Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nigeria At 50 - Day 30: The Parts Make The Whole

*****Nigerian bloggers celebrating Nigeria at 50*****

Yesterday, Nigeria at 50, Day 29 -  Kemi

It is one experience I have not been able to forget - not because of the pain but because of the lesson. The 2nd finger of my right hand had been cut by a crystal of salt. As days went by, the state of the finger worsened (I think it resulted in some infection of some sort). What was striking about the experience was my hand could not function in the full capacity as it used to. It was just a part of a finger, I told myself. But the impact affected the whole hand.

I liken the finger and hand to us and our great country Nigeria. We represent the parts that make up Nigeria - the whole. Individually we may seem insignificant compared to the population of Nigeria. But no matter how small it seems, we do have a part to play. Except the parts function optimally, the whole will definitely not be at its best.

We hear and make complaints about Nigeria surrounding corruption, breaking/by-passing of laws, misuse of resources, instability, just to mention a few. We have our own circle of influence. Would we choose not to give bribe if it will speed up a process for us? Would we use our organizations resources like our own? Would we see someone driving one-way but choose to remain in the traffic if the shortcut can take us to our destination faster? Would we choose not to take advantage of the laxity and loopholes in our system? As I think on these questions, I know what I am guilty of.

There is hope for great Nigeria. Nigeria still remains a country rich in resources. Nigeria remains a country blessed with good weather and climate. Nigeria remains a country with people who are smart, skillful, have the ability to excel in any area, and people who are resilient.

Nigeria at 50 - there is hope for a better nation. If we desire to see this change, we need to do more than dream or complain. Yes, we can. We can change Nigeria little by little in our small ways. We can choose to see, appreciate, speak about and explore the good in our nation. We can choose to participate in what would bring about a change for our country. Change may not happen overnight, but it will come if we choose to make a difference in our little ways. We do not know how our actions will cause a ripple effect on others and ultimately the whole system.

You and I are the parts that make the whole of Nigeria. Let us not give up on ourselves and our country. One day we will see the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

I thank God for our leaders who have vision and are implementing it. I thank God for those who still have a passion to bring about a better Nigeria and take her further than her former glory. "The parts" know...

And of course, let us not relent in praying for Nigeria our country.

Tomorrow, Nigeria at 50, Day 31 - Standtall 

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Tested Promise

It was a Saturday morning. I was about to start my quiet time when I felt it - water dripping from my palms. It had been a while since my palms got sweaty. From past experience, the sweaty palms were a sure sign that the sun will shine that day. It was my secret for planning my days in rainy season. I called it “my rainbow”.

While making futile attempt to dry my palms, I began planning my day in my head – if the sun was going to shine that day, then I could wash, go to market, visit, etc knowing that the rain would not hinder me (though we were at the peak of the rainy season). Then as I began to pray, I heard the sound of thunder.

“How could this be?” I wondered after seeing and feeling my palms wet. My prayers were distracted as I heard yet another clap of thunder. I stood up and drew my curtains apart. Before me were dark clouds and the rain drizzling. Lightning flashed, thunder roared and so I wondered, “why would God make me deceive myself that the sun will shine when He knew there will be a storm?”

I didn't have much choice so I washed my clothes and wrote out my shopping list. But by time I was done with breakfast, the drizzling had stopped and the sun had come up. That day ended up being one hot, sunny day.

The word (and promises) of our God stands forever [Isaiah 40:8]. Whatever He has promised will come to pass. However, there are times when the written and spoken promises of God will be tested. For instance the enemy may make you wonder “do you really think you are a child of God? Do you really think that God forgave you for ‘that’ sin? Do you really think you can be healed or restored? Do you really think you deserve the grace, mercy or love of God? Do you think everyone can be partakers of the promises of God – how much more you? Do you really think that you are fruitful and He has blessed the works of your hands? Do you think you can escape a generational curse? Do you think you have what it takes to have it all?”

By the time you are bombarded with such thoughts (a subtle attack that goes on in your mind or from what you hear around you), you may begin to doubt who you are and lose confidence in the word of God. The enemy may bring before you false evidence (in the form of delays, magnified symptoms, alternatives to the ways and word of God, or stories of those who did not make it). When you start thinking on such false evidences, these bring fear, diminish your faith, take you to a point of hopelessness and discouragement, and you will not know when you start calling negative things into being (i.e. making negative confessions contrary to the word of God).

Have you experienced a word or promise of God being tested?

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless [2 Samuel 22:31]. The LORD's promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over [Psalm 12:6]. Every word that goes out from His mouth will not return to Him void, but will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it [Isaiah 55:11]. It is impossible for Him to lie [Titus 1:2]. His promises have been thoroughly tested [Psalm 119:140]. Since He has performed miracles before and has been faithful to His promises, and since He is still performing miracles and fulfilling His promises, He can do it for you.

You may be standing on His word and you are currently facing His word being tested. It does not matter what signs are currently before you. It is only for a fleeting moment. Rest assured that God’s living and powerful word will prevail on your behalf.

Have a blessed week ahead.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Meeting Halfway

As I listened to a friend's testimony on her health and how she finally got healed, something that touched me was when she said she told God, “Father I am completely helpless. This is where my faith has taken me to. Please help me from here.” I was touched by her sincerity, awareness that her ways could not bring the healing she wanted, and her decision to depend on God totally.

Many years ago I would have called her a 'weak' Christian who, in the light of such a situation, could not fast and pray, cast and bind, or spend time meditating on the word of God. But now I know, from experience, that the presence of some trials is not a measure of how weak or strong we are as Christians. As long as we are in this world, we would face trying situations in one degree or the other. Now I know that our results are not only dependent on how many hours we have spent fasting or praying. We need to understand what God is saying to us about a particular situation and of course, without faith it is impossible to please God.

So I considered the case of 5 people who had headache. One got cured by sleeping it away. The second got cured by speaking the word and the headache left immediately. The third one declared the word, prayed and meditated but it tarried before the physical symptoms associated with the headache left. The fourth took panadol extra and got relief 30 minutes later. The fifth had to go for an operation as the headache was related to something else.
Did they all get cured? Yes. Were they all Christians? Yes. Did they give God the glory? Hopefully. Did they all have faith? Yes (for all have been given a measure of faith) only that their faith were at different levels.

So I ask you today, are you believing God for something? Where is your faith level at the moment? Are you telling God that you trust Him for a miracle yet deep down you don't really believe the miracle could happen? Or are you keeping the appearance of a ‘powerful’ Christian that you cannot tell even your loving Father the truth of where your faith level is? Has your faith been diluted with what other methods are available? Are you at a state of helplessness but would not accept it?

God knows where you are for He searches the heart. Lay aside all pretences. Tell Him in sincerity where you are and do not hesitate to ask for His help. Where you are may not be as a result of complacency, a sin committed in the past, or the length of time you have spent knowing God. You may be where you are because you are overwhelmed by the situation or you were not prepared for it. Your loving Father, Who will not allow you experience a trial you cannot bear, Who will never leave you nor forsake you, knows the steps you need to take to overcome and knows you can have the victory. Don't ask Him to meet you halfway when in truth you are far from starting the journey. Tell Him where you are and He will meet you “fullway”. He will speak to you. He will answer your "why's and how's". He will walk with you and He will teach you what you need to do to increase your faith level to where it should be.

Remain blessed and enjoy the rest of this week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Things We Do Not Know About

As a child, my prayer was simple – God thank you for the things you have done for me (which I know about), the things you will do for me, and the things have done for me which I did not know about. The 3rd part was always key because I was once called “accident-prone” i.e. something major that would involve me being rushed to the hospital was bound to happen each year. Well this was until I prayed about this. Imagine the joy knowing I would not have to face the nurses and their needles.

Speaking of “things He has done which I did not know about”, let me share with you a recent incident.

It was one of those busy days and I had to close late from work (8pm). Since I live on the Lekki-Epe axis of Lagos where “heavy” construction is going on, I knew I was bound to be stuck in traffic. A driver from the office was asked to take me home. I told the office driver that all I needed to be taken to a point where I could meet Mr. Rita, with whom I would continue my journey home.

We got to a place where the road was blocked. After waiting 30mins at one spot, the driver, being very adventurous decided to take a shortcut. This shortcut is also called “beach road” because of the beach sands or “jeep road” because 4WD’s are successful in passing through this road. Now the car I was in was a Toyota corolla and in no way a 4WD. I have seen in broad day light cars of this type get stuck in the beach sand. I had no plans of being stuck in there by 9pm. I explained to the driver that it was not advisable to use this car through that road that night. The route was not recommended by our company. If his car got stuck there, he could get a query. So many ifs ran through my head the more I realized it was late at night. I trust in God but did not want to test Him that night. Let’s not forget that deep down I wanted to join Mr. Rita somewhere on the main road. The shortcut would not give me that luxury. Driver and I argued for 10 mins. In the end, he agreed to use the main road.

I got home by 11pm that night somehow wishing I had let the driver go through the shortcut. But the next day (in daylight) when we had to pass through that beach road, I found out that a very deep ditch had been dug in the path we could have passed. If we had passed through that road, the car would have fallen in there, and it would have taken time and money to bring it out. Not to think of the exposure - being in the middle of nowhere by 10pm or whenever.

There are so many disappointments I have faced which later on I have found out were blessings. Can you think of any disappointment in your life that ended up being a blessing? A delay, a heartbreak, a loss, or something that seems wrong at the moment could actually be God’s loving hand preventing us from something worse.

Rather than complaining, cursing or being angry with God, I am learning to thank Him for those things He has protected me from, especially those ones I did not know about.
I pray that He opens our eyes to see the blessings in our “disappointments”. In every situation we find ourselves, we should give thanks to God, not because of our perception of the situation, but because it could have been worse – and indeed He deserves our praise and thanksgiving.

Have a great week ahead.