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Saturday, 31 December 2011

My 2011 journey ... so much to be thankful for ..

I have sooooo much to be thankful for this year. It has been a year of changes, of growth, of falling, of being picked up by GOD, of knowing how much my Saviour loves me, of answered prayers, of friendship, hope, home renovation, of physical, spiritual, mental & emotional changes.

I began writing this blog on the 9th of January 2011 and would not have believed I would have had almost 7000 views by the end of the year. I posted sporadically for the first 9 months and only really began writing here consistently and seriously from September. I am grateful for everyone who's dropped in, read a postcard or 2 or 3, made comments on the blog or back on Facebook. Whether encouraging or critical, every comment has been welcome. Most bloggers tend to write a blog that is very specific in pursuing one interest - but mine follows the story of my life, my walk with GOD, my weight-loss, my love for Arsenal, for politics, for Nigeria, for current affairs, and any other thing that grabs my attention at that time. I am thankful to everyone who has been part of this meandering journey with me.

My property renovation is going slowly - my builder has family issues so we are at 70% completion - it means I have not had a kitchen for quite a few months now but amazingly enough, we have survived. Big shout out to my brother who has stayed patient and to my son who runs back to Uni every time he can!!! LOL. But seriously, while it is frustrating to live with the grinding halt to the work, I know that it will soon be finished in a short while. My target is that by the end of January 2012, my ground floor will be completed, decorated and furnished - kitchen/great room and study and then I can turn my attention to the other two floors.

My Weight loss journey has been great. After a promising rewind back in August and mega progress in September, it slowed down in October when I came down with a series of horrible migraines - and since then my health's been on a bit of a downer. With no exercise and being in bed a lot, my weight crept slowly back up to 11.4 stone (72kg) but has gone now down to 10.2 stone (64.5kg). I was really hoping to be no more than 9.6 stone (60kg) by the end of the year but I am thankful thankful thankful. Considering that I hit 12.2 stone (78kg) at a point this year, to end it at 64kg without having done any exercise for 3 months is a huge blessing. It has been a long journey from my starting weight of 15 stone (96kg)  in Oct 2009 but I would rather lose the weight this way (healthy eating and some - not enough - exercise) and keep it off than to have gone on a crash diet and have regained it all a few months later. My goal is to end 2012 at 8.6 stone  (54kg).

My walk with GOD has been amazing, life-changing and humbling. I have been a recipient of His love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and favour in ways I simply cannot begin to describe. His gentleness has upheld me, His loving kindness has made me great. He has covered my shame and has been the friend that sticks closer than a brother. GOD has opened up new doors to serve Him and continues to open up new doors. When I began this blog, I could not have imagined I would write posts that would bless and touch people. JESUS blows my mind.

As for my love-life: hmmmm, from the roller-coaster of ending a relationship at the beginning of this year to the surreal experience of turning away 3 apparently eminently suitable candidates by Mid-November (because they just weren't right for me), all I'll say for now is, watch this space! *giggle*.  We need to understand that our times and seasons are in GOD's hands - I have stopped worrying about what I cannot change, I have stopped trying to manufacture or bring about stuff by myself and I am now content to just sink into GOD's provision knowing that HE cares about me and takes care of my every need.

Work has seen an interesting change. I used to be totally passionate about my job and to throw myself into it 150%. It consumed almost every waking moment and I lived, ate and breathed property. However I noticed a change when I returned after my Nigerian trip. I still love my work but it is now in its proper place - it is now something I do and not something I live for. Poor health the last 3 months has also meant my activities have been severely curtailed. GOD's been gracious, I have had very few tenant vacancies and most of my job-load the last 3 months has been administrative. A laptop and a telephone are all I need to keep the business ticking over.

Writing has become a passion again - with the blog for now taking the place of my almost finished novel. However, the re-write on that is almost finished so again I say, watch this space. :-)

Arsenal are doing great!!! Yahyyyyyy. After hitting a low of 17th in the table, the team has clawed it's way up to the 4th position, 3 points behind the Tottenham at no 3 who have a game in hand, 9 points behind Man U no 2, and 9 points behind Man City the no 1 team who also have a game in hand. Getting into this position in the New Year means it is still theoretically possible to fight for 1st place. However this season is all about getting into the top 4 for a Champions League place. In this year's Champions league, we've qualified for the last 16. And Robin Van Persie has been OUTSTANDING!

Thank you LORD for my numerous blessings; for sonshine - the world's greatest son, for my amazing siblings (& siblings in-law) and fantastic parents, for my bestest friend forever - 27yrs and still going strong, for my fantastic church-family - 21yrs guys and I still love ya all to bits and pieces, for my awesome circle of friends, for my prayer-partner, for my FB friends, my blog readers, and for my totally awesome music buddy of 26 yrs. Y'all know just who you are and exactly what you mean to me. My 2011 journey would have been extremely poorer if any of you had been left out of my life.

Here's to a fantastic 2012 for us all. May He grant you and you and yes you AND me, ALL the desires of our hearts.


Friday, 30 December 2011


A grain of sand
lodged in a shell

sharp, ..
gritty, painful
often company
sometimes a nuisance
but always there

the mussel folds arounds the grain ..
enfolds it
shapes it
moulds it
births in pain
a hidden secret

just a shell

the day comes
to prize open the mussel

its treasure unfolds

a perfect pearl


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Pastors are NOT GOD - just sinners saved by Grace.

Pastors are NOT God. I’ll repeat that – your pastor is NOT God. Your pastor is NOT Jesus Christ. Your pastor is NOT the Holy Spirit. Your pastor is NOT even more special to GOD than you are. They are simply men and women like you and I, saved only by GOD’s grace, standing only by GOD’s grace.

Two abuse stories have leapt out at me over the last year. Eddie Long in America and Albert Odulele in the UK. Both men were accused of inappropriate sexual contact with young men in their congregation. Odulele was jailed for 8 months while Eddie Long settled out of court with his four accusers. Eddie's Long's wife has just filed for divorce.

As a Christian, what should my reaction be when I hear these and other horrible stories? Should I leave the Church and conclude Christianity is NOT real? Should I rally around and blindly support the pastor? Or should I raise my voice shrilly to condemn the pastor?

Hmmmm, how about doing it the Biblical way. What does GOD command that we do? CATEGORICALLY CONDEMN THE SIN WHILE PRAYING THE ONE WHO HAS DONE IT COMES TO REPENTANCE.

GOD does not ask us to support sin – whether committed by the Pastor or the lowliest bench warmer. HE does NOT expect that we will make excuses for ‘PASTOR’ and say he was under stress, seduced, provoked etc or all the other silly reasons people come up with. He does NOT expect us to CONDEMN or blame the raped victims, HE does NOT expect us to talk about ALL the good the pastor has done and how he/she should not be judged harshly. 

GOD definitely does not expect us to quote those too-often misquoted verses ‘JUDGE NOT’ ‘Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm’ or ‘Who judges another man’s servant.’

I’ll quickly run over what the biblical viewpoint: Paul tell the Corinthian Church to judge sin in their midst. The verse ‘Touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm’ actually refers to ALL of Israel – so for today, that verse would refer to all the Church or the ENTIRE body of Christ. Paul judged and told Peter off publicly when he realised Peter was wrong. Nathan judged David’s sin and told off the anointed King of GOD.

What GOD says is, sin is ALWAYS wrong and it is NEVER right.  Sin should NEVER be excused or glossed over. We are meant to ‘judge’ sin in our lives and the lives of other believers and then flee to Jesus to repent. We are meant to pray for our brethren if we see them caught up in a sinful lifestyle and to then speak to them in love, so they can repent and their souls can be saved.

So how does anyone go about that? You hear of a brother or sister committing adultery? What do you do? Thank GOD that JESUS shows us what HE does in the story of the woman caught committing adultery. Adultery was punishable by stoning under the law. Her accusers brought her to JESUS to trap Him. His words to them were: ‘He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone’. OKAY NOW! After they slunk away, His words to the shivering sinner: “Woman, where are thy accusers? Neither do I condemn you. GO AND SIN NO MORE.”  He did NOT condemn her, He did NOT even ask her why/what/where – He forgave her and told her to turn her back on sin. Suddenly a sinner was forgiven and restored. That is ‘hating the sin and loving the sinner.’

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. I will admit that when I first heard about Odulele and Long, as the mother of a son, I picked up my batch of stones, washed and polished them nicely and was about to start flinging them at their heads – when I heard Jesus say – “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone”.

Now my stones dropped to the floor as I examined my own life.  No, I have NOT raped anyone NOR abused kids  – however Jesus said something once – “He who looks at a woman lustfully in his heart has committed adultery.”

I was sunk right there! While physically I lead a celibate life (albeit a difficult celibacy), I have committed the sin of lookery/thinkery/dwell uponry/and imaginatively.  Now I dunno about you married Christians, but for us unmarried Christians, most of my brothers & sisters will agree that staying celibate is one of the hardest commands to follow.

So now y’all can see why my stones dropped to the ground. ‘Thou shalt not commit fornication/adultery’. ‘Thou shalt not covet someone else's property.'

Neither Long nor Odulele's sins came about in one day. God would have been warning them for a very long time – no rape starts with just pouncing on the victim.  Sin begins with a stray thought, then a longer thought, a sneaky look at porn, a dwelling on lustful images, a reflecting and deep thinking of things you can share with no-one. Sin grows. It mushrooms. It corrupts and destroys. It warps character. It leaves death in its wake until finally one day sin becomes master of the person and a man finds himself abusing a child.

I do not forget the many victims of these and other sexual abuse stories. My heart bleeds for them. I pray God comforts them and heals them of this great betrayal by someone they trusted. For anyone abused, there is only one answer, JESUS. Only HE can heal the deep pain, scars, bitterness, mistrust, nightmares, left by the experience. RUN TO JESUS and receive life-long healing.

For anyone caught in the grip of sin, there is only one answer. JESUS. HE died on the cross for every single sin ever committed, past/present/future. RUN, FLEE to HIM quickly before sin overpowers you and becomes master and you become slave. GOD forgives freely because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.

No matter how bad you think things are, remember JESUS says – “Neither do I condemn you. NOW GO AND SIN NO MORE.”

Friday, 23 December 2011

God's Anointing vis-a-vis Godly character

To be anointed by God is to have been gifted by the Lord - often the individual has done nothing to deserve it. God chooses who He will lavish His gifts & callings upon. Thus Saul was anointed to be King, although he had done nothing to deserve or earn it. The anointing of God is a wonderful thing and the book of Romans tells us to covet all the gifts of the Spirit.

However character is not a free gift. Godly character is wrought and forged in our lives by God's hand squeezing, trying and testing us. Developing character is painful. It involves denying ourselves the easy pleasures our flesh craves. When we don't lie, flee sexual sin, don't steal, are not greedy for gain, forgive others even when they have hurt us deeply and are NOT sorry, give up our rights, stay quiet in the midst of insults, trust God even in dark times, praise God when everything is negative, speak faith in the middle of seeming hopelessness, obey God, it develops Godly character in us. We are yielding to the Holy Spirit and allowing the life of God to grow in us.

No-one can choose to be anointed by God; God's anointing is His free gift that He bestows upon whosoever He pleases. However it is our choice to allow or not allow God to develop character within us. Because God's anointing is a free gift, a man can have the gift of prophecy but still be a thief like Balaam. Godly character on the other hand, can only be developed by fleeing iniquity and being obedient to God. (Balaam’s story is in Numbers : Chapter 22 – 24)

Joseph had the gift of dreams - the only anointing or gift we appear to see in his life. He was also very handsome. However Joseph was a MAN of character. From his childhood, he was diligent, hard-working, obedient, submissive to authority as a son, a slave and a prisoner; honest, forgiving and FAITHFUL to GOD and these were the traits that took him far. God tried and tested Joseph’s character, refined him and Joseph came forth as PURE gold. Although he was cruelly sold into slavery by his own brothers, falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife, wrongly imprisoned by Potiphar, callously forgotten by Pharaoh's butler; through those 13 yrs long years of slavery, imprisonment & seeming abandonment by God, Joseph never stopped holding unto God and living a Godly life. No anointing could have kept Joseph through those 13 years of pain & sorrow. What kept him was his relationship with God. Joseph TRUSTED God & lived a life worthy of that relationship. (Genesis: Chapters 37 – 50).

Contrast this with King Saul. Saul was greatly gifted. Tall, handsome, charismatic, a brilliant general, anointed to be Israel's 1st King, a prophet, the Holy Spirit even came upon him a few times ( in the days when the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to very few) - Saul had anointing and giftings in spades! He even had a Godly mentor – Samuel, God’s great prophet-judge. However Saul lacked one vital thing - a relationship with God. He was a man of flawed character. His gifts and anointing could NOT make him right with God. He died a sad lonely miserable end, rejected by God, the Kingdom torn from his hands, plagued with bouts of madness and periodic demonic attacks, a man who authorised the killing of the Levites (the priests of God). By the end of Saul's life, he could no longer hear from God as God refused to speak to him.

It is very important to note that after Saul was rejected by God, nothing seemingly changed in Saul's life. He was still King, he still won battles, he was surrounded by his sons and grand children and life appeared to continue as normal. Saul was king for 40 glorious years – during his reign Israel NEVER lost a battle until Saul's final battle. (1Sam: Chapters 9 – 27).

Anyone looking at Saul from the outside would have called him a blessed anointed man highly favoured by God. In fact, some might have wanted to ‘hang around him’ so they could 'share in his anointing'! (All they would have got were madness and demon possession - a very sobering thought). As for Saul's armour-bearer? Well, the poor chap committed suicide at Saul’s last battle and defeat. Be very careful who you associate with. The wrong person can impact your destiny negatively.

Having gifts, talents, anointing is wonderful and a blessing from God. However all one's gifts will not mean anything if Godly character is not formed in the individual. Apostle Paul (a man greatly anointed by God and who had yielded his life completely to God so he had tremendous Godly character) says by the Holy Spirit,"Let those who are named by the name of the Lord depart from iniquity." That simply means is if you are a Christian, then stop excusing sin in your life. No ifs, no buts, no excuses, just flee temptation like Joseph and don't try to excuse sin like Saul. Those decisions made by each man impacted their lives, their walk with God, their children, their calling.

For Joseph, it meant he became prime-minister of Egypt, the man God used to save the entire world from famine, he became head over his brothers, the birthright became his, his children were blessed and God stamped him with God's own seal of approval (he is mentioned in God's hall of faith - Heb 11). His two sons were even named among the 12 tribes of Israel - an honour that was meant to be reserved for Israel's (Jacob) sons alone. Basically, Joseph received a double-portion of the blessing.

For Saul, his decision to disobey God led to ignominy and rejection by God. His genealogical line was disinherited by God, he went mad, his sons were killed in battle, he committed suicide, died hopeless & defeated by his enemies, and even after his death, God's judgement upon Saul did not end. Saul's grandsons were put to death many years after his death. Of Saul's male line, only his grandson Mephiboseth survived because his father Jonathan had been faithful to God. But while Mephiboseth survived, he was crippled.

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. God is gracious in mercy and loving kindness, but He is also a judge. It is much much safer to stay on the right side of God - for who can deliver the person God unleashes judgement and fury upon?

Let us all endeavour to see Godly character formed in our lives. Let us yield our all to God and be faithful in whatever He gives us to do. God’s anointing is given to every Christian to do the work of God. We should desire God’s gifts so we can serve Him, however Godly character is what will give us a relationship with God. Anointing without Godly character is meaningless in the long run.


Let's remember that God will anoint anyone to carry out His work. The presence of God's anointing does not indicate the person anointed has Godly character. Jesus said ‘the stones will praise me if you do not’. Even Balaam's donkey became anointed of God, saw an Angel and then SPOKE to Balaam, a prophet. Now that was one heavily anointed donkey!!!!! LOL (Num 22: 23 - 30)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christians are NOT perfect people but sinners saved by grace.

Christians are not perfect people - just greatly flawed sinners saved by grace. The new birth is of the spirit, so it is impossible to look at it with physical eyes and understand what it really is about.

Let me try to explain. Jesus, died for all men. He carried the burden of sin of mankind and on the Cross where He was crucified, sin was defeated and man was released fom the slavery to sin. Man was reconciled to God. The prison doors were flung open and all mankind, enslaved by the chain and yoke of sin, were invited to step forth into a new life. Some prisoners audaciously grab this message of hope and run out into the light, while some slink further into the deeper gloom of the prison muttering it must be a trap and the promised freedom is hollow. Others have become so acclimatised to prison, they are too afraid to function anywhere else.

God created Man. He gave Adam & Eve one simple instruction - do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now, there isn't anybody out there who actually believes this tree or the fruit thereof was a symbol of or about sex, is there? If they read a couple of verses up, they'll find God had already told Adam and Eve to procreate and FILL the world. Now I dunno about all you lot, but this strikes any logical person as a commandment to make love, do it lots & lots, do it frequently with great zeal and have babies. Unless there is anyone who actually thinks GOD lacks a basic knowledge of Biology and did not quite realise children would only come about from Adam & Eve 'doing it'! LOL

To all those who think GOD is a pleasure-hating-kill-joy, let me share something - GOD INVENTED SEX. HE made it the pleasurable fun joyful activity it is designed to be. However, His commandment about sex is to share this pleasure in a committed marriage as He knows human emotions are not built for casual sex. No matter how much peeps protest, someone is usually hurt in a casual sexual relationship. Human minds and souls become scarred. Men and women lose that joyful innocence we have as children as we become cynical, hardened and brittle from putting our bodies, mind and emotions through a wringer they were not designed for. (Sex is for another blogpost .. LOL)

So man eats of the tree and something happens - he now knows good but can only DO evil. I hear people protesting - I do good, I am nice, I give to charity etc etc. Ahhh, but to the Judge of the universe, our 'so-called good is rotten through and through'. Humans do 'good deeds' to feel good about ourselves, we do good while having evil thoughts, we do good often with base motives etc. With GOD, good and evil is totally black or white. If you want to be 'good' in your own strength, then the passmark for goodness is 100%. Any slip-ups and you are a sinner - plain and simple. Man has an extra burden: Sin came down in our DNA from grandpappy Abraham so even if you never commit one sin, your DNA labels you a sinner!

Huh? Really? Ok, let's face it - the human race is totally 'screwed' and on its way to hell! Straight to hell! Do not pass go! Do not collect £200! Just go straight to Hell!

But GOD made a way out. He decided to take man's sin upon Himself, pay the price for sin, and then offer man freedom from the Sin DNA principle by giving us new lives. So Jesus was born, lived a totally sinless life while faced with every temptation, was crucified, on that Cross unflinchingly accepted the whole outpouring of God's wrath and judgement for Sin, took Sin and Death upon Himself, died and was resurrected on the 3rd day! He is GOD's spotless lamb, the divine gift to Mankind. His death has paid the price in full. I'll repeat something I have said on a previous blog postcard: No-one will go to hell for their sins because the full price has been paid. Anyone who chooses to go to hell will do so for rejecting God's redemption.

So Christians still make mistakes, still fall, still do the wrong thing. It is a new birth, which means a new life. We start off as babes and grow into adults. When a believer sins, the bible tells us to run to Jesus and repent. To my fellow believers, I say one thing. JESUS died for everyone. We are not called to hate one group or the other. Sin is sin. If you hate homosexuality, then please also hate lies. Hate fornication (sex outside marriage) and also hate gluttony. hate adultery and also hate the lust for money. Hate cruelty and also hate abuse. Can you see that we are called to hate the SIN and love the sinner? We are only saved by grace, perfect because GOD calls us so, Holy because HE clothes us with His holiness. In and off ourselves, we have no goodness. The message we are called to preach is called the GOOD NEWS. We are to tell all that Jesus died for them and the prison doors are open. We are called to share a message of hope: 'though a man or woman's sins be as red as scarlet, GOD can make them as white as snow.  He will forgive ANY sin no matter how dire or evil it is. JESUS has already paid the price for it. Telling people they are worthless hopeless useless sinners who are their way to Hell is NOT Good News! (D'uh!). The Good News is telling everyone there is NO reason anyone has to go to Hell.

God is kinder than we could ever think, more loving than we could ever imagine. Let us learn to love ALL, even as we are loved by Him.


Thursday, 8 December 2011

I Am A Woman

I am a woman ...
Irrational, emotional, sensitive, illogical,
I am a woman ...
Intuitive, talkative, unshakable, unstoppable,
I am a woman ...
Weak, tender, gentle, soft-hearted,
I am a woman ...
Strong, steady, calm, down-to-earth,
I am a woman ...
Delicate as a flower, sturdy as a steel beam,
I am a woman ...

A tender word from you can brighten up my day,
Your frown can cause the sun to go down,
I am a woman ...

Loving you doesn’t make me weak
It strengthens me,
Crying doesn’t break my heart
It refreshes my soul,
Please don’t try to change me,
Embrace me,
I am a woman ...

Your woman.........

Copyright © 2010 Noir.

Monday, 5 December 2011

A life of constant sunshine with no rain?

“Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” or ‘If we are happy to receive good from the Lord, should we not also be prepared to receive the not-so-pleasant-at-the-time-its-happening-to-us?’

Job asked, admonished AND encouraged his wife with the timeless words above, at the lowest point in their lives. After a happy life together with a good marriage, healthy children, uncountable riches, great health, honour & respect, suddenly, without any warning, on one day, EVERYTHING in their lives was ripped away – children, wealth, possessions, reputation, health. Everything physical that could be stripped away was taken away in the blink of an eye. For anyone who doesn’t know the story, please read the book of Job in the Bible prayerfully. It is a life-changing eye-opener.

Most human beings would like pleasure without pain, love without commitment, riches without work, life without death, summer without winter, a harvest without planting, exams passed with no reading.... However, these wants are actually pretty stupid & harmful to us in the long run.

Babies are an amazing gift – they look cute, cause love to well up in a parent’s heart & give joy to every sane person around em – however, the parent also puts up with loud crying, stinky poopy nappies, constant feeding & sleepless nights. You cannot have the joy of the baby without the work of those smelly nappies! And let’s not even discuss the pain of childbirth! But what mother would forgo the joy of a happy healthy baby to save herself the swiftly forgotten pain of labour or a Cesarean op?

Why do we expect (or even desire) a life filled with sunshine and no rain? Can we imagine what the earth would look, and be like, if there was sunshine everyday with no rainfall? Dry/brown/parched/famine/death! Can we picture endless warm sunny light-filled days with no cool dark nights & no way of darkening bedrooms to get some sleep? What a nightmare! We’ll rapidly become a race of hot, itchy, sun-burnt sleep-deprived, irritable, paranoid humans going around shooting anything that dares move.

So also reflect for one moment on the truly horrendous awful reality of a Christian life filled with everything going the way we THINK we want it? Okay, let’s be truthful here – how many of us would ever pray or turn to God for anything, if everything in our lives, is going the way we want it, at the time we want it? End result? No growth in our lives, no patience learnt, no faith strengthened, no deep love for the Lord that comes only by relationship-building, no comfort received from God, no testimony to share, no dependence upon God, no laying our will on the altar, no sowing good, no joy when God answers prayers, no encouragement with which to strengthen others... in short A SPIRITUALLY DEAD, SELF-CENTERED, SHRIVELLED, DECAYING CHRISTIAN useless to God, himself/herself and everyone else.

Unfortunately, too often we ‘unknowingly’ lust after what Adam & Eve really sought – independence from God and a desire to run their lives their way. Wellllllll, we all know HOW well that decision turned out them and us!

Jesus on the other hand, prayed & sweated blood as he struggled mightily so that He, the sinless spotless lamb of God, the Son of God, could surrender His will to God’s will. “If You will, please let this cup pass away from me, but Lord God, NOT my will, but Yours alone.” And we ALL know HOW amazingly WELL Jesus’s surrender to God’s will turned out for us!!!!!!! (Thank you Lord Jesus!) 

No matter how dark or long the night seems, dawn will finally break & daylight will dispel the thick gloomy darkness. Beloved, Weeping may tarry for the night but Joy is coming in the morning.

This is God’s unshakable promise to you and I. Hold on to God. Hold tightly to His promises. Trust God. Do not become weary of doing good. After we are tried and tested, our faith will come forth like pure gold.

"But for you who fear God's name, surely the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in His wings". Say to God’s people, "Rejoice, your salvation draweth near".

Remember the glorious end of Job!