Beautiful Wings

Find what makes your heart beat fast. Look left, look right, and chase after it with all you've got. Soon enough you'll be running so fast, you won't realise you're off the ground, spreading those beautiful wings… and flying!

Day Seventeen – #30DaysOfTheWord

Saturday, October 18

8:49

Jeremiah 31:27 – 32:44, 1 Timothy 3:1-16, Psalm 88:1-18 and Proverbs 25:20-22

Prophet Jeremiah’s words take the spotlight again today. 32:39 says,

“And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. (NLT)”

This verse spoke to me about God’s intent for my existence as a Christian: to worship Him forever from two important aspects of my being. These two parts are revealed in that verse through an interesting choice of words, I think. “Heart” speaks to desires, feelings and all that mushy stuff, while “purpose” touches on vision, ambition and all the more concrete stuff.

I would like to think that I am equal parts “heart” and “purpose”. Though I don’t go around advertising it, those close to me know I am a very emotional person. I am equally ambitious. So, when God says He will give me one heart and one purpose: to worship Him forever, I believe He wants to be the focus of both my mushy, emotional parts and my ambitious, hardcore part.

What’s more, worshipping him is for my own good and the good of my descendants! I know that serving God is ultimately enlightened self interest. He is the best person to love on, because He loves back like no other can.

Proverbs 25: 21-22 also has words of wisdom:

“If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink. You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads and the LORD will reward you. (NLT).”

This takes me back to Day Two of this challenge (I get the hint, God), and though I haven’t been consistent in praying for my ‘enemies’, I definitely remembered to do so again this morning, and also took an opportunity to be kind to someone who I know doesn’t particularly like me (I wonder why, because I am the sweetest person ever, *wink*).

Peace, Love and Heart and Purpose,

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

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Day Sixteen – #30DaysOfTheWord

Friday, October 17

8:22

Jeremiah 30:1 – 31:26, 1 Timothy 2:1-15, Psalm 87:1-7 and Proverbs 25:18-19

I just crossed the halfway point. Wow! It doesn’t feel like it at all! Sure, there are days when I sigh when I remember I haven’t read the Bible or written my blog post, but for the most part I have looked forward to this challenge.

In other news, Thank God It’s Friday! Like I said yesterday, this is going to be such an epic weekend. Last night I even said a prayer to God about my goals for the next two days – I’m that excited!

Speaking of prayer, Paul reminds me in 1 Timothy 2:2, to “Pray…for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity (NLT)”. In this day and age, it is the norm to insult political leaders (as many seem deserving of it), and there are multiple platforms where one can do so, but when last did I take the time to pray for the local, state and federal government heads of Nigeria? I cannot remember and I am a little ashamed. This verse reminds me that the way of the world is not necessarily God’s way – it often is the opposite.

I just took a minute to pray for Nigeria’s leaders, and that the Holy Spirit should help me to do it more often.

Secondly, the book of Jeremiah has been very heavy. He is widely known as The Weeping Prophet because his prophecies centre around “Woe unto this”, “Woe unto that”, punishment left, right and centre. It must have been a very tough and saddening job to be God’s messenger of woe. This reminds me that walking with God is not always easy. Nobody likes someone who spreads bad news all the time, so I can’t imagine what it is like to be a prophet of doom and have to suffer isolation, contempt and perhaps even battle with depression. However, today Jeremiah (and I) finally caught a break! God finally starts promising good things for the people of Israel. He is promising that He will return their fortunes, bring them back into a good land, and all that great stuff. I love 31:26, where at the end of receiving these prophecies from God, Jeremiah says “At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet.” I literally smiled and felt his relief to FINALLY be getting some good news. Reminds me that God is ultimately good!

Peace, Love and Sweet Relief,

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

Day Fifteen – #30DaysOfTheWord

Thursday, October 16

10:20 (I’m slightly disturbed at how I haven’t been sticking to the 6:00am plan, but I’m trying not to overthink it.)

Jeremiah 28:1 – 29:32, 1 Timothy 1:1-20, Psalm 86:1-17 and Proverbs 25:17

I can’t believe it’s Thursday already, but I’m glad it is! The weekend is in view, and it’s going to be a great one! I have a party coming up on Saturday and I cannot. wait. to. flex. Haha! I am also running a 10k race on Sunday, though I haven’t been training! Anyway, I’ll be fine.

There is so much I want to touch on this morning so I’m typing as fast as I can!

1 Timothy 1:19 says Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberatey violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked (NLT)”.

Gheun.

This is a humbling scripture for me. I am in the process of making new friends at school, and have come across some of the most interesting and diverse people I have ever met. I have also found myself questioning my values, my beliefs and the notions I have held in the past. I think this is good thing; nobody has a monopoly on all the knowledge in the world, and I always find it beneficial to challenge my thought patterns and make room for new ways of thinking.

I have also been wondering about the place of my faith in my new friendships. Do I preach to those who don’t know Christ? Or do I just live, let them see my lifestyle and then ask a question which gives an opening to share my faith?

This scripture is like a directional sign to me, saying: ‘In all you do, Dami, cling to your faith and don’t violate your conscience. All things are lawful, but not all things are expedient. If I don’t feel good about doing certain things or going to certain places, then I need to listen to my conscience. In the same way, if I feel it is the right moment to share something about my faith, then I also need to obey my conscience. I can never stray too far away when I walk in faith and a good conscience!

I have always had a pretty loud conscience, and I feel it is something of a disadvantage (haha). If I take a decision that does not sit well with me, I will think, obsess and almost run myself crazy, till I undo it. However, I see that my conscience (and everybody else’s probably) is a gift from God. What happens when I try to ignore and override my conscience is that over time I become numb, and make consecutive decisions that are wrong (for me, and not necessarily for others), and these decisions could eventually become progressively more and more depraved, causing me to shipwreck my faith. God forbid!

Basically, God deals with everyone on an individual basis, via their faith and inner compass. I should not attempt to discard mine, recalibrate it, or use another person’s moral compass. My conscience is linked to my faith and my walk with God.

Another thought that comes to mind is that I should not try to recalibrate another person’s faith walk or moral compass based on mine. With drinking alcohol for (a very honest) example, I have been one to try to convince people of my conviction that there is nothing with drinking done in moderation. However, if God is preventing someone from the lifestyle of an alcoholic and thus has instilled in their conscience a healthy and necessary fear of drinking, and I am here trying to convince them to take one glass, I might be judged if they fall into sin. Deep. I hereby repent and will stop trying to convince people to come around to my convictions!

This also links to some thoughts I had last night about giving and taking advice (I will try to post the tweets later, but for now see my twitter feed, @damioyedele). Recently, an old friend gave me some very well meaning but very wrong advise. In hindsight, her advise was a decision I should never have taken, and having seen the consequences play out, I regret following it. Why? Because it was her conviction, not mine. I am not upset with her, but actually at myself for not being strong enough to process my thoughts and feelings, stick to my own convictions, listen to my conscience, and do what I felt was right. It may have been a wrong decision too, but it would have be 100% mine. Anyway, we live and we learn!

Peace, Love and Convictions,

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

Day Fourteen – #30DaysOfTheWord

Wednesday, October 15

23:52

Jeremiah 26:1 – 27:22, 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18, Psalm 85:1-13 and Proverbs 25:16

Today I’m going to come right out and admit that in this post I will cheat. *covers face* I have two reasons. Not legitimate, but reasons nonetheless.

1. I am currently in the computer lab, swamped in an assignment that I need to hand in tomorrow.

2. I did my reading this morning, but nothing ‘jumped out’ at me, and I was pressed for time so I couldn’t really stay with it.

What I’m going to do is post the reading from Psalm 85 below. Perhaps one of you readers will spot something sweet and share it with me!

Here goes:

For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

Lord, you poured out blessings on your land!
    You restored the fortunes of Israel.
You forgave the guilt of your people—
    yes, you covered all their sins. Interlude
You held back your fury.
    You kept back your blazing anger.

Now restore us again, O God of our salvation.
    Put aside your anger against us once more.
Will you be angry with us always?
    Will you prolong your wrath to all generations?
Won’t you revive us again,
    so your people can rejoice in you?
Show us your unfailing love, O Lord,
    and grant us your salvation.

I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
    for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
    But let them not return to their foolish ways.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
    so our land will be filled with his glory.

10 Unfailing love and truth have met together.
    Righteousness and peace have kissed!
11 Truth springs up from the earth,
    and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
12 Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings.
    Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.
13 Righteousness goes as a herald before him,
    preparing the way for his steps.

(NLT)

Love, Peace and Psalms,

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

Days Twelve & Thirteen – #30DaysOfTheWord

Monday, October 13

00:00

Jeremiah 22:1 – 23:20, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12, Psalm 83:1-18 and Proverbs 25:11-14

So, I did my Monday Bible reading early in the morning, but could not find time during the day to blog. I am literally just getting in from the library – my days are getting very hectic!! God have mercy. I was about to blog Monday’s piece when I realized it is already midnight, so I decided to do my Tuesday reading now and merge Monday & Tuesday’s blogs together. I’m tired and tempted to just hit the bed but learning that I am to do the right thing even when I don’t feel like it.

From Monday, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 sheds light on what hell is like.

“They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. (NLT)”

Contrary to the scary tales and movies I (and many Christians) have been exposed to, I believe that the greatest tragedy of hell is not fire and brimstone and the devil digging into people with his pitchfork. Rather, it is that complete and utter sense of hopelessness that comes from being separated from God.

Hell is eternal separation from God – imagine a place where human souls are left to their own depravity, running amok, wickedness allowed to reign with no reprieve. Imagine a place where there is no justice (or even the appearance of it or attempt to get it) for wicked acts, where there is total hopelessness, and nothing to live for. No police, no lawyers, no one even pretends to care about their neighbors. It will be horrible and terrible and unbearable. That is what hell is. I believe that all the pain and suffering that will be in hell (the scary brand we always hear about) will be a consequence of the separation from God, which is the actual punishment.

In contrast, heaven is a state where God reigns 100%. His way, the right way, the best way all the time. Bliss. Right now, on the earth we have a bit of both, I think. As a Christian, I have been given the ability and responsibility to bring a little peace of Heaven on earth on this side of eternity. The Lord’s prayer says it best: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

*****

Tuesday, October 14

Jeremiah 23:21 – 25:38, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17, Psalm 84:1-12 and Proverbs 25:15

The whole of Psalm 84 is beautiful and resonating with me in a new way this early morning! From how the Psalmist describes how his/ her “whole being, body and soul” is “faint with longing” to enter the courts of God (v2), to how s/he testifies that those who get their strength from the Lord will walk through the Valley of Weeping and instead of sorrow, experience a place of refreshing springs (v6). This in particular is beautiful to me in the light of the events of the past few days! In v7, the Psalmist says that those who appear before God in Jerusalem (Zion, in many translations) will go from strength to strength. I had never thought about it till now, but I imagine that through this process, as I come before God’s word everyday in spite of what is going on around me, I am trading my weakness, and becoming a stronger and stronger person.

v10 compares two scenarios, and in a little ode to the math that is now consuming my life, I will write it in the form of an equation (actually an inequality) below:

1X in God’s courts > 1,000X anywhere else, where X = No of days

YES! I know this!

Nothing compares to the bittersweet refreshing I get, when I come before him and exchange all my deadweight for whatever He has for me that day. Absolutely nothing!

Finally, v11 talks about God being a sun and shield, giving grace and glory to those who walk uprightly.

I wish I wasn’t so tried and my brain so foggy, I would stay up and read the chapter over again. Hopefully I can do so sometime during the day today. This Psalm is now officially a favorite!

Peace, Love & Psalm 84,

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

Day Eleven – #30DaysOfTheWord

Sunday, October 12

19:53

Jeremiah 19:1 – 21:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-28, Psalm 82:1-8 and Proverbs 25:9-10

It is fitting that 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (NLT)”, because I truly believe that God’s joy gave me strength to get through yesterday. Suffice it to say that yesterday (Saturday) was a tough day. I’m glad it’s over. In some ways, it was a beautiful day, because in spite of how terrible I was feeling physically and emotionally, I haven’t had such a productive day in a long time. I cleaned thoroughly, cooked tons of food and caught up on reading for one of my courses. Went to bed close to 4am Sunday, and I wasn’t feeling tired at all. For me, it was proof that even though I spent the day intermittently bursting into tears nearly every hour, God was with me, holding my hand and helping me get through it. That is how to be joyful 🙂

In related news, I have been looking for a church to call home, and church hopping for weeks. I attended an evening worship service at Soul City Church today – it was great. I liked the vibe of the church, the worship songs (and poetry!) were meaningful, and the message was short but poignant (on how worship is like breathing (in and out)… another story for another day). I’ll definitely be back at Soul City! Still praying God leads me to a church where I can serve and grow.

Peace, Love & Joy,

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

Day Ten – #30DaysOfTheWord

Saturday, October 11

11:03

Jeremiah 16:16 – 18:23, 1 Thessalonians 4:1 – 5:3, Psalm 81:1-16 and Proverbs 25:6-8

Walking with God is really a moment by moment thing. Some days feel good, others are crap.

This morning, the ghosts are back and I am freshly in need of spiritual and emotional healing from the regret, guilt and shame that are choking the life out of me. Weekends are hard during times like this because there is less structure to my day, so it is easy to curl up on the couch and mope about all the things that need to be fixed.

Jeremiah says in 16:14 “O Lord, if you heal me, I will truly be healed; if you save me, I will truly be saved (NLT)”

It is comforting that one of the most important prophets in the Bible had shitty days and times when he cried (in my interpretation) “I’m done, God. Heal and save me once and for all.”

Heal me, Lord! Save me!

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

Day Nine – #30DaysOfTheWord

Friday, October 10

20:44

Jeremiah 14:11 – 16:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:9 – 3:13, Psalm 80:1-19 and Proverbs 25:1-5

I must confess that today’s reading was difficult. It took over four hours *covers face* and I kept getting distracted by everything. It is definitely easier for me to do my Bible reading in the morning.

It also didn’t help that I wasn’t seeming to understand what I was reading. Sometimes the Bible is “sweet’ to read, and other times, like today, it is hard to crack.

Anyway, with blood, sweat and tears (and TY Bello’s new album!), I made it till the last reading. When finally, I got to Proverbs, I saw this and smiled:

“It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them (NLT).”

Sometimes God will intentionally make things difficult to decipher – He reserves the right. It is up to me (the king) to seek the concealed things, and a privilege when I find them.

Peace, Love and Discovery,

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

Day Eight – #30DaysOfTheWord

Thursday, October 9

8:10

Jeremiah 12:5 – 14:10, 1 Thessalonians 1:1 – 2:8, Psalm 79:1-13 and Proverbs 24:30-34

I love it when God speaks when I am going through a situation, and I stumble upon a verse of scripture, or hear a message that gives me wisdom on how to tackle whatever it is that is going on at the time. Today He spoke loud and clear from Jeremiah 12:5 and Proverbs 24:30-34!

“If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? (NLT)”

“I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber. (NLT)”

As long as I have been aware of myself, I have always wanted to be a more consistent, disciplined person. As a student, I am one of those who does everything at the last minute and gets away with a B+ or A-, so there has never been an incentive to push for more. All through high school, my teachers told me “Dami you are bright, but with just a little more effort you could be exceptional.” At uni I did the least and finished with a 2:1, continuing on my path of just enough to be good, but not excellent. It spilled over to my work life: Some of my worst and best senior colleagues have said pretty much the same about the quality of my deliverables. “Dami you have fantastic ideas, flashes of brilliance (two different supervisors at two different companies actually said those exact same words, yikes), but you need to be more consistent.”

Recently I have started having ‘the talk’ with myself again about how I need to become consistent in order to really excel. All the people I look up to are brilliant, yes, but they are hard workers. Grit, determination and consistency are what makes the difference between them and me. This thought has been lingering on my mind for a couple of days now. Do I want to be just average all my life or do I want to excel? So God’s word hit me like I brick today.

Since Tuesday I have been feeling flu-ish (headache, sore threat, fatigue), but have many things to deliver on, and more coming my way. The verse in Jeremiah speaks to me, because I feel like God is saying that He wants to put more into my hands, and how can He do it if I am already tired and overwhelmed with the little I am doing now? Racing against horses is akin to playing in the ‘big leagues’. The rules are different, the field is bloody and not for whiners, complainers and excuse givers. I cannot afford to be tired, so I am willing my spirit and body to push through and do everything set to come my way today, for the rest of the week, and generally in life.

The verse from Proverbs just made me look around my apartment and sigh. It is by no means a jungle, but I have an ‘environmental sanitation’ pending from the weekend – vacuuming, scrubbing the bathroom, doing the dishes, etc. I argue in my head that there is no time, but I still squeeze in an hour at night to catch up on tv shows before going to bed, so who is fooling who? 😦

This trend is the same for the areas of my life where I am refusing to ‘do the work’ and choosing to get ‘more sleep’ instead. It is interesting that this translation says ‘more sleep…. more slumber’, so the problem is clearly not with sleep. I definitely need adequate rest, but I know deep down how much ‘sleep’ I should be getting and when I am getting more than I should.

Today I receive God’s chastisement with humility. I repent, and I pray he helps me to become more aware of myself and work towards becoming a disciplined, consistent and hardworking woman.

Peace, Love and Less Sleep,

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

Day Seven – #30DaysOfTheWord

Wednesday, October 8

7:38

Jeremiah 10:1 – 11:23, Colossians 3:18 – 4:18, Psalm 78:56-72 and Proverbs 24:28-29

I constantly feel frustrated trying to find words to praise God with, because I tend to repeat the same words over and again.

“You are worthy, You are Holy, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Mighty God, Awesome God, You are worthy, You are holy….” Get the drift?

I know that to worship God in a deeper way, I have to see Him in a different light, and this (at least for me) comes from either going through an experience or seeing a new scripture that describes an aspect of Him. I have caught a few in past years, but am always looking out for new ‘worship material’. Today, some parts of the scriptures from Jeremiah have me excited and have put me in a mood of worship, because I’ve found some new stuff!

Before I go into today’s highlight, let me share one description of God that I particularly LOVE. It is from Isaiah 6:1, where he says God was “sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple (NLT)”. I once read that in the days of the Bible, kings would add a notch to their royal robe everytime they went out to battle with their army and won. Every new victory, a new notch. Now, imagine that Isaiah saw that God had so many notches, that the train of His own robe FILLED the temple!

God is absolutely, completely victorious and I am lucky to be a citizen of His Kingdom and a member of His Army! Whenever I think of the train of God’s robe during worship, I tell Him how victorious He is; how He wins every battle, even the ones I can’t see. I thank Him because even the ones I am fighting presently will no doubt be won.

For today’s reading, I will write the verses from Jeremiah 10 below, highlighting the parts that are new ‘worship material’ to me. Many of them I have heard before, having grown up in the church, but there is nothing like seeing it for myself:

6 Lord, there is no one like you! For you are great, and your name is  full of power.

7 Who would not fear you, O King of nations? That title belongs to you alone! Among all the wise people of the earth and in the kingdoms of the world, there is none like you.

10 But the Lord is the only true God. He is the living God and the everlasting King! 

16 He is the Creator of everything that exists, including Israel, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!

– NLT

There is nothing to be added or removed to these amazing descriptions of God. I will do my best to meditate on them during the day.

Peace, Love and Worship,

Dami

#30DaysOfTheWord

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