Be Anxious For Nothing

The musings of my heart on my way back from work today brought me to this gentle instruction. The word comes right in the midst of a raging storm of anxiety brought about by varying issues and challenges that almost very effortless kept peace at bay. Light at the end of a tunnel, joy in the morning after a night of weeping – those most certainly come to bear better meanings at such a time. I’m not sure it’s as bad as you’d think, however, circumstances we face have a way to making it feel like we are faced with the end of the world many a times. And so one might relate better when such a reminder of a command not to be anxious hits hard to settle the fuming dust. It’s quite interesting how a statement changes so much.

This command, as I have just come to understand, is very much embedded in faith. It is only natural that the human heart stresses, worries and is very actively in search of a solution to challenges. The heart just wants a solution without much care to details of repercussions.

Still, and more than ever, I’m very convinced that there is no situation that is beyond God’s control. And He not only encourages, but also commands that we not feel restless over anything. Listening to Mike Pilavachi this morning brought in more refreshing insight to how much difference it makes when we choose to look up to him, obey and trust Him through circumstances than when we try to do it by ourselves.

Mary approached Jesus seeking for help when wine was finished at the wedding in Canaan. Jesus responded in a seemingly uninterested manner. However, Mary simply looked at the servants and told them, “Do whatever he tells you to do.” The servants firmly took heed to her words when on several occasions, Jesus’ instructions seemed very illogical – fill a pot of wine with water, take a glass of that water to the master of occasion. It was in these simple moments of obedience that the miracle occurred. There was a choice, do as Jesus says or wear yourself out stressing how to get wine. Continue reading

Hunger and Food

Have you noticed that food is always delicious when you are very hungry? There are particular things I don’t like eating, or should I say food I’m not so fond of. But I noticed that most of what I eat just tastes good when hungry. I mean really good. Certainly my taste buds did not evolved in such brief intervals of time – hunger happened.

Today I find myself in church in the midst of other believers. I am enjoying the service tremendously. I am conscious enough to realize that there was nothing so spectacular about the worship, hymns or prayers. But for some reason everything just blesses me now. Every song just ministers deeply. Every word just blesses me. And then I realize – I am hungry.

Being hungry isn’t just a feeling or state limited to the way the body feels in the absence of food. Hunger, or even thirst could be in different dimensions. Hunger could be for the achievement of some goal, for love or companionship, or in my case today, the presence of God. Every hunger longs to be satisfied. This is important to note because like a thirsty deer pants after the brooks and drinks without control, the soul becomes very ready to consume anything that comes its way in a bid to satisfy its hunger.

The most ordinary of meals become delicacies at the hunger-point. A soul hungry for love and companionship could easily be carried away by a stranger with no good intentions. A soul hungry for truth could easily be carried away by any form of doctrine that comes its way. A soul that feels empty as a result of the lack of the presence of God might easily be carried away with activities that keep it distracted and occupied or drawn into harmful and wasteful habits.  Continue reading

Faith In Crisis

I was at a funeral ceremony of a church member recently. It was the first of such ceremonies I had attended for a very long time. And like every funeral, it was a really sad occasion. Just about when the event commenced I was led with others to sympathize with the bereaved. Though she wasn’t crying, it was still evident she was making considerable efforts to stay strong, hold the tears and avoid the sympathetic looks from all angles channeled in her direction. Some of those comforting her, especially family members were also not too far from the same state of bemoaning, though also trying to be strong for her. At one time or the other, one would step out to a corner and allow the tears ease their way out. It was indeed sad. 

The climax of my emotions were actually when the ceremony started proper. Closing my eyes to talk to God was a moment that became unusually very decisive and significant. Here I was, in the midst of others of course, with my head bowed, eyes closed and led to thank God for life, provision, protection and everything else in a situation that brings to question a lot of all that. A lot of the questions the carnal minds would raise crossed my mind and right there in the blink of seconds I had to decide if to ask them, or if to speak faith. 

The decision was made easily when the focus shifted from one single life we lost to the many gathered around that God has sustained and kept. I was gently reminded that God is light, and in Him no shadow of turning at all. Again I was reminded of His very many goodness and great promises and assurance, that He has planned and wants only the best for every one of His children. And there was also reminded that if anything was ever lost, stolen or broken, it’s only the work of the devil. 

And then faith rose.  Continue reading

His Words Are Good Enough

I was informed of a recent terrorist attack not too far away from home this morning by my sister. After some time, I sat to process the news, its impact on the society, especially the one around me, my family, and me of course. It wasn’t such a nice thing to hear. I also thought about my reaction to the news. I remembered lightly telling her that even if the terrorist were to storm my estate, nothing would happen to us and then brushed off the issue. It seemed a very nonchalant response to the news, but then, not one without a cause.

There’s some saying around here that when you hear a man boast confidently, he is sure of his backing. A man’s backing could be finances, physical protection, some supernatural powers etc. as the Bible confirms in Psalms 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses…” And no doubt my quiet and peaceful response was not without a backing. It was much founded on one of many great promises God has given His children, the promise of protection, one of which can be found in the Psalms, 27 and 91. The 27th Psalm starts out beautifully, The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? –Psalm 27:1 Continue reading

Intricacies of Natures

My sister was having some stomach upset a couple of days back. As an ardent believer in water therapy I suggested she took some glasses full. It was quite obvious she wanted an immediate solution and one would think any suggestion would be gladly welcomed and applied. Odd was it however that she didn’t even seem to bulge at first at the suggestion. She just sat squirming in pains, expecting some show of sympathy from the rest of us. Even when presented with a glass of water, she just stared at it. I tried convincing her in different ways to gulp down the water but she just sat still without a response. Finally she drank two glasses and within a few minutes felt relieved.

This isn’t really about water, though you should be thankful for the extra tip in dealing with some cases of stomach upset. The scenario got me again fascinated by the intricacies of the human nature. A lot of times we know or we are told what is good for us, but weird is it that we often a times don’t heed. It’s quite mind boggling. I tried thinking it through but just couldn’t make any sense of it.

And then some lines from a book I read many years ago jumped out of the memory stack. In her book, Shadow of the Almighty, Elisabeth Elliot quoted an excerpt from the journal of her husband and martyr missionary, Jim Elliot. It seems Jim was in such a position as I find myself today, wondering why we could consciously or unconsciously reject that which is good, especially for us. Jim wondered questioning, ‘Why must all be pushed and driven to that which can only do them good, even in the field of secular knowledge? I see that the heart rebels at all light, not only at the knowledge of God.’ Quite interesting!

It stands as one great mystery how that a man finds and knows what is good for him but for some reason feels reluctant or even bluntly refuses to accept it or do it. If looking at it from another angle then we could say a man knows what could destroy him but yet marches on towards it. It is quite difficult to reconcile. Continue reading

Mangoes

I was enjoying a piece of mango fruit a couple of days ago when it suddenly occurred to me that I’d really missed the taste and satisfaction earlier. A step back in time would help explain.

I do not remember any strong affinity for mangoes as such, but I’ve found myself in places where they thrive in abundance and variety. So naturally I’ve helped myself to a lot of them, all varying in sizes, colors, and taste. And though they might not contest as being my favorite of fruits, I’ve had a great deal of gratification eating these fruits.

But suddenly it happened that I decided to stop eating mangoes. You would wonder what could stir up such a decision. It was really because of the spikes or hair around the seed that got stuck in my teeth one faithful day after eating a piece of mango fruit which caused me so much discomfort and frustration pulling all out. After hours of tooth picking and brushing, I had to finally sleep in frustration and anger at the mango fruit I ate. And then the decision never to eat another mango fruit again.

I actually did avoid the fruit, for a while. Its seasons came and passed and I shielded away any temptation that arose at the site of their varying colors, sizes and shapes. Just a little thought about the night I slept in anger and discomfort was enough to kill any hunger and attraction to the fruit. For compensation, I convinced myself that there were so many other fruits around to eat. So I held on stubbornly to my decision as if excepting an apology from nature for an ordeal that lasted just a few hours while forgetting the so many satisfying moments presented by the same fruit. Continue reading

Easter Blessings

It is another Easter season that is just slowly drifting by. Everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the season to reflect on the events and how they so personally affect us collectively and individually. I was only able to get a grip on things late into the season and I really feel blessed about it. There was a tremendous sense of freedom and liberty this time around that filled me while dwelling on the power of the Cross. Over and over again I kept repeating to myself that Jesus indeed came for my freedom, not just from sin, but from every form of bondage and limitation physically, financially and all other aspects of life.
 
This message was made even clearer as I went over the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt where God first revealed Himself as our healer in Exodus 15:26,
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
 
To keep things simple here, I’d like to emphasize that healing in this verse doesn’t just refer to physical healing. We see God revealing a part of His nature here as not one who was out to destroy them, but instead heal them. The Bible in Basic English interprets this and reveals God as a life-giver. Continue reading

Make It Better

I took a review on some of my processes recently. I found myself thinking about some very casual ones, especially how I’ve been getting to work lately with my sister using a taxi. At first we bargained N600. Later somehow I got a better idea about negotiating the route and we began paying N500. Later again there was another idea of restructuring the negotiation and route. The price came down to N400. Looking over this, I am really impressed with my bargaining prowess. I bet you are too. And suddenly it became very clear that a lot of things, almost everything, could be made better than it is presently.

About that same week, a new Administrator arrived in our office. At the Office meeting, he began questioning a couple of things and then suggesting ways of improving services and a host of other things ranging from professional to casual issues. At the end of the day, even the minutes of the meeting had a good review and consequently, a new look. Needless to say, he won my admiration! Continue reading

Good News

It feels good reading about the resurrection of our Lord this morning. The series of events got me meditating and thinking about different things. One of them stood out today: the faithlessness of the disciples 🙂 . This is not said in any judgement at all, but in a form of childish imagination. Normally if people were told by someone that he has the power to rise again after dead, they would wait eagerly for such a moment. And when the moment comes, at least one should check it up. But surprisingly, it isn’t the case here. Maybe they so loved Jesus that they never wanted to imagine or accept him dead. But for whatever the case was, it wasn’t any serious to them.

Considering the importance of Christ’s dead, this might be considered a grave offense. Ok, no judgements!!! But… Ok, lets get to the good part.

The cute thing here is that it was the woman from whom He casted away 7 demons He appeared to first. In our minds we’d think it should have been John the beloved or Peter who should have been in that position, or if in our present day, then our pastors. Some good news here, it wasn’t. It was Mary Magdalene. In case you still don’t get the point, you are not too messed up yet! He still can change you and make you número uno.

And some more good news. Our Lord then commissioned those same feeble disciples to go into the world to preach the good news. One would think they were far from ready. But with the little they knew, with the little faith, Jesus still thought it was enough, especially after they were to be empowered by His Spirit. So here we learn that we don’t have to wait to know it all or have it all perfect, God’s got a nice plan for you, and me too. There is power and grace to pick up from where we left off.

Great ‘newses’ aahhh!

Limits

Earlier in life we heard a lot of people use the phrase, “The sky is the limit!” The more time passes by and technology grows, the less we get to hear of it. And that is because there is hardly anything such as a limit.

That reality struck so hard as I sit looking at the clouds spread below me like a mass of land through an airplane window on a flight over Asia from Russia. The skies that were once above us are now beneath us. It’s incredible!

Somehow through the ages man has overcome countless number of challenges and obstacles. Somehow he never gave up. Somehow he never stopped dreaming. Somehow he kept pushing. Step at a time he got through it all.

Looking out the window and thinking about this makes it so plain: we have no excuse to ever give up. Things might take time to materialize;  seeds planted require time, nurture to grow, kids require the same to grow. And so do dreams.

One thing I’ve learnt from movies about humanity is that despite what comes our way, we will always struggle and find a means to survive. As a result we have pushed past difficulties, wars, earthquakes and different environmental hazards.

It now seems the only limit is you. You are the only one who can stop yourself or keep yourself moving.