“And they left their nets at once and followed him.” (Mark 1:18, NLT)

The gospel according to Mark shows Jesus’ actions and people’s responses to Him. Chapter 1 essentially shows us the beginning stages of His public ministry, including the miracles He performed. The one part that REALLY stood out to me was verse 18. So, we see Jesus preaching the good news after John was imprisoned, and He went to Simon and Andrew (at work, by the way– Jesus can call us anytime, anywhere), and He told them (invited them) to follow him– as an aside, this is significant because Jesus sought them out, not the other way around. Isn’t that like our God to seek us out, for His glory?! Praise God! Anyway, He said that He will make them fishers of men. Then Andrew and Simon left their work and started following Jesus! Just. Like. That. They just up and left their jobs to follow this man! It’s amazing to me!

I’m not sure why “At once” is catching my attention… possibly because it feels like there was an urgency to them following Jesus; possibly because they thought it important enough to leave their livelihood for God…? As I reflect, I can’t help but feel like I need to be better, to follow Jesus and obey Him at once. And when we read further, James and John did the same thing; they left their father and the hired men and followed Jesus (verse 20). This following implies that they abandoned their will, their agendas, their own feelings to be with Jesus; they literally left everything behind for Him!

I can’t help but ask: Do I do that? Recently, God showed me that I procrastinate… A LOT! I am the kind of person who puts things off to the very last minute, because reasons… If Jesus had called me like He did these 4 men, I probably would’ve given Him one reason or the other as to why I will follow Him later that day, but not right away. It’s sad but it’s true. I am definitely being challenged by their immediate obedience (And this adage is ringing in my ears: Partial obedience is still disobedience!) I want to be like these disciples because Jesus IS worth following! He is worth leaving everything behind for. He is worth obeying. Why? Because Jesus is God! And God knows best!

So, I want to encourage you today. As you go about your day today, think: AT ONCE! If God is impressing something on your heart, don’t be like me and procrastinate; be like these disciples and do it AT ONCE! Obey Him right away! Pray right away, read your Bible right away, call that friend right away. Do it immediately, because Jesus is worth your immediately. And if you think you can’t do it, just remember that Andrew, Simon, James, and John were all human like you! You can do it, too!

Go, at once, my friends!

Grace and peace!

No Other Option

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6, NLT)

no option b

Imagine you are getting married, right. And before your big (or small) wedding day, your future spouse comes up to you and says, “Well, if this doesn’t work out, I have someone else.” How would you feel? I know I’d probably be angry, maybe sad, but definitely doubtful because, what’s the point of marrying someone who is already thinking another?

All the times I have heard what Jesus told Thomas in John 14:6 has been in the context of Jesus is the only way to God. I completely believe that! There is no other way to God except Jesus. But, since yesterday, I have been thinking about something else, and this is something that I can’t claim credit to because I believe that it was the Holy Spirit who put this on my heart.

So, I was just laying on my bed yesterday and I was thinking: why do I still sin? I know that Jesus has saved me by His grace and mercy alone (Ephesians 2:8), I know that He loves me (John 3:16) and I genuinely love Him, I know that I am a new creation (2nd Corinthians 5:17)… you know, those things that Christians ought to believe when they are saved… But, even though this is the new reality I live in, I still find myself committing sin, be it lying, not reading His Word, not loving my neighbor, idolatry, sexual immorality, drunkenness, not obeying my parents, slander; any sin that the Bible talks about, really– because if you break one, you break all (James 2:10-11).

Anyway, as I was contemplating these things in my room, something told me: don’t make sin an option. It was as clear as hearing laurel! I kid you not. But I didn’t want to think too deeply about it at the time. So I watched Spongebob instead hahahaha!

The Holy Spirit has a way of communicating with us, you know, because I’m still thinking about it: why is sin still an option for me? Why do I still see lying as a possible means of getting what I want? Why do I still see manipulation of as a means of getting people to do the things I want them to do? Why do I still allow these thoughts to encroach on my space and I act surprised that I fall into temptation?

How do I not make sin an option? I know the answer is Jesus, but I don’t know how to make that a practical thing in my life. But I am thinking of Paul’s admonition to the Romans, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice– the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2, NLT).

This is all new to me, so I am still learning it and internalizing it. But, I have been telling myself this: Jesus is the only option I have. When I want to pick up that phone and text that boy to come over, Jesus is the only option. When I want to cuss out my dad and not honor him, Jesus is the only option. When I want to go to watch another episode of Spongebob instead of reading my Bible, Jesus is the only option I have.

I thank God that my mind is being transformed by the Holy Spirit– it shows me that God is still working on me! This is a new way of thinking and I am excited to see how my relationship with God will change.

But, what do you think? How can I make Jesus the only option? How can I make sin not an option? Let me know what you think 🙂

Longing for THAT kind of LOVE

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave… Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7, NIV).

If you know anything about me, you know I am a hopeful romantic… because I have hope in Jesus (get it?!) *cue awkward pity chuckle*

Anywhoo… February is the month of love! I celebrate love every February by doing something I don’t normally do. This year, I anchored myself in reading Song of Solomon, a book about love, body image, romance, sex, sensuality… yes, it’s in the Bible. And you say the Bible is boring! I chose this because it celebrates all the types of love (phileo, storge, eros, and agape) in the context of courtship and marriage.

I want to share how reading this book this month has affected me. As a single woman, Song of Solomon ignited in me a strong desire to experience love the way the lovers did– three times it is said “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (2:7, 3:5, 8:4), so I guess now I’m chilling until I can handle love haha! The book is set up, in my mind, like a play following the different stages between the lovers, from meeting, to courtship, to wedding, to first sexual encounter, and the mature married life. And each stage just left me amazed! The attention that each was giving the other, the appreciation, the sacrifice, and the love really got me.

Two parts really stood out to me, chapters 4 and 5. In the beginning of chapter 4, we meet the lovers on their wedding night! What is so beautiful is that the man, presumably Solomon, went after his wife’s heart first, not her body. In so many words, he let her know that he appreciated her, was willing to provide for her, and he professed the effects she had on him! His words drew her in. And they weren’t shallow words just to get it in. Her response? She surrendered willingly to him– so, guys, take note. And we can imagine their first night together as husband and wife was awesome. There’s this awesome part between chapters 4 &5 where the woman started off saying her sexuality is hers and in the end he says that it’s his, showing belonging! Later on in chapter 5, after the couple had their first fight, the woman was thinking about her him, and something lit up in her to recognize her wrong, but to also appreciate her man! She sought reconciliation and it was given, and not begrudgingly.

All this is great and all, but beyond this desire to experience life, love, and everything in between with my own husband, I have a desire to know Jesus more! I want to pour my affections on Him! Throughout the course of the book, the woman expressed her longing just to be in her lover’s presence. She wanted to be near him because she was secure in his love for her! And I’m like, Jesus, please help me to desire YOU more than I desire a husband! In chapter 3 she repeated “the one my heart loves” three times! I want to love Jesus. I want to love His presence! I want to love His character! I want to love who He is! That won’t happen if I don’t know Him! After spending so much time in this book, I am realizing that, more and more, I can’t love Him if I don’t know Him. I can’t search for Him if I don’t know Him! I cannot live for His love and presence if I don’t know Him! So, Father, help me to know you more! I want to live my life, single or married, knowing the one that my heart loves! I think this is the greater point of Song of Solomon.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to have that kind of love, one where I am secure in my husband’s love for me, one where I can experience sexual love with God’s approval, one where I can fight with my husband and be quick to forgive… but none of that will matter if I am not first and foremost secure in His love for me– He loved from the beginning, and eternity is a long time to continue to bask in THAT LOVE!

I have loved spending time reading Song of Solomon. I feel more free to surrender my singleness to Jesus, knowing that I am secure in His hands. While I am waiting for my earthly husband, I will continue to get to know my heavenly One!

God, Faith, and TV: Representation

“All religion is ridiculous to the non-believer” (Law and Order: SVU). 

**DISCLAIMER**: I am not a TV or movie critic.** My thoughts below are simply my personal reflections on a specific episode I watched.


Last night, I watched Season 18, episode 19, “Conversion”, of Law and Order: SVU, one of my favorite TV shows, on Netflix. The episode was essentially about a teenage boy who raped a teenage girl, calling it “curative intercourse”, because he believed it was God’s will, so that the girl’s soul can be saved from damnation because she was a lesbian; the episode is about the aftermath of that. I encourage you to watch the episode yourself to have your own insights and conclusions. It was a good episode, one I really enjoyed. What prompted me to write this piece is to process how my faith was presented.

It has been my personal experience that Christians are not portrayed in a good light on TV. I felt that this particular SVU episode had cult-ish undertones in the way people referred to God and His will; I felt that the people involved were looking more to their reverend for direction than to God and the Bible. That bothers me because it then puts Christianity in the hands of man and not Jesus Christ. And you know, you can’t have Christianity without Christ (haha).

Perhaps the deeper issue for me is that I’m tired of seeing Christians being portrayed in that way. When I watch TV, Christianity is never shown as being about the saving power of Jesus, or the immense love of God, or the comforting and guiding presence of the Holy Spirit. Instead, it’s about people using their faith to abuse power, or people using the Bible to justify doing hateful things, or people in a cult where they have no autonomy. Where are episodes where the Christian shows unconditional love to his/her neighbor? Where are the episodes where the Christian does something that is not for underlying malicious reasons? Where are the episodes where the Christian is surrounded by mentors who encourage and admonish in a Godly way? I know it’s mainstream TV, representation will be different, but still…

“Curative intercourse” is NOT Biblical, but I wonder why the show chose to put that on TV. I’ve heard that some cultures support corrective rape, but that has nothing to do with God’s will. It is never God’s will for someone to be raped or assaulted. It should be understood that all perversion of sex and sexuality is wrong in the eyes of God! God DOES NOT condone rape, molestation, pedophilia, pornography, or any kind of sexual assault or wrong being done against other people! It is time that people stop using God or the Bible or religion or faith as an excuse to perpetrate evil! We cannot take salvation in our own hands because only God can save– and “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is not her name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV). Jesus is the only one through whom we can be saved; He is the only one who can change our lives and hearts… not a pastor, not a reverend, not curative intercourse or conversion therapy!

Another disclaimer: I am not an apologist. I understand that sexuality (and its expressions) is becoming more and more controversial in our country– it’s becoming difficult to stand up because it seems like any disagreement means you are hateful, and that is not true. As someone who believes in God, I believe in what the Bible says about sex and sexuality. The Bible is clear that homosexuality is a sin– and it is not a bigger sin than adultery or drunkenness or greediness (1st Corinthians 6:9-10). And I think the disconnect between Christians and non-Christians is that we see homosexuality and all sin, not as an identity, but as a choice– sin is a choice. God does not create anyone a sinner, but our human nature makes us susceptible to sin (sin is simply missing the mark that was set; imagine missing the bull’s eye, that’s sin).  For me, being a believer in Jesus, my identity is not in sin, but in Him! As much as homosexuality is a sin, it should not be presented in a way that God has damned everyone who is homosexual! If that’s the case, then all liars are damned, too.

This disconnect that we have will always be there until we all see things from God’s perspective. I used to not understand God’s perspective, so I understand why Christians and non-Christians don’t see eye-to-eye; and I guess I can understand why the representation of God and faith in God on screen is a bit skewed. I am grateful that now I see things from His perspective, and let me tell you, the God I know is a good, good God of love, and grace, and mercy with open arms! He will not reject you because of your sin because He doesn’t want anyone to perish (2nd Peter 3:9), but He wants everyone to repent (this just means turning away from what you’re doing and turning back to God); and the more you are in Him, the more your identity is in Him alone. I am not ashamed to be on His side, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16, NIV). The way the world sees things will always contradict the way God sees things. Nevertheless, His love remains! He showed that by allowing Jesus to die (John 3:16) so that you and I can have a relationship with Him! He SO loves you! He SO loves me! This is God’s nature!

This is what I want to see on TV! My walk with God is not a religion, and it breaks my heart to see that that’s the way it’s being shown on screen. If that episode is an example that people see of Christianity, no wonder people don’t want anything to do with the true nature of God.

I want to clarify that I am not hating on the episode, it just stirred something in me. I give the episode props, though, for showing other aspects of faith, such as forgiveness and justice, which are also characteristics of God!

It is my belief that people’s view of God will always be skewed until they look at Jesus– this has been my experience. But like Paul said, “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2nd Corinthians 3:16, NIV). And only Jesus can take that veil away. You know, I’m just a girl who loves TV and movies, but I love my God more, and I’d like for the God I know to be represented. But, the task now is for me to show the people around me who God really is, with the way I talk, the way I interact with others, and with the way I live my life. This is cliche, but you and I may be the only Bible people read. What are they seeing when they read you?

As much as God does not need us to prove He is God– He was God even before the beginning of time– He wants to partner with us to let everyone know who He is. I want people to know Jesus, to know God, to experience the power of the Holy Spirit intimately. Perhaps, then, the way it is being portrayed on our screens will be different. But beyond that, the true nature of God will be known by everyone!



Thanksgiving Fast–Day 24

Oh wow!!!!! The day is here!! Like, for real for real, I cannot believe it! Like… Seriously, it’s surreal. Praise Jesus for allowing me see this commitment through!!! I am so happy! Like happy happy!!! Day 24 means… I am 24 years old… WOW!! 24… 24… 24!

But, while I freak out, here are 24 reasons I am thanking God today:

  1. WOW!!! It’s Day 24! Mama we made it! 🙂
  2. Friends wishing me happy birthday! So many friends! Shout out to Sonia, Julius, Garvens, and Kim for coming all the way to come visit me at my apartment.
  3. Songs– so many songs.
  4. I finished paying rent for September today– although the struggle is real, I thank God for it!
  5. Today is my birthday– and I’m sure Jesus was born in October 🙂
  6. Also, I started another commitment today, which I know God will help me with.
  7. My brother, my immediate younger brother, Ben. He’s ever growing! I thank God for His life.
  8. Being able to pay people back what I owed them, esp. my mom.
  9.  Being able to make plans– but I know that God’s perfect will will be done.
  10. Reading God’s Word leisurely.
  11. Marriage– hoping someday that I’ll be married to a wonderful man!
  12. Calvary– there is a song titled “Calvary” by Hillsong… and being reminded of it was good. Calvary covered it all, my sin and shame don’t count anymore. All praise to the one who has ransomed my soul, Calvary covered it all!
  13. Prayers– Kim prayed for me and it hit the right spot!
  14. Being able to laugh!!! Oh boy! I love to laugh.
  15. Cookies! My friend Sonia gave me my first present, which is a cookie, and I love it!
  16. Thinking about the fact that last year I was unemployed on my birthday– this year I have a job and a car! Only God takes that glory.
  17. My nephew! He brings me such joy— such a blessing to me!
  18. I got a surprise in my fridge today from the ladies at Navs. It really made me happy!
  19. Getting dinner with my friend Paige– God knew I needed to eat food, and I had no food in my apartment.
  20. Phone calls– hearing my friends’ and loved ones’ voices.
  21. I put makeup on today and I actually did a good job– I looked GOOOOOOOODDDDDD!!!!!!!!!
  22. All October babies!
  23. I’m actually happy– the reason I say that is because I usually get sad around and on my birthday, but this one was different. Admittedly, there were times I felt sad, but God did  not allow me to wallow in my sadness. I am happy!
  24. Last but not least, I thank God for my friend and sister and birthday twin, Grace– she’s actually a couple of years older. But, yeah… I love this woman! I can’t even describe it. I thank God for her life and journey, for her accomplishments, for her story. Last year was great, and I know that this year will be even better!! I can go on and on, but Grace is awesome! I love her dearly, and I am so happy that I share a birthday with her! Praise Jesus for friends! Not only is she beautiful, she’s charismatic, she’s awesome! She has character. She knows God, she believes in Jesus– and I just like her… She’s just awesome!

This is us, a candid.

Thanksgiving Fast– Day 23

Oh man!!!!! Almost done! I can’t believe it! Like, WHAT?!?!?! So, here we go, Day 23

  1. Waking up this morning and getting to work safe and sound– I had work at 7 am, woke up at 6:40… God did it! Again, having a car makes it easier to get around! God is amazing!!!!!
  2. Work was pretty chill; I actually enjoyed being at my first job today.
  3. Praying and just talking to God while at work. It was pretty awesome!
  4. Paying my phone bill– shout out to le mom for lending me some money (and I thank God, in advance, for allowing me to pay her back).
  5. Honestly, I wasn’t angry at my job today at all– I was a little bit annoyed at times, but no anger! Praise God for that!
  6. My lips! I really do love my lips… I mean REALLY love!
  7. My hair! I thank God for giving me hair. And the style I currently have is pretty awesome- I got a lot of compliments; some people said I was unrecognizable hahah!
  8. I had a nice break at work, too! I ate food, like substantial food.
  9. My aunty, Aunty Pelu! So, today is her birthday!!! Yay!!! Honestly, she is so beautiful! Her life is a testimony. She disciplined me when we were in Nigeria, she encourages while I’m here; she treats me like an adult; she has a beautiful family!!!! She is a source of encouragement to me, and she is absolutely AMAZING!!! I love her so much!!!!! (She’s the one pictured above). Honestly, I can’t wait to go back to Nigeria so I can see her again! I really thank God for her life. What God has done between last year and this year is AMAZING!!!! And I know that God has greater heights to take her, deeper levels in Himself to bring her! I love you, Aunty!!!!
  10. Graham crackers
  11. Napping– best friend right there hahah!
  12. The Bible. The Word of my savior!
  13. Opposable thumbs! It dawned on me how important and useful my thumbs are.
  14. Texting. We live in the age of technology, an age where we can get info relatively quickly!
  15. Being available to help a church community.
  16. Catching up on my Bible readings
  17. Having hope and redemption in/through Christ.
  18. I am almost done with this challenge! #1moredayleft
  19. History– I may not be that educated in history, but we have one, and that’s good!
  20. Not wallowing in my pity or pain.
  21. Music– honestly, I love music!!!!! Christian music is the best! #Jesussongs
  22. Growth– I am growing and growing and growing!!! I thank God for it.
  23. Jesus Christ– my savior is not a swear word, He is a person! He is alive! He is with me! He is for me!!!!!!!!!!!!! #thenameofJesusispower #thenameofJesus

Thanksgiving Fast– Day 22

Ok! I am back on track! Here are the 22 things I am thanking God for today:

Thanking God for:

  1. I can’t believe it’s Day 22!!!
  2. Taking a shower, a nice hot shower! Much needed after several hours of doing my hair.
  3. I had a considerable amount of sleep, so yay!
  4. I made it to work on time!!! For the first time in a while. Oh! It felt so good to not be in a rush!
  5. Work was not busy today- it was actually steady! I remember going to work this morning and thinking it was going to be horrible, but it was chill! I thank God!
  6. Realizing God’s infinite mercy!
  7. Singing at work.
  8. Think about it: God’s mercies are new every morning! Every morning!!!! WOW!!! I thank God for mercy.
  9. Crying– I cried a little at work today. I need to cry some more. I just thank God for tears, for the fact that I can even cry.
  10. Being able to be of help to my coworker.
  11. Visiting my mentor today! It was so nice catching up. I finally visited him at work.
  12. Calling my sister today, talking and listening to her.
  13. Being able to make plans for the future– at the same time, trusting in God’s sovereignty.
  14. Laundry.
  15. Putting finishing touches on my hair.
  16. Running errands safely
  17. Having someone to confide in.
  18. Realizing that I am very much a work in progress… Just pouring out my soul to God.
  19. Fresh towels.
  20. Sweeping my room– no more hairs all over the floor.
  21. Getting paid for a job I did today, so it’s nice to get some cash.
  22. Catching up on these blog posts!

Thanksgiving Fast– Day 21

Ok, here’s the list for 10/17/2016, Monday, which was yesterday!!!

  1. Seeing another day.
  2. Continuing and finishing my hair.
  3. More Supernatural!
  4. Not going to work.
  5. Even though my body was hurting, I was pushing through– only strength from God!
  6. McDonald’s– not the best option for food out there, but it was a quick pick me up when I needed it.
  7. Staying unplugged– I barely used my phone.
  8. The earth
  9. Hot chocolate
  10. Peanut butter and honey sandwich (I think I’ve also mentioned this one before).
  11. Being human– yes, we have our own troubles and setbacks, but we also all have the hope of being with Jesus when/if we accept Him.
  12. God is true, He is real, He knows me!
  13. Sleeping and waking
  14. Friends checking in on me– that really touched me.
  15. Talking to God, you know, casually.
  16. I have a purpose in life
  17. The mercy of God!
  18. Day 21!!!
  19. God is showing me more and more things to be thankful for.
  20. A few more day till my birthday!
  21. Driving back and forth last night to get food– it was very cold and very foggy, but I thank God for journey mercies!

Thanksgiving Fast– Day 20

The list for 10/16/2016, Sunday

  1. Last day of the retreat.
  2. Driving back to MA, safe and sound!
  3. Bringing some food stuff back with me from the retreat.
  4. Making new friends.
  5. Being part of the retreat– it was nice, really nice. I felt accomplished, I guess.
  6. Relaxing when I got back… Oh, man! I didn’t realize how much I’d missed my room.
  7. Watching past seasons of Supernatural! I really love that show.
  8. Netflix– I really love TV, to be honest (and I feel like I’ve mentioned this before).
  9. Started doing my hair.
  10. It was my uncle’s birthday. He’s the best!!! I love him so much!
  11. My hands and feet.
  12. Having hair products on hand, available.
  13. Knowing the Word of God, having knowledge of it.
  14. Another Sunday, being able to experience it.
  15. Having a family.
  16. Having food to eat.
  17. Entertainment, of all kinds.
  18. Pushing through my tiredness– even being able to do that, all God’s grace!
  19. Having family to talk to/with– the good, the bad, the ugly.
  20. Day 20! I really can’t believe it! 4 more days!!

Thanksgiving Fast– Day 19

This list is for 10/15/2016, Saturday

  1. I slept really well! I mean REALLY!!! The bed we slept on was so comfortable.
  2. Having a comforter to keep me warm when it got cold.
  3. I love Coke! I love Coca-Cola!!!!
  4. The retreat went really well. Very nice view.
  5. Just being able to unplug over the weekend!
  6. I had quality quiet time with God! It was awesome. So peaceful, quiet.
  7. We looked at the book of Daniel over the weekend.
  8. Realization (heart knowledge) that God is always working, orchestrating– in the background, but He is at the center of it all.
  9. Confronting my fear– something I have been struggling with for some time, that I am not enough, that I will be forgotten, or that I am not doing enough. I confessed this to God– I know that there is work to be done.
  10. I talked with new people over the weekend, hearing stories, laughing, playing games! I thank God for great company.
  11. Romans 5-6
  13. Nature! Being surrounded by God’s fingerprint!! Ah!!!
  14. There was a hike on Saturday, and I know it was great, but I thank God because I did not go– it gave me the time to be still and just be quiet and be restful in the presence of God.
  15. I prepped for a Bible study with one of the girls at the retreat.
  16. The game subway surf– I love that game.
  17. Having technology to be able to capture such great beauty around us.
  18. Having a relationship with God.
  19. I sat outside Saturday afternoon, and was just read the Word. It was AMAZING!!!!