Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Whose report will you believe?


One of my favourite songs by Ron Kenoly is “whose report will you believe?” The chorus to the song is “we shall believe the report of the Lord!” I love the song because it challenges us to believe God’s report even when we are surrounded by all sorts of reports from others and from within.

These reports or opinions are often based on what people perceive which may not always be right. Nevertheless opinions often affect us positively or negatively. If a person is regularly told, “you are no good”, “you will amount to nothing”, “you are worthless”, etc., it is only a matter of time before the person starts suffering from low self-esteem and engaging in destructive behaviours. The reverse is the case when a person is regularly praised and complimented.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The snare of ‘comfort’


In the book of Judges chapter 2 verse 10, is this ‘scary’ sentence “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.”

I often wonder why the parents of that generation did not pass down to their children the same life-saving messages they had heard and the miracles they had experienced through God’s mercy. I think the answer for this is that the parents got too comfortable. They were in the ‘Promised Land’, they had more than enough, they had peace and protection, they were blessed beyond their dreams. Why bother too much about God, right?

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Step out of the crowd


“There is comfort in many” says a popular adage. But is that really true? There could be great deception in many as well. The Bible urges us not to follow the broad way that has lots of people on it, but which leads to destruction. Rather we should follow the narrow way which is often lonely, but that leads to a safe destination.

We live in a world where most of us make decisions on what others tell us or what we see others do. If ‘every one’ is becoming materialistic, we assume we have to do same otherwise we may be seen as ‘old school’.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Seasons of Life


It’s currently autumn/winter season in the UK. It’s that time of the year when trees shed their leaves, the weather gets colder and it gets dark at 4pm. After a lovely summer period, I don't think autumn is  very nice. I love summer, I get to wear colourful clothes, go to the parks, eat ice cream, even people tend to smile more! But autumn? Nah, people are usually too cold to say hello or smile! It’s just too gloomy!

But I realised that no matter how much I hated autumn, it was not going to make any difference. It will stay for as long as it is supposed to stay. Summer too will not come any sooner, it will come when it is supposed to come. That made me learn to start appreciating autumn as opposed to hating it.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Are you a Pharisee Christian?


I know you are probably thinking that is not right. "You can’t be a Pharisee and a
Christian at the same time, right?" Wrong! You can still be a self-professed Christian but act like a Pharisee. Let’s look at some ways we do that:

Laws minus love: The Pharisees were very critical and judgemental. They viewed themselves as better off than other ‘lesser mortals’ and were always quick to point out the flaws in others.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Your weakness and your destiny


Most of us have heard the story of Samson and Delilah: the strongest man alive, who was brought down by a cunning woman. 

He was was strong no doubt, and  dreaded by the Philistines, Israel's enemies. Yet he had a weakness. He had a soft spot for women who cried. Especially those who wanted him to prove his love by revealing secrets. 

You would think he would have learnt after his wife repeatedly begged him to tell her the answer to the riddle he had earlier asked her countrymen. Sadly he didn’t address his weakness and later fell for the same tricks with Delilah. This time, it cost him his destiny.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Dealing with depression


In just one week, I have read four tragic suicide stories linked to depression. All the victims were responsible people who were valuable to their families and society. One was a pastor of a church, who was such a blessing to his members, and the other three were mothers, one of them a doctor.

What is this horrible disease? Depression can be defined in many ways, but it is generally described as feelings of intense sadness and misery.

The deception of women


It’s often said “educate a man, and you educate an individual, but educate a woman and you educate a nation.” The importance of women and girls cannot be emphasized enough. 

In the Bible, the nation of Israel was frequently warned not to marry women from the surrounding pagan nations. This was because of the power of influence women typically have. Failure to heed that advice often resulted in husbands and children being led astray. We see examples of that in the lives of King Solomon and King Ahab and their children, who were led astray by their foreign wives.

Have you ever wondered why women are often abused and treated as objects instead of as persons?

Saturday, 16 November 2013

The ‘distraction’ of wealth


Speak to many Christians today and they will be quick to tell you how blessed they are
because of the financial or material blessings they have. Many Christians actually pay their tithes or do charitable works just for that reason alone.  But do you know that wealth or material blessings can be a distraction instead of a blessing?

The Bible tells us in Matthew 4:1-11, that Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. One of those temptations was the offer of fame and wealth if Jesus would forfeit His purpose on earth and worship him (the devil) instead.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Why the Sheep got lost


It’s easy to blame the wayward sheep for getting lost. Many of us have said “serves you right” when someone ‘less holy’ got into trouble because of their sins. But does Jesus ever rejoice when that happens? Of course not! We see how He protected the Adulterous Woman who was going to be stoned to death as a consequence of her sin. I wonder why Jesus did not accuse her as harshly as the Pharisees. Why was He so forgiving?

‘Do-It-Yourself’ Christianity



Have you ever taken time to read the books of first and second Kings in the Bible? These books are basically a history of the different kings who ruled in Israel. But what I find rather interesting about them is the way Israel behaved under each king. 

If a king was good and obeyed God, then the people did the same, but if a king worshipped idols and committed all sorts of atrocities, the Israelites followed suit. These people could not decide to serve God for themselves, but used their leaders as their excuse. This however did not spare them from the consequences of their actions.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The enticement of destruction


The other day I was reading my Bible and stumbled across 2 Kings 17:1-23. That passage talks about the exile and unnecessary suffering the Kingdom of Israel experienced because of their constant disobedience to God. 

These people who were so privileged and hand-picked by God from all other nations of the earth forfeited the good plans and destiny God had marked for them because of their sins.

Their sins did not just include idolatry and getting entangled with pagan nations, they also committed the abominable act of human sacrifice of their own children to these idols.

Is success dependent on how much we have?


One of the ways our society determines how successful a person is, is by how much
they have. So if you have more money, you are deemed more successful than the person with less. 

If you have more church members, you are also more successful than the pastor with fewer members. The same thing is true when you are on social media: the number of followers, ‘Likes’, visitors and comments you get also determines whether you are popular (or successful in that regard) or not.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Enjoying the journey to your destination


Some months ago I decided to go back to paid employment. I got a couple of new work clothes and justified my shopping as an ‘investment’. After applying to a couple of places, I got invited for an interview in an organization I really wanted. I prepared hard, but sadly I didn’t get the job. The same thing happened over and over again in other organizations. 

One day as I was organizing my wardrobe, I decided to remove my new work clothes from the hangers to keep them in my suitcase, away from view. As I folded the clothes, I thought sadly to myself “I’ll leave them there until I get a job.”

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The ‘Whispers’ of God


In the book of 1 Kings chapter 19 verses 11-12, God reveals Himself to Prophet Elijah in a still small voice. In the previous verses, we find Elijah feeling depressed and overwhelmed by the threat of death from Queen Jezebel. 

After getting refreshed by God, he journeyed to Mount Horeb, where God appeared to him. It is noteworthy that God did not appear in the mighty wind that tore the rocks to pieces. Neither did He appear in the earthquake or the fire that followed; but in a still small voice.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

What are you thankful for?


It’s tempting to complain about the many things that are not quite right in our lives. Our boring jobs, the spouse who is not as helpful as we would like, the children that seem determined to make us go insane, the annoying boss, the annoying friend… just about everything has a way of robbing our joy, if we let it.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Just as I am, thou will receive



Regardless of our shame, our pain, or our fears, we can confidently approach God’s throne because there is no judgement in His eyes, only love. He alone knows the rejection we have faced, He alone knows the abuse of our past, He alone knows the number of tears we have shed, He alone knows what troubles we face. He has walked in our shoes, and totally understands why we do the things we do.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Who are you listening to?


We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information. It seems everyone has an opinion on how we should live our lives and the decisions to make. The society, our family, the government, religious organizations, friends, …everyone seems to have ideas on what we need to do in this life. It can sometimes become quite tiring and confusing to make right decisions. 

Beyond the confusion of our decisions lie the consequences. If the information you are listening to is not right for you, you can end up making poor choices and wind up pretty frustrated. Just because the information is coming from reputable sources doesn’t always mean it is appropriate for you. Just because others have done the same thing doesn't make it suitable for you either.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Finish well


I read 2 Chronicles chapters 14 to 16 the other day and I was saddened by how tragic the once great King Asa ended. You see this man was the great great-grandson of King David and must have heard stories of how well his ancestor ruled Israel by the power of God. He also started well, he feared God and made sure no idols were allowed in the kingdom. When an enemy nation attacked his kingdom, he cried out to God and God delivered him and the Kingdom of Judah from their more powerful foes. Because he feared God and served Him well, his kingdom enjoyed peace for many years.

Unfortunately in his 36th year reign, he was threatened by another kingdom. And instead of depending on God like he had done before, he trusted human reasoning and decided to become allies with them. For this act, God tried to correct him through Hanani a seer. But the king refused to heed correction, he was so angry he even had him imprisoned. Eventually this once great king who feared God had an infection in his feet; despite the severity of his ailment he still refused to seek God. He died two years later.

Am I good enough?


The other day as I sang the song “How great thou art”, it struck me that this beautiful Christian song is quite simple. The lyrics and music are not complex or requiring complex musical arrangement. No, it is just a simple honest song sang to the melody of an old Swedish folk song. It was written in 1885 by a lay minster called Carl Gustav Boberg. 

He must have heard classical Christian music from the likes of George Frideric Handel and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach who lived before him. I wonder what he thought about his simple song compared to the music these great composers made. Or maybe he didn’t even bother comparing his song with theirs, he just concentrated on writing a song based on his own experiences. I think that is probably what happened.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Why is life so unfair?


We all grew up reading fairy tales, and in all of them, the good guy always gets rewarded at the end, and the bad guy gets punished. It seems fair and right. 

But life, as I have come to realise, is no fairytale. Sometimes life doesn’t appear to be fair at all: the good man sometimes suffers. And this confuses us, it makes us shout “ God, this is so unfair!”

Some weeks ago I wrote a post titled “Heart of Gold”(Click Here). In that post, I talked about a young man called Anthony Michael, who risked his life to save a crying baby from a burning building. He suffered horrific burns as a result of his bravery and was hospitalised.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Not another blog please!!!


I never intended to write a blog. I was one of those who wondered why 'everyone' seemed to be blogging all of a sudden. And because I try not to follow trends, I banished the thought when a friend innocently asked me to start one, about two years ago.
So what happened? 
 
Well, I enjoy visiting some some blogs and websites. But they seem to focus on either entertainment news, government blunders, or crime. After a while I started getting tired of celebrity gossip and scandals as well as stories of the government’s inabilities and unprovoked criminal attacks. I noticed I was getting really fearful and critical and my attitude was affecting my life. And I wasn’t the only one. Many of the visitors who comment on these websites seem the same. Thankfully I started listening to more positive messages online and I began to think better and act better.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Is it a sin to be mad at God?


A good number of Christians think it is blasphemous to even consider that question. “How dare you say that?” they ask.
“Don’t you know God is the Creator of the Universe?”
“By His word alone, the whole world was formed, who are you, tiny worm of the earth to even consider being angry at God? He could smite you down!”

Yes I know He is Jehovah, the Lord of Hosts, the Lord most High, the Alpha and Omega, the Great I am that I am… but guess what? He is also our friend! And like all good friendships, we should be honest and able to speak our minds. God doesn’t want us to be terrified of Him, unable to ask Him questions or express ourselves. God wants to help us when we are confused. He wants to give us peace when our hearts are agitated and worried. God wants to be our friend more than anything.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

The truest friend!

Many years ago, I was a frustrated teenager. I felt no one understood me, and to be honest, I didn't even understand myself! I tried friendships, and being popular in school, but still that empty gnawing void remained. Many nights I cried myself to sleep because I was tormented by a feeling of worthlessness and abandonment. It didn't help that there had been changes in my family and I was in a new city and new school.



No matter how much my parents tried, I just felt they didn't know what I was going through. I couldn't even bring myself to tell how I felt because I didn't even understand why I felt the way I did!
Then one day after school, feeling so depressed and at the brink of despair, I started crying again. This time more intense than ever, and as I did, I wondered
"Why doesn't anyone care? Why am I so desperately lonely? Why do I feel so useless?"

Friday, 27 September 2013

It's a matter of the heart.


Yesterday I talked about the Israelites ability to quickly forget God’s faithfulness in the past, as soon as they faced a new challenge. I really wanted to understand why these people who saw with their own eyes, how God punished the Egyptians with plague after plague could still doubt Him. Even after they collected as much as they wanted from the Egyptians, who had once being very cruel to them, they still doubted God. When they left Egypt, God’s angel went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, to protect them and to give them a sign of His abiding Presence, yet they grumbled when they saw the Egyptians chasing them. I found it particularly provocative that these people who had been so maltreated by the Egyptians could say to Moses (and in effect to God) “ Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” – Exodus 14:11-12

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Don't forget!


Its so easy to forget God’s faithfulness in the past, especially when we are facing difficult times. The Israelites were very fond of that. No matter how mighty God showed Himself, they were too quick to forget His ability to help them, when they faced a new obstacle. I think of how God miraculously orchestrated their deliverance from Egypt, and protected them throughout their journey from Egypt to the Red Sea. Yet they quickly began to lament and blame God and Moses when they saw the Egyptians pursuing them. Over and over these ‘stiff-necked’ people tested God’s patience by their unbelief, and often times they paid dearly for their actions.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Guard your heart!


Since I started following the events surrounding the terrorist attacks in Kenya, I have been crying and asking why?!! Why would someone see a child and shoot at them? Why would someone kill a heavily pregnant woman? Why would you shoot an innocent man who is so afraid and begging for his life? Why, just why???

I have no doubt these terrorists were not always so bitter and evil. They must have once been happy children, who had dreams of doing great and wonderful things. Sadly somewhere along the line, they allowed themselves to become twisted murderous savages by absorbing hateful ideas.

Say it!


DON’T WAIT UNTIL I’M GONE 

Give me my flowers while I can smell them, 
Hear my stories while I can tell them, 
Sing my praises, so I can hear ’em, 
Give me my medals, so I can wear ’em, 
Don’t wait until the day I’m gone, 
To put me upon a throne, 
Give me my propers while I’m still around, 
Don’t wait till I’m ’neath the ground, 
Let me live my history, 
Please don’t let me be a mystery, 
Let me feel the pat on my back, 
Don’t give it to me and take it right back, 
So if I’m such a jolly good fellow, 
Let me know that I’m now mellow,  
Now is when I need a friend, 
To show me love before the end,  
So don’t wait until I’m gone, 
Listen to my song.
---From Notes by Aaron Nevillle

I first came across a poem like this in a funeral many years ago. It struck me as odd that at funerals, many people would write wonderful tributes to the dead, whereas when they were alive, they rarely heard such kind words.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Why does God allow us go through the ‘hard’ way?

As a mother, I hate to see my child cry. I do everything to make him comfortable, but sometimes I allow him cry for his good. Just the other day, he wanted to play with a knife. He had seen me using it to cut some vegetables, and started asking for it. I told him gently it was not a toy and gave him other safe toys instead, but he refused. He cried and cried and begged and begged, wailing pathetically. Of course I felt sorry for him crying, it broke my heart to hear him cry so much, but I knew I would be a terribly bad mother if I gave him the knife.  From my son’s perspective, I can imagine him wondering why his loving mother would prevent him from having this new and different toy. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

When God seems far away.



When a woman gets pregnant, she often doesn’t feel the baby move for a couple of months. She knows she is pregnant because of the result of a pregnancy test and sometimes some symptoms. However for about four months she doesn’t know how the baby is doing because she can’t feel its movements. A decent mother doesn’t just say, “Oh well, since I can’t feel its movement, then I am not pregnant!”

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The 'maternal' love of God


Like many Christians, I grew up hearing about the love of God. In fact I even talked to others about this love, but sadly I didn’t really understand the depth of God’s love until I became a mother. 

You see I grew up in a typical Nigerian home where dad was a bully.  I remember how terrified we always were as soon as we heard him drive into the house from work. We would quickly turn off the TV, stop laughing, become sober and pretend to be busy reading our books or involved in one house chore or the other.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Peace ... even in the storm !



The story of Jesus in the boat napping during a storm is a popular one in Christianity. It often seems strange that Jesus would be sleeping at such a perilous moment. In fact his disciples were so confused by this that they cried out to him “ don’t you care that we perish?” 

I recently found that we can exhibit the same calmness no matter how big or small the storm is in our everyday lives. Just few days ago, I went shopping and discovered to my horror that I didn’t have enough money in my cash card to pay for my purchases.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

A heart of Gold


The other day I read a story that warmed my heart. It was the story of a brave young man, Michael, who risked his life to save a toddler from a burning house. This incident happened in Nigeria of all places. You see in Nigeria, people rarely risk their lives for others. They may try at the beginning, but if they realise they might die in the process, they don’t bother anymore. In Nigeria, as in many other places, people look out for "numero uno". I have heard stories of people who rather than help save children from a burning fire next door, ran to save their own properties while the children cried helplessly. So you can see why this story is truly remarkable. Be inspired today, there are still good people on earth, and indeed you could be a hero too. 
This is the way it was recorded by a newspaper called the Nigerian Eye.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Personalized Miracles



I have often heard people pray for God to do for them what He did for others. That is not really a bad prayer, but the danger is we try to dictate to God how He should deal with us. We forget that God knows what is best for us, and He relates with us on a personal basis. He knows what our strengths and weaknesses are, He knows our personalities, experiences, and He sure knows areas in our lives that need pruning. So when He does things for us, He personalizes it in accordance to His will for us.

Monday, 26 August 2013

The uniqueness of components



I had the great pleasure of listening to Ron Kenoly’s music on Youtube the other day. I love all his music videos, but I was particularly moved by this instrumental piece, especially from 3:05 to 5.00. It is simply amazing! All these different instruments, which normally you don’t appreciate when they play all at once, just doing their thing, one by one. I never knew the flute could be so enthralling or the drums, or even the konga drums or the bass guitar!

Like a band, we can so easily fail to see the individual beauty and skills we all personally possess. Or we could fail to see our uniqueness in the band of life, and imitate others. Imagine if the saxophone decides to sound like a guitar, that would be weird, wouldn’t it? Each instrument is designed for a purpose and only by fulfilling that purpose would it feel truly useful and happy. The musical instrument called the triangle is just that, a metal triangle! Nothing unique or important about it’s appearance. It is not as detailed as a saxophone or a piano. But its tinkling and sonorous sound is not only pleasing to the ear, it adds to the rhythm of the band.