Monday, July 23, 2012

The Pine Wood Derby

I read this story this morning, and it touched a special place in my heart. I just decided to share here...

My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time. During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to "dad."

That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do. See, I'm the only one really raising Gilbert. His dad was not receptive to doing things with his son. But Gilbert tried. Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his young, eager son. The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed.

Finally, I stepped in to see if I could figure this all out. The project began. Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work. And he did. I read aloud the measurements and the rules of what we could and couldn't do.

Within days his block of wood was turning into a pinewood derby car. A little lopsided, but looking great (at least through my eyes).

Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids cars and was feeling pretty proud of his "Blue Lightning," the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.

Then the big night came. With his blue pinewood derby in his hand and pride in his heart we headed to the big race. Once there my little one's pride turned to humility. Gilbert's car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own. All the other cars were a father-son partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed. A few of the boys giggled as they looked at Gilbert's, lopsided, wobbly, unattractive vehicle. To add to the humility Gilbert was the only boy without a man at his side. A couple of the boys who were from single parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side. Gilbert had "mom."

As the race began it was done in elimination fashion. You kept racing as long as you were the winner. One by one the cars raced down the finely sanded ramp. Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest looking car there. As the last race was about to begin, my wide-eyed, shy eight year old ask if they could stop the race for a minute, because he wanted to pray.

The race stopped. Gilbert hit his knees clutching his funny looking block of wood between his hands. With a wrinkled brow he set to converse with his Father. He prayed in earnest for a very long minute and a half. Then he stood, smile on his face and announced, "Okay, I am ready."

As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp. Gilbert stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy's car.
Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud "Thank you" as the crowd roared in approval. The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with microphone in hand and asked the obvious question, "So you prayed to win, huh, Gilbert?"

To which my young son answered, "Oh, no sir. That wouldn't be fair to ask God to help you beat someone else. I just asked Him to make it so I don't cry when I lose."

Children seem to have a wisdom far beyond us. Gilbert didn't ask God to win the race. He didn't ask God to fix the outcome. Gilbert asked God to give him strength in the outcome. When Gilbert first saw the other cars, he didn't cry out to God, "No fair, they had a father's help." No, he went to his Father for strength.

Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking God's strength to get through the struggle.

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
Gilbert's simple prayer spoke volumes to those present that night. He never doubted that God would indeed answer his request. He didn't pray to win, thus hurt someone else, he prayed that God supply the grace to lose with dignity.

Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father also showed the crowd that he wasn't there without a "dad," but his Father was most definitely there with him. Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that night, with his Father at his side.
(Taken from Laugh and Lift for July 23, 2012. For more Christian Inspirational articles and clean humor, visit Laugh & Lift at

Remain Blessed.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chocolate-Smeared Baby

She walked through the door and stared at me for a moment. Her beautiful, brown eyes shone with excitement as she realized I was the one standing in the room. Her heart-melting smile revealed her six beautiful teeth. Her arms were outstretched, awaiting me to carry her and sweep her off her feet. She was running towards me as she always does when she sees me after I have been away from work.

But for a moment, I was hesitant. I did not immediately run to her. There I was dressed in my favourite white shirt, and she was running to me with hands and mouth smeared with chocolate and all what not. In the split moment of my hesitancy, I said, "this is the end of this white shirt, but it is nothing compared to my daughter." Then I walked towards her, lifted her up and gave her a peck. It was one of those moments when I had to remind myself that God has been more than good to me.

As I reflected on this incident, I recalled the words of Jesus, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." [Matthew 19:14 NASB] God does not expect us, as we come into His presence, to have worked hard to become free of sin and be perfect. He is such a loving father who receives us with open arms when we come to Him. My daughter was not self-conscious, no, she did not even know she was covered in chocolate, nor she did not know what the smears could do to my white shirt. In the same vein, our gracious God wants us to come boldly into His throne of grace, just as we are, for there we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. 

Understand that your heavenly Father loves you unconditionally. Nothing can separate you from this love He has for you. If we know how to love and give good gifts to our children, then I believe our heavenly Father, who is love, can do much more than we can ask or think.

And so as I make my requests known to Him, I am no longer coming into His throne of grace with sin-consciousness. I know He loves me. I know His arms are always opened wide to receive me. I know that when He looks at me He sees me as the apple of His eye, His righteousness in Christ Jesus, and not one smeared with sin. I am coming to Him just as I am, this time naked and not ashamed.

What about you?

Remain blessed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Animated Excerpt of Against The Perfect Will

I prepared this animation of a short excerpt from "Against The Perfect Will" for my book launch, but that day it worked only half-way! Anyway, I decided to share it here for those who were unable to make the book launch.

(Video embedded below; also available on YouTube)

I have received a couple of feedback about the story. I will appreciate if you can share yours on HERE. However, if you are unable to do so but wish to leave a comment about the book, please feel free to do so as a comment on this page dedicated to "Against The Perfect Will" HERE.

For those interested in having a copy of the book, please see HERE for details on how to get the book.

Remain blessed.
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Broken For Action

I had to prepare the African Salad on short notice as there was nothing else to offer my visitors. All the other ingredients were ready on time except one – the potash alum. Without it dissolved in water, I would not be able to get my oil and water to mix. In my state of despair, I tried to think of a quick way to get the potash alum dissolve in the water. Then I remembered my chemistry class – a larger surface area speeds up a chemical reaction. I quickly broke the potash alum into smaller pieces. In no time it dissolved in the water, and my meal was ready right on time.
My experience with the potash alum made me realize that the state of being broken can facilitate certain “reactions”. It is no wonder that the Psalmist says of God in Psalm 51:16-17 (NLT), “You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
There is no doubt that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. Though sometimes His presence may not be felt, He is so close to those in grief, pain and sorrow. But there is a different kind of brokenness referred to in the scripture above. It is a heart so broken it looks to Him completely. It is a heart that appreciates His grace and sovereignty. It is a heart that is shattered, has surrendered and reached the point to say, “Lord, I am and I have nothing without you!”
Search your heart today. Is it broken? Is it devoid of the pride that says “my prayers, my service to God and my righteousness has kept me and brought me this far”? Is it free of bitterness towards God for apparently unanswered prayers? Is it saying, “God I’ve got this one, I will only bring the complicated issues to you”? Is it a heart looking towards a man, a connection, or a method to solve a challenge rather than looking to God? Or it is a heart that is crying for divine help, begging for His touch and desiring complete healing or restoration?
God prefers to use “broken vessels” for His service. He performs most of His deepest works on us when we are in a state of brokenness. Sometimes, some delays to prayers could be God waiting for us to get to a state of brokenness. Though He should not be a last resort, it is true that when we get to the point of realizing that we cannot do it on our own, then He shows up.
His eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him. When He searches, may He find your heart in a state ready to receive Him.
Have a blessed week ahead.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Atilola's Antonyms Of A Mirage - Short Review By Adetola A

I have been blessed to know these 2 beautiful, great women. The Reviewee and The Reviewer.

Let me start with Atilola (also known as @ilola :-) )
Have you got your own copy of "Antonyms Of A Mirage"? Once you turn the leaves of the book, you will want to meet @ilola.
Anyway, I met @ilola for the first time during my book launch. Despite the heavy rain that day and the location of the event, she made it quite early (even before the MC, lol). She has a vibrant personality and is very easy to talk to. What I am amazed about is her is the depth of her creativity, her focus and decisiveness. To me, she knows what she wants, and she does not joke with what she plans to achieve. She inspires and impresses me. Indeed I am glad I know her.

I would have loved to review @ilola's book, but from my experience, you do not send a carpenter to do a plumber's job. So I asked a friend to do a short review.

How it all began with Adetola.
I needed a neutral person to check the final quality of "Against The Perfect Will" just before I give the publishers the go ahead to publish. I called on Adetola who was a corper in my organization. I only expected her to dot the i's and cross the t's. But when she was done with the quality check, it was 4 pages of things I had to change in my book. I thought she was an English Studies graduate. No, she is just a talented Engineer who could make a great book reviewer and critique someday.

Adetola's review of Antonyms Of A Mirage
“Antonyms of a mirage” is a glimpse into the cultural and religious experiences that color the “Nigerian” reality. From corruption and “Nigerian Christianity”, to relationships and life lessons, the simple language and realistic scenarios painted by an eclectic fusion of poetry and prose come together in a comical and somewhat melancholic way, that leaves you subconsciously reflecting and acknowledging the “real” reality that every Nigerian knows, few bother to speak of and fewer still, will actually listen to. A courageous and insightful effort by Atilola showing depth of character and substance.
Her favourite
I read “Prayers of Mediocrity” and was amazed at how the praying woman was so fervent and sincere in all her ridiculousness and wishful thinking. Then I thought to myself “I’m not that lost in prayer fantasy land…or am I?” Many a Christian has used prayers and miracle conjuring as an excuse not to use God given common sense, aptly and beautifully captured by this write up. Guaranteed to set off one or two alarm bells that will surely get you thinking, and jolt you back to reality. As an afterthought, perhaps listen to the prayers of the woman sitting next to you in church on Sunday!!

Please tell me after reading this review, do you think Adetola should pursue a career (by the side) on book reviewing? :-)

Remain blessed.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Remember The Past Miracles

Do you still not understand? Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered?

The disciples of Jesus Christ had forgotten to bring bread with them on their journey. Jesus Christ started a discussion with them concerning bread. Though He was speaking of spiritual things, they misunderstood Him to be referring to bread for food. Jesus, being aware that they were discussing among themselves that they had no bread, expressed His surprise that they had forgotten the miracles that had happened in recent past. He expected that they would not bother about the fact that they had no bread with them, for they had Him who could provide bread for them.

There are certain situations that could be going on in your life or around you that leave you in doubt and with uncertainty. You may be concerned so much with present cares that you do not remember how God had miraculously or divinely stepped in on your behalf. Today your Loving Father says to you, "Have you forgotten those repeated instances of mercy and miracles?" If God has done it before, for you or for others, He is more than able to do miracles for you today. Take out time to remember and meditate on the past miracles and His supernatural provisions. Boost your faith once again for the things you are believing God for.

Prayer: My Loving Father, forgive me for forgetting those miracles and supernatural things You have done in my life. Forgive me for times I have not been thankful for the great things You have done for me. You alone are God, the same yesterday, today and forever more. You who has done great things for me in the past is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I ask or ever think, according to the power that works in me. I pray, Father, that as I think on the past miracles and meditate on Your word, that my faith will grow to release the power that works in me. May my trust and expectation be on You alone. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.