Lover of my soul

God is simple, very loving, and understanding. The generations of humans might have made God look hard, inconsiderate, and unloving, yet they can’t change who God is. He is a good God, Who cares for everything He created. He is a loving, caring, and very responsible heavenly Father Who planned the best right from the foundation of the world for His children, whom He made in His own image and after His own likeness. He is ever faithful and good. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He gives good things always to His beloved children. Get to meet with this God for yourself.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James 1:17

– Funmi P. Adebayo
(c) 2022

DRIVEN

Before I wrote this, I was watching a YouTube video. Was it the best use of time? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

The subject of this particular video was Elon Musk and if you know much about this enigma of a man, you would understand the awe poured so lavishly into the language that was used.

However, one word jumped at me.

Driven

I have come across this word too many times in my short life and I do believe that it stirs up the same stereotype in most minds – the individual walking as though blind to the world around them. Consumed by passionate zeal, they pursue some goal almost to a fault. When they are successful, they lead humanity to a new frontier and when they are not successful, they become a cautionary tale.

Driven

However, what struck me in thought and compelled me to write this is the more literal iteration of the word.

To be driven in more literal terms assumes one very important thing – the loss of a will. 

It implies that something or someone else is in control. Thus, you are DRIVEN by a DRIVER. I believe this concept is not in any sense novel to most people because it is obvious, but I also believe it is so obvious that its essence is missed.

We attribute the word as a descriptor for high-achievers and purposeful people in our society without realizing that if success would be an ideal, then there is a compulsory need for one’s will to be so lost in someone or something that it dictates how their life will be lived.

Driven

I hope this should cost you a moment of conscious thought because most of us would agree that we wish to do something great with our lives. I want that for myself too and in considering this word, I remember that great things come at a cost no less than surrender.

The word “surrender” may feel like old English in this century but I believe it is quite the perfect synonym for “driven”.

To be driven is an act of surrender.

It might not seem obvious in our day because cars do not have a will. Thus, if living things are the only entities with a will, how can we operate as non-living so that we can attain goals that are otherwise unattainable?

At this point, I turn to words I have trusted for most of my life.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2

I find the concept of a living sacrifice to be odd and I cannot claim to fully understand but it does help us, in this case, to give language to the idea of being driven despite having a functional will.

Basically, to be driven is to be alive but to live as though dead. The great thing though is the next verse presents us an action point to being living sacrifices (aka driven) and that is to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Two things to note in this verse include the acknowledgment that this is a transformational process and that the solution is an ongoing activity. Put in perspective, the verse insinuates a need for a change and emphasizes that this change can only happen through repetitive and consistent action.

Driven

Armed with the knowledge that we are not born with the ability to be driven and the need to acquire this status by consistent action, one would assume that I can now go ahead and be the best I can be. The unfortunate reality though is that even though I can, I do not necessarily engage.

I think many would read this and understand how crippling this thought can be. Apostle Paul, who wrote the scripture above actually confessed to this same struggle just a few chapters before this one.

The vicious cycle of wanting to do your best and flaking out when the work comes thus leading to the need again is one that is familiar across time and place. It is why we look at the likes of Elon Musk and say with utmost certainty, something else must be in control.

Driven

We could go down that lane and discover some great gems, but I would like to infer something I think to be quite interesting. Remember that from the portion of scripture quoted above, we know that one has to engage the consistent action of “renewing the mind” to undergo the transformation necessary to become a living sacrifice (aka driven).

My inference is that some activities which we would consider as being driven are in fact how we can get to be driven. By this I mean, that “renewing the mind” can often look like the car (you) is already in motion (driven).

I think renewing the mind is necessary before you are driven, and it is how you stay driven. Let’s call it the fuel.

Driven

I would like to end this with what I believe “renewing the mind” looks like. Glory Aimufua, a dear friend of mine once communicated a concept that struck me as odd. In her words, she believed that to do anything well, one had to “brainwash” themselves by engaging consistently with it. I think this is similar to what I believe “renewing the mind” to be.

To undertake a proper brainwash, one would have to be disciplined enough to regularly have intentional contact with that concept or context. In essence, renewing the mind is providing your mind the opportunity to access the thing you desire to be driven by.

I like the terms “renewing” and “transformation” because it points to something very important and that is as you create these intentional instances of contact, you are in effect giving your mind a newness and/or a different form.

It then makes sense that after making a habit of renewing our mind, you seem to be a different human – one that is possessed by an all-consuming passion.

Driven

I hope you see that to be driven, much like a car there is a very important need to first build the momentum to at least start. I also hope that you are aware of the very real risk that whatever you do this with, will drive you.

This is a good thing because to make the journey to success you cannot drive yourself, you must be driven by something or someone else.

In summary, it is an illusion to imagine you are the driver. I am more inclined to say, you are the car, but you can decide what or who sits in the driver’s seat.

Driven.

– EZEONYEKA GODSWILL
(c) 2022

GRACIOUSLY TIMED

One of the existential questions I have fought within my lifetime is “why were we born?”

I did battle with this thought many times because I could not fathom the justification that I was born without my consent and now, I had to make good decisions in order to make heaven.

Needless to say, decision-making tires me out. The struggle was not about making good decisions but that I was forced into this position by no choice of mine.

Today, I think God has been gracious enough to reveal answers I think might come in handy for anyone in a similar predicament as I was.

I would like to present this answer in the same way I got it chronologically and hopefully, it will make as much sense to you as it did to me.

First, we start with the concept of original sin. The book of Genesis opens us to God’s revelation to Moses on how the world we currently live in began. It points out many fascinating ideas that I would like to dabble in but for the sake of this discussion, I would stick to specific verses that would be useful.

And the LORD God commanded him, “You may eat freely from every tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die” (Genesis 2: 16-17).

Here we see God provide the instruction our forebears were eventually going to disobey. I used to look at this instruction in very literal terms, but a new light shone on it when I considered the fact that the book of Genesis was a vision to Moses and he was probably trying to interpret heavenly mysteries in human terms.

This meant that the significance of the instruction was more worthy of note than what type of fruit was being referred to. Thinking in this line, I believe that God gave Adam a choice between letting God decide what was good for him as opposed to gaining that knowledge for himself and doing the decision-making by himself.

In effect, God was telling Adam, if you take on decision-making, you are going to be killing yourself.

This understanding built my first step towards an answer and I believe it has credence to it because the stress of decision-making is why I got into this predicament. If we take our focus off me for a moment, we find quite glaringly that humanity on its own proves that we are not great at making decisions.

Many of the sorrows we suffer on earth are the direct or indirect implications of our decisions.

It is important to note that our good intentions do not make this any better because, the flaw in our capacity to make good decisions comes from our inability to operate as God – having all the information of past, present and future.

This would then mean that our best option was and always have been to allow God to do the deciding for us. Adam and Eve should have known better.

Now, riding on that revelation, I feel I would like to have words with Eve and Adam when we get to heaven. I was inclined to think this was their entire fault, making me the innocent recipient of someone’s mistakes. I did not think God was fair to let their problem become my destiny alongside all the millions of babies born every day. For this, God provided a thought process that I would like to share with you.

Consider the language from Genesis 1: 20 – 31. A recurring phrase you would find is “…after its kind” followed by the instruction to reproduce.

Dr. Myles Munroe does a great job of explaining this phenomenon by pointing out that God put the future of the plant within it in seed form. The same he did with animals and also with man. Thus, when you hold a mango in your hand, the fact is it is just a mango, but the truth is that you are holding a potential forest.

This reasoning can then be applied to humanity and we can make the conclusion that when Adam and Eve made the wrong decision, we all did it together because we were already in them… just in seed form.

Now comes the good part:

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” (Genesis 3:22).

I know it is odd that I am romanticising the separation of man and God, but I have recently come to an understanding that makes this a bittersweet beginning to the human dilemma.

According to the vision, Adam and Eve have sinned, God has doled out the punishments (which when we study closely, is in the favour of man) and the last thing he does is create a rift between himself and man.

This rift may look like a move of anger, but the verse clearly states why it was necessary and even a move of love – if man in this state (filled with the knowledge of good and evil) were to remain in the garden, he would have access to eternal life. On the surface, it doesn’t look like much of a problem until you consider the possibility of life as we know it existing forever. If that doesn’t scare you, it scares me.

Humanity and world systems have failed too many times to prove that we are not great at this decision-making thing. We do have our moments but overall, we are barely getting by. So, it is grace – that God keeps us from eternity, for a while. This is what I believe time to be – a enclosed moment in eternity to live out the mallady of self-will.

Here is an analogy to help with this. Imagine a father warns his son to not play by the roadside. The son does not adhere and in a freak accident hurts his ankle and falls on the road in such a way that he could be killed by oncoming traffic. The father’s first reaction would be to yank his son as quickly as possible to safety first before tending to his hurt ankle. I now believe this was what God did.

Sin was a minor problem, but eternity would have been worse off so he yanks us off the road and places us in a capsule called time. While we are there, he tends to our wounds by offering payment for our sin that we don’t deserve and a power to overcome sin in a way that is beyond human. Then, he would eventually round up time and take us back to eternity. Only that this time, we would not receive eternal life in our failed nature but in a resurrected nature, insured by God himself.

I hope this answers some questions and hopefully raises new ones. In the end, God’s love is consistent through the scriptures and in our experiences when we let him. The key is to honestly approach him first as Saviour and then as Lord. It does make sense when you wholly experience it.

 As for me, I am so glad God cares enough to provide answers to the ramblings of my mind.

GODSWILL EZEONYEKA

WHAT BEGAN AS A DILEMMA

Part II

Usually, I have everything in my life fixed including how I want to live and move and have my being. I do not need further help except for this one: I am in a dilemma—
Running marathon on a steep path and finishing adorned; or sprinting along a smooth lane only to come out alive.

But why is it that in this life of mine, I always almost have just two options?

Well I do not need any help from this man standing before me, who hails from nowhere like Melchizedek—This man who promises me a better portrait of myself.

Then a song begins to play from his chancel lamp. No wonder it looks just like a home theatre. I watch the orange flourescence dance like disco light as the song plays:

I want God’s way to be my way as I journey here below for there is no other highway that a child of God should go.Though the road be steep and rough, if he leads me it’s enough, I want God’s way to be my way everyday.

The voice is sweet but the words are quietening my nerves. I am uneasy about the ease I am experiencing. I am not used to calmness because in my philosophy, a man must be up and doing or else how does he prove to be up to task? This is why most times, it’s either I’m up or I’m doing.

The words of the song are taming my soul further into stillness. They are like tranquilizer, vanquishing the spasmodic discomforts in my gut. My whole body is heavy yet light, and it seems I can’t feel anything anymore, as if somebody else, a presence, is living on my behalf.


I find my face turned toward him, my gaze fixed on him. I startle at what I see on his face: Words are displayed on his forehead like a computer screen:

Better is it to (stand) as a doorkeeper in thy tent than to dwell(at ease) in the tent of the wicked.



I am wondering what the tent of the wicked is and before I can take the next breath, he has answered me as though he is hearing my thought.

The tent of the wicked pitches in the heart of a man who chooses ease at the expense of God’s way.

It is as Sodom to Lot, a place that a man appoints for himself because of splendour and comfort without seeking to know if it pleases his maker. Many men opt for their own choice without caring whether it is the portion allotted to them from above, just in a bid to escape the seemingly perilous pathway to glory.

To dwell in the tent of the wicked is to be like the servant who hid his master’s talent under the ground, damning the consequence of an unfulfilled destiny, thinking his master is a hard man subjecting him to a rigorous and unattractive lot.

You see, I make beautiful portraits with both dark hues and bright colours, with both broken lines and straight lines. I need them all combined to create my pleasure and make art of men.

My perfect will is a blend of the good and what you term the bad. In the end, I bring light out of darkness and turn crooked paths straight, but first there must be pain before gain, suffering before satisfaction, peril before pleasure.

As lucid as the message of a simple poem, everything is now making meaning to me. First, the song, then his words. What began as a dilemma is diving out of the deep.

Suddenly, I am no longer in a dilemma! I am no longer in a dilemma!

My heart melts into brokenness. The tears are already forming bubbles on my cheeks. Wobbling, I fall into his bosom. This time around, I am not up and doing, I am down and done. I can no longer lift up my face before him and my tremulous hands can no longer hold the pencil.

The man is now sitting on a big throne and not on my chair, he’s making my portrait on a mighty wall erected before him. All of this is taking place in a room where an altar is burning and not in my art gallery.

In the portrait that he’s making, I begin with plenty dark hues but I am gradually evolving into bright colours. Also, there are many broken lines but the straight lines are becoming superimposed on them such that the broken lines are hardly noticeable. He is still working on the art while I am set to begin my marathon race upon the steep path.

It is the last week of the year but what began as a dilemma this morning has transpired into the divulgence of a mystery capable of ministering strength to me every morning.

One day, soon, when I finish this race, which I’ve embraced with hope and joy, I hope to change the inscription on the entrance of my art gallery to:
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined out.

Ayooluwa Olasupo (Imisi)

WHAT BEGAN AS A DILEMMA

Part I

It is the last week of the year and I am in a dilemma—

Running marathon on a steep path and finishing adorned; or sprinting along a smooth lane only to come out alive. But why is it that in this life of mine, I usually have only two options?

It doesn’t seem I’ve got a way out of this dilemma yet, so I stroll into my art gallery. I have not been there in a while. I draw the curtains to allow light rays fall into the room, then I pull out a chair and start to sketch a portrait of myself— the kind I have longed to possess for ages.

I do not like to see dark hues in a work so in that drawing, I am appearing bright and beautiful and my face is beaming with all the colours of the rainbow.

I do not like broken lines too, so with my eraser, I clean the broken lines where a pair of glasses sits on my nose, carefully converting them all into perfect lines with my ruler.

My canvas will soon be wearing that perfect portrait of me.

I look at this work of art again with great enthusiasm; it is almost complete. I feel so satisfied that I do not know when my lips part to drip smiles from the corners of my mouth.

Then a man approaches me whom I do not know. He’s old enough to be my father but his own face glows. He doesn’t knock nor turn the knob and I can’t fathom which way he entered through.

Apart from the chancel lamp in his hand that gives off warm light and resembles a mini home theatre, there’s something about him that surpasses my understanding and even his stance sends ounces of awe down my spine.

I am admiring him until he says I should let him hold my tools, let him have my canvas, let him own this art gallery and he’ll make a better portrait of me. I giggle. What is better than my own “perfect”? My own “perfect”.

I am angered. I am nervous. I can feel my intestines twisting, hear the gush of acid pouring into my chest from my stomach at the sound of his request. It seems I can even hear as my valves are opening to pump blood out of my heart because both of my legs are now becoming warm.

But, there is something about him that makes me have a rethink about refusing to give him chance. I look at him again with uncertainty. He doesn’t look like someone who can violate my work yet I’m afraid.

I’m afraid he might alter, alter this piece in which I am almost becoming a perfect portrait of my dream self….

Ayooluwa Olasupo (Imisi)

THE CHOSEN REVIEW: INDESCRIBABLE COMPASSION

The sixth episode of The Chosen comes fully packed.


The miracles, the dialogue, the acting, everything blends together in this episode to make the character development and subplot unravel perfectly.


The two miracles we witness happen in controversial situations. Jesus could have easily walked away from healing them but defied the odds and showed them compassion.

This reiterates the fact that the love and mercy Christ has for humanity is indescribable.


One major scene in this episode is shot in Zebedee’s house and it features the healing of the paralytic.

It would seem like an ordinary scene with different components and conflicts going on but surprisingly, the chaos blossomed into a bursting delight.


We see through the eyes of Matthew and Nicodemus how the miracle they witnessed created a quest, a yearning for truth, much of which will be depicted in the coming episodes.


Indescribable Compassion portrays Jesus as a friend, teacher, the saviour and most importantly, the son of God.


PS: To watch this episode, download The Chosen app here.


Please read our review of The Chosen’s Ep 3, The Wedding Gift.

THE CHOSEN REVIEW: THE ROCK ON WHICH IT IS BUILT

Desperate times calls for desperate measures and this is the situation Peter finds himself; owing taxes and defaulting on the deal he made with Quintus, the Roman Praetor. However, the toughest challenge is telling his wife, Eden, about his present situation. “Maybe God will get your attention now!” These are the words Eden tells Peter as tears run down her cheeks.

But how did he get here? How did he put himself in a mess only God can pull him out from? Will he be able to save his house and family, how will he pay his taxes? Don’t ask me; watch this 48-minute packed episode!

The series of events in this episode builds up to the beginning of Jesus’s ministry; the miracle of the fish and selection of Jesus’ core disciples. Andrew is shown running with a burst of excitement to tell Peter that he has seen the Messiah; the man they have been praying for but he (Peter) is unbothered and has lost his faith in God. The only thing on his mind is settling their debts.

Peter sets out to the sea, troubled, and with no hope, he needs a miracle and he is desperately counting on it. With no fish caught, Peter and his friends head to the shore where they meet Jesus. The moment he tells Peter to cast his net, Peter explains the ordeal he faced all through the night but Jesus did not flinch, so he cast his net and he couldn’t believe his eyes! (Yes, no spoilers).

Peter, a man who needed a miracle to save himself, got one of the most referenced and talked about miracles when all hope was lost.

Do you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t fret, God is still in the business of doing miracles!

PS: The miracle of the miracle of the fish is one behind-the-scenes video you should watch. You can find it on The Chosen App here.

Please read our review of The Chosen’s Ep 3: Jesus Loves The Little Children.

The Chosen Review: Shabbat

How would you feel if the President of a country, whom you hold in high esteem pays you a visit uninvited? Especially when he passes by other houses and decides on your unspectacular house?

Sounds unbelievable?

That is exactly how Mary must have felt in Episode 2 of The Chosen when the doctor who healed her of her infirmity without collecting a dime showed up at her doorsteps for Sabbath. More important was the fact that she did not invite him, yet, He found her.

I want such an August visitor, who wouldn’t?


But just before Sabbath, we witness the events of the day in the lives of Mary, Nicodemus, Simeon Peter and Matthew. We observe as Matthew display a matchless level of courage before the Praetor of Judea, Quintus, from whom he went to confirm if Simon Peter and his brother’s taxes had indeed been waived by the Roman Officer as alleged by Peter in exchange for a job for the officer.

Read The Chosen’s S1 Ep1 Review

Matthew learnt that their taxes had been waived for a job which required Peter to spy on his brethren and bring names of those who worked on Sabbath and were tax evaders. An act considered as betrayal and greatly disapproved by his brother, Andrew.

In the same episode, Nicodemus to his uttermost dismay got information that Mary Magdalene upon whom he had earlier performed religious rites to deliver her from demonic possession, though unsuccessful, had been miraculously healed, a task which he had earlier deemed humanly impossible. He embarks on a quest to find out how this came to be.

They all seemed to have had a busy day but what was much more interesting about these characters was how they celebrated Sabbath.

One had so much friends all around for the events. Isn’t that what we all want? Another chose money above his family, the one who wanted to spend time with his family was not wanted by them while Mary had an august visitor! From all these, what can we learn?


So what makes Sabbath so different from every other day and how did these people prepare towards it?

How should we celebrate what we consider to be the “day of rest” in our society? Episode 2 offers us the requisite answers to these.

Download The Chosen App here to watch the series for free.

Watch Season One’s trailer here.