What is Your Reputation Worth?

Sometime towards the end of last year a ministry I served in for years had a sexual scandal issue that led to its literal end. That event broke the heart of a lot of people who served in that ministry. We were faced with questions we couldn’t answer. Questions like “was our leader even called of God in the first place? Was our years of service worth it?”. We felt deceived and used. And the enemy didn’t just attack our shepherd but he scattered the sheepfold. I am not writing this to point accusing fingers at my one-time ministry leader but to drive home the point that a person can appear to have a good reputation before man but before God, he is found wanting. It is a pity that this is the case of a lot of people today. On the outside, we are perceived by men as fervent lovers of Christ but our secret deeds attest to the contrary. Jesus Christ calls such people hypocrites.

“Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are like one who will only wipe clean the outside of a cup or bowl, leaving the inside filthy. You are foolish to ignore the greed and self-indulgence that live like germs within you.  You are blind and deaf to your evil. Shouldn’t the one who cleans the outside also be concerned with cleaning the inside? You need to have more than clean dishes; you need clean hearts! “Great sorrow awaits you religious scholars and Pharisees—frauds and imposters! You are nothing more than tombs painted with fresh coats of white paint—tombs that look shining and beautiful on the outside, but within are found decaying corpses full of nothing but corruption.  Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Matthew 23:25-28 TPT

Just in case you didn’t take the time to read the above scripture I want you to please do so.

You have to understand the fact that the Pharisees and Scribes in Jesus earthly days were men who knew the law — that is, they knew God’s word and they taught it to people. The only issue they had was that they didn’t pay attention to living by the word and they ignored the state of their heart. They were more concerned about preserving their reputation before men and cared less about having a stand with God. Unlike Jesus who did the opposite by “doing” what the word says before “teaching” it (Acts 1:1).

I know you might have attended a lot of Christian meetings. You might even have gotten to the point where you lead and teach God’s people in one capacity or the other but can you say that you pay attention to the “doing” part like you do the “teaching”? It is not enough for you to be a teacher of God’s word or God’s child, you must make a conscious effort to practice what you teach.

God is more concerned about your heart and what He sees when He looks at you than your reputation before men.

Jesus called the attention of the Pharisees to their heart because He knows that if the heart and spirit are made new, there will be newness of life. So also, if you will experience the fullness of God’s life you must not lose your virtue of sincerity before God. You must constantly present your heart to Him for scrutiny.

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.

Psalm 139:23-24 NLT

David prayed in the above scripture for God to search His heart. God knows the content of every man’s heart. He is willing to cleanse every filthy heart and He can give a heart of flesh for a heart of stone if such heart would be presented to Him.

Jesus called the Pharisees lawless because they failed to acknowledge their sin. They lived in a state of constant sin. Have you also failed to acknowledge your sin before God because you still have the applause of men? It is better to be on the Lord’s side than to please men. Choose today to humble yourself before God. Allow Him to correct, discipline, and teach you that you may yield the fruit of righteousness and peace.

And have you forgotten his encouraging words spoken to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when he has to correct you. For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of his faithful love. And when he draws you to himself, it proves you are his delightful child.” Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected? We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship. For if we have never once endured his correction it only proves we are strangers and not sons. And isn’t it true that we respect our earthly fathers even though they corrected and disciplined us? Then we should demonstrate an even greater respect for God, our spiritual Father, as we submit to his life-giving discipline. Our parents corrected us for the short time of our childhood as it seemed good to them. But God corrects us throughout our lives for our own good, giving us an invitation to share his holiness. Now all discipline seems to be more pain than pleasure at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bringing a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who yield to it.

Hebrews 12:5-11

Lastly, whatever it is you are struggling with bring it to the open. Sin thrives in secrecy. Seek to be accountable to a trusted and mature believer around you who would walk the path to your liberty with you. God can grant you freedom from the bondage of sin, you only need to allow Him. Grace to you!

Protecting Your Peace.

U is for Unity. 

If you were to describe the atmosphere of the home you currently live in or the one you grew up in, how would you describe it? Would you say peaceful, clean, and welcoming or would you say tense and disorganized? People have an atmosphere they carry with them and it is sometimes called an aura. This aura springs from the reality of the inner life of such an individual and it affects what people perceive around the person.

Your adornment must not be merely external—with interweaving and elaborate knotting of the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or [being superficially preoccupied with] dressing in expensive clothes; but let it be [the inner beauty of] the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, [one that is calm and self-controlled, not overanxious, but serene and spiritually mature] which is very precious in the sight of God.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Apostle Peter addressed women in the scripture above and he made mention of the fact that our charm as God girls should come from our peaceful spirit. Would you say that you are a woman with a gentle and peaceful spirit or a contentious woman? You must understand that peace is a fruit of the spirit and if you don’t have the peace of God on your inside (one that comes from having a relationship with God), you will be contentious.

The dictionary meaning of contentious is ” nagging, causing or likely to cause an argument; controversial.”

If you’ve ever lived with a contentious person you know the experience is not one you would love to relive. The Bible even has proof of this.

It’s better to stay outside on the roof of your house than to live inside with a nagging wife. It’s better out in the desert than at home with a nagging, complaining wife.

Proverbs 21:9, 19

If you find yourself complaining often you might want to pay attention to the effect your complaint and criticism of others have on those around you. Does it bring about peace or a tense atmosphere? You have the power to create your atmosphere with your words and your actions.

An endless drip, drip, drip, from a leaky faucet and the words of a cranky, nagging wife have the same effect. Can you stop the north wind from blowing or grasp a handful of oil? That’s easier than to stop her from complaining.

Prov 27: 15-16 TPT

The Bible in Matthew 5:9 made it clear that God’s children are called to be peacemakers and Romans 12:18 teaches that as it depends on us we should live peaceably with all men. Some people indeed love drama but you can choose to be the gatekeeper of your peace.

1. Choose your battles wisely

You don’t have to always respond to criticism or an argument. Know when to talk, when to be silent and when to walk away. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to respond correctly.

2. Communicate your boundaries.

To dwell in peace and unity with certain individuals you have to have clearly stated boundaries. Don’t shy away from having the hard conversations that would ensure that the person in question knows your boundaries; how you would like to be treated and not to be treated, how you would like to be addressed and not to be addressed, the boundaries you have set around your time, etc. Do this for the sake of your mental health.

3. Create your own atmosphere.

You can do this by making time spent in God’s word and prayer a priority. Choose to walk by faith and not by sight. Choose to engage with things that remind you of God’s promise of peace. The peace of God is your inheritance if you’ve placed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, but you have a role to play.

Peace I leave with you; My [perfect peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]

John 14:27 AMP

Recommended Reading

Embracing God’s Peace: Philippians by Elizabeth George.

What is the one thing you can do to bring your stress level down, to protect your peace and battle anxiety? I would love to hear from you.

Best Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a Single.

How many times have you heard the phrase “love is in the air” this week? How does that make you feel about your relationship status this Valentine? No matter how you feel right now, you can still have an amazing Valentine’s Day. Here is how:

1. Send a love message to your friends and loved ones.

Who says love is only about romance with the opposite sex? You can express love to your girlfriends and family too. You can send an email, or a text message telling them how much you love them and how much they mean to you. These little acts of kindness warms up the heart.

2. Create a time out with your girlfriends.

I have always enjoyed the company of my girlfriends; while I was in the University most valentine my friends and I always plan a date for ourselves. We would go to the mall, sometimes see a movie, or buy some ice cream. We would invite anybody interested in hanging out with us and we made sure we had fun all the way.
We even buy ourselves valentine presents because we came to understand love is not a gender thing or a thing of the opposite sex. If God is love (1 John 4:8) then we have that ability to love others and to feel loved too. A lot of people out of desperation for the season have found themselves wanting love from a guy that will lead them into destruction. Hey! I didn’t say it’s a bad idea to go out on a date with a guy, but if you are not of marriageable age or too young to date enjoy every moment with your girlfriends. Go for ice cream or see a movie as we did, plan a proper date, do anything that will make you happy.

3. Be a blessing of Love.

The Bible in Acts 20:35 says it is more blessed to give than to receive, the love of God firstly gave (John 3:16). Instead of sitting around being sad because you don’t have a date or a boyfriend to go out with, show love to others. Visit the orphanage (you can do this as a group with your girlfriends), send someone a gift of love; it can be a hand made card or very affordable artificial flowers they sell in stores. These little acts of kindness go a long way. I can remember having a girlfriend whose birthday fell on the 14th of February and since mine was a day before, we came together and planned a visit to the orphanage. It was one of the best feelings ever; handing gifts to those children and seeing the smiles on their faces. In all things always remember God is love so, for every moment let God be Glorified.

4. Soak yourself in the Love of God.

Did I hear you say “all my girlfriends are going out on a date with their boyfriend I am the only one left”…well God said, “I will never leave you, I will never forsake you.” Girl, You are not alone. Soak yourself in his presence meditating on his love. It’s a good time to read a book about the Love of God or watch a movie about God’s love. Dedicate a good amount of time loving on the father and let his love be shed abroad in your heart afresh. I have a girlfriend who goes out on dates with the Holy Spirit with her book, pen, and orders something chilled..lol. Until we are fulfilled in God we can never find fulfilment in others.

5. Write a letter to Mr. Right.

If you have spent your whole day hanging out with friends or being a blessing of love, before you go to bed you can write a letter to your future husband. Valentine is about love. St. Valentine at that time fought for love and marriage, even when it was forbidden to marry at that time. So, it’s okay to fall in love with the opposite sex, but if you are still in the “Waiting room” you can write a letter to the one God is preparing you for. Let him know how much of a blessing you will be and he will be to you. You can also take out time to write a list of things you want in your future husband according to the will of God and review that list every valentine until you meet Mr. Right.

6. Hold on to your standards.

Don’t let down your guard because of pressure from society. Valentine’s day is a day where people get carried away in the name of celebrating. You don’t have to accept to go out on that date if you sense that it might lead you to a path of destruction. “Don’t throw your pearls before swine’s and don’t give what is Holy to dogs (Mathew 7:6)” just for momentary pleasures. It’s not easy facing societal pleasures but trust the Lord to give you that grace.

7. Preach to someone about the Love of God.

The gift of salvation is the best gift you can ever offer a man. Make this valentine a bit different by shifting your focus from yourself to others.
Remember this, whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins (James 5:20).

About the Author

Mariam Zabadi

Mariam Zabadi, is a baker and an aspiring Chef. Helping people achieve their God-given vision and purpose is one of the things she finds fulfilment in. She has a passion to see that women are raised with a deep sense of responsibility and godliness.

You can connect with Mariam on Instagram @cravingz_by_May and @Mariam_zabadi

Productivity Hacks: A Guide to Living Your Best Life.

P is for Productive. 

We’re gradually waving goodbye to January, but would you say you spent the time you had in January well? If you feel you did a good job of managing your time in January; I’m here to remind you that you can cover more grounds. And if just like me you feel you could have done better, you will find the following productivity hacks helpful.

1. Understand the value of time.

There is a certain saying that “time is money” but I would love to rephrase that by saying time is life. The days of your life is measured in time. We know how long a man has lived by the amount of time he has spent here on earth. A proper understanding of time would help you to use it well.

Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.

Psalm 90:12 GNT

One of the reasons why you need to use your time well is because of the brevity of life. If you will live a life of godly legacy here on earth and one that would count for eternity, you must value 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. Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15-17 AMP

The Quality of your life is seen in how you spent it.

Praise Esan.

2. Evaluate how you spend your minutes.

You will achieve this by writing out all that you do daily from the moment you wake up to the time you go to bed. Make sure you include the time you spent doing all these things. Afterward, ask yourself if that was the best use of your time. Then, work towards eliminating those things that you consider not to be the best use of your time.

3. Have a ‘Why’ for doing all that you do or intend to do.

The only way you can ensure to do the things that are important to you, is to know why you do them. This is more like your mission statement. It would help you to stay on track with your goals on days when you feel unmotivated.

4. Develop a routine.

Your routine should make room for you to work on your goals. If you are yet to write your goals, I would advise you do so. Then break them down into daily, weekly, and monthly achievable bits. Your routine makes it easy for you to decide what to do with your time since you’ve decided beforehand what you would do at every point in time.

5. Write things down and set reminders.

One sure way you can increase your level of productivity is to make a habit of keeping a to-do list and of setting reminders and alarms. It would help keep you on track with your tasks. Do you find yourself forgetting things and deadlines? Then, you should do a brain dump of all the things on your mind and in your head daily. You can decide to do it at the end of the day’s work or first thing in the morning. This would enable you to pay attention to what is going on in your mind and head and you would be able to put each task in its category.

6. Get rid of distractions.

After you’ve written your to-do list for the day, it’s time for you to get to work and get rid of the distractions. Put your phone away from you or in silence and turn off the notification. Create a workspace for yourself and concentrate on the task at hand. For physical tasks, keep your body moving until you are done with them. Set a timer and see how much of your task you can complete before the timer goes off. Listen to upbeat music that would help create a suitable atmosphere for you to get to work. Don’t forget to reward yourself after meeting your target for the day.

In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.

Prov 14:23 AMP

7. Create accountability structures.

Do you have people that know you and love you well? People that can tell you the truth in love? People that can keep you accountable for doing what you said you will do? You need such people in your life. They can be your family members, a mentor, or your closest friend. Pray for God to give you such people and invest in your relationship with them when he does bring them.

8. Be a self-starter.

A self-starter is someone who doesn’t wait for external motivation before she does what is expected of her. The truth about life is that you wouldn’t always have people rooting for you but you must learn to coach yourself. Learn to speak words of encouragement to yourself and to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

9. Give yourself room to breathe.

Don’t try to achieve a million things within twenty four hours; doing that is a recipe for disaster. It’s okay to take baby steps towards your goals. As much as you work towards being productive and managing your time well, ensure you also make room for rest.

[Read also: The Healthy Balance between Work and Rest.]

Let’s Chat:

What’s one productivity tip or APP that helps you stay on top of your tasks? I would love to know.

An Intentional Season of Singleness.

S for Singleness.

A wise man once said, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” Having a proper understanding of the seasons of life would enable you to take advantage of them. Just like every season of human life, the season of singleness should be engaged with the intention to get the right result. And if you have the intention of getting the right result in your season of singleness, you should take note of the following:

1. Singleness is a gift from God.

Unless you see this season of your life as a gift from God, you wouldn’t be able to make the best of it. For example, as a single, you have a level of independence that a married individual doesn’t have. And you can use that to your advantage. I would encourage you to list out the benefits of this season of your life. This would help you to be more appreciative of where you are.

2. The season of singleness should bring you to a place of undistracted devotion to God and your purpose.

I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and in spirit. But a married woman has to think about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible.

1 Corinthians 7:32-35 NLT

An intentional season of singleness should grant you the opportunity to live a life of focus; a life free of distractions. There are certain goals you will be able to achieve faster when you are single than when you are married. But this would only be possible if you live with intention and focus. Can you achieve the goals you have for this year with your current level of focus? Are you living with as few distractions as possible or have you become engrossed with dating? Remember, there is a time for everything.

3. The longing of your heart is healthy and it should draw you closer to God.

It should bring you to a place of simple trust in God. True satisfaction comes only from God. It doesn’t come from a romantic relationship. You would only be satisfied with a relationship after you’ve allowed God to satisfy the longing of your heart. If not you would seek in a partner what can only be found in God and that wouldn’t end well.

Lord, my heart is meek before you. I don’t consider myself better than others. I’m content to not pursue matters that are over my head— such as your complex mysteries and wonders— that I’m not yet ready to understand. I am humbled and quieted in your presence. Like a contented child who rests on its mother’s lap, I’m your resting child and my soul is content in you. O people of God, your time has come to quietly trust, waiting upon the Lord now and forever.

Psalm 131:1-3 TPT

Dear friend, your season of singleness can be beautiful if you live it with intention. Do not put your life on hold. Enjoy friendships! Love! Live! Become!

Recommended Reading

Lady in Waiting: Becoming God’s Best while waiting for Mr. Right

Let’s Chat

1. What can you say are the benefits of the season of life you are in?

2. What are the structures you’ve put in place to live a life of focus and intention this year? I would love to hear from you.

The Healthy Balance between Work and Rest.

R for Rest. 

Are you a girl with Martha tendencies? You know the kind of girl that enjoys serving but is guilty of never taking time to rest; one who struggles with finding the healthy balance between work and rest; or is usually worried and anxious about a lot of things. Do you consider rest to be the same as lazy?

We live in a world where everything is fast-paced, where productivity is applauded while rest is frowned at. Nevertheless, in the beginning, it was not so.

Man was created by God to live life with a healthy rhythm of work and rest. This is why you have a natural need for sleep after a long day.

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Genesis 2:1‭-‬3 NKJV

God is Almighty and He doesn’t need to rest but for Him to set an example for Man who would be made in His image, God chose to rest after the work of creation.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

Exodus 20:8-11 NKJV

Obedience to the Sabbath shouldn’t be something reserved only for the seventh day of the week but I believe “Sabbath” should be practiced daily.

Sabbath is therefore a declaration of our freedom. It means you are not a slave — not to your culture’s expectations, your family’s hopes, your medical school’s demands, not even to your insecurities. To practice Sabbath is a disciplined and faithful way to remember that you are not the one who keeps the world running, who provides for your family, not even the one who keeps your work projects moving forward. How easy it is to fall prey to the temptation to believe that [we] alone are holding up our own corner of creation.

Tim Keller (Every Good Endeavour)

How to practice Sabbath Daily.

1. Practice being still.

At the beginning of the day make it a practice to commit your work for the day into God’s hands; exchanging your worry for His peace. This would make a huge difference in the way you carry out your duties.

Practice having a good night’s rest after a long day. It is your reward for working hard. The only caution here is that you should ensure to put work before rest. Remember, God, rested after working. It is in rest that you get to enjoy the good of your labour.

What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives, and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:9‭-‬10‭, ‬12‭-‬13 NKJV

2. Unplug from your phone and take social media breaks.

You need headspace that you wouldn’t get except you shut down the noise that comes from social media and technology. Make a habit of putting your phone on flight mode or in another room before going to bed. This helps you not to be on your phone before going to bed. It also helps you not to pick up your phone first thing in the morning. You would be able to think clearly without the influence of the various voices online.

Practice taking social media breaks on Sundays or any other day of the week. I know taking social media breaks on Sunday seems impossible in these times because most Churches have their services online due to COVID 19. But making a practice of taking time away from social media would help you think clearly and it would help you concentrate on that which is important. You can use that time to plan for your week, read a book, spend quality time with your family, roommate, yourself, etc.

I want you to know that beyond physical rest is spiritual rest; one that is made available for those who place faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the rest that is ours when we accept the finished work of Christ. This rest takes the yoke and weight of sin off the neck of those who have placed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This rest is not a function of the season of life you are in. It is not a function of how busy or otherwise you are. It is a rest that comes from God. This rest can be yours if you place faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Let’s Chat

1. Have you ever taken a social media break? What was the experience like?

2. How do you practice Sabbath?

I would love to hear from you.

Book Recommendation

The Time of Your Life — Finding God’s Rest in Your Busy Schedule by Susie Davis.

The Christian Girl Quiet Time Essentials.

Q for Quiet Time.

Merry Christmas in advance 💃If you are anything like me, you should have your Christmas wish list compiled by now. But if not, no worries… I have a few suggestions for you. 😉 They are a bit out of the norm but I think you will agree that they deserve a space on your Christmas wish list.

On a typical day, my alarm labeled fervent usually goes off around 5 am. Most days I spend time with God before getting off the bed and other days I’m ashamed to admit that I sleep in. I have learned from experience that whatever decision I make of either starting my day putting time with God first or choosing to sleep in, determines how my day turns out.

Certain things have helped me over the years to have a smooth quiet time and one I look forward to.

1. An easy to read version of the Bible.

My Holman’s Christian Standard Notetaking Bible

If you are in love with the King James Version of the Bible then this point is not for you but if you have issues understanding what it says, then you need to get another version of the Bible. I would encourage any version of the Bible that you consider easy to read and understand. The point is for you to understand what you read. I have different versions of the Bible, ranging from the New King James Bible to the Good News news Translation to HCSB. Those are my hardcopy Bibles. Thank God for access to the digital Bible. You don’t have to purchase more than one hard copy of the Bible. A Bible App like YouVersion gives you access to various translations of the Bible and you can also compare various versions of the Bible while you study.

My New King James Version Bible

My Good News Translation Bible. It’s a women’s Devotional and study Bible.

2. Bible Commentary and Concordance.

It’s true that even when you use an easy to read version of the Bible, some parts of the Bible are not so easy to understand. So, that is why I have a Bible commentary. It’s a commentary compiled by a Bible Scholar that gives a detailed explanation of every verse of the Bible. I make use of the Mathew Henry Bible Commentary. It’s an App and it is easy to use. I’m sure there are tons of Bible commentary out there that you can consider purchasing if you prefer having the hard copy to the App.

My Cruden’s Complete Concordance 😍

I make use of Cruden’s Bible concordance to search for certain words in the Bible. You can indeed use Google to search for portions of the scripture you do not remember but I find Cruden’s Bible concordance helpful. I also use it for word study of the Bible. You can do a word study on the fruit of the spirit. The Bible concordance gives you a list of every verse of the Bible with that particular word. It just makes your search easier.

3. Devotional Books.

My 2020 Devotional by Elizabeth George

They come in various forms and they usually have a central theme. Some can be based on a book of the Bible while others can talk generally about the Christian walk. You have a few portions of the Bible allocated for that day and a little explanation of that portion of the Bible. This is useful on days when you do not have enough time to dig deep into the Bible but you still want to get the word into you. So, it’s more of a quick fix that keeps you wanting more of God’s word.

Two of my all-time favourite devotionals
This is what a Devotional or Bible Study guide looks like.
This is more like a Bible Study guide on the book of Philippians. I highly recommend it.

4. A Journal.

If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that I am big on journals and the act of journaling. When you keep a record of the things you learn daily from God’s word, it helps you not to forget and it also helps to further engrave the word upon your heart. So, I would encourage you to journal God’s word. It is also useful when you are trying to memorize portions of the Bible.

5. Sticky notes and coloured pens.

The sticky notes come in handy when you are journaling God’s word in your Bible and you need to create more space in your Bible to do so.

The coloured pens are useful for underlining portions of the Bible that stand out to you and you will also find it useful if you colour code your Bible.

Those are my all-time favourite for my quiet time. Hopefully, you will add one or two of them to your Christmas wish list.

Let’s Chat:

What devotional is the best you’ve ever used?

How to Keep a Prayer Journal.

Sometime last year I wrote an article on the discipline of prayer. And I intend on teaching you how I set up one of the main tools that have helped me in staying consistent in prayer. That tool is my prayer journal. I started keeping a prayer journal in the year 2016 after I felt led to set up one for myself. I came across a site and that was where I learned how to set up my first ever prayer journal. As it is expected, I have grown in the art of keeping a prayer journal and I now know what works for me and what doesn’t. The current prayer journal I keep has different sections or tabs.

A Weekly Prayer Schedule

This tab houses the different things I pray about each day of the week.

A sneak peek into my prayer journal (my weekly prayer schedule).

Monday: Career ( I pray concerning the decisions I’m currently making concerning my career and the plans that I have).

Tuesday: Ministry (this is when I pray concerning my blog and the hopes I have for it).

Wednesday: Immediate Family members. This is when I pray for my siblings and parents.

Thursday: Discipleship and prayer requests. This is when I pray intentionally for any young woman I’m mentoring and I also pray concerning any prayer request I get from friends.

Friday: Nigeria.

Saturday: My home Church leaders and workers.

Sunday: My love life.

Having a prayer schedule helps in keeping you consistent in prayer because it ensures you do not lack ideas for what to pray about daily. This doesn’t mean that on days when God impresses upon your heart something different from what is on your prayer schedule for that day, you can’t change your prayer focus. Your prayer schedule just serves as a guide and it ensures that every aspect of your life that is important to you is covered in prayer.

Prayer Table

I use my prayer table to keep track of prayer requests. Have you ever told someone at the spur of the moment that you would pray for them but you forgot. This happens basically because you didn’t pen it down.

The first column of the table houses the serial number.

The second column of the table houses the topic of the prayer request. This is where you write exactly what you are praying about.

The third column of the table houses the scripture backing for your prayer request. So, for example, if you are praying for the health of a friend your scriptural backing would be scriptures about health or scripture(s) where God promises His people health. You don’t need to write the whole scripture out. You only need to write the reference.

The fourth column of the table houses the date first prayed. This means the date you first prayed that prayer.

The fifth column of the table houses the date answered. This helps you to know how long you prayed before the prayer got answered. And it also helps you to keep track of answered prayers. This can serve as a faith booster on days when you are getting weary of praying.

This is one of my old prayer journals and it dates 8-11-2018 to 31-12-2019. I enjoyed every moment of using it.

There are days I pen down my prayers according to my prayer schedule and there are days I just pray without writing my prayers out.

The point is, there would be days your mind would be so cluttered with a lot of things that you would prefer penning down your prayers for you to process all that you are feeling. And there would be days when saying your prayers out loud would be what you prefer. Just do what works for you.

This is another old journal I enjoyed writing in. Side note: this journal has a book whose title is the same as the inscription on it. The book was one of my favourite for last year and I was glad when I saw the journal at a bookstore. 🙃

Book Recommendation

The ministry of supplication by Zacharias Tanee Fomum

Let’s Chat

1. What do you do in order to stay consistent in prayer?

2. What tool have you found helpful to your prayer life?

Keys to Getting along with Your Parents.

 O is for Obedient.

Have you ever wished for a different family or maybe even for a different parent other than the one you have? Well… I’ve been there. I’m not proud to admit this but it is true. I remember that in my early teenage years I wished for a different parent; one who would be perfect even though I wasn’t a perfect child myself. It’s true that you might not always see eye to eye on issues with your parents but that doesn’t mean you can’t live in peace with them. I’ve learned a couple of things over the years that have helped me to make lemonade out of the lemon that is my relationship with my parents. If I can, so can you. Here is how:

1. Concentrate more on what they are doing right more than you do their shortcomings.

No parent or family is perfect and no matter how bad you think things in your family are, it could be worse. So, be grateful for the things that work. For me, if there is anything that I am grateful that my parents did, it is the fact that they made my education paramount to them. I and my siblings were sent to the best of schools and my parents ensured we had all we needed to excel academically. I am also grateful for the Christian faith that my parents practice. I saw the need to serve Jesus because my parents are devoted to Christ. If my parents are atheists I’m sure I would be one. These are just a few of the things my parents did well that I am grateful for.

I challenge you to write out things your parents did or are still doing that you are grateful for and bless them for it. Your lovely skin colour, your beautiful eyeball, your long hair, etc are things you got because of your parents and you should be grateful for them.

2. Honour and obey them in the Lord.

“Honour is the discerning, the celebrating, and if need be the rewarding of an individual as a measure of their usefulness in your life.”

Apostle Joshua Selman.

I know sometimes you can feel that your parents are overbearing but all the same God’s instruction to you as their child is to honour and obey them.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord [that is, accept their guidance and discipline as His representatives], for this is right [ for obedience teaches wisdom and self-discipline]. Honour [esteem, value as precious] your father and your mother [and be respectful to them]- this is the first commandment with a promise –So that it may be well with you, and that you may have a long life on the earth.”

Ephesians 6:1-3 AMP

Whenever you obey your parents it means that you accept their guidance and discipline as God’s representatives who have been placed in authority over you. God gave you to your parents and He carefully chose your parents for you. Your parents have the duty under God to instruct you in righteousness and you as their child is expected to obey them.

Do not make it difficult for your parents to carry out their God-given duty of instructing you in righteousness. I understand the fact that not every parent is godly but that doesn’t stop you from obeying them if their instructions to you don’t negate the scriptures. You are expected to honour them notwithstanding their lifestyle. You honour them because God’s word says you should. And when you do, you receive the reward of a blessed and long life here on earth.

Consider how the atmosphere of your home would become better; more peaceful if you obey your parents with the right attitude every time they give you an instruction.

Would you say you honour your parents with the choice of your words, your attitude towards them, etc? If your answer is NO, I want you to know things can be different. You can receive the grace from God to daily honour your parents.

3. Avoid getting in the middle of your parents issues.

No couple is perfect and that includes your parents. They are human and that means they would have days of friction and disagreement. And when they do, you are not expected to take sides or to play referee. You are only expected to pray for them and love them. You trying to take sides with any of your parents would only make matters worse. You can give either of them your listening ears, give your advice when it is sought, but do not take sides. Lastly, love them equally and seek ways to express your love to them. Find out what their love language is and speak it. Plan to do them good for as long as you live.

4. Speak well of them to others.

The impression you give your friends and everyone you cross paths with about your parents would last longer even after they might have changed. You honour your parents when you speak well of them. Choose to protect your parent’s reputation. Live in such a way that your parents never worry or wonder about your character or the conversations you have with your friends about them. Never discuss family issues with others without taking permission from your parents.

Keep in mind that no family is perfect; the friend you are discussing your issues with may have been wishing to be a part of your family. Choose to be loyal to your family and honour them with your words. Speak what you want to see.

5. Pray for them.

It is not easy to be a godly parent, a caregiver, a provider etc and this is why your parents need your prayers. Pray for wisdom and strength for them. Pray for God’s blessing upon their life and the works of their hand. Pray that they would make wise decisions on your behalf and on behalf of the family. Pray for godly friendships for them. Pray for sound health. Pray that they would be lead by God’s Spirit. Pray! Pray! Pray!

Whether you like it or not your parent’s decisions would affect you. This is the more reason why you cannot afford to joke with praying for them. Pray until you see God’s kingdom (righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost) come in their life. Pray until your joy in your relationship with them is full.

Let’s Chat

  • On a scale of 1-10, how is your relationship with your parents?
  • Bearing in mind the keys I shared in this post if there is one thing you can do to improve your relationship with your parents what will it be?

I would love to hear from you.

Book Recommendation

Teenagers are people too by Joyce Meyer.

Back to School: The Truth about Making all A’s.

We are gradually getting back to school life at various levels, and at times like this everyone is thinking about making straight A’s. You know what? I am too. You probably must be thinking that straight A’s are for the gurus and geniuses right? I did too. But by God’s grace, I have been able to consistently make outstanding grades in my academics for the past few years now and I am not a genius at all. So, permit me to share with you some important keys and secrets I have discovered to help you through your planning.

Change your Paradigm

Yeah, this is perhaps the most important key. Prov 23:7a (ISV) says “for as he thinks within his heart, so is he”. Your mindset will determine how far you can achieve. If you have the thoughts that only the geniuses are made for excellent grades, then there is no point in trying at all. Even if it were true that intelligence is key, here is the thing; you need knowledge to fuel intelligence. Winners are not born, they are made. You can get all the good grades you desire if you put in all the required effort. So, change your paradigm from “I can’t” to “I will”. Personally, my academics changed when I started moving with the best of the best students in my classes and faculty in school. What I learned from these students changed me, While I was always afraid and terrified by difficult subjects and courses, the best students always had a fixed focus on A or nothing else.

Change your Intensity

You are probably thinking that the real problem is always forgetting what you studied right? Well, the scripture says the memory of the righteous man is blessed”. That forgetfulness that happens to you is common to everyone and absolutely normal. The modus operandi of the human brain is designed to delete any information that is random and new after a while so as to accommodate new ones. Actually, your brain is absorbing new information both consciously or not every second. So for it to retain any information long term, you must be very deliberate. After a while, your brain recognizes this piece of information as important and keeps it. This is called the automation zone. Simply put, REPETITION IS THE KEY TO RETENTIVE KNOWLEDGE! This is why you have to increase your intensity of reading; if you do 2 hours before try 4. You are doing great, but studying your note just once won’t cut it; go over it again as many times as you can.

Change your Pattern

Albert Einstein said, “only a foolish man does the same thing, again and again, the same way and expects a different result”. If your resolution is to make all A’s this time around, then you cannot go about it the same way you have always done. You should consider a new study pattern. You can also try a new preparation pattern for your tests and exams. For instance, most students are always approaching exams with fire a brigade approach. You probably like the deceptive 2 weeks night class pattern right? While it is good, most excellent students I know build from the beginning of the semester or term. Try building gradually with at least 1hour of studying every day all through the session, and watch the miracles on your grade. This study pattern keeps you prepared for your Continuous assessment (CA) always, and if you really love to make that A, then you should pay attention to your CA.

Another study pattern to consider is getting past questions. A lot of people argue that they don’t repeat them in their school or department. While this may be true, you cannot be sure you are ready for that exam until you have evaluated yourself somehow. I personally go to any length to get past questions on my courses before I start the semester. This is because while I read every day, it helps me evaluate my understanding of the subject matter and also predict my lecturer or teacher’s thinking pattern.

Change your Association

Proverbs 13:20 says “he that walks with wise men, will become wise. This is the law of association; you become who you spend time with. Daniel had wise friends in Babylon. I shared earlier that my grades changed when my friends changed. Make friends with excellent students. They don’t necessarily have to be your close friend, they could be mere acquaintances. You just have to spend time with them. Rub minds with them on your courses, let their Iron sharpens yours. Summon the courage and speak with them. Anybody that is doing better than you at anything actually knows something you don’t know. If they are your friend, they will always keep you on your toes to be better. If your grades are not doing well, you just might need new friends or reading partners.

About the Author

Covenant is a lover and follower of Jesus. He loves to share the word of God with others always. He also loves reading both Christian and academic literature. He is currently rounding off his Master’s degree in Medical microbiology and immunology having completed his BSc degree in Microbiology from University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. He is an excellent academic researcher with scientific publications in reputable international journals to his name already. You can follow him on Facebook and Instagram: @Covenant Adeboboye.

Let’s Chat

Please share with me your thoughts and struggle with academics as relating to the points I shared.

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