thoughts and thanks

yesterday i was introduced to a new blogger, and i spent an hour or two of my dawn reading his writings. at the end of my read, i was uncertain. i sensed a spirituality, but i did not see faith. i sensed a religious mind but i did not see the gospel. and this got me thinking, and thanking.

my thoughts, in retrospect, were these.
what is christianity all about? what is christ all about? have we believed cleverly crafted fables? have we signed up for another clubhouse gathering? have we added another asset to our stock? i do not believe in theology or religion, for scripture has proved to me, in pictures of the pharisees and saducees, that they are but a poor attempt of man to reach god. ever since adam made his choice in eden’s garden, man lost his ability to connect with god. and so god had to move in on us. i think scripture puts it this way: “…while we yet sinners christ died for us..” [romans5v8].

what is the meaning of his death? why did he die? to give us theology? to bring us religion? to leave us a panacea? i think not. to save us from sin?… if christ died just to save us from sin, then pop quiz y’all: why are we still here on earth? after being saved from sin, why didn’t we just zap away to heaven? is there much more to the death of christ than salvation from sin? could it be that christ came to bring us “this gospel”? [matthew24v14]…could it be that christ came to die, not only to save us from sin, but also to grant us a gift? [1 john5v11]

does this in any way imply that, not only am i a sinner saved by grace through faith[eph.2v8] (consequently, i am now a saint [ phillipians4v21] and i guess this bursts the bubble of the particular conception that saints are ancient dead folks), but am also a partaker(aka participator) in the divine nature[2 peter1v4]?

if eternal life, the exact substance of god almighty, has been deposited on the inside of me, doesn’t that equate me to god’s status? [eph.2v6] i mean, if i was born into england’s royal family, doesn’t that automatically qualify me as royalty, for royalty? could this in any way be the reason for god’s injunction in genesis for me to dominate and subdue this world? (gen.1v26)

i am tempted to believe that god’s plan of salvation far exceeded a deliverance from sin, but also included a deliverance into our inheritance.[eph.1v11] i am tempted to believe that god’s superhero act was not simply to rescue us from death, but also included the license for us to be life givers.[john7v38] i am tempted to believe that the sacrifise of jesus on the cross of calvary was not just a substitute for my sickness, and my griefs[isa.53v4-5], but a license for my divine life and everlasting joy.

my thanks, in appreciation, are these.
scripture informs me that a lot of god’s own people(believers, not unbelievers) perish and suffer because they lack knowledge – not faith, not prayers, not faithfulness [hos.4v6]. so i am thankful that god has placed me in a ministry that has exposed me, not only to the truths of gods word, but also to the facts. i am thankful that not only do i believe in god’s work for and in my life, i am conscious of my rights in christ. i am thankful that not only have i received grace, but i am growing in grace[2 pet.3v18]. i am thankful that not only am i no longer a sinner, but i am now a saint of god. i am thankful that not only have i been healed, but i can now live in divine health 24/7/356 because of the indestrutible eternal life residing in me. i am thankful that where god created adam to be a living soul, he birthed me to be a quickening spirit[1 corth.15v45]. i am thankful that should i continue with this writing, i will sooner run out of space than reasons to be thankful for.

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wandering in the field

it is 4.00am monday morning. i have lost the battle to sleep. i feel trapped. i feel like i am caught up in a dilemma. i want to love god and i want to hate him. i want to run to god and i want to run from him. a zillion questions have been zipping through my mind. as each question bounces off the sill of my mind, i discover a responding assurance. for an unexplainable reason it irks me. it irks me to feel so … controlled. i feel like a toy car being navigated by a remote control. what is this feeling? am i rebeling against my maker? am i questioning his right to reign and rule over my life? am i asking for independence? i don’t know…what is independence? is it the ability to be free?

i woke up with a desire to pray, but i couldn’t find any words to say, so i started up my windows media player and let my pastor pray for me. i have just finished the first paragraph of this write-up and i am already tired of my pastor’s prayer so i switch over to clint brown’s “in his presence” live musical concert …i realize that it is because of the prayers i have prayed that have brought me this far…i have committed to god and now he has held me for my word…i don’t want to be this committed, i think…i don’t want to be this responbile to god, i think…i want to be like the guy in the congregation who just comes and sits in church and sings during worship and listens to the sermons and goes back home, i think…is this a good thought? is it not as wishing i was again a toddler creeping and crawling around? after coming this far on my walk with the lord, do i now want to go back to the beginning? why do i have this confliction of emotions within my soul? what is this questioning in my spirit? what is the rebellion in my mind?

i have started up e-sword, my precious bible software. today’s devotional by f.b.meyers is an “in my face”. he talks about the practise of god’s presence, and takes his major scripture from the book of psalms 139v7,9,10. how did he know i would wake up this morning wondering how to get away from god? now i am reminded that i can never really get away from god. as david so beautifully put it “where could i go to escape from you? where could i get away from your presence?” (good news version)…and now clint brown is singing that song i have come to realise i sung so passionately without thinking about what i was saying…”i wanna be more like you”…i remember singing at the top of my voice in worship meetings back in school…i remember singing this song with a heart of love and passion…i thought i was worshipping god…i didn’t realise i was praying to god…and now my prayers have been answered…day by day i am being conformed to the image of chist(romans 8v29)…i have just lost a train of thought and now i pause trying to find where i was…which reminds me of a verse of scripture i read recently…genesis 37v15…it is the story of joseph who went to do his fathers will and found him self lost and “wandering in the field”…hmm…i like the sound of that phrase…i think i will title this entry that…because this morning of september 18, 2006 i feel like joseph wandering in the field…i feel like i am right smack in the middle of god’s will and yet i am wandering in the field…i am lost in his will…i understand that i am in the right place but i do not recognise my bearings…i understand that god is in the driver’s seat of my life but i do recognise where i am…

last night i pre-read this morning’s message from my favorite and foremost devotional, rhapsody of realities, by pastors chris and anita oyakhilome, my beloved father and mother in christ…and now i am reminded of today’s title “god can do much more”…gosh, oh wow…see, i am in a state of dilemma right here…a part of me wants to hit out at god and scream “why do you love me so? how can you love me so? this love is too deep…” and yet another part of me wants to cling to him and sob “thank you for loving me so, thank you for loving me completely”…does this make any sense? is this what they mean by the complexities of love?

my weekend has been very instructive. it went mostly as i planned it would go, and the only regret i have is that i did not go to church…like paula would say “how un-soldierly of me”…still i am satisfied with how my weekend went and i have come out of it wiser…to talk about the lessons i have learnt in this weekend would make this entry an extremely long one so i will save it for future posts and pray i find time to pen the words…however, this is a list of what i would want to share later so i don’t forget.

1. i had a good laugh watching “my super ex-girlfriend” and “ella enchanted”. there is significance in the fact that i had a good laugh which, hopefully, i will be able to spell out in my future entry.
2. i also watched “lord of the rings – the return of the king” for the first time. i know it’s a little late for me to be seeing a movie that made waves a while back, but the truth is, after seeing some clips of it i wasn’t sure i was going to enjoy it…i am not too fond of gory characters…but then i read the book…i think it was the beginning of the story and i immensely enjoyed reading it and i re-considered my decision to see the movie. and so finally, this weekend, i got to see the lord of the ring series – even if its only the last part of it. i have seen it once and as i think about what i saw i am convinced i want to see it again, because already i am learning so much in relation to my battle in god’s army…i am so tempted to start talking about the lessons i have come away with from that movie…but i will resist that temptation…
3. i hooked up with my two of my high school buddies after almost ten years. we used to be like best of friends back in school, in a clique of our own. the years had seperated us and we had all gone off to universities in different parts of the country. and now, wonders of all, we had all relocated to the same city, the same neighborhood…about ten minutes walking distance from each other…the lesson from this is an entire story of its own, because knowing the god i serve i am unable to believe that this is simply a co-incidence.

its almost 5am, and i have been typing for almost an hour. i feel relived but my mind is still in a reel. the power has started flickering, a signal that our infamous NEPA, now renamed PHCN, is about to do what they have become (in)famous for, taking power.

i should stop typing. the thoughts are still pouring out, but if i don’t consciously stop, i will have lost the essense of blessing with this entry. so i will cease to type here, until my next blog entry.

reality check #1

after reading and re-reading both esteri’s and paula’s blogs,and then my own blog, i am tempted to think that i am a sad story. the lives of esteri and paula are spotted with trials and triumph, tears and laughter, sunlight and rain. but when i look at my story, i see one long sad funeral procession. am i beating myself over the head? am i being overtly thoughtful of myself? have i become oblivious to god’s goodness and greatness? have i been reduced to seeing only grey instead of a rainbow?
i am tempted to think i have been ungrateful, and dishonest and a poor soldier.

in defense, i plead not guilty. becuase though my blog is laced with a dirge, it is as one of paula’s blog about a ballad. there is a song in my sage. there is hope in my hardness. there is faith in my furnance. i can only talk about what i know. i almost envy esteri and paula’s moments. but even though we are all soldiers in the same war, we fight different battles. and who am i to say that my battle is fiercier? or that their song is merrier? the point is we must all fight. and the sum of it is we all figght in a good fight.

so i will continue to read and enjoy esteri’s and paula’s blogs. it is god’s window for me. when the drag of my battle becomes unbearable, i can look through these two windows and find a smile, laughter, hope, mirth, joy, bonding, strength, peace, courage. if my sisters can fight their battle so courageously, so can i. if they can find laughter on their battle ground, so can i.

a tear for mama

i just got a call from my mother who lives about 12 hrs busride away from me, and whom i have only spent 7 days with the whole of this year. becuase i am on the battle ground in the army of the lord.

i had planned to call her, but i had been putting it off. why? becuase i did not know what to say to her. i know it would have been enough to simply call her and remind her how much i love her. but somehow i felt that was not adequate enough. because things are not at their most favorable for my mom.

i am tempted to cry. but they say men are not supposed to cry. am only 25years old. am i already a man? what about the fact that it hurts to see the one i love hurting? doesn’t that count for me to give in to the tears? well, i will not cry, hard as the tears press against my eyes. no, not because i am trying to be tough – i am just reminded that jesus christ wasn’t afraid to cry. but still, i will not cry. instead, i will write. and then maybe when i am done, i will laugh. because that is one of the things god said to me for this year 2006. he said “you will laugh”.

i must admit that i do not see any reason to laugh already. it’s been a tough year so far. its been four years since daddy went home to the lord, and mama has been alone. with me in school, and enlisted into god’s army immediately after, she has been alone, except for my teenage twin cousins staying with her. yet, from so many miles, i can feel her loneliness. i can feel her weariness. i can feel her heaviness.

the darkness is dense, finances are tight. friends and family are far. church is demanding, even if also encouraging. help is unavailable. the house needs a make-over. the car needs an overhaul. bills need to be paid.

it is hard writing at this moment. i feel my heart bleeding. but if i don’t write, i will probably cry, or worse, start to worry. so i write, however incoherent and scattered the thoughts may be… i am concerend for my mom. i am hurting for her. she has toiled too long. she has worked too hard. she has sacrifised too much. when will she reap her reward? when will she be able to sit down and throw her legs up and have a good laugh? because she does not have to think of how to feed the family, or pay the bills. when will she be able to say confidently that my son is out of school and has a good job and is taking care of me?

this is the reason why i have been reluctant to call her. in a small way i feel guilty. after her sacrifice in raising me up, in stead of getting a good job that will help me fend for her, i accepted god’s call to be a soldier in active service. i have been working as a church staff for almost a year now. i make in a month what i could make in a day if i was working freelance. in stead of planing on sending some money home to my mom i am wondering if she will be able to help me pay my house rent that expires in 2 weeks.

all of these plus the issues i am currently dealing with at work have been my drama in the past couple of weeks. i am tempted to murmur and complain and regret and ask “Where are you God?” and just as that question pops into my head, i hear his challenge in my spirit, “exactly son, where am i in this equation?” i think of paula’s blog on esther and the reminder that god cares and answers prayers and is soverigen over natural reports. i so much want to believe this. i so much want to lift up my head and walk tall, because i know if god came through for paula and esther, he sure can for me and mama.but this weight is heavy. this trial has been long. mama is weak and weary. i am weak and weary. the future seems far and distant.

oh my soul, why are you discouraged? have you ever seen the righteous forsaken, or his seed begging for bread? even if a suckling mother should forget her young, can god forget his own? if god could take the time to count the hairs on your head, will he not take the time to meet you at your needs? if god could give to you his only son, will he not give to you all the money to pay your bills and more?

oh god. i must be strong in the lord. i must not consider the deadness of my situation. i must speak to this dry bones. i must declare what the lord has spoken to me. in deed it is a year of shining for my family. god cannot lie. he said that in the beginning of the year. 9 months later, it looks like he lied. but like paula said, i dont serve a god of what it looks like. mourning may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. darkness is the backdrop for light to shine.

i am typing fast. i am trying to outrun the disbelief that is shooting at my soul. i am trying to convince myself that god is true and my situation is a lie. i am trying to let this storm in my life lift up the wings of eagle my father has given me.

mama, hold on. i am sorry for the pain. i wish i could bear you up now as you have borne me up all these years. soon mama, soon. god is just. he does not forget our labor of love. he will recompense. he will bring us into our wealthy place. we must trudge on. we must not crumble. we must hold our head up. we must not faint. the day is dawning. it is dark now, but the day is dawning.

mama, it is well. the house will be fixed. the cars will be fixed. the business will thrive. the money will come. mama, i love you. i ache for you. i pray for you. i am your son of consolation. i will nourish you as joseph nourish his father. i will exalt you as esther exalted mordecai.

i am speaking in tongues now. i do not have the words to say how much this birthpang hurts. but i know my baby is coming out. so i continue to push. i endure the pain. bcos my baby is coming out. i am birthing my manasseh and my ephraim. god is good. his mercy endures forvever. this too shall pass. he’s working it out for our good. i am laughing now. it is not the laugh of the one who has been amused. it is the laugh of the one who knows the end of the script. it sounds fake to my ears, but it is wisdom to my spirit. so i continue to laugh. it sounds mechanical. but alas, it is spiritual. like paula said, things are shaken in the spiritual realm when we stand instead of crumble…

my strange place

i just finished listening to td jake’s bone collector, and it got me thinking, where am i? I look around myself and i see a strange place. I don’t see anything familiar, yet i recognise this place. you know how it is when you can visit an old neighbourhood, probably where you grew up as a kid, and you recognise the neighborhood but you can’t find any familiarity? because change has taken place; development has reached that neighboorhood. the old candy store down the street is no longer there. in stead there’s a huge mall with many candy stores. the video club across the street with just about two shelves of video tapes is now a tall building with floors and even a large projector screen for drive-by movies.

see, there’s a place in your life where you look around you and nothing is familiar. all the folks you used to know, you cannot find anymore. the comfort zone is now a strange place, and you are uncomfortable. but you recognise this place. you recognise that you are not lost; you are not disoriented. you recognise that the territory you find yourself in is bounded by god’s word that he has spoken to you. you recognise that this is a studio that has been set up for another scene of god’s script for your life. it’s the same place you’ve been in for weeks, months, maybe even years; but it has been propped up; another scene for another salvation; another story for another glory; another lesson for another lecture; another mystery for another message.

change is a good thing, but it’s an uncomfortable thing too. growth is a good thing, but it’s no easy thing. and when i look at my life presently, the tears threaten to flood my face because it hurts. but then, they are like tears of birth pangs that produce the joy of birthing. someone once said pain liberates joy. at this particular moment in my life, i subscribe to that.

the question is, how do you manage the strange place? how do you get by each day when the loneliness descends with the weight of a ten-tonne truck and you look around and there’s nobody there? how do you get by when they put you in a job position that is routine and boring more that challenging and fulfilling? how do you get by when, like an eagle, your skin is being shed so that you can be stronger and brighter? they say, take each day at a time. sometimes, that’s way too long. sometimes all you can do is moment to moment, minute to minute, second to second.

but through all of this unfamiliriaty, there’s a recognition. a recognition of god’s word, of god’s will. and so i must believe that is presence is also here. i do not see him now. i do not understand him now. i do not even smell him. but i hear the sound of his voice. am not even sure if i understand what he is saying. but i recognise the sound of his voice. i recognise the inflection in his tone. i recognise the accent in his speech. i recognise the affection in his communication. that is all i have to go on with. sometimes, that is all we need to go on with.

this is all true, but i must make myself believe. i must hold on to what i have known of him. i must remember the moments we made love. i must remember his passionate embrace, and the deep thrust of his word into my spirit. i must remember drinking of his love. i must remember the protection of his sinewy arms around my fragile body. i must believe in our consumation; in his vow: “I will never leave you; i will never forsake you.”

as i finish this write-up, i am already blessed. it’s 9.14am in the morning. i haven’t spoken to him this morning, becuase i did’t know how to put the words the discombobulation of my feelings. so i simply put in td jakes bone collector video into my laptop. at the end of the message, the only thingi i came out with was an inspiration to write this. but now, at the end of this write-up, he has spoken. he has spoken to my unspoken feelings; he has addressed my uncommunicated emotions; he has met my unasked need; he has assured my debilitating depression.

“i will never leave you; i will never forsake you.” before i shut down my laptop and move on with the day, i’m going to look up those two words in my dictionary: “leave” and “forsake”. and to whoever you are reading this right now, my mystery is now your message… and this is just too good to not be part of this write-up. i just looked up those words in my dictionary. to leave means “go and leave behind, either intenetionally or by neglect or forgetfulness” and to forsake means “leave someone who needs or counts on you”. so let me rephrase that.

God just told me, and you: “I will never go and leave you behind, either intentionally or by neglect or forgetfulness, when you need me and are counting on me.” It is at times like this that i begin to do my song and dance.