Just a lil’ bit closer

A few months ago I had a conversation with a lady from the Eastern part of the country. I jokingly told her I was married to a man from the North and she literally rained down fire and brimstone, you know that kind of thing the Igbo people will say “tufiakwa” or “Chukwuaju” which both literally translates to God forbid. She had every right to make such statements after all, her brothers and sisters were been killed in the North, all of them in the North are killer herdsmen, all of them are members of Boko Haram. While you’re wondering where I’m headed with this story I’ll paint another picture.

Sometime last year I had attended a program organized by my local Church for the youths. It was a week long program with some adults from Church living in a camp with about 700 youths. On one of those days the organizing team for the variety night was supposed to shop for the gifts for the pageant winners. One thing led to the other and I was co-opted to join two (2) ladies. I literally fought my friend who made the suggestion… “I don’t know her well, we don’t talk, it would be one awkward drive” – my words to my friend and to make it worse, the second lady goes to sit at the back and leaves the front passenger seat for me *insertrollingeyes*. The first few minutes were indeed awkward and then a word here and there, then music, then more talk, then hysterical laughter, then we end up eating in the market (Agidi and pepper soup), then we buy boiled corn and coconut and then I peel to give her to eat while driving and then we start to dance to loud music in the car on our way back.

How often have we made decisions on assumptions, half-truths, media-sensational news? I have a colleague who is against globalisation. He feels everyone should remain in their countries. But here’s the thing about such statements no one is an island. Life happens, and we find ourselves constantly on the move. You will never understand anyone from a distance, you’ll make false assumptions when you don’t understand someone. Can you make an effort to get to know that loner in your class who everyone thinks is weird? Can you choose to seat close to that colleague over lunch and get to know her better although your colleagues feel she’s mean? Can you spend an extra minute speaking to that security man in your estate who you can’t stand his guts?

In the two stories certain assumptions were made. On one hand my new-found friend attended the same Church with me, served in the same ministry with me but I didn’t know her. Did I forget to add she also felt uncomfortable going with me – in her words it would be one awkward trip. On the other hand what I didn’t mention was my dear Northphobic lady had never lived in the North, all she knew about them was what she read and heard. What she doesn’t know is my first night in England during post-graduate studies was in Zainab’s house – A northern and a Muslim (We are not related, she was referred to me by a friend in Nigeria). What she may never know again is the few weeks I was using crutches to walk in school, it was a Pakistani-Muslim who offered to be dropping me off in school and asked I called him after my lectures to pick me up. The only link I had with him was we shared an apartment building.

Yes we live in a world dominated by technology and you’re a keypad away from any information in the world. But the question remains who controls the information you read about? Whose narrative is it? Is the information verifiable? If it is verifiable, what is the criteria? Cos at the end of the day, you will never know the person you don’t understand. If you don’t understand the person, you can’t make excuses for the person cos of misunderstanding. If you can’t make excuses for the person, you’ll be quick to make judgements. By making judgements you fall into the category of generalisation. And honestly almost everyone is fighting some demon. Can we all take a step closer to know someone.

Judgement

Loads of Love

JMAD

Photo Credit : Google Images

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How to help God when He’s busy

It’s amazing how swift the year is going, it feels like last night I was out with my sisters and cousin trying to light the fireworks to usher in the New Year. While a lot of people felt January was extremely slow, February seems to be making up by breezing through. It’s been one interesting year, with the current trends happening globally as well as our individual lives. Most of us started off the year pumped up with ideas, resolutions, prophetic declarations and mind-blowing themes in Churches etc. Such themes like I’m a living miracle, year of mega exploits or like my local Church my year of walking in faith. Trust me when I say we have had many people who have already stepped out in faith and are experiencing the fruits.

We’ve been having a series on Faith in Church and the aim is to peel each layer to its simplest form. It’s been one interesting ride so far, a lot of people are stepping out of their comfort zones. More direct and deliberate prayers are been said, people’s mind are stretched to accommodate the inherent capacity on the inside, business ideas are birthed and it’s not frightening to execute it. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a walk in the park, people are stepping out with trepidation and palpitation, some are making ‘seemingly’ foolish decisions but for a greater glory, some are making crazy sacrifices and delaying gratification. But in between praying, stepping out and receiving what we want is a waiting period. And that is the hardest part. Let me paint a story.

But in between praying, stepping out and receiving what we want is a waiting period. And that is the hardest part.

A couple had been childless for many many years, they heard the message of faith and found the promise of having their own children in God’s word. They were excited although the wife silently doubted if she could ever conceive; science backed up her doubt by reminding her she had entered menopause. But her husband was fully persuaded and even told her he personally heard from God that they both will have their own child. So they entered their waiting period and the long journey started. She would often stuff her gowns with clothes to create a false baby bump and stare at the mirror to imagine what she would look like pregnant.

Days turned into months and into years and there was no sign of a bump and then it occurred to her she could speed up the process or in her words help out. She advised her husband to sleep with her maid, after all her maid belonged to her and the baby would still come from her husband too. Her doting husband obliged her and by now for the Bible students you know this is Abraham and Sarah and the union led to Ishmael. Ishmael wasn’t the child of promise but in a bid to “help God” Sarah suggested to Abraham and Abraham had heard he was going to have a child so it was only logical for him to go on with the plan.

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Besides he was supposedly stepping out in faith. Herein lies the issue, many people are hearing but are not patient to let the Word of God have a thorough work in them. Yes we have read, show me your faith by your works but the question is what inspires the works we produce. Have we trained our inner ear to differentiate between the voice of God and the Devil? Jesus Christ had been led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to fast for 40 days and after that He was hungry, and the Devil appeared on the scene to tempt Him with food. Was Jesus hungry? Was He believing God to be fed? Yes to all those questions. But He knew not every “gift” is from God. I recently needed a particular thing, I had even prayed about it that morning and before noon that day someone offered just what I wanted. But in the euphoria of the excitement of how fast God answered I was jolted back to sieve out “not every gift is from God”.

Jesus Christ had been led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to fast for 40 days and after that He was hungry, and the Devil appeared on the scene to tempt Him with food. Was Jesus hungry? Was He believing God to be fed? Yes to all those questions. But He knew not every “gift” is from God.

I am always reminded with these words “which son will ask his father for bread and receive stone or fish and get a snake, if earthly fathers though evil know how to give good gifts how much more our heavenly Father” Matthew 7:9. God desires we receive good gifts in fact He has said “no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” Psalm 84:11b. So step out in faith, refuse to be mediocre, the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you therefore live, dominate, rule and have authority in the world. But at the same time be sensitive to the schemes of the devil, he is subtle and can sneak up on you when your guards are down. God is never busy for you, His mind is filled with thoughts of you. He doesn’t need your help rather needs you to trust Him for the next step.

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While reading this and somewhere in your heart you realize you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we can say a short prayer together. Dear Father I come to You in the name of Your Son Jesus Christ, I acknowledge I’m a sinner and that has prevented me from receiving the love Jesus has been offering me. Today I ask for Your forgiveness and I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Thank you Father. Welcome to the family, join a community of Bible believers close to you, get a Bible you can understand (Amplified, New King James) and start to experience your new relationship.

Loads of Love

JMAD

N/B : Photo credit : Google

The show must go on

If you are a frequent reader you’ll remember I was posted to Iran a few years ago you can read it up here. Well I’m back and I encountered most of the concerns I had. Incidentally the experience I had isn’t peculiar to just me. I had a conversation with a dear friend a few days ago and it was the crux of our conversation. In her words the resident pastor of her Church was stepping down from pastoring the Church and she was heartbroken, thankfully she wasn’t in Church the day the announcement was made. I had been away from my local Church for almost two years and mid-way I found out one of my “favorite” pastors was leaving and I was equally heartbroken.

Now you see two of us had every reason to be heartbroken, these Pastors dropped the Word like it was hot, we admired the way they treated their families especially their wives at least the little we were opportune to see. While reading this you may remember that Pastor that had to leave your Church either cos’ of death, relocation or planting of a new Church and how sad you felt. In fact there have been countless cases of members who left their Church to follow a Pastor to a new Church. In the midst of all of these heartbreaks and “Churchtrotting” by members we fail to realize one practice that has unconsciously crept into the Church. It’s the practice of esteeming the created more than the Creator. I’m sure you’re shaking your head in disagreement but let me ask you, would you stay back in a Church if your favorite pastor left?

  • What makes that particular pastor your favorite?
  • Is it the Word?
  • If it’s the Word, what is his source?
  • Is his source Jesus Christ who is the Word?
  • Do you have access to that source which is Jesus Christ?
  • Does that pastor of yours point you to Christ or do you have to go through him to meet his Jesus?

I hope these questions are causing you to reflect on your position as a Christian or a member of a Church. A few weeks ago we had a men’s conference and normally my “favorite” pastor would end the conference with one of those drop it like its hot message. It always left women screaming in affirmation and the men doing a thorough introspection on their views about fatherhood and their role as husbands and priests over their homes. But you know what, he wasn’t there this time around, he had left the Church but Our God is never taken by surprises. He always takes care of His own, another Pastor preached and it was amazing and it did drop like its hot on both the men and the women.

That episode was a reminder to who was really in charge and behind the scene. If God gave one pastor the opportunity to be a vessel to reach out to His children, He’ll definitely raise up another one. I remember T.D. Jakes saying the only thing he can give his congregation of over 10,000 was the Word. He can’t physically reach out to everyone and he won’t be around forever, he went on to say he could even backslide.

Now at Lystra a man sat who was unable to use his feet, for he was crippled from birth and had never walked… and Paul looked intently at him and saw that he had faith to be healed,  and said with a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet.” And he jumped up and began to walk.  And the crowds, when they saw what Paul had done, raised their voices… “The gods have come down to us in human form!” They began calling Barnabas, Zeus [chief of the Greek gods], and Paul, Hermes [messenger of the Greek gods], since he took the lead in speaking…  But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,  “Men, why are you doing these things? We too are only men of the same nature as you, bringing the good news to you, so that you turn from these useless and meaningless things to the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them. Acts 14:9-15 AMP

Have we unconsciously started equating Pastors to God? Can we have more Pastors who will act as sign posts to Jesus Christ and while they are at it, remind their congregation like John the Baptist said, I’m not the Way, his job was to prepare the way for others to meet the Way. Can we repent from this practice, are you a fan or follower of your pastor, and are you a pastor who has raised an army of fanatics unconsciously? We all need to turn around. OH!!! With or without your favorite pastor, God will always raise a man or woman but the “show” must go on, the church of God is marching on.

Love always

JMAD

 

The day I take over the world

I recently wrote a post on an exciting weekend trip I had, you can read it up here. What I didn’t mention was the award I received days before I made the trip. A Peace Ball was organised by my department to end the semester, a couple of awards were up for grabs based on a voting system. For some funny reason I forgot to vote but had in mind likely winners. I dressed up that day, looking all glam and ready to dance the night away and have fun. And then it happened; the award for ‘The most likely to take over the world’ was called, my eyes were darting all over the auditorium when I heard my name. I think I caused a scene when I walked up to pick up the award, I kept on laughing cos’ I was shocked.

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I couldn’t stop laughing, even the lecturers couldn’t help theirs too.
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I think this is better but like a friend said, i’ll be more prepared when I receive the Nobel Peace Prize

 

I wish this post was all about reeling off my manifesto of my 7 point agenda when I take over the world but before I get there, let’s talk about something else. Towards the end of the event when we were all discussing and meeting new faces, a colleague in the department who is in the same society with me said something very profound and if you ask me it was the climax of the night. He said to me I like the way you freely talk and write about God and went further to say he thinks everyone should do that freely. These few words meant a whole lot to me; I had often wondered in the past how I could stand for what I believed in the midst of people who had a different belief. How can I be relevant in the world and still be associated with Jesus Christ? How do I share my belief without infringing on people’s space? Please I am not referring to the concept of religion for that is the bane of many conflicts in the world, so yes it is not the solution but it’s still part of it. Its part of it cos’ regardless of what you believe in, you can only address what you understand therefore we need to be literate of other religions.

I recently watched a documentary of a group of missionaries who went to a city very hostile to Christian missionaries. They didn’t go screaming on the street, REPENT!!! Rather one of them who’s a guitarist, started singing and playing his guitar on the streets, this attracted people gradually and one of them started off discussing with different people and prayed with them. Wisdom is important in our walk as Christians; I have often said we should look out for bridges between people if we want to share the good news of Jesus Christ. People are generally defensive these days cos’ they feel you are bringing the message of condemnation. We need to leave the four walls of the Church and reach out to the world; Paul said he became all things to all men that he may win some. We need to stop recycling Church members during evangelism and reach out to others. While I may not be the greatest evangelist, nor do I totally understand everything in the world but one thing I know and I’m certain of is JESUS’ love to the world. This love is not picky; it is for everyone regardless of our belief.

So back to my manifesto… Well to be honest I don’t have any now, but when I do take over the world I want to be known and remembered for showing the love of Jesus Christ to anyone I come in contact with and that’s a great way to change the world.  I know, not everyone reading this has a relationship with Jesus and if you desire one we could pray together. Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your love which is poured out for all of us through the death and resurrection of Your Son Jesus Christ, I present Your child before You and pray You forgive his/her sin and let them be filled with Your Spirit. I join faith with them and believe they’ve been forgiven even as they start this journey with You. You can join a community of believers close to you to help you grow; get a Bible with a translation you can understand. Welcome to the family.

Loads of Love

JMAD