Day 7 #12DaysOfThanksgiving

Hello dear people! I’m sorry for the break on the #12DaysOfThanksgiving series. One or two challenges came up. Thankfully, they’ve been resolved. I do pray that today’s post blesses you.  Happy new year in advance. By God’s grace 2016 is going to be wonderful. Get ready to testify!

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What have I learnt the most this year? I have learnt to trust God completely because He is always faithful, I have learnt I can do anything through Christ and I have learnt to give thanks, ALWAYS!

I started the year with serious fire (as we all do). I had plans! I wanted to do a Broadway show, I wanted a short film out, I wanted to go to a film school, I wanted to lose weight and many other things. Most importantly, I wanted to develop the gratitude culture.

Basically, 2015 was supposed to be an awesome year in every area of my life. It was my year of ‘thanksliving’, a year that I wanted to be grateful,always grateful! I even had a diary ready, to count my victories of the year. 

Of course, the first month was easy. I wrote everyday without fail but as the months went by, it became increasingly difficult. Life started to happen.

Very quickly, the year started going by very fast and I had achieved almost nothing except that I had added a few more pounds. I started getting very bored, all the greatness I saw was fast fading. 

It’s easy to be grateful when things go well, it might even be possible to find something to be grateful for when you experience not-so-pleasant situations but the days when life is boring and just seems to be passing you by, the days when you actually forget to be grateful are the real struggle. I have learnt that being grateful is a state of mind.

I was given a scholarship to a film school in August, and we had to do a short film competition at the end of our projects. My story was hands down the best story and in classwork, I was always the best. Everyone just expected that my short film would win the competition. My story was about two sisters and at the last minute, I decided to take up a challenge one of my teachers threw at me. He told me to cast one person as the two sisters, make her identical twins. The challenge was preposterous! How can a student filmmaker shoot something so technical? It’s impossible! And because it’s impossible, I took on the challenge. The result of the challenge was that my film was messed up and I didn’t win the award for the best film. I won for the best screenplay though, but I didn’t win the ultimate prize. 

Now, I had two options. The first option was to cry, blame everybody (especially my teacher) and be ungrateful. The second one was to give thanks, do an appraisal and move on. I decided to take the second option and redo the film. I became grateful for the opportunity to undertake what veteran directors would run away from. The doors that opened up to me because of that action were amazing!

At the beginning of the year, I wanted to do a Broadway show in Ibadan. I wanted it to be grand. But months kept going by and I couldn’t even write a word on the script. I was suffering from the worst case of writer’s block I had ever experienced in all my years. And once again, I had two options; to be grateful or to be frustrated. I chose to be grateful for the opportunity to even have writer’s block in the first place. Shebi it is because I am a writer that I can claim writer’s block. 

At the time when I started proclaiming to everyone that I wanted to do a stage play, I had nothing! And during the planning of the stage play, I was constantly faced with two options; to give up or be grateful for God’s faithfulness. Somehow, through no strength of mine, I chose to be grateful. Everytime I have been grateful, I have seen God move. 

Looking back now, it’s just one day to the end of the year and I am grateful. I don’t have as much money as I was hoping I would by the end of the year, I’ve gained more weight than when the year started and I have been duped and betrayed this same year…but for everything that I might think is a negative thing going on in my life,I have so many positives to make up for it. 

I am grateful for life, grateful for landslide achievements, grateful for beautiful family and friends, grateful that at this time in my life, I have achieved so much and more importantly, I am grateful that I still have so much to look forward to. 2016 is the year of serious THANKSLIVING and the my year of size 10(I pray).

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 Omolola Lamikanra is the creative director at Shift7 Media. She is also a passionate filmmaker and storyteller.

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Day 6 #12DaysOfThanksgiving

As I reflect on the loving kindness of Abba so far to me this year, the lyrics of the Song by Gerald Scott resonates loudly in my head as I testify about the faithfulness of God to me in 2015, it says “God is good! God is good! Even when I am not, He is still Good!”

Its been a very challenging year for me but to the glory of God, I have experienced God’s mercy and help through every part of it! One aspect of my life which I’m so thankful to God for, is the area of my academics. I started year 2015 with so much enthusiasm and hope of finally becoming a graduate of the University of Ibadan after all the strike actions and internal discord that bedevilled the duration of my academic programme.

My confession at the commencement of my final year in the university was that, it was going to be so peaceful! God’s peace will be my empire and my dwelling place! Philippians 4:7

God proved himself faithful as always, starting with the choice of supervisor given to me by my department. In final year in the University of Ibadan, one of the greatest fears of most students is falling under a rigid supervisor who doesn’t specialize in your area of interest and is not ready to entertain your opinions but would rather have you do whatever pleases him/her or he or she feels is appropriate for you. 

But just like in his word where it says that “ Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4), God gave me the supervisor I wanted. This was the beginning of a memorable final year for me. 

While my class mates where struggling and having real rough times with their project work, I found favour in the eyes of my supervisor, I experienced peace and ease as I carried out my research work. Also In all my courses in final year, I experienced the hand of God in it all….it was simply the grace of God at work in my exams, my capacity to grasp things increased exponentially. I was diligent to an extent but I didn’t really exert as much efforts as I did in my previous sessions on campus where I had to study for longer periods and all before I could really understand my course work. So much happened during the course of my academic programme, I experienced great joy and pain, but these experiences have taught me that, truly nothing compares to the goodness of God and for all of these I am thankful!

I just wanna encourage whoever is reading this right now that sometimes life is hard, sometimes we get knocked down and sometimes we have days where we just want to give up. Of course those days are painful, but those are also the days that make us stronger and teach us a lot about ourselves. You might have probably shed secret tears behind close doors, you may have painful memories or emotions from your past. The devil only targets those he is most threatened by, so keep on consciously thinking thankfulness daily and watch it become a lifestyle. Choose to be Grateful! “We have to constantly remind ourselves to look for ‘what’s right’ in our lives instead of ‘what’s wrong.’”
We serve a God whose unfailing love is better than life itself, who satisfies us more than the richest feast. What else shall we render but praise him with songs of joy!

So please stay hopeful, thankful and expectant always friends, always find the moments to be thankful for and watch God’s grace always show up for YOU. Just breathe, and wait and continually rest in your faith. Truly the year 2016 is gonna be more exciting! Nothing is impossible as long as you have thought about it. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 .So friend, declare to yourself right where you are “I’m finishing strong!!!”

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Stephen Raphael is a God Lover, Political Scientist, Worship Leader, Change Agent and an Aspiring Diplomat.

Twitter: @worldfamousraph

Day 5 #12DaysOfThanksgiving

It was a beautiful Friday morning, just a few days into the new year. People were still basking in the newness of the year and the stickers of various slogans of the newly born year from different churches shone brightly behind cars. Every step I took was very motivated. My plans for the year glittered in my mind under the rays of renewed hope. I had called in at work to say I would be late because I needed to dash down to the market on a quick ‘life-saving’ errand. It was my friends wedding day and I had been an integral part of the planning and it was my last duty. Moreso, I needed to compensate her for not being able to attend the ceremony because I had a long meeting scheduled for the time she would walk down the aisle and all. So, I breezed into the market which still wore the face of the festive season and was scanty since many traders were yet to return from their villages where they had travelled long distances to spend the holidays. I didn’t have the luxury of time to stop by every store and ‘price market’ so I quickly cut to the chase and bought what I needed to. Just outside the market was the parking lot where another friend of mine waited to collect what I bought so she could dash down to deliver the things to the bride in good time. I stepped into the parking lot to meet up with this friend of mine when something happened. I was dialing her phone number as I walked beside an abandoned truck when a drunk driver of a truck swerved off the road and knocked me down. In a split second, I was under a moving truck and right on the tracks of its huge tyres ready to be crushed like minced meat. Contrary to what people say when they have near-death experiences, my life didn’t flash before me. All I could hear was the voice of my pastor saying “It’s our year of Triumph”, and like a stunt woman in an action movie, I swiftly rolled away from under the moving truck and into safety under the abandoned truck. People screamed ” She don die o!” but I came out with my handbag still sitting pretty on my shoulder, my phone in my hand and the carrier bag of things I bought intact and without a scratch! Hehe.

I called my mother to share my adventure to which news she swung into her prayer warrior mode. I will never forget the discussion we had over the phone that day because it was one of the last we had as because she passed on a few weeks after that incident which swung me into another phase of my life; a phase I embraced bravely but was never prepared for. I would look at her peaceful face on days when we visited the morgue just before she was buried and reminisce about her beautiful smile which now turned into a straight face. I never imagined that she wouldn’t sit on her favorite chair this Christmas to plan the children’s Christmas party in our neighborhood or direct how food portions were distributed so they could get to everyone that lived around and needed the food the most. I missdefinitely  her every day. 

I tried relationships in 2015 and they were not without their share of heartbreaks. What is wrong with all you Lagos guys? Haha! I’m now accepting proposals from Rich French men and I don’t mean West African French speaking men but the original ones who live very close to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Hehe. Career wise, 2015 was miraculous for me. I quit my old job , reconstructed my CV and ‘mistakenly’ took it to church for a convention where it literally disappeared. (My God is always full of surprises) After searching for the paper all over the church like one on an expedition, I got tired and in my moment of calm heard the Holy spirit clearly tell me” Why are you so concerned about a missing paper? Trust that He who has begun  a good thing is faithful to bring it to perfection” That just warmed my heart such that when He told me to take the next step of faith, I didn’t hesitate. He asked me to dress up every morning like I was going to the office I had in mind and when it was 8am, pray fervently mostly thanking God for a new job and confessing that I can never be jobless. I did that for a week and the following Monday, I was doing my laundry when I got a phone call from the MD of the company where I work today offering me a job on my own terms and conditions. (Housefly will soon enter that mouth you left ajar. hehe)

This is just a tip of the iceberg of my year in review but  is safe to say I had a colorful year. When I was high, I was up high and when it rained challenges, it poured. However, one thing remained constatnt, God remained Faithful. My faith was strenghtened , I conquered some of my fears with many more to go as I grow in the knowledge of God. I’m not where I want to be yet but I’m Miles away from where I used to be. As 2016 approaches, I’m back on the drawing table of my life as I restrategize so that I can start conquering the year early and strongly too. There’s so much more to be done and achieved. Chai! when I hear somethings my mates in Hollywood are doing, I feel like burying my head in my grandmother’s laps. lol. But hey, God’s plan for us are good and not evil and we have an expected end in Him. Yes o! the future is still bright, you can’t see it? Biko put on the torchlight of of God’s word on it. ehen, you can now see it abi?

Go and win everyday simply because YOU CAN! Impossible is nothing with our God. Write the resolutions, pursue them, if you fall you will stand up , dust yourself and keep running even if your leg is in a caste. No time! 2016, here we come!

 All the best!

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I’m AnuOluwapo Adelakun and I love to write; I really do. I believe everyone should not only think but live outside the box… why punish yourself? I’ve got a million and one questions I try to answer or just throw at your face through my pieces http://www.davinadiaries.com is where my pen gets busy everyday – after all, what’s life if one can’t follow ones passion?

Day 4 #12DaysOfThanksgiving

As I set out to come up with this piece, the Holy Spirit refreshed my memory, enlightened the eyes of my heart to see my 2015 comprehensive Logbook of testimonies. Now I’m counting my blessings one by one  and singing Halleluyah! The  book contains a plethora of testimonies but I will try to be as concise and precise as possible – leaving you with 2 or 3 testimonies.

This year began with fears, uncertainty and doubts as the year 2014 dealt a devastating  blow at me when I lost  my dearly beloved Dad to the cold hands of death. By this time,all hands were on deck in preparation for my senior brother’s wedding which was slated to hold on Valentine’s Day outside Nigeria and the whole family was to attend. So here we were :

1. Dads demise,

2. Brother’s wedding and 

3. Election period : The government in power ensured money was not in circulation.

So “triple wahala “ you may say. However,we  went ahead to fix the dates for the obsequies and BOOM! God showed up just when all hope was about to be lost. He raised men to assist the “minishry” and ensured that all went well beyond our “fathomability”. Dad was laid to rest on my birthday, 23rd of January.

Another incident which I cannot forget in a hurry was how I was persecuted when I got back to work from “d oversea”. Like I was the first person to travel out of the country  in my village, or it was too grievous an offense for being able to go on such a trip with the prevailing economic realities in the country, a group of colleagues set out to frustrate all my efforts. I already had an exit plan which was to lead me into my next phase in life, so I decided not to resign until all was set, but I almost lost my job in the midst of the office quagmire which I found myself. I was accused of stuff I didn’t know about and  these people prevailed on my MD to lay me off as punishment. You know how it ended, my LORD frustrated the devices of the crafty, that their hands were not able to carry out their enterprise upon me. I resigned honorably with these same set of people sending me off with monetary favours and gift items – Chai….they miss me in that office ehn….They didn’t even want to let me go -Victory Halleluyah!

At this time according to my plan, the next stage was supposed to have been activated init? Hmmmm my brother, my sister, things went downside up. I had to sell my car and I remained in limbo for about 4 good months until the break came. The break did not waka come alone as the enemy also came with body pain which ushered me into December. The doctor said he will operate on it and I will not be able to do much by myself for at least 3 weeks…My people, the same doctor re-examined me and could not find anything to operate on! As I write, I have been made whole by the mercy of God on my life and I am in the new stage of my life which I longed for .

Can somebody shout Halleluyah.  *inBabaAdeboyesvoice*

Never forget that when effectual doors have been opened unto you, you will face adversity. You may be doing the will of God and still have to fight. But the same God has told us that in all these things we face , our victory is ascertained because He has overcome the world for our sakes (John 16:33).

Be encouraged, He will crown your year with His goodness and your paths will drop fatness (Ps. 65:11). You will testify before the end of this year in Jesus name. Amen!

Merry Christmas and have a happy new year!!!

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Damilola  Adesiyan  is a comely young man who hails from the ancient city of Ibadan, the Oyo state capital in Nigeria. He has a legal background, but is currently a  Public Relations strategist, content provider, aspiring social and digital media marketer, speaker, events manager and a comical event host.

He is the last of five boys and loves random reading, traveling, meeting people, touching lives positively amongst others.

Instagram @Oludesh
facebook.com/DamiOludesh  
Twitter @DamiOludesh  
Website: www.oludesh.com

Day 3 #12DaysOfThanksgiving

Hello everyone. Compliments of the life changing season. Yes!! I’m here to testify!! 

2015…I learnt a lot… Made a lot of dry jokes especially this harmattan period or screwdrivertan (that’s a very dry joke). But I’m here to share my challenges turn testimony.

 If I were to theme 2015, it’ll be the year of  “SPECIAL EFFECTS”. A lot of challenges came with special effects but God turned it to testimonies with a special effect! Lemme just share 1.

So March this year I was to resume school but no money to pay for my fees (private university). While mum and I were just thinking how, how, how, how to do it, my mum’s father died! Gobe!!! Being a chief the ceremony was a lot of money and my mum is the first child. That same March we were also to the rent of the house. Ladies and gentlemen that same March my mum was to write her exams. I’m sure you will agree with me now that indeed the challenges came in with special effects. 

Sincerely, I became doubtful, really doubtful but the word of God kept coming to me and I kept praying. The truth is I don’t know what God did, I don’t know how He did it but I paid my fees and went to school, my mum went for the burial. I saw the video it was amazing, she paid the rent and she still had extra left! Somehow her timetable was arranged and it favoured her, she wrote all her papers well. 

There are a lot more but let this fact stick to your mind – God is alive and able, not just able but able in a special way. 

Doubt will come but don’t let it have a place in you. 

Hallelujah to God. 
God bless you!

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Rowland Bassey is a young Christian lad. He is also an undergraduate at the prestigious Bells University. He blogs on http://www.wordrowland.wordpress.com

Day 2 #12DaysOfThanksgiving

A thousand times I’ve failed, still Your mercy remains! Nothing can separate even if I ran away – Your love never fails! I know I still make mistakes, but You have new mercies for me every day – Your love never fails!!!

GOD has been good to me this year. My fathers-in-the-LORD pronounced it my year of Heaven on earth, my year of Great Grace and my year of Jubilations. I entered into 2015 expecting big things to happen for me. GOD didn’t fail me this year – in fact, I have been moving from one triumph to the next. Mighty miracles have happened for me every single month of the year since January. 
The most recent in the long list of things that He has done for me has to do with my academics. I went back to school to get a Masters degree in Computer Science and there was this one course I was really battling with. I didn’t think I knew the course at all! It turns out, at the end of the semester (which was just a few days ago), I got a B in the class I thought I would get a C or D in. It couldn’t have been me! There is no way on earth I could get an 80 on that class – it could only have been GOD! No one can do the things He does.

The most memorable thing He did for me this year happened in August. In the month of May, I felt led to sow my laptop as a seed on the altar. I took my Isaac, sold it and paid the proceeds into the church’s bank account. Here I was with no money and no laptop – I was a young man without a “future”. Between June the month after the seed was sown and August, GOD literally embarrassed me with miracles. Someone called me and asked where my laptop was. I told her I didn’t have one. Two days later, her husband called me and gave me a brand new laptop, much better than the one I had sown!

Someone refunded the money my parents spent on my ticket to the US; another person paid $200 for my SEVIS fee, unprecedented favor was waiting for me at every corner.

GOD has just been amazing and I am so grateful! Like Abraham, I raise an altar of praise unto His Holy name.
Of a truth, GOD is no respecter of persons – I am a living witness to this!!!

GOD’S servant, Papa Oyedepo has declared that in 2016, I am rolling from glory to glory. I am so expectant about what GOD is set to do in the 52 weeks that 2016 has to offer! He has never failed, He will never fail, He can never fail!!!

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David Odeleye is a Computer Scientist, music minister, pastoral assistant/ministerial mentee.

Twitter: @DavidOdeleye

Day 1 #12DaysOfThanksgiving

Hello dear people. Its Christmas week!!! Merry Christmas! Lots of excitement in the air already. I do sincerely apologize for not starting off the series as scheduled yesterday. Network wahala. Thankfully it’s been resolved. Without further ado, here’s today’s edition of #12DaysOfThanksgiving written by a dear friend Bolu Onasanya

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RAISED HANDS 

If you ever spend a minute in any motor park in South-West Nigeria, you will probably have come across a man raising both hands in the air and many times a leg as well, paying homage to another respected individual. They will usually say, “Two hands up for one person”. This act suggests to me that they affirm that the person to which this homage is shown is a superior power to them. 

You better know that every time you raise both hands, you exercise vulnerability. Even in a stick up (robbery) or whenever an arrest is being made, raised hands means you surrender to an authority, whether you are forced or by your own volition. 
I have learnt in my short period on earth that the fastest way to success is raised hands. David raised his hands more than he fought with his hands. Solomon gave a huge sacrifice with raised hands. I raise my hands and yet I slay. He teaches my hands to make wealth – raised hands. Raised hands off my abilities, slaying with the hands of God. I am a god. 

I don’t intend for this piece to be long, explaining why you should be grateful or live a lifestyle of thanksgiving. No. I intend for this to be one of the shortest you have read in a while. My message is that the smartest thing you can do in life is raise your hands daily and let God work through you. Stop trying to think you worked things out by yourself. Surrender to God with thanksgiving in your heart. Thank God for what you see and what you don’t. Thank Him for Him and for you. Look beyond you. Look unto Him. 

Like a victim of a stick up or a person who is caught on a crime by the police (it’s not like you’ve been sinless – God nabbed you on your worst sin). Like a motorist in a Nigerian motor park. Like a person who is about to be searched. Like a person who is being disciplined. Like a grateful heart filled with thanksgiving for all that you are and all that you have, I beseech you to RAISE YOUR HANDS till you can touch the skies. Raise your hands that God may raise you up. Raise your hands that God may work in you. Raise your hand because that was what Moses did while Joshua and the rest of Israel fought the war and they won because Moses didn’t fight but surrendered. 
Raise your hands because OLUWA IS INVOLVED. 
Cheers! 
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Bolu Onasanya

Author, 3 books (including RED EYE); Social Entrepreneur; Corporate Strategist, Organization Builder & Business Administrator/Manager; Associate Fellow, Royal Commonwealth Society; Public Speaker; Radio Show Host.

Social Media: @BoluOnasanya
Blog: www.boluonasanya.wordpress.com

Introducing #12DaysOfThanksgiving

Hello dear people. Hope your weekend got off to a great start. I made a promise yesterday, its time to make good on my word.

Its that time of year again…the end! Most people look through the year in regret, wondering how time grew wings and flew off. Others happy that they were able to make good use of their time and yield considerable results. Some others already planning and strategizing ahead of the next set of 365 days. So much hustle and bustle. All the programs and parties as well. Owambe tins. Lol

Hold up! Wait a minute! We hardly ever take out time to enjoy the moment. Count our blessings and be grateful for the journey so far, gather strength even as we keep pressing on.

I’m trusting God this series will do just that!  So, here’s presenting

#12DaysOfThanksgiving

12 Days

12 People

12 Accounts… Declaring the Goodness of God!

20th-31st December, 2015

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You can join up on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp with the hash tag #12DaysOfThanksgiving Together, let’s give thanks!

Keep it locked down on this space!!!

#Anticipate

#ThankfulThursday #TestimonyThursday

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That plainly speaking is the summary of my testimony in the last month!
Before I get into today’s post, I must say thanks for dropping by here. My apologies for my silence. I’m back (and better) by the grace of God! I have an announcement to make  in the next 24 hours. So, make sure to be back here soon. *wink*
#Anticipate

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The last couple of weeks have honestly been a bit tough for me, but God saw me through. Like He promised, He didn’t leave me nor forsake me. I thank God that I have God!!!

I’m thankful to God for raising destiny helpers for me! People that just stood for me, fought for me even, some total strangers! God sent wonderful people my way to help me, the kind of help that can’t be from anywhere but God. You know how people say “this is Nigeria, they either want you to grease their palms or warm their beds before they can render help?” None of that for me! Only God can give such HELP!

I’m thankful for the family and friends I have been blessed with. One of my favorite sayings is without people, purpose will not make sense. I learnt this truth all over again. Nothing beats the support of family and friends, especially when tough times come calling. The prayers, tears, strength, encouragement, instruction, laughter…simply invaluable!

I’m thankful for the seemingly little things as well… The elderly woman that gave me directions one day when I was almost lost, made the cab man pick me up even when he was reluctant to cos I wasn’t going their way. All of this she did so I won’t be stranded in a strange land. In addition to that, she paid my fare! Thank you Lord.

So, dear friends, what are you thankful for? Pray, share…