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Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. Hebrews 2:1

The warning in this verse is so key, I have seen what it can do if you do not heed it.

We are told to give more earnest heed (in other translations, it says ‘take seriously’) to the things we have heard lest we drift away. The things we have heard refers to the word / the good news / the message of salvation.

The word ‘drift’ stood out to me … Here is why:

The definition of drift is when something is carried away slowly by a current of air or water. For example a balloon drifting in to the sky. When something drifts it tends not to have control. When you think of the action of drifting, you rarely associate that movement with purpose or intention because whatever is drifting is carried by whatever surrounds it. We can’t afford to just be carried because Peter 5:8 tells us to be sober and alert because the enemy prowls around like a lion looking for whom to devour.

We can avoid being at the mercy of the enemy by taking earnest heed. So we need to stop being passive and nonchalant. E.g. It is extremely easy to think “I hear the message in church every Sunday, I don’t need to do my own personal bible studies everyday.” Yet, although you go to your uni/school lectures everyday you still think it is vital set time aside to revise. Why? Because you take your exams and education seriously. How much more with the word of God that will do what your education cannot.

A great example is someone falling asleep on a boat for a night without tying it to the shore. When that person wakes up he is going to wonder where he is because it is highly likely that the boat will have drifted pretty far. If the person took seriously their safety, they would take actions to ensure they did not drift. This is how we wake up from spiritual slumber and wonder where we are with God. Such a dangerous place to be because you don’t know what has happened while you have been asleep.
“Whilst men slept, the enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” (Matt 13:25)

One thing I have learnt is that this walk with Christ is NOT passive. You will not be carried to heaven, you will need to get up and walk with Christ. It sounds cliche but the less time we spend with God and in the word the easier we will find it to sin. We become increasingly tolerant of the things that contradict the word until we are in a really bad place and wonder how we get there.

We DRIFTED!

We need to actively ensure our surroundings are Godly by spending time with Him, in the word and in fellowship with like minded people. Otherwise our sinful nature takes over.

I pray that if you are experiencing drifting that you wake up and take charge of your spiritual life. Seek God diligently! You can’t regret it.

The next part of this chapter talks about why Jesus had to be human.

I would like to point out that verse 7 refers to psalm 8 which talks about Jesus being made lower than angels. The word angels should actually say Elohim, which is God. This was a mistranslation due to lack of understanding. If you grab a study bible and check your concordance, you will see that it also says Elohim. This is because Jesus was made human and humans are lower than God but remember humans are ‘higher’ than angels.

Jesus had to be human so that he could be the appropriate high priest. To redeem us He needed to become one of us. The blood of an animal would not suffice. It is also important so that he could go through what we go through. Eg. He was tempted like we are. Now no one can say God does not understand because He does. He understands your struggles, pains and temptations because He went through them too. Yet He overcame them. He was fully human, so if He could we can. However, just because he was human does not mean He was no longer God, but that is why we have the Holy Spirit. The God that raised Himself from the dead lives inside of us. We basically have no excuse. It is possible to live as Jesus did!! He had to come as a human in order to pave the way for the rest of humanity. So thankful that He did!

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For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6: 12

As believers, we are at war every day spiritually. Believe it or not but the enemy is trying to draw us into his bondage and is never at rest.

As soldiers who have been enlisted into God army, we need the support of other soldiers to successfully defeat the enemy and stay alive. Imagine being in a war and having to fight alone?!

 

Picture this:

Some soldiers are on the battlefield fighting against the enemies, and they decide to pair up in twos so as to defend one another, but there’s this one soldier who refused to team up and decides to fight all alone. I think we can all assume that the lone soldier is more likely to die first and he is going to be the target of the enemies since he is all alone.

I used to be a lone soldier, and I can tell you I got defeated a lot of times.

I was a ‘secret Christian’, and didn’t have fellowship with other believers. I would go to church, listen and go back home to my lone and defeated life. I was a mess until I decided to join a small group of believers and I got to experience what true Christianity is all about.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.Ecclesiastes 4: 9 – 10

As Christians, we should NEVER go through life alone.

God does not want us to walk alone. God is all about relationships! We have the privilege to interact with other members of God’s family and encourage one another. There is nothing like a group of like-minded people who share the same purpose of pleasing God regardless of their individual differences.

“No man is an island.”

Here are 3 reasons why fellowship is so key:

LOVE

Fellowship is all about LOVE. Our God is love, and we must grow to become like him in our characters and to be in isolation from other believers does not help in developing these characters and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

1 John 4: 20 says, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” That is totally impossible. As Christians, we exemplify love to the world, and we do that by loving one another.

John 13: 35 says, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

1 Corinthians 13: 3 says we are bankrupt without love and it goes on in that chapter to tell us all about Love and we will see that love deals with the relationship we have with one another. Love is eternal and unconditional, which means we don’t just stop loving others. If we do not have the spirit of love through fellowship with our brothers and sisters now, there’s no way we will be able to do that in heaven. I love this saying from Rick Warren book, The purpose driven life, “Life on earth is just the dress rehearsal before the real production (in heaven).” So we have to start getting ready now.

GROWTH

Fellowship helps us to grow spiritually and keeps us motivated.

Iron sharpens iron.

Like I said earlier, I used to be a lone soldier and I got defeated a lot. This was because I wasn’t growing and I had no one to inspire and motivate me with their faith and walk with God. I was a baby Christian and was totally lukewarm. However, since my first Christian book study with some brothers and sisters, my life has never been the same. I started growing like I ought to, I started spending more time with God. I get inspired and motivated to know God for myself when I hear testimonies from my fellow brothers and sisters about their relationship with God, it inspires me and keeps me going. As Christians we are all at different levels of maturity, so we can support one another and help one another grow. We get mutually encouraged by each other’s faith (Romans 1: 12), and as iron sharpen iron, we also sharpen one another (Provers 27: 17).

ACCOUNTABILITY

Fellowship also keeps us accountable and on track. A lone Christian is more likely to fall back into the world and get off the narrow path easily. But with fellowship, we hold one another accountable in love and truth. Sin is rebuked, and we pray for one another. A true fellowship ensures that all members stay on the right path.

Fellowship in one word is simply family. It’s a special kind of family. We are not bonded by normal blood but we are bonded by the spirit and love of the Father and blood of Jesus. We don’t have to share the same physical features, language, culture or background but we must share the same Spirit.

They say blood is thicker than water, but I say the spirit/love of God is thicker than blood. A fellowship bonded by the spirit of God and love is formidable against Satan. 

Fellowship helps us to go through life and survive as a believer here on earth but it also prepares us for the kind of relationship we are going to enjoy in heaven.

If you are not in a fellowship yet, can I encourage you to please get involved in one. This doesn’t mean just attend and leave, really get involved, serve attend socials and get busy doing the right things!

Hebrews 10: 25 (NLT) says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

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Complaining is meditation on the wrong thing

Complaining… We’ve all had those days where life gets a little too much and a rant seems acceptable. Sometimes people disappoint us, sometimes life looks like a mess but there’s nothing wrong with venting our feelings, there’s nothing wrong with saying how you feel… Or is there?

We start out with a complaint and realise years down the line that we’ve become complainers. We focus on the negative, we love to play the blame game and our expectation of good becomes so small. And we wonder how did we get here?

Complaining is more than venting. Complaints start from within. Then they become murmurs and then they become a person’s fluent language if not stopped in its tracks. I know this all too well. Not too long ago God brought to my attention a bad habit that I had become desensitised too. I realised I was a person who did not always speak out offence but I would harbour it, chew on it, meditate on it – this is the inward complaining. When you meditate on something it gets bigger.

It amazes me that a whole generation wandered the wilderness for 40 years and was wiped out because of their constant complaining (have a read through the book of Numbers). God had set His people free from Egypt where they were in bondage. They were taken through but God provided for them (Deuteronomy 29:5). They complained about thirst, they complained about hunger and they even wished they had stayed in Egypt, in the ‘comfort’ of bondage. Do you know why God disliked their complaining and He cringes at ours? Complaining is cousins with disbelief and disbelief is lack of faith. Without faith we can’t please God. Our constant complaining tells God the situation is bigger than Him.

In your business, in your family, job and life as a whole, constant complaining is a contamination to your success. When you choose to mediate on the negative, it gets magnified and it becomes your language, which then forms your world. Will you have a successful business if you keep complaining about hard it is? Will you get promoted if you keep complaining about hard it is?

Let’s look at 3 things you should be cautious about when it comes to complaining.. 

1 – Complaining about lost time

First all complaining about lost time is a waste of even more time. We spend too much time thinking about what we should have done and what we could have done. The time is gone! We can’t do anything about it now. I used to be that person. I would say “if only I knew what I know now, back then. I know I would be further ahead.” We need to transfer that misery into the joy of taking advantage of now. Now is the only thing certain. Take time to reflect and evaluate, like looking at the rear view mirror in the car. You need to then look forward and decide what you will do now, that’s looking on the road ahead. If you stare at the rear view mirror you’re at risk of getting into an accident. I tell myself this when I start to feel myself going back to my old ways – do what you can while you can with what you have. 

2 – Complaining when offended

Offence will come, Jesus said this. How do you handle offence? Do you tend to sit on it or harbour it like I used to. Harbouring offence is unhealthy for your spirit because it breeds bitterness and bitterness is a poison that kills the harborer, not the offender. We are allowed to feel hurt and offended. We are human, however because you have great things ahead, you can’t hold onto it.

Pray or pray and express, that’s what I say:

Pray about how you feel, offended or hurt, and choose to let go and let God (Matthew 5:43-48).

You can also approach the person and appropriately express your offence then choose to let go and let God (Matthew 5:23-24).

That means after all is said and done we must choose to stop meditating on it and replaying the video of the offence. Some of us have been through some real situations in our life and it feels hard to move on. This why we have grace and we have the word of God. Asking for grace and strength will empower you supernaturally to move forward and having the word of God gives you something healthy to meditate on instead of complaining.

3 – Complaining in groups

Be very vigilant about the company you keep. The Bible says bad company corrupts good character and similarly negative company corrupts positivity. What is the common language of those you spend the most time with? Your friends influence you and when you decide what type of influence you want in your life, making a decision about the proximity of certain individuals in your life becomes easier.

When you tell your friends about a challenge in your life how do they respond? Are they solution-orientated or do you leave the conversation feeling deeper into the hole than when you started? I cannot boast in having many friends however those I have chosen to have a friendship with all contribute something to my life.

Sometimes complaining and self-pity feels comfortable. It tends to feel better when you’re doing it with someone else. Although it can be a comfortable place it is a stifling and non-progressive place. Don’t allow yourself to sit with a friend remaining in the cycle of complaints. Break that cycle.

I hope this has meant something to you. Don’t be hindered or stop by a complaining spirit. Be great.

Thanks for reading! Comment and share, share, share!!

We all make mistakes and we all have shortcomings.

As human beings, we know that our lives are not perfect. I know many of us can look back at a time, (maybe not too long ago) in our lives where we have not made the right decisions.

I know I for one, am guilty of making some rash decisions and following the wrong path. In my case I was quite fortunate to know God from young, I could gladly raise my hand and say that I grew up with a rich Nigerian heritage in a strong Christian household. I thought I understood who God is and what it meant to be a Christian.

My name is Ifeoluwa, which means God’s Love, so obviously, I was drawn to learn about God’s Love.

However, it turned out that I didn’t fully understand this, so when tough challenges and situations presented themselves throughout my teenage years, I stopped going to church regularly and stopped studying the bible. I had seemed to stray from the path of God and His righteousness.

Last year, during my first year at university, I started going down the wrong path, innocently following the crowd. I put myself in situations where I could have been hurt as a result of the bad decisions I was making. I didn’t fully understand the depths of God’s love and grace, as much as I thought I did.

I had been wrestling and struggling with why God has been so faithful and kind to me for all these years, even when I wasn’t faithful to Him.

I was recently reading a devotional on the bible app called “finding your way back to God” by David and John Ferguson. It was an inspirational plan and a reminder about God’s love being so deep, and unconditional, even when we make mistakes it is part of His promise to love us. This led me to a verse I found while I was praying one night:

‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.’ Ephesians (2:4-5 NIV)

The English dictionary definition of mercy is “compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”

God’s definition of mercy, is not unlike the definition from the dictionary, but there is a deeper and more profound meaning. This verse gave me a brief glimpse of what God’s mercy truly is.

This verse in Ephesians says he is “rich in mercy,” so he has a great deal of it, and it is part of his generosity that he hands out the gift of mercy, sparing us from punishments, even punishments we deserve. Mercy is not just an attribute of God; it’s an integral part of who he is! His mercy knows no bounds!

In Ephesians 2, Paul was explaining the benefits of following Jesus Christ, he explains that naturally our sins would not have been forgiven. But, because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, through grace, God has had mercy on us. The very act of God sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins is mercy. He sent us a saviour that could what we could not. So, now our past mistakes are blotted away and we are made new in Christ. We are a product of mercy and grace!

Another key theme in this verse is ‘Grace’, which means God gives us things we do not deserve.

Mercy and Grace are precious gifts that God has given me and the fact that I’m writing this blog is a huge testimony of his mercy and grace and the generosity He has shown me. Remember, these are gifts given not because of our behaviour and actions; it is based on whom God is, so I am grateful that He is never-changing.

I pray that we will all be able to know and understand that only by his grace, we are free to live our lives without shame and guilt. I pray that you will be able to understand the immense power of his love and mercy that has impacted your life. I pray that together we can grow in faith and accept his love. I know that when we grow in faith we can show acts of mercy and forgiveness towards others too. Amen.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to leave a comment and share!

 

”So, what are you afraid of?” asks your teacher, as you sit there with your mind twirling up with past horrors you’ve encountered, head in your fragile innocent hands with your legs crossed in that lotus position on the carpet … “bugs” “creepy crawlies” “spiders” and “monsters”! … sounds familiar, right? Well probably when you were a kid !

Face it. Fear has become a part of our lives since we could remember the first time we encountered a big animal or dared to go on our first overwhelming rollercoaster. It is part of our psychological makeup and allows us to develop skills of self-awareness by telling us what we know about endangering ourselves, but most of all keeping ourselves safe. But this topic of overcoming fear is one I have a passion on speaking about and over time have developed ways that I personally combat this thing that could possibly become a clasp over you, stopping you from achieving a dream, goal or vision!

Take me for instance, a student with 10% thought about social life, let’s say another 5% about food (I might be lying about that ha!) and the other 85% of my thought on exams, A-levels, deadlines, Uni, and possibly about how I’m going to be drained for the next couple of months really! I would really be laughing if I didn’t know anyone else in my position who generally doesn’t fear for their lives about this portion of their life right now. I mean who wouldn’t? But it’s dealing with the fear that is the solution to all the problems and what matters most is that in the end you are in a contended state of happiness.

Quick story – So it comes around October times when the word UCAS finally starts to echo out of the mouths of thousands of teachers at school. Yep, it was a word that was becoming very familiar for me during last year and was also possibly the thing that made my 2016 a year of absolute fear.

I was really stuck on what to pick to study at Uni. Honestly for months I pondered and I wondered desperately asking for help about what I could do at Uni as it literally defines your life from then on after you graduate. I asked person after person and so on and literally dragged my Dad to all the university open days possible, just for information to clear my head about what I could do. The decision-making really wasn’t the most deafening part for me, it was what this fear was doing to me physically. From this experience I’ve learnt that I don’t really handle worry well – at all. I’m the type of person that when I worry, I worry real hard ! I don’t eat, I fidget, I cry and don’t even mention sleep to me when I’m in a state of worry – What is that ?

It’s like I’m in a constant state of panic whilst the ticking hands of the clock keep my eyes blaring at the ceiling every night, just me constantly being in fear of making the wrong decision. It was truly horrible..

So how did I overcome this fear? Well, I saw it as a battle within myself and how I controlled my emotions. To overcome a thing means to defeat, succeed in battling against or to simply overpower in this case an unpleasant emotion that may be causing you danger or harm: Fear.

I realised that to win this battle, I had to defeat my own emotions. I literally saw it as a war against myself. I guess who really got me through was Christ. Even though I am a Christian, my mother had to actually remind me to read the Bible and seek God’s word – it’s like your so torn up with all this worry and doubt that you actually forget that you have someone to depend on besides physical beings.

Practically, in a war there is an army, right? For me, God was my army fighting this fear that was ruining my days. The verse Isaiah 41:10 tells us that God is with us in every way and that we shouldn’t be dismayed. As well as this, God strengthens us along the way. Constantly having fear allows us to worry, which damages our health and ability to carry out our daily routines. But the fact that God strengthens us throughout this fear really added positivity to my days when all I could think about was that choice I had to make. God really does fight our battles and hardships for you. I guess the hard part is putting your faith and trust in God in the midst of fear. Prayer is a massive help as God urges us to cast all our worries or anxieties on him.

 

Additional things such as speaking to close friends or family about whatever it is causing you fear. Once you have done this and it still is crippling, it is not a bad thing to seek professional help.

I specifically chose the picture above for a reason. Look at the birds in the picture, they just fly without necessarily knowing where they are going. They just spread and let the wind soar them to their next destination. Having the mindset like that would get you out of any fear such as the situation of mine.

Let go and let God!

Just simply allowing life to flow and putting your ultimate trust in the Lord will carry you through life after all you never know where you will end up.

And I end on this. Fear is just a force that stops you from taking that big jump, that big leap and that big step into what you actually want to do. It may take time to release your fear of exams or maybe fear of the future. I myself had to overcome the fear of blogging and not being successful but here I am today. I would have never been here if I didn’t overcome. Hope you were inspired!

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you

Anyone who knows me knows my absolute favourite entrepreneur is Gary Vee. He runs a daily show called ‘Ask Gary Vee’ where budding entrepreneurs ask him questions. (BEWARE: If you look him up, here is your warning that although he is full of wisdom, he is a big potty mouth!) Someone recently asked him, how you get people to trust you as a new business. Gary is pretty direct. Probably a bit too direct lol. His response was ‘You don’t deserve trust.’ Awks, right? But he is right! Why should any customer just trust you and give you their money? Now more than ever, there are so many businesses to chose from so you need to prove that you will deliver on your promise. I had a look at my business and decided to share with you guys how I have built a trusting relationship with my customers. If you find it helpful, please do share!

  1. Consistency:

“If you want to be taken seriously, be consistent.”

  • Presence: Be present consistently! On whatever platforms you are on. Update your social media outlets consistently. If I know I am going to see a post from ‘X’ brand every morning or every lunchtime, then subconsciously I begin to trust them because it shows commitment.
  • Imagery: This one is personal pet hate for me. I hate seeing inconsistent or messy aesthetics. Naturally and subconsciously we are attracted to things that look nice. Everything should be clean, non-repetitive and in tune with each other whatever theme you are going for.
  • Service / Products: if you do hair, stick to things that relate to hair. If you start selling gloves and scarves as part of your hair brand, you will confuse people. Confusion does not build trust. Be consistent with whatever you provide to your customers and be the best at it.

“If you are persistent, you will get it. But if you are consistent, you will keep it.”

  1. Do what you say you will do

This is the easiest way. It applies to all areas of life when it comes to trust. People can’t trust you if you don’t come through on your promises.

If you say you are going to do an event. Do it!

If you say you are going to do a giveaway. Do it!

If you say you are going to attend an event, especially as a speaker, vendor or exhibitor. Be there!

So count your costs before you jump to social media to announce what you are going to do. You do not want to over-promise and then under-deliver. However, sometimes due to mistakes (which we are allowed to make) or circumstances outside our control, these things happen. In such situation, communicate and apologise! Your audience are not just going to forget what you said you were going to do, so they deserve an update. They are important and you should treat them that way!

  1. Personal touch

People trust a person way more than a business. This is why we are seeing a huge rise in people building personal brands to go with their businesses or using other personal brands to build an audience. As humans, we love human interaction. Now you might be a very private person or not feel confident enough to have an official personal brand but there are ways around this.

  • The use of testimonials / reviews; how many times do you buy something your friend has used and recommended. I know I have many times. This is because we trust our friend’s opinions. When people read testimonials and reviews of people who are similar to them, they are more likely to go with the product or service you are selling.

 

  • Hold an event; now don’t just throw any event. It has to be relevant and must go hand in hand with your company promise. For example, I held a Vision Board Party in January. You might think what has that got to do with a home & stationery brand? Well, Cocoon’s promise is ignite faith and fruitfulness in women. One of our best sellers is The Fruitful Life Planner which promises our customers to help them be more intentional and efficient which in turns will help them reach their goals. The vision board party helps people figure out what their goals are and gives an opportunity to get creative by creating a vision board, a proven method of achieving goals. This helps to ignite fruitfulness even more! Offline interaction is gold and makes your brand more real to a customer. Thus, making your brand more reputable.

Watch our Vision Board Party highlights HERE.

  • Create a blog: A blog is a platform that allows you to share valuable content with your audience, key word being VALUABLE. It shows them that you are an expert in your field and that you put time and effort in to the business and are therefore worth their trust!

 

  • Communicate kindly!! I can’t tell you how many ‘Instagram Businesses’ I have interacted with as a customer and received the worst customer service ever. Literally one word answers to DM’s/Emails, or rude / no response at all. Like, I’m willing to give you my money; the least you could do is communicate properly. Respond to comments and DM’s and in good time, address the customer by name, use thank you and kind regards etc. Don’t give yourself a bad rep by failing to have common courtesy.

And remember, these things take time! Be patient.

Do you have any other ways you guys build trust and reputation in your brand? Share them below? Or share if any of these tips have worked for you?

Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to share!

Mary xo

A question peer pressure makes us choose between!

If Christians were to vote on whom they will serve for the rest their lives, which stand do you anticipate will have the most votes?

Stand A: I choose to serve the Lord God Almighty in return for the amputation of my arms and legs no matter how difficult life may become.

Stand B: I choose to serve the gods of this land in return for a monthly allowance of £10m, free NHS care for my entire family, free education at university, 5 bundles of 24’’ human hair each month, video games every Christmas, the latest car and phone that is in vogue each year and a one-week return ticket to any holiday destination of my choice.

Best believe that the incentives and pleasures the world offers are well pleasing to the eyes, too captivating to neglect. It is shocking to know that a large number of Christians would opt for Stand B in their regular day to day lives due to influence from peers and circumstances.

It is quite surprising how we compromise our Christian faith for worldly pleasures that are fleeting.

1 John 2.15-17 makes it clear, “not to love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world you do not love the father. Everything that belongs to the world; what the sinful self-desires, what people see and want…none of this comes from the father; it all comes from the world. The world and everything is passing away; but those who do the will of God live for ever”.

The story of Daniel can be related to the aforementioned Bible text. To clarify, Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego refused to adhere to the decree issued by King Nebuchadnezzar, that is, to bow down to the gods or worship the golden image (Daniel 3:16-18). Thus, this portrayed their firm, unshakeable faith in the Lord despite how perilous their decision seemed to be. Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego were unperturbed to burn in the flaming fire for God. They did all they could not to compromise their faith to worship a powerless god. How many of us would have taken that bold step to stand for our faith?

Yes, the materialistic things and activities of the world are alluring yet temporary and that is the reason why the Lord gives us an eternal promise that His word will remain forever. It is either you make a choice to be of this world or serve the Lord. Realistically, it is impossible to have your cake and eat it too. I cannot stress enough God’s disapproval of Christians living a double lifestyle as we see in Revelations 3:16. In as much as we live in this world, we are not supposed to be of this world.

Most Christians have the notion that non-believers are more likely to be the victims of peer pressure. Let us bear in mind that as followers of Christ, our faith will be tested in many ways. The story of Job in the bible, is a typical example of our faith at test. Although, Job was a faithful servant of God, the Lord granted the devil assent in testing him. As a result he encountered major calamities in his life. However, Job stood his ground and affirmed that he would trust in the Lord at all times. How many of us would have question our faith at the point, after loosing your family and business etc. Some of us question God if we miss our bus!

The Good news is, Job’s faith was anchored in the Lord ,which caused him to stand firm through the raging storm he encountered. He proved to be a faithful servant of God and did not succumb to the negative influence from those around him.

The devil knows his time is running out; so the influence from our peers and surroundings is dramatically increased! Haven’t you noticed?

Growing up in a Christian home, I was never granted the chance to experience the lifestyle of drinking, clubbing, etc. I always thought my parents were being too harsh and over-protective. Looking back now, I am grateful to the Lord for how he used my parents in raising me because it has been of much benefit ever since I moved to university.

Peer pressure is quite predominant among Christians, especially Christian students in university. Speaking from an experience, we are exposed to friends from different religious backgrounds and from all walks of life, who have an impact on our lives one way or the other.

I personally did not want people to identify me as ‘a church girl’! So, I decided that I was going to try and fit in during fresher’s week. The thought of being prisoned in my room as my mates experienced the life of being a fresher was unbearable. So I joined the crowd…

I was conscious of my promise to the Lord; not to be promiscuous when I came to Uni. However, the pressure of being accepted and trying to convince others that I could have fun in the world regardless of being a church girl was demanding. ‘God will forgive me”, that was my go-to excuse I came up with in order to supress my guilt whenever I went for a night out.

Months later, I realised the futility of living a DOUBLE LIFE. To clarify, clubbing on Saturday nights meant that you were not going to find me attending church the next day, which in the long run caused a drift in my relationship with God.

However, I soon learnt that it is rewarding to be strong in the faith. Being a Christian is traditionally believed to be ‘boring and strict’ but trust me it is exciting once your cross over from religion to relationship. This is when peer pressure begins to have less effect on you. I urge you not give room for unbelievers to lure you into having more interest for things of this world. Remember, bad company corrupts good habits! (1 Corinthians 15:33). What this world offers cannot be compared to the treasures of Heaven.

I want to encourage you that it is okay to be yourself! Not partaking in a lifestyle that you do not agree with does not make you any less of a person. Remember, your approval is not from man but God. (Galatians 1:10)

Do not lose your soul for the world. Be a light and do not allow darkness to overshadow you.

Tell me about your experiences of overcoming peer pressure in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading!


I’m a firm believer that women aren’t to be objectified or dominated and are entitled to basic rights such as education, voting, equal pay and so on. However, I have come to understand that Feminists around the world have varying goals and intentions and for that reason, it is important, well at least for the Christian woman, to identify when Feminism goes too far..

feminism
fɛmɪnɪz(ə)m/
noun
the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

 

It is said there are 3 waves of feminism;

FIRST: Overturning legal inequalities e.g. voting rights

 

SECOND: Overturning cultural inequalities e.g. women’s role in society

THIRD: Focuses more on the individual identity – it seems this wave is where women have defined feminism for themselves by incorporating their own identities into what feminism is to them. Now this is where it starts to lose sight of things in my opinion, because every woman is different, you can’t incorporate various identities into something that is supposed to promote equality…

The third wave faced backlash with people labelling themselves as ‘PostFeminists’ as many believed that Feminism had lived past its true goals and that the new generation were not actually adding anything of substance. We have all witnessed an increase of sexualised behaviour in our society. In fact, we are at the height of it! Even back then it was debated whether skimpy clothing, pole dancing, stiletto heels actually represent gender quality… Far from it in my opinion.

Feminism is a creature with many faces these days. – EverydayFeminism.com

I mean, did you know there is such a thing as a Slut Shaming?!? Like, seriously!? This is supposedly a feminist movement..

 

“Slut-shaming is the experience of being labelled a sexually out-of-control girl or woman (a “slut” or “hoe”) and then being punished socially for possessing this identity.” – Huffington Post 

While I believe that no-one should be condemned, I definitely disagree that promiscuity or being sexually provocative is something that should not be glorified in any way shape or form. Christian or not! Apparently, slut-shaming is considered sexist, because men are congratulated for slutty behaviour … SO WHAT? Just because a man can do it without being judged does not make it right.. so why are women fighting  for this please? I have even come across clothes and hats with words degrading words slapped across them and apparently this is empowerment?

We have seen people like Kim Kardashian release naked selfies to the world and defend herself to critics as being proud and comfortable in her body, liberated and empowered. But did the whole world need to see that much body to get such a message across? I honestly think it’s a tactic of the enemy to make us think we are being wronged and this is the outcome. Women are now objectifying themselves. We only need to watch a few music videos or read lyrics by some female artists to see that women are allowing them selves to be portrayed as sex objects.

Our faith promotes sexual purity. This is more than abstaining from sex but a mind-set coupled with how we carry ourselves. This goes to BOTH WOMEN AND MEN.

I think you can start to see why Feminism has gone to far..

Traditionally, some think that faith suppresses women rights. While I can’t speak for other faiths, I can say that the Christian faith does not do this.

“The traditions themselves are not oppressive. It’s the interpretations that are.”  Gina Messina-Dysert 

God created man and woman very much equal, however, what some fail to appreciate is that we are DIFFERENT from our male counterparts. This difference means that our life experiences will also be different; this does not mean women are any less important.

“The word feminism has become synonymous with man-hating when in fact it has more to do with women than men.” – Aysha Taryam

My mentor once told me that if a steering wheel of a car could speak and said that it wants to be a tyre and you made the swap, you would see how the car would fail to function as it was created to. In fact, it would be quite dangerous. Both the steering wheel and tyres are both very necessary for the function of the car but both need to play their role for the car to achieve its purpose.

We may have different functions but we are equally important. The enemy wants a disastrous car crash and so places seeds of doubt and lies into the minds of men and women who then abuse their positions. We should really be celebrating our differences.

One of the most misconceived principles of Christianity is that a wife submitting to her husband means that the woman is the weaker, inferior person in the relationship. Even I believed that it meant the wife has no say and is like a slave to the man. While this is actually reality for some, it is not how God intended it. That interpretation is oppressive and not in the nature of our God. Submission is actually voluntary and not forced. I’ll do another blog post going into much more detail about that.

 

 

We totally underestimate the beauty of everyone playing their part and how it would actually benefit both parties.

“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are.” – Emma Watson

What are your thoughts on Feminism? Tell is in the comments section below!

Mary xo

If you had to make a choice between success or failure which one would you pick? Sounds like a silly question to ask right? Most people aspire to be something growing up, whether that be a doctor or a lawyer, teacher, writer, singer, footballer, the list is endless. However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “when I grow up, I want to be a failure”. Don’t get me wrong in life we may experience failures and setbacks that when handled correctly can actually push us towards our goals and dreams (which is another topic in itself), but I’m sure the desired end destination isn’t ever failure. Yet so many are casually driving towards that destination and are doing nothing to stop, turn around and change direction. Who in their right mind chooses to head towards failure? I recently came across a quote by Danni Johnson that I think sums up the problem.

“We do not intentionally groom ourselves to fail but we have not done enough to ensure that we succeed.

What I like about this quote is that it not only highlights the problem but presents us with the solution. That is, to avoid failure we must start modelling success, intentionally doing things that will lead us to success. This is definitely easier said and done and you may be wondering where do I start? So let’s start with what success is!

I believe we are all born with purpose. God had a thought, a plan, an idea so epic and amazing that it motivated our birth. Because of that there is a unique contribution that our lives are to make in this world. Therefore, success to me is discovering what that is and doing it. Now that may seem like a lot but God has given us unique abilities, skills and talents to achieve this. There really is so much potential inside of us, but as much as we have potential there is also a thing called unfulfilled potential and there is nothing worse than unfulfilled potential.

In December 2015, I realised I was so far reaching my potential. I had dreams and aspirations but I was living life so passively, going to work every day, coming home and eating, watching TV, spending hours on the phone either gisting or scrolling Instagram, sleeping then starting all over again.

 

I knew I had to change the way I was living but I wasn’t quite sure how. I started reading a book by John C Maxwell called the 15 invaluable laws of growth (highly recommended). In this book I learnt a very simple but major lesson that has completely changed my priorities and the way I live. That is, in order to reach your potential you must grow! If you want your life to improve if you want to be successful you must improve yourself, learning to work harder on yourself than you do your job.

I have learnt that there is only a thin veil that separates the average person from the excellent person, the successful person. The successful person realises that they are their most valuable asset and works hard on their personal development. So if you want to see amazing things happen in your life, if you want to be all God created you to be and fulfil your God given purpose you really cannot afford to not grow. This may be simple to understand butnot necessarily easy to do, I have found it challenging at times but this business of personal development is a life-long thing, if you just stick with it you will see the fruit of this commitment.

Here are three useful tips to get started:

  1. BE INTENTIONAL

No one improves by accident! Personal growth is not something that just happens. No matter how much you wish to grow you will only get out of it what you put in. You must take complete ownership of your growth, stop waiting to be the person you want to become and start being! Start doing something.

  1. CHANGE YOUR DAILY HABITS

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

Your daily habits are either preparing you for either an average or extra-ordinary life. So if you want change your life you have to change something that you do every day. Ask yourself what can you commit to everyday that will aid your growth, that will push you closer towards your goals and your dreams. If you’re not sure what to do study the habits of successful people and do that.

  1. STOP MAKING EXCUSES

“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” Jim Rohn   

Many times, the only thing standing between where you are now and where you want to be is your excuses. We can come up with a million reasons not to do something but the truth is if you really want to do something you’ll have to find a way to just do it. Whatever the excuse whether legitimate or not CHALLENGE IT! This will mean sometimes telling your emotions or your fears to keep quiet!

If you had to make a choice between success or failure which one would you pick? It’s not that much of a silly question when you really think about it, what it involves, the sacrifices you’ll have to make, the bad habits you’ll have to give up and the new one’s you’ll have to start.

But I encourage you to make the right choice today and start living in a way that fully aligns with that choice.

Thank you for reading. Please comment and share with others!

‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth’

Genesis 1:1

Isn’t it beautiful that the Holy Bible begins with us reverencing God as creator? He could have been revered as Abba, Deliverer and many other great names however instead He choose creator. Why? Why would such a great and unexplainable God desire to be known as creator to His people, His children first?

Creativity first hand reflects His glory, His effortless ways of painting the world in beauty. Think about it. The beautiful array of stars you see as you gaze upon the nights’ sky, the way the sun kisses the ocean during its stormiest of waves. God himself is a creative and pours himself out through creativity.

‘The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiworks’

Psalm 19:1

Though God is a creator we also know Him as King, or what people commonly express ‘the King of Kings’. Every King demands their honour but only ONE is deserving of that honour and that is King Jesus. Honour is regarding something or someone in high respect or to physically show your value for something or someone through your actions.

In all things, the Lord requires us to honour Him and submit to Him as described in Colossians 3:17. We are to do all whether in action or in deed in glory of God. Therefore, everything we do is for the glory of God. To bury a gift that the Lord has given you rather than using it to glorify Him is wickedness (Matthew 25:14-30).

So now when it comes to honouring God, Business is an amazing stream for us to do this as it allows us to physically give back unto God by sowing into His Kingdom. Though businesses can be for either profit or non-profit our motives behind these businesses are what remains important.

God is the HEAD of your business

God is not only the master of all creativity but He is also a God of wisdom that understands the dynamics of business. This means that it is an obligation of yours to honour Him through the streams of creativity he has blessed you with. When you begin to see the Lord as the CEO of your business as Tiphany Montgomery would say, He will begin to teach you on how to use your creativity effectively for His glory.

Cultivate your gifts

To cultivate is to nurture and perfect the gifts that He has given unto you. Your creativity is a gift that God has given you and with each gift comes a responsibility to use it for His glory. It is one thing to be a creative and it is another to master your craft. In business cultivating your creative gifts not only give your business an edge but it allows the Lord to freely manifest Himself through your business. It’s important to keep presenting your gift to God and making Him the centre of your business and watch Him multiply your creative streak! Remember He is a God of excellence, He desires for us to reflect his excellence in all things. He requires for us to perfect our craft or our skills in Him.

Honour is important to God because his son died for it. The bible speaks about Jesus dying but as he rose again he gave gifts onto men. For someone to choose not to cultivate their gift and not invest in it to produce something for the glory of God is indeed dishonour and rebellion. A talent that is buried is useless but a skill that is utilized displays the glory of God who gives to all those special abilities, talents and creative skills.

1 Timothy 4:14-15 tells us that a gift can be neglected if not immersed into it completely. What use is a gift if it cannot testify to others about the glory of God?

Ecclesiastes 9:10-11 explains that whatever we find our hands to do we should do well.

Using your creativity within your business is to express yourself or express the message of the gospel through the stream that God has appointed you. If at least one person’s life is changed or heart is touched through your business then your profit is made! As Jesus said the harvest is ready but the labourers are few which is why I choose to be a labourer of love for his kingdom through using something so universal as creativity to honour God. That does not mean that your business has no be non-profit because we all know that we do need money in the kingdom. The difference with our businesses is that our drive and our goal is not money but the work of God through us to transform the lives of other people. Money is a resource.

Here are 9 ways to PRACTICALLY honour God in your business;

  1. Change your perspective! Desire to see all things through the lens of Jesus Christ.
  2. Connect with those that share your vision and can therefore push it to where God intends it to be with you.
  3. Write down the goals for your business!
  4. Have regular ‘business meetings’ with God in his presence. Many times what we think is a ‘God idea’ is just a ‘good idea’ not that there is anything wrong with the idea but allow the Holy Spirit to examine it.
  5. Be Holy. Be the example you want to see. I’m sure your business is there to either impact or change the world in a sense. Be the standard that Christ desires to see through your business!
  6. Watch your mouth. Your mouth has power. Do not allow your mouth to be a hindrance to where God wants to take your business.
  7. Do not be afraid of change but follow the Holy Spirit as He leads you.
  8. Have FAITH! I’m 100% certain that this vision is way bigger than you but nothing in this world can ever be as BIG as GOD.
  9. REST! Allow God to do what He wants to do with you not getting in the way.