Thriving in the Meantime.

Most of our lives have changed drastically since the discovery of the virus Covid-19. And if care is not taken we would go through this season without paying full attention to how we are spending our time. Most young people have lost the zeal to get out of bed and seize the day. For some, they wish this is over and they can go back to their regular and normal life. The reality is that the future is not here but today is here and the wise among men would seek to live it well.

“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

It is God’s will for us to live an intentional life daily. That is, a life of purpose, honor and courage. He wants us to take advantage of the time and season we are in because every season comes with it’s own advantages and limitations. It takes wisdom to identify what the advantage of this negative situation is and to harness it well. We can choose to live daily in self-pity or seek to make the best of what we’ve got. Really, the choice is ours.

“There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven— A time to be born and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end.” _Ecclesiastes 3:1-3,11 AMP

In each season of life, there is something required of us to do, there is a preparation for us to make for the next season, there is a lesson to learn,etc. Failure to do what we ought to do this season would hinder our progress in the next season. The ant is one wise creature that has an understanding of times and seasons. This understanding of times and seasons helps her to know what to do per time. Such wisdom is worth praying for in this season. Ask God to give you the wisdom that would help you to understand the season of life you are in and know what is expected of you to do.

“When you’re feeling lazy, come and learn a lesson from this tale of the tiny ant. Yes, all you lazybones, come learn from the example of the ant and enter into wisdom. The ants have no chief, no boss, no manager— no one has to tell them what to do. You’ll see them working and toiling all summer long, stockpiling their food in preparation for winter.” _Proverbs 6:6-8 TPT

Below are a few things you can do while you stay at home:

1. Work on your abandoned projects: If you are like most people, you would have at least one thing you started that you didn’t get around to completing or probably you’ve not started doing it at all. It might be a book you started writing or wished you had enough time for you to write, it might be a skill you started learning or wished you could learn online, it might be a book or books you haven’t quite gotten to read. It might even be your cooking skills that you want to improve on. The list is endless . So now, why not get back to doing those things on your list and see what you can achieve before this whole situation changes.

2. Spend time with your family: The truth is family relationship can be the most beautiful yet painful relationship in your life. The good news is that you have the time now to work on this very important relationship. So, this is the time for you to have that heart-to-heart with your sibling, write your Dad a letter, speak your mum’s love language, play family games, create new positive memories etc. Do all you can during this time to bridge the gap or strengthen the bond between members of your family. This is also the time for you to pray more for each member of your family. Pray for their safety and any other thing that is a concern to them. You should also ensure to be kind and helpful this season. When there is something to be done, step in and do it. Pull your weight. Work towards playing your part to making your home habitable. Since almost everyone is at home, it’s certain that there would be friction. So, pray ahead for the grace to handle such matters when they arise. Finally, Let love guide your actions.

3. Create a plan for your day: It’s easy for you to be tempted to go through your day without a concrete plan but as the saying goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is why having a plan for your day is key. It keeps you from wasting time and procrastinating. It also helps you to avoid stress and boredom. Live daily as though you would give an account for how you spend your day. You can plan your day a night before. Write out the important tasks you would want to accomplish and when you want to get them done. Allocate the minutes or hours you would spend on doing each task. This helps you to know what you ought to do per time. Asides planning, make sure you follow through on your plan. Put down your phone. Put your social media apps on freeze so you wouldn’t be getting notifications from them all day. Discipline yourself to be productive daily.

“It has been well said that the future is with the disciplined, and that quality has been placed first… For without it the other gifts, however great, will never realize their maximum potential. Only the disciplined person will rise to his highest powers. He is able to lead because he has conquered himself.” _ J. Oswald Sanders

4. Move your body: You don’t have to embrace a sedentary lifestyle this season. Learn to take a walk(you can memorize scriptures or pray as you walk) , jump rope and do anything that would keep your heart rate at its healthiest. Do all you can to ensure you do not ignore your health. When this is all over, It would pay off.

5. Give yourself grace: The times we are in are strange and not so easy to navigate. So, whenever you find that you are struggling with being positive or pushing through the day, make sure you give yourself grace. It’s okay for you to feel the emotions that comes with this season but do not sit in it for too long. Do things that would help lift your mood; Journal your thoughts, speak with a friend, eat the chocolate, drink the tea, dance, see a good movie, sleep etc.
Ensure you prioritize time with God. It is one way you can keep hope alive and keep your mind sane. Crack your Bible open daily and also spend time praying. This too shall pass!

I would love to hear from you.

1. How have you been spending your time at home?
2. What are the things you are hoping to achieve this season?

Freedom from fear.

“We are people of flesh and blood. This is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying.” Hebrews 2:14-15 CEV

We live in critical times when a lot of people live in fear and are uncertain about the future. One of the main fear people have this season is the fear of death. Although, a lot of people are taking precaution against the spread of the corona virus, it is still amazing how afraid they are. We wouldn’t be so afraid if we remember that there is one who has power over death. The writer of Hebrews made us to understand in the above scripture that Jesus died to destroy the one who had power over death (that is, the devil) but that is not all, he also died to rescue all who live each day in fear of death. It is not God’s intention for us to live in fear and that is why the scriptures says in Romans 8:15 that “For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God’s children, and by the Spirit’s power we cry out to God, “Father! my Father!” Romans 8:15 GNT.

We wouldn’t be so afraid if we remember that we have a Father who takes care of his own. If you’ve placed faith alone in Christ alone, you know that you would be sheltered (Psalm 83:3b) and kept safe. You have eternal life within you and nothing can snatch you out of the Father’s hand (John 10:28-29). The Spirit God gave us as believers is that of power, love and sound mind. We haven’t been given the spirit of fear (1 Tim 1:7). Whenever you sense as a child of God that you are becoming anxious or afraid remember that we’ve been commanded not to be anxious and to make our request known to God in prayers (Phil 4:6-7).

Prayer is key this season because that is where you get to exchange your fear for faith and your trouble for peace. Faith is the antidote to fear.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:1, 27 NLT

Jesus left those who believe in him the gift of peace; a gift the world cannot give. Every child of God has access to this gift but we have to take responsibility for it. And we do this by guarding the gate of our eyes and ears. We concentrate more on what the word of God says than what the news says.

“Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health. Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” Proverbs 4:20-23 MSG

The news of the corona virus is every where but if this is what we fill our heart with, we will soon discover that we are lacking peace, even though it is ours in Christ. And this is why the scripture says in Isaiah 26:3 that ” You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (NLT). We will begin to enjoy peace this season, when we fix our thoughts on God and not on the circumstance the world is in.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] John 16:33 AMP

Remember, that Jesus didn’t promise us a life of comfort on earth. The only thing He promised us is “peace” and “victory” over the trouble(s) that may come our way. He said, “Be courageous!” because he knows our natural tendency as human is to be afraid. The good news is that we know by the scriptures that this whole thing will end in victory for everyone who is on the Lord’s side.

So, let your confession this season be that of life. Confess what you believe.

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:21 NLT

Speak life! This is the best time to gather scriptures on health and protection and speak them over yourself and everyone connected to you. Just in case you aren’t sure of what portion of the Bible you can use for this confession of faith, try Psalm 91. Just bear in mind that you will reap what you sow, be it life or death.

And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.” Revelation 12:11 NLT

Finally, just in case you haven’t placed faith alone in Christ alone, this is a very dangerous time for you to live in because you are vulnerable. That can change now if you would acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of a saviour and that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose on the third day so you can have eternal life. Pray and ask Jesus to forgive you your sins and ask him to come into your heart.

“For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation.” Romans 10:10 AMP

Dear friend, I decree shalom (the Peace of God) upon you and all that is yours. By God’s mercy and grace You will remain untouched and you will rejoice when this is over. In Jesus name. Amen.

A walk beside still waters.

“Your inheritance in Christ is freedom and life and joy and every good gift. Your inheritance is victory and a heart that is not striving or filled with fear but at rest.” _ Stasi Eldredge.

Have you ever been to the beach? I wonder what your experience there was like. Did you take a walk barefooted by the sea feeling the warmth of the sand beneath your feet? Did you pay attention to the beauty of the sunset? Or maybe you felt the cool breeze from the sea blow across your face or through your hair? I know serene (Peace, tranquility) is one word that describes the experience of most people at the beach.

Peace is often what we seek in our everyday live but for a lot of people it seems far-fetched. It is God’s design for your soul to be at rest no matter your circumstance. It is not His desire for your heart to be troubled or for you to be agitated but rather for you to experience peace that surpasses all understanding: the kind of peace that teaches you how to think and feel (Phil 4:6-7 CEV)

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.” _Psalms 23:1-2 NKJV

“Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand”. _John 10:7-11,28 NKJV

Psalm 23:1-2 introduces God to us (in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ) as the good shepherd, one who takes responsibility for the welfare of those who place faith in Him. The good shepherd brings us to the still waters: a place where we can experience peace because we know He is our portion; a place where our mind is stayed on Him.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” _Isaiah 26:3 NLT

The still waters experience is the experience that brings refreshing to our soul and it is an experience God wants us to have daily.
There are situations in life that like troubled waters will cause you to be afraid but the assurance of the presence of the Good shepherd with you should help you keep your mind at rest.

“The floods have lifted up, O Lord , The floods have lifted up their voice; The floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high is mightier Than the noise of many waters, Than the mighty waves of the sea.” _Psalms 93:3-4 NKJV

“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” _Psalms 46:1-3, 10-11 NKJV

Below are steps you can take to daily have the still waters experience:

1. Daily follow the leading of the shepherd: “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” _Romans 8:5-6NLT

Romans 8:5-6 teaches that the daily experience of a person who is lead and controlled by God is “Life” and “Peace.” Your security as God’s sheep comes from knowing you are lead of God. You get into trouble when you stop following His leading. Seek to daily learn from Him, to do His will and to stay connected to Him.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”_ John 10:27 NKJV

Nothing brings a person to a state of unrest faster like disobedience. Learn to walk daily in obedience to God’s word. Remember, He is the one who will lead you beside still waters and not the other way round. It is only in Him that you can find rest for your soul (Matthew 11:28-29).

2. Trust in His ability to make good on His promise to give you His peace:

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” _John 14:27 NLT

Never forget that the peace of God is your inheritance. Learn to ask for it in the place of prayer. Peace is an element of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Pray that God births it in you daily. Lay hold of your God given peace and guard it in the place of prayer.

“I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him.”_ Romans 15:13a NIV

3. Learn to carry your burden to Him in prayer:

“Praise the Lord, who carries our burdens day after day; he is the God who saves us.” _Psalm 68:19 GNT

“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you. Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Be firm in your faith and resist him, because you know that other believers in all the world are going through the same kind of sufferings.” _1 Peter 5:6-9 GNT

“At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One.”_Ephesians 6:16 GNT

It is not your responsibility to bear your burden rather It is God’s responsibility. Your responsibility is to present the matter(s) that causes your heart to be troubled to Him in the place of prayer. This is why prayer is key. It helps you to take your position in submission to God and to resist the enemy from a place of steadfast faith. You cannot enjoy peace on this side of eternity without being a woman of prayer.

4. Daily feed on His word:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” _John 16:33 NLT

God’s word serves as a shock absorber for your soul. The word of God is a beacon of light in this dark world and it will serve as a source of encouragement to you during difficult times. It is an indispensable weapon in the warfare against the enemy of our soul. Read it, meditate on it and learn to wield it accurately.

5. Rejoice in your victory in Christ:

” But thanks be to God! For in union with Christ we are always led by God as prisoners in Christ’s victory procession. God uses us to make the knowledge about Christ spread everywhere like a sweet fragrance. For we are like a sweet-smelling incense offered by Christ to God, which spreads among those who are being saved and those who are being lost. For those who are being lost, it is a deadly stench that kills; but for those who are being saved, it is a fragrance that brings life. Who, then, is capable for such a task?” _2 Corinthians 2:14-16 GNT

“For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble. For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever.”_ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 GNT

Our mindset as believers no matter what we are going through is that of victory. Christ has already won the victory for us. We are not fighting for victory but from a place of victory. The mindset of victory and the accurate understanding of the purposes of God in your present circumstance will help you to remain at rest and at peace. You will have the assurance that all things are working together for your good even if you are yet to see it. You will be able to rejoice and give thanks in everything (1 Thes 5:16-18). And you will be able to laugh without fear of the future (Prov 31:25). Pray for the mind of Christ and the ability to view your situation through God’s eyes. May you never be bereaved of perspective. May you daily do all it takes to take a walk with the shepherd of your soul beside still waters.

Let’s Chat:

* How would you describe your state of mind right now?

*In what ways have you experienced peace in time past and what makes you lose your peace?

I would love to hear from you.

Faith and Patience.

“That you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Hebrews 6:12 (NKJV)

Toleen was bored sick of staying at home reading. Being a high flying student, she had made sure to start reading as soon as the session started. As good as the constant revisions have been, Toleen just couldn’t help but wonder how more interesting her life will be if she can have some of the freedom her friends have or if she can quickly grow up, go to the university, get a great job and live independent of her parents.

Life seems so slow for Toleen. Her parents had encouraged her to stay home on weekends to read and by agreeing, she had missed out on the fun the others were having attending weekend JAMB and WAEC lessons. She loves her parents and she knows they want the best for her but sometimes, she just can’t help feeling caged in her routinous living.

Toleen rolls her eyes, sighs and reminds herself to be grateful for the checks and balances she has in her life. She has loving parents, boisterous siblings and godly friends with whom she has good times with.

Toleen picks up her books with renewed vigour. There is a time for everything and she will find fun in doing the right things at the right time. The right thing for now is to read and prepare for the upcoming exams.

Have you ever felt like Toleen? I know I have. There was a time when time seemed to stretch like an endless road and all I could do was day dream about the life I wanted. Sometimes, feeling that way can lead to us growing impatient with our present placement in life. And impatience is not from God.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with dreaming about the next phase of life we want to find ourselves, making plans about moving forward and consequently working towards those plans. Those are not signs of impatience, they are evidence of a mind alert to the workings of God in his or her life and of preparedness to journey through the process of growth. Impatience, on the other hand, comes with a pang of tiredness, resentment for the present and wistful longing for the future without any adequate preparation on how to survive in that future. Impatience makes you wish to be all grown up and out of your home without enjoying the process by which that will happen. You forget that truly enjoying and giving thanks to God for a phase in your life opens you up to having God unlock the door for a higher phase. Impatience makes you hiss, sigh and frown a lot and these in turn work negatively on your face muscles and you know we can’t be doing that to our precious face muscles?!

Patience is not a lazy approach to life as some may think. It is not a lack of vision. In fact, I dare say that a patient man has more vision than an impatient man. A patient man sees the process to attain a goal while not losing sight of the goal ahead. An impatiet man, on the other hand, sees the goal alone but lacks plans or the ‘patience’ to adequately prepare for the goal. Tell me, who do you think will attain his goals faster?

I hope you see now that impatience is a vicious cycle that baits you with promises of a better tomorrow without you enjoying the process of today. The tomorrows never end. There is always a goal to attain. Thus, enjoy the process of becoming. Enjoy the period you get to spend in secondary school. Be grateful when you gain admission into the university and don’t fall into the folly of wishing that you graduate already because you are already tired of the university. Don’t be caught anxious praying earnestly that NYSC be over already and that you begin to earn ‘cool’ cash in the job you really want and not this one that NYSC posted you to…The cycle can be unending.

Impatience turns us to lousy whiners without we knowing it.

The cure to impatience is faith. Let us be committed to searching through holy scriptures and be encouraged by people who through faith and patience inherited the promises given to them. Remember, there is a promise God has given to you. He has thoughts of good and not of evil towards you. He has plans to prosper you and bring you to His expected end for you. Remember Jesus who patiently and diligently built character in the 30 quiet years of his life. Think of Him who had the power to have fast forwarded the last three years of his life to have happened faster than it did but who didn’t. Remember David the shepherd boy who later became one of the greatest kings of Israel. Remember Esther who patiently went through the 12 months of purification required of her and was later chosen to be queen. The scriptures are replete with examples of people who showed patience and faith. Our immediate environment also do not lack such great examples. Search them out, seek counsel and pray that God will fill you with patience and faith even as you journey through life.

Questions for engagement?

1) What phase of your life are you in right now that you can’t seem to wait to move past?
2) How do you intend to move forward from that phase?
3) Have there been times when you have been patient and it ended with testimonies?
4) Have there been times when you were patient and you ended up regretting it?
5) Would you like us to pray along with you on any plan or project you are trusting God for?
Please do comment in the comment section. I love you all and I’m in faith with you.
P.S: I am the Toleen in the story… Smiles…

About the Author:

Elujulo Oluwatobiloba Mabel is a candidate of the Nigerian Bar. She recently completed the one year academic and practical training at the Nigerian Law School, Yenegoa campus in January, 2020. Tobi, as she is fondly called, graduated from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan where she finished with first class honours from the Faculty of Law. Her secondary school alma matter is the prestigious Pacesetters Comprehensive College, Ashipa Road, Ibadan.

Tobi loves the city of Ibadan. She also loves reading and writing literary articles, watching Nickelodeon and lying down on brown coloured couches.

She believes that getting saved when she was in J.S.S 1 caused a major shift in the trajectory of her life and getting filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues while in the university has set her on the right course in life. Tobi has a passion for speaking to young persons and inspiring them to start living intentionally more early in life.
How best to live more intentionally in life than to accept Jesus as one’s Lord and personal saviour?

Oluwatobiloba enjoys conversations on God, career, family, relationships, law, academics and literature.
She is open to conversations and her social media handles are
Facebook: Elujulo Oluwatobiloba
Instagram: elujulo_oluwatobiloba
LinkedIn: Oluwatobiloba Elujulo

New Year, New Plan, New Hope.

I am a natural dreamer which means it is easy for me to come up with a plan for my year but I have learned over the years that life does not always go according to my plan. The fact that life does not always go according to my plan should naturally deter me from planning but instead it makes me plan from a place of surrender. A place of hope and total trust in God. God is not against us planning but He wants us to make room for Him to cause our plan to work out according to His will. God is sovereign and His ways are higher than ours.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord . “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” _ Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV

Because God’s way is higher than ours and His thoughts is different from ours, He sometimes chooses to lead us down paths we know nothing about. And if we are bent on having our way all the time, we miss out on the numerous blessings we enjoy and lessons we have the privilege of learning when we follow His ways.

“But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they’re going. I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country. I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch. These are the things I’ll be doing for them— sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.” _Isaiah 42:16 MSG

Sometimes in our arrogance and ignorance we often think we know the way we ought to go in life but Proverbs 3:5 teaches that we should not lean on our own understanding but we should acknowledge God in all our ways and He will direct our path. God is willing to show you the way you should go this year if you would allow Him.

As you go about setting your goals for this year and working towards them I want you to take on the heart posture of James 4:14-15 and Psalm 37:5.

whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” _James 4:14-15 NKJV

“Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust him along the way you’ll find he pulled it off perfectly!” _Psalms 37:5 TPT

Commit your way to the Lord in prayer, trust in Him and allow Him bring it to pass if it is His will. As believers we do not live for ourselves but we live to see the purposes of God being carried out on earth.

You might have laid out plans in previous years and probably your plans fell through and right now you are in a state of despair, I want you to take solace in the truth Lamentations 3:19-25 teaches.

“The thought of my pain, my homelessness, is bitter poison. I think of it constantly, and my spirit is depressed. Yet hope returns when I remember this one thing: The Lord ‘s unfailing love and mercy still continue, Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope. The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him.” _Lamentations 3:19-25 GNT

This scripture served as a life-saver for me during a season when my life seems to be falling apart right before my very eyes. Everything I had planned, worked towards and hoped for during that season seems to go down the drain and I was clueless as to what to do. Hope came back to me when the Holy Ghost made me see this scripture in a new light. He made me understand through Verse 19-20 that my thoughts determines my outlook in life. As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7a). If you constantly dwell on the past and difficulties of life you wouldn’t be able to move forward.

Verse 21-23 teaches that our hope returns when we choose to remember that God’s unfailing love and mercy still continues. It is as constant as the morning and as sure as the sunrise. There is no day the Earth would not experience sunrise and there is no day you and I would not experience God’s unfailing love and mercy, we only need to be on the look out for it. As the morning brings refreshing daily and we never get tired of mornings is the same way the unfailing love and mercy of God brings refreshing and grace to right our wrongs daily.

“When we acknowledge God supreme role in our life and set our mind on Him, He enables us to be women of hope.” _Elizabeth George.

Verse 24-25 teaches that our hope and satisfaction should be found in God. The truth is that there is no satisfaction outside Him. That is the reason why no matter what you achieve in life if you do not spend your life living for the Lord Jesus Christ and His purposes nothing would satisfy you. Even if you achieve everything you set out to do this year you will still be empty and dry except you constantly seek Christ to fill you.

“for my people have committed two sins: they have turned away from me, the spring of fresh water, and they have dug cisterns, cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all.” _Jeremiah 2:13 GNT

“We will never be happy until we make God the source of our fulfillment and the answer to our longings. He is the only one who should have power over our souls.” _ Stormie Omartian

Our soul is designed by God to be satisfied only by Him and in Him. No matter how great the feats we achieve in life we would not still be satisfied except we allow Him fill us. He gets to fill us when we seek Him first by spending time daily in His word, in prayer and in pursuit of His kingdom being established everywhere we find ourselves.

Dear friend, I wish you a prosperous and God-filled year and I encourage you to plan with the hope of God’s counsel coming to pass in your life. Make your life count for Jesus and live everyday as though it were your last. I love you but not as much as Christ does.


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!


Let’s Chat.

• Have you ever kept a journal or diary?

•How have you benefitted from keeping a journal?

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.