Friday, August 29, 2008

The Good Samaritan Story Retold

I was on my own by a T-Way junction ready to drive to the road home. Please see picture for explanations. (Concept culled from Archiwiz. How do I hyperlink the name to the blog?). I was reflecting on how smart I had been to take the short-cuts and escape the Woji hold-up. All of a sudden, I heard a loud BANG! I was dazed for 3 minutes and saw one of my fore-father’s faces. When I regained consciousness, I realized I had been hit by a car. A taxi driver was reversing carelessly and smashed the right side of my car. From the picture above, please tell me who is wrong?

The rain was falling heavily. It was a cold, stormy evening. I came out of the car with my skimpy clothes and children-sized umbrella. I accessed the damage. Not too bad, but I had just spent some good money fixing some damages I had caused for the car. I was not ready to spend another kobo panel-beating and spraying. I raked, shouted, insulted and cursed the driver. People came to beg me. The more they said, “Madam, calm down”, the more my anger built. Driver offered me N500 to fix my car. That was the height! I seized his car keys. This led to another 15 minutes of begging of which I went deaf to his pleas. I told the guy I cannot forgive and forget. I told him I will return his car keys after he has fixed my car.

I heard that gentle voice ask, “If it was Jesus, what will he do in this situation?” and I quickly replied, “This is not the time for the question.”

1 Week later, I was heading back to the office from lunch, so much in a hurry that as I was reversing, I jammed our neighbor’s car. At the exact same area taxi driver hit me. Neighbor’s car was on its own and neighbor was in the office probably thinking other thoughts. He had been looking for ways to repair the car or buy a new one. I said to myself, “I don enter. My money will finish in fixing and spraying another man’s moto.”

I called neighbor and reported myself. He laughed and said I should not worry until he sees the damage. Later that day, he told me not to worry that he will take care of the damage.

Between me and neighbor, who is speaking Christianity? Me, who wanted to kill poor taxi driver for the small damage or him, who forgave me of the great damage I did to his car?

It is our duty to preach the Good News with our actions as much as our words. It is not about how many times we attend service, how many offices we hold in church, or how much of the scripture we can quote. A hungry man will most likely give his life to Christ if he is given food rather than words.

I learnt from that experience, especially to answer the question “What will Jesus do in this situation?” I know He will always show love and take appropriate actions.

Remain blessed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Sun Shone

I think I was still dreaming when I heard the question, "are you watching Nigeria's match?"

I had no plans to. I could manage the gist of Nigeria vs Argentina. My eyes were still shut and I was somewhere between dream world and consciousness when I replied, "It’s too early for me this Saturday. Will get up by 6a.m.”

I needed my beauty sleep. And I had a long day ahead of me. Our company was holding a family day that Saturday. As a member of the organizing committee, I felt I had to conserve enough energy for any task ahead.

Suddenly, the rain started falling. Not drizzling. It was a torrential rain. Instantly I sat up on the bed with my eyes wide open. There was no atom of sleep left in me.

What! I screamed in my heart. How can rain fall today. God! Did we not pray that rain will not fall on this day? Have I not gone around boasting that the rain will not fall? Have I not been talking about August break? Where did this rain come from?

I tried to remove my mind from the thoughts running through my head. I was upset with God. I fixed my eyes on the TV as if I was really interested in the match.

The rain will not fall during the event. That was what you prayed for.
But in the past few days, when the rain starts like this, it does not end until the next day.
All you have to do is believe that the rain will not fall.
While I am seeing and hearing it? Oh Please!!!

For without faith, it is impossible to please Me.

I became quiet for a moment. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. He has the power to change the weather. He held the rain on my wedding day. What made me think He could not do it again?

The rain became heavier but by that time, fear had left me. I smiled. As long as God has said the rain will not fall during the event, it will not fall. I thanked Him for it. I became filled with peace. I watched the first half of the match then drifted off to a dreamless sleep.

That day remains a testimony. The sun shone brightly throughout the event. I could not compare the warmth with the rain that fell that same morning. Everyone talked about the weather and marveled at how beautiful it was for the occasion. Then when I got back home, the rain continued.

You may have prayed to God but certain circumstances show up to make you think He has not answered your prayer. Have faith in God. As long as you have prayed according to His will, He has surely answered you. Don't be discouraged by the current, temporal, doubt-raising situation.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cry of a Distraught Heart (I)

Am I less righteous
When things did not go as planned
When my prayers seem unanswered
When the world seems against me;

Did I pray less
Or did I sin more
Is it because I did not read your word
Why is my case different;

Should I fast
Should I sow
Should I work for you
What should I do;

My heart hurts
My thoughts in disarray
I am completely confused
I feel empty and hopeless;

Am I less Righteous
Than those who have my lack
Where did I go wrong
And what should I do?

This is a cry,
Of a Distraught heart.

I write poems in first person. This poem is not about me.
The response and the inspiration will come in Cry of a Distraught Heart (II).

God bless you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dream to Reality

It was 08-08-08. Like always, you called me the nickname unique to you alone. I was thrilled with joy, for what follows was usually a birthday gift.
I cherished those gifts not because of the worth but because of the thoughts and love behind them. Like the "OK" pant and socks (I can't forget the ones that were torn from day one, LOL) and the drinks that made everyone think you favoured me above everyone else. I never remembered to say thank you, yet again.
You told me to close my eyes while you lead me to my birthday gift. As always, I trusted you. My excitement kept rising. And then you said, "Open your eyes!"
I opened my eyes to be awakened from a dream. Looking at me with great love was the great, wonderful man we used to joke about.
Though it's been many years (I've almost lost count), I really miss your thoughtfulness on that day. Maybe I haven't got used to your absence. Your departure did one great thing for me - it made me realize I should never depend on any man but solely on God.
Yeah! God is the Father who has never left me nor forsaken me. He has never disappointed me. He has never broken my heart. With Him, every other thing falls into place. On 08-08-08, I took out time to reflect on how faithful He is, how awesome He is, how good He is, and how gracious He is. I realized it has been years of grace and goodness.
I thank God that He is not a dream.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back on Track

I recall hearing a voice that said “Take the left turn” but I ignored it and took the right turn. I did not know where the left turn led to but I knew where the right turn led to – a familiar road.

It was a Saturday and I was heading for a wedding ceremony. I had to be there before 3p.m. I was already running late having met several traffic jams on my way. But the height was when I got to the centre of the town, at the end of that right turn, and the road was blocked. I consoled myself that it will move afterall I had never experienced holdup at that place. But as seconds ticked by, nothing was happening. Except several cars reversing.

I waited until it was 15 minutes to my deadline before I decided to obey that voice I heard over an hour ago. To my greatest surprise, that left turn led to a smooth, free road and I was able to get to the wedding reception before 3p.m.

Even when you take the wrong path, if you hearken to my voice and retrace your steps, I will surely lead you to that place I have prepared for you. And on time.

“Not only wedding receptions?” I wondered as I took my seat at the venue.

Every area of your life. I will bring you to My expected end.

I nodded slowly while throwing a smile at those I was sharing a table with.
I had learnt something about God that day. He never leaves us or forsakes us. Even when it seems we have gone astray, He is still eager to see us back on track and lead us to the great things He has kept for us.

Where are you in your life now?

Walking away from God? If you turn to Him, He will receive you with open arms and continue walking with you.

Have you just returned from walking away from God? It may seem you have lost some time, but God will perfect everything that concerns you. He is not tired of you. He will redeem those times you think you lost.

Are you on that smooth road with God? Walk on and do not be discouraged. He is walking with you to bring you to the expected end He predestined for you before the foundation of the world.

Remain Blessed.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

When To Say Thanks

Real Faith
What would it take
For me to say
I trust You
And I believe in You;

I don’t mean by mouth
But in actions and from my heart
And be at rest
Amidst apparent delays in my requests;

I guess ‘tis when
I get to that point
When I can come to You
Without demands
But when I can say thanks to You
For things that haven’t come true.

The Inspiration

It had been a struggle all morning to get a document printed out due to network problems. I asked my colleague to print the document for me since he could access the network printer.
“It’s done,” he said when he sent it to the printer. “You can pick it up in ten minutes time.”
“Okay,” I replied.
After ten minutes, I went to the printing room. My document was ready. I picked it up joyfully.
“Thanks and God bless,” I said as I breezed past his corner. “I’ve got the prints.”

That’s how you say thanks, a gentle voice said, startling me.
“What? How?”
That’s how you say thanks, the gentle voice whispered in my ears. You wait until you have seen it physically before you believe that it is done.
I wanted to argue that I must have said thanks after he sent the document to the printer. I asked someone to wash my mug. I did not thank him until he had brought the mug back cleaned.
"I say thank you only when I have seen what I want?”
"But the guy was going to wash the mug. He always washes my mug very well when I ask him to. And my colleague always prints for me when I ask him to. That was why I asked him to do it today.”
I tried to say the sentences rephrasing it with when I ask God for something.
“But You are going to answer my prayer. You always exceed my expectations. That is why it is only You I ask.”
When will you say thank you?

I knew it was time to thank God for things I had prayed for. Not to say thanks with my mouth, but with my heart, with faith that He had answered my prayers. Is He a God that I did not know? The time to say thanks is now.

When will you say thanks?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What's in a Name?

I brought the car to a halt in the available parking space adjacent to my office. After listening to Joel Osteen’s message that said “The Favor of God”, I took advantage of this free parking space provision as favor from God.

I had just locked the car door and hoped to hurry into the office when three hefty men in army uniform and long guns started running towards me. My heart was pounding frantically against my chest. I asked myself, what crime have I committed to warrant 3 men coming towards me? It would only take a slap from one of them to finish me, I thought.

I tried to ignore them and started walking away. One of them thundered, “Hey you! Hey you girl, will you stop there!”
I stopped in my tracks and turned to face them. The security guards around my office turned away, pretending that they did not know me. I was on my own.
“Why did you park here?” one of them shouted when they got up to me. “You just parked the car there and started walking away. Who gave you permission to park here?”
I did not reply immediately because fear had seized me. By the time the three men surrounded me, I knew I had to defend myself.
“I saw parking space here, near my office, so I parked,” I replied. I was shaking. So was my small voice.
“You are not permitted to park in this place," the man continued. "Oya, carry your car and go. This place is only for residents in this area!”
I smiled. My husband works for this organization that had the residential area.
“Even the wives of staff are not allowed to park here?” I asked.
“Wives of who?” Now his tone was less harsh.
“My husband works for the company…”
“What proof do you have?”
I said, “Go and check your directory for my husband.”

Then I called his name.

The other two men started moving back slowly.
“Madam, we are very sorry,” the chief attacker said. “You could have told us the first time that your husband works here. We are very sorry.”
I accepted their apologies and headed for my office. In my heart I said, if I did not respect my husband, from now on, I will respect him. Merely calling his name had given me freedom.

I liken this situation to when we pray, and we call the name of Jesus. This event reminded me of the name above every other name – Jesus Christ. I could imagine negative spirits fleeing at the mention of this sweet, powerful name. I could see circumstances taking a bow at the utterance of this awesome name. This is one name I should never take for granted.

Whatever you ask in the name of Jesus Christ, according to the will of God, consider it done, for Jesus Christ is the name above every name [Philippians 2:9-11].