Wednesday 28 December 2016

Happy Holidays!

As the year draws close to an end, Myss Lafunky's Blog is grateful for all our committed readers, audience and writers. Thank you for your commitment to the vision of this blog. Next year, the posts will be more frequent than how it was in the last quarter of this year.
Revisit some of our popular blog posts from 2016 and you'll find helpful primers on subjects like:

Freedom, How to Take Revenge When Someone Offends You, Waiting on the Lord, Ways to boost your confidence in the Lord, Things you should do in the morning as a Christian, Shaped by adversity, Having faith in God, What it means to fear God and Joy to the World

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Tuesday 20 December 2016

Joy to the World: Christmas in Kiri-Kiri Prison Nigeria

I’ve been honoured to be part of a great group of people that want to make a difference in this world. The name of this group is called the Destiny Trust and part of their plans for 2016 was to have what we tagged an unlikely Christmas for children behind bars. When I say children behind bars, I’m not referring to juvenile offenders but to children that are either too young to be separated from their mother or were given birth to by mothers serving time in prison as at the time of their birth. As such, when Sage heard of such a project, nothing was going to stop him from spending time with these young ones. Ps. 127: 3 – 6 paints a picture of how God sees children.

                    3. Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him 

On the D-day, 11th of December 2016 I found myself at Kiri-Kiri. For those that haven’t been there, let me paint a picture. Kiri-Kiri is a town located in Apapa, Lagos and within that town lays the famous Kiri-Kiri prison. The prison has different blocks for male, female and maximum prisoners; each of these prisons feature high fences and imposing gates that are properly guarded. It is not the kind of place one can break out from; forget prison break and the escapades of Scofield, T.Bag and co. With a lot of anxiety, I drove into the Kiri-Kiri compound and the first thing I did was to get into trouble with a guard for making a U-turn at the gates of the maximum prison. A huge dose of humility, an explanation that it was an innocent mistake and apologies was what rescued me. Eventually I arrived at the gates of the female prison and right there on the fence I was greeted with the following words:

A home away from home.
Don’t be frightened.
Just walk into an atmosphere of love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, self-control and abundance of God’s grace upon your life.

This was the strangest place to find such words written at the gates. These words belonged at the gates of a church or at the gates of a rehab centre, so I thought. If you read carefully, you will recognize the fruits of the spirit listed out in Gal. 5:22-23:

22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Eventually, we got in, observed all the necessary security checks, dropped the gifts with warden for distribution later and were taken straight to the church where the Sunday service was on-going. When we got in, the sermon was about how we should accept whatever situation we’re facing and accept God’s will. Not such an easy thing to do when you’re in a prison cell. Despite the situation, these women sang praises to God of His greatness and how God is the biggest. Service ended, we were introduced and the women were asked to bring their children to join them in the chapel. Just as inscribed on the fence of the prison, there was joy as these women praised God, danced to His greatness and partook in singing the Christmas song ‘Joy to the world’ (even though we all forgot the lines at different points in time; who forgets the lyrics to Joy to the World?). There was so much joy that one of the ladies, to the loud cheers of the others, boldly said to us:
"Don’t see us as prisoners but as students."
There was also an interesting remix to Joy to the world sang by one of the women; such a lovely voice and so many talented women. One of the women played the drums while the other played the talking drum. The little babies weren’t left out of the fun as we took turns carrying them and playing with each of them. For some reason they kept rejecting the sun-shades of one of the volunteers. 

Joy is the essence of Christmas. Joy that our Saviour, Jesus Christ was born. Joy that we get to celebrate God’s love for us (Rom. 5: 7 – 8). Love so great that He sent His only begotten son down to earth to be born in a manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. As we left, I watched as a mother left the chapel with tears in her eyes while another had tears in her voice as she prayed for us and felt saddened that these children would spend their first Christmas in prison with their mothers. It was a blessing to be able to spread joy and the amount of thanks and the heartfelt prayers from the ladies were the best gift I could ever receive. It was indeed an unlikely Christmas! As we celebrate Christmas in our different locations, let us spread joy, love and speak life into the lives of the people around us, friends and strangers alike. Please remember these children and their mothers in your prayers.

Find out more about the Destiny Trust on:

Merry Christmas from Sage

Monday 5 December 2016

Should I fear God?

It's December...woop woop! I usually love December, a month where the birth of Jesus Christ is remembered by the whole world. A month where some people show the love of Jesus Christ by sharing gifts with their friends and families. Another thing that I like about December is the beautiful decoration at shopping centres and at various houses. What do you like about December?

Back to this week's post, it's about fears. When you think of the word fears, what comes to your mind? Keep reading...

Prior to getting married, my husband (who was then my fiancé) encouraged me to learn swimming as he believed it was a life skill to have. I took on board his advice and I attended swimming lessons once a week. So, after we got married, we went on honeymoon and I had our swim wears packed because I was ready to display my newly learnt swimming skills.

As the days of the honeymoon went, there were various opportunities for us to swim but I was scared to enter the pool even though I had attended swimming lessons. With hubby's encouragement and seeing how he was showing me different acrobatic moves inside the pool, I became audacious and entered the pool. But guess what? I was still terrified, I didn't float properly and I was scared and I feared for my life, I thought I would drown. When you think about the word 'fear', we don't usually have a happy thought, we have a terrifying feeling in our minds. 

When we think of our relationship with God, some of us have questioned why we need to fear God if He is a loving God. Check out the biblical stories below: 

- Think of the story of Adam and Eve, when God appeared to them, they became terrified because they knew they had sinned against God. What does that tell us? Sometimes we become fearful when we are afraid of the consequences of our actions.

- Think of the story of Joseph and Potiphar's wife. Joseph shun evil, he refused to engage in any sexual activities with his master's wife because of his fear of God. This fear was not because he was scared of the consequences or he was afraid of God but rather, this fear was a profound reverence for God, he carefully thought about how his actions may offend God or discredit the name of God.

From the story of Joseph, can you see how fear is not always a bad thing but rather it can be a good thing to stop us from doing the wrong thing.

 A few bible scriptures for you to think about: 

- The Bible says God has put his fears in us to stop us from doing wrong things. Exodus 20: 20 says: "Moses said to the people, "Do not be scared, for God has come to test you, that the fear (profound reverence) of him may be before you, that you may not sin." The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. (Exodus 20:20).

- “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!” (Psalms 111:10 ESV). 

- “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7 ESV).

When Jesus Christ came, He changed the fears we had for God. Jesus Christ demonstrated the love of God to us and told His disciples and several people not to be afraid. In fact, He said, there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out all fears. For fear has to do with punishment and whoever fears has not been perfected in love (1 John 4:8). 

Jesus Christ however told us about the type of fear that He wants us to have, He said in His absence, He wants us to work out (actively pursues spiritual maturity) our salvation with fear and trembling (using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Jesus Christ). This can be found in Philippians 2:12 (Amplified Version).  

Jesus Christ wants us to fear God but the fear is to respect and do things out of love for Him and avoid anything that will discredit the name of Jesus Christ.

 Finally, the scriptures say that the conclusion of our Christian journey is to:

Fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God] and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, every hidden and secret thing, whether it is good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 AMP).

- Myss Lafunky