November 2019

How I let go of Happiness and got Joy

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When I got married, I believed it was my husband’s duty to always make me happy. After all, I just got married to the love of my life and we should quickly get on with our “happily ever after”.
You see, I blamed him for all of my unhappiness and I became the proverbial “nagging wife”. The more I became unhappy, the more I put pressure on him. Poor guy! It was too much pressure to put on anyone. I mean, I could not make myself happy and here I was blaming someone else for not making me happy.
Eventually, I gave up on happiness. Or should I say I gave up on getting happiness from my husband. I then discovered a truth that is already in the Bible:
”And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Phil 4:19 NKJV
God had already made a provision for me. I decided it was time to drop this pursuit of happiness and pick up joy.
Here are some of the things I did and still do:
1. Choose gratitude
Gratitude is easy when you have just got a financial windfall, or when you get an unexpected promotion. However, what about when things don’t go your way? Find gratitude in your challenges and commit to gratitude. Just like any other new habit, consistency is key. Don’t be picky about what to be thankful for, in all things give thanks.
2. Choose to be intentional
When any system lacks order or predictability, there is a gradual decline into a state of disorder. A marriage can descend into a state of disorder when certain things are left to chance. To prevent this, you must be intentional about saying “I love you” regularly, about taking time out (away from the kids and distractions) to be together, about having sex, about building intimacy and about communicating. Believe it or not, joy comes from predictability.
3. Pray together
Praying together builds intimacy; bringing your fears and hopes for the future to God strengthens your connection. One thing I learnt by praying with my husband is that he has his own struggles too and this in turn builds patience in me. Also, when you pray, you are turning the focus of your marriage back to God, you are acknowledging that He is your source of love, joy, resources etc.
4. Be liberal with compliments
I’m not talking about flattery here or being nice only when you want something, this should be about your husband.
When you genuinely compliment your spouse, your spouse’s self-confidence is boosted and makes you feel good too. You show that you appreciate them, that you notice all that they do for you and your spouse feels valued.
5. Be selfless
My marriage had become all about me and what I wanted. My wants were the focus. I didn’t even bother to find out what my husband’s needs were. This is contrary to Philippians 2:4 (TPT) where the Bible commands us to “Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests.”
Find out the needs (and wants) of your husband and go out of your way to fulfil them. You are not in a battle of wills with him and neither is he on earth to fulfil your will (Ouch). Your husband is on earth to fulfil the will of God.
6. Spend time with the Holy Spirit
Joy is a by-product of spending time with the Holy Spirit. Joy is a natural reaction to the work that God is doing in your life. The Holy Spirit literally cultivates character inside of you. This joy is supernatural in nature because you are not really doing anything to create it. You simply spend time with God and He works on and in you. The tendency to always find fault or be critical with your spouse dies naturally.

Your marriage cannot be about your happiness, your marriage is about God (That is a topic for another day). When you realize that God wants to reveal His kingdom through your marriage, you begin to think less about yourself and more about building a God-centric marriage.

DIWPRTEAMHow I let go of Happiness and got Joy
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Waiting and Investing in Motherhood

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Dear Momma,

How your side? And your yard people, hope everyone’s doing well? Thank you for taking time to read this article. Following the prompting of the spirit, I want to encourage you. Scripture says in Isaiah 40:31 that “But those who wait for the LORD [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.”

Every time I read this scripture, I see that the Lord is mindful of our journey as Christians, and this includes activities our hands find doing. It is a proof that God wants to be there with us all the way, helping us succeed, as we rely on His strength, power and Spirit. The only thing we have to do is wait! That’s the only requirement – learning to wait on Him for renewal of strength. This strength isn’t even just about physical strength, it includes mental, spiritual and strength of character.

Motherhood means a lot to God because it is His avenue for raising generals for Himself. This makes it exclusively spiritual, so by no human strength shall any mother succeed. We need God to help us nurture these precious gifts in His way and His way alone. How do you describe your motherhood journey? Judge yourself not Sis, just do a sincere evaluation of what you’ve been relying on and if you depend on God for wisdom and direction concerning raising your child (ren). The Lord who gave you these gifts to raise as godly seeds, has qualified you for the assignment and has endued you with power and strength.

So when you feel the overwhelming pressure to perform as a mother, don’t lose it yet. Wait on God for renewal of strength. When you are at lost on what to do about your child’s academic abilities, don’t let go of your hope, wait on God. If you see a character flaw in your child, be reminded that he belongs to God, wait on Him. When you are about to make a major decision regarding your child, don’t forget that God has the volume of books written concerning him. Wait on the One who gave you such a precious being. May your strength not be small in the day of battle and may you be strong when you need to stand for your own. All you have to do is wait. The promise of waiting is that you will mount up with wings as eagles.

Eagles soar above all else. Imagine you soaring above everything that wants to slow you down or suppress you; think about you soaring above challenges that belabor every other mother, just because you chose to wait on God for strength.

As you practice the art of waiting on God as a mother, investing is another art you must embrace and be conscious of. Investing must be a deliberate lifestyle of a mother who sees her children as godly seeds. She will invest into their future with prayers, positive words, scripture-inspired confessions etc. I encourage you not to get carried away by life demands to the end that you forget the investing part of your motherhood. While it is called today, there would be always be a tomorrow. Tomorrow happens happily to those who expect some positive outcomes of their deliberate acts of yesterday.

Dear Mama, God’s got you and He will never leave you. In the midst of life bustling, you can never miss it waiting on God! So wait. You have an assurance of a beautiful tomorrow in God for your children if you invest today. So, invest.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you and I.

Writer: Adenike D-light

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Ready for Battle? Put on the Whole armour of God (1)

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I love visiting my niece and nephew. One of the privileges of being an aunty is that I get to enjoy their company for a short period of time and then leave them with their parents (Just kidding!!)
One of the games they love to play with me is the “Hug attack”. It’s not so much a game as being smothered with hugs and kisses on all sides which I enjoy but act like I don’t. During these sneak hug attacks, my niece and nephew come up with ingenious ways to discover my weakest spot and I try to anticipate their plans and thwart them (most times, unsuccessfully). I remembered these sneak attacks when I was preparing to write this article. Ephesians 6:10-18 is not unfamiliar to many of us. It has been the subject of many sermons at our local church assemblies, school fellowships and family prayer meetings.
However, more than ever before, it has become imperative that we go back to this scripture and make sure we apply its principles to our lives so that we are indeed battle-ready. As Ephesians 6:12 states, the battle is not against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world and against mighty power and evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Why is it important to put on the whole armor of God?
Eph 6: 11 and 13 sets out the importance of wearing the armor. It is important for us as Christians going into battle to wear the armor to help us stand firm against all the strategies of the devil. It is important so that we are able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. So that, at the end of the day after the dust settles, when the battle is over, we are the last man/woman standing.
Priscilla Shirer, in her devotional “Armor of God” explained that one of the enemy’s strategy in this war is to distract us so that he can blindside us. The devil does not indiscriminately choose his assault weapons when attacking us in battle. His strategy is tailor-made to attack our tendencies, habits, deepest fears and weaknesses. His attacks are thus targeted specifically at these ‘weak’ spots. Little wonder that we find ourselves struggling with sin and temptations – the devil would not tempt a person who has a love of money problem with sexual temptations, neither would he tempt a person with forgiveness issues with money. His main goal is to sidetrack our attention by setting any number of internal fires ablaze in our lives – insecurity, intimidation, anxiety, fear, worry or busyness. His intention is to confuse and make us lose focus while he sneaks up from behind, like my niece and nephew plan to do during their sneak hug attacks.
So, how can we be battle ready for these sneak attacks by the devil? By putting on the whole armor of God. Today, I will be looking at the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness.
When you think about a belt, what comes to mind? Honestly, I would immediately think of a fashion accessory that I use to beautify my dress or to hold up my jeans in place. However, the Roman soldier’s belt was more akin to a girdle. Most scholars agree that the belt, more than any other piece of the soldier’s clothing or equipment, with its intricate décor and elaborate buckles, distinguished a solder from a civilian. The belt was a strategic, primary focal point of the Roman soldier’s outfit and we would soon see why this was so.
The belt – a sturdy leather girdle – was made to reach around the torso, providing the essential support which he needed while performing the quick demanding movements of war.
Why was the belt referred to as the belt of truth? The devil’s top strategy is deploying lies and deception. He is an expert at shading reality with enticing and alluring colors, seducing us away from black & white principles – A good example is the lie he sells about issues such as pre-marital intimacy. The devil is a professional at propagating fantasies and his packaging is so clever that unless you know what is true – and really know it at your core – you easily fall prey to his ploys.
Truth – God’s opinion on any matter – is our standard as Christians. Truth is our support, Truth is our backbone. Everything hinges upon the truth. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free (John 8:32)” Truth provides us with the core support needed in the middle of a spiritual warfare.
Next up – the breastplate of righteousness. For a Roman soldier, the breastplate protected some of the most important parts of the body – the heart, lungs and other organs necessary for life. The breastplate was made of bronze or chain mail and it was fitted with loops or buckles that attached it to the belt. Yes, you read that right – the belt helped keep the breastplate in place. If the belt was loosened, the breastplate slipped right off.
The breastplate was very important to keeping the soldier alive – so is righteousness for a Christian. Righteousness means right standing with God. It means living our lives in a way that is honorable to God. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we need to know what God’s word says. We need to feed on the Word until it becomes part of us. And, when the trials and temptations come, we can make informed decisions based on the Word.
The belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness are intricately linked together, and rightly so. To put on the breastplate of righteousness, we must first have the belt of truth firmly in place. Without truth, our righteousness is simply an exercise in vain attempt to impress God – legalese or self-condemnation, just like the Pharisees or Sadducees. We wear the breastplate of righteousness by obeying God and allowing him to work in us. By making him and his ways our dwelling place and seeking God above everything else, we live a righteous life.
When we wear the breastplate of righteousness and the belt of truth correctly, we develop a purity of heart that translates into the way we live our lives. We find ourselves putting into practice what we believe in our hearts. As our lives become more in line with the Word of God, more Christ-like, we make righteous choices which protects us from further temptation and deception by the devil.

Writer:  Tomilola Adebiyi

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WHAT IS IN YOUR HANDS

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It’s Monday again, yes!
For some people, it is exciting to wake up on Monday mornings to pursue their passion – that is, what ticks their heart and gives them a sense of fulfilment- while for others, Monday mornings come with trepidation – they wake up thinking “Oh No! why so fast?”
When you do what you love and enjoy, every day is a Monday, it’s all the same. That sense of knowing that what you do makes a difference, and every little action takes you closer to achieving your life aspirations and biggest dreams. But are we all there yet? Do we all get that tingling feeling of excitement on Monday morning? Are you in that place where you rule your world and understand how you fit into the big picture? Or that your efforts, small or great, counts and goes a long way? Do you experience the pure joy and delight of knowing that you are impacting your world with your ideas, work and diligence? This is something we all desire.
How do you change the narrative from feeling sick when it’s Sunday night because you have to resume at the office in the morning because you are doing something that drains the life out of you or something which you find no pleasure doing?
Let’s talk about a few things to help you wake up better on a Monday morning if you didn’t like it before now 
1. The Power of Choice
You may not love what you do but you have the power to make the choice to enjoy it even as you work towards your dream role or assignment.
One of the greatest capabilities of man is in making choices. You may not be able to help what people do to you but you have control over how you react and respond to them. You may have little or no control over the circumstances of life thrown on your path but you have the power to decide how it would shape you. You may not have total control over your current job – but you certainly have control over how you chose to do it, so what would your choice be? Will you choose to be sad about a job you cannot change immediately? or Will you choose to make the best of your time without wasting any time on negative emotions and feelings that drain you? Make the right choice!
2. What do You Have?
Many people hate their jobs because they do not feel they have what it takes to excel at their roles. However, God created each one of us in His image with unique capabilities and skills. We spend time looking at others with skillsets that do not come naturally to us and feel inadequate. What we should be doing is asking ourselves the question, “what skills do I have and how can I maximize it in my present role?”.
I currently work as a Sales Person and while i do not enjoy sales at all, I do love interacting with people and building valuable relationships. I have been able to focus on my natural strength of making friends easily to build my clientele and as a result of my excellent relationship-building skills, I easily get referrals to new prospects in addition to guaranteed repeat business. If you do look deeply inside you, there is something you possess that you can turn into your advantage at your current job.
3. Seek to Always Add Value
There is a popular saying that to lift your spirit, find someone who needs lifting and lend a helping hand, you automatically feel lifted too. This is a tried and tested principle. In your current role, find ways to add value to others, to the work, to the process, to everything around you. Do not stay focused on yourself or your dislike for the job/assignment, that just gives you a bad attitude.
When you add value always however, you set yourself up for recognition and upliftment. I particularly love the story of Joseph and he is one of my favorite male Bible Characters, coming closely after David and Daniel .
So what’s so special about Joseph? Here was a young lad who was sold into slavery at the tender age of 17, far away from home or any form of family, a long distance away from his culture and belief. It was enough for him to be lost and forgotten in history but not Joseph. He brought so much value that he was put in charge of everything in Potiphar’s house – his Egyptian Master. Being a slave couldn’t have been pleasant, especially being a slave hundreds of miles away from home with no familiar face or thing; in a country filled with strange gods and customs, strange meals, strange clothing and different way of life. Nevertheless, Joseph was too valuable to be ignored. Potiphar must have had other servants and slaves, even those much older and maybe with better years of experience in slavery  (no pun intended actually) but you get my drift. He was a Value adder (new word alert!). Did Joseph want to be sold into slavery? He sure didn’t. He did not choose to be a slave but that was where he was, and he made good use of the opportunity by adding value.
Remember when Pharaoh had a dream and needed interpretation of his dreams? That was when the butler (whom Joseph had also interpreted his dreams to while in prison) remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh about him. Joseph was summoned from prison. All he had to do was interpret the dream but Joseph with his attitude of being a Value-adder, went on to provide Pharaoh with a solution to the problem highlighted by the dream. He not only interpreted the dream with the help of God’s Spirit but further proffered solution to a very clear and imminent challenge of famine. So you see, solving problems especially when you didn’t create them is adding value. I am certain that was what set Joseph apart even in Potiphar’s house. Even though he did not choose to be a slave yet by adding value constantly everywhere he went, in due time he was elevated.
So dear reader, you may not be where you really want to be however you can make good use of where you are now as you chart the course to where you want to go. Use your choices positively and focus on things that give you energy and make you happy, start from where you are – look inwards and find that one thing that is unique to you, I am certain you will find a way to apply it to your current role to make your output better and erase your feeling of inadequacy; lastly cultivate the habit of adding value by being a problem solver not a problem creator – be the one with a solution.
God bless you.
Writer:   Ademorayo Apara

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