not get in your comfort zone. You will have to reach out for them and doing so will stretch you. It is in this process of stretching that you grow. Girl, Bold is beautiful! Be Bold!

4. She was accountable and obedient (Ruth 2:19-23, Ruth 3:18): Ruth could have made decisions without seeking for Naomi’s input but she didn’t do that. She involved Naomi in every step she took and she heeded Naomi’s advice. She could have decided that Naomi was an old woman who doesn’t know what was in vogue but she submitted herself to Naomi’s leadership. This act of obedience enhanced her relationship with Boaz who later became her husband and the father of her son (Ruth 4).
Who are you accountable too? Who can tell you the truth? Who can call you to order and you will listen too? In the midst of counsel there is safety. Don’t walk the path of life without having an older woman you are accountable too.

5. She was kind and selfless(Ruth 2: 11, 14 &18,):

Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back. Then she took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. So she brought out and gave to her what she had kept back after she had been satisfied.
Ruth 2:14‭, 18 NKJV

Ruth was concerned about Naomi’s well being. No one would question her if she didn’t keep some of her food for Naomi but she did. She sought for ways to be a blessing to Naomi. She does not think about herself alone. Whose life is made easy because of you? Are you kindhearted and selfless?

Dear friend, we’ve spent some time looking at the Biblical Ruth through God’s eyes and I hope you will agree with me that she is indeed a beautiful woman. You too can walk in her steps by the power of the Holy Spirit and become BEAUTIFUL as true beauty is really what you are on the inside. I enjoin you to spend sometime studying the book of Ruth and allow her story come to life on the pages of your heart.

Your Sister-in-Christ,
Esan Praise.

Posted in Encouragement

The discipline of prayer.

“Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.
COLOSSIANS 4:2 AMP”

Prayer is one aspect of my walk with God where I struggle a lot. I struggle with concentration, I struggle to make time for it, I struggle with consistency, you name it… My struggle is endless but I have learned a couple of things that has helped me to grow in this discipline of prayer. Prayer is a discipline because it is work. It is a work that your flesh and the devil would not want you to do. They would not want you to do it because of the blessings that comes from it.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God—it is dynamic and can have tremendous power].
JAMES 5:16 AMP”

It is important for you to note that prayer is one way you give God the permission to intervene in your affair. And the beautiful thing is that He delights in listening to and answering your prayers.

“For the eyes of the Lord are [looking favorably] upon the righteous (the upright), And His ears are attentive to their prayer (eager to answer), But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil .”
1 PETER 3:12AMP

The fact that God delights in listening to and answering your prayers should encourage you to pray more often. You can develop the discipline of prayer by doing the following:

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the desire to pray and to help you to pray: The truth is you cannot pray effectively without the help of the Holy Spirit.

“In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words.
ROMANS 8:26 AMP”

When you ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in the place of prayer, you will discover that prayer will be less of a struggle but a time of communion with your Heavenly Father who loves you deeply.

2.Choose a time and place: Make prayer a priority in your schedule and pick a place you wouldn’t be disturbed to do it. Having a specific time and place will help you fight against procrastination. Immediately you choose your time and place, make sure you show up to your appointment with God and pour out your heart to Him. It might be a struggle at first (remember the enemy and your flesh wouldn’t want you to do it and they don’t give up easily) but keep at it. It gets better.

3. Use a prayer journal: You will find this helpful if you struggle with concentration and consistency in prayer like I do. The act of writing your prayers will help you tame your wandering mind and help you keep track of God’s faithfulness in answering your prayers. It also helps you to keep the prayer request of your family and friends.

4. Prayerfully choose a prayer partner: Your prayer partner should be someone who has a similar desire to pray. Prayer should be your priority in your relationship with the person. Your prayer time shouldn’t be spent doing any other thing other than prayer. Your prayer partner can be one of your friends or a seasoned believer in the faith. I would advice that you choose a female as your prayer partner since you will have to spend a lot of time with the person and you don’t want the emotional attachment that comes from spending too much time with a member of the opposite sex. Having a prayer partner helps to keep you accountable and encourage you to keep praying on days you don’t feel like it. Make sure whoever you choose as your prayer partner is faithful and trustworthy. The person must be trustworthy because you will have to be open and vulnerable in your relationship with her. And you don’t want a gossipmonger as your prayer partner. Be wise!

5. Read books with the ability to whet your appetite for prayer: Books like Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, Becoming a Woman of Prayer by Cynthia Heald, Power of persistent prayer by Cindy Jacobs, Why Revival tarries by Leonard Ravenhill, The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz, The Watchman Prayer by Dutch Sheets and Fire Brand by Debola Deji-Kurunmi are few of the books I’ve read over the years on the subject of prayer. And these books have helped me to be better equipped to pray.

Prayer can be something you look forward too if you are diligent to start where you are. Pray until your joy is full. Pray until prayer becomes your life. Pray. Pray. Pray!

Posted in Personal Struggles

Now that you are Legal.

Few years ago, I was saddled with the responsibility of deciding the word that would be inscribed on my 18th year old birthday cake and a friend suggested the word “Legal.” The word resonated with me deeply because of its significance. In my part of the world, according to Nigerian constitution 18 is the age at which a person may legally engage in a certain activity. This is the age of majority (also known as the “age of maturity”), the threshold of adulthood as recognized in law. It is the age of criminal responsibility which means you are solely responsible for your decisions. I thought of what this new phase would hold for me and how whatever decisions I choose to make would influence the direction of my life. And as always the Bible has something to say about being “Legal.”

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”

I Corinthians 6:12‭-‬13 NKJV

This verse of the Bible made me to understand that although at this age, certain things that at previous times weren’t legal for me are now legal, but this doesn’t make them helpful.

Legal is not always the same as helpful.

Which means I have to be able to differentiate between the things that are helpful and those that are harmful, and this calls for wisdom.

“My son, pay attention to my words and be willing to learn; Open your ears to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; Keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, And healing and health to all their flesh. Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful (lying, misleading) mouth, And put devious lips far from you. Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. Consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet, And all your ways will be steadfast and sure. Do not turn away to the right nor to the left [where evil may lurk]; Turn your foot from [the path of] evil.”

PROVERBS 4:20‭-‬27 AMP

In case, you didn’t take your time to read the above scripture you will do well to read it again and think about it’s meaning.
Every decision you have to make in life will require that you are wise. And the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10a). The word of God hid in your heart will help you to fear Him and make wise decisions daily. This is why it is important that you spend time with God in His word and in prayer. When you do this your life will bear the rare and beautiful marks of wisdom.

Let’s consider the steps of wisdom.
1. Pause: When it comes to making decisions, try to keep a clear eye on the potential consequences- good or bad, favourable or detrimental- of the choices you must (or might be tempted to) make. This will help you to distance yourself from the emotions involved in the decisions you must make. It will also help you to check your heart. Learn to wait and don’t rush into things.

2. Pray: The first step which is to pause will help you to buy time for prayer. Time in prayer will help you to gain wisdom from God(James 1:5), to wait on the Lord (Isaiah 40:31) and to make peace with what God’s good, acceptable and perfect will is concerning your situation(Phil 4:6-7).

3. Search the scriptures: Often times God leads us through His word. Expect Him to bring specific scriptures to your heart as you acknowledge Him to direct your path (Prov 3:5-6).

4. Ask for wise counsel: No matter what your age is, It’s important that you have an accountability partner. Preferably someone that is older, wiser and godly. Remember, where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counsel there is safety (Prov 11:14).

5. Make a decision: when you’ve gotten a go ahead in your spirit, move ahead in faith. Don’t let the fear of making the wrong decision keep you from doing the things you know God wants you to do.

Lastly, keep in mind the words of Apostle Paul to young Timothy:

Let no one look down on [you because of] your youth, but be an example and set a pattern for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in [moral] purity.

1 TIMOTHY 4:12 AMP

Let’s chat:
-At what age did you start seeing yourself as an adult?
-What is your decision making process?

Posted in Encouragement

Are you staggering in faith?

“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”
Romans 4:20‭-‬21 KJV

Have you ever watched someone try to walk under the influence of alcohol? One thing you will observe is that such an individual will have an issue with balance. This my friend is a perfect example of what it means to stagger. A person who staggers is unstable.
Abraham is the opposite of this. He was a man who staggered not at the promise of God. This means he didn’t doubt God’s promise even though he had every logical reason to do so. One of his reasons would have being the fact that he and Sarah his wife were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing when God promised him a Son(Gen 18:11).
And then you know the scripture says in Proverbs 13:12a NLT that hope deferred makes the heart sick. Abraham could have become sick because his Son of promise didn’t come when he expected instead he was strong in faith. This brings to mind the words of David in Psalm 27:13-14
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”

I wonder how things will change for you and I if we choose to believe like David did that we would see the goodness of God on earth.

It is important for you to wait on God until He does what He says He will do in your life because “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. Ecclesiastes 3:1 GNT” God’s time is perfect. You may not understand the reason behind His timing but you can always trust that He has your best interest at heart. So, just like an author said “Trust the heart of God when you don’t understand his hands.”

Romans 5:3-5 explains the things God uses the season of waiting to do in us.
“And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” ROMANS 5:3‭-‬5 AMP
All these things and many more are the things God uses the season of waiting to do in us.

Hebrews 6:15 (NLT) says “Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.” I believe Abraham was able to wait patiently because He was convinced that God can do what He promised (Romans 4:21). Simply put, he believed that God can be trusted. Do you also believe that God can be trusted? Do you believe that He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all you can ask or think (Eph 3:20a)? Do you believe that He doesn’t just speak empty words but that He makes good on His promise

If you do not believe this you will stagger in faith. A lot of times as humans we want a physical proof; something physical to hold on to before we take God at His word. Abraham was a different man. He was a man who could keep believing even when his physical circumstances are saying otherwise. He was a man whose eyes are fixed on Jesus, God’s promise to him and not on his circumstances. He was a man who didn’t stagger in faith (Rom 4:19a). God doesn’t want you to doubt His promises because if you do You will not please Him and neither will you be able to receive anything from Him.

“No one can please God without faith, for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6 GNT”
But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].

JAMES 1:6‭-‬8 AMP

One other thing I believe helped Abraham to wait patiently and eventually receive the promise of God to him was his ability to praise God in his waiting (Rom 4: 20a). I know firsthand from experience that the last thing you will feel like doing most days as you wait for God’s promise is to praise God. Its easy to complain or whine about the things that are not going according to your plan but if only you will choose to praise God ahead of your miracle you will see the incredible change that will take place in you. Remember, the waiting isn’t to punish us but to make us better (Rom 5:3-5). It is to make us seek to be content in God and nothing else.
I encourage you my friend
_not to lose heart but believe that you will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.
_ to take God at His word and wait patiently until He does what He says He will do. It’s okay to ask your questions but ask them with a heart of total trust in God; trusting in His sovereignty.
_to glorify Him in your waiting. Don’t wait till you receive the fulfillment of the promise before you worship. Worship while you wait. Worship even if you have to do it with tears running down your face.

“Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word];
HEBREWS 10:23 AMP”

_Share a specific experience of a time you trusted God for something and how you were able to wait until you received the fulfillment of the promise. Your testimony will encourage someone.

Posted in Personal Struggles

What to do when all you can think about is… Boys, Boys, and more Boys?

I had my first crush at age 13. I was in Junior Secondary School 3 and He was the most kind Senior Secondary School student I ever met. I never dated him but my crush on him lasted till my first year in the University (I’ll leave you to calculate how many years that is 😉). My crush on him was never something that distracted me from my school work even though it was mutual. It wasn’t a source of distraction because I had an older woman in my life that kept me accountable to making the right choices. And I’m glad I set my priorities right. The truth is looking back at it now in my twenties, I know that the boy isn’t someone I can consider being in a relationship with. I know that because I now know the character traits I desire in a life partner which at thirteen I’m not sure I considered. As you grow in years you get more mature and you develop a better sense of judgement.
It’s normal for you to like a member of the opposite sex but it is what you do with that feeling that matters. Remember, ECCLESIASTES 3:1 AMP says “There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven.” You doing the right thing at the wrong time is the same as doing the wrong thing. The truth is Boys shouldn’t be your priority at this stage of your life. Boys are cool to have as friends during your teenage years but nothing more than that. Most of these boys are still trying to figure themselves out and so are you. You pursuing a relationship as a teenager will not only waste your time but will also keep you from living a life of focus. I’m glad I spent my teen years the way I did by not allowing the distractions that comes with being in a relationship as a teenager. I can tell you that I am better for it. By the grace of God, I was able to achieve a lot during my teen years because I was intentional about the things I did and didn’t do. I knew what I wanted out of life and I went for it. Below are some of the things you can do to stop focusing on Boys:

1. Guard your heart:Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Proverbs 4:23 NLT”

Your thoughts shape your life. Be careful what you think about. Avoid reading books or watching movies that would make you dwell on romance.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Philippians 4:8 NLT

2. Get a life: Determine to live a life of purpose. List out your priorities and give them your best. I’m assuming your priorities should be something like:
a. God
b. Family
c. Your academics
d. Your job (if you have one)
e. Your friends
f. Any other co-curricular activities you are involved in.
With these you should have a life that is full, fun and rich.

Free hours,
Not wasted by me,
using my free time,
To serve only Thee.
Realizing how temporary free time will be
Never to regret a missed opportunity,
For others to be blest,
Through yielded me.
– JMK

3. Choose your friends wisely: Surround yourself with friends that are purpose-driven and friends that have the same values as you. They should be friends that will spur you on to greatness and encourage you to prepare today for the future you dream about. They should be friends whose heart is so full of God’s word that their conversation isn’t all about boys. Books like I kissed dating goodbye by Joshua Harris, Hi!, can we be friends by Tekena Ikoko and Waiting and dating by Myles Munroe will help you navigate being friends with boys.

4. Dream Big: Set goals for yourself and work towards them. What are the things you want to achieve before your 21st birthday? What must you do to achieve those things? What do you want to be known for? Dream! Plan! Do!

5. Develop practical life tips and work on your gifts: Your teen years is the best time to learn about home management, money management and time management. Having these skills will help you to be better prepared for when you will be away from home and doing life on your own. This is also the time to discover the things you are naturally good at and work towards being the best at them.

6. Go all out for Jesus: Living for and serving Jesus is the best way you can ever spend your teen years. “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” JOHN 10:10 AMP
Real life can only be found in Jesus. Choose this day to love and serve Him with all that you are and have. Choose to develop your relationship with God.

Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old and say, “Life is not pleasant anymore.” Ecclesiastes 12:1 NLT

Whatever you choose to use your teen years to do will tell on your future. Choose wisely. Choose God’s way. I love you but not as much as Christ does!

* What do you do to keep romance off your mind?
* What have you learned from having both male and female friends?
Let’s chat!

Posted in Personal Struggles

Are you finding it hard to rest?

If there is any lesson I learned from the busy seasons of my life it would be that “Rest would not always come to me in a familiar way. And often times it seems impossible for me to create time for it.But I have learned to pursue it and also to rest from the inside out.”

As physical rest is to your physical health so also is your time with God to your spiritual health. You can only experience real rest when you prioritize your time with God.

“For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel has said this, “In returning (to Me) and rest you shall be saved in quietness and confident trust is your strength.” But you were not willing_ Ish 30:15 (AMP)

I have noticed with me that when my life gets busy the first thing that suffers is my time with God and it shouldn’t be. You and I can only do all we have to do daily by depending on God.

“These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

Matthew 6:32‭-‬33 NLT

You show that you depend on Him by giving Him the best portion of your day. And He in turn blesses the portion you have left. You have to make an habit of spending time with God daily. You can achieve this by doing the following:

1. Pick the time and place: A lot of people prefer to have their quiet time in the morning because it sets the right course for their day. But there is no rule that says you must have it in the morning. If you are not a morning person just pick a time that is suitable for your lifestyle. The only “wrong” time for having your time with God would be “no” time.

After you’ve successfully picked a time, it is important that you pick a place. Remember,you are trying to make an habit out of this. Having a specific place where you meet with God helps you to be consistent. This place can change from time to time depending on your mood. For now, my bed is my spot but there are days I make use of the table and chair in my room so I wouldn’t fall asleep. So pick a spot that would work best for you. It should be a place where you would have privacy.

2. Gather all your gears and get rid of distractions: For me an easy to read version of the Bible, my Bible concordance, a cute journal, pens, highlighters, sticky notes and a devotional book are my must have for my quiet time. So, decide what you will need and see that it’s in your spot. Gathering all your gears in a spot will help you to concentrate better since you wouldn’t have the excuse to stand up until you are done.
It’s important that you put your phone on airplane mode if you must have it with you so you wouldn’t be distracted by it.

3. Avoid rushing through your devotion: I know because you feel you do not have enough time, there is every tendency for you to want to rush through your devotion. Rushing through it is a bad idea because it will leave you feeling anxious. So take your time and Linger! It is in your time with God that you exchange your weariness for His strength, your weakness for His power, your burdens for His freedom and your frustration for His peace. So dear friend, learn to linger in His presence.

“As a camel kneels before his master to have him remove his burden so kneel and let the Master take your burden.” _ Corrie ten Boom.

“The Proverbs 31 woman achieved the ideal balance of ‘a soul at rest’ and ‘a body in motion.’ Her soul is at rest in God.” _ Donna Partow (emphasis mine)

4. Keep little things with you that can help you remember God through out your day:
Use a scripture verse as your phone or laptop screen saver. This helps you to memorize scriptures and also think about the truth it offers as you go through your day.
You can also have a playlist of worship songs that you can listen to as you get other things done. It helps you to relax and have your mind fixed on the goodness of God.
Write your prayers on a sticky note or flash card and keep it inside your purse or planner. You can pull it out as you wait on a long queue. This reminds you to talk to God all through the day.
It is also good for you to have e-books of your favourite Christian authors on your phone. You can read any one of them in the Bus on your way to school or work. You can get more reading done by doing so. Plus it’s a good alternative for scrolling aimlessly through social media.

You see, it’s all about how you choose to use your time.

“Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.”

EPHESIANS 5:15‭-‬16 AMP

Choose to rest from the inside out!

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 MSG

Let’s chat,

Mention one person that keeps you accountable to spending regular time with God?

Posted in Mum and I Series

MENTORSHIP

One relationship that would leave a lasting effect on your life as a female is your relationship with your mum. This effect can either be a positive or negative one depending on how healthy your relationship with her is.
It’s God’s intention for us to be taught by the godly older women He has placed in our lives. Titus 2:3-5 states this mandate.

“Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.
Titus 2:3‭-‬5 NLT”

It’s disheartening that even though our biological mothers are solely responsible for teaching us the things listed in Titus 2:3-5 a lot of them are not doing that.

The good news is that Psalm 68:6a talks about God setting the solitary in families. And the beautiful thing about the Body of Christ is that you have the privilege of having adopted family members. So although the responsibility of fulfilling the mandate in Titus 2:3-5 should naturally lie on our biological mother, God has provided a new way of fulfilling that mandate. And that is through the godly Older women He brings into our lives. They can come in form of a teacher in your school, a big aunty or sister from your church or your neighbourhood, a godly role model e.t.c.

I can remember growing up, I had the desire to have a close and healthy relationship with my mum like some of my friends had with their mums. But even though things didn’t turn out the way I wished they would, God sent godly women to me at various seasons of my life.
One of them came into my life at age ten. She shared the gospel with me and I am forever grateful for the role she played in my coming to Christ and in how I lived my preteen years and teenage years.

My desire for you is to see you develop close and healthy relationship with the godly older women God would bring into your life; women that have gone ahead of you in this thing called life and can teach you from the wealth of their wisdom. So you wouldn’t have to experience some of the heartache they’ve experienced.

I know firsthand from experience the value in having a godly older woman as part of your support system and I want you to prayerfully seek for one of such women in your church and submit to them. Give them the right to speak truth into your life and let them know you want them to walk the path of life with you. I’m sure they would gladly do this for you.

Apart from having an older woman that can do life with you. There are godly and wise older women you might never get the opportunity to sit with and have them answer your questions but they’ve taken their time to document their experience in their books. It is wise for you and I to take advantage of our access to those books by buying and reading them. I’ve learned and I’m still learning from reading the books of women like Elizabeth George, Sally Clarkson, Chrystal Evans Hurst, Priscilla Shirer, Babara Hughes and Neigh Leigh Demoss. They are wise women whose teachings I can vouch for. Do yourself the favour of getting their books and glean from their wealth of wisdom. If you are wondering which of their books you should purchase you can check my blog post on https://godteengirlsandtheirworld.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/looking-for-a-few-good-reads-in-2019/

Lastly, I want to encourage you to take out time today to celebrate your mum or any other older woman that has been investing in you. Send her a note of appreciation. And let her know she means a lot to you.

*Do you have a mentor?
* If you were asked to state one lesson you’ve learned from her what would your answer be?
* What is your favourite activity to do with her?

I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Mum and I Series

How to Develop a Lifetime Relationship with your Mom.

Mum, Mother, Maami, Deda, Ahm, Mutter, Madre, Mater….. Whatever language you speak and however it is spelt, the person (Woman) who bears this name and holds this position in your life is a blessing indeed!

Being a mother of three amazing children, I can tell you without mincing words that motherhood is divine! It is usually said that the womb in a woman makes her different from her male counterpart. Carrying life in that womb and birthing that life into the world is a privilege that only God gives. Being a mother is the dream of every girl ( My 5-year old daughter still asked me some days ago how many more years she has before she becomes a Mummy and she’s hoping she won’t forget some things she’s learning now to be able to teach her own children!!) Apart from all that being pregnant comes with, the birth of a child is one blessing most women won’t trade for anything.

I know there are exceptions – a girl/lady/woman gets pregnant, tries aborting to no avail, births the child, packages the child in a carton and places in a gutter or by a dump site…., A mother decides to walk away from her husband and children and never look back…..- but thankfully, there are only exceptions not the rule! The woman you call Mother (biological/adopted) laboured over you physically, spiritually, mentally, psychologically and indeed in every way right from the time she discovers your first heartbeats though her stomach was still flat. You came into her world and her whole life, Spirit, soul and body changed significantly. There is a bond between a mother and her child (each child uniquely bonded) that ONLY God has details of.

All these said, I personally feel that it is a part of the package for there to be a deep, intimate relationship between a mother and her children especially her daughters. In the past, I think daughters were close to their mothers, learning from them(by choice or by force) and gleaning from their wisdom and experiences to be great mothers too. But over the years, with so many factors especially technological advancements that keep widening the communication gap, female children have found solace in other things and people and have chosen to sacrifice the friendship that should have been shared with their mums.

I imagine that a significant percentage of ladies reading this post are not exactly friends with their mums and I can totally relate because I was not while growing up. But I have learnt my lessons, still working on being my mom’s friend and being very intentional about being my daughter’s friend, actually best friend after Jesus, if her dad does not supercede me😃.

So let me share with you, some of the things I believe would help a greatdeal.
1. UNDERSTANDING
This is so crucial in every form of human relationship and particularly in a mother-daughter lifetime friendship. What should you seek to understand?
A. Understand that she has a past! My dear, the woman you call Mom has a unique journey and story that she might not have told you before. Your Mom has had her own fair share of struggles, highs, lows, pain, joys and everything that comes with being human and female. She also has/had a mom and it is very likely that she is ‘mothering’ you the way she was ‘mothered’. While some of us have fantastic grandmothers, some of us have not-so-awesome grandmothers or we never even knew our grandmothers. While some of our Moms have had life-changing encounters with God that have totally transformed them from the inside out, others are at different stages of the process while a few are yet to come to terms with their need for a change. The next time you look at or think about your mom, remember she is human, she is female, she loves you, she is doing her best to be her best and if there is anything she is not doing, she’s either working at it or she is ignorant of it.

B. Understand she has love languages! Because your Mom is different from you, she very likely understands love differently. I believe everyone speaks the five love languages but to varying degrees and priorities. For there to be some level of intimacy with your Mom, you need to carefully discover what makes her tick. Which love language is 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th for her? The five love languages, in no particular order, are Quality Time, Giving/Receiving Gifts, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service. Once you discover this about your Mom, you are able to connect with her more intimately. We all know love when we see it and especially when it is spoken in our language and specific dialect! Love breaks walls and NO ONE resists love!!!

C. Understand she loves you! I have heard, but it is really hard to imagine why, that there are mothers who hate their children. It is very likely that in the beginning it was not so. It is possible that there were bad experiences or memories that the birth of such children bring to their mothers and they are yet to heal. Well, like I’m learning – it’s not good to make conclusions until you hear the full story from the horse’s (mother’s) mouth. So there are exceptional cases. But more often than not, there is a mother’s love for a child that is very unique, so much that if not contained, can cause serious friction between couples. The mother’s love is sacrificial, deeply sacrificial! Mothers go to any length to make sure their children are very fine and have a better future than their own past.

Please dear, understand that your Mom loves you! She wants the very best for you, she doesn’t want you to make any mistake she made and you might be shocked to discover that she doesn’t want you to be like her because she might feel she’s not been her best for you.

2. PRAYER
There is an amazing power, that is better experienced than explained, that comes when we pray for those we are not in good terms with. Talking to God about our displeasure or dissatisfaction in our relationship with our Moms, is one sure way to heal fast (Matthew 11:28). One reason I find this effective is that the decision about whose womb would bear you and birth you was 100% a God-decision. It was entirely God’s idea that your Mom would be your Mom so if you have issues with that idea, your best bet is to talk to the owner of the idea. The more you pray for her, the more likely she would be open to friendship with you because God, who sees and knows it all, would work on her, in her and sort things for her, making her a lot more vulnerable with you.

3. COMMUNICATION
A lot of us assume very often. We unknowingly (so I think) expect people to be able to read our minds or know what we are thinking or how we are feeling without telling them. So we get angry at them for not being able to decipher what we are thinking or feeling and we judge them wicked or unfair. We are quick to forget that our Moms are as human and lomites as we are. Though Mothers are intuitive, their human limitations make them fall short once in a while and sometimes, those once-in-a-while times are the times we need them most.
So you need to talk with Mummy and stop assuming she knows. Sometimes, she also reacts because she assumes wrongly about you and I know how painful this usually is. The solution is for you to talk with her. I imagine someone saying how will I sit with my mom and start a conversation? You can start by writing a letter to show your love and ask for her audience, then send it with a gift of something you know she would really appreciate (possibly meet an immediate need). Letters have an emotional way of touching hearts. She would most likely read the letter more than once. How about taking her out on a date (eating/ shopping/ spa or movie date)?
One major thing that I have found with our generation is that we ‘feel’ more spiritual than our parents so there is a subtle feeling of pride that causes outright defiance. Let me inform you that she might not have your revelation of God but she is fully convinced of her own revelation. If there is anything you think she should know but she doesn’t know or she’s not seeing your view on a matter, instead of shouting or being disrespectful in any way, pray that God explains to her and talk with her respectfully and softly. It is not in your power to change anyone, you know!
Communication is key! You and Mummy need to be on the same page most of the time and whenever (the few times) you are not, trust God for the wisdom to reach a reasonable compromise.

The summary for me is this: to build a lifetime friendship with your Mom, you need to understand her, pray for her, effectively communicate with her. You will be surprised at how much more she desires this friendship than you do. Please know that it’s never too late to start being friends with your Mom, the rest of her years are just enough for you to value her and make her motherhood journey sweet. Please be warned that this might take time, effort and there might be some twists and turns, so prepare yourself to give this whatever it will take. Do your very best knowing God will do that part you cannot do and you can be sure He will do His perfectly and beautifully!!!!

With Love from a Mom and Daughter,
Titilope

Meet the Author:

Titilope Adigun is a Pharmacist by profession. She is a wife, mother and partner-in-ministry by calling. She currently works in Mine Teenage Ministry where she mentors and counsels teenagers, especially teen girls.

Posted in Adulting Series

ADULTING 105: PURSUE AND LIVE YOUR DREAMS

Mrs. Olajumoke Adenowo is a Nigerian Architect, Pastor, founder of AD consulting, author, radio host, convener and philanthropist. I’ve been learning her life story for a while now to know how she has been able to live a fulfilled life. She has been a lover of art, creativity and building works since she was little. She grew to love these things more and decided to put all her God-given talents to work and how these paid off well. Today, Africans celebrate her works and she is an inspiration to many women.

Have you ever imagined being a lady who has her to-do-list all ticked?
Okay, you know the feeling that comes with it, yeah? That’s exactly how you feel when your wish is granted.

Let’s take a brief look at the meaning of the word “dream”, it simply means to hope or wish. Now, how do you pursue or live your dreams?
As a young lady, I never really had the opportunity of being properly mentored. I was growing to be that comely and successful woman I’ve always dreamed of. As I grew, I realised my academics was my primary priority as regards fulfiling my dreams, so I geared up. Little by little, God helped me. Over the years, many more things that I love to do began to unravel and I had to spend time brainstorming and achieving those things too. It might be overwhelming but with the help of God, from time to time, no matter how huge your dreams are, as long as you’re ready, it will come to pass.

Remember your dream is your hope or wish. Well, this is what every individual has in mind consciously or unconsciously; you surely desire something for your life. Nobody ever lives just to live, we definitely look forward to a wish or grant. As we grow, our minds grow too, we begin to think, make strategies and map out certain plans. Take note that this is a peculiar attribute of an adult, no little child would really have plans figured out at a tender age. At the stage of adulthood, your mindset is developed and ready to establish certain things.
Below are few points highlighted to help you;

1. Be diligent: The conscientious of work is what we describe as diligence, anybody can work but not everyone finds it worthwhile and yielding. The determination and drive to work will go a long way in helping you live your dreams. It is a process that must be strategic. In the long run, you find your dreams turn to goals then to pass. Those who dertermine to reach their goals elevated and found amongst the best.

The appetite of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the appetite of the diligent is abundantly supplied (Proverbs13:4 AMP).
Do you see a man diligent and skillful in his business? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men (Proverbs 22:29 AMP)
Be diligent.

2. Set realistic goals: The process may seem tasking but trust me, you have to painstakingly get what you desire. The goals you set are your aims and they must be as achievable as possible. For example, if you want to be a renowned fashion designer, you wouldn’t fold your arms at home and begin to imagine, you must set out and set aside i.e enrol in a fashion class, get a fashion icon and learn from that person, read and learn about styles and trends. You should also get mentored by someone who is in that field, of course a professor cannot mentor in such area. Dear friend, gear up!

3. Pursue and live: Yes, purse and live. You may have some setbacks while trying to make it happen but you will only mar your efforts if you relent. Look back at where you started and get back on your feet again. Avoid criticism, this may hinder your progress. Apostle Paul is a perfect example of someone who pursue and lived his dreams regardless of the tough circumstances, he wrote; I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith. [As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return) (2Timothy 4:7,8 AMP). Allow your goals flow beyond imagination and make God and man proud of you. Yes you!

4. Acknowledge God: This is the last but most important point; as children of God, He wants us to trust in Him completely and wait for the right time, you must understand that even while you wait on God, you have to continually pray. Rest in Him and know that He is a God of times and seasons. You surely acknowledge God in your desires when you make your supplications known to Him, solely trust Him and let go of any decision He doesn’t want for you. As the psalmist wrote; Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass (Psalm 37:4,5 AMP). The world has evolved, things have changed and this has given us many options to freely live. Yet, there is a standard that can never be jeopardized or taken for granted; it’s the Lord’s standard. We do not outlive His words, for it brings truth and peace to us.

Have you discovered your dreams yet?
Are you making the right decisions and setting achievable goals?
Have you prayed it about and it seem like nothing is happening? If yes, share your story we want to learn and help you!

MEET THE AUTHOR

Agbedeyi Dorcas Bonuola, is a certified biochemist and Vice president of Build Nigeria Scheme. She loves writing, brainstorming and helping people.