I don’t think I found Christ, I believe He found me!
Before coming into a relationship with Christ, I was not seeking God at all; in fact, I was extremely far from Him! Everything about my life three years ago sang worldliness; my actions, my thoughts, my words. I would say I had a very strong relationship with sin and it escalated as I got older. I always got in trouble with my parents and this always made me want to start on a clean slate. I would go for alter calls and ‘give my life to Christ’, with no real understanding of His love for me or the meaning of what Christ had done on the cross. I remember after every alter call I would cut all ungodly music out and start reading my bible, in my head I probably thought ‘yes Jesus I am ready to do this, I can do this!’ But, I would always either get bored or fall into sin, condemn myself and then go back to my old ways- not understanding how much of God’s grace I needed.
My first year of university, however, was when I would say my walk with God properly began. I had gotten in a huge mess and I was just tired of running from God and knew He was calling me. So, I decided to open my heart and mind to God and I am super glad I did! From first year till right now, my walk with God has been somewhat a roller coaster, with lots of ups and some downs. I would say most of my struggles have had to do with me not being fully aware of who I am in Christ. However, this is one thing I am growing to understand and I believe it truly makes the difference with our walk in Christ! As I continue to grow in my intimacy with Him, I am becoming more aware of who He is, what He has done for me and who I am in Him. I am growing to understand that I am the Daughter of the King of Kings and my identity is in Christ and there is absolutely nothing/no one else I want my identity to be rooted in *snaps fingers*
There have been so many defining moments in my walk with Christ and truly God is faithful!
I remember when I began my walk with Christ and literally had no friends because I felt I needed to change my environment to grow. I remember whispering to God in the library saying God I need new friends and then I went off to my lecture. The girl sitting next to me happened to be going for a campus fellowship, which she invited me for (a fellowship I now currently attend, which has helped me immensely in my walk with Christ). I also remember in my second year when I opened the doors to sexual immorality again and how God sent so many people to get me out of it and talk some sense in my head (and I overcame, thank God!). I remember last academic year being one of my hardest, however it was also the year I drew closer to God and leaned heavily on His grace and I ended up doing really well.
I can go on and on about the many things God has seen me through and done for me but to cut the long story short, everything that has occurred in my walk with Him points to one bible verse Philippians 1 v 6:
‘Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’.
So to anyone reading this I just want you to know that God loves you and He would never leave nor forsake you. Like Mathew 28:20 says, ‘He is with us always to the very end of the age!’. If you know Christ keep trusting Him and if you don’t, get to know the one who loves you wholeheartedly!
Thank you so much Dolapo for sending us your Jesus Story!!
If you’ve read this and feel led to share your testimony, why not send us your Jesus Story and be a part of #TheGodNarratives project? If you’re interested, just send us a private message on any of our social media @worldlightmvmt.
Sometimes, I struggle with the ‘point’ of things. What’s the point speaking up? Just be quiet and don’t bother people. What’s the point of telling people about my faith anyway? What’s the point of flooding people’s timelines with bible verses, and articles and worship music, makes no difference- might as well keep it to myself.
And what’s the point of a Praise Challenge anyway? These questions may be due to my deeply introspective personality, or the fact that I can be quite critical of things including myself. And of course the devil seeks to devour our faith (see 1 Peter 5:8-9) which is why the bible says that we must take every thought captive and bring it into submission to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
So, I’d feel led by the Spirit to do something, I go ahead and take the plunge and then doubts set in. But whatever it is, the past few days some of these questions floated at the back of my mind. Then on Day 5 of this year’s praise challenge I woke up to a devotional from one of my favourite websites, with the following title:
“A Priest Calls People to Worship.”
Wow. Sometimes God smacks you across the head with just a few gentle words. This was one of those times. The truth is, we aren’t called to just experience God and keep the wonder to ourselves, ‘a city set on a hill cannot be hidden’, right? We are called to ‘go public’ with the news of His goodness. Immediately I saw the devotional title that morning, I thought of 1 Peter 2:9:
“But you are chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”
We are both called to worship, and called to call others to worship Jesus, as a royalpriesthood. When we understand the sheer magnitude of this calling, we really shouldn’t have time to be self conscious about anything because we live only for an audience of One.
We are a Royal priesthood. Chosen. You & I. So that we may proclaim praises of the One who called us out of darkness into marvelous light. Jesus is our High Priest, and those who believe in him as the Son of God and accept him as Lord and Saviour become His royal priesthood. We proclaim praises because we’ve been called out of darkness into marvelous light- and must also perform our function as a royal priesthood- calling people to worship, caring for their spiritual lives (which begins with leading them to Christ and making them disciples), making intercession for them, and caring for them. We are called to share in the work of Jesus, our High Priest.
This is our worship- being a living sacrifice to God, a willing vessel, used for His will alone. A priest calls others to worship. The beautiful thing about God is He does everything with a ripple effect. Your purpose is connected to that of so many others. You’re being blessed so that you can be a blessing to so many others.
And so, our life of worship is meant to encourage so many others to worship too. We are designed to bring God glory. Hearts that encounter us should encounter Jesus too.
Too many times we can end up coasting through life not understanding who we are in Christ. We end up leading lackluster, mediocre lives because we prefer to live in restraint, remaining in our comfort zones, not realizing that we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us. The power to go out and proclaim the gospel, teach, exhort, and transform people’s lives through the power of God’s Word which is ‘alive and active, shaper than any two edged sword, dividing even soul and spirit, joints and marrow; judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart‘(Hebrews 4:12).
I write and post this to remind myself, as much as I write to anyone who will be encouraged these words. Brothers and sisters, we are called to worship. Not just in song, but with our very lives. We are called to exhibit the glory of the Lord, so much so that others see us and seek to know Jesus, our great, and magnificent High Priest.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” (Hebrews 4:14)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” -Matthew 5:6
For they shall be filled.
In acknowledging my own struggle with my flesh, and the loathing and hatred of my sin, this verse hit me hard. Conviction by the Holy Spirit, of my own sinful nature, brings even the sins that may have even seemed harmless or good/expected at the time, to light (e.g. a display of indignation at another’s wrongdoing, upon which the Holy Spirit convicts me of pride). But focusing on ‘self’ instead casting our eyes to Jesus, can easily cause conviction to morph into disabling guilt. In Romans 7:15 Paul describes this struggle like this: ‘I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. But what I hate, I do.’ From verse 21-24, he expands by saying: ‘this is the principle I have discovered: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s Law. But I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!.‘ We see further clarity about this struggle in Galatians 5:16-17 :
‘Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.’
The beauty of Paul’s acknowledgment of his own sinful nature, is the opportunity to understand and fully accept Christ’s saving grace. We see the terrible tension within every believer, where the spirit of God within us is at war with the flesh. ‘So then, with my mind I serve the law of God, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.’ Similarly, Jeremiah 17:9 describes the heart of man as ‘desperately wicked/deceitful above all things.’
Praise God that through all this we see the incredible hope we have in Jesus Christ, and the value of the price He paid for us through his death and resurrection. In one of those moments where I started to feel the ‘disabling guilt’ settle over me, I turned to God’s word to consider why. Why do I still desire at times, the things that displease my Lord and Saviour? Shouldn’t the war be over? Is it even possible to be completely pure and holy at every point in time? And in torrents I came across numerous verses that I’ve condensed below, as the 7 steps to understanding our righteousness in Jesus:
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, will be filled (Matthew 5:6). A hunger and thirst for righteousness is a hunger and thirst for God. The more we seek him, the more we begin to look like him. When we seek Him and meditate on his word, we walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:6). And so, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh and we must hold on to the promise that we will be filled with righteousness.
God has put eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). This reminder comes immediately after the declaration that God makes all things beautiful in its time. There is something huge that the Lord deposits in us once we become believers. It’s a work that He begins, to transform us into the image of Christ- and this will come into completion on the day of Jesus’ return (Phil. 1:6).
Because we keep believing, we get what we are looking forward to: total salvation. (1 Peter 1:3-9). The journey to being Christ-like is impossible without faith. The devil comes as an accuser in order to introduce guilt and doubt. But Hebrews 11:6 says that ‘without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.’ We must renew our minds and hold on to what God says about us, in order to keep believing.
Afflictions and temptations will come. Psalm 34:19 says that many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. So we must understand our weaknesses, but we must also understand the strength we have in God. Jesus himself understands our weaknesses having gone through every temptation we face (Hebrews 4:15-16). He has commanded that we draw near to the throne of grace with confidence to receive grace and find mercy in the time of need. When we do, his power is made perfect in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God’s love endures forever. Romans 8:31-38 beautifully explains God’s unending love for us and His faithfulness, even in our filth and even when we face the Accuser: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.‘
Salvation is a gift and we have been saved by grace. Ephesians 2:8-10 puts it aptly: ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’
Whatever God does, it shall be forever (Ecclesiastes 3:14). This includes the work He began in us when we became believers. As long as we continue to chase after Him and yield to Him and His word, we will continually be transfigured into His image. And one day, we will meet our Lord and be with him for eternity (John 3:16). This cannot be taken away from us. ‘For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 1:6).
I hope this knowledge gives us understanding and peace. And I pray ‘that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God’ (Philippians 1:9). Amen.
Gosh it’s been so long, but be sure that God has been dealing with me behind the scenes about this blog.
After a long period of literally struggling to write or post, The Lord has, over this time, taught me many lessons; and most of them have been at the most unexpected moments. These moments are the calm after the storm- where suddenly, the still tranquil voice of the Holy Spirit brings the answer. So, in one of these moments, the major lesson that hit me was this- that the enemy will continually try everything possible to abort God’s purpose from our lives.
A couple of years ago, shortly after I surrendered my life to Jesus, I had a serious burden in my heart for the Church in Nigeria and this urge to speak the truth about God’s word and His true intention for the body of believers. So I asked The Lord, how? And He said start with your gift- write. Once I started, I felt a sense of fulfillment and I knew this is exactly what I should be doing. However, distractions, fear and anxiety crept in, in what was one of the toughest years of my life (last year). And so.. I just stopped doing what The Lord had said I should. I stopped what I had so much passion for. Unsurprisingly, I did not have peace about doing nothing about it anymore. Yet I couldn’t bring myself to for so long. Isn’t that strange?
Here’s the thing. You may not realize it, but we are in an all out spiritual war. The enemy is after the power and anointing that is upon every beleiver’s life (Acts 1:8). Not only that, he’s after our purpose. Our warfare is in the spirit & every word that The Lord has given to us WILL be tested. Our primary purpose as believers is to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). Then of course, we all have our unique purposes within that framework. It’s not enough just knowing what we’re meant to do (inaction); and its also not enough saying we’ll do it later. What I’ve learnt over the past year and a half is that we have to be able to FIGHT for our purpose in God, first in the place of prayer and then in the physical by working and walkingout our faith daily.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:11-13 NIV
We have to be able to stand our ground against the enemy’s schemes. Scheming connotes cunning, deviousness and deceit. This deceit could be in the form of little distractions, even distractions by things you love / that are ‘good’. Or, you may just realise that though you know what The Lord wants you to be doing, you have very little time for the task he’s given, or even worse, you just plain run in the opposite direction —cue Jonah and the whale (Jonah 1). And to be honest, like many I can relate with Jonah:
‘Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.’
Jonah 1:1-3 NKJV
Now we all know that there were grave consequences to Jonah’s disobedience. So here’s the next calm-after-the-storm lesson: we literally cannot walk with Jesus without obedience. It may sound obvious, but in reading scripture where Jesus calls us to come to him and he will give us rest, it seems pretty rosy and comfortable until the further instruction in the next verse to take His yoke upon us, and learn from Him (Matthew 11:28-29). We can’t take Jesus’ yoke upon ourselves and learn from him without obedience and trust. To come to Jesus, we need to follow him by answering his call; and to walk with him day by day, we must heed his instructions. We must let go of trying to control our own lives and simply make ourselves available as vessels that are pleasing in his sight. It’s simple because he graces us to do so, he says ‘for my yoke is easy and my burden is light‘- but we complicate things for ourselves by doing things the hard way (our way).
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
Truth is, having no time or desire for God’s purpose is indicative of a will that isn’t, or is no longer conformed to the Lord’s. Depression, sadness, anger , anxiety and feeling unworthy are some of the tools satan uses to ensure we get in this place of putting God’s kingdom last & our individual purposes end up remaining unfulfilled. When we wear negative emotions like a cloak and shy away from communing with God and fellowshipping with his children (instead of running to him), we end up not even hearing what direction He’s telling us to go… and we end up removing ourselves from his divine plan.
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11)
Thankfully, each time I felt that way in the last half of 2015, The Lord pursued me relentlessly (again, cue Jonah 1:4-7). Through my church body, He’s taught me about the power of the Holy Spirit upon us as believers, about spiritual warfare and the weapons we have against the enemy. About obedience, submission, leadership & community. About love and surrender. In all my disobedience and doubt and fear, He has never left my side. He has placed me where I’ve continued to grow, and in the lives of the most inspiring people that boost and encourage me every time I need it. Friends, every single day, God wants us to grow us, love us, lead us, and amaze us. We simply need to walk with Him.
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Reflecting on our current theme ‘GO’ and considering the positions of service I have found myself in from mid last year up to this point, I’ve come to the realisation that God literally provides opportunities for us to disciple others. Though I was subconsciously aware of this and have by the grace of God achieved the necessary goals at each stage, it just occurred to me how easy it is to underestimate the importanceof the place we have been positioned. It hit me because sometimes, I have no motivation to follow through with things simply because I can’t see how it helps my personal goals OR it doesn’t line up with what I think should be happening. The truth is, we are self-centred beings by nature. However, to take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ, we absolutely cannot live life focused on ourselves. We have to be focused on God and His Kingdom [Matthew 6:33]- meaning we need to consider how & to what extent our own lives are impacting the lives of others in a positive and eternal sense.
A wise friend once said to me that most times, God makes himself manifest to us through our areas of need. Every group of people has an area of need and thus, an angle through which the gospel can have the biggest impact on their lives. For instance, teenagers are in a process of growth/discovery and thus need guidance and someone to look up to. Young women need to be shown that they have immense worth, value and purpose regardless of what society says. Mothers have the great responsibility of nurturing a life, and need to know that they have what it takes to also birth purpose in their children, husbands and home. Young men need help understanding their responsibility as leaders, providers and protectors. Not to talk of the finer demographics- entrepreneurs, fitness enthusiasts, musicians, beauty enthusiasts, artists/creatives, singles, students, young couples … the list is endless.
Question is, what category of people do you have access to? How do you relate to the struggles unique to them, and how can you apply the gospel to bring light to their lives? We need to be sharing the truths God has placed inside of us with the people around us. What I’ve come to realise is that more often than not, wherever you find yourself IS YOUR MISSION FIELD. You don’t need to create opportunities for discipleship, they are already right in front of you. If you are too focused on YOU, you won’t key into what the Holy Spirit is doing around you.
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’” Matthew 9:35-38 (NIV)
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. We cannot allow our human flaws, judgment and vision to blind us to the fact that the harvest IS ready and within reach. When you think about the people you walk by daily, be it in school, work, or wherever, do you simply see faces or do you see souls that are precious to God?
“The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:7-11 (NIV)
It is my prayer that we live as workers of the gospel and faithful stewards of God’s wonderful grace.
-Though the theme“GO” was intended for April, I feel led to start doing the themes on a bi-monthly basis so there’s enough time to study and meditate on each area. So ‘GO’ is for April/May. -“GO” Bible Study will be holding this coming Saturday 9th May at Lekki Phase 1. Would love to fellowship with you all! Please add this pin to RSVP – 5597DFEA, and will send you finer details once you do. -Keep in touch via any of the WLMVT social media pages: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
“Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all the days (perpetually, uniformly and on every occasion), to the very close and consummation of the age. ” Matthew 28:19-20 [AMP]
Last year, I put up a post on Easter (Our Redemption Comes with a Purpose) about how the heavy gift of grace Jesus showed us all on the Cross, and His resurrection is followed by a heavy duty– to go out into all the world and share the Gospel.
In Isaiah 60:3, God gives us a promise that though darkness covers the earth, ‘nations will come to [our] light, and kings to the brightness of [our] rising’. What exactly is this light you may ask? The light of every believer is Jesus himself, living in and working through us. We are a chosen people, and God’s special possession because of the sacrifice of Christ. (1 Peter 2:9). This is the totality of the Gospel, so how can we not share it as He’s commanded?
Continuing in the spirit of Easter I’d like to then follow up this month by addressing the ‘how?’ of it all. Because though there’s a purpose God has for you that is unique, be it in terms of your work or talent, there is also the overall purpose as a believer which is Christ’s command in Matthew 28. Ultimately, these two tie together. However, if you’re anything like me, it can all seem a little out of reach sometimes most times. Cue Moses being all “[but Lord who am I to do this job?] Please send someone else” (Exodus 4 v 1-17). We can easily buy into the lie that to move into the purpose God has given us is impossible. If you dwell on that, the result is paralysis- the (negative) feeling of helplessness where the devil convinces you that you are too unworthy to fulfill your purpose so you might as well not try.
For a few weeks in March, I found myself feeling overwhelmed in true Moses fashion, thinking about all the stuff I have to do (and barely doing them), then I stumbled across Mathew 10. In this incredible chapter, Jesus sends out His disciples by laying out a ‘how to’ guide on fulfilling the mission He gave to them.
I’ve set out the points that stood out to me below:
Matthew 10 (MSG)
“Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighbourhoood. Tell them that the Kingdom is here.” (v 5-8).
You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment and all you need to keep that going is 3 meals a day. Travel light. (v9-10)
STAY ALERT. You’re going to be like a sheep in a wolf pack. (v 16)
Don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the spirit of your Father will supply the words. (v17-20)
Don’t be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don’t hesitate to go public now. (v 26-27)
“This is large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance.”
Forget about yourself (v. 38-39; v. 29-31)
How amazing is it that God reaches into our every need and insecurity and provides not only comfort and solutions but the very push we need? In fact, it shouldn’t be that surprising given that HE IS LOVE and would never give you something to do and leave you unprepared for it. This is why we have the BIBLE and the HOLY SPIRIT. In Matthew 10, Jesus has put it in the simplest of terms- all you need to be light in a dark world is Him, yourself, your words, and your actions. Don’t buy into the lie that you need something extra special to be the disciple that God has called you to be. Jesus is all the ‘special’ necessary.
We need only be alert, and travel light by leaving all the baggage behind (physical, emotional AND spiritual baggage). We need to stay FOCUSED on Jesus and dependent on the Holy Spirit for guidance and the right words when necessary. We need to let go of all selfishness because God is already taking care of our needs.
This month, I believe Abba is encouraging us to push boundaries, escape our comfort zones, forget about ourselves and GO into all that He has called us to.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. [Joshua 1:9]
Hi Everyone! As most of you know, we held the February “Love Like Jesus” Bible Study in Lekki on the 7th of February. It was amazing to hear everyone’s heart on what it means to love like Jesus. We dug into the word and each person made really insightful comments/contributions. I have added a few to the outline. Hope to see you at the next Bible Study, which is likely to hold on the first Saturday of March [more information to come].
Do meditate on the scriptures and feel free to leave your own contributions in the comments section below 🙂
How did Jesus Love?
How does Jesus expect us to love?
-John 14:21, John 15:10, 1 John 5:3;
[Jesus expects us to keep His commands (they boil down to loving God and loving people) and give our ALL for the sake of others/the gospel.]
Is giving only to the extent that it doesn’t affect your life/standard of living, the type giving that is pleasing to God?
What is Christ’s new command? -John 13:34 – 35
“Beautiful is the body of Christ poured out into every crevice of this world, every city, every office, every home. It is the unselfish passions of people displaying the love of their God in a million unique ways”. -Jennie Allen
So, based on the scripture how can we display the love of God? What do you think the quote means by ‘unique ways’? (God expects us to be proactive in how we love)
“Nothing makes a soul sicker than too much time given to itself.” -Jennie Allen
Being proactive in love
1) How can you find out the needs of those around you? (This includes acquaintances). How can you make an effort to meet them? (John 21 v 5-9)
During the Bible study, Ezekiel commented that one of the best ways to find out the needs of others in order to meet those needs is genuinely getting to know people and listening to them.
Eni Ife also commented that it is important to be led by the Holy Spirit
2) In what ways can your passions cross paths with meeting the needs of others? [Greater purpose]; (Read Genesis 41:46-57)
Here Moyo commented that Joseph served the country that enslaved him. He still gave himself up for them- he could have gotten to this position of influence and used this to plan for their downfall but he didn’t let bitterness prevent him from his purpose. This is love,
Ephesians 5:1-2 MSG
Love, not cautiously but extravagantly
3) How can you move some casual friendships into a deeper connection for the sake of the mission/gospel? Think of who you can seek out this coming week. (pray, ask great questions, pursue, share your struggles and your God)
Here Chiso suggested asking good questions as a good way to move friendships along
Eni-Ife said consistency is also also important.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” – Philippians 2:3
4) When in the past has someone put your needs before their own? How did that impact you? Think of how you can extend that same sacrificial love to others this month.
A good way to start this would be to join in on the #21ServolutionDays challenge. Simply love people intentionally and then share that on social media with the hashtag. This is for accountability and to inspire others to join in. For example, “Loving like Jesus looks like finding out the needs of others and going out of your way to meet them #21ServolutionDays” OR, “#LovingLikeJesus looks like forgiveness.” You can be more specific if you like.
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.” -Isaiah 58:6
5) How can you reach out to the lowest in society daily? [hospitality?] -Matthew 25:31-46
This Scripture reflects how important it is to Christ for us to love others and give ourselves up for them.
*These questions are all to challenge us to love like Jesus has loved us. Not in the Chocolates and hearts way of Feb 14th, but in the way that gives yourself up for others. It needs grace, but never look at it as frivolous or crazy – it is an investment in people and in God.
January is over already, its incredible how time flies! So WLMVT is back on the themes again after a bit of a break from them. The theme for February is ‘Love Like Jesus’. SO, we’re throwing out this question throughout the month – what does Loving Like Jesus look like to you? We’ll be putting up posts, interviews, etc on this.
Also, super excited about the Bible Study we’re doing on this theme THIS Saturday, 7th February at 2pm. If you would like to attend, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or simply add this pin on BBM: 7C5E7C57. Can’t wait to see you guys there!
Have you guys listened to Lecrae’s new album? I particularly love gospel music in the rap genre simply because anything that is taken and used to glorify God is awesome (especially when that thing generally isn’t used by people for His glory). I’m also a huge advocate of simply replacing the music that plants sinful seeds into our minds- with music that’s got a positive/God glorifying message and sounds just as good! I am still in the process of weeding out my iTunes, its tough. I have listened to a few songs from Lecrae’s new album and they were great. On twitter, I threw out a question to people who have the full album about what they think about it. This is what someone said:
‘Lecrae’s new album “Anomaly” is awesome. This album addresses some of the problems of society without straying from the message of Christ. For example, his song ‘Timepiece’ focuses on how so many people have stored up earthly treasures and live as if Jesus isn’t going to return very soon. His song “Runners” addresses the problem of lust and how it will only give us problems. Another song: “Messengers” calls out all the believers to spread the gospel to those lost in the world. It is a great album’. – @EtiennedaTiwa
Thank you to @EtiennedaTiwa for reviewing this!
Anomaly is available on iTunes. Here’s one of the lyric videos from from the album.
As many of you know, one of the main aims of this blog/movement and specifically the God Narratives Project is to inspire others, by highlighting the journeys of people that are letting their God-given light shine for the world to see [Matt. 5:14-16]. For Elo, this light is expressed in her writing and in her photography as documented on ‘The Forgetter’s Eye’ page on Instagram. I had a great time chatting with her for this interview & I hope you enjoy reading it!
Many people see God as their protector, provider & guide- and all of this He absolutely is. But I also see Him as a God of creativity and beauty and wonder. I see evidence of Him in much of your work. How do you feel God has inspired you creatively on ‘The Forgetter’s Eye’ project?
What’s interesting about TFE to me is that it’s the product of one of my flaws. Coming to terms with the fact that my memory is not great at all, I made a spontaneous decision to start taking photographs as a way to preserve the moments that make my life worth it. Naturally, that started off with friends, family and activities and really, it just grew from there.
Weirdly, that’s the first way He has inspired me on this. By helping me remember that little flaws and setbacks literally only have as much power over me as I allow them.
I hadn’t really given much thought to what I was doing until one day when I was journaling and speaking to God about a moment I’d shared with a stranger and how it resonated with me. I felt Him say to me, ‘look, you have so much to say. So say something. Don’t overthink it. Just say something.‘ I started the page the same day.
I don’t think I am amazing at photography, I really don’t think I’m great at it [I do intend to work on it. But] I’m more into it for the stories and how there can be a thousand words behind just one still image. I’m more into it for the opportunity to display all the simple things that should still matter. And ultimately, I think what God has been showing me through this is that He’s interested in the details and how much attention we pay to the world.
For that reason alone, I’m less afraid to talk about the little things in life that make our worlds stop – even when we can’t be bothered to notice.
He keeps showing me that there’s still good in the world and that it’s worth paying attention to.
Lastly. God’s used it as an avenue to really conquer my fear. I’ve been trying to outgrow the fear of sharing my thoughts, my words, my ideas and putting myself out there, for years now. This is helping me.
What has been the scariest part of sharing/ the most impactful part of the sharing process?
The scariest part? Not being able to express myself/my experiences adequately.
The most impactful part? Responses.
Has there been any response to your page that has surprised you so far?
It’s all been overwhelming. Right from when I started, I think it was the third picture or so. It was a ‘Things We Lost in Nigeria’ photo, on the Bring Back Our Girls issue. Someone commented saying she was shivering as she read it, because she had actually forgotten about the girls. That was great to me, because it made someone consider something. It made someone stop to think.
‘#thingswelostinNigeria : Our Girls. A myriad of unexpected things can get lost and still be forgotten. Nigeria has taught me this. When honesty, integrity, good leadership, water, electricity and/or billions of Naira went missing, there are many things we did before we did the expected. We fought, we slandered, we cried, we mourned the loss, we sat silently and wondered what we could do. At some point, we even found the humour in the misery. But we still, after all said and done, returned to a now familiar end result: amnesia.’
Also, just a few days ago, I put a picture up, asking people to say one beautiful thing about themselves and one thing about someone they know and/or love.
There were over 67 comments on it. People were tagging their friends and families, to say what’s beautiful about them. The best part about that for me again, is that people have to stop to think about these things, and even if it’s just for that very moment that they’re better for it, it’s more than enough.
Do you feel the Holy Spirit guiding you in the details? e.g who to approach for a picture, how to take it, etc? What to write?
Yes and no.
Yes, because in my walk with God, one thing I’m constantly challenged to do is to experience people, communicate with people, love people – in my thoughts, speech and actions. Approaching people respectfully and graciously is an aspect of that. Other times, I feel a sure urge to walk up to people I didn’t even realize had important things to say, or people who I didn’t expect to be approachable. And the best things always come out of moments like that. But that aspect goes beyond taking photos.
Which brings me to the no.
“in my walk with God, one thing I’m constantly challenged to do is to experience people, communicate with people, love people – in my thoughts, speech and actions.”
I don’t believe that God polices (my) art. He doesn’t always tell me to do this or do that. If he’s telling me anything, a lot of the time, it’s to be myself. It’s to go even more outside my comfort zone. And I really do think I appreciate that more.
What’s your favourite thing about taking street portraits? I guess apart from all the lessons you’ve learnt.
I think my favourite thing about street photography is catching people in their character. I like that neither the stillness nor the movements are staged or scripted. People are going about their everyday lives when you encounter them, and after they’ve encountered you (if they do), they keep going.
It has to be the rawness of it. I think that’s what I love the most.
So what has been the best or funniest or most impactful moment that you’ve ‘frozen’ and you’ve meditated upon after?
I think I have a top three. But one of my favorite moments to have caught on camera was the photo with a boy called Mohammed. He’s one of the students I got to teach in Ghana. It was a really rough day that day, because his little brother wasn’t feeling very well. He cried for most of the day.
Mohammed was sat with his mum the whole time and when she got up to take the boy to the hospital, he started crying. She told him to calm down and stay back. He retreated to some corner in the room and had his back against the wall. When she left the place with the little boy, he came out from where he was hiding. He watched them until he couldn’t see them anymore. He’s 4, but he stood there, and he watched his mother go (she didn’t notice, because she didn’t turn back around, but) he watched. He actually watched to see that they were okay. I don’t know what it is about that moment, but thinking about it still gets me.
You mentioned in one of your posts, that the ‘things we lost in Nigeria’ series is to remind us of the things that are still missing that we may get up and search for them. How do you think Nigerians can search for [and find] God?
That’s a whole nation you’re asking me to speak on/to.
I don’t have all the answers and I don’t want to generalise. But I can tell you what I know for sure. God is bigger than religion.
Generally, our greatest setback might be that we’re always trying to buy our way into and out of things so that we can claim authority. But you cannot buy forgiveness by being in a religious building or gathering Monday-Sunday. You can’t buy it with your tithes. You can’t buy it by reading religious texts everyday.
‘#thingswelostinNigeria : God. It is so possible to be totally religious and yet not know or be known (personally) by God. The average Nigerian can regurgitate everything they have heard about God, in a heartbeat. We will “thank God” for and/or pray before just about anything – including ill-acquired wealth/premarital sex/a robbery “operation”. For a lot more of us, it happens on a much smaller scale. […] religion cannot save one from his/her deepest issues and that God is NOT punctuation for our every sentence. He is mighty and sovereign and loving. Thus, to follow religion pretentiously, is to miss out on all that He is and can be, to our own detriment. […] I reckon we’ll realise that the heaviest loss in our country as a whole isn’t actually any of the many things or people that we are currently grieving over. It is… God. And maybe thereafter, we’ll find ourselves at the beginning of the process of putting our lives/hearts where our mouths are. ‘
God has made us an offer to turn everything around for our good, for free. That’s in Jesus. We ought to stop our unnecessary toiling at that name. We ought to stop our mouths running and really ask what He came to do. We ought to be still and accept that as mind-blowing as it is, God doesn’t need our help to change our lives. He literally just requires our attention and our acceptance of what He has already done. I think everything changes when we accept that.
I’ve noticed a lot of people our age don’t realize they can use their talents/gifts to minister/glorify God. How would you encourage someone to allow God to permeate that area of their life? (and every other area)
First, by clarifying this: “The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.” – Martin Luther King.
God is an artist. Look at the sea, at the sun: how it rises and sets, at the moon, at trees: how they bloom and how they bare themselves, and then look at yourself. You are God’s art. Your creator created you creative. So, create.
Human art is God’s creative hand on Earth.
Your “voice” is important. You have more to lose by being quiet than getting up and doing whatever it is that you’re good at.
Finally, what’s your favourite thing about a relationship with God?
Freedom. He lets me be myself. Even when I’m being strong headed, I feel like God is patient with me. On big decisions, He says to me —okay. Well I’m just going to put this right here. This is a picture of where I’m trying to take you. And this is a picture of where you’re trying so hard to be. You choose. [I’m going to admit this right now, at the risk of all losing whatever cool points I may have: God’s picture always looks better than mine.]
I don’t feel the threat of him saying ‘I will leave you if you don’t do this.’ I actually do not/have not at any point. What I do feel is a love that leads me into right. He shows me in the little things. In the way He deals with me, I don’t even get the chance to forget that He always wants the best for me.
Thank you to Elo for doing this interview with me and for sharing with us on The Forgetter’s Eye. Do follow the page and share this with anyone you think it will impact.