Monday, 8 February 2016

Freedom Series: Chained but Free

This is the third and final part in the freedom series. First off, I want to thank the Holy Spirit for directing me on what to write. At the beginning, this was the initial topic I wanted to address but as I read a book by Myles Munroe titled: the Burden of Freedom it got laid in my spirit to do a Freedom series. What started out as one topic was broken down into two and then three. Like I said, freedom comes with work. I was led to first discuss what freedom is and then the types of freedom. I’m sure when you see the title of this post you will be wondering: how can this guy tell us to be free and then tell us to be chained. You can be chained but free! One way of interpreting this is to say, you can be in physical bondage but as long as you are free mentally, you are free indeed. You would be correct in thinking this way. I want to instead look at it this way: being chained to God but free in His will.


When you are chained to God, it simply means you submit to God’s sovereignty and you let yourself be led by God. Picture yourself a free man with chains on your feet. These chains are not to stop you from moving forward in life but serve as links to our creator. When you submit to His sovereignty, He leads you and makes your crooked paths straight (Pr. 3:6). The bible details men and women who submitted to His will and they did great and mighty things. The most obvious example is Abraham, the father of all nations. Abraham received a covenant that his children will be as many as the stars. Imagine that!

Gen. 15:5-6 (NIV): 5. He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”6. Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
If you notice, it was recorded that he believed. When we are chained to God, we believe whatever it is He tells us. No matter how ridiculous they sound. How would it sound to you, you’re dirt broke and God says you are rich. Or to Gideon who was from a weak clan and an angel addressed him as a mighty warrior (Judges 6:12). Back to Abraham. Abraham believed in God so much that he was willing to sacrifice his only son to God after years of been childless (Gen. 22). Abraham was so chained to God that when his son asked him about the lamb to be used, he replied: Gen. 22:8 (NIV): Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. Abraham was so chained that he had laid his son on the altar and was about to pick the knife to slay him (Gen. 22:10). It was at this point that he passed the test and God stopped him and duly provided the burnt offering. When you are chained to God, you will be willing to sacrifice anything to him believing that he will provide it to you. Sometime in 2015, during a spiritual conference, it was laid in my heart to give unto God a sizeable offering. I didn’t have it but in my heart I said to God I was willing to give the offering and believed he would provide it. Did he? He not only provided it but also gave me double.

As children of God, we need to be chained to Him. After all, He is our source and it is in Him that we are safe. When you read Heb. 11, a chapter I like to call the ‘Hall of Faith’, we read about great men and women who were so chained to God it didn’t matter if they died. Some of them even did. Abel was one of such people (Heb. 11:4). Some would have been ridiculed for obeying God. Noah was one of such people that I believe people would have made fun of while he was building the ark. Noah built an ark (Gen. 6) in anticipation of a flood that the earth had never seen.


When we are chained to God, there will be times when we are divinely placed in an environment that we never expected. When you find yourself in such a place, you need to wait on God and make yourself ready to be used when the time comes. One person that was so divinely placed was Esther. Esther would never have expected to be queen. Esther kept herself pure, a virgin, and as a result of this she was eligible to be brought before the King when he wanted to select a new queen. If she had not been pure, would we have heard of Esther? It was recorded of Esther that she found favor and was eventually made Queen. In Esther 4:14 (NIV), Mordecai asked: And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? When she heard this what was her response? Vs. 16 of the same chapter records it and she ended by saying: if I perish I perish. Would you go into a situation without knowing the outcome? Esther instantly went to her source and fasted for three days and night before walking into that situation. She believed so much in God (the author and finisher of our faith) that she first of all went to Him before taking any decision. She submitted herself to His will and went to fulfil her assignment. It is very possible that she could have turned her back on God and Mordecai and said there was nothing she could do about the situation. Thank God she did not. 

Being chained to God requires a lot of humility and understanding that we are not living for ourselves but for God. Pr. 19:21 educates us in the fact that despite our many plans, it is the purpose of God that will come to pass. Why not make life easy for yourself and chain yourself to God? One person that learnt this the hard way was Jonah. Jonah wanted to run from his assignment to Nineveh and it took him sitting in the belly of a fish to learn that God’s purpose will always come to pass.

By now, you should understand what I mean by being chained but free in His will. It simply means that we are linked to God, we submit to his will and sovereignty and we act within the confines of His will. As children of God, we should be glad when we live a life within the confines of God’s will for our lives. When we are faced with choices in life, we should ask ourselves if we are acting based on God’s will or not. One very important decision we will make in life is on the choice of who to marry. It is a choice that can’t be made lightly or based on the flesh. We need to know if it is God’s plan for us and there are different ways to know (this will be covered separately). One person that was chained to his creator but eventually lost his way as a result of following his flesh was Samson. We all know the story of Samson and how mighty a warrior he was. So mighty that he defeated a thousand men with the jaw bone of an ass (Judges 15:15). But when it was time to choose a partner, he went for Delilah and we all know what happened next. If you don’t, read Judges 16.


When you act in the freedom of God’s will, you will never be defeated. David is a man the bible describes as a man after God’s heart. There will be times in life that we make the mistake of acting on our own but as long as you stay chained to God, you can always find your way back to acting within his will. The life of David is a perfect example. David was deeply chained to God and walked in His will and whenever he walked out of it he faced the consequences.

2Sam. 5:19-20 (NIV): 19. So David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.” 20. So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim.
2Sam. 11:4-5 (NIV): 4. Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (Now she was purifying herself from her monthly uncleanness.) Then she went back home. 5. The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, “I am pregnant.”
2Sam. 12:18 (NIV): 18. “On the seventh day the child died……..”
From these verses, we see the difference between acting in the freedom of God’s will and acting outside it. When David did, he was victorious. When he didn’t, he lost his child. What did he do when he lost the child? 2Sam. 12:20 says he got up, took a bath, went to the house of the Lord and worshipped Him. Crazy right? No! He accepted the will of God. The best example of being chained but free in His will is Jesus. From the age of 12, Jesus was already about His Father’s business (Luke 2:41-49).

Luke 2:49 (NIV): “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
He never acted outside the will of God and throughout His life He stayed rooted in the Father and acted within His will even to the point of death. As believers, we are expected to be free within the confines of God’s will for our lives and never break the chains that link us to Him as our source and provider. When we do so, He will take care of us and protect us.

Ps. 54:4 (NIV): Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Phil 4:19 (NIV): And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Your mission should you choose to accept it is to be chained but free!

- Sage
Sage is a graduate of human resource management and a 24/7 salesman. A clay in the hands of the Potter, he is on a journey to knowing God and becoming the man God has called him to be. He has a passion for football and society at large. In his quest for knowledge, he has recently restarted his passion for reading books. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.
Photo Credit: http://halboor.com/, http://beattieroad.net/ & https://epicsermons.com

Monday, 1 February 2016

Freedom Series: Types of Freedom

Welcome to part 2 of the freedom series. I mentioned in the previous article that we would discuss the types of freedom. Myles Munroe said: ‘it is easier to exist in slavery than to live in freedom’. I submit to you that it is possible to be free but to still be a slave. Let us delve into what this means by looking at the types of freedom.


Physical Freedom

We can all relate to this type of freedom, it is the most straightforward. When you are free physically, it means you are free to move wherever you want and to do what you want. Freedom of speech is one such example. Freedom to practice religion is another. Right to gather (meaning right to form social groups etc.) is another. The moment anyone wants to deny us this freedom, we instantly want to defend ourselves against such people. 
One of the earliest accounts of a nation seeking physical freedom was that of the children of Israel who were held in bondage in Egypt. They went in as free men but ended up as slaves. The book of Exodus in the Bible details the story of the children of Israel and their desire to be free from the oppression of Pharaoh. Exodus 1 talks of their oppression because of the rise of a new Pharaoh that did not know Joseph. 
To be honest I find it strange that after all the great works performed by Joseph and the Egyptian practice of recording history there would be a Pharaoh that would not know him. But when you read the NIV version of Ex. 1:8, it tells us that there was a new King to whom Joseph meant nothing. What this tells us is that there is no place like home and even when you achieve great things in a foreign land you are still a foreigner. So of course a point came when the Israelites were put into bondage and became the slaves of the Egyptians. Not only were they made slaves, instructions were also given to kill every newborn boy. 


As a slave you no longer own yourself, you are now a property of the slave master to do as he deems fit. In modern times, we have watched movies that tell us about the origins of slave trade and how the West enslaved people from Africa and other parts of the world. When you are in physical bondage, you no longer have control of your destiny. Whatever dreams or hopes you have are killed with no hope of ever fulfilling your dreams. A good example is Django (the D is silent) who was also a slave but his desire to be free led him to been sold off like a piece of cloth in a slave market. There are great movies that tell us tales of slavery, some do their best to portray a dark period of human history in a light-hearted manner.
Just like Neo in the matrix, his desire to be physically free led him to taking the red pill in order to get out of the matrix. So, of course the Israelites desired to be free and in came Moses. God sent Moses to deliver his children from physical oppression. The fight for physical freedom has never been easy and history tells us the cost of the fight for freedom. It took the Egyptians losing their first-born to allow the Israelites go free. 

The American civil war was a fight between states who viewed it as their constitutional right to own slaves vs. states who supported the abolishment of slavery proposed by Abraham Lincoln back in the late 1800s. Imagine that! A civil war was fought for freedom’s sake and it cost over 700,000 people their lives. For freedom’s sake, Gandhi walked 400km and fasted severally. Mandela for the sake of freedom spent 27 years in prison. This shows that as human beings we have an innate desire to be free. Free to move where we want, eat what we want, associate with who we want etc. At various points in the history of mankind, people have fought for their physical freedom.

When people think about freedom, this is the type of freedom that comes to mind instantly. It is a very sweet thought. Being free to do according to your will but if you’re free to move according to your will are you truly free? The answer is NO, you are not and this takes me to the second type of freedom.


Mental Freedom 

To be truly free, you need to also be free mentally. There is nothing worse than a free man with a slave mentality. Once again the children of Israel provide a perfect example. After they had attained physical freedom, they moved around with a slavery mentality. Slavery mentality keeps you relying on others. It keeps you living in a state of oppression even if your chains have been broken. The bible calls the mind a stronghold. So when you read 2 Cor. 10:4-5 (NIV), the bible is referring to our mind:
4. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
I highlighted the word "thought" so you see what it refers to. I submit to you that it is as a result of the slavery mentality of the Israelites that they spent 40 years in the wilderness. God was trying to change their mindset. In Ex. 16:3 they started complaining and reminiscing about those days in Egypt just because they were facing challenges on the road to the Promised Land. Num. 11:5 (NIV) makes for even harder reading. Because of cucumber, onions, garlic and the likes they began to complain. Ex. 16:10 tells us that God was angry and Moses was troubled. If I were Moses, I would also be troubled because it beats reason for people to willingly want to be enslaved just for the sake of meat. As a result of this wrong mindset, God decided he wouldn't allow that generation into the Promised Land. An entire generation had to be wiped out in order to get rid of the slavery mentality and God raised a new leader in Joshua whose job was to deliver the Israelites from mental slavery and lead them into Canaan. 

There is a quote I would share below by Marcus Garvey in a speech delivered in 1937:
We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind.
We are responsible for ensuring we not only get free physically but also free mentally. When you think of the Matrix movie, you will realize that as soon as Neo was free physically Morpheus tried to free him mentally but had trouble getting him free mentally and Neo had to take up that challenge himself. It was only when he became mentally free that he became the Matrix and as the movie went on he developed from dodging bullets to stopping them. Why? Because he was free mentally and knew he was no longer bound by the laws of the world. It is only when we are free mentally that we begin to think of the impossible as possible, we walk into our Promised Land and realize that we are not bound by the laws of this world but that the law instead serves as a guide (Rom. 7:7). We begin to walk in the fullness of our destiny. 


When you are free mentally, the devil will not be able to make you think less of yourself or make you think you have made too many mistakes for God to ever forgive you (Heb.4:16). You begin to see things the way God intended us to see them and walk in wisdom and understanding.
God does not like dealing with a mind that is enslaved because an enslaved mind is not fit to work for God. It will keep seeing things as impossible. It will stay bound to the laws of this world. It will keep reminiscing of its days of old and miss out on the new things God is doing (Is.43:18-19). 
Luke 9:62 (NIV) says: Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” You can’t walk forward and look back at the same time. Lot’s wife tried it and she turned into a pillar of salt. The children of Israel tried it and they wandered for 40 years. Why then would you want to try it? 

Mental slavery is like driving a car while staring at the rear-view mirror. If I am to choose, I would say it is more important to be free mentally than free physically. I would confess that there are times I find myself reminiscing about the old days before I got serious with my Christianity and as I am writing this I am asking God to forgive me for looking back to those old days. Below are some great verses that admonish us on the need to keep moving forward and leaving behind the old ways:

Phil. 3:13-14 (NIV): 13…….Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Is. 43:18-19 (NIV): “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
2Cor. 5:17 (NIV): 17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Are you physically free but mentally enslaved? Are you new in Christ but still doing things from your old life? Are you putting your hand to the plough and looking back? Are you a Christian and still acting like the world? Are you still enjoying the pleasures of the flesh? If you keep up this way, you will miss out on the new things God is doing for us. I can hear God saying: can’t you see the new things happening around you? Don’t miss out on the new! Now is the time to stop and emancipate yourself from mental slavery. Do not wish for slavery because of a few challenges on your journey to the Promised Land.

Watch out for the next freedom series post next week Monday.

- Sage
Sage is a graduate of human resource management and a 24/7 salesman. A clay in the hands of the Potter, he is on a journey to knowing God and becoming the man God has called him to be. He has a passion for football and society at large. In his quest for knowledge, he has recently restarted his passion for reading books. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.
Photo credit: http://www.ecksermonator.com/, http://hdpixa.com/, http://www.whenlifegiveslemons.com/, https://www.timeshighereducation.com/

Monday, 25 January 2016

Freedom Series: The Red Pill or the Blue Pill

I want to start by painting a picture. At the dawn of a new millennium, a movie titled "The Matrix" was released. In this movie, the main character called Neo was presented with a choice. A red pill, in a red capsule, that would wake him up from his dreams to the reality of what the matrix really was or a blue pill, in a blue capsule, that would put him back to sleep and would cause him to forget all he had been told and put him back to sleep in the matrix. Imagine you were Neo and you were faced with a choice: the red pill or the blue pill. What would you choose? Before you answer, let me break down these pills for you. 


Chemistry tells us that pills are made up of certain chemicals that are mixed together in order to achieve a certain outcome, mostly curing a disease and these pills can be in the form of capsules or tablets. The chemicals in the red capsule would give you freedom from the matrix; freedom to determine your own destiny, freedom not to be controlled by others, in this case the matrix. The chemicals in the blue capsule would give you a life of oppression, to be controlled by others, unable to determine your own destiny (in this case the matrix). Which pill would you choose? As strange as it may sound, some would choose the blue pill (someone in the movie did) but I would definitely go with the red pill just like Neo did. To know what became of him, watch the Matrix series. Now that I think of it, the whole essence of the Matrix was a fight for freedom; freedom from the matrix and the machines that controlled the matrix.

Life is all about choices. Even when it seems like we have no choice, we still have a choice. In our daily lives, we make decisions that determine if we want to be free or if we want to be oppressed. The lure of freedom is the illusion of action without consequences; a life free of responsibility. A life in which we can decide what we want to wear or eat, a life in which drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes come with no repercussions. Alas dear friends, time will prove this illusion to be naught but ash.

So what is freedom? Freedom according to Myles Munroe is an attitude. It is not guaranteed, it must be earned. Responsibility is the pre-requisite for freedom. Strange? Well let’s walk down memory lane to my days of studying International Relations. As human beings, we have certain inalienable rights but your rights are limited to your sphere of influence. As my lecturer said, your right to swing your fists is limited by its proximity to my chin. Meaning you’re free to swing your fists but you’re also responsible in ensuring that they don’t hit me.

Let’s take a deeper look into freedom. The whole essence of Christianity is to set us free. Jesus came to set us free from oppression. In essence, He came to give us the red pill. Gal. 5:1 (NIV) says: It is for freedom that Christ sets us free. History is littered with stories of people's thirst for freedom (a King once took 300 men against an entire army for freedom’s sake). Yes it is that much of a big deal! 
God's desire for us His children to live a life of freedom. A life free from oppressions and slavery. One story that reflects God's desire for us to be free is that of the Israelites and their exodus from Egypt. When God heard the pains His children were going through, it caused Him to remember His covenant (Ex. 6:5, NIV) and as a result of that, He sent them Moses. God has no desire to see us in bondage and in the New Testament, he sent another deliverer in His son Christ Jesus to free us from the oppression of the devil.

Does freedom come with responsibilities? Yes it does. When Christ came down to set us free, He also gave us responsibilities. Luke 9:62 (NIV) says: Jesus replied, “… fit for service in the kingdom of God.” This tells us that as we get the gift of freedom, we need to be ready to serve God. 

Does that sound like responsibilities yet? Let’s look at the world. One thing I like about the Americans is that they know their rights and no one can deny them those rights. That is one country that has gone to war to protect its rights and freedom. Despite this, they expect their citizens to be upright and responsible; meaning you’re free to drive but you’re not free to hit another person’s car. You’re free to own a gun but you’re not free to shoot people except in certain defined circumstances laid down in the American Constitution. How much then the body of Christ? Let us look at the ministry of Jesus to get an answer. After Jesus had selected His 12 disciples and freed them from their chains, He didn’t say to them: okay now you’re free go and sleep for the rest of your life or now you’re free, do as you please. No! Instead He gave them work to do in Matt. 10:5-8 (NIV):
5. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons……..
Yup! That sounds like a lot of work. As a disciple under Jesus, let us list out their responsibilities:

  • Go to the lost sheep- evangelism
  • Proclaim this message- preach
  • Heal the sick
  • Raise the dead
  • Cleanse those with leprosy
  • Drive out demons

These are definitely not easy tasks to do but still, He gave it to them. One man that fully understood the amount of responsibility that comes with freedom was Paul. Paul was a Roman citizen so he had a lot of freedom but he never lost sight of his responsibilities. Paul in 1Cor.8:9-13 said:
9. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11. So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.
Paul in Rom. 14:13, 15-18 & 21 (NIV) (I would advise you to read the entire Rom. 14) said:
13………Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 15. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18. because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval… 21. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
Some might say that it is extreme. He went as far as saying that he would deny himself meat just to make sure his brother does not sin. In modern times, we can look at the British royal family. Despite their wealth, they try to be exemplary in their lifestyle as a result of the awareness of their duty to the people of Great Britain. As children of God, we are no longer living for ourselves but for God (Rom. 14:7) and if we are living for God, we have to live a life that does not deny another person the opportunity to live for God. When you follow this school of thought, you will realize that freedom from the chains of the devil comes with the responsibility of ensuring others are freed from their oppression. When you begin to think of this, you will realize the number of things you’ll have to deny: alcohol; secular music; certain types of clothes; movies ... the list is endless really and it goes as far as denying meat which is sweet to eat. What are you willing to deny yourself for the sake of a brother or sister?

I end Part 1 with this pearl of wisdom from an uncle to a superhero: with great power comes great responsibility. When we receive the right to be called children of God, we also receive the power that comes with that name and when we receive the power that comes with that name, we get responsibilities. 

- Sage
Sage is a graduate of human resource management and a 24/7 salesman. A clay in the hands of the Potter, he is on a journey to knowing God and becoming the man God has called him to be. He has a passion for football and society at large. In his quest for knowledge, he has recently restarted his passion for reading books. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Dealing with Emotional Trauma as Christians

"God heals the broken-hearted..." (Psalm 147:3). 

Have you ever had a traumatic experience? An experience where you struggled with your emotions? Such experiences include:
  1. An experience that has led you to become aloof in your demeanour
  2. An experience that has led to anxiety, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, withdrawal from others, making further wrong decisions
  3. A bad experience you're not letting go of
  4. A feeling of disconnection from the outside world
  5. Having nightmares, agitation, frightened to go out
  6. Being startled easily
  7. Having flashbacks, avoiding the things that remind you of the trauma, dependence on alcohol, unable to trust others, etc.
Emotional trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that lead people to become vulnerable. Some of the stressful events usually lead to emotional trauma when they occur unexpectedly, when we are unprepared for it, when we felt powerless and when it happened repeatedly.

Should Emotional Trauma be unheard of among Christians? 
Jesus encouraged his children not to fear, He said he has given us the spirit of love, power and sound mind. Is it then abnormal when Christians go through emotional trauma? No, it's not unusual when Christians experience emotional trauma, however, it is how the emotional trauma is dealt with that is pertinent. 

No matter the kind of trauma we suffer or how it affects us, there's ALWAYS hope and a solution in Christ Jesus.

  A few ways to deal with emotional trauma as a Christian;
  • Confront your fears with the Word of God. An antidote to trauma is reading the life-transforming Word of God. It has the power to change lives
  • Ask God for help
  • Admit your feelings to someone trustworthy, an empathetic and loving person that can help you (Talking therapy). A Christian Counsellor who is very informed. You may seek help from your doctor if need be.
  • Consciously reject negative thoughts by confessing the Word of God
  • Write out and meditate on relevant scriptures
  • Write down your feelings
  • Listen to inspiring music
  • Do not be in denial of your feelings
  • Do not see yourself alone. The Holy Spirit is with you and He will see you through.
  • Remember that every trial brings a better character. Every experience is to transform you to someone better. The bible says our tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:3-5).
  • The trial is most likely to come with pain but it will build you up. If you feel overwhelmed managing your emotions, as previously mentioned, seek help from a trustworthy Christian counsellor.

How do you support a fellow Christian that has experienced or going through emotional trauma? 

It can actually be difficult to know how to support someone to deal with emotional trauma as it means taking our time to understand from their perspective. As a Christian,
  • Pray for them. Consciously take out time to pray for them
  • Be patient with the person's pace of recovery. Don't judge your loved one's reaction against how you would react to a traumatic experience. Be patient with them should they isolate themselves from you
  • Offer practical support, ask if they are okay to be visited, ask if they need any help. Someone that is going through a traumatic experience is unlikely to ask for practical support until you initiate it
  • Do not immediately put blame on your loved ones. Be empathetic and sensitive
  • Support your loved ones to socialise, visit them, engage in activities that your loved ones will enjoy
  • Don't be offended by their reactions. Your loved one may become angry, emotionally distant and withdrawn, do not take it personally, learn to be patient with them and be persistent and never give up on them
  • Shower them with your love and time. Be available for them and continuously offer your listening ears. Do not let your loved ones feel alone
  • Send your loved ones encouraging bible scriptures 
  • If the emotional trauma becomes severe, advice your loved ones to seek professional support if possible.

I pray the Lord will heal every broken-hearted. He has said that you should cast ALL your worries upon Him for He cares for you (1Pet 5:7). May God also place His love in your heart to support those that are going through emotional trauma. I leave you with this bible scripture:

Do not be afraid—I am with you! I am your God—let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you.” (Isaiah 41:10 GNT) 

- Myss Lafunky

Photocredit: http://www.recoverycapitalconference.org/

Monday, 11 January 2016

Discover Sage's World | Greater Is Coming

Happy New Year guys. I’m sure we are all delighted to have made it into a New Year, I know I am. Now is the time to make the resolutions and plans on how to achieve them. I have just one this year, don’t expect me to share it before bad belle people will use eye to scatter it.

As I launch into this article, I need to first ask God for forgiveness. I have really delayed sharing the story of my deliverance and restoration. Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a rock and a hard place? I definitely have. One thing I'm thankful for is that instead of my heart getting hardened, I found God and since then I started my journey with Him. 


I actually gave my life to God sometime in 1997 or so but I never took my Christian life seriously. Why? I had my own plans. What was that plan? To enjoy life to the fullest and when I got older or when I was settled with a wife and children I would then begin to take my Christianity seriously. Little did I know that God had His own plans and as a result of His sovereignty, His plans always come to pass. The Amplified Version of Pr. 19:21 says:



               “Many plans are in a man’s mind but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand.”        

            
Little did I know that Baba God was just chilling for me in 2013 to bring His purpose to pass and when the appointed time arrives, there is nothing you can do to stop it. You don’t believe me? Go and ask Pharaoh that was forming baddest guy and refused to allow the Israelites to leave. If that example is too old for you, enter the New Testament and ask Saul. By the time God arrested him, he changed his name to Paul. Don’t worry I didn't have to change my name.
This story is inspired by the song ‘Greater is Coming’ by Jekalyn Carr. You need to listen to the song. Tune of life.



Just like an olive, for its oil to run, I had to go through three stages: the shaking; the beating; and the pressing. These stages prepare you for greater things and Joseph is an example of someone that went through these phases. Currently, by God’s grace, I believe I am in the pressing stage.


The Shaking
At this point, let me just say that I pray you never have to go through the shaking. It’s not an easy place to be in but if you do go through this phase, please accept it gracefully. Jonah and Job went through the shaking; Job’s case was extreme; he lost it all. If it was me that had been on a boat and suddenly a storm came and they threw me overboard … as per Warri boy, I for swim comot. That was done to Jonah, then God sent a fish to swallow him in order to give him time to think about his life. As I was saying, the shaking is a point when suddenly everything in your life begins to turn upside down because God is preparing you for the making. How did mine happen?

Let’s start with 2011...
I started my application for a UK student visa and as a Nigerian, you know that such applications come with a lot of nervousness. Before I applied for this, I got a job with a top bank but I turned it down because I wanted to go for a Masters Degree. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking to myself: "na who send Uche?" I forgot that I prayed to God that if I got the job it meant I wasn't to go that year. When excitement and stubbornness are combined, it is a very dangerous something. Needless to say, I didn’t get that visa. Imagine my disappointment and sadness. 

Roll in 2012, I started the process again. This period felt like a déjà vu. I got into the final stage of an interview with another top bank but was rejected because of one funny reason that had to do with my certificate. No be me send WAEC to fill in wrong information oh! (We’re plenty in this boat ba?) I also prayed the same prayer which was if I didn’t get the job, it meant this was the year. True true I got the visa and so I went to the UK. 
The initial three months was great, life was good, Tesco was delivering my groceries, shelled out money for the iPhone 5 (on a contract of course), then to round it up, I went to Yankee for Christmas. Sage was live in Yankee. Of course in the midst of all this, I forgot the "skabashing" (prayers) I did to get my visa. Little did I know God’s plan had ripened and it was time to bear fruit. As we say: "jungle don mature!"

Oh boy! 2013 shook me. Suddenly, to pay rent became gbese. For my non-Nigerian people gbese means problem/trouble. To eat was another matter entirely. Suddenly guy man that was shopping online and doing home delivery had to be counting pennies and going to a cheaper store to buy groceries. Any week I spent more than £10 meant I was trying to spoil myself. Times got tough. My shaking had started. God started making me into what He wanted me to be. I had to find my way back to God just like Jonah did while chilling in the belly of the fish. 

How did I find my way back to Him? 
By running back to Him, crying out to Him in my period of distress. One thing I must add is this, when you’re going through the shaking, accept it with grace and in faith that one day "E go better." Joseph is one person that went through the shaking with such humility. I’m always blown away whenever I read about Joseph. Take some time out to study the story of Joseph. From Daddy’s boy to slave to prisoner and then Pharaoh’s second-in-command.

The Beating
This stage comes in order to show you the anointing you have as a child of God. To get here, you must let God shake you very well in order to make you. Remember that we are the clay and He is the potter (Is. 64:8). After much shaking, I got into the beating phase. In this phase I started to learn how to go on my knees, how to pray to God. As a child of God, do you know that the earth is yours to dominate? Here I was, created to dominate the earth but struggling to pay rent and eat good food. As a result of the shaking, what did Jonah do? Jonah prayed to God. 

As a result of my shaking, what did I do? I prayed to God. Is that odd? Well to some people it is. Let’s take Pharaoh as a good example; he got his shaking but instead he hardened his heart. I know some people would argue that God was the one that hardened his heart. I would say he had a choice to submit to God’s sovereignty. That’s exactly what Jonah did in Jonah 2:1-9. He started his prayer by admitting that in his period of shaking, he cried out to God and ended his prayer by admitting that salvation comes from God. 
Bros had been shaken properly. So as a result of my shaking, I started drawing closer to God and guess what? He extended His loving arms to me. I began to learn how anointed I could be.

One particular miracle that happened to me was in mid-2013. Broke as can be. Food? Gone. Phone bill? Not far away. House rent? Not far away. What did I do? You would think that with all the shaking, I would know to pray. Nah, I wasn’t as smart as Jonah, I first relied on the arms of man and as the bible warns us, they are bound to fail. Jer. 17:5-6 tells us that trusting in man is the same as been under a curse. Imagine that! v6 describes it very well, check it out. So I reached out to my cousin to borrow me some cash, of course she fell my hand. It was then that my brain clicked and I went on my knees and prayed. God is indeed our great provider (Jehovah Jireh). 

In the midst of that prayer, the same cousin called back and informed me that she had sent me £200. Imagine my joy. That was way more than I had asked her to borrow me. Sometimes, I think that the problem with mankind is that we can be stubborn. You would think that with all my experience in the shaking phase I would have learnt my lesson. Nah bruv, I didn’t learn it one bit. I've been cracking my brain on how I can include ‘innit’ in this my gist to prove I actually went to the UK. 

Stroll in 2014, I attended the assessment centre of a top company in Nigeria. I later went to visit a big man who promised to call one or two people to know how it went. Trust Baba God, it didn’t take long to get an email informing me of their regrets. Omo forget it, Warri no dey carry last. This time around I was sharper. When I got home, I went straight to the floor and started praying, calling out to my Father in the midst of my distress. In hindsight, I’m glad it happened because through that experience I also learnt the value of first fruits (Pr. 3:9). 

Whenever you’re going through a shaking during the pressing stage, there is something God needs you to learn. By 2014, I was aware of the anointing we have as children of God. What is required is for us to activate that anointing in our day to day lives and in times of trials and tribulations. When Joseph was going through the beating, he accepted it with grace and refused to let anything come in the way of that. Never let anything get in the way of your beating process.

The Pressing
When Joseph went through the pressing stage, it was preparing him to walk into his destiny. What a destiny he had. Imagine if he had fallen by the way side during the pressing, he would have never walked into his destiny. When you’re being pressed, that is when your oil begins to flow. That is when you begin to walk in your anointing, that is when you begin to be the person God intended for you to become. You become an anointing to others. You become a blessing to others. In this stage, when you’re faced with afflictions, you will know how to handle it. 

How do you know you have entered your pressing stage? 
You no longer rely on the arm of man. You commit all you do to the hands of God just like Joseph did in Gen. 41:16. By the time you enter this stage, you are prepared for the promotion that is around the corner. You understand the value of tithing, first fruits and giving to God. When Joseph was summoned, he prepared himself because he knew he was never going back. I am still experiencing the pressing stage and by God’s grace when I walk into my destiny, I will be able to write more about this stage. For now, I will keep preparing for that time in Jesus' name.
In order to convince God that you are ready to enter your destiny, you need to successfully go through this stage.

When going through these stages, from time to time you will experience all or some of these stages at once. Accept it with humility, give glory to God and commit your ways to Him. Ps. 34:19 says that “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Sounds familiar? That was how Jonah ended his prayer and God sent him on his way to his destiny. That was how Joseph responded to Pharaoh and God revealed the meaning of the dream to Joseph. They did this in recognition of God’s sovereignty and dominion over all things. When you respond like this, you’re letting him know that you’re aware He is preparing you for greater.

- Sage
Sage is a graduate of human resource management and a 24/7 salesman. A clay in the hands of the Potter, he is on a journey to knowing God and becoming the man God has called him to be. He has a passion for football and society at large. In his quest for knowledge, he has recently restarted his passion for reading books. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Would you Wait on the Lord?


Meet Anne . . .

Anne started her Year 2015 by asking God to direct how she should live her life. Thereafter, Anne embarked on a time of fasting and prayer for 40 days. In this period, she prayed to God on a daily basis. During the course of her fasting and prayer, she had asked God to reveal His plans for her life. This experience was new to Anne because in previous years, she would have written specific plans and goals for her life. However, in year 2015, Anne felt a nudge in her spirit to allow God to direct her and to make God's purpose her purpose. 
It is usually said that the more we seek to make God's purpose our purpose, the more we will be led to give way to His working and His strength and the more will God be glorified.

During her 40 days of fasting and prayer, Anne struggled as there were several opportunities that nearly led her to give up but she persisted and continued through and she was strengthened as the scriptures had said in Isa 40:31 and Ps 27:14.

On the 38th day of her fasting, God spoke to Anne through a vision, God told her the following: 
  • I would like you to be praying for your work colleagues every day, pray for their salvation.
  • I would like you to be visiting your local youth community centre by volunteering once a week.
  • I would like you to give half of your income to the local widows charity for the next 12 months.
  • I would like you to speak less this year and also, do not share this vision with others apart from your husband.
Anne became anxious when God revealed His plans for her life for the year, she felt she would not be able to achieve the tasks, nevertheless, she was confident that she heard from God, so, she prayed to God for help and guidance. 


On the 30th December 2015, Anne reflected on how her year had been, she discovered that she had achieved the tasks that God instructed her to do. She also noticed that her wish to lose weight was fulfilled, perhaps this was due to the fasting :). Something amazing also occurred, on the 31st December 2015, Anne received a cheque from an organisation that realised that they had owed her a large sum of money. Anne also noticed that her son's speech, which was delayed and which she had numerously prayed about, had immensely improved. 

Some of the lessons that Anne learned in Year 2015: 
  • God miraculously favoured me and my family while I undertook the tasks that He gave me.
  • Seek God because of your love for Him.
  • Commit your day, your life, and your year to God.
  • Communicate with God on a daily basis. 
  • There are several distractions in the world, albeit among some Christians, particularly those that you place highly, remember to stick to what God has told you.
  • God can use you as well, are you ready to be used by Him?
  • It sometimes takes stepping out of your comfort zone to serve God acceptably.
Were you able to learn anything from Anne's experience?

- Myss Lafunky

Photo Credit: http://www.lovethispic.com/

Saturday, 2 January 2016

What's Myss Lafunky's Blog About?

For the benefit of those that are new to Myss Lafunky's blog, here is a mini introduction about the blog.

Myss Lafunky is an arm of Truly Making A Difference Ministries, founded in 2012 by the leading of the Holy Spirit. The blog focuses on Christian living, building a closer relationship with God and educating people about sexual purity. The blog also undertakes the role of an agony aunt by offering biblical advice to questions asked. In addition, the blog features stories sent in by the readers and the Myss Lafunky's blog team.

Articles are published on the blog on a weekly basis, mainly every Monday morning. The readers of the blog can share their thoughts on the weekly posts through the comment section of the blog or via the email address (trulymakingadifference@gmail.com).

I hope you will be a reader of the blog in this New Year. I also look forward to reading your insightful comments and I welcome your stories.

If you need to contact Myss Lafunky's blog, please send an email to trulymakingadifference@gmail.com.

Share the blog with your friends, groups, fellowship, and church members. The blog's address is www.mysslafunky.com

Happy New Year!

- Myss Lafunky