Monday, 22 June 2020

God watches us at all times








This week, my family and I read the book of Psalm 121 during one of our daily devotions just before bedtime. This Psalm is one of my favorites because it talks about how much God loves and protects us at all times. It holds a lot of truth and comfort that comes from the knowledge of who God is. When found, this knowledge makes you feel safe and secure in the arms of our heavenly father, especially in uncertain times like this one the world is going through.

Recent happenings have threatened the world we know and challenge our sense of security.  We have seen lots of people fall ill and others fighting for their lives on death beds as a result of the COVID pandemic. The aftermath of the lockdown has left families struggling to make ends meet as the economy goes into recession. Companies have had to do many job cuts to stay afloat while some other companies have closed up.

Just at the point the world's economies started to reopen gradually, a new heightened sense of fear and despair overshadows us as we face another tragedy linked to racial injustice. No matter what corner of the earth you may reside, recent events have touched every one of us.  Whether the pandemic, economic downturn, or racial injustice outrage.

While we tried hard to keep our little ones safe and reassure them, we realized we needed to turn them to someone who could keep them safe and encouraged. We found these assurances in Psalm 121. As we read the scripture together, we discovered three truths about God's watchful eyes, and I'll like to share them with you.

Let's start by reading Psalm 121 together:

"1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore."

The chapter tells us about the writers’ need for help as he looks to the hills. In the olden days, people lived below the mountains to find safety from enemies that may advance against their settlement. The mountain formed a sort of wall to protect them from outside attacks. The Psalmist weighs his option at the start of the chapter, as he considers seeking refuge from the hills or God. He decides to trust God instead, and then he goes on to say why.

God made heaven and earth and controls everything that happens in it, which is why we should also turn to God in our times of crisis. The world we know today may be strange to us but not to God. He wasn't caught unaware by what's happening today; he didn't doze off. He created the earth, and he's got his hands on the control.

God is with us at all times.
When you read through verses 5 and 6, it talks about how God watches over you and stands at your right hand to provide a shade of covering for you. He gives a covering by day and night. Day and night represent some of the times and seasons we go through in life. Like a job loss, loss of a loved one. You are not alone; God is still standing close, covering you with his compassion and love to heal you. You can turn to him at all times; he is always watching over you.

God is with us at all locations.
When you read on to the first part of verse 8, it talks about how God watches over you as you come in and go out. God keeps his eyes on you as you go about your day. He knows where you are and what you are trying to achieve. God sees you at the bank trying to get the loan. He sees you as you attempt to tutor your kids during homeschooling. God is always with you.  Even when you don’t feel his presence, he is with you and will never leave you alone. You can go about your day with confidence, knowing you are not alone. The maker of heaven and earth is with you always.

God is with us now and forever.
The last part of the chapter talks about how God will keep watch over you now and forever. That, for me, is the ultimate promise. God is not just looking out for you today; he promises to look out for you tomorrow and forever. So you don't need to worry about what will happen tomorrow, God's got you, and he will be with you through everything that life brings. We may be going through a crazy trying time now, but don't lose hope for your future. You are not alone, not now, not ever. You can always say God has a plan for me.

Psalm 121 gives us hope of God's presence and guidance through these trying times. This year has been tougher than most years we’ve all been through, but stay strong in faith knowing that God is with you at all times, in all locations, now and forever. Trust God’s plan.

Recommended reading:
1.    A work of art


Blog post image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

 

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Mindfulness: Living in the moment


Guest Writer: By Rev. Folashade Evelyn Ezekiel

Right now we are living in unprecedented and unpredictable times and everything seems very anomalous and surreal. For the last few months, the world has been on lockdown because of a killer virus which has led to the reality of social distancing, homeschooling, face coverings and a completely different way of life from what we have been used to.

In this very shaky, flaky, and uncertain world, we live in. Life is lived in moments and the quality of our life is determined by the sum total of our moments. These moments are like tiny building blocks that make up a grand design called life. Therefore every moment should be carefully crafted like a piece of wood in the hands of a master craftsman and savored like the first drop of water on the lips of a thirsty man.

Moments should be experienced and enjoyed with mindfulness and presence of mind. Moments can be in the form of a hug from your toddler, a smile from the one you love, a nice fragrance from your favorite flower, taking deep breaths, helping someone in need, or the exhilaration that comes from achieving little successes. It is in these moments that you truly live, It is in these moments that you feel, It is in these moments that you truly grow and mature.

It is folly to spend your life in the endless toil of chasing after moments only to ignore them in search of the next moment. Working hard day and night to fulfill the expectations and expectations of the society thereby bowing to the will of the Joneses. It is in vain to keep searching for and working towards a destination called ‘there' only to realize that ‘there’ does not exist.

Don’t live your life oblivious of what is going on around you and blind to all the blessings that God has given you. You have not truly lived until you make it a habit to participate in your life not as a spectator but actively being a part of it. Take time to pray, take time to meditate on God's word, take time to breathe, learn to laugh, stop to smell the roses, pause to enjoy the little successes on your way to the big successes and take a moment to pat yourself in the back and say- job well done.

“Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16 AMP

As every day passes you are gradually using up your borrowed time here on earth. So it's up to you to make every moment count.


About the guest writer

Rev. Folashade Evelyn Ezekiel is the Senior Pastor of Jesus Foundation Family Manchester. She is a Pharmacist, a prolific speaker, writer, worshipper, Life coach, film producer, and the creative arts director of Creative Space @JFFI. She a passion for personal growth, helping people discover, develop, and gain mastery of their God-given gifts and potentials. She runs the YOU CAN BE BETTER series.



Recommended reading by Seye Oke
  1. Now, then and the moments in-between.
  2. Defining Moments


Blog post Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay


Thursday, 21 May 2020

The integrated, functional and purpose-driven woman


Juggling is an act, and no one understands the act of managing many moving parts better than women do. Think about work, kids, family, community, and all the other things we are responsible for or involved in. This balancing act is critical to ensure we are happy and successful in all areas of our lives. One thing that helps us maintain balance is being authentic–that is, true to who we are and who we were called upon by God to be.

As a woman, I find myself dealing with the many areas of my life —family, career, relationships, self-worth, and Christian living— which may, at times, be in conflict with the other areas. It’s a constant challenge to make decisions that benefit every area of my life. However, to function holistically,  I need to find ways to integrate these different areas so they all work together.

I have come to realize that one of the ways to do this is to figure out what God’s plan is for each area of my life and to focus on accomplishing that plan. It’s taken me a while to figure this out, but along the way, I’ve picked up some useful nuggets that I would like to share.

In this 5-day devotional for women, which I have aptly titled Her Sides, you will learn how to focus on the important things to help you stay well integrated, fully functional and true to your purpose. These stories will encourage you to apply the unchanging truth of God's word to the five key areas of your life: family, career, relationships, self-worth, and Christian living.

Ultimately, our goal as Christians should be to have a wholesome and authentic life, no matter what area of your life you are looking at. Download your free copy of the 5-day devotional today, and share it with the lovely ladies in your life.

Download here

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*Blog post image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

Sunday, 10 May 2020

#inspiringwomen

Dear Moms,

Here is a nugget of truth to help you through this pandemic and the new realities we have to deal with as we work and school from home.

We don't need supermoms in this period, we just need moms. Loving, healthy, sane moms. #inspiringwomen

Happy International Women's day 2020

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Why did God create me?

Why did God create me?

That’s a question my son asked recently. For many people, it may have been answered a long time ago. Those who don’t believe in God may never have considered it. But it’s a question that others, including me, re-evaluate every once in a while as life changes.

To know the purpose of a thing, look at its function and design. When you inspect the designs of a teacup and a spoon, you can work out what each of these items may be used for. So here are three aspects to consider when pondering my son’s question, “Why did God create me?”

1.    Evaluate the function and design.
The first thing you need to do is take an inventory of yourself. Look at your design, i.e., the gifts and natural abilities that make you different from others. What are you good at, and what can you do with ease? On your journey to discover the purpose of your life, you need to prepare an inventory of your gifts. Nothing complicated. Start with some obvious strengths that everyone would agree you have, like “good at math,” “works well with computers,” “can learn many languages,” “has a natural love and deep concern for others.” Write a list of your natural traits, things you are good at, and skills that you excel at.

2.   Identify opportunities to use your strengths and gifts.
Self-discovery often leads to self-fulfillment. Once you have prepared your inventory of self, seek opportunities to use the strengths you have listed. Sometimes you find opportunities to do what you are good at by your own initiative; sometimes, other people will point out an opportunity you can pursue; sometimes, you’ll stumble across one by chance. However it happens, you need to make the most of these opportunities. If you genuinely care for others, you can use that strength to reach out to people who are hurting and just spend time listening to them. If you have a natural eye for beauty, you can paint a picture that leaps off the canvas.

This step is really important. You can’t just sit on your oars and hope. You need to actively pursue opportunities to use your gifts—in your community or church group or among families. And every time you do use your skills, you will improve them even more. There is always a need out there. Your job is to find the needs that you can naturally fulfill. And with the internet, you can scout the entire globe.

3.   Fellowship with God.
In addition to using your natural abilities for good in this world to fulfill your purpose, there is the ultimate purpose for which God created us: to be in fellowship with him. Our lives will continue to be empty and meaningless until they are filled with a love that can come only from having a personal relationship with God. Without this relationship, no matter how gifted an individual may be, he will always feel empty and hollow, will always be asking, “What else is there?” Our relationship with God is the only thing that can completely give our lives meaning and purpose. Otherwise, what would be the essence of life in this world but to eat, drink, make the best of things, and die? No, God desires that we have a rich and meaningful life through our faith and communion with him and that we have hope for a life after this one in his kingdom.

The answer to the question of why God created you and me lies in our very DNA. The answer is to use our natural abilities to make our world better in ways big and small while maintaining a relationship and constant fellowship with God.

Nothing else matters.

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Undeserved


I was sitting in my garden recently, in the midst of the global lockdown, thinking about the amazing love and grace of God and this song came to me. Just wanted to share it, to remind us all that the love and grace we experience daily from God is really undeserved, but he still gives it to us, just because. 

 

Song Lyrics: Undeserved 
By Seye Oke
Copyright April 2020

I don’t deserve your mercy
I don’t deserve your grace
But somehow you’ve shown it to me
When I was lost in sin

It is the love you’ve shown me
That has brought me home
So every day teach me to follow
Your guiding  light

So light the way
On your truth
Shine on me
Bring me through

So light the way
Keep me true
Only you
Make me new


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Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Rising like a Phoenix from the ashes of despair

I was reading about the phoenix, an ancient Greek mythological bird with the ability to be reborn out of the ashes of destruction. What I found fascinating was the simple notion that when all seemed destroyed, something good came out of it. It’s encouraging to know that where one thing ends, another new life begins.

When we look around our world today, we see lots of pain and despair. It could be the pain from dealing with illness due to the virus, despair from the uncertainty of tomorrow or the gloom of being stuck at home. In these moments, it’s only natural to feel all these emotions in the face of dire or fatal circumstances.

 
But it’s not the emotions we feel that matters, it’s how we handle them. While there are many ways to deal with our emotions, I will like to leave you with a few:

Live
You can worry as much as you want but the reality is that all you have is today and now. You might as well just live in the moment and make the best of each second you have. If you are stuck at home, homeschooling or out of work, think about how to make the best of the situation at hand. No amount of worry can change anything, so instead put that brainpower into creatively coming up with new ways to enjoy your life. You may just spark up a new idea as you embrace your current situation. You could lighten up the day of an elderly couple with a phone call or start working on that personal project that you have put on hold for far too long. You could take up an exercise regime to get you back in shape or spend the time cooking up healthy meals at home. Whatever your current situation, live life to its fullest by making every minute count.

Pray
I have found that praying is one sure way to unload your heart of the burdens that way it down. Spend some time with God in prayer and just meditate on his promises from the bible. This is something you can do whether you are home or in a hospital bed. If you can’t pray out loud, just commune silently in your heart. God hears us however we pray. A good verse to remember at a time like this is Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Keep these words in your heart as you go about your day.

Hope
As you focus your energy on living in the moment and unburdening your heart by praying, fill your heart and mind with positive images of what your future will look like when it’s all over. Beyond every valley, there is a hilltop and a rainbow after every storm. Can you see your rainbow? Replace every iota of doubt and despair in your mind with positive images of how you will survive this period and how in the end it will all work out together for your good. What is six-month-to-a-year from now going to look like for you? Can you see a beautiful future on your horizon? Perhaps a new business idea? Stronger bond with your family and kids? You need to see it in your mind’s eye to move your life in that positive direction.

While we cannot be oblivious to the pain all around and within us, we must not allow it to weigh us down. Be strong. Live, pray, hope and trust in God. In the end, it will all work together for your good.

Article Image by JohannaIris from Pixabay

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Read more articles like this: Something Worth Trying


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