Seasons

‘You change your life by changing your heart’

Max Lucado

seasons

This quote relates perfectly to the current winter season we are experiencing in North America. We have been quite privileged to have enjoyed a fairly late winter but as expected the inevitable occurred and on Friday 2nd November, barely a second day into the new month, our familiar friend was back.

 

Although, you could hear the murmurs and complaints from everyone about the woes and struggles of dealing with snow. However, gradually you could also sense some sort of relief that the expected had occurred. No more bated breaths and dreaded anticipation, winter had finally arrived. This apparent and physical change in season made me realize that there is beauty in the waiting period and in the different seasons of life.

As a young adult trying to navigate my way through life and fulfilling my purpose, one of the verses that stood out to me, particularly this summer, has been Ecclesiastes 3:11

‘He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from the beginning to end.’

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)

This verse reiterates the whole idea of trusting God and the fact that HE is the one who makes all things beautiful in its time. Understanding that God has a plan and purpose which everything else in our lives must surrender to, it takes the pressure off us to think we can determine how things will always go in our lives. Plus, who doesn’t  want a beautiful life right?

The idea of the ‘heart’ also really stands out. Both the Max Lucado quote and the bible verse reference the power of the heart. This leads me to one of my favorite verses at this current season in my life (see what I did there..lol),

‘Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.’

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV).

For me this raises the question, why is it so important to be able to control our heart and all that inhabits within it? And what is the role of our heart disposition in our perspective on the life seasons we experience?

Well, according to Proverbs 4:23, all that we do flows from our heart. Therefore, the manner in which we see our current seasons  will be affected by what is in our heart. As human beings in our infallible nature, Jeremiah 17: 9 explains that  “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?’ Ouch! As painful as that is to swallow we must digest and think about that. Honestly, a lot of times when we complain about our current season, whether academically, career wise, financially, in our relationships and so on, it is usually from a place of selfishness and wanting to have what we see others having or from our own personal human desires. Now, I do not believe it is wrong to have desires and aspirations to prosper and succeed. But, as Christians if we have surrendered to God and say we trust Him with our lives, surely his will for us should always come first?

Interestingly, Jeremiah 17:7 states

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.”

I am coming to the understanding that sometimes what the world classifies as ‘blessed’ may not always constitute to what the Bible classifies as blessed. I read somewhere that God is more interested in refining our character that in giving us what we want.

Food for thought: what if that difficult season we are in is being used to prune our bad habits and character traits to be replaced with Godly habits and traits.

This is why it’s very important to guard our hearts because it determines our perspective and can affect the mindset we have about our life seasons. Sometimes, our situation may not change but because we change our heart and the way we view that current season, then we can begin to see the blessings in that current season. Also, understand that because the ‘human heart is the most deceitful of all things’ nothing can ever truly satisfy us. Once we have obtained that which we think we need, there is always another level we strive to attain. But, if we learn to allow our minds to be transformed through the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2), then surely this renewal will flow to our heart and eventually we will enjoy and not just endure every life season we encounter.

However, we also know that no condition is permanent and in the words of Tye Tribbett, ‘If He (God) did it before, He’ll do it again.” Let us keep trusting in God while asking him to work on our hearts so when we move on in our life seasons we continue to pursue an intimate relationship with God and not just what He could do for us.

 

Happy Winter y’all!

#IntentionalGrowth

Mo 🙂 x

Women Crush Wednesday

The term WCW is known on the world wide web to mean Woman Crush Wednesday and I was just thinking about some of the awesome women I know that constantly inspire me with how they are fearlessly living in their purpose. Besides, gratitude is one characteristic I really hope to develop and I don’t know if you remember my post on the ‘Importance of Finding your Tribe’ (if you haven’t already you should totally check it out!). But, these are some of the people that motivate me daily to fostering and developing my own ‘tribe’.

One of those people is Adetuke Morgan whom I connected with on Instagram about 2 years ago. It was during a time where I was looking for female trumpeters so that I could observe their playing techniques. I actually discovered her blog first and intrigued and inspired by her skills on the saxophone. I really think it’s important to have someone that is a mentor of sorts. Even if they may not know us personally, it is still useful to surround one’s self with people that we admire in one way or another. Recently, one of the people I’ve been following who happens to be a female trumpeter and a Christian (#fangirlmoment) is Arnetta Johnson. She recently concluded a world tour with the Carters (Beyonce and Jay Z). For someone who had been searching so long for someone I could look up to in that area, I am super excited. I mean someone apart from the Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge of yesteryears. Don’t get me wrong, they are still legends in their own right but times have changed and styles have evolved.

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In terms of service and transparency another of my WCW is the amazing Tomi Comforts! I have known her personally and I must say I am incredibly inspired by her walk with Christ and how she is living a life of service by teaching and edifying the body of Christ through the word. I recently listened to one of her podcasts which funnily enough was on crushes. She has a guest with her on her podcast as she discusses several issues pertaining to Christian young adults navigating their walk with Christ in this fallen world. One of the things I have learnt from listening to her speak is that God places a huge emphasis on us fulfilling purpose (and we should too!). At all times and no matter the cost we should always place Christ first.

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One of the traits I totally appreciate in someone like Yvonne Orji, is how she is able to authentically be herself and be comfortable in her purpose and in her lane that she is able to celebrate her friends and loved ones without restraint. She is genuinely happy for those around her and is always the first to applaud and celebrate them when they succeed. Those are the kind of traits I really hope to be able to emulate. Even in the midst of her own success, she still continues to be the light God has called her to be and unapologetically celebrates her friends and loved ones whilst working her butt off as well. Now that’s #BlackGirlMagic

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Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Now, this was a bit of a late entry but I have been following MoChunks for a little while now. You need to go watch her testimony video on YouTube to understand what I am talking about. I saw a post on Instagram which spoke about Transparency vs Vulnerability. MoChunks was absolutely vulnerable with sharing her God experience and her testimony on her channel! I love her authenticity and her grasp on the idea of grace. Grace is such a huge topic that I feel we all need to learn about. Understanding that everyone is at a different stage in their journey with Christ and that we are all sinners and infallible beings that are loved and saved by a perfect God, it should make us more tolerant of our brothers and sisters. You never know what someone is going through or why they may be acting the way they are. Not giving an excuse but God has a purpose for each and every one. No matter how far gone we may think an individual is God still has a beautiful and wonderful plan for their life. I am so inspired by her story and her relationship with Christ. It’s encouraging to see young adults who are real about their walk with Christ.

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Beyond the online world, I am constantly inspired by the great group of friends God has surrounded me with and even within my own immediate family. It is so funny when we pray for an awesome community and we are also intentional about building such community, God really shows up and shows out, beyond our wildest imaginations. I see people walking fearlessly in their purpose and doing great things either career wise, family wise, business wise or in ministry. I think it is very important to intentionally see how God is working in the life of the people He places around us. I am reminded of my post earlier this year about being ‘Intentional’. That is definitely something I have tried to work on this year and I am not yet sure how successful I have been in that area but, rather than wallow in the pit of self-pity during this season of waiting, I am intentionally going to celebrate the awesome women that surround me.

 

Who’s your WCW?

#IntentionalGrowth

Mo 🙂 x

September

Happy New Month!  I know it’s kinda late but you know what they say, better late than never right…

Happy September

I can’t believe we are in the last quarter of this year.  It totally baffles me how this year has flown by so quickly. However, it’s not over yet! One thing I am looking forward to with eager anticipation this month is for new experiences of old things, learning to be content and wait on God and working to do whatever one’s hands finds to do.

 

Here are some of my favorite sayings, verses, and songs for this month.

 

  1. Open Door by Fountain of Life Choir. Okay, so I randomly found this song on YouTube and I tell you it has been such an encouraging and upbeat tune and the words feel so right for this current season. So if you’re looking to God for something and are expectant for what the next quarter may hold, trust that God is working things out behind the scenes. I heard recently during a sermon at church, the symbolism of the month of September as the month of ‘breaking forth’ new ground. It is the ninth month of the year which is a representation of the pregnancy period and eventual birthing of a baby. New ideas, visions and ventures are about to take place, but the reality is are we truly ready? For me this song captures the joy and jubilation that comes with declaring that this month as one of breakthrough.

 

  1. Surrounded (Fight My Battles) by UpperRoom. The song says ‘It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You.’ This reminds me of the passage in the Bible where Elisha, who was a prophet of God, prays that God should open the eye of his servant. It wasn’t that the servant was physically blind but he was consumed with fear because a great army of warriors known as the Arameans were encamped around their house, looking to capture both Elisha and his household. Whenever our troubles seems to overwhelm us and it seems like we are all alone, remember 2 Kings 6:16 “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!”           Just because it looks like its a losing battle does not mean it actually is, because guess what; looks can be deceiving.

 

  1. African Praise Medley by The Gratitude COZA is an ultimate pick me up if you need to get your dancing shoes on in preparation for the awesome things that are about to happen this new month!

 

  1. 2 Corinthians 4:18: “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now, rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.’  Let us focus on Jesus during the remaining quarter of this year and watch him turn things right side up in our lives!

 

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:58: “With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”                         Only that which we do for Christ matters and lasts.

 

  1. “Gifts are free, but maturity is expensive.’ Bill Johnson. God freely and happily gives us gifts we must be willing to invest in that gift so it can mature. What are you investing in this month?

 

  1. ‘God anoints the areas we are weak to show that he is strong’ Lisa Bevere in her recent book Adamant.

 

  1. Excerpt from Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver:             “God wraps up my good with your good and the good of both of us with the good of others. The plot lines of our individual stories weave together to form his master plan. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is left out. There are no dead ends or red herrings; every story line is given his greatest attention, his diligent care. Your story matters to Jesus…”

Adamant

  1. Make Room by Jonathan McReynolds is one of my favourite songs from his album!(In fact you should go check out the whole album, it is amazing, another great song is Lover of My Soul). We can overcome by the word of our testimony and through declaration. If it is compulsory, we should make vocal declaration to stick with God in this upcoming quarter so that he can break forth His glory in us.         ‘So I will make room for You I will prepare for two So You don’t feel that You can’t live here, Please live in me.’

Vessel

What is a Vessel?

Merriam-Webster defines it as a ‘container for holding something’. The second most common definition of vessel was ‘a person into whom some quality (such as grace) is infused.’

I remember as a teenager listening to  choir ministration at church on being a vessel for God. I will never forget that song because the lyrics really resonated with me even at a young age. Apart from the great musical mastery, the fact that it was sung in English and Yoruba made even more of an impact on me and my view of my service to God.

inspiration

I believe the chorus went something like this;

I want to be an instrument of praise O Lord, in your hands

I want to be an instrument of praise.

E mi fe je, ohun elo iyin ni Oluwa, ni owo re

E mi fe je, ohun elo iyin ni.

One of the things I feel grows in one’s heart is the desire to serve God. That desire to fulfill purpose. That is our heart’s deepest heart cry and it is what truly gives one satisfaction in life. Once we find Jesus and start chasing after him, hoping to know more of him and become like him, only then can our soul be truly satisfied. Especially when we taste and see that the Lord is good. When  working in our purpose, it does something to our soul, such that even in the midst of meeting deadlines and handling our business, we find ourselves at rest. That is the same with dwelling in the presence of God. It gives a certain peace that cannot really be described.

Vessel

So I recently listened to a sermon by Tolu Odukoya-Ijogun on YouTube titled ‘Vessel’ and it really inspired me. She spoke about the fact that God is ALWAYS looking for people to use because his people need to be encouraged and fed. What qualifies us is our availability. How available are we really? I mean when I really think about this it blows my mind. Especially living in a society where we are so huge and adamant about what skills and qualifications we have. Yet, God as the creator of the universe and galaxies says in order to work in my organization, the most important ability you require is availability. Man, that is incredibly humbling.

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For me this requires understanding that it is not about the individual. All I have to do is make myself available and have faith that;

‘He that began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’

Philippians 1:6

As someone with a lot of time on my hands now, I realize that because one isn’t doing something does not necessarily mean one is available. As we wait patiently on God for him to ‘find’ or ‘call’ us we can always find something to do. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop as they say. So, how are we pursuing purpose? I do not want to give a false perception that purpose is a clear and well defined path. Rather, what I am discovering is that our discovery and manifestation of our purpose goes hand in hand with our faith. We showcase our faith through our actions by trying out our hands at whatever we find to do.

We cannot claim to have faith in God if we haven’t gone out of our comfort zone and asked outrageous things from him. What could be more outrageous than entrusting our whole entire life and existence into his hands?

‘In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.’

James 2:17

How do we doing this though practically?

Some questions to consider may be;

  • What gives you joy?
  • What do you seem passionate about?

Even if you do not know, do not be afraid to try things out!

‘Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.’

Ecclesiastes 9:10

We should not be afraid to get involved either on campus with student groups, within our local church or our community. It isn’t necessarily about one’s ability but more about your availability. Availability is to do with us placing ourselves in positions where we can thrive and develop new skills. Things we may do now may not seem to make sense or have any connections but

‘God is working all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.’ (Romans 8:28)

So, whether it is working out or not, God is working it out for our good. Also remember that God is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.

prayers

So may we all continue to be intentional and diligent in making ourselves available to be used by God in Jesus name. Amen.

(Listen: Travis Greene ‘Instrument’)

#IntentionalGrowth

Mo 🙂 x

Soul Refresh

Guess Who’s Back?? Back Again. Mo Mo’s back. Tell a friend. 😀

curry

It has been way too long and I know I took a bit of an impromptu and unplanned break from the blog but as I say self-reflection is so vital and you cannot be giving from a well which is dry. I needed a break from this whole writing thing to refocus myself and my priorities as well as finishing some important things first.

Now I have missed blogging sooo much but somehow anytime I tried to sit down and write, it felt almost like I had writer’s block. Even though I know if I searched deep within me I had so much to write about. But I think sometimes for me at least it was that there were certain things I was expecting and waiting on God for. I felt that by withholding this and doing what I believe God called me to do, I would force God to give me what I wanted. I was trying to negotiate with God. Lol, #MasterNegotiator

Anyways, slowly I began to realize that I was only punishing myself  and not God to be honest. God does not require me to do his work. He will always raise up other helpers and other hands. I was only missing out on the benefits of working for my Father who soooo dearly and so intensely loves me. Moreover, I was also missing out on writing and expressing myself. Something that has actually been such a huge help in helping me process my thoughts and feelings. Trust me, I can see a huge difference in how I process my thoughts and emotions when I took my little ‘hiatus’.

 

Now, this isn’t supposed to be all about me telling myself off for my misbehavior, but it is to encourage others who at times may feel overwhelmed and unqualified to do whatever God may have called us to do. Even if you aren’t sure it is God’s calling because one is unable to discern God’s voice or for whatever reason. We are unable to do something that is weighing heavy on our hearts to accomplish, I always find it useful to ask myself very honestly and bluntly, why am I doing this?

Now, when answering this question we must be brutally and totally honest with ourselves. In whose name are we going forth and carrying out our work? At first I thought going on holiday and getting away from my normal routine would help to refresh me and take away whatever dark cloud that seemed to have settled on my mind and fingers preventing me from thinking of ideas or even writing anything down. But, guess what?

 

That was a major fail because as soon as I got back to my normal routine things did not progress. In fact, things got worse. Lol, like that could be possible. Instead, I started feeling even more guilty that perhaps there really was something wrong with me, maybe God didn’t put this thing on my heart to start, maybe it was my human desire to start it and I just sort of attached God’s name to it so it’ll appear more valid. I felt like a fraud and a failure. Unable to finish what I had started. Even more I felt like I was deceiving myself thinking that I could sustain this. And I was definitely right about something. There was NO WAY I could have sustained writing this on my own. Only God can help me.

 

Since #vacationvibes could not help me, I then tried reading a book called ‘Refuel’ by Rob Parkman.  As a lover of words and the possibility they have to accomplish so many things in our human minds, I was quite hopeful and expectant for what I believed this book could do for me. However, once again as you might have guessed, some things in life require practical and physical action and not just theoretical and hypothetical solutions. I had to find a way to apply what I was reading to my actual life.

Refuel

I guess the first step I took to truly getting the refresh my soul required and was desperately crying out for was to change my mindset. Changing my thought patterns impacted my behaviour and thus helped me make better choices which I hope will me form healthier habits. I had to realise that it was perfectly fine to feel overwhelmed or burnt out. But, it was not perfectly fine to stay wallowing in that pit of self-pity and burnt-outness (for the sake of this post, that is now a word. 😀 ). Honestly, I put way too much pressure and high esteem on myself to think that I had to find a way to keep putting out content and appealing to the masses. If God started something surely would He not finish it and even sustain it. I had tried to place myself in the position of God and try and do things myself (coincidentally, I am very guilty of doing this in almost every other aspect of my life, God is helping me sha). But, honestly, I had to first change my thoughts and quieten all the negative thoughts that told me I wasn’t good enough, I was a failure or that how could I encourage people when I had nothing significant that others could aspire to be.

It still is a journey to making smarter choices when such thoughts come into my head to banish them to whatever pit they came from, and ensuring to only surround myself and my mind with people and things that speak life to my life and situation. Some verses that specifically helped me get back on track with blogging and which funnily was brought back to my remembrance through a post by Dr Jackie Greene (@drjackiegreene on Instagram) was Isaiah 40:29 – 31

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Even youths WILL become weak and tired, and young men WILL fall in exhaustion.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

I emphasized the fact that on our own we WILL get tired and feel frustrated. But the key is that we trust in God. One of the things I have been really working on this year has been to trust in God. Let me tell you something! It is so much easier said than done. At the start of this year when I wrote about trusting in God, I can just imagine God laughing at me thinking this girl does not know what journey and trials she is about to embark on. Honestly, I can say that it has been so challenging and tough in so many ways and I just really did not expect it. Somehow, I had this glorified idea that yeah sure things will be tough but God’s got me right, I’ll be alright. Well, God got me but I didn’t got God. I relied way too much on myself even when I felt like I was trusting God. Keyword: Felt. Moreover, I started placing people in the place of God. Sometimes speak to God about your problems and not people. People can only do what God allows them to do for you, so why not take our worries and fears to him first

Before this post becomes more than I envisioned it to be, let me end here. I guess this just means there’s plenty more content for latter posts! But honestly, I am starting to think that all this whole experience was so that God could bring things to a full circle and teach me what it really means to trust Him. The funny thing is I actually prayed for this. Hmm, you berra be careful what you wish and pray for !

On a last note, I recently graduated with my BSc and as many recent graduates will tell you, I entered into this phase of the unknown and being kind of anxious for what my next step would be.

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But, just like in the above image, things may seem blurry, the picture may not be perfect of the beautiful future God has planned for us, (Trust me it’s soo beautiful, that words simply cannot even describe it), but God is the light at the end of the tunnel  with a huge smile on his face, his arms wide open and a huge thumbs up waiting to celebrate and welcome us into his great and glorious plan for our lives. Let us not give up and let us not grow weary of doing good, because in the right time (Not our time or the time of those around us) we will reap a harvest IF we do not give up (paraphrase of Galatians 6:9)

#IntentionalGrowth

Mo 🙂 x

Identity (Names) Pt 2

We cannot love ourselves and nor can we accept the love of others as we should, not until we understand the love God has for us.

Identity plays such a key role in the understanding of our purpose. I have been following a bible study series started at Church titled,  ‘Who is Jesus?’ and it has been quite interesting and instructive. This has led me to ask ‘Who am I?’. I am thankful for the great and thought provoking conversations had with loved ones of recent (thank God for Godly community) because it is showing me the importance of identity.  It seems a  lot of the identity issues we face may be due to a lack of understanding of our savior Jesus Christ and thus who He has made us to be. On the contrary, it may be due to being identified by a past version of ourselves which prevents us from manifesting in our true identity.

 

“As a child of God, which we are already, we cannot be striving to be something that we already are, all that remains is for us to show and allow that identity to come out.”

We are to wear Him as our protection by ‘trusting in Him’, we are to see Him as the supplier of all our needs by ‘hoping in Him’ and we are to live like He is our supreme treasure by ‘loving Him’.

 

Case studies;

  • In the last post I spoke about the Caesarea Philippi story (one of my favorite stories!) and the idea that Peter correctly recognized and identified Jesus. Peter who was previously known as Simon experiences a change in identity as well as a change in came when Jesus refers to him as ‘Peter’ or Cephas which means Rock. Jesus stated that ‘on this rock I will build my church’ (Matthew 16:18) which is quite interesting because it hints at Peter’s role and purpose in establishing and sharing the gospel of Jesus among the Jews of the time.

 

  • In the old testament, we are introduced to Jacob, (whose name means ‘supplanter’) who is presented as a deceiver and manipulator because he tricks his older brother Esau out of his birthright and blessings. I would say this is why we cannot allow the world to tell us who we are. One can argue that was what his parents named him and  how everyone around him referred to him was what he came to emulate. The same people that called him Jacob aka ‘trickster’ were shocked when he started living up to his name. (#Confusion.com?) But guess what?  When Jacob encountered the living God, the fervency and   intentionality that was part of his nature overtook his old identity and resulted in his name and identity change to ‘Israel’. The name ‘Israel’ refers to the chosen people known as the Israelites, who were the promised descendants of Abraham. (Check out ‘The Bible Project’ on YouTube for a better explanation of this lineage!). Basically, he becomes known as the father of Joseph and one of the forefathers of the Israelites. Pretty cool, right?

 

  • And of course the quintessential example is the great man himself; Jesus Christ. ‘Christ’  (Messiah) means the anointed one and ‘Jesus’ is similar to the Greek/Hebrew name, Joshua which means God is salvation. This clearly identifies and states the purpose of Jesus Christ, he was the Savior of the world and humanity by dying for our sins on the Cross, he was the anointed and appointed one.

 

“Who you are is a result of who you were, but where you end up depends entirely on who you choose to be from this moment forward.”     Hal Elrod

‘When you know the Word of God, you know the character of God’    Sadie Robertson

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”   1 Peter 2:9

‘ The biblical understanding of human self-identity is radically God-centered. As a Christian, one cannot talk about identity without talking about God’s action towards us, about our relationship with God and about the purpose of God for us.’

God has given us our specific and unique identity so that His identity might be proclaimed in the world through us since  we are all made in God’s image.

I pray for everyone seeking to find identity and discover who they are and all that God has called them to be. May God continue to reveal Himself to us and reveal who He has made us to be. May He grant us the grace to boldly and intentionally pursue that purpose He has given us, and thus exhibit the identity He has prepared for us. May we be strengthened to make the necessary changes and adjustments, if needed, to manifest our true identity in Christ. In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

 

 

#IntentionalGrowth

Mo 🙂 x (aka Morenike, MamaT, Renny, MK, …. Daughter of The King, Girl On A Mission)

 

 

 

Identity

As we are all aware the month of February is the designated month of ‘Love’ or ‘Luuurve’. Anyways, it is the month where we celebrate Valentine’s day in honor of St Valentine  (or Valentinus) who was a Roman priest in the 3 C.E who defied a decree that prevented young soldiers from getting married. St Valentine was believed to have performed secret weddings for these young lovers. St Valentine is also believed to have helped Christian prisoners escape the harsh and torturous Roman prisons. It is also Black History Month in American and North American countries, the annual celebration of achievements within the black community. This year in particular has been highly celebrated on social media due to the release of the blockbuster ‘Black Panther’ (watch out for my movie review!).

It can be quite easy to become lost in these different traditions and start to believe that is where one’s identity lies. As much as I want to celebrate both of these things, I have to remind myself that, identity isn’t defined by relationships or by our ethnicity. Rather, our thirst for identity can only be satisfied through the person of Jesus Christ.

First of all, I do believe an important thing to do is to avoid being defined by what people and society say that we are. It is so important to guard your heart against all things because from it flows the course of your life. By nature human beings are flawed and our ideas and thoughts are constantly changing. This is evident in the ever changing trends we see in the mainstream today. For example, he resurgence of 90’s era trends in music and fashion. It makes you wonder, who decides and when was it decided when certain trends would be come cool or stop being cool anymore. Anyways, I digress. The truth is our identity is not defined by what we say we are or by what society says we are because all these things change. People are fleeting just like our thoughts are also fleeting. Therefore, that goes to show that our identity must be anchored in something that is sure, something that is changeless and solid. That anchor is God. Whenever we feel that we may be losing our sense of self or that our true identity is being altered by what other people say, that is when we should resort back to the Word.

When I talk about the word of God, it can be in different forms. For example,  through inspired songs, I recently discovered  ‘ Solid Rock’ by Tash Cobbs Leonard ft Jamie Grace.

“I can lean on You and You won’t move

I can cry to you and You won’t move

I can trust You cos You’re my

Solid, my solid rock

You are solid, my solid rock.”

God is the only solid rock that we can turn to and who can honestly comfort us in the way we need to be comforted. Through his son Jesus Christ, God has literally experienced all types of pain and suffering we could possibly encounter. That is why it is very important that we go to him alone for our validation. When our foundation is Christ, our future is secure and our identity is sure

If you are a bit more old school then you check out the lyrics from the classic hymn;

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

 

I once read that ‘Our greatest emotional need is for intimacy.‘ That is for someone to truly love us for who we are, one who is a true friend and that for lack of better term ‘sticks closer than a brother’. That is why as young children we all long for a ‘best friend’.

Timothy Keller states that

“To be fully loved, but not fully known is shallow

To be fully known but not fully loved is our greatest fear

But, to be known and fully loved is our heart’s deepest desire.”

The bible’s answer to mankind deepest desire can be seen in Matthew 11:28 

“Come to me , all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

What are the heavy burdens we carry? Well these are the negative thoughts that clog up our minds that try to cause us to fall.

Did you know that the enemy studies us in order to bring up past insecurities or remind us of our past failures so we are unable  to move forward into God’s purpose for our life? ( If you haven’t already, do check out ‘Cycles’ by Jonathan McReynolds and pay close attention to the lyrics). This is why we need to study ourselves and figure out our weaknesses – this can only happen when we spend time with Christ. Studying God and His word can reveal to us who we are as well.

Don’t get me wrong, love is a beautiful thing and self-love is very important. However, our deepest desire for intimacy can only be satisfied by one person and that is God. To be loved and valued for who we really are and the only person that can actually fulfill that is God.  I think back to the story in the Bible when Jesus and the disciples were at Caesarea Philippi and Jesus asked his disciples ‘Who do people say I am?’. I find it interesting that although the disciples reply with various answers. Jesus instead asks the disciples directly “But, who do you say I am?’.

These are the people that have been walking closely with God right, the ones that should be able to some extent correctly define who He is. Peter then goes on to state “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Because Peter correctly states the identity of Christ his identity as the ‘rock’ is solidified (#punintended).

Matthew 16: 18 “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”

The name Peter or Petros means “the rock” which through his correct identification of the person of Jesus, his identiy is solidified. Did you know that Peter is one of the first disciples to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Is that shocking? Absolutely not, Jesus had already spoken into his life. Peter could only have correctly identified Christ because he had been paying attention to God, he had been studying him, communing with him and seeking intimacy with him. Peter was in the ‘inner circle’. We cannot correctly identity and walk in our purpose if we do not spend time with Christ, developing intimacy so He can reveal our true identity to us.

FirstLovedUs

We cannot love ourselves and nor can we accept the love of others as we should, not until we understand the love God has for us.

 

#IntentionalGrowth

Mo 🙂 x

 

Music Corner with Mo (2)

Happy New Month!!

Welcome to the second month of 2018!

I decided to share a couple of the songs I recently discovered and have been playing on repeat the past few weeks, do you have any recommended songs that I can add to my playlist?

 

  1. Be Still by Travis Greene

” Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am God
Just trust and know that I am God
And I’m in control, I am still God “

2.  Taste and See by Travis Greene;

” Peace is hard to find when the storm crashes on you
Stand the test of time is what you’ve tried your best to do
Loneliest is close to you
Those you love somehow you lose now
But God is good

Taste and see that the Lord is good
Taste and see that the Lord is good
Try him now, one thing’s for sure
He will never forsake you. “

3.  ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

 ” ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, Thus saith the Lord! “

“….Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more! “

 

4. Ore re by Folabi Nuel

According to this YouTube page, this song is a  fusion of jazz and pop with a blend of African elements featuring one of Nigeria’s foremost jazz pianist Wole Oni.

I personally enjoy the remix of the thanksgiving song with a totally different and unexpected twist.

BONUS: Good God ft Florocka.

5. Morenike by Siji

So I recently stumbled upon this Nigerian musician on YouTube and I found that he has a song titled ‘Morenike’. He states

The name ‘Morenike’, in Yoruba means ‘I have found one to cherish’ and is usually bestowed upon a much sought after female child. 

Apart from the title of the song which originally enticed me, my interest was maintained by the amalgamation of different sounds and visuals. The use of Yoruba in the chorus was contrasted with the New York backdrop in the music video as well as the sound of traditional jazz instruments such as Trombone and Trumpet contrasted with the beating of African drums.

He states on his website that the brilliant horn arrangements (part afro, part Jazz/big band swing) helped to lend significant weight to the feel and mood of the song.’

6. Ekundayo by Ty Bello

TY Bello beautifully honors the work of Mama Ekundayo, an elderly woman in Nigeria who has dedicated her life to taking care of abandoned children that are not being cared for or accounted for.

I particularly like the end of the music video where you can hear Mama Ekundayo praying for the video directors and those involved with making the music video. Highly inspirational.

7. The Faithful Love of Jesus by Hillary Scott

” Beneath our broken hearts and wounds
Where no one else can reach us
It finds a way to heal us through
The faithful love of Jesus

I pray you know the love I’ve got
The love that never leaves us
The height, the depth
The wind, the breath
The faithful love of Jesus “

8. Ayo by Femi Leye

AfroJazz guitarist Femi Leye’s somehow manages to infuse some scatting into this song (I guess he’s that much of a Jazz artist). But, his ability to communicate and evoke emotions from the strumming of his guitar chords is quite impressive. Coupled with his happy disposition in the music video as well as the title of the song being “Ayo” which translated to English means Joy, really does make this one of my ‘happy songs’.

Amazing!

Trust in The Lord

The first month of the new year is already over and we are already into Month 2 of  12 in 2018. Can you imagine that??

If you are on social media (and even if you’re not, I’m sure you may have heard through the grapevine), you would have seen the circulating memes talking about how slow January seems to be going.  But, as the month rounds off I have been thinking about the idea of trust in one’s relationship with God.  In order to intentionallybgrow in intimacy with God, we must learn how to trust Him. The kind of trust where you cannot necessarily see where you are going but you keep going anyways because you know (not speculate , not think, but you KNOW) that He (God) knows our future.

But first what is Trust?

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines, Trust as ‘ an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.’

What does it mean to trust in God? You know there are times we can convince ourselves that we trust in God and have surrendered all to Him. But until, we are challenged beyond our comfort zone and stretched beyond what we can bear on our own, only then can we truly say we trust in God.

Prov_3_5

Trust is leaning not on our own understanding or depending not on our own strength. I find at times that our trust in God is tested when the areas we believe we are strongest in start to unravel. For example, if we trust in people we develop unhealthy dependence on others and when they disappoint, which they will because they are human beings, we are bitterly disappointed. Nothing and no one should have such a great influence over us. In fact, the bible says our strength in God is heightened during our moments of weakness. Now, this may seem strange that a loving God would allow His children to suffer, but God lets us know that when we feel hopeless, weak and helpless that is precisely when we should come to Him. It is at that moment that our desperate need for God is highlighted. We always need God but we are oblivious that he is working things out under the radar and making things work out for our good on a daily basis. It is when things go wrong, we are forced to realize our lowly dispositions and the fact that we are but mere mortals. THEN, we are able to look and fully appreciate the supremacy of God. It’s not like the veil is completely removed from our eyes because when suffering and in pain it isn’t very easy to appreciate that there’s a strong and powerful God who is in someway allowing this to happen.

Rather, when we learn to indeed trust in God and not lean on our own understanding we’ll find it easy to submit to Him in all our ways because guess what, there is no one else we can go to and no one else that can help solve our problems and give our life meaning the way that He can. Putting our trust in anything outside of God will eventually always lead to disappointment and feelings of unfulfillment.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40: 31 (NLT)

The beautiful thing about this verse is that it doesn’t promise that we won’t get tired or weary. But instead, we will ‘find’ new strength. God’s mercies are new everyday, for the new issues we seem to be facing each new day. Does it feel like after conquering one problem there always seems to be another issue lurking just round the corner. Unfortunately, that is the life we are in. It is full of trials, tribulations, frustrations and failures. But, fear not because God has overcome the world, and guess what we can share in the victory through the person of Jesus Christ. 

Isa_40_31

What am I trying to say?  Let us intentionally make up our minds to put surrender it all to God. Let us learn to trust in God. Guaranteed it is a process that will not take place overnight, but we must make up our minds first of all to be intentional and determined to trust Him, and guess what He will help us and supply the strength and resolve needed. Sometimes this will require us to ‘Be Still’ and know that He is God. Being still does not mean being passive. But the peace and inner satisfaction that we get from being still can only happen when we trust in Him.

Psa_46_10

Let us remind ourselves of the faithfulness of God to us in the past. Has he ever failed us? I mean like really, truly failed us? When things don’t seem to go our way at first, do we not always look back and see that God really had a better plan for us than what we initially wanted.

Jer_29_11

What areas of your life can we better to entrust to God even as this year progresses?

#IntentionalGrowth

Mo 🙂 x

 

A Taste of The South

So, over time I have developed an interest in Southern cuisine. In particular with the much loved Jambalaya dish. I do believe my first experience of trying ‘Jambalaya‘ was at a Boston Pizza’s restaurant. If you’re not familiar with Boston Pizza’s style of cuisine, let’s just say it is not Southern cuisine! So, although it tasted quite delicious, it was missing the authentic Southern taste. As I have grown in my love of Jazz and its surrounding backdrop such as the New Orleans culture; the people, music, the history, the styles and most importantly the food!!!

Treat Yourself 

This past January, myself and a friend decided to go on a ‘Girl Night Out’ to treat ourselves because #whynot? Well, we ended up going to a New Orleans inspired diner and bar, where we enjoyed some ‘authentic’ Cajun cuisine.

Dadeo

Ambiance

So, straightaway my initial impression as I walked into the diner was it gave an ‘American movie’ type vibe. If you’re familiar with the show Riverdale, picture the diner in the show. Generally the ambiance was welcoming and the artwork contributed to the New Orleans style of the restaurant.

In terms of the reception, the servers were dressed in casual clothing which at first made it difficult to distinguish who to talk to. However, I think it contributed to projecting a kind of intimate setting which makes sense since it also promotes a family friendly vibe.

Food 

In terms of the food quality itself, I enjoyed the presentation of the food. Contrary to the usual recipe, the Jambalaya rice was swapped with quinoa instead and there wasn’t much of a change from the expected ‘jambalaya’ taste. Although, I would have liked for bigger portion sizes. I thoroughly enjoyed the chicken seasoning which had a bit of spice to it (coincidentally, reminded me of suya spice seasoning). Moreover, the quinoa had slices of caramelized onion sprinkled throughout which added another extra layer of spice and flavour to the meal. It also reminded me slightly of Nigerian jollof rice.

Quinoa_Jambalaya

Therefore, I decided to try making my own version of the ‘Jambalaya’.

Continue reading “A Taste of The South”

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