Posted in christian

Life in Him

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I sat with Eka in the hospital waiting room. We’d gotten used to the odor of mild disinfectant and the clatter of feet moving around us. 

Eka hadn’t moved or looked up for the last forty-five minutes since the surgery started. I watched and waited, to give strength, and to ensure she stood, in this time.

I knew she prayed for the child, so I joined her, bowing my head in thanksgiving. I lay before the Father, submitting Obi, Eka’s five-year-old son, my prayer point before my God. He was lying on an operating table battling for his life.

“The doctor says it’s a 50-50 chance that he will survive this. What do I do with such information? I can’t say it is well or God is in control. I’m struggling.” Eka said, her voice trembling, as I lifted my head and turned to her. 

She was looking forward, staring at the operating theatre, but I knew she was speaking to me.

“He’s just five years old. He doesn’t deserve cancer. He hasn’t experienced anything, Ada. My boy has not seen the world, lost a tooth, talked about the girl he likes in school. What do I do with 50-50? Give him to God, or hold on for a miracle?” She said and bent her head as tears fell from her eyes. “I am overwhelmed. I don’t know the right thing to do. I don’t know what God expects me to do now.” She said, weeping softly into the crook of her arm.

As far as the metal bars of the hospital seat would allow, I moved closer and laid my hand on her shoulder, allowing her to cry. My tears fell as well. I understood the fear my friend felt for the life of her only child. A boy I attended his Christening. A child I watched grow, and loved with all my heart. He called me mummy by mistake once or twice in the past. I remembered with a smile.

I waited for the shaking to subside, allowing her to finish.

“Eka, I want to tell you a story.”

She sighed, a pregnant gesture, which could have meant a lot, and then she turned to me.

“This is the story of a father whose boy lay on sticks, awaiting sacrifice. In this case, the father had been told to sacrifice his son to God, and he agreed. Why would a father do that? This child had been promised. His father had been shown the stars and told that his generation would be countless like them. So, he believed the word, even if it meant God would give the dead boy life. This man prepared the sacrifice and stood to obey God, until God stopped him.

“Today, our Obi is lying on the table like a lamb. We will lay the boy on God’s altar in trust. We believe God, who has delivered us from the clutches of darkness and carried us to the kingdom of His Son, the light, for He is greater, who is within us.

“We have a choice, to believe and trust that whatever happens in that room is in God’s hands, or to allow fear and doubt to rob us of the light and life we have in Christ.”

Eka nodded. “I understand that in Christ, it is well. I understand God is in control, Ada, but what if my son dies? What if my baby moves on while I am sitting here, unable to hold his little hands? What do I do?” Eka asked, in the smallest voice I’d ever heard her speak.

Tears fell from my eyes, and I nodded as I realized the truth of what we had to do. I held her hand.

“We die first,” I said, and she looked up at me, with the tears brimming in her eyes and eyebrows raised. Her face, always made up and ready, seemed bare, devoid of life.

I nodded and smiled at her.

“We let go, and let God. Eka, we cannot save that child even if we were the ones operating on him. So, as sons of God, let us lay ourselves and our son before the throne of grace and wait for God. We will not allow fear or confusion, or even needless emotion obstruct our view of the goodness of God. Like Abraham, we lay our son on the altar, knowing that God alone can heal and give him life.

“Dabs is praying where he is, in faith. He believes God will bring that child through this. Let’s join your husband and stand.”

I stood then, an act of faith, a symbol of my belief in the all-powerful God, who can raise the dead to life. Eka stared at me from her seat and stood as well.

“He alone can do it, and on Him we stand. We lay our son, Father, before your throne,” she said, wiping her eyes and sniffing. “He is yours and has always been. I give you thanks for this day, and my sister, Ada. I agree with her, and I submit my baby into your loving arms, believing that your will, and your will alone, will be done today.” She said and stopped as she wept.

I hugged her and sang worship songs, softly but loud enough for her to hear. She joined me some minutes later, and we praised God together in the waiting room, not minding who watched. 

Sometime later, we sat and called Dabs, the boy’s father, strengthening him, as God had also held us up.

We waited the whole day, and at 5 pm, the doctor came out of the operating room. Obi was wheeled out after him, with tubes stuck to his small body. Eka stood and didn’t move, watching her son as they pushed him away.

I helped her, and we walked to the doctor’s office together. 

“The operation went well, madam.” He said, smiling. “All the problems we envisaged due to his age and weight didn’t arise. It was smooth sailing from the start. God was in that room.”

Eka burst into tears at the doctor’s last statement, and I knew she cried in thanksgiving to the God who operated on the boy and remained with him, even when she couldn’t. The doctor and I comforted my friend, and we left his office. He gave us five minutes to check on Obi, and on the way, Eka called Dabs to tell him the news.

We died that day as we let God have His way. We have continued to let go of our humanity as we live through the life God has given us with Obi, one day at a time. We understand now what it means to rejoice in weakness because God is our strength; to die to ourselves, knowing He alone gives us life.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

Doing Good

Photo by Ismael Paramo on Unsplash

“I’m leaving her, John,” Mathew said over lunch.

John stopped eating his favorite, Jollof rice with salad on the side. He put down his fork and stared at his friend. Mathew refused to do the same, and that confirmed John’s fears.

Mathew had been complaining about Rhonda, his wife, for some months. He grumbled about her laziness and how she had failed to support their children during the COVID-19 lockdown period. Their education had suffered. 

She didn’t seem to care about anybody but herself, sometimes forgetting to prepare dinner or instruct the help on what to do. She didn’t look after herself or wish to talk, and worst of all, it had taken a toll on life in the bedroom.

John had suggested the couple talk through their problems. He didn’t believe there was an issue without a solution; however, Mathew kept insisting that he had tried and Rhonnie, as her friends call her, kept shutting him down.

In their last conversation, they discussed inviting Mathew’s Pastor into the mix. John felt the couple needed counseling. Mathew believed Rhonnie alone needed the Pastor’s guidance. After all, she was the one who needed help.

John felt winded by Mathew’s statement.

“How? I thought we discussed counseling. How has counseling traveled to separation?”

Mathew looked up at him and lifted the side of his mouth in a sad smile. “She refused to see the Pastor.”

“Okay, let’s look for another option. Separation shouldn’t even be mentioned, man, do you understand?”

Mathew chuckled. “This advice from my friend who has never ventured into the marriage market, not to talk of picking a wife.”

John leaned back in his chair. Underneath the laughter and mild jab, there was an edge in his friend’s voice he didn’t miss. He calmed himself and waited for Mathew to speak, praying for wisdom.

“Marriage shouldn’t be so hard. I go to work to ensure I provide my family with everything they need, but is she grateful? No. She sits at home all day, parading around the house, unable to help herself and the children, and for what, bouts of depression? I try my best, my Christian best, to ask, to persuade, to know what the heck has gotten into my wife, and all I meet is a brick wall. My guy, I am tired of it. I’m done.”

John nodded. “I hear you, and you are right. I don’t have the right to give advice. What do I know? I want to ask a question though, if I may?”

Mathew nodded as he sipped from his water glass.

“Is separation the right approach?”

Mathew smiled. “What other alternative do I have? John, think about it and tell me, what are my options here? I believe taking my kids away from that woman is the best course of action.”

“By whose standards?”

Mathew’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean by whose standards? I don’t need anyone’s approval to do what I believe is right for my family.”

John smiled. “Oh, but you do, my friend, you do. We don’t hang out for lunch, day after day, month after month, only because we’ve been best buddies for years. We do so because we believe the same things. Are you telling me you believe the God both of us serve will approve a separation?”

Mathew shut his eyes.

“Come on, Mathew, that’s why you are talking to me about it. If you were looking for support, I’m sorry, but you should have known I’d be the last person to give it. Mathew, for crying out loud.” John said, his tone low, and urgent.

Mathew opened one eye. He knew John was upset for him, and he didn’t wish to make such a friend his enemy.

John smiled at the playful gesture, using the opportunity to calm himself.

“Bro, in all this time you’ve complained and sought options to save your marriage, have you sought for God’s will or guidance in the matter?”

“You know I pray. I have prayed for a long time, waiting for a change, and till now, nothing has happened.”

“Do you believe that because nothing has happened, God is tired and has approved the separation?”

“That’s not what I’m saying. I’m tired, John, exhausted. I need to do something about the situation at home or go mad.”

“Mathew, you are my friend, and I will tell you this. We may try as humans to do right, but the only righteous being is God. You’ve listed out all the ways you’ve wanted to do the right thing, but God alone can lead you on the path of righteousness in this matter. If he does not show you His way, you are being led by your flesh. Your judgment of the issue has inadvertently become the noose on your neck, cutting off air.

“I may not be in the position to speak on this matter, but I know and believe one thing-we are all to be led by God or face walking in darkness. You have the life of a woman and your three children to consider while you decide the path to take, and I urge you, in the name of God, to take the right one.

“Seek God, and remain in His presence until He answers. Let this be the last thing you do for your marriage, wife, children, and yourself. Before you take any last-act decision, be assured you’ve done the best you can and that God approves your choice. Only then, bro, will you be able to move on.”

Mathew was rolling his middle finger around the rim of his water glass as he listened. He knew in his heart that his friend spoke the truth. Mathew shut his eyes, praying for strength to endure, as he waited for God to show up. He looked up, and John was looking at him.

Mathew smiled. “Will you be praying with me?”

“Of course. Don’t depend on yourself at this time. Lay all your burdens at the feet of our Lord, and stand in faith. Forget all the should be’s and should look like’s and start to draw the right picture from the throne of grace.”

Mathew nodded as he stood. “I’ve got to go back to the office. I’m sorry I made you abandon your rice. Lunch tomorrow is on me.”

John nodded, smiling as he gave his friend a thumbs up. He watched Mathew walk away, pushed his food out of the way, and sought the face of the Lord for his friend and his marriage.

Posted in christian


“I hear you, Tinu, but are you asking me to burst into praise with all that is happening in the next room?” Bola asked her best friend, with narrowed eyes and a question mark on her face, as she pointed to the closed doors before them.
Tinu looked at the doors of the conference room, and back at the friend watching her, and dared to nod.
“So based on the word you received this morning, I should give praise to God, regardless of who this word was meant for in the first place?” Bola said as she sighed. “Please,” She said, weary and scratching her head. “I need to be alone right now.”
Tinu looked at her friend, bent over by fear, while a group of business executives deliberated on her future with the company. A panel was seated to judge the low-performing staff’s for the last quarter, and Bola’s name was on the list.
Tinu felt her friend’s fear and sadness. She drew in a quick breath and asked for help, then jumped right into it.
“Bola, I am not the one asking you to praise through your fear. I am not the Father who has invited you into His presence the way you are right now, hopeless and in pain. He is the one who expects you to come before Him, understanding who He is. Yes, He is the God who asks you to lay yourself and every burden you carry right now in submission before Him, and to stay there.”
Bola did not twitch.
“Let me remind you, He is the Most High. He sits above everything and everyone who stands before you. He is the one who holds the heart of kings in his hand. He knew before today that this would happen. He could have stopped this situation from happening, and though He didn’t, He doesn’t love you any less.
“He is the God who allows us to experience various things in life to remind us that this earth is not our final destination. Don’t cling, don’t hold on. Focus on His available grace. Draw from Him right now. The wells of Salvation are more than abundant for every situation we go through.” Tinu said, gesticulating with her hands as she tried and failed to keep her voice down.
Bola looked up with tears in her eyes as she gazed at her friend. In that look, Tinu saw her friend trying to believe. She could see her friend’s yearning for the reality of the Father’s presence.
Tinu squatted, took Bola’s limp hands, and looked into her friend’s tear-filled eyes.
“You ask if I expect you to burst into praise? I do. Right now, you are in the presence of God, the Father, and Jesus is interceding on your behalf. Remind yourself of all those times He has brought you through worse, and that if Jesus could rise again, nothing is impossible for our God. Rejoice, my friend, as you look away from this situation and focus on the presence of our Father.
“Imagine His presence right now, Bola. Walk into His throne room, and as you move forward, see the members of the panel who have gathered to discuss your case by the side. Walk past them, confident and proud as you stride towards the King of Kings, because you know that whatever the outcome of their seating, He has allowed it for your good.”
As if on cue, the doors behind Tinu opened, and Bola’s manager stepped out and summoned her in with his hand.
Tinu stood, and hugged her. “Our Father is with you.”
Bola cleaned her face with a tissue as she nodded, understanding what Tinu meant. She squared her shoulders and walked with confidence. She realized that regardless of that meeting’s outcome, her Father’s will would be done in her life, and it was for good.
Bola entered the room with songs of praise in her heart.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

The Struggle to Follow

Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash

Obi groped around in the dark places of his heart, searching. He was used to the darkness and knew how to thrive in it. Now, he searched for meaning. He was ready to go past the surface and into the deep in his search for the Father. The old ways stopped working the day he saw his friend talk to God and receive an answer. He knew then, as he still knows that times had changed.
People had become God-seekers instead of pew fillers. Christians were waiting on God and seeing results. In their relationships with God, they were being changed from the inside out, like the caterpillar to a butterfly.
So, he started his journey, hoping and praying that God would see and hear him. He continued in his heart, as he lived daily, waiting for a word, a message, an acknowledgment. They were not the everyday prayers uttered in ordinary times. He prayed from his heart.
He prayed like the prodigal, wishing his father would see him from afar. He searched the scriptures for words, yearning for a connection, which would result in a map leading into the holiest place. Obi listened to great men and women of God preach and teach craving for a link, anything to guide him in the right way. He kept desiring to know and to see, putting one leg after the other in the hope that his legs walked a path. One the natural man would not see, but God’s Spirit would lead him on.
Sometimes, he felt like a lone wanderer, dried in the desert, seeking the water of life, afraid and unsure. Who could he tell, and what would he speak of? Who would help him understand the path of life?
Obi would cry like a child on his bed at night, seeking the face of the Father, through His Son. It was on one of those nights, when he cried himself to sleep, that light entered his room, filling it with dazzling brilliance. Obi sat up and couldn’t open his eyes in the blinding light.
“Open your eyes, Obi.” A soft voice in his heart said.
The quiet assurance strengthened him, and he opened his eyes. A man was seated at the foot of his bed, smiling.
“Who are you?”
“I am the one you seek, Obi, the source of this light.”
“Jesus.” Once the name left Obi’s lips, tears cascaded down his face, and peace settled in his heart.
He folded his legs under him. “I have been looking for you, Lord.”
The Lord smiled. “I have been right here, beside you.”
“I didn’t know.”
“Ask, and it shall be given; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened.”
“I want to be with you all the days of my life.”
The Lord smiled. “That is the Father’s plan. The Spirit was sent for that purpose, and the blood I shed made a way forever, into the presence of our God.”
Obi’s forehead furrowed. “Why does it seem difficult to find?”
Jesus looked at him, his eyes soft with compassion. “When I say follow me, people are wrapped under the cocoon of darkness and see impossibilities, instead of a way out of the dark. Every step taken in obedience to my word leads you out of the dark and into the light. The more you walk in agreement with me, the more you begin to live the eternal life.”
“How do we walk in the light?”
“By shedding your natural life daily. You need to give up the experiences you have known and the wisdom you have acquired so that you can start to live the life I died to offer you.
“Unlike a lot of people, I knew early on what I was on earth to do. I focused on it and grew into it, and when I was fully prepared, you know the story. People have a mental understanding of the call of God, but they do not seek to relate with Him for an understanding of who He is so that His life and will flows through them without effort.”
“How do I know my task on earth?”
Jesus stood. “Follow me. Ask the Holy Spirit for help and guidance. The blood will lead you into the presence of the Father. You have brothers and sisters who are walking the path, seeking God’s kingdom. Do not be afraid. You are not alone.”
Obi watched the Lord as he left the room, and the light dimmed into darkness, then he woke up.
Jesus! His heart cried. The Lord had been with him all along. Obi went on his knees and gave thanks, asking the Holy Spirit for help.
From that day forward, Obi understood he was meant to live a life of faith. Living in the supernatural he didn’t see, to birth seed in the natural for God. He understood day by day, the meaning of grace-the enablement to thrive sustained by God. He learned to obey after disobedience almost cost him his life.
He continued in the faith. He believed in God’s presence when there was no physical proof He was there. God’s grace continued to sustain him until he learned to abide in it, even when things seemed hard and more difficult in the natural. He listened to the counsel of the Holy Spirit when everything around him suggested he do things the opposite way and he prospered.
Obi waited for the day the Holy Spirit said was not far off. A day for the revealing of the sons of God.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

The Inquisition

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Charles drove to the Church, parked by the building, and waited. He sat in the car as he always did three times a week, waiting to pick up his wife from choir practice.
He sent her a message that he had arrived and remained in the car. He never left his vehicle’s protection, too tired to greet the choir group’s numerous members. In truth, Charles didn’t want the leading Church Pastor to see or engage him in any way.
He liked attending Church sometimes, especially when other pastors preached, but whenever it was the leading Pastor’s day, Charles seemed to lose all understanding of the English language.
He leaned back and lowered his car seat as he thought about this dilemma for the first time. What made scripture confusing whenever the leading Pastor stood to preach. In his experience, he would turn off once the Pastor said something that didn’t make sense. Yes, that’s it. The Pastor preached about existence on another planet, not the earth.
“Hello Charles, how are you?”
Charles stiffened and turned slowly to look right at the Pastor. He got out of the car and greeted the man, shaking the hand he proffered.
“It’s good to see you. Walk with me. Are you here to pick Nneka?”
“Yes, sir,” Charles said as he walked beside the Pastor, head bowed in respect.
“So, how is work?”
“Well, we are pushing as best as we can, sir.”
“Hmm, pushing suggests struggle. Is work a struggle for you?”
Charles burped out a short laugh. “Well, it’s a struggle for everybody. I mean to make it, one needs to hustle.”
The Pastor stopped and turned to him. “Let me get this straight. You are struggling to make it?”
Charles looked away and scratched his head as he wondered the bad luck that knocked on his door that day.
“What I mean, sir is that life is a struggle, and we all have to push hard to get to where we want to be,” Charles said, gesticulating with his hands, hoping the matter would end there and that he could excuse himself from the presence of confusion as fast as possible.
“What are you pushing for?”
“Well, we all want to be able to take care of our families and children. To support the Church, and people who need help.”
“You mean you are struggling to make money for your family, the Church, and the people who need your support? Is that an accurate summary of your words?”
“Yes, sir, sure,” Charles said, smiling as he looked down.
He wasn’t sure what was holding up his wife. She should have been out of the church building a while ago. He needed her out of there.
“Look at me, Charles.”
Charles looked at the Pastor with a sober expression.
“There is light, and there is darkness. The life Jesus offers gives light, while the devil offers only darkness and death. Do you understand?”
Charles nodded. “Yes, Pastor.”
“Good. In the light is everything required to live and thrive in God. On the other hand, the darkness distracts you from it and ensures you stay tuned to what is happening here, so all you think about is how to survive on earth. Here, people struggle to live a life of comfort, am I correct?”
Charles nodded.
“And there are different levels of comfort. Comfort might include building houses, buying cars, ensuring your family is taking care of, and the Church is settled, am I right?”
Charles smiled. “Well, I wouldn’t use the word settle.”
“But that’s what it is. You settle your family, the Church or its Pastor, and the Supporters club, and life goes on. That’s what people are doing and living their lives as they please. Charles, what if that’s not what God created you to do?”
“I know we are to do more as Christians. We should always pray and understand the will of God for our lives.” Charles said, at least he knew that much.
“Good, so how far down that path have you gone?”
Charles scratched his head. “Well, we are still getting there?”
“Does that mean that you’ve started a journey with God?”
Charles nodded. “Oh, yes, sir, I pray and talk to God about everything.”
“Very good. So, why are you struggling? Don’t you pray about that?”
“Everybody struggles, sir. My bible says that the apostles had to work hard as well.”
“Yes, in the work God called them to do, and they didn’t struggle. They were enabled by grace to achieve God’s will. That’s why they were able to accomplish supernatural feats. Are you struggling with the work God has given you?”
Charles burst into a nervous laugh. “Pastor, it’s a long story. I have to come and see you some other time for it.”
“Summarise it.”
Charles stopped seeing any humor in the situation, real or fake. The Pastor wasn’t laughing either.
“My job is God’s will, and though I struggle, I know his grace is available,” Charles said with an edge in his voice.
“Forgive me, Charles, for the questions, but I need to know whether the people that fellowship in the Church know and believe God. I hope you don’t mind if I ask you another question?”
Charles shook his head, looking down again.
“How do you know your job is in line with God’s will? Did he give you specific scripture verses, and does he speak to you about it from time to time?”
Charles shook his head again, angry at his wife and the Pastor. He was in the hot soup because of one, and the other was too blind to see that he was coming from work and exhausted.
“I spoke to you earlier about light and darkness. Light provides enablement, grace, ability to live and thrive, while darkness distracts you and keeps you struggling for an illusion.
I have people here in Church who have gained great wealth or been rewarded with it, without a struggle. I have people who own houses they don’t need and cars they can’t drive, and what happens, decay and rust.
My point here, Charles, is don’t get swept away by the illusion of wealth and the struggle for it. It’s never what it seems, even for the rich. Submit to God, and remain under his shade of protection. Let him sustain you because he has promised never to leave or forsake you.
“You are not meant to be struggling, son, no matter the job you are doing. Focus on the grace in Christ. Be intentional about living out every day for God and not for yourself. Take life a day at a time.”
“Good evening, pastor,” Nneka said from behind them.
The Pastor turned to her. Charles didn’t lift his face from the ground; neither did he acknowledge her.
“Nneka, are you done?” The Pastor asked.
“Yes, sir.”
He turned to Charles and gestured to their car.
“Take her home, and think about what we’ve discussed.”
“Yes, sir, God bless you,” Charles said, forcing a smile, as he shook the older man’s hand and turned to his car.
“Charles, good evening,” Nneka said from behind him as they reached the car.
“Next time, take a taxi home. I’m not coming back here during the week for any reason.” He said as he opened the car, slid into the driver’s seat, and shut it with force.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian, Faith, The Christ

The Tree

Photo by Rob Mulally on Unsplash

The sun shone with unparalleled brightness while its heat beat on Amara’s bare shoulders and head as she was led on a narrow arid road.

Her guide, Mark, the leader of a group of people who called themselves the Jesus Tribe, was taking her to a place where she would understand why they lived as they did.

They arrived in the desert area, located outside the town, and walked to an undisclosed location. To Amara, who was sweating like the goat they passed in town on their way, it seemed like an eternity. It had only been ten minutes.

She didn’t dare complain though, Mark led the community as its leader, and people held him in high regard. Why? Amara had no idea.

He didn’t appear rich, tall, or handsome. His face and hands showed signs of toughness and a life that was accustomed to it. Whatever the community respected must be inside of the man. His intelligence and skills, perhaps?

Amara wiped her forehead with the sleeves of her t-shirt as she started praying for redemption from the long walk and a tall glass of iced water. She smiled; her mates were praying for better things.

Up ahead, she saw a massive tree in the arid landscape. The tree stood tall and alone, and shock of shocks, it had a full crown of green leaves and branches sprouting everywhere.

“How is that possible?” She asked herself out loud.

Mark turned and smiled at her. “That’s where we are going.”

They walked the short distance to the tree and found relief under its shade. Mark opened his little backpack and removed two bottles of cold water, which they shared. 

They finished their water, and Mark stashed the bottles in his bag as he turned to the tree.

“Amara, you asked me how people can choose to live for God? This tree will help me explain the reason for it. When you look at the tree, what do you see?” He asked, looking at her.

“Well, I noticed that it’s rooted in a dry place, and it has a lot of green leaves. Does it bear fruit?”

“It’s an apple tree. Everything you noticed is correct. The tree is standing tall and strong and deeply rooted in the desert. How is that possible for an apple tree?

“To produce good-quality fruits, trees need lots of feeder roots in the surface soil so they can take up plenty of water and nutrients. The surface soil should be deep, soft, stable, well-structured, well-drained, fertile, and cool in hot weather. The pH level should be between 5.8 and 6.5.

“However, desert soil is mostly loamy sand, derived from granitic rocks and other related rocks. The soil here is deficient in organic matter. It’s high in potassium and has pH’s around 7.5 to 8.0.

“If all that is so, how is it possible for this tree to stand? How is it getting its water and essential nutrients? The soil surface is not soft, nor is it fertile for the tree.”

Amara looked from Mark to the tree as she absorbed all the information he shared and asked herself the same questions he did.

“It is supernatural. The tree is a symbol of truth, proving that the supernatural occurs in this natural plain we all dwell.

“What’s the use of the symbol, you might ask? It helps us remember that in Christ, the Jesus Tribe can live the supernatural life every day of our lives. 

“The most important use of the tree, in my opinion, is that it reminds us that we are all branches in the vine that is Christ.

“Look at this tree, looking healthy in a place where it shouldn’t. It reminds us that in Christ, because He lives, we live, regardless of the circumstances that surround us. The branches living off the tree remind us to draw all we need from God, strength, sustenance, wisdom, etc. Under its shade, we are covered from the elements, just as both of us are now. If you know psalm 91, the first two verses apply. When you hear, in Christ, we stand, this tree paints the picture. 

“Imagine being a branch under this tree. Do you think you would lack anything? But once you are broken off, your sustenance is cut off. You would no longer be protected under its shade, and the most important, you will not be able to bear fruit and fulfill God’s purposes in your life.” 

Mark stopped and waited for questions, and when none came decided to ask one of his own.

“Why were you standing under the bridge at night?”

Amara looked away. Her first instinct was to lie to the man of God, as she now thought of him in her mind, but she hesitated, uncaring of judgment.

“I am a prostitute. I was waiting for a customer before Gbenga picked me up and invited me to your fellowship.” She said, looking at him as she spoke.

Mark smiled. “We all have our history—fraudsters, liars, murderers, adulterers, thieves, etc. I helped a gang scam rich Germans out of their hard-earned money about ten years ago. You would have called me a 419 fraudster.” He said, smiling at the upward movement of her eyebrows.

“We are all standing before God now, and so can you. Gbenga asked me to speak with you before you leave us today. I know what you are going back to, but we invite you to come and join us. Come and live out God’s purpose for your life with our tribe. There is no need to remain in the same situation when help is available. I want you to think about it, please.”

Amara looked down at her shoes. What he asked wasn’t possible.

“What will I be doing for your tribe? I can’t be eating and sleeping forever?”

Mark smiled. “Gbenga was coming back from work when he saw you, and the Holy Spirit asked him to pick you up. You will be taught to seek and to know God for yourself. God will direct you on the life He planned for you. On the side, you can help out in the community once in a while.”

Amara nodded. Mark’s request seemed possible with every word he uttered; however, something else bothered her.

“Will God forgive me?” She asked, looking at him again. Her need for confirmation came from a place of desperation. A change had been presented as a gift, and she wanted it with all her heart. She needed to know that she wouldn’t be turned away in the end.

Mark turned and held her by the shoulders, looking into her eyes. “God sent Gbenga to you because He loves and cares for you, and Gbenga brought you to me. All of it was in God’s plan for you. He makes a way where there are none and rivers in the desert. Let this tree be a reminder when you doubt his love. He will not leave you nor forsake you as long as you live and believe.” 

Amara nodded as possibilities flashed before her: freedom, life, family, a future. 

She smiled at Mark and nodded again. “I want to be part of the tribe.”

Mark nodded, smiling. “Praise God.”

Till next time, be transformed!!



Posted in christian

Submit and Resist

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

“They told me you asked that I wear everything. Aren’t we practicing today?” Joel asked as he stood before his coach.
Emmanuel continued cleaning his gloves, not bothering to turn around.
“Yes, I wanted you to wear the whole armor today and every day after that for practice.”
“Excuse me, sir, but what’s the use? Wouldn’t it be better for me to continue training without the extra load?”
Emmanuel smiled and turned to face his fighter, who looked ready for war in the get-up he was wearing.
“You are fighting against an enemy you don’t understand, my boy, and until you do, let’s do things my way. Is that clear?”
Joel looked nonplussed but nodded anyway.
“Get in the ring. Let’s start.”
Joel had been training to fight for six months, and due to all the encouragement his coach kept heaping on him, he knew he wasn’t bad at the sport. He entered the ring checking his breathing, working on his nerves, and keeping his head up as he warmed up as best as possible with the armor he was carrying.
“Today, you will be fighting a new enemy. There are no rules in this fight, so no fouls. This enemy will come at you from all sides and will do anything to bring you down, so stay alert!” Emmanuel said as he called out his instructions.
A fight without rules?
“But coach, where do they fight like that?”
Emmanuel climbed into the ring and stood, looking at Joel. “I’m preparing you for the fight of your life. If you win this, a crown awaits.”
“Wow, a crown, not a belt?”
Emmanuel shook his head, turned, and exited the ring. Once he touched the ground, he looked at his fighter and up at the hanging banana punching bags he had secured with ropes by the walls.
“Ready?” He asked Joel, looking back at him.
Joel nodded and assumed a fighting stance. Emmanuel walked to the walls and cut the rope holding the six punching bags in place, and all at once, they fell and flew towards Joel on the ring.
Joel heard them before he saw them, but by that time, it was too late. No matter how he tried, he couldn’t dodge the blows from the bags that hit his mid-section, his left, or his back. A few seconds after the fight began, he was lying on the ground.
He lay there, breathing hard and unmoving, watching the bags swinging on top of him.
“Stand up, fighter, and assume your position,” Emmanuel said, calling to him from outside the ring.
Joel stood, checking his body for any aches. He started to control his breathing again, closing his eyes.
“Do you know why you lost the fight?”
“Of course, coach. I wasn’t prepared for my enemy. I was taken by surprise, and it won’t happen again.” Joel said, with his eyes still closed.
Emmanuel held a ring rope as he jumped up into the ring’s side and slid in through the ropes. He strolled to stand in front of the fighter and waited for him to open his eyes.
“If this had been the fight of your life, you would have lost, and contrary to what you believe, you don’t know why you lost. I told you there were no rules. I explained how ruthless your enemy was and advised you to stay alert.
“This fight is not like the others; it’s different. This enemy will try banana bags today and iron rings flying at you tomorrow. He doesn’t do fair, and he doesn’t care. All he wants is to bring you down.”
“He sounds too strong, sir.”
“He is not, but sounds and seems strong. To fight him, you need to look within. You cannot depend on your skills, expertise, or strength. He’ll knock you out as the bags did.”
“How do I fight from within?”
“You have to submit to the one who can fight this battle for you and stand in His strength. Your senses will not help, so no matter how many times you try to listen or calm your breathing to pay attention to your externals, he’ll still knock you out.
“When you submit, you stand in the power of a greater being. You quiet yourself and listen to the Master’s instructions: to move, crouch, jab, slip, block, pull away, etc. Only in His strength can you find victory.
“In this fight, you lose, you die, and you don’t stop fighting until the end. It would be best if you were vigilant all the time because the enemy will come at you at will. He will come at you with all sorts: fear, anger, hurt, disease, loss, lack, anything he can get his hands on to beat you down and kill your spirit. Never crouch, stand up and oppose him at every turn, and keep doing so until the end.”
Joel shook his head at his coach and scratched his beard. “Wait, Coach, are we talking about the devil here? What does he have to do with professional fighting?”
Emmanuel smiled at Joel. “If you learn to battle the enemy and to win, you win every other battle you engage in because your source of strength would be the same, son. David defeated Goliath because of that truth. No matter your career and chosen path, once you learn to fight the battle of life, and to stand in God’s strength, then you can take on any enemy.”
Joel nodded. “So if all I need to do it is to learn to submit to God, when do I start my training?”
Emmanuel nodded in approval. “We can start right now.”

Posted in christian

The Process of Waiting

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

“We cannot continue to live by the ideals of an aging generation, Papa. Decisions have to be made, and they have to be made now.” Austin said, looking at his grandfather, who seemed to be checking his phone.
There was no response from the older man.
“Well, I cannot continue to wait, sir,” Austin said as he turned and stomped to the door.
“I know you dream about calling an emergency board meeting and having me kicked out of the board. You have the power, I know, but is that the best decision to make?” His grandfather said as Austin opened the door of the office, about to leave.
Austin stood still, breathing hard. He had a mind to ignore his grandfather and call the meeting just as the older man had predicted. He turned and glared, waiting.
“I stood in those shoes you have on twenty years ago. I, too, was hot-headed and wanted to rule the world. To make great decisions that would make the family wealthier than Croesus himself, but thank God for your grandmother.” His grandfather said and turned back to his phone.
Austin knew what to expect from such story beginnings. He didn’t know how, but his Papa had been the only one to talk him out of doing wrong from childhood. When his parents tried and failed, they called in Papa, and his grandfather would tell Austin a story in the form of a lesson.
Things were different now, though.
“Papa, what is the problem with the brand. They bring good tidings, and it’s a fantastic deal. We do nothing except stand behind their product, which is good, by the way, and they give us a piece of their action. I say it’s good to go. Why wait?” Austin asked, still standing by the door, his two hands raised in question, his tone high.
“Son, sit,” Grandfather said, still looking at his phone.
Austin made his way to the chair in front of the man. He wondered what he was thinking about getting an old widower a phone. It had taken the place of his dead wife and had become a menace to the family. He planned to steal the phone and to throw it as far away as possible.
His grandfather looked up some seconds after Austin had taken a seat and smiled at him.
“You look just like me sometimes. I can’t get angry with you.” He said, and then his face turned stern. “However, watch your tone and words, young man. I am still your grandfather.”
Austin looked down. “Forgive me, Sir.”
His grandfather nodded. “Twenty years ago, I started this company with your grandmother. We were both Christians, but she was hot after Jesus, while I was hot after building our wealth. Five years into the business, we got a contract from the government to supply chemicals for the Ministry of Health. It was a huge deal, so big my hands were shaking with the document.
“There was, however, a challenge. The Health Minister had a son-in-law he wanted to give the contract to, and his assistant had sent it to us by mistake. The Minister found out a week later and raised hell, asking the assistant to retrieve the contract and exchange it for other worth peanuts.
“Your grandmother didn’t believe in such mistakes, and though I was set to fight the Minister with my connections in the government, she advised I stay my hand. I waited for a week with the Minister’s assistant breathing fire down my neck and your grandmother seeking the face of God.
“On the seventh day, I couldn’t wait any longer and picked up the phone to call my Minister friend, when a fax came through. My secretary walked into my office like she always did, delivered some papers and left. I didn’t bother to check, not expecting much.
“However, as I was greeting my friend, the Minister, whom I’d called on the phone, he asked me if I had received notice of the contract. I was shocked about how he had known about it and responded in the negative. He asked me to call him when I did. I hung up and went to ask the secretary if she had received any parcel or envelope. She said no, only the fax she had brought to my office.
“I picked the fax and checked it, and there it was, the government’s approval for the company to supply the chemicals at the initial amount stated. I called my friend, sounding dumbstruck. I didn’t understand how it had happened.
“He told me that the President had called in his executive council and had gone over all major contracts over a certain amount of money with them. Our contract had our name on it, and though the Health Minister objected to it, he was asked to provide the name of another contractor before the council. He couldn’t because he knew everyone would know of his intentions.
“That was how my friend found out about the contract and ensured it was signed and approved on time. My boy, this company was built on the strength of your grandmother’s prayers and humility before God. Not my hustle or strength, nor on any connections. Like Mordecai, God brought our matter before the President.
“I learned a lot from that experience. To build my relationship with a God bigger than anything or anyone and to wait on Him for everything. When this new deal was presented to me, I didn’t get permission from God’s Spirit to sign off on the document. I have asked God for His will to be done, and I will wait for it as I have done for almost fifteen years.
“You call this living by ideals of the old and aged. I call it living by the grace of God. I don’t pretend to know or understand why I have a stay in my spirit over this one, but I do, and all I ask is that you trust God this once.”
His grandfather went back to checking his phone, and Austin looked out the window on his left confused. He had promised the brand’s CEO that their support was a done deal. He didn’t know how to explain the situation, especially with the threat of time hanging over them.
With his eyes on the traffic outside the windows of his grandfather’s office, Austin blurted out his worries.
“We may lose a lot of clout if we don’t get this deal, Papa. A lot of people are fighting over it, and we got it on a platter. We have less than one week to sign or lose it.” He said as he turned to the older man.
His grandfather looked up, smiled at him, and nodded. “Then let it go.”
Austin stood in shock. “Is that your final answer?”
“Yes, it is, son.”
Austin nodded and strode out of his grandfather’s office, seething. He didn’t do anything after that, resigned to the fact that he had to wait for his grandfather to move on to the next world before he could make decisions for the business.
They lost the deal to the competition. Austin watched in regret as the brand was advertised all over the state. The winning company made a killing in sales. He hoped his Papa was watching to see all they had lost and never missed an opportunity to tell the older man of the brand’s progress in the business world.
It took a month for the result. A woman died from the product’s side effects, and the Health authorities confirmed her death could have been averted if thorough research had been carried out in the initial stages, before production.
The company’s assets and properties were confiscated, and the supporting company who won the contract lost more than their name and face in public.
His grandfather walked into Austin’s office with the same newspaper Austin was reading the news from, to sit and smile.
“I can’t believe this,” Austin said.
“I can. I am here to tell you something vital. The only requirement you need to run this company is a relationship with God. One in which you can talk to and hear Him with clarity. You will learn to humble yourself overtime as you suffer the consequences of your disobedience, but all that is part of the training.
“You have been introduced to the process of waiting. In it, there is the struggle to do or sort things out by yourself, which you would do well to yield to God. You have suffered the pain of losing out on your desire for the will of God to come to pass. You have endured the waiting period where you were powerless to do anything but hope in God. I hope all these experiences will guide you to God as you realize that you have no power of your own to affect any change whatsoever. I have said all I came to say.” The grandfather said and turned to walk out of the office.
He stopped at the door and turned back to Austin with narrowed eyes.
“By the way, did you see my phone?”
“No, Papa, but I’ll get you a new one today,” Austin said, as he hurried to call his dealer.

Posted in christian

The Journey Of Faith

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

“Bode, I’ve done everything in the book. I pray all the time, study my bible, and attend all the services. I also followed the doctors’ instructions to a ‘T’. How long do I have to wait? Are seven years not enough?” Nnenna asked, gesticulating with her hands.

Pastor Bode had a hand covering his mouth, and the other wrapped around his midsection while he listened to her. He was praying.

They met in Secondary school. They attended the same one. Now, God had them meet today, a day after her last IVF treatment failed. The woman in front of him was not the easy-going, life-loving Nnenna he’d known in school. This person looked like life had been sucked out of her with a suction pump until nothing remained. With all the money her appearance displayed, her gaunt look described another existence.

“Nnenna, I’m so sorry you’ve been through so much, but it is well. Our God is a solution provider. Do you have time? Can we find somewhere to sit and chat?” He asked, looking around the bank’s exterior where they met and still stood.

She nodded. “I know a place around here. Follow me.”

“A taxi dropped me in front of the bank.”

“Oh, then join me. I hope this isn’t an inconvenience?” She said.

“No, thank God I have the time today. I’m leaving town tomorrow, back to my parish.” He said as they walked to the Toyota Prado jeep, parked behind the bank’s gate.

“I thought you lived in town?” Nnenna asked as they both got into the car, and she started it.

“No, I live in the East with my family. I came here for the quarterly convention.”

“Thank God I met you. I need a friend who understands.”

They were both quiet as she drove, and five minutes later, they arrived at their destination. They sat, ordered lunch, and turned to each other.

“How is your husband dealing with the situation?” He asked.

“He tries, but he’s tired as well. He runs an off-shore company in the East, so he travels a lot.”

Bode nodded. He understood the implications of that statement.

“Bode, Pastor, I have confessed past sins. I have gone to people I hurt in the past to apologize. I have checked the histories of both families, my husband’s and mine, and no horrible curse is following the children. Why is mine different?”

“Nnenna, you can call me Bode. Please answer my question as honestly as you can. What is your relationship with God like?”

Nnenna sat back in her chair, bending her long neck. “Well, I read the bible and pray. Like I said before, I go for special services and the weekly ones. I pay my tithe with faithfulness. I try.” She said all that as she looked down, and that alone told the Pastor what he wanted to know.

“How is your faith in God?” He asked, sitting forward to look at her.

“I don’t know, Bode.” She paused, then looked up at him with resolve. “Right now, it’s in shreds. When the doctor gave me the pregnancy result yesterday, and I called Ikenna, my husband, he sounded so distant. I feel like I’m losing him.” She said.

Bode nodded. “Let me tell you about God in my life. After college, I drifted away from Him and my calling, which I knew before leaving school. The pull of the material was strong, so I decided to do business. I had a knack for buying shoes and accessories people liked. I decided to sell them and not wear them.” He said, smiling.

“In five years, the business seemed to prosper. I was married with a child on the way when disaster struck. I ordered my goods online, but this time through a different wholesaler, my friend introduced me to, who was supposed to be cheaper. I never saw the man, my money or goods, and my friend again. I invested so much in that order thinking I’d hit the big bucks. I hit the ocean depths from there.

“I lost a lot, money, friends, my confidence, and my family almost until God showed up. He sent a friend from school to tell me He was still waiting. Now that doesn’t happen all the time, and that’s when I knew it was time for the prodigal to return home. The build-up of our relationship wasn’t only about the external. It was founded and built in my heart.

“Today, I call Him Father because He has become my Dad. I have learned to sit at his feet, to know and understand His ways. I humble myself before His Holy Spirit, who leads me in all things. Faith, Nnenna, insists that you abandon your life in His hands and start to wait on him, every second of every minute. It means you don’t depend on what you see on the external; you depend only on what He tells you. His presence becomes your hiding place, classroom, resting place, and from there, you obtain joy, peace, and life.”

“Wow, Bode, how does one start, and how long will it take to get there?” She asked, chuckling, but not relieved at the mountainous task Bode seemed to load on her.

“Nnenna, is your dad still alive?”

“Yes, he lives, the old bugger.” She said with a smile. “I’m thinking of traveling home to spend time with him.”

“Your relationship with him was a source of envy for me. You seemed to be the apple of your father’s eyes.”

She nodded, smiling. “We were close. We did most things together.”

“That’s what God wants. He wants to be the Father that does everything with you. I want you to go to Him as your Father and start to talk in the place of prayer. I believe He is sending me to you today to say He is waiting. He loves dearly, Nnenna. You cannot imagine what we miss by being away from His presence. The peace, joy, endless grace, all of that is available.”

“But what of children, Bode? That’s what I desire.”

“When you get to know the Father of lights, then you will understand that he withholds no good thing from those who walk in His righteousness. The problem here, Nnenna, is that you are looking with short-sighted eyes. Go to the one who has seen your end from your beginning and knows all your whys. Don’t seek the miracle; chase after the miracle giver.”

Their food arrived, and they ate in silence for a while.

“What if I lose everything as I wait?” She asked, chasing her food around the plate with her fork.

“What you lose in God’s presence may not have been yours from the beginning, and if it is His will, you will gain it back. Take time out and seek the Father for yourself. I will be praying with you, and I will send you some scripture verses to meditate and pray. Start this journey, Nnenna; it’s the best thing to happen to you in this life. Once you begin to see life with fresh eyes, then you will begin to live.”

She nodded in acceptance and gratitude. She believed God was waiting.

Till next time, be transformed!!!

Posted in christian, The Christ

His Strength in Our Weakness

Photo by Anuja Mary Tilj on Unsplash

Martha walked into the compound solemn. She held her bag tight, still wondering what to say to Antonia, her friend, family, and former boss.
Antonia lived in an old red brick bungalow. Those houses that are old, but never out of style.

Martha looked up and around the house, still wishing that she owned such a beautiful home after so many years. The cleaner must have just swept the compound clean of leaves from the mango and orange trees. The broom marks were still visible. The whole place was empty and quiet as if no one was home.

“Martha, is that you?” Antonia’s sing-song voice sounded from the living room window, in the center of the house.

Martha smiled. “Yes, but I can’t see you.”

“I’m coming, dear.”

Martha’s smile remained. Antonia opened the front door on the house’s left side, and Martha heard her walk to the front before seeing her. Antonia had a big smile and outstretched arms.

“Hello dear, come here.” She said.

Martha went to her feeling like a daughter who had come home. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay. It’s only money.”

Martha raised her head and looked at Antonia with wide eyes. “Only money? Ten years of work and your retirement funds? You call that only money?”

Antonia smiled at the younger woman. “Come, let’s have cold drinks and talk. The heat is excessive this time of the year.”

They walked back into the house, the older leading. That was how they had always been—one the boss, and later the mentor. Antonia had taken the once rebellious orphan, Martha, under her wings and taught her everything she knew about the job and God.

Martha looked around the once boisterous house, now quiet, with warmth. The draped windows, the rugged centers, and their pieces, the cushioned seats in different colors. Entering Antonia’s home reminded one of the Arabian Nights stories.

Martha followed her mentor to the living room where she sat, as Antonia opened the drapes to allow the light filter through. She must have been reading in the dark with the lampstand by her side. Martha noted the heavy volume on the next chair.

Antonia turned to her with a smile. “What can I get you?”

Martha shook her head. “Nothing, please sit. How is uncle Dave?”

Antonia’s smile remained. “He is fine. Don’t look so serious. I didn’t die.”

“Yes, but…” Martha knew the source of Antonia’s strength. He was her source as well, but how could this happen? “How did it happen?”She asked.

Antonia sat. “Well, Tony, you remember him, the manager I hired, called me on Monday that he was at the shop, and it was on fire.”

“Like that? How did it start?”

“I don’t know. It’s been three days, and the Police are still investigating. It is well, Martha.”

“What’s the Insurance company saying?”

“Well, they are also investigating and will conclude soon, I suppose.”

“Thank God for the way you are taking this. I don’t know what I would have done if such a thing happened to me.”

Antonia rubbed her hands together the way she did when lost in deep thought. Martha waited, knowing the action was for her.

“Martha, what do you think happened to me?” Antonia asked, not smiling.

“Well, you lost a heavy investment.”

“Yes, that’s true. I lost money and a lot of the products that I sell, but what happened to me?”

Martha sat forward with narrowed eyes. “I don’t understand.”

Antonia smiled. “On the morning of the incident, I was reading Hebrews 11. I believe the Holy Spirit led me there because out of the blues, the chapter dropped into my heart as I woke up. I opened it and read, and a small line stayed in my mind. It said that out of weakness, they were made strong. I meditated on it and discussed it with Dave, and thirty minutes later, Tony called. At the end of that call, I asked myself, what is faith? Is it a belief in me, my abilities, and possessions, or in God and His manifold wisdom?

“You see, dear, He saw all sides of what happened before it did. He saw the end from the beginning and prepared me for it. He is preparing us, not just for good, but His strength manifests in our weakness for times like this. Martha, I’d rather rejoice in my weak state for God’s strength to show up. Can you hold onto money? It comes, and it goes, and I will not fall prey to fear of a temporary necessity.”

Martha nodded, looking down, as understanding flowed through her. Tears filled her eyes as she thought of how she had worried about this woman whom she loved. She stood in gratitude and raised her hand in worship to the Father, the keeper of all men. Antonia joined her, smiling as she noted the other woman’s tears.

When they finished worshipping, Antonia went to her side and sat.

“Why worry, Martha?”

Martha was still dabbing at the sides of her eyes with tissues. “I didn’t know if you would be okay. I didn’t know how you would take it, with none of your children in the country and with your strong independent spirit, stubborn more like.” She said and smiled as Antonia laughed.

“But you know there is God, right?”

“Yes, but how do you survive?” Martha asked holding Antonia’s hand.

Antonia sat forward and looked into her eyes. “That’s where you allow God to be God. I have become weak that the excellence of His glory may be made known in and through my life. I am waiting on Him for instructions on my next steps and looking onto Jesus, the author and finisher of the race I’m on. I have humbled myself before my Father as I wait for Him to save as He sees fit. I am happy you came; I believe you needed to hear this.”

“Yes, I am so relieved that you are fine and your faith intact.”

“No, not that. My problem is the reason for your worry and the words you spoke some minutes ago. What if it had been you? What would have happened, Martha?”

Martha looked down. “I would have been devastated, not as strong as you.”

“Because you have started depending on the temporary and not the eternal, my daughter.” She turned Martha to her and tilted her head up so she could look into her eyes again. “Retrace your steps. Nothing is worth losing the joy set before us, nothing.”

Antonia held onto Martha’s face and kept looking until the other woman managed a nod. Antonia nodded as well, as she knelt in prayer, and Martha joined.

Both prayed to the same Father. The one who had suffered the physical loss for the one who seemed to have lost her spiritual way. When they stood, the peace in the older passed to the younger.

Till next time, be transformed!!!