Posts in The Christian Faith

Christian Persecution (Asia Bibi's story).

For some beautiful reason, of late, my mind has been centered around Christian persecution. I know its to prompt me to pray but I also want to prompt you to pray.
Lots of Christians nominally live each day in a bubble, passive about what is going on to others who call upon the name of the lord like they do.
Very often growing up, I heard my mum lead people to pray for Christians in the persecuted world by saying (paraphrased):

“you wake up on a Sunday morning and tie your colourful headscarves and on your way to church, you see several others in colourful attires, so you think there are many Christians. But it isn’t so. There are many people in various parts of the world who cannot publicly act like you do. When they get courage to hold services, they do it quietly without clapping to draw any attention. when they meet to pray, they do it in ten minutes in a toilet or some other secret unsuspecting places.”

On the contrary to this thought pattern of there being many Christians everywhere, ChrstianityToday, states that approximately 215 million Christians experience high, medium or low levels of persecution, which turns out to be one in twelve Christians.
Did you read that?
Let’s make this clear. In some of these places, its not just forbidden, it is illegal. Its like having cocaine on you. Religious Nationalism is in place. You mostly cannot share your faith with your children, you can only pray that one day they would be touched and turn to the lord. Sharing your faith with your children is risky as they’re terribly indoctrinated at school and other places. For your safety and theirs, its almost best to wait.
And you won’t believe it! – While typing this post, I stood up to get my phone to check a fact. It was then I saw this from someone on Whatsapp – ‘Asia bibi has been released, praise the lord’ . It was unbelievable. It was sent in by 5:10pm. I checked my phone at 6:00pm. how could I have known that when I set out to type this post, this lady had been released? You don’t get ? She was acquitted today – 31st October, 2018(the time of initial blogpost draft). She was freed from the charges of blapsphemy the day I sought to share the need to pray for persecuted Christians. She’s been acquitted, declared innocent by the supreme court of Pakistan after eight years!
Read the abridged version of Asia Bibi’s story on BBC here.
There’s trouble on the horizon though. The acquittal has stemmed lots of protests and now Asia Bibi can’t leave the country yet. In fact, another appeal can now be made against her acquittal (and that might eventually lead to her death depending on the outcome if carried out). All these because of the violent protests. Read on BBC.
Christians are imprisoned, beaten, made to lose properties, molested and even killed for their faith. Christians are one of the most persecuted groups in the world.
You will be hated by everyone for my sake, but he that endures to the end shall be saved” Mathhew 10:22.
Christian persecution is hostility based on identification with the lord Jesus Christ. Haven’t you heard that “what isn’t worth dying for, isn’t worth living for?” A time comes when you’ve gone beyond basic bread and butter Christianity, a time when you say like Peter when asked to leave the Lord: Lord, to what person could we go? Your words give eternal life. John 6:68.
I’m only afraid that some Chrisitians have never considered the hard questions – really, would you lose a limb for Jesus? Would you stay in jail for him for eight years like Asia Bibi?
Today, would you pray for the faith of those who go through these things that make you tremble? Would you also build your faith beyond fair-weather Christianity?
One Chinese Church leader who spent 23 years in prison, once said to the Christians who did not face persecution:

“I was pushed into a cell, but you have to push yourself into one. You have no time to know God. You need to build yourself a cell, so you can do for yourself what persecution did for me – simplify your life and Know God.”

North Korea consistently ranks top in the world’s most dangerous place to practice the Christian faith(ranked top for 17 years). Afghanistan comes closely behind. Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Eritrea etc. Pakistan scores highest in violence towards Chrisitans
According to Opendoors USA, Every month:

  • 255 Christians are killed
  • 104 are abducted
  • 180 Christian women are raped, sexually harassed or forced into marriage
  • 66 Churches are attacked
  • 160 Christians are detained without trial and imprisoned.

The website also states:

“There is something about hardship that allows us to know God deeply. When times get really tough, we discover more about who God is and how he really works”

Scripture says in Hebrews 13:3 “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” .
There are mission resources for praying around the world. As children, my sisters and I used the children edition of Operation World – “you can change the world through prayers“. There are resources everywhere for everyone, you just have to be deliberate about it.
John 15:20:

“Remember what I told you: A servant is not greater than his master. ‘if they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.”

2 Timothy 3: 12

“Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Persecution is seen in all the pages of the Bible, not just with the early church in Acts but right from the start.
The church prayed for Peter. You can pray too. Get specific prayer directions that would help you be accurate in your prayers, you can go beyond repeating “God, I pray for Christians facing persecution” every single day. You can still pray for total protection for Asia Bibi and her family from those still threatening them. You can pray for others too by name or tribe. I knew of Asia Bibi through WOMIG -TKP.
Remember:

1 Corinthians 12:26 “if one part of the body suffers, all the other parts share it’s suffering. If one part is praised, all the others share in its happiness.”

References: Opendoors USA, ChristianityToday
YouTube video on persecution.
Happy New Month.
Love and Light,

Debby.

IVCU 2018 Village Outreach; My perspective in a summary.

Hello everyone. Quite a number of times, I’ve been asked about my silence over here. My mind has been here but my daily actions haven’t aligned. I apologize.
But by my stats, I see you keep coming and you encourage my heart. 💙💙
I’m back. Where do I start from?
What I really want to do is give you a little gist of one of the events I’ve had in the period I’ve been away.
I guess I’ve never stated it explicitly on here, even though I’ve done so indirectly a number of times: I’m a 500level law student of the university of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria and I worship at a campus fellowship: Ibadan varsity Christian Union -NIFES.
My fellowship is under both the auspices of Christian union and NIFES(Nigerian fellowship of evangelical students).
We are very evangelical.
We embarked on a village outreach recently. The village where we had our camp base was Jarija. We’ve visited the surrounding villages in that location for outreaches for quite sometime.
Village outreach take off is always on a Thursday and we stay there till Sunday.
Thursday found me at House no 12, Kurunmi road. It’s a residential area for university senior staff, and this one belongs to one of our patrons in fellowship. A number of us were there cooking; mainly sorting out the fishes to be used for the entire outreach, cooking dinner for that evening + other basics. Someone told me of how the abundance of fish we sorted and cooked, triggered his memory of the Jesus(documentary) film where two fishes became an abundance for all. I know!
Here’s a photo grid of pictures from that thursday:

Everyone had a scheduled takeoff time for the village. Mine was 2:30pm and so at that time, I took off for the chapel within school. At the chapel, we got seated in a bus, the bus was loaded with extra bags of water and we took off.
I led the prayer as the bus took off. I had a book with me which I intended to read the whole journey. However, I couldn’t stop praying once I started. 😀 I kept praying personally.
P.S: why do people always sleep when travelling, even for short trips? I don’t get it. Virtually everyone on the bus slept.
We got to the base, Jarija, circa 4:16pm. We met a team praying on ground, as is always the case. We joined and then we prayed, prayed and prayed. And still we prayed. Later in the late evening, we stopped to rest for a while. Before long, we gathered again, and prayed and prayed. That’s the way thursdays go in the village – pray it through.
The final buses were yet to arrive from school. Eventually, the bus bringing the food arrived really late, I didn’t take note of the time but I guess it was around 12am already. We ate white rice, then had a camp briefing by the Evangelism secretary and off to sleep.
Oh wait, my unit – prayerband, – had a brief meeting where we were counselled to join the entire prayer chain for the night.
We always have a prayer chain during the outreach. Everyone has an hour prayer slot when they’re woken up at night to pray. That way there’s always a group praying all night till dawn. You can always stay for more than your time slot. As prayer band members we were adviced to stay the whole night praying. Erhm, however, after my duly assigned chain of 12-1am, I strolled back to the hostel like a cartoon character, and there I slept.
The next morning, the camp commandants were at it. It was an experience with these commandants. I’ve been in village outreaches before and had commandants but these ones were indefatigable 😁. They wore neon coloured orange vests over their clothes. You wouldn’t imagine how annoying their shouts could get in the mornings but I appreciate their dedication to the work( I’m just being polite). Its exhausting having so much noise around you for the most of the day, and a greater amount of it when you’re just waking up!
I had my personal devotion, then we gathered for general devotion. There was time for us to fetch water and have our bathe – all these, under strict time slot accompanied with loud claps, bells and shouts from these commandants. *Sighs*
We had an exhaustive in-house bible study time. Then we ate our brunch.
Each person falls into an axis as per the norm. We had three axes (OBV, a blog reader pointed out the plural of axis to me; Axes not Axises); A, B, C.
Each axis had about four or five villages underneath it. I was allocated Ladele village but for friday, I was among the group that stayed back to pray through out – remember, prayer band member? We prayed till Axis A members got back from the house-to-house evangelism in the early evening.
The camp base was in Axis A. The format goes thus: after house-to-house evangelism in the villages, the villagers are told about the crusade to hold in a chosen village for each axis. So of the four or five villages in axis B, Omu-Aran was chosen, of the five in C, Akindele was chosen. Ofcourse for A, our camp base, Jarija, was chosen.
At the time we prayer band members paused praying briefly, we quickly broke our fast then gathered to pray again for the crusade about to start.
I soon left the prayers to join those organizing the village children. P.S Flashback – Thursday night after I arrived and we had that mini break inbetween the long hours of prayer, I sat outside with a book (I’m the fresh air + book type of girl). I beckoned to one of the village girls and she came to stay with me. That gave a host of them boldness to draw near me too. But I kept mute mostly because I was a little tired, and more because my yoruba was all over the place. These children spoke expert yoruba, I heard them clearly. I was a little skeptical about speaking the yoruba I tend to speak. I never went to a church where interpretation was made from English to yoruba language so when it comes to words like redemption, repentance, other bible words and general lingua flow, I always stutter. I can however speak household yoruba.
Last year’s outreach, I was going to ask a woman which religion she believed in. Religion in yoruba is ‘Esin’. My people, lo and behold, I asked which ‘aisan’ she worshipped. ‘Aisan’ means illness. That did it. It just did it. Yourubas can be very superstitious. How do I go about explaining that error. Did I mean her harm?
now you get my reluctance to speak yoruba in the face of the expert yoruba these children threw about.

So back to Friday when I joined those organizing the children, I made sure I played the firm aunty’s role. I was telling them I won’t tolerate any noise at all, I made them shout and repeat the memory verses I taught them etc. All theses were done with what we’ll call “bold face*“. When it came to teaching the word though, I gallantly left it to the better yoruba speakers. And yes, I taught them some beautiful songs, I hope they still remember.
The pictures below aren’t capturing even half of them.

P.p.p.s: The children were not as gentle as they appear in the pictures. Take my word for it!
After we were through with teaching the children and giving them gift packs, we helped at the crusade ground where the preaching was going on. We prayed with the villagers that accepted Christ, prayed for their specific needs, and jotted down their address details for follow-up. After that, those from the other axes began to arrive having done same where they were. We had dinner. Then prayer chain began all over.
This night, I couldn’t walk to my hostel like a cartoon character after my 12-1 am prayer chain slot. Why? We prayer and members were no longer adviced to stay all through, but mandated to stay the whole prayer chain so I did. 😀😀. It was amazing. We however had continuous rain showers. Not drizzle. Rain that drenched and soaked us. Rain that caused me to shiver. The involuntary shake shake shiver. But still we prayed prayed inspite of the shake shake shivers.
Saturday went pretty much the same way with routine. By 5pm, the children we had at hand were more in number. The commandants’ claps got louder still, their voices louder. It was almost incredulous.
One thing I always look forward to in our village outreaches is the bible study. We always have lots of time to study under the open heavens. It was a beautiful time again. The only issue was that we had an abundance of sunlight. I mean abundance. Guys, I had sunburn. I’m still recovering from that sunburn(well…, I’ve done really well over these two weeks now). Sunburn so evident, it has been the subject of discussion for almost everyone who’s seen me since then. Like I laughed it off with a friend, the bible doesn’t promise beautiful faces for those who preach, it’s beautiful feet (Isaiah 52:7). But wait, Daniel 12: 3 says those who turn many to righteous shall shine like stars forever more. 😇
Another notable fact: on Saturday, I went for house-to-house evangelism and the prayer band members who did so on Friday were the ones who then stayed back to pray all through the day.
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Saturday night, after the crusades in each axis, and everyone had arrived, each axis leader gave a report on the souls won, challenges faced etc. Then we had thanksgiving praises to God for all the souls that had been won. We danced till day break.
We woke up and had devotion time. Then thorough cleanup of the environment began. We cleared the kitchen equipments, cleared out our hostels which happened to be the primary school for the villagers. I spent time picking charcoal from the ground and underneath my fingernails looked very blessed with black coal.
Then, the photo gallery sessions began, as people filed out of the village in different batches.
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I doubt I did justice to the experience in this narration, but this is an attempt to encourage someone else who is otherwise very skeptical every time they hear of a village outreach. It is beautiful to serve. And no, no witches will eat your head off if you’re in Christ Jesus.
Added point: It’s a great time doing what Jesus did while he was here on earth. Try it.
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Urhm, even though they won’t read this, this post is dedicated to those whose names are still carved in my heart from the village experience. To: Idris, Smart, Aminat, Iya wasiu and that loud woman whose husband has packed out. I’m praying for you.
Ivcu 2018 village outreach: Glad tidings of great joy.
Ever been on a village outreach? What was your experience?
*Bold face means false bravado.

Love,
Debby

Ways I keep the word of God bubbling in my heart

Hello fam! It’s Debby.
I felt slightly strange all week long when I didn’t put out another post on Wednesday. A week interval felt like a long time as I had gotten used to two posts a week. Mine! Glad I’m here now though. Students and Examsssssss!
Today, I’m interested in telling you all about how to keep God’s word in your heart. Does it really stay in the heart? And I’m not talking about being able to quote them. I’m talking of all-through-the-day meditation and application.
I’ll be going about it by telling you the things that work for me. They aren’t exclusive and I’ll like to know what other suggestions you have in the comment box.



1. Sincerity: I like to think I’m super sincere with God. I try to be. I tell him I’ve been finding bible-study difficult. I don’t pray because I’ve been told to, I pray because prayer is communing with him. You know how you’ll be glad to keep up communication with someone you’ll love to have as a mentor, someone who’s the buzz of your industry. If she/he spares you five minutes, you won’t use only two out of those five. You’ll even ask questions you already have answers to, just to keep them talking. God is so much greater than my inspiration or the next big thing. It’s a privilege to keep up the communication line with this brilliant artist, scientist, advocate, technician, teacher and more all in one. Whoa God.
So really it’s a privilege and you should try it. Prayer isn’t boring (once you get past the first few minutes, sometimes). Talk to him about your disinterest in reading the bible. You don’t have to start the conventional way, nor use verbose language, No. Communicate with Jesus.
He’s ready to help ‘‘God, I don’t feel like reading my bible o. I just feel like browsing. Smh for me right? Let’s try audio bible or what do you say…?’’. From my experience, before you’re through with your dialogue (don’t have your heart set on a monologue), you’ll have answers through a scripture that flashes by your heart or through sudden strength to read the bible. Be sincere. God is more interested in speaking to you through his word than you are even interested.
2. Listen to audio bible: This! I learnt it from both my parents especially my mum.
My first beautiful trial of this was through my campus fellowship. I was in 200level or maybe 100. The bible study team gave us the audio bible – “The bible experience” to foster our reading through the New Testament in a short time frame. I enjoyed it! Listening and reading the same translation simultaneously is epic. It always transported me. Subsequently, I’ve used it a lot. You also need this and not some ‘boring’ audio bible narration. I’ve listened to some that are slightly unbelievable in how dull the narrators are. “The bible experience’’ gives you different voices for each character and another for the narrator, all the background sounds are also mirrored e.g If it says Jesus went to the market place, you’ll hear market chatter. I recommend it.

3. Messages: I can’t say this enough I guess. Messages are wonderful because the preachers tell you from the sincerity of their hearts what they’ve understood over many years. You’re able to stand on their shoulders.
Truth is, you get the most of a message by repetitive listening and not just one time.
And as good as messages are, if you listen to many messages without studying your bible yourself, you may start to get confused. Why use the secondary source when you have the primary? What messages are to do is aid your comprehension of God’s word, help apply what you know in theory to everyday life, also give you theological perspectives etc.
4. Sticky notes: If you’re cool with using sticky notes, please do it. Paste them by your worktable. As long as you sit there, you see the memory verse smiling down on you. When I don’t want sticky notes to litter the whole place(which I never want), I write them in little papers like the one below and rotate them often. One stays on top for some days.

Put it as your phone’s wall paper like mine currently is:

just stick it around you. That’s why God’s instruction to the Israelites was:

“never forget these instructions that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.’’ Deut 6:6-9

5. Make it your hobby: what do I mean by this? Don’t waste a moment. Since I got in the university I don’t suppose I’ve wasted the time used in re-organizing my wardrobe – I tend to do this quite frequently because, there’s no space 😊.
Every single time, I click on ‘play all’ for whichever book I choose, often the gospels and I begin to hear Jesus instruct his disciples. I follow him through the synagogue and down to his meeting the centurion. Its an experience really. I recommend this. Never let a moment for rearranging your wardrobe or folding your clothes go to waste – seeing you’ve read this blog post. Again I warn, never fold clothes for nothing.
Listen to a message when you’re cooking. I was telling two friends yesterday that I’m afraid those on the same floor with me would soon dub me ‘the message girl’. Every time I’m washing plates, I listen. Every time I’m cooking, I listen. That way, one point sticks and I get to meditate on it all night long. My mind has no free moment since I give it no choice. It picks up the things I’ve listened to and ponders. Try it; give your mind a new task!
That’s it! Basic but timeless. I remind myself of these things too when I start to slack off.
What do you use? Help us grow!

Love and Peace,
Debby.

Therapists; To have or not to have? (2)

Hello precious people. I hope you’re doing fine.
If you haven’t read the preceding part of this post, its here, and it’s crucial to reading this one.
I love the idea of a therapy session. Yep.
But perhaps what I’m really saying is: I love the idea of being listened to. Listened to in a clean space, listened to without expectations or assumptions, and without any need on my part to be comported.
Perhaps what I’m really saying is I like the idea of listening to a quiet voice making me think and reconsider my ways. Why did you throw that birthday party last week? Think.
The alternative title for this post would’ve been ”The therapist within”.
Ravi Zacharias is an Amarican-Canadian-Indian Christian apologist. He has this podcast on his websitelet my people think”. Like I wrote in this blog post on logic and religion, God is not averse to your thinking. He isn’t intimidated by it. Can you then rule Him out of being the brilliant therapist telling you “think” ?
The book of John 14: 26 says I will send you the comforter(the holyspirit).
I think this is so much more cooler, having the therapist within. I don’t need one hour in a week to be asked questions or to ramble. I can; all day, all the time. My call.
I found that the list of things in the previous blog post that make me find therapy desirable are boxes that can be ticked by the Holyspirit.
Comfy office? Yes. What’s the state of my heart?
Me time: you don’t say. He’s absolutely selfless, he lets me run the show talking to him all the time, He’s never bored or irritated by my opinion, even when they’re immature.
Silence? Haha. He’s the king of it. In quietness and assurance shall my people be. I’m so so serious, the Holyspirit in me appreciates quietness. Times of reflection.
Deep: don’t get me started. He throws me punch lines many times. Heart-piercing ones. He just knows my buttons and keeps me gobsmacked by his sheer brilliance through a simple statement.
After-feeling: joy. Pure joy. For me, I’m often singing after. It’s like I start to remember songs I learnt in my childhood because I’m so relieved by our therapy sessions. He helps me close old-chapters in my life and I report people to him too.
Stranger: No. But wanting a stranger is really all about the perks that come with it, and I find them in him too. He won’t get biased.
My people, he helps with burn-outs too and severe bouts of depression and other mental illnesses. He’s a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I’m so proud to say I have the inner therapist. You should try him out. I’m actually happy.
The holyspirit is real. He’s not wind, water, oil or fire. He’s not an influence. He is a person, my personal person. He’s my lover. He puts a smile on my face. Sometimes I instigate lovers quarrel but he’s always right at my door with a bouquet of roses singing our song.
He hears me out and makes me better.
Does he charge per hour? What’s the billing rate?
We’re talking acceptance of Jesus here John 1:12. Upon salvation, every Christian receives him.

Ephesians 1: 13 GOD’S WORD Translation (GWT)
You heard and believed the message of truth, the Good News that he has saved you. In him you were sealed with the Holy Spirit whom he promised

After which, you yield to him more and more. Spend time with him for a robust relationship and you’ll see him do all that and more.
He’s the therapist who lives within. Any time, any day.
THERAPISTS; to have or not to have? This one is a must-have.
Side note: The Holyspirit residing in you doesn’t rule out the need for counselling sessions or therapy, as the circumstances of the case may warrant. Some churches provide counselling sessions. Read this post for brilliant consideration of the fact that they aren’t mutually exclusive of each other.

As always, I like to know your thoughts. Therapy or nah?
Much love,
Debby.

THERAPISTS; to have or not to have (1)

My passive preoccupation for some time has been on the subject of therapists.
Therapy. Therapist.
I planned that after turning it over in my mind a few more times, I’ll put up a post.
Tonight, I’m envisioning the million things I need to do tomorrow and in all that, I remember my thoughts on therapy.
Some people perhaps at the sight of the word ”therapist”, without thinking, they say ‘God forbid’. That’s cool. God forbid.
It’s just that therapy is broader than the narrow stream you’ve perceived it to be while watching T.V.

A therapist’s goal is to help patients make decisions and clarify their feelings in order to solve problems. Therapists provide support and guidance, while helping patients make effective decisions within the overall structure of support.
Source: all psychology schools

What I fancy about therapy appointments, even though I’ve never been to any one are:

  • The comfy offices. They probably have tips for interior designs peculiar to their profession. You do know that your dwelling place affects your mental health, right? It does. I may one day do a post on that, it does.
  • The fact that you can have me-time. You can just talk and talk and you’ll be listened to and listened to. Intriguing right? You’re not careful to not dominate the conversation, rather it’s all yours to dominate. You’re sure the therapist isn’t thinking let this girl finish her statement so I can share my own woes too.
  • The fact that silence is allowed. I don’t understand this restless urge by people to constantly fill silence. Silence isn’t always a void. It doesn’t have to be filled. A little quiet please.
  • The fact that you’re prodded by the littlest of statements. A soft-spoken question can give you time to pull up the fibres of your mind. This is opposed to the rushed living and suppressed emotions most people daily engage in. Here, careful, minimal, conscious living is at work.
  • You leave feeling better because you’re able to close old chapters in your life. You’re able to analyze your relationship with everyone that matters to you. To voice out, for perhaps the first time, all the positive and negative things you think about a person’s character and you don’t have to be careful doing it. (you get what I mean or you don’t? that you love a person doesn’t mean it’s everything about them that sparkles to you. You are permitted to have candid and accurate opinions on your friends and family).
  • You have someone who Is not entangled with your everyday life and living ( a stranger), get into your mind. No expectations from them. No judgements. No need to compose yourself. Compose, bawo?

I’m smiling just thinking of what I’ve written.
Or you’re still waiting for the punch line? Sighs, this is it really. Up there. Put in two words: Reflection time.
Not all therapists can provide you with what I just listed. No. no.
But I think its worth considering. I think therapy just advocates for simple and wholesome living. Yes, you’re a successful and busy investment banker but in your one hour a week, you get to just slow down, keep quiet and wonder why you really threw yourself a birthday party last week. Think on your motivations.
Perhaps since the start of this post, you’ve been thinking that Debby is just talking sha. She doesn’t know those who see therapists see them for serious reasons like mental illnesses and that they pay a lot. You probably whispered the mental illnesses part.
I don’t think mental illness should be whispered. It’s a thing. In Africa, we now recognize it and are starting to care for it, good. But you must understand that a number of people who get depressed, for example, are those who have suffered from burn-outs repeatedly.
Burn-out? Sounds familiar? It means to tire, due to overwork; or to extinguish due to lack of fuel. Occasionally most of us get burned out then pick up again. I think some don’t pick-up and due to tangled emotions and heavy workload, they may eventually get depressed. In light of that, do you now see why the little things matter and are worth discussing? Perhaps in therapy?
You are important so little things that affect you count in the grand scheme of things.
You still don’t think so? okay, share your thoughts.
Like I said, I’ve never been to a therapist, this is my imagination canvassing for it. But perhaps I’m also saying something more and for lack of space, this would be continued in the concluding part of this therapy discussion coming up on Wednesday. I hope you’ll be around to read it.

Love,
Debby.

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM; THE Bible Story of Simon The Pharisee And Jesus.

During the council meeting on Thursday, Simon’s resolve grew stronger. He’d always nursed the thought in his heart, that this Jesus could be the real deal, and if he was but another fake prophet and rabbi, he deserved to be heard at the very least, to be investigated.

His response to the excitement filling him was to rapidly tap his left foot against the ground.

It was the forbidden fruit all over again – restricted areas always have awoken the greatest curiosity. His sister, Ruth, would prepare a befitting meal and Jesus would stop over at his place before leaving Nain, he had it all figured out.
Delighted, he was tempted to laugh aloud but restrained himself. Suppressing his glee, he tuned in once again to the discussion at hand. The Pharisees council of Nain had always been such a heated group of people for a small village 32km southwest of Capernaum.

”…he just wants the crowd!” Someone was saying
and oh are they following him. Jesus of Nazareth” another scoffed.
he supports the baptizer, John! And openly claimed he would eat, drink and be a friend to the tax collectors. Tax collectors! What kind of teacher of the law speaks in that manner?”
Simon couldn’t stop himself from venturing the other side, ”but haven’t you heard he healed the widow’s son as they all left the village mourning. Surely the man is worth knowing-”
we have known ENOUGH. I heard all he had to say once he made mention of John. Surely this one also thinks he is the messiah. Woe betide us, all men are now the chosen one of David’s race, all men are now the messiah!!

And the murmurs of discontent increased.


Food had been passed and wine served. The meal was nearing completion and Jesus seemed in good spirits. Simon’s alert eyes had noticed his every move, down to the very first fact that his disciples ate without a thorough washing. He stored each detail in mind ready to tell the others. Surely, this man was a prophet, speaking boldly the truth contained in the law.

A pleasant smell filled Simon’s nostrils. In the cacophony of noises as Bartholomew told a story and the men laughed, Simon knew when the masculine smell was infiltrated by a fragrance; a fragrance as appealing as it was disturbing for reasons he couldn’t place his hands on yet, – a sensational fragrance, a forbidden fragrance. Alarmed, he looked up just in time to see the sinner.
He almost swore. In his house!

Almost at once, the male-dominated crowd quietened and most eyes fell on the woman while the remainder fell on him – passing a message, ”Do something.”
But Simon remained rooted on the floor where he sat. He was bewildered that such a sinner woman had even braved entering uninvited in the first place.
Simon’s eyes popped wide as she fell at Jesus’ feet. Her cream coloured cloth lifted with the wind and settled after her as she crouched behind Jesus.
Holy indignation filled Simon. Didn’t Jesus care what he and others thought of him? Didn’t Jesus know that he, Simon, was the only Pharisee to have extended him a warm hand in Nain, and he dared act like a sinner with this woman, this infidel!
His pulse throbbed and he gripped the end of the table cloth to rein in his anger as much as he could.
The scent of fragrant perfume filled the house, as an alabaster box broke, overpowering the combined smell of food, masculinity and even her own fragrance that had previously filled the air.
The other men around the house stood to gain a clearer picture of the baffling activity, some gasping.
Her heavy sobs pierced the silence. Each sound of the sob fuelled the inferno burning in Simon, no prostitute or beggar or tax collector had stepped foot in his house right since he’d lived there and in the one day this Jesus came, his house became unclean with this terrible sinner.

He couldn’t help the regret that gnawed at him, he’d been forewarned, Jesus was nothing but an impostor, a wolf in sheep clothing. Surely a prophet would’ve known what sort of woman touched him; even a beggar would’ve known!
Jesus, hearing Simon’s thoughts as clear as day, chose to speak with him. In the many pairs of eyes that followed him, Jesus knew exactly where to look. His eyes found Simon’s and with a levelled gave he spoke. ”Simon,’
Teacher.” teacher. That word still befitted the man for reasons Simon couldn’t place as he had an aura of authority. The fire burning in him began to die and Simon knew he needed to keep that anger burning.
I have something to tell you.’‘ Jesus replied and Simon nodded.
A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of the men could repay him after. This man was however kind enough to cancel their debts. Now who do you think will love him the most?”

Simon didn’t need to think hard, his heart fluttered and he felt a sinking in the pit of his stomach. Shame started to take hold of where anger had been. ”I suppose the one who had been forgiven the largest debt”.
Whatever stone had sank was lodged there at the pit of his stomach and for the first time in many years, without accusing words, Simon knew he wasn’t as pure as he’d always thought.
“That’s right,” Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet,’

Rejection wrapped round Simon, Jesus was right. The night air became cold, all laughter and feasting from earlier on, forgotten. Of course, it was only proper custom to offer guests water for washing their feet. He hadn’t been after honouring Jesus at all, so he had no troubles neglecting that custom.
”… but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet.”
Simon broke inside. He saw for the first time what he had never seen in his many years of being a Pharisee, in his years of laying heavy rules on people while priding in his own obedience to the law. Light shone and he saw himself for who he really was. Flawed yet proud.
…You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins—and yes, they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

Turning to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
The men at the table said among themselves, “Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?”

But those were no longer Simon’s thoughts. Jesus had in that simple parable and intense gaze showed him what he had overlooked. Looking at Jesus, his heart broke, contrite his thoughts had changed ”forgive me my 500-silver-coin-worth of many sins, Lord. Please forgive me. I have judged others and thought myself better. I have not honoured you as I should. I need to love you more for I am but a sinful man”.



A person who believes they haven’t sinned like the cultist has, is rarely ever repentant. Like Simon, they skip the real details of honour, they forget to wash and anoint his feet.
You only love him to the degree you’ve come to realize your former depravity and the magnitude of his love and grace in forgiving you. I’ve known this message below for some many years:

some people tell me I take this Jesus thing a little too seriously, I tell them, I guess he took me pretty seriously when he chose to be nailed to a cross for me’

The lyrics of a certain song goes thus:
‘why should I care what people say? They don’t know what you mean to me”.
You can lavish your love on Jesus, pouring all you’ve ever made and treasure at his feet, when you understand the great depths he went to save you; when you realize you’re the one who owed a employee’s daily wage for 500days and deserved to be locked in utter darkness but he forgave you.

A/N:

1. This is a fictional account of the story contained in Luke 7:36 – 50. For example, we are not told of Simon’s sister who in this fictional account, prepared the meal 

2.The events of this story could have taken place at Capernaum and not Nain. Some say Bethany. Commentators are not sure where exactly.

I hope it has blessed you. If you like this post, you may find this on the violent storm too interesting too.
Comment away…

Much love,
Debby.

In Memorial of the Nigerians who have been carelessly lost.

I have so much in my heart but I cannot write them down.
But I know that my blog has this space of memorial service for those that have fallen in recent times. This is a part of my prayer on Thursday, 28th of June, 2018:


I’m grieving. Grieving. Today, Lord, marks something serious in our lives as Nigerians.
We’re still mourning the Jos killings and Bodija Ibadan killings came upon us, then the Lagos tragedy.
Too much blood shed. Too much. Lord, we’re bleeding. Lord, we’re begging. Lord, we’re saying have your way. Our hearts are heavy. This is not the nation you created, not the Nigeria you spoke into existence. A lot has gone wrong. Terribly wrong.
Lord, in this time let many not lose their faith in you. Let them not mourn and doubt you. Let orphans not think you wicked. Let teenagers not turn to alcoholism and prostitution. Let widows and widowers not despair. Help pastors to comfort and exhort. Help the average man volunteer. Lord teach us to give, teach us to open our homes and purses and hearts to those ones in need.
Lord, teach us to give our prayers, time, money and effort to making Nigeria better. Please, guide us with your eyes. Instruct us in the way to go about taking deliberate and purposive actions in Jesus name I pray.
As always,
Debby

Beating Addictions; How to get out of despondency.

  1. The loss of hope or confidence;despair or dejection.
  2. A feeling of depression ordisheartenment.



In this Christian race, how can we help each other? Scripture says to encourage one another while it is called today.
I genuinely want to help.
Addictions make you sink yet it’s cuts across almost everybody in one area or the other. Who would’ve thought self control to be a life saver? But it is.
That’s because it’s a fruit of the spirit. Galatians 5:22.

But the spirit produces Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, faithfulness, Humility, and Self-Control. There is no law against things such as these.

When you’re unable to apply self-control to that thing you do, you get addicted. Even to the littlest of things.
Addictions are almost always crippling and that’s because day 1, you make up your mind to beat/stop it but it doesn’t work. Day 2, you have a firmer resolve but in spite of it, you fall, even harder. Day 3, ahem. Day 4, why?! By day 5, the depression sets in.
If with all that effort, it doesn’t go away, what can deliver you? And you ask this not as one who’s never experienced the tremendous power of God. You have. That’s why you called on him for this addiction but no result.
You’re choking on the addiction. You’re losing your sense of what is right and wrong. You may randomly even wonder if the Christian life is for you or for some other fire guys. The walls are fast closing in.
When I despaired once, the scripture I kept replaying in my mind was :
Psalm 34: 6 (English Standard Version)

This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles

I just knew- I just did, – that if I cried, he would hear me because its written in the scriptures. That was it. It was written, so I believed. It was my only hope.
So what do you often do when you despair?
Let your heart cry out to him and hold on to that rope of hope. Just hold on. Hold.
Ecclesiastes 9: 4 (New Living Translation)

There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”

See? God’s word is the hope we have to find hope in the worst of times.
Sometimes its an eclipse; that’s why its all dark. His word says joy comes in the morning. It will surely come. Has his word said it? That’s all. Confess the word of God that you’ve read. Reach out to a friend to pray with/for you. Just open your mouth and speak to God about how awful everything is.
It will rain.You can be certain of that. And you would be stronger for it when you rise. Your faith would’ve built up some muscles.
Let your heart reach out to him. Hold on to your hope.
Ps 36: 4(New Living Translation)

In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles.

And my e-mail address is always open for discussions.


What has been your story on losing or finding hope? Struggling with addictions?
Hope and Light,
Debby.

My Parable of the parable.

Guys, read this:
Luke 15: 8-10

“Or what woman, having ten [silver] drachmas [each one equal to a day’s wages], if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and look carefully and diligently until she finds it?
9And when she has found it, she summons her [women] friends and neighbors, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the silver coin which I had lost.
10Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one [[e]especially] wicked person who repents ([f]changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins).


I now understand the parable of the lost coin better. I’ll explain.


Two weeks ago I wrote something important in this big notebook in the picture. A week later, I needed to use the information. I couldn’t find the book. I was surprised. I wasn’t careless with it at all. I was even sure it never left my room. Still, I didn’t locate the book. Life went on without that information.
.
Early this morning, while preparing to go with a group of people for a conference, I began to search for “the parable of the dollars” in that picture. I bought this book three weeks ago. I read the preface and was happy it’s a loaded book. I hoped to read it later. Today would’ve been the ‘later’. I’d just read it when I’m less busy during my outing.
.
However I couldn’t find the book. A complete mystery. I searched my book pile over and over again. It was obviously not there but my eyes would not receive that report. My eyes kept going over each of the books. It troubled me a lot. I can’t lose my books. I didn’t give it to anyone. Where is my new book?
.
I recieved a call that the group I was to go with was ready. I left unsatisfied and the first thing I told my friend when I saw her was “I can’t find my book”. That was my preoccupation for a long time. My missing book.
Tonight, I searched again. Still missing from my book pile. Then I got on all fours and pulled out a drawer of another completely different set of books.
Finally, both of these books were buried under those books.
.
I rejoiced. The first thing I did was take a picture and type to the same friend on whatsapp “I’ve found my books”.
Then I understood.
If scripture says the woman lit up a lamp, took a broom and swept everywhere carefully and diligently until she found the lost coin, then it must be true.
She didn’t think “I have other coins“. I also didn’t think “I have other books”. I didn’t say this book is worth just a little amount and I’ll replace it. I did everything for it.
One book but every one book matters to me.
One soul but every one soul matters to God. When I found it, I, immediately in a spirit of merriment, took a picture and sent it to my friend. I was in essence saying come and rejoice with me. Again, I’m telling you all, come and rejoice with me. I’ve found my missing book that matters to me. I’m serious.
But beyond that, does the whole of heaven really do what I did? Does the host of heaven go down all all fours, digging and digging and digging for one soul? Searching for “just” one sinner?
Did they do that for me? Are they doing that for you or for that person you love?
Wow.
Wow.


And what’s up with this rhyme, people? The book is “the parable of dollars”, in reference to the story of the parable of talents in the bible.
The story I quoted in the post above is the parable of the lost coin. My own experience is the parable of the lost book. 😊
Please rejoice with me. And forever remember how interested heaven is in you and yours. Just remember all fours!

A Fresh Perspective of Heaven!

Hiii Precious people. Debby here again.😊 I’d love to know some more about my silent blog readers. If you won’t comment, make efforts to say hi by using the ‘get in touch’ option in the drop down menu Enjoy this read on heaven.

Something divinely inspired always leaves a trail in its wake. You know in the subsequent years that it was no ordinary act.
This is my line of thought as regards this song “ijoba orun“. I guess most Nigerians know the song I’m referring to. It’s a Yoruba song which reigned some seven or eight years ago. It was so popular, and almost everywhere you went someone’s phone rang and it was their ringtone.
It was also the cliché choreography music for children and teenagers in every church. It was everywhere. It spoke to us all.
I listened to the song some minutes ago and I still am as I type this. This is a link to it on YouTube to refresh your spirit.
It reminds me wholly of two messages I listened to last week preached by Pastor Sarah Omakwu, Senior pastor of Family worship Center, Abuja (Messages one and two). She emphasised in both messages how the subject of heaven is rarely ever a topic in our Sunday messages anymore. Heaven is a beauty. It’s our reward as faithful chrisrians, its our place. It’s where I aspire to. I don’t just want dominion here on earth, I also want to reign with Jesus in heaven. You know what scripture passage best exemplifies this?

1corinthians 15:19 “if in this world only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men to be pitied”

It means if all our Christianity would do for us is grant us victory down here on earth, we’re the most miserable of all men. We go through so much for that to be all. I don’t just have financial victory and physical health, some unbelievers achieve that. I have hope beyond here! And so do you as a Christian. I have hope beyond here!
A great crown of glory awaits me in heaven. It’s my habour. It’s where I get to have the beautiful and engaging conversations I love to have, and it will be with Abraham, and Daniel and Deborah. It’s the place where I see Jesus.
I think we must never lose touch of home. That’s why it’s home. When you’ve lost touch, it’s no longer home. When it’s no longer the place of your best memories, when you don’t have loved ones there, it’s not home. Heaven is my home. I’m only an ambassador on here, this is temporary and I must not lose sight of that.

Matthew 6:19 (New International Version)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”

God bless the music artist(Lara George) that composed that song. Listen to it again, will you?
What do you think?
Peace and love,
Debby.