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Monthly Archives: November 2014

Sharing…Thanksgiving Prayer.

thanksgToday, as our hearts turn toward thanksgiving, we are grateful for You, Father, and for the actions that come from Your miraculous Hand.

We are grateful for all of the seasons of this extraordinary life and for Your faithfulness and steadfast love so evident in each season.

We are grateful for the laughter of children and for the wisdom of the aged.

We are thankful for the possibilities that a new life brings … and for a lasting legacy of faith.

We are grateful for the snow of winter and for the sunshine of summer.

We are thankful for the glory of autumn and the rebirth of spring.

We are Your thankful people, Lord.

Your people … held in the hollow and safety of Your hand.

Your hand.

As we gather around the bounteous table of plenty and provision, May we be ever mindful that everything we have received is from Your generous hand.

Your hand.

Your hand bestows honor and healing.

Your hand offers forgiveness and friendship.

Your hand ushers in favor and grace.

Your hand.

Father, would You move Your hand once again?

Would Your guiding hand bring home those who have lost their way?

Would Your healing hand touch those who are ill or in pain?

Would Your generous hand provide for Your children once again?

Even in our thankfulness, Lord, we are aware that we need You.

We need more of You.

And so, today, our thankfulness is humbly blended with a heart that asks for more.

More of You.  More healing.  More grace.  More favor.  More wisdom.  More guidance.

And it is with pure thanksgiving that we understand that the more for which we ache has already been found in You.

You have given us more than enough … enable us to be the receptacles of Your more.

Let us be more aware of Your hand than we are of our own desires.

Lord … you are our More and we are thankful.

Amen.

Written by Carol McLeod

Just Joy! Ministries

 

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When “Sexual Addiction” becomes a choice in our life: Should we continue to Love it or List it?

couple addt 1

What is that personal sexual uncontrollable craving you are dealing with? Yearning? Urges? Weakness? Itch? Or Impulse? Are we aware of the burden of the price label that comes with it? Especially amongst us, the pew lovers (Christians) who are still struggling with acceptance, rejection and reaching out for help! Aha, Do I have someone’s attention? Any palpitating heartbeat, racing and galloping like an un-tamed horse running wild?…’Let’s talk about it.

Angela and Bill have been married for 5 years. They truly love each other. And they deeply love God. One day, a visit to the fertility clinic to evaluate Bill’s sperm count due to the couple’s inability to have children has done more than ignite their passion. Bill, on several occasion has to deal with sitting in a room plastered with different pictures of naked women posing and sexually touching each other, looking excited and ready to devour him! This is the stage-up enticement room – inside the clinic. Not in the comfort of his house or at the gentlemen’s club he’s often heard his colleagues discussed and has vouched never to visit. He’s supposed to look through the porn magazine thrown carelessly on the chair, or at the picture of an overrated gigantic re-constructed set of breasts, get excited and be aroused, masturbate and then jerk off into a tiny specimen cup the nurse gave him. Even the cup has his name boldly written on it, only thing missing: picture of his wife and a “jerk off” guideline. Intellectually, he’d figured it out somehow.

5 years after, the family is complete with a lovely set of twins. But the underlying factor of provoked sexuality is now a huge challenge in their lives. Bill is now a proud father, and holds a degree in addiction to pornography/masturbation! On the other side, Angela is a loving mother who’s hooked on assorted sex toys that comes in different colours and shapes. And of course, they both still love the Lord, well literally and also dealing with their individual addiction alone. Confused and confined. Aware of their pain towards each other, and not able to discuss it either. Until now…

So, is masturbation inherently sinful? But what about those who are married? Or single? Is it okay to self-stimulate to orgasm? Since our bodies, and thus our sexuality, no longer belongs to us alone, but also to our spouse (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), masturbation by those who are married is not as simple a question as it is for singles. In general it is our spouse’s “duty” to deal with all of our sexual needs and desires. This does not mean that masturbation is sinful for a married man or woman, but it does somewhat limit its proper use.

Then if masturbation is not inherently sinful, there must be situations in marriage where it is allowed and situations when certain conditions approves it, even if we are not in a relationship. In some situations it is the only wise choice for some individuals. Right? Then what about pornography!!!…that’s a different topic for another day! (disgruntled sign!)

Masturbation reduces our desire for our spouse, or the ability to be sexual when we want to be, we also need to understand that things change: changes in work stress, busyness, relationship can result in an increase in a person’s sex drive. Also, women’s sex drives often increases in their thirties and/or forties. Sexual refusal, dissimilar sex drives. Illness and separation. What was right or necessary at one point in a marriage may no longer be either right or necessary unless there is open communication about sexual wants and needs, and about any masturbation going on, maybe you are even masturbating when your spouse would like to have more sex with you!

Do people engage in masturbation for emotional reasons and self-esteem issues than for physical needs? Are we dependent on it? Enslaved? Fixated or Hooked on? Whatever way we want to address this, still all boils down to the same issue of addiction. It is our habit of ability that’s considered injurious, mind-blowing and character disposition. It is a problem covered with limited pleasure!

Whatever started this? How did we get here? Why do we want to stop? Why do we keep going back to it? Psychologically, what’s the impact of it to our personal life? Are we hurting someone through our selfish desire or damaging our own conscience? Is it a dark place? Is it okay to be subjected to our own pleasure? Do we need to stop? Are we ready to stop and get over it? Who to do? …… To be continued!

Yours in HOPE, as I share one of my favorite songs below,

Yinka.

 

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Friday Night Conversation With Yinka – collection of short stories: (Terms of Endearment Part Four)

Continued from Part Three, published on: Oct 25th 2014

 

termsPart 4.

But for the so-called village counselors or small chiefs who usually comes around, using their walking sticks to trot like they are next in line for a coronation! Proudly telling anyone who care to listen about the lands and farms they own and how they have managed to raise the foundation or have plastered the walls of an un-completed boy’s quarter. The self-acclaimed landlords who by the way, still cannot afford to buy his newspaper!

Eeeoo! What a pity!”Hmmm, he’s dead too? One of them would start, and the others will carry through with their usual pity party monologue – all still holding on to the newspaper, the obituary column-page spread wide open in front of them as one of them quickly writes down the address of the burial ceremony’s evening gathering. Pa Sammy calls them the “The Obituary crashers” and would quickly advance forward, snatch the newspaper from them and ask for payment first or just place the paper down and ignore their questioning looks.

He’d learn the hard way. When he first started the newspaper vendor business, he’d been so loyal to a point, allowing passer-by to engage him in distracted conversation while they quickly glance at the news headlines – without making them pay for the whole newspaper. Getting home, he’d informed his wife, Mama Ovie that sales was slow, she’d cursed him out for being a bad trader, regarded him hopeless and had compared him to all the other successful men doing well in their village. After all, he should have been a good school teacher, articulately adorned in khaki shorts, white starched shirt and a cane! not a vendor! Useless paper man!, she would say and begin to cower as she sulks. A usual trait of hers.

Pa Sammy’s mind was set today. He needed to resolve the issue of cooperative trade he had started with his partner. He had been saving up for a while and had almost gone into shock when he realized that his only son Osa had been taking money from the brown envelope he had kept secretly inside the empty tin of bournvita,  hidden inside Mama Ovie’s old wedding dress and accessories box – a place he figured no one will ever visit, after all, what will she be looking for in her forgotten portmanteau of over 20 years! Filled with about 2 dozens of camphor! He felt it was a safe place to hide his money. He was mistaken and broken-hearted.

But last night, the embarrassment he’d witnessed was too much for him. Disturbed and confused, Nengi, their landlord’s daughter had quickly rushed in to call for help as Osa was involved in another gang fight by the second gate entrance of the College of Education. He was under arrest again, the 9th time this year!

What was Osa doing there? Wasn’t he supposed to be out-of-town? In the seminary? Father Peter from their church had assured him that since Osa had no intention of pursing his education, it will benefit him to sign up for servitude at the seminary in Eleme junction, miles away from the city. Hopefully taking him away from distraction could help him settle down and focus on God. Pa Sammy was elated at the news of Osa in the seminary. Osa had caused him so much heart ache and disgrace. All he needed now was for him to leave and go somewhere for a while, well to a place where He could discover God and change his ways.

But the seminary could not hold Osa down either.

Just last month the corporative fee, He’d taken some loan to start another lucrative small business of paying his landlord’s son, Soki to help him in buying a bale of overseas used clothing. According to most of his newspaper customers and the stories from around the motor park, that was the best business to invest in now, especially around on campus.

They say campus students always have lots of pocket-money on them. They want to keep up with fashion and new trends and would spend their last money on a pair of new stoned washed jeans or a t-shirt that reads I LOVE NY! – Rather than buy a newspaper that tells of the horror happening within their country. His mind was made up and he was going to surprise his wife and also convince her that he’s getting prosperous in his choice of business. And she would be so impressed, will begin to dance, Oh! The native dance would melt his heart.

Mama Ovie is a very good dancer when she’s happy, and then she would rock his bald head in the cradle of her soft palm and sing some sweet songs of praises in their native dialect and then cook him his favorite dish. Yam pepper soup on the side and then later, bitter leaf soup with giant green periwinkle over steaming starch. And they will eat together from one bowl, feeding each other, laughing together and for one moment, forget about the troubles of Osa, and maybe even forget about Ovie and her so-many dramatic tale-telling and fake life…ah!

Where and how these students get their money from, is still a mystery to him. ‘Pa Sammy’, eh, listen very well…eh, you don’t need to bother yourself o, eh, on how they get the money, you just sell to them, and always say its first grade” Soki had coached him the first time he received his goods. “In fact, eh, you can even say, eh, your brother in overseas is the supplier, ok ” He’d ended that line with a very disturbing laughter that confused Pa Sammy.

Was he making the right decision? Should he use the money to bail Osa? Should he use the money for investment, in his new business? Or should he just catch the next bus going to the university to discuss it with Ovie? Would Ovie acknowledge him? In the midst of confusion within his mind, a sudden rush of crowd emerged towards him as he…To be continued

Written by Yinka.

 

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It’s…”SHOW TIME” on our stage!

stage 1Expression of how we showcase our lifestyle is a stage. It is that performance we enthusiastically give, grudgingly impose, and inquisitively evaluate. Either expressed with humor or sarcasm, it is that ACT we love to display and want the world to see, and most likely will crave admiration.

Our stage displays our performance. The world we live in is our stage. Our audience, comes from a variety of un-assuming spectators. Sometimes they cheer us positively on that stage, and sometimes they boo us off that same stage! The after-effect of the occurrence of our performance on the stage is powerful. It can either break us or make us. Hmm, totally bizarre!

During my teenage years at my church parish, Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos I’d joined other selected kids invited to a neighboring parish for an after-mass visitation and dinner. It usually was with my favorite priest, Monsignor Gabriel Osu. He would usher us (4 kids) into his powder blue Volkswagen beetle and during the drive will allow us to chatter freely, especially on sensitive issues we were dealing with as teenagers both at home and in school. After talking about our future plans of stardom and greatness, we’d all conclude with…’and oh, the world will love us! (Our performance).

One of his resounding advice then was, “Handle life like you are the builder of the stage, that way, your performance is genuine, your act is second-skin and allow your creator to be your spectator” It’s been almost 30 years now…and every time I hear the word stage, the message resonates!

Oh well! That message didn’t mean much to us then, after all, our mind was focused on the extravagant feast of fragrant savory beans, meats so tender they could be shredded with a fork, crispy-sweet fried plantains. It was good and beautiful, prepared and served with love and the hope that it would do more than quiet our rumbling stomachs.

So, our stage is that elevated platform in our life. It is that moment in our life when the spotlight is on us, a time of raised podium or terrace of exhibition (show time) either exalted or inflated. It is that period when we are pushed forward by courage to display our creativity. We become actors and actresses of our gifting. Sometimes, we get drunk in the moment, with life’s cheap exotic brewery of arrogance. The mic gets too heavy for us, the audience gives a disdain look, we get carried away with stage-fright and say too much or we get intimidated and loose our balance. Our stage. Ah! A place of reckoning.

As we begin to count down into a new year, let’s examine our stage. Does our act suck? Does our performance on our stage speak well of us? Do we climb our stage with a mind full of gratitude or look down at the audience with contempt? Are we still afraid to step up the podium, unto our stage? Ignoring the fancy scenery and battens support? Do we welcome mistakes and then fix them? So much of learning arises from the errors we all make. Do we remain receptive and positive to mistakes as markers for future improvement? Healthy evaluation stimulates progress, while excessive self-criticism raises anxiety and creates unrealistic expectations.

Embrace your stage today. Ascend it with hope. Descend it with a legacy. Act on it as if you are the builder. Influence people with your performance. Entertain people with your God-given talent. Expect more when the audience gives you full attention. Exit your scenes with a grateful heart and a promising attitude. It’s okay to be teary-eyed when you get a standing ovation, because you have positively encouraged and elevated someone! I pray that our stages are recurring platforms of support and comfort to others!

Yinka.

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, All the World’s A Stage by William Shakespeare.

 

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Going down memory lane… ‘AIESEC UniPort!

aiesec 1AIESEC is an international non-governmental not for profit organization that provides young people with cross-cultural global internship, volunteer opportunities and leadership development experiences on campus. With a focus to empower young people so they can make a positive impact on society.

AIESEC, originally a French acronym for “Association internationale des étudiants en sciences économiques et commerciales”.  Members come from a variety of college majors, not necessarily from an area related to economic or commerce. AIESEC is the global youth network impacting the world through leadership development experiences. AIESEC has been facilitating youth leadership activities as well as international internships & volunteer experiences for over 65 years, developing a global learning environment across 124 countries & territories.

During my school days at The University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State I became an active AIESEC member. At first, I’d reluctantly joined the Karate club (instructed by Ike) who later became a close pal and was nick named “Ike-Kia” (behind him) ‘between my friends and I because all we could remember after the painful kicking practice was the term “KIA”. It was fun while it lasted, but wasn’t enough to keep us busy. So, we all turned to AIESEC where I was nick named, Aiesecer Gansy or Yarinya (Fulani girl).

What we do: We seek to learn from the different ways of life and opinions represented in our multicultural environment. Basically, we’ll hold meetings after lectures in the evening to discuss empowerment, leadership roles and advancement in our chosen career path towards the future. We had trainings in social skills development and building corporate relationship. More like a platform of connection and readiness for the corporate world. We conducted several hands on training and seminars all around other Federal universities and also outside the country.

One of the fun and memorable aspect of AIESEC: Travelling (adventure), Exchange program (connecting) and development of great social skills. Everyone becomes a companion keeper to each other and vice versa with other Aiesecers throughout the country. There’s always a venture to elevate each other through the process of empowerment, enrichment and a stand-by support team work.

I still hold beautiful memories of seminars and conferences at University of Benin, University of Calabar, UNN etc. and best of all in Cameroun. The drive always long and dusty, but with a bus filled with passionate and youthful zeal to see the world, embrace the opportunity and accomplish the great works ahead, we were all determined. You cannot be an introvert or a shy one in AIESEC. You cannot be condescending or arrogant during a presentation. AIESEC is all about your inner capabilities. Being all you can. Being a natural.

So, over the weekend, I had a great pleasure of connecting with my over 17-years-university-days-fellow Uniport and Enugu Aiesec Alumni from all over the world! Thanks to Uniport Local Chapter President (1996) Emeka Isiji – Aiesecer Ecg who created a chat room in what’s app and has received over almost 1000 text responds with pictures of before and after!

To my home AAs: Emeka, Prince Nwolisa and Daisy, Oakman, Gerry, Gen-gen, Lipsy, S & B, Poser, Suleiman, Muyiwa, Nnazzy, Nero, Paulo, Rita, Zainab, Uzo, PYT and more…I salute! O men!

Also to acknowledge Aiesec Alumni from Enugu (our brotherly city) Thanks to – AA Iroko (Henry) and LCP AA Alex! ( AA Iroko, you still look good with or without make up! smiles) whose unbelievable but humorous recall of how their “horrible” stay in ALUU (near Uniport) for a Regional Training Seminar event of almost 17 years has left them with post-traumatic stress and has created a forum of discussion, laughter and entertainment in the chat room. Hmm, Uniport LC, please answer to that! It’s almost 17years now!  Also, Salute to AA Tukor, AA Isi-ukwu, AA Undiga, AA braddy, AA 4cup, AA Afomzy etc.

Again, a big salute to all the Aiesec Alumni in the chat room, thanks for re-inventing our wonderful college days with pictures of empowering meetings, educational trainings on public speaking and developing social skills. Thanks for those days we had to dress formal and prepare our presentation before going into SHELL or WILLBROS to discuss partnership, or when we have to stay longer in a meeting all because a mandate has not been met! Thanks for the seminar that almost didn’t hold, as we were ordered by military men at the border of Cross River state and Cameroun.

Thanks to Aiesecer Rothmans/Nonso and Tinuke for caring for me as I traveled into Cameroun with that very mind-blowing malaria fever! And best of all, thanks for the genuine brotherly and sisterly love showered on each other. Especially between Uniport and Enugu LC.

So… Any AIESECer in the house? ‘AIESECer o men !  ‘Make some noise!

“Osi na nature” = everything from nature! (Drum rolls for group dynamics).

3 hearty salute (gbosas) to our dear brother who’s gone to be with the Lord:

RIP: AA Humpty, may your gentle soul continue to rest in perfect peace.

 

Yinka.

Uniport Aiesec Alumni

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When “Hurt is Heavy” the co-carrier feels the weight too!

palmI met one of the most impressive and amiable person in 1998. I’d just relocated from Maryland, moved into a new apartment in Philadelphia with my husband, close to the Art museum. We had two other Temple University students as co-tenants, except for one, who lived in the front studio. He seldom comes out of his room, but sings and plays the piano with such excellence you’d thought we were neighbors with the gifted singer, Steve Wonder!

One time I heard him play…‘Overjoyed’ I have been building my castle of love! and another time, heard captivating Afro beats, rhythms likened to Fela’s soundtracks coming from his room. Inquisitively and nosily, I’d knocked on his door and was surprised to meet an elderly man with such southern warmth, ‘I’m his father” he’d mentioned with a questioning look, but the man behind the piano told his father It was okay to let me in. “She’s my new neighbor” he stated.

I’d walked into that spacious beautifully decorated studio with my husband… and that was how a mutual “feel-free-to-hang-out-with-me-relationship started between us and the one and only multi-talented Leon Evans, a gifted choreographer, composer, singer-musician, educator and actor who has appeared on stages from Broad Street to Broadway to overseas, but at that moment was in a very challenging period of his life..

August 1998 he died after a prolonged illness. Evans, who sang and arranged vocals for his company, Tru-Le-Hype, also originated and founded Eleone, the Leon Evans Dance Theatre. Eleone, best known for the “Carols in Color” holiday show, has been performing for 15 years. A great companionship gone too soon. My heart bled.

So, just recently I had a painful phone conversation with a girlfriend. She was heavy with hurt. Spiritually helpless by circumstances. Her faith has been greatly challenged and weakened. It broke my heart. I wanted to reach through the phone line and hug her but, of course, I couldn’t.  So I listened, reminded her of God’s love for her, and prayed. And also, shared Leon’s story with her, to encourage her.

But really, why do we feel the pain of others when they are bruised, grazed or scarred? “Because we care..

Today, everyone is desperate for a miracle. Today, someone reading this is feeling overwhelmed or confused. Discouraged by the complicated challenges you face? Perhaps you have a friend who is nursing emotional wounds. There are so many hurting hearts. So many burdens being carried by souls weary of the task. So many people desperate for a miracle from God. Desperate for healing and hope.

What is that burden affecting you or someone you love? Maybe you bear the pain of a broken marriage, broken dreams, or a broken body. If you are desperate for healing, help, and hope, ask the Lord to increase your faith today, and make a determined choice to trust Him. When you do, He will meet your needs and carry the load of your burdens for you.

He lovingly points us to Hope. When we fall before Him in prayer, He will sustain and strengthen us, not when we try to handle things in our own strength, we remain weak and ineffective. Desperate times call for a desperate faith. Faith is the core of our lives. Let’s move forward and turn all our hurts to God.

Yinka.

 

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