Saturday, 3 October 2020

What I love about RedeemTV

 
 

It’s no secret that what you watch and read ultimately influences what you think. The way you think influences how you act and the way you work forms who you are. With access to all forms of entertainment via the internet and social media, our minds are continually being bombarded with messages that frequently conflict with who we want to be. We have to make the conscious effort to guard our minds with iron gates of self-control and only allow in content that influences our lives in the God-directed paths we desire to take. 

 

In today's world, it's sometimes a challenge to find family-type entertainment that we can watch comfortably in the living room, even as kids play around us without fear of the next scene on the screen. So when I found the free streaming channel by chance, I was super excited and decided to write about it. And why not? If I pay monthly for a streaming platform that I can't watch half of what's on it because the content is not pure-mind friendly, then I indeed can write about something I know can entertain and still bless your soul.

 

Here's my review on the Free Christian Online TV Station called Redeem TV, founded by Ken Curtis of Gateway Films. It's the Christian version of Netflix, and it is absolutely free to watch.  No ads, no pay per view, and no membership fees. The service is made possible by funds from donors, and you are encouraged to donate to keep the station going but not mandated to do so. To access sign up is required with an email and password. You can download the app on your phone, laptop, or Smart TV, and you can watch it from a web browser.

 

I love the fact that the platform highlights what’s new so you can keep a tab on recent releases. There are a couple of segments to help you find what you may be interested in. You can browse by Drama, Documentary, Children's programming, Biographies, Biblical films, Classics, Contemporary issues, to say a few. I have been enjoying this streaming goodness for two weeks now, and here is my shortlist of my personal favorites to get you started:

·      Vindication (Drama)

·      The Pilgrim’s Progress (Kids)

·      He Sends Rain (Drama)

·      Newton’s Grace (Biographies)

·      The Fall of Jericho (Biblical Films)

·      God’s Outlaw (Drama)

 

In the words of Solomon, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." Proverbs 4: 23 (NLT). To change the course of your life, you need to start with your mind. Make a decision today to only fill your mind with pure goodness and watch your life as it blossoms into the fullness of God's plan for you.

 

About Redeem TV

Redeem TV is a donor-supported, ad-free, streaming service with no fees which aims to provide edifying and redemptive visual media content for all ages. They offer over 1,500 quality dramas, documentaries, animated features, children’s favorites, episodic series, Bible studies and. Redeem TV is the latest effort of Vision Video, which has been distributing and producing Christian media content for many decades. Founded by Ken Curtis as Gateway Films in the early 1970’s with the purpose of distributing 16mm films to churches.  

  

Visit https://redeemtv.com/ to learn more

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Peace in the ember months

The month of September ushers in those lovely ember months that leads us into the end of the year. It opens the time of the year when lots of people focus on finishing. Most companies start to look at the bottom line as they near the end of the fiscal year. Individuals take stock of their achievements as they count down to the holidays. Even nature start to gradually move away from the bright and sunny summer, to welcome the cold and chilly winter.

 

This morning I woke up to pray about the winding down months starting in September, and all I could hear in my spirit was rest. It's been an incredibly stressful year for most, if not all, of us. Every color, creed, and age have felt the impact of the changes one way to another. People generally have had to endure more mental and physical strain in the past year, which is why the word "rest" is very timely for this season. 

 

Philippians 4:7 reads, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (KJV). God's promise of rest is to have peace amid the storm. As we look to the winding down months, God will give us peace beyond the reality of the situation we may be in or maybe around us.

 

Creative minds thrive best when it's at peace. With God's peace in your hearts, your mind will relax long enough to conceive ideas to help you overcome challenges. You will see the same situations in a new light and have the inspiration to solve them. Your bodies will heal better as you sleep more and remain calmer through the raging seas. You won't make rash decisions that end up harming your life.

 

God's promise of peace is one to hold on to in these months, to allow our hearts and minds rest and be restored in his presence. The year is not over just yet, so don't write it off. Allow the peace of God to flood your hearts. Ask God to give you his rest and inspire you to know how to get back all you have lost.

 

This month, make a pact with yourself to cease from worrying and rest in God's promises. Take the time to free your minds from all the worrying and allow God's spirit to breathe new life and inspiration into you.

 

Welcome to the ember months of rest.

 

Blog post image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Three Little Angels on the Northern Line to Edgeware

Written by Folashayo Oke

 

I spent a whole afternoon with my friends, we had not seen each other in a while, and it was a lovely reunion. We spoke about what we had been doing, the future, relationships, and just generally hung out.

 

After such a lovely day, it was time to head back home. I got on the northern line to Edgeware, with a broad smile on my face reminiscing on the day I had. Suddenly my daydream was cut short by the voices of a couple arguing; they looked like they were in their mid 50's. The wife seemed furious and yelled on top of her voice, saying she will sue her husband. Her embarrassed kids tried to calm her down to avoid a public display. Her husband had a depressed look, worry lines all over his face, and his eyes were red with fury, he was the description of unhappiness. The kids tried to separate them with tears in their daughter's eyes, pain, confusion, fear, and embarrassment; you could tell that the occurrence wasn't happening for the first time.

 

When the commotion was over, I took the time to study each passenger on the train. Right across me was an old lady, she looked ill, her daughter tried to make her smile and told her all kinds of stories, but her face remained the same, no emotion instead filled with inexpressible pain. On my left was an overweight teenager who barely looked up except when a couple of teenagers about her age got off at a stop. All of them in their size six outfits cracking jokes and having a good time. When they were all gone she let out a sigh and put her face back down, no smile, no hint of happiness, on my far left was a hungry-looking man, the sole of his shoes had worn out, his torn sweatshirt, and his bag had a hole in it, he looked miserable.

 

At this point for some reason I felt despondent, the memories of the day I had was all gone, and all I felt was pain, I wished I had a way to make everybody feel better, to take their pain away and see them smile, even if for a brief minute. There was complete silence everywhere except the sound made by the train as it blazed over the tracks. The atmosphere was a mixture of the wrong kind of emotions; sadness, fear, regret, pain, loneliness, shame.

 

Two stops away from my stop a woman got on the train with three little girls, they were between the age range of three to four years, the woman looked tired, but the three girls had huge smiles on their faces, "finally a breath of fresh air" I said to myself if only there were a way to share this around. Suddenly one of the little girls walked up to the overweight teenager and said with all innocence "I love your hair, it makes you look gorgeous, I wish mine were like that," she called out to the other little girls to come to see, they all loved the hair. After a few minutes their mom called them to get back to their seats, they wave goodbye to the teenage girl whose head was now up high, and her face had brightened, she had this massive smile on her face.

 

A few minutes later, the older woman sitting across me dropped her book. Before I could reach it, one of the little girls grabbed it and gave it to her. Just before she went back to her seat for no reason to hug the old lady, her painful emotionless face turned into a smile, showing her incomplete dentition, and even when the smile faded away, her eyes still looked happy. The little girls were on their sit and suddenly started singing the famous Barney song. 'I love you,' the couple who had been fighting earlier looked at them and smiled and then looked at each other and smiled as well.

 

The train stopped at the last stop before mine, and the little girls and their mom got off, on their way out they all wove to the wretched-looking man sitting close to the door, he looked shocked at first, and then he spun back, the look on his face I can never describe, but I'll try and say in one word "priceless."

 

In a brief moment, three little girls completely changed the atmosphere on the train. Everybody was smiling, watching them walk away with their mom through the window. The teenage girl looked more confident, and the old lady still glowed in her eyes. The couple held hands now, and their kids looked happy, while the man at the door still had his priceless look. 

 

Often, we get carried away by the hustle and are continually living in the shadows of our shortcomings. We think we are too fat, too skinny, too slow or too fast. We forget to live, forget to feel, and bask in the feeling of pure and innocent happiness. Not the kind brought about by a specific item or person or thing, but one that comes from deep within, the feeling of pure satisfaction and content of just been you, of been where you are, or only been alive. I was reminded of that today in the strangest of ways by three little angels on the Northern Line to Edgeware.

 

Don't ever forget it!

 

About the Writer

Folashayo Oke is an Ex-investment banker turned Content creator. She is the Managing Director of Suss Productions, a leading production and content creation company in Lagos, Nigeria. 

 

As a producer and screenplay writer, she has been involved in the creation and management of several creative projects for international and domestic brands. She has also co-created, scripted, and produced highly successful web and TV content, including the well-acclaimed Inspector K (Season 1 and 2) and The Sauce with Red TV.

 

She also worked as the on-site Producer for Yvonne Orji's HBO comedy special, "Momma, I Made It" and several Live, scripted and unscripted content. Besides her success in producing creative content for brands, she also contributed to the theater renaissance in Lagos, Nigeria, through the writing and production of four original musicals and over 30 original songs in collaboration with This Present House.



Blog post image by  Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Making better decisions for successful outcomes



“Pay close attention to what I am saying. Farmers don’t just plow and break up the ground. When a field is ready, they scatter the seeds of dill and cumin; They plant the seeds of wheat and barley in the proper places. They learn this from their God. After dill and cumin have been harvested, the stalks are pounded, not run over with a wagon. Wheat and barley are pounded, but not beaten to pulp; They are run over with a wagon,  but not ground to dust. This wonderful knowledge comes from the Lord All-Powerful, Who has such great wisdom.”  Isaiah 28: 23 – 29 (The Promise)

I like how the verse above starts by saying Farmers don't just plow and break up the ground. It indicates that some thought goes into what they do. Every action the Farmer takes is calculated and for a reason. Nothing is left to chance, and nothing is without a purpose. It is a reminder of how we all need to re-channel the energy we have to live our lives wisely and in line with God's will.

What can we learn from the Farmer's story and his admirable wisdom for planting and harvesting? I picked up on four key things that can enhance our ability to make better decisions and achieve successful outcomes in life.

1. Timing
“When a field is ready…"  Isaiah 28:25

Verse 25 starts with the cornerstone word – When. We've all heard the famous saying, "timing is everything." That comes out so right in the Farmer's story. When the field is ready, he scatters his seed. Not before, not after. One of the excellent skills we all need to learn is knowing the proper time to take action. Some people learn this by experience, others by listening to someone else. For me, I have learned how to read the times by listening to my heart. Call it a gut feeling or intuition. Whether you discern the right time by intuition or experience, knowing the right time is key to achieving your desired outcomes.  You have to always be on the lookout to know when your fields are ready so that you can plant.

2. Action

“…they scatter the seeds of dill and cumin; They plant the seeds of wheat and barley .."  Verse 25

The verse goes on to talk about what the Farmer does. He scatters the cumin seed on the ground, but he plants the wheat underneath the ground. Like knowing the right time, you have to know the right thing to do. You can't stop for a selfie in the middle of a sprint.  Its neither the right thing nor the right time for that if you plan on winning the race. Knowing what to do is uber critical; there nothing as sad as seeing someone with a great opportunity that didn't know what to do with it.  Such opportunities move on to someone else. Be wise, read the times and when the time is right, take the right action for that time.

3. Location 

“…in the proper places." Isaiah 28:25

The Farmer reads the time, and when the time is right, he plants his seeds in the proper places. Anyone in real estate will tell you to think of the location when you consider buying a property. You can't build a mansion in a slum and expect to charge a premium for it. Some plants are desert flowers, while some grow by riverbanks. For each of these plants to flourish, you have to plant it in the right location. You can have the right business idea and pick the best time to start it, but if your customers can't find you, it won't work. Just like reading the time, and knowing what to do, knowing where to do it is critical to your success.


4. Skills

“After dill and cumin have been harvested, the stalks are pounded, not run over with a wagon. Wheat and barley are pounded, but not beaten to pulp; They are run over with a wagon,  but not ground to dust" Isaiah 28: 27-28

As we read on to verse 27 and 28 goes on to describe the action of a very skilled farmer—a farmer who knows what he is doing. The Farmer pounds the stalks of the cumin, and the wheat is grounded but not grounded to fine dust. The Farmer is skilled; he knows his stuff. He has mastered the art of his trade, which is what we should all aspire to. You can only achieve this through learning and experience. To be the best, you have to train to be the best. You can't sit and watch movies all day and hope to excel in your trade. You have to horn your skills over time. Like the Farmer, you have to put in the work to get the desired results.

The wise Farmer's story calls out four things that can help us make better decisions and achieve a more desired outcome for our life.

1.    Understand the time to know when to take action
2.   Take the necessary action when the time is right.
3.   Make sure you are in the right location to ensure it works.
4.   Know your stuff; you can't fluff it.

The story closes out by saying, " This wonderful knowledge comes from the Lord All-Powerful, Who has such great wisdom.” That's comforting to know that if we find ourselves falling short in any way, we can ask God for help. He gives wisdom to anyone who asks. And with his help, we can stir the course of our lives in the right direction to achieve the desired outcomes that God has in his plan.

Recommended reading:



Blog post image by Pexels from Pixabay


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