BOOK REVIEW: PICTURE PERFECT – An Artwork of Grace

Author: Ijeoma Obi
Pages: 69
Reviewer: Favour Omeje, Ajegbomogun Olufunke

Have you ever had one of such days when it seems the entire universe was working against you, when the weight of challenges come crumbling down so heavily on you that you ask yourself this question inwardly “Why me?” well I have and I have no doubt you have too. On such days, when the journey of our lives gets so tough, we often wonder if God has abandoned us.

A few months ago, I publicly stripped myself of all items of clothing for the first time and went about in the glory of my plain nakedness. Guess what happened to me next; The author, Ijeoma Obi contacted me! She offered me a read of what she called her vulnerable book.

How does the tough get going when the going gets tough? The author in this book, illuminates us on this by sharing her life experience to help us understand how to view such moments of our lives that we are not so proud of as Christians. She gives us a new perspective to how failures, limitations, challenges help shape our purpose. From her story, we also see the indispensable role that grace plays in helping us become who God has created us to be. This book gives us an explanation for all the big stories of transformation chronicled in the scriptures: GRACE.

Have you experienced some failures that has cast so much gloom on your perception of the goodness of God? What limitations do you perceive you have that may hinder God’s promises you to have received via his word? This book gives us a new perspective of our failures and disappointments helping us shift our gaze away from ourselves to God.

Do your care too much? Or do you want to be happy? Then I think you might want to join the bandwagon of people who know how to be naked and unashamed; tell your story just the way it is. Ijeoma Obi says “when we don’t tell our story completely; the good, the bad, or even the ugly, we deny all that grace has accomplished in our lives”.

She offers in her debut the need to be grateful to God while we embrace our vulnerabilities and human limitations. ‘Vulnerable’ is the new confident, I must say. Shameless nakedness is picture perfect. Go for it!

I recommend it to everyone who is tired of depending on his human abilities and needs something more divine. The length of the book allows for a quick read.

You can download a free copy of Picture Perfect here.

ONE SECRET CHRIST LIVED BY

Sometimes I wonder why I experience highs and lows in my walk with God. During my highs, I’m unmindful of the lows, rather, I revel in an ecstatic feeling of sailing into a permanent, victorious, Christian Life. Eventually, the lows creep in and I feel God is hiding His face from me. I begin to feel a void; my bible studies slowly become uninteresting, my prayer life drops to the point where all I can whisper is ‘help me Lord’.
Currently, I’m in a spiritual high and I’m using this opportunity to understand the pathway to my spiritual low so I can avoid it by every means. I’ll go ahead and share it with you.
John 5:30
[30]I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord–but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me. (Amplified Bible)
Things you can deduce from here:

  • Jesus, while on earth, was a full-blooded man who had the potential of sinning if He chose to. Let me show you something;
    Romans 8:3
    [3]For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], [Lev. 7:37.]
  • Jesus never did anything throughout His work on earth without asking for directions from God.
  • He relied on the still small voice for every thing.
    So how did this help me?
    Let me show you something else:
    Psalm 32:8-9
    [8]I [the Lord] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
    [9]Be not like the horse or the mule, which lack understanding, which must have their mouths held firm with bit and bridle, or else they will not come with you.

God speaks to His children by His Holy Spirit. God is constantly speaking through the still small voice. He’s always telling you what to do and how to do it. He’s interested in you, your kitchen, your laundry and even when you’re in front of your computer.
He wants a willing obedience for every single thing He lays in your heart. Being a mule or a horse grieves the Holy Spirit.
In my case, I realize when I leave out the Holy Spirit in some areas of my life, I limit Him and when I do things my way, I grieve Him. When I hurt Him consistently, I’m ruining our relationship. My physical impulses would begin to call more shots and I die gradually.
The good news is that I have the right to choose who calls the shots in my life.
Romans 8:12-13
[12]So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh.
[13]For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.
Ask the Holy Spirit to explain these passages to you. It will make more sense.
I’m not saying I’ve not grieved the Holy Spirit in the course of this High but I can tell you that I genuinely repent and obey that exact instruction. God is looking for a person who’ll have no will or opinion outside of His, a person who will yield as Christ yielded.
I believe you are that person.
Shalom.

Favour Omeje

(C) 2020

Who I Belong To

I’ve heard of the sweat and essence
Of loved ones
Worn in a vial around the neck
Wrapping them in the fragrance of love

I’ve heard of a lady’s favour
Worn on armour
To protect the soldier in battle
And surround them with home

I’ve heard of love marks
Left by lovers
Like dogs marking their territory
Each tiny red welt saying “mine”

I’ve always wanted one of those
I’ve always wanted to feel owned
And belonged to
And belonging to

This craving has drove me into the arms
Of pharaohs and philistines
And mad scientists and thieves
Who plunder and take and take apart

I seemed to have forgotten
I did belong to One
Father, Son and Spirit

I wore the fragrance of His peace
My heart was His favour
Worn around His ‘holey’ palms in pride
His Spirit was my love mark
Shining through my words and my eyes and my prayers
Screaming “Mine!”

When I did remember
My world was alright again.

Ifechukwu Miracle
©2020

ANTI-GUILT

Sometimes my mind wanders,
all over the place . . .
but, it always comes back
to God’s amazing grace.
Some days I try to make it,
on my very own . . .
but, I’m always lead back
to God’s loving throne.
Sometimes my faith,
begins to doubt and waiver
but, I’m always brought back
to God’s abundant favor.
Sometimes for my wrongs,
I still feel I am guilty
but, it always comes around
to God’s tender mercy.
Sometimes my feet roam,
as I run the faithful race . . .
but, they always return
to God’s mercy, love and grace!

God, forgave you,
and you must too
or else your guilt
will eat away at you.
Guilt is your enemy,
it devours the soul
only Jesus can heal
and make it whole.
Guilt condemns you,
it’ll convict and blame
only Jesus’ love bears
all of your shame.
Guilt is destructive,
with it you’ll contend
but, on Jesus’ grace
you can depend.
God, forgives you,
and you must too
for Jesus took guilt’s
punishment for you!

David Chijioke.

(c) 2018

EVERYDAYJESUS resolves my trust issues (an update)!

Sometimes when we are just too frugal and “economical”, we often think that we are being wise spenders or may be reserving something for the rainy day. The real truth here may be that we are not seeing Jesus every day. Pour exemplum, if I have just one sachet of tomato paste and four cups of rice, and I know that in every way, two cups of rice is just enough for the day for me, and that one sachet of tomato paste is just sufficient to give me a decent pot of jollof rice for dinner, if I decide to divide that one sachet of tomato paste into two equal halves because I want to reserve a half for the remaining two cups for a “tomorrow”, such that my pot of rice of today becomes what my mother calls ‘win the war’ ( food for survival), then I have simply denied my trust in Jesus as my constant supply. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He encouraged them to ask for their daily bread. He was simply trying to teach us to trust God, Abba Daddy for a one-day-at-a-time life. In the Old Testament, God was called Jehovah Jireh because on the mountain He provided. This is to say that Jehovah Jireh knows how to provide just when we need it. Today, He has not changed His nature but He just changed the relationship with us that makes Him provide. Yesterday, the children of Israel found it difficult to learn that character of God, which their father Abraham learned. They always saved some Manna as a reserve for the next day against Jehovah Jireh’s instructions. They had trust issues and that was very repulsive to Him. Today, He has become Abba Father, our Daddy. Jesus taught that if corrupt human daddies do well at giving, then our Father should do best. He supplies our needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus. In fact Jesus taught that food, clothes and the like should not be part of what we should ask for because Daddy knows that we need them, we should bother about seeking His kingdom and His righteousness because all the other survival necessities would follow. Today, Jesus is asking us to trust God-ours and His Father, for supply and abundance every day. Nevertheless, Jesus does not encourage waste or gluttony (remember the gathering after feeding the 5000 to their full). He wants us to enjoy every day, if we have a natural reserve, we may keep them naturally for the next day, or we could share if
necessary, but we must not pass ourselves through a miserly miserable life in the name of being wise- even if that is wisdom, then it must be the wisdom of the world. Every day Jesus provides just as we need it!

By Favouromeje, 2016.