Posted in christian

A New Thing

Photo by Jasper Boer on Unsplash

“Imagine being told to leave the life you know, for a place you have no inkling about?” Ola said.

The light in the room was dim, as the day darkened into night. The three women preferred it. The cushioned chairs were worn but comfortable, upholstered in velvet, maybe a million years ago, but still able to give warmth. The rug was soft and fluffy, like real animal fur. The antique stools had gold bars by the side. The women had asked themselves more than once if the bars were real gold.

They gathered twice a week in Mrs. Obed’s house for bible study. Mrs. Obed was eighty that year and unable to attend the day’s meeting due to a cold. She allowed the women, who were daughters to her, to hold the bible meeting while lying in bed upstairs in her room.

“Imagine what it would mean for us at this time?” Ngozi asked, looking at the other ladies.

“I believe God was telling Abraham to get away from external influences. To allow God to be his chief influencer. God was introducing to a new way of life in a way.” Toni, the quiet one, said.

“That’s a wise way of putting it, Toni. Thanks.” Ola said, smiling.

“So, God was doing a new thing in his life?” Ngozi said in response.

Toni nodded. “Yes, it’s like telling us that by following Christ’s lead, we have become new creatures. When we allow Him to have total control, He renews us, from the inside, which manifests in the external-the new thing.”

“I guess Isaiah 43:19 applies as well. He will do a new thing, make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. He took a childless man from being a nobody in his homeland to become a great nation and a blessing in a land where he was unknown. I have a question though, how did Abraham know to answer and obey the voice? God’s requirements were quite steep.” Ola asked.

Toni shook her head. “I don’t think it was a moment’s decision for Abraham. God saw something in the man, and Abraham might have been seeking Him for change. For us though, what does it mean to be new creatures in Christ, based on today’s discussions?”

“I believe God is calling us out, as well. To get out from under the influence of the material world. John 1:12, 13 says as many believe in His name, He gave the right to become sons of God; those born of God, not the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, and not of blood. To be led by His Spirit.” Ngozi said and took a sip of tea.

“1 John 5 also says whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and the victory over the world is our faith. Once Abraham believed and obeyed the living word, he was an overcomer. God led him, and started doing new things in his life, making a way where there was none, and rivers in the desert.” Ola said.

Toni slipped from her chair and sat cross-legged on the rug. “Once we allow Him total control, He also begins to do new things in our lives. Let’s be more specific. What does it mean to give Him total control?”

The three remained quiet in meditation.

“To control is to exert influence or authority. Jesus is Lord, so we allow Jesus to be the ruler over everything in our lives. Our decisions, thoughts, actions, families, gatherings, country, etc.” Toni said, looking at the rest.

Ngozi nodded. “Amen to that. He is the light in our darkness, which means He will manifest light over every aspect of our lives that we allow Him to control, chasing away fear, worry, and doubt. Death conquered.”

“Word,” Ola said, smiling in agreement.

“Wonderful, ladies.” A voice said from behind the door of the room.

They all turned as Mrs. Obed entered the room, smiling.

“I came down ten minutes ago, heard your discussion, and stopped. I have been following your line of thought, and I like where it’s going.”

“Thank you, ma. We are almost done. How are you feeling?” Ola asked.

Mrs. Obed waved a hand. “I’m as strong as an ox. I’ll survive. I have a question for all of you before you go. What if you handed Him total control, and nothing happens?”

“Nothing happens? I don’t understand, ma, how can nothing happen with God?” Toni asked.

“What if you wait for the promised children like Abraham did, and the years pass by? Wouldn’t it make sense to offer up your servant for the Master’s use? What if you keep waiting and your husband decides he wants you to get a surrogate? Won’t that start looking like the same thing after a while, though God gave specific promises to Abraham?”

The ladies remained quiet, lost in thought. The question wasn’t one they could answer lightly.

“We will wait,” Toni said, answering the question.

“We will wait.” Ola and Ngozi said in unison.

Mrs. Obed smiled at all of them. “See that you do. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are higher. Stand in faith as long as you heard from Him. See you on Friday.”

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

The Beast of Burden

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

“Tell me what was going on in your mind at the time of the incident?” Pastor Kunle asked.

Ayo let out a harsh breath. “Anger and pain. I expected her to understand. I have been overwhelmed by a lot of the things happening around me. The company’s management, where I work, are thinking of downsizing, and none of us know our fate. Peter has been sick for some time, so I have been taking a lot of time off to care for the boy, since Maria traveled. My mum’s shop in the market was razed to the ground with the recent fire outbreak, and I am back to being their primary financial support. When she returned and blamed me for Peter’s condition, I struck.”

Pastor Kunle nodded in understanding. “I know it’s not easy to deal with the challenges of life, Ayo, but you must know God is with you.”

Ayo laughed, a mirthless laugh.

“I kept believing the grace of God would see me through. I kept praying for strength and holding on for a break. I have no idea how I became so angry, so fast. I still can’t believe I hit my wife.” Ayo said, his voice thinning into a whisper as he shook his head.

Pastor Kunle stood from his chair and walked around the table to sit next to him.

“Ayo, I believe you gave in to the pressure of the external. The fear of losing your job, Peter’s sickness, Maria’s unavailability, and the new financial burden clouded your mind, distracting you from your position in Christ.

“God promises that in the waters, He is with us; In the rivers, we shall not be overwhelmed, and in the fire, we will not be burned, nor scorched by its flames. The verse is easy to quote, but do we believe and live them out? God tells us in straightforward sentences that waters, rivers, and fire will come to test and strengthen us and that He will be with us through all of it.

“You believe in God’s grace, but you admit you felt overwhelmed. You worried about too many things, forgetting to lay each one of them down before God, leaving them at His feet. Instead of walking in his strength, you prayed to Him but depended on yourself. You forgot that the most important place to be at all times is in God’s presence and prioritized your situation over it. You lost your peace from there.

“Ayo, what happens on your inside is more important than what’s happening on the outside. If you can overcome inside your mind and heart, you will triumph in the physical.”

Ayo nodded and turned to the Pastor.

“What do I do now? How do I go home to face her and the kids?”

Pastor Kunle smiled as he patted Ayo’s shoulder. “First, you need to forgive yourself. God loves you with an everlasting love, and He will keep drawing you with love and kindness, so believe He has forgiven you. 

“I will give you a series of scripture verses I want you to study and pray. We will be praying with and for you. I will speak with your wife as well, to pray with you. Perfect love casts out fear because fear brings torment. You will need to grow in the perfect love of God, as do we all.

“You will return home and apologize to your wife and children. Tell them such a thing will not happen again. Love and cherish them, as God gives you grace.”

“What if it happens again? I heard that once you beat a woman, you will continue to do so.” Ayo said, lowering his head.

Pastor Kunle smiled. “Ayo,” he waited till the other man raised his head and looked at him. “That’s the lie of the devil. Please don’t believe it. The choice is yours, though. When you walk in the spirit and the Most High’s strength, you will not give in to such bouts of madness, but when you fall back into depending on yourself and facing life alone, God alone knows what can happen.

“You are a child of God, and the Spirit of God resides in you, Ayo, have faith, and live it. Don’t allow the enemy’s lies to distract and destroy what God is doing in you.”

Ayo nodded. “I see now how important it is to be careful about what one hears and thinks. I will immerse myself in the word of God.”

Pastor Kunle smiled again. “Study and listen to Him too. God has a word for you every day. Immerse yourself in the living word of God available for each day.” 

The Pastor turned and tore out a small sheet of paper from his table, took out his pen, and wrote down some verses. He handed the paper to Ayo.

“Study and pray these verses until the Spirit of God gives you leave to do something else. Depend on God, Ayo, that’s all we do here, or else the challenges of life would suck us dry.” Pastor Kunle said as he stood and walked back to his seat.

Ayo stood as well. “Thank you, Pastor, for all you’ve done since last night. If not for you and your wife, I don’t know how I could have managed until now. My mind was a war zone yesterday.”

“Yes, the enemy would try at that time to ensure you stay down in the darkness instead of seeking the light of life. Thank God you made the right choice. Let’s pray.” 

The Pastor prayed for grace, mercy, and strength in the inner man. He also gave thanks for Ayo’s life.

Once he was done, they shook hands, and Ayo left the office. As soon as he shut the door behind him, a question popped into his mind. How is it possible to change so fast?

Ayo stopped, pondered the question, and smiled. “I understand God loves me more than I can ever know and is willing to carry my burdens. I will lay down my problems before my father rather than carry them around like a beast of burden. I will continue to deal with issues and questions that arise in my mind, rather than making the problems in the physical my priority.” He said out loud as he walked away, still smiling.

Till next time, be transformed!!

Posted in christian

Saved by Grace

Photo by Greg Weaver on Unsplash

Dear diary,

Today is a day I will never forget.

After my last meeting, I was tired and hungry. I took a taxi home, and once the vehicle turned into my street, the chaos happening on it made the driver slow down. People were running to the end of the road where a crowd gathered. It almost seemed like they were in front of my compound.

“Should I keep going, madam?” The driver asked.

“Yes, please.”

As we drove down the street, I saw my neighbors and friends standing and talking. Some were shouting. The car stopped and parked in front of the compound opposite mine.

I paid the driver and slowly got out of the vehicle, trying to find the easiest way into my house without being noticed. 

“Mama Toby, welcome.”

I had been caught. I turned with a smile to meet five women looking at me.

“Women of God, what’s happening?” I asked.

I had been appointed the leader of the Women’s Fellowship in Church, and I was still adjusting to the role and its responsibilities.

“Mommy Toby, so if not for Iya Risi, you would have crept into your house to hide?” Ada’s mummy asked, the one adept at troublemaking.

“To tell you all the truth, I am tired and hungry, and I have no idea what is happening on our street. Yes, I would have entered my house to rest until it’s time to pick Toby from school.”

Ada’s mummy hissed and clapped her hands. “Leader.” She said, her mouth turned up. The job should have been hers, but favor entrusted it in my care.

“Mommy Toby, your friend is in trouble.” Aiden’s mum, my next-door neighbor, said in a whisper.

“Which friend?” I asked, turning to her.

She took my hand and led me to the crowd of women and children. We moved forward wherever we saw space, excusing ourselves and apologizing until we got to the front, and I looked down at the horrible spectacle, my eyes widening.

My young friend, Emma, was almost naked on the ground. She had been beaten, people were still spitting on her, and she wasn’t moving. Her eyes were shut, and I couldn’t see movement in her chest area. The women and children were shouting insults and obscenities at her.

“Would you please hand me your second Ankara?” I asked Aiden’s mum.

She looked at me for a minute, knowing what I intended to do. She untied the material from around her waist and handed it to me.

“Be careful. This crowd is unforgiving.” She said.

I walked forward with caution and covered Emma with the material. She shivered as the cloth touched her bare skin but did nothing else. The crowd erupted with no’s.

“Remove that nonsense, and let her suffer.” Someone said, shouting.

“Chief supporter, go and sleep.” Someone else said.

“Are you her madam?” Yet another person said from behind me.

“Mama Toby, what do you think you’re doing?” Ada’s mummy asked as she and the other ladies circled me like a protective shield. 

“We need to take this girl out of here before these people kill her,” I said, looking at the ladies one after the other, hoping they would agree with my plan.

“Why? Do you know what she did?” Ada’s mummy asked, folding her arms.

“It doesn’t matter what she did. This kind of treatment is inhuman. If she committed a crime, the police should be called into the matter. Let’s not let this crowd take the law into their hands.”

The crowd had quietened for a bit, and most of them heard what I said.

“She is a prostitute. She sleeps with married men who live on this street. We have caught her today.” A woman shouted from the crowd, and the rest of the people agreed.

“Did you hear that? This girl, your friend, sleeps with the married men on our street and blackmails them for money. We caught her today because her last victim had the sense to confess to his wife, who set a trap for her.

“The man’s wife took her phone by force and opened up her photo gallery. All she told us was that there are many more men who might have been blackmailed by your friend and that she would delete all the photos to save people’s marriages. This girl needs to be taught a lesson!” Ada’s mummy said, her tone high, her eyes narrowed in anger.

“Yes!” The crowd chorused.

“People like her should pay for their wicked ways so that they can change.” Ada’s mummy said, continuing to work the crowd.

I wondered if she was angry at me or something else.

“How many women here has she slept with their husbands?” I asked, shouting out the question.

Nobody said a word.

“The person this girl owes an apology is the woman who caught her. Why are we trying to kill someone who hasn’t done us any harm?”

“Are you sure your husband is not one of her victims?” Someone asked, and people laughed.

I looked at Emma, who still lay on the ground, unmoving.

“I am not a judge, and I will not condemn her. I was a spinster once, and I know the life I lived before God saved me.”

“Birds of the same feather.” A woman shouted from the crowd.

“Yes, you can say that. I have been saved by grace in Christ, and I praise God for it. I am not like most of you who were good from birth and never sinned or did wrong. No, I can stand because I have been washed by the blood of Jesus from my sinful ways, not by my righteousness. Since we are birds of the same feather, please do to me what you’ve been doing to this girl.” I said, challenging them.

I had no idea what made me say that. My anger may have unhooked a bolt in my brain. I almost cowered before the crowd in fear. I stood tall against the panic I felt, hoping and praying they would not take the bait and deal with me.

“Mama Toby,” A voice called from behind me.

I turned, and it was Iya, the oldest landlady on the street. A kind and no-nonsense woman who didn’t tolerate wrongdoing. In her, I saw our deliverance.

“Doesn’t she deserve to be beaten for what she has done? Fornicating with the men on her home turf? She has no sense at all.” Iya said.

“Mama, God doesn’t give us what we deserve.”

“We are not God, Mama Toby. Leave us to handle this the right way.”

I sighed, not ready to give up. “If Lade, my daughter, was caught in a situation like this, would I be happy to see her left to the crowd? Would any of you leave your children at the mercy of people who would hurt them? God created this girl, and He is her Father. Let Him deal with her the way He sees fit.

“I serve a living God who asks me to leave all judgment to Him. How will I pray, praise, or worship Him, if I judge and condemn this girl?” I asked, looking at the faces in the crowd.

The women remained quiet. I heard the noise of the children alone as I waited for their decision. Mine was not to leave the place without Emma.

Iya hissed at me and turned to walk away. People made way for her. Next, Ada’s mummy walked away with the women who protected me. One by one, they departed until I was left with the crowd. They also dispersed.

One woman remained, with Emma and me.

“Tell her to leave this place. She must pack out of this street, or I swear, the next time I see her, she will not leave my presence whole.” The woman said and walked away.

“That’s the wife of the man your friend went to blackmail. It’s her day, I suppose.” Aiden’s mum said from behind me.

“Please help me with this girl. I need to take her to the hospital.”

We covered Emma with the material and rushed her to the hospital. She received treatment for her bruises. Emma refused to look at or talk to me the whole time until we dropped her in front of her house.

I hope she heard, understood, and believes.

Till next time, be transformed!!!

Posted in christian

Life in Him

Photo Credits:

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.”