Friday, December 31, 2010

Gifted and Talented

I'd first like to start by wishing all you beautiful readers a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday period. And I hope you didn't overdose on the chocolate (or is that just me?). As the season of gifts has come and gone; an important message has stayed with me which is what I'm sharing with you today.

So many of us young women have talents and skills that we’re proud of. Whether it’s singing or dancing or modelling, there’s a talent most of us would be proud to show off. I can't sing, I can dance okay and I certainly can't model LOL. So I used to sometimes wonder, what is my gift? What is my skill? Why can’t I dance like the girls on TV or why does my voice sound like an angel drowning cat when I attempt to sing. If I could sing, I’d be in my church choir or if I was really good at dancing I could join the dance club in my church. After all, each talent you have is a form of serving God.

I remember when I was first saved and I’d go to church on a Sunday; have a great service and come home thinking, “I want to do more, how can I serve God?” And over the next two years I learnt that serving God not only comes through your prayers but it’s also through your gifts and talents. The author of our faith, our Lord God is the one who blessed you with the talent in the first place, and what better way than to bless other people with it?

Being a Christian doesn’t mean just praying in your room alone, going to church alone and reading your bible alone. Our main aim as Christians is to spread the good news of the gospel to everyone around us.

This doesn’t mean standing outside Oxford Circus station with a microphone shouting; GET SAVED NOW OR DIE (even though I think people who evangelise are incredibly courageous in many ways), this can be simply be through the things you do.

As Christians, we act like a light to the dark world but like Luke 8:16 says what use is a bright lamp if it’s hidden underneath a table? It needs to be on a stand for everyone to see and feel.
If you know you have a good singing voice (not a shower voice like me),

then why not try joining a gospel or Christian choir? If you’re good at acting then perhaps a drama club is the best thing for you. Every single one of us have gifts that God has given us. If you don’t believe me, read for yourself! In Romans 12:6 it says “we have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us”. Each of us has a gift that we may or may not know but the gift is a blessing from God which takes form of a talent or skill that we should develop in order to be a light unto the world.

Some people have the gift of dreams, whereby they may dream of situations that have happened and it may come to pass, or may dream of people that they might need to reach out to. Others have the talent of praying for others; their prayers for others are so full of grace that they can lay hands on the sick and they be healed IN THE NAME OF JESUS. I know one of my gifts is the talent of writing. Many times God puts thoughts on my heart which I then transform into poems and blog posts. Whatever your talent is, you can use it to serve God with; no matter how big or small it is. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says “whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might”.

Tapping into your gift is very important, because it’s all well and good knowing your talent but if you don’t develop it, you won’t be able to make full use of it.
Tapping into your gifts requires you to spend time with God also. Even though your gifts and talents may be evidently portrayed in your personality, it is important to lift it up to God for Him to be able to help you channel it into His work. Psalm 119:73 says ‘Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands’. It is important to ask God what he wants you to do and follow his command. As a young woman today, obeying God is key to creating and forming a personal relationship with Christ.

Remember, your gift may not be the same as your best friends! Each and every one of us is a unique individual created in the image and likeness of God, according to His own grace he has given us talents and gifts. So comparing yourself to your friends is pointless. I can say this confidently because I remember me and my friend both being saved and she was really good at singing but of course I wasn’t, so she joined the choir while I thought there was nothing I could do. 2 Tim 1:6 "This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you"

One thing God also showed me is that we don’t realize the importance of our gifts. Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to see you do something that reflects Christ, and through that they experience the love of Jesus for themselves. Even if it’s volunteering at your local charity shop- any outward sign of Christian behaviour is exemplary.
As a young woman in this day and age, it is important to portray a lifestyle that coincides with your beliefs. Your behaviour will determine the type of people that you attract, ESPECIALLY MALES. If you conduct yourself in the way you’d like to be treated, then it shall be so.

Not only are your gifts light unto the world, but they’re like a weapon used to fight the enemies. For example, the gift of prophecy is a powerful tool when going through difficult times because it reminds you of the promises God has made. Deuteronomy 18:15 says that ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you’.

All our gifts and talents serve a purpose in this life so that we won’t have to use them in our next life. Make sure you use them whole-heartedly! They’re one of the few ways we can connect with God directly because as Psalm 145:4-6 says ‘One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.’

Some ways in which you can use what you have to help:
 Ushering at church services
 Singing for a choir
 Sunday school teachings
 Volunteering at Christian bookshops
 Evangelising
 Working with vulnerable people
 And lots more…
for more info contact us

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

You CAN live without it...

Sometimes, when we’re feeling down we sometimes go shopping or grab a chocolate bar or write in our diary. It could be period pains or the loss of a loved one. As girls, we have different ways of dealing with hurt or anger.
Some people become withdrawn and stop speaking, whilst others turn to physical substances to relieve them of their feelings. This begins to form a pattern in our lives and anytime we experience this painful feeling, we reach for the credit card, bottle or the drug.

Addictions can form quickly and sometimes, we won’t even know that we have become addicted to something. A dictionary definition of the word addiction is ‘an abornomally strong craving that makes a person dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.’

This does not just mean a drug addiction or an alcohol addiction as many of us seem to think. You can be addicted to ANYTHING! Sex, money, shopping, food, raving, pornography, drugs or alcohol are all materialistic things that we may be suffering an addiction from. These material earthly addictions are damaging both spiritually and physically.

Addiction must be dealt with today, each today of your life. You have to wake up today and say that today I choose not to participate in this activity. One excellent way to do that is to start off each day with prayer. Tell God you know you have a problem, and you want him to deal with it. In this regard, read James 5:13-18.
As girls we need to shift our mind sets into thinking, instead of having sex or eating when I’m feeling low, let me open my bible or kneel down to pray or even just talk to someone about it. The only thing in this world we should be dependent on is Christ. Because after you finish eating or after you’ve finished smoking, your problem still exists and it hasn’t been addressed. The high feeling you momentarily get is NOTHING compared to the promise of eternal life Jesus gave us.
It’s not easy at all getting over an addiction because many times, we feel ashamed, guilty or scared to admit to our friends and family.
However, Jesus is a friend and a comforter; so we are not to worry about being judged. God is our only judge, but when you come to him and strip yourselves of everything and confess unto him your sins, He will have mercy and you and you will become sanctified in Jesus’ name. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death- Romans 8:1-2.

Paul speaks about this is in the bible (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor the drunkards nor slanders nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you were. BUT YOU WERE WASHED, YOU WERE SANCTIFIED, YOU WERE JUSTIFIED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND BY THE SPIRIT OF OUR GOD.”
So whatever it is that you are addicted to, it can be replaced with God; you can be cleansed. It’s not the end for you; Jesus still wants your heart to use for his works.
Remember a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up.

You are not the only person that has experienced this, 1 Corinthians 10:13 says “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Do not feel ashamed or humiliated, seek God because He knows how to heal you.

Some addictions may not stem from anything at all. They could just be bad sinful habits that have become a pattern for us and defined our character. I knew of a girl once who said she can’t stop shoplifting, she doesn’t know why she just does it, and she’s addicted. But in Romans 6, Paul once again tells us that we made the choice to die to sin and live to Christ, so we can make the choice not to let sin rule us. Of course the choice is not easy but that is why prayer and supplication unto Christ is important. Roman 6 shows us that when you become a Christian, your old life is dead and a new one is born. That new life is not one of sin but one of devotion to God.

Moreover, these addictions are destructive to us. The more impurities we put into ourselves, the more we kill ourselves. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says that "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.”
Therefore by putting harmful substances into your body, you devalue the blessing that God has put on your life. God likens your body to a temple! Maybe you are unaware of how elegant, beautiful and artistic the design of a temple is. The bible tells us in 1 Chronicles 29 that the temple walls were made of silver and gold. The people were to know that God dwelt there. That is why it was furnished with such greatness: because it was to be the house of God. So remember that the Holy Spirit lives within you- do not block it out with worldly things or do not devour your flesh by engaging in immoral acts. Surrender your body to the Lord.

Similarly, addictions like money are forbidden in the bible too as stated in Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs”.
Align yourself with the word of God, that way wherever you go you will have a blanket of righteousness covering you.

I also feel like the devil uses our addictions as a weakness point and takes advantage of this. This is why sisters, we need to be on the ball at every given opportunity. 1 Peter 5:8 says that we should “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” How are you supposed to resist the devil’s temptation when you’re drunk?

So when you pray the Lord’s Prayer and you say ‘lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’, mean it with every single bone in your body. If you confess that you want to be far from temptation, you will be!
Also, programmes and classes are very useful ways of dealing with addictions. They provide you with people who can relate to you and with an expert or counsellor who is trained to help and coach people with this kind of problem.

I have put a link at the bottom that gives a list of programmes, classes and numbers that you can use if you need them.
There is also a 7-step guide of how to pray over an addicition or just sin in general. It’s great stuff and can be used all the time.
Remember talking to someone is so important because a friend can offer you support that you never thought you had. My email address and facebook are at the bottom of the page if you feel that you want to ask me any questions. I am more than willing to help!

May God bless you in your efforts to walk with him and remember that God loves you, no matter what kind of sin and selfishness you have immersed yourself in, no matter what your destruction your sin has produced. You are His and he will never forsake you.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life and you dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever.

7-Step Prayer Guide:
1. Confess all known sin
Read: Psalm 51 | Mark 7:20-23 | 1 John 1:7-10
2. Renounce conformity to the world
Read: Romans 12:2, 6:13-14
3. Ardently seek an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. He will give you a richer, more meaningful life.
Read: John 10:10, 15:5-12 | Ephesians 3:14-19 | Philippians 3:10-14
4. Offer your body as a “living sacrifice” to God
See: Romans 12:1-2 | 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
5. Worship God
Read: John 4:23-24 | Philippians 3:3
6. Thank and praise God. Thank Him for his grace and mercy, praise Him, and keep seeking His mercy. Thank God for answered prayer.
Read: Philippians 4:6-7 | Colossians 4:2
7. Ask God for help in living a pure and loving life
Read: Philippians 4:6-7 | Hebrews 4:16

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Useful websites and numbers:

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*020 7060 2861

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Friends Forever?

Having friends is a natural human instinct. Bonding and communicating is something we learn very early on in life and is something we keep with us forever.
As girls, having friends is as important as family members! And we use our girlfriends for all sorts of things; from gossiping about boys, to confiding in her about dark secrets, to 4 hour shopping sprees on one high street!

Let’s face it; as girls, we need our girlfriends! But have we ever stopped to think about whether our friends have our best interest at hearts? As young women, we have so many issues that we are faced with daily and it feels comforting to know that we have people to share it with. But as CHRISTIAN young women, we need to make sure those friends are the right ones. As Proverbs 20:6 says, a reliable friend is hard to find. “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?”

A reliable friend is not one who agrees with every word but one can point out to you when you’re in the wrong and encourage you when you’re doing good. Even if we don’t realise it, the people who we socialize with have a great impact on us and our character and persona. They shape and sharpen us and walking with true friends makes our life here on earth worthwhile.

I have best friends that I know will give me advice that’s best for me and not what i want to hear. Proverbs 12:26 says Godly friends give good advice, so I know that because she has the fear of God in her; she will point me in the right direction. Sincere friends, speak the truth in love, even when it hurts. Like Proverbs 27:5 says, “Wounds from a sincere friends are better than kisses from an enemy”. I'd rather have my best friend tell me off for something bad I've done then have my enemy congratulate me for it!

Be sure not to hate or despise your friend when they give you some “home truths”, but be quick to be thankful for their lives. Be thankful that you have friends that you can truly rely on.
The book of Proverbs is such an inspirational book which has encouraging messages and directions on how to recognise real friends from fake friends and how to keep friends. If you haven’t got a bible, there’s a link at the bottom of the page where you can order one from (New International Version is great).

It’s one thing to make friends but it’s another thing to keep them! Don’t take your girlfriends for granted, appreciate them and value them. The people closest to you have had the most impact on you, I know for fact that I wouldn’t be the young woman I am today without the help of my best friends. A friend loves at all times; be sure that you love your friend at all times and not when it’s your birthday and she’s bought you those Kurt Geiger heels! Love her even when she says she has no money and buys you a box of sure to love at all times!

I once met a girl who said “I love my best friend, but I just hate it when I have to keep carrying her baggage for her”. Of course, you can’t bear your friends burdens for them but friendship is all about sacrifice. Loyal friends love through difficult times. Let them know you’re there for them and pray for them. The love you have for them alone should make you want to see them through the tough times.
Trust, loyalty and burden sharing are all important essentials in ensuring that you have the right friend by your side.
Good friends will make you a stronger Christian. Proverbs 27:17 says as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

However, not all ‘friends’ are true friends. Some people that we may well laugh and joke with are the same people who may have jealousy towards us or who may be harbouring negative feelings in their hearts. Or alternatively, you may have friends who indulge in negative gossiping or immoral acts and you feel somewhat obliged to them. The bible says avoid godless chatter because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. (2 Timothy 2:16)

Of course our conversations can get diverted to the latest episode of Eastenders or the hot new dress you bought last week, but we can differentiate that from UNGODLY that goes against God and his principles.

A “friend” who does not love is not a friend because anyone who does not love, does not know God because God is love. It’s impossible for you to know God and your best friend not; you need to be on the same page. How can two people walk together if they are not agreed? (Amos 3:3)

Similarly, gossip can separate best friends. The book of proverbs has a long list of the dangers of gossip and the potential hurt that results from it. A gossip betrays confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret. Many friendships have been ruined over a misunderstanding that started through mere gossip. People who engage in gossip do nothing but hurt people and stir trouble. These are “friends” that you need to keep away from. One of the most major tests of friendship, is how you handle disagreement.
Matthew 5:30 says “If your right arm causes you to sin then cut it off, for it is better that you lose one of your members that your whole body go into hell.” It is better for you to end a friendship with an un-loyal person than to keep them as a friend and lose your path with your God.

Don’t be fooled by “friends” who pretend to be righteous. If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. (James 1:26)

Ask God to open your spiritual eyes and ears so that you may recognise a false friend from far.
Comparing yourself to your friends is pointless; God is a god of indiviual relationships. Something you might be doing, might not be suitable for your friend and vice versa. As young women, we usually see something we like on our friends and we copy-just make sure you copy qualities that will bring you to Christ, not take you away from him.

Lastly, there’s something that God put upon my heart which wasn’t planned but I think there are people who need to read this. In order to have a sincere, loving friendship, we must learn to forgive. In Colossians 3:13 it says “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

We forgive by faith, not out of obedience. Since forgiveness is against our nature, we must forgive by faith, whether we like it or not. We must trust God to do the work in us that needs to be done so that the forgiveness will be complete. Let go of any bitter feelings that you are harbouring and let God come into your heart.

This post was inspiried by my pastor, Pastor Steve, head of City Gates Church in Ilford, who gave a 4 week teaching on the importance of friendship. Our friendship with with another is a reflection of your friendship with Christ. "Because Jesus is loyal to me, I am going to be loyal to my friends". That was my favourite quote because it summed up in a sentence how much we should love and treat our friends.

I'd just like to say a BIG thankyou to all my girls, because I wouldn't be able to write this without them. Geraldine, Mary, Anne, Funmi, Gertrude, Debby, Renee. I love you all loads :D.
And of course each and every one of my friends, you all mean the world to me.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Praying for him...

Every girl has that one guy that makes her go weak at the knees, whether it’s your current boyfriend, your ex or that guy you always see at the bus stop every morning. We can name a guy who makes us all starry eyed with that butterfly feeling we all know very well.

Being in a relationship can be magical; late night phone calls, snuggling up on the sofa and romantic days out. As cliché as it sounds, us girls like the emotional side of the relationship and when everything is going so well, we close our eyes and cross our fingers and hope for the best. But there is one thing that we forget, why don’t we pray for our relationships? Pray for a future in it, pray for stability and pray for faithfulness.

Relationships are not really talked about in church and very often, young girls are left feeling helpless and shameful. There are mixed messages that parents, pastors and teachers often give to us young women, and the most common is STAY AWAY FROM BOYS AND FOCUS ON YOUR STUDIES. However, the reality of the situation brings to light many young girls who are involved in relationships.

Praying for your relationship shows your man that you are serious and God-fearing. As Proverbs 31:30 says: “A woman who fears the Lord, is to be praised.” Both of you being deep in Christ is the best foundation and building blocks for your relationship, when you have started in Christ, and continue to seek him diligently, you both will know Him in great ways. A relationship is covenant between God, you and him. A famous quote that I once heard is “a woman’s heart should be so deep in Christ, that for a man to seek her heart, he must go through Christ first” This is a beautiful quote that shows how deep the love a woman should have for God as she embarks on a journey with her man.

I once asked my mum how it is, that her and my dad have been together for 21 years, she replied to me “a couple that prays together stays together”.

Or maybe your relationship is at an all time low and you are feeling confused and lost. Pray for peace of mind and for spiritual awareness, if you don’t know how to pray, I have put a small prayer at the end of the blog that you can use and expand on. Sometimes as girls, we close our eyes, cross our fingers and hope for it to get better soon. It may not be the right relationship for you or maybe you need to bring your man to Christ. You may even be feeling tired of the whole thing (even though I don’t think I could ever get tired of waking up next to David Beckham!)

But how will you know if you have not prayed about it? Pray for strength to be able to stand up and be virtuous, put your self-worth first and know that before any man loved you; God loved you first. Your man may be going through difficult times and as girls we can feel useless in certain situations. But praying for him is the greatest gift you can give to him. Praying for somebody else shows selflessness which is how Christ taught us to live.

Therefore, God will answer our prayers for others more quickly and surely than prayers for ourselves, and, more than that, what we ask in prayer for others will come back to us.  An excellent Biblical example is found at the end of the Book of Job. If you read chapter 42:10, you will find this: "And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before." As you can see, it was when Job prayed for his friends that he got blessed, and if you are familiar with the Book of Job, you will understand that it was forgiveness for his friends that he had to pray for. In the same way, God will often only act in our behalf when we take the initiative to pray for the needs, material and spiritual, of others.

Something that God put on my heart was also the situation about ex boyfriends. Many girls have been hurt in the past and it can be destructive both physically and spiritually. But know that you are a beautiful young woman who has been fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Rebuke that spirit of depression or sadness; it has no place in your life. Your tongue is one of the most powerful tools you have; use it to claim blessings in your life. Use it to rebuke heartache and pain and use it to pray for the ones that hurt you. Proverbs 13:2 teaches us that from the fruit of your lips, you shall enjoy good.
The bible  also says we should forgive those who trespass against us; burdening pain in your heart is poisonous. Don’t let it kill you. Praying for someone that hurt you helps you to move on and blossom into the beautiful worthy woman has called you to be.

Some of you are reading this thinking, “I don’t have a boyfriend and have never had an ex”, but praying for the right guy to come along doesn’t start when you go on the first date. Pray that when the right guy comes along; you are able to see it. Pray that you may be far from any temptation that is a distraction to you. Even if he looks like Wentworth Miller! The right time will come when you are to be in a relationship, don’t succumb to peer pressure or feel under any strain. After all, in 1 Corinthians 17:32, it says that an unmarried person should only be concerned with the affairs of the Lord. Focus on whatever it is you are doing and pursue it to the highest degree.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever. Stay blessed!

Please feel free to leave comments to debate, discuss and share any issues you feel like!

Prayer of salvation: Father, in heaven You said that, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." I know now that I can do nothing to save myself. You died on the cross and shed your blood for me. You paid for and took away all my sin and iniquity. I call on your name right now. Lord Jesus, save me! I believe in you now and believe that you died on the cross in my place, to pay the price for and take away all my sin.
In Jesus' name, I pray, Amen

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Proverbs 11:16 -A kindhearted woman gains respect

One day, I hope to be an example to girls and women. Not because of me or my achievements but because of the Christ that lives in me. I want to be an example because I want to prove that you do not have to be a popular, rich ‘it-girl’ to be respected. You can come from an ordinary working-class background like myself, with an ordinary upbringing and still know Christ in great ways.
I have an outreach aim; to help the broken hearted the disappointed, and the rejected.
After being saved two years ago, it is only of recent that I noticed how hard the struggle is. Walking with Christ is harder than being in the world! This is something that I think Christians tend to forget. The common idea that life is a fairytale when you become ‘born-again’ is wrong. As Christians we experience so many trials and tribulations that help us reach God in the purest way possible. But these trials and tribulations are only hurdles and obstacles towards a greater outcome. I thank God for the happy and sad times in my life, all the glory belongs to him.
As women in our society, being Christ-like is hard. With constant reminders in the media showing us that ‘beauty’ is defined by sex appeal or by how big and round your bum and breasts are, image has now consumed our thoughts and conscience. But I want to rebuke that spirit in us and fight against it for we battle not against flesh but against principalities in this world.
I want to let females know that beauty has nothing to do with your physical appearance. Your weave, makeup or swagger has no input in your self worth. However, being virtuous is further than skin deep. It is an attribute which is emotional and spiritual and can only be achieved by accepting Christ Jesus as your Lord and saviour.
So many times, as women we experience disappointment or heartache whether it be at the hands of men or by another other means and it can destroy us both physically and mentally. Some girls feel worthless, while others even set out to intentionally hurt others. The old saying of ‘time is the greatest healer’ doesn’t really have effect in such situations. I personally believe that Christ is the best healer. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that being ‘saved’ means being born again. A new creation! Regardless of past situations and circumstances, all God wants is your heart.
“You won’t understand I’ve made some really bad mistakes” this is what some of you may be thinking or something that you may have thought of before. Rebuke it!! It is a lie from the devil who wants to see you fail.
The bible says Paul went about murdering Christians, yet he became one of the most anointed writers in the bible. No sin is too big for God no problem is too much for him.
“Okay so what do I do then?” Just give him your heart! That’s all. You don’t need to do a big sacrifice or give up your best pair of heels and wipe of all your makeup. Just your heart, that’s all God wants; the purest part of your body.