JAMES 1: 12 BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO REMAINS STEADFAST UNDER TRIAL, FOR WHEN HE HAS STOOD THE TEST HE WILL RECEIVE THE CROWN OF LIFE, WHICH GOD HAS PROMISED TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM

Welcome/Bienvenue/Shalom/Ekabo

Good day People of GOD🙂

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him (James 1: 12 ESV)

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Today, we will be looking at James 1: 12 which counsels us to remain steadfast under trial so that we may receive the Crown of Life. The broad theme is still Distractions – so this is the third part in the series dealing with distractions.

Spiritual growth is a journey, a process and a privilege. You have to work hard at it to get better at it. You cannot afford to be complacent. Paul was called by CHRIST (Acts 9: 5), but he had to work on his spiritual life to get to the point where he could challenge Peter, and at the end of his life he could say, ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4: 7 NIV).’ Powerful.

GOD has been Awesome in my life and HE brought me to where I am today, but, I have realized that my spiritual growth depends on consistency in spending time with GOD praying, studying the Bible, fasting and (making the effort to) live a righteous life. Anytime I slacked in doing any of these things, I felt like I had strayed from GOD and I had no peace. One Scripture that encouraged me to keep pressing towards the Goal is Philippians 3: 12-14 where Paul says:

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3: 12-14 NKJV).

When you have a loved one, you would want to spend time with them, do the activities they like, and talk to them as regularly as possible, right? That is the way your relationship with GOD should be! GOD is not a scary person, or a Bad Guy or a wicked person or an unkind person. After all, HE sent HIS Only Begotten Son to die for us on the cross of Calvary, so we can have everlasting life (John 3: 16)! You might want to rethink your idea or image of GOD. The Psalmist says:

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy (Psalm 145: 8).

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Getting back to the topic, how do you develop an intimate relationship with GOD, focus on HIM and avoid distractions? Sometimes, you have to leave everything else and go to a quiet place and spend some quality quiet time with GOD. You cannot hear GOD amidst noise and too much activity. When the HOLY SPIRIT speaks, HIS Voice is very gentle – when the HOLY SPIRIT spoke to Elijah after an earthquake, HIS Voice came like a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19: 12). GOD speaks to you through your spirit, so you have to be quiet in order to hear HIM. Moreover, JESUS’s Actions depict why we need a quiet place sometimes to hear from GOD:

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest (Mark 6: 31 NIV).

Here are some pointers on developing an intimate relationship with GOD:

  • Set a time apart for daily prayer: 20 minutes out of your twenty-four hours is not too much to spend in prayer with GOD. Morning hours are the best time to pray and communicate with GOD. See Mark 1: 35: ‘And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he [JESUS] went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed’ (NIV).
  • Set time apart for study of the Word and daily reflection: it is not enough to just read through one chapter of a couple of verses just so you can tick the box. Setting apart at least 30 minutes when you can truly meditate on the Word daily goes a long way towards building your relationship with GOD. Prioritizing you daily time goes a long way towards ensuring you fulfill your destiny on earth. You have to make time for the most important things in your daily life, else, you will be giving excuses in the future. And excuses does not get anything done, and it does not achieve dreams or goals. See Ephesians 5: 15-16: 15: ‘Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 [b]making the most of your time, because the days are evil’ (NASB).

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Finally, you have the responsibility to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2: 12). Moreover, it is a privilege to know GOD and to be Christian. So, endeavor to spend more time with GOD, get to know HIM better, improve your relationship with HIM, and see yourself fulfill your great destiny on earth. So,

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12: 1-2 NIV).

P.S. We pray that GOD will be with the people of Haiti and others hit by the Hurricane Matthew, and that HE will restore what the enemy has stolen from them in seven fold (Proverbs 6: 31), and that HE will heal and comfort all the families affected.

GOD bless you all and Peace <3.

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May the LORD bless the study of HIS Awesome Word in JESUS’ Name!

Please, leave a comment below. I want to hear from anybody who reads this post. I want to hear your views and criticism (I am still learning).

Re-blog this post, share it on Facebook, Twitter, or GooglePlus, and sign-up to have every post delivered to your inbox ♥

GOD bless you all ♥♥♥

© Daunting Facts of Christianity. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author and/or owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daunting Facts of Christianity, with specific direction to the original content at dauntingfactsofchristianity.wordpress.com.

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LUKE 9: 62 DISTRACTIONS

Welcome/Bienvenue/Shalom/Ekabo

Good day People of GOD 🙂

“Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 TLB).

Today I just want to share something about distractions that I think prevent people from fulfilling GOD’s Plan for their lives.

There are two types of distractions: physical distractions and satanic distractions. Physical distractions are those that are of a physical nature and those you just have to make up your mind to let go. Satanic distractions on the other hand are those that are of a spiritual nature, and require that you be spiritually vigilant and prayerful to avoid. This a series that will have four parts and I hope you will be blessed as we walk through the distractions that stand in the way of fulfilling GOD’s Plan together.

It is such a great privilege to be a Christian, and I wonder sometimes how my life would have been if I am not Christian. I would not have been alive today, I would not have been where I am now, I would have been very depressed and sad, and I would have missed out on so much of life. Running the race of destiny fulfilment is a tough one, but it takes the Grace of GOD and spiritual vigilance (being watchful and prayerful) to conquer the plans of the enemy. GOD is the Driver of the Car of your destiny; the Captain of the Ship of your destiny. But, when you start to take over this role from GOD or you stop following HIM, you lose sight of the Goal, and you end up in sin, depression, spiritual death, missed blessings, among other bad things.

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When you lose sight of GOD – your Captain, fear and worry start to trouble you. GOD has promised that HE will lead and guide you in the Way that you should go (Psalm 32: 8). But, if you refuse to let HIM guide you, you will go the wrong way and get lost. That will not be your portion in JESUS’ Name. Paul says:

I’m saying this for your benefit, not to restrict you. I’m showing you how to live a noble life of devotion to the Lord without being distracted by other things (1 Corinthians 7: 35 GOD’S WORD Translation).

There are two types of distractions: physical distractions and satanic distractions. Physical distractions are those that are of a physical nature and those you just have to make up your mind to let go. Satanic distractions on the other hand are those that are of a spiritual nature, and require that you be spiritually vigilant and prayerful to avoid.

These are some of the physical distractions that I’ve found could be distracting one from GOD’s Plan. Anyone or all of them could be familiar to you. They include:

  1. People’s and worldly expectations. In relation to this, note the following Scriptures:  1 John 2: 15: 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world (NIV) and Romans 12: 2: 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (NIV).
  2. Fear of taking the wrong step or fear in general.
  3. Selfishness or self-centredness.
  4. Work (sometimes).
  5. Worry. JESUS says in Mark 4: 19 (…but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful (NIV))
  6. Lack of good sleep and exercise (if you are always tired and slow, how is GOD going to use you?).
  7. The past.
  8. Envy or jealousy.
  9. Technological advances: cell phones, social networks, TV, etc.
  10. Hobbies.
  11. Relationships (sometimes).

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Why are these things distractions? They make you so busy you do not have time for the things that matter. Like Bible study, prayer, fasting, ministry, etc. And if you constantly let yourself get distracted, you cannot be useful in GOD’s Kingdom, because you would not be hearing from the LORD and would be too busy doing the wrong things! If you love someone, you would spend more time with them, and want to do activities they like right? The same principle applies in your relationship with GOD. Endeavor to spend more time with HIM and develop a more intimate relationship with HIM. That way, your heart will be totally closed off from worldly and satanic distractions that could destroy you.

Finally, what is the solution in relation to the distractions mentioned above: let them go. It is important to stay focused on CHRIST, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12: 2). Some of these distractions serve as a ‘hide-away’ from problems. For instance, some people indulge in lots of food when they are worried; or they look to friends and family when they have problems. However, GOD has said that all the world should look to HIM for Salvation; there is only one GOD and no other (Isaiah 45: 22). If you look to something else or someone else for help or ‘salvation’ when you are stressed, you will be letting distractions overcome you.

GOD bless you and until next time!

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May the LORD bless the study of HIS Awesome Word in JESUS’ Name!

Please, leave a comment below. I want to hear from anybody who reads this post. I want to hear your views and criticism (I am still learning).

Reblog this post, share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Googleplus, and sign-up to have every post delivered to your inbox ♥

GOD bless you all ♥♥♥

© Daunting Facts of Christianity. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author and/or owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Daunting Facts of Christianity, with specific direction to the original content at dauntingfactsofchristianity.wordpress.com.

 

1 SAMUEL 15:22 TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE; TO HEARKEN IS BETTER THAN THE FAT OF RAMS

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Welcome/Bienvenue/Shalom/Ekabo

Good day People of GOD.

Today we will be looking at 1 Samuel 15: 22 in more detail, where Samuel insists that GOD cares more about obedience, than sacrifices and Kingdom service.

‘But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams (NIV).’

Your most important duty to GOD is to obey HIM. The most important way to prove your love to GOD is to obey HIM. JESUS said that if you love HIM, you would obey HIS Commands (John 14: 15). What is the context in which Samuel made this statement to Saul?

GOD instructed Saul to destroy the Amalekites and all that belonged to them, including all men, women, children, infants, cattle, sheep, camels and donkeys (1 Samuel 15: 1-3). Saul was not allowed to spare anybody or animal. The Amalekites had waylaid the Israelites. GOD wanted to punish the Amalekites, as a result.

However, Saul did not obey GOD’s Instructions. He spared Agag (the king), the best of the sheep, cattle, fat calves, and lambs. He only destroyed everything that was weak and despised (verses 7-9). GOD was nonetheless unhappy with Saul’s actions. In fact, HE ws grieved because Saul had clearly taken HIM for granted. Therefore, GOD took the kingdom away from Saul, by rejecting him as king (verse 23).

When Samuel asked Saul why he disobeyed, he defended himself saying, ‘they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest’. Nevertheless, it was too late. In fact, he thought he had done something good, and obeyed the LORD. He said, ‘The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions’. It is hard to tell if he was pretending or trying to save himself after realising he had done wrong.

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Saul may have thought that what he did was noble or right. He saved ‘good’ animals to be sacrificed to GOD later. He may also have done it for ulterior or selfish motives, though. But, it was contrary to GOD’s Instructions and that is where he missed it. This account proves that obedience matters more to GOD than Kingdom service. It is easier to please GOD by obeying HIM, than through Kingdom service.

Hundreds of years after this event, JESUS obeyed HIS parents by following them home, rather than remaining to discuss the Law with the elders and teachers. Every year, JESUS’ parents journeyed to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. When HE was 12 years, they went again as usual. However, when HIS parents were going home, HE stayed in Jerusalem, but they were not aware. They had journeyed for one day without Him, when they realized HE was absent. They went back to Jerusalem to find HIM. They found HIM in the temple courts, sitting among teachers, listening to them and asking questions. HE clearly was having a good time there. When they found HIM, and HIS mother said Joseph and herself had been upset searching for Him, and HE said, ‘Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? (verse 49)’. Yet, HE went back with them and was obedient to them (Luke 2: 41-52).

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In addition, the price of disobedience is indeed too high to pay. This cannot be overemphasised. There was this prophet from Judah who disobeyed GOD in the Bible. GOD had instructed him not to eat or drink anything, or return by the same way he came, after performing a miracle in Bethel (1 Kings 13: 1-10). Another old prophet who was informed of what the young prophet had said to the king, followed the young prophet, lied to him that GOD said he could eat and drink with him (the old prophet) at his house. As soon as he did eat, this old prophet prophesied that as the young prophet had eaten and disobeyed GOD, he would be eaten by a lion, and would not be buried. Indeed, this is what happened (verses 11-25). GOD is not wicked. The young prophet did not listen to the HOLY SPIRIT, before going to eat and drink. This is why it is SO important to have the Spirit of Discernment! Therefore, obedience can be likened to the Gold you pay to appease GOD.

You are required to obey GOD’s Word which you receive from the Bible or from a prophet (as in Saul’s case). However, GOD may speak to you through a source outside HIS Word, through somebody who is not a pastor or prophet, or through your heart, and you must obey HIM still. You would know when GOD speaks to you through you heart; even if HE sends someone else to you, you would know if GOD is really speaking through that person. That is where the HOLY SPIRIT comes in, to give you the Spirit of Discernment, so that you can distinguish the spirit of man or devil from the Spirit of GOD. Is it not GOD that says that HE will no longer make laws to be just on plaques and books, but HE will write the law directly on your heart? (Jeremiah 31: 33).  It is very important to pray for the Spirit of Discernment in order to know when the HOLY SPIRIT commands you to do something or refrain from doing it, so that you can obey accordingly. It is no longer a valid excuse to say that you did not know GOD was speaking to you. Moreover, only the HOLY SPIRIT can help you to obey GOD timeously and in the right way GOD desires.  I, for instance, do not remember the last time a prophet came to give me an instruction from GOD. So, all the instances of disobedience I remember are those where I knew in my heart that GOD instructed me to do something or refrain from doing it, and I either disobeyed or did not obey promptly.

 

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Finally, there is no obedience without promptness or immediateness. My mum always says that if she instructs a child to do something now, and it is only done two hours later, it already amounts to disobedience because the instruction was not obeyed immediately. I think GOD feels the same way as well. HE knows all things, and knows what is good for you. Thus, if HE tells you to take a certain step now, and you are delaying, you may never have the privilege of having that opportunity again. I know this from experience. Time waits for no man. So, ask yourself, ‘What is that thing or instruction or duty GOD has put in my heart, I am yet to do?’ Procrastination destroys destinies. Quickly do what GOD has told you to do, before it is too late! This is because obedience is much more satisfying than regrets.

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 May the LORD bless the study of HIS Awesome Word in JESUS’ Name!

Please, leave a comment below. I want to hear from anybody who reads this post. I want to hear your views and criticism (I am still learning).

Reblog this post, share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Googleplus, and sign-up to have every post delivered to your inbox J♥

GOD bless you all ♥♥♥

AmataDei Ifeoluwa Oluyeju (Love)

© May 2016. All rights reserved.  

 

TO OBEY IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE, AND TO HEED IS BETTER THAN THE FAT OF RAMS (1 SAMUEL 15: 22)

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Welcome/Bienvenue/Shalom/Ekabo

Good day People of GOD.

Today, I am creating a new category of blog post where I will be sharing some of the lessons GOD has taught me through life experiences, some of them hard or bitter. 

Quote of the day: ‘Don’t make excuses; just obey GOD.’ Ifeoluwa Oluyeju (Love)

‘But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15: 22 NIV).

In Luke 2: 41-52, there is a very instructive account of JESUS and HIS earthly parents (Mary and Joseph). Every year, JESUS’ parents journeyed to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. When HE was 12 years, they went again as usual. However, when HIS parents were going home, HE stayed in Jerusalem, but they were not aware. They had journeyed for one day without Him, when they realized HE was absent. They went back to Jerusalem to find HIM. They found HIM in the temple courts, sitting among teachers, listening to them and asking questions. HE clearly was having a good time there. When they found HIM, and HIS mother said Joseph and herself had been upset searching for Him, and HE said, ‘Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? (verse 49)’. Yet, HE went back with them and was obedient to them (verse 51).

Wow. JESUS was certainly an Awesome Child. I remember myself at 12- I was a bit headstrong and feisty. I probably would have argued after all, I was in the House of GOD, so I should be left alone. Yet, our Awesome LORD & SAVIOUR, GOD the Son, OBEYED HIS PARENTS AND WENT HOME WITH THEM (note the triple emphasis)!

This is the story (grab a cup of coffee if you can ☺). At the beginning of this year 2016, I was appointed as the Secretary of a Christian Campus Fellowship at the University of Pretoria by the then Director of the Campus Fellowships belonging to our church in Pretoria- my lovely father. However, a new pastor was brought to our church. Later, somebody came to tell him the new pastor at our church, was planning to upset the existing fellowship structure, appoint new people and do things his own way (this turned out to be false). My father, being a wise man wanting to avoid trouble with the new pastor, pulled out of the Fellowship. He simply decided he would do nothing and let the new pastor take over.  He told me to leave my job as a Secretary and not bother to do anything anymore. However, I had already warmed to the post of Secretary, and already had ideas of how the new team and I could transform the Fellowship and make a positive difference on our Campus. I was already imagining how would would be saved, and many students would want to be a part of us. Big dreams, hey.

When my dad told me to leave, I was upset, and tried to plead with him to wait and see if the report was true. Maybe see the new pastor and discuss things with him. However, my dad had already seen things I was not seeing. So I refused to leave the post of the Fellowship’s Secretary. There was nobody else available to take the post, because we were trying to resurrect an already dying Fellowship. This was largely due to the unwillingness of people to work for GOD where they would not be noticed and church politics. I thought I had a chance to possibly make a difference, and probably make a difference. I didn’t take the post up because I wanted power.

Thinking back now, I think I was quite excited about it. Did I like the fact that I would be exercising power or calling the shots? I don’t think so. I was excited about my new post and thought that I could possibly make a positive impact. Dude, I was so confident, it’s funny thinking about it now 🙂

GOD’s Truth, I did not ask for Divine Direction. And I deeply regret it. This is where I excluded the HOLY SPIRIT, and was on the ride to the club called ‘Disappointment’. I forgot 1 Samuel 15: 22, certainly.

This is where I missed it. I decided to go ahead and maintain the post of Secretary at the Fellowship. So, I started working hard. I created a WhatsApp group, and started getting things in motion in order to reregister the Fellowship on our campus. However, there was little to no enthusiasm from other members of our church who were students, because most people were busy. So, I did what I could here and there. I poured my everything into it, neglected my studies, and other things. I was doing most of the work, and sort of carrying the burden of the Fellowship on my shoulders.

At the same time, I was getting berated at home for continuing as the Secretary of the Fellowship. My parents were of the opinion I was going to get hurt in the end. The people I was working with were much older than me, they had much less passion for it I had, and they were not seeing the ‘Big Picture’ I was seeing. This would result in friction, and so on. But, I guess I did not understand how this could happen. I thought I had everything under control.

Finally, we were able to get 145 students to sign up to be members of the Fellowship, and we had a founding meeting which made everyone exhausted in planning it. On that day, something happened, and I was so exhausted. There was a disagreement, and somebody else I was working with was talking to me so rudely. She even insulted my father in the process! It was then I realized it was time to leave. This event really affected me, I could not sleep or think of much else. I was so down, because I was like, ‘Do I deserve this kind of treatment?’

Two weeks later, I got angry, and did something I still regret. I removed somebody from the WhatsApp group of the executive, which I had created. I did not think about what I was doing because anger and bitterness had started to set it in. But I apologised, and added her back. As a result, for one hour, people were accusing me of everything from being rude, to liking power, being too aggressive, liking power, not being dynamic etc. It  was a 1 hr version of the Benghazi trial Hillary Clinton had. In the end, I came away TOTALLY BEWILDERED. It took weeks to finally get my life together.

So, I disobeyed my parents, I did not do what JESUS would do, and honey, I am paying for it. I have tried to forget it, but with passion comes pain. I carried the Fellowship as a child I had to raise. I poured my everything into it. THE POINT: IF I HAD OBEYED MY PARENTS, AND LISTENED TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, I COULD HAVE AVOIDED ALL THE EMOTIONAL STRESS I WENT THROUGH.

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Finally, I am not perfect, and I don’t pretend to be. In fact, a favourite quote of mine is this: ‘I am a piece of art GOD is still working on, and the beautiful result will be unveiled in eternity.’ Ifeoluwa Oluyeju. I never pretended to know all. I may have made mistakes, but I know that GOD saw my passionate heart for HIM.

Do I regret everything/the whole experience? No. Because if I did not make these mistakes now that I am still living with my parents, I could have made the same mistakes when I am living on my own. And without my wise old parents, I would not have been able to bear the pain.

Moreover, I know that when there are conflicting Biblical or Christian or Godly interests, some interests must prevail. I think this is why GOD introduced the Ten Commandments. They are like the Constitution of GOD’s Kingdom- the Supreme Law of HIS Land. Where there is a clash between any of these Commandments and any other law, the Commandment(s) involved must prevail. I think this is why Awesome JESUS left the Bible Study which was fine in GOD’s Eyes, to obey HIS Parents, more important in GOD’s Eyes, as it is the first Commandment among the Ten, with a promise.

Once again, obeying GOD’s Word is less painful than having regrets.

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Thank you for reading this post 🙂

Please, leave a comment below. I want to hear from anybody who reads this post. I want to hear your views and criticism (I am still learning).

Reblog this post, share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Googleplus, and sign-up to have every post delivered to your inbox ☺♥

GOD bless you all ♥♥♥

AmataDei Ifeoluwa Oluyeju (Love)

© May 2016