Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Love for the Season

February 14th. Saint Valentines Day. A day set aside to celebrate love. Yet I had no lover. Years had gone by and I had always hoped to share this day with that special someone. This year was not different. Once again, I was alone.

The most hurting part of it was I was still nursing the heartbreak of December 23rd the previous year. Christmas and New Year were spent in tears. I thought Valentine’s day would be different for once. I almost cursed the guy that put me into such state of sadness, emptiness and lack of self-worth.

I could not bear the squeals of excitement as my sisters unwrapped their valentine gifts. I could not remain in the atmosphere of happiness filled with laughter, exchange of kisses and embraces. I left them and drove towards one end of Port Harcourt. I wanted to be far away from home.

All along the journey to no destination in mind, I saw couples. Couples on the streets, couples in cars, couples about to enter a shop, couples coming out of a boutique. It did not matter what kind of couples they were. They were what I wanted at that time. I felt I was the only one alone in the world.

In my state of sadness and depression, I drove down a lonely road. At a T-junction, I was stopped by two policemen. They wanted to see my papers. I had no plans of cooperating. I was all emotions at that time. After some moments of arguing, they asked me where I was going to. I pointed left.
“Oh, the Motherless Babies Home,” one of them said. “Let her go.”
I got directions from them to the Motherless Babies home.

I walked into this room with babies crying. The adults were probably used to these sounds and were not moved. They went about their daily activities. A woman walked up to me. She was the matron of the Motherless Babies Home. She did not ask me much questions. She took me around and showed me the babies. Most were less than six months old. They looked like they were starved of something. Not food. Not clothing. Not shelter. Something was missing.

For each crib I went to (and the child was not asleep), I noticed the child reached out to me. They wanted to be carried. They wanted to be touched. The moment I carried them, stoked and patted them, there was this satisfaction they had. I cannot use words to describe it. They became peaceful, relaxed and some even went to sleep by my mere carrying them. Then the Matron said, “some of these children die because they lack love. All they need is someone to hold them and touch them. That love a mother shows a child in the early years is like a nutrient needed for growth. That is what these children are lacking.”

Only this morning, I was wishing for someone to hold me and touch me. Here I was seeing children who had never been adequately touched before. Touch-starved babies.

Love is affectionate, a gentle voice whispered in my ears.

After I had touched each child to rest, I started my journey home. I began to think about my mother. If I ever doubted her love for me, every trace of doubt was erased that moment. She loved me. She touched me enough to make me a healthy human. Despite the heartbreak, I knew there was someone who loved me. I was going to tell her I loved her too.

Love is proactive, the gentle voice whispered in my ears.

I thought about the mothers of the babies. How could a mother ignore her child? There are many women out there who would give anything to have a child yet someone was throwing a child away. If I was such a child, I would never forgive the woman.

Love is forgiving, the gentle voice whispered in my ears.

Maybe the mother had to do it in the best interest of the child, I began to reason with myself. Maybe she knew she could not take care of the child but someone out there will give this child the love and comfort she could not give. The abandonment might have been in faith.

Love is sacrificing, the gentle voice continued whispering.

By the time I got home, I was thinking of who has made sacrifices for me. Maybe many people have. But greater love had noone than this, than to lay down his life for me. That was what Jesus did. That was all the love I needed that day.

I opened a bottle of wine and shared among the family. For the first time I told my mother and siblings that I love them. That made their day. I felt very happy seeing them filled with joy. I was genuinely happy for the fun they had that day.

Love is not envious, the gentle voice whispered again.

So I reflected on the words of the gentle voice. I learnt a new meaning to love. I learnt that Valentine’s Day was for loving, anyone, and for giving.

I knew from that moment on that I would never lack a lover for the Valentine season, because there were so many people to love and to give to.

Love is in you, the gentle voice concluded.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

That Bold Step of Faith

Time to surrender
I have struggled to that point
Where I cannot go on
For nothing has changed
In my current state;

I tried to look ahead
But I saw dearth
Which made me hopeless
So I've feared to take a step;

On my own I can do nothing
On my own I have done nothing
So it is time to surrender
Completely to you.

The Inspiration
“I really worry about your work,” Emily voiced her concern to her husband. “It not only keeps you out late, it leaves you exhausted by the time you return home.”
She set his breakfast before him then sat down adjacent to him.
He reached out and stroked her face lovingly then said, “I’m believing God for a better job.”
“Amen,” she said half-heartedly.
As he pounced on his delicious meal, he said to himself, “If only she knew that I am not a night-shift bar tender!”
After he lost his job, he accepted the offer to be a lover to a rich lady. His reason was he wanted to continue being the “man of the house”. He had to provide somehow. Though he was getting money from the lady, he was not happy with his life and the secret he was keeping from his wife. Every time he prayed he said, “God, if only you could give me a job, I will not do this again.”

Sometimes, when we do not get answers to prayers, it is because we are not acting in faith. God is simply waiting for us to do what is right and trust him completely amidst what our current situation is saying. For without faith, it is impossible to please God [Hebrews 11:6].

I saw faith in action when a friend of mine announced that she had quit her job.
“Which job are you moving to?”
“None,” she said casually, “I am just waiting on God to give me the job He has for me. He is my provider.”

Then I realized she had taken a bold step of faith. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see [Hebrews 11:1 NLT]. She was not waiting to see the job physically before making the move. She knew it will come.

Many a times, we get used to our comfort zones that we do not want to take that bold step of faith that will lead us to what God truly has for us. Fear is one spirit that comes into operation here. But today, I want you to know that you can overcome anything that will prevent you from receiving God’s best for you. For Jesus Christ has overcome everything for you [John 16:33].

What are you believing God for? Take that bold step of faith to receive it. Do you need to do away with someone or something? Do you need to sow a seed? Do you need to change your location? Listen to the gentle voice of the spirit telling you what you should do. Obey. Though you may not know what the future holds, that bold step of faith will lead you to what God has reserved for you before the foundation of the world.

Have a blessed week ahead.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Job: 10 Great Things I’m grateful to God for

1. He gave it to me on time
Just when we had almost lost hope… wondering where we will get provision for the project that had been dragging, He gave me the job. Though I thanked Him then, today I am still grateful for the job. Last night, my sister asked me why I made the decision to accept the job. I just laughed and brushed the talk aside. There are very few times I have felt so strong about something, like I actually heard Him say “This is it”, and this was one of those times.

2. He has always given me good managers
All managers I have worked with were good to me. These are people that would fight for me even when I am sleeping. These have been people that are concerned about what concerns me. Even when it seemed that the managers were difficult, He taught me how to understand them and see them through His eyes. These are people that I have learnt great principles from, which have helped me in my career.

3. He has given me good health all through
When I think of some stressful times at work, I thank God that I did not break down. I don’t know how He did it.

4. I have never been made to feel inferior because of my gender
Infact, I have been made to feel real special because of my gender. Never for once have I heard or perceived, “she cannot do this because she is female”.

5. I have always got promotions when due and with great commendations
The statement explains itself.

6. My salary has always been increasing
One will wonder why I should talk about this. With inflation, salary should increase, not so? There are several situations where this would not be the case. For instance, one can switch to a lower paying job. I am indeed grateful to God for this steady, geometric increase in my pay.

7. He has shown me opportunities to be creative
I could surely not get bored on the job… not when He shows me daily challenges and opportunities to be creative. They have been so much that I now show others these opportunities and challenges.

8. He has given me very good colleagues
Though work is supposed to be professional, it is amazing that this job has given me friends and colleagues that behave like family.

9. He has given me understanding to learn so much within the period I have been in the organization
I look back at what I knew when I joined the organization, when I was trying to find my feet and blend within the organization. All I had was the degree and the ability to learn. Today, I cannot quantify what is in me concerning all facets of the organization.

10. He has given me wisdom to lead and manage people
It has been some years of learning from the Master – how to lead and manage people. Everyday, there is something new to learn. Three profound things I have learnt are 1) Manage yourself first 2) A leader needs humility 3) Chastise in love. All the answers on how to be a great leader and manager you can find from His Word. Jesus is the perfect example.
I have made mistakes and stumbled, but He has picked me up and showed me the lessons learnt.

What a wonderful journey it has been walking with Him at work!

Heavenly Father, today, I say a very big “Thank You” for my job, for I know this is your will for me in Christ Jesus. Just want you to know I truly enjoy this gift you gave me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Changeable Destiny

Destiny. I had always believed it to be an event or a course of events that would inevitably happen in the future. Even when I could see that I was headed for destruction, I would say “we are helpless in the face of Destiny. There is nothing I can do about it.” Now I know better. Destiny can be changed. A decision, prayer, or intercession can change destiny. I learnt this when I had the challenge of having a sexual relationship with a coworker.

For months Big Boss had been stating his interest in me. I call him “Big Boss” because he held a top management position. Then I was a young single lady who had just joined the organization. He was a married man in his fifties. I was scared that if I did not give in to his request, I might lose my job. Week after week, the pressure mounted. I could not report it as a case of sexual harassment, after all it came subtly in every meeting we had. At nights when he called, I was so lonely that I looked forward to speaking with him. Each line he dropped was seed for my flesh. As the days went by, it became more difficult to say no.

I thought about my career in the company. I thought about the stigma if anyone found out about us. I thought about my future – maybe no man would marry me after hearing I had been a girlfriend to Big Boss. But when I thought about the pleasures and the satisfaction of my flesh, I began to wonder why I should bother about my future and what people might think.

I felt like I was at a crossroad in my life. There were so many decisions I could make at that moment though only one was the perfect will of God for me. I could postpone my answer giving me more time to evaluate what I was feeling. I could report the situation to my manager. I could say yes and accept the consequences. I could say no, but that word could not come out of my mouth.

“Lord, I need your help,” I cried to God. “Your word says that the temptations in my life are no different from what others experience. And You are faithful. You said You will not allow the temptation to be more than I can stand. You also said when I am tempted, You will show me a way out so that I can endure. Please take this man away from me because I cannot say no. Please make him forget to call me today.”

After this prayer, Big Boss called on the hour, giving me his itinerary for the day, and what he planned to do with me in the evening. “I am going to give you pleasure you’ve never imagined,” he said in a deep, sexy voice during his last call. I could not resist anymore. I made up my mind. It seemed God did not answer my prayer so I concluded that He did not care. I decided to give in to the demands of Big Boss.

I prepared that evening. I bathed in scented water, wore my favorite underwear, perfumed myself from head to toe, and wore clothes that would not hinder the activity for the evening. I was ready 3 hours before my date. I lay down on the bed thinking on the nice words Big Boss had told me. Every remembrance of his sweet words made me wish for time to move faster. I was in this dream world when my best friend called.

“Are you coming to church this evening?” he asked.
Church? I asked myself. I had forgotten about mid-week service.
“No, not this evening. I have a date,” I replied.
“With who? Can’t you bring your date to church?”
“Certainly not! My date is with Big Boss. I have said yes to his request.”
“You said yes?” He sounded disappointed.
“Yes, I did.”
“Okay. I’m sorry but I am going to ruin your date this evening. Every five minutes, I will call your mobile phone.”
“You won’t do that!” I could only wish for once my best friend will not mean what he said.
“Yes I will.”
“Then I will put my phone off.”
“What will you tell your folks if they try to reach you and find out your phone is off?”
I was quiet for a moment. He knew that during the evenings I kept my phone on to be reachable by my family members.
“What time is your date?” he asked.
“In about 3 hour’s time.”
“Why don’t you come let’s chat to pass the time?”

His house was fifteen minutes drive from mine so I accepted. When I got into his house, he was praying. When he finished, we spent over an hour sharing our day’s experience. There was so much joy and laughter between us. I felt refreshed.

When I got up to leave he said, “You really don’t want to see Big Boss, do you?”
“No I don’t, but I have given him my word. I can’t turn back now. It’s too late. If you were Big Boss, how would you feel if a lady backs out of a date which you both have agreed on?”
“I would feel she is not interested and I would move on to the next available lady,” he said casually.

I felt a mix of cold, inferiority and hurt.
“Really? So you mean if I tell Big Boss I am not coming this evening, he won’t lay down on his bed having a moody evening?” That is what I would do if my date did not show up.
“Come on, he is a man. A mature man for that matter. He would probably hang out with some friends or call someone else. A woman that is seen as an object for satisfying a man’s lust is not indispensable. Any other woman can fill in that gap!”
“Oh! I see,” I said slowly.

Suddenly, I knew in my spirit the decision to make. I was no longer afraid. I became bold. I was no longer focused on the pleasures my body wanted. I picked up my phone and called Big Boss. I cancelled the date, apologized for giving him the impression that I was interested, and told him I would like us to keep our relationship professional. He was okay with all I said. After the call he sent a text saying that he had hoped we could deepen the relationship but he respects my wish to keep the relationship formal. That was the end of the pressures from Big Boss. I have been able to look him in the eye afterwards without guilt or fear. And I have been able to say no to several others without going through the weeks of indecision, fear and confusion.

Today I look back and reflect on that day. God’s response to my challenge was the best thing for me, better than what I prayed for. Now I realize I was not stuck with the destiny of being a girlfriend to Big Boss. That destiny was changed through prayer, the choice that was made and intercession by my best friend. God is faithful and His ways are far beyond anything I could imagine. He did not allow the temptation to be more than I could stand. When I was tempted, He showed me a way out.


My Beloved,
By Being You
Made in My image
You have so much
Deposited in you;

But when you move
At My Frequency
You can do great things
More than you ever imagined
More than the world expects of you;

When you vibrate
In response to my vibrations
Then you can impact the world
In that way I have predestined for you;

You have all it takes
To be all I’ve made you to be
To achieve all I’ve called you to do
To turn dreams to reality;

Key into Me
Your Resonant Frequency
Then you will experience
Profound greatness
Novel achievement
And unimaginable fulfillment.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Forbidden Fruit

It beckoned:
Its rare beauty, its mystery
Was the greatest captivator in history
Every drop in my resistance
Was due to an extra glance
Yet I felt it was alright
To look one more time;

It beckoned:
Persistently, yet subtly
It spoke to me
Come closer please touch me
Feel me and taste me
Experience me just once
You will never be the same again;

It beckoned:
I stuttered a refusal
Just for the record
I knew better than to say yes
But there was this emptiness
That needed to be filled
With something different and sweet;

It beckoned:
The call had become light
I feared I would be denied
This one and only opportunity
To explore the untouched fruit
That exuded sweetness and satiety
So why live a lifetime in rue?

No longer could I hold back
My last strands of resistance
So I touched and savoured
Then took a bite with great hopes

As the liquid touched my tongue
I could have sworn it was sweet
But that sweetness was too transient
Compared to the sour, nay, bitter taste;

And then it dawned on me
After the deceit
That there was no beckon
Save my desire and weakness
That drove me to taste
Of eternal grief, sorrow and pain
Only redeemable
By Love Himself.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How To Be Motivated At Work

“I am highly demotivated!”

In the space of two days, three colleagues had confessed their low morale on the job. I was silent for a while because my mind went back to two years ago when I felt the same way. I was particularly concerned because this third person was close to me.

“The company is not making me happy,” the young man continued. “I feel like leaving today though I do not have another job!”
“I know how you feel…” I started.
“No you don’t. You look like you enjoy the work despite the challenges.”
“Yes, that is because I enjoy my work. I am motivated. But it was not like that before.”

A lot of people appear to have low worker morales and even hate their jobs
[1]. With so many people worried about their jobs, the economy, and their safety, motivation plays a key role in how they deal with all that is going around them. Even with the best education, credentials, intelligence and work history, if you are not motivated on your job, your career will not be enjoyable[2]. I have once felt demotivated at work. I will share with you few things that helped me to remain motivated on that job and in other jobs that followed.

1. Know who your boss is
When I worked to please man, it seemed futile. Rewards, appreciation and recognition did not seem forthcoming. Paul, who demonstrated a lot of zeal and motivation in his ministry, encouraged others to do work as if working for the Lord and not for men [Colossians 3:23-24].When I applied this advise, I began to feel fulfilled. This was for the following reasons: -
- God rewarded my work [2 Chronicles 15:7]
- He saw my heart [Jeremiah 17:10] and the extent of effort I was putting in
- He could change any situation for my favour [Proverbs 21:1]

2. Know that real motivation comes from within
If I depended on money, appreciation, or promotions to motivate me, I would have been demotivated when these did not come. When my motivation came from within, I began to see the money, appreciation, and promotions as rewards from God. I did not set my affection on earthly things [Colossians 3:2].

3. Appreciate what God has given you
When I reflected on my job, I remembered that this job was an answer to a prayer. It was a good and perfect gift [James 1:17]. It was a blessing. The more I thanked Him for it, the more I began to see the good in it.

4. Know that God gave you this job for a purpose
All the while I was feeling demotivated, I was expecting too much, especially from my heavenly boss. I wanted to receive. With time, I realized that God had His reasons for giving me the job, in addition to providing me with external motivation (the money, recognition, promotions, etc). Some of these reasons include: -
- To give him pleasure [Philippians 2:13]. He derives pleasure from blessing us.
- to make a difference by exhibiting His character [1 John 4:4]
- to get external motivation [Ecclesiastics 3:13, Isaiah 65:22]
- to motivate others [Hebrews 10:24]

5. Understand that you are blessed in all you do
Whether man accepted it or not, I knew that I am blessed in all I do. Blessed is the work of my hands. Blessed am I in my going to the office and in coming out of the office [Psalms 121:8].

6. Ask God for Guidance

I took advantage of the fact that God had promised to give us guidance [Isaiah 30:21]. I knew that new challenges, new opportunities and new responsibilities will make me internally motivated. I asked prayed to God for motivation and asked Him to open my eyes to these new things. Then I began to see that there were lots of internally motivating factors around me [Isaiah 43:19].

I shared this ‘How-to-be-motivated at work” with my colleague. Today he is a motivated worker, working as if for the Lord and not for man.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Skin Colour

For a few days, I have been present in discussions on "Colour Segregation". Let me spare you the details. I have come to observe that some black people feel inferior to the whites. I have heard a black man in his country, working in the same organization with a white man, say something like, "I can't eat in the canteen before or same time as the Oyibos. The Oyibos deserve this respect." I don't know if it has to do with stories heard from the past. I don't know if it has to do with treatments received in the past. I don't know if it has to do with the treatment witnessed of others. I really don't know.
One thing I know is the word of God teaches that every human being is uniquely created in the image of God [Gen 1:27]. This emphasizes man's spiritual nature as that which sets him apart as special - not his physical makeup. If all humans possess a soul of equal value, then obviously there is no basis for suggesting that one group is superior to another. Age, sex, skin color, education, money, national origin, IQ, physical condition, or even what a person has done are of no value.[1] We all come from one source [Gen 3:20].
As if to support these truths I know, I stumbled on "10 Things You Didn't Know about You"
What great joy I had knowing that even in the physical we all are the same.
You are the apple of God's eye [Zech 2:8] - whether the mixture of the four hues of your skin colour has resulted in you being black or white.
Have a blessed day.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Right on Time

Right on Time
How could I
Forget who You are
A God that shows up right on time
And has never missed a deadline?

How could I
Forget all you’ve shown me
Especially when it comes to
Satisfying my every need?

How could I
Forget who brought me here
Forget who built my faith
And made me expect a new day?

I have experienced You
Beheld your power and glory
Living today as infallible proof
That You are Love and You are faithful;

No matter what I go through
May I never forget You
A God who is all sufficient
Who will always arrive
Right on Time.

The Inspiration
Today I recalled one experience that made me remember that God is always right on time. Let me share it with you.

During my university days, I was on scholarship. The money was always expected – by me and the family. Once I heard the money was paid into my account, I go the very next day to withdraw all of it. We needed it.

There was this period when the money did not seem forthcoming. I called the organization and they said they were having some restructuring hence the money will be delayed. Months went by and they had not paid the money. I desperately needed to pay my school fees and buy my books. We had no where to turn to.

I explained to God my dire need (like He did not know) and kept hoping that somehow He will send an uncle to my rescue. No uncle came. I also hoped the deadlines for school fees payment and paying for the books will be moved. Instead the deadline was brought forward. With my last shred of hope, I prayed for a miracle.

One day I was in town with my mother. She asked me to check the bank again. I obeyed (who won’t in my position?). When I checked my balance, it had increased by the amount I needed to pay my school fees, buy my books, and with a little extra for transportation. I quickly withdrew all of it (I always had my cheque book with me expecting some money). Joyfully I said to my mom, “maybe the company just sent something for us to hold on to while they continue their restructuring. This money is more than enough for my current need.” God was right on time.

My excitement is in knowing how God did it. When I went to the bank 2 months later (this time, I was not in dire need of any money), my full scholarship amount had been paid. One of the cashiers then explained to me that they plan to withdraw a certain amount of money from my account (equivalent to that additional amount I saw in my account previously). There had been a miscomputation in all savings accounts. They paid 1000% interest instead of 10% interest! “What!” I exclaimed to myself. “They made a mistake just when I needed the money? That provision was truly a miracle from God!” I told the cashier to go ahead with the withdrawal. I knew without a shadow of doubt that if my money finishes, God will surely provide for me His own way.

That happened about eight years ago. Today, why then will I wonder if God can provide me with what I need? What makes me want to place a deadline on God when He knows what time is best for me? How could I easily forget that His ways are not my ways? How could I forget that He always shows up right on time?

I look at how far He has taken me. That money I always looked forward to then is not as much as my tithes today. Why then should I put my trust in the work I do rather than in Him, my provider? And what would stop me from sharing His blessings with others?

God is a God that knows how to do His thing. There is no problem He cannot solve. He does not need my suggestions, strategies, or help. Even before I call on Him, He has answered [Isaiah 65:24]. In the light of any challenge I may go through, He still remains God – faithful, love, unchangeable and worthy of my worship and praise.

There is nothing else I would rather do, than worship Him and give Him praise, through the sunny days and the stormy days, and for all the days of my life. For I know He is a God that shows up right on time!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Eagles above Nimbo-stratus

I blinked my eyes open as the smell of fresh tea filled my nostrils. I came out of my reverie to see the air hostess refilling the cup of my seatmate.
"Care for some more tea?" she asked.
"Yes, please."
“We’ll commence descent in five minutes,” she whispered with a sweet smile.
I nodded and felt grateful for the hot cup of tea. As she walked away, I looked out of the window of the airplane and sipped my tea slowly. I felt deeply troubled over a problem at work—a challenge I was having with my boss and other high level management. Unknowingly I had reverted to thoughts on this as I sipped my tea.

Then out of my window I saw a combination of white clouds, blue sky and brightness from the sun caught my attention. A huge mass of cloud hid the sun but the sun rays escaped and lit the sky with iridescent streaks. The morning was bright and beautiful. I began to appreciate the beauty before me.

Suddenly, the captain announced from the cockpit, “We will be circling the sky for a few more minutes. Landing will be delayed due to poor visibility!”
I wondered to myself, “Above the nimbo-stratus, the low clouds, everything is beautiful and perfect. Do the people below may think that the sky is all dark and unpromising?” I caught my breath as I spotted an eagle soaring above the low clouds.
After thirty minutes, the winds chased away the dark rain clouds, and we landed safely.

From that moment, I began to think on the scripture, “Those that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” [Isaiah 40:31]. Only the eagles were able to fly above the low, dark, rain clouds. They fly up to 10,000ft while the rain clouds are about 6,500ft. Beneath life’s problems everything appears dark and unpromising just like the low, dark, rain clouds. Minds could get clouded by circumstances when in a short while joy will spring forth. The solution was to wait upon the LORD. That way, one could soar above challenges.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for patience and perseverance, the fruit of your spirit, to be able to wait on You. May Your Holy Spirit remind me that what I am going through is temporal and will surely pass away. In Jesus Name, Amen.